ghosts

Where we talk Dead AfterLife, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Serial Killers, and Mental Fitness

Jared Cohn We're All Animals - chilling / Image: Jared Cohn - Instagram

Horrormadam here, guys, and I had the privilege of interviewing actor/director Jared Cohn. Best known for 13/13/13, Hulk Blood Tapes, and Feed the Devil for acting and Hold Your Breath, The Horde (which got a 94% on Rotten Tomatoes), and Little Dead Rotting Hood for his directing.
For those who do not know yet, Dead AfterLife is a currently in development film written by Michael Joy. And Michael knows horror, he is the CEO of Marketing Macabre, CEO of Joyhorror Entertainment, Director of Marketing for Artsploitation Films (that just released Red Christmas starring Dee Wallace), and Operations Manager for Horrornews.net. I am really looking forward to Dead Afterlife because of its unique and interesting premise. Imagine watching your own funeral as a ghost and then the unthinkable happens, your undead body climbs out of your coffin and starts killing and eating your friends and family. Pharmaceutical Scientist, Donald Conlee faces this conundrum after he’s murdered and is administered his own “Awake”, super drug. His death was only the beginning of his problems. The Gatekeeper has given Donald a time limit to return his Zombie-self to the ground, or else his soul can never gain entrance into Heaven. To complicate matters, he finds out that his murderer is at the funeral and his girlfriend is in grave danger. How can a couple of disgruntled gravediggers and a hearse driver help Donald’s lost soul find the way? Or maybe the real question is how can the spirit world defeat the living dead?

Jared Cohn on Stepmother / Image: Jared Cohn - Instagram

House of Tortured Souls: Is that an amazing premise or what? I asked Director Jared Cohn about this budding horror film.
Jared Cohn: I am a big fan of Michael Joy and looking forward to working with him, he is plugged into the horror community. Look this is a really cool story we got ghosts vs zombies, we got amazing talent on board to act in this. This project is gonna be a bad ass horror movie, straight up. It’s ghosts and zombies fighting each other, it’s gore there’s lots of blood, there is death and a funeral, it can’t lose.

Jared Cohn working on set / Image: Jared Cohn - Instagram

And Jared wasn’t kidding about the amazing talent. They just signed on Dee Wallace (Cujo, The Howling), Michael Berryman (The Hills Have Eyes), Bill Moseley (The Devils Rejects, House of 1000 Corpses), Kane Hodder (Victor Crowley in Hatchet, and Jason Voorhees from some of the Friday the 13th films), Bill Oberst Jr. (Scream Queens, Priest), David Gere (Bleed For This), Andy Gates (Garden Party Massacre), David Vescio (Hick), Mindy Robinson (Lizzie Borden’s Revenge), WWE wrestling star Diamond Dallas Page( Devil’s Rejects), And first timer professional wrestling legend,The Universal Heartthrob, Austin Idol.
Jared Cohn with William Shatner / Image: Jared Cohn - Instagram

Jared Cohn with William Shatner

HoTS: I was really excited about the prospect of seeing ghosts fighting the living dead on film and asked Jared about that.
JC: I am a fan of practical effects and I would also love to incorporate some CGI to enhance the ghosts visually. Really want to do something cool and a little different if we really want it to be scary and to pay homage to some of the great classics. That would go a long way towards making it look cool, make it look good. But in order to do that, you have to rely on the resources that are available. Which some could consider a cop out answer but it’s true. I would love someone like Vincent Guastini (Under The Bed, Requiem For A Dream, V/H/S Viral, and The Dark Tapes), he does creature suits, ghosts, zombies, makeup. To get someone like him on board would be amazing, but he is not cheap. But he would make amazing looking ghosts and zombies, those are the kind of things you need obviously if you want that big budget look, you need those premium people. We are still waiting on the financing to go through though but it is getting a lot of press so it is just a hurry up and wait game, but I am extremely excited to get going.

Jared Cohn sunlight / Image: Jared Cohn - Instagram

HoTS: I then had to ask Jared about a film that I saw on IMDB that he is directing that is in post-production called Street Survivors: The True Story of the Lynyrd Skynyrd Plane Crash because I am a fan of the band and found this title so intriguing.

JC: I got the movie shot, there are just some legal difficulties going on. Kind of waiting until March to see whats going on with that one. I’m very proud of that movie so I am really hoping it can see the light of day. It happened because of Cleopatra Entertainment, I love those guys. They gave me great opportunities to make movies, big fan of that company. I am going to be doing some music videos for them that I am very excited about. I used to do a lot of music videos back in the day in New York. I like getting back to my roots. I used to do more cinematography, stunts, editing, and camera work and lately I have been focusing on acting and directing but it is so great to go back and relearn everything and expand.

Jared Cohn on set / Image: Jared Cohn - Instagram

When researching the film, I found that Jared wrote the film from a story by Skynyrd drummer Artimus Pyle. It depicts the band’s tragic history centering on Pyle and his experiences of the events surrounding the chartered-plane crash on October 20, 1977, that killed original band members Ronnie Van Zant, Steve Gaines, and backing vocalist Cassie Gaines, Steve’s sister. An assistant road manager and the two pilots also died in the crash after the plane ran out of fuel over Mississippi after the final show of the Street Survivors tour. Ian Shultis, Taylor Clift, Samuel Kay Forrest and Rich Dally III have been cast in the film and the legal battle continues.
HoTS: Next, I asked Jared about his film Death Pool starring Sara Malakul Lane (Jailbait, Kickboxer Vengeance), Randy Wayne (Hellraiser Judgement, Hold Your Breath), James Cullen Bressack (Bethany), and Shawn C. Phillips (WTF!, Cannibal Cop). I just loved how this film dealt with the whole cult of personality. The premise is this:
Johnny Taylor has a big problem: he LOVES to drown good-looking girls. When he sees water and attractive females together, something in his head begs him to kill – the psychological result of a traumatic near-drowning during his childhood at the hands of a twisted babysitter. Fighting the urge to act on his sinister thoughts most of his adult life, Johnny finally succumbs to his dark instincts when the only work he can find is around water, cleaning pools. Filled with colorful characters, beautiful women and set against the backdrop of the LA party scene, Death Pool encapsulates the desire for fame, the lust for desire, and the urge to kill.

JC: I think that was one of the more interesting movies that I have made, it had a message. Social media, fame, the upsides and the downsides, and the reactions of people to someone who is killing people. There are a lot of serial killer groupies. It’s nutty, but in a weird way it is understandable also. There are many people out there that are contemplating killing someone, not that they go out and do it but it’s the idea. To analyze the psyche behind those people who do these things, those that find that extreme violence is their only outlet is interesting.
Jared Cohn on set with William Shatner / Image: Jared Cohn - Instagram

Jared Cohn on set with William Shatner

HoTS: I also asked him about who his directing influences might be.
JC: I think that Alejandro Inarritu (Amores Perros, Birdman, The Revenant) and Damian Chazelle (La La Land, Whiplash) have really great style. There are so many great and talented people out there.
HoTS: We then talked about what he is doing for 2018:
JC: I am keeping positive, focusing on mental health, and spirituality. You can be the busiest and most successful person in the world, but if you are not feeling great mentally, physically, and spiritually, you cant get your best work done. So I am trying to raise awareness, you know, help people who feel like they could use a boost in life. I would like to give back rather than just make movies. I would like to help people. Many people are suffering quietly, and I want them to know that they are not alone. If I can do something in that regard, it makes me feel better. Not that this is about me, I just want to give back. I’ve made some mistakes. I have some regrets, so I understand the challenges. It is good to talk about, doing interviews, and talking about various movies and being able to bring awareness to the problem of people’s mental health.
Lastly but cool as hell is the fact that Jared became a licensed FAA 107 certified drone remote pilot for taking absolutely stunning aerial shots for filmmaking and commercial use. Check out Drone-Shots.net to find out what’s available. He is also a Pro-paintballer and a black belt in Shaolin Kempo Karate.

Jared Cohn with drone / Image: Jared Cohn - Instagram

Please check out more on him at:
INTERVIEW: Writer/Director Jared Cohn

INTERVIEW: Writer/Director Jared Cohn

Where we talk Dead AfterLife, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Serial Killers, and Mental Fitness

Jared Cohn We're All Animals - chilling / Image: Jared Cohn - Instagram

Horrormadam here, guys, and I had the privilege of interviewing actor/director Jared Cohn. Best known for 13/13/13, Hulk Blood Tapes, and Feed the Devil for acting and Hold Your Breath, The Horde (which got a 94% on Rotten Tomatoes), and Little Dead Rotting Hood for his directing.
For those who do not know yet, Dead AfterLife is a currently in development film written by Michael Joy. And Michael knows horror, he is the CEO of Marketing Macabre, CEO of Joyhorror Entertainment, Director of Marketing for Artsploitation Films (that just released Red Christmas starring Dee Wallace), and Operations Manager for Horrornews.net. I am really looking forward to Dead Afterlife because of its unique and interesting premise. Imagine watching your own funeral as a ghost and then the unthinkable happens, your undead body climbs out of your coffin and starts killing and eating your friends and family. Pharmaceutical Scientist, Donald Conlee faces this conundrum after he’s murdered and is administered his own “Awake”, super drug. His death was only the beginning of his problems. The Gatekeeper has given Donald a time limit to return his Zombie-self to the ground, or else his soul can never gain entrance into Heaven. To complicate matters, he finds out that his murderer is at the funeral and his girlfriend is in grave danger. How can a couple of disgruntled gravediggers and a hearse driver help Donald’s lost soul find the way? Or maybe the real question is how can the spirit world defeat the living dead?

Jared Cohn on Stepmother / Image: Jared Cohn - Instagram

House of Tortured Souls: Is that an amazing premise or what? I asked Director Jared Cohn about this budding horror film.
Jared Cohn: I am a big fan of Michael Joy and looking forward to working with him, he is plugged into the horror community. Look this is a really cool story we got ghosts vs zombies, we got amazing talent on board to act in this. This project is gonna be a bad ass horror movie, straight up. It’s ghosts and zombies fighting each other, it’s gore there’s lots of blood, there is death and a funeral, it can’t lose.

Jared Cohn working on set / Image: Jared Cohn - Instagram

And Jared wasn’t kidding about the amazing talent. They just signed on Dee Wallace (Cujo, The Howling), Michael Berryman (The Hills Have Eyes), Bill Moseley (The Devils Rejects, House of 1000 Corpses), Kane Hodder (Victor Crowley in Hatchet, and Jason Voorhees from some of the Friday the 13th films), Bill Oberst Jr. (Scream Queens, Priest), David Gere (Bleed For This), Andy Gates (Garden Party Massacre), David Vescio (Hick), Mindy Robinson (Lizzie Borden’s Revenge), WWE wrestling star Diamond Dallas Page( Devil’s Rejects), And first timer professional wrestling legend,The Universal Heartthrob, Austin Idol.
Jared Cohn with William Shatner / Image: Jared Cohn - Instagram

Jared Cohn with William Shatner

HoTS: I was really excited about the prospect of seeing ghosts fighting the living dead on film and asked Jared about that.
JC: I am a fan of practical effects and I would also love to incorporate some CGI to enhance the ghosts visually. Really want to do something cool and a little different if we really want it to be scary and to pay homage to some of the great classics. That would go a long way towards making it look cool, make it look good. But in order to do that, you have to rely on the resources that are available. Which some could consider a cop out answer but it’s true. I would love someone like Vincent Guastini (Under The Bed, Requiem For A Dream, V/H/S Viral, and The Dark Tapes), he does creature suits, ghosts, zombies, makeup. To get someone like him on board would be amazing, but he is not cheap. But he would make amazing looking ghosts and zombies, those are the kind of things you need obviously if you want that big budget look, you need those premium people. We are still waiting on the financing to go through though but it is getting a lot of press so it is just a hurry up and wait game, but I am extremely excited to get going.

Jared Cohn sunlight / Image: Jared Cohn - Instagram

HoTS: I then had to ask Jared about a film that I saw on IMDB that he is directing that is in post-production called Street Survivors: The True Story of the Lynyrd Skynyrd Plane Crash because I am a fan of the band and found this title so intriguing.

JC: I got the movie shot, there are just some legal difficulties going on. Kind of waiting until March to see whats going on with that one. I’m very proud of that movie so I am really hoping it can see the light of day. It happened because of Cleopatra Entertainment, I love those guys. They gave me great opportunities to make movies, big fan of that company. I am going to be doing some music videos for them that I am very excited about. I used to do a lot of music videos back in the day in New York. I like getting back to my roots. I used to do more cinematography, stunts, editing, and camera work and lately I have been focusing on acting and directing but it is so great to go back and relearn everything and expand.

Jared Cohn on set / Image: Jared Cohn - Instagram

When researching the film, I found that Jared wrote the film from a story by Skynyrd drummer Artimus Pyle. It depicts the band’s tragic history centering on Pyle and his experiences of the events surrounding the chartered-plane crash on October 20, 1977, that killed original band members Ronnie Van Zant, Steve Gaines, and backing vocalist Cassie Gaines, Steve’s sister. An assistant road manager and the two pilots also died in the crash after the plane ran out of fuel over Mississippi after the final show of the Street Survivors tour. Ian Shultis, Taylor Clift, Samuel Kay Forrest and Rich Dally III have been cast in the film and the legal battle continues.
HoTS: Next, I asked Jared about his film Death Pool starring Sara Malakul Lane (Jailbait, Kickboxer Vengeance), Randy Wayne (Hellraiser Judgement, Hold Your Breath), James Cullen Bressack (Bethany), and Shawn C. Phillips (WTF!, Cannibal Cop). I just loved how this film dealt with the whole cult of personality. The premise is this:
Johnny Taylor has a big problem: he LOVES to drown good-looking girls. When he sees water and attractive females together, something in his head begs him to kill – the psychological result of a traumatic near-drowning during his childhood at the hands of a twisted babysitter. Fighting the urge to act on his sinister thoughts most of his adult life, Johnny finally succumbs to his dark instincts when the only work he can find is around water, cleaning pools. Filled with colorful characters, beautiful women and set against the backdrop of the LA party scene, Death Pool encapsulates the desire for fame, the lust for desire, and the urge to kill.

JC: I think that was one of the more interesting movies that I have made, it had a message. Social media, fame, the upsides and the downsides, and the reactions of people to someone who is killing people. There are a lot of serial killer groupies. It’s nutty, but in a weird way it is understandable also. There are many people out there that are contemplating killing someone, not that they go out and do it but it’s the idea. To analyze the psyche behind those people who do these things, those that find that extreme violence is their only outlet is interesting.
Jared Cohn on set with William Shatner / Image: Jared Cohn - Instagram

Jared Cohn on set with William Shatner

HoTS: I also asked him about who his directing influences might be.
JC: I think that Alejandro Inarritu (Amores Perros, Birdman, The Revenant) and Damian Chazelle (La La Land, Whiplash) have really great style. There are so many great and talented people out there.
HoTS: We then talked about what he is doing for 2018:
JC: I am keeping positive, focusing on mental health, and spirituality. You can be the busiest and most successful person in the world, but if you are not feeling great mentally, physically, and spiritually, you cant get your best work done. So I am trying to raise awareness, you know, help people who feel like they could use a boost in life. I would like to give back rather than just make movies. I would like to help people. Many people are suffering quietly, and I want them to know that they are not alone. If I can do something in that regard, it makes me feel better. Not that this is about me, I just want to give back. I’ve made some mistakes. I have some regrets, so I understand the challenges. It is good to talk about, doing interviews, and talking about various movies and being able to bring awareness to the problem of people’s mental health.
Lastly but cool as hell is the fact that Jared became a licensed FAA 107 certified drone remote pilot for taking absolutely stunning aerial shots for filmmaking and commercial use. Check out Drone-Shots.net to find out what’s available. He is also a Pro-paintballer and a black belt in Shaolin Kempo Karate.

Jared Cohn with drone / Image: Jared Cohn - Instagram

Please check out more on him at:



Posted by Horrormadam in COMING SOON, EXCLUSIVE, FEATURED CONTENT, FRIENDS OF THE HOUSE, INTERVIEWS, MONSTERS AND CREATURES, SLASHERS AND BAD HUMANS, STAFF PICKS, ZOMBIES, 0 comments
MOVIE REVIEW: Insidious Chapter 4 (2018)

MOVIE REVIEW: Insidious Chapter 4 (2018)

Whenever we see the name James Wan appear, we already know that we are in for a special treat, considering that Mr. Wan makes quality flicks. Everything from Saw (2004) to the highly anticipated Aquaman heading to cinemas December 21, 2018. So, when a third sequel to the Insidious franchise was announced last year, hopes already started to rise sky high.

Writer Leigh Whannell, who wrote and co-starred in all the Insidious films takes us on yet, another dark trip into the further, and it was a lot of fun.

We open in New Mexico, 1953 and we are introduced to a young Elise Ranier (Ava Kolker) and her family. Her mother accepts the fact that she has an ultra-rare gift and can communicate with the dead, whilst her father seems to have a hard time and doesn’t believe in her ghosts stories, so he punishes her severely over and over again. This causes her to leave home to make a fresh start for herself and continue her life with her gift by becoming a paranormal investigator and solving undead puzzles.

One afternoon she receives a phone call from the property she once lived at and decides that she has to return home to face her fears and try to stop the ongoing evil that has been haunting the house for years. Oh, and we can’t forget about her two assistants, Specs (Leigh Whannell) and Tucker (Angus Sampson), who both deliver quick quirky one-liners that cause the audience to burst out with laughter ever so often. When Elise and her duo pals arrive, she already knows that the house is full of spirits and that’s when the heart-pounding moments being to increase heavily and they don’t stop until the last frame of the film.

Even though this is a prequel, there is a lot of fun to be had while watching this film. Lin Shaye is once again superb and it shows the very second she is in frame. You can tell that she put her blood, sweat, tears, and heartbeats into her character and also had fun doing so. Lin Shaye was most definitely the best part of the entire movie. I had more fun watching her act throughout the film then the film trying to make me jump and spill my popcorn.

With that being said, the film has some minor flaws and pacing issues here and there, but we are introduced to a new form of evil and he’s pretty bad ass to look at.

Insidious: The Last Key may not take home any awards or be the best horror film of the year, it certainly won’t be the worst. Insidious: The Last Key was what I expected, a dark adventure into the further with jump scares, funny moments, cool looking creatures and most importantly, the amazing Lin Shaye.

Do yourself a favor and checkout Insidious: The Last Key before it leaves cinemas.

Posted by Jonathan Hughes in Categories, MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments
HAUNTED ATTRACTION: BloodShed Farms

HAUNTED ATTRACTION: BloodShed Farms

Looking for more to do than just 31 days of horror? Front porch all decorated and waiting for trick or treaters? Then go to a local haunt! Chances are there's one close to where you live, and you don't even realize it. This past weekend I was fortunate enough to do just that in Columbus, New Jersey. Columbus brings BloodShed Farms to life!
The location is relatively convenient, and the setting is perfect! Once you have paid your admission, you walk through a small section of a cornfield trail that opens up into a grass-based clearing, almost like a park. There you have vendors, interactive events like pumpkin smashing, food vendors, and, hell, they even have a decapitated basketball throw. There are picnic tables for resting frightened bones and even a stage for the endless entertainment they offer, be it scary-okee or the likes of a special guest, like The Enigma who will be there on Friday and Saturday the 20th and 21st... Sorry I had to miss that! Their roaming characters that are great at interacting with guests and are always willing to do a photo opp.
From the central area called The Reapers Ball, you can easily be guided to one of the five attractions that they offer.
BloodShed Farms - Clown-O-Phobia / Fair use doctrine.
Clown-O-Phobia is an incredibly well-built walk-through that will keep you moving and always keep you guessing. Welcome to the mind of The Circus Rejects! From screams to laughs...and even bubbles, you won't be let down!
The Trail of Terror is just that! Mix Deliverance and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre together with some amazing props and terrorizing actors that even the deepest South wouldn't want to mess with, and you are on the right TRAIL!
BloodShed Farms - Trail of Terror / Fair use doctrine.
BloodShed Farms - Hellsgate Asylum / Fair use doctrine.
Hellsgate Asylum...WOW! This walk-through will quickly penetrate your deep psyche as you enter into this insane asylum gone.....INSANE! A number of hospital props and character acting in Hellsgate was truly amazing and blood-curdling!
The Last Ride was actually the first event that I ventured on. You are seated with approximately 20 other guests on a cornride - not a hayride but cornride - through a vast property (all cornfields) with creatures of the night lurking and leering at you and some even jumping on the ride to torment and scare. They even bring back the dead at the end of the ride. That made it a real thriller!!
BloodShed Farms - The Last Ride / Fair use doctrine.
BloodShed Farms 06 - The Camper
The Camper Escape Room is one attraction that, sadly, I did not venture through, but I really wish I had! It is exactly what it says it is: a full-size RV/camper that you enter and have 15 minutes to figure out how to escape!
My night spent at BloodShed Farms was one that I shall not soon forget and will most definitely make the two-hour drive back to experience again! The night was dark, lit with smoky skies, and it was as if I had walked through a cornfield and wandered into a nightmare of a Halloween carnival. I was introduced to many of the staff who actually told me they were sorry that we had come on that night because of some staffing/technical issues. If I could have punched them all in the dick for having said that I would have. devil-emoticon It was awesome, and I hope all the staff and owners of BloodShed Farms are proud of the job they are doing! I would be.
Be sure to check them out online, and check their calendar because the days of the month are going fast. Prices vary, but they are very reasonable for what BloodShed Farms offers. The haunt is child- and family-friendly....but it ain't Disney. Use some damn common sense. If you know your kid or spouse is a wimp, then leave them at home... Or bring them and torture their ass. Muhahaha! That works too! Lines may be long, so get there early or ask about the VIP program.
Any horror and haunt fans in the Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, or Maryland areas should get off your asses and get to BloodShed Farms. And tell them I sent you! My only disappointment is that I hardly took any pictures because I was having too much fun, but please take my word for it – you do NOT want to miss this.
Thank you, BloodShed Farms, for a great Halloween night of fun and terror. It was the most fun we have had in a long time!
KEEP IT EVIL...
Posted by John Roisland in ATTRACTIONS AND DESTINATIONS, 0 comments
HAUNTED LOCATIONS:  The Hippie Tree

HAUNTED LOCATIONS: The Hippie Tree

Not far from the old State Hospital in Traverse City lies the graffitied remains of an old willow tree that is known as the Hippie Tree. The tree gets its name and graffiti from the multitude of people who have made the journey there to meditate under its branches in an attempt to gain some otherworldly insight and leave their mark on it.
Many legends and stories have been told about this tree and the surrounding area. Some say the spirits of former patients from the nearby abandoned mental hospital haunt the area. Some say the area is inhabited by the ghost of a young boy murdered there by an escaped mental patient. There are even some people who claim that the area itself is the gateway to Hell if you walk a certain pattern around the tree. The true story of the tree and its origin are probably lost to time amongst the tales and legends.
After reading about the Hippie Tree online, I decided to try to locate it and see for myself what all the fuss was about. I assembled my team of crack ghost hunters (myself, my girlfriend, and my thirteen-year-old son) and we hit the road in search of spirits and adventure.
After a quick stop for lunch at Taco Bell, we made our way past the old asylum and parked near a school across from the hiking trails that take you to the Hippie Tree.
The hiking trails are well maintained and clearly labeled in the area and the tree itself is even noted on the main map when you enter the trailhead, which is kind of nice, although somewhat disheartening as I imagined the place to be crawling with tourists. We hiked up the trail a bit and took what we thought was the first right and promptly got lost. Actually, we weren’t lost, we just took a wrong turn and ended up making a big loop instead of the more direct route to the tree.
Hippie Tree 02 / Image: Richard FrancisAfter realizing our mistake, we oriented ourselves and continued on the trails through a beautiful forest and across a few trickling streams. Well worth the extra time in the woods in my opinion.
Hippie Tree 03 / Image: Richard FrancisThe trail leading down to the Hippie Tree is hard to miss, with all the brightly colored graffiti everywhere. It’s quite beautiful to see in person. Normally I’m not the type of person that enjoys graffiti. In most cases, and particularly in nature, I feel it detracts from things. But in this case, it seems to fit. You could wander up and down that tree for hours taking in all the little details. The bright, vibrant colors seem to tell their own story of the area.
We all sat there for a while taking in the surrounding and seeing if we could feel some presence of the spirits that are said to inhabit the area.
Nada. The only presence we felt was that of the couple that came down there to sit on a branch and eat their lunch, and I’m pretty sure they weren’t spirits. Unless spirits like to stop by the drive-thru at Wendy’s on their way to a haunting.
We walked around the Hippie Tree a few times like we were told to do in order to open the gates of Hell. Nada there, too. The only thing that opened the gates of Hell that day was the Taco Bell we had for lunch.
Maybe we just aren’t that in touch with the spirit world, or maybe spirits weren’t that interested in us. Or maybe Saturday is a day off for ghosts. Maybe we caught the ghost during the shift change and they were busy. It doesn’t really matter to me because it was a good day to be out in the woods, enjoying nature and I’m glad we went. Maybe that’s what the spirits wanted me to take away from the experience. A beautiful day enjoying the wonder of nature with the people I care most about.
If you’re ever in the Traverse City area of northern Michigan you should check out the Hippie Tree.Hippie Tree 07 / Image: Richard Francis
Posted by Richard Francis in ATTRACTIONS AND DESTINATIONS, HALLOWEEN, MYTHS AND LEGENDS, 2 comments
House of Tortured Souls – 2016 Horror Awards

House of Tortured Souls – 2016 Horror Awards

We here at The House of Tortured Souls love horror. It's kind of our jam. And we love to see good horror get recognition. It can be argued that horror is more popular than ever, there are more conventions, festivals, and awards than ever. However, one thing bugged us here at HoTS, and from responses online, we weren't the only ones. Some awards, not to call names (message me), stretch out the word horror way to far. Seriously Deadpool? Captian America: Civil War? I love me some Cap, and who can talk smack about Ryan Reynolds' red spandex covered ass, but it's not FUCKING horror.
So we said “Screw it. Let's do this”. So here we are with the first annual House of Tortured Souls Awards. Neato huh? We can't promise we wont make mistakes, can't promise we don't stutter step and come in a bit late (I planned to have this April 1st), but we do promise to keep it horror. No super heroes, no Tarzan, and no funny South African robots! What we got? Serial killers, zombies, vampires, ghosts and demons, we got 'em. No there are films that straddle that line of horror/ thriller. We accept that, but repeat after me, no friggin superheros or Jedi.
We are still learning, but we decided to jump in with both feet and stomp the shit out of it. We asked our staff to pick their favorites in a group of categories. Rules are the films have to be originally released in a mass audience format. So feature films released to VoD, DVD, or theater, for the FIRST time in 2016 are eligible. Secondary release to DVD, does not qualify it for 2016. Thus, a film released to theater in 2016 will qualify for 2016. If it is released to DVD in 2017, it would not qualify for 2017.
There is a slight difference for independent films. Since most of them will not get a wide release theatrical release, and it might be years before a VoD or DVD release. For independent films, they may be considered, if they have had a major festival release, are currently (award year) touring the festival circuit, or have a release to VoD, DVD, or theater, AND have not been nominated in a previous year. There's a logic there as many Indie may tour the festival circuit for a couple years, this allows them a chance to be seen, but not to win multiple years. The HoTS staff will select four nominees per category, in case of an unbreakable tie (which we had a couple of), we may select five nominees in some categories. It's a work in progress, but we think this is fair.
So without the proverbial further ado, here are the nominees.

Best Horror Movie 2016*

  • Green Room
  • I Am Not A Serial Killer
  • The Witch
  • 10 Cloverfield Lane
  • 31

Best Horror Director 2016

  • Jeremy Saluner – Green Room
  • Andre Overdal – The Autopsy of Jane Doe
  • Roger Eggers – The Witch
  • Rob Zombie – 31

Best Actor Horror 2016

  • John Goodman – 10 Cloverfield Lane
  • Anton Yeltsin – Green Room
  • Patrick Wilson – The Conjuring
  • Richard Brake – 31

Best Actress Horror Movie 2016

  • Mary Elizabeth Winstead – 10 Cloverfield Lane
  • Vera Farmiga – The Conjuring
  • Anja Taylor Joy – The Witch
  • Blake Lively – The Shallows

Best Supporting Actor Horror 2016

  • Stephen Lang – Don't Breathe
  • John Gallager Jr – 10 Cloverfield Lane
  • Christopher Lloyd – I Am Not A Serial Killer
  • Patrick Stewart – Green Room

Best Supporting Actress Horror 2016

  • Imogene Poots – Green Room
  • Kate Dickey – The Witch
  • Ella – The Monster
  • Madison Wolfe – The Conjuring 2

Best Television Horror

  • Stranger Things
  • Bates Motel
  • Ash versus Evil Dead
  • American Horror Story
  • The Exorcist

Best Actor TV Horror

  • Bruce Campbell – Ash versus Evil Dead
  • Freddie Highmore – Bates Motel
  • Andrew Lincoln – The Walking Dead
  • Alfonso Herrara – The Exorcist

Best actress TV Horror

  • Vera Farmiga – Bates Motel
  • Millie Bobbie Brown – Stranger Things
  • Sarah Paulson – American Horror Story
  • Hannah Kasulka – The Exorcist

Best Supporting Actor TV Horror

  • Jeffrey Dean Morgan – The Walking Dead
  • Ray Santiago – Ash versus Evil Dead
  • Max Theriot – Bates Motel
  • Gaten Matarazzo – Stranger Things

Best Supporting Actress TV Horror

  • Kathy Bates – American Horror Story
  • Lucy Lawless – Ash versus Evil Dead
  • Hannah Kasulka – The Exorcist
  • Olivia Cooke – Bates Motel

Best Indie Horror Movie

  • Circus of the Dead
  • The Barn
  • Plank Face
  • Family Possession

Best Indie Horror Director 2016

  • Billy Pon – Circus of the Dead
  • James Bickert – Frankenstein Created Bikers
  • Justin M Seaman – The Barn
  • Scott Schrimer – Plank Face

Best Indie Actor Horror 2016

  • Parrish Randal – Circus of the Dead
  • Nathan Barret – Plank Face
  • Mitchell Muselino – The Barn
  • Fred Lass – Bubba the Red Neck Werewolf

Best Indie Actress Horror 2016

  • Tristan Risk – Frankenstein Created Bikers
  • Chanel Ryan – Circus of the Dead
  • Susan M Martin – Plank Face
  • Lexi Dripps – The Barn

Best Supporting Actor Horror 2016

  • Bill Oberst – Circus of the Dead
  • Laurence Harvey – Frankenstein Created Bikers
  • Mitch Hyman – Bubba the Redneck Werewolf
  • Will Stout – The Barn

Best Supporting Actress Horror

  • Ellie Church – Frankenstein Created Bikers
  • Alyss Winkler – Plank Face
  • Lizzie Mears – Family Possessions
  • Brigid McCauley – Plank Face
(*Five nominees due to a tie.)
Posted by Allen Alberson in CONTESTS, MONSTERS AND CREATURES, PARANORMAL, SATANIC/DEMONIC, SCI-FI HORROR, SLASHERS AND BAD HUMANS, URBAN DECAY/DYSTOPIAN FUTURES, WOMEN IN HORROR, ZOMBIES, 0 comments
MOVIE REVIEW: Ghost Team (2016)

MOVIE REVIEW: Ghost Team (2016)

Director: Oliver Irving; Writers: Oliver Irving, Peter Warren; Stars: Jon Heder, David Krumholtz, Justin Long, Melonie Diaz, Amy Sedaris, Paul W. Downs; Rating: PG-13; Run Time: 83 min; Genre: Horror Comedy; Country: USA; Language: English; Year: 2016
I first heard of Ghost Team from a friend of mine a few months ago. I remember he showed me a trailer for it on YouTube, and, I must admit, the trailer did make it look pretty damn funny. When you put John Heder and Justin Long together, your outcome will most likely be laugh out loud funny... Well, unfortunately, that's not the result in Ghost Team.
Louis (Jon Heder) and Stan (David Kromholtz) are roommates living down-and-out lives going nowhere fast. The two are fans of a paranormal TV show that is running a contest where the winner gets to be the next member of the show. So, when they hear of a local barn that might be haunted, the light bulbs over their heads switch on with the ingenious idea to become ghost hunters and try to win a spot on the show.
The two team up with other friends who they think might be able to help them out by specializing in different departments of their investigation, such as Ross (Justin Long), a rather gung-ho night security guard for a department store who becomes head of security for the Ghost Team. With a now full paranormal investigation crew, they head to the supposed haunted barn in the middle of nowhere in a van full of equipment that was borrowed from a local electronics store where Louis’ nephew Zak (Paul W. Downs) just happens to work.
From the beginning of the movie, I kept waiting for all the one liners and the slapstick to happen, and it just never really did. There were a few chuckles at best. It did, however, start to turn into what I thought was going to become a decent and suspenseful ghost movie. Unfortunately, after about 15 minutes of build-up, the suspense ball was dropped when we discover the reality of what their ghosts really are.
The film itself reminded me of an episode from the old Scooby-Doo mystery cartoon. The kids are out for adventure, looking for ghosts, but it lacked the pull-off-the-rubber-mask-to-reveal-who-is-underneath. The ball was dropped, and in so many ways! In short, Ghost Team as an entire film is a big let-down on many levels.
With the cast that was acquired for this film, Ghost Team had the possibility of being a great comedic piece and, even better, a great horror comedy. I am a fan of Justin Long's work, and I’m not saying that his or anyone else’s acting is bad, but the movie just did use the talent properly. This leads me to believe that the cast must have owed a lot of favors to whoever made this. Maybe with the right group of people or if I had been a little drunk, it would’ve worked for me, but I was neither. Sorry guys, but this one goes nowhere fast!
Ghost Team is currently playing on Netflix.
Keep It Evil...
Posted by John Roisland in MOVIE REVIEWS, PARANORMAL, REVIEWS, 0 comments
MOVIE REVIEW: The Purge: Election Year (2016)

MOVIE REVIEW: The Purge: Election Year (2016)

By John Roisland
Purge 3, aka The Purge: Election Year, is the third film in the Purge franchise. Released earlier this year (2016), The Purge: Election Year was written and directed by James DeManaco and brings to the screen a very grim look into the brutal possible future of government in America.
The original story line in what has now become a trilogy, starts a few years ago and introduces us to the Purge, where crime is legal 12 hours one day a year. Its purpose is for the American people to cleanse themselves of all anger and hatred by allowing them to hurt or kill anyone or anything on their Purge list. So, for example, if you hate your boss, on Purge night, you're legally allowed to kill him (or her) without consequence. From 7:00 PM to 7:00 AM, all 911 services are closed and no rules apply. You either lock yourself into hiding and pray for the best, or you go on a rampage and hope to survive. In the film, the Purge supposedly has resulted in the crime rate dropping drastically. And the unemployment rate has never been better because of it.
Well a few years later, The Purge: Election Year, coincidentally and perfectly timed out to be during our own American election year, we have two opposing government officials that are both running for office . One is pro Purge and one is obviously opposed of it, and opposed for very personal reasons such as of having had to watch her entire family be murdered in front of her on a Purge a few years prior. I guess you could just say in this political race, its a true fight too the finish . Now the Purge has gotten so popular, that even foreigners are even flying in for vacation on American soil just so they can join in in the Purge.
I, for one, absolutely love the concept of these films. I believe this to be the best of the three, and, in its own way, actually scares the Hell out of me. It's not that I think a Purge could ever really happen but just because of the possibilities of what the future could entail as far as Government rulings. I mean, look at how we in the US are now. Half of America hates the other, half are wanting to kill police officers, we have rioting in the streets, and all it would take is for the Government to declare that one day a year that's a Get Out of Jail Free card. You're actually allowed to do all the above and more without having legally committed a crime. Now of course, like I said, I don't honestly see it happening in my lifetime, and I pray for all my family and friends that something like this never does.
The film, while not a horror story about ghosts, goblins, The Boogeyman, or even Halloween-related, it does provide a dark look at the inner hatred that sits deep in all of us. It shows that you never know who you really can trust in humanity. There doesn't have to be any reason for your actions on Purge night - whether personal or just for the thrill of it, all crime is legal. For those reasons alone, The Purge: Election Year is pretty damn scary.
Even if you weren't a fan of the first two in the series do yourself a favor, give The Purge: Election Year a shot. As far as I can tell they did actually end the series with no huge cliffhangers, and I think they did a pretty good job of it.
If you do get the chance, ask yourself why you're watching it. What would you do? Would you purge?
Keep It Evil...
Posted by John Roisland in MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, URBAN DECAY/DYSTOPIAN FUTURES, 0 comments
KENTUCKY HAUNTS: Bobby Mackey’s

KENTUCKY HAUNTS: Bobby Mackey’s

KENTUCKY HAUNTS: Bobby Mackey's Music World, Wilder, Kentucky

By Tammie Parker

The land that this honky tonk now sits on has been plagued with murder and bloodshed for centuries. Before English settlers discovered the area, it was long fought over by the Cherokee and Shawnee. Both tribes wanted it because it sat right next to a river, and the land was really fertile. It could very well have been cursed by either tribe when the white men came in and took the land. Soon after they discovered the area, the railroad came through, and with the railroad came more and more settlers.

Railroad, Bobby Mackey's / Fair use doctrine.

In the 1850s, a slaughterhouse with an adjoining sluice to drain the blood to the river was built on the land. The river often ran blood red from all the blood drained into from the slaughterhouse. Imagine all the flies drawn and all the diseases caused downstream.

Pearl Bryan, Bobby Mackey's / Fair use doctrine.Fast forward to the pregnant Pearl Bryan in 1896, who was murdered on the spot – so the legend goes – by her fiancé and a friend. The two chopped off her head and threw it down the well (old sluice). Another story suggests there was a satanic ritual performed there that turned that old well into a Gateway to Hell.
Portal to Hell, Bobby Mackey's / Fair use doctrine. Ghost Adventures investigates the Portal to Hell, Bobby Mackey's / Fair use doctrine.

It is believed that since they dumped her body in a field a couple of miles away from the slaughterhouse, they chopped off her head and dumped it in the well so that her body could not be identified. (They should have taken her shoes, too.)

Because of the diseases and the bad juju, the slaughterhouse was torn down, and a roadhouse was eventually built on the spot. The roadhouse, run by Buck Brady, quickly became a speakeasy with a secret casino.

Before it was Bobby Mackey's, it was Buck Brady's Primrose Club / Fair use doctrine.

...which soon caught the attention of mobsters in Cincinnati. A proposal was made refused. These mobsters didn't take the rejection so well, and there were several fights inside and outside of the bar. Mobsters were often found in the parking lot threatening clientele. The bar owner didn't appreciate that and took a gun to the leader. The owner was charged with murder and the speakeasy closed down.

It re-opened in the 50s as the Latin Quarters. It didn't take long at all for the place to pick back up, and it was popping soon with both live music and cabaret dancers. The owner's daughter, Johanna (who was one of the dance hall girls), fell in love with and became pregnant by Robert Randall, one of the singers. The two had planned on eloping, but the girl’s father found out and had other ideas. Robert was murdered, and it didn't take much to put two and two together. Johanna poisoned her father and took her own life...by the well.

In 1978, Bobby (first name Robert and middle name Randall) Mackey bought the property. Bobby's love for picking the guitar and singing made it easy to turn the building into a music hall and drawing in a new audience. By this time, with all that has gone on, it truly is hard to NOT have a ghostly or demonic experience while there. Ghost Adventures, Bobby Mackey's / Fair use doctrine.Ghost investigators have recorded several EVPs, and many have been scratched with those infamous triple scratch marks said to be demonic by well known ghost investigators. Likewise, the Ghost Adventures crew has been there a few times, and have had some pretty shocking things happen (during the investigation and afterward when they returned to their lives outside of work).

Bobby Mackey / Fair use doctrine.

Bobby Mackey

The juke joint now holds regular ghost tours in addition to still being a fully functioning bar (with mechanical bull and all) that holds live performances – including owner Bobby Mackey.

Click here to go to their site and see the schedule.

To take a trip over to check the place out for yourself, put this in your GPS: 44 Licking Pike, Wilder, KY. Be sure to share your experiences with us!

Posted by Tammie Parker in ATTRACTIONS AND DESTINATIONS, BRUTAL REALITY, PARANORMAL, 1 comment
HALLOWEEN CONTEST: Submit Your Scary Story

HALLOWEEN CONTEST: Submit Your Scary Story

WE WANT YOUR SCARY STORIES!

By Tammie Parker

Image: Woofer McWoofersonWe know tons of you have your own scary stories. They be actually be real story or something you went through or even something you witnessed first hand. We want to hear about them, and we're going to publish them EVERY day between October 24th and Halloween. You will, of course, be credited. Each story will start with the title. Don't worry - if you can't think of a title, we will. Then your name, where you're from, and any other introductory information your story requires.

The deadline to submit your scary story is 15 October 2016 midnight all time zones. This allows us to process the entries and communicate with the authors.

Image: Woofer McWoofersonAll entrants will become automatic Friends of the House and will have their names and stories posted on our site. From the submissions, three winners will be chosen based on creepiness (of the story, not the entrant). Winners will receive horror mystery bags.

To enter, email your scary story to us at admins@houseoftorturedsouls.com, subject: Scary Story Contest.

We’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

We are looking forward to being creeped out by our fans! Winners to be announced on November 8, 2016.

Posted by Tammie Parker in EXCLUSIVE, FAMILY HORROR, FEATURED CONTENT, FRIENDS OF THE HOUSE, PARANORMAL, 4 comments

Local Haunts: Anchorage Alaska

By Margeaux DeMott

Anchorage, Alaska

Anchorage_on_an_April_evening

Anchorage is Alaska’s largest city. It was first settled in 1914 and was incorporated on November 23rd, 1920. While doing research for this article I noticed that there was four different haunted schools. Two of which are middle schools. What’s going on in your schools Anchorage? (Clark Middle School, Hanshew Middle School, West High School, UAA.)

 

Historic Anchorage Hotel

10626502_10153563211129195_4398786625251790903_n

Standing in the heart of downtown Anchorage is the only hotel in the city that is listed on the National Register of Historic Places: the Historic Anchorage Hotel. Located on the corner of 3rd Avenue and E Street, the hotel was built in 1936 while Anchorage was still very young. For many years the hotel was the city’s primary meeting place and was the only place you could have a meal served on fine china with linen and silver.  The ghost sightings in the hotel are so frequent that the hotel keeps a ghost log. Guests are encouraged to write their ghostly encounters inside the log book.

Haunts

12742351_10153563211599195_2912582912654093711_n

The most notorious ghost that haunts the Historic Anchorage Hotel is that of the city’s first police chief. Police Chief John J. Sturgus was murdered on February 20th 1921 at 9:15 p.m. by a gunshot wound to his back. To make the murder more of an awful scoundrel, the bullet had come from Sturgus’ own gun. His body was found merely steps away from the hotel. To this day the murderer is still unknown. He is seen walking around the hotel, possibly searching for his killer.

Another notable ghost is a woman in waiting type. She is seen in her wedding dress while wandering the hall ways. It is said that she is seen in her wedding dress because that is the clothing she was wearing when she hung herself. Her fiancé had hit it rich through the gold rush and left her on their wedding day.

On the second floor hall the ghost of a young girl is often seen wandering the hall. In rooms 214 and 217 the televisions turn on and off seemingly by themselves. The tubs and sinks also have a tendency to run without living intervention. Staff often hears footsteps coming down the stairs and through hall ways when no one else is around. There has also been reports of a male apparition walking past the stairs on occasion. Guests have complained of hearing children playing loudly in the halls, even when no children were in the hotel at the time. Some guests have witnessed pictures flying off the walls and figures or faces appearing in the hallways.

 

Dimond Center

12744118_10153563211794195_2437078679701072496_n

The Dimond Center is a 728,000 square foot shopping mall. Located on the southwest corner of East Dimond Boulevard and the Old Seward Highway; it boasts over 200 stores and includes a six-story office tower at its southeast corner. There’s also an arcade, bowling alley, health club, ice skating rink, food court, and a nine screen Regal Cinemas theater. The Dimond Center was opened in 1977. It is rumored that when the mall was being built the construction workers dug up bones. These bones are believed to be those of Native Americans from a long time ago. Since bones were very old and there wasn’t a lot of them so construction continued as usual; allegedly. However, there is one confirmed death on the site. On May 20th 1991 a refrigerant leak resulted in the death of the skating rink’s assistant manager, 33 others were injured and six had to be hospitalized.

Haunts

12778799_10153563212304195_8011864852436687632_o

Many of the ghosts that are seen in the Dimond Center are wearing Native American garb. They often visit people when they are alone in the bathrooms and small hall ways. The three human ghosts that are seen include a tall man, an old woman, and a child. Some people have also seen wolves roaming the halls. There is a store (I couldn’t find which one it is) that is inhabited by a dark shadow. The people who have seen the dark shadow have also noted an intense feeling of fear set on when they saw the shadow. The people who did not immediately flee from the store were met with either a pinch or loud hissing in their ears.

 

UAA Wendy Williamson Theater

12733382_10153563212944195_4419314208861429445_n

The Wendy Williamson Theater seats 910 guests and is located in the center of the west campus at the University of Alaska Anchorage. The theater gets its name from John Wendell Wendy Williamson, a professional musician and professor of music. The theater hosts a variety of events, as well as a variety of ghosts.

Haunts

12744026_10153563212814195_1221443041610033264_n

Many ghosts call this stage home. There is a woman wearing white that appears hovering on the stage and people believe that she was once a performer. A shadowy man shows up back stage leaning and seems to be listening to the shows that are hosted there. Some have seen props fly off tables, shadows moving on the stage, and even shattering stage lights. In the woman’s dressing room the bathroom faucets turn on and off, and on three different occasions women trying to come out of the handicap bathroom had the door slammed back in their face. In the lobby there is a ghostly man that plays the piano, some people believe this to be the ghost of Wendy Williamson.

There is a violent ghost that takes up residence here. It is a ghost of a man with a serious grudge against brunette women. He has pushed brunette women down the lobby stairs and has even pulled hair in the lobby itself.

 

Ship Creek

12718075_10153563213054195_6961492141021964599_n

Ship Creek is an Alaskan river that flows from the Chugach Mountains into the Cook Inlet. It is a favorite local fishing and shorebird viewing area.

Haunts

12742170_10153563213209195_3133792835592269394_n

There is only one ghost that haunts Ship Creek and that is the ghost of a Native Alaskan woman named Marie. In 1987 Marie was brutally raped and murdered along the creek. She now appears walking along the creek and has been seen anywhere from the old ANS hospital and the old Alaska railroad terminal. Most of the reports come from the local homeless community. They say that she warns them of the dangers of being in the area and urges them to leave immediately.

 

Courtyard by Marriot

12768404_10153563213364195_4087317590374085125_o

This Courtyard by Marriot is located a little over a mile away from the Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport and is roughly three miles away from downtown Anchorage. You might be saying to yourself What? A Marriot can’t be haunted. It’s a new hotel. Well, you’re wrong.

Haunts

563502_10153563213599195_10782824613844588_n

The room 201 is haunted by a man. The man had died in his room and had not been discovered for several days. There is a second male ghost on the property, I am unsure if it is the same man. The second ghost’s name is Ken. It is unclear if this was his name while he was alive or if it is a nickname that staff gave to him. He can be spotted walking around the parking lot as well as the courtyard and gazebo. This hotel even has a ghost cat. This cat can be seen walking around the hotel and usually hangs out in rooms 103 and 107. Here is a TripAdvisor review about their experience.

If you have experienced any hauntings in Anchorage, please feel free to share in the comments. If there is a town you would like to see featured, let us know.

 

 

Posted by Margeaux DeMott in ATTRACTIONS AND DESTINATIONS, PARANORMAL, 0 comments
Local Haunts: New Haven, Connecticut

Local Haunts: New Haven, Connecticut

New Haven (some) History

In this issue of Local Haunts I will be talking about New Haven, Connecticut. In 1638 New Haven began its life as a self-governing commonwealth. Inhabited by Puritans, they hoped to make a better theological community and had their government closely linked with the church. Disaster hit New Haven in 1646 when they sent out their first loaded ship of local goods back to England. That ship never made it to England, and this event crippled New Haven in the competition of rising trade power. The Connecticut Colony obtained New Haven in 1664 under pressure from England. Fast-forward to the year 2000; New Haven has seen much revitalization, especially in downtown, and currently has 130,000 residents. They also have four colleges, and one of those colleges just happens to be Yale University.

Evergreen Cemetery

Evergreen Cemetery was founded in 1848 by some of New Haven’s most prominent citizens. Today it is run by an association’s board of trustees and is a non-profit, non-sectarian cemetery. The cemetery boasts some notable dead people. The first person of African descent to receive a PhD, Edward Bouchet, rests in Evergreen Cemetery. Sarah Winchester, known for building the Winchester Mystery House in San Jose California, and her husband Oliver Winchester, who was the founder of the Winchester repeating Rifle Company, are buried in the Highland Avenue section. Ilya Tolstoy, Hall of Fame Major League Baseball Executive George Weiss, one of the key contributors to the creation of the Oxford English Dictionary (William Chester Minor), two Connecticut governors (Hobart Bigelow, Wilbur Cross), and the first Secretary to the President (John Addison Porter) are also buried here.

Haunts

Evergreen Cemetery

Evergreen Cemetery

Midnight Mary is the primary ghost that haunts this location. Her tombstone can be found LOCATION OF TOMBSTONE. The tombstone is a large pink granite stone that reads: AT HIGH NOON JUST FROM, AND ABOUT TO RENEW HER DAILY WORK, IN HER FULL STRENGTH OF BODY AND MIND MARY E. HART HAVING FALLEN PROSTRATE: REMAINED UNCONSCIOUS, UNTIL SHE DIED AT MIDNIGHT, OCTOBER 15, 1872 BORN DECEMBER 16, 1824. Above that text is a more pronounced black letter text that reads: THE PEOPLE SHALL BE TROUBLED AT MIDNIGHT AND PASS AWAY. After her death, a rumor popped up about Mary being a witch. This rumor is said to explain the black letter quote on her tombstone. They say that those words are a curse bestowed on anyone who visits her grave at night. The result of the curse is the veiwer’s death at midnight. Her life is said to be much more boring than her death. It is said that her parents found her dead at the stroke of midnight and that they buried her the next day. Mary’s aunt had a dream or nightmare about Mary still being alive in the grave. She believed this was a premonition and so she begged the family to dig up Mary. Apparently in those days it was common to accidently bury the living. When the family eventually agreed to dig her up they found her dead, but there were scratches on her casket and blood and wood underneath her finger tips. There is a spirit that wanders Winthrop Avenue and Ella T. Grasso Boulevard asking for rides from unsuspecting drivers; Mary is believed to be this hitchhiking spirit. You don’t have to worry too much, as she is said to leave the car before you arrive at your destination.

Southern Connecticut State University

Southern Connecticut State University was founded in 1893 as a two-year teacher training school known as New Haven State Normal School. In 1937 the college grew into a four year college, and in 1959 the name was changed to Southern Connecticut State College. The college earned university status 24 years later. Their notable alumni list is littered with soccer and football players. A man named Daniel Trust is also on the list between the athletes. He is the founder of the Daniel Trust Foundation and a Rwandan Genocide survivor.

Haunts

Reports that come from the common area are more unsettling than terrifying. Doors and windows are reported to open on their own without regard of the lock. Closets rattle and faucets turn themselves on and off as they please. The worst report is that of a misty black figure that hangs around the common room. A student disclosed an encounter that he had with a massive black force. He said that the force hovered over him and paralyzed him with fear. A psychic has claimed to have cleaned the campus of this spirit. The psychic said that the spirit was of a young boy who was killed on the grounds before it was a campus. It was stated that the boy’s ghost invited more negative spirits while he was haunting the school grounds.

Fort Nathan Hale

Fort Nathan Hale - Memorial

Fort Nathan Hale - Memorial

Fort Hale Park sits on twenty acres on the east shore of New Haven Harbor. Two forts find residence on this plot of land: one is from the Revolutionary War (built in 1659), and the other is from the Civil War and was named after Nathan Hale. Nathan Hale is Connecticut’s official hero and worked as a spy for the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War. He was caught by the British and executed. His last words were “I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country”. Fort Hale Park was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1970 and that included three buildings, one site, and three structures.

Haunts

Fort Nathan Hale - Bunker

Fort Nathan Hale - Bunker

The first reported haunts were from English settlers. They reported seeing green glowing orbs, which are now reported underground in the bunkers that are barred off from the public. They are believed to be the spirits of the Native Americans that lived in that area. There have been spottings of ghostly figures along the beach by the bunker. These ghosts are believed to be those of men from the many battles that have taken place there. Several different people have reported disembodied voices ranging from their name being called to hearing whispers of conversations.

Old Union Trust Building

Postcard: The Union & New Haven Trust Building

Postcard: The Union & New Haven Trust Building

The Old Union Trust Building was built for the Union and the New Haven Trust Company during the 1920s. In 1981 the Union Trust Company moved to Stamford, but they kept a branch open on the ground floor of the building. In 1995 a company that is now known as Wells Fargo purchased the building, and they opened a branch on the ground floor. In 2013 it was purchased by Cooper Church LLC. Throughout the years, the building had been used as office space for various businesses. Cooper Church has turned it into a luxury apartment building.

Haunts

Photograph: The Union & New Haven Trust Building

Photograph: The Union & New Haven Trust Building

Many of the hauntings that have been reported have come from the after-hours staff, including cleaning staff, security guards, and building managers. Most have felt the eerie feeling of being watched and heard distant footsteps in a building that they knew was empty, but those things couldn’t compare to the terror of having their names called by disembodied voices. Any security guard caught sleeping on the job was awoken by a fierce “PSST, PSST”, and many of them witnessed the shadow man that appeared just before dawn walking in front of the entrance doors. The tenth floor had many meetings that were only attended by the undead. During their meetings they would leave the light on and whisper loudly to each other until their conference was over, and then they would turn the light off. Some living agents would hear the footsteps or children playing in the building after hours only to be met with the vacancy of children. Some carpenters were doing work on the 12th floor of the building one day when they came upon the most awful of haunts: a man hanging; they quit the job the same day. There were many reports of mild haunts, such as lights being turned on, music playing, moans, and orbs passing through walls.

Albertus Magnus College

Founded in 1925 by the Dominican Sisters of St. Mary of the Springs, the college’s initial goal was to educate women. In 1940 Albertus Magnus College expanded to its present size of fifty acres. This meant the inclusion of a beautiful variety of surrounding mansions which are used as dorms or offices. Albertus Magnus College began welcoming male students into their college in 1985.

Haunts

The dorms on this campus have their own hauntings. Dominican Hall was built in 1956, rented out in 1970 to Yale as a psychiatric institution, and is now a co-ed dorm. The residents of the Dominican Hall have reported many different hauntings. They have stated that they have heard knocking on their walls, doors slamming, running through the halls, disembodied voices, televisions or stereos turned off if the sound was too loud for the ghosts.

Albertus Magnus College - McAuliffe Hall

Albertus Magnus College - McAuliffe Hall

This is not the only dorm to report hauntings on this campus. McAuliffe Hall and Stansbury Hall also have reported hauntings. McAuliffe Hall has reportings of two ghosts. The first is of a young boy, roughly 8-10 years of age, who is always looking for a playmate and who often changes the orientation of objects if not moving them completely. The other ghost in McAuliffe Hall is that of a woman wearing a green dress. She is said to haunt the front staircase. It is believed that she will try to shove you down the stairs if you do not hold the handrail after midnight. A student who lived in McAuliffe Hall once reported hearing the Green Woman singing around 10:00 p.m.

Albertus Magnus College - Stansbury Hall

Albertus Magnus College - Stansbury Hall

There is another dorm that has reported hauntings on campus, and that is Stansbury Hall. Girls in the dorm have reported having been poked and scratched as well as seeing objects fly off of the shelves. Some had such a hard time getting to sleep individually that they huddled up together in the middle of a room for protection. They have also seen a shadow pacing around the hall, and there was even a report of students being picked up and thrown against a wall.

Do you have any stories from the haunted locations listed or other haunted places in New Haven? We would love to hear about it in the comments!

Posted by Margeaux DeMott in ATTRACTIONS AND DESTINATIONS, PARANORMAL, 0 comments
LOCAL HAUNTS: ALLENTOWN, PENNSYLVANIA

LOCAL HAUNTS: ALLENTOWN, PENNSYLVANIA

 

Local Haunts: Allentown, Pennsylvania

By Margeaux DeMott

 In this edition of Local Haunts we cover some haunted places in Allentown, Pennsylvania. I was born in Allentown, however, my family left when I was young. I haven't been able to actually visit any of these haunted areas, but my mom worked at the King George Inn and had some experiences there. If you have any experiences at any of these locations or even ones that didn't make the list then please feel free to share in the comments.

Constitution Drive

Constitution

Constitution Drive (pictured above) is a long stretch of desolate, wooded road that sports a with a view of the Lehigh River as well as a pretty steep fall. Quite honestly it's a perfect area to creep yourself out. Heavy woods, steep drop, desolate. All things that add tension. My father told me it's where the cool kids went to party when he was younger. However, he doesn't have any stories. [Sorry dad]

**If ghost hunting here be careful. I read that it can be a dangerous area with robberies, rape, and other awful deeds. I also read that they have added more police attendance so you also might get snagged by them if they catch you hanging around for no obvious reason.**

The most reported haunting on Constitution Drive is that of a one-legged man walking two dogs with glowing red eyes. There are a couple of variations of the rumor as to why this man is haunting this area. It's said that the man was walking (with or without his dogs) along the train tracks when the train hit him (and his dogs or the dogs stay with him) he lost his leg (or is killed instantly) and slowly bled to death over a couple of days (the dogs starve to death with him). During the winter months people have reported and even photographed a trail of two sets of dog tracks walking along side a track of one foot print in the snow. People have also heard sounds of screaming when passing the train tracks. Hopefully those are ghosts and not actually people in danger. There is also a whistling or wooden flute sound in the woods that comes from every direction. Although not ghostly there was a rumor that there is a family of albinos who live in the woods that would do a number of nasty things. They're said to steal cars that have been left alone and drive them into the river or just push them in, but worst of all they're also said to have eaten people.

 

Hamilton Street & The Magic Tree

Hamilton

Hamilton Street is located in the Hamilton district that is also downtown Allentown. The street runs from East to West and hosts events, entertainment, dining, and culture.
On Hamilton Street people have said they saw a ghost of a young woman walking late at night. They say that she has a vacant look on her face. It is believed that she is the ghost of a young woman who was hit by a car in the 1960s while trying to cross the street. Hamilton Street has a tree known as the magic tree. Around this tree people have seen strange lights and report an eerie feeling when near the tree. I read that a student once took a picture of the tree and in the picture was a face in the tree. I can't find this picture, if you can let me know in the comments.

Muhlenberg College

Muhlenberg

Muhlenberg College was first established in 1848. From the years 1848 to 1867 the college operated as the Allentown Seminary, Allentown Collegiate Institute, and the Allentown Collegiate and Military Institute.The college moved to Trout Hall in 1867 and renamed after Henry Melchior Muhlenberg. In 1905 the college relocated to a fifty-one acre area located in Allentown's west end. The campus has many buildings that were built in the traditional European Protestant style.

Haunts:
The ghost that haunts this college is believed to be Oscar Bernheim. Oscar Bernheim was either the former registrar or treasurer of the college. When he died he left his estate to the college which is the south side campus. While his house was still standing he haunted his attic, basement, beloved garden, and the third floor bed room that he died in. It is said that in his will he had specific instructions as to how the garden should be taken care of. The garden was not taken care of and has had dorms built atop it. Students in the dorm report hearing strange noises belongings being moved, and televisions turning on. These playful hauntings are said to be less frequent, if not non-existent, in rooms with healthy plants.

Dorney Park

Dorney Park

Solomon Dorney built a trout hatchery and summer resort on his estate in 1860. In 1870 Solomon Dorney decided to convert the estate into a public attraction. In the beginning Solomon Dorney added games, playground type rides, refreshment stands, picnic areas, and a hotel. A small zoo, some gardens and the mechanical rides were added in the 1880s. The park changed hands a couple of times and is currently owned by Cedar Fair Entertainment Company.

Haunts:
Near a ride called The Dominator there is an old building that holds an arcade, some small shops, and some concessions. There is a corridor connecting the two concessions that leads to an old mine shaft. People have seen a ghost standing by this door before he quickly dissipates. There are also strange noises and odd occurrences around this area. At one of the oldest areas of the park is the antique carousel. Story states that Mrs. Mueller's husband carved carousel horses for a living. In 1917 he carved a horse that she absolutely fell in love with. When this horse ended up at Dorney Park it is said that she came with it. While the park was closed the carousel would turn on and run by itself. The horse has been moved to Cedar Point Frontier Town Museum, but it is still said that the carousel sometimes runs by itself at night. The Old Gold Mine Ride was built in the 1970s and burnt down in the 1980s. Part of the ride went through an area that was formerly Solomon Dorney's mansion. There had been reports of seeing him in that area.

King George Inn

King George

The King George Inn was built in four different sections over the years. The oldest section dates back to 1775 and was built during the French-Indian war. Additions were made in 1799, 1796, and the final one in 1930. The King George Inn boasts some pretty brutal deaths within its long history. It's said there was an Indian raid that left some dead and possibly a baby thrown into a well. There was also a suicide and the man is believed to still be in the building. The large stone building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1977. Recently it was saved from the current owners demolition plans by public outrage. The building is undergoing changes and improvements so it is currently closed to the public.

Haunts:
There are several ghosts inside this building. When my mom was younger she worked at the King George Inn. The haunting that she found to be the involved an old well in the basement that had a locked iron gate in front of it. In the evening she could hear a baby crying from the depths of it. Other people have said they saw a woman carrying a crying baby around the basement as well as hearing the cries from the well. My mom often saw a woman walk through the hallway and sometimes look down from the main stair case. She saw another female ghost walk around the upstairs pub. A child ghost that my mom believes to be a little boy would run through the rooms even when the restaurant was full. She also heard foot steps behind her when in rooms alone. In the kitchen the man who hung himself is said to play pranks on the staff. It's said that he would move things and slam doors and generally making work a tad bit more difficult. A woman and her little girl dressed in colonial attire have been seen walking from the entrance into the dining room and also in the basement. Reports of a revolutionary solider and a bearded colonial man have also been seen throughout the building.

Do you have a city that you would like to see featured? Let us know in the comments.

Posted by Margeaux DeMott in ATTRACTIONS AND DESTINATIONS, PARANORMAL, 0 comments
GAME REVIEW: Spooky’s House of Jump Scares

GAME REVIEW: Spooky’s House of Jump Scares

By Margeaux DeMott

Spooky's House of Jump Scares

Spooky's House of Jump Scares is by far the cutest horror game you will ever play. You begin the game by being greeted by an adorable ghost girl named Spooky who invites you to take a fun filled walk through her creepy castle. This first person horror game takes you through one thousand different rooms of jump scaring fun! Through the first couple of rooms you'll find adorable little cut outs of ghosts, pumpkins, jelly monsters and other pleasant things pop out at you. They are incredibly cute and harmless. As you progress, you being to find notes of someone rambling about being lost in the house. Oops, I hope you've been leaving bread crumbs. From there, the game begins to throw at you actual harmful enemies.

The graphics are quite basic. It looks kind of like the original Doomexcept softer around the edges. However, it works excellently for this game. It adds to the charming everything is safe and cute aspect of the game. The music is low key but adds an air of creepy to the game in its own right. The noises accompanied with the creatures are excellent. Watch out for the sound levels though. It really adds to the jump scare. When I played it, the sound was way too loud, and I had to manually turn it down through my sound mixer. You use W,A,S,D to move and the mouse to look. Mouse sensitivity wasn't too bad for me, but if it is for you then prepare to lock your wrist. That is because unfortunately there is currently no way to adjust mouse sensitivity in game. The only thing you can actually adjust in game is the resolution, and you don't even have control over that. Hopefully in future updates this will change.

Spooky's House of Jump Scares is free to play on Steam and Indie DB (database). On Steam you can purchase the sound track and more skins for the house. Not literally skins though, it's just a term for themes.

Made by Lag Studios that is run by only two people. Oh and! On their website it has a TBA (to be announced) for a mobile version of the game. So you can be adorably scared on the go. Until then be sure to download Spooky's House of Jump Scares and try it out for yourself.

9/10 Kawaii AF ghosts

Watch me play it!

Posted by Margeaux DeMott in GAME REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments
MOVIE REVIEW: We Are Still Here (2015)

MOVIE REVIEW: We Are Still Here (2015)

By Nick Durham

WE ARE STILL HERE barbara

It's really not every day that you hear about a movie coming out that claims itself to be a tribute to the films of Lucio Fulci, but that is something We Are Still Here claims itself to be, and it's easy to see why. Written and directed by Ted Geoghegan, this is a surprisingly pretty damn good little horror dirge that not only pays a nice tribute to the films of Fulci, but manages to stand on its own as a very worthwhile haunted house trip.

The film takes place in 1979 as an older couple (Re-Animator and From Beyond babe Barbara Crampton and Andrew Sensenig) moves to their newly purchased New England home following the death of their son. The grieving mother believes their new home to be inhabited by the spirit of their deceased son, but it doesn't take too long to realize that isn't the case, and it isn't just the haunted house that winds up causing the most trouble for our couple either. While all of that may sound a tad predictable, what unfolds ends up being kind of surprising, in a good way that is.

As I said before, We Are Still Here fashions itself on being a Fulci tribute, and in that regard it works pretty good. There is heavy atmosphere and inventive camerawork and scene boxing, along with a surprising amount of blood-letting as we hit the film's climax when shit starts hitting the proverbial fan. All of this happens in a brisk 83-minute run time, which I have to admit ends up being a perfect run time. If We Are Still Here was any longer, it would end up losing its luster and appeal; something which some Fulci films ended up doing in spite of themselves (I'm looking at you A Lizard in a Woman's Skin). The acting is pretty great (our good friend Larry Fessenden is here as the hippie husband to Lisa Marie's psychic friend of the couple) and the effects work is fucking wonderful as well.

All in all, We Are Still Here offers enough in terms of spookiness, atmosphere, and bloodshed to rightfully claim its place as being a Lucio Fulci tribute. It isn't anything too special, but it manages to be massively enjoyable for what it is, and you shouldn't have any problems eating this up. Check it out if you're looking for a well-crafted and brisk thrill.

Rating: 4/5

Posted by Nick Durham in MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments
MOVIE REVIEW: Paranormal Island (2014)

MOVIE REVIEW: Paranormal Island (2014)

By Dixielord

Briana Evigan stars in Paranormal Island

Paranormal Island movie poster

I'm really not a big fan of the Paranormal Activity films, and I'm also not a fan of knock off horror. Those films try to lure you in by using a title that makes you think it's connected to a more popular film or series. So I'm not sure why I ended up even watching Paranormal Island, directed by Marty Murray, which seems like it could fit into either, or both. I would hate to think that the main reason I watched this was due to Briana Evigan (The Devil's Carnival) being in the cast, but it was Briana Evigan.

Briana is a beautiful girl but it wasn't as sleazy as it sounds; I just assumed her involvement meant it wouldn't be a total cheap waste of time. So I took a chance with a blind VoD rental from Amazon. While I can't say I was thrilled with the film, I didn't end up crying over a wasted fours bucks. Luckily the film also starred Lance Henricksen (Aliens, Pumpkinhead, Near Dark, etc. etc.), and note to filmmakers, having Lance in the top credits, might gain you a few extra rentals. (Working on this article, I found he was given top billing on the poster.)

In Paranormal Island a group of teens take jobs bartending at a club on an island. The island is rumored to be haunted by an evil spirit called the Caretaker. The Caretaker was once the owner of the club and killed himself after losing it in a poker match. Now he kills anyone who spends the night on the island. Which is a great island to have a club on. The kids, of course, miss the last boat off, and have to struggle to survive and escape the Caretaker, and possibly other spirits trapped on the island.

Let's for a minute not even mention the silliness of having a club on an island where everyone staying overnight dies. Or the fact the club stays open till Midnight. Or the fact the last ship leaves at 2 a.m. So apparently the ghost kills anyone on the island from 2:30 until 6 or so. And let's definitely not mention the fact the filmmakers don’t know much about poker hands, as evidenced at the beginning of the film. So taking that the films premise is a bit silly, what are we left with? Lance Henricksen and Briana Evigan.

Paranormal Island is far from the worst film I have ever seen (looking at you Grizzly Falls). That being said, there really isn't a lot to recommend it either. There's no gore, not a lot of suspense or mystery, and only a couple of weak scares. Mostly like the lame ass Paranormal Activity films it's moving furniture, noises and people saying “what's that”. Unlike the Paranormal Activity series, there are a few actual ghostly appearances before the final scene and a couple of people do die. Not that you care about any of the characters so it's just meh.

Also like the Paranormal Activity films there's way too much time where nothing is happening. At the opening of the film the interactions are a bit interesting, letting us know a bit about the characters. But once on the island the pace is just too slow and just barely held my attention.

In the end there's only two reasons to watch Paranormal Island at all. The first is Lance Henricksen. The man is a living legend of film, especially horror, and if you don't know who he is or what he has done... Dude, what the fuck? Go do some research and watch some movies. Paranormal Island doesn't give him a lot to work with. There's nothing new, the character looks and acts like a lot of his other recent characters, but it's still Lance and he's always worth the price of admission.

The second reason is Briana Evigan. The film gets an extra star because she spends most of Paranormal Island in a bikini. Don't hate on me; these are my stars, and I'll give 'em like I want to. While there is no nudity in Paranormal Island (bummer), Briana's bikini is very small, and there are a couple nice shots of her BJ and the Bare (sic) ass-crack. If I find out that was a body double, I'm joining a monastery.

Briana Evigan in a bikini in Paranormal Island

Bikini clad Briana Evigan in Paranormal Island

So for a not very interesting story that's only slightly more interesting than the first Paranormal Activity, I can only give Paranormal Island 2 stars. However, yes I am giving it an extra star for Briana's bikini and booty. Then one more star for Lance Henricksen for four stars total. That's really, really generous, and if Briana used a booty double, I'm taking one star back before leaving for the monastery.

So that's 4 out of 10 stars, not a total waste of time, but best advice wait till it's on Netflix.

Posted by Allen Alberson in MOVIE REVIEWS, PARANORMAL, REVIEWS, 1 comment

Haunt Off – 13 Ghosts Versus Thir13en Ghosts

William Castle's 13 Ghosts
Versus
Terry Castle's Thir13en Ghosts
Part 3 of 3

By Woofer McWooferson

13 Ghosts - Plato Zorba v Cyrus Kriticos

Plato v Cyrus

It isn't easy to compare movies that came out 51 years apart, particularly when those films are in the horror genre and involves ghosts. This final analysis compares William Castle's 13 Ghosts to Terry Castle's Thir13en Ghosts, bearing in mind that Ms. Castle was only a co-producer and did not direct it whereas William Castle both produced and directed 13 Ghosts.

Being the showman that he was, William Castle touted 13 Ghosts as being in Illusion-O, a film technique that allowed audiences to see the “real” ghosts in the movie by looking through one lens or to watch a tamer version sans ghosts by looking through the other. In the film, there is a single set of glasses that Plato Zorba used to see ghosts and which is left to his nephew Cyrus and his family. In addition to a change of color on the screen, a message would flash to indicate that it was time to use the viewer, effectively making the audience part of the film. The Zorba family was affable and it was easy for audiences to relate to their situation – both on the natural and supernatural levels. The mother and father were kind and thoughtful, the daughter beautiful and charming, and the boy intelligent, playful, and a fan of all things horror. The ghosts, while disturbing, were only half the Zorba family's problem; lawyer Ben Rush was the other half, and quite the problem he was. Viewers genuinely wanted Rush to be caught or killed by the ghosts!

Everything that made 13 Ghosts charming and fun is missing from Thir13en Ghosts. The uncle has gone from eccentric to evil, the ghosts from tortured souls to malevolent, murdering entities, and the family from a loving and caring unit to a collection of individuals to whom the audience cannot relate nor care about, leaving viewers unconcerned for their well-being. The “sprawling old mansion” has been replaced by a super high tech, 3-D Rubik's house and deliberate tension-building sequences with real dialogue were replaced by jump scares and the witty quips that seem to overpopulate today's horror. Whereas 13 Ghosts only had one viewer for all in the family to share, Thir13en Ghosts had several, the better to allow the camera to follow as each member is confronted by one or more of the indiscriminate but vengeful spirits. It revolves around its effects rather allowing the effects to enhance the story.

Final word on the Haunt Off - 13 vs Thir13en:

Do yourself a favor. Save Th13en Ghosts for a popcorn and soda party that never wakes up. Then dim the lights and put on 13 Ghosts instead.

Check out my review of 13 Ghosts, and my review of Thir13en Ghosts .

13 Ghosts – 10/10 claws, fun for the entire family.
Th13en Ghosts - 4/10 claws – All four claws are for the ghosts and the house.

Posted by Woofer McWooferson in MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments

MOVIE REVIEW: Thir13en Ghosts (2001)

By Woofer McWooferson

Thir13en Ghosts (2001) movie poster.

Thir13en Ghosts (2001) movie poster

Director: Steve Beck; Writers: Robb White (story), Neal Marshall Stevens, (screenplay), Richard D'Ovidio (screenplay); Stars: Tony Shalhoub, Matthew Lillard, F. Murray Abraham, Shannon Elizabeth; Rating: R; Run Time: 91 min; Genre: Horror | Mystery | Thriller; Country: USA; Language: English; Year: 2001

On its own Thir13en Ghosts (co-produced by Terry Castle, the daughter of William Castle) is an entertaining entry in the horror genre that still manages to fall short on many levels. The plot is quite simple: Cyrus Kriticos (F. Murray Abraham), wealthy and eccentric collector, dies and leaves everything to his nephew Arthur (Tony Shaloub) and his family - including his house, fortune, and malicious collection of ghosts that he has captured with the help of Dennis Rafkin (Matthew Lillard), a troubled psychic. As is obvious from the title, the ghosts are the focal point of the inheritance and the biggest hurdle for the family to overcome. Malicious is an understatement as they are angry and vicious, and they take great pleasure in hurting the living.

Thir13en Ghosts is filled with some amazing special effects. Each of the ghosts is a work of art and has a complete backstory that we only glimpse a part of in the movie. That is a real shame as it would have fleshed out the story and given the movie depth. In that same vein, the house itself is another amazing effect and would be seriously cool to live in - well, except for the literally all glass walls. Maybe have one or two private areas. But the nature of the house as a ghost prison is glossed over and only referenced with as having binding spells and their ability to prevent ghosts from crossing. The house shifts and changes, but there is no explanation regarding why or what goal Cyrus had in mind (aside from money, but there are easier ways to make money than collecting ghosts).

It's not a bad movie, but it's not a good movie. The acting, aside from F. Murry Abraham, Tony Shaloub, and Matthew Lillard, leaves much to be desired. The plot is thin and could've been better if they'd taken the time to explain more. The house is awesome, and the ghost effects are great. However, there are too many jump scares and comedic comments of the sort that seem to pervade trendy horror movies these days.

Find out more about Thir13en Ghosts at IMDB. Check out part 1 where I review William Castle's 13 Ghosts, the film that inspired this remake, and watch for part 3 where I compare the father's and the daughter's films.

4/10 claws - All four claws are for the ghosts and the house

Posted by Woofer McWooferson in MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments

MOVIE REVIEW: 13 Ghosts (1960)

Part 1 of 3:
William Castle's 13 Ghosts

By Woofer McWooferson

13-ghosts-1960-poster

Director: William Castle; Writer: Robb White; Stars: Charles Herbert, Jo Morrow, Martin Milner, Rosemary DeCamp, Donald Woods, Margaret Hamilton; Rating: NR; Run Time: 85 min; Genre: Horror; Country: USA; Language: English; Year: 1960

Among William Castle's most memorable films, 13 Ghosts opens by showing audiences a count of 12 ghosts already in existence and a question mark indicating that the thirteenth ghost will be revealed as the movie unfolds. From here, it moves to a brief introduction wherein Castle explains to viewers that his new film technique (Illusion-O!) allows the audience to see the ghosts - if they chose to. Use of a special red/blue ghost viewer allows those who believe in ghosts to see them when the screen turns blue. To ensure maximum impact, USE VIEWER NOW would appear on screen to remind viewers to use their special ghost viewers. Finally, Castle asked the audience to be considerate of others who enter the film late and instruct them on how to use the viewer.

When occult researcher Dr. Plato Zorba dies, he leaves “one of those sprawling old mansions they built 50 years ago” to kind but forgetful nephew Cyrus Zorba (Donald Woods). However, as Ben Rush (Martin Milner), Dr. Zorba's lawyer, notes, the family also inherits the 12 ghosts Dr. Zorba has gathered in the house. These ghosts can only be seen when wearing the special occult glasses Dr. Zorba invented. Son Buck (Charles Herbert), a huge horror fan, finds the house and ghosts a dream come true. Unbeknownst to the Zorba family, their lives at risk because Dr. Zorba stashed his fortune somewhere in the mansion. Zorba's housekeeper Elaine Zacharides (Margaret Hamilton in a role that nods and winks at her Wicked Witch of the West from The Wizard of Oz) adds to the creepy factor, and the Zorbas find themselves ready to move in spite of their distressed financial situation.

Since the ghosts are revealed in the movie's opening, there is no mystery around their appearance. Instead, the mystery revolves around Uncle Plato's fortune. Everyone in the cast is brilliant, and there is real chemistry Ben Rush and Medea Zorba (Jo Morrow). Combined with Castle's Illusion-O!, 13 Ghosts deserves its place in the horror pantheon both on its own and as a cult film favorite. Do yourself a favor. Get some blue and red translucent viewgraph sheets and make your own ghost viewer... if you dare.

Find more about 13 Ghosts at IMDb. Watch for part 2 where I review Thir13en Ghosts, co-produced by William Castle's daughter Terry, and part 3 where I compare the father's and the daughter's films.

10/10 claws – 13 Ghosts stands the test of time

Posted by Woofer McWooferson in MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments