Tim Burton

Short, Comedy, Horror:
Interview With Clarissa Jacobson

Hello everyone, this is the Horrormadam here with the second in my series celebrating the Gifted Heroines of Horror and Women In Film. I was honored to interview the brilliant Clarissa Jacobson on her new short film Lunch Ladies which she wrote and produced. To say I enjoyed this short would be a gross understatement, I loved it! So well written, so well acted, so well directed. The only thing I want out of it…is more! But before we get into that, a quick tease to wet your appetites!

Now that your interest is piqued, let me tell you the extraordinary premise in Clarissa’s own words.

Clarissa: For the past twenty years, obsessed Johnny Depp fans and fraternal twin sisters, Seretta and LouAnne Burr, have shared a miserable existence as high school lunch ladies serving up rubbery chicken parts, ammonia-treated government meat and whatever else the cash-strapped national lunch program sends their way. This year is going to be different: The twin’s Cheesy Burger Bites recipe is the Grand Prize Winner of Johnny Depp’s Cook for Kid’s Charity Event. Convinced this is their ticket out of high school hell town and that “The Depper” will hire them to be his very own Personal Chefs, their dreams are shattered after a snotty head cheerleader pushes them one step too far. This forces the Lunch Ladies to ask themselves – WWJD? What would Johnny do?

Bet you didn’t see that coming, did you? To all of those naysayers out there that say there are no new ideas, I say that you aren’t thinking outside the box. Clarissa’s clever story is outside the box, maybe even outside of leftfield and that is what makes it so surprising and refreshing.

Let’s see what else Clarissa had to say about Lunch Ladies and filmmaking:

Clarissa: When we first started out it was a bit disheartening, the first director said that no one would want to see this movie because no one wants to see two middle-aged female leads. Clarissa and I discussed this for a little while, especially how one of the nice things about the horror genre, is that horror does not discriminate. Young, old, beautiful, different looking, black, white, gay straight-in horror films we embrace them all.

Clarissa went on to discuss people thoughts on her influences:

Clarissa: I have heard John Waters (Serial Mom, Cecil B. Demented, Hairspray), John Hughes (The Breakfast Club, Sixteen Candles, Home Alone), and Tim Burton (Edward Scissorhands, Corpse Bride) and I grew up on them and I love them. They’re saying that and its funny how it just seeps in and it is the biggest compliment.
Clarissa: This was my first time producing a movie and I had so much luck drawing the right people to me. The first set designer we had dropped out like one week before shooting and I was like don’t worry about it, just go with the flow. Then brought in this husband and wife couple, Ray and Alicia Ho that were one hundred times better. What happened is I just totally stepped out of the way and the most amazing people helped me and worked on it. They were all at the top of their game and everybody brought what they brought, everyone did their job and when we finished it was everything that I wanted. Exactly what I imagined in my head, even better.

I said to her how amazing that was that she was able to get what she wrote, everything that was in her head to fruition.

Clarissa: It really was magical. My writing mentor, he was a tap dancer on Broadway when he was younger. He came on as a producer also and he did the dancing scene in the cafeteria. What I had written was rhythmic and he said he had this crazy idea, how about we do a mash-up? We will have ballet dancers, hip-hop dancers, and tap dancers and I was like Joe, I have no idea what is inside your head but you are the most talented person I know so do what you want.

I was also honored to speak to Joe, who turns out to be Joe Bratcher who has been acting since 1976 in some really great shows like All In The Family, Laverne & Shirley, and The Rockford Files, and in films like The Howling and Coma. He also runs The Twin Bridges Screenwriting Salon, the longest running screenwriting classes in Los Angeles. He told me how hard Clarissa had been working and how much he loved working with her and what a great person she is. He also backed up the story Clarissa had just told me by saying that she really went to bat for him with the director. She really wanted him to create his vision for the cafeteria scene because she knew it would work.

Clarissa: The director was awesome, but that’s how everybody was, they all brought really creative shit to it. The director J.M. Logan is an award-winning filmmaker and who has filled nearly every position in the business over twenty-five years. Out of hundreds, credits include Kidnap, Manson Family Vacation, The Circle, The End Of The Tour, Stoker & Annabelle. He said his goal is to be as close to the script as possible. At one point he was like there is this scene at the beginning, it was gonna be expensive to do and I was concerned what might happen, it might not work. I was like you know we can just cut that and we can just do the scene in front of the school than we don’t need to get a car. And Josh was like NO! That is whats written in the script and that’s what we’re gonna do. And the car scene I mean the car scene is so great for starting out the movie, he was so adamant, he and everybody came up with great ideas, like the whole concept with the Russian posters, so inventive I just loved it.
Clarissa: I also had a hard time finding a location. I called like a hundred schools. This one place is like we read the script and we’ll never let you film your movie here! They acted like I had written a porn! But I wanted a John Hughes type of school kind of upper-class. Josh the director had a friend that was like call these two Catholic schools and I was freaking out because I couldn’t find a location. So I called these two schools and they both said I could film there. The only thing was that they had really big kitchens and we needed it to look run down so we just filled it with all this stuff. And then Josh had the idea to use these eastern block like posters which along with the lunch trays were the only real punches of color. We filmed over two weekends, four days with twenty thousand dollars. It was really great and everyone was really fun but the last day was the hardest, we didn’t get out of there till four a.m. We had one hundred and thirty people working on it and everyone is coming back to do the feature which is already written.

I asked her then, it is winning so many awards you would think someone would just jump on it? Atlanta Horror Film Festival 2017 (winner: Best writer/producer and Best Director), Nightmares Film Festival 2017 (best writer/producer, director), and the South African Horrorfest 2017 (Best writer/producer and director).

Clarissa: Well its still new so a lot could happen in the next couple of months. We started our run in August which went great and we had nothing in September, but we had a lot in October because it is Halloween. So we have only been on the film festival route for about four months and it goes on for a year and a half. The majority of competitions and stuff aren’t until next year. So we are just working our asses off to get it noticed. And I definitely want to give a shout out to the horror community. I LOVE the horror community, they are my kind of people! I didn’t start out writing horror, I thought it was a comedy. When I saw it on the screen I couldn’t believe that came out of my head! All I could think was, where did that come from and what was wrong with me? I have always been a closet horror fan, I love The Exorcist, Let The Right One In and The Shining. One time I was writing a Gothic horror story and as I went dark, I realized the dark side is the most creative place to be. In it, you can do anything.


I want to thank Clarissa Jacobson again for taking the time to talk to me at the
House of Tortured Souls and also thank her for writing such a unique horror/comedy short. I cannot recommend it to you highly enough readers. I don’t want to give any spoilers, but I know that you will not be disappointed when you see it. All I am waiting for now is the full-length feature to be made so I can enjoy the further escapades of the Lunch Ladies! And from now on I may even find myself asking as I go through life…WWJD?

Clarissa also wanted to say a big thank you to Fire The Animal who wrote and performed the song Bury My Body, courtesy of Couch Guys Records and Antoni M. March who did the score.

And, like I said before, I don’t want to give any spoilers but some fun trivia: Lunch Ladies used 10 gallons of blood, 10 gallons of slime/goo, 15 gallons of “food,” 40 pounds of potatoes (200 pounds brought to set) and 13 pounds of ground meat. And Clarissa told me the meat had been left out and smelled like hell and they had to have the school back together for when the kids came in on Monday and she had to Febreeze everything to death (pun intended).

Before I send you on to the link so you can check out some more fun information on the Lunch Ladies I wanted to tell you the name of said ladies who are more Gifted Heroines of Horror. Donna Pieroni at Seretta and Mary Manofsky as LouAnne. These women were so wonderful and entertaining, so looking forward to much more from them!

INTERVIEW: Clarissa Jacobson of Lunch Ladies (2017)

INTERVIEW: Clarissa Jacobson of Lunch Ladies (2017)

Short, Comedy, Horror:
Interview With Clarissa Jacobson

Hello everyone, this is the Horrormadam here with the second in my series celebrating the Gifted Heroines of Horror and Women In Film. I was honored to interview the brilliant Clarissa Jacobson on her new short film Lunch Ladies which she wrote and produced. To say I enjoyed this short would be a gross understatement, I loved it! So well written, so well acted, so well directed. The only thing I want out of it…is more! But before we get into that, a quick tease to wet your appetites!

Now that your interest is piqued, let me tell you the extraordinary premise in Clarissa’s own words.

Clarissa: For the past twenty years, obsessed Johnny Depp fans and fraternal twin sisters, Seretta and LouAnne Burr, have shared a miserable existence as high school lunch ladies serving up rubbery chicken parts, ammonia-treated government meat and whatever else the cash-strapped national lunch program sends their way. This year is going to be different: The twin’s Cheesy Burger Bites recipe is the Grand Prize Winner of Johnny Depp’s Cook for Kid’s Charity Event. Convinced this is their ticket out of high school hell town and that “The Depper” will hire them to be his very own Personal Chefs, their dreams are shattered after a snotty head cheerleader pushes them one step too far. This forces the Lunch Ladies to ask themselves – WWJD? What would Johnny do?

Bet you didn’t see that coming, did you? To all of those naysayers out there that say there are no new ideas, I say that you aren’t thinking outside the box. Clarissa’s clever story is outside the box, maybe even outside of leftfield and that is what makes it so surprising and refreshing.

Let’s see what else Clarissa had to say about Lunch Ladies and filmmaking:

Clarissa: When we first started out it was a bit disheartening, the first director said that no one would want to see this movie because no one wants to see two middle-aged female leads. Clarissa and I discussed this for a little while, especially how one of the nice things about the horror genre, is that horror does not discriminate. Young, old, beautiful, different looking, black, white, gay straight-in horror films we embrace them all.

Clarissa went on to discuss people thoughts on her influences:

Clarissa: I have heard John Waters (Serial Mom, Cecil B. Demented, Hairspray), John Hughes (The Breakfast Club, Sixteen Candles, Home Alone), and Tim Burton (Edward Scissorhands, Corpse Bride) and I grew up on them and I love them. They’re saying that and its funny how it just seeps in and it is the biggest compliment.
Clarissa: This was my first time producing a movie and I had so much luck drawing the right people to me. The first set designer we had dropped out like one week before shooting and I was like don’t worry about it, just go with the flow. Then brought in this husband and wife couple, Ray and Alicia Ho that were one hundred times better. What happened is I just totally stepped out of the way and the most amazing people helped me and worked on it. They were all at the top of their game and everybody brought what they brought, everyone did their job and when we finished it was everything that I wanted. Exactly what I imagined in my head, even better.

I said to her how amazing that was that she was able to get what she wrote, everything that was in her head to fruition.

Clarissa: It really was magical. My writing mentor, he was a tap dancer on Broadway when he was younger. He came on as a producer also and he did the dancing scene in the cafeteria. What I had written was rhythmic and he said he had this crazy idea, how about we do a mash-up? We will have ballet dancers, hip-hop dancers, and tap dancers and I was like Joe, I have no idea what is inside your head but you are the most talented person I know so do what you want.

I was also honored to speak to Joe, who turns out to be Joe Bratcher who has been acting since 1976 in some really great shows like All In The Family, Laverne & Shirley, and The Rockford Files, and in films like The Howling and Coma. He also runs The Twin Bridges Screenwriting Salon, the longest running screenwriting classes in Los Angeles. He told me how hard Clarissa had been working and how much he loved working with her and what a great person she is. He also backed up the story Clarissa had just told me by saying that she really went to bat for him with the director. She really wanted him to create his vision for the cafeteria scene because she knew it would work.

Clarissa: The director was awesome, but that’s how everybody was, they all brought really creative shit to it. The director J.M. Logan is an award-winning filmmaker and who has filled nearly every position in the business over twenty-five years. Out of hundreds, credits include Kidnap, Manson Family Vacation, The Circle, The End Of The Tour, Stoker & Annabelle. He said his goal is to be as close to the script as possible. At one point he was like there is this scene at the beginning, it was gonna be expensive to do and I was concerned what might happen, it might not work. I was like you know we can just cut that and we can just do the scene in front of the school than we don’t need to get a car. And Josh was like NO! That is whats written in the script and that’s what we’re gonna do. And the car scene I mean the car scene is so great for starting out the movie, he was so adamant, he and everybody came up with great ideas, like the whole concept with the Russian posters, so inventive I just loved it.
Clarissa: I also had a hard time finding a location. I called like a hundred schools. This one place is like we read the script and we’ll never let you film your movie here! They acted like I had written a porn! But I wanted a John Hughes type of school kind of upper-class. Josh the director had a friend that was like call these two Catholic schools and I was freaking out because I couldn’t find a location. So I called these two schools and they both said I could film there. The only thing was that they had really big kitchens and we needed it to look run down so we just filled it with all this stuff. And then Josh had the idea to use these eastern block like posters which along with the lunch trays were the only real punches of color. We filmed over two weekends, four days with twenty thousand dollars. It was really great and everyone was really fun but the last day was the hardest, we didn’t get out of there till four a.m. We had one hundred and thirty people working on it and everyone is coming back to do the feature which is already written.

I asked her then, it is winning so many awards you would think someone would just jump on it? Atlanta Horror Film Festival 2017 (winner: Best writer/producer and Best Director), Nightmares Film Festival 2017 (best writer/producer, director), and the South African Horrorfest 2017 (Best writer/producer and director).

Clarissa: Well its still new so a lot could happen in the next couple of months. We started our run in August which went great and we had nothing in September, but we had a lot in October because it is Halloween. So we have only been on the film festival route for about four months and it goes on for a year and a half. The majority of competitions and stuff aren’t until next year. So we are just working our asses off to get it noticed. And I definitely want to give a shout out to the horror community. I LOVE the horror community, they are my kind of people! I didn’t start out writing horror, I thought it was a comedy. When I saw it on the screen I couldn’t believe that came out of my head! All I could think was, where did that come from and what was wrong with me? I have always been a closet horror fan, I love The Exorcist, Let The Right One In and The Shining. One time I was writing a Gothic horror story and as I went dark, I realized the dark side is the most creative place to be. In it, you can do anything.


I want to thank Clarissa Jacobson again for taking the time to talk to me at the
House of Tortured Souls and also thank her for writing such a unique horror/comedy short. I cannot recommend it to you highly enough readers. I don’t want to give any spoilers, but I know that you will not be disappointed when you see it. All I am waiting for now is the full-length feature to be made so I can enjoy the further escapades of the Lunch Ladies! And from now on I may even find myself asking as I go through life…WWJD?

Clarissa also wanted to say a big thank you to Fire The Animal who wrote and performed the song Bury My Body, courtesy of Couch Guys Records and Antoni M. March who did the score.

And, like I said before, I don’t want to give any spoilers but some fun trivia: Lunch Ladies used 10 gallons of blood, 10 gallons of slime/goo, 15 gallons of “food,” 40 pounds of potatoes (200 pounds brought to set) and 13 pounds of ground meat. And Clarissa told me the meat had been left out and smelled like hell and they had to have the school back together for when the kids came in on Monday and she had to Febreeze everything to death (pun intended).

Before I send you on to the link so you can check out some more fun information on the Lunch Ladies I wanted to tell you the name of said ladies who are more Gifted Heroines of Horror. Donna Pieroni at Seretta and Mary Manofsky as LouAnne. These women were so wonderful and entertaining, so looking forward to much more from them!




Posted by Horrormadam in FEATURED CONTENT, FRIENDS OF THE HOUSE, GORE, HORROR COMEDIES, HORROR HEROES, IN THE SPOTLIGHT, MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, WOMEN IN HORROR, 0 comments
John Roisland’s 2017 Top 5 Halloween Movies

John Roisland’s 2017 Top 5 Halloween Movies

Ah, yes. It's that time of year again! October is a truly magical time. Not only do we get to see the changes as Mother Nature transforms life to death, covering us in her cool, crisp air and the skeletal images of the now bare trees. We get to break out the long-awaited hoodies, pumpkins, and all things pumpkin spice (it truly IS a scary time of year), and we get to decorate houses for my personal favorite holiday - HALLOWEEN! For horror fans, Halloween isn't one day. It isn't JUST October 31st... Oh no, no, no! This is simply the day that you build up to. October 31st is the climatic orgasm of autumn. Aside from decorating, costumes and trick or treating, you must also enjoy masses amounts of horror movies!!
Many pride themselves on doing the 31 Days of Horror challenge where they watch at least one horror movie per day throughout the month of October ending on Halloween night itself! A fun challenge for all horror fans! The beauty with this is you pick it. Any style horror film is up for the challenge, be it classic monster movies such as Dracula and Frankenstein or slasher films like Halloween, Friday the 13th, and A Nightmare on Elm Street. Or maybe you prefer something from the paranormal - The Exorcist or Angel Heart - or perhaps some great Indie horror films like Circus of the Dead or Pieces of Talent. Whatever your flavor is, it's all good, and it's all up to you to decide.
There are a million and one different ways you can mix and match your Halloween viewing. I personally TRY to stick with the theme of Halloween in my choices. I've always enjoyed the holiday horror-themed films, so I figured it only made sense that my Top 5 Halloween Films are the same. Now please don't confuse this with my personal favorite horror movie... No, these are my HALLOWEEN go-to movies and are not ranked!

Hotel Transylvania (2012)

I adored this film as it brought back some classic monsters and threw them in to an animated film that adults and kids could both honestly enjoy together. It's important to teach the kids about horror at a young age. After all, isn't that where horror is home?

Trick 'r Treat (2007)

The first time I saw this sleeper hit I instantly fell in love with it! It brings many Halloween superstitions to life in one film that mixes a few stories and rolls them all together in one beautifully filmed trat. A new and true Halloween classic!

The Houses October Built (2014)

This is another sleeper hit that grew and has reached cult status. This film actually had a profound impact on me and climbed straight to the top of my all time favorite films list! It's hard for me to actually say enough about this film other than it's not just watched at Halloween in my house!

Halloween (1978)

John Carpenter's all time classic Halloween film about the Boogie Man himself introduced the world to Michael Myers. Halloween is one of the original slasher films that still keeps movie goers on the edge of their seats year after year.

Sleepy Hollow (1999)

For years Tim Burton has brought his dark beauty to the silver screen, and he captured my heart with this one. You see, the story of Ichabod Crane and the Headless Horseman is my all time favorite story and has been since I was a child. The Burton brought the imagery and dark scenery to life in ways that honestly I had only dreamt about. So this is a must for me!

I do have tons of personal go-to films that I would have loved to mention, but then it wouldn't be a top five would it..? Some have said my list is a bit on the childish side... Well, Halloween brings out the kid in me more than any other time of year, so I usually tell them to deal with it!Freddy Kruger-Deal with it / Fair use doctrine.
I hope you've enjoyed diving into a personal side of me, and if you're so inclined, please leave me your list in the comments. I'd love to hear them... Until then, HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!!
Keep it Evil...
Posted by John Roisland in MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 2 comments
Top Family Horror to Watch in October (Part 1)

Top Family Horror to Watch in October (Part 1)

Part of the House of Tortured Souls
Staff Picks for October 2016

By John Roisland

In keeping with the spirit of our Halloween staff picks. I thought to myself, why not FAMILY HORROR? I offer to you my personal list of family horror movies that are age appropriate and can be shared and enjoyed by the entire family. Now there may not be any chainsaw-wielding maniacs and won't be much gruesome gore and blood, this is for the family. But it's Halloween and we should be teaching our kids at a young age about the beauty of Halloween and introducing them to the world of horror that we all love and adore.
So yes ,there are children's horror movies out there that I do enjoy.
Please do yourself a favor, no matter what age your kids are: open your minds, sit down with the family, and show them a few family horror movies. Introduce them to and share with them the love you have for Halloween!
NOTE: This is simply a list and not in any particular order.

The Addams Family (1991) and
Addams Family Values (1993)

The Addams Family and Addams Family Values films, in my opinion, could not have been any more perfect. Whether or not you are a fan of the old TV show, the films hold true to their dark ways of life while yet still being quirky and always lovable. The cast alone is jaw dropping , and gives performances by Anjelica Houston and the late Raul Julia that are near Oscar-worthy.

Monster House (2006)

This little animated gem is one that I rented for my kids and ended up loving more than they did. The film, at points, almost has a bit of a scary feel in it for the youngest of viewers, but is one heck of a film that can be watched over and over again.

Hotel Transylvania (2012) and Hotel Transylvania 2 (2015)

It's rare to have a sequel be as good as the first, especially after the likes of the Addams Family films, but Adam Sandler and his usual on-screen buddies pulled it off not once but twice. These two are both laugh out loud horror themed love for the entire family.

Casper (1995)

Casper, starring Bill Pullman and Christina Ricci, takes off where the old stories left us and tells the story about a young friendly ghost named Casper who befriends young Kat (Ricci) and her father (Pullman) as they move into their new home. Said new home is, naturally, haunted but by the friendly ghost.

Coraline (2009)

Coraline is an animated film not quite like any you've ever seen. Coraline, while a family horror, is rather dark and maybe a bit much for some of the younger crowds. Coraline is the story of an adventurous girl who finds another world that is a strangely similar of her frustrating home life, but it has sinister secrets. Stars Dakota Fanning and Terri Hatcher.

The Monster Squad (1987)

This film is a classic family horror. This late 80s B-film captures the spirit of being a pre-teen with an imagination. The film is based around a group of young friends who join forces to fight off monsters that are terrorizing their town, thus forming The Monster Squad!

ParaNorman (2012)

ParaNorman is the story of young Norman, who, while being an avid horror fan, develops a sixth sense and is able to see and communicate with the dead. It is because of his gift that he must help save his town from a historic curse that are bringing many dead back to haunt his community.

Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)

For years now, Tim Burton has been amazing movie goers across the world with his dark yet magical films. The Nightmare Before Christmas is truly that. While part musical, the film pulls you into a world like nothing you've ever seen. The story is of Jack Skellington, the Pumpkin King in his land of Halloween Town, who finds a magical door that has him trade places with... Santa Claus, the king of Christmas Town. This film is a pure delight for everyone!

The Witches (1990)

The Witches, starring Anjelica Houston, is a very dark Jim Henson Production. This is the story of a young British boy, who stumbles into the wrong conference room in the hotel where his family staying while on vacation. The room appears to be full of normal women, but they all turn out to be child-hating witches, who want to rid the world of all kids by turning them into mice! This may be a bit slow and scary for younger viewers. Discretion is advised.

It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown (1966)

It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown is probably my go to family horror! I have been watching this Charles Schulz holiday classic for as long back as I can remember. Made in 1966 (even before my time), Charlie Brown, Snoopy, and the rest of the Peanuts gang take you on a fun-filled night of trick or treating and waiting for the Great Pumpkin to arrive and bring toys to all the children.
Pure family fun!

Disney's The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad (1949)

I lastly bring you a Disney film. Most of you who know me will know that I truly hate Disney! But this, the story of Ichabod Crane and The Headless Horseman, is my all time favorite story! Of all books and stories I have read, this is my top tale. While there have been many of versions made, this is one I present to you for family horror, and, all things aside, Walt and the boys brought forth a rather enjoyable representation holding true to the story line!
So if you have children, teach them well and share your love with them. If you don't have any, then maybe watch a few I've listed here for you, and let these films take you back to when you were a child and Halloween was magical!
Happy Halloween!
Keep It Evil...
Posted by John Roisland in FAMILY HORROR, STAFF PICKS, 2 comments
Top Five Films to Watch in October (Part 6)

Top Five Films to Watch in October (Part 6)

Part of the House of Tortured Souls
Staff Pick October 2016

By John Roisland

To understand my top five, you must first close your eyes and think back to a night where the skies are the deepest darkest blue but are still crystal clear. The night is lit by a million stars and the glow of the moon as it dances in and out behind bare trees. It’s a cool crisp night where you hear the slight wind whispering through and rustling the leaves that have fallen and in the distance the sound of children giggling and laughing as they run from house to house yelling trick or treat as the doors. And the smell, the smell of burning leaves in someone's bonfire now fill the autumn air.

These are the memories that I have that sticks with me so vividly during the entire autumn and Halloween Season. This is still today after 44 years on this planet, my favorite time of year! Which is why it was so important for me to share with you my everlasting memories of Halloween night, as well as share with you my top five favorite movies to watch at Halloween.

Now when I first came up with this idea and I shared it to the staff I figured top five, it's going to be a piece of cake, and then I started taking some time and mulling over what my personal favorite movies are for Halloween. Keep in mind this isn't any of our top five horror movies, this is just the top five movies to watch at Halloween. It then dawned on me Wow, I'm a real ass because this is really hard to do! There are a million horror movies out there to watch, especially during the Halloween season, and to narrow it down to the top five has become quite a chore.

The movies that I have to present to you, I am somewhat basing around the Halloween season in the movie itself, not all of them but a few of them. As much of a horror buff as I am, I have actually always enjoyed movies that have taken place on Halloween.

So you might be surprised when don't see any of your top iconic Friday the 13th or A Nightmare on Elm Street installment - or anything of that nature.

I do thoroughly enjoy Halloween - all aspects - the sounds, the sights, even the smells! Nothing to me is more invigorating then walking outside at night and smelling burning leaves in the Autumn air. So, when picking my top five movies, I try to incorporate my love for Halloween with them.

My top five - not in any order, just my top!

Sleepy Hollow (1999)

sleepy_hollow-preview
The legend of The Headless Horseman has always been my all time favorite story ever since I was a child. Fist hearing it when i was young, the story stuck with me to this day and age. Tim Burton‘s rendition of it, in my opinion, did it proud. With its dark images and setting, it is a must watch for me!

John Carpenter's Halloween (1978)

How can you not?! Not only is Carpenter personally my favorite director, but this film raised the bar and set standards for horror films….and it’s at Halloween, so score!
john-carpenters-halloween1

Monster House (2006)

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I first saw this film as a rental for my kids. The day it was returned to the store, I bought it! This animated kids Halloween film has a very dark overtone to it that I love, and brings out the Halloween spirit in me! Sad thing was that I enjoyed more than the kids…

The Houses October Built (2014)

Now, those of you who know me know that this movie had a profound impact on me. I love every aspect of this film, and it has become one of my top movies. The film is based at Halloween and centers around local haunts. Brought to you by Zach Andrew and Bobby Roe, this film is a must for the Halloween season.
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The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)

texaschain1974_21
Now, the last film I bring to you may not have anything to do with Halloween in any way, shape, or form, and as a matter of fact, it is not only my all time favorite horror movie, it’s my all time favorite movie – The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. This 1974 Tobe Hooper film blew the door off the horror film industry and has remained an all time classic. This gets a watch every Halloween!

I do hope you enjoyed my list and as founder and president of House of Tortured Souls , I do sincerely wish you and your entire family for all the generations to come, a very Happy Halloween!

Keep It Evil...

Posted by John Roisland in HALLOWEEN, STAFF PICKS, 0 comments
HALLOWEEN HORRORS: Sleepy Hollow (1999)

HALLOWEEN HORRORS: Sleepy Hollow (1999)

By John Roisland

Sleepy Hollow poster

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow is a story that I hold very true to my heart. People always ask, "What movie was it that got you into horror so much?" It wasn't a movie at all; it was a story that was read to me as a very young child at a public library at a fall festival, and yes it was in New York state, where our legend just happened to have taken place. I can still remember the tone and descriptions given by the reader, the sound of the wind blowing outside on a late fall afternoon, the smell of cinnamon and burning leaves as I was enthralled in this (new to me) classic tale of horror.

From that day forward, I, like every child, looked forward to Halloween, but even more, I looked forward to listening or even watching a cartoon movie short in school of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.

In 1999 filmmaker, Tim Burton brought to us on the big screen, his vision of this tale with Sleepy Hollow. Love him or hate him, Burton's work is always extremely imaginative , and dark to say the least. Burton's version is one that I do quite enjoy. Although parts of the tale have been changed. For example, our lead character "Ichabod Crane" in earlier versions, is portrayed as a school master who is trying to win the hand of a young lady, "Katrina Von Tassel", who is haunted and attacked on his way home from a town party. In Burton's adaptation of the classic tale, they are introduced as Crane's character first arrives in Von Tassels small town sent by New York City authorities to investigate a murder - a murder caused by an alleged headless horsemen who rides the stormy nights on his steed seeking revenge on those who killed him. One by one, the headless horsemen runs down his victims, beheading them, just as he is.

Burton's change of storyline slightly from the original American version of the folk lore and in my opinion works beautifully! The story flows and actually helps to make for interesting turn of events through the film. As mentioned, Burton's films always have a dark overtone to them, this time the cinematography is just as dark and is incredible! Set in the fall of the late 1700s, the scenes are dark, dismal, yet beautiful all at the same time! The settings, the props, the outfits, and especially the cloud covering for a northern fall season, are like none I've seen executed nearly as well.

 

The film's run time is 105 minutes and carries an R rating. The film stars:

Johnny Depp (Sweeny Todd, Edward Scissorhands, Tusk) as our hero Ichabod Crane, yes, yet another Depp /Burton film!

Christina Ricci (Monster, Black Snake Moan, The Addams Family)

Miranda Richardson (Empire of the Sun, The Phantom of the Opera (2004), The Crying Game)

Sir Michael Gambon (Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Gosford Park)

Casper Van Dien (Starship Troopers)

Jeffrey Jones (The Hunt for Red October, Beetlejuice, Ferris Bueller's Day Off)

Christopher Lee (The Lord of the Rings trilogy, To the Devil a Daughter)

Christopher Walken (The Deer Hunter, Suicide Kings, The Prophecy, King of New York)

And let me tell you, Walken, who plays our dark horseback riding killer, is brilliant. Even though you only see Walken as the horsemen in the beginning and the ending because the rest of the story he has no damn head (could be anyone), but it was Walken, brilliant as always!

Headless Horseman

No matter how many times the story is altered or put the through the Hollywood shredder, this will always be my all time favorite horror story!

Posted by John Roisland in MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments