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MOVIE REVIEW (SHORT): Shriekfest: Miscast (2017)

MOVIE REVIEW (SHORT): Shriekfest: Miscast (2017)

Miscast (2017)

Venue: Shriekfest

Director: Carsten Kurpanek; Writer: Matt Katzenberger; Stars: Nina Daniels, Brea Bee, Kade Pait; Rating: UNK; Run Time: 10 min; Genre: Short, Comedy, Horror; Country: USA; Language: English; Year: 2017 Blood SIsters (2017) / Fair us doctrine. Halloween may be over and the Jack-O-Lanterns have long been blown out for the year but it’s really never too late to review a holiday short. Miscast comes from Carsten Kurpanek who is no stranger to short films with an impressive 11 under his belt. On Halloween night, an office party turns into bloody chaos after the seemingly normal April (Brea Bee) puts a spell on everybody. April takes her friend May (Nina Daniels) to safety, and the two begin in a wily battle of witchy wits. Miscast manages to take a pretty basic plot and inject plenty of delicious dark humor and frights. Because how could you not love seeing a great witch duel? The strongest aspect of this film is its look. Visually the film is great and Kurpanek really knows exactly how to fill a frame while also crafting a palpable mood with lighting and camera techniques. All the props and set dressings really help create the creepy vibe and give the overall film a much more expensive look. Miscast is certainly not miscast in this case and Brea Bee (Silver Linings Playbook) and Nina Daniels (Shameless) really shine. They also seem to play off of each other nicely and the chemistry really works in the film’s favor. Miscast really put a spell on me with its great story and its attention to detail. As far as Halloween themed shorts it may just rank up there as one of my favorites. I really am excited to see what the filmmakers have in store for the future.


Posted by Mike Vaughn in MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments
THE DARK SIDE OF CHRISTMAS

THE DARK SIDE OF CHRISTMAS

With Christmas upon us, we venture through the veritable treasure trove of dark stories of yuletide fair. Here is a short list of 9 Christmas tales and traditions used originally to promote the darker (and in some cases oddly comical) side of the holiday period. Whilst some are purely laughable by today’s standards, others are still used to scare children into being good all around the world.
Flashing colored Christmas lights

1. KRAMPUS:

Krampus / Fair use doctrine.The most obvious on the list and easiest to recognize, KRAMPUS has gained a notoriety with horror fans through various films in recent years.
KRAMPUS is a Christmas character from Austria, who on KRAMPUS Night (December 5th) each year appears to scare and maim. Some say he is Santa Claus’ evil twin brother and, like his brother, has a duty each year to perform. Unlike his kindly brother who delivers gifts to good girls and boys, KRAMPUS has the opposite job and will beat and punish all of the naughty children.
Flashing colored Christmas lights

2. CAGANER:

The Shitter / Fair use doctrine.This odd little custom is used in Spain, Portugal, and Italy.
As usual, a nativity is set up and decorated with the expected characters on display – Jesus, Mary, Joseph, three wise men and perhaps a shepherd. However, in these three countries, you may also add a character known as CAGANER.
CAGANER is literally translated as ‘the crapper’ or ‘the shitter’, and his figurine (which traditionally depicts a man, pooping with his pants around his knees and with a pile of poop at his heels) is usually placed in the corner of a traditional nativity scene. Children are encouraged to find him, as part of their Christmas ritual. The CAGANER is not a new custom, having been around for a few hundred years. It is a bit of a shitty custom, I know, but I will admit I was intrigued by the concept of a man crapping in my nativity scene.
Flashing colored Christmas lights

3. WITCHES:

Brooms - WitchesIn Norway each year, it is perceived that WITCHES and evil spirits will ascend on the towns in search of brooms to ride on to do their evil bidding on Christmas Eve. To thwart this evil, the Norwegians will hide all brooms on Christmas Eve and fire a warning shot outdoors with a shotgun.
Flashing colored Christmas lights

4. FRAU PERCHTA:

Frau Perchta / Fair use doctrine.Continuing on with our witch folklore, FRAU PERCHTA is another occult Christmas legend from Austria and Germany. It is known that FRAU PERCHTA visits children through the 12 days of Christmas, from December 25th until January 6th. She is seen as both good and bad.
Thought to have descended from an Alpine goddess of nature, FRAU PERCHTA will reward good children.
However, she is very well known for her gruesome punishments for the bad, including one fearful tale of ripping out internal organs and replacing them with garbage.
Flashing colored Christmas lights

5. HANS TRAPP:

Hans Trapp / Fair use doctrine.In certain regions of France, the tales of HANS TRAPP circulate as an anti-Santa.
Dressed like a raggedy scarecrow when he visits, HANS TRAPP was a wealthy man who worshiped Satan and became greedy and evil.
The stories say that HANS TRAPP was about to eat a small boy when he was punished by God and struck by lightning, killing him instantly. However, his dark soul still returns to scare children (looking like a scarecrow) each Christmas, as a reminder that they still have time to be good.
Flashing colored Christmas lights

6. PERE FOUETTARD:

Pere / Fair use doctrine.PERE FOUETTARD was an evil French butcher who many still fear today.
Said to be a ghoul whose name translates as ‘Father Whipper’, PERE FOUETTARD lured children to their deaths whipping and cutting them (primarily by slicing their throats).
A gruesome tale of 3 young boys he led into his butcher’s shop, was the one that cemented his fate as a part of Christmas’ evil side.
It was there that he murdered them, chopped them up and salted the remains.
St. Nicholas came to the boys’ aid and resurrected them, before enslaving PERE FOUETTARD as his dispenser of punishment, by whipping them naturally.
Flashing colored Christmas lights

7. WEREWOLVES:

Werewolf / Fair use doctrine.Yes …I said WEREWOLVES!
According to varied legends, Lycanthropy is very much included as part of some countries Christmas legends.
In The World Encyclopedia of Christmas, Olaus Magnus (a Swedish folklorist) wrote regarding werewolves gathering on Christmas night to “rage with wondrous ferocity against human beings, by attacking their homes and devouring the inhabitants”.
This was supposedly in Prussia, Livonia, and Lithuania.
However, that is not all of the Christmas-werewolf connection.
In modern times, it has since been reduced to merely being born on Christmas Day is cause enough to believe that person will become a werewolf.
It is seen that being born on December 25th is mocking Jesus Christ and so you must be punished.
Sorry to all you December 25th born children, perhaps steer “clear of the moors”?
Flashing colored Christmas lights

8. GRYLA:

Gryla / Fair use doctrine.GRYLA is an Icelandic legend of a woman with 13 sons (known as the YULE LADS) and her cat Jólakötturinn (see story available on this page about the YULE CAT).
In Iceland, it is customary to receive a gift of new clothes to wear on Christmas Eve. Usually, good workers receive clothes as a gift from employers, and children from their parents.
For those children considered naughty, who do not receive new clothes in time for the festive season, GRYLA comes out from her home and seeks them out -to devour them.
Flashing colored Christmas lights

9. THE YULE LADS:

Like their mother GRYLA, THE YULE LADS were not at all nice to encounter during the holidays. Tales of their numbers vary from five to thirteen, and their antics range from mere pranks to acts of cannibalism.
Either way, these ‘lads’ were to be feared and were usually seen as henchmen for their mother.
In more recent years each of their 13 characters has evolved (since a poem published in 1932 by Jóhannes úr Kötlum) and THE YULE LADS have been seen as more impish, mischievous and less aggressive. In fact with recent toys, stamps and images available they appear more like the seven dwarves than evildoers.

Posted by Michelle MIDI Sayles in FEATURED CONTENT, MONSTERS AND CREATURES, MYTHS AND LEGENDS, SATANIC/DEMONIC, STAFF PICKS, WEREWOLVES, 0 comments
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
MOVIE REVIEW: The Inhabitants (2015)

MOVIE REVIEW: The Inhabitants (2015)

the-inhabitants-01-600x350

By Nick Durham

We’ve had a bit of a renaissance lately in terms of some small-budgeted spooky movies that deliver the goods without buckets of blood and gore and rely more on old school tricks to give the viewer goose bumps. A lot of these films tend to be of the slow burn variety as well…which has its own share of likeable qualities (and some serious hate-worthy qualities as well). The Rasmussen Brothers (writers of John Carpenter’s The Ward and helmers of Dark Feed) throw their hat into the ring with The Inhabitants, which actually manages to make a fairly good impression despite its shortcomings.

The Inhabitants revolves around married couple Jess (Elise Couture) and Dan (Michael Reed), who have just purchased a New England-based bed and breakfast. Of course, as these things tend to go, the house itself holds some terrible secrets thanks to its past inhabitants. These come to light when Dan has to take an emergency business trip and leaves Jess all alone in the big, spooky house. All the creepy house hallmarks are here: scary shadows and figures, creaking sounds, and some creepy camera angles.  The film offers plenty of atmosphere that really gives the film an ominous tone and it works really well.

While The Inhabitants offers good atmosphere, there’s some other elements where the film sadly lacks. It begins with our leads in all honesty, neither characterization really reaches out to the viewer at all in any way. Not to mention the fact that there are some serious plot holes and flat out leaps in logic that pop up as the film crawls towards its conclusion. Granted the film’s story is a little inventive compared to other films of its ilk, so it does have that going for it at least.




All things considered, I could think of worse ways to kill an hour and a half. The Inhabitants isn’t half bad, but it doesn’t offer much either in all honesty. Still though, it does show that Michael and Shawn Rasmussen have talent and promise as filmmakers. Here’s hoping that they only go onward and upward.

Rating: 3/5

 

Posted by Nick Durham in MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments
MOVIE REVIEW: The Last Witch Hunter (2015)

MOVIE REVIEW: The Last Witch Hunter (2015)

By Dixielord

Vin Diesel as The Last Witch Hunter

The Last Witch Hunter

Sometimes I think I go in search of bad films. Not just bad films like Night of the Demon or Plan 9 From Outer Space, that are at least fun, but really bad films. That could explain why I went to see The Last Witch Hunter in the theater. The Last Witch Hunter is the newest film from Vin Diesel and Director Breck Eisner (The Crazies),

Now it's not the worst film I have ever seen, but I wasn't expecting it to be good when I made the decision to go. While I am occasionally fooled, and end up liking a film like Hansel and Grete :Witch Hunters, I just don’t trust these big slick “horror” movies. If I do have a unconscious desire to see bad films, then at least on that point, The Last Witch Hunter didn't really let me down.

On the good side it had a pretty decent cast. The title role was, of course played buy Vin Diesal (Riddick). I really like Vin, I do, but he does a lot of crappy movies. Also starring in The Last Witch Hunter, was Elijah Wood (Maniac), Rose Leslie (Game of Thrones), Michael Caine (What the hell hasn't he been in?) and Julie Englebrect (The Strain) as the Witch Queen.

On the bad side, it's another CGI fest of monsters and magic without any real soul. Vin is Vin, he's pretty much playing some version of Riddick in every movie. He's like a Tom Cruise that I don't feel guilty for liking. If you love Vin, you will probably enjoy him here, just don't look for any substance.

The Last Witch Hunter with Rose Leslie, Vin Diesel and Elijah Wood

Rose Leslie, Elijah Wood, and VIn Diesel in The Last Witch Hunter

Elijah Wood kind of disappointed me, with his character, and even just for being in The Last Witch Hunter. It's such a step backward from his performance in Maniac. He comes off as a weak, spineless character that Frodo would kick sand on at the beach. And the story is so transparent that you pretty much know what’s up with his character the moment he first appears on screen. It's so apparent that when it doesn't happen within his first ten minutes on screen, you start to think it's a red herring.

The whole story is pretty easy to figure out. Really, it was a bit annoying to be watching Vin and company scratching their heads trying to figure out something that was pretty obvious from the beginning. Apparently it isn't only Jon Snow who knows nothing, eh Rose?

Game of Thrones Rose Leslie in the Last Witch Hunter

You know nothing Vin Diesel, seriously dude, nothing.
Rose Leslie in The Last Witch Hunter

There was one line that I noted as somewhat interesting. When Leslie's good witch character is talking about the Salem Witch Trials and Diesel tells her that Salem was a horrible mistake, she asks if he would feel the same way if the women really were witches. It's interesting because we know now that the trials were about jealousy, spite, and land grabs and most likely those hung knew little if anything about witchcraft. How would we look at Salem now, with our more progressive and accepting society if the women really were witches or wiccans?

But that's about as deep as this movie gets. Any other questions of the morality of witchcraft and witch hunters is at about the same level of Glenda asking Dorothy if shes a good witch or bad.

If you are a fan of these type of horror/fantasy films, you might like The Last Witch Hunter. But there are better films out there, like Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters. It is slightly better than Keanu's Constantine, but not much. I really didn't hate it, I just really didn't like it very much. It's like Willie said, full of sound and fury but meh. I doubt I will watch it again unless it's on Netflix and I'm bored, 4 out of 10 CGI stars.

Posted by Allen Alberson in MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments
HALLOWEEN HORRORS: Suspiria (1977)

HALLOWEEN HORRORS: Suspiria (1977)

SUSPIRIA

The Blue Iris Will Be The Death Of You

By Amy Mead

Suzy's arrival at the academy

Directed by Dario Argento
Written by Dario Argento and Daria Nicolodi
Starring: Jessica Harper, Stefania Casini, Joan Bennet, Barbara Magnolfi, Alida Valli and Udo Kier
and featuring a soundtrack by Goblin

If you call yourself a horror fan and have not seen the classic horror film Suspiria, I'd like to ask you what rock you've been living under and revoke your card immediately.

Suspiria is the first of the "Three Mothers" trilogy and while it is certainly not everyone's cup of tea, it is a film that I consider a requisite one to watch if you are indeed a true fan of horror. I myself am a HUGE fan of this film (and Dario Argento's work in general) but even if weren't, the cinematography and the soundtrack alone make the film worth watching. Suspiria truly is a technicolor dream come true.

There's a reason this film was, and still is considered some of Argento's best work. Though the trailer does not do the true vibrancy of the colors in the film any justice, it truly is a breathtaking sight that lends itself to the overall sense of creepiness and fear that is Suspiria. It is a nightmare brought to terrifying life. And the soundtrack? It's fucking unbelievable. The collaboration between Argento and Goblin in its creation is goddamn mind blowing and is synonymous with terror for many fans around the world.

Here's a brief rundown of the film: New student to prestigious Ballet school in Germany, Suzy Bannion, is an innocent and fresh faced young girl from America. She arrives at the school in the middle of a storm and right from the jump, things seem questionable. As she approaches the academy, she sees another girl fleeing the school, shouting over the wind and looking terrified. Suzy cannot gain access to the academy and is forced to spend the night in town.

Suzy's arrival at the academy

Soon after her arrival the next day, one strange thing after another begins to happen. At her first lesson, Suzy becomes ill and nearly faints after a weird run in with the cook. She is then "prescribed" a glass of wine with dinner every night (and let me tell you, this wine is some the nastiest wine I've ever fucking seen).

Shortly thereafter while preparing for dinner, the ceiling rains maggots upon all the girls, which is quickly explained away by rotten crates of food that were stored in the attic but it seems like something far more ominous (and disgusting) to Suzy and her friends. They are forced to sleep in the practice hall while the maggots are cleaned up and one of the girls hears and sees something she shouldn't have and soon after disappears.

Amidst a series of violent deaths and what appear to be sudden vanishings within the academy, Suzy soon become suspicious that there is something sinister behind it all. After her friend mysteriously "leaves" without warning, she begins to do some sleuthing on her own and she discovers that the academy was started by a suspected witch while talking to an acquaintance.

Suzy's discovery

She then has a series of flashbacks about the things the first victim was shouting over the wind and rain on the night she arrived. She recalls the girl shouting something about a secret and turning the blue Iris and she goes investigating, looking for it. She finds the Iris, turns it and a secret door opens, revealing the coven's secret lair. It damn near costs her her life. She hears the coven plotting her demise as she moves to another room. Here she discovers the coven's queen and is forced to kill her. Suzy narrowly escapes with her life as the academy begins to crumble from within and is seen bursting into flames...

As I stated earlier, Suspiria is not for everyone but it is definitely for me. There are many different reason I love this film. The first being that like many others, I consider it to be a freaking visual masterpiece and it still creeps me out to this day. Dark arts, witches and curses are kinda a phobia of sorts for me (be careful who you piss off!!).

The other is purely sentimental in that it gives me very fond memories of my younger brother, Clayton, who passed away eight years ago. I was the one that showed him his first Argento film and Suspiria scared the living shit out of that kid when he was just ten years old. That showing grew into a massive, mutual love of Argento and his body of work for both of us, but especially for my him. He was an even bigger fan than I am. Clayton's birthday was on Halloween, so watching it is a great way for me to remember and honor him now that he is gone.

If you have not yet seen, Suspiria (is this even possible?) I urge you to do so and see this technicolor masterpiece for yourself. Like right now. It is a must see and there's no better time for witches than the Halloween season and if you love it like I do, I recommend follow it up with Inferno and The Mother of Tears and complete the "The Three Mothers" trilogy!

I rate Suspiria 3/3 Mothers

Posted by Amy Mead in MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 2 comments