Ghost

NIGHTMARE CINEMA: A REVIEW

NIGHTMARE CINEMA: A REVIEW

We don’t get very many all-star horror anthologies these days, in terms of the talent either in front of or behind the camera.  A lot of that might be owed to the fact that we’ve lost quite a few of our icons in the past few years: Romero, Craven, Hooper, Cohen, and besides the beloved Sid Haig, too many great actors to review without things getting painful.  So as a few new opportunities to review these collections arise, how is the sub-genre faring thus far? Let’s take one of the more recently buzzed-about examples and see…

NIGHTMARE CINEMA is the work of a rotating “tag team” of directorial talent, spearheaded by MASTERS OF HORROR creator/showrunner Mick Garris (also director of several Stephen King adaptations, including his celebrated mini-series rendering of King’s beloved epic, THE STAND). The guest helmers include Alejandro Brugues (JUAN OF THE DEAD), Joe Dante (who should require no introduction, but hey: if you haven’t already seen GREMLINS, THE HOWLING or the original PIRANHA about a dozen times each, what the hell are you doing here???), Japanese gore-master Ryuhei Kitamura (VERSUS, NO ONE LIVES and the film version of Clive Barker’s MIDNIGHT MEAT TRAIN), and David Slade (the unsettling HARD CANDY, 30 DAYS OF NIGHT and the controversial “Bandersnatch” episode of BLACK MIRROR.)

The wraparound story features a mysterious character known as “The Projectionist” in a creeptastic old grindhouse that the subjects of the tales find themselves irresistibly drawn to.  As they’re seated inside, the lights go down and the “movie” begins, not only do they discover that they’re the ‘stars’ of their own shows, but the climaxes reveal what their fates actually were. (Spoiler alert: nobody in this flick “lives happily ever after.” Usually.)

It’s a great format to present the stories in, as done in the old-school Hammer and Amicus traditions, and also as in those collections, the quality of the stories vary from one to the other.

In “The Thing In The Woods”, the opener that kicks things off, a group of friends finds themselves in a “FRIDAY THE 13TH slasher scenario, with each person dying horribly one-by-one at the hands of a masked killer called “The Welder”. But there is what I thought was a very clever twist mid-tale that turns the entire crazed killer trope on its head, as the tried-and-true convention becomes something else entirely. Director Brugues shows a great twisted sense of humor with this one, not unlike the tone James Gunn struck in his loving tribute to genre horror, SLITHER, which makes me curious to see JUAN OF THE DEAD, the movie that put him on the map.

Next, seasoned vet Dante puts a new spin on an old classic in “Mirari,” featuring classic movie and TV legend Richard Chamberlain. He is the ‘Dr. Mirari’ of the title; a renowned plastic surgeon charged with helping improve the looks of a disfigured young lady, whose fiancée is helping her in this endeavor, thanks to the generosity of her well-heeled mother-in-law-to-be. If you’re at all familiar with the original TWILIGHT ZONE, there’s an episode this segment draws from, called “Eye Of The Beholder.” However, it takes the premise of that story into a direction that only dyed-in-the-wool horror buffs will probably see coming.

If you’re familiar with his work at all, you know Kitamura for three things: lots of action, a dark and twisted perspective on the world and the ‘human condition’, and blood…lots and lots of blood.  And with “Mashit”, he doesn’t disappoint, in this gore-dripping saga of a priest and a nun at a Catholic boarding school, who must deal with a demonic threat that will engulf and destroy them and the kids, if they fail in their mission to vanquish it. Kitamura gives his usual bloodletting a bit of a Fulci-esque kind of twist, with the inclusion of religious iconography, so the episode does have that bit of giallo horror flavor going for it.

 

Slade gets what’s probably the most disturbingly mind-bending story of the bunch, “This Way To Egress”. At the office of a therapist she’s visiting, a woman finds that one of two things is happening: the therapy obviously isn’t working, as her grip on reality continues to slip into chaos, and she watches the people and the very walls of the building around her rot and decay. Or: she’s somehow begun to see that nothing in the world is as it seems, and she’s being driven mad by the realization of what lies underneath the veil.

The final story, “Dead”, pretty much gives itself away in the title. A young piano prodigy is the sole survivor of a carjacking-gone-wrong that results in the death of his parents. His own near-death brush leaves him open to seeing and communicating with the spirits of those who have passed over, in the hospital where he ends up. It’s a weird and unsettling ‘gift’ straight out of similar stories like GHOST, and just like in that movie, not only are some ghosts not ‘Casper-friendly’, but there are specific ones who have an agenda for the boy…and it’s not a good one. Director Garris uses this last story to bring the entire film full circle.

Let’s talk quality first. As the stories go, it’s my opinion that Brugues’ episode is the most clever, with its Eighties direct-to-video throwback vibe and darkly funny ending; “Egress” is the most imaginative, with its nods to Lovecraft, David Cronenberg and SILENT HILL (both the movie and the games).  You’re never quite sure what’s going to happen next, or what horrible oozing visual you’re going to be subjected to at any given time, which shouldn’t bother a “hardened” horror vet like myself…and yet it does, thanks especially to the strong psychological horror bent of the story, a stunning performance by Elizabeth Reaser, and makeup/visual effects that are far above in their quality what appears in the other episodes. So for me, “Egress” definitely takes the top spot, with “The Thing…” coming in a close second.

It’s no surprise at all that Kitamura’s vignette is the one that will satisfy gorehounds the most. Once upon a time, it was considered an almost unbreakable taboo to put kids in any kind of dire peril in any film let alone a horror film, and this is a convention he takes a mad glee in slashing through (literally), as the demon known as “Mashit” wreaks unholy havoc upon the school and all who live – and die there. I want to avoid as many spoilers as possible, but the bottom line of the tale is this: even the secrets you think you can keep from yourself will be revealed sooner or later, and the outcome is never good.

However, where “Mashit” fails is the under-development of the characters. It’s not a good sign when you aren’t really rooting for anyone, and it’s worse still when the “heroes” are members of the clergy…and you still don’t care all that much what happens to them.  I suppose this may have been intentional, considering the turn the story takes as it nears its gruesome climax.  Where that is unsuccessful, though, “Dead” manages to instill nothing but empathy in the audience, thanks in huge part to the performances of newcomer Faly Rakotohavana as Riley, the child prodigy, and Annabeth Gish as his late mom, Charity.  Lexy Panterra also gives a great supporting turn as Riley’s smart-assed next-door “roommate”, Casey. The chemistry between the actors, and Garris’s touch as a director with ensembles is what elevates it to third place over “Mashit.”

Surprisingly, Dante’s “Mirari” is the one that comes in last. An episode that wouldn’t be at all out of place as an episode of HBO’s TALES FROM THE CRYPT, though it boasts a reliable performance from Chamberlain, it still plays as somewhat derivative. The same could be said of “Dead” as well, but it’s the handling of the stories that determine their effectiveness. Even with the clever twist at the end, Dante can’t avoid the curse of “been there, seen that” in this particular story, while the emotional heft of “Dead” is the main thing it has going for it, helping it overcome the familiarity “hump.”

And speaking of that, since CINEMA is intentionally paying homage to past horror anthologies, the music clearly reflects this, provided by several different composers. Kyle Newmaster tips his hat to John Harrison’s great theme for the immortal CREEPSHOW with a very familiar-sounding riff on it, followed by some good Marco Beltrami-type flourishes in the score for “Woods.” Fan favorite Richard Band does his thing on “Dead” and really has a lot of fun with “Mirari” as he “mirrors” some leit-motifs of his own, cribbing from Alan Silvestri’s wonderful DEATH BECOMES HER score.  Composer J.G. Thirlwell goes for creepy Trent Reznor/Atticus Ross-like discordance and ambiance on “Egress”, while Aldo Shllaku goes full-on Simon Boswell/Claudio Simonetti/GOBLIN with the score for “Mashit”, which does help with its gonzo giallo touches. (And by the way – the sound design on “Egress” really ramps up the skeevy feel of the visual effects, so kudos to that team.)

And finally, the glue that binds this all together: the wraparound sequences. Handled by Garris in addition to the “Dead” episode, they feature Mickey Rourke, having a blast as “The Projectionist.” As with any classic anthology, you need a strong premise to hold it all together, and barring that, a narrator like “The Crypt-Keeper” or “The Creep” with a strong enough presence to keep viewers engaged. Rourke’s performance – which for me is one of the best he’s given in a while – has been debatable among fans to say the least, but I find less fault in his acting, or Garris’s direction, than I do in the scripting of the “binder.”

It’s pretty obvious what purpose The Projectionist serves, but I would’ve liked to have seen the ultimate fates of the doomed characters made more clear. And the gorier their demises, the better, even with what happens in the climax of each tale. But as the disclaimer always states, this is just how things resonated with me…Your ‘mileage’ may vary.

I don’t think a NIGHTMARE CINEMA series would be all that bad an idea. It was fun enough that a weekly two-story installment (similar to Shudder’s CREEPSHOW revival) would be something I’d welcome into my schedule, if they decided to go with it.  Overall, I give CINEMA three-and-a-half out of five stars!

Posted by Samuel Glass in Categories, GORE OR EXTREME HORROR, MONSTERS AND CREATURES, MOVIE REVIEWS, PARANORMAL, REVIEWS, SATANIC/DEMONIC, SCI-FI HORROR, 0 comments
Monster Reviews: Polterheist 2018

Monster Reviews: Polterheist 2018

Polterheist is a 2018 comedy horror film, co-written and directed by David Gilbank. It stars Jo Mousley, Sid Akbar Ali, Jamie Cymbal and Pushpinder Chani. Two gangsters are given three days to locate money stolen by their boss. The only thing is, they just killed him.

Forced by a local mobster to find money that was stolen from him, Tariq (Ali) and Boxy (Cymbal) seek out a psychic medium to make contact with their recently deceased boss. However, they get more than they bargained for when his vengeful spirit possesses the medium and takes them on a roller coaster ride they won’t soon forget.

Let me start off by saying that this film is not necessarily what the title implies. It’s not so much a Polterheist, as it is a possession/heist film. But regardless, this film is fun and original in its own right. There are a few other paranormal heist films out there, so the concept isn’t all that new. But there’s definitely some cool, original material, not to mention a few solid performances.

The film looks stunning and is gracefully shot. The angles are elegant and the editing is on point. The directing is fantastic as well as the costumes, dialogue and makeup. But the best thing about the film, is the pacing. It sets the tone and makes you feel like you’re climbing a few hills at the right times. It knows when to rev up and when to throttle back.

Pace is something the average moviegoer is completely unaware of. The pace allows for the film to have a nice smooth flow to it. In Polterheist, even the slower transition scenes seem to fly by with ease and understanding. You never feel lost. You remain established in the ensuing madness, no matter how crazy it seems to get.

The look of the film is very pristine. The monochrome scenes were overtly crisp and fermenting. It really helped add a grittiness to the overall appeal and was visually stunning. The principal photography was absolutely fantastic. It was very detailed and absorbing.

There’s really nothing paranormal about this film, aside from the possession. However, it’s still a fun and engaging gangster flick. The only thing really missing is the lack of any special effects to help emphasize the spirit taking over the mediums vessel. There aren’t any substantial effects utilized to solidified a credible ghost or possession vibe.

Jo Mousley was simply infectious as the medium, Alice. She played the possessed character perfectly, and brought a needed jolt to the production. Her portrayal combined with the amazing performances of Sid Akbar Ali and Jamie Cymbal as the bumbling gangsters, really carries the film.

Jamie Cymbal was hilarious as Boxy. He provided some much needed laughs, breaking up the seriousness and intensity of the film. Sid Akbar Ali was fantastic as the essential lead character. He was rugged and imposing, yet relatable and endearing at the same time. Together, they formed one hell of an interesting and invigorating duo.

There is an abundance of twists and turns throughout, making for one piercing film. It tends to scrape its way into your subconscious and takes control like a parasite. There are a few irresistible, indelible sections of film that really grip you. It’s entertaining, dark and viscous.

Overall, Polterheist is engaging and intense. It has well placed humor fused with some amazing performances. The directing is assertive and very knowledgeable. It’s grimy and haunting. Guns. Gangsters. Ghosts. Grab yourself a copy today.

 

Posted by Donovan Smith in CAST AND CREW NEWS, Categories, COMING SOON, GORE OR EXTREME HORROR, HALLOWEEN, HORROR COMEDIES, HORROR NEWS, MOVIE REVIEWS, NEW RELEASES, PARANORMAL, REVIEWS, SLASHERS AND BAD HUMANS, THRILLER, URBAN DECAY/DYSTOPIAN FUTURES, 0 comments
HELLABRATION DELUXE! Thirty-One Days of SHOCKTOBER: Day Four – 10/04/18

HELLABRATION DELUXE! Thirty-One Days of SHOCKTOBER: Day Four – 10/04/18

10/04 – 1990: JACOB’S LADDER

 

I was a pretty big Adrian Lyne fan when JACOB’S LADDER came out. I mean, come on! FOXES, FLASHDANCE, FATAL ATTRACTION, NINE AND A HALF WEEKS.  If anyone had the kind of eccentric visual flair that would translate very well into horror, it would be him. Plus, the script was by BRUCE JOEL RUBIN (BRAINSTORM, GHOST, DEADLY FRIEND). How could I not anticipate this movie?

Well, anticipate it, I did.  And hate it, I did, too (sorry for the “Yoda-isms”). But the strong emotions that it evoked in me and the audience I saw it with – who were about as pissed-off as I was by the ending – may have been Lyne’s intention all along. It just took me a decade or two to realize that. And now I kind of see it in a different light than before, because…why? I can relate to it better, now that time has passed, and I have a bit more life experience under my belt? Maybe.  But enough about me. The movie is what’s important here, and if you’ve never seen it before, it’s one of those where you owe yourself the chance to start it at the very least.  As with any cinema, you can always bail if you’re not into it.

TIM ROBBINS plays Jacob Singer, a Vietnam vet affected by a pretty severe case of a kind of dissociative disorder. In English, that means he has an extreme problem keeping fantasies, nightmares and delusions separated from reality, and that’s if he can keep track of when and where they happened.  Or even if they happened to him at all.

He may be back ‘in country’, but it doesn’t appear that he came back alone, as he is constantly bombarded with horrific visions and images that only he is able to see. He literally brought his demons back from the war with him, and they seem ready to skin him alive…and do things much, much worse than that.

Only two seemingly bright spots in his life give him a reason not to go completely fucking looney tunes: his sympathetic girlfriend, Jezzie (ELIZABETH PENA) and a good friend who’s also his “doctor”, Louis (DANNY AIELLO.)

It seems that the harder Jacob tries to run from the apparitions pursuing him, (in a series of eerily shot, terrifying set-pieces), the more intense and terrifying his experiences become, leading to a climax where…well, I won’t say here, but I will give you a hint: think back to when you studied Ambrose Bierce in high school English. And for you more literate types, that is one helluva huge spoiler.

JACOB’S LADDER was, to my knowledge, my first exposure to the concept of an ‘unreliable narrator’, where the lead character you’re invested in either purposefully, or through no fault of his or her own, are caught up in circumstances that convince you that one thing is happening, until you find out at the end that everything you thought you knew was dead wrong.  Which explained the pissed-off audience.  And little did I know – it wouldn’t be the last time I encountered this kind of thing in a film, especially a horror film.

But overall, Lyne, the cheeky bastard, did a splendid job of mind-fucking his viewers, as he should have, following the Rubin script. And it is pretty much one of Tim Robbins’ best performances.  Not to mention that the striking and disorienting special visual FX were the kind of images that no one had really seen at that time – not outside of a weird MTV video, anyway. Now, it’s par for the course for many horror films, and usually considered “tried-and-true.” Whether or not I think it’s Lyne’s best work is irrelevant now.  When people ask about good horror films with a Vietnam theme, I always mention JACOB’S LADDER in the same breath as Bob Clark’s groundbreaking cult classic, DEATHDREAM, or even “ANTHONY M. DAWSON’S” CANNIBAL APOCALYPSE.

Posted by Samuel Glass in EDITORIALS, FEATURED CONTENT, HALLOWEEN, PARANORMAL, SATANIC/DEMONIC, THRILLER, TRIBUTE, 0 comments
MOVIE REVIEW: The Vault (2017)

MOVIE REVIEW: The Vault (2017)

Director: Dan Bush; Writers: Dan Bush, Conal Byrne; Stars: James Franco, Taryn Manning, Francesca Eastwood; Rating: Not Rated; Run Time: 91 min; Genre: Horror, Thriller; Country: USA; Language: English; Year: 2017

Jeff Gum in The Vault (2017)The Vault caught my attention for having James Franco starring and held my attention in spite of some clunky foreshadowing and a less than satisfying ending. While it’s nothing special and filled with tropes we’ve seen in other crime/horror crossovers, there’s just enough mix of weirdness and uncertainty to keep the viewer interested.

The story revolves around a bank and the gang of robbers whose reasons for hitting up the bank aren’t as clear-cut as they seem at first. Having carefully engineered a distraction that keeps the city’s attention directed elsewhere, the gang is surprised to find little money in the safe and that an unexpected tip-off to law enforcement made it through. Ed Maas (James Franco), assistant manager of the bank, tries to work with the robbers to minimize harm to the people held hostage, but the gang refuses to leave without finding the real money.

Francesca Eastwood in The Vault (2017)Most of The Vault focuses on the dynamics of the two groups, the hostages and the robbers, interspersed with the gang’s attempt to access the bank’s main vault below. Ultimately the gang’s primary motivation is for Michael Dillon (Scott Haze) to pay off a fatal debt, and Michael’s estranged sisters Vee (Taryn Manning) and Leah (Francesca Eastwood), have come together, along with a few others, to pull off the heist – both to help Michael and enrich themselves. The hostages’ motivation is, of course, to survive, and some of them are more successful at this than others.

Taryn Manning in The Vault (2017)Maas convinces the gang that he can help and successfully stops a post-closing hours failsafe alarm from triggering. Having won their reluctant trust, he then directs them to the location of the bank’s subterranean vault wherein lies a cool $6 million. As the heist moves forward to crack the vault and open their subterranean escape route, the group is split and odd things begin to happen. First, those who’ve ventured underground are affected, but it ultimately extends to all the robbers. Paranoia and uncertainty set in, making the situation more volatile and dangerous every moment.

Unfortunately for The Vault, uneven acting makes the first half somewhat less than satisfying while unnecessary foreshadowing completely undermines the second half and ruins the fim’s reveal. With an ending that left me more than a little pissed (seriously, my rating dropped 2.5 claw marks just because it pissed me off), The Vault is worth watching for Francophiles — those who want the total Franco experience — and those who must watch all things horror, but a skip for anyone seeking something new and different.

Final verdict: 5/10 claw marks — leave it closed

Posted by Alan Smithee in MOVIE REVIEWS, PARANORMAL, REVIEWS, SLASHERS AND BAD HUMANS, 0 comments
2016 Scary Story Contest – Entry #2, Alfred Guy

2016 Scary Story Contest – Entry #2, Alfred Guy

House of Tortured Souls Presents the
2016 Scary Story
Competition

Entry #2: A Ghost Pulled Her Leg.
Was She Pulling Mine?

Category: Non-fiction

By Alfred Guy

"A ghost came through the wall and pulled me out of bed by the leg!"

At 9 years old, this is not what you want to hear from your aunt, as you start your weekend stay at her apartment.

My name is Alfred Guy and I now live in Catonsville, MD, just west of Baltimore. This is a real story, told to me by my aunt. Did the events really happen? Who knows? She said they did, and she has never wavered, even when ridiculed about it.

It was around 1972, in North Philadelphia near the main campus of Temple University. I wound up going to school there in the early eighties. It was an old three-story brick row house. A small candy store was on the 1st floor to the left of the main entrance. My favorite things to buy there were Zero Bars (did anyone else actually eat those?) and candy shoelaces.

The stairway to the 3rd floor was poorly lit and smelled of old wood and lacquer. Every time we visited, it had the same old smell. It wasn't a particularly terrible smell, but it made you feel uneasy. I hated going up and down that stairwell alone. The stairs were uneven. Every stair creaked and some even gave a bit, causing you to feel like you could fall through and end up in some dark, dusty basement, hurt and alone. As I passed the heavy wooden apartment doors, I always felt dread. Would someone or something spring out and drag me into one of those rooms? Once the huge and heavy wooden doors closed behind me, no one would even know. So, why did I brave the dark scary hallway and creaking stairs? Remember, the candy store on the 1st floor??? That's why.

Well, here we go! I was dropped off with my little sister, to spend a weekend with my Aunt Marion. It was to be our first time overnight away from mom and dad. They wanted a couple of days without the kids. I was looking forward to it, because Marion is my favorite aunt. She always made sure we had treats and books to read when we would visit. Aunt Marion is a feisty, loud woman and I mean that in the most endearing way. She always had a distinctive voice and a way of telling stories that had you riveted to the spot. She sported a tooth that was framed in gold. This was way back when adults, and not rappers gilded their teeth. All these things made Aunt Marion my favorite. At least until she told me what happened to her last year.

"Alfie, all I wanted to do was change my bedroom around. I was tired of the way it looked. I moved my bed to the middle of the floor instead of the corner of the room. Shortly after that, odd things started to happen to me and Johnny (her son). I came home one day from work, and Johnny was in the bathroom, running water for a bath. I said hello, but he didn't answer. I knocked and still no answer, but the water stopped. After knocking again, I opened the door, to find the bathroom empty. I didn't tell him then, because I didn't want to scare him. (She sure didn't mind scaring the Hell out of me, though.) Alfie, I swear this happened, even though your mommy doesn't believe me.

Johnny started having trouble sleeping. One night after he had gone to bed, I was sitting up watching TV when I heard large crash. I ran to his room and found him on the floor with his mattress and box spring on top of him, and the bed frame on top of that. Everything was upside down! He was very scared, but I told him he must have been sleepwalking.

Then, the worst happened.

I began to have nightmares all the time. I would wake up to see a little skinny man, maybe three feet tall, with glowing yellowed eyes float through the wall near my 3rd floor window. He was wailing and moaning. His skin was jet black and dried and wrinkled, like an old prune. He would reach out for me and then fade away. Each night though, he got closer to my bed.

After several visits, he got so close that he could grab me! One night, he actually grabbed my left leg with both gnarled hands and started to pull me toward the wall he had floated through. I was hanging onto the bed, screaming for Johnny, but he never came to my room. My Bible was on the nightstand, so I grabbed it and held it tight. The little wrinkled man moaned and slowly faded away. I jumped up and turned on the lights. When I ran in to check on Johnny, he was still fast asleep. I was afraid to sleep again in my room, and I couldn't afford to move, so I decided to try and find out what was going on.

I had Johnny and his cousin Carliss, sleep in my bed one night. I sat up in a chair to watch them. As soon as they were both asleep, they began to toss and turn. I almost screamed when I saw them both sliding toward the side of the bed where the evil man grabbed me before. I was terrified! I could not see him, but I could see where he was pulling them by the arms and legs. Now I did scream and I ran over and woke them up. All they remembered was having bad dreams. I felt bad for doing this to them. What if they got hurt? I still had to find out why this was happening.

I asked some of the neighbors if anything strange had happened there before I moved in. What they told me scared me all over again.

There was an old frail man who lived in the apartment before I did. He rarely spoke and seemed to hate everyone. No one knew where he went during the day or anything else about him. He would walk up the creaky stairs to his door and slam it shut. If you passed him in the hall, you were lucky if you got a grunt from him. Since he was sort of a hermit, no one thought much when he hadn't been seen for a while. At some point, a terrible smell was noticed on the 3rd floor. While trying to discover where it came from, the old man's door was knocked on, but there was no answer. After a couple of days of that, the police were called. The door was forced and what they saw shocked them all.

In the main bedroom, in the middle of the floor, the old man was on his knees almost facing the window. The look on his face was one of pain. He was kind of dried up. And he was dead. Had been for a while. I guess he was only three feet tall, because he was on his knees when he died and stayed that way as a spirit!"

So you see, the old man died in agony, alone on his knees in the middle of the bedroom. It was the exact spot where my aunt had moved her bed. The haunting started when she invaded his space. He tried to remove anyone who dared sleep on his "deathbed." As her story goes, after she moved the bed off of that spot, the terrors stopped.

I'll give her this. I have asked her again and again over the years, if she was just pulling my leg. Even though she has suffered ridicule and teasing for decades from her family and relatives, she insists that everything happened like she said. My cousins Johnny and Carliss, did remember having the bad dreams that night, but that is all. My aunt did not share these stories with my little sister that weekend, and neither did I.

To see the old "haunted" apartment building, click here. The middle building is where my aunt lived. The candy store was on the left of the entrance, where the awning is now. I remember sitting on those very steps, afraid to go back inside after hearing that story. My aunt insisted that I come inside after dark. Even my "friend," the candy store had closed for the night. I wanted to go home, but my parents wouldn't return until the next day. I don't remember if I was ever able to sleep in that apartment, but I doubt it. I never stayed there overnight again. Good times!

Just to the LEFT of the top right window is where the ghostly hermit floated through the wall! Happy Halloween!

Posted by Alan Smithee in CONTESTS, 0 comments
MIKE NASH and CURIOUS GOODS

MIKE NASH and CURIOUS GOODS

By John Roisland 

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I first met Mike Nash (aka Mike Smash), owner of Curious Goods, in 2014 at Monster Mania in Cherry Hill, New Jersey. I'm a convention lover and attend them  as often as the all mighty dollar will let me. My wife Stephanie and I took our daughter for her 16th birthday.

Over the years I've lost a bit of the fanboy feel that I used to carry towards the celebrities, even though there are still some that I do enjoy meeting and even some I enjoy getting to see and speak with repeatedly. More so, I go to run into my horror family and the vendors that I have met with through the years. These days, my convention weakness is the vendors!!! My wife and I try to collect horror merchandise whenever possible. From art work and jewelry to action figures and clothing, there is no place better to find my personal Xmas list of wants than at a convention! Trust me, I could spend my every last penny in the vendor rooms!

Well it happened to have been at Monster Mania when I walked up to a rather large vendor set-up that wasn't just a folding table full of DVDs or a few t-shirts but rather a full walk-in display of a style of artwork like I had never seen in my life! Now, I'm a horror action figure collector, or I try to be, and what I saw took it to entire new level!

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Creating full size posable action figures, Mike makes ANYTHING that comes to mind - from horror to music and sci-fi! I saw the figures from King Diamond,  Star Wars, Ghost, Jaws, The Human Centipede , American Psycho, and tons more! But these aren't like action figures that you can buy off a rack in any store, no sir!

All of these are so exquisitely and precisely made that they will honestly make you do a double take, and you will find yourself staring at them. The attention to detail is what really makes them extraordinary. After you see one and say to yourself, "Holy shit, it's <whoever> !", then you really look closely at the fine details - and this detail level is in each and every piece that you see on display. You'll fall silent as you pan the entire display that you are now engulfed in because you are quite amazed by it all - now in  an entirely new way. It no longer looks like a guy selling action figures, but rather an artist selling his work.

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Since I last saw him, Mike was at Scares That Care Weekend Convention in Virginia last August and, most recently, at Monster Mania this past March. Curious Goods is now making  3D shadow boxes and, like the action figures, are all custom, hand crafted works of art. And, as I mentioned earlier, Mike makes anything you can think of - from Trick or Treat to Faces of Death and Motorhead to Bob's Burgers. Now he is getting into stained glass work, too. While I was looking I saw what I believe was a finished piece of stained glass, and it was gorgeous!

All items are created, produced and or customized by me. I spend a very large portion of my time and energy on this art, and travel the country sharing it with you, the fans, at comic/horror and tattoo conventions. This is my livelihood/job/career. All items are available and for sale, commissions always welcome... I hope you enjoy what I have created... -Mike Smash

Do yourself a giant favor, the next time you're at a convention, look up Curious Goods and check out all that is offered - especially if you're looking for good quality work and something a little different. While gawking at his work, keep an eye out for pieces that Mike may have added his own twist, or sense of humor to! But you don't have to wait for a convention because you can also look at his work online and stay up to date via his Facebook page.

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If you're lucky enough to find Curious Goods at a convention that you're attending, say hello to the artist. Mike is a great guy and awesome to talk to. But keep in mind, he is there for business, and takes it very seriously. More often than not, he is either watching over his booth or working on more projects as you talking to him. The man is non stop!

 

Keep It Evil

Posted by John Roisland in IN THE SPOTLIGHT, PRODUCT REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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 Alan Smithee 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 Alan Smithee 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 Alan Smithee in ATTRACTIONS AND DESTINATIONS, PARANORMAL, 0 comments
LOCAL HAUNTS

LOCAL HAUNTS

TAMPA FLORIDA

By Margeaux DeMott

 

Have you ever wondered if the places around you are haunted? Most of the posts you see are usually the most haunted in the world or in a certain state. How frustrating! Not everyone can travel that much, and have the extra time in the day to research what's haunted around them. Well, that's okay because I am here to do some research for you. My goal is to bring you at least five haunted places, one city at a time. The first in this series will be of the town I live in: Tampa Florida.

Tampa Theater

Tampa 8
The Tampa Theater was built in 1926 and was designed the architect John Eberson. His inspiration for the theater came from the gardens of Italy, and France with Persian shrines and Spanish patios mixed in. It is a breath taking theater complete with a ceiling that mimics the sky.  It is absolutely gorgeous. I fully recommend going, and going early so you can take in the design without distracting you from the movie/play/concert.
Reports
If you ask anyone who works for the Tampa Theater they will tell you it is haunted. There has been reports of cold spots, ghostly figures, the sounds of doors opening and closing, hearing footsteps, and the sounds of doors opening and closing. One of the ghostly figures that has been seen is of a woman. It is believed that she died before the theater was built and that she is waiting for her fiance. There are also reports of seeing Foster Fink Finley in the projection room when no one else is around. Foster Fink Finley was the projectionist for the Tampa Theater from 1930 to 1965. His final day on the job was also his final day alive. He collapsed in the projection room and died that day of a heart attack. During an investigation paranormal researcher reported seeing someone in an old Tampa Theater uniform. It is believed that it might be Robert Lanier, Sr. Robert Lanier, Sr was a ticket taker employed at the Tampa Theater and had the only known death on the property. On May 29th, 1959 he was found near the box office on the marble tile. His skull was crushed and it is still unknown if he was murdered or if he fell down the stairs.

 

University of Tampa Plant Hall

Hall
Originally Plant Hall was the Tampa Bay Hotel. Henry Plant opened the hotel in 1891 and it boasted 500 rooms within 5 stories. The hotel was built to be the best and most lavish hotel of the time. If you ask me, they nailed it. It is a beautiful ornate Victorian style building with Moorish minarets. It is eye catching to say the least. The hotel closed in 1930, but in late 1933 Tampa Bay Junior College moved in and later became the University of Tampa.
Reports
Plant Hall has a variety of haunted experiences. People have reported seeing a man in a three piece brown suit with red eyes. In one event when the witness turned a fled from him he reappeared in the next room drinking tea. There have been reports of seeing Victorian era servants still carrying out their duties. On professor reported seeing a mist that had a figure like shape to it that moved through the wall as soon as he began to pay attention to it. Many have heard whispers, chatter, and dice rolling. Students have reported having the lights shut off on them while studying alone. Even if people don't see or hear anything a lot of people have reported the feeling of being watched.

 

Britton Cinema 8

Britton 8
Britton Cinema 8 is situated in a shopping plaza that was built in 1956. It has changed hands a number of times through out the years.
Reports
Employees of Britton Cinema 8 have heard their names being called and voices inside of empty theaters. One guest reported the chairs next to her creaking as if someone was pushing the seat down to sit next to her. Another guest said that as he was enjoying a movie inside of an empty theater he started to notice people appearing in the seats in front of him. The women's restroom has it's own resident ghost. People have heard stall doors close and lock on their own as well as toilets flush. However, I couldn't find reports of the water being run. Gross ghosts; wash your hands.

 

Crown Colony House [Busch Gardens]

Crown Colony House
Located inside of Busch Gardens the Crown Colony House was originally called The Old Swiss House. The Old Swiss House was built in 1964 and was a replica of a Swiss restaurant. In 1982 it was shut down and used by the entertainment department for rehearsals and auditions. It was later renovated and opened back up in 1990 as the Crown Colony House.
Reports
Employees of the Crown Colony House have encountered a mist in the dining room that they believe to be an eight year old girl named Wendy. She's also said to stop the elevator between floors. During closing employees have reported hearing voices, laughing, and children playing inside of building. Guests and employees have said to have seen an elderly bartender and some have also caught a glimpse of a pianist sitting at the piano before he vanishes. A full apparition of a woman wearing a white night gown has also been seen by employees. Many have experienced flickering lights and unexplained cold spots.

 

Sunshine Skyway Bridge

Sunshine skyway bridge
The original Sunshine Skyway Bridge was built in 1954. It had a vertical clearance of 150 feet and sported only two lanes. In 1971 they added a southbound span. However, tragedy struck twice in 1980. On January 28th, 1980 USCGC Blackthorn [a buoy tender] collided with Capricorn [a tanker] while trying to pass underneath the Sunshine Skyway Bridge. Twenty-three servicemen died in the collision. On May 9th, 1980 MV Summit Venture [a freighter] was passing under the Sunshine Skyway Bridge when it hit one of the support columns. The bridge collapsed taking 8 vehicles with it. One of the vehicles was a greyhound bus that was taking a group of college kids to Miami. Thirty-five people died in that incident; there were only two survivors. One man swam to shore and the other was able to stop his car 14 inches before the collapsed area of the bridge. A new bridge was built and opened in 1987. Sunshine Skyway Bridge has 4 lanes of traffic and a vertical clearance of 197 feet. There have been upwards of 200 suicides from the Sunshine Skyway Bridge. In an attempt to counteract the high rate of jumpers the state has put in six crisis hotline phones along the center span in 1999 and began 24-hour patrols.
Reports
In the 60's and 70's people started reporting to police of potential jumpers on the original Sunshine Skyway Bridge. Sometimes when the officers went out to help they could find no evidence of someone being their search for a body would turn up nothing. These reports are ongoing. Some drivers have stopped to pick up a you woman hitch hiking on the bridge, but the closer they get to the summit the more upset she gets. When the person turns to console her she is gone. There has also been reports of her making it all the way to the end of the bridge only to have disappeared leaving a wet spot on the seat. Parts of the original Sunshine Skyway Bridge are now used a piers and are a popular fishing spot. On the tenth anniversary of the bridge collapse people reported seeing an old style grey hound bus filled with young people that were just staring ahead. People also report hearing screams and squealing breaks early in the morning on the pier. A paranormal dive team went to investigate under the bridge and found a strange unexplained light phenomenon. Some have seen a pioneer woman wearing a grey dress and hovering over the water underneath the bridge. Witnesses say she has a sullen look to her and she never interacts or notices them. No one is sure where she came from or what happened to her in her life.

 

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

Posted by Alan Smithee in ATTRACTIONS AND DESTINATIONS, PARANORMAL, 0 comments
MOVIE REVIEW: Crimson Peak (2015)

MOVIE REVIEW: Crimson Peak (2015)

By Dixielord

Guillermo Del Toro definitely knows how to make a big beautiful film, but can he do a horror movie? His last ghost movie, Mama, just didn't do it for me. The wispy CGI ghosts just don't do it for me, and while it wasn’t a bad story, the ghosts bored me more than frightened me. But now he tries again with Crimson Peak.

Crimson Peaks Jessica Chastain

Crimson Peak's Jessica Chastain

Crimson Peak is a big scale Gothic ghost story starring Tom Hiddleston, Charlie Hunnam, Jessica Chastain and Mia Wasikowska (Stoker). And let's get it straight if I try and type Mia's gull name over and over I'm going to eventually fuck it up, so from now on, I'm sticking to Mia.

Mia plays Edith Cushing, the heir to her father's fortune who is haunted by the ghost of her dead mother. She finds herself, and her father's money courted by the titled, but broke, Baronet Thomas Sharp played by Tom Hiddleston (The Avengers, Thor). This doesn't sit well with her father played by Jim Beaver (Supernatural), or the president of the local biker club, whoops, local doctor and childhood friend Charlie Hunnam (Sons of Anarchy). After her father's murder, she agrees to marry Hiddleston and move to his ancestral home, known by the locals as Crimson Peak. There the hauntings continue and animosity grows between Mia and her sister in law Lucille played by Jessica Chastain (Mama). Back in America the jilted Dr. McMichael (Hunnam) investigates and finds things the good Baronet is hiding things. He rushes to Crimson Peak to save Edith, but with her health mysteriously declining and winter setting in, will he be in time?

Mia Wasikowska in Crimson Peak

Mia in Crimson Peak

With Crimson Peak, Del Toro has crafted a truly beautiful film. Even his ghosts, beyond the black wispy phantoms, he has added a blood red to go with the films title and theme. The ghosts also have a bit more substance than those in Mama. As they rise out of the floor and walls of the dilapidated castle, I'll admit they made me jump a couple of times. I'm still not a big fan of the CGI ghost, buy they looked better than in Mama. They seemed to have more substance, which made them a bit more realistic and creepy.

The scenery likewise is beautiful to behold. The manor home that is falling apart and especially the white snow, dyed red by the clay that gives Crimson Peak it's name. Then add to that the cast of beautiful people in Hunnam, Hiddleston and Mia, and you have a film that is a visual treat.

But is it scary? Like I mentioned above, it actually gave me a few startles and I cant complain about that. Mostly however, Crimson Peak is a Gothic ghost story, more focused on romance and mystery than horror. It harkens back to when ghosts were more of a protective and warning spirit than an agent of chaos. While the ghosts do provide some scares, they necessarily where the horror lies in Crimson Peak.

The main story here is the mystery that Crimson Peaks holds. What happened to the mother of Thomas and Lucille? What is the relationship between the two siblings and what is the secret that he desperately tries to hide from Edith? And can Jax move on from his father’s death to lead the club, wait no, another project...

Charlie Hunnam in Crimson Peak

No motorcycles or giant robots for Charlie Hunnam in Crimson Peak

Crimson Peak ends up being a bit of a tragedy, and I wont give away any more than I have already. Go see it. It's not a grand horror movie, but it is a well acted, and beautiful ghost story with a real Gothic feel. I'm giving it 7 and ¾ stars out of 10.

Posted by Allen Alberson in MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments

MOVIE REVIEW: Unfriended (2015)

By John Roisland

unfriended

Universal Pictures brings us a tale of cyber haunting in Unfriended. While on a group Skype, six high school students are haunted and terrorized by the ghost of a fellow student who has killed herself.

The group is first annoyed by this mysterious guest who has popped into the group chat. Things quickly escalate as this guest, who has now assumed the identity of a deceased friend and proceeds to share very personal and sometimes intimate secrets amongst the group, is turning them against each other and has also taken over complete control of the computers, rendering them helpless.

They now are all in fear for their lives as they realize the guest is indeed the ghost of their passed away friend. The techno spirit is back for revenge and blames the group for her suicide. Using cyber possession and physical haunting, she brings her victims to there demise one by one.

Upon its theatrical release, I was interested in seeing the film. It's not..bad. The movie itself had kinda a MTV feel to it. It isn't one that I'd be looking to for winning any awards, but at the same time, I've seen a lot worse!

The acting over all, really surprised me. Having to portray a overly dramatic teen...they nailed it. What honestly impressed me though, was that none of the actors had any scenes together ...like I said, it was a group chat. So all the acting they did, was in scenes by themselves.

The entire film you are looking either at a computer screen full of typing and multiple screens or at a video window, that holds another character in it. At first, I will admit I almost felt slightly claustrophobic staring at a laptop screen, I kept waiting for a scene to open up, and it never did. But once the story line really kicked in, I was more enthralled in it other than background.

Unfriended was directed by Levan Gabriadze and was written by Nelson Greaves . It stars a young cast comprised of Heather Sossaman, Mathew Bohrer, Courtney Halverson, Shelley Henning, Moses Storm, Will Peltz , Renee Olstead and Jacob Wysocki. The film was released in theaters on April 17, 2015.

I know not everyone is going to like this film,..AT ALL! But if you have NOTHING else to do, I think its worth a watch.

Posted by John Roisland in MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments
MUSIC REVIEW: The Body and Blood of Ghost

MUSIC REVIEW: The Body and Blood of Ghost

By Amy Mead

When Swedish metal band Ghost first hit the scene, I was a bit behind the times and it took me a while to jump on the Ghost train. But when I finally did, I was legitimately blown away, making me wonder what the hell had taken me so damn long. And why had no one told me how fucking awesome they are?!

Almost immediately, I was hooked. Within a few days of my introduction to their music, I had the EP If You Have Ghost and both albums, Opus Eponymous and Infestissumam, in my ready and eager hands. I have never regretted the purchases, and I am anxiously and impatiently awaiting their latest offering Meliora, which is being released on August 21st.

ghost-bc-dave-grohlThere are very few bands that evoke such a wide range of emotions in me when I listen to them. Ghost is one of those bands. There are two songs in particular on the album Infestissumam, "Monstrance Clock" and "Year Zero", that literally give me goosebumps and the melodies often ring in my head for days after each listen. I listened to these CDs so much that even my family got in on the action, and we are now ALL Ghost fans. Even my ten year old!

Ghost_-_infestissumam_cover

Ghost has a variety of different sounds, which is one of the things I love about their music. Even with the heavy Satanic overtones and mockery of the Roman Catholic Church and The Holy Trinity being a constant theme in their music, every song is different from the last. The albums all sound quite different from each other. Their EP If You have Ghost has an amazing cover of Abba's "I'm a Marrionette" that I just love. Yes, I said it. There is no point where it gets repetitive or boring and I can listen to each one without skipping a single track. Often. There aren't many albums I can do that with. Listening to the them from start to finish has never been a problem for me at all. The same cannot be said even for some of my favorite bands.

Opus EponymousThough their music may not be considered very technically challenging by some, there is something about their sound that just does it for me. Sometimes melancholic yet somehow upbeat, the tempos and the pace are always changing. Each of their albums evokes a different response from me at different times. Each listen is a new experience for me and for me, personally, that is the true test of music. If it makes me feel something, I am all about it.

I'm not sure that I could choose a favorite from their body of work because there is plenty to love from each offering. However, I am strangely fond of the EP, which consists of mostly cover songs. I mean, who knew Abba could sound like that? That being said, Infestissumam is the one found in the CD player most often, but they are all equally badass and even the artwork for each album is fantastic! You can tell that Ghost consists of horror fans, which makes me like them even more.

Meloria

I listen to Ghost, any of it, and I begin to feel cleansed, purified, relaxed and often renewed in the process, which is kind of a nice change of pace for a metal girl such as myself. As someone who often uses squealing guitars, blast beats, and death metal vocals to calm down, it is somewhat refreshing to say the least. Sometimes a girl just needs to relax in a calm sort of manner and not be screamed at while she does it, ya know? Not that there's anything wrong with that, but sometimes a change up can be a good thing.

If you've not given Ghost a chance yet, I urge you to do so immediately. I can't promise you that you'll like them as much as I do, but I would feel somehow remiss if I didn't share the listening pleasure that is Ghost with all of you. I have found their entire body of work thus far incredible and I wish someone had turned me onto them sooner.

Overall I give Ghost a 9/10.

Posted by Alan Smithee in MUSIC REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments