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Little Library Of Horrors: Women in Horror Month

Little Library Of Horrors: Women in Horror Month

Women In Horror

 

When I ask you to think of some iconic authors in the horror genre, who comes to mind first? Stephen King? Edgar Allen Poe? H.P. Lovecraft? Maybe even lesser known authors whom have had made an impact like Jack Ketchum, or Max Brooks. While all of them are important in their own way, I’d like to show some appreciation for the women in the world of horror novels. Like their male counterparts, there are a multitude of female authors that have shaped horror into what it is today.

Ann Rule launched the true crime sub-genre into a frenzy with her intense and very personal novel, “The Stranger Beside Me”, in which she details her friendship with serial killer Ted Bundy and gives us an inside look into his life. Shirley Jackson set the bar for haunted house stories with her terrifying novel, “The Haunting of Hill House”. One of the most influential female authors in not only horror, but literature in general, Mary Shelley, whom created the beloved and often misunderstood Frankenstein’s Monster. Easily one of the most iconic monsters in history. Last, but certainly not least, is an author whom has recently gained a boom in her career after her latest novel gained a lot praise, including a seal of approval from Stephen King. She is an author whom I believe will make an impact in horror not just for women, but for future authors as well. I’m talking of course about Alma Katsu.

Alma Katsu started her writing career back in 2011 when she wrote the first of a three part series called, “The Taker”. It was a huge success and was even named a “Top Ten Debut Novels” that year. Her latest novel, “The Hunger”, has been praised by the horror community and is compared to the earlier works of King. Speaking of which, Stephen King had tweeted that her novel was “deeply, deeply disturbing and hard to put down. Not recommended reading after dark”. I myself have just finished the novel and I couldn’t agree more with King.

“The Hunger” is eerie, terrifying, no holds barred horror at it’s finest. It’s a retelling of the tragic events of The Donner Party with a supernatural twist to it. It does give off an early King feeling because it’s set in a small community like Derry or Jerusalem’s Lot and you get to really know all of the people in the community. Everyone feels unique and real. The pacing is incredibly well done and the sense of paranoia throughout really grips you.

What I love the most though and the reason why I feel like she’ll make such an impact is how real she makes the supernatural in this. Sure, any amount of supernatural takes a little bit of suspension of belief, but isn’t that all of horror? The feeling of unbelieving that something like that is possible and yet, here it is, happening? She has a way of making that suspension so minimal, so minute that it’s hard to even know you’re doing it. Plus the pure fear the characters feel is gut-wrenching. You have to remember that this was an actual event that happened (minus the supernatural, of course). Real people suffered this terror.

I love that Alma took a real life event in our history and gave it her own twist. If you’re into historical fiction with a horror twist, I can’t recommend checking out “The Hunger” enough. She also has a new book coming out on March 10th, 2020 called “The Deep”. She is once again diving into one of the most famous tragedies in human history and cranking up the terror by revisiting the Titanic. I’m excited to see where she goes over the years and I hope you all do yourself a favor and do the same.

Posted by Kryptic Kollector in BOOKS, COMICS, AND PUBLICATION REVIEWS, Categories, FRIENDS OF THE HOUSE, HORROR HEROES, HORROR HISTORY, HORROR NEWS, MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, THRILLER, WOMEN IN HORROR, 0 comments
Tristan Takes Charge!

Tristan Takes Charge!

Parlour Tricks / Tristan Risk

Indie horror darling Tristan Risk is at it again, this time taking on the role of director for her very own short film entitled Parlour Tricks. Risky, as she is lovingly referred to, is a well-rounded artist, to say the least. She has starred in countless burlesques and sideshows, created insightful, personal pieces of writing on her website Little Miss Risk and portrayed some memorable characters on film both in and out of costumes and special makeup (American Mary, Harvest Lake, Frankenstein Created Bikers) I will go as far to say that Miss Risk is worthy of the title ‘Renaissance Woman’ as she continues to add to her list of accomplishments.
Parlour Tricks / Tristan RiskAs for her latest endeavor though, Parlour Tricks is delightful, fun, and quirky — much like Tristan is herself. It’s a tale of feuding relatives attempting to contact their departed Aunt in the afterlife, not for the need of closure or to relay how much she meant to each, but rather for selfish and greedy reasons. Sitting at seven and a half minutes, the short film is a quick and enjoyable watch that utilizes its black and white format beautifully. The cast and crew come together wonderfully in what is perhaps a passion project and quite possibly the first of many directorial efforts led by Tristan Risk out of her House Of Hiss, successfully throwing her hat in the ring for future features led by females.

Parlour Tricks / Tristan Risk

The High Priestess of Lowbrow took a few moments to answer some questions for us here at HoTS and we couldn’t be more pleased to share what she had to say!
House of Tortured Souls: What prompted you to dive into directing? Has it been something you always have thought of doing?
Tristan Risk: I had always had it at the back of my mind, but I think it mostly came from writing and wanting to see those stories come off of the page, and I had this idea to get someone else to direct. I am not technically trained, so I was worried I needed to know about lens and craft before diving in. Fortunately, I had really great support from my circle of Topher, Jordan, and Burns, who encouraged me to just do it, and so I went with majority rules.
 Tristan RiskHoTS: You are a ridiculously talented burlesque performer and can easily perfect some sideshow abilities such as fire eating and the ‘hair hang’. Do you happen to have a special place in your heart for the body horror sub-genre? Do you have any favorite horror films?
TR: Body horror is the most frightening of subgenres for me. Because I’ve always made my living off of my body, the ideas, and themes it. The idea that we don’t have autonomy over my body is frightening, and while as a woman we face this every day with not having access to health care that meets our needs with regards to our reproductive health. So rather than have an existential crisis over that, we watch Martyrs and Tetsuo: The Iron Man.
HoTS: How long was filming and post-production for Parlour Tricks?
TR: We shot Parlour Tricks in one day on a Saturday in March. The post took a little bit longer as everyone was donating their time to polish it off, but Jordan had us a working edit right away so we got it done quickly, and were able to start sending it to festivals quickly. I’m not sure how long it generally takes, but I’m happy to let people take their time and do the job to their satisfaction.
HoTS: Parlour Tricks is a very fun and offbeat short, rather lighthearted. What made you want to go this route with your film?
TR: I don’t think it’s any shock for anyone who has read my writing to know I can go to very dark and graphic places. I love comedy, and while I enjoy all things horror, I wanted to try something different and showcase a side of myself that I don’t often get to display when I’m in front of the camera. I think I also did it as a mild admonishment to people who are thinking I’d go the safe, shocking route, and that one should always expect the unexpected.

Parlour Tricks / Tristan Risk

HoTS: What can we expect to see from you in the future?
TR: I just wrapped with the Cronenberg remake of Rabid with the Soska sisters in Toronto, Canada. So when that comes to screens I’m very excited and proud to be part of that production. I’m planning on shooting three of my short films, and to work on some features in the future.
HoTS: How has your time on set of the Soska-led remake of Rabid been thus far? Anything you can share with us regarding your character?
TR: The production was full of challenges, but the amazing camera crew and delightful cast, it was an amazing display of tenacity and talent in equal measure. I was so impressed by the crew and in particular our director of photography, Kim Derko, and our camera operators Paula Tymchuk and Tamara Jones. They stood out for me and showed skill and grace, and everyone from all the departments put their blood and souls into this. I’m fiercely proud to be among all of these people’s number in helping contribute to the making of this film.
At this time I’m not sure I’m permitted to reveal the names of what I play at this time. However, I can share that I do play multiple roles in this film that showcases my skill set as well as a new batch of skills previously not used in any other film. I’m very excited to be able to pop up in a few unexpected places and in such a striking film.
 Tristan RiskHoTS: If YOU could remake any film, what would it be?
TR: Oddly enough, I’ve been tapped to contribute and collaborate on another remake, but I’m going to keep that in a quiet whisper for the time being. If I had my pick of films to recreate and reimagine, I’d be tempted to take on Splash. I’m dying to shoot underwater and feature mermaid myth and lore. I even swim in til myself and have worked as a professional mermaid. I’m wanting to feature all the deep diving babes I’ve met over the years who I think could sell the idea.
HoTS: You have toured in over a dozen different countries in various burlesque and sideshows, modeled, and of course acted. Now you can officially add writer and director to your resume. Out of all these creative hats you have worn, do you have a favorite at all? What drives your need to seek such artistic outlets?
TR: I think just a desire to create. So much of it is visual mediums, and I can translate the write to the visual so easily. I’ve always found release in using my ideas to shape my reality around me, and films give me access to a wider audience to do that. I love live shows and it’s frustrating to channel so much energy into a performance where only a handful of people can experience it. While the stage is my first love, I am always ready to have a long-time affair with the screen, and willing to switch between behind and in front of the camera.

Parlour Tricks / Tristan Risk

Posted by Alan Smithee in HORROR NEWS, REVIEWS, WOMEN IN HORROR, 0 comments
MOVIE REVIEW: Insidious Chapter 4 (2018)

MOVIE REVIEW: Insidious Chapter 4 (2018)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

HAUNTED ATTRACTION: BloodShed Farms

Looking for more to do than just 31 days of horror? Front porch all decorated and waiting for trick or treaters? Then go to a local haunt! Chances are there's one close to where you live, and you don't even realize it. This past weekend I was fortunate enough to do just that in Columbus, New Jersey. Columbus brings BloodShed Farms to life!
The location is relatively convenient, and the setting is perfect! Once you have paid your admission, you walk through a small section of a cornfield trail that opens up into a grass-based clearing, almost like a park. There you have vendors, interactive events like pumpkin smashing, food vendors, and, hell, they even have a decapitated basketball throw. There are picnic tables for resting frightened bones and even a stage for the endless entertainment they offer, be it scary-okee or the likes of a special guest, like The Enigma who will be there on Friday and Saturday the 20th and 21st... Sorry I had to miss that! Their roaming characters that are great at interacting with guests and are always willing to do a photo opp.
From the central area called The Reapers Ball, you can easily be guided to one of the five attractions that they offer.

BloodShed Farms - Clown-O-Phobia / Fair use doctrine.

Clown-O-Phobia is an incredibly well-built walk-through that will keep you moving and always keep you guessing. Welcome to the mind of The Circus Rejects! From screams to laughs…and even bubbles, you won’t be let down!


The Trail of Terror is just that! Mix Deliverance and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre together with some amazing props and terrorizing actors that even the deepest South wouldn’t want to mess with, and you are on the right TRAIL!

BloodShed Farms - Trail of Terror / Fair use doctrine.


BloodShed Farms - Hellsgate Asylum / Fair use doctrine.

Hellsgate Asylum…WOW! This walk-through will quickly penetrate your deep psyche as you enter into this insane asylum gone…..INSANE! A number of hospital props and character acting in Hellsgate was truly amazing and blood-curdling!


The Last Ride was actually the first event that I ventured on. You are seated with approximately 20 other guests on a cornride – not a hayride but cornride – through a vast property (all cornfields) with creatures of the night lurking and leering at you and some even jumping on the ride to torment and scare. They even bring back the dead at the end of the ride. That made it a real thriller!!

BloodShed Farms - The Last Ride / Fair use doctrine.


BloodShed Farms 06 - The Camper

The Camper Escape Room is one attraction that, sadly, I did not venture through, but I really wish I had! It is exactly what it says it is: a full-size RV/camper that you enter and have 15 minutes to figure out how to escape!

My night spent at BloodShed Farms was one that I shall not soon forget and will most definitely make the two-hour drive back to experience again! The night was dark, lit with smoky skies, and it was as if I had walked through a cornfield and wandered into a nightmare of a Halloween carnival. I was introduced to many of the staff who actually told me they were sorry that we had come on that night because of some staffing/technical issues. If I could have punched them all in the dick for having said that I would have. devil-emoticon It was awesome, and I hope all the staff and owners of BloodShed Farms are proud of the job they are doing! I would be.
Be sure to check them out online, and check their calendar because the days of the month are going fast. Prices vary, but they are very reasonable for what BloodShed Farms offers. The haunt is child- and family-friendly....but it ain't Disney. Use some damn common sense. If you know your kid or spouse is a wimp, then leave them at home... Or bring them and torture their ass. Muhahaha! That works too! Lines may be long, so get there early or ask about the VIP program.
Any horror and haunt fans in the Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, or Maryland areas should get off your asses and get to BloodShed Farms. And tell them I sent you! My only disappointment is that I hardly took any pictures because I was having too much fun, but please take my word for it – you do NOT want to miss this.
Thank you, BloodShed Farms, for a great Halloween night of fun and terror. It was the most fun we have had in a long time!
KEEP IT EVIL...
Posted by John Roisland in ATTRACTIONS AND DESTINATIONS, 0 comments
MOVIE REVIEW: IT (2017) (1 of…???)

MOVIE REVIEW: IT (2017) (1 of…???)

When we are kids, we watch movies, read books, and hear stories that we carry with us throughout our lives. IT, the super long novel by Stephen King, is one that King’s Constant Readers, as well as most horror fans, have carried with us through our youth. The original adaptation, released in 1990, as a miniseries, started with the youth of Derry, Maine, and ended with the adults when Pennywise returned 27 years later. Of course, the time the film was made plays a large factor in how it was portrayed. So we have to look at it that way in regards to content and exactly what boundaries could be pushed and what couldn’t. Since it was a TV miniseries and the rules were different then, IT really was a different adaptation altogether.
Looking back on the original, I have always felt it to be rather boring and a little too much on the cheesy side. This opinion does not reflect on the actors themselves, but on the direction and the script. I do not speak for everyone, but for me, the story could have been told in a way that wasn’t so much like an after school special about talking to strangers and more like an actual horror film. In other words, the miniseries was like a Goosebumps version compared to what we are allowed to see now in films. IT was very kid friendly so to speak, and for the time it was made, it was definitely on the verge of causing concern for the people of the world. Tim Curry is a great actor and did very well putting that scare into the youth of the early 90s. As horror fans, we need to go into this re-envisioning of the story with fresh eyes and a fresh mind - regardless of who you are. Try to avoid comparing and contrasting both films. And now, on to how this new movie, which was not only a better portrayal but also much scarier.
When I walk into the theater, I was actually amazed that we had fancy seating, all recliner like and cozy. That was a bit weird to me as I’m used to the poor people theaters with sticky floors and immensely uncomfortable seating. Big kudos to United Artists theater in Fishers, Indiana for being awesome in that regard.
I am pretty sure there were 20 minutes of previews, and a couple of them looked really good. Saw 8, though, that horse has been beaten to death. Give it up already. Mother is, I’m pretty sure, a spin-off of Rosemary’s Baby. I can’t for the life of me remember the two that actually looked really good though. I’ll figure it out later. Ha!
Spoiler warning skull_smallRight from the start, the movie gets you all hyped up because it’s set in 1988-89 which, for many of the movie-going public, is when we were young and have some of our earliest memories of life. Those that are into that whole holding on to nostalgia, this is perfect for that. The soundtrack alone was fantastic, and the fashion, lingo, and settings definitely invoke the late 80s. The movie starts with Billy (Jaeden Lieberher) and Georgie Denbrough (Jackson Robert Scott) in a bedroom making a paper boat with Georgie super excited to get it going. Bill instructs Georgie to get some wax to waterproof the paper boat and allow it to float. The foreshadowing comes immediately upon Georgie entering the basement, scared but carrying a 1980s-era walkie talkie that squealed and made a lot of noise to communicate with Billy on the whereabouts of the wax. Yes, that’s important to the film.
Not five minutes later, Georgie is running down the street chasing the paper boat in the rain, but the boat is at the mercy of the water and quickly falls into the a sewer drain. Pennywise the clown (Bill Skarsgård) appears in the drain with his famously evil grin and gains the attention of Georgie, who doesn’t really find it odd that a clown is just hangin’ ‘round in the sewer. There was some struggle, some blood, and a lot of screaming. I’ll just say this: those who haven’t seen the original or read the book, that’s all you need to know; however, those who have seen or read the original know just how fast IT jumps the gun and gets bloody fast.
Flash forward to 1989, almost a year after Georgie goes missing, and the kids are all leaving school. Each one is focused on for character development, a really cool and quick way for the movie to get past all the rhetoric and get to the action on what is to come. The bully, Henry Bowers (Nicholas Hamilton), and his crew terrorize all of the “Losers Club” and just sets a tone that you may believe he is working with Pennywise to abduct kids so that he is safe from harm. There wasn’t a lot of storytelling in this film it was really straight on, get down to business. Pennywise shows up to each kid that was focused on in Derry, and presenting fears to them that could cause them to panic and freeze, enabling Pennywise to snatch them up. What he didn’t realize is that they’re stronger than that. As the stories cross together, the Losers Club all hang out and become closer enjoying some of their summer. It is finally opened up that these things are happening. Each kid giving a brief story of what they saw. Stan Uris (Wyatt Oleff) sees a creepy painting that frightens him, and the woman in it comes to life. Michael Hanlon (Chosen Jacobs), who is home schooled, sees Pennywise hanging in a meat locker. Beverly Marsh has the infamous drain incident where blood comes shooting out like – not unlike Johnny Depp’s death scene in A Nightmare on Elm Street. Eddie Kaspbrak, my favorite character, sees a leper, and Billy, of course, sees Georgie. Ben Hanscom (Jeremy Ray Taylor) also has an encounter. Richie Tozier (Finn Wolfhard) is the only one who (I think) had not seen Pennywise beforehand. Richie makes it a point to mention this as well. Is he funny and smart sassy? Very much so and way much more so than the Seth Green was in his portrayal. Richie really sets the comedic tone for the movie always cracking jokes about sex, penis size, and just generally making fun of everyone. I can relate to this guy pretty well. For example, when Ben gets cut up and beaten, Richie says something about him bleeding Hamburger Helper. HA! So this kept the lightheartedness pretty well throughout the movie even though there were dire things happening all around them.
After a few dozen jump scares and plot development, the kids come together and discover that the key to finding him is in the Well House, which we see is an abandoned and almost certainly condemned house that probably shouldn’t be standing. Eddie, Billy, and Richie man up and go inside to look around. With some fear tactics and an encounter with Pennywise, Bev comes in and stabs the clown in the head giving some wiggle room for the boys to get out of the there. I know I’m vaguely telling what’s up. But y’all don’t need too much info because this is where IT really takes off.
So, with all of that said, the movie from beginning to end was fantastic - and we actually see who and what floats and where “down here” is (which always bugged me about the miniseries). Finally, the Losers Club comes together and decides that if IT comes back, then they will return and fight it again, leaving room for a sequel of course. However, I don’t feel like it needs one. Still, ending like with a “just in case” situation was good after everything played out as it did and they got free. The ending was pretty solid and could be left standing as is. To me, this movie works a standalone film on its own accord. Not only was the direction solid, the script excellent, and the acting on point, but it was seriously a great scary movie. The way I see it is that the original was something thrown together because someone had an idea, and at the time was a good one. This film, though, had a lot of thought and time put in into it, which gave it a better quality story and made it much scarier, creating a fearfest that I believe ANY horror fan can appreciate.
Check out what some other attendees thought of IT in my video below.

EDITOR’S NOTE: As many staff members are attending IT, there will be more reviews to come. Please stand by.
-Woofer McWooferson, Editor-in-Chief
Posted by Schock in MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 1 comment
Top Five Films to Watch in October (Part 6)

Top Five Films to Watch in October (Part 6)

Part of the House of Tortured Souls
Staff Pick October 2016

By John Roisland

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sleepy Hollow (1999)

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

John Carpenter's Halloween (1978)

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

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Monster House (2006)

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

The Houses October Built (2014)

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

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The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)

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

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

Keep It Evil...

Posted by John Roisland in HALLOWEEN, STAFF PICKS, 0 comments

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

Urban Legends: Kuchisake-onna

Urban Legends: Kuchisake-onna

By Margeaux DeMott

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This lovely urban legend comes from Japan. The Kuchisake-onna, Slit-mouthed Woman, legend comes from Japan’s Heian period (794-1185). It is a story of a violent man and a vain woman turned vengeful spirit. Kuchisake-onna translates to slit-mouthed woman in English.

Kuchisake-onna

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Kuchisake-onna was a beautiful, vain woman.  She was married to a violent and jealous samurai. The woman cheated on her husband and when he found out he was enraged. He violently attacked her and gave her a Glasgow smile. After doing so he said to her “Who will think you are beautiful now?”

The tale sounds like one to warn against infidelity, but in the late 1970s Kuchisake-onna reappears as a vengeful spirit.

Kuchisake-onna is said to wear a brown trench coat and wears a surgeon’s mask to hide her going, bloody Glasgow smile. Appearing to people traveling alone at night or on a foggy day she would ask the unfortunate person a seemingly innocent question. Do you think I’m beautiful? This simple question could land you in very hot water. When you tell her yes she proceeds to pull down the surgeon’s mask to show you her still gory wound. She will ask you How about now? If you answer no she reveals a pair of scissors and will kill you on the spot, but if you answer yes she will cut you with the scissors so you too can have a permanent smile. She was often seen lurking near children because their innocent answers would allow her to gain more victims.

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Do not fear dear reader for there are a couple of ways to avoid both of these fates.

  1. If you respond with You’re average, So-so or Am I beautiful? You will be able to confuse her for long enough to run away. And no, you cannot simply run away. If you do not confuse her she will be able to simply reappear in front of you and even follow you home.
  2. If you give her hard amber candy she will be pleased and simply let you go unharmed.
  3. If you tell her that you are late for an appointment she will apologize and let you go to your appointment without incident.

The sightings from the late 1970s may have an actual living, well formerly, culprit. A corner came across documents of a woman who was hit by a car while she was chasing a young child. This woman just so happened to have similar scars as Kuchisake-onna. It is highly likely that she was the cause of the terror and rekindling of an old urban legend.

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The legend of Kuchisake-onna has made its way onto the big screen. The films based off of this story are as follows: Carved aka A Slit-Mouthed Woman aka Kuchisake-onna (2007) and its prequel Carved 2 aka Kuchisake-Onna 2: The Scissors Massacre aka A Slit-Mouthed Woman 2 aka Kuchisake-onna 2 (2008).

Posted by Alan Smithee in ABNORMAL MUSINGS AND FREAKISH FACTS, 0 comments

COMING SOON: Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension (2015)

By John Roisland

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Blumhouse Productions along with Paramount Pictures, brings you the fifth installment in the Paranormal Activity series, Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension. This time around we follow the story of the Fleeges family. The Fleeges have recently moved into the once possessed home of Micah and Katie and have found items that were left behind, including a box of old home VHS recordings and a video camera. Upon using the camera and videos, spirits are evoked and the new tenants are now being haunted.

My personal feelings towards the series have been hit or miss. Some parts of what I have seen with this new feature look interesting, but clichéd. One thing I loosely admired with the other films was the lack of CGI. Well so much for that. This time around CGI is definitely present and will take a lot away from the realism it normally tries to present...at least for me it will. The film is also being shown in 3-D which is usually not a good thing.

Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension is directed by Gregory Plotkin and stars Chris J. Murray, Brit Shaw, Ivy George, Dan Gill, Chloe Csenergy , Jessica Tyler Brown, Olivia Taylor Dudley, and Michael Krawic. It is set to be released in theaters, October 23, 2015, just in time for Halloween.

Posted by John Roisland in HORROR NEWS, 0 comments

COMING SOON: Tales of Halloween (2015)

Are You Ready For Halloween?

By John Roisland

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On October 16, 2015, Epic Pictures brings you an all new tale of terror - Tales of Halloween. Eleven directors and ten writers are brought together to each tell a tale of Halloween in an average suburban American town and then tie them all together to bring you one giant nightmare anthology!

Bringing these tales to the screen are such directors as Lucky McKee, John Skipp, Darren Lynn Bousman, and many other well known genre directors. Also on board are writers like Andrew Kasch, Dave Parker, and Mike Mendez. Bringing these directors' stories to life are a long list of Hollywood favorites. There are many talents bringing the stories to light, including Barry Bostwick (The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Helen Keller vs Nightwolves), Adrienne Barbeau (The Fog, Unholy), and John Landis (Quicksilver Highway, Attack of the 50 Foot Cheerleader). Genre favorites Caroline Williams (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2, Stepfather II), Barbara Crampton (Re-Animator, From Beyond), and Lin Shaye (The Hillside Strangler, 2001 Maniacs: Field of Screams) are also in the film.

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Tales of Halloween, a horror comedy classic in the making, has a run time of 92 minutes and is rated R for strong bloody horror violence, language, and brief drug use. BONUS: Watch for a kid trick-or-treating as "Snake Plissken", the main character from the John Carpenter movies Escape from New York (1981) and Escape from L.A. (1996).

With titles like "The Night Billy Raised Hell", "This Means War", "Friday the 31st", and "Sweet Tooth", Tales of Halloween promises to be quite the Halloween treat for horror lovers. So get the candy corn and popcorn ready because this Halloween flick looks like it has the potential to be pretty damn good!

Posted by John Roisland in COMING SOON, HORROR NEWS, 0 comments