Horror Movie Round Up Week Two: October 8th-14th

Nosferatu, eine Symphonie des GrauensNosferatu (1922)

A Transylvanian count purchases a property from a young real estate agent. After the purchase is complete, the young man begins to realize the count is more than he seems.

I didn’t know about the lawsuit from the widow of Bram Stoker over the unlawful adaptation of the Dracula novel until right before I watched the film. Knowing about the struggle of keeping the film alive after the lawsuit adds something to the viewing experience. This is a hugely influential film, and it is clear to see why. It is good and creepy, and has all of the elements of vampire legends. The music was wonderful, the special effects were impressive, and considering the fact that it is a silent film the acting was very effective.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars.


a-girl-walks-homeA Girl Walks Home Alone at Night (2014)

A vampire preys on the residents of the Iranian ghost-town Bad City.

This was weird. A good weird but still weird. Shot in black and white, with very little dialogue, it relies heavily on its soundtrack and its actors’ facial expressions. I thoroughly enjoyed it. It reminded me a lot of Let Me In, or Let the Right One In, with its dark tone and “sympathetic” vampire. I was also sufficiently creeped out so it did its job.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars.


deliveranceDeliverance (1972)

Four friends take a break from their city lives to go on a canoeing trip in rural Georgia but are thrown into a fight for their lives after they are viciously attacked by some locals.

I found this on some list of “must see” horror films and added it to my watchlist because it is something I have wanted to see for a while but this is definitely not a horror film. There is a lot of tension, and some excellent action but it lacks that primal fear element to make it a true “horror” film. Still, I enjoyed it. Burt Reynolds is a badass and Jon Voight was so young!

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars.



2:13 (2009)

After returning from psychiatric leave, a police profiler begins investigating a series of murders in which the killer leaves masks on his victims.

My dad was a big fan of the Mark & Brian radio show hosted out here in SoCal, and he has followed Mark Thompson’s work since then, which is how this movie ended up on the list. Mark wrote and starred in the film, and I have to say it was pretty good. I thought the serial killer’s habit of leaving masks on his victims was creepy, and I liked the link back to Thompson’s police investigator. Sometimes things were a little too quickly solved, or neatly tied up but overall it was a well written and executed detective story.

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars.


paranormal-activityParanormal Activity (2007)

After experiencing some disturbing phenomenon, a couple sets up a camera to record any supernatural events in their San Diego home.

I think this would have been a lot more effective had I seen it when it first came out. I did think it was a really interesting experience watching it, and I was intrigued by how the whole process worked but I wasn’t really moved by any of the events in the film. I wasn’t ever really scared and I feel you have to stretch your belief a bit with some of the characters’ choices. However, this gets points for being an innovative and creative idea.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars.


last-houseLast House on the Left (1972)

On their way to a concert, two girls are kidnapped, sexually assaulted, and shot by four escaped convicts.

Wow was this bad. The tone is all over the place with the silly folk music, and comedic cop duo intercut with the horrific attack scenes. I was expecting to be scared, or at the very least disturbed but I just couldn’t believe how ridiculous some of the things going on in the film were. I can only forgive Wes Craven because it was his first writing and directing credit, and I hope that the remake is actually better than the original.

Rating: 1.5 out of 5 stars.


the-legend-of-hell-houseThe Legend of Hell House (1973)

A team of specialists agree to stay in a haunted mansion for a week in order to determine the source of, and solution to its paranormal occurrences.

I don’t think I had seen this film before but a lot of it seemed really familiar. This could be due to the story being similar to other films’ plotlines, and perhaps there was a remake. I liked it. I thought it was creepy and I really liked the different character’s approaches to uncovering what supernatural forces were at work. I also think it holds up pretty well for being a forty year old movie.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars.


Coming next week: The Blair Witch Project (1999), Dressed to Kill (1980), Prom Night (1980), and more.

Horror Movie Round Up Week One: October 1st-7th


Vacancy (2007)

A couple gets stranded in the middle of nowhere and have to spend the evening in a cheap hotel where they are the only guests. Things take a turn for the weird pretty soon thereafter.

This was pretty good but not great. I thought the suspense was there, and the idea is really creepy but I didn’t quite buy into the two leads (Luke Wilson and Kate Beckinsale). I also thought the opening was too long. However, once the action starts things pick up, and the scares are pretty good.

Rating: 3 out 5 stars.



The Amityville Horror (2005)

A remake of the 1979 film of the same name in which a family moves into a new home and begin experiencing strange occurrences.

First things first, this is obviously not as good as the original. I was only really creeped out in one scene, and while I liked Ryan Reynolds, his character’s descent into madness felt too extreme and too quick. In the original the madness comes on slowly and manifests itself in everyday irritants. Overall it was fine but unnecessary and didn’t do anything to change or improve upon the original.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars.



Bubba Ho-Tep (2002)

The spirit of a cursed mummy terrorizes an old folks home. Oh, and our two heroes believe that they are actually Elvis and JFK.

I love Bruce Campbell in cheap B horror films. This is a hilarious setup and a good, fun film. It does get a little creepy but mostly you watch it for Bruce Campbell, and boy does he deliver.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars.



Cujo (1983)

A rabid dog wreaks havoc on a small town neighborhood.

I have never read any Stephen King novels but I have seen several of his films and I always end up liking them. This one was just okay for me. There was a lot of build up to the final showdown with the dog, and while I know some of it was necessary, it felt a bit drawn out. That said, I did enjoy the tension of the scenes with the mom and child in the car. That was well done, and very tense.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars.



Creepshow (1982)

An anthology of five short stories of horror and terror.

Another Stephen King film, and this time a bit more enjoyable for myself. As with most anthologies not everything was a hit but I at least had fun with each story. I thought they all set up their eventual punchlines nicely, and was satisfied with each end result. “They’re Creeping Up on You!” was the one that creeped me out the most, and I especially liked “Something to Tide You Over” and “The Crate.”

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars.



Bone Tomahawk (2015)

A western in which a small band of men goes on a rescue mission to save three hostages from cannibals.

Calling this a horror film is a bit of a stretch. It has some horrific elements, and it does build tension throughout but I don’t know if it is conventionally a “horror.” However, it was still pretty good. I’m a sucker for Kurt Russell, even more so when he is in a western. I’m also a big fan of Patrick Wilson, and Richard Jenkins, who was outstanding in this film. Matthew Fox was also excellent as the douchebag cowboy. Outside of some slight pacing issues, this was a very good film watching experience.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars.



The Wolf Man (1941)

A man returns home after a long absence, and is bitten by a werewolf, consequently becoming infected with the same condition.

I liked this. It’s one of the classic Universal monster films, and it rightly deserves that title. It isn’t really scary but it is a well told story. It introduces the idea, quickly brings on the action, and explores an interesting thought process about mental stability. And at only an hour and ten minutes it does all of this quite succinctly.

Rating: 4 out of 5


Next week’s preview:
Nosferatu (1922), A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night (2014), Deliverance (1972), and more.

Discovery of the Week: Goodreads

I finally have an account on Goodreads, this week’s Discovery of the Week!

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I know I’m really behind the times on this week’s topic but hey, it’s better to show up to the party late rather than never, right? Goodreads has been around for seven years and I’ve been seeing Facebook notifications pretty much ever since. For any who don’t know, Goodreads is a social network for readers. I’m kind of on a books kick right now, actually, I’m always on one. You can review things you’ve already read, select books you want to read, and even highlight what you’re currently reading.

You can also “friend” people on the site, just like Facebook, and read their reviews on things they’ve read. It’s a really cool way to keep all of your reading lists together in one place, and it’s great that you can suggest things to people you know, or get suggestions from them on what to read.

This is another great source of information on new books to discover and I can easily see this being very dangerous. I already have a reading pile at least 50 books high at home, a Pinterest board of things I want to read that has around 85 titles on it, and no time in my schedule to read any of them. Still, I’m excited to explore Goodreads and see what books other people are talking about.

Discovery of the Week: Problems of a Book Nerd

Last week I mentioned how great Tumblr is for new discoveries. Well Buzzfeed is another great source for finding cool new corners of the internet.

This week’s discovery actually involves both of those sites. I’d like to introduce you to Problems of a Book Nerd.

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Thanks to this Buzzfeed post, I learned about Problems of a Book Nerd, a tumblr devoted to posts about issues book lovers face.

People submit “book nerd problems” and the creator of the blog goes through them and decides which ones to share, then numbers them, and posts them (at the time of this post there were over 650 “problems).

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This is an example of some of the many posts. They’re funny little situations that many readers have either experienced, or heard stories of. I’ve seen a lot of these pinned on Pinterest and posted on Facebook. I never knew where they came from and I’m so glad I found this tumblr. I’m currently working my throw the archives. My favorite so far is this one below.

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I love the note at the bottom. I think that’s a beautiful thought.

In addition to these posts, the girl who runs the blog answers questions her followers have messaged her. Most of them have to do with favorite books and book experiences but occasionally there are some other, non-book related questions topics.

I’m still figuring out this whole Tumblr thing and I like that I’m finding new blogs to follow. I love reading and I never have enough time in my schedule to do so as much as I’d like. So, I have to live vicariously through Pinterest book boards and now Tumblr blogs like this one.

Discovery of the Week: Art in My Coffee

Tumblr is great for new discoveries (although I think I actually found this through Story by ModCloth) because there are endless blogs on every single topic you could think of. Practically anyone can go on there and find a blog devoted to their favorite things.

This week I’d like to share with you Art in My Coffee.

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Art in My Coffee is pretty much exactly what it sounds like …

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It’s just a bunch of photos people have taken of the foam designs in their lattes and cappuccinos. It’s pretty awesome for people like me who like coffee and love looking at pictures of it. The only issue with such a blog is that I always want to go sit in a cafe and read a book while I have a nice hot cup of coffee after looking at these pictures, rather than do my work.


Discovery of the Week: Missdemeanor on RedBubble

After missing last week, I’m back with a discovery that is very near and dear to my heart. I’m talking about my sister’s RedBubble account.

Photo courtesy of http://8tracks.com

Photo courtesy of http://8tracks.com

For those of you who don’t know, RedBubble is a website where people can upload their own designs for t-shirts, hoodies and an assortment of other accessories. It’s really cool because it provides artsy people, like my sister, an easy way to create products to sell.


After a friend of mine told her about the site, and her success, my sister created her own account and immediately got started on some awesome designs.

I love my sister and she is extremely talented. I’m so happy she’s found an outlet for this creativity and I am happy to promote her awesomeness.

You can find her designs under the username “missdemeanor,” and all of her items are very adorably geeky (much like the creator herself), centering around subjects like Harry Potter characters and Doctor Who.


Discovery of the Week: Harry Connick, Jr. is Hilarious

This is less a new discovery and more a recent revelation but I missed last week due to a hectic schedule so I want to make sure to do a post this week. Plus, I really want to share this insight with people.

Photo courtesy of http://www.eonline.com

Photo courtesy of http://www.eonline.com

I pretty regularly watch American Idol, and I am not ashamed to admit. I haven’t followed it religiously since the first season and even after I initially started watching it, I wasn’t consistent. I like the performances in Hollywood and the theme weeks but I’ve never gotten really emotionally attached to a contestant. Although, I did just go to a David Cook concert in November and had a blast. So, I would call myself a fan but not a fanatic.

Photo courtesy of http://www.metrolyrics.com

Photo courtesy of http://www.metrolyrics.com

I’ll be honest and say that I don’t care what the judges have to say most of the time. I have never been drawn into a season because of who they have judging that year … until now. I was very interested to see how the new trio work together. I enjoyed Keith Urban’s commentary last year. He was pretty honest and seemed to genuinely enjoy the music and performances. It was a fresh addition to a show that had gotten way too scripted. I wasn’t ever in love with Jennifer Lopez but I think her air of sweetness is a good quality for judging.

After watching the first three episodes of the season, I know the real star of the judges panel is Harry Connick, Jr. Man, is this guy funny and ruthless. He has a great attitude considering most of the people auditioning don’t even know who he is but he plays it off wonderfully. He also has great chemistry with Keith Urban (I think they have a little bit of a bromance going on) and J. Lo.

What I really like is that he’s brutally honest with the contestants. If he doesn’t like a performance, he doesn’t hem and haw about how they have a good personality and such. He tells them blatantly that they aren’t good. He isn’t necessarily mean about it but he is blunt. He’s like Simon but with a better personality. Plus, he’s provided us with some of the best moments in Idol history and they aren’t even at Hollywood week yet!

Seriously, this guy is great …

harry conick on Make A Gif