Wednesday, June 25, 2008

What makes a Haunted House SpoOoOoOky?

Haunted House
Beautiful House

sure, both could be haunted...but which one is more likely?

This leads me to my ultimate Monster Bash Blog question:

What makes a haunted house so spoOoOoky?

Well, there are many factors.

I'd also like to consider this post as a "what you need to make the most rockin' and scary haunted house on the block for your very own Monster Bash 2008!" (of course your party will not be named Monster Bash 2008, because I already claimed it...and you're not really throwing your own party, because you will be too busy having the scariest time of your life at MB08, right? right.

But, here we go:

1. Lighting. make it dim, make it dark, make it terrifying and uncomfortable for your visitor. the more light, the less scary. For example, look at the lighting:The Exorcist
and you know how scary that movie was...

but i digress...that's for another MB blog.

2. Sounds. creaking, screaming, drowning, fake vomiting, violent thunderstorms, cauldrons bubbling, witches cackling, wind howling, monsters in the basement. all are good. Todd Gallant knows what I'm talking about:

3. Age. for some reason, we associate old houses with haunting and scariness. probably because "something bad happened here in 1857" or "ghosts have been here for 188 years! ooooo!" put white sheets over the furniture, add some fake/real dust, cobwebs, old get the idea. someone has been waiting here a long, loooong time for you.

4. Creepy Pictures. "are the eyes in that old portrait following me?" you'd better believe it. (now for your own home use, they sell things called "goretraits", like these from

oh, what a nice old picture....


5. Hidden Rooms. see that strange doorknob? where does it go?....whoa! where are we? can we get out alive? where does this take us? (this is probably really hard to do with your own home...)

6. The Basement. what lives down there? why is it so cold and damp? why is the door locked....?

7. The Attic. Sure, basement and attic are simliar in their oddness and in their creepy location. but both can be used in different ways. basement is more dark and damp, attic is more of a holder of all things lost in time....get it?

8. But most importantly, it's all about what you put INSIDE the house. got some creepy spiderwebs? put them out! got some fogging cauldrons? add that water! got a 6 foot tall jason voorhees figure that you bought on ebay and waited patiently for weeks for? get him by that window chasing away those trick-or-treaters! Remember, be creative, be devious....and be SpOoOoOoOky!!

127 days until Monster Bash 2008/the greatest day of the year!!!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Cujo...The Reason Why Big Dogs Scare Me.

Remember that movie? Remember that dog? Look at him. Seriously, how scary is he?

Let's face it: big dogs are scary. well, at least to me they are. Nothing frightens me more (sharks aside) than a huge, giant, slobbery dog with huge teeth bounding towards me with bloodthirsty eyes and a loud, bellowing bark/growl/snarl.
Dogs are fast, some are very smart, and they eat meat. enough said for me.
give me a little foo-foo dog anyday over a huge monster (see above picture).
So Cujo, he's scary to begin with.
Then he gets rabies after biting a bat.
Then he traps his family in a car while awaiting to kill them all.

Stephen King knows how to scare me. Cujo was originally a novel, that was turned into a movie.
Now, I only saw the movie, but after reading the plot for the book, I'd say the book sounds even scarier!
Anyways, the movie (from 1983, by the way) really is based around this standoff between the woman, her son, and the dog. The mother and son are trapped in a brokedown car at their home, while the dog, covered in blood and dirt and horror paces and tries attacking them over and over again. It becomes almost agonizing to watch these poor people try to escape at the hand of this rabid giant dog.
But what really is at play here is not just the giant dog, it's also the dog's disease: rabies. We've seen in movies how sickness drives people into rages and they become crazed (Outbreak, 28 Days Later, etc). Rabies is pretty friggin scary. I remember reading the book about Louie Pasteur trying to find the cure because this little boy got by, you guessed it, a rabid dog.

The symptoms for rabies are also scary:
After a typical human infection by bite, the virus enters the peripheral nervous system. It then travels along the nerves towards the central nervous system. During this phase, the virus cannot be easily detected within the host, and vaccination may still confer cell-mediated immunity to prevent symptomatic rabies. Once the virus reaches the brain, it rapidly causes encephalitis. This is called the "prodromal" phase. At this time, treatment is useless. Then symptoms appear. Rabies may also inflame the spinal cord producing myelitis.
The period between infection and the first
flu-like symptoms is normally two to twelve weeks, but can be as long as two years. Soon after, the symptoms expand to slight or partial paralysis, cerebral dysfunction, anxiety, insomnia, confusion, agitation, abnormal behavior, paranoia, terror, hallucinations, progressing to delirium.[citation needed] The production of large quantities of saliva and tears coupled with an inability to speak or swallow are typical during the later stages of the disease; this can result in "hydrophobia", where the victim has difficulty swallowing because the throat and jaw become slowly paralyzed, shows panic when presented with liquids to drink, and cannot quench his or her thirst. The disease itself was also once commonly known as hydrophobia, from this characteristic symptom. The patient "foams at the mouth" because they cannot swallow their own saliva for days and it gathers in the mouth until it overflows.
Death almost invariably results two to ten days after the first symptoms; the few humans who are known to have survived the disease were all left with severe
brain damage, with the recent exception of Jeanna Giese (see below). It is neurotropic in nature.

Special thanks to Wikipedia on that one.

Anyway, back to Cujo...

Cujo strikes such a nerve of fear that people even made more movies about big scary mastiffs such as Man's Best Friend, which starred Ally Sheedy (prior to her fame in The Breakfast Club).
So, if you're thinking of getting that giant St. Bernard over that adorable little Yorkie...think about it...what if they get...RABIES?:

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Leprechauns = Not Scary?

You know, I have to be honest with you. I really like Jennifer Aniston.
I'm 100% on her side in the whole Brad Pitt/Angelina/J.A. love triangle. I also loved her as Rachel Green and I loved her in Picture Perfect. What can I say? I'm on team Aniston all the way.



Oh goodness.

I mean, I guess the plot sounded good on paper, right?

Your luck just ran out is a pretty clever tagline.

And this picture looks pretty creepy:
leprechaun what went wrong? Why am I not scared of this film?

I mean, it is kind of likeable, at best. Watch the trailer and tell me it doesn't soften your heart just a little...poor town in South Dakota:

And, I'm sure people must have liked it, because there were 6 total films, all taking place in different zany locations like South Dakota, Los Angeles, Las Vegas....and my personal favorite with Leprechaun 4 taking us on a trip to outer space...look out Jason Voorhees:

and 2 "Leprechaun in the Hood" films...taking place in Compton...starring Ice-T and themselves...yikes...

here's a clip from Leprechaun 3 that I personally find outrageously awesome:

his rhyming is incredible....

and his accent is also something to be reckoned with.

You know what...Leprechaun isn't scary. it's not scary at all. by any stretch of the imagination. but it's pretty ridiculous and hilarious, and therefore...Monster Bash likes it! It is scary how ridiculous it is.

This website shows the different Leprechauns and their personalities, my favorite is Killian Skywalker...who's yours?

Connie also has created an homage to the Leprechaun series at her Leprechaun center.

Seriously, the more I research this film, the more I'm starting to love it. It's the C.H.U.D. of the now. I love that St. Patty's Day has been included into the horror film genre...when will Easter get on the boat?


Friday, June 13, 2008

13 Friday 2008

I made the title European to look extra Euro-SpOoOoOoky, I hope you appreciate it!
superstitious 13
What can I say? I wasn't going to blog today, but how could I not? The next time Friday the 13th will occur is February 2009...which happens to be the opening day of the REMAKE of Monster Bash Blog's favorite movie series of all time....FRIDAY the 13th!!!!! (more to come on that later, because I have alot to talk about with that, and I'm super pumped about it).

But! This is the self-proclaimed Queen of Halloween's dream come true!

I was actually nervous about going to work and getting my hair done, because the 13th is an unlucky day...

The Wikipedia page about today is actually very interesting...go check it out!

So, go break some mirrors, cross a black cat's path, walk under a couple of ladders...and most importantly: watch a scary movie!

black cat

Wednesday, June 11, 2008


Pumpkins are one of my favorite things about Halloween, and even about Fall in general. They are the sole symbol of the months September to early November. I associate the Pumpkin with hayrides, pies, carving, Jack-o-Lanterns, Halloween, my favorite color orange, happiness, you name it. Pumpkins are IT.

In case you want to know more about the magical squash-like gourd that is the pumpkin, I'm giving you a link to the history of the pumpkin because I find it fascinating.

There is absolutely nothing better than going to the pumpkin patch, after taking a hayride in the middle of the day, and picking your very own prize pumpkin...and then carving it into a vampire face.

Give it a virtual shot:
Pick your own pumpkin here

And then Carve it here

Need ideas? go see some extreme carvings!

Perhaps you're more interested in growing your own pumpkin? go to the 'nook!

The pumpkin patch also wants to discuss pumpkins with you.

Now here are some fun-kin facts about our good friend the pumpkin:

The world's largest pumpkin in 2006 was over 1500 lbs!

That's a big gourd!

The world's largest pumpkin pie, however, was over a ton!


Anyways, I could go on and on about my true love of Halloween: the pumpkin, but I just wouldn't do it justice.
All I can tell you is that I can't wait to get my perfect 4 months!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Weird NJ

When I used to work in a mall, my boss used to always bring in his copy of Weird NJ magazine, and leave it in the back and then i would flip through it when I would be working by myself at night.

For those of you not from the garden state, you probably think NJ is the garbage can of America. and for the most part, I can't really find much to disagree with you on. Don't get me wrong, I happen to love good ol' NJ. We have the Jersey shore and all of its magic (watch the Tommy Cheeseballs episode of True Life of MTV and you'll know what I mean). Watch it Here!
We also yeah, the meadowlands! and Giant's Stadium! and Newark Airport! anyway, you get the picture. I actually really like living here. but for those who do not, and who are lovers of the bizarre and not really explainable, Weird NJ is where NJ gets redeemed!
Let's face it, even CNN thinks that it's worth writing about-and they even call NJ "One Weird State".

First of all, Any website that uses the word "weird" as much as I use the word "spOoOoOoky" gets major kudos.

They have also earned the honor of having their own YouTube station.

Apparently, Weird NJ is so insanely popular, that it now has spanned into other states, and on the History Channel-Weird U.S.

So what makes Weird NJ so scary?

Well, when we were younger (high school and immediately post-high school), my friends and I would try to find these creepy locations and "find the ghosts". In the process of trying to find ghosts, we would end up scaring the crap out of ourselves.

Annie's Road - a road in Totowa that is supposedly haunted by a woman dressed in white
Clinton Road - supposedly there is a ghost boy, as well as cannibals, witches, and other horrific things that haunt this area...we ended up in pennsylvania almost because we were driving so far and terrifying ourselves in the process.
Midgetville (not really ghosts, but illegal none-the-less). There are rumored different places that Midgetville is located...I went to the one in Edgewater though. I kind of find Midgetville disrespectful nowadays. I was stupid and young then, but now, I'd pass on going there again. it's rude.
Devil's Tower (also illegal to drive though, but is located in one of the wealthiest towns around and therefore, completely not scary). The rumor was that if you drove around backwards enough times (figure that one out), you'd see the devil.

It was definitely one of those things that you'd do on a Friday or Saturday night and convince yourself that "what you saw was real".

And so, even though we can really only get a dose of Weird NJ in May and October in magazine form, the weirdness and spoOoOoooOokiness lasts year round!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

The Orphanage Freaked Me Out

I feel like all I've been doing is watching scary movies and then reporting them back to you, my wonderful M.B. assured, I won't make this site solely about movies...but in June, Halloween related paraphanalia is few and far-between. so stick with me, I promise that by mid-August we will be in full gear because that is when I do the bulk of my M.B. shopping and decor and costume design.

With that said, I'm going to tell you about a movie I saw on Monday night- The Orphanage, or El Orfanato (that's Spanish)

This movie was so suspenseful, that I didn't even care that I had to read the words (a.k.a subtitles).
Basically, the movie is about this woman (Laura) who is raised at the Good Shepard Orphanage. At 7, she is adopted and leaves the home. As an adult, Laura, her husband Carlos, and their son, Simon (there's an accent on the i, but i don't have that capacity here at blogspot to show you that, pretend with me ok?)
move back to the orphanage with plans to reopen it as a home for disabled and sick children. Soon after their arrival there, this creepy woman named Benigna, who claims to be a social worker, visits them and reveals that she knows about Laura's past, as well as that Simon is adopted (shock!) and that he is HIV Positive (double shock!). Laura kicks Benigna out of the house, and later that night, she finds Benigna with a shovel in the shed being creepy as usual. Laura chases Benigna out of her shed and she runs away.
During the next few days, Laura takes Simon to the beach and Simon, who already has imaginary friends, meets a new friend, Tomas (once again, accent the A). Simon leaves trail of shells to his house to show the friend where to follow him. Laura originally pays this no mind, but then one morning awakens to find a ton of seashells at her doorstep. DUN DUN DUNNNN.
Anyway, Laura and Carlos host an open house type of thing to invite the disabled children and their families to check the home out. Simon and Laura get into a fight and Simon disappears. Laura then begins looking for Simon, and we run into this character:
who is seriously the creepiest thing on planet Earth. He ends up pushing Laura into the bathtub and she injures herself...once again, look at this kid/thing:
Anyway, Laura gets pried out of the bathroom by Carlos and then becomes frantic. She thinks she sees Simon in this cave on the beach that they had gone to the other day, but the tide becomes too high and she can't get to him.
We later find out that nobody was in that cave.
Months go by and we find that Simon is still missing. Laura wakes up often and hears noises in the house. Carlos and Laura are in contact with a psychologist named Pilar, who reveals that the social worker Benigna isn't even a social worker. It turns out that she worked at the orphanage when Laura was there and had a deformed son named Tomas (we see a picture of the same boy with the same mask that pushed Laura into the tub earlier and we are immediately creeped out). It turns out that the children, in toying with Tomas, ended up killing him by having him go into the cave on the beach and the tide drowned him.
Laura and Carlos end up driving somewhere, I think to a bereavement group, and see Benigna crossing the street. Laura immediately jumps up and yells her name, she turns around...and BAM! she gets hit by a passing ambulance. It's outrageous how terrifying this scene is, Jim jumped.
They try to revive her but she dies...only after jumping up and grabbing Laura:
Laura, distraught, feels like the orphanage is haunted. She finds this speaker, who puts her in contact with a medium, and they investigate her house. They find that the house is haunted, and the medium tells Laura that believing is seeing.

Carlos wants to leave the house, but Laura feels there is unfinished business and that she needs to find what happened to Simon before she can leave. She and Simon, before his disappearance had played a "Game" that Simon had said that his imaginary friends had created. Laura begins to recreate the orphanage as it had used to be, and decides to play in the game to try to find Simon.
In the end, she ends up finding out where Simon turns out he had fallen into the hidden room where Tomas was kept, and died. The noises that Laura had heard were in fact Simon falling to his death. Laura is so distraught that she takes Simon's pills and overdoses and dies. She ends up remaining in the orphanage in the afterlife, taking care of the children ghosts, Tomas, and Simon forever.
It was the creepiest and saddest movie ever. There were no special effects and it was quite possibly the most suspenseful movies I've ever seen.
The producer of the film, Guillermo del Toro was also responsible for the movie Pans Labyrinth, which was also an amazing movie.

Don't believe me? Here's the official trailer:

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Welcome to Jack-o-Lantern June and my thoughts on The Strangers

As you may have recalled from one of my previous blogs, Afraid of April and Scary Spring, I was super pumped to see the movie The Strangers.
There were alot of selling points in it for me:

1. There's 3 creepy people wearing masks, and especially one guy wearing what looks like the torn off skin of a baseball/old white canvas bag mask.

2. It said it was based on real events.

3. Its tagline was "Lock the doors. Pretend you're safe", which really hits close to home for me, because regardless of whether it's 12:00 in the afternoon or 7:00 at night, I refuse to leave the door unlocked when I'm home alone because I am scared of what this movie entails.

4. Did I mention people in masks?

5. and most of all, it looked very, very SpoOooOoOky!

So I patiently waited until May 30th to go and see for myself.

Well, on Friday night (opening night of the movie, might I add), I experienced the SpoOoOoOkiness that is The Strangers, and let me tell you, it did not disappoint me.

I'm not going to give you all of the gory details, but I will anyway probably.

There were many things I liked about this movie.

I just want to warn you that there may be some major to minor spoilage in this, so if you don't want to know anything about this, stop reading here! Come back later and discuss it with me.

First of all, the masks are great. They pop out at the scariest possible moments and there are times when it's almost unbearably creepy (see picture above with Liv Tyler on the phone and creepy masked guy popping out behind her unnoticed by her, noticed by everyone in the audience, and welcomed with "oh my God" and "look behind you!" and "are you serious?"). There was also a scene in the end where (stop reading this because i'm spoiling it now) they remove the masks, but you don't see their faces...only the main characters do. we discussed this in depth after the movie and agreed that this was an excellent decision, because the audience can still imagine whatever they want to about the formerly-masked villains, because the unknown is ALWAYS more frightening.

Secondly, the movie doesn't really begin involving a sappy storyline as I had originally thought. In fact, it's just the opposite. Liv's character actually denies the engagement, and the characters are miserable. Instead of being sickened by their sappy happy engagement, you're feeling really bad for them because now they secretly resent each other. I actually liked the way this worked out better, because by the end I felt more of an attachment to the character's pain and plight as I probably would have had they been a perfect happy couple.

Third, I liked the small-ness (is that a word?) of the cast. There were only about 8 people total that you saw in the film. 3 of those people you weren't even really sure what they looked like because they were masked. It really revolved around Liv Tyler's and Scott Speedman's characters, so I really enjoyed the actual isolation of this film. There's a part where he says to her something along the lines of no dogs barking and no cars passing by and how they are truly alone there. That, to me, is terrifying. That feeling of helplessness and "there's nobody to save us", especially after one scene involving Speedman's friend "Mike" (which I saw and said "this movie just took a very bad turn for them") is what makes movies like this really great and work. You get that same feeling in Night of the Living Dead and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, that no matter how close the characters get to actually making it out alive, there's always a ringer and there's that feeling of sheer devastation.

Fourth, the motive. There was hardly a motive for this. When Liv Tyler's character asks one of the masked people why they're doing this...the reply was "Because you were home". Wrong place at the wrong time is horrifying, because it can truly happen to anyone.

Fifth, the ending is outrageously gory/uncomfortable/sad/upsetting/hard to watch. I won't say what happens, just trust me. It was definitely a cringeworthy moment.

Sixth, the "trueness" of the story. It says inspired by true events, but if you search "Hoyt Family", the date, the address, you find nothing. Is it a hoax to create hype for the movie? Is it loosely based on the Manson Family murders? Is it based on what happened to a New York Socialite? Is it based on the Keddie Cabin murders in 1981? Wikipedia has that it's based on the director's childhood. Everyone has differing ideas, making me unsure that anyone knows for sure what the movie is "based on", except the people that made this movie, and maybe a few internet sleuths. I almost like not really knowing. It makes it scarier.

and Seventh, this movie had all of the elements for a good slasher flick. Sure, it's not really that original. There's nothing really earth-shattering about the idea of it, but hey, on a Friday or Saturday night, it's a great film to go see and jump and be scared. It's scary. It has moments where things jump out or there are loud noises and you jump out of your seat. It's not like Hostel where you feel like you're going to barf at how grotesque it is. This stays more true to the classic horror movies.

So, if you're in the mood to see a good scary movie (pretty rare nowadays), Monster Bash blog says go for it!