Horror movie top ten, October, 2017

Can it really be time for another one of these posts already? Where has the year gone? Sheesh.

Anyway, here it is:  my annual list of the top ten horror movies Steve and I watched during our October challenge. (Previous lists can be found here: 2014, 2015, 2016). All descriptions are from either Amazon or the IMDB. I do not own any of these images; posters are from all around the ‘net.

10) The Shallows, Howl (tie)

Yes, for the first time since I started compiling these lists, I wound up with a tie!

I’ll start with The Shallows.

Shallows

A mere 200 yards from shore, surfer Nancy (Blake Lively) is attacked by a great white shark, with her short journey to safety becoming the ultimate contest of wills.

I debated including this film on the list because I’m not sure if it’s really a horror movie or a thriller.

(Side note: This was true of a lot of the movies we watched this year, actually. I’m starting to think Steve and I have watched every horror movie out there. We’re now having to expand the criteria for this challenge to include anything remotely scary or creepy in any way. I think sharks are frightening, so it counted.)

I feel as though it’s a fine line sometimes, between a sort-of-tame horror film and a really intense/bloody thriller, if you know what I mean?

Anyway, the IMDB lists this one as both, so…Aside from the climax, which I won’t spoil, I thought it was entertaining and I enjoyed watching it.

Howl

On a stormy night, passengers on the last train out of London begin to panic after coming to a sudden halt. They soon realize there’s something dangerous lurking in the forest, and it’s stalking the besieged train and picking them off one-by-one.

Howl was quite an entertaining movie, too, albeit completely different. Definitely a horror movie! This one is about people trapped on a train while…something prowls around outside, trying to get in and eat them. You can probably guess what that ‘something’ is just from the title and from looking at the poster, but…I won’t mention it here in case it’s considered a spoiler :). Just allow me to say I’m a fan of these particular creatures, so I may be a little biased here, but I thought this one was a lot of fun.

9) Clown

Clown

A loving father dons a clown suit for his son’s birthday party, only to realize that it’s cursed.

I know what you’re probably thinking. An evil clown suit? C’mon. I thought that, too, at first but I was pleasantly surprised. This was a very solid horror film, and I was impressed with the way it perfectly straddled the line between being scary and funny. I wouldn’t have minded if it was a straight-up horror comedy, TBH, but it wasn’t. The inherent humor in the clown-centered premise isn’t ignored, the film doesn’t take itself too seriously, and there were certainly laughs, but from the moment the dad, Kent, (played by Andy Powers), realizes he is stuck inside the suit and no matter what he does it will not come off, you start to get genuinely creeped out and anxious on his behalf. And of course from that point on, things only get worse for poor Kent…

8) 10 Cloverfield Lane

10 Cloverfield Lane

After a car crash, a woman wakes up in a survivalist’s bunker. He claims to have saved her from an apocalyptic attack but, growing suspicious of his motives, she’ll have to escape to discover the truth in this heart-pounding new thriller from J.J. Abrams.

Another one I’d probably classify as a thriller, or maybe sci-fi, but once again, the IMDB lists horror as one of the genres so we’ll go with that :). Everyone in this did such a great job with their performances. A nail-biter through and through.

7) Cult of Chucky

Confined to an asylum for the criminally insane for the past four years, Nica (Fiona Dourif) is wrongly convinced that she, not Chucky, murdered her entire family. But when her psychiatrist introduces a new group therapy tool — a “Good Guy” doll — a string of grisly deaths plague the asylum and Nica starts to wonder if maybe she isn’t crazy after all. Andy (Alex Vincent), Chucky’s now-grown-up nemesis from the original Child’s Play, races to Nica’s aid. But to save her he’ll have to get past Tiffany (Oscar-nominee Jennifer Tilly), Chucky’s long-ago bride, who will do anything, no matter how deadly or depraved, to help her beloved devil doll.

I’ve enjoyed all of the Child’s Play franchise and this installment was no exception. It was very weird, but in a good, kinda mind-bending way that worked for me. There were just so many elements here that I enjoyed: seeing Nica, Andy, and Tiffany/Jennifer again, as well as the multiple Chucky dolls. Yeah, there were unanswered questions but overall, a fun movie.

6) The Devil’s Candy

Devil's Candy

Diehard metal-head and struggling artist Jesse (Ethan Embry) moves with his wife (Shiri Appleby) and daughter (Kiara Glasco) to a rural Texas town, unaware that the house they got for an unbelievable deal comes with a grisly history. Their dream home turns into a nightmare as disturbing demonic occurrences culminate with the appearance of Ray (Pruitt Taylor Vince), the home’s former resident who’s destined to do the devil’s bidding.

Well, I love metal and I love horror so I guess it’s not all that surprising that I’d like a horror movie about metal fans–and which features metal music on the soundtrack.

This was a good, creepy haunted (sorta) house movie that easily held my interest, but what I really liked about it were the performances by all the actors (even though I totally did not recognize Ethan Embry until the credits rolled. I’m still not entirely convinced that was him. When did he morph into a completely different dude?) The relationship between Jesse and his daughter, in particular, felt realistic and sweet.

5) Possession

Possession

A woman starts exhibiting increasingly disturbing behavior after asking her husband for a divorce. Suspicions of infidelity soon give way to something much more sinister.

I’m sort of cheating with this one, I guess, because I’d seen it multiple times before, but…it’s one of my favorites and IMO doesn’t get enough attention, so I’m putting it on the list :). Also, this viewing was special because it was on the big screen, at the Alamo Drafthouse. To say I was surprised they decided to screen this is putting it mildly. I was even more surprised I’m not the only person who showed up!

I first stumbled upon this movie completely randomly. Steve and I were in a Tower records, I think (so yeah, you know it was a long time ago) and we came across this DVD…actually a two-pack with Mario Bava’s Shock. So we bought it on a whim.

Shock

I loved both movies, particularly Possession, but Steve didn’t care much for either one. So Possession became one of those movies (like Mulholland Drive, Brazil, or The Man Who Fell to Earth) that I’d watch whenever he was out of town, so as not to subject him to the weirdness. Ha, ha.

I’m not even sure what it is about this film that I like so much, other than that it’s just so hard to look away from. And it certainly isn’t predictable. A lot of it doesn’t make sense. It does remind me a little of Hellraiser, though, in some respects. If you watch it, you’ll probably see what I mean. Not that I recommend watching it. Please don’t blame me if you do!

4) Blair Witch (2016)

Blair Witch

After discovering a video showing what he believes to be his vanished sister Heather, James and a group of friends head to the forest believed to be inhabited by the Blair Witch.

Was this movie necessary? Nope. Was it surprisingly creepy and fun to watch? Yep.

I’m not generally a fan of hand-held/found footage movies and am hard-pressed to watch them…unless Eduardo Sanchez was somehow involved in their production. All of his movies are cool.

3) Victor Crowley

Victor Crowley

The latest installment in the very fun Hatchet franchise. Good, old-fashioned, old-school horror with loads of gore and humor mixed in. Felissa Rose cracked me up so much in this! And it was especially cool to see this movie in the theater, with director Adam Green in attendance.

2) The Blackcoat’s Daughter

Blackcoat's Daughter

Two girls must battle a mysterious evil force when they get left behind at their boarding school over winter break.

This was slow-paced and understated without being pretentious. Not too heavy on the gore (although there are a couple of sequences) but very heavy on the creepiness. And how impressive is Kiernan Shipka? She did a great job in this film. I knew while I was watching The Blackcoat’s Daughter that it would most likely make this list because I was enjoying it so much, and I knew for sure it’d make the list when I kept thinking about it the next day, too. If you like stuff like Rosemary’s Baby or The Lords of Salem–movies that really crank up that building sense of dread–you might dig this.

1) The Void

Void

Shortly after delivering a patient to an understaffed hospital, a police officer experiences strange and violent occurrences seemingly linked to a group of mysterious hooded figures.

It’s kind of funny to me that this wound up being my number one movie this year, for a couple of reasons. To begin with, it was the very first one we watched, on the last day of September. We decided to include it as a bonus movie on “day zero” because Steve had already seen it before, but I had only seen half. Because I’d fallen asleep the first time we watched it! Not because it was boring or anything; it was just really late at night. And I’d taken a Zirtec. And had a couple of beers.

We’d gone to see it as part of a double feature (with In The Mouth of Madness) at the Alamo Drafthouse and it was freezing cold in the theater, so between movies, Steve, being the sweet husband that he is, went out to the car to get me the travel blanket we carry around in there. Well, I snuggled down under that thing and…boom, out like a light by the second half of the movie. I felt really bad! But yeah, I made it up by watching it again and this time staying awake for the whole thing. Turns out I’d missed all the craziest/best parts. This was an insanely weird film that was right up my alley. If you like Cronenberg, Lovecraft, The Thing, and you know, stuff like that, you should give this a try; it’s really cool.


Honorable mentions this year go to:

Friday the 13th pt. 2

and

Hellraiser

I didn’t put them on the list because I’d seen them both multiple times before. Hellraiser is my fave, and I felt like I’d already used up that chip by including Possession ;).

Okay, so that’s it; another year down. The full list of movies we watched can be found on my husband’s blog. All links in this post are his. Hope y’all enjoyed your October!

XOXO,

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10212017 (General updates–plus a new book announcement!)

Since it’s been so long since I last updated, this is going to be a kind of long, rambl-y post…with lots of pictures :). I’ll do my best to keep it organized in some fashion, though.

Where to start?

The summer went by so fast!

Back in July Steve and I saw Matthew Sweet live. This was a dream come true for me and I sort of blubbered all through the show.

I know, how embarrassing :X.

I hadn’t expected to get that emotional but sheesh…so many of his songs just mean so much to me! Hearing them played live made me think about the past, and what a lonely and depressed teenager I was back then. It’s not an understatement to say music was one of the things that got me through those rough years, and some of Matthew Sweet’s albums in particular, helped me so much. So, yeah. That show was an a-m-a-z-i-n-g experience for me. I just wish the audience had been livelier. They just sat there–while I wanted to go nuts, lol :).

Matthew Sweet marquee

I also got to see Guns N Roses live again in September, in San Antonio. They put on a really great show, of course, and it was doubly wonderful because Steve and I were able to catch up with some old friends before the concert, too! Later in the month we saw The Descendents, one of Steve’s favorite bands, which was also a lot of fun.

In August, we continued with our 6pack 5K Beer Challenge and completed the course at the Southern Star Brewing Company in Conroe. This race benefited Toys for Tots. It was super fun, as all of these races have been. The breakfast tacos afterward were dee-licious, too!

Toward the end of August, Hurricane Harvey hit and everything went haywire. Or at least, that is what it sort of felt like down here in Houston! I’m thankful (very, very thankful) our home did not flood. We were without power for a couple of days, but that was it.

scrabble board

We played Scrabble by candlelight :).

It was heartbreaking to see so much damage all around us, though.

We have made some donations to relief charities and Steve and I will be raising money for the Houston Food Bank when we run the Aramco Houston Half Marathon for the tenth time this year. This is an organization that we have donated to and volunteered with many times in the past, and I think they are great. Here are some stats about their recovery efforts, from an email they sent me. (And if you’d like to read more about them and their ongoing work, please click here to go to their website!)

Houston is my home, it has a big piece of my heart, and I hope we can do at least a little something to help out around here.

karbach happy hour for hunger

A Rodeo Clown IPA from Karbach Brewing Co.’s “Happy Hour for Hunger” back in September — another fun event, and for a good cause!

At the same time, I know we are far from the only area to be devastated in one way or another, lately :(. There have been hurricanes, earthquakes, wildfires, and that terrible shooting in Las Vegas, just to name a few.

I know bad things happen all the time but it really feels as though 2017 has been an especially tough year for a lot of people.

I’m not one to blog very much, either here or on social media, in general and honestly, lately it has been even harder for me to get motivated to do so. In the face of so much tragedy, what do you even say? Particularly when you are someone who spends a lot of her time writing (ostensibly) funny stuff. You can begin to question what you do, whether it is important at all, or a worthwhile contribution to the world. I think about this a lot anyway, but lately it has really been on my mind.

BUT…a couple weeks ago, Steve and I saw horror-comedy director Adam Green speak before a screening of Victor Crowley and he talked about this very topic. He said (and I’m totally paraphrasing here) that, in a way, it’s more important than ever to share a laugh together after something bad happens, because it reminds us that life isn’t all one thing.

There’s good and there’s bad, and getting our minds off the bad, even if it’s only for a short while, can be really helpful sometimes.

I think that makes sense. I know it’s true for me. A few years ago I had some health problems and was having to go to the doctor a lot, while they tried to determine what was wrong with me (it ended up being nothing too bad, thankfully). I was reading Meg Cabot’s Abandon series at the time and I remember being so grateful for the distraction. Her funny, happy books almost always put me in a good mood! I would love it if anything I wrote or did was ever able to lift someone’s spirits in a similar manner, even temporarily. That’s part of why I do what I do, to entertain and encourage, and it’s extremely humbling and fulfilling for me when someone does seem to get something worthwhile out of my work :).

So, um, I guess I’ll keep doing it. Particularly since I can’t seem to stop, anyway.

All of which leads me to…book news!

The Goodreads giveaway for The Real You ended on September 10th. There were almost 1500 entries all told, which is awesome! All of the books have long been packaged up and sent out, I just hadn’t gotten around to writing about it yet (big surprise). Thanks to everyone who entered! I had such a blast with this, I may just have to do another one again sometime soon ;).

And last but not least…I’ve written another thing.

a_very_merry_carreen_halloween_cover_v3

Adorable cover by Steve, once again :).

This is a short novella, about 33,000 words (130 pages) in length, and I hope to have it out soon. Very soon.

As in very, very soon.

You know, seeing as how it is set at Halloween and all..! 🙂

This story (which I’m so far referring to as a “Bonus Holiday Special”) takes place about 2+ years after the end of The Real You. It features Rourke, Dallas, and a bunch of other characters from The Real You, as well as Fear and Laundry and Fear and Laundry 2. I have no idea if anyone will be interested in reading this (and, really, that is true of everything I’ve ever written in my life), but I wrote it anyway because:

  • A) I like Rourke and Dallas, they wouldn’t leave my mind, and I wanted to write a little more about them.
  • B) I enjoy writing about holidays, and since Halloween is my favorite, I wanted to write a story set then.
  • C) And yeah, I wanted to put the characters in funny costumes and send them off to a haunted house :D. Why not, I ask you?

I hope at least some of y’all will check it out and get a kick out of it. I’ll post the release date as soon as I know what it is. (Edit: As of October 28th, 2017, A Very Merry Carreen Halloween is now available in the Amazon Kindle store :)).

‘Til then…thank you for reading this and take care, y’all!

With love and gratitude,

XOXO,

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