Tag Archives: monsters

Buffalo Haunts 2014: House of Horrors / Haunted Catacombs

House of Horrors and Haunted Catacombs used to be two separate haunted houses. They joined together to bring people an enhanced scare experience, and in many ways, that’s worked hoh and hcgreat for them. This is another house that Steve and I try and visit every year. Sometimes the houses change, and some are the same title and theme from year to year, but with noticeable differences.

One of my favorite things about HoH and HC is the interior decoration, before you even get to the haunted houses. They have an animatronic torso that is suspended from the ceiling by two chains that it holds. It whips its head back and forth and see-saws with the chains. In the low colorful light it almost looks real. This year, a guard post was added with zombies and human dummies, which was a nod to their two Walking Dead themed haunted houses. On a big screen commericals for old horror and sci-fi movies play. If you’re not careful, one of the myriad fiends in costume will sneak up on you, or you can take a picture with them for free. There is also a concession stand for candy, popcorn, and soda.

leatherfaceSteve and I started with Killer Theater, which was a favorite from last year. The premise is pretty basic – you go from movie set to movie set. You encounter Michael Myers, Freddy, Jason, and Leatherface. Last year included Pinhead, complete with his spinning pillar of body parts. This year, thankfully, Leatherface was without his chainsaw. Say what you will about me – I’m fearless until the chainsaws come out! Killer Theater certainly didn’t disappoint this year either!

We went through Zombie Apocalypse Paintball, which was like walking through a Resident Evil set. At two different points, we were instructed to walk up to a window where we could shoot zombies wandering back and forth. Pretty fun – not exactly what I expected. When another visitor accidentally shot me in the back with the paintball, I understood why there were designated shooting spaces! It sucked being shot without armor! Overall, it was a very interesting house.

Dragged into the Grave was extremely disappointing. The facade was a tomb, complete with a leering gargoyle larger than a grown man. It was very realistic and intimidating. And it led to – nothing. Absolutely nothing. The entire house was a dark maze. It didn’t even have any actors. Fumbling in the dark quickly became tiresome, and when it was over I was pissed.

The Walking Dead: Prison Break and The Walking Dead: Escape From Woodbury were both pretty cool. They closely mirrored the television series. Prison Break featured a walk through the prison where the characters made their home in the TV series, complete with Rick and Carl statues. Escape from Woodbury had Michonne, Rick, Carl, and even the Governor, with his aquariums full of heads. It wasn’t so much scary as it was really cool to walk through what felt like scenes from the movies.

HellHouse was, by far, the best. And it always is! It’s not analogous to the Richard Matheson masterpiece, unless you go by the fact that both are haunted houses. The facade is the most highly decorated, and looks like an old Victorian house. The inside is also the most well-furnished. There was an animatronic demon-head goat-monster that reached out to bite you on your way out. There are was even a child’s room filled with creepy dolls galore, and the kitchen. Oh man the kitchen! That’s where my nightmare man with the chainsaw was waiting.

FEAST your eyes on this one…

Feast (film)
Feast (film) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Silly pun aside, the movie “FEAST” was pretty interesting.  Again, this Easter was a time for crazy movies.  I was at my boyfriend TkOut’s house, and I had a choice of “Seven Days in Utopia” (a golfing movie – ick), or whatever TkOut could find.  I chose the latter – and wound up watching a movie from 2005 that I haven’t seen in years.  Watching it again, I was surprised to see some familiar faces.  Navi Rawat (“The O.C.“, “House of Sand and Fog“), Henry Rollins, Krista Allen (“The Final Destination“, “Liar Liar“, and “Anger Management”) and Josh Zuckerman (“Sex Drive” and “Surviving Christmas“) are just a few.  I can almost guarantee that you’ll recognize other faces as well.

This particular creature feature starts out in some bar in the middle of nowhere, crowded with a cliche cast.  The movie even mocks the cliches by introducing them with a short run-down of who they are, a fun fact or two, and their life expectancy.  You might even chuckle aloud.  After a quick sex scene between the drunken bar owner and a woman (possibly a waitress?) the movie gets going in earnest.  Random strangers burst in covered in blood, yelling about some coming terror.  Then the blood bath begins!

The movie successfully markets itself as a cheesy, B-grade film, but quickly wins over the viewer with some seriously gory special effects.  Even the creature animation is pretty good – from the animal-skull head down to the claw-laden feet.  Thankfully, the movie never loses sight of what it is, and doesn’t spend time allowing the characters to sermonize or ponder the creatures.  Once they arrive, it’s a knock-down-drag-out war between human and beast.  The movie delivers unapologetic gore at every opportunity – even going so far as to coat one of the more annoying characters in a spray of acid-vomit that causes him to rot while still alive (insert copious maggots).

At turns funny and terrifying, “FEAST” is not to be missed!  If you’re looking for something campy and cool, I highly recommend this movie.  (Warning:  NOT FOR CHILDREN!  Short scenes of human sex, and a smidgeon of monster sex.)  Apparently, there is also a second movie, “FEAST 2: Sloppy Seconds“, which I will be reviewing when I can get my hands on a copy.

It’s genre-bending madness!

It’s hard to believe that so much horror and gut-wrenching sadness could ever originate from the likes of the cherubic-looking gentleman featured in the picture to the right.  He could be your next door neighbor or the teller at a local bank.  Luckily for zombie aficionados, he’s neither.  In fact, he’s none other than the celebrated zombie author, Craig DiLouie.

I’m a bit ashamed to admit that I just got around to reading “The Infection”, which has been on my To Read list for some time now.  Had I known what kind of tale was in store – I’d have picked it up sooo much sooner.  In fact, I’m so excited about this book, you wouldn’t believe how many times I’ve written and rewritten this review to try and get it right!

DiLouie’s greatest strength is in his ability to move the story along at a fast yet organic pace.  There isn’t a single spot of unimportant or boring information, and the characters develop on their own without DiLouie playing God and throwing random obstacles at them for the sake of their growth within the story.  Each character seems real from the first time the reader meets them, and they stay that way until the very end.  There’s Kid, who spent his whole life being bullied at school only to find he was tailor-made for the apocalypse.  We have Wendy, the she-cop who’s too beautiful to be taken seriously, but ultimately finds her way to acceptance.  Anne, the enigmatic group leader who never lets her guard down.  There are others in the ragtag group, each as important as the last.

The actual zombie infection is multi-faceted as well.  It starts with an event called The Screaming, which is the sudden and agonizing death of a large percentage of the populace, and eventually moves on to The Children of Infection.  The Children of Infection are horrific abominations that are  driven out of hiding when the cities begin to burn.  They include my personal favorite, the Hoppers.  They are naked monkey-like organisms that end in grasshopper legs.  DiLouie deftly blends modern zombie and apocalyptic fiction with the 50s style monster genre, creating infection vectors that are, quite literally, larger than life.

As if DiLouie weren’t talented enough, he’s also able to elicit a visceral reaction from his readers.  I found myself inadvertently yelling at my Kindle while my favorite character was devoured by one of the Children of Infection.  I hadn’t seen it coming, and I knew it wasn’t a crack shot from the author.  It was, unfortunately, what was to be expected of any zombie novel worth the paper on which it’s printed.  Characters must die, whether they’re the hero or the scumbag.  Everyone alive during Infection is living on borrowed time, and nobody knows it better than the characters.

I was so impressed by “The Infection” that I almost flipped to the first page to read it again.  While I’ve already discussed DiLouie’s writing style, there is one more very important tidbit I’d like to leave my readers with.  DiLouie handles flashbacks and character back story in a unique way.  He titles his chapters after the pertinent character, and makes sure that anything that happened in the past is written in past tense.  That sounds easy enough, but then when the reader is immersed, the story is written in the present.  This causes the reader to feel as though they’ve been swept along into the story with the characters.  It also builds a sense of urgency and fear that moves the story along.  Instead of experiencing the story as a casual observer, the reader is forced to take greater interest because the story is taking place in the here and now.

Thankfully, this book will appeal to readers of all levels of zombie experience, from the die-hard survivalist who is counting the days until the apocalypse, to the closet-zombie reader.  Whatever you do, go and purchase this book RIGHT NOW!  Especially because rumor has it (as in, craigdilouie.com has it) that there will be a sequel entitled The Killing Floor out sometime early this year.  I promise you – this book needs to go straight to the top of your reading list…right now!

(You can view the ultra-creepy book trailer on Youtube.com here!)

 

 

 

 

For the knitter…

Description: Photograph of knitting needles So...
Image via Wikipedia - Knitting needles, aka things I don't know how to use yet.

Here are the creepy knit pattern books that I have come across.  Links to amazon.com provided so you can peruse the books.  If you know of any others, please let me know!

Sorry, again, not many suggestions here that I have found.

For the cook…

Cover of "Ghoulish Goodies: Creature Feat...
Cover via Amazon

Here is a list of cook books that cater to the macabre.  If you know of any others, please feel free to message me or use the comment option to share with everyone.

I added links to the pages on amazon.com, but as always you can find them at other stores and retailers.

 

 

 

 

 

For the Frankenstein in all of us…

Homemade Cthulhu, adapted from pattern in Cree...
Image via Wikipedia - Aaah, the Cthulhu crochet pattern. ❤

Today I’m going to do a series of posts that cater to the crafting crowd.  I have noticed that the subject of the macabre has come up in various art forms and is now readily available for the artsy person to create.  This should help you with any parties you are throwing this coming October.  (Or if you’re just creepy year-round like I am, you could do these crafts just for giggles).  If you know of any other books, please share them with me!

All of the following posts will be categorized by type of craft, and filed away under the “Arts and Crafts” section of this blog.  Enjoy !

The Burrowers

The Burrowers
Image via Wikipedia

The first time I was aware of “The Burrowers” came from watching a movie trailer.  It looked really good – American settlers being terrorized on the open countryside by burrowing monsters that attacked from underground.  My kind of movie !

Last night my boyfriend and I found it on Netflix and decided to watch  it.  It was an awful movie.  Before I tear the movie to shreds, I want to state its good qualities.  First and foremost, the acting was good.  Not award winning, but good enough to make me believe in the characters.  The costumes were authentic looking for the time period as well.  Nothing too flashy, nothing too drab.  Even the costumes of the American Indians didn’t look over dramatized.  The music worked really well for the film.  It was dramatic when it had to be, but otherwise helped keep the period feel of the movie.  The locale was convincing as well – no specific place I could point to, but understandably American.

Please be advised that the next part of the review will contain spoilers.  If you want to watch the movie without knowing how it ends, stop reading here, go rent it, watch it, come back here and let me know what you think.

“The Burrowers” lacked a good many things.  My biggest complaints about the movie concerns the monsters.  Its alright not to show the monster fully until the end of the movie, but make sure its worth seeing.  The monsters in this movie were part worm, and part human (but with the torso twisted so the legs were up like a grasshopper).  Either tell the whole back story on the monster, or don’t tell any.  Telling part of the history of the monster and not finishing it is incredibly irritating.  I kid you not, the only thing that you find out about them through the flash back is that they predate humans and eat buffalo.  When the flash back ends, you find out that without buffalo (the white man’s fault) they now come after another food : humans (also noted as the white man’s fault).  No other explanation – mutation, alien, demon, spirit, nothing.  Towards the end you find that they liquefy their prey with some kind of acid or poison that they put in their victims and then they come back later and eat them like some kind of worm or spider.  Oh, and sunlight kills them, only nobody has figured this out even though the monsters have been around for so long.  The monsters are killed by accident when they are left staked to the ground and the sun comes up and the light shines down in the forest.

The movie feels like it drags along mercilessly.  (While looking up the running time on IMDB.com I stumbled on the fact that “The Burrowers” is also, incidentally, a seven part series online from 2007.  The movie followed in 2008.  Oh my.)  The movie itself is 96 minutes but feels lengthier.  This is due in no small part to the buildup of characters such as the military leader who is integral to the movie in the beginning, disappears for most of the action, and then comes back in the last few minutes only to hang two characters, kill one by blood loss during an unnecessary amputation and then walk away.

The ending was really confusing.  My boyfriend explained that the main character was marked for death by the Burrowers when he fell into the chest cavity of another person who was marked, and his broken fingernail allowed the poison to seep into his body from the other body.

My last complaint – not one scene that made me jump.  Even if a movie is awful, that can usually be at least one of the saving graces.  This movie offered no surprises.  But a few cut scenes of ants, which I’m not sure how that pertained to the movie.  Although there were some redeeming qualities, this movie could have been so much better.  Its a decent movie to show to someone who is terrified of scary movies, since it most likely won’t scare them.  Its also a good movie to watch if you’re doing something else at the time like homework or crochet.