Sunday, March 29, 2020

Race With the Devil (1975)

Hi everyone,
How are you all holding up during COVID-19? I hope you're all well and stay well!

Here in Seattle we're in quarantine for an indefinite amount of time. It's been nearly two weeks and I've already gone through my jigsaw puzzle collection ...

I am, of course, also plowing through horror movies. During the day though, I'm blowing through comedy shows because I need a guaranteed laugh.

Speaking of guaranteed laugh, my brother and I got into a discussion about whistling, recently, which prompted us to try to whistle. To the horror of both of us, we seemed to have lost the ability to whistle. There we were, walking around the house, staring at walls, and mildly panicking until slowly, but surely, the ability to whistle came back to us.

I also noted that when I was first trying to whistle, my jaw sort of "cracked", and that's when I realized I've been clenching my jaw/grinding my teeth for a while (days, weeks, months????). So this is my advice: please take time to laugh and try to whistle - even if it's just to make sure you're not locking your jaw in unrecognized stress.

Although we're trying to spend the day laughing and working on jigsaw puzzles, it's movie night every night in the Bergman home.

Last night my brother suggested the movie he's been asking me to watch, for years: Race With the Devil.


Why I haven't seen this film listed in some of 'the best religious cult horror' lists, is beyond me. This is a remarkably exciting for such a minimal premise. Two couples commence on an RV trip through rural Texas only to stumble across a religious cult - nightmares ensue. 

This is a thrilling film! Honestly, I wasn't expecting to find a story about an RV tearing top speed through tumbleweeds and dirt piles to be so exciting. IT IS!

Bonus, considering this is 1970's midnight pulp fodder, it's not 'ridiculous'. All actions are reasonable (e.g., no one is making stupid, garish mistakes), and the story unfolds with alarming ease and doom. This gritty relatability is also what made is so endearing. For example, there is a scene where a couple of friends are defying the cold in order to sit outside, drunk, and talk about nothing. 

I've been there. So Many Times. Bundled up, hunched over the table, smoking and being merrily tipsy with my friends into the early hours. Cheers, girls' weekend getaways.

In all, this is an overall menacing fun film with a Mad Max feel. Excellent choice for a late movie night. Also, judge the movie by this movie poster:

Exciting!

Not this one:

Yikes!

Pairs with a sh*t ton of snacks, lots of blankets, and surrounded by objects bought at tourists traps.

I watched this movie on Amazon, or use Horror Habit's Find It! Watch It! links to see where else you can "catch" this heart racer. 

Stay safe, be well!

Friday, March 20, 2020

The Invisible Man (2020)

There are few films where I've walked out of a theater and had a raw, visceral reaction emanating from my body and psyche.

The top ones are -

I Just Need A Gaddamn Moment To Process This: The Sixth Sense, The Others

Crying My Gaddman Eyes Out - Don't Touch Me: The Orphanage, A Tale Of Two Sisters

WHAT IN THE GADDAMN SCARY AMAZING HELL WAS THAT? SOMEONE WALK ME HOME: Dog Soldiers, Brotherhood of the Wolf
*Werewolves get me every time.

Based on the dates of these films, you can probably guess that I haven't had a *raw, visceral reaction* when walking out of the theater, in a while...

That changed when I saw the breathtaking remake of: The Invisible Man.


A quick history why this new The Invisible Man even exists and why I thought it was based on a true story:

Universal made the monumental mistake of trying to connect all the classic horror monsters into a series of re-booted classic creature features - hopping on the tails of comic book franchises. Why this didn't work is for another time, but it didn't work, until now. Until the monsters became their own again and this masterpiece was released - reinventing the horror of *An* Invisible Man.

A few weeks earlier I was sitting at a pub, not thinking about how the Universal Picture's Dark Universe no longer existed, when I saw the trailer for The Invisible Man. My initial thought and, embarrassingly, first words to the unsuspecting person to my left was: "This is based on a true story."

I'm dead now from mortification when I think about it - especially because of the look I got from this stranger - but I legitimately thought the trailer was about a remake of The Entity - a well documented story about a woman who was terrorized and abused by an invisible being. 

That story terrifies me, along with the story about the San Pedro haunting. BOTH ARE PISS YOUR PANTS TERRIFYING, and have many similarities.

As I was watching The Invisible Man, I wondered if both these stories actually played a part in the film. Particularly, since all stories take place in California and there is a scene in The Invisible Man that looks *an awful lot like the attic in the notorious San Pedro clip*. The fact that a woman with a history of being abused is terrorized by an invisible man, is aiding in this connection.

In all, there were a good several weeks were I thought this film was not actually a remake of a Universal cult classic, but based on allegedly true story(ies). 

And you know what - none of that matters because this is a remarkable film and what makes it terrifying is that it has ties to reality:

REAL LIFE FUCKING PSYCHOS

Hold on to your pants folks, this is a nerve-wrenching film. 

It's harrowing because it's so real and battles monsters that live next door - in the next room. The escape from and trying to get people to believe that these types of monsters exist *is* a huge portion of the terror of this film. Tread at your risk, those who have experienced this. It may not be the film for you right now. For me, it's a film where I walked out, heart beating, and I kinda wanted to scream "f*ck you, fight me* at everyone. 

In other words: This film will put you through the ringer, if you're not a gaddamn waste-of-space narcissist, anyway. It garners a lot of what makes us uncomfortable but also what makes us a bad ass. 

Pairs with an overnight bag and bottles (to drink out of or smash...). Best watched with best friends who would hide a body for you. 

I watched this film in the theater, right before Washington State was shut down for COVID-19. I understand that Universal released this film for streaming, in the wake of this crisis.

Be safe and take care of each other, everyone!

Monday, February 17, 2020

Podcasts I Love: The Scene Of The Crime

Folks, I've been on a really bad true crime podcast kick, lately. It's bad. 

IT'S BAD.

I used to listen to music. I used to listen to nature. Used to.

I'll be giving my shoutout love to the other true crime podcasts I've been listening to, but I wanted to point this this one out in particular. It's new, as of today about eight episodes have been released (and I binge listened to all in a matter of hours), and the podcast focuses on the Pacific Northwest/Seattle area. 

If you're also a true crime junkie (because, horror), then let me introduce you to: The Scene Of The Crime.

For those new to Horror Habit, I'm located in Seattle and have regularly crossed the same paths/haunts of area serial killers. There's only one that had a mind to kill me though. 

In late 2003/early 2004, I encountered gaddamn human hemorrhoid:  Curtis "Shit Stain" Thompson. He saw me walking down the street and asked if he could give me a ride. I looked at him (easy to do, because he slowed his dumb ass convertible down to a crawl) and all I said was: "Have a nice day."

Folks, this douche canoe lost his ever loving mind. He pulled himself up on the steering wheel and shouted "I'm just trying to be nice!" I started walking faster and not making eye contact. Things were made worse since I was in a business and building remote area. My nearest "safe" area was a bus stop a couple blocks away. 

This green, runny turd in human form followed me for several blocks, screaming at me from his fucking car the whole time. I was sweating, scared, and focused. He kept shouting that he was "...just trying to be nice" and I only responded a few times with "Have A NICE DAY!"

I got to the bus stop, just as traffic was being held up by his slow ass and I could see a bus coming, a few blocks away. I stopped there and stared at him. I got a really, really good look at his face. I have no idea where the power came from to stand still and stare at him - just feet apart - but I'm still glad I did it. I'm glad I will never forget his stupid fucking face.

He peeled off and I ran onto the bus. Months later I saw his face again, on the news - restrained and in court for the horrible rape and murder of a woman in a neighborhood alarmingly close to our meeting - months, if not days, after our encounter. 

I think I stopped breathing when I saw this news broadcast. I may or may not have screamed.

So here I am now, listening to a phenomenally well done podcast about my neighborhoods and local haunts. These stories scare me to no measurable degree, particularly because of my proximity, but the hosts also do a remarkable job of sharing these horror stories in such a way that it could also be your neighborhood.

Digging into dark Pacific Northwest histories, telling these stories with an expertise of an investigative reporter, while also feeling (alarmingly) warm and comforting, this is a podcast for your true crime needs - ESPECIALLY - if you're familiar with the PNW.

Check out The Scene Of The Crime. Tell them Horror Habit sent you, with love. 

PS: Take care out there. Kick assholes in the balls.

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Night of the Living Deb (2015)

It's snowing in Seattle.

Folks, when it snows here everything quickly descends into pandemonium. See for yourself - this guy documents the madness pretty well.

I'm avoiding the looting, societal breakdown, and "It's like Mad Max but with Amazon Prime vans" outside and hiding under my blanket, watching films.

I've already watched The Head Hunter (highly recommend), the new Dracula miniseries (going to sit on this one for a bit, it's ... different), revisited the beloved Rocky Horror Picture Show (LOVE IT), and, of course, the adorkable: Night of the Living Deb!


With a few exceptions, I do not like romance comedies - I think I like about maybe three. Every once and a while though, one creeps into my heart.

**I also just watched a Hallmark holiday movie for the first time In My Life last month. I laughed so hard I actually enjoyed myself. Someday I might write a paper on the uncanny similarities between low budget campy horror films and these Hallmark holiday films... ***

When horror, comedy, and romance are mixed though. I'll take it. The more blood and gore the better. I had never heard of this film until last night though. I thought that was a shame so hence the write-up today. 

First: I love this title. It's just .... just so delightful!
Second: I was alarmed by the similarities I see in myself and our dear Deb, here. Right down to the enormous beater of a car. She doesn't trip on a slight incline and plow into a table full of guys - knocking their drinks everywhere/on them though. I will never forget how quickly those fellas jumped back from their chairs as my head and outstretched arms played battering ram with their beverages....

In any case. 

This film is a real chuckler. A sweet, witty, and fun chuckler. I was particularly fond of the fast comebacks and quirky atmosphere. The story revolves around Deb meeting Mr. Dreamy one night at a bar. By the next morning, both hungover, they realize they woke up to a zombie apocalypse. Hilarity ensues. 

Well written, succinct, warm and hilarious (the plowing through zombies in a beater car was ridiculously entertaining. See what I did there? I brought the battering ram visuals right back), I thoroughly enjoyed this film. It was also a real treat to watch while my own "zombie apocalypse" was occurring outside. 

Now, some reviews on IMDB would say otherwise, and I'm just going to assume those reviewers are new to movies - especially smart, campy movies.

If "horror" is not your thing but you enjoy as fun-loving creature feature absurdity plays on the screen, then this one is for you. A particularly great choice for cold nights in, surrounded by your best people. 

Pairs with drinks that have dairy in it - alcohol encouraged. Best watched in clothes you just can't seem to get rid of even though they're a few decades old.

I watched this film on Shudder. Use the Find It! Watch It! links on Horror Habit's side bar to locate where else you can find this cheeky gem. 

Sunday, December 1, 2019

Podcasts I Love: Strange Brau Radio

I hope everyone is having a great holiday season!

Although I'm a horror movie reviewer, I also do other things, like eating, sleeping, and listening to podcasts.

I have decided to share some of my favorite podcasts because I love them and I also have an alarming amount of people in my life who have said, "I don't know how podcasts work".

I ride the bus everywhere (headphones on), have an office job (headphones on), walk around and avoid people (headphones on), so I listen - a lot. I used to listen to a lot of music but now I'm hooked on podcasts and audio books. Not sure what this means.

So I'm going to kick off my first podcast review with a podcaster who recently interviewed me! I'm specially focusing on this podcast because it's right up Horror Habit's alley and anyone who follows my blog will likely enjoy this podcast. Let me introduce you to: Strange Brau Radio!

If you missed my Twitter and Facebook posts about this interview, you can listen to it here or catch it on YouTube here.

Now, I am very much a paranormal fan (more shout-outs for those podcasts coming up), but what I'm probably less known for is as a fan for all other creatures of the weird. For example, I'm particularly afraid of werewolves.

I AM SO AFRAID OF WEREWOLVES

I've also been living in the Pacific Northwest for over 20 years (officially a member?) and so, obviously, aware of Sasquatch. Sasquatch and camping.

While camping in the heart of Sasquatch Cascade Mountains territory years ago, a few friends and I were just settling down after getting tents up and a fire set, when we heard a sound that FROZE ME TO THE GROUND. It was a yell/howl/cry that I'd never heard before. We were next to a mountain cliff so the echo made it more terrifying. After listening to a few of it's cries, I screamed:

"It's fucking Bigfoot!"

I was wild with fear for a while. Beer helped calm things down. Beer and friends saying "You know, it's probably a mountain lion." (For the record, knowing a mountain lion is hunting you/around you is not helpful.). But it was then - I'd always believed in them but never paid much attention - when I put Sasquatch in the nope folder.

Let's welcome again Tobe Johnson, team, and Strange Brau Radio!

If you are a fan of all things weird, supernatural, and especially Sasquatch stories, you need to check out this podcast and you absolutely need to keep an eye out for the Owl Moon Lab! This is both a project and a location in Oregon that is documenting Sasquatch sightings. With an enormous amount of evidence (1,400 hours of audio clips!!!!), a book, and a documentary coming out, Sasquatch fans must not miss Owl Moon Lab and it's work.

For crying out loud, one of the audio clips caught is being used by the Travel Channel for their Expedition Bigfoot show. Check it out here (and feel free to scream out loud after hearing it. I did):


I think the social world of the weird is small - we're a solid collection of delightful, curious, weirdos and I'd like to consider Strange Brau, Owl Moon Lab, and Horror Habit of the same family. This is yet another reason I want to give more shout-outs for similar podcasts - we're a weird, wonderful family and lovers of strange phenomena should be aware of all (the love).

If you're looking for a podcast about mysteries, the paranormal, and curious creatures, be sure to check out Strange Brau Radio and keep up with the work of Owl Moon Lab! In fact, if you want to learn a tremendous amount about Tobe, Owl Moon Lab, and Sasquatch, then you should absolutely check out this November 21st interview from Midnight In The Desert radio broadcast.

...going to be checking this radio show out more too....

Stay strange, friends! And keep an eye out for future Podcasts I Love (they're all going to be weird and paranormal...). Cheers!