Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Fear (1996)

I had spent most of the 1990s between Seattle and South Dakota. Not shy to report that I was a teen when grunge really kicked off, and grunge Was The Best Thing To Ever Happen to a feisty teen girl traveling between parents and exact opposite places. 

I was also outstandingly naive. In 1996 I was 17, an absolute idiot, and loved the world. Let me introduce you to a film that I feared:

Fear


I saw this when it first came out and I hadn't seen it since, until now. It's taken 25 years to be all, deep breath "Right then. Let's try this one again."  More interestingly, I had no memory of the actual story - just that it fucked me up something fierce. I even had No Memory the story took place in Seattle. 

Watching the opening scenes, I tilted my head and was - wait, wait a minute - but it was when I saw the Kingdome that I think I laughed right out loud, remembered when the Kingdome was taken down, and shuddered. 

I was living in downtown Seattle when the Kingdome was demolished. I watched it explode from my workplace - 40th floor of a skyscraper. Once it had been taken down I thought to myself, sadly, "Okay" and went to the elevators to head home. 

As soon as I walked out of the building I saw this WALL of smoke and debris rolling up the street like something out of a nightmare, coming right for me. In fear, I began to run for my life. I did not make it. The remains of the Kingdome consumed me and I had to take a long shower after I finally got home. I wouldn't be surprised if some part of that place is still, literally, inside me.

But I digress. 

Wait, not really - because I think it's my connection to Seattle AND the fact that the soundtrack is my music collection AND that I really resonated with the young woman in so many ways, as to why this movie frightened me so much. This had more than a passing familiarity and that made it far more terrifying. 

Bonus: Mark Wahlberg is SCARY beyond belief here. He also looks too damn good [looking] for his own good. ALSO REALLY SCARY.

Fear follows a teen who, with her friend, run into some "bad boys" and sparks fly between them all. Sparks may fly out of defiance or an honest to goodness blind view of the world, or, more likely as the movie suggests, a distorted view of what love really means.

It should come as no surprise that things get horribly out of hand as soon as the honeymoon phase of romance has ended and interventions to escape a situation have been initiated.

It gets ugly, really ugly as it usually, sadly does.

This film has a full on Lifetime Movie flavor but I was honestly surprised by the subtilty of the reflections between father/daughter/best friend/romance/blended family/trying to grow and be independent. 

This film was reading my diary and I DID NOT LIKE IT!

Again, quite possibly the reason why this film had such an effect on me then and now. I also saw some reviews dismiss this film as delightful trash, and while I won't completely disagree with that, I also feel a bit defensive on it's behalf because it is a legit sharp thriller that hones on a very, very, very deadly reality for too many women. 

While the list is incredibly small, I have been afraid for my life from enough people enough times to know this film identified a nerve. And it had hit that nerve yet again when I rewatched this film. A nerve I was able to identify even my youthful idiocy and still in my 40s-don't-give-a-shit-fight-me stages. It's a horror film in the reminder that love makes it very difficult to understand the signs of an incredibly dangerous person and their red flags.

I'll start my mornings happily watching Hellraiser but it's stuff like this that give me the real nightmares.

If you are experiencing domestic violence, this is a national U.S. resource  that can provide guidance and support.  

Pairs with backup, a packed bag, and security systems. Best watched when ready. 

I watched this film on HBO or use the Find It! Watch It! links on Horror Habit's side bar to locate where else you can find this frightening film. 

Monday, May 10, 2021

His House (2020)

Hello everyone, 

Thanks for hanging in there! If you're new to Horror Habit and just stumbled upon this page, welcome. If you're a long time follower then also welcome, and thank you. It's been an especially difficult last few months. 

I got my second COVID vaccine and it knocked my shit out. As I'm climbing out of the daze I thought, for some reason, now is a good time to check out the latest in horror on Netflix. 

Not entirely sure what drew me to this film and utterly surprised that I'm just now hearing of it, but Netflix's annoying auto trailer play actually worked its magic for me this time and I decided to give it a try.

Let me introduce you to the soul smashing beauty that is: His House


I'm not sure if it's because back in 1997 one of the first co-workers I had when I moved to Seattle from South Dakota responded with "Thanks, it was from my boyfriend. He was blown up" when I complimented her jewelry. She was from Sarajevo.

I'm not sure if it's because, while watching this film, I couldn't stop thinking about all the Cambodian refugee stories in the early 1980's, and the uncanny amount of people who reported of a hag woman that jumped on their chest in their sleep. 

I'm not sure if it's because my Ethiopian neighbors wouldn't take "No" for an answer when they invited us to their daughter's birthday gathering. The father proudly announcing to a huge gathering that his girls will have a bright, beautiful new life. Only a few people spoke English and my husband and I had one of the best times ever - speaking through joy and smiles, food and music. 

I'm not sure if it's because I'm burying my husband's remains next month after years of battling the very real demon that tormented us both that is addiction. 

This film smacked me right in the face.

And then it punched me in the gut for good measure.


This story follows a Sudan refugee couple trying to make a new life for themselves in England. The horror in this horror show reflects the trauma, the physical and psychological abuse, the madness that comes with assimilation, bureaucracy, racism, and the deep, deep emotional and mental baggage that weighs someone down when all they were carrying was a small plastic bag of actual physical belongings. 

Horror films like this require empathy to understand why it's a horror film. I'm a rabid fan of slashers and blood baths, in fact they are oddly comforting, but films like this one are the ones that truly terrify me. I had to pause it a few times and work on something else.

I had a really rough time, and it took months, sorting and moving my husband's belongings and starting a new life in a new home just a few miles away.

Knowing that others have traveled hundreds of miles for safety, saw mass murders, left everything behind in a matter of minutes - all to start a new life. To say I was a ball on the ground crying for them all would not be entirely wrong. 

To those who complain about the families of immigrants seeking help at the United States southern boarder - get the fuck off my blog. You're part of the problem.

In short, this is a terrible review of the movie, but hopefully a well received ode. The film broke my heart and terrified me.

I have been nursing a completely stressed out, broken heart and I want to hug everyone. Make sure you make room for this film (and probably hug someone afterwards).

Best watched in probably the shitiest situation but with an open mind. I watched this on Netflix but use the Find It. Watch It. links on Horror Habit's side bar to locate where else you can find this masterpiece. 

 

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Slice (2018)

Hope everyone is doing okay out there in this wild, wacky, dangerous weather world at the moment! While running for the bus I took a spectacular face plant into a snow drift, in front of countless people. I'll keep an eye out on the internets to see if anyone caught that epic fail on video...

That's the worst of my stories and I'm grateful. Stay safe folks, hang tight. 

If you're looking for something to do while the snow is blowing and you're stuck inside, then I think I found a little gem for you. Let me introduce you to: 

Slice


The movie opens with a narrator quipping about their sweet little town being overrun by ghosts, and then things got really weird when the werewolf showed back up.

I was all: 

SHUT THE FRONT DOOR! Ghosts AND Werewolves. Sign me the f*ck up!

The story unfolds around a pizza parlor where the delivery crew are suddenly being brutally murdered on delivery doorsteps. Things just get morbidly delightful from there. Hop into the blood bath folks, we're going in for a fun soak!

It's a silly movie with a lot of heart and a whole lot of ghosts. There's so many ghosts in town that the mayor starting moving their living quarters to another part of town. Some still linger in the town square though, harassing the locals with vague prophecies. The ghosts are a 'hoot' and a quirky little aspect of the film that I found both odd and charming. 

The werewolf though - it's not like a werewolf you've seen before, I can assure you. 

Oh, did I mention there were also witches?! 

According to IMDB, this movie was originally intended to be a TV series, which would account for the interesting edits and ending. It's all fine, just a little *interesting*. The ending also felt rushed but whatever. It's still fun. Grab a beer and calm down, it's fun. 

Overall, this is a film for those that don't like the hardcore horror, or those just looking for something a little more lighthearted for a lazy afternoon. 

Naturally, this one HAS to pair with pizza. Best watched in a quiet setting alone or with a small crowd and let the good times roll. 

I watched this film for free on Kanopy, or use the Find It! Watch It! links on Horror Habit's sidebar for where else you can find this kindly smirk of a feature. 

Thursday, January 14, 2021

The Haunted (1991)

I've had this film on my To Watch list for a while - for two reasons. One: this movie poster is alarmingly interesting to me. Two: I hate this boring and generic title.  

Let me introduce you to the '90s made-for-TV movie: The Haunting


Folks, in the very first opening scene, this was me:


And that continued to be me throughout most of the film.


I've seen this film before. I know it! The feeling was, how should I say it ... haunting ...

Did I watch it on TV when it first came out? Perhaps. Did I watched it at some point over the last 20 years on some streaming device, drinking beer and zoning out on a Sunday afternoon? Also perhaps.

What strikes me the most about all this is how *good* the film is - how could I forget this film?!

Based on the book, The Haunted: One Family's Nightmare by Ed and Lorraine Warren, Robert Curran, and Jack and Janet Smurl, this story follows the Smurl family and the nightmares endured in their haunted duplex. 

Not a new premise and it has all the classic haunting situations, but this is legit a fascinating tale, regardless if you believe in ghosts or not. 

With a great cast that includes Sally Kirkland and Jeffrey DeMunn, this is not your average made-for-tv movie. Straight up, there were some downright disturbing and rather frightening scenes - my mind is still blown that I completely forgot about this gem. 

Yeah yeah, some will scoff at 'based on true paranormal events' stories, but they're no fun and I don't want to play with them. This film is for paranormal fans, spooky and dramatic made-for-tv movie fans, and people who just enjoy a good tale.

I thoroughly enjoyed this film!

Best watched curled up on a couch, chilling the day away with a beer. Be sure to sit up and point at the TV if you also recognize this film from your past. 

Now, I can't tell you where I first saw this film, but I noticed it was on YouTube. Note, I don't often advise watching free films on YouTube, for a wide variety of reasons but also the film quality is terrible. Use the Find It! Watch It! links on Horror Habit's side bar to see where else you can find this spooky thriller. 

Saturday, October 31, 2020

Happy Halloween! Here's 18 Short Horror Films You Need To See! (2020 edition)

October Challenge Day 31:


Happy Halloween everyone!! Here is 18 brilliant short horror films to spook up your day.

Why 18 you ask? Because this is the 8th month of the old Roman calendar and the 10th month of the current calendar. BRAINS!

So without further ado, below is my pick of some of the best out there. With a review of 18 words or less, and in no particular order, please enjoy Horror Habit's 2020 Short Horror Film Festival.

*Note, Blogger has gone through an update and I can no longer embed videos as I have done in previous years. Simply click on the title links - they'll take you directly to the films.



Shadowed: With clever visual effects and a super spooky home - this one should not be overlooked! 

Oscar's Bell: A father/son camping trip goes terribly wrong when *something* comes out of the woods. Very scary!!!!

El Aura Azul: A little Colombian ghost story shocker that has a lot happening in it's 8 mins. 

Catcalls: Dude, you messed with the wrong women! 

Sweetie: A slow, menacing tale about the perils of not having any treats during Halloween. Turn the sound up...

Craspec: A brilliant, haunting and jarring, French short that begs the "what is hell?" question.

Finley: Absolutely outstanding!! Equally funny, clever, and bloody. Loved it!

#brunch: When two friends meet up for brunch, an unexpected visitor also makes an appearance. 

Mr. Dentonn: A Spanish horror fantasy in the vein of The Babadook and Slenderman. Beware, little children...

Boobs: Super short, sweet, disturbingly funny and frightening.

Noidan Merkki: A Finnish Found Footage Film!

The Bride: A fascinating new take on a classic spooky story. 

The Preying Mantis: It's a half hour, so it takes a while but it will be worth it for the ending. 

Ayuda: Thrilling, dramatic, and scary! These poor guys were picked up for the wrong job.

Ding ... You're Dead: Folks, all you need to know is that it's about a killer microwave.

A Doll Distorted: Beautiful, atmospheric, and seriously f*cked up!

Dawn of the Deaf: Whoa! This is a doozy - a lot packed in here. Also, personally amusing because I am half deaf. 

Viola vs The Vampire King: I'll end this year's film festival with some very fun grindhouse goodness!

Bonus, I stumbled upon the making of Viola vs. The Vampire King - damn thing was so sweet, wholesome, funny, and adorable - I just have to share it too. It also helps to see how much work and love goes into even the shortest of films. Thank you artists for sharing your work!