Please welcome guest contributor Lindsay Moore. Lindsay has written for us before, sharing her experience putting together an all women horror anthology. In this series, she’ll share her experience writing horror stories that were adapted for the NoSleep Podcast.
I discovered the NoSleep Podcast in 2015, midway through its fifth season. At the time, my day job was less than fulfilling; it was downright boring. But, on the plus side, I was able to listen to podcasts and music all day.
I sat in my cubicle, alone, listening to horror fiction podcasts while I worked. I discovered the NoSleep Podcast through the subreddit, which is infamous for its creepypasta-style horror fiction. I couldn’t sit and read the stories, but I could listen to the best of the best, those carefully selected for audio adaptation. Continue reading
As the Ladies’ resident expert of movies and shows involving blood splatter, and since I did one of these posts last year, I decided now was a good time to prowl through Netflix for 3 more hidden gems to help get you into the mood for the best, or at least the spookiest (spoopiest?) month of the year. This time around I am going for a bit more variety, rather than just 3 straight horror movies. Think of them as choices in the spirit of trick-or-treating. Not one wants a bag full of just one kind of candy.
Tucker and Dale vs. Evil
I love a good horror comedy, but it’s a tough genre to do really well. For me it works best when there’s a real love and understanding of what is at the root of some standard horror tropes. Movies like Shaun of the Dead, Cabin in the Woods, and Zombieland do this particularly well. Enter Tucker and Dale vs. Evil with its flipped around take on the “backwoods murder hillbilly” trope. Frankly I think it’s more fun to go into the movie with less knowledge of the plot so I’m not going to give you much on purpose. I didn’t read any summaries myself and that made each reveal more fun. Plus, it stars Allen Tudyk, who is just a delight in his role. A word to the squeamish: while this movie is surely considered a comedy, it’s also pretty gory. If that’s not your thing, this isn’t for you. Note: It’s been reported that a sequel to this 2010 original is in the works. After enjoying this one so much I’m excited to see where these characters will go next.
4 out of 5 bodies through a woodchipper
Wait, what? Tiny Doom is going to write something about an animated thing? Yeah guys, I am, I’ve got layers. Well, it’s an animated thing with blood splatter so I guess I’m not really going too far off task here. Curated by veteran Disney animator and Spanish writer-director Raul Garcia, Extraordinary Tales is an animated anthology of 5 tales by Edgar Allen Poe. We are talking about some pretty time-honored Halloween fare. Each tale has its own animation style, and the voice talent (ranging from Christopher Lee – in one of his last projects before his death, Bela Lugosi, and Julian Sands) makes this an almost hypnotic watch. It’s not scary so much as it satisfies a craving for the Gothic and the creepy. It’s probably best viewed in the evening or on a dreary afternoon.
3.5 out of 5 red death masques
They had me at “lady ghost debunker” with this one. A BBC film, The Awakening is a period piece in which that invokes both horror and mystery tropes. Florence Cathcart uses science to expose charlatans and debunk claims of haunting. However, each time she succeeds at her task it’s a bit heartbreaking because she is also hoping for evidence of the supernatural so that she can contact her partner who was lost in the war. Think, the Houdinis. When she gets called to a case in a boy’s boarding school more is revealed about her past, including some memories she buried regarding her upbringing. This movie is a slow burn of creepiness, with some big reveals at the end. I found the ending to be sort of ambiguous and sort of not, but I think it leaves things open enough that if you want to believe, you can. If you liked The Woman in Black, you might like this.
3.5 out of 5 creepy British boarding school kids
Actually I think any month is for horror, but as soon as October hits you have a great excuse to binge (I’m watching The Shining as I type this). If you are a horror fan Netflix offers a lot of options. Not all are great, but I found three I enjoyed, some older, some newer, and a few more that are still in the queue for the lead-up to Halloween (and after).
Since The Goog is also a big horror fan, and since he also watched these movies with me, he’s chiming in his thoughts too. Two reviews, no waiting!
What it’s about: Boone is haunted by nightmares about a city of monsters called Midian. He goes to a psychiatrist for help, but rather than help him his doctor leads him to believe he is a serial killer. In his mania Boone takes off to find the city in his dreams, there he finds the Nightbreed, a monster tribe who help Boone figure out who he really is.
Why you should check it out: Clive Barker, of Hellraiser fame, both wrote and directed this movie so sit back and get ready to get your 90’s fantasy horror on. The Nightbreed themselves are fantastical in their scariness. Baker is clearly working to create a larger mythos and as such, the Nightbreed have their own laws and customs and generally do not mingle with “the above” world. They worship and protect their creator and understand that times are beginning to change for them. Also,the film is scored by Danny Elfman, who really tries to capture the tribal element of the Nightbreed, using lots of drums and choral elements. After watching this movie I mused on Facebook about why this hasn’t been turned into a series yet? Lo and behold, something may in fact be in the works. Note, Netflix offers the Directors Cut so if you have seen this movie before it might be a big different than you are used to.
Fun Fact: My mom saw me post something about this on Facebook, so she decided to watch it. She LOVED it. Especially the make-up effects. I would not have seen that coming.
The Goog: While I’m not a huge Barker fan I have always loved Nightbreed. He gives you just enough mythos to make you want to know more, it’s the same with a lot of the characters as well (which is mildly frustrating). Some of the Nightbreed are really cool looking, like Peloquin, some are really funky, like Kinski, and some are like Clive Barker sketches and paintings come to life (meaning the anatomy doesn’t quite make sense, but is still neat to see). There are some big changes between the theatrical and director’s cuts. Largely it’s deleted scenes that give more character development to Boone and Lori (Boone’s girlfriend) but the ending in the director’s cut is pretty different and much more open ended. I’m very happy to see that we might get a t.v. show! It’s about damn time.
What it’s about: An island bound Irish fishing village is plagued by bloodsucking creatures who thrive in water. They realize their best protection drinking alcohol and make a last stand during a pub lock-in.
Why you should check it out: Grabbers is Tremors meets Shaun of the Dead, with a sprinkle of Lovecraftian horror. I enjoy a good horror comedy and this is a fun one. The Goog for real laughed out loud many times. The Grabbers themselves are some great creature work. CGI, yes, but watching a giant Grabber scraggling its way down the street was pure creepy joy. Because this film is made in Ireland you may want to watch it with the sub-titles on. The accents are STRONG, and having the subtitles going will help you get some of the Gaelic jokes (adds a visual element).
Fun fact: This movie has the adorable Russell Tovey (Doctor Who, Being Human, Sherlock) as a proper English scientist.
The Goog: Oh man, I loved this. Definitely watch it with subtitles for all the reasons Tiny Doom mentioned. If I had to pick one thing that I didn’t completely love, the ending was a bit cliche, which is disappointing only because the rest of the movie played with horror movie cliches so well. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely loved this, but I would have loved it more had the ending been something a little more unexpected.
The House of the Devil –
What it’s about– A college student in need of money accepts a babysitting job on the night of a lunar eclipse. When she gets there she finds the clients don’t have any children, but do have ulterior motives.
Why you should check it out– This move was made in 2009, but has the look and feel of a late 70’s early 80’s horror movie. The acting is solid and the typical tropes feel less derivative and more like an homage. It’s quiet and creepy, with a slower build-up. Think Rosemary’s Baby rather than Halloween. Watch this at night, in the dark, while waiting for a pizza delivery.
Fun Fact– This film claims to be based on actual events (muhahahahahah).
The Goog: The attention to detail in this is pretty great, they even filmed it on 16mm and used techniques and angles to capture the same feel of movies made at the time. The movie is a slow build, like TD says, the only time I actually questioned the pacing was a long drawn out scene of Samantha wandering the house and snooping about, which didn’t really build up any tension and just struck me as odd. Other than that, great acting, and an ending I wasn’t expecting.
Above I mentioned having more that are still in the queue:
A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night
Trucker and Dale vs. Evil
Seen any of these? Any more recommendations?
Since the last time I wrote about this subject, about a year ago, I’ve found even more fabulous webcomics that you really ought to be reading, all of them written and drawn by ladies! All three of these are a little over a year old, which is a great time to get into a series – there’s enough in the archive to sink your teeth into and get a feel for where a story is going, but not quite the overwhelming sprawl that a comic that’s been going on for five or ten years can have.
Check, Please! by Ngozi Ukazu
Update schedule: When they’re ready. But there’s plenty for you to read through.
Plot: Check, Please! is the story of Eric “Bitty” Bittle, vlogger, Southerner, and pie baker extraordinaire. When the comic opens, Bitty is a freshman at Samwell University and a member of the men’s hockey team. He’s pretty good, other than one slight problem – his high school club was co-ed and no contact, so Bitty is scared to death of being checked – not so great in the world of college hockey. Can he get over his fear, stay on the team, and maybe even capture the heart of his crush?
Why Read It: Okay. I don’t care about hockey, I’m fifteen years out of college, and I don’t even care that much about romance. And yet, this comic? It’s incredibly compelling. Partly this is due to Ukazu’s art, which is incredibly adorable and expressive. The personality of the characters comes through in their design and facial expressions. Even more so, however, the writing is great – it sucked me right in from the beginning and made me care about all of that stuff – hockey and feelings, to borrow a phrase coined about a book that we read in Comicazi Book Club (and which you should go read right now.)
Bonus: The social media. Ukazu’s world building reaches far outside of the confines of her comic – she has a character who already graduated in the world of comic who “runs” the Facebook page, and Bitty has his own very entertaining Twitter feed. This makes the time between updates fly by – even when there’s no comic update, there’s plenty of content to explore.