Celebrating Poltergeist’s 40th Anniversary

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This month, I am personally celebrating my mom’s 50th birthday by seeing a film in theaters that’s turning 40. The film that got me started with horror. The film that is the ultimate starter-horror with its PG rating, mild scares and whole lot of heart. The title gives it away, we’re talking about Poltergeist.

Durango Arts Center holds special 'Poltergeist' screening – The Durango  Herald

The Steven Spielberg produced and written; Tobe Hooper directed flick from 1982. A true treat to any moviegoer as it is tame in its scares but deep and rich in its story. It’s a film that has stood the test of time and didn’t even receive a smudge from its terrible remake (what a waste of Sam Rockwell). However, with genius and heart comes tragedy, which struck in the real life of those involved in the film. We’re going to be going over all of that as we jump into this legendary void of Poltergeist.

Tobe Hooper and Steven Spielberg: an interesting account

One of the rumors that have stuck around throughout the years is that Steven Spielberg actually directed majority of Poltergeist. I mean, it makes sense–the film does have that Spielberg charm. However, there’s more to this story as another iconic film is celebrating 40 this year as well. ET: The Extra-Terrestrial was being filmed at the same time as Poltergeist right next door. Believe it or not, that was the script that Spielberg tried to get Tobe Hooper to direct. Having been impressed with his directing in The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, he wanted him for a project and offered the fully fleshed out script of ET rather than the half-baked idea of Poltergeist.

Poltergeist (1982) - IMDb

Shockingly, Hooper turned the script down as he was seeking out a film about ghosts rather than aliens. There was a script that Spielberg had been aware of back in his Close Encounters days called ‘Night Skies’ which would then become the framework for Poltergeist. Spielberg took up the entire helm of ET and offered Hooper the job of directing Poltergeist, which he accepted. Due to ET being the bigger budget, Spielberg was contracted to focus his efforts on that film despite the second project occurring at the same time.

Spielberg did not take the reins however due to conflict, but rather partnership. Tobe Hooper would set up the shots, Spielberg would make adjustments and that was that. Spielberg remains adamant to this day that Hooper deserves the credit for director and that it is Hooper’s project as much as it is his. That is the true answer to this day.

Tragedy on Set: The Infamy Behind Poltergeist

There are two major tragedies tied to this film and its series (though more have occurred). It is known for being one of the ‘cursed’ sets–The Exorcist is the most notorious for its cursed nature. There are two incidents that have tainted its legacy despite neither happening on set.

Dominique Dunne - Profile Images — The Movie Database (TMDB)
Dominique Dunne

Dominique Dunne had a blooming career. Poltergeist was her first theatrical role and her role as Dana Freeling, the teenage daughter, got quite a lot of screen time. She lined up a role in V, the popular sci-fi miniseries from 1983. On October 30th, 1982, she was rehearsing with V costar David Packer–a few weeks before is when she cut ties with her abusive boyfriend John Sweeney. There had been multiple violent episodes between the two, and Dunne had finally fled and broke it off after a friend walked in on Sweeney choking Dunne after a heated argument.

Sweeney showed up at her house, saying he only wanted to talk it out. After she went outside to talk, Packer heard them start to argue, then heard two screams and a thud. He went outside and saw Sweeney over Dunne, strangling her. At the hospital, Dunne was declared brain dead and taken off life support. Sweeney was charged with voluntary manslaughter and sentenced to 6 years in prison. Production of V moved on yet used some footage of her for a cameo and dedicated the entire series to her memory.

Heather O'Rourke - Wikipedia
Heather O’Rourke

The other tragedy lies in the legacy of the other leading lady: Heather O’Rourke. O’Rourke was merely five years old when she was cast as Carol Anne Freeling and garnered a Young Actor award for her performance. After Poltergeist’s reception came in, it was time for a sequel. However, shortly after the release of Poltergeist II, O’Rourke was misdiagnosed with Crohn’s disease after contracting giardiasis–a parasite that attacks the intestines and may produce similar symptoms–from well water at her house. They prescribed her cortisone which causes her tissues to swell and led to a fatal constriction of blood vessels in her intestines.

O’Rourke began feeling flu-like symptoms which devolved into cardiac arrest on January 31st, 1988. She was revived by medics shortly after and was flown to the San Diego Children’s Hospital for emergency surgery. After surviving surgery, she went into cardiac arrest again in the recovery room. Despite 30 minutes of CPR, she passed. She was barely twelve years old.


Many consider the Poltergeist set cursed. While there are paranormal whisperings of events that occurred on set, it was these tragedies with their unnatural circumstances that have the most substantial evidence of any curse. Dunne’s murderer getting off with manslaughter. O’Rourke’s misdiagnosis at the most inopportune time. These are weird cases, but mostly tragic.

A Lighter Note: Fun Facts about Poltergeist

With a mix of controversy and curses, I thought it would be nice to close this article with some fun facts. I mean, we have reason to celebrate, Poltergeist turns 40 this year!

Five Fun Facts
Poltergeist at 40: How the Classic Film Changed Haunted House Horror
  • The film actually started as a sequel of Close Encounters of the Third Kind but split off from its source material rather quickly. Seems like the aliens went to E.T. instead.
  • Heather O’Rourke was incredibly mannered on set–however, there was one scene that she was not fond of. The scene when she is sucked into the closet and hanging on by the headboard upset her severely. They got the shot of her looking back and screaming, but shortly after she burst into tears. Spielberg promised her she would never have to do that scene again. Therefore, a body double was used for the rest of the scene.
  • The two main scares in this film are actually inspired by Spielberg’s real childhood fears. The tree is based off of a tree that cast shadows into his childhood bedroom and the clown–well the clown is self-explainable to anyone who suffers from coulrophobia (like me).
  • The tree scene was actually filmed in reverse. Opting to have Oliver Robins spit out rather than swallowed made the final result look better. It also shortened the time the actor had to be in the tree itself–I declare that a win-win.
  • Most know that the pool scene contained real skeletons. However, when filming that scene, the pool was surrounded with live wires and electrical equipment. JoBeth Williams refused to get in the pool until she was guaranteed safety from possible electrocution–a very reasonable request. Spielberg insisted total attention of the crew. When met with lukewarm enthusiasm, Spielberg got in the pool with Williams to ensure her safety. It also helped her feel more comfortable filming the scenes.

Conclusion

Poltergeist was my first horror movie, and it remains as one of the best of the genre. I think what makes Poltergeist unique is it is packed full of heart. The family dynamic is front and center in this film. Despite the short runtime, you care about the characters and want this family to be okay. The 2015 remake is not worth the watch as this whole dynamic was missing. It also lacked the brilliant practical effects that the original has. Anyways, happy 40th birthday Poltergeist. You can rent Poltergeist on Amazon Video or if you want to support the physical media movement, buy it physically here.

This House Is Clean GIFs | Tenor

Anyways, thanks for spelunking this void with me. If you’re new to the Void of Celluloid, welcome. Feel free to spelunk some other voids while you’re here and follow me on other platforms by clicking the buttons below. Love Poltergeist? Check out the custom sticker here on Redbubble designed by yours truly. We post regularly and stay up to date about what’s going on in horror today, reflect on what went on yesterday, and plan for a better, horrific tomorrow. See ya next time.

NOPE: The True Story that Inspired the Grisliest Scene

This post contains Amazon Affiliate links. I am an Amazon Affiliate and will receive earnings on any purchases made through those links. I appreciate your support and hope you enjoy the article.

Howdy y’all. I can’t promise a Star Lasso Experience–nor do I want to–but I am here to talk about NOPE, Jordan Peele’s latest horror/sci-fi film. This is both a review as well as a dip into some true crime territory, so there will be discussion about the plot, certain scenes and possible aftermaths. Therefore, spoiler alert straight ahead.

Brandon Perea reveals Jordan Peele changed 'Nope' after audition | SYFY WIRE

If you’re looking for a scathing review nit picking the film, this is not the place. This film has left its audience rather divided, and I rest quite comfortably on the side of “really fricking enjoyed it.” If you’ve jumped into other voids here, you know I love a slow burn, so this film appealed to me while others maybe thought they were in for a different type of movie. I don’t blame them; the trailer left a lot to the imagination.

Nonetheless let’s get into this and dive into the real-life inspiration for one of NOPE’s standout and disturbing scenes.

Another Stellar Performance

Peele has said it himself. Daniel Kaluuya is his De Niro. Kaluuya solidified himself in Peele’s debut, Get Out–a film very important in the horror genre and most definitely the best horror films of the 2010s. Therefore, it was no surprise that he delivered in this role as OJ Haywood. He really has a way with subtle twitch movements in his face, as his character has a more stoic demeanor that he manages to keep despite the chaos occurring around him.

Daniel Kaluuya Gets the Spotlight in New Image from Jordan Peele's Nope

However, the expression in his eyes allow the viewer to get an insight of what is going on inside his head. His character is in an incredibly difficult position to maintain a dream after his father is suddenly ripped away from him by the very thing that will stalk and hunt him and his sister through the film. His character is the rock for his neurotic sister, who balances him out by encouraging him to loosen up on the reigns a bit–even if it can come off shallowly at times.

On top of that, he does get the most “nopes” in the film. This was always timed and intonated perfectly to reflect both his character and the audience’s reaction. His choices to not engage at times are incredibly relatable and pokes fun at the typical naive but curious victims in horror films. Sometimes, you don’t need to go investigating. Saying nope and staying out the situation might be the difference between life and death. In many cases in this film, it was OJ’s saving grace to act upon his “NOPE.”

Keke Palmer, steven yeun and company

Keke Palmer: Her 'Nope' Makeup Is a Clue About Her Character | Glamour

While Kaluuya kills it upon his return to Peele’s filmography, it would be a waste of an article not to mention the performances of the rest of the cast, especially those of Keke Palmer and Steven Yeun. Palmer is a shining star in this movie, delivering comic relief left and right that didn’t seem excessive in my eyes. Instead of the stoicism of her brother, her character Emerald Haywood is a woman of many talents, and while she may seem misguided, she is dealing with her father’s death in her own way as she wrongfully took second place to her brother her whole life. Instead, she becomes the film’s leading heroine, striking the final blow to the alien.

The final blow to the alien comes in the form of a giant, inflatable version of Ricky ‘Jupe’ Hicks, played brilliantly by Steven Yeun. Yeun is tasked with one of the more difficult roles of the film, as he is both the catalyst and antagonist of the events. Jupe is very much blinded by success as well as possible PTSD due to a traumatic event that occurred in his childhood that he now glamorizes. This glamorization boosts his ego enough to try and coax the beast to his benefit that backfires gloriously–sandwiched between two scenes that made me incredibly uncomfortable.

Before we go into that, it would be a shame not to mention the performances of Michael Wincott and Brandon Perea. Wincott delivers as he usually does, but major props to Perea since this is his first major film role. He knocks it out of the park as Angel quickly stole my heart during the film’s runtime. As well as a brief but memorable appearance from Euphoria’s Barbie Ferreria, NOPE delivers on its performances.

Travis The Chimp: A True Story

Now to get into the nitty gritty. Back in 1995, a couple in Missouri bought a baby chimp from a breeder that had been separated from his mother just when he was three days old. This chimp’s name was Travis. Sandra and Jerome Herold quickly socialized the chimp with humans and got him television and advertisement gigs from the get-go. Travis was incredibly intelligent–he fed the couple’s horses, took care of his own personal hygiene as well as change the channels on the television to his liking.

Inside Travis The Chimp's Gruesome Attack On Charla Nash

The Herolds viewed Travis as a son, mostly given the light that they lost their only son to a car crash in 2000. The chimp only had one incident prior to the accident that inspired that scene in regard to not being able to catch him after he was startled. However, with Jerome Herold dying of cancer in 2004 and Sandra possibly drugging Travis to keep him came to a head in 2009. Travis attacked a family friend, Charla Nash, after a welfare check on Sandra Herold after Travis stole the car keys and wouldn’t return them. Upon her arrival, Travis attacked her and severed many of her limbs and ate multiple of her facial features.

Herold hit the chimp in the head with a shovel. She also stabbed him in the back with a butcher knife. Once she realized that Nash might be dead, she finally called 911 and hauntingly screamed into the phone, “He’s eating her!” with Travis screaming in the background. The police arrived and shot Travis in the head. Nash was in critical condition and went through 7 hours of surgery to stabilize her. This is a summary of an article, which you can find here.

Jupe never learned his lesson: Why The Scene was There

With the details laid out, it is hard to deny that the story of Gordy mirrors the gruesome tragedy of Travis. Now to the main point: what was the reason for Jordan Peele to make this part of Jupe’s story? Well, it’s the fatal flaw that gets him killed as well as the patrons eager to see his show. In that Gordy scene, Jupe thinks he has a chance for connection with Gordy. That if they wouldn’t have shot him before he made contact with the chimp’s fist, he would have possibly gotten through. A sort of god complex.

NOPE - Steven Yeun in Penultimate Scene

This is why he thinks to try and “communicate” with this otherworldly figure and assumes that he’s successful. If he had a ‘true’ connection with Gordy, who’s to say he doesn’t have a connection with this alien? I mean, it has been accepting the horses and no threat to him during rehearsals, so why would it harm him? Well, we all know what happens when we assume. A huge alien sucks you up and vomits you right back up again.

Therefore, this deadly assumption he makes does make him the villain in this story. He is the key piece to the metaphor of gentrification. He thought that he was doing something stupendous–in a league of its own–but instead does it on the backs of the Haywoods which results in the death of their father and horses–the death of their legacy. Not only does his ignorance harms the Haywoods, but it also harms himself in addition to the consumers that feed into the gentrification. Quite a deep message there with multiple layers.

conclusion and Final Review

Nope - Alien in the Cloud

Rating: 9.5 out of 10.

I loved NOPE. I’ve seen it twice in theaters now and there are so many more pieces to the puzzle that fall into place with repeat viewing. Excellently paced with extraordinary acting performances from actors new and old, it’s a sci-fi thriller that is laced together with a deep and harrowing metaphor. It has proved Peele to be a promising filmmaker for the genre (not that he wasn’t already) and the naysayers are just bitter. He is a fantastic filmmaker with NOPE being a great example of it. You can rent NOPE on Amazon Video or if you would like to continue to support the movement of physical media, you can purchase it in 4k here.

Anyways, thanks for spelunking this void with me. If you’re new to the Void of Celluloid, welcome. Feel free to spelunk some other voids while you’re here and follow me on other platforms by clicking the buttons below. Did you like NOPE? Check out the custom sticker on Redbubble of Gordy himself. We post regularly and stay up to date about what’s going on in horror today, reflect on what went on yesterday, and plan for a better, horrific tomorrow. See ya next time.

Stranger Things: Horror Movie References You Might Have Missed

It’s been three weeks since the release of Stranger Things 4. The show really shook the world and was the most important season–I mean, it put Kate Bush back on the charts (where she rightfully belongs). While the press time has seemingly passed, I wanted to discuss the horror references in the show. I also wanted to do this without giving spoilers way too early in the cycle, so here it is now.

Stranger Things - What You Missed

This season was a tad bit scarier that the seasons in the past. With that came more horror movie references that made my heart giddy. It was fun to pick these out and cheer when an homage was made, so why not share my list with the world and see if there was any you might have missed. Without further ado, here are five references you might have missed in Stranger Things 4.

Vecna’s Attacks: A Nightmare on Elm Street

Stranger Things - Vecna

The first episode traverses through the torment that Chrissy goes through. It is a no brainer that the way Vecna attacks and manipulates his victims is an homage to A Nightmare on Elm Street. This trance that those who are cursed go under emulates a dreamlike state that can be fully controlled by the gruesome ruler of the Upside Down. Vecna poses as people to get under the victim’s skin. He traps them in a mental cage. He changes the scene at will. All of these are tactics that Freddy pulls from time to time.

Freddy's arms stretching out : r/NightmareOnElmStreet

Vecna’s appearance almost reflects Freddy Krueger. The disfiguration caused to Henry is very similar to the burn marks and scars seen on the slasher villain. Mixed in is the brutality of the kill–another thing they seem to have in common. A Nightmare on Elm Street is famous for its notoriously gruesome kills and the style in which Vecna kills his victims could fit right in.


Victor Creel: Speaking of Nightmare

Speaking of Freddy Krueger, the man behind the burns makes an appearance in the “Dear Billy” episode. Instead of being the perpetrator this time, he acts as father of the perpetrator in a twist. Robert Englund delivers in the haunting role, sporting grueling eye prosthetics. It’s his story that pushes the narrative further into the question of who is Vecna and what does he want.

Despite Victor being a victim rather than a villain, there’s no denying he’s connected to it all. Unfortunately, he’s even confused as to how and why he was targeted, and the events ruin his life forever–leading to him gouging his eyes out in grief. It’s a monologue that will stick with you and ultimately propels the story, therefore a great use and nod to Robert Englund and his character’s influence on the Stranger Things bad guy.


Steve Pulled Under: Jaws

There was a lot of surprises this season, and “Watergate” was one of them. The newly opened gate is discovered by Steve in his deep dive down Lovers’ Lake. Covered with suspicious tentacles, its presence is as ominous as it is threatening. As he swims up to inform the group, we are greeted with a reference from the first blockbuster ever.

What Happened To The Girl From Jaws' Iconic Opening Scene?

First, he is pulled down quickly. Next, he bobs up to react. Suddenly the underwater beast pulls him into the depths and through the mouth of the gate. Steve’s abduction is quite reminiscent of the first kill in the Spielberg classic Jaws. The first jerk down is always the most terrifying. Seeing the panic in Steve’s eyes and the transition of confusion to terror in the rest of the group is what sells the scene. It acts as the perfect reintroduction to traversing through the Upside Down.


A Rope Between Two Dimensions: Poltergeist

Stranger Things - A Reference to Poltergeist
I Rewatched Poltergeist for Its 40th Anniversary and I Have Questions |  Tor.com

Speaking of Spielberg classics, he acted as producer for the next film referenced. After their adventures through the Upside Down and their brawl with the Demobats, the gang make the connection between the deaths and the gates. They meet up with the others in Eddie’s trailer and cook up a method of escape.

This method of escape emulates a very iconic scene from Tobe Hooper’s Poltergeist, which celebrates its fortieth anniversary this year. The rope that they throw up into the other dimension has the same kind of effect and look as the one used by the mother to save Carol Anne. Paired with the same emotional feeling of reuniting only for something terribly wrong to ruin it, it’s impossible to deny this is a Poltergeist reference.


Eddie and a Spider’s Form: It

Stranger Things - Eddie Munson

Finally, the number one comparison to Stranger Things is IT. Their similarity to each other is the reason for comparison, in which the series’ fourth installment further emphasized. The number one thing to bring up–even though it saddens me beyond belief–is the death of Eddie. It is general knowledge that IT packs an emotional punch with the death of their Eddie, and the Duffer Brothers decided to take that in the same direction. Eddie Munson died a hero and so did Eddie Kaspbrak.

We also got the tidbit of information that Vecna was behind the Mind Flayer. More importantly, he made it in the form of a spider due to his fascination with spiders. A spider form is kind of the butt of the joke in regard to the IT miniseries, as it is the “ultimate” form of the alien in the final battle. So, the comparisons to IT took on rather ironic levels in the season’s big plot twist.


Conclusion

This season was a wild ride and climbed the list to be my second favorite season of the show. I hope you enjoyed it as well and are hopefully exiting your mourning period for fictional characters. We have to wait two more years for the Stranger Things series finale, but in the meantime, let me know if there were any references that I might have missed or if there is anything you’re looking forward to next season. You can watch Stranger Things here on Netflix.

Anyways, thanks for spelunking this void with me. If you’re new to the Void of Celluloid, welcome. Feel free to spelunk some other voids while you’re here and follow me on other platforms by clicking the buttons below. We post regularly and stay up to date about what’s going on in horror today, reflect on what went on yesterday, and plan for a better, horrific tomorrow. See ya next time.

The Black Phone: A Thrill to Remember

I know that I’m about two weeks late. Elvis took priority in my weekly viewing first (truly fantastic movie, always been a Baz fan). However, I took the next opportunity to catch The Black Phone and boy what a treat it was. I really did enjoy this film, and it’s continued to get better the more I reflect on it.

This is the fourth horror project of Scott Derrickson that I’ve seen, and it takes second place to The Exorcism of Emily Rose. For those not familiar with Derrickson, he is responsible for the film Sinister which in has held the number one spot until 2021 for the scientifically scariest movie in a study conducted by Broadband Choices UK called the “Science of Scares.” It’s not my personal favorite, but I do tip my hat to a certain scene with a lawnmower, as it is one of the best horror scenes I’ve ever seen. Much like Sinister, The Black Phone has some flaws that pop out to me.

I will be discussing the highs and the lows of the film here, so if you haven’t seen it, go and watch it! I caught it on a value day, but I would pay full price to see it again–so go and watch it or scroll down and face the consequences of getting things mildly spoiled. Now let’s jump into this void of a detailed review.


Let’s get straight to it: Ethan Hawke

The Black Phone (2021) - IMDb

I’m sure you’ve heard by now, but Ethan Hawke is amazing in this film. He is truly a terrifying villain which differs from the heartthrob, sensitive roles I’ve loved him in. He really took the plunge and played a complexly evil man chock full of dysfunction. While all the elements of his character weren’t fully explained in the film, he portrayed who he was in full confidence that even a viewer with zero context of the story can reach a mutual understanding of who he is and what his motivations might be.

Taking place in the late 70s, The Grabber’s targets emulate one similar to John Wayne Gacy–with details being eerily similar that doubles down on the creep factor for familiar viewers. The varied complex emotions that he swings to seamlessly is very similar to the skill portrayed by Toni Collette in the dinner scene from Hereditary. Accompanied with the variety of creepy masks that only adds on to the performance, this movie is worth seeing for just his performance alone.

Brilliant Kid actors: Another It Phenomenon

The Black Phone Movie Showtimes & Tickets | Charlotte, NC

However, it is not just Ethan Hawke that excels. The child actors that play the main characters in this film are beyond brilliant, especially the sister. Mason Thames and Madeleine McGraw are what brings the film to life. They also add quite a lot of heart to the story. Starting out in their abusive household, your heart automatically hurts for these kids as the story goes on. It makes the abduction scene that more intense and heartbreaking, as you know their farewell to each other might be their last.

I give major props to McGraw here for her performance. She’s a convincing psychic and delivers some heartfelt, comedic lines through the film that breaks up the tension a bit. This does not discount Thames’ performance as well as the rest of the younger actors, who are at the center of this horror. The film starts out a bit slow. However this is only for us to get an insight and bond with these two children before they are thrust into the whirlpool that is this movie’s act II and III. We’re approaching a decade now of incredibly strong child actors in horror-based content such as Stranger Things and IT. Boy, do they add brilliance to their stories.

Peak Storytelling: Well Crafted

The scares from this film came from the realism. I meant it by drawing up comparisons to Gacy. Probably the scenes that delivered the most is the abduction scenes and the overall desensitization of the community as it occurs more and more often. The dream sequences and storytelling are top notch, making this seem much like a passion project of Derrickson’s. I also believe that it is aided that this is an adaptation of a novella, meaning there was structure to build off of.

The Black Phone Image Gallery - Preview Scott Derrickson's Horror Return

Not that the two are remotely comparable in regard to story content, but I feel that this tale was told better than Sinister. Derrickson played within his wheelhouse of gritty realism. For example, the scariest pieces of Sinister are the found ‘snuff’ films. This played it out through the film’s entirety. I see the progress only going up from here. If he has Hawke as his De Niro, the only direction is up for the duo.

Uneven Pacing and Plot Holes: The only Complaints

While I mostly want to sing its praises, The Black Phone is not flawless. Because it is an adaptation, the film relies too much on inference. There are a lot of unanswered questions and details that only the source material delves into and reveals. While this might cause the average viewer to pick up the book to find more, majority of film viewers will see these as merely plot holes. However, the questions don’t need to be answered to enjoy the movie and understand the main points.

The Black Phone: release date, cast, trailer and everything we know | What  to Watch

Another issue that can grind people’s gears is the pacing. The pacing is very similar to a typical somber psychological thriller. That being said there are quite a few moments where things seem to lull. However, I had no complaints as some of my favorite horror/thriller movies are slow burns. However, the way that this film was marketed was as a pure horror film. I can confidently say that it is not what it was marketed as. Reminiscent of films such as Zodiac or Se7en, it’s the burn of the chase.

Overall Review of The Black Phone

The Black Phone - PosterSpy

Rating: 8 out of 10.

I definitely recommend this movie and believe it’s more enjoyable once one knows what they’re getting into. It’s an intense thriller that doesn’t let go once it sets off. It’s a solid film from Scott Derrickson that showcases stellar performances. The key reason to watch this film is to get blown away by Ethan Hawke, Mason Thames and Madeline McGraw. They delivered through the whirling hour and 42 minutes. Finally, I think it’s a must see in theaters before it’s gone. If you’re seeing this too late, watch in a pitch-black room–should get the same creepy effects.

Anyways, thanks for spelunking this void with us. If you’re new to the Void of Celluloid, welcome. Feel free to spelunk some other voids while you’re here and follow me on other platforms by clicking the buttons below. We post regularly and stay up to date about what’s going on in horror today, reflect on what went on yesterday, and plan for a better, horrific tomorrow. See ya next time.

I Don’t Know Horror Movies. I’ll Guess the Plot to These Six Popular Horror Movies Anyway.

Hi there, Taylor (The Void) here. I opened up the floor to some friends of mine to write a blog post for TVOC this summer, and surprisingly, they jumped on board immediately. This is one of those posts written by my one of my dear friends Justine. I’ll let her take it away.


I must admit my knowledge of horror films is severely lacking. I have never bothered to delve into the genre and all it has to offer. The closest thing to horror I’ve watched is Troll 2 (Please dear god watch it if you haven’t yet, deserves all the praise in the world). So, when my dear friend Taylor asked if I wanted to write a post for TVOC I thought it would be entertaining to guess the plots of popular horror movies. Taylor gave me six movie posters, and in this post, I will guess the plot of the movie using said posters. I’m going in blind, expecting to completely butcher these plot points. Come along for the ride.

Cat People (1942)

The poster for Cat People gives me a lot to work with. Um hi…a gorgeous woman, a blood dripping cat and a curse? Sounds like a good time. 

Cat People (1942) - IMDb

The Plot: A woman in her early 20’s lives alone with her multitude of cats. At this point she’s lost track because she has taken in stray after stray, and they come and go as they please. Little does she know, one cat that has snuck in amongst the ranks is not like the other cats. For this cat carries a CURSE (oOooHhh). This black cat (the one in the poster) acts sweet and innocent in the first few days at the house. However, one night as the woman is feeding all the cats, the cursed cat strikes.

It bites her, right on the wrist. She thinks nothing of it at first. However, the next morning when she wakes up, she herself is a black cat. The stray cat she took in, as it turns out, used to be a human woman. The woman has been trapped in a cat’s body for the past decade and can only turn back into a human on nights with a full moon. The cat has decided to give other unsuspecting women the same curse by biting them. Our main character is just one of many victims. She is desperate to remove the curse, but the black cat disappears before she can get any answers. 

The main character is finally able to transform back into a woman on the next night of a full moon. When she looks in the mirror, she notices she does not look the same. She is wearing a deep red dress that she does not own. Her lipstick and nail polish a bright red. Her fingernails are pointy and sharp to the touch. She has a desire for blood to match. Our character spends the night out on the town trying to seduce the men she meets. It does not take long for one man to take the bait.

As soon as they are alone, she quickly kills him with her talon-like nails. After a few months of killing men during full moon nights, our main character realizes she no longer desires to get rid of the curse. She meets other black cats, who are really women afflicted by the same curse. They form a group. Preying, and hunting together.

Each full moon they go out on the town as a group, kill as a group, and disappear before anyone can figure out what has happened. The police never find out who is responsible for all these mysterious deaths, just that an influx of black cats seem to appear in town before the full moon every month.

THe Hills Have Eyes (1977)

The Hills Have Eyes (1977) - IMDb

The Hills Have Eyes poster has a lot of good information that can be used to determine a plot. Right away, I noticed “A nice American family. They didn’t want to kill. But they didn’t want to die.” That along with the broken-down car in the bottom left of the poster, gave me all I needed to know.

The Plot: Picture this, a cute family of five plus their adorable dog are headed out for a camping adventure at Arches national park. BUT…. their van gets a flat tire and they’re left stranded in the middle of nowhere. The family is calm at first waiting for someone to pass by to help out (like AAA or something idk). 

As the days go by, they realize no one is passing by. The road is empty. All is quiet, except for weird noises they keep hearing at night. Enter the creepy man that’s front and center on the movie poster. He leads a group of cannibalistic egg-headed aliens. They live within the hills that the all-American family is surrounded by. In order to survive, the family has to fight off the cannibals that are trying to eat them. I imagine the movie involves a lot of fighting and near-death experiences.

The dog is probably killed and eaten first, followed by one or two of the kids. However, I think at least half of the family survives the cannibals when a school bus full of free-spirited hippies drives by and saves them. But PLOT TWIST: the movie ends with the surviving family members finding out those that saved them are actually part of a cult.

Suspiria (1977)

The biggest thing I got from the Suspiria movie poster is that it is in another language (french? italian?). Also it looks like the woman in the poster has had her throat slit? Lots of blood. Besides that, I got nothing, so this plot is going to be completely pulled out of my ass.

Saturday Matinee: Walter Chaw Talks Suspiria, 1977 | Denver Public Library

The Plot: A European woman (Suspiria) desires to be the best ballet dancer of her generation. Suspiria works nonstop and is willing to do anything and risk everything to be on top. However, she is not the only dancer that wants to be the best. Suspiria’s childhood friend also has the same aspirations. The friend knows that Suspiria is a naturally talented dancer. When they both decide to try-out for a world-renowned ballet program in Vienna, Suspiria’s friend realizes she has no chance of getting in with Suspiria as competition. The night before try-outs, Suspiria’s friend convinces her to have a couple drinks, to help relax. What our main character does not know is that her friend has drugged her drink. Once Suspiria slips out of consciousness, her friend drags her to the alley behind their hotel, slits her throat and slips away, unnoticed. 

The morning of the try-outs the friend believes she has gotten away with it, tries-out and gets accepted into the ballet program. All is well, UNTIL two months later. The friend begins touring with the program across Europe. One night, she wakes up in a sweat in her hotel bed and sees a flash of something in the corner. When she looks over, nothing is there. She is awoken again to something touching her, when she opens her eyes, again, nothing is there. The friend begins to see and hear things night after night. After a while, she sees and hears things even during the day. Finally, at the ballet’s last show of the tour, she sees her, Suspiria.

Suspiria is dancing amongst everyone in the performance, as if she is part of the group herself. When the friend gets a full glimpse of her, she sees Suspiria’s throat is still slit, blood gushing out of it all over the stage. The friend is horrified, but no one else seems to notice. The movie ends with Suspiria dancing up to her friend, making direct eye contact, acknowledging her for the first time on stage. The friend, frightened, takes a tumble mid-spin, landing wrong and breaking her neck. The end.

Christine (1983)

The movie poster for Christine really does not give me a lot to work with (love the car though). I am sorry in advance if my plot is so inaccurate you feel like gouging your eyes out after reading.

Christine: Ignition (Video 2004) - IMDb

The Plot: Christine is this absolute dream of a woman. Drop-dead bombshell that everyone wants. On top of that, she has an impeccable sense of fashion and a hot-ass red car to match. Little is known about her, she has no friends, no family (that anyone knows of), and she doesn’t bother making small talk with the peasants. No one knows her age, where she lives or works. They just know she’s around when they hear the rev of her car’s engine. 

The plot begins in a small town where men start disappearing. One every few months at first, then one every month, then one every two weeks and so on. Detectives are stumped, so are the citizens. Christine has been in town for a while and seems unbothered by the disappearances. No one suspects her to be the cause of the disappearances, but some have noticed her red car lingering around known disappearance sights of the men. This is because…pause for dramatic effect…. she is in fact a femme fatale killer.

Unbeknownst to the town, Christine goes from small town to small town every one or two years, kidnapping and killing some of its male citizens, before driving off to terrorize a new town. To her, men are playthings. She has fun with them (and they have some fun too), until they realize being with Christine ends in their death. This little town in the center of the plot does figure out Christine is responsible. They connect her to too many of the disappearances. However, by the time they can make an arrest, she is gone. Along with her gorgeous red car that you can hear speed off into the distance.

Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982)

Taylor did warn me that Halloween III has nothing to do with the Michael Myers. To be fair, I haven’t seen Halloween so it doesn’t make much of a difference. Based on the poster alone, it’s obvious this movie is about witches who are up to no good. The line ‘The night no one comes home.’ makes me think this movie has one fateful night, where all hell breaks loose. 

Guess the Horror Plot

The Plot: The witches of Witchy Town (I don’t know you come up with a name), are a particular sort of twisted fun. They live under the radar in their all witch town. No men or non-witches in sight. They do what normal people do. Host holiday parties, go to cafes and parks, spend way too much money online shopping, etc. While Witchy Town has thankfully only seen a handful of men pass through its borders throughout its history, that all quickly changes.

One day, four different bus loads full of men pass through the town. All four buses stop in the middle of town to refuel and let the men stretch their legs and explore. This annoys and horrifies the witches. But it happens again the next day, and the day after that. Busloads of men, all stopping in Witchy Town before heading off to their destination. 

Soon the witches realize that a new golf resort (or whatever gets the men’s blood pumping i don’t know), has opened in a town about an hour away. The only driving route to the resort is right through Witchy Town. The witches decide that they have to stop even more men from coming to their town and disturbing their peace. So they hatch a plan. They have to scare away the men, to ensure they never pass by Witchy Town again. The witches hold a big town hall and determine the best course of action. The night following the town hall, they enact their plan.

A bus full of rowdy men pulls into the town’s gas station. The men all unload heading to the bathroom, store, or to explore the nearby shops. When all the men get back to the bus, the hottest witches of Witchy Town greet them. The witches act overly kind to the men, offering them refreshments before departing. The men gladly accept and are happy to converse with the ‘sweet women’ of the town. After they’ve had their refreshments, the men safely return to the bus as the witches blow them a kiss goodbye. 

Once the bus gets to the resort, a resort staff member notices that the bus doors open. However, after ten minutes, no one has come into the resort. Concerned, the staff member goes outside and checks on the bus. No one is in the driver seat and the bus is dead silent. As the staff member walks onto the bus, they see every man on the bus is dead. The employee alerts others in the hotel and they all look on in horror. Walking behind the bus, all the resort employees see that the words ‘death to all men’ are written in blood on the back of the bus.

Turns out that the witches had poisoned all the men. They also killed the bus driver so that a witch could drive the group to their destination before flying off into the night. The witches’ plans work, and men are too scared to go to the resort, and it is shut down. The witches of Witchy Town get to live happily ever after.

Thir13en ghosts (2001)

Guess the Horror Plot

Thanks to my broken brain, the title Thir13een Ghosts makes me think of 13 Reasons Why. Nonetheless this movie poster is creepy but doesn’t help me ascertain any sort of plot. I just see a terrified looking face, overlaid with a bunch of creepy ghost pictures. 

The Plot: Thir13een Ghosts follows your average woman. She is single, in her mid-30s, has a normal number of friends, and supportive parents. Life is normal up until she decides to make a career change. To get more excitement in her life she decides to move across the country and start new. She buys an old, beat-up house, that she plans to slowly renovate and make her own (you see where this is going?).

Once she moves into her house, she realizes that the house is older, and creepier than anticipated. That’s when the 13 ghosts come in. They all haunt the old house our main character has moved into. They’ve all decided to haunt her in their own unique ways. The only way to get rid of them? Defeat them. I’d like to think of it as a horror version of Scott Pilgrim vs. The World. Instead of evil exes to defeat, this character has to defeat the 13 ghosts to get her life back.

Throughout the movie she slowly finds all their weaknesses, killing them one at a time. She has a few near-death experiences herself but is finally able to defeat them all by the end. The character gets to live happily ever after in a new town, and in a newly constructed house (not taking chances again).


Wow, that was a rollercoaster. A big thanks to Justine for using her imagination and crafting plots that actually make way more sense than the actual plots. I was quite a fan of the made up Suspira‘s plot–gave me kind of Black Swan vibes. We’ve talked about a few of these movies on TVOC before, such as Cat People and Halloween III (in passing).

Anyways, thanks for spelunking this void with me. If you’re new to the Void of Celluloid, welcome. Feel free to spelunk some other voids while you’re here and follow me on other platforms by clicking the buttons below. We post regularly and stay up to date about what’s going on in horror today, reflect on what went on yesterday, and plan for a better, horrific tomorrow. See ya next time.

Light Up the Night (and Your Screen) This 4th of July

Ah, the Fourth of July. The best holiday to get drunk and blow up stuff–because if that doesn’t scream patriotism, I don’t know what does. If you’re new here, I have taken the responsibility in turning any moment into a possibility for scares. Therefore, I had to track down what films are appropriate for this American holiday.

Fourth of July Horror

To qualify, the films had to have a Fourth of July related plot point that was consequential to the story. With vigorous research, two films came out on top. Both films were coincidentally released in 1985. so that must have been an explosive year. If you’re into celebrating the holiday or you couldn’t care less and want to tuck in for a movie while it sounds like a warzone outside, let me turn you onto Silver Bullet and Return of the Living Dead.

Silver Bullet

This film falls into the category of forgotten Stephen King adaptations (though every cover has his name announced on it). If you’re a fan of the werewolf genre, this is your movie. Silver Bullet is based on King’s novella Cycle of the Werewolf. Starring 80’s wonderchild Corey Haim, who you might recognize from The Lost Boys, it focuses on a paraplegic kid who believes the random, violent murders happening across town have a supernatural culprit: a local werewolf.

Revisiting the film of Stephen King's Silver Bullet | Den of Geek

This string of murders cancels the local Fourth of July celebration. However, our protagonist Marty steals some fireworks for a personal celebration. These fireworks set of a series of confrontations with the supposed culprit, leading to an investigation on who is the culprit. It’s a film that most of Generation X has on their radar. It was either something that either terrified them beyond belief or inducted them into the horror genre.

I consider this film a clear example of starter horror. It isn’t too intense for younger viewers and is chock full of 80’s nostalgia that parents can enjoy it too–if they haven’t seen it already. It also is a decent King adaptation and has a stellar performance from Corey Haim and quite a convincing villain. Not to mention, the werewolf makeup is quite terrifying. Check this out if your neighbors are annoying you with late night fireworks–maybe consequentially you’ll sic a werewolf on them.

Where to watch: Rent/Buy on Amazon Video and Apple TV. Streaming with subscription on Paramount+. Free with Ads on Pluto TV.


Return of the Living Dead

On the other side of the coin, we have this zany, punk horror comedy. This is one of the most beloved zombie film of all time and has truly ascended with its cult status over the years. It is acutely self aware and takes place over the Fourth of July weekend–so it was practically screaming at me. Released in 1985 and a true riff off of Romero’s zombie flicks, Return of the Living Dead is a true, crazy treat. Two careless warehouse workers accidently lets loose a gas that turns corpses nearby into unkillable zombies. Teaming up with a group of punk teens, they face off against this invincible crowd over the holiday weekend.

The Return of the Living Dead – The Surprisingly Influential Sequel That's  Only Kind of a Sequel - Hollywood Suite

I mean, what couldn’t be more American than dropping a nuclear bomb on the problem and labeling it as a solution, despite making things worse? The film also serves as a scathing commentary on the nuclear scares occurring during the Cold War area and how nuclear warfare could lead to more destruction than aid to their cause. This was a common topic that horror films addressed during the 80s–adding further to my “horror-social commentary” point that I’ve made on many posts (if not all).

This is the film that introduced the concept of zombies feasting on brains as well as one of the first that was not a Romero. On top of that, it is a gorefest that is unrelentless in its hour and a half runtime, making this a quick watch for the holiday so you can go out and catch some fireworks. If not, it has plenty of sequels that are equally ridiculous and could make for an entertaining (and possibly drunken) night.

Where to watch: Free with Ads with Tubi and Pluto TV. Rent/Buy on Amazon Video and Apple TV.


Well, whether you enjoy the holiday or not, hopefully these suggestions give you ideas for some new holiday traditions. The macabre never sleeps, so I hope to offer a tradition for those that indulge in it daily like me. What are your favorite nonconventional horror movies? Let me know in the comments and I can feature them next holiday–it doesn’t have to be horror either, I love unconventional matches for every genre.

Anyways, thanks for spelunking this void with me. If you’re new to the Void of Celluloid, welcome. Feel free to spelunk some other voids while you’re here and follow me on other platforms by clicking the buttons below. We post regularly and stay up to date about what’s going on in horror today, reflect on what went on yesterday, and plan for a better, horrific tomorrow. See ya next time and have a great Fourth of July.

It’s a Cruel Summer: 10 Horror Films to Watch Before the Season’s Out

It’s a long time coming, but The Void has returned, better, bigger and ready to knock some spooky socks off. The summer solstice occurred around ten days ago, thus begins the creaking of cabin floorboards and the slaughtering of camp counselors. While people associate horror films with the upcoming spooky season, there is no need to wait. There are so many films made for this sweltering season, and it’s time to talk about some of them.

Friday The 13th: How Many People Jason Voorhees Killed In Every Movie -  GameSpot
A sweet family portrait… Friday the 13th is definitely an honorable mention.

I mean think about it: how many films contain a brutal slaughter of a camp counselor? How many takes place in some random cabin in the woods? Therefore, follow along and jot down some picks for these post-fun-in-the-sun, cool summer nights. If I happen to miss any that you would like to share with the troop, comment down below and I’ll be sure to endorse them.

The Cabin In The Woods

If you’ve been following me for a while, you know I love my horror comedies. The Cabin in the Woods falls under one of my praised gems. Aging gracefully, The Cabin in the Woods is one of those meta-horror comedies that could easily fall into the spoof genre. However, it keeps the stakes high enough to be considered a traditional horror film. Therefore, we have a film packed with scares, laughs and creativity.

Review: The Cabin in the Woods - Slant Magazine

With a killer cast and horror veteran director Drew Goddard and writer Joss Whedon, it is a witty bash that pokes fun at itself as well as the horror genre as a whole. I mean, seriously, how many bad occurrences in random cabins have to happen before we start drawing connections?

The main reason you should watch this one: The elevator scene–never will you ever see so much ludicrous carnage in one place again.

Where to watch: Rent/Buy on Amazon Video, Apple TV, or Vudu.

Tucker and Dale VS. Evil

Another classic that has been in my rotation for over a decade now, Tucker and Dale vs. Evil is a prime example of completely subverting a trope and turning it into genius. Two loveable yet painfully odd guys end up in a very odd situation that makes victim look like foe, all due to a boatload of ignorance and a whole lot of college aged ego. It’s a hoot, and definitely will cheer you up if you’ve had a doozy of a day.

Movie Review - 'Tucker & Dale Vs. Evil' - Deliver(ance) Us, Y'all : NPR

While more funny than scary, Tucker and Dale vs Evil really stands its ground as one of the best horror films of the decade and definitely one of the best horror comedies of all time. It floats around on streaming platforms, so it should be an easy viewing, and while it is moderately gory, it is a good starter horror for those that want to indoctrinate their young ones. Do that too early, however, they may become a horror blogger (thanks Mom).

The main reason you should watch this one: The woodchipper scene. That or the ultimate bromance that is Tucker and Dale’s relationship–they are truly friendship goals.

Where to watch: Free with Ads on PlutoTV, Tubi, and Vudu. Rent/Buy on Amazon Video, Apple TV and Vudu.

Evil Dead II: Dead By Dawn

How could I praise any other horror comedy without featuring the best of the best? I have mentioned this film many, many times, and this is not the movie if you’re looking for a genuine scare. If you’re looking for that, watch The Evil Dead (the first one). However, they are basically the same movie and I honestly love watching Bruce Campbell overacting to a perfect extent.

Evil Dead II (1987) - IMDb

This is a horror fan essential, and I encourage following it up with its sequel, Army of Darkness. This is the year to celebrate Sam Rami anyways–he’s the one responsible for Marvel’s first horror-ish film, Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness. I hope readers of this enjoyed that post credit scene as much as I did.

The main reason you should watch this one: Groovy.

Where to watch: Rent/Buy on Amazon Video, Apple TV and Vudu.

Fear Street Part II: 1978

Apparently, I have a knack for including second installments, but I have my reasons. While I enjoyed and thought Fear Street Part I was one fun ride, the second one stands out to me. Not only was it scarier, but it felt like a love letter to those summer camp slashers that came before. This was definitely one of Netflix’s good risks that they’ve taken in the last few years, and boy was it a bloody good time.

Fear Street Part Two: 1978 Review | Movie - Empire

Fear Street comes from R.L. Stine, the same guy responsible for the childhood staple Goosebumps. This is not suited for kids however, as these are some of the goriest horror films I’ve seen recently. It’s also worth noting that the actors in this film really do a great job, especially Sadie Sink. It’s a horror movie with quite a bit of heart, both in the plot and in its homage to what inspired it.

The main reason you should watch this one: It’s definitely one of the more intense entries on this list, so if you’re looking for genuine guts, gore and ghouls, this is the pick for you.

Where to watch: Only on Netflix.

It: Chapter One

Finally, I’m in the right order it seems. IT: Chapter One soared to box office breaking numbers back in the day, so it wouldn’t surprise me if you’ve seen this one before. A truly terrifying treat from Stephen King, the Muschietti duo really put a refreshing spin on the source materials and created something heartfelt and brutal all twisted together. This movie takes place during the summer of 1989, so I just associate it as a summer horror film.

It (2017) - IMDb

This movie has no brakes, as it contains one of the most notorious openings to a horror movie/novel ever with the Georgie scene. Definitely have some childhood trauma rooted to that scene (thanks to Tim Curry), but it shows the powerhouse that Bill Skarsgard is in the titular Pennywise role. All the child actors are absolutely incredible as well, and the dynamics between the characters really adds some light to this otherwise dark tale.I’m also a Chapter Two defender, I really enjoyed it and it is worth the watch primarily for Bill Hader. That man will make you laugh and make you sob.

The main reason you should watch this one: If you’re looking for scares, the sewer and basement scenes are quite up there. If you’re looking for laughs, I have one word for you: Gazebos.

Where to watch: Streaming on HBO Max.

Stage Fright

Now this suggestion is purely on laughs. This movie is something else, and if you’re not a musical fan, I suggest maybe skipping this one because you will hate it. However, if you’re in the niche like me where you’re an avid horror AND musical fan, this film will get a few laughs out of you. Stage Fright is something else, and while it’s not the greatest film, it definitely has some peak moments that are worth the watch.

Stage Fright: Film Review – The Hollywood Reporter

This is a cheese fest, so if you’re looking for a B movie that breaks out into song and dance, this might be the movie for you. Just don’t take it too seriously and be on the lookout for easter eggs in reference to your favorite horror films and musicals. I’ve been able to look back on this film with kinder eyes, and it still has its hilarious moments that outweigh the otherwise mediocre moments.

The main reason you should watch this one: Purely for the song “Where We Belong.” Especially if you were a queer kid into performing arts, because the cringe attack is oh-so-sweet and ridiculous.

Where to watch: Rent/Buy on Amazon Video.

You Might Be The Killer

This one is a fun indie film starring some familiar faces: Fran Kranz, who is the epic stoner from The Cabin in the Woods and Alyson Hannigan, known as Willow on Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Kranz is a camp counselor who experiences chronic blackouts and has found himself surrounded by dead bodies. He calls Hannigan, who is a horror movie fanatic, to possibly find out who did this and why he was spared.

summer

A hilarious and odd whodunit kind of movie, this film leaves you twisting and turning with plenty of laughs. It also has a unique way of storytelling, with majority of the conversation taking place over the phone and shot in close ups rather than narrative shots, which gives the film the unreliable narrator feel that they are going for, as Kranz is suspect number one.

The main reason you should watch this one: Kranz and Hannigan’s performances are brilliant and are sure to keep you entertained, even if the film can be rather predictable at times.

Where to watch: Streaming on NBC.

Cabin Fever

Eli Roth’s directorial debut is as gritty today as it was back in 2002. He recently remade this one, which upped the gore but downgraded everything else, so I suggest sticking with the original. A group of friends decided to take a vacation up in the woods and succumb to a flesh-eating virus that attract the attention of some unwanted visitors. It’s an interesting story full of body horror and ultimately is an early 2000s classic.

summer

This film features decently strong acting that makes such a seemingly ridiculous concept so real. It is a gruesome, bloody film that has scarring scenes, so if you’re not a gore fan, this one might be a skip for you. However, it is a defining film for 21st century horror, so you might have to bear with it just to say you’ve seen it.

The main reason you should watch this one: Other than it being a modern classic, the shaving scene will definitely scar you or meet the gore quota that you’re looking for.

Where to watch: Rent/Buy on Amazon Video. Free with Ads on Tubi.

Summer of ’84

If you’re looking for a movie with twists and turns galore, this is the one for you. Summer of ’84 was one of those films that creeped in on people’s radars with the release of the top horror streaming service Shudder. It operates in the same way as IT, in which it’s a blend of nostalgia, coming of age and horror. Instead of a story we’ve heard before however, this one is sure to lull you into a false sense of security before ripping the rug right out from under you.

Summer of 84 (2018) - IMDb

This film’s strengths lie in the younger actors, who play a group of teenage boys who take their suspicions into their own hands when one of the boys suspects a police officer as a serial killer. They conduct an investigation of their own which gets them into quite the situation.

The main reason you should watch this one: It runs in the same vein as IT and Stranger Things, as far as group of friends hunt evil. However, this adds a bit more edge and gets quite dark in the last quarter of the film.

Where to watch: Rent/Buy on Vudu. Stream with a Shudder subscription on Amazon Video,

Midsommar

Not only does it have it in the name, but this is probably the ultimate summer movie just in regard to the season. The bright colors, the clear blue sky and warmth amid the atrocities that occur during Ari Aster’s second feature film give off those summer vibes, ya know?

summer

In all seriousness, Midsommar is one of those modern horror masterpieces that could be hit or miss for some people. It embraces its arthouse narrative style while displaying some of the most grotesque images to grace the silver screen. Despite its disturbing nature, this movie is the ultimate breakup movie and has its comedic moments. It’s okay to laugh at the absurdity. This film also is a reflection on what grief without support can do to someone, as Dani traverses an extreme loss with her boyfriend and his friends on a summer trip in Sweden.

The main reason you should watch this one: It’s always good to know whether or not you’re vulnerable to cult induction.

Where to watch: Streaming with subscription on Showtime. Rent/Buy on Amazon Video, Vudu and Apple TV.


Well, that’s the list! I know I missed a few obvious ones, but everyone and their grandma knows that Friday the 13th is the movie of the summer screams. I personally would love to hear your favorite summer horror films–it doesn’t necessarily need to be framed around the season. What spooky movies do you go reaching for as we reach these hotter months? Let me know in the comments and I’ll be sure to add them to my personal list.

Anyways, thanks for spelunking this void with me. If you’re new to the Void of Celluloid, welcome. Feel free to spelunk some other voids while you’re here and follow me on other platforms by clicking the buttons below. We post regularly and stay up to date about what’s going on in horror today, reflect on what went on yesterday, and plan for a better, horrific tomorrow. See ya next time.

How to Get into Hitchcock: A Brief Guide in Modern Times

It must be the colors of spring that makes me think about his films, but March always reminds me of Hitchcock. Especially in reflection of Women’s History Month, as while he is a brilliant filmmaker, he really was cruel to his female actors on set. So therefore, I’m going to instruct how one gets into Hitchcock, but with remembrance of how much of an asshole he was. It’s not uncommon to do that with many filmmakers throughout the years.

This post will also celebrate the performances in Hitchcock films, as they make the film what it is. When watching Hitchcock, you are looking for color theory, queer theory and femme fatales. The way that his films shifted throughout the years to become something more than he initially intended is why we still study Hitchcock with a ferocity and with a self-aware eye of who he was and what he did. Therefore, here is a quick guide to get into Hitchcock if you haven’t made the dive yet.

A note: Hitchcock films are predominantly thrillers. Psycho and The Birds, however, are horror films that directly affected the modern definition of horror however, so therefore, I consider him a horror filmmaker in this article. Without his craft of suspense, horror films and its scares would not hit as hard.

An Introduction: Psycho

If you clicked on this or follow my blog, you have to see this film. Other than Peeping Tom, which came out mere months before Psycho, this is the groundwork for the modern slasher film. It also is home to some of the greatest plot twists of all time–how long Janet Leigh is actually in the film and the reveal of the killer. These reveals were so great, that when it released in theaters, there was a record that played in the foyers that acted as an announcement to when the film was going to start, and they would refuse entry once the opening credits played. Now, I do realize that I mentioned Hitchcock and color in the introduction. However, due to the graphic nature of this film for the 1960s, it was filmed in black and white to keep costs and gore down.

Psycho' Birds. Birds are a prominent motif in Alfred… | by Carter Thallon |  Medium

While the color theory is out the window for this one, Psycho does have a queer subtext. Anthony Perkins is a legendary queer actor and his performance as Norman Bates can be interpreted as internal frustration and anger of a confused, homosexual man. That could explain his choice of alter-ego (which might have been a way to get around the Hayes Act) and the violence towards women–an act of jealousy of something he could never have. It also explains the rage and contempt that he has for his mother–the one who ‘made’ him this way–as well as the adoration he has for her–someone to cling to as an outsider in this mid-century, homophobic society. Something to think about on your first watch or your latest rewatch.

His Most Accessible: North by Northwest

Rather than focusing on a murder, North by Northwest plays out as a spy suspense-drama. In fact, its final act plays out as an action film really, showcasing that iconic scene of Cary Grant booking it away from the propellor plane. Now it’s controversial, I know, but I haven’t seen this film–not that it hasn’t interested me. I will watch it for sure and it is one that critics recommend to Hitchcock newbies constantly.

North by Northwest | film by Hitchcock [1959] | Britannica

This film has the suspense of the Hitchcock but feels like it lacks the main things I derive out of Hitchcock films. Although, I am not against Cary Grant being the biggest badass ever. All because he is mistaken for a government agent. Therefore, if you are looking for the psychological horror element of Hitchcock, have this down the list a bit. If you want to jump into all things Hitchcock, give it a whirl.

Let’s Look at something a bit more relatable: Rear Window

Ah, spying on your neighbors. We’ve all done it at some point. Well, what if that partial voyeurism causes you to be witness to a murder? If Shia LaBeouf just popped in your head, let me point you to the source material of Disturbia. Rear Window is a masterpiece with a conflicting protagonist. It’s romantic, it’s funny, it’s suspenseful. Definitely not as gritty as its bastardized remake. It also features one of the most elaborate sets, with the entire apartment complex built on a soundstage. There were 31 fully functional apartments constructed on that set, which is wild.

Film Forum · REAR WINDOW

This film features the wonderful Grace Kelly and Thelma Ritter–extremely headstrong, empowered characters. Due to Jimmy Stewart’s Jeff confined to a wheelchair, it is Kelly’s Lisa crawling through windows and risking her life at the hands of the murderer. They are the voices of reason when it seems that Jeff seems to take it too far in his ‘investigation.’ Also, the muted colors of the wardrobe of the film convey both the climate of the setting as well as the understanding of what is going on. It transitions to black and white as the murder confirms itself. It is a must watch, even if you’re not into Hitchcock’s style of a slow burn.

Remembering Tippi Hedren: The Birds

This film is a little more uncomfortable to watch given the release of Tippi Hedren’s memoir. Everyone was well aware that Hitchcock was cruel towards Hedren on the set–to the extent that he had live birds thrown at her which resulted in her and the birds’ extreme distress and injuries towards Hedren. However, she revealed that Hitchcock basically pulled a Weinstein, and sexually assaulted and harassed her several times, and her refusal to sleep with him led to all of that cruelty. This is why I push those to admire Hitchcock’s films but with a large grain of salt.

Watch: The Reason Why Alfred Hitchcock Incorporated Birds Throughout His  Movies

The Birds is brilliantly shot and has one of the best scenes in a film ever–the jungle gym scene. However, when you watch this, please remember what Tippi Hedren had to go through, and watch it for her. It will make for a hard watch and reading her experience might taint Hitchcock for you forever. However, it is another case to separate the art from the artist. The Birds is more of a strict horror film rather than a psychological thriller too, so if you’re on this page for horror, this is the film for you.

Red, green and blue: Vertigo

We see Jimmy Stewart again in a pretty conflicting role as John Ferguson, an ex-cop who suffers from a bout of vertigo due to a traumatic incident while on the force. Then we have Kim Novak. She plays a double role in the film, and truly steals the scenes she is in. If you want to see tension–both the love and the hate kind–this is the film for you. I can’t say much more without giving anything away, however, I will talk briefly about the color theory and what you should look for when viewing my personal favorite.

Vertigo (7/10) Color/Lighting and its Meaning – the Carbon Freeze

Madeline is green, John is red. In an iconic scene (pictured above), we see Madeline in this gorgeous green gown against a red background–which is the first time John sees her. It speaks to the instant infatuation he has for her, and they go on to wear these colors and eventually wear each other’s. Novak’s other character, Judy, wears cool blue, and it plays a stark contrast to John’s hot red, which reflects his obsession and anger that he falls into due to events that occurred with Madeline. It is an important tool that reflects how the characters are feeling without using a spoken internal monologue.

The Unsung Gem: Rope

When I said Vertigo was my favorite Hitchcock, this one is basically tied with it. This film is a brilliant piece of cinema that is one of the easiest to see through queer theory. Two men who share an apartment kill someone and store them in a cassone, which they set up for a dinner party. For those that may not know, a cassone is a marriage chest, and the act of placing something dead inside can be read as the concept of marriage being dead to these two lovers. The glances they exchange throughout the film confirms this intimacy.

Alfred Hitchcock's Rope and the Illusion of the Uninterrupted Take | Den of  Geek

They filmed Rope in a single shot-single take, meaning they had to act like a play. They would always focus on a wall or something still to switch out the roll of film. For the year 1948, that is deeply impressive and only adds to the brilliance of this film. It is an intense thriller that I could not recommend more. It also is free use copyright at the moment, so you can catch it for free on YouTube–even more of a reason to check it out.

Who knew tennis could make you anxious?: Strangers on a Train

A casual flirtation with murder turns deadly serious in this film. Strangers on a Train is another film that is dripping with queer context. I’ll kill your wife if you kill my father is the deal with a one-sided agreement. The intense eye contact between Guy and Bruno while talking about such grandiose “solutions” to their issues further confirms the queer theory, so definitely keep an eye out for the intimacy between the two men–it’s subtle but it’s there.

Strangers On A Train (1951) – The Movie Crash Course

There are two scenes in this film that shoots this film up to one of Hitchcock’s best. That is the carnival scene and the tennis match. Hitchcock already took the intensity of a tennis match and combined it with such dread and anticipation that you will be squirming in your seat.

Remaking his own film: The Man Who Knew TOo Much

Another film that I haven’t seen (don’t sue me), but it has a bit of a weird timeline. Hitchcock made this film in 1934, and then decided to one up himself and cast Jimmy Stewart–his muse–as well as Doris Day and remake his own film 22 years later. Hitchcock also loves to write about innocent people getting caught up in government affairs. This is also the film that introduced the lovely song “Que Sera Sera,” in quite an intense scene.

The Man Who Knew Too Much' Review: 1956 Movie – The Hollywood Reporter

This is considered to be Hitchcock’s family film. It really puts a strain on the couple in question about where their values lie and how they rely on each other in a situation that they can’t bring to someone who could intervene easily. It’s not necessarily one to watch with the little ones, but more of a reflection for those of us sucked into day-to-day life and not realizing we should rely on one another to make progress. In this case, they do it to save the life of their son.

Conclusion

Here is a brief list, which don’t include many other amazing films. Rebecca, The 39 Steps, Dial M for Murder, Notorious… the list goes on. Hitchcock is a true mastermind. While he is–to put it politely–a piece of shit, the film community cannot forget his work. It is also notable to remember the women in Hitchcock films and try to keep in mind what they went through to create such art. While his queer subtext in most of his films infer a possible queerness in Hitchcock–which can foster violent self-inflicted homophobia–he had no right to take that out on others, especially the women who were not only brutalized in the fiction he was writing, but also in reality.

Anyways, thanks for spelunking this void with me. If you’re new to the Void of Celluloid, welcome. Feel free to spelunk some other voids while you’re here and follow me on other platforms by clicking the buttons below. We post regularly and stay up to date about what’s going on in horror today, reflect on what went on yesterday, and plan for a better, horrific tomorrow. See ya next time.

Scream Queens: Celebrating Women’s History Month

It’s Woman’s History Month, and I am beyond happy to be celebrating here on The Void of Celluloid. I am a proud woman and love me some women from the horror genre. Whether they’re the final girl or the antagonist in their films, the horror genre has always been a genre that predominantly casts women in their leading roles. The representation of their femininity and independence has only improved over the years as well.

Jamie Lee Curtis channels mom Janet Leigh in re-creation of 'Psycho' shower  scene

What is the best way to celebrate the horror genre and the women that are involved in it? Talking about the scream queens, that is. It is an honor to be crowned a scream queen, and usually implies that a female actor has frequented the genre a few times to earn the crown. Therefore, let’s talk about our famous femme fatales and how they’ve adorned our screens throughout the years.

The First of Many: Fay Wray

Fay Wray (1907-2004) - Find a Grave Memorial

As Tim Curry sings so angelically, “Whatever happened to Fay Wray, that delicate satin draped frame?” Well, she is the iconic star from the 1933 King Kong, making her our first official scream queen. She also starred in Son of Kong, The Most Dangerous Game, and Mystery of the Wax Museum, to name a few more early horror films with her as the starring role.

Wray really set an example of sultry meets the scream, as she always looked good while in distress. She practically is the poster child of what a woman looked like in early horror films.

King Kong was also incredibly successful for its timeframe, as the adjusted-for-inflation international box office for the film exceeds $350 million. It was a worldwide sensation that plastered Wray as its centerpiece (other than the giant ape itself). As the film closes, Wray was in fact that beauty who killed the beast, and we wouldn’t have it any other way.

Here comes the slashers: Janet Leigh

Janet Leigh Reveals Psycho Movie Shower Scene Secrets

Yes, I am very aware that Janet Leigh is not a final girl when it comes to Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho. However, when thinking of the movie, her face immediately pops into my head. While Janet Leigh would not make another horror appearance again until the 80s with her daughter in The Fog, she is considered to be the first of the modern scream queens. Psycho is the birth of the slasher genre whose popularity snowballed in the 70s. Therefore, it can be pinpointed as the film that really kicked of the horror genre to what it is today.

That film would not have the gravitas that it does however without that shower scene. That shower was the last running shower Leigh would ever stand under, due to the mental strain filming that scene. With the masterful shots that teased nudity and gore, it was definitely a kill scene that made a splash. With it ending on Leigh’s eye transforming into that shower drain, there is no way that you don’t associate that movie with her.

Her Royal Highness: Jamie Lee Curtis

Halloween timeline and how to watch the horror series in order

Did I mention that Janet Leigh had a daughter? Well, she happens to be the queen of all scream queens herself, Jamie Lee Curtis. With her first role being the other huge film that changed the horror genre, Halloween, she basically was adopted and indoctrinated into the horror genre. To put it frankly, she is the horror genre. She has gone on to reprise the role of Laurie Strode multiple times in multiple timelines and has starred in other horror flicks such as Prom Night, Terror Train, and The Fog.

She is very aware of her role in the horror genre and where she lies on the scream queen hierarchy. Curtis is an executive producer on the new Halloween trilogy and says that she doesn’t participate in projects that aren’t important to her. Therefore, we have to know her reprisal and producing of this new trilogy is out of love and care–and it has reflected that thus far. Another notable film is Halloween: H20, as she stars in that with her mother once more. While it’s not the best horror movie out there, their scenes together are extremely heartfelt and really act as a nod as to the mother of the Queen. Legends truly make more legends.

Heather Langenkamp and Neve Campbell: Hello, Sid and nancy

Daughter, Sister, Mother - Nancy Thompson in the A Nightmare on Elm Street  Series - Rise Up Daily

Wes Craven was one to usher in a few scream queens in his day. The first being Heather Langenkamp from the Nightmare on Elm Street franchise. Langenkamp was notably in the best of the franchise, the OG, Dream Warriors, and New Nightmare. Therefore, you could say they were the best because of Nancy’s appearance. She is a horror icon through and through, and Nancy can’t not be mentioned when discussing the penultimate final girls.

Scream (1996) - IMDb

However, the 80s came and went, and smack dab in the middle of the 90’s, we get a new scream queen–due to Wes Craven again. If you’re not new here, you know that I love me some Sidney Prescott. Neve Campbell graced the screens in both the Scream franchise and The Craft. Both of these films had the horror genre in a chokehold during the 90s. It was for good reason too, and a lot of it was due to Campbell’s natural charisma and edge that she gave to her characters. It made her that much more loveable and relatable. Campbell is also the scream queen with the most recent installment under her belt, with the latest Scream coming out earlier this year.

The MODERN-DAY Scream Queens

There are so many scream queens that haven’t been mentioned on this list that deserve acknowledgement, therefore I’m going to rapid fire a few here in a gallery to match names to faces to films. Let’s go.

If you can’t tell from this gallery, we could use a lot more diversity when it comes to crowning the next scream queens. However, we must appreciate the ones we have this women’s history month, as they have shaped the horror genre more than we could possibly say.

How you can celebrate Women’s History Month spookily

This month is the month to watch, support and share women led, directed and produced horror projects. While the scream queens grace our screens year after year, we are severely lacking in women horror filmmakers. While we should be supporting these films all the time, we know that people like to use these distinct months for performative activism. So go be performative and share some women led projects with the people you know.

Some of my favorite women-directed horror films are the original Pet Sematary (Mary Lambert), The Babadook (Jennifer Kent), the newest Candyman (Nia DaCosta), and The Invitation (Karyn Kusama). If I had to recommend one, The Invitation is one of the most slept on horror-thrillers of the last ten years, and everyone I’ve shown it to absolutely loves it. Give it a shot.

Anyways, thanks for spelunking this void with me. If you’re new to the Void of Celluloid, welcome. Feel free to spelunk some other voids while you’re here and follow me on other platforms by clicking the buttons below. We post twice a week and stay up to date about what’s going on in horror today, reflect on what went on yesterday, and plan for a better, horrific tomorrow. See ya next time.

Honesty is the Best Policy: Let’s Talk About Scream

Scream (2022) - IMDb

As I stated in my article last Friday, I am really looking forward to some honest criticism about Scream. If I want to see it, I might as well contribute. I was part of the super hyped group that saw it opening day. While it met my expectations and exceeded some, there were a few fatal flaws that looking back on it–I wish there was a little more effort. Don’t get me wrong, the legacy cast killed it and I did appreciate and like the new cast of characters, but the story that revolved around them has quite a few plot holes and went weird directions.

Time has passed, so I think that it is now time to talk about it. If you haven’t seen it, stop here and go watch it, as this review will be chock full of spoilers. The twist worth the watch, as it is done pretty damn well. Nevertheless, let’s jump into 2022’s Scream.

The Opening Scene: what a bummer

Don’t get me wrong, the opening scene in Scream is intense. However, having it not be a kill really breaks tradition for all of the Scream films, as these openings are known for taking risks and killing off either very important characters or A-list actors. I guess the zinger was that she was still alive after all of that, but it just communicates that we might not have a as sinister and strong killer as we did in the past.

Scream (2022) - Plugged In

I think this movie would’ve benefitted from an event flip. A shocker to the audience would be the double kill that occurs about twenty minutes into the movie: Judy and her son Wes. It’s in the broad daylight–which had been done only once before in the franchise–plus a beloved character and the top theorized killer due to his namesake and the casting of Dylan Minnette. I don’t think this would’ve changed the events of the film, as after the opening credits, we can jump right into the scene with Tara, involving the new characters. It also involves the original characters a little earlier into the film and is the hard cutoff from the fourth film, as Judy was the only overlapping character that wasn’t one of the legacies.

Let’s Talk new Characters

Scream 5 Video Introduces The Franchise's New Characters

Of the ones that survived this new reign of terror, I do appreciate the sister power we have as our new “Sidneys.” They’re not meant to replace Sidney, obviously. However, I can definitely root for them for a few more films. However, I have a bone to pick with our lead, Sam. It’s not her fault, it is most definitely the writers reaching for straws, but we need to talk about the hallucinations.

I Love Skeet Ulrich, but…

Of all the past killers to bring back, they brought back Billy. Also, the timeline lines up for Sam, but also it is very narrow amount of time, with it only making sense that Billy slept with Sam’s mother the night of Stu’s party or somewhere within those days of the killing spree. Also, trying to turn him into a near anti-hero in the end and Sam mimicking his blade wipe–that did not leave a good taste in my mouth. Billy Loomis is bat shit crazy and took his need for vengeance a little too far. We don’t need to redeem him. However, I did enjoy Sam other than her daftness about going to Stu Macher’s house as if she did not grow up in that town immediately after the events took place. Most of all, I loved her as a team with her sister.

Siblings not done dirty
Scream (2022): This or That? : r/Scream

Finally, the Scream franchise is kind to siblings and doesn’t kill them off in brutal ways or make them wacko killers. We see Sam and Tara Carpenter as sisters who kick ass despite their shared trauma that separated them all of these years. Sure, the way they reintroduce each other in the hospital room was a little rushed and messy, but in that final showdown, we see the potential of what they can be, and when they put their brains together, they manage to make it out alive.

While Tara and Sam really delivered in a dynamic duo of final girls, it was Randy’s niece and nephew, Chad and Mindy Meeks-Martin. There was finally some relief from the pain of Randy being gone, as there is no doubt that he is their uncle. It is almost as if he has visited them beyond the grave and bestowed his witty wisdom. I think their inclusion as well as their survival (I was really worried about Chad there for a second) really felt like the apology for killing Randy so early and abruptly. I am excited to see them in the sequel, but as their uncle said, the stakes are higher in a sequel.

Let’s Talk about the Killers

Alright, I saw Jack Quaid being the killer from a mile away. However, I thought he would be the one to provide the tie to the original killers. It would’ve been so easy, as Stu was quite more of a sex maniac than Billy it seems. It would mean Richie actually being Stu’s son instead of the hallucinations and the Billy stuff. They could’ve found another way to bring Skeet back, but we all really wanted Stu back. Even Matthew Lillard wanted Stu back. Maybe they’re saving it for a rainy day. The man could’ve survived a TV to the head, it’s a horror movie for god’s sake, it doesn’t have to make sense.

Scream 5: All The Clues To The Killer Identity Twist

Speaking of things not making sense, how did Amber manage to lift Dewey into the air above her head? I think that was Scream‘s way of tiptoeing towards an invincible, super strong killer like the rest of the franchises have adopted. I mean, it took a lot to kill both of them in the final act. Mikey Madison even relived some of her stunts that she pulled in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, except it was a stovetop, not a flamethrower. The thing that I liked about Scream’s killers was the human element. The crazy, unhinged human element. It sets them apart from previous killers, and not in a good way. However, they were on that same level of batshit crazy, so their actions around their oddly super strength demeanor sold them over all as Ghostfaces.

Finally: THe Legacy Characters of the Scream franchise

Oh, Dewey. I bawled in the theater due to Dewey’s death, as it felt like they ripped out and stomped on the heart of the series. However, I knew that is what would have to happen for Sidney to even come back to Woodsboro, and the movie laid it out as so. It was so good to see all of them again, however. I also like how their lives ended up, as they are very human and very unpredictable. Sidney ending up with Kincaid was a good little easter egg and made me happy that she found happiness and trust in a partner again. The first two movies made us think that would never happen, and it would be justified.

Scream 2022 Ending Explained - FandomWire

Gale is in the best position that Gale could be in, and I was grateful that she wasn’t the bad guy that ended things between her and Dewey. This allowed for no bitterness between them in their final moments and nothing but mutual love without the will-they-won’t-they element. I think that drama that was present in the previous films would’ve taken away from how gut-wrenching it was to say goodbye to Dewey, for both the audience and Gale.

It wouldn’t go without saying that I wish that we could’ve seen more of them, and they had more driving forces in the story. However, if the Scream franchise is going to continue, we have to say goodbye as we can’t watch another one of them die. It is a salute to both Wes Craven and Sidney Prescott from the horror genre. Together they revolutionized the final girl and broke down all of the rules that they had to abide by.

In Conclusion: Scream is worth your time

If you are a horror fan and love Wes Craven as much as I do, please watch the newest Scream if you haven’t already. While there are some plot holes and it might not have the payoff that some of us were wishing for after all these years, it is still a wild ride that is worth the experience at least once–it definitely isn’t as rewatchable as the others are. It is heartfelt at times, nostalgic in others and reads as a love letter to its creator, gone seven years now. The horror family misses and loves you, Wes.

Do you agree with the critiques marked in this review? Let me know your thoughts either on Twitter @OfCelluloid, Instagram @TheVoidofCelluloid, or on Facebook under the page The Void of Celluloid. Make sure to follow and sign up on the mailing list if you would like to receive more content of the sort and I will catch you guys in the next void. See ya soon, Spelunkers.