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Mamma Mia, here we go again! Welcome to the Void of Celluloid and we are continuing the daily movie marathon tradition. This time, we have only two repeats from last year. Deeper cuts, recent releases–we’re pulling out all the stops. If you’re looking for a more traditional 31 Days of Horror, check out the first iteration here. Now, here at The Void of Celluloid, we think every night could be a special movie night. Therefore, each of these will have a beverage and a snack paired with them as well as a double feature to keep the party rolling.
Above is the calendar for the month. This year is going to work just like last year–3 weeks and then the final 10 days. The foundation is set, it’s now time to kick it off with days one through seven.
October 1st: X (2022)
We’re kicking off the month with a bloody good time. X is a film that came out in 2022 and marks Ti West’s triumphant return after a hiatus. Everyone delivers in this film, and it is a great homage to the classic slasher. Packed full of great performances–notably Mia Goth with her two roles. The prequel, Pearl, just released mid-September, so why not get caught up?
It’s obvious to pair this one with a Pornstar martini (a virgin one can be found here). Then, let’s take it all the way back to the 70s with these pineapple meatballs fit for a cocktail party back then. To keep up with the vintage blood, guts and gore, the double feature has to be The Texas Chain Saw Massacre–the brutality of X is up to par with this classic.
This 2005 horror-film-meets-court-drama is rich with atmosphere. Especially with its real-life inspiration, TheExorcism of Emily Rose can be quite a terrifying watch. Most notably, this is Scott Derrickson’s first flick–his newest also made the list. Stellar acting by everyone involved, it’s a captivating and somewhat emotional tale of possession being brought up in court for the first time in order to excuse what seems to be cruel and unusual punishment. Definitely a brain scratcher.
For this film, I pair up with a cocktail fit for a pre-Lent celebration: the Sazerac. For the non-drinkers, choose something as red as blood with this Non-Alcoholic Mardi Gras Punch. As far as food goes, I’m going to recommend something you can spread on crackers such as this Tuscan Spread so you pretend you’re taking communion every time something unholy happens on screen. To keep up with the court drama, pair this one with The Conjuring III: The Devil Made Me Do It.
You can rent The Exorcism of Emily Rose on Amazon Video or contribute to your physical collection here. Ever wanted a sticker for this film? Check out my custom design on Redbubble.
October 3rd: Would You Rather? (2012)
I did title them ‘Malicious Mondays’ for a reason. This IFC Midnight flick is grisly and gruesome if that is more your speed. Iris, played by Brittany Snow, joins a deadly dinner party in which fatal ‘Would You Rather’ style games in order to win a large sum of money. In Iris’ case, it’s to pay for her brother’s experimental treatment for his terminal disease. A few twists, a couple turns, and a shocker of an ending is guaranteed to entertain.
There is a scene in this that I cannot physically watch that has to do with an eyeball–however, snacks can distract from the brutality. Match the dinner party vibes with this Ham and Cheese Feuilleté which is something that both the refined palate and the picky eater can enjoy. Break out the ice pick and crush some ice for this cocktail appropriately named The Wild Ruffian (sub cognac for iced black tea for a virgin drink). As for the double feature, lighten it up with another twisty, turn-y film April Fools’ Day.
Oh, poor Cujo. This is a terrifying and rather heartbreaking tale of a good boy who gets bitten by a bat and transmitted with rabies. This causes the dog to go on a rampage–one chock full of bloodlust. With a killer performance by Dee Wallace trying to protect her son from the man’s-best-killer, this is one of the Stephen King adaptations you shouldn’t miss. Just make sure to hug your pups super tight after viewing.
Well, it’s better to drink foamy drinks than be foaming at the mouth. You could go with the non-alcoholic Citrus Fizz or the classic Gin Fizz to get that foamy texture to a drink. As for food, treat yourself (and perhaps a few pieces to the dog) with these Garlic Butter Steak Bites. As for a second film, Stephen King stories are like a craving as in only one is not enough. Therefore, go with the chilling adaptation of Pet Sematary that came out the same year as Cujo.
You can rent Cujo on Amazon Video and if you’re looking to add to your Stephen King Blu-Ray collection, you can find that here. This Redbubble design can be ordered as a pet bandana, so if you and your pet want to share your sympathies to the Saint Bernard, be my guest.
OCtober 5th: Ready or not (2019)
This film has been one of my favorites in the recent years. I am a sucker for a horror-comedy and this film knocks it out of the park. Jarring, atmospheric and comedy pairing beautifully with violence, it’s a must watch and guaranteed to get at least one laugh out of you. Therefore, it has rightfully earned its place this year on the calendar. Excellent performances all around, however Samara Weaving delivers as our scream queen with one of the most bloodcurdling screams I’ve ever heard.
You can’t toast to the groom and bride without a little champagne. Try out the Champagne Cocktail for a tastier twist to the bubbly beverage or sub in this virgin Pink Champagne Mocktail for a pop of color (and honestly, more flavor). Lean more into the wedding style of this movie with these Bacon Wrapped Scallops or lean more into the game night flair with these Soft Pretzel Bites. As for double features, play another round with You’re Next–because we love to see strong women kicking ass.
You can rent Ready or Not on Amazon Video or add it to your Blu-Ray collection here. Looking for a minimalistic ode to this film? Check out my design.
October 6th: Carrie (1976)
As Fleabag would say, my favorite period piece. Carrie is the second King adaptation to make this week, but he has so many stories that a repeat is bound to happen. Carrie White is one of horror’s most tragic figures and even when she’s the cause of death and destruction, you can’t help but feel deeply for her. On another hand, her mother is one of the evilest villains put to screen. With brilliant performances from Sissy Spacek and Piper Laurie, this one is a classic through and through.
Want to pretend someone spiked the punch at your prom but in the safety in your own home? Try out this Rum Punch. If you would rather have good, clean fun, you can try out this fruit punch instead. In regard to food, get a bit of the pig with the heat with these Mini Jalapeno Popper Turnovers, a finger food fit for a high school prom. As for the double feature, go from a victim going insane to the insane victimizing herself with another King tale: Misery.
You can rent Carrie on Amazon Video or if it wasn’t the establisher to your King DVD collection, make it right by purchasing it here. Appreciate a good Fleabag reference tied in with a Carrie design? Check it out here.
October 7th: House of Wax (1953)
Ending the week with a classic–or Paris Hilton if you prefer the remake. Despite preferences, anyone could benefit from a good dose of Vincent Price. He is a horror legend, and House of Wax showcases him as well as one helluva story. Still having its creepy moments to this day, House of Wax is a legendary watch both in first and repeat viewings. This film was one of the pioneers as well for 3D technology in film and marketed heavily on the fact that it was in 3D. All physical formats of this film remain to have a 3D option to this day.
The 1950s was the introduction of the legendary tiki-style cocktails we are familiar with today. Much like original things being ruined by reiterations (the 2005 House of Wax isn’t terrible, just cringe), that’s what happened to the glorious Mai Tai. Therefore, go drink yourself a real one and learn some history on the way. If you want something non-alcoholic, opt for the virgin version. Make something glazy to emulate the wax with this lovely, perfect-for-fall spiced carrot cake, because we need a sweet treat from time to time. The spices will pair nice with those tiki cocktails. Of course, the double feature is House on Haunted Hill, as we always need more Vincent Price in our lives (the Rifftrax is great on this one too).
So, there’s the first week of the 31 Days of Horror here on The Void of Celluloid. Hopefully this spawned some ideas on what to make for any upcoming Halloween celebrations. For those that like to go hard and celebrate every day like me, go for it–I have given you the tools. Coming up next is Week 2, Week 3, and The Final Ten Days which will be linked respectively once published.
Thanks for checking us out here on The Void of Celluloid. If you’re a returning spelunker, welcome back. If you’re new, welcome. We post regularly and jump into the many voids that the horror genre presents and break down what is special and unique about the genre. You can find custom horror designs here at TVOC’s Redbubble shop and the rest of the socials are linked on the buttons down below. Follow us if you too believe that horror should be more respected than it is and are a horror fanatic anyways.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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
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.
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.
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.
The Void has given me almost free reign to decide my movies to wax poetically about. When I told her about my pick for this installment and sent her the trailer, her response was, “Well that looks fun.” I want to remind you, fearless readers, that this is an essay on a particular horror movie. I will be sharing my thoughts as I view the picture, so there will be spoilers. If you want to watch the film first, or watch along as you read, the title is POPPING on the screen below.
The film for this view is “Popcorn” from 1991. This is director Mark Herrier’s only time to sit in the director’s chair. Harrier has mainly spent his time in front of the screen, in bit part in TV shows like Bosch, The Practice and MASH. He also appeared in the very popular 80’s Porky’s franchise. The film stars horror staples Dee Wallace (The Howling, The Hills Have Eyes), Jill Schoelen (The Stepfather, Cutting Class), as well as veteran actors Tony Roberts (Serpico, Annie Hall) and Ray Walston (Fast Times at Ridgemont High, The Sting).
With its feet still firmly planted in the 80s, this is a fun film. While it is not well known, some notable horror films have found some inspiration in this little film, and I will reference them as we go.
In the BEGINNING
The film starts with the sound of dripping water and slowly focuses on a number of different latex masks floating in water. The very stylized title glistens across the screen. The camera now scans the room of Maggie (Schoelen) who is having a nightmare in her very bright bedroom. Personally, I can’t sleep in a room that bright. However, she is a college student, and apparently, they can sleep through anything. Her dream involves explosions, a young girl who looks like her, a creepy, hippie man, and a flaming sword.
The hippie man is actually just a head on a table that has now decayed, and the little girl is running away. The coloring in this scene is very vivid, giving it a quality of Dario Argento’s films. Maggie stirs in her bed as flames appear around the young girl and suddenly a bound woman is shown, calling the name “Sarah”, over and over on a loop. The little girl moves her hand and Maggie mimics the movement. Seriously, between the light and movement, this girl either ran a marathon the day before, or I want to know what medication she is on for when I suffer from insomnia.
In the dream, the little girl’s hand is grasped by a man’s hand. She turns to look at the man, but all we can see is the child, and the outline of a man, and the once flaming sword in front of her. Hippie Man, whose head is now firmly attached to his body, raises the sword over his head, as he slowly says “Sarah”. We hear Maggie’s alarm clock and this is what wakes her up, gasping.
Hello Maggie and Suzanne
Maggie instantly grabs a tape recorder next to her bed, she talks about this “same” dream she is having, expanding on the details. We now cut to Suzanne (Wallace), Maggie’s mom, as she is getting breakfast ready. Man, do I feel like a crappy mom. This woman is dressed, hair and makeup perfect. She has cooked breakfast, but the counters are completely clean. I mean the goddamn burner covers are on the stove. The rest of the house appears immaculate. I’m calling it right now. This woman is a psychopath!
Anyway…. Suzanne answers a phone call. At first there is no one on the other end. The person on the other end finally asks for a person, and Suzanne says, “Sorry, wrong number.” The voice then says, “Remember who the ninth circle of Hell is reserved for.” and then hangs up. This just makes Suzanne look and the phone, make an amused sound and hang up.
Maggie enters the kitchen and says she doesn’t have time for breakfast. Don’t piss off your mother. Maggie is recording details of her dream into her tape recorder and when she mentions the name Sarah, Suzanne’s face slightly tightens. She asks her daughter why she named her character Sarah. Maggie says she doesn’t know and then makes a standard Citizen Kane reference, used when a filmmaker wants everyone to believe that they know a lot about cinema.
We now see Maggie driving up to her college, the University of California at Oceanview. This looks like a very high class institute of higher learning. She is rushing to class, still dictating to her recorder, when an earring-wearing mullet man attaches himself to her face. Without even a hello, he is telling her how much he wants her and to come back to his place. Maggie is a serious filmmaker, we know this because of the Citizen Kane reference, and she tells Mark, despite his begging, that the only energy she has right now is to work on her film. He tells her that he is not going to wait forever.
We are now in a classroom? I say this in a questioning way because the seating is just concrete risers. They explain that the film students have been bounced around from room to room, and now they are stuck in a music room. The risers make even less sense now. The students in this class consist of three girls, three boys, the teacher and his assistant. No wonder they keep getting moved. This film department is not bringing in much money in tuition. One of the students, Bud, is in a wheelchair. I immediately thought of Franklin from the Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and knew this kid was in trouble.
The professor calls Toby to the front of the class to explain his idea for a fundraiser for the department. Toby suggests that they put on an all night horrorthon. The other students make fun, and it is here that I saw familiar. This scene is very reminiscent of the movie discussion in the film class in “Scream 2”. There are others as the film goes on, but maybe it is just me…
The appeal of this horrorthon is that the film will be shown with the original gimmicks that they were released with; smell-o-vision, shock-o-vision, etc. There just so happens to be an abandoned theater, named Dreamland. It is three weeks from being torn down, and the horrorthon will be the last event that will be held there. There is concern that they will be able to get everything ready in time, when out of nowhere, Dr. M (Walston) appears. He says he is there to help, and all his gear is outside. Toby explains that Dr. M owns a movie memorabilia shop, and it is all they will need.
Dr. M passionately explains how the classic movie theaters were run. He tells them that he is there to help them turn this into a memorable evening. Then…wait…. what is this I hear….it can’t be?! Oh yes, it is. A music montage of them all working together, to an upbeat song, with almost a ska rhythm, singing the joys of “Saturday night at the movies.” Everyone is happily cleaning and mugging for the camera, and they are making masks, getting costumes ready and testing the special effects.
It is the night before the big show. As they finish up, they find a film canister. They decide to run it and we see the close up of an eye. The face on the screen says, “I am the possessor.” There are scenes of gore, and then it is HIPPIE MAN. Scenes from Maggie’s dream play out on the screen. She is reacting and passes out. The classmates have carried her out into the lobby, and she asks what the movie was. The teacher explains it is a film called “The Possessor” made by a 60’s cult leader named Lanyard Gates. They used to make art films. He supposedly murdered his whole family at a showing of the film. The class decides to not show the film at the festival.
We now see Suzanne, looking a little spooked, as she is closing up her door to the balcony. Maggie makes matters worse when she walks into the room, making her visibly jump. She asks her mom if she has ever heard of Lanyard Gates, which makes Suzanne even more nervous, but she denies knowing who that is. Maggie explains about the film they found, and how this movie is what she has been dreaming about. Suzanne tells Maggie she wants to skip the festival, but Maggie refuses. She says she has to see this through. They have a sweet mother daughter moment and the phone rings.
The same voice is on the phone as earlier, referencing the ninth circle of hell again and when Suzanne asks who it is, it repeats, “I am the possessed.” Suzanne is visibly upset and the voice on the phone says, “I want her.”
Suzanne screams “NO”, and the voice on the phone suggests that they talk. He tells her to come to Dreamland and to bring her gun. Well, first of all, Suzanne is obviously hiding something. Secondly, this is not the way you ask a woman out on a movie date. I mean it has been a while since I have been asked out, but I am pretty sure this would not be a very successful method. And lastly, you are telling an obviously nervous woman, with at least a few mental disorders, to bring a gun on said date. I see a Dateline special in their future.
The Date from Hell
Of course, Suzanne goes to the theater. Dressed all in black she exits her car, gun in hand. As she approaches, the marquee lights up, then suddenly the letters start flying off the sign at her, and the title Possessor appears on the marquee. A single ticket is issued from the empty box office. Suzanne retrieves her ticket, and the door opens.
Suzanne hears the voice on the phone and follows it into the theater. She talks to the screen, confirming that she does know who Lanyard is. Now mostly in the dark, a figure appears in the balcony. She hears special effect noises and runs to the back of the theater. She sees a figure approaching her and fires her gun. The figure falls to the floor as she cries. This prompts a big hug. Maybe this will be a successful date after all. You go Suzanne!
Maggie wakes the next morning and finds breakfast and a note waiting for her from her mom. With the events of the previous evening, it is obvious that Suzanne was not home to make this loving gesture.
We cut to the night of the big and once again…it is a musical number! Imagine how much better Halloween would have been if Laurie had broke out singing a chorus of “Somebody’s Watching Me.” Carpenter really missed the boat on that one! All the costumes are on point and they are playing their part. Maggie is manning the ticket booth, when handsie Mark with the ultimates from earlier shows up with a very blonde date. Maggie plays it cool, while Mark is visibly regretting his decision. I hope for his sake the goodie bags with your 3D glasses and nose plugs comes with condoms.
A scarred hand drops some crumpled money onto the ticket booth counter and asks Maggie if the films they are showing are as shocking as “Possessor”, but he refers to her as Sarah in the question. He quickly walks away, and Maggie rushes out to follow him, but secures her replacement before leaving. She should be dressed as a girl scout!
Maggie and MArk aren’t meant to be
The first movie begins and the audience is lively. Maggie spots her target in a different balcony and he leaves, exiting the lobby before Maggie can catch him.
Mark is no longer very enthusiastic about his date and tells her he will be right back. Hello…. Way to keep breaking the rules asshole. Pressuring a girl to have sex, showing up with a nonvirgin who is an obvious target, and now, “I’ll be right back.” Please kill this man of principle alone! He heads out towards the lobby.
Maggie has made her way up to the projection booth, where Toby is keeping an eye through the tiny window. Maggie tells him that she thinks Lanyard Gates is in the theater. He is of course skeptical, but Maggie tells him she is sure it was him. Toby says since nobody identified the body, there is a possibility that he could still be alive. Maggie’s reaction is that of excitement, with her thoughts being about her movie. Toby tries to convince her to call the police, but Maggie tells him there is no way the police would believe them. He leaves to take a look, leaving Maggie in the projection booth.
Toby makes his way downstairs. He steps outside a suspiciously cracked door to see if there is anything or anyone there, and the door shuts behind him, leaving him locked out. Meanwhile in the theater, Mark’s date makes a new friend, who sits beside her without protest.
We now see someone approach Maggie from behind. A voice says “BOO” and Maggie punches boytoy Mark right in the face, knocking him on his ass.
Here comes the carnage
Behind the movie screen the teacher is getting the big mosquito ready to make its debut. He has all the switches flipped and is ready to send the critter flying. The crowd goes wild, and he is like a kid on Christmas morning. From above, another set of hands with a different remote takes control of the big bug, suddenly sending it the teacher’s way, impaling him, and leaving him dead on the floor. Maggie’s new man of interest comes and drags the teacher off stage.
We now see more of the masks in the water that we saw at the beginning of the film. The newest addition is a mold of a teacher’s face.
Maggie is explaining all the backstory to Mark, when Toby returns, telling of his adventure of walking around the building. Mark proceeds to piss off Maggie, who sends him back to his blonde.
Everyone returns to their posts, and when Mark tries to get his seat back, he finds his replacement not very cultured, but really good with his hands. For the second time tonight, Mark’s ass is on the ground.
Bud is getting ready to shock the shit out of the audience and tells Tina to go get their teacher because he needs help. Tina, who is the teacher’s pet, was already looking for him. Maggie is out in the booth, listening to her tape recorder, smiling at the sound of her own voice, when Suzanne’s new boyfriend’s voice comes on, once again calling her Sarah. She tried to rush out of the ticket booth, only to find the door blocked. She pushes hard, hears a thud, and Mark is down for the third time.
Utter Chaos: The meat of the movie
I know he wanted to lay flat on his back, but this is not the way to go about it my man. Maggie runs to comfort him, because after all the crap he’s put her through, that is exactly what we women do. I would have laughed and stepped over him…but that’s just me. Maggie tells Mark she has proof that Gates was there. When she goes to show him the tape, it’s broken. They go to find Tina to see if she saw anyone mess with her recorder.
Tina makes her way backstage to find her favorite teacher. She sees him securing the mosquito and he motions for her to come to him. Bud sends Maggie and Mark backstage as well, giving them a flashlight, because that is always welcome in a movie theater.
Bud now gets to have his fun, zapping the audience with electrical shocks. He make quips and takes great joy in torturing the audence.
Tina meets up with the “teacher”, but his newly made mask is still wet. As she goes to kiss him, it sticks to her face, and she pulls away in disgust. The mask rips off and reveals a burnt and mutilated face underneath. The crowd mutes Tina’s screams. Maggie and Mark come across a newly deceased Tina, who is now being puppeted by her killer. He mimics her voice, and sends them on a wild goose chase. Mark, of course, pulls a Toby, and locks them out of the building.
“Tina” comes into the box where Bud is having his fun. Tied up and wired up, Bud is the target for the big shock. The killer has a recorded message for him, explaining how it will all go down. Bud tries desperately to reach the switches, but the lights the killer referenced in the recording start going off.
Maggie and Mark end up back in the lobby, after scaling a fence to get back inside. Mark is limping and has ripped the ass of his pants. Maggie, of course, is unscathed. They once again go off looking for the teacher.
Bud is still struggling, and almost makes it to one of the wires, but he is too late. The electricity going through him knocks out the power and knocks him out of his wheelchair. With the power out, Leon and Joannie decide the only logical thing to do is to of course have another musical break, so the run to have the band get on stage. How they will play without power, I am sure they will figure out something!
SOme more Musical moments
Maggie and Mark are now joined by Cheryl, who is helping keep Mark upright. Not very well, because he manages to fall down the stairs. See boys….this is why you don’t pressure girls into doing things they aren’t ready for! Karma is real! While Cheryl helps Mark, Maggie goes to talk to Bud.
The band takes the stage, playing the chart topper “Pocomania Day”. The crowd is jamming and grooving. Maggie, on the other hand, has the very pleasant task of finding what remains of Bud…or is it. Suddenly the man of her dreams, who is also her mom’s new boyfriend, is sitting in Bud’s wheelchair. He calls her Sarah again and says, “What, no kiss for daddy?” GROSS! And I would tread lightly dude. We have seen how this girl handles Stepfathers! Maggie denies being this man’s daughter. She runs away, as memories come flooding back.
Maggie runs into Toby and tells him everything. That she remembers everything, that she is Gate’s daughter, and Suzanne is not her mother. Just then Mark’s blonde comes stumbling out of the dark. Toby takes Maggie away before words or blows begin to fly. They go and sit behind the stage, and she continues to tell Toby the whole story.
Toby comforts her and tells her he is there for her. They head downstairs to get to the circuit breakers and fix the lights. Toby falls down the stairs, Maggie retrieves his flashlight, as she shines it around the room, it is not Toby she sees, but her teacher. She sees Tina, but not really. She hears noises surround her, and Gates appears behind her.
Puzzle pieces fall into place
The lights turn back on, and the third movie begins…Although I don’t know who starts it.
While she’s tied to a chair, the killer reveals to Maggie his snazzy Toby mask. He shows her the different masks he wears. This is actually a pretty good bit. He settles on Toby to continue his story. Maggie asks him if he is not her father, why is he doing all this. Toby reveals that he was in the theater the night of the fire. He was burned over most of his body and blames her for everything that happened to him. He gives her a demonstration of how he puts his face on. Toby tells Maggie he is going to recreate the end of Possessor as it should have been.
Mark’s Blonde makes her way out to the lobby where he is being bandaged up by Cheryl and Joannie. Blondie, I know this is not her name, but I already have too many names to keep track of, tells Mark that she saw Maggie and Toby getting friendly with each other, and they left together. Blonde’s new man comes out and it is Cheryl who takes care of business. Joannie tells Mark where Toby lives and he heads out to see what is going on.
Pee and pinatas? The Final Act
Meanwhile, in the basement, Toby wheels out a Suzanne pinata. It must have been a really tight hug, because she is in a full body cast. Toby shows his full crazy, leaving mother and daughter to catch up.
Joannie and Leon are getting the smell tabs ready, when Leon says he has to run to the bathroom. Standing at the urinal, his twin confronts him. Toby pee on Leon’s leg and locks him in the stall. Then he drops an exploding gas tablet in the toilet. When Toby returns to take care of Joannie, she proclaims her love for him, thinking she is talking to Leon. This saves her life. Toby returns to the basement ranting that he doesn’t have time to talk about love.
Now Toby, and Suzanne are behind the screen, getting ready for the live action ending of the Possessor.
Mark is at Toby’s and talks to his landlord. The landlord talks about what a horrible tenant he was. Mark finds all the articles about the theater burning down, pictures of Maggie, and he puts together who the bad guy is. It only took a few blows to the head to turn Mark into a good guy!
Toby starts to play the Possessor and begins to walk down the aisle. Cheryl and Joannie try to stop the projector as Mark tries to find a way into the theater. Toby is setting the final stage. Instead of just breaking a window, Mark scales the building.
Toby begins to act out the movie that is playing behind him. Mark is doing his best Peter Parker impersonation on the outside of the building. Here are some more similarities to Scream 2 in my opinion. The opening and the ending of the film. The audience is into it. They don’t realize this is not part of the show. Mark saves the day by ziplining with his belt, but the real hero is Mr Mosquito, who skewers Toby and lets him fly like Peter Pan around the stage.
Well we have come to the end of the Popcorn bucket. This little film was a box office flop. It has since become a cult classic among horror fans due to the homage to the films of William Castle. The music choices make more sense when you know the movie was actually filmed in Jamaica. And I promise, those songs will be stuck in your head for a while.
I hope you enjoyed my take, the film or ideally both. Until next time….and who knows where the Void will lead me. Check out my last post here.
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.
Can you feel that? It’s finally October, and now I am finally able to say it is spooky season. This means a month-long horror movie marathon: The Void of Celluloid’s 31 Days of Horror. Most of the time, it’s a casual viewing or rewatch, maybe with some popcorn. But sometimes, you want to make a night out of it. Each week, I’m going to go over the calendar posted below and pair a snack and cocktail with each movie I designated for the day and what movie I would pair with each film for a double feature. Posted below is the calendar for the whole month. Let’s get things started!
As you can see, this year is the first year of The Void of Celluloid’s 31 Nights of Horror. Therefore, it is a whole lot of standards and not a lot of style (forgive my mediocre Excel skills). I’ve realized that I have a lot of fans that may not be horror fanatics, and I want the first to always be the one that people can come back to for some strong recommendations, even if it isn’t October yet. I’m looking forward to these breakdowns, as I can offer double features that are a bit more niche for fanatics to possibly replace the one listed, or walk down memory lane and then possibly find something new. Anyways, on to Week One
I firmly believe Joss Whedon is a misogynistic asshole. However, that does not deter my love for his writing and craftmanship. That applies to this movie, which feels like an ode to all things horror. This film focuses on five college kids go on a trip to a cabin in the woods and horrific events ensue. Sound familiar? Like almost someone else was copying and pasting tropes into a program that controls the scenario? Hmm… In avoidance of potential spoilers, The Cabin in the Woods is a romp and a love letter to the filmmakers that came before. In particular Sam Rami, as the comedic elements and cabin itself seem to reference the Evil Dead series. I think it’s also a great meta-horror to kick of the season chock full of spooky familiarity.
Pairings for this film include a Summer Shandy (or an Arnold Palmer if alcohol isn’t your choice) and Sheet Pan Chicken Nachos, as they scream frat house with a little bit of class. As for double feature, the sequel/remake is on the calendar already, so go ahead and pop in Sam Rami’s original The Evil Dead, and enjoy the grape-soda-looking blood fest that comes from this extremely low budget masterpiece that made a legend.
OCtober 2nd: A Nightmare on Elm Street
It’s a Saturday, and it’s time for slashers. A Nightmare on Elm Street is a classic filled to the brim with bloodshed and 80’s cheesiness. Therefore, I thought it was a good place to start in regards to slashers. A group of high school kids from a small Midwest town start having crazy vivid dreams. Funny enough, they have the same antagonist, a mangled man with knives for hands known as Freddy Krueger. Once they realized that these dreams can in fact kill them, they try everything they can to put a stop to it, even if it means never sleeping again. It’s cheesy, it’s creative and it’s always a fun watch every time so therefore it had to be featured.
Kick off with the original, skip the second one (even though it is glorious, you can find out a bit more on my past blog post LGBTQ+ Representation: An Overview of the Horror) and have A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors as the double feature for this film. This is the sequel that matches the energy, creativity and the scares of the first one. It also has the iconic “Prime time, bitch!” scene in it, so if you’ve never seen that, it’s a must. As far as drinks go, the cocktail of choice is of course an Irish Coffee (a coffee with brown sugar would be a great virgin alternative) as you need that caffeine to hopefully never sleep again. The featured snack is going to be Little Smokies, as fire is quite a big role in this film.
October 3rd: Devil
This film is scary on so many levels, and not only because it takes place primarily in an elevator. A group of five strangers are going about their day when they are stuck in a broken down elevator. While waiting for a maintenance team, things starts to go awry as their secrets seemingly are forced out by a darker force greater than themselves. Written by M. Night Shyamalan, you can only expect twists and turns in this intense, condensed story.
On the topic of seemingly cursed mundane things, the double feature I pair with this film is Oculus. You can read more on Oculus in my rundown of Mike Flanagan works. Since it has to do with a tall building, I’m going to keep up with the wordplay and pair a Manhattan with this film (you can find the virgin variation here). Since the cocktail is an elegant, class it up with Fig, Goat Cheese, & Caramelized Onion Flatbread or dress it down with some Homemade Popcorn Chicken, preferably dipped in something smoky and spicy.
October 4th: The Thing
While I usually throw this one on in November due to its snowy setting, this never fails to give me a good scare. Taking place in the seemingly barren Antarctica, a group or American researchers are disturbed by a seemingly helicopter attack. They take in a sled dog that was seemingly running away from the attack, unknowingly inviting in the very thing that will manipulate and try to pick them off one by one. It’s a story that leans on the paranoia both of the characters and the viewer, and it is a Carpenter classic. It also features amazing special effects in regards to the practical medium.
This film always makes me feel extremely cold, so warm up with a Hot Buttered Rum or a Buttered Not Rum Mocktail. Keep the cozy up with some Salted Caramel Popcorn. Leaning on the sweets helps with the paranoid feeling, but if you want to keep the creeps up, throw on 1978’s Invasion of the Body Snatchers. Good luck not side eyeing your movie buddies due to the heightened paranoia in the room.
October 5th: The Fog
We are sticking with John Carpenter the next day (sorry not sorry) and going to two years back to The Fog. Bodega Bay is a seemingly ordinary town, but it has its ghost stories. All normalcy disappears as a fog rolls into the bay, causing a sequence of terrifying events to the residents of this coastal town. Carpenter is known for his suspenseful horror, and this film delivers that with a mildly violent touch. It’s one of the unsung heroes in Carpenter’s discography, and deserves more recognition. Also, avoid the remake at all costs, it’s god awful.
With a name like Bodega Bay, you almost would want a drink from a bodega boy. Therefore, I’m pairing a Bay Breeze cocktail with this movie (here’s a Hurricane Mocktail as a yummy alternative). As far as keeping the creeps up at sea, my double feature pairing for this film is Below, as the scares continue under the water rather than on the shore.
October 6th: What we do in the shadows
Now, it can’t be all horrifying. I may be depraved, but I definitely still like to laugh. Taika Waititi’s What We Do in the Shadows is a brilliant mockumentary, not absent of gore and some mild jumpscares. Follow Viago, Deacon and Vladislav as they room together in New Zealand and have to take a rather annoying new vampire under their wings (bat wings, of course). This film has spun off into a very successful TV show on FX, but nothing quite beats the original troop as the chemistry between long time friends Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi carry this film to hilarious heights.
With this film, you got to have ‘pasketti, or try it in bite size forms such as these Easy Spaghetti and Meatball Appetizers. And due to Vladislav being deadly but delicious, steal a Vampire’s Kiss cocktail while you’re at it. Or if you’re in the more wholesome mood like Viago, go for the Vampire Margarita Mocktail. To keep on delightful vampire tales, the obvious double feature to this is Fright Night, which while I prefer the original, the remake is not bad at all and has amazing performances, including one from the late Anton Yelchin.
October 7th: Hush
Alright, time to crank it up again. Yes, this is anotherMike Flanagan film. Yes, I adore his work and will not shut up about him. Hush is an intense modern slasher full of creative moves and smart writing, Our final girl here is deaf and mute, and while the killer tries to use that to his best advantage, she is able to stay right on top of him due to her quick thinking and creative counterattacks. It’s an intense game of bloodsplattered chess that will keep you on the edge of your seat for its entire runtime. It also doesn’t wear off in rewatches, so if you’re thinking of skipping this one because you already saw it, think again and have some fun.
The double feature that comes to mind that can take the mind of depravity but amps up the gore is Ready or Not, another brilliant cat-and-mouse game with ridiculousness sprinkled in there. Since both of these films feature spicy and smart heroines, Bacon Wrapped Jalapeno Poppers seem to be the move in this blood fest. Pair that greasy grub with the Best Ever Bloody Mary Recipe (remove the vodka for a mocktail, spicy tomato juice can really hit the spot) and you got yourselves a bloodbath.
Until Next time on 31 Days of horror…
There you have it, the first seven days filled with tasty treats, delectable drinks and a multitude of films. Join us next Friday on The Void of Celluloid as we delve into the next seven films. In the meantime, the Mother of the Void (mi madre) posted earlier this week on the wild film The Black Cat and will have a new post this Wednesday for the film Cat People, a wild film with amazing, poignant subtext. You can find that here on The Void of Celluloid. Happy Spooky Season and thanks for spelunking this void with me.