31 Days of Horror ’22: Diving into Week Three

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 on the 31 Days of Horror.

We’re back this week with the next seven movies in this year’s 31 Days of Horror. This is the third iteration of the 31 Days of Horror; you can find the one chock full of classics here. As for this year, we have classics, newbies and deeper cuts peppered in here and there. You can check out the first week here and the second week here if you see a movie you missed on the calendar below.

There will be one more post after this one: The Final Ten Days. Now that that’s established, let’s go ahead with days 15-21.

A Micro-rant from The Void

For those that are going to stay away from some of these films because of tiny little words you have to read, please try and push yourself to do so. There will be subtitled movies in this week as well as next week, and if you aren’t open to subtitles, you’re going to miss out on a lot of good horror. As Bong Joon Ho said, “Once you overcome the 1-inch-tall barrier of subtitles, you will be introduced to so many more amazing films.” Alright, micro rant over, let’s get to the goodies.

October 15th: The Slumber party massacre (1982)

The Slumber Party Massacre': Slashing the Patriarchy - Bloody Disgusting

We’re cheesin’ it up with a cult classic: The Slumber Party Massacre. A film in which was written as a parody but then shot as if it was a slasher. Therefore, it is hilarious and has quite a bit of meta humor before the time meta-horror was popular. There isn’t much to say for plot as the title gives it away immediately but be prepared for a hilariously cheesy and somewhat bad movie that is fun, nonetheless. A charming example of communication is crucial in the filmmaking business.

How about a slumber party where no one gets murdered? First off, the food of a sleepover is definitely pizza. Therefore, try out these dunkable Pizza Bites that keeps that lovely greasy goodness all folded into the dough for a relatively mess free snack. You gotta add a little sin to the party, so try out this sweet Malibu Sunset–doesn’t even taste like booze which is every young drinker’s dream. If you’re not into the drinking thing, that’s alright too–I found this Virgin Sunset for you. To keep up with classic 80s slashers, the double feature has to be Prom Night to double down on the fun and comfort cheesy slasher films can bring.

You can rent The Slumber Party Massacre on Amazon Video or flaunt that you’re cultured in the genre by adding it to your collection here. Check out the custom sticker I made for this romp of a film on Redbubble.

October 16th: THe Omen (1976)

The Ace Black Movie Blog: Movie Review: The Omen (1976)

Alright, fun and games are over. When it comes to classic horror films, The Omen ranks up there. A very dreadful story that doubles as birth control, this had to make the list this year. Evil children are always creepy, but the Devil in an actual child? Absolutely terrifying. The more stressful element is for the parents–how do you handle this situation? The Omen deals with that stress throughout its runtime and it is a very worthwhile watch. It might have you side eyeing your little ones, however.

We’re dealing in terms of heaven and hell here, folks. Protect yourself by drinking this Sainte Trinite cocktail which has to be just as effective as holy water. You can make an ode to Mother Mary herself if you prefer the alcohol-less route with this Virgin Mary Mocktail. We can’t have it all pure up in here however, as we want to convince Damien we’re on his good side. Make a dish in his honor with these ‘Devil’ Deviled Eggs–a deviled egg recipe with a twist. The double feature has to do with evil children as well, but she wasn’t born evil. Go visit Regan with The Exorcist.

Rent The Omen on Amazon Video and if it isn’t in your physical collection already, you can get that here. You guessed it, I did make a design for this one too.

October 17th: Raw (2016)

Raw (2016) is a Radical Coming of Age Horror Film That Gives Women Power  Over Their Desires – Flip Screen

This one is a doozy. Raw is one of the best horror films I’ve seen in recent years, and it is also one of the most disgusting. A vegetarian freshman is hazed to eat raw meat upon her arrival at university. After ingesting, she develops an animalistic craving for flesh–both animal and human. Quite an interesting take on a coming-of-age film. This is Julia Ducournau’s debut feature-length film, who recently released the bonkers Titane in 2021. However, it seems like she’s been in the game for years as she never fails once in this movie to intrigue and terrify.

This is a French film, so it’s time to indulge in some French food. I decided to go vegetarian as meat might not be appetizing during this film’s run. Therefore, check out this savory Triple-Threat Onion Galette and snack on it if you’re not queasy. This is also a college film, and you might need to remember your college years in order to forget Justine’s. Get a big group and plan a sleepover, then make the iconic college party drink Hop, Skip and Go Naked–which contains a lot of booze. If it’s just you and a buddy, however, indulge in this Blood Orange Lemonade which you can keep as is or add booze to take off the edge. Cannibalism is a rough topic, but fascinating, nonetheless. A double feature to stay on topic but lighten it up is the cult classic Parents.

You can check Raw out on Amazon Video or add some surreal culture to your shelf by adding it to your physical collection here. You can check out my slick typography design for this film here on Redbubble.

October 18th: Shutter (2004)

Fatal Frame: Chilling Thai Horror Film 'Shutter' Turns 15 - Bloody  Disgusting

At the turn of the century, there was quite a boom of Asian horror. We got Ringu and Ju-On: The Grudge from Japan, but what about the other countries? Out comes Shutter from Thailand. A ghost story that has to do with cameras is sure enough to give you the creeps. Shutter follows Jane and her boyfriend, Tun after Jane hits someone with her car and murders her. Noticing that there are figures appearing in the background of her boyfriend’s photographs, she fears it is the vengeful spirit of the young girl she hit. This one is twisty turn-y and is a must watch for any horror fan.

Thai horror needs to be accompanied with some Thai food. Make these easy Chicken Satay skewers to snack on–they make great leftovers as they are delicious cold. Try something new with this refreshing Sabai Sabai Cocktail. If you’re not into the alcohol side of things, Thailand has quite an array of mocktails including this Ko Tao Mocktail. Continue down the path of Thai horror and check out another spooky tale, The Unseeable.

Rent Shutter on Vudu as it is unavailable on Amazon at the moment. This design for this film brings more to the eye, make sure to look closely on Redbubble.

October 19th: Nope (2022)

Film review: Jordan Peele's 'Nope' provides unsettling social commentary  with strong execution - Daily Bruin

If you’re a regular, you know that I loved this film. I understand it is one of the more polarizing films of the year, but NOPE toes the line between disturbing and hilarious during its entire runtime. A pair of siblings take over their family business after their father dies in a freak accident. Upon the opening of a theme park near their property, they see something Not Of Planet Earth lurking in the hills. The thing that makes this film disturbing is best kept secret until after watching, but you can read all about that scene here.

Upon viewing, I HAD to know what a Cactus ICEE tasted like. Well, this Prickly Pear Frozen Margarita will have to do instead, especially since the original probably didn’t have booze. I sure as hell wouldn’t give Jupe a liquor license. If booze doesn’t suit your fancy, try out this Prickly Pear and Coconut Water Smoothie. The theme park gave me discount Knott’s Berry Farm vibes, so I had to go with a Dupe of Knott’s Berry Farm Boysenberry BBQ Meatballs since no one does crazy theming better than Knott’s. For this film, I wanted to pair it with another creature feature. Therefore, be sure to check out The Host from the genius Bong Joon Ho.

You can now watch Nope on Amazon Video or complete your Jordan Peele collection by adorning it on your shelf which you can purchase here. This is the film that caused me to start these designs, so check out the OG Gordy’s Home design on Redbubble.

October 20th: Suspiria (1977)

Suspiria - Horror

Ah, Argento. Suspiria remains as one of the prettiest horror films out there. The colors, the geometric patterns and the groundbreaking cinematography in this film continues to influence the world around it and even inspire a remake in 2019 (which is also quite good). An elite ballet school has a violent, brutal secret lurking in every room, and we follow Suzy as she unravels the knots and discovers the truth–and it has to do with some freaky witchcraft. It’s a slower burn, but has some of the most brutal and iconic death scenes of all time.

Class it up with this Ballerina Wine Cocktail that is an easy sipper to nurse throughout the movie. If you’re not into an herbal wine drink, try this Pumpkin Witch’s Brew to become one with the coven. It does take place in Germany as well, so eat something that a ballerina probably wouldn’t eat with this German Beer Cheese Spread–versatile with multiple types of carbs. The double feature is another mystery-horror with its twists and turns and that is Edgar Wright’s Last Night in Soho, so have fun with these girls really going crazy.

Watch Suspiria on Tubi (the only platform to have Suspiria?) or have it on your shelf alongside your other Giallo films by purchasing the physical version here. I did a rather classy, painting-style design for this one, so be sure to check it out on Redbubble.

October 21st: His House (2020)

His House (2020) - Horror Movies

This was a surprise from Netflix after an overall lull in their original movies. His House is filled with terror and rich with metaphor. A couple who has escaped from South Sudan takes refuge in a quaint English town. Haunted by the death of their daughter, they struggle to adjust and take different methods of coping. However, their house seems to be haunted, and the thing haunting it is something truly evil. This is an intense, surreal ride, so try to pay attention during the times you’re able to keep your eyes on the screen.

For this film, we are blending an English drink with a South Sudanese treat. When I think of English cocktails, I immediately think of a Pimm’s Cup–a perfect tasty blend of herbs, spices and booze. Believe it or not, I found a Virgin Pimm’s as well that emulates that complexity in flavors as well. You can usually find Pimm’s rather easily in the US at specialty liquor stores. As for food, we’re going sweet with this delicious Sudanese Kahk–a recipe that might contribute to your Christmas baking as well. Shape them with these spooky cookie cutters. I chose another Netflix original turned modern horror essential with The Ritual.

You can watch His House on Netflix–a platform that sadly doesn’t have any physical copies readily available. You can check out my original design here on Redbubble.

Coming Up Next

So, there’s the third 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 movie nights this spooky season. For those that like to go hard and celebrate every day like me, go for it–I have given you the tools. We had Week 1 and Week 2, coming up next are The Final Ten Days which will be linked respectively once published.

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, horror filled tomorrow. See ya next time.

31 Days of Horror ’22: Week Two

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.

We’re back this week with the next seven movies in this year’s 31 Days of Horror. This is the second iteration of the 31 Days of Horror; you can find the one chock full of classics here. As for this year, we have classics, newbies and deeper cuts peppered in here and there. You can check out the first week here if you see a movie you missed on the calendar below.

There will be two more posts after this one: Week 3 and The Final Ten Days. Now that that’s established, let’s go ahead with days 8-14.

October 8th: The Funhouse (1981)

The Funhouse (1981) [31 Days of Gore] – The Goug' Blog

There is something cheesy and fun about this next film. The Funhouse from Tobe Hooper has quite a cult following and holds up as a creepy, odd film from the 80s. This is the film that put Hooper more prominently on Spielberg’s radar for Poltergeist, so you know it has to be good. Creepy clown like figures, terrifying animatronics and one helluva monster makes this a romp that one won’t forget. This definitely a sleeper hit from the slasher surge.

Of course, we have to lean in on the circus theme. Clowns always scare me, so I had to have my liquid courage based around the freaky guys. Therefore, go with the Clown Car Cocktail or if you are brave enough, go with the non-alcoholic Cranberry Clown Mocktail. Now, everyone loves a good snack mix. This one is on theme and does contain some polarizing things, so make adjustments as necessary. This Circus Snack Mix has the cherished (or dreaded) Circus Peanuts and other fun bits and bobs. In order to make this an epic double feature, pair this film with the wacky Killer Klowns from Outer Space.

Rent The Funhouse here on Amazon Video or own it in its newly 4K remastered version here. I made a design for this one as well featuring the creature itself, which you can check out here on Redbubble.

October 9th: Hereditary (2018)

Review: In 'Hereditary,' the Horror Is Slow-Cooked and Homemade - The New  York Times

Yes, this movie. It’s a slow burn, but good god does it pay off. I am an Ari Aster fan here and have rewatched both this and Midsommar multiple times whenever I’m in a mood to get disturbed. Hereditary is an intense film that deals with possession in multiple versions. That’s about all I can say without giving anything away, because if you haven’t seen this film, it will impact you the best if you go in blind. It’s a slow burn but stick with it as the last 15 minutes are some of the most intense minutes in film history.

For this one, I have an interesting cocktail that is directly inspired by the film: the Hail Paimon Cocktail. If the mixture of pomegranate and peanut butter into a shooter doesn’t sound like your style, maybe just stick with the peanut butter with this non-alcoholic Peanut Butter Milkshake that you COULD make alcoholic by adding a bit of Skrewball. Now, to honor Charlie, make these Homemade Devil Cremes and make sure NOT to put nuts in them.

You can rent Hereditary on Amazon Video and you need to add it to your physical collection ASAP if you want some brownie points with the cool indie kids. Buy it here. As for the design? I leaned way more on the inside joke side as it is a heavy supplied topic on Redbubble–check it out here.

October 10th: Green Room (2015)

Green Room (2015) - IMDb

This film is fantastic and seems to be forgotten. Brutal as can be, Green Room leans more like a thriller than a horror if you subtract the gore and violence. A punk band have a gig at a bar in the middle-of-nowhere Oregon (my state!). Little did they realize that the bar is a Neo-Nazi bar and the band they’re opening for falls swiftly in that genre as well. Deciding to take the gig anyways–to quote Stephen Stills, “a gig is a gig is a gig is a gig,”–they end up having to fight for their lives as the crowd is deadly. It’s an intense one as well as another A24 film.

For the food, we have to go hardcore punk in solidarity for this poor band. Therefore, I’ve gone with the strong but tasty Ankle Breaker Cocktail. Not into the booze? That’s alright, you can still be punk rock with this Molotov Mocktail. To echo the wish of them playing at a normal dive bar rather than this hellhole, we paired it all with these White Castle Copycats–a crowd-pleaser and made to accompany alcohol. Now for this double feature, I’m going a little lighter as I want to honor the late Anton Yelchin that delivers in this role and going with Odd Thomas–a cute but creepy flick.

Rent Green Room on Amazon Video or add it to your now growing A24 physical collection here. I also designed a very simple but very reliable design for this one. Check it out here on Redbubble.

October 11th: Ganja and Hess (1973)

BLACK HISTORY MONTH – GANJA & HESS — Beyond The Void Horror Podcast

Ganja and Hess came to my attention with the release of Clipping’s album There Existed an Addiction to Blood and I’ve been hooked ever since. This film is one of the most famous blaxploitation horror films out there and was released a year after Blacula. Dr. Hess Green gets stabbed with an ancient dagger by his unstable assistant and becomes a vampire. After the assistant goes missing, his wife Ganja Meda goes looking for him and falls in love with Dr. Green–who turns her into a vampire as well. It is a fascinating film with beautiful imagery and luscious symbolism. It was also remade by Spike Lee as Da Sweet Blood of Jesus, but due to critical reception, you’re better off sticking with the classic.

Want a bloodthirst just as mighty as our vampire lovers? Check out this macabre Vampire Vodka with a Syringe of ‘Blood’ which has a fun interactive element that will win over guests in a heartbeat. If you don’t need the heat of alcohol with your blood, try out this Raspberry Mojito Mocktail with the syringe instead. In order to continue your feast of blood, try out this sweet and salty Bloody Popcorn. For a double feature, you’re going to want more Duane Jones in your life. Therefore, pair this with the original Night of the Living Dead.

You can rent Ganja and Hess on Amazon Video or have it adorned on your entertainment center by purchasing it here. Listen to Clipping’s There Existed an Addiction to Blood to get into the spooky mood with some experimental noise rap that has killer bars. I did do a design for this film as well, can’t stop, won’t stop.

October 12th: Jennifer’s Body (2009)

Horror

I know a lot of people who have a soft spot for this film, myself included. Jennifer’s Body is a good time. Filled to the brim with cringy noughties’ humor and a film that has earned some respect among the LGBTQ+ community, it has aged quite well in a modern scope–as long as you don’t take it too seriously. Jennifer comes back from a sacrifice gone wrong and seeks revenge to those who have done her dirty–men primarily. It’s a romp that needs to be revisited if you didn’t like it the first go around.

If Jennifer can, you too can go both ways with Cheese + Chocolate Fondue. In terms of drinks, I had to find the iconic and morbidly named 9/11 Tribute Shooter in which they drink pre sacrifice, so make sure you have one before and after she turns (or as many as you want you wild animal you). I also found a virgin version, but make sure it’s a virgin beforehand. My double feature pick for this film is Ginger Snaps to go back-to-back with sultry, violent femmes.

You can rent Jennifer’s Body here on Amazon Video or add it to your (now-growing, yes?) physical collection here. Check out the design I made on Redbubble for this one.

October 13th: The Birds (1963)

Horror

This film is responsible for most peoples’ irrational fears of birds. One of Hitchcock’s tried and true classics adapted from a Daphne Du Maurier novella. It focuses on Melanie and her small town as they try and survive once the avian species in the area turn murderous. With iconic shots and terrifying tension, don’t sleep on The Birds as it is one of the best horror films of all time. One thing I will mention with this film is to watch it with consideration of what Hitchcock did to Tippi Hedren, more of which you can read about in my article all about Hitchcock.

I had to keep with the ‘bird’ theme when choosing these drinks. Therefore, I went with a Kentucky Bird, which is a variation of the classic tiki cocktail, the “Jungle Bird.” Due to it being a booze forward drink, my mocktail consists of one of the ingredients–pineapple juice. Therefore, indulge in this Pineapple Mocktail if you’re not into the strong stuff. In regards of food, I kept it very retro chic and looked for recipes around the 1960s. There, I came across one of my favorite snacky recipes: Bacon Stuffed Cherry Tomatoes. It’s delicious and bite sized that you’ll think you’re eating like a bird.

Rent The Birds on Amazon Video or flex your classic horror movie muscles by having it adorn your shelf, which you can get here. I made a very chic, very classic design for this film on Redbubble.

October 14th: Don’t Look Now (1973)

Horror

Speaking of Daphne Du Maurier, this film is a must watch if you haven’t seen it yet. A surreal horror nightmare, Don’t Look Now addresses some of the bleakest topics there is out there. Not only that, but it is also a visual masterpiece. Starring Donald Sutherland and Julie Christie, Don’t Look Now reigns as a surreal psychological thriller that stood the test of time gracefully. There’s not much more I can say as going into this film with little information has a huge payoff.

This film will pair nicely with a Little Red Jacket Cocktail, both in feeling and in the literal sense of the red jacket seen several times in the film. As that cocktail contains Jägermeister, I wanted to see if there could be a mocktail that has same spiced taste. Considering Jaeger has 56 herbs and spices, I had to narrow it down to a delicious tasting mocktail that has no name relation to the content of the film: Don’s Virgin Sacrifice. Now, we’re ending the week fairly classic, so why not take it to the 70s with this Classic Cheeseball, perfect for spreading and stress eating the dread away.

You can rent Don’t Look Now on Amazon Video or own it physically by following the link here. Due to the film’s harrowing subject matter, I mashed up two films for the design to poke fun at a trope rather than referencing the movie itself. Check that design out here.

Coming Up Next

So, there’s the second 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. We had Week 1, coming up next is Week 3 and The Final Ten Days which will be linked respectively once published.

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, horror filled tomorrow. See ya next time.

Celebrating Poltergeist’s 40th Anniversary

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.

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.

Popcorn (1991): A Mother of the Void Summary

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.

Horror Movie Review: Popcorn (1991) - Games, Brrraaains & A Head-Banging  Life

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. 

The Horror-THon

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…

Popcorn (1991) - IMDb

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. 

The Possessor

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.

Exhumed & Exonerated: 'Popcorn' (1991) - Bloody Disgusting

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. 

Horror Movie Review: Popcorn (1991) - Games, Brrraaains & A Head-Banging  Life

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. 

Not from these events… but I had to include this photo.

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. 

Popcorn 1991 Sale, 48% OFF | avifauna.cz

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

Popcorn (1991) - IMDb

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. 

Conclusion

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.

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.

Mother of the Void Presents: Haxan (1922)

For my film this week, The Void has chosen the 1922 German silent film Haxan. This has been lovingly restored for the Criterion Collection, and is available for streaming on HBO Max. This will be a shorter dissection than my previous submissions. Don’t get too excited.  It really is not possible to go into too much of a story analysis.

Haxan - Rotten Tomatoes

You can check out my last post on Suspicion here, if you want to see a heated review. Nonetheless, let’s get into it.

Summarizing Haxan: The first stories

This film tells the story of witchcraft through the centuries. It is told in chapters with the first telling a history or how the Devil and witchcraft are connected and the preceding chapters telling dramatizations of witchcraft being practiced and the impact on innocent victims. 

New book examines 1922 silent film that billed itself as a "documentary of  witchcraft" | Hub

Many of the movie tropes we see today can be traced back to Haxan. The depiction of witches being ugly, old hags for one. Even in the story when the beautiful young woman is the witch, it is quite easy for her to frame a woman fitting this description as the witch and divert attention from herself. 

In one of the first stories, what we have come to know as the early zombie walk is depicted. Arms straight out, walking aimlessly. The woman in question is young and beautiful, and stark naked. I don’t think I have ever seen shadows used so skillfully to maintain modesty.

German Macabre in Haxan

As the dramatization progresses there is a stunning scene of witches flying on their broomsticks, to dance with demons. I want to add that the witches are able to fly because of the ointment that they rub on each other’s back. I wonder if that could be where the concept of Pixie Dust came from? 

The Devil's Work: Benjamin Christensen's 'Häxan' and the Limits of  “Director as God” - Split Tooth Media

There were a number of laugh out loud moments for me, but I am not sure they were intentional.  It could be the fact that, at times, I have the sense of humor of a 13-year-old boy. When the title card suggests that witches have to kiss the devil’s bottom and then showed an illustration of this act, I found it quite amusing. I must also say that my laughter was that of being delighted by the images, which were highly imaginative and way ahead of their time. The Germans have a special quality in their depiction of the macabre, especially during the 1920s.

FInal Thoughts

The film is in black and white, but the filmmaker also used a sepia color, often indicating either firelight, or hellfire. The use of shadow, as I previously mentioned, was masterfully done. It allowed the provocative to be present, but maintained the film’s modesty. 

I am recommending this film, especially to those who love the process of filmmaking. To those, it is almost essential viewing. Also, those of you who are Pop Culture addicts like me, you might want to watch to see where Tenacious D and Dave Grohl found their inspiration for their version of the devil in “The Pick of Destiny.”

While this take was short and sweet, I will be back with whatever The Void decides to throw me. Hope all of your 2022 are magical…with no devil butt kissing included!

Horror Musicals: The Hills are Alive with the Sound of Screaming

It’s me, The Void. I’m stealing the Mother’s place this fine day to give you my ranking of the beautiful blending of my favorite genres: horror and musical. Yes, we’re talking horror musicals. This came to me when I heard of Stephen Sondheim’s passing, which shattered my heart into a million little pieces. May his memory be a blessing.

In this ranking, I am focusing on the stage and having movie adaptations weigh in as needed. A lot of these have no movie adaptations. I am excluding strictly movie musicals, therefore musicals like Repo! The Genetic Opera and The Devil’s Carnival are not on this list (though I respect and admire Terrance Zdunich’s writing quite a bit). I felt it wasn’t fair against these beasts of musicals, as most of these have made it to the Broadway caliber. Nonetheless, let’s slash our ways through this, shall we?

Number 9: Jekyll ANd Hyde

Before you ask, yes, that IS David Hasselhoff. Jekyll and Hyde is the stage musical adaptation of the novella The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, and while it is blaring with the rock and has the iconic “Confrontation” which has the lead singing from two perspectives at once, the cheesiness level cuts the epic down to quite a low level. It’s easy to find the taped version of this musical if you’re in desperate need to see Hasselhoff deliver some epic bars, but overall, it’s not exactly my personal favorites

My favorite song is “Confrontation,” as it generated a hilarious TikTok meme and it is as epic as it sounds.

Number 8: Carrie the Musical

Poor, poor Carrie. This poor musical is cursed for failure for whatever reason, and it all lies in how its produced. The original debut was way too much and the revival was way too little, leading to it flopping on both occasions. However, the tunes are actually really well written and it is a faithful adaptation. There is a fairly impressive LA production that did do it right, but used a gymnasium instead of a traditional stage, so I believe if Carrie the Musical will never be successful on Broadway–and that is okay.

My favorite moment is “The Destruction,” as the song is a beautiful depiction of Carrie’s inner monologue and her seemingly instantaneous snap. My favorite interpretation is Keaton Whittaker’s version. Meanwhile, if you wanna see some killer stage effects, you can check out the LA version here.

Number 7: Evil Dead the Musical

Yes, there is an off-broadway adaptation of Evil Dead II. It is all kinds of cheesy and hilarious, which is the only thing you should expect given its source material. There is disco, there is showtunes and Ash takes the stage with grace. This is in the same league as the Starkid musicals and could be improv if we didn’t know any better. It’s a fun one that graces local theaters often, so definitely check this one out if you are in the mood for a good laugh.

The best song is probably “It’s Time” in which there is disco dancing and Ash sings about balls. Who could ask for anything more? Check out a rendition from 2017 here.

Number 6: Heathers

Yes, I do admit I’m stretching a bit with this one. JD is technically a serial killer and Westerberg High does seem like a living hell, so I let it pass. The 1989 film Heathers is one of my favorites, so it is natural that I fell in love with the musical adaptation. While there are some misses on the soundtrack, especially the West End version, there are some GEMS that make me laugh out loud and want to dance to a musical full of depravity. It’s a pretty loyal adaptation as well, with a few changes to character dynamics to tie it together for group numbers.

“Lifeboat,” “Dead Girl Walking,” and “My Dead Gay Son” are the shining stars in this musical, but I honestly love all the songs and only skip “Big Fun” as it can be a bit annoying halfway through. However, my favorite moment in this musical is not a song but rather this iconic moment from the original off-broadway production.

Number 5: Beetlejuice

Now onto the Broadway baddies. Beetlejuice is a recent musical adaptation which trended on TikTok as well, specifically “Say My Name.” It’s a faithful adaptation that does not leave out the original movie’s musical moments. Ont top of it, the Original Broadway Cast Recording is amazing and not one to miss if you love soundtracks. It contains wildly good performances and was met with great critical reviews and is a fan favorite–so much so it was saved from getting booted and will stay on Broadway for an additional season.

My favorite song on this is actually a rather emotional one and that is “Dead Mom.” You can see the original Broadway Lydia perform that one here, but have some tissues.

Number 4: Phantom of the Opera

Remember when I said that we might be ignoring some movie adaptations? All respects to Emmy Rossum and Patrick Wilson, but maybe stick with a filmed Broadway version to spare your ears. Phantom of the Opera may not seem to some as a horror musical, however, its source material is strictly horror. This is a classic and some regard it the best of all time. My personal preferences disagree heavily, however I do respect this musical, hence it holding the number four spot. If you do decide to suffere through the movie adaptation, brace yourself for Gerald Butler, who should’ve never sang opera ever for the public.

While I don’t like the musical as a whole and do think the title track is a cheesy rock-opera mess, I have to give credit to “Think of Me” and most definitely to “All I Ask of You,” which is easily the most romantic song ever written. I will actually link the movie version of that one, because it is gorgeous.

Number 3: Little Shop of Horrors

I love, love, LOVE this musical. It has laughs, it’s dark and has BOPS for a soundtrack. The music is in fact written by Alan Menken and Howard Ashman, who wrote most of the music during the Disney Renaissance of the 1990s. “Somewhere That’s Green” is the same melody as “Part of Your World,” so there is proof it’s all good to plagiarize yourself. The movie adaptation is one of the best cult films out there, so you can do no wrong checking it out in any medium. I do recommend checking out the director’s cut as it is chock full of crazy good special effects and matches the play’s ending.

My favorite song from this is “Now (It’s Just the Gas),” which never made its film debut. You can, however, check out a version with Jake Gyllenhaal and Taran Killam here, which is simply brilliant.

Number 2: Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of fleet street

horror musicals

Now this–this is my favorite Broadway musical. However, the movie adaptation doesn’t do it justice therefore it does not earn the coveted crown. Sweeney Todd is a masterpiece through and through with Sondheim behind the pen. Many consider this Sondheim’s greatest musical (myself included) and it will be known as one of the best musicals of all time. It plays out like an opera, with gorgeous, terrifying and hilarious moments flowing through. It’s a hoot, and I cannot recommend it more. I don’t hate the movie adaptation either, but some songs are missing/edited and it just doesn’t feel the same.

“Pretty Women,” “Epiphany” and “A Little Priest” is a phenomenal stretch of songs that closes out the first act and lives in my head rent free. However, Angela Lansbury is my favorite part so here is her “Worst Pies in London” in its full glory.

Honorable Mention

horror musicals

Cats. I mean this image says a thousand words.

Number 1: Rocky Horror Picture Show

horror musicals

Now here is the real number one, both tremendous in stage and screen: The Rocky Horror Picture Show. We are talking iconic images, characters, songs, dances, and species–this is the horror musical of all horror musicals. Richard O’Brien has a brilliant mind that brought this groundbreaking musicals to stages and eventually formed it into the cult film to end all cult films. On top of all of it, Tim Curry stands proud in his six inch heels, serving as an icon for many and sexy beast to all. It’s iconic, that’s all I have to say. The horror musical of all horror musicals.

“Hot Patootie” can be played on the radio while “Sweet Transvestite” has us shivering with antici…pation. However, for me, “Planet Schmanet Janet” tops my list. You can see Frank-N-Furter harass Janet here if you’re looking for something to get used to, if ya know what I mean.

The final act

So there is it is, the ranking of the horror musicals. Did you agree with some of these picks and have you heard of most of them? Who knew showtunes could be horrific? Anyways, the Mother will be back next week as well as I will be back this Saturday with Christmas horror movies out the wazoo. Thanks for spelunking with us, this is the Void detaching and signing off.

If you wanted to see a bit more on horror musicals, you can blast to the past with my September Spooky Season picks here.

horror musicals

The Mother of the Void Presents: Suspicion

I would first like to welcome The Void back! She chose this movie for me during her hiatus, so I have watched it, had time to stew on it, and here goes my dissection.

For this outing, The Void has chosen the 1941 Alfred Hitchock movie, “Suspicion”. She told me upon discussing it with her after my viewing, that she picked this for me because of how swooned over Cary Grant in “Notorious”. Unfortunately, without giving too much away, this film has slightly tarnished not only my opinion of Mr. Grant, but of Mr. Hitchcock as well. I have never had a problem liking flawed characters, just look at my past dating history, but as I get older, I have come to differentiate between flawed and defective. But let’s get into the nitty gritty shall we, and I hope to explain what I mean. I hope you will join me for my take of 1941’s “Suspicion”. You can check out my last Hitchcock review here.

So It Begins: Suspicion

The film begins with a black screen and Johnnie (Cary Grant) apologizing to someone unseen, explaining he didn’t realize they were going to go through a tunnel and he thought the compartment was empty. When the light fills the compartment, we see Lina (Joan Fontaine), book in hand, looking slightly annoyed at Johnnie as he is putting his things on the shelf above the seat opposite her. He complains to her that he had to switch compartments because of the cigar smell next door. He asks if she smokes and explains how relieved he is when she says no because he apparently had quite the evening the night before. When he asks her if she understands, he surveys her more conservative appearance; her sensible shoes, child psychology book, high buttoned coat and hat, and he conveys a look of ‘well maybe not’. 

Just then the porter enters asking for their tickets. Lina retrieves hers from her handbag, while Johnnie quickly goes from pocket to pocket, searching for his. Lina’s ticket is first class; Johnnie’s ticket is for third class. The porter explains he is in the wrong compartment. Johnnie accuses the rail line of ‘selling third class tickets at first class prices’. The porter gives him the total for the seat upgrade, and Johnnie asks if they will accept what he has, which is not enough.

The porter looks at him unsympathetically, and Johnnie asks Lina if she has any change. She starts to pull coins out of her purse and he reaches over, grabs what he needs and gives the money to the porter, who gives him a disgusted look as he leaves the compartment. Now personally, I don’t care how handsome or charming a person is, if they help themselves to my money, out of my hand, they are pulling back a bloody stump!

Johnnie acts as though he is trying to sleep, while Lina picks up the newspaper. She opens it to the society page, and there is her new, freeloading compartment mate pictured with an elegantly dressed woman. Lina looks from the paper to Johnnie as he looks out the window, annoyed by the sunlight. 

The Fox Hunt

We are now at the start of a very traditional English fox hunt. Bugles playing, horses antsy to get going and dogs barking. Johnnie is charming the ladies and a local photographer. In the distance he sees a horse being a bit cooperative and he instantly recognizes the rider as his unwitting travel companion, only this time, she is sans glasses, looking vibrate and RICH!. He asks the ladies he is with her name, because of course he didn’t bother when he was pilfering money out of her hand.  One of the women warns him that Lina is ‘not up his alley’. Johnnie replies he is ‘bored with people in my alley’.  He asks for an introduction and the woman who issued the warning refuses. Johnnie says he will just have to do so himself, as the ladies go to get ready for the hunt. 

With the hunt over, we now find Lina, back in her more mousey attire, casually reading in her home. Visitors arrive at her window and she greets them, inviting them in. They are the same ladies from the hunt, and Johnnie got the introduction he wanted. Lina instantly takes off her glasses and accepts the introduction, shyly. The girls tell Lina that when they saw her in the window, Johnnie insisted on meeting her. I am sure this was completely a coincidence (Wink Wink).  

Lina questions why Johnnie would care to meet her, and his answer made me gag a little. This man is so full of himself, he is going to need a bigger suit! Lina is more reserved than his other companions. He tells her that she should hurry so she is not late for church, which she was not planning on attending. When she inquires with the ladies if that was their plan, they are caught off guard, but Johnnie sees his plan working out as intended.

The three women extend an invitation to join them, and much to Johnnie’s delight, Lina accepts, with a bit of speculation towards her stalker in her voice. He asks her to put on the hat she had on the train, signalling to not only Lina, but the other ladies, that he remembers her and it is not their first meeting. Lina leave to make herself ready, while the ladies take seats to wait for her return. Johnnie pick up the book Lina was reading and as a bookmark , she is using his picture she saw in the paper on the train, much to his delight. 

A Deadly…Hair Fixing?

When they reach the church, Johnnie finds a way to separate Lina from the group and before entering the two leave together. We next find them struggling on what appears to be a cliff top. Lina is not amused, while Johnnie see this as all great fun. He inquires why she so aggressively fought off his advances, afterall, it wasn’t like he was trying to kill her. No means NO, even in 1941! He explains that he was not trying to kiss her, he was just trying to fix her hair, telling her that her hair is all wrong.

He then undoes her hair and makes it ridiculous. She tells him that she is much different than the women he is photographed with, he asks her how he stacks up against her horse. Interesting approach, at this point, I would compare him more to a dog…but anyway. Lina tells him that if she ever got the bit in his mouth, she would have no problem controlling him. That’s my girl! Johnnie then makes his move to try and kiss her, and she dodges successfully. It is at this point he bistoes his new nickname on her. Monkeyface. 

Suspicion

Johnnie walks Lina home, and as they approach, she asks him not to come further. He tells her he will come to ‘fetch her’ at 3:00. She tells him no, and he keeps insisting. She leaves him, and as she approaches the house, she hears her family discussing her. They are talking how she will never marry, how they will have to care for her, and that she is a spinster. Her father does praise her brains and character, but the damage is done.

Mom and Dad basically tied a steak around her neck and sent her to the wolf! Lina turns to see Johnnie standing there beside her. He is smiling, and it is uncertain if he heard what her parents said or not. Lina wraps her arm around his neck and kisses the wolf, I mean Johnnie. She quickly retreats into the house and joins her parents for lunch. 

Lina tells her parents she didn’t go to church after all, but went on a walk instead with Johnnie. Her father quickly remarks that Johnnie is wild, and when Lina asks, he tells her he was caught cheating at cards. She tells her parents she is seeing him again, and she no more gets the words out, and she gets a call that he has canceled their plans. She returns to the table, slightly defeated. 

The Ball

As time goes on, Lina tries to track Johnnie down. She inquires if he has been invited to an upcoming ball, checks her mail, and calls him home. No reply. The night of the ball, Lina’s mother comes to her room to find her crying, saying she is not going to the ball. A telegram arrives, stating Johnnie’s intentions on seeing her there. Suddenly Lina’s mood changes and she opts for a more revealing dress. 

At the ball, Lina is watching the others dance. She waits on the sidelines, anxiously watching the door for the wolf. A friend approaches her and they start to dance. LIna’s father is approached by the butler, saying that there is someone at the door. He says he is with his party, to which Lina’s father disputes ever extending an invitation. The matter is quickly dismissed as Lina sees him and the two begin to dance, leaving her stunned father and his other female admirers behind.

They dance their way out of the ball, and Johnnie helps himself to Lina’s family’s car, as she gleefully protests. They drive off, all smiles and he asks her if she has ever kissed in a car. When she says never, he remedies that situation. Their conversation reveals how much of a ladies man he is. He admits to her that he is honest with her because he can see that is what will get him results, to which she replies with a confession of love.

He is a cad and she is an idiot. Blunt I know, but it is one thing to be fooled by someone who is pretending to be something they are not. It is something entirely different, when they lay every ugly detail out on the table, and yet “but I love him”, is still your reply. I want to reach through the screen and slap her, just on principle. 

Johnnie tells her he is falling in love with her as well, and they make a stop at Lina’s house for a drink. Johnnie tells her how nervous he is and she says she is not, because she knows what she wants. He is taken aback by the painting of Lina’s father, admitting that he knows her father doesn’t like him. To his credit, Johnnie tells her, he is everything that her father says he is. Johnnie proposes and she agrees as they dance to a song of their own. 

Well That Was Fast: The Fatal Flaw of Suspicion

Lina is leaving to elope and she goes to tell her parents goodbye. Okay….I am going to be honest with you here. When I review the movies, I watch them once and then watch them again, pausing and analyzing the scenes. I can’t with this one. It just pissed me off. So here is the rest of the film in a nutshell.

Suspicion

Lina runs off and marries Johnnie, who, when they return home from a honeymoon he bought with credit, moves them into  a home they can’t afford. He is banking on the fact that her parents will give her money. The only thing that they give them is a set of antique chairs, that he turns around and hocks so he can go and gamble. Lina is upset and heart broken until Johnnie returns from the track with presents for her, and his lifelong friend, who is staying with him. He gives her the receipt for the chairs he bought back and all is forgiven. The friend mentions he has an allergy to brandy, and drinking it could kill him. 

Johnnie agrees to take a job with his cousin as a property manager. When Lina goes to visit him at work one day, she discovers they fired him for stealing $2000, the exact amount he “won” at the track. She does not confront him, but starts to pack, and once again “But I love him.” comes into play. She stays of course. 

Johnnie and his friend decide to start a corporation and go into real estate, but the land they try to buy is bogus. Lina’s father dies and instead of money, he leaves them the painting from the study.  Good job Pop!  The friend goes back to Paris to dissolve the corporation, while Johnnie goes to London. 

Johnnie’s a Little Sketch, But Why Does That Matter?

Later in the week police show up and tell Lina the friend is dead, someone had poisoned him with brandy. They ask where her husband is, and she covers for him. She calls the club where he was to be staying, and they said he left a few days ago. She instantly believes her husband killed the friend. 

Suspicion Final Scene

Then, there is a bunch of stuff with life insurance and Lina again believes Johnnie is going to kill her this time. She decides to leave him and go to her mothers, which he agrees to. There is a struggle in the car and confrontation and Johnnie reveals he was going to kill himself. That way, she could have the life insurance money and pay off the debt and get rid of him. Of course Lina responded with, “But I love you.” and they drive off into the sunset. 

Final Thoughts on Suspicion

I wanted to like this film so much, Hitchcock, Grant, Fontane….but it is just a pile of pretty people doing disgusting and stupid things and charming their way out of it. She never should have married him, and when he sold her chairs, she should have been gone. I love the players in this film, but not the film. I will not be watching this again, anytime soon. 

Am I angry about this? Yes. Do I recommend it? No. The Void has given an assignment from way back in time, and possibly the pits of Hell. As long as there are no chair stealing, pretty boys; I can handle anything but that!

suspicion suspicion suspicion suspicion suspicion suspicion suspicion suspicion suspicion suspicion suspicion suspicion suspicion suspicion suspicion suspicion suspicion suspicion suspicion

The Mother of the Void Presents: Notorious

Notorious is a wonderful introduction to the genre of film-noir. It eases you in without being too dark, and gives you enough romance to make you care about what happens to the two leads; the two leads are Cary Grant and Ingrid Bergman, so that is not a difficult thing to do. Boy, Ingrid Bergman has gotten a beating over the last few weeks. Brilliantly directed by Alfred Hitchock, Notorious transports us back to the days just after World War 2, with enough spies, intrigue and innuendo to keep even the most passive viewer engaged. So without further ado, here is my analysis of 1946’s “Notorious” . PS: If you are looking for the 2009 biopic Notorious about the Notorious B.I.G., I am afraid this is a very different film. You can check out the last MOTV post here.

Notorious (1946) – Ticklish Business

The Beginning

The film starts in a courtroom in Miami, where Alicia Huberman’s (Bergman) father has just been convicted of treason. The press is waiting for her, taking her picture and bombarding her with questions. It is quickly established that she is being followed, but by whom?

INGRID BERGMAN in NOTORIOUS -1946-. Photograph by Album

We now find ourselves at a party at Alicia’s house, where she is generously pouring drinks, as she is being asked questions by her guests about being followed by the police, which she ignores. We can see everyone’s face, except a shadowy figure with his back to us. Alicia acknowledges him, pours him a drink and begins talking to him, with no response from the mystery man. To be honest, she doesn’t really give him a chance to respond. This is her house and she is commanding the room, looking stunning while doing so. She suggests that the mystery man is a party crasher, but is corrected by the guest who invited him. Still not a word from the shadowy figure. 

Alicia finally acknowledges the fact that she is being followed and expresses her annoyance at being a marked woman because of her father’s dealings. The elder gentleman she has been generously imbibing reminds her that they are setting sail tomorrow and the police will no longer be a problem. The party begins to break up, and as it does, Alicia pours the mystery man another drink, telling him she likes him, even though he hasn’t uttered a word.

Finally the camera pans around to show that our mystery man is Devlin (Grant). It is apparent that the two have continued to drink long after the other guests have either left, or passed out. Alicia is clearly intoxicated, but Devlin is cool as a cucumber. Alicia suggests that the two go outside for a picnic. She tells Devlin her car is outside, and asks if he wants to go for a ride. She tells him that she is driving, and all he protests to is that she doesn’t have her coat, to which she replies, “You’ll do.”  When they exit the house, the wind is blowing, and Devlin proceeds to wrap a scarf around Alicia’s bare midriff, telling her he doesn’t want her to get cold. 

Celeb crushes, anyone?

I have a confession to make here. If I was to build the perfect man it would be a combination of Cary Grant and Jimmy Stewart. I think I spent half this movie swooning over Grant’s cool demeanor and suave good looks. Ok, let me wipe the drool off my chin and continue.    

Notorious - Cary Grant in Gun Club Check » BAMF Style

Having gotten her way, Alicia is erratically swerving all over the road. She asks Devilin if he is scared, and he shows no fear, as she increases her sleep to make him show her something. We can see Devlin’s hand is positioned to take control of the wheel if need be, but he is saved from having to do so by a motorcycle policeman’s approach. Alicia expresses her disdain for the police. She reluctantly pulls over after admitting that this would be her second drunk driving offense and that would cause her to go to jail, like the rest of her family. 

The officer approaches the car and after a few snide remarks from Alicia, he asks Devlin if she is drunk. He doesn’t answer, he just reaches into his pocket and shows the officer his credentials. The officer apologizes for pulling them over and states his assurance in Devlin’s abilities as he walks away. 

Alicia, confused and agitated, askes her passenger where the ticket she rightly deserves is.  Finally Alicia asks for his name, and he introduces himself to her. She questions him about what he showed the officer to make him leave. She becomes aggressive as she identifies him as a cop and begins to hit him, while Devlin stays measured and cool. He tells her to move over so he can drive and take her home. She refuses, gripping the steering wheel until her knuckles are white. He tries to be as gentle as he can with her, while she continues to hit and fight. I am not sure what moves he does on her, but she finally either passes out or just gives up. He slides into the driver’s seat with a sigh. 

The next morning, Alicia awakes with a hangover cure on her nightstand and Devlin leaning casually in her doorway. Hitchcock’s direction is wonderful here. He spins the camera to show how Alicia’s head is spinning from her crazy night. 

The Plot Thickens

As Alicia slowly starts to get her wits about her, she questions Delvin about what he wants with her. He explains that he works for the government and they want her to help them catch some of the men who had worked with her father, and are now conducting business in Brazil. She insists she is not interested and even turning her back on him. He tells her that her apartment has been wired for three months, and he plays a recording between Alicia and her father. She tells her father that she loves America and hates what her father is doing. She is visibly upset by this, but tells Devlin that she wants to live her own life. 

Notorious (1946) starring Cary Grant, Ingrid Bergman, Claude Rains, Louis  Calhern, Leopoldine Konstantin, Reinhold Schünzel, Moroni Olsen directed by  Alfred Hitchcock Movie Review

The captain from the night before arrives and tells her that it is almost time for the boat to depart. He leaves again as Devlin gives Alicia another chance to agree, which she does, sending him to tell the captain the bad news. 

The couple is now on a plane to Brazil. Everyone used to get so dressed up on airplanes, not a pair of pajama pants or crocs to be found. Devlin points out their boss, a few rows back in the plane. Devlin tells Alicia that her father has died. He took a poison capsil. Alicia reflects on how nice she and her once were before she knew who her father really was. With his death, she no longer has to hate him or herself. 

They are now at a street cafe in Rio, still awaiting news on what their job will be. Alicia asks Devlin to put his cop brain on the back burner and just take her hand and have fun. Alicia starts to drown her doubts in herself as she asks Devlin to believe in her. 

They have gone for a drive and are admiring the view as Alicia tells Devlin that he can’t admit he has feelings for her because he is ashamed of loving a drunk, and is worried about what others will think. Well he finds a way to stop her from talking; a passionate kiss does the trick. 

Alicia and Devlin

The agents are having a meeting about Alicia, and how much faith he has in her. The meeting adjourns with the men looking very proud of themselves. They basically just agreed that Alicia will have to find her way into the house of the German business man they are targeting, who had ties to her father. 

Devlin and Alicia have arrived at her hotel room and make good use of the balcony, and I don’t mean they are admiring the view of the beach. The two make plans for dinner in between kisses. Devlin contacts his hotel to see if he has any messages. Alicia tells Devlin she knows he doesn’t love her, to which he responds, “When I don’t love you, I’ll let you know.” Ok…heart…calm yourself….swoon…

Devlin has a message from his boss, and he has to leave for a meeting. They kiss all the way to the door.  At the meeting, his boss has obviously told him they expect Alicia to become intimate with their target. He is visibly upset and states that he is not sure that she will do it. His boss tells him that their target, Alex Sebastian ( Claude Rains) was once in love with Alicia, and this is the perfect opportunity to get someone on the inside to find out what has been going on.

Notorious at 70: toasting Hitchcock's dark masterpiece | BFI

It is determined that Devlin and Alicia will stage an unexpected meeting with Alex at a local riding club. Devlin now has the unfortunate task of going back to tell the woman he loves he is whoring her out for the good ole’ USA. Those are my words, not his, but if I was Alicia, that is what I would hear in my head.Devlin returns to Alicia’s hotel room as she is happily cooking for the two of them. She happily is going about, setting the table, and he is back to his mystery man stance. Alicia is so open with him, and he zings her, and gets  back to business. 

Devlin asks Alicia if she remembers their target and asks if he had feelings for her. She tells him that he did have feelings for her, but she did not return them. She asks him what the plan is and he tells her that they are meeting Alex tomorrow, but it is up to her to “land him”, which is better than saying nail him I guess. Alicia compares herself to Mata Hari, trying to lighten the mood, Devlin brings any levity crashing to the ground as he reiterates that she has to win the target over and get the intel. Alicia accuses him of knowing all along that this is what the job was and he tells her he just found out himself. Both are heart broken, but Devlin hides behind his law enforcement mask while Alicia’s expressions are an open book. 

Alicia Joins the Case

Alica asks if he told the boss she was not the kind of woman for this job, and Devlin says he leaves it up to her to defend herself. She enquiries if he tried to adjust the assignment, if he tried to protect what they were starting. Devlin replies, this is the job they have to do. As her pain increases, Alicia’s mask is starting to be secured into place. She asks him if she should take the job, and he tells her it is up to her. She asks him to tell her that he loves her, but once again, the words do not come.

As she walks from the cozy balcony, her self esteem seems to blow way with the ocean breeze. My heart breaks for her. This man she is falling for is willing to give her up to another man because it is the job. His cold and matter of fact demeanor is doing nothing to help ease the pain of this blow he had dealt her. He did so much more damage with his words and lack thereof, than he ever did in the tussle over her car back in Miami. She takes a drink and when she speaks her mask is firmly in place. 

The next day, the two are heading to the riding company. Devlin gives her his back story, and his folded arms show how unhappy he is about the situation. At the riding club, the two slowly ride past Alex, but Alicia’s hat obscures his view, even though he does have a spark of recognition. When Devlin says they should wait around and take this slowly, Alicia is not too keen on this idea, signaling her horse to run, which makes Alex follow, clearly recognizing a woman he was once very fond of. Alex catches up to her, taking her horse’s reins and stopping them both, as Devlin looks on, his mask cracking. 

Having missed a meeting with Devlin, we find Alicia and Alex having dinner. Alex is openly flirting as Alicia is cool but affectionate. She sees Prescott, her boss, enter the restaurant. Alex asks if she knows that man and she says no. He explains to her that Prescott is intelligence, and Alicia shares her disdain for members of law enforcement, explaining they are the reason why she left Miami and was not there when her father died. Alex admits this answers a question he had about why she left Miami. Alex says he wants to help Alicia forget all the pain and trouble she and her father had gone through. She tells him she feels at home with him. 

Tension between the lovebirds

Alex asks her if there is someone else in her life and specifically Devlin. Alicia tells him that Devlin has been nothing but a pest since she arrived in Rio. She assures him that Devlin means nothing to her. Alex invites her to a dinner party his mother is throwing at their house. So, he is a mama’s boy. Let’s see to what extent shall we….

Devlin is angry, Prescott curious about flowers Alex has sent Alicia. The two agents are waiting in Alicia’s room as she appears, stunning in white, ready for the dinner party. Prescott gives Alicia some rented jewels, and tells her to try and memorize the names of the people in attendance. He tells the two that they need to not see each other for a few days, in case anyone from the party checks up on her. 

Alicia arrives at Alex’s house, a large mansion on the ocean. He is doing very well for himself. . She is escorted into a room to wait, and she sees Alex’s mother descend the stairs. The two women greet each other, but with guarded stances. Alex enters, and the Ice Queen, oh sorry, Alex’s mother suggests they meet the other guests. 

As all the guests take their seats for dinner, a certain wine visibly upsets one of the guests. Alex quickly escorts him from the room as Alicia takes note. Alicia cannot see the label of the wine in questions.

After dinner the gentlemen retire to a room to have cigars and to discuss the poor man who had a melt down about the wine and is now waiting nervously in the hall. He enters the room and apologizes to the men. He tells Alex he wishes to leave on his own. One of the other guests insists on driving the man home. A concrete shoe fitting, anyone? 

Mama’s boy and the Ice Queen are at the horse races, discussing where Alicia disappeared to. Devlin and Alicia meet, and she gives him her intel from the party. Alicia tells Devlin that Alex is one of her playmates. Devlin is angry and lashes out the best he can without losing their cover. He is cruel to her and as Alex approaches he gets one more jab in as Alicia tries to gain her composure. Alex tells Alicia he was watching the two of them and she must convince him that Devlin means nothing to her. 

Alicia and Alex

Prescott and Devlin are meeting with other agents, discussing the intel Alicia gave them. She announces that she is there to see them, and when one of the other gentlemen in the room makes snide remarks about her character, Devlin stands up for her, putting the man in his place. Now if he could just do that when she is actually in the room, the love birds might make some progress. 

Alicia enters and tells the gentlemen that Alex has asked her to marry him, and she had to give him an answer quickly. They tell her that if she is willing to go this far for them. Prescott asks for Devlin’s opinion and he agrees it is a good idea. Both the lovers are heartbroken, but masks in place. Devlin quickly takes his leave, as the men discuss their luck in this opportunity. 

Now married Alex and Alicia return home after their honeymoon. The Ice Queen is not happy about the situation, and makes sure the couple comes home to a dark house. The next day, while Alicia is settling in, she discovers locked doors. The butler tells her that the Ice Queen has all the keys to the locked doors. Alicia interrupts Alex’s meeting and he goes to fetch them from mommy. The two argue behind clothes doors, and what do you know, Mama’s Boy won.

Alicia systematically goes through the house unlocking all the doors but the wine cellar, which only Alex has the key to.  While meeting to share information, Devlin tells her to get the key. Alicia tells him easier said than done, and that she is having no fun. Devlin tells her it is too late for all that. He convinces her to throw a party. She can steal the key and slip it to him during the party. 

The night of the party, as Alex gets ready in the other room, Alicia stealthily takes the key from his keychain. She does some quick maneuvering as her husband tries to explain his jealousy toward Devlin. 

The newlyweds greet their guest, as Alicia holds tight to the key. When Devlin arrives, Alicia slips him the key as he kisses her hand. Alex quickly approaches and assures Devlin and the invitation to the party was from both of them, not just his wife. Our two sneaks begin to worry that the party will run out of champagne and Alex will realize that his key is missing during his absence. Another guest drags Devlin away, while Alicia enquiries with the butler about the champagne supply. Alicia goes to find Devlin, and as they sit and talk, Alex watches the pair from across the room. They plan where to meet and Devlin leaves as Alicia returns to her husband’s side, watching more and more glasses of champagne be poured. 

The Wine Cellar

Alicia makes an excuse to leave and goes to meet Devlin. As he searches the wine cellar, Alicia keeps watch. While trying to examine some paperwork, Devlin breaks a bottle of wine that is full of “sand” Devlin gets a sample and the pair half heartedly clean up the mess. He tells her to find another bottle with the same label. She does, but only looks at the label, not the vintage. Alicia pours out the wine, and puts the “sand” back in the bottle and places on the shelf. 

At the party the butler approaches Alex to inform him they are running low on champagne. Devlin and Alicia quickly finish cleaning up as Alex arrives in the cellar. Worried about being seen, Devlin quickly kisses Alicia. In the moment, she loses herself and drowns his love for her. He tells her to push him away as Alex approaches. She tells her husband that Devlin drunkenly made the advance. Devlin tells Alex, “I knew her before you, I loved her before you, but I am not as lucky as you.” From behind his mask, Devlin is able to speak his truth. He gives his apology to the couple, and Alex sends Alicia up to see to her guests. 

Back to the task at hand, when Alex and the butler return to the wine cellar, he realizes that his key is missing. He tells the butler that the guests have had enough champagne and they can drink what is available upstairs. 

Alicia apologizes to her husband after the guests have left. He tells her he was the one who acted like a school boy and then sends her to bed while he goes to conduct some business. 

When he enters his bedroom, he sees Alicia sleeping in her bed. He takes his now lighter keyring and places it on the vanity, looking back to his wife. The next morning Alex awakens and looks nervously at a still sleeping Alicia. He goes to check his key ring and the missing key is back where it belongs. He goes down to the wine cellar. Nothing seems out of place, but then he notices something poured down the sink. He goes to examine the shelf where the broken bottle came from. One of the bottles is the wrong vintage and not sealed properly. He picks it up and sees it is full of the “sand”, but he realizes that someone has tampered with this bottle. He searches further and finds the broken bottle under the shelves. 

Alex does what any self respecting mama’s boy would do. He runs to his mommy and tells her that his wife is an American agent. The Ice Queen is practically giddy when she finds out there is a problem with her daughter in law. Alex reminds his mother that his business partners got rid of a man for freaking out over a bottle of wine. What will they do to him when they find out his wife is a spy.  The two strike up a plan to slowly make Alicia ill, and then one day they will just get rid of her. 

What’s in the Bottle?

So the slow poisoning of Alicia begins. When she goes to meet Prescott, he tells her that the “sand” is actually uranium ore. He tells her about Devlin’s transfer to Spain. He asked for the transfer. Alicia confirms that she is still to report to Devlin until the new contact arrives. 

Alicia is suffering from dizzy spells, and when she finally goes to meet with Devlin, she is quite ill. She apologizes to him for being late. They both say nothing new is happening. He tells her she doesn’t look very well and asks her if she is sick and she tells him it is a hangover. He is not surprised about her return to her old ways. While they both try to hurt each other with their words, Alicia gives him back the scarf he tied around her waist in Miami. She goes to leave and he asks her to stay, and she tells him she doesn’t want to. 

The scientist that is staying with Alex shows genuine concern for Alicia’s health. He starts to give away information about where the uranium is coming from. When the houseguest mistakenly picks up Alicia’s coffee and the Ice Queen and Mama’s Boy quickly stop him from drinking from her cup, the light bulb goes off in Alicia’s head. She knows they are poisoning her, and tries to leave and returns to her room. She collapses before she can get up the stairs to her room and make a phone call for help. Alex insists on removing the phone so she is not disturbed and locks her in there, cutting her off from all contact. 

Devlin is in his usual meeting spot, but Alicia never shows up. He goes to see Prescott, and tells him that she hasn’t shown up for 5 days. Devlin tells Prescott that he realizes that Alicia was not drunk when he saw her last, just very sick. He tells him he is going to go to the house and check up on her, make a friendly house call. Prescott tells him to check in after.

Devlin pulls up in front of the stately manor and when the butler opens the door, she asks for Alex first. The butler tells him Alex said no interruptions. He then asks about Alicia and the butler confirms she is ill. Alex is told Devlin is there, and he has his butler tell him to wait. In the meeting, they discuss that people are following them.

Delvin decides he can no longer wait and quickly makes his way up to Alicia. She is barely responsive, but when she realizes it is him, their love for each other cannot hide. She tells him they are poisoning her. He tells her he is going to get her out of the house. Devlin tells her that he was leaving Rio because he loves her and couldn’t stand to see her with Alex. He starts to get Alicia ready to leave and she tells him they gave her sleeping pills. He tries to keep her talking to keep her awake. She asks him to tell her again that he loves her, it keeps her away. As they slowly make their way to the door, she tells him where the sand comes from. 

They start to make their escape as Alex meets them at the top of the stairs. Devlin tells the Ice Queen and Mama’s boy that unless he lets them go, he will tell his business associate the truth about who Alicia is. Alex freezes, and mommy does his talking for him. As soon as his associates start to question what is going on, Alex actively helps get Alicia to the car. Once in the car. Alex is locked out of the car and left behind to deal with his associates. With the weight of this hanging in the air, the film ends. 

History:

After filming wrapped, Gary Cooper took the wine cellar key. After a few years, he gave the key to Ingrid Bergman, and at a tribute to Alfred Hitchock, she presented the key to him. 

All the scenes with multiple kisses were because there was a time limit on long screen kisses due to the Hayes Code. 

RKO paid David O Sleznick $800,000 and 50% of the profits for the use of the screen writer, HItchcock, Cary Grant and Ingrid Bergman. 

Hitchcock stated that during the course of making the film, he was under surveillance by the FBI because his film contained references to uranium. 

My Take

I am a huge Hitchcock fan, but this film had escaped my viewing all these years. The first fifteen minutes of the film is very funny. Drunk Ingrid Bergman is delightful. The rest of the film is suspenseful and full of angst and heartbreak. All of the performances are outstanding, but it is the film leads, holding on to those masks of their feeling with all their might is where the film shines. 

Hitchcock skillfully uses light to show conflict. Characters in half shadow, stepping into the light, retreating into the dark, this often says more than any dialogue could. 

World War II was still fresh in America’s mind when they made this film I am sure that it made the audience question how far they would go for their country. Could they give up their happiness, love, freedom and body if their country asked it of them? More importantly, should this be something that a country asks of its citizens?

“Notorious” is on a number of top film lists and for good reason. You can stream it for free on YouTube and other platforms. 

I don’t know where the Void will send me next. Thriller, Horror, Noir…Wherever it is, I am looking forward to the journey, and I hope you will join me for what lies in store. Until next time.

31 Days of Horror: The Final Ten Days

So we’ve made it everybody. 31 Days of Horror: The final Ten Days of October are upon us and we are getting spookier by the minute. Let’s finish this spooky season with a bang! If you want to spend a night in the theater, Halloween Kills is out and I personally thought it was quite good. Or later this week, Edgar Wright is taking a slash at the thriller/horror genre with his new flick Last Night in Soho which has already gotten rave reviews, so be sure to check that one out as well. As before, the calendar is down below:

This is the final installment of this series, which has been a fun and exciting journey. I cannot wait for next year’s lineup, but right now, let’s live in the moment. Did you miss the last installments and see a film you’d rather have these final ten days? You can find Week One, Week Two and Week Three by clicking on their respective titles.

October 22nd: An American WereWolf in London

An American Werewolf in London' Movie Facts | Mental Floss

Coming it at number 10 is a classic, An American Werewolf in London. A dark, dark comedy about American tourists, the Moors and beware-ing them (yes, both of them). The film has everything from porno theaters to brilliant special effects, so much so that I’ve been alarmed by the amount of people showing their younger teenagers this movie. I started young in horror films, but my mom didn’t let me watch this one until I was sixteen. I’m grateful for that, however, because I feel like I was prepared for what a weird romp this one is. There isn’t really a short, concise synopsis that won’t give away some major plot points, so if you haven’t seen this masterpiece already, make sure to check it out!

For this film, I have chosen another werewolf flick Werewolves Within. It’s a fun horror comedy with as many twists and turns as this one, therefore I think it keeps the tone-ball rolling. In conjunction with this furball of a night, I suggest pairing the night with the Werewolves of London cocktail (or a sparkling apple cider in a pint glass to give the impression of chilling at the Slaughtered Lamb). Obviously this has to be paired with some traditional English pub food, so these Miniature Shepherd’s Pies are the right choice for some yummy finger food. No Moors nearby (unless you’re in the UK), so you should be able to relax. Just don’t wander foggy fields alone.

October 23rd: You’re Next

You're Next (2011) - IMDb

Like a wolf in sheep’s clothing, this typical home invasion movie is not what it seems. You’re Next is in the same ballpark as The Strangers that were showcased earlier this month, but I truly believe it delivers a more impactful punch. Not to mention those animal masks are absolutely terrifying. Who knew a family dinner could go so wrong? The director, Adam Wingard, went on to film shorts for the V/H/S franchise as well as direct the lofty film Godzilla vs. Kong, so why not check out the film that put him on the map?

I’m actually going to start out with a mocktail, since drinking too much around the in-laws is always not the greatest idea. Let’s start off with a blushed Watermelon Mint Cooler that is as red as those poor tablecloths might be (here’s a alcoholic version). As for the food, estranged family dinners scream “easy elegance,” so pull up to the party with these Easy Pesto Tortellini Skewers. As for double features, TVOC’s pick has to be V/H/S, as it matches the tone and features the same director as well as plenty others. Both films are going to be considered classics in the next few years, so might as well get ahead of the pack.

OCtober 24th: The Exorcist

The Exorcist Reboot Will Kick Off Trilogy With Ellen Burstyn Returning -  Den of Geek

It has finally made its appearance. Many claim this film is the scariest film out there, and I could easily agree with them, though I think scary factor changes from movie to movie. Poor little Reagan messes around with a Ouija board one night and gets targeted by a demon. What proceeds is one of the gnarliest possessions ever on screen. This film also has a reputation for being one of the most cursed/haunted sets, with a lot of misfortune occuring left and right during filming. These stories added on to its notoriety and got the film banned in the UK for eleven years. Yikes.

Of course, I had to pair this with an appropriately named Satan’s Whiskers cocktail balanced out with a Holy Mocktail: Negroni, which you can find more classic cocktails-turned-mocktails in this series Roberts and June did when they gave up alcohol for Lent. Keep it on the holy side with these Lamb Kabobs with Tzatziki Sauce, which is nice and traditional in contrast with the brutality on screen. Then make a devilish sandwich with two choices of a double feature. A modern take would be Hereditary, but you can keep it classic with The Omen.

October 25th: Tales from the Hood

Why Tales From The Hood Is Still The Best Horror Anthology Movie

I featured this film in my anthology list and I have been recommending it every second I get. It’s a fun Creepshow-style film with a lot of social commentary and plenty of camp. Produced by Spike Lee himself, it is definitely a staple in 90s horror that gets forgotten and also drips with modern day relevance. It’s a fun ride perfect for this Monday night and I promise you won’t regret making this one of your choices for your Halloween lineup.

To match the crazy mad-scientist vibe the storyteller has, I decided to go with some wacky concoctions. There is the beautiful, glowing Halloween Hpnotist and the zero proof Blue Shoe. As for snacks, I wanted something short and sweet like an anthology so here is extremely simple 2-Ingredient Nutella Brownies. Now, for double features, I did go the stereotypical route with Jordan Peele’s Get Out. However, I don’t think you can get enough commentary and diversity in your film digest, and I know there is still a bunch of people that haven’t seen Get Out and I know there is a ton of people that have missed Tales From the Hood, so it’s never too late to add these to your film watching portfolio.

October 26th: Poltergeist

The Gadgets From Poltergeist That Fueled Our Nightmares | WIRED

This film has so much heart, it’s almost silly to call it a horror film. This was the first horror film that I watched and I definitely think that this is probably the greatest starter horror for younger folks. A suburbia nightmare–little Carol Anne makes contact with the beyond only to get sucked into another dimension. Her parents take dire measures in order to get her back, not absent of random bumps along the way. What could cause such a powerful poltergeist in the first place?

I actually found a cocktail called The Poltergeist and thought that was fitting, of course. However, I think there isa sort of softness that comes from this film due to its adorable protagonist. Therefore I’ve chosen this pastel green shake that matches the softness: a Green Grasshopper Shake. The food pairing is a disturbing one given its context in the film, but at least it will be tasty up until that point and make great leftovers: Honey Garlic Chicken Legs. I’m a big fan of cold left over chicken legs, given my face doesn’t fall off afterwards. A good double feature for this one is the classic film When a Stranger Calls, which is another starter horror that leans more on the edgier side.

October 27th: Evil Dead II

Evil Dead II (1987) - IMDb

Ah, one of my favorite movies of all time. And before you protest and say that you have to watch the first one before this, you’re incorrect. This film is pure horror-comedy genius from Sam Rami and features Bruce Campbell as the iconic Ash, fighting the Deadites one groovy step at a time. It’s corny, it’s gory and it’s hilarious. It’s also a remake of the first one and a sequel at the same time, making the Evil Dead trilogy one of the most unique ones to date. Hail to the king, baby.

Which brings me to the OBVIOUS follow-up Army of Darkness. The way the film ends, it’s impossible to not throw on the next one to see how Ash holds up in medieval times. As far as pairings go, this Maple Mocktail will make you feel all cozied up in a non-cursed cabin. However, if you want to jump head first and start reciting the Necronomicon for fun times, pair it with the shooter and the cocktail The Cabin and the Deadite and snack on some Necronominoms.

October 28th: [Rec]

Why the Terrifying REC Ending Works So Well

I’m a fan of Spanish horror, if you can’t tell. This goes down for me as the best found footage horror out there, and if you don’t agree, you can at least agree it’s one of the scariest. A television reporter and cameraman follow medical personnel into a dark apartment building and are locked in with something sinister. The US remade this film under the name Quarantine, so if it sounds familiar, that’s why. But sit through subtitles one last time to get a good scare from across the pond.

I went Spanish again with the drinks and snacks, so we have a delicious, refreshing Rebujito for the cocktail of choice. As for the zero proof crowd, a Virgin White Peach Sangria will give that refreshing feeling much like the Rebujito. Since we are creating a creepy atmosphere, pair it with some comfort with this Spanish potato salad: Ensaladilla Rusa. Sticking with the twisted zombie vibe, I am pairing Pontypool, a fun Canadian horror film, with this film.

October 29th: The Final Girls

The Final Girls': LAFF Review – The Hollywood Reporter

This film is such a fun meta-horror film that it usually soars to the top of my list when I need a quick recommendation. It works for both die-hard horror fans and newbies, as it describes the tropes much like Scream lays out the rules. With a bunch of familiar faces as well as all of them well versed in comedy acting, it’s an easy, feel-good movie meets a gory slasher flick. Oh, it also tiptoes on fantasy with the whole being-in-the-actual-movie plot. What are you waiting for? Call your friends and let’s get the ball rolling for a Friday night romp.

Since Billy’s choice of weapon is the large, heavy blade, I found a cocktail called the Liquid Machete. It seemed fitting for this hilarious bloodbath. But if you are more of the Kumbaya type, dig into this delicious Mexican Hot Chocolate. For food, I leaned into the camping vibe and found this delicious Hawaiian BBQ Pork Walking Taco that allow for easy cleanup post movie night. As far as double features go, I remembered this little flick that is a great romp and a fun, quick follow up is the indie film You Might Be the Killer. A unique film format meets an even more unique film form–a perfect start to the Halloweekend.

October 30th: Trick ‘r’ Treat

In Praise of Trick 'r Treat, the Ultimate "Halloween Night" Movie - Paste

This. This film is the ideal Halloween movie and I stand by that. An anthology horror tale meets a comic book tone laced with camp and comedy. All the tales intertwine with each other and blossoms into this fun twist on Halloween traditions. Not to mention, it introduces one of the most adorable horror villains, Sam. All you gotta do is follow the rules to avoid his bloody wrath. Simple enough, but a colorful cast of characters seem to make things a little difficult for Sam to catch up. I could watch this film over and over during October, so therefore it is an annual tradition of mine.

As far as snacks and drinks go, we have to let the Halloween flag fly. I found a spooky cocktails complete with theatrics known as The Witch’s Heart. Purple, spooky and bubbling with delight. If we are craving the more sweet style of life, I also found this lovely Pumpkin Milkshake. Since this film is a grab-bag of spooky delight, snack on this Sweet and Salty Halloween Snack Mix. As far as fun films suited for spooky season go, my double feature for this film is a guilty pleasure for many, and that is the 2001 film Thirteen Ghosts. The ending of this film is very bleh, but Matthew Lillard is a yes in my book.

October 31st: Halloween

Halloween' 1978: The Times Finally Reviews a Horror Classic - The New York  Times

You had to see this coming, whether or not you paid attention to the calendar. John Carpenter’s Halloween is a tried and true masterpiece that has served influence for hundreds of horror films, so it is always a good call to re-watch it come Halloween time. What’s not a better time than actual Halloween night? It’s the tale of Michael Myers that feels even fresher than before with its new sequel that came out only a week ago, so the time is better than ever to revisit the original!

The obvious double feature is a triple feature with the 2018 Halloween and Halloween Kills following up the classic. This is a night to go all out, but sometimes you want a quieter night in, so let’s pair this up with some Michael Myers Jell-O Shots to add to some booze to your snacks. A mocktail for the night is the Cereal Killer (minus the Cognac) or plus the Cognac if we want another cocktail for the night. To up the comfort and the tasty treats, snack on some adorable Ghost Pizza Bagels. Be sure to toast to Michael all dressed up in his ghost costume.


Conclusion

So there it is! All 31 days laid out and prepped. This list is formatted for October but feel free to use it year round when in a good mood for a scary movie night. Thank you all for tuning in each week and jumping down these delectable voids full of blood, booze and bread. Coming up next week The Mother of the Void makes her noble return after a tiff with a rogue charging cable and I am going to take a look at Halloween and what makes it such a masterpiece. Until next time, you lovely spelunkers…