Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Movie: Martyrs (2015)

I've been MIA lately because running Cats Like Us during the holidays takes up a lot of time, BUT I did have minute to squeeze in watching Martyrs (2015). I read all the hype surrounding the movie and how people can't get through viewing it in it's entirety because of all the graphic content. Hmmm, we'll see about that! I rented the disc from Netflix and popped it in. It started and I thought it was supposed to be in French and subtitled. Derp, I ended up with the American version! Netflix doesn't have Martyrs (2008), so that was a little disappointing. I continued to watch it though. From what I can tell, the stories are the same. (Side note: I did watch what I could find online of the French version. Not as gory as you would think, but gorier than this one. Maybe I'm just desensitized?)


***Warning Spoilers***

From the get-go you are sucked into a train ride of a movie. It starts with a young girl ~ Lucie ~ running away from captors, or at least that's what's hinted at by her clothes, chains, and bruises. You never see who else was with her and they are never found or shown.

She gets placed in an orphanage and becomes best friends with a girl named Anna. Anna is sympathetic to Lucie's past monsters but doesn't fully trust that it's not all in her head. They grow up together and go their separate ways until...ten years later...Lucie finds her torturers. Ironically, they look like a quaint and loving family.


Anna & Lucie at school.

Lucie is a tour de force. She storms their house shooting mom, dad, son, and daughter in a wave of blood splatter and bullets. Lucie calls Anna to show her. Anna arrives and is stunned at what she did, still questioning if Lucie is fabricating parts if her past. Anna begins to call 911, but stops because of Lucie. While cleaning up the house and bodies Anna finds a hidden basement prison where young girls are being tortured. Lucie was telling the truth the whole time!

The house is then taken over by men and one leader (?) woman that were tipped off by the unfinished 911 call. We find out that they are part of a cult that experiments on young women to cause them so much pain they transcend this mortal plane and see what's on the other side of living. They see past the pain. Some victims have a mental break. Lucie shows some signs of that. Few women can survive the trials, but the organization always felt that Lucie could physically endure the torture. They are excited to have her back.

Lucie  gets chained back up. Meanwhile they try to bury Anna alive. Little do they know she's a survivor too! She gets out and this time Anna is the one rage killing. She makes her way to Lucie in the basement, but not without getting fatally wounded. She finds Lucie who has now been partially skinned alive, drilled through, burned and is hanging on a cross like Jesus in front of all the followers that want to know more about the after life.


In the end, Lucie whispers to Anna, possibly what she has seen on the other side. (It's undecipherable to the viewer.) The priest of the cult hears it and kills himself. The cult disperses. Police finally arrive. No final girls left in this story. The end.

Overall, I thought the acting was good, the story original ~ even though it wasn't the original movie version ~ and the gore was there. I wanted to know more about the cult. Unlike the creepy basement experiments that were held in Get Out, the only explanation you get is that this group has people in it looking to find out what you see when you die. Their proof that something is seen when you die comes from looking at photographed pictures of dead people, specifically their eyes. This didn't explain enough for me. I give it 3.5 bullets out of 5. I've included the trailer for the French version at the end, I think it's helps the back story a little more, plus you can see Lucie completely skinned alive except for her face. Unsettling right?!


The eyes have it? Or do they?

Trailer for Martyrs (2015)...


Trailer for Martyrs (2008)...





Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Sabrina, Salem, & Satan

I wasn't planning to write about the Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. (Surprise! I really don't write about everything I watch.) But seriously, I really got sucked into it and with only 10 episodes it's low commitment too!


What I know of Sabrina is that Sabrina the Teenage Witch was a spin-off of Archie Comics in the 1960s, and the Chilling Adventures of Sabrina is a spin-off of Archie Horror Comics from a few years ago. The difference is that the newer version is for a more mature audience, think less comedy and more horror.

Sabrina 1962.

I did catch a couple of episodes of Sabrina, the Teenage Witch starring Melissa Joan Hart when it originally aired in the late 1990s. I remember thinking the show was hokey and being annoyed that they had an episode where they go to Salem, MA, ONLY IT WASN'T ANYTHING LIKE SALEM! They used a fake talking cat for most of the episodes, and my friends tell me it was their favorite part of the show, but I found it painful to watch.

 Sabrina with fake cat playing Salem 1990s.

So this new version hooked me with a preview. It has horror, current fashion does 1960s style (although some of the dresses look like true vintage), dry humor, and a REAL cat actor to play Salem, Sabrina's familiar. (p.s. Black cats are the best.)


Who knew the Satanic Temple would get their panties in a bunch over a TV show based on a comic book? Well they did! In the show Sabrina attends a witch school that has a giant statue of Baphomet ~ symbol of the modern Satanist movement ~ in the center of the doorway when you walk into the school. I immediately recognized it, as I'm sure everyone else did. It's a copyrighted by the Satanic Temple. Whoever was in charge of props for the show really should have either done their research, changed it enough to make it a little less recognizable, or got an "ok" from the Satanic Temple. As a result, the Satanic Temple has sued to the tune of 50 million dollars. Nov. 21, 2018 the lawsuit was been settled, but damn Satanic Temple needs to chill. If anything it's great publicity.

Satanic Temple vs. poor knock-off Sabrina statue.

On a similar topic, why is there a Satanic symbol in a school of witches?  I would venture to guess that it's just an interpretation from a comic book and practicing pagans and witches shouldn't get too bent out of shape about it. Witches do not equal devil worshipers. Here's a nice article addressing the topic.

Overall, the Chilling Adventures of Sabrina is a timeless show. It does address current hot button topics like misogyny, discrimination, domestic violence etc., but those things have been going on behind closed doors forever. I'm glad it was renewed for another season, and I'm looking forward to watching the other Archie fan-favorite Riverdale.






Saturday, November 17, 2018

Glamour Ghoul Craft Box

The "Glamour Ghoul Craft Box" sounds funny, like it should have spiderweb eyelashes and blood vile paint, but the theme is from The Craft movie! It should come as no surprise that The Craft is a favorite movie of mine. I blogged about it back in May 2017. I even ordered the Coven Creeper Crate last year in the hopes of getting lots of Craft themed goodies. You can read about that unboxing here. The movie came out when I was in college and when I was finally feeling secure in my gothiness ~ I found my cult of weirdos! I was excited to see that Glamour Ghoul chose The Craft as it's next theme, so I ordered the box.

Here's the video with a rare glimpse of my little Ginger kitty and Vicktor's collar bell in the background. Awww...


Included in the box is...


Bath Dust from Pop! Natural. It was really messy in the box. 
I tried their facial mask and it was really nice, curious to see how this is.



Nancy Pin from Tenth Dimension Art. This is hilarious. 
It available in a different colorway on their website! 


Wax Melt from Ritual and Venom. This smells SOOOO good.


Witchcraft Eye Shadow from Rebel Rouge Labs. Excited to try this!


Planchette Mirror from Misfit Mombie Bootique. Reads "Bad & Bruja".



Thanks for watching and/ or reading! Stay weird.


Other PAST Fluffy Glamour Ghoul unboxings include:

Glamour Ghoul All Hallow's Eve Box

Glamour Ghoul Hellraiser Box w Jodee Bowie

Glamour Ghoul Labyrinth Box w Jodee Bowie

Glamour Ghoul Batty Box

Glamour Ghoul Classic Horror Box

Glamour Ghoul Luna Box




Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Movie: Suspiria (2018)

Suspiria (1977) is in my top ten movies of all time, and when I heard about the remake I was skeptical. I even wrote in my past Suspiria blog that I might see the new version. Well kids, the other night I drove across town to the only theater nearby that was showing Suspiria (2018). I will say it was a good movie, but not as amazing as the first one. It does have worthy horror elements though.


The posters for the new Suspiria are jarring and fully represent the movie. (Info on the poster below.) Both of them awakened the Art History lover in me. They are stunning pieces that have a 1970s vibe with a De Stijl or even a Bauhaus aesthetic. The sharp lines and primary colors stand out. They are easily pictured on the wall of the dance school in the movie. They are the push I needed to decide to see it.


***Warning Spoilers***

The Suspiria story for the most part is the same ~ there is a foreign dance school run by witches and they need a new student to groom and help restore/ become a vessel for one of the elder gross decaying witches.

Let me begin with the things I didn't like...the new movie is bland. Of course the music is not nearly as atmospheric as Goblin's score. It's done by Thom Yorke and seems almost like an after thought. It's stark and sad...too gentle for the nightmarish story line. The colors throughout the movie are the complete opposite of the garish neon blood and flashing lights in the original. Everything is dull, neutral, and beige. I know it takes place in the 1970s ~ the height of brown ~ but 'cmon. The only bright colors come at the end, maybe to emphasis the characters and finale? The brightness is a light at the end of the cold dark underground witch tunnel.


So many neutrals in sharp contrast to the posters.

The story is less mysterious than the original. It reveals more behind the scenes of the witches and their power struggle ~ amongst themselves ~ to get their house in order. There's also a side love story about a therapist and his wife. In my opinion, the love story takes up too much time, but as a reprieve Jessica Harper from the original Suspiria plays the therapist's wife. This could have been cut down by 15 minutes ~ or instead ~ have a focus on the main character's Mennonite background. That would have been more interesting. All of this is set against the backdrop of Cold War Germany.

The fake hair was a little distracting. I found myself staring at everyone's foreheads.


Forehead.

Like the first movie, the uneasy feeling is the same, but for different reasons. I enjoyed the avant garde camera angles, whereas the original has wide views of the whole scene, the new one has close-ups and cuts to inanimate objects with odd spacial relations making everything seem off balance.

The school is renowned for it's modern dance. It should be known for all the turn over it has with it's students! It's no surprise the witches manipulate the dancers. The most disturbing example is one of the main character's first dances, she kills another student in a locked room through her animalistic movement. This is probably the most powerful scene, and the most horrific in the whole movie. I was impressed with the graphic body gore. It's violent without the direct violence! Damn this school is unstable and bodies just pile up.

There's no Udo Kier, but there is a Tilda Swinton. She is creepy in her own right. (I'm convinced she's an alien, a beautiful alien.) She was great, although I feel she was under utilized in the role of Madame Blanc. She played the old man therapist too, or so some articles say. His mouth and voice in the movie were out of sync in the close-ups, but the director denies that she played him? Not sure why she needed to be this character too? It's just odd. Is it to hype the mystery of the movie?


 Tilda Swinton always looks like a painting or a wax sculpture.
I wonder what her moisturizing routine is. 

Although I never studied modern dance, I do have a dance background and the choreography was great. It was sharp, intense and moving, very well done. The costuming is ugly for the final performance, however it's modern and mimics the underground rooms of the school...and blood, and shows continual movement emphasizing the physicality and ritual of witchcraft. I enjoyed that this movie had dance sequences in it, after all it takes place in a dance academy!


1970s macrame costumes.

The witch instructors that run the school are cackling and annoying. As a result, I found the plot twist at the end enjoyable. I won't give that away, you'll just have to see it for yourself. The new Suspiria is a fresh take on the original and a welcome addition to the horror genre. I give it 4 Mater Suspiriorums out of 5.

Now does this mean Argento's other Mother movies will be remade? Hmmm...

Here's the trailer...


Sunday, November 11, 2018

Vicktor's Weird Horny Growth


First of all, get your mind out of the gutter! A horny growth is not what you think, let me tell you about it... this past week we had to take Vicktor Frankenstein kitty to his vet. Both of our cats have their claws, and we trim the front ones on a regular basis, but noticed that Vicktor's one claw looked like it was growing into his paw pad. He didn't seem to be bothered by it. We weren't sure if it was an ingrown nail, going to become an ingrown nail, or a claw that didn't lose it's sheath yet.

Here's a picture of an ingrown cat claw. It grows and curls into the paw pad. Note: this is NOT Vicktor, but we were concerned that his nail was going to turn into this. Yikes! Better safe than sorry. Well the good news is that this DID NOT happen.


The vet tech looked at Vicktor's paw (our vet hospital is great because this time of year they perform free cat nail trimming with a donation of a non-perishable food item for the local food pantry) and she said after trimming all of his nails, "he has a horny growth" (the twelve year old in me smirked) and she took the nail clippers and simply cut the lump from his paw pad. Wha? I was dumbfounded. What the heck is a horny growth and how did you just clip it off?!!!

I learned something that day, a horny growth is also known as a cutaneous horn. It's composed of keratin overgrowth and usually found on one or more of the foot pads of some cats. If the horns are not causing lameness or discomfort they can be ignored or removed by trimming, however there may be regrowth, so basically for now we are just keeping an eye on it.

I tried to get a picture of the trimmed growth. It's really hard to see but it was on the far left paw pad that's pictured.


Here's what it could turn into! Again, NOT my Vicktor. This is gross looking, gnarly, and weird. He sure keeps us on our paw pads...er toes.


Samhain Occult Box

The Occult Box is Creeper Crate's sister box, and this was my first time ordering one. It's the Samhain themed box for Halloween. I LOVE THIS BOX. It just might be my favorite of the boxes so far.


My Halloween is anything but calm. I usually work and it's my wedding anniversary. We have an "open house" with friends and family with appetizers while giving out candy to the Trick or Treaters. Needless to say I'm trying to catch up on my videos and blogs. lol.

You can watch the Occult unboxing video here...Vicktor's collar bell is in full force, and there's a rare appearance from Vincent Price.


Included in the box is...



Samhain Ritual Bath Soak from DeargDue. It smells delicious.



Samhain Candle from DeargDue.



Samhain Ritual Bag.


Season of the Witch Soap from DeargDue.


 Black Sage Smudge Stick. I feel like I can always use one of these.


All Hallow's Cauldron Incense.


Samhain Oil Spray from DeargDue. I like that this is an oil. The scent seems to stay on better.


I did order the Kitchen Witch Occult Box for November, so keep an eye out and thanks for reading!

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Fall 2018 Pusheen Box

This is the latest Pusheen Box. I was hoping for more Fall or Halloween Pusheen cat merchandise, oh well. This one does have a great theme though ~ Sleepy Pusheen cats. I don't know about you, but my cats make me lazy. I'll sit down, and the minute Vicktor or Ginger lays their paws on me I'm asleep. It's like when people say they loose time from alien abductions, I loose time from my cats making me lazy. I swear they do it on purpose.

Here's the unboxing video, and as always a cameo from Vicktor's collar bell and watch me drink tea and try on a bathrobe...


(My Pusheen Mug is from the Winter 2017 Box.)

1. Pusheen Hand Towel. It's a good size for a hand towel with sweet Pusheen pictured sleeping on the front.


3. Pusheen Stress Ball. This cat is bigger than the pumpkin one. Both are coming to work with me!


2. Pusheen Loofah. I don't really use loofahs, but I like the hanging Pusheen bathrobe kitty that's attached. I may just make the little kitty into a keychain.


4.  Vinyl Lazy Pusheen Figure. I love that little *wink*


5. Pusheen Soap or Lotion Dispenser.


6. Toothbrush with cover. Talk about useful!


 7. An EXCLUSIVE Plush Pusheen in a little bathrobe. & 8. A bathrobe for yourself! I love this, it's toasty warm with Pusheens all over. I think we look the same, don't you?


Oh no, Ginger got cozy on me, thanks for reading! Time for zzzzz........


You can see past boxes too Fall 2017 Pusheen BoxWinter 2017 Pusheen Box and Spring 2018 Pusheen Box, Summer 2018 Box.

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

FEED ME, Fangoria, & Halloween (the movie)!!!

October was a little nutty with Halloween. Andrew ~ the hubs ~ and I had 3 costumes in October to put together, one being Audrey II from Little Shop of Horrors (1986). I always wanted to be the plant from the movie and over the years we always said it would be too hard to execute, but this year WE DID IT! It took about a month of paper mache, cutting felt leaves, and painting, but it worked out. I even won a costume contest (for the first time ever) to a local taco join! So as a result, all my spare time went into Audrey II, but I'm back now and here's my review of the "new" Fangoria Magazine and my thoughts on Halloween (2018).


My observations of Fangoria for the most part positive. You can read about my brief history with the magazine here. By looking at the new incarnation you can see the quality is very nice, the pages are thick and it's less like a magazine and more like a coffee table book with large color photos and articles with small print. lol. (Maybe my eyesight is just going.) There's over 100 pages, which makes sense since it's published quarterly now.


The writing is a little uneven. Some articles are near scholarly ~ which I love ~ and some are pretentious. There's writers reminiscing about the history of Fango, and some writers are merely stating ~ in not so many words ~ I know everything about horror and let me tell you about the obscure horror movies I like. As if they are superior to anyone reading the magazine. So some of the articles are not necessarily for the lay person which can make it a little unrelatable. Some of the articles take themselves VERY seriously, not that it's bad, just different from how horror is normally written about. I think the reason for the differences are that some articles are written by fans, writers, actors, and people involved with making the movies they are referencing. It's a bit all over the place.

Many of the articles are different takes on the same topic, and about 1/4 is dedicated to the new Halloween movie. I'm not surprised in the least bit. Halloween took first place opening weekend, it's the second largest horror opening of all time right behind Stephen King's It (2017), it's also the biggest movie opening with a female lead over 55! (You go Jamie Lee!) The Halloween articles touch on Michael Myers mask design, some of the movies the Halloween franchise has influenced, the blatant disregard in the new movie for the previous story lines, and one fan's strong obsession with the Myers house. Spoiler: he replicated the house and lives in it!


Teenie weenie print.


Great illustrations. 

As an aside, I saw Halloween ~ the new one. In preparation, Andrew and I re-watched the original 40 year old Halloween. Many things in the new movie are predictable because they replicate some events in the first one. Michael gets out, steals a car, goes on a killing spree, he creeps in plain sight, there's a person wearing a sheet as a ghost, his heavy breathing, and he stabs a person and mounts them to a wall. (How does the weight of the body hanging on a knife not split the person in half? I asked that when I first saw the first movie and I still ask that.) I was hoping for a little more back story on Michael. We find out the mask is a character unto itself with power. Laurie played by Jamie Lee Curtis is excellent. She's vulnerable, strong, and paranoid. John Carpenter's updated musical score is the same with a sped up / updated sound. Overall the new movie feels like an homage to the original. A warning: If a killer ever comes after me I plan to chop off their head, kick it away from the body, and start it on fire. 


Back to the magazine...in classic Fangoria tradition, there's step-by-step instructions on how to make your throat look slashed and spurt blood. An ad for special effect / movie school. It also goes behind the scenes with current horror movies i.e. The Nun, Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich, A House with a Clock in it's Walls and more.


It has a few other random background stories of what could have happened in Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2, attending the Dawn of the Dead convention, and how Betty Gabriel from Get Out is a rising star. There's a write up on the ideas behind horror, not necessarily just slashers and a great piece on horror actors and directors and the potential to make movies about them. So I'd say a little something for everyone.

Personally, I still like Rue Morgue better, but I look forward to seeing where they take it.