Friday, October 11, 2019

Movie: Hell Fest (2018)

I'm not gonna lie. I've never been through a haunted house and honestly, it's for the safety of the workers. My fight or flight would kick in and I'd end up kneeing an actor in the balls. Yep, I'm that person. This recently popped up on my Facebook feed, and it's me ~ I would do that, not to be a jerk, but for my own safety ~ so I simply avoid them...and I don't like things jumping out at me. I give the scare actors a lot of credit to deal with crap like this.

That being said, I decided to watch Hell Fest. I'm not sure if it's my fascination with amusement parks, my lack of experience and curiosity with haunted houses, or Halloween time, but I really enjoyed it! (Contrary to many critics.) It was suspenseful, the characters have good chemistry and seem like real people, and there was a couple of twists that made the story even better.


The movie begins in a haunted house maze with a creeper that kills a girl in the house and hangs her body with the other props. That's pretty smart. I imagine she wasn't found for three days because the guests going in thought she was part of the experience. (She probably got stinky.)

Cut to (pun intended), a gal named Natalie unexpectedly visiting her best friend Brooke. Brooke has a roommate Taylor, that doesn't necessarily get along with Natalie, but makes an effort for Brooke's sake. It's announced that they have VIP passes to Hell Fest, a traveling horror night with rides, a DJ, dance party, skeleton cage dancers, bars, haunted houses and more. Natalie isn't really keen on going but goes with the gang because Gavin ~ a guy she's interested in ~ will be there. Brooke and Taylor are going with their boyfriends.

Looks like a blast. You can find me at the bar. 

Brooke wears cat ears. She's a girl after my own heart. <3

Upon entering the park, everyone goes through a metal detector and is scanned with a wand, making it obvious you can't bring in weapons. Shown from the back, going into the park, is a guy in a black hoodie with scuffed boots. You get a cue from the muffled sounds that he's the killer. He's only ever shown from the back, and he puts on a mask, then he's shown with the mask on. You never see his real face. The guests think he's one of the actors and he hides in plain sight. He then grabs a knife from a food stand within the park. Again, that's pretty smart! Use a weapon that's already there.

Our killer.

The group of six, Natalie & Gavin, Taylor & Asher, Brooke & Quinn enter their first haunted house, aptly named Deform School. There's a girl running inside screaming at them to help her. They think it's part of the act. The masked killer, that we saw earlier stabs this girl in front of Natalie. Her friends try to convince her that it's just all part of the show. He then begins to follow their group and lurks behind them.

Taylor, Natalie, Brooke.

The next maze they go to is the Deadlands, where the actors are allowed to touch you. (That's a nope from me.) To enter you first have to go on an old school dark car ride called Night Bumps. (Side note: Interested in dark rides? The Dark Ride Project is a great resource.) They end up going without Gavin because he wants to go back and get a prize from one of the games for Natalie. He tries to buy one from the carnival worker, and after he says "no", Gavin tries to STEAL ONE! That's not cool bro. Just when you think he's not going to die, because he and Natalie had a moment in a photo booth, he ends up getting killed by our masked murderer, who then takes Gavin's cell phone, and continues to correspond with the group, so they think Gavin's still alive. Smart again. Also, they show Gavin's head getting bashed in with a giant mallet. The practical effects are great!

On Night Bumps there's a locked bar that holds you in the car, Natalie has to ride alone because Gavin is still M.I.A. While she's on it, the ride stops and the lights go out. She sees the masked killer and you see him come towards her. So you think she's the next one to die, NOPE! PLOT TWIST! There's more than one person dressed in a black hoodie and the same mask

The group goes to the Deadlands and enter a triple maze haunted house where they are separated. The killer is inside and kills Asher ~ Taylor's boyfriend ~ by stabbing him in the eye with a syringe. The killer makes sure that Natalie knows he's inside too...disturbing. 

Natalie is thoroughly creeped out and gets sprayed with goo from one of the scare actors. Then Brooke and Natalie go to the bathroom to clean up. While in there, Natalie messages Gavin and hears a phone go off in a nearby stall. The killer is in there with her. He attacks her and she gets away. Brooke and Natalie tell security and of course, security doesn't take them seriously. They find some of the photo booth pictures in the bathroom and know the killer was in there with them.

Taylor being oblivious to what's going on volunteers to have her head chopped off on stage with the owner of Hell FestTony Todd (THE Candyman. He's the only big name in this movie.) The killer tried to chop Taylor's head off, but she gets off the stage. The killer follows her into the crowd and stabs her. That's when hell breaks loose! (Get it? "hell"?) Ok, so the crowd scatters. Natalie and Brooke end up in the Hell maze, supposedly the scariest of all of them. The killer follows them and upgrades his knife for an ax. Smart. The gals grab weapons from inside the haunted house. Also smart. They confront him, Brooke gets her leg slashed and Natalie stabs him. Cops come, but by then he's gone.

Dapper Tony Todd.

They show a car pulling up to a garage in a suburban neighborhood, the driver pulls in. He unlocks a cabinet in the garage WHERE HE KEEPS OTHER MASKS! It's our killer. He takes off his mask, hangs it, and we see that he still has photo booth pics of Gavin and Natalie, those also go inside the cabinet. It's as if he's punching out for the day and hanging up his work gear. Then we see him come into the house where he's greeted by his daughter who was asleep on the couch. The real scare is the realism. Killers can be family men...or women.

The killer seems to know where everything is inside the dark rides, he knows what mask to bring, he knows how to blend in and where to find good weapons, he's strong, but you never see him or find out who he is. You never hear him speak. After he was stabbed did he go to the hospital or just go home? Your guess is as good as mine.

Overall I give it 4 masked creepers out of 5. I've read a lot of bad reviews of this movie because there wasn't enough gore, or it was slow, or it's just a slasher film. I would venture to say that I liked it because I LIKE slasher films, amusement parks, realism, and that there are not one, but two final girls. Bonus: it was filmed in a real amusement park, Six Flags White Water in Georgia

Here's the trailer...

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Cats Twinning?

My friend Jodee ~ who you've seen in some unboxing videos ~ has kitties that are identical twins, I really can't tell them apart. I didn't even know that was possible, so I did a little research and it's definitely possible! Here are her babies Sheba and She-ra for reference....

It's very rare for a momma cat to have just one kitten. The average litter is five kittens. It's more prevalent to have small litters of two or three in new mother cats or mother cats over six years old. And it's more common to have big litters in spring and summer, so really twins can happen at any time.

In some cat breeds like the Singapura, it's more common for kitty twins to occur, but it's also possible in any breed. And it's not just twins, but cats can be identical twins too. If they both came into existence with one sperm and one egg they are identical.

Singapura Cats

The Singapura Cat is one of the smallest domestic breeds at 4-8 lbs. It's known for large eyes, ears, and an even larger personality!

Here's some internet famous twin kitties...

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Movie: The Gate (1987)

I decided to take a step back in time and revisit a movie I haven't thought about since the '80s...The Gate! With the wave of new horror movies being set in the '80s why not take a look at what really was shown at the theaters?

The Gate had everything... monsters, metal, massive amounts of pastel clothing, and Stephen Dorff?! Yes, our favorite fun loving vamp from the movie Blade is a wee little boy in The Gate!

Crazy right?!


The  main story focuses on two best friends Glenn and Terry. Glenn is troubled by nightmares about his tree house and the hole it has left in the backyard after it was removed. His heavy metal loving friend Terry comes over to play and they find a large geode in the hole. It's strange, so they begin to research it.

The ominous hole.

In the meantime, Glenn's older sister Al is tasked to babysit Glenn for three days while their parents go out of town. THREE DAYS! Sure, I babysat when I was 15, but for an evening, never whole days!!! Ok, suspend your belief that a young teen can be trusted. Of course she has a wild party and we are introduced to their dog Angus. He looks like a gray version of the dog I had as a kid ~ Leonard Beardsly (Leo for short). The kids at the party are mean to him and he gets releGATEd to being upstairs. (See what I did there?) Poor doggo.

You can see the dog on the left.

Glenn and Terry crack open the geode and see some foreign words scrawled on a board. They read the words, so they've obviously never seen The Evil Dead. DO NOT speak words you don't know while cracking open an otherworldly object because you just may summon demons. Odd things start happening. There's a little levitation, giant moths (in my mind these are the scariest part of the movie), Nightmare on Elm Street-like objects pushing on Glenn's bedroom walls, and Terry sees his dead mother. (This is one of the really sad parts.) When Terry wakes up what he thinks is his mother is really Angus ~ the dog ~ and he's dead.

Terry goes home feeling disturbed by what he saw, and as a metal kid takes comfort in music. He sees a correlation between the booklet the fictional band Sacrifyx includes with their album and the hole in the ground. The pictures in the book match up to what has been happening at Glenn's house. Surprise! They accidentally summoned demons. Duh. This fits nicely into the whole "satanic panic" of the 1980s. (Side note: There's a movie coming out this year called Satanic Panic that I'm looking forward to seeing.) Terry figures out that the instructions on how to close the gate can be found by playing the album backwards and shares all this information with Glenn and Al.

Some foreshadowing on Terry's denim vest.

The next night the moths break through Glenn's bedroom window (that's a hell no from me), and the gate is officially opened with the death of Angus being the first sacrifice. What you think is going to be this giant glorious hellfire demon is actually a bunch of little demons, similar to the Buffy the Vampire Slayer Halloween episode "Fear Itself" from the fourth season where they accidentally summoned what was supposed to be a scary demon but ended up being a tiny demon they merely stepped on to kill.

Demons from The Gate.

Tiny demon from Buffy. He's in the center and so small you can hardly see him.

The kids try to close the hole, not before Terry falls in, but he gets out and they close it. The End. Just kidding! A zombie grabs Terry and Al and takes them into the hell realm to be sacrificed. All the deaths cause the giant demon to come out of the ground beginning the hell on earth phase and Glenn is left to fend for himself while the house crumbles around him. He launches a rocket to explode the demon into a shower of fireworks, thus closing the gate. Terry, Al, and (thank goodness) Angus are all back. My question is how are they going to explain the mess to their parents?!

I always liked this movie because I could relate to the characters, I was around the same age as the kids, into metal music, and was left unsupervised for large periods of time. I have to say it holds up all these years later, even the special effects are decent. Warning: there's some use of words that would be considered offensive now. I give it four mini demons out of five.

The fashion alone is perfectly coordinated. This could be a Benetton ad.

Here's the trailer...

Monday, September 9, 2019

Spooky's Swirls Bakery

Sometimes you just need to get away, and I took a few days to visit a friend in Arizona last week. We made a point to stop at a place near her house called Spooky's Swirls - Props and Pastries. They are exactly that! It's a gluten free bakery that's home to horror / sci-fi movie memorabilia and actual on-screen props and wardrobes.

Located in an unsuspecting plaza, it's warm and friendly inside and you can tell it's very new. (They opened in July 2019.) We were welcomed and encouraged to hang out with cartoons on a big TV, games to play, and a nice selection of classic genre magazines to flip through, but of course I was more interested in the props and costumes.

Upon entering you are greeted by a life-size (can you use the term "life-size" if he's not alive? Hmmm, this will be a random thing to think about when I'm trying to fall asleep tonight) Slimer from Ghostbusters and a big table with flyers for local related events.

All along the walls are curated pieces from movies. I expected a couple of pieces, but there was a decent amount to look at and read. Spooky's Swirls works directly with the Horror and SciFi Prop Preservation Association. They work to preserve film history and have over 4000 artifacts, so don't expect to see the same thing as I did when you visit. They are planning to rotate the exhibits.

I approve of this jacket, afterall one of my Halloween costumes from last year...

Little did we know that the actor who plays Georgie from It would be at Spooky's Swirls the following day. I'm always too early. *sad face* We were unable to go back for the meet and greet because we had tickets to see the movie at the same time he was going to be there! But I'd say keep an eye on their social media for other equally cool events.

After taking in all the displays, we indulged in cinnamon rolls with cream cheese frosting. They were even warm! I can eat gluten, but I know sometimes gluten free things can be a little dry. This was delicious and tasted like a regular cinnamon roll. My friend got a piece of carrot for later and she said it was really moist and tasty. (Yes, I wrote the word "moist". I'm not afraid of it.) Don't worry they have horror and sci-fi themed desserts too.

The only thing I was a little disappointed in is that they didn't have tea, and I can't drink coffee because it rips a hole through my stomach. BUT dear readers, I was assured that they are working on selling tea in the future. If I lived closer this would a favorite haunt, so if you are anywhere in the area go visit! Check their hours first because they are limited.