Honestly, I was avoiding watching Midsommar (2019) because I felt I would need to be in the right "mindset" to watch it. I heard ...

Midsommar (2019)

Honestly, I was avoiding watching Midsommar (2019) because I felt I would need to be in the right "mindset" to watch it. I heard it was emotional, gory, weird, and two and a half hours long. It was all of these things and so much MORE and better than Hereditary. There I said it. Let's get into the "guts" of why...*wink*

***WARNING SPOILERS AHEAD***

The main characters in play are all college students... Dani and her douche bag boyfriend Christian, his equally awful friends Mark and Josh, and Pelle who seems to have a thing for Dani. 

The beginning of the movie feels like it starts in the middle and visually it's very dark, cold, and snowy. The audience quickly learns of Dani's immediate circle. Her sister is bi-polar and commits suicide,  killing her parents too. It's upsetting and tragic and Christian was planning on breaking up with her with the encouragement of his friends, but now he feels trapped in their relationship because she thinks she needs him. The way they interact with each other is incredibly toxic. He's unsupportive when she tries to talk to him and then she just ends up kissing his ass, saying she's sorry, and telling him how great he is. Her family just died!!! He should be comforting her!!! (Yeah, I was screaming that at the screen.) Her girlfriend tells her this on the phone too, but she doesn't listen. Of course.

We find out that Christian is planning to go to Sweden with his buddies to do some "research" for his anthropology studies. He never told Dani he was leaving. She gets upset and he feels forced to invite her. He's pretty confident that with everything going on in her life she won't come along, but she says yes to his dismay.

His friends think they are going to be having sex with milkmaids the whole time. Ironically it's Christian that has sex, but it's not sexy. More on that later. Pelle is a friend of all of them and he finds out Dani is coming and she'll be there on her birthday, and he seems to be the only one that's happy about it. He says they are going to his homeland where they celebrate the Harga midsummer festival. It's a nine day festival that happens every ninety years. He almost seems like he's recruiting her to go with them, he knows she has no family attachments. He talks about the happy part of the festival and the May Queen.

Pelle telling Dani about Midsommar.

Once they all arrive in Sweden, they still have to take a four hour drive because this community is in a pretty secluded area. The sky is bright and it's never night time there. Again his buddies talk about all hot the chicks there. Poor Dani just goes along, literally for the ride. 

They finally arrive and walk around this beautiful, bright pastoral landscape. Pelle introduces them to his friends and brother. There's another couple there from London that truly look like lovebirds and just got engaged. All of them are offered magic mushrooms to connect to "the energy of the earth". This is the beginning of their hallucinatory trip. The whole festival they are constantly inundated with herbs and drugs and not told what they are eating and drinking. What if someone is allergic?! Initially Dani doesn't want to take the drugs ~ but as usual ~ under peer pressure she caves.

All of them start tripping. Dani sees herself becoming one with the earth, she thinks people are laughing at her, and she runs away from the group crying and breaking down in the bathroom. (This happens more than once, where she hides her pain.) Time passes without it getting dark, and they find her sleeping in the grass alone.

Once they are shown the buildings and the whole community, they are given more drugs. And one of the elders makes the announcement that it's the "...hottest and brightest summer. We already have so much to give back". You know what that means fellow horror connoisseurs...dun dun dun...HUMAN SACRIFICE. Now the festival will commence tomorrow and they are given something to drink, presumably more drugs. 

Let's get ready to sssaaacccrrriiifffiiiccceee!!!!

Pelle draws her picture and gives it to her on her birthday. It's very sweet. She says Christian forgot, "but it's not his fault, I should have reminded him". WTAF. He's a useless boyfriend. A little later Christian gives her a piece of birthday cake as an after thought, probably because Pelle reminded him.

The community appears in peaceful harmony. There's a lot of wide screen shots with background actors and it feels choreographed, but it a good way. At no point in the movie was I bored or felt it could have been shortened. On the contrary, I wanted it to be longer with more visuals. There was so much to take in and lines said in passing that only touched upon what was going on in the commune. The camera pans around to a sacred yellow temple, a random bear in a cage that no one asks about? (that would be the first thing I ask about because it's so out of place), hand painted tapestries that basically tell the story of what is happening to the characters in the movie, and an ornately painted sleeping barn. There's a ton of visual storytelling in the movie if you catch it.

The whole story in pictures. 

I guess with my Art History background all of this made sense when I saw it.


Here's the church-like barn.

Now begins the "fun part". The first day of the ceremony the outsiders, Dani, Christian, Mark, Josh, and the London couple have an elaborate lunch with the community revering two elderly people. When they are done eating, the old people are carried away on thrones up a rocky cliff. Their hands are cut and their blood wiped on a sacred rock, then each of them plummets off the rocky cliff on to and altar-like rock on the ground. They show the impact and how the one's face is ripped off and the other has broken legs, only he didn't die on impact so they bash his head in with a giant mallet. So yes, this is the gory part. This is their ninety year tradition. The Harga witnesses at the bottom of the cliff start moaning and writhing like they are in pain, the London couple starts freaking out and screaming, and everyone else just stands in complete shock. It's almost as if Dani was prepared for this with the death of her family. She's experienced extreme tragedy, hasn't recovered from it yet, and now this is just a continuation. She over hears a woman trying to calm the Londoners down that says "this is our custom and a great joy for them to have lived out their life." Dani goes for a walk by herself to process what just happened.

Yeah, this is pretty gross. He's still alive too.

This event convinces Christian that his thesis topic should be about this group of people, only Josh already picked it as his topic. They argue about it a little. The Harga people say that they can write about it, but no pictures, or places, and all the names have to be changed. (Kind of a useless thesis.)

This event makes Dani question why she is even there. She wants to leave. Pelle tries to relate to what's going on with her and he tells her his family died in a fire, but he was raised by a whole community. He tells her "You deserve a real family." He then asks her a really thought provoking question, "Does Christian feel like home to you?" Of course she can't say "yes" because he's garbage.

That night Dani takes a sleeping pill. (I wouldn't take a sleeping pill in a strange place like that, plus it might interact with all the other drugs they keep giving me.) That night she has a dream everyone leaves her there. When she wakes up half of the London couple is gone. The London gal who is left starts to freak out again. Both her and Dani know her fiancée wouldn't have left her there. Dani is concerned and she tell Christian about it and he doesn't care that she's upset, and basically ignores her. You know ~ his usual.

Christian learns that one of the local young girls has planted a love rune under his bed. He asks about it and learns that outside people are invited so they can control the incest in the village. Later he has her pubic hair baked into his lunch, her blood in his drink, and learns he's an "astrological match" with the gal who's crushing on him, so he's allowed to have sex with her. 

Josh is working on his research and is taken to the sacred scripture temple. He asks who writes the scriptures and they are written by an "oracle". Rubin is their current oracle because he's "unclouded' and the deliberate product of inbreeding. Um ok. That evening Josh sneaks into the sacred scripture barn and takes pictures. That's a really bad idea because they explicitly said no pictures. He gets taken and killed.

The  "oracle". This image was used everywhere to promote the film,
but he's shown briefly a couple times.

Mark ~ in his American entitlement ~ literally pisses on a sacred tree and disrespects tradition, so he's lured away by one of the local girls and killed. Oh and the London gal is now missing, presumably dead along with her partner. 

At this point, the only two outsiders left are Dani and Christian. Dani partakes in the "womans activity" for the day which consists of taking drug laced tea and dancing around a May pole until there's only one left standing, and on accident Dani wins and is crowned May Queen! She's welcomed as part of the family now. One of her duties is to bless the crops, so she leaves the party, and goes on a carriage ride to the fields.

Christian is given drug laced tea and begins to have a bad trip. He is taken away from the party to have sex with the young girl. It's very ritualized as you can imagine. He walks into a room naked with the girl naked on the ground waiting for him surrounded by twelve naked ladies chanting, humming, and singing. They all moan in unison, as if they were experiencing sex for the first time too. 


So I hear guys always want to have sex with several women at once? Here you go!

Dani comes back from blessing the field and sees this. She begins scream crying. I'm lucky to say, I don't think I've ever scream cried in my life. Her unleashing of emotions replicates her scream crying when her family died at the beginning of the movie. Now her relationship with Christian is officially dead too. The local women comfort her and scream cry along with her. She's finally able to express her emotions out in public and not hide in bathrooms and she has support unlike the awkward pat on the back her emotionally detached boyfriend gave her at the beginning of the movie.

Cathartic wailing.

After Christian's weird sex act, he runs out naked unsure of what is actually going on and finally sees the place for the first time. He sees Josh's leg in the garden, he sees a body strung up in the chicken coop. The Hargas then drug him again. When he wakes, he's told he can't move or speak.

The final event of the festival is announced. Harga sacrifices nine people. Four of them are "new bloods" and four are volunteers from Harga. The last is decided by the May Queen. She can either choose the Harga person that is chosen by lottery or Christian. She chooses Christian. THEY TAKE HIM ALIVE AND SEW HIM INSIDE A BEAR CARCASS. You heard that right. She choose Christian. I would too. He gets burned alive inside the bear along with the nine other bodies in the sacred temple. 

This bear suit is lit. (Like bad puns? I've got them!)

The very last scene we see the community again writhing/ dancing and screaming (there's a lot of screaming in this movie just like Hereditary), and the camera focuses on Dani and you see her smile. She's finally free. Free from her stupid boyfriend, free from male entitlement, she now has a supportive family, and she's a queen. What a fairytale ending.

In conclusion, I give this movie 5 out of 5 pubic hair pies. I didn't find it as unsettling as I thought I would. Pastoral dread? As long as you're not disrespecting Harga customs, you're fine. The acting is great too.

My question is did Pelle know she was going to be crowned May Queen? Was he purposefully trying to get her to break up with Christian? Why didn't he tell the people he was bringing they will die there? Did he see how awful they were and choose not to tell them? I wouldn't tell them either.

Here's the trailer




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 New company Made by Meow has asked to collaborated with my shop Cats Like Us ! They are a company that makes matching headbands, catdanas,...

Collaboration with Made by Meow (and a discount!)

 New company Made by Meow has asked to collaborated with my shop Cats Like Us! They are a company that makes matching headbands, catdanas, and scrunchies for you and your cat, whose mission is to spread awareness and raise money for rescue organizations across the country. They pride themselves in donating to no-kill shelters and are currently donating to Best Friend's Organization, the largest no-kill sanctuary in the country! They are even offering a discount to our customers!

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My alter ego Pinky Meowski is wearing the Shell headband 
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(Sorry I haven't written in a while. We just started reopening my shop Cats Like Us last month, so it's been taking up a lot of my ...

The Haunting of Hill House (2018)

(Sorry I haven't written in a while. We just started reopening my shop Cats Like Us last month, so it's been taking up a lot of my time. You can always follow me on my Facebook page where I post a little more frequently.)

As usual I'm scrambling to catch up on life. Lol. I watched The Haunting of Hill House (2018) TV show that was made for Netflix. If you recall, I wrote a blog about Shirley Jackson's book of the same name a few years back. It's a great haunted house story and considered one of the best of the 20th century. It's had many incarnations and was due for an update. This new series is loosely based on the book. It has the same character names including one named Shirley, and some similar characteristics, but it's much more modern, slightly depressing, and dark.

The whole series tells the story of the Crain family and it's told in flashbacks revisiting memories of all the family members experiences in Hill House and back to the present. It's nice because you can really feel each perspective for every character and their relationships to each other. The family is made up of five siblings, Steve, Shirley, Theodora, and twins Nellie, and Luke, and a mom and dad. We see that their mom and dad rehab houses for resale, and as children they lived in Hill House. With all the kids and this giant house it definitely gives off Locke and Key vibes, but it's much more sinister.....at least to begin with.

***SPOILER ALERT***(super condensed version)

We find out as a child, Nellie sees "the bent neck lady" in her room that she shares with Luke. As an audience we kind of see her apparition in the dark background behind her. Keep an eye on the backgrounds because they tend show a lot of the ghosts. (Pretty cool.) We know that she sees dead people. If she has these terrible night terrors, why don't the parents let her sleep in their room?! Anyway, the show starts out very creepy a with a strong narrative.

We are introduced to the siblings as adults. Steve is a writer and writes ghost stories. He wrote The Haunting of Hill House, and his sister Shirley DID NOT approve. Shirley runs a funeral home with her husband, and Theodora lives in an adjacent cottage on the grounds, she's a child psychologist. Luke is in drug rehab. We don't know what Nellie does but we know she's married. Their dad lives in Florida and their mom died on the last day they all set foot in Hill House. Now the question is what happened that night? 

Nellie frantically calls all her siblings and her dad, and they seem to blow off her calls. Her dad is the one that takes it seriously and comes to town to console her. She says he sees the "bent neck lady" again. We briefly see Nellie as an adult dancing around Hill House. All the siblings have the same dream that she's in mysterious "the red room". A room they could never open the door to when they lived there...only they could.

This is a great set up to suck you into the series and it's only the first episode! 

Episode two I find very disturbing. We learn that the mom is an architect and designs houses. She's building a model of her "forever home", she has visions and "feels" things.

We flash back to young Shirley finding kittens in a toolshed at Hill House. She convinces her parents to keep them. They are pretty tiny and kittens need to be fed every few hours and kept warm. Shirley is just a little kid. She brings them into her room and overnight they die. THEY KEEP SHOWING A BOX OF DEAD KITTENS. It's completely awful.

Current day, the dad calls and we find out that Nellie is dead. Shirley decides that she needs to host Nellie's funeral. She begins the autopsy and it's pretty gory. While prepping her for the funeral Shirley is reminded of doing Nellie's makeup for her wedding and making sure Luke doesn't ruin Nellie's day by attending, he's had a long standing drug problem. Shirley has visions too.

Shirley has the forever home model in her house. We see the lights flash in the model at the end of this episode. I was hoping more would happen with this. It reminded me of Nightmare on Elm St. 3: Dream Warriors where the main character makes a replica of Nancy's house and the lights flash in it.

Nancy' house.

In episode three we get to see what Theodora remembers about Hill House. She was gifted with psychic abilities when she touches things and is reminded of the time Luke climbed into the dumb waiter and wanted to go for a ride. She pushes the button it gets stuck (of course) in the down position where there's a hidden basement. He sees a dead person crawling towards him. He's incredibly observant for a small boy and notices a ladder in the basement too. The parents come down, get the dumb waiter working and he tells Theodora about the ladder. She finds a hidden entrance to the secret basement that was used for bootlegging, but doesn't see any of the ghosts down there. 

Basement Zombie Ghost.

So little Luke has visions as a kid. He sees the ghosts that haunt Hill House, and an especially creepy one is a tall man with a hat and cane that floats. This reminded me of The Gentlemen from Buffy the Vampire Slayer. We find out that Luke has a connection to his twin sister and even in death she supports him and gives him advice. 


Tall Man Ghost (William Hill)

We don't see Nellie alive too often, but there's an episode dedicated to her and her relationship to "the bent neck lady". Nellie suffers from sleep paralysis and goes to therapy. Her therapist is Dr. Jacoby from Twin Peaks...er I mean Dr. Montague. They are both played by Russ Tamblyn! It was fun to see him in a therapist role again. As a result of all her her childhood trauma, she is is drawn back to Hill House right after she voluntarily goes off her meds. We learn that she IS the bent neck lady and she hangs herself in Hill House.

Her death is the impetus to reunite all the family members. While at Shirley's funeral home there's a massive rain storm and the lights go out. (All the blues in episode 6 are very pretty.) It reminds the dad of the storm at Hill House and the night Nellie goes "missing", only she doesn't she just goes silent and invisible, a foreshadowing of the future perhaps? In this episode we also find out that all the kids think the dad his hiding things, and older brother Steve just thinks it's a group psychosis and that mental illness runs in the family. The dad does hide SOME things, but he's incredibly observant and is sensitive to people. He still hallucinates his dead wife is with him.

We learn about the Dudley's that are the caretakers of Hill House. They live off the property in a nearby cottage because they refuse to go to the house at night since they hear the cries of their dead baby girl there. We also learn about some of the ghosts that have died IN Hill House, many of them were insane. The ghosts have followed the Crane a family in a way. They are still in the minds of all of them, whether it's the banging on the walls, bent neck lady, tall man, etc. They are truly haunted by them. Luke decides to take matters into his own hands and go and burn down Hill House.

The second to last episode we find out what happened that last fateful night in Hill House. Their mom was having upsetting visions of the future, saw the ghosts in the house, and decided she needs to go on a vacation and visit her sister, only she doesn't go, and comes back to the house. The red room opens and their mom takes Luke, Nellie, and Luke's friend Abigail ~ also the daughter of the Dudley's~ in there for a poisonous tea party. The dad realizes what's going on but not before Abagail drinks the tea and dies. The ghost of Abagail then lives in the house, and the Dudley's promise to take care of the house to be close to their ghost children and their mom kills herself by jumping off the balcony. Then the dad frantically rushes to get all the kids out of the house. Honestly I was hoping it would be more exciting. Basically the ghosts/ red room got into mom's head and made her want to kill the kids.

The last episode seemed really out of place in my mind, I was waiting for more ghosts or something. 

Back to Luke going to burn down the house...the house won't start on fire. Their dad, Shirley, Theo, Steve all get taken over by the house and the red room. (Which becomes like the room of requirement in Harry Potter. Not very well explained.) They all get knocked out and see their worst nightmares, but Nellie brings them all back to reality. They realize that they need fix their strained relationships with each other and loved ones, and they all go back to their lives with their new knowledge and they live happily ever after. Dad ends up sacrificing himself and staying at Hill House to be with his ghost wife. Does he die there? We don't know.

Overall the show starts off slow but strong, the hidden ghosts are fun, but it ends badly for a horror series. It's as if they tried to stretch the story out and added some filler in. I really think it could have been 8 or 9 episodes. Overall I'd say it's a strong 3.5/ 4 marble statues out of 5.

Here's the trailer


There's also going to be a follow up-ish? series called The Haunting of Bly Manor, set to be released this week, October 9 with the same actors. I'll probably watch it.....eventually. 



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