Sunday, August 29, 2010

You like me! You really like me!!!!

It's amazing to me that, despite my recent relative negligence of this wonderful blog 'o mine, I have some how managed to have been give multiple awards for it. You have no idea how much this warms my black little heart Spooky Do's, NO-I-DE-A!!!

However, the posts you are supposed to do when you get one of these are more work than my lazy self usually has the willpower to do, which is why I am only now, over a month later (I'm sorry, I'm a terrible girlfriend, I understand if you want to see other people) finally getting to making my post about even the first one. Okay, now that that's out of the way....

Both The Girl who Loves Horror And Oriel over at Fear of Fiction have awarded yours truly with this beauty:

So then, here be the rules ...

1) Thank the person who gave you the award.

2) Tell people seven things about yourself

3) Nominate fifteen other blogs to receive said award, and tell them about it.

Okay, I guess its sharing time you guys, I hope we can still be friends after this.

Seven Things about Spooky Pie

1. I have a bizarre pathological need to drop everything I'm doing and sing along to 'Sweet Home Alabama' every time I hear it, this is occasionally very awkward depending on where I am at the time.

2. One of my ultimate 'I am in a bad mood, I need something to make me happy' movies is Doom. Because, honestly, when I'm having a bad day there are few things that cheer me up better than Karl Urban stalking around with a giant gun, kicking ass and taking names.
Say what you like about the movie, but this girl digs hot men with BFGs.

3. My first car ever was named Sadako, yes, after the girl from Ringu. She was a black '64 Ford Falcon Wagon, remarkably resembled a mini-hearse, and was the love of my life. I miss that car like whoa.

4. I love Nerf Guns. They are superfluous and have no reasonable place in my life. I don't care, they make me happy. I recently bought a knock-off brand of Nerf gun because it was a double barrel shot gun, complete with cocking mechanism and shells that eject themselves. This was also about the point that I learned what an incredibly patient person my roommate is.

5. When I am stressed or unhappy I bake, a lot. You can generally tell my current state of being by the quantity of cupcakes, cookies, and other baked goods dominating my apartment.

6. The first horror movie I was allowed to go see in the theater was The Haunting in 1999. It's a crappy re-make of an amazing classic horror movie, but at the time I was 11 and I thought it was creepy as all hell. So I have to admit that I still have quite the soft spot for it, despite its being utter rubbish.

7. I basically have a shrine to Fatal Frame in my living room, complete with a pre-release promo poster for Fatal Frame II, an antique camera, and a collection of Little Apple Dolls that resemble ones found in the games

Fifteen Blogs that I love like WHOA

1. Kindertrauma
2. Final Girl
3. ~The Phantasmagorium of Professor Pym~
4. American Gothica
5. Now Kindly Undo These Straps
6. Arbogast on Film
7. Scare Sarah
8. The Unflinching Eye
9. The Halloween Blues
10. The Vault of Horror
11. Dr. Blood's Video Vault
12. Things That Don't Suck
13. Evil on Two Legs
14. The Groovy Age of Horror
15. The Drunken Severed Head

Now if y'all excuse me, I've got something in my eye.

♥ ♥ ♥

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Don't Be Afraid of the Dark (1973)

Well, it's been awhile since I've done a good old fashioned review her at TGDH, too long, I know, I'm a bad girlfriend to you internets, I'm sorry. Moving on though, considering my overwhelming excitement about Guillermo Del Toro's re-imagining of "Don't be Afraid of the Dark" I thought I should see the original. Which turned out to be easier said than done.

Considering it was a made for TV movie from the 70's, it was stupidly difficult to hunt down. And when I finally did I ended up with a slightly rubbish version, that at times made weird blipping noises on the sound track, and at other times the audio didn't quite synch up, and was fairly grainy the whole way through. By I plodded through it, my darlings, I plodded through it for YOU.

Yes you, in the back of the room, trying to sneak out like you thought I couldn't see you! Sorry buster, pointing right at you, so get back in your seat, no one leaves until the presentation is over.

Anyway, stop distracting me now or we'll never get out of here. So 'Don't be Afraid of the Dark'. Wow, I feel that this is one that I can have an absolute Academic field day with, dissecting the intentional, or otherwise, symbolism that this film is filled to the brim with. On the surface, it's like 'Poltergeist', 'The Descent', and snippets of the original 'Dark Water' were thrown into a pot together and mashed up like potatoes. But, like I said, that's just on the surface. And if there is one evident thing that 'Don't be Afraid of the Dark' deals with, it's that what you see on the outside in no way matches the inner workings.

So before we pop the hood and take a look at the engine, so to speak, let's inspect the body of the thing, since so much of this film deals with the idea of a disconnect between inside and outside. So then, on the outside, our film opens with, seemingly, normal, well off, red-blooded American, husband and wife team Sally and Alex Farnham.

Sally has inherited an enormous, gorgeous, mansion from her grandmother. I can write volumes on how much I love that damn house, but we'll come to that later. Sally, however, thinks that Grandma didn't have half the sense God gave her when it comes to interior decorating, so her and her flamboyant decorator buddy are in the process of ripping the place to shreds and throwing as much paint, draperies, and area rugs to mask Grandmama's apparent poor taste. Alex, the human Ken doll, is content to let Sally just wreck as much havoc as possible, because hey, she's a woman, let's just let her do her womanly things.

Alex is generally not concerned about Sally's interests anyway. Alex is only concerned about Alex's business. He's a lawyer ... or something? He might just be a professional douchebag. His policy seems to be that if Sally isn't organizing a party or fixing him a sammich, she should just shut the Hell up. So as Sally continues to try and fill the hole in her soul that might otherwise be filled with spousal affection she stumbles in to dear old Grandad's boarded up study. And by study, I mean tiny dark room probably filled with mildew. For some reason or another Sally thinks that this place is HER IDEAL ROOM LIKE WHOA. LIKE SERIOUSLY, SHE NEEDS TO HAVE THIS ROOM LIKE FIVE DAYS AGO. And she in no way finds it odd that the fireplace is bricked up. Or that the old Carpenter man who has been helping with renovations says all kinds of creepy old man things about "some things being better left alone."

Sally decides that the old man, and probably her Grandad too, is a giant moron and just waits until he leaves and then jimmies the thing open with the tools he left behind. Because that's not a terrible idea or anything.

That is, of course, when everything goes to Hell. I bet you're shocked. I'm shocked, horrible things never happen when a somewhat spooky old man whose "done seen things with his own two eyes" is ignored. From that point on Sally starts being plagued by disembodied voices chanting her name, and doing juvenile pranks to make her look crazy.

All of these shenanigans start to make Sally go a bit apey, and Alex, being the supportive husband he is, basically informs her that she's stupid and to suck it up and throw him a party. But Sally wants her abusive asshole husband to be happy, so throws him a party despite being on the verge of a nervous collapse. Sally is a brave little soldier, so she puts on the most horrible 1970's dress she can get her hands on and plays the dancing bear for Alex's arrogant WASP friends. The little beasties Sally released from the fireplace don't like that these people are turning their house into party central, so they help Sally to have that mental breakdown that was in the making.

Alex is so sweet, and considerate, and attentive, that he is completely supportive of his wife's fragile mental state. And by supportive, I mean he sits her down and screams at the top of his lungs at her. He, in fact, at one point, bellows "STOP BEING SO SCARED" at her. I wish I was making that up. Obviously Alex won the title of 'Mr.Asshole '73'. So then Alex goes off with his fellow holier-than-thou bureaucrats and tells Sally that if she doesn't get the crazy out by the time he gets home he just might have to ship her off to one of those places that take care of hysterical women with overblown cases of the Vapors.

So then Sally is left alone with the little dudes that she let out. Who only show up when it's dark because they're ultra photosensitive. Fair enough. But honestly, much scarier before you actually see what they look like.

In theory, these things are akin to the "Crawlers" in 'The Descent'. Photosensitive beings that dwell in the underground, and shuffle around in the dark making bizzare noises. Although the similarity stops there, sure, I cut some slack because it's 1973. But the little demon things look like tiny sad old men with gorilla bodies. And that did kill a bit of the scare factor for this girl, sorry to say.

However, this film is a psychological goldmine. As when I discussed 'Candyman', I reiterate that I do not consider myself a feminist, but I could help but see a truly feminist angle to the film. Furthermore, 'Don't be Afraid of the Dark' comes across a more modernized version of the The Yellow Wallpaper. Just take away the fixation on ugly wallpaper with a woman supposedly lurking behind it, and make it a fixation on darkness dwelling creature and you have an almost direct parallel.

"It is very seldom that mere ordinary people like John and myself secure ancestral halls for the summer.
A colonial mansion, a hereditary estate, I would say a haunted house, and reach the height of romantic felicity--but that would be asking too much of fate! Still I will proudly declare that there is something queer about it.
Else, why should it be let so cheaply? And why have stood so long untenanted?
John laughs at me, of course, but one expects that in marriage.
John is practical in the extreme. He has no patience with faith, an intense horror of superstition, and he scoffs openly at any talk of things not to be felt and seen and put down in figures.
one's own husband, assures friends and relatives that there is really nothing the matter with one but temporary nervous depression--a slight hysterical tendency"

Intentional or otherwise, the resemblance is striking. Both women are wives of affluent husbands, both are expected to upkeep a certain appearance of Upper Society and any deviance is deemed dementia. In both cases as well the husband can be seen as just as much the aggressor as the women's respective "demons". And on the account of maintaining appearances, both women have to fight the evils on their own, while their husbands only start to be even remotely sympathetic when the hypothetical shit has already hit the fan.

Don't get me wrong. 'Don't Be Afraid of the Dark' is no masterpiece. It is flawed, intensely so. If you can get away from the fact that Sally is 'Miri' from the Original Star Trek episode of the same name, she doesn't exactly have the best acting skills, that and I had an intense paranoia that the other awful children from said Star Trek were going to show up at any minute, and that would be scarier than the cheaply done demons skulking through out the film. But bearing in mind that it was a made for TV movie from 1973, it actually holds its ground fairly well against cinema-bound movies of the same genre. If nothing else, it is worth a watch for the absolutely stunning house that it is shot in. Seriously, this girl would be beating down the door to live there.

Skulking demons be damned, I would vacuum up the little bastards and move on in.

However, it's an enjoyable, if not depth-plumbed watch. And it's a film that I cannot wait to see transformed in Guillermo Del Toro's more than capable hands.

Friday, August 13, 2010

The Creepiest Thing: FRIDAY THE 13TH EDITION!

Happy Jason Vorhees day y'all! I thought, what with it being Friday the 13th and what have you that this week called for an extra-special "The Creepiest Thing". Okay, so At first I thought that I should do a Jason themed thing. But I'm not gonna lie, boy doesn't creep me out, and this is a day for creepiness.

So without further ado, my dears and darlings I give you...

The Top 5

Creepiest Clowns




#5: Mr. Mime

Okay, so I'm sure not all of you are as closely acquainted with Powerpuff Girls as this girl is, so here, let me give you the basic rundown on why this guy is here. He starts out the episode, freakishly entitled "Mime for a change" as a clown that performs at children's birthday parties.

Which is, you know, already pretty creepy.

But then, later in the episode, he is crossing the street and gets involved in a car accident involving a semi full of bleach. Which turns him from "Rainbow the Clown" to "Mr.Mime".

He then proceeds to spend the episode draining all of the color and sound out of Townsville with a really freakishly twisted grin on his face. This results in Bubbles, the blond one, in case you didn't know, having a full scale meltdown. Pretty rightly too, after the guy takes the color and voices of her sisters and she's left alone and not even her box of crayolas can fix it.

I wasn't even a kid when I saw this episode. But really, really, so messed up.

#4: Krusty the Clown

I'm not going to lie, I've always been a little bit freaked by Krusty the Clown. Don't get me wrong, this girl totally watched the Simpsons as a child, however, I was always pretty unhappy when it would come to Bart and Lisa watching "The Krusty the Clown" show. Sure a big part of that was "The Itchy and Scratchy Show", which was traumatized the bejesus out of me as a kid.

Putting aside the uber violent Cat and Mouse show within a show within a show. Krusty was pretty disturbing to a child. Foul mouthed, alcoholic, and cigar smoking, not to mention all the really uncomfortable things associated with his restaurant and breakfast cereal.

But what really bothered me as a kid was the fact that he was always wearing the clown makeup.

You'd seem him away from the show, sleeping, whatever, and he would always have the painted face. Even a kid can tell you that isn't right, that with the fact that he is street rat crazy, he kind of reminds me of John Wayne Gacy, I'm just saying.

#3: The Clown Doctors from Pee Wee's Big Adventure

As a kid there were few things that I loved more than Pee Wee Herman. I would get ridiculously happy to see the show whenever it was on. I won't lie, the episode of Family guy where Peter Griffin gets rich and recreates Pee Wee's Playhouse in his living room, that's totally what I would do if I was an eccentric billionaire.

So of course it stand to reason that little Spooky Pie loved the movies as well. And I did, I really did, you know, except for that one part....

Really! Really! It's traumatizing enough the whole deal with him having to schlep all over Hell and back to find his bike. Not to mention the whole thing with "Large Marge", which is, you know, hilarious as an adult, not so much as a child. But then poor Pee Wee's dream about the clown Doctors! You guys, you guys, I don't even...

To a kid having to even think about going to the Doctor's is bad enough... but then having all the doctors and nurses be clowns? Lord, even as an adult I can't deal with it. Goddamit Tim Burton, I love you, but really now, what the Hell is your problem? No more clowns or I'll be forced to kick you in the knees. I'm sorry, but it's true. Oh, and tell Helena 'hi' for me, and that I'm sorry I couldn't make it to Thanksgiving.

#2: The Fireman Clown from the Brave Little Toaster

Oh 'The Brave Little Toaster', I'm pretty sure many people can point to that movie as something that really just scared the crap out of them as a kid. It's pretty much jam-packed with trauma-sponge fodder. To begin with, the whole idea that your appliances are sentient, and experience sorrow when cast aside by their owners is something pretty hard for a small child to get their head around. In some of us it instilled latent pack-rat tendencies, because they we felt an overwhelming sense of guilt for any fried lamp or broken clock that we were going to throw out. Okay, so maybe it was a huge piece of crap, and it hadn't worked in years. Beside the point! Think about this poor busted alarm clock all by itself Mom! I can't throw it away! Yeah, my mother was psyched.

Beside that, the journey of said brave little toaster is harrowing at best. And then there's that horrible scene where the air conditioner starts freaking out about the man being out to get him and then just freaking blows himself the Hell up. That was hard to watch without a stuffed animal and a blanket to hide behind. And then there's the scene where the Toaster has the nightmare about the Fireman Clown.

Okay Disney, where the Hell did that even come from? Clowns? This movie is not about clowns!!! And clowns throwing animate toasters into baths where they will have horrible electric deaths.... WHAT???? And I mean, it's not *JUST* a clown, look at the leering mug on that thing. Where is it from? Hell? I think it must be from Hell. I see no other option here.

#1: Ronald McDonald

Oh yes ladies and gentlemen, before there was Pennywise, there was Ronald McDonald. The original creepy, child snatching Clown waiting in the storm drain. Okay, maybe he didn't actually lie in wait in the sewer, but I challenge you to think of what clown makes you think the most of childhood trauma and, dare I say, pedophilia, who comes to mind first?
I do believe that will be our good friend Ronald each and every time.

Here's the interesting, though not entirely surprising thing; the Japanese have managed to make him even MORE freakish.

Oh Japan... each and every time I think you can't get any weirder you make me eat my words. This isn't even the worst one I've seen of the Japanese Ronald McDonald commercials, it is, actually, one of the least pedo-ish ones I've seen. If you feel like being creeped out, look it up on youtube. Only, you know, don't.

Well, thanks for tuning in for a very special edition of 'The Creepiest Thing', I am hopefully going to be more attentive to this blog again now that things are starting to settle down. Have a whole group of movies all lined up to watch, and a blog award that needs recognition. So Until then, love and kisses, and look out for razor blades in your candy.