film study

Film Study: “Batman Returns” [1992] Is ACTUALLY A Horror Film!

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Anyone who knows me is aware that I am a fairly large fan of Tim Burton. Ever since I was a kid, I was fascinated with films like Beetlejuice, Mars Attacks!, and of course; The Nightmare Before Christmas. Although I was not born until three years later, in the year 1989, Tim Burton gave the world his vision of Batman, the first version of the character on screen in over [at the time] 20 years! The film starred Michael Keaton as the title character, and the film went on to earn over $400 million in the box office: a number so staggering that pushed it to become the fifth highest grossing film ever. [In its time] With it, came a new franchise that spawned three more films/sequels over nearly a decade, which comes to a combined total of over $1 billion at the box office. During its release, Batman was praised for being a dark and gritty take on the character that were previously seen as cheesy. Burton’s film[s] were rated PG-13, a way of letting parents know that the tone/atmosphere was not meant for children. Even though Batman brought us the maniacal Joker, played expertly by Jack Nicholson, it was not until 1992’s Batman Returns that truly jumped into the darkness of the character as well as the scarier and more vicious nature of the villains within Gotham. So why am I bringing up Batman on a horror blog? Well, besides the fact that Batman is a darker type of hero, I want to talk about Batman Begins – and how after reading a similar theory online, I too believe besides being a superhero film, it is also a horror film! This post is going to kind of long, being as we are going into depth, but let’s talk about it! I may also come off as being bias in this film study, after all it is one of my favorite Batman films; especially with Michelle Pfeiffer playing Catwoman! Don’t believe me? Check out this picture of Me from when Stephanie and I went to a Wax Museum in Niagara Falls this past summer! Now, onto the actual film study, I am distracting myself!

Batman Returns has four main characters: Michael Keaton as Bruce Wayne/Batman, Michelle Pfeiffer as Selina Kyle/Catwoman, Danny DeVito as Oswald Cobblepot/Penguin, and Christopher Walken as Max Shreck. As another quick side note, the name of Walken’s character isn’t random, as MaximillianMaxSchreck was the actor who played Count Orlok in the German horror film Nosferatu. The film takes place during the end of the year holiday season, where everyone in Gotham is celebrating and embracing Christmas. However, as expected, the city is being spooked by an unknown, evil entity who goes by the name of “The Penguin.” The Penguin is the top headline of all newspapers and the talk of the town, and has been said to be a hideous creature but no one knows this for sure, because there have only been occasional glimpses of him, and no one seems to have any clue who [or what] The Penguin is.. or what he wants. So, while the people of Gotham City want to celebrate Christmas, they are being terrorized by a group of criminals who call themselves the “Circus Gang.” True to their name, these low class villains look like something out of a carnival with fire-breathers dressed up as demons to flame-juggling stilt walkers, to skeleton motorcycle riders [who have the coolest helmets/masks ever] to even an organ grinder with a vulcan cannon in a music box. Clearly, this gang is fully aware that looks and being prepared is everything. Naturally, they get stopped by Batman and then the true villain is revealed and the movie shifts to a battle between The Penguin and The Batman.

The overall story of this version of The Penguin is that he was born deformed and his parents left him into a small river in a city park. When his crib floated into the zoo, he was found and raised by penguins. Years later, he rises from the sewers and gains the sympathy of Gotham, which he uses, thanks to Shreck’s influence, to run for the Mayor of the city. Meanwhile, he’s working hard on his evil scheme to abduct [and kill] every first-born son of every citizen with the intention of drowning them; his reasoning? So they can experience what he did as a child: nearly drowning. Selina Kyle comes into the picture when she happens to get killed by Shreck, only to come back a radically different person; one that decides to don a sexy leather outfit and become The Catwoman. So nothing overly horror-film like yet, just some political backstabbing, superhero crimefighting, super villain being super villains.. It all sounds pretty mechanical when looking at it now, right?

What makes Batman Returns a horror film on top of a superhero movie is this pervasive violence and dislike for human life sprinkled throughout the film. There is an almost a hidden smile in the death of people and during the destruction of Gotham, which comes from Batman himself too. Many people were shocked by just how easily Ben Affleck’s take on Batman casually killed people in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. But if you compare the two, he’s got nothing on Keaton, who will happily turn the Batmobile back around, only to shoot flames from his tailpipe onto a fire-breather or how about that time when he drops a guy into a manhole.. who then later explodes? This is the real killer Batman and it is terrifying to know that he does it with efficiency, coldness, and even a sense of enjoyment.

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[the true face of EVIL]

But let us not forget the villainous natures of both Cobblepot and Shreck. The Penguin lives up to his evil nature, and seems unafraid to hide it. He is shown forcing Shreck to help him emerge from the sewers by threatening to expose his shady business practices, as well as sharing the fact that Shreck killed a partner. This was confirmed by Penguin when we see him flaunting [and playing with] a dismembered hand! As for Shreck himself, he’s a monster in way that he manipulates [and deceives] those around him with a smile on his face and a twinkle in his eye. Even the way he stalks Selina, only before pushing her out of a window shows that he is a charming but absolutely ruthless man. He is a sociopath who will do whatever it takes – and kill anyone in his path – to get what he feels he deserves.

Speaking of Selina Kyle, let’s talk about her resurrection. She was pushed out of a skyscraper, fell dozens of stories to her death, and was then licked [back to life?] by cats with a strange ability of having multiple lives. At first she looks like some ghastly image of her former self. Her skin is pale and gray, and she is seen having blood streaked across her face. But then she [emotionally] snaps, destroying her apartment with wild/exaggerated anger, and we see her fingers are now curled like a cat’s claws. But do not forget that her sadistic streak began before she “died.” Remember when Batman saved her on the street? Instead of thanking him, her first impulse was to kick the guy that held her hostage, even though he’s incapable of defending himself because he’s just been knocked out. If that is not enough, she then picks up the taser that he held to her face and proceeds to test it on him, laughing at the [shocking] outcome! It seems that she already had a sick streak in her – dying just gave her the freedom to finally let it all out.

Quickly jumping back to Shreck, he is nothing short of a monstrous persona, one that would be perfectly at ease sitting next to Hannibal Lecter, although if we are being honest; he’s nowhere near as classy. However, he does like to do his dirty work behind-the-scenes, showing the public eye one personality while living a totally different one in his private life. In this “other life,” he is capable of murder without flinching, showing that he is just as calculated as someone like Patrick Bateman. Just look at the following clip to see his charming yet evil persona in action.

When Shreck finally meets his death, it is perhaps the most gruesome of the film and it calls back to Selina’s initial taste of “being bad.” When she does get to killing Shreck, she uses that same taser to cook him into a skeleton! But of course, she is not the real villain/monster; that title goes to The Penguin. From his sharp teeth and black spittle to his deformed overall presentation, he openly admits to being “an animal” and “cold-blooded.” Watching his behavior throughout the film is equal to that of a wild [and uncontrollable] creature, who can be playful one moment and then turn to a frightening and dangerous with monstrous intentions the next. While trying to coo to a young woman in his mayoral committee, he suddenly and abruptly turns on a young man, biting his nose so severely that the man is left disfigured and bleeding profusely!

What also makes his character so fascinating is the parallels between The Penguin and God and Satan. As previously discussed, Cobblepot’s ultimate end game is to kidnap the first-born children of Gotham in their sleep. This is essentially the 10th Biblical plague, in which God came down and slew the first-born child of every family who was not protected by lamb’s blood, Cobblepot plans to bring tremendous terror and grief to those who he feels enslaved him below the surface. However, as we all know, Penguin is no God and that’s where his “palace” comes into play. Hidden in the depths of the abandoned Gotham Zoo, Cobblepot’s “castle” is cold and icy, which could be seen as an allusion to Dante’s Inferno, where the terrifying [and grotesque] Satan lives within the bowels of Hell, trapped in a frozen lake. Ultimately, the icy location becomes engulfed in flames, much like how we -as people – envision Hell.


Now remember: this is just a theory, but when it first came out, this movie was labeled as grotesque by parents and I believe that its easy to see why. DeVito’s version of The Penguin gave countless children [including myself!] nightmares for a long time and seeing Pfeiffer die in such a violent fashion is something that kids were not meant to see. Furthermore, this may very well be the darkest overall presentation of a Batman film. I can’t think of anything that comes close to how bleak and dark this entry is.

Now, before anyone starts with the whole “It’s not scary!” argument, let’s all remember that a lot of horror films are not that scary to begin with. To frighten an audience is a bonus when it comes to horror, at least for us horror genre fans. What makes a horror film “horror” is how it presents itself, how there is this grim feeling surrounding the overall film. Based on the facts above, I believe that Batman Returns does this extremely well.

The real question is though, do You think Batman Begins is a horror film? Why or why not? Let me and Michelle Pfeiffer know in the comments! Be sure to also follow me over on my Facebook page! [we’re at over 180+ likes – let’s get to 200!] By clicking that “like” button, you’ll see every post from warrenisweird the very moment it’s been “gone live” online; and I also share links to articles and pictures/videos that will not be featured here on the blog. So go follow over there too! Every “like” helps me a ton, giving me the ability to write more posts for you to read, so be sure to tell the horror enthusiast in your life to do the same, and share The Facebook Page with your family and friends!

I’ve also been writing way more reviews on my Letterboxd account, this is because I’m trying to review every single movie I watch  – with each review [usually] posted the very next day after viewing! Are you interested yet? Check me out over there and click that “follow” button! I’m just bound to follow you back because I like reading other people’s thoughts on film, as well as writing reviews myself!

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THANKS FOR READING.

film study: is The Conjuring 2 FACT [or] FICTION?

Earlier this week – Monday the 13th – a friend and I went and saw The Conjuring 2. I enjoyed it, surprisingly a lot more than I expected; and definitely better than the first Conjuring film. [read my full review on The Conjuring 2 hereHowever, on the way back from the movie, I had an epiphany: if the “haunting” shown in the film is based on actual events, and Ed and Lorraine Warren were concerned about the whole thing being a hoax, just how much of is actual truth? That’s where we are today: I’m going to be looking into the true story behind the infamous “Enfield Poltergeist” and separate the facts from the fiction. As expected, this post does involve the plot and important details involving The Conjuring 2. Being as it’s a newer release, spoilers will be everywhere within this post. So if you haven’t seen the movie yet, or you’re okay with spoilers – let’s begin.

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Before we officially begin though, it’s important to note that Director James Wan didn’t take many shortcuts when translating the infamous Enfield Haunting onto the big screen – this is proved when he went so far as to display real-life photographs and locations against the ones shown in the movie during the end credits. I mean, that’s impressive and it really adds to the tone of the film. Even hearing the actual tapes during the credits reminded viewers that this was an actual event..or was it?

At the beginning of the movie, we start with the infamous Amityville case and its aftermath, because most of Conjuring 2 has to keep going back to the Warrens‘ story across the Atlantic as they deal with how traumatizing the event was for Lorraine. The case in this movie was often called the “English Amityville,” or “the Enfield Case” because [unlike what was shown in the movie] there was many paranormal investigators swooping in from all over the globe. So yes, the Warrens did drop by at one point in 1978 according to one of the investigators, Guy Lyon Playfair. But according to him, during an interview on Darkness Radio, the Warrens showed up “uninvited and only stayed for a day.” Even worse, Playfair claimed: “All I can remember is Ed Warren telling me that he could make a lot of money for me out of it.” Playfair isn’t the first to say something like this – over the course of their cases, the Warrens were constantly called out for “helping families for the money and fame” rather than their hearts of gold – which the movies show them to have. [listen to the entire interview with Playfair here]

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though I gotta say, the chemistry between these two is perfect.

It’s important to note that a lot of the details in the movie, like how the supernatural problems occur after the girls play with a Ouija board, are fact though – and are straight from the accounts of the Hodgson family. [especially Janet and Peggy] They did flee to the neighbor’s house like they did in the film, with witnesses claimed they could hear  “whistling” and “knocking on the walls” just as it happens in the film.

But note that I said “a lot” of the details..not all. Some of the more extravagant occurrences, such as the scene [that’s also seen in the trailer] where we see all the crosses on the wall turning upside down, has absolutely no basis in what the girls say happened: You read that right, this never happened. [though the girls claim that the room really did have crosses on the wall in the first place] Janet was also actually recorded having a deep-throated, evil voice when in interviews and throughout the investigations. You can also see in the interview below that the movie actually followed Janet‘s mannerisms and claims quite faithfully.

Another important tidbit, which comes from the movie and the actual case, was that an older man by the name of Bill Wilkins actually died in their home. According to Terry: Bill Wilkins‘ son, the man actually did die in that bloody chair of a brain hemorrhage. As you no doubt heard in the interview video above, Janet claims to have been possessed by Wilkins, leading many to believe this gives a large credibility to the case. But does it? Hold on. In the movie, one of the skeptics points out that Janet could have very easily have heard about Wilkins from a neighbor, and it would have been very easy for her to fake the voice in order to keep the whole charade going. Still, the movie pays close attention to Janet‘s specific recollections, even adding her [actual] claims that when the “voice” came over her, she felt like something was behind her.. But this is all nothing compared to what comes next:

Janet was caught faking the haunting: and more than once!

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[the longer I look at this, the more it really does look like she’s just jumping]

Near the end of the movie, the investigators catch Janet bending spoons and flipping tables on video, making it clear to them that she was faking the activity – but would you believe me if I said that this also happened in reality, with Janet and her sister faking it more than once in the exact same manner? It’s true as even Janet herself has admitted that “some” of the events were faked, even though she adamantly remains convinced that most of it was real, including her possession. At least the haunting[s] stopped, right? By the end of The Conjuring 2, we earn something of a conclusion, that the demonic spirit is destroyed by the Warrens and everyone is happy. However, it also points out at the very end that Peggy Hodgson continued to live in the home until her last days of life [which is fact] and ultimately – died in the same chair as Bill Wilkins. This follows the truth of it [for the most part], as the Hodgsons have claimed over the years that while most of the haunting stopped after a priest visited them in 1978, activity still occurred in the home for the following decades to a smaller and lesser degree. Of course, like any other “true story”, the movie also left out a few important parts: such as Janet being sent to a psychiatric hospital where they “stuck electrodes” on her head for tests. Though, the tests turned out normal. The movie also leaves out that Janet‘s sister Margaret had “the voice” speak through her as well!

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Left to right: Margaret, Johnny, Janet

The question I’ll leave you with today is Is it all a hoax?” Unfortunately, It’s hard to claim that the entire case was just faked by this family considering all evidence to the contrary. But you have to admit: it’s even more impressive how well-documented this case was, which resulted in a movie that manages to capture much of the story’s compelling moments and arguments without drifting too far from the truth. You know, except for the part where Ed and Lorraine Warren are not just “in it for the money.” If you’re still aching for more on this “case”, click here for a hour long documentary on the Enfield Poltergeist and be sure to leave your thoughts on this whole “scenario” in the comments below!

As always, if you find yourself to enjoy what I do on here, then please take a minute and follow me over on my Facebook page [we’re at over 150+ likes – let’s get to 200!] By clicking that “like” button, you’ll see every post from warrenisweird the very moment it’s been “gone live” online; and I also share links to articles and pictures/videos that will not be featured here on the blog.

Every “like” helps me a ton, giving me the ability to write more posts for you to read, so be sure to tell the horror enthusiast in your life to do the same, and share The Facebook Page with your family and friends! I’ve also been writing way more reviews on my Letterboxd account, this is because I’m trying to review every single movie I watch  – with each review coming the very next day after viewing! Are you interested yet? Check me out over there and click that “follow” button! I’m just bound to follow you back because I like reading other people’s thoughts on film, as well as writing reviews myself!

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THANKS FOR READING.

Film Study: It’s been TEN YEARS since we visited SILENT HILL

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I’ve always been a fan of Silent Hill. The games are eerie enough, with the rusty and dark settings always feel unsettling, and the atmosphere is brimming with personality. With creepy monsters around one corner, and an almost empty void of a town around the other, Silent Hill is pretty damn scary. I love these games, but I can’t play them in the dark. Not because I’m scared, but I start..hearing things. Naturally though, this would imply that the game series would make for an excellent horror film, right? Technically, there were two films: Silent Hill and Silent Hill: Revelations 3D. We’re going to look at the first film today, mainly because the sequel was a piece of hot garbage – which I’ll save to talk about another day if the interest is there. [LET ME KNOW IF YOU WANT IT REVIEWED]

So why are we talking about Silent Hill? If you follow warrenisweird on Facebook, you would have noticed that yesterday I mentioned that it’s been ten years since we got Director Christophe Gans’ vision of Silent Hill came to theaters and presented us with what might very well be the most faithful video game-to-film adaptation ever. [take that comment with a grain of salt..] While the film didn’t do insanely well, only earning $100 million against a $50 million budget, it was still praised for its atmosphere, set design, and visuals; which are pretty important in a Silent Hill title. I remember enjoying it when it came out, it was scary, it looked great, and it was generally entertaining. As a fan of the games, I was impressed..but that was ten years ago.. and the real question is: does it hold up? Only one way to find out, so strap yourself in – we’re going on a road trip. Destination: Silent Hill. Population: Spoilers.

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this scene feels like it’s lifted straight from the game!

The movie follows Sharon, the young daughter of Rose Da Silva[oh yeah – Harry isn’t in the movie – just so you know] who has been dreaming of a town – Silent Hill. In an attempt to show her that it’s just a dream. Rose makes the decision to take her to this town. However, the road to Silent Hill is anything but easy to reach, and Rose finds herself in a high speed chase between herself and a police officer only to end in a crash for them both! When she wakes up, Sharon has disappeared and Rose is at the entrance to the deserted, dream-like town of Silent Hill. As Rose begins the endless search for her daughter, she does not realize the terror and mystery surrounding her, finding herself getting more and more entwined into the disturbing past of a little town known as Silent Hill.

Right off the bat, the movie opens with music lifted straight from the game itself – in fact, the entire movie contains original tracks from the game as well as some being a remixed score. Just as it was a fantastic and brooding background when playing the game, it works very well on the big screen. The plot describes the town of Silent Hill that Rose finds herself trapped in as a “nightmare world”, and thankfully, that is exactly what Christophe Gans does with the film: we see buildings transform into a caged inferno when “the darkness” comes, we actually see the creatures that come with this darkness: the patient demons, “the nurses”, and..even Pyramid Head? Yes. Pyramid Head makes an appearance..even though he wasn’t in the first game. [which this movie is based on] But who cares? He’s still really pretty to look at – he’s no doubt here for the fans, not for the original story arc.

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But perhaps my favorite part of the film was knowing that almost none of the evil “creatures” are overused, and thankfully – that is what truly stops this separates this film from a zombie movie. The demons, with the exception of the Pyramid Head, aren’t the true evil of the film, but rather work together to give us a sense of fear while they are on screen. Gans was not afraid to get gory, having several scenes with deformed and tortured bodies – as seen above – even as far as to where we see Pyramid Head skin a human being.. with his bare hands[find warrenisweird on Facebook to see the GIF!] These scenes are extremely effective, and almost always adds to the intensity of the movie.

Finally, we have the best part of the movie: the fact that you don’t need any significant knowledge of the games to be familiar with Silent Hill‘s atmosphere – specifically within the town itself – It feels like the world is cloudy and dreamlike, like a living thing. Silent Hill is scary not because of it’s monsters and dark areas, but because it changes based on your darkest fears, secrets and sins.. Making this fear a very personal nightmare.

I mean, sure, the game was scarier. Way scarier. There was something appealing about the vagueness of the story here though – the fact that it was never fully explained. Some parts [specifically in the final act] could have been edited down and made more intense, but this is just nitpicks.. overall, the movie is really well done – especially being a video game adaptation – which don’t usually go over well. This goes above and beyond your standard fare horror flick. It’s made for horror fans, but feels like a love letter to the fans of the game as well!

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did I mention I love The Nurse demons?

I’m not saying this movie is flawless, it definitely has it’s positives and negatives, but for a video game adaptation – it’s pretty damn good. Again, I won’t be mentioning the sequel, Silent Hill: Revelations 3D, unless someone requests it – but being such a terrible sequel/adaptation, I might have to talk about it..for the sake of how bad it is. [if you want me to review it, let me know in the comments!] So does Silent Hill hold up after ten years? I’m going to say that I, personally, believe the only answer here is: Yes. I loved it then, I love it now, and I really want to [re]play through the games.

As always, now I turn to You. What are Your thoughts on an Silent Hill? Is it something you enjoyed? Or were you more a fan of the games? Let me know your thoughts on the matter in the comments! If you haven’t played the Silent Hill games – I strongly recommend sitting through and playing the series, or at the very least, watch a play through on Youtube! As reiterated [about 3 times] above, if you want me to review Silent Hill: Revelations 3D, let me know that in the comments as well! Also, if you find yourself to enjoy what I do on here, then please take a minute and follow me over on my Facebook page [it’s at over 149+ likes – only a few more and we’ll have reached over 150!] By clicking that “like” button, you’ll see every post from warrenisweird the very moment it’s been “gone live” online; and I also share links to articles and pictures/videos that will not be featured here on the blog.

Every “like” helps me a ton, giving me the ability to write more posts for you to read, so be sure to tell the horror enthusiast in your life to do the same, and share The Facebook Page with your family and friends! I’ve also been writing way more reviews on my Letterboxd account, this is because I’m trying to review every single movie I watch  – with each review coming the very next day after viewing! Are you interested yet? Check me out over there and click that “follow” button! I’m just bound to follow you back because I like reading other people’s thoughts on film, as well as writing reviews myself!

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[I was legitimately shocked at the visual quality of this “monster!”]

THANKS FOR READING.

film study: the VERY FIRST Alice In Wonderland movie..from 1903!

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It should come as no surprise to readers of this blog that when I was growing up, Lewis Carrol‘s Alice In Wonderland was – and still continues to be to this day – my favorite fairy-tale ever written. I absolutely love Disney‘s animated film, and I even enjoyed Tim Burton‘s “version”; which, as a fan of Burton, shouldn’t be too much of a surprise. Something about the cast of characters, the colorful world it takes place in, and even the themes of Alice being “crazy all along”; these are all things that I find fascinating – there really is no story like it. But when it comes to the concept of a movie version of the familiar story, there’s been many; just look at what comes up when I type in “Alice in Wonderland” on imdb down below.

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Looking at this list, there’s a total of ten films on record, [not including all the ones that come up when I click “more title matches”] and that includes two films called “Malice In Wonderland” – which, after reading the plot- doesn’t seem to be  what we’re looking for. Today though, we’re looking at the very first one, the one from 1903[over 100 years ago!] This version involves a girl – named Alice – awakening in a garden beside a white rabbit in a waistcoat with a pocket watch..sound familiar yet? A Director by the name of Cecil Hepworth decided to make [a faithfully as possible] an adaptation of Lewis Carroll’s original story: Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland for the big screen..at least, as big as screens were in 1903! Originally running a whopping twelve minutes in length, Hepworth’s film of Alice In Wonderland was – at the time – the longest film produced in all of Britain. In order to keep faithful to the novel, the plan was to try and keep the style of the film to look like  Sir John Tenniel’s original illustrations. [which I find fascinating!] The costumes were designed from hand and elaborate sets were built at Hepworth’s film studio – including a rather impressive rabbit burrow. To save on money, which mainly went to costumes and set pieces, family members, friends and their children were used in the cast. [Hepworth even cast his wife as the White Queen]

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a screenshot of Alice running from the Red Queen‘s card soldiers

Unfortunately, being as the film is over 100 years old, the full version of Hepworth’s mini classic has been lost: the print that exists is damaged but is still a beautiful, trippy and incredible experience. However, all hope is not lost, as The British Film Institute created a remastered version in 2010. This “remastered” version is nine and a half minutes long, is a black and white silent film, and is definitely an interesting piece of cinema. Don’t be too shocked: it is still creepy in it’s own right, but it is still a landmark in film making. Even knowing that it existed so very long ago, and was able to be restored is magical. For your viewing pleasure, and my wanting to share it with the world, I’ve included the remastered Alice In Wonderland film down below.. but not before asking my usual set of questions – which can be answered after watching: What do you think about this film from 1903? Is it really interesting to know and see that the BFI remastered it for viewing in this day? Or do you think it’s too creepy, and that children would have panic attacks just watching playing cards attack a young girl? Let me know in the comments! Do you have any theories behind Alice In Wonderland? What do you think is truly happening to our Alice? Share your theories below! But enough questions. Without further stalling, here’s the VERY FIRST film take on Alice In Wonderland. [Coming to you from the year 1903]

THANKS FOR READING.

[a special thanks to the BFI for restoring the film!]

Film Study: Adam Wingard’s “Death Note” remake is NOW to become a Netflix Movie..

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Even if I’m more into horror as a genre, one thing I used to love more than anything was anime. I still do enjoy it, but I’m very particular [whereas I used to just watch anime “just so I could say I’m watching anime”] about the series I’m watching. One series that I used to watch religiously [and still enjoy to this day] is Death Note. The series follows a young man – Light Yagami – who comes across a Shinigami’s – or “Death God” – notebook which claims that anyone who’s name is written in the book will die. Naturally, Light finds this a useful tool in his attempt to “cleanse the world” of evil, to create a “new world” where he’ll be the ruler. Light even becomes known as “Kira“, an almost hero of the people. [since he starts by only killing criminals] Of course, it isn’t that simple, as a mysterious detective known only as “L” appears, claiming to solve the mystery of who Kira is, and a dangerous cat and mouse begins between the two. It’s a really enjoyable series, both in manga and anime, which I strongly recommend if you haven’t seen. It’s not even that long either, so you could probably marathon both seasons in less than a week! [points to you, Netflix!] In fact, the exact year the anime ended, there was – not one, but three – live action movies made based on the series in Japan. While the third one, titled: Death Note: L: Change The World not being as good as the other two, it was still an interesting take on the character. Now, we’re getting a new Death Note live action movie..and it’s going to be “Americanized” – seriously.

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Taken from the Japanese live action film. [left: Ryuk – the “Death God” | right: Light Yagami]

This isn’t new to anyone though, because this live action movie actually started life back in 2011, with Shane Black attached to direct. But, like with many Hollywood productions based on manga and anime properties [don’t get me started on Dragon Ball Evolution..] it landed itself in production hell, as nobody in Hollywood seems to understand Japanese pop-culture! Even as early as last year, Warner Bros picked up the production for the film but again, let the project sit. Letting it waste away. Then came both STX and Lionsgate, who are both fairly interested in making this Death Note a reality, bringing it to theaters for a large-scale audience. Unfortunately [I just really wanted to see it on the big screen] this is more than likely not going to happen.. because Netflix has now stepped up to take the helm, with production on the movie to start as early as June 2016!

It’s actually refreshing to see that Netflix has stepped in here and is actually doing something about this adaptation. This is most likely because Netflix, unlike some companies, is a very data driven company and follows what the consumers are interested in. [I mean, we got a new Pee-Wee Herman movie because of Netflix – that’s awesome!] Hollywood, on the other hand, has this big ideological disconnect with their viewers, especially when it comes to foreign property. It’s unfortunate, but true that they don’t seem to be able to successfully overcome that yet.

So while we might not have a trailer yet, and it might be strange to consider an “Americanized” Death Note film, I can safely say that I’m curious. Worried, but genuinely curious about how this movie will turn out. It’s definitely in good hands with Netflix, since they seem to know what they’re doing with big name series, and their fans love them! [they know this all too well] I’ll be sure to keep updating on here when more news, or even a trailer is released. My only concern that I can think of, is how will Ryuk look? the CGI one from the Japanese live action film was perfect, but will it be as perfect in the American one? There’s many questions left unanswered at this time, but I just need to know more!

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Ryuk in the manga – Death Note

As always, now I turn to You. What are Your thoughts on an “Americanized” Death Note? Is it something you’re excited for? Or are you worried that it’ll turn out like Dragon Ball Evolution? [*shudders!] Let me know your thoughts on the matter in the comments! Once again, if you haven’t seen the Death Note anime – I strongly recommend sitting and watching the series, it’s not very long, and it is on Netflix. [No excuses!] It’s well worth your time, even if it does get kind of strange near the end! Also, if you find yourself to enjoy what I do on here, then please take a minute and follow me over on my Facebook page [it’s at over 147+ likes – only a few more and we’ll have reached over 150!] By clicking that “like” button, you’ll see every post from warrenisweird the very moment it’s been posted online; and I also share links to articles and pictures/videos that will not be featured here on the blog.

Every “like” helps me a ton, giving me the ability to write more posts for you to read, so be sure to tell the horror enthusiast in your life to do the same, and share The Facebook Page with your family and friends! I’ve also been writing way more reviews on my Letterboxd account, this is because I’m trying to review every single movie I watch  – with my most recent reviews including newer/theatrical films such as  Deadpool and The Revenant and older films, such as Nolan‘s Dark Knight trilogy. Are you interested yet? Check me out over there and click that “follow” button! I’m just bound to follow you back because I like reading other people’s thoughts on film, as well as writing reviews myself!

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THANKS FOR READING.

FILM STUDY: Is SAW VIII still a possibility?

SAWVIIIAs you’ve probably caught onto while reading things I write on here, I’m a fairly regular reader over on IMDb. [I often tag a movie I mention with their IMDb page] When not using their pages for posts on here, I enjoy looking up movie trivia, and even sometimes even reading [and commenting] in the forums. But when looking up a few behind the scene features on the Saw franchise [I actually do this a lot, for many movies] about the traps, something caught my eye: in the section that tells a reader what other movies they may like, [based on the movie page they’re currently on] I saw something.. something titled ” Saw VIII ” with a tag line stating “ARE YOU WORTHY?” . Wait. Seriously? Yes – Seriously. [here’s the IMDb official page for it!] I started doing some research on it, and naturally, various rumors and a lot of fake trailers for a “Saw 8″ have made appearances on YouTube and even message boards. But going back, to IMDb, it looks as if it was added a while ago, with the original writers [Leigh Whannel and James Wan] and Tobin Bell, who plays the John Kramer himself, have been added to the cast and crew section. Curious, I dug deeper. Eventually, I came across on the 31st of March 2015, Lionsgate uploaded an image from SAW V onto it’s Facebook page, seemingly without out of no where. Not just any picture – this picture. But trust me, it gets better. As expected, people went crazy over this picture, as proven by it’s nearly 10,000 likes. In one comment, someone [who’s has been whited out for obvious privacy reasons] says “So let the games continue!” and how does Lionsgate reply?

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Of course, other than this reply, [which, in all honesty: could mean anything] not much is known about this ‘sequel’ other than Tobin Bell, Whannel and Wan are back. Another possible hint as to another film showed up a few months later, in May 2015, when a site called Release Date Portal put up an article titled ‘Saw 8 Release Date June 2016‘. The article isn’t really anything special, and it doesn’t confirm anything, but it does include some interesting quotes from producers Mark Burg and Oren Koules about their plans for making another Saw film, and about bringing the original writers back on board:


 James and Leigh…when Saw came out they were so afraid of being ‘the Saw guys’ and they were trying to make their own mark. Now that they’ve made their own mark, they’re very comfortable to come back. It’s one of the reasons we agreed to do this again…Our goal is to go to Comic-Con, not next summer but the summer after [ by this point, they would have meant 2016] with our heads up saying, ‘Alright. Here we go!’ “


Realistically, this would mark the first time a SAW film hasn’t come out a year after it’s previous sequel. Speaking of that last sequel, by the end of [the terrible] Saw 3D, we see Cary ElwesDr. Lawrence Gordon putting Hoffman – as played by Costas Mandylor – in the original film’s bathroom trap. For a lot of fans, myself included, the final SAW movie was kind of bland; and almost a cop out for the series. What happened to Hoffman when he got locked in the bathroom? It’s implied that he dies in there, but does he? This is only one of many questions that “the final chapter” left for viewers, and if we’re being honest: we need at least some of those questions answered. Mainly being, does Gordon become the next Jigsaw? It’s not like he can just shrug off what he’s done, and go back to a normal life..

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So the question[s] remain: Do YOU think SAW VIII is really a necessity – Why or why not? Also, if we do get an eighth installment in this series, what do YOU expect to happen? Let me know in the comments below! As for myself, I’m curious, but I’m glad that they’ve waited longer than a year to make this. Maybe they’ll have a fantastic story..at least better than “the final chapter” which no one likes to talk about..

As always, if you find yourself to enjoy what I do on here, then please take a minute and follow me over on my Facebook page [it’s at over 130+ likes – only a few more and we’ll have reached over 150!] By clicking that “like” button, you’ll see every post from warrenisweird the very moment it’s been posted online; and I also share links to articles and pictures/videos that will not be featured here on the blog. Every “like” helps me a ton, giving me the ability to write more posts for you to read, so be sure to tell the horror enthusiast in your life to do the same, and share The Facebook Page with your family and friends!

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THANKS FOR READING.

film study: horror-comedy Vs. comedy-horror

Do you prefer your films horror-comedy or comedy-horror? Contrary to popular belief, there actually is a difference; even if you don’t exactly come to realize it. Horror-comedy and comedy-horror fall under two sub-genres that mainstream viewers don’t seem to understand. [Hipsters, I swear!] Lately, it’s as if people just don’t “get it” when something is supposed to be funny in a horror movie. seriously. There’s been so many times in the past where I’ve actually nearly walked out of a theater for one of these films and all I hear is other people complaining that “it wasn’t very scary” or that it was really lame, not realizing that it was trying to be funny. and then there are some people who think that these sub-genres are new or that they invented them.. But I’m here, as your resident weird one saying that there is in fact a difference between horror-comedy and comedy-horror, and I’m interested to know which one you prefer, if you prefer one at all.

Disclaimer: I’m sure I don’t need to explain this to each and every one of you, since I’d assume you are clearly fans of the horror genre if you follow me on here, but let’s at least play catch up for anyone who may not be as horror-savvy as the rest of us.


horrorcomedyHorror-comedies are first and foremost: horror movies, but have some comedic elements to go along with it. Before you jump at me, I’m fully aware that many horror films have humor as a point, but a horror-comedy film goes just “a little further” with the jokes, and the comedic feel. Here’s a few examples of horror-comedies to drive my point home:

Creepshow [and Creepshow 2]

The Cabin In The Woods

Evil Dead II: Dead By Dawn

Fright Night

Drag Me To Hell

horrorcomedy2Like horror-comedy, comedy-horror is the opposite: when it’s mainly a comedy, but it has underlying themes of fear and horror. This is generally the choice genre for parody films; such as Scary Movie. Other examples of comedy-horror include:

Zombieland

Beetlejuice

Tusk

Shaun Of The Dead

Tucker & Dale Vs. Evil


While some of you might disagree with a few of the films’ placements on the above lists, these fall under what I consider a horror-comedy or a comedy-horror. It all boils down on what you consider your sense of humor, I suppose. In the past, I’ve talked to people about how they prefer their horror to be hard-hitting – like Evil Dead – with no humor involved, whatsoever, and I certainly understand that, but if you are walking into a horror-comedy or comedy-horror film knowingly; then you really don’t have an excuse to be disappointed when you walk out of the theater. Especially if you walked in willingly and understanding what it is.. Ultimately, I find myself more of a fan of the horror-comedy films. Don’t get me wrong – I love a good comedy-horror, but I find many of them to be more or less the same. They’re not really anything new, sadly..

So now I turn to you, what do you prefer? Are you a fan of the lighter feeling comedy-horror genre? Or do you prefer the films to be a darker and eerier feeling film? Let me know in a comment or two, with your favorite from the genre! If you found yourself to enjoy this article, then please take a minute and follow me over on my Facebook page [it’s at over 100+ likes – only 15 more and we’ll have reached 130!] By clicking that “like” button, you’ll see every post from warrenisweird the very moment it’s been posted online; as well as links to articles and pictures/videos that will not be featured here on the blog. Every “like” helps me a ton, giving me the ability to write more posts for you to read, so be sure to tell the horror enthusiast in your life to do the same, and share The Facebook Page with your family and friends!

THANKS FOR READING.

[sooner and sooner, as we approach October, #weirdoween is coming faster than ever: October on warrenisweird will be something to keep your eyes open for! STAY TUNED]

FILM STUDY: the ENTIRE Freddy Krueger story – in chronological order!

“oh yes – this is going to be a good one!”

[NOTE: This post is in honor of Wes Craven, who celebrated his 76th birthday yesterday! Happy Birthday, good Sir – thank you for creating one of Hollywood’s most iconic horror villains, and my personal favorite! Sincerely, Warren]


 

For those that know me outside of the internet, [and some online..] you should know by now that A Nightmare On Elm Street is one of my favorite 1980’s slashers films of all time. Although the series got campy after even the first film, what I do give the films credit for is building an intricate timeline, piecing everything together to make one big story: even if it does feel complicated at times. Fans of the movie[s] know that it all began in April of 1941, when a young girl was [accidentally] locked up in a sanitarium of Westin Hills Psychiatric Institute where inmates kept her hidden for days! This young girl was raped… hundreds upon hundreds of times.. and when she was finally found, she was barely alive. we fans know that the girl was none other than Amanda Krueger – who, after becoming impregnated – gave birth to the demon child known as Freddy – who became known as “the bastard son of a hundred maniacs“. Freddy had a ton of problems growing up, mainly about his infamous [and brutal] conception. [kids are fucking mean, man..] So to release his ‘frustration’, he started murdering small animals. [like the class hamster] As he grew into adulthood – he turned his “pleasure from pain” behavior on himself; cutting his face with a shaving razor for pleasure. After suffering years of abuse from his stepfather, Freddy eventually murdered him.. with this same razor. [sound familiar?] Now, I could go on about how he grew up to become a child molester, and stalked the children of Elm Street, but the lore of Freddy Krueger only goes so deep and I’d feel like I’m rambling, which I would be. Besides, I have an even better idea:

Have you ever heard of a YouTuber by the name of Idiomanic? In case you haven’t, he actually recently posted a rather awesome 5 and a half minute video explaining everyone’s Dream Guy’s entire journey on screen [including Freddy vs Jason]..in chronological order! Better still, he decided to completely ignore the 2009 remake in his analysis- because as he puts it: “that ain’t Freddy!” Good thing too, because like most people who enjoy horror movies – I fully support the notion that the remake [like most remakes] was absolute garbage.. The video also doesn’t include Freddy vs. Jason vs. Ash, which has Freddy trapped inside Jason Voorhees‘ head. In this comic, he manages to learn of the Necronomicon Ex Mortis from The Evil Dead and [once again] decides to use the image of Pamela Voorhees to trick Jason to do his bidding..if only for a little bit. Ash shows up too of course, but I won’t get too into it. It is a great comic series though, so if you get the chance to read it, I totally recommend it!

Back to Idiomaniac‘s video, you should probably watch the 5 and a half minute video for yourself and tell me what you think, below! Also, if you enjoyed the video, why not hit that subscribe button on Idiomaniac‘s channel? He has a few other horror film chronological videos and for someone with a low subscriber count, he’s pretty damn talented!

So tell me, if you watched the video above, what did you think? Do you feel that that‘s the whole story? Could there be more to Freddy‘s life before he died – or could we really have all the pieces to the puzzle? Let me know what you thought, down below! Also, if you found yourself to enjoy this article, please take a minute and follow me over on my Facebook page [it’s at over 100+ likes – thanks so much!] By clicking “like”, you’ll see every post from warrenisweird the very moment it’s been posted; and I also share links to articles and pictures/videos that will not be featured here on the blog. Every “like” helps me a ton, giving me the ability to write more posts for you to read, [even if I have been busy lately – more on that later!] so be sure to tell the horror enthusiast in your life to do the same, and share the page with your family and friends! As always, STAY WEIRD and:

THANKS FOR READING.

film study: DEADLIEST horror movie villains [ranked by KILL count!]

Look at the picture above. Which iconic horror villain stands out the most to you? Some of these guys are the epitome of horror: Ghostface, Freddy Krueger, Michael Myers, Jason, Billy, Leatherface and Chucky. They are all fairly formidable foes on their own, but which one is truly the most deadly? After talking through email with someone [whom I won’t mention by name due to obvious privacy reasons] from the website buycostumes, they actually made an info-graph back in 2014 explaining which horror villain is considered the “most deadly” – at least by their kill count. When trying to export the info-graph here, the picture kind of shrunk [making it hard to read] so I’m going to break it down by horror villain, in order. With this graph, this individual and I agreed that I’d talk about it here, mainly because it’s definitely something that could be up for debate amongst horror fans, and not everyone who reads this will agree! So strap your boots on tight, kiddies: this is gonna be a long one.


[click this info-graph to see the original post by BUYCOSTUMES]


Let’s start from the top of this ladder of villains with: Pennywise, from It. Probably my least favorite on this list for the fact that I have coulrophobia. Clowns in horror isn’t really something new, but Pennywise is probably one of the scarier ones. If you want to get down to the ‘technical’ stuff, It‘s villain wasn’t always a clown, but an entity known as It, which is a shape-shifting being that can take any form it chooses; Clowns just seem relevant.. According to the graph, Pennywise isn’t nearly as violent as the others, as his kill count is at only 09. In his defense though, he did only have one movie under his belt.


Jumping from 09 kills to 22, we have The Candyman, from you guessed it; Candyman. If you’re unfamiliar with the movie [and its two sequels], Farewell To The Flesh and Day Of The Dead, the basic thing you need to know is that The Candyman is a demonic being that can be summoned by saying his name in front of a mirror five times. If you’ve ever heard of “Bloody Mary”, this is  pretty much the same concept, just with a guy with a hook for a hand instead of a woman in the mirror..


Remember Chucky? Everyone remembers the first time they saw Child’s Play: it’s actually creepy [in it’s own right] with a killer “Good Guy Doll”; where the spirit of fictional killer by the name of Charles Lee Ray puts his soul into a doll to try and live ‘forever’. I assure you, it’s a lot better than I make it sound, even if they do get a little ridiculous after the third film. Chucky has killed over 30 victims over the span of his six movies.


If you’ve never seen his films, I’m about 100% sure you’ve at least heard of Leatherface of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre fame. The original film is gritty, it’s raw, and it’s really fucked up. In a good manner of speaking, of course. His real name is Jedidiah Sawyer, but that feels like a mouthful in it’s own, so let’s stick with Leatherface, shall we? Over seven movies later, [with a new one on the way] Sawyer has claimed himself 31 victims [beating Chucky by ONE]


Hellraiser has arguably one of the cooler villains on this list, because Pinhead is completely different than everyone else on here. I mean, think about it: he’s another worldly being who has a thing for pain, pleasure and most importantly; [Lament Configuration] puzzle boxes. nine films later, Pinhead has shown such sights to 35 people! [and that’s not including the books!]


If you know me well enough, you know that one of my [many] guilty pleasure film horror series is very clearly – the SAW series. Even if Billy isn’t the “technical” killer [the traps are] his “playthings” have been through seven movies and put in traps over 40 times, with only a [very] small number of survivors..


He’s everyone’s favorite dream-invading killer: If you die in your dream, you’re going to die in real life. Of course I’m talking about Freddy Krueger. A Nightmare On Elm Street is what I think of when I think classic slasher film; it has a bit of everything – including Johnny Depp in his first role! nine films and a [terrible] remake later, Krueger has claimed 42 sleeping teenagers and adults alike!


Imagine this: you’re about three feet tall, you’re Irish, and you’ve been kidnapped by an angry and greedy American who wants your gold. Essentially, you’ve become Lubin from the Leprechaun series. Though he may not be the first horror villain that comes to mind since he’s not overly popular, [if not for cult status]  Lubin is actually extremely violent, as proven by his 45 kills over seven [obscure] movies. Unlike others on this list, he doesn’t have a specific weapon choice either. He is the type to use whatever he can find including a pogo stick, which was used to crush a man’s chest. I don’t know if I’m scared or impressed.


As the second most dangerous horror villain, this guy is pretty impressive. Any guesses? Here’s a few clues: He’s quiet, He started killing when he was young, and His movie is named after a special day. That’s right, we’re talking about Michael Myers from Halloween. Not only is his silence scary, but the fact that his eyes seem almost empty makes him more vicious. ten films and a remake [which also had a sequel] later, Myers has claimed over 111 victims! If that’s not concerning enough, I don’t know what is..


Ranking in at number one is a villain who killed over 300+ people, He is extremely difficult to kill. Apparently if you do manage to stop him, sometimes extreme electricity can bring him back from the dead. Basically, you’re dead. No questions asked. Jason from Friday The 13th has murdered more people than anyone on this list over the span of thirteen movies. [which is kind of appropriate when you think about it] Okay, okay – I know that it was his mother in the first film, but come on – he’s still killed many others when He started doing the killing.

As proven by the above [very long] list, many horror icons have a ton of experience in being evil. There’s clowns, dolls, and dreamy killers, [pro tip: that was a joke about Freddy if you couldn’t already tell] and that’s not including horror villains that weren’t on this list [next time, Ghostface, next time..] Do you have a favorite horror icon – Who is it and why? How many films have they had and how many kills? Let me know in a comment below! Also, if you’ve made it this far – be sure to check out the original kill count post by buycostumes [found here] and tell them I sent you there!

If you found yourself to enjoy this piece of writing, please take a minute and follow me over on Facebook where you can click the “like” button on my Facebook page. By clicking “like”, you’ll see every post from warrenisweird the very moment it’s been posted. I also share links and pictures that will not be featured here on the blog. Every “like” helps a ton, so be sure to tell the horror enthusiast in your life to do the same, and share the page with family and friends!

THANKS FOR READING.

FILM STUDY: The Tim Burton TRIO Theory

Anyone who is a Tim Burton fan, or has even scoured the internet for a little bit knows [or at least, has heard of] this theory: Tim Burton’s Frankenweenie, Corpse Bride, and The Nightmare Before Christmas are all one big movie. It seems to make sense, based on the above picture with each character looking like one another and each having a [dead] dog. However, after being asked by a friend to tackle this theory [especially since I’m a fairly large Tim Burton fan] and after over thinking these films – which I’ve watched over a dozen times each – I’m fairly confident in saying that these films are not connected in any way;  and I’m prepared  to explain why. So sit back, grab a snack and a drink; because this is going be one hell of a long post. okay. ~deep breath

Let’s start with Frankenweenie, the supposed beginning of this “timeline”.  Our story begins with Victor Frankenstein of New Holland, who comes off as a young and budding scientist and film maker with his best [and seemingly only] friend: Sparky – his dog. After a freak accident, [involving a simple game of “catch” with his dog] young Victor is friendless and alone.. or so he thinks! After learning about electric currents in his science class, and how electricity can shoot through the body, making body parts move. A typical Frankenstein scenario plays out with Sparky coming back to life, then dying..again.. and then Victor accepting that his friend is gone for good.

Flash forward to Corpse Bride, arguably my favorite of the three films we’re discussing today and the “middle” of the theory’s timeline. The movie follows Victor Van Dort of Victorian England, who is set to marry a woman he’s never met. While this Victor looks like a grown up version of Frankenweenie’s Victor, there is no correlation, let alone a mention claiming that they are even related.  Not only are Van Dort’s parents completely different than Frankenstein’s, the time lapse is completely wrong as well – New Holland is found in North Lincolnshire, England. Like in the town in Frankenweenie, it’s a really small village. To prove this, its population at one point was only 955 people! The period of Victorian England on the other hand, started in 1837, making these two films impossible to be under the same timeline. Also, It’s important to note that although they both had [dead] dogs, Sparky and Scraps have two separate names. Though, that last one is a smaller, less important detail.

Lastly, we have The Nightmare Before Christmas, or the ‘end’ of the theory’s timeline – This film follows Jack, the Pumpkin King playing an almost ‘reverse Grinch’ where, instead of hating Christmas, actually falls in love with the idea and tries to have his own Halloween-ed version of it, with his [dead] dog Zero helping out. Now right off the bat, things have proven themselves that Jack [and Zero], Victor F [and Sparky] and Victor V [and Scraps] are completely different people/dogs, specifically – their names and appearances.  Through-out Nightmare, we also learn that Jack is, and has been, the Pumpkin King for a very long time – long enough that even a hint at his ‘human life’ [assuming he had one] was never mentioned in film. As far as viewers are aware, Jack has always been a living skeleton. Also, going back to names, what would be the reasoning for Victor to change his name to Jack? [and Sparky to Scraps to Zero? these are important questions]

In closing, I feel that this theory doesn’t make much sense, with each character not entirely matching up to the character they supposedly become. While I wish it could be true, the facts against it are too strong.. How do you feel about this theory? Could Jack Skellington actually be Victor Frankenstein? Or does the whole theory feel too farfetched? Let me know in a comment or two down below!  Also, if you found yourself to enjoy this piece of writing, please take a minute and follow me over on Facebook where you can click the “like” button on my Facebook page. By clicking “like”, you’ll see every post from warrenisweird the very moment it’s been posted. I also share links and pictures that will not be featured here on the blog. Every “like” helps a ton, so be sure to tell the horror enthusiast in your life to do the same, and share the page with family and friends!

THANKS FOR READING.