haunting

Here’s a set of TWO New Posters for “The Conjuring 2”

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I’m not the only one who sees that right? Is that you.. Freddy Krueger?

Unlike what I initially thought, I actually enjoyed James Wan‘s The Conjuring: it was suspenseful, it was dark and claustrophobic at parts, and it was genuinely scary. I didn’t expect that, especially from a movie involving a haunting – which I’m really tired of seeing on film. Now we have the sequel, The Conjuring 2: The Enfield Poltergeist, and while the trailer looks promising; I’m both curious..and worried. The problem is that almost every time we get a good horror film, [such as the first Conjuring] a sequel almost always follows – and doesn’t give the same feeling that the first one gave us. Who knows? Maybe The Conjuring 2 will be different. I don’t know. I just wants the same claustrophobic feeling that the first film gave me, and I’ll be happy with the film’s outcome. I like you Wan, give me hope.

That being said, there is a new set of posters for The Conjuring 2, and they have just been released, both of which have a strong point of highlighting that this film is, “Based on the True Case Files of The Warrens“. To further cement this, one poster shows [the beautiful] Patrick Wilson as Ed Warren, holding forth a small cross with a look of [an intense] fear across his face while the second, shows [the even more beautiful..if that’s even possible] Vera Farmiga’s Lorraine Warren, pressed against a wall – crucifixes in the background, a rosary [wrapped tightly] around her fist.. with a shadow of an arm reaching out for her, her expression: terrified. [I’ll be posting these posters at the end of the post..whoa – talk about an accidental tongue twister.]

Hitting theaters on June 10 2016, The Conjuring 2 also said to start by mentioning The Amityville Horror case, which I think is a really interesting starting point – start with something familiar to horror audiences, and then tell of the infamous “Enfield Poltergeist,” which if you know your history, took place at a council house in the Brimsdown village of Enfield, England during the late 1970s. But you’re not here for a history lesson, you’re here for the posters.. so let’s take a look, and see what’s happening..in The Conjuring 2.

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Also, really quickly [I’ll get into this more in detail later on] I want to branch off super quick onto something completely off topic to The Conjuring 2. If you’ve noticed these past few weeks, I’ve been either late with a post, or I’ve just been anywhere but writing on here. [I even mentioned a while ago something has come up] There’s a legitimate reason for this and I think I’m ready to mention it on here: as of last Friday, I was accepted to the Funeral Preplanner course at College [in Toronto, though the course is entirely online] and to prepare for it, I’ve been doing major research. This is something I’ve been wanting for forever. It’s a stepping stone in the process of becoming a Funeral Director, but it’s something I need to do. Obviously, as warrenisweird is a hobby, and this is full-time career/school talk; the school planning is much more important. Now, I’m not going ANYWHEREwarrenisweird will still be around, and I will have updates and horror movie posts every chance I get – it just may be slightly more delayed than I want it to be. The big thing about this is that the course is online, so come September; I won’t be posting here as frequently. Hell, most of yesterday morning [which I really wanted write something on warrenisweird] involved calling/emailing about six different funeral homes..because second semester is an Internship! [a paid Internship!] I need to get that down before September because that’s almost, if not most, important. So, quick recap: warrenisweird is not going anywhere. I’ll still be posting here as much as possible. I just don’t know how much “as much as possible” is.. I’ll be writing a full post on this news both on here, and on my Medium account so please, if you were planning to, don’t ask too many questions about this, I’ll answer these questions when I write a full post on it. ANYWAY, what were we talking about again? I kind of trailed off, didn’t I?

Oh yeah, The Enfield Poltergeist:

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above: Forensic illustration by Joe Nickell based on a photo in This House Is Haunted

Are You excited for a second Conjuring film? Why or why not? Maybe, like me, you’re tired of haunting films – or maybe you just don’t enjoy horror..[if so, you’re in the wrong place pal!] Let me know in the comments what You think about these two new posters.

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 135+ 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, I’m trying to review every movie I watch, [both new and older] with my most recent reviews including Deadpool and The Revenant and you can be damned sure that The Conjuring 2 will be reviewed on there as well, so follow me on Letterboxd if you like movie reviews!

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THANKS FOR READING.

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REAL HORROR: The Aokigahara Forest

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One thing I’ve always found extremely satisfying is the idea of [large] Forests. I like the concept of the lush atmosphere, the trees looming around, and most of all: the sunlight – peering trough the tree trunks, reminding you that there is an exit if you happen to delve too deep. But like many things I like, there’s usually a dark side to it, [I promise, I’m not just referencing Star Wars!] maybe there’s vicious animals living inside that forest, or maybe there is no exit, or maybe there is dead people among the trees…but I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s rewind.

Another thing I’ve always had an interest in is Japan: with it’s culture, the way of life, the food – it’s all something I’d love to experience first hand if given the chance. Of course, this ties in with the first thing I mentioned – as Japan is home to many Forests, specifically one. At the base of Japan’s iconic Mt. Fuji lies one such Forest. Although beautiful to look at from a distance, [see it here!] at the base of this post card looking mountain lies [what some believe is] a haunted destination of broken souls known as Aokigahara, often referred to as the “Sea Of Trees”…or more infamously as the “Suicide Forest.” That’s right, that new movie: The Forest is based on this Aokigahara, and although I’ve read a lot of negative reviews on the movie[which is unfortunate because I was looking forward to that one!] I’m here to talk to you about the actual Forest located in Japan. Be forewarned though, this has the potential to get very depressing, as we’re talking about a real place where people go to commit suicide. If you think you’re still ready to go forward, read on. I promise my next post will be more positive! Think of cats, or something that makes you happy while reading this: cause this post is about to get dark and depressing..

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there’s still time to turn back if you wanted to..

From the very moment you step into Aokigahara, it quickly becomes obvious that something is slightly “off” about the place, mainly the eerie silence. The harsh density of the closely packed trees blocks any sign of the sun or wind, making it a dark and uncomfortable blanket of quiet. It doesn’t help either, when you begin to realize a lack of wildlife in the area.  The sounds of birds that you’d  come to expect to hear from a Forest are.. missing. Some have described the quality of sounds in Aokigahara as somewhat muted, almost as if they were being heard from another room. And that’s not even the scary part.. While walking around, people have claimed that they’ve ‘become aware’ of bizarre and creepy litter strewn about the forest floor. Things like pairs of shoes – both for children and adults – have been seen lined up on moss covered logs. Things like a packet of entirely mundane photographs, with song lyrics scribbled on the envelope. Even things like a child’s doll lying on top of the twisted roots of a [dead] tree. They seem out of place, even random, especially seeing as they come off as abandoned items left to rot among the trees. The thing is, even if they are random.. they give off a growing sense of foreboding and uneasiness.

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Regardless of all this though, many tourists still visit the area [willingly!] to see the scenery and the numerous rocky caverns that are scattered throughout the Forest. Many of these caverns are deemed too dangerous to the unaware, with warning signs in front of most, and even amongst the thick trees..but for some reason, large numbers of visitors still brave the trek just to see them every year. But remember what I said above? Remember what this Forest is known for? That’s right, I’m talking about the poor, lost souls who come here every year to die.

That’s right! After all, it is called the Suicide Forest for a reason. Often referred to as “The perfect place to die,” Aokigahara is said to be the most popular place to commit suicide in Japan and the second in the world after The Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. Believe it or not, it’s been happening since [at least] the 1950s. This Forest has attracted ever growing numbers of people who come to the silence and the solemn for their final breaths, with the year 2003 seeing a record number of 108 suicides. What’s even more depressing is that these numbers are from the bodies that are found by monthly patrols and annual “body hunts,” which is when police and volunteers search the Forest for victims..

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just some of the remains found in Aokigahara

Even if 108 seems like a lot of deaths, you have to consider – the number is likely even higher because of some of the areas within the forest such as: the numerous caves, crevasses, and caverns. Not to mention, the Forest’s ability to quickly and thoroughly decompose remains with how dead the Forestry is. Some of the bodies of these victims are stumbled across by accident by visitors, who, while hiking through the otherwise beautiful wilderness seem to come across the horrific sight of a corpse hung from a tree. The sad reality is that it’s quite literally impossible for police and volunteers to locate all of the deceased that seem to be hidden away within this dark Forest, or to accurately estimate how many have died. The only thing that seems to be known for sure is that every year, the number of those who come to Aokigahara to die seems to be increasing yearly.

Of course, there’s many theories as to why these lonely souls drawn to Aokigahara. One of the more popular theories claiming it’s supernatural forces within the Forest that call them. Some survivors of suicide attempts [who attempted in Aokigahara] have told accounts of having the feeling of being somehow called to or ‘pulled towards’ the Forest.. or even having the inexplicable compulsion to make a trip to “visit.”

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just one of many crevasses found in the Forest

This isn’t the only time Aokigahara has had mentions of paranormal happenings though. Even before records started being kept on suicides within Aokigahara Forest, the area had long been seeped in spooky lore and mythology. This Forest was long believed to be the living space of demons and ghosts who lived among the trees, who enjoyed terrifying travelers. It is also theorized that it was once a popular place for the [very unfortunate]practice of something called ubasutea custom which has a sick or elderly relative who was purposely abandoned in a abandoned location such as a mountainside or [in this case] a Forest, only to behind: left to die – in the case of Aokigahara, locals claim that the victims of ubasate had became vengeful ghosts, and started living among the trees; preying on the weak.

Needless to say, Aokigahara is a very sad and very real place. It’s claimed the lives of thousands, if not more; with the number ever growing. Today’s question is somewhat difficult to answer, so I understand if you don’t really know how to respond: why do You think people go to Aokigahara? Is it really “the most beautiful place to die?” Or are these people being called by demons, vengeful spirits, or some other indescribable evil force? Let me know what Your thoughts are in the comments below. If you aren’t entirely sure of an answer, fear not! Because in all honesty… I feel that only those lost and forgotten souls – the ones who spent their last moments in this dark and quiet shadow-like Forest of Mt. Fuji – will ever know the real answer for sure..

THANKS FOR READING.

WEIRDO’WEEN #30: Paranormal Activity [2007]

weirdoween2015Call it following the norm, or doing what I expect people to want to read, but surprisingly – I’m not exactly a large fan of the movie franchise we’re covering today. Don’t get me wrong, the first one [which is the one that will be reviewed today] was really well done for what it was. But like so many other movies – it got a ton of sequels..one of which just came out! Yes, it’s true. I’m hardly a fan of these movies. but, I do enjoy the first film in the series: it’s a genuinely creepy film that managed to capture the fear of so many with such a tiny budget of $15,000. [and then making $77,873!] So as our second-last weirdo’ween review, let’s take a look at movie, known as Paranormal Activity.

weirdo'ween-#30Everyone, I mean Everyone has heard of these films. They’re insanely popular among the found footage crowd for being “revolutionary” in horror. While I’m not a huge fan of them, I remember the first night I saw the first one. It was with my family, and it was completely black in the living room. We watched it because my sister had claimed to have seen it at a friend’s house. It wasn’t until the ending that she screamed, stating it wasn’t the ending she remembered! [apparently there were three different endings to this movie] If that isn’t enough to scare you away, I don’t know what will.

Our story follows a young couple, Katie and Micah, who move into a new home, while Micah records their life on his video camera. [which starts to feel old really quick] After a strange event in the middle of the night, Katie admits to Micah that when she was a child, she had experienced a ghostly presence in her room. She claims to have sensed its evil and now worries that it possibly has followed her to their new place. Of course, Micah is skeptical, so to be sure, he sets up his camera in their bedroom to record any overnight activity. After a few days of almost nothing, they see their bedroom door move on the camera, proving how clear it is that there is a presence in their house. And it’s only about to get worse; much worse is yet to come..

our “lovely” couple of the hour.

The heart that was put into this film lies in the realism of the performances of really only two actors. The two who portray the couple are convincing and natural, so you feel as if you are watching an actual home video. Thankfully, they do not follow the usual “shaky-cam movie” model of acting in which the performances often try so hard to be “real” that they are usually over-done and therefore come off as a cheap acted thought of what the actor assumes would be somebody else’s reaction to that same scenario. But Paranormal is different, we believe as an audience, that these characters are more true to themselves, and the decisions they make and the things they say to one another feel like true expressions of how these people would feel if they had been placed in the same situation. This is awesome because then, instead of feeling like you are watching actors in a movie portraying someone else, you feel as if are watching two actual people in an actual haunted house. It feels real, because it’s not forced. You can recognize that everything they say and do as an actual reaction, one you could probably imagine yourself giving in response to what’s happening at that exact moment. This gives an extremely uneasy atmosphere which you feel like you can’t escape, because in this world; you feel like you are in it.

The other important thing to mention is the downright agonizing, yet wonderful use of suspense and the imagination of one’s mind. It’s clear to see that the Director didn’t assume that his audience is a thoughtless group of horror fans, who rely on cheap scares and loud noises deafening you to get the reaction of fear. Instead, he uses the concept of imagining what’s going to happen is far more terrifying than seeing what’s happening! The movie does a great job at forcing us to constantly think about what we just experienced, giving you just a few inches, and leaves your imagination to finish the mile. It even leaves you wondering if you just saw something, where if you blink, you will miss something. Subliminal shocks are hidden everywhere within the film, making not only are your senses attacked, but your psyche is also terrorized. One particular instance, viewing a completely empty room in dead silence for 30 seconds [or more] will feel like one of the most horrifying scenes in the entire film..and nothing happens. If you think about it – an empty, and silent room does not seem scary at all, but that’s what makes it so clever: something that simple, so familiar, can scare you down to your deepest core; and as the film continues, the haunting [naturally] gets worse. So is the movie worth it? I mean, this first film was really well done; especially for such a small budget, and only two actors. It’s creepy, and it’s definitely not something everyone will appreciate. Unfortunately, this was the only “good” one, as the sequels were all but ‘alright’ [though Paranormal Activity 3 did touch on the haunting of Katie when she was a kid! Kind of like a pre-sequel?] Paranormal Activity should be a message to Hollywood that originality is still what the people want in the movie industry. We, as horror fans, have grown [quickly] tired of having our favorite classic movies butchered and pointlessly remade more than a dozen times. Directors and producers shouldn’t deserve the revenue coming from these remakes, especially if all they’re doing is just upping the violence and sexual nature of old horror movies and calling it “a grittier version”. [I’m looking at you A Nightmare On Elm Street 2010!] It legitimately makes me happy, at least to some degree, knowing that tension based horror movies still have the chance to make it big. Especially on such a small budget, like this movie did. Seriously, well done for only $15,000! That’s impressive if I ever heard it.

So here we are, at the second last review of weirdo’ween. Be sure to join me for the finale tomorrow, when I review my all time favorite Halloween movie: Trick ‘r Treat. Have you been enjoying the reviews this past Month? Which was your favorite? Why? Let me know in a comment or two! After tomorrow’s review, posts probably won’t be as frequent [every two days give or take] but that doesn’t mean reviews are gone for good! It just will go back to also being horror news, and Friday Fun Facts, etc.

If you found yourself to enjoy this particular review – and want to see more – then take a minute and follow me over on my Facebook page [it’s at over 125+ likes almost at 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! Join me tomorrow when I review the final weirdo’ween movie review – so be sure to STAY TUNED! It’s gonna be a good one!

wait…this isn’t the right castle!

THANKS FOR READING.

WEIRDO’WEEN #25: Sinister [2012]

weirdoween2015In today’s review, we talk about a movie that I remember putting off seeing because it was another haunting film, not to mention it was done by the same people as all the other haunting movies that had come out recently! I told myself that it was going to be generic, and boring. I groaned, but hey, it’s a horror film. Finally, Stephanie and I watched it, and was it not what either of us expected. at all. I was genuinely, and positively surprised.

Without reading the title can you tell what movie I’m talking about? Let me give you a hint: it involves some killer 8mm tapes, and a family who move into a house where a family was murdered. Nothing? Okay, one more hint: a family of five get hung from a tree outside the family home in the very first scene. No? Okay, fine. Today, ladies and gents, we’re talking about none other than Sinister – a movie that even Robert Ebert somewhat enjoyed..and that’s saying something!

weirdo'ween-#25Sinister follows Ellison, a true crime novelist who is looking to publish a new bestseller novel more than ten years after the release of his first hit book, “Kentucky Blood“. Ellison moves his family [his wife and two young kids] into a house that was once the scene of a horrible crime that left a mother, father, and two children dead, with a third child missing! Upon moving in, Ellison finds a box of super 8 films in the attic. On these tapes are the murders of the family who previously lived in his house and four other murders dating back as far as 1966! I mean, talk about a welcoming gift! It seems that the only connection between the murders is a symbol found in all the videos. With his marriage slowly deteriorating and his children’s behavior becoming increasingly strange, Ellison is feels determined to connect the dots and possibly even solve the string of gruesome murders.. Who knows? Plot for a new book, perhaps?

Anyone who is familiar with the popular ‘scary maze game’ online knows how this kind of thing works: even if you know what is going to happen, you will most likely be scared in the moments leading up to the ‘big scare’. You aren’t scared of what is on the screen, but you’re more likely scared of what is about to be. As expected, this is what we could consider the difference between surprising elements and legitimate horror. If the moments leading up to a jump scare are suspenseful, the actual scare is considered “worth it”. Too many horror movies nowadays have worthwhile jump scares. The thing is though, Sinister is not one of those movies. Sure, it has it’s fair share of jump scares, but after the initial shock and fear you feel, you don’t feel better. It’s as if the scares stick with you [in your mind] and you will go back to being just as tense as you were before the scare. It’s use of fear is really well done, and deserves to be recognized as such. It’s a really tense feeling film – and I love it for that reason!

One of my favorite ways Sinister differs from most modern horror movies is that it actually focuses on it’s plot. Scott Derrickson, the Director, spends just as much time focusing on plot development as he does on scaring us, this is something people need to pick up on. Many modern horror films rely on loud noises to almost make it feel like it’s laughing at you, saying “I’m scary cause you jumped!” but is it? Since the characters are more developed and have more depth in Sinister, we can relate to them that much easier. It almost feels like it’s more of a drama film about family relations than it is a horror movie. We learn so much about each individual, that when something is going to happen to them; or actually does..we feel bad, we grow attached to this characters.

Then you get the actual “behind the scenes” stuff. The technical team on this movie really didnt’ miss a beat. The top-notch effects are always key in a film like this, but the common flaw, especially in the horror genre, falls when people end up overdoing it. CGI and post-production “magic” can certainly advance the narrative when it’s needed, but in this film, old school camera effects, which were done while shooting, enhance the believability of the action; as it’s happening!

Cinematographer Chris Norr used a ton of stationary shots and what felt like Hitchcock‘s slow camera pans, to allow the audience to sense the protagonist’s growing paranoia. The occasional subjective POV angle, where the character looks at the camera, effectively makes us, as the viewer, feel like we’re actually  in the scene. It’s a great effect, and added to the fearful feelings of being scared.

also, the main villain – Buhguul – is creepy. I know I didn’t mention much about him, but just know he’s scary, okay? okay.

So check Sinister out if you – like me – ignored it, figuring it’d be a typical horror film. Because in all truthfulness, it’s really not. It’s something more: it’s genuinely terrifying, with each 8mm tape showing us something more and more scary as the film progresses. I’ve read a lot of complaints about the films end, which I guess I get, but come on guys..I feel like that’s what they were going for. I didn’t end up seeing Sinister 2, so maybe that’s where the ending of this film gets explained better? [if you know, let me know in a comment or two!]

Also, If you have an idea for the next weirdo’ween review[s], please let me know which movie[s] you’d like to see next! If you found yourself to enjoy this particular review – and want to see more – then take a minute and follow me over on my Facebook page [it’s at over 120+ likes almost at 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! Join me tomorrow when I talk about weirdo’ween #26! – so be sure to STAY TUNED!

[and just cause he can, Buugul comes for one final scare at the end of the film! Thanks, pal]

THANKS FOR READING.