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Posts tagged “demons

Paranormal & Supernatural in Review: Sinister (2012)

Image result for sinister 2012

Starring: Ethan Hawke, Juliet Rylance, James Ransone, Fred Dalton Thompson, Michael Hall D’Addario, Clare Foley, and Vincent D’Onofrio.

Written By: Scott Derrickson, and C. Robert Cargill

Directed By: Scott Derrickson

Review By: Joshua Macmillan

Synopsis: A washed up true-crime author moves his family into the home of a mysterious murder. While researching the crime, he finds a mysterious box in the attic full of super 8 home videos depicting multiple grisly homicides, leading the author down a path he is not prepared to take.

2012 was a weird year for the horror genre. We saw Sinister release, as well as Excision, American Mary, The Collection, The Possession, and many others- most of which fell below the mark and found themselves in the realm of obscurity. Sinister was one of the few that didn’t fall to the wayside, instead it was one of the best horror films of the year if you look at the “mainstream” releases. Continue Reading

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Opus Questions with J.R. Park

Next on our insidious list of horror writers is none other than J.R. Park. If you do recall, we’ve been traveling down this macabre road to discover what tickles the underbelly for horror writers, that is, what kinds of books do dark and unusual wordsmiths keep on their shelves? When it comes to writing, one must read. It is a necessity for the trade in which we like to keep. Reading other works helps showcase a range of talent by not only reading our own genre of choice but also other genres. And when it comes to horror writers, we are often found to have a wide assortment of favorite books we like to keep close-by. And because we are “prolific readers”  we can reach into a deep chasm of knowledge and information that helps shape and adds depth to our own stories. So, in keeping things interesting and to be a bit villainess on my part, I’ve asked my guests to tell us what their two favorite books are and why. That’s right. You heard me. Only two!!! (laughs manically) So, without further ado, here is… J.R. Park:

The crafty author of Reinheit asked me to nominate and write about two of my favourite books.  Since he extended the invitation I have been pondering over exactly which two to choose.  Whilst I make it no secret that the books of Guy N Smith was the spark that ignited my motivation to finally sit down and write I didn’t want to repeat myself.  Nor did I want to write about classics that you have read about countless times.  Whilst I have a big love and admiration for Alice In Wonderland, The Picture Of Dorian Gray and The Hitch Hikers Guide To The Galaxy, these books have been discussed often. So instead I thought about my horror influences and the books that guided me on to that shadowy path from an early age. My first selection would be House Of Hell by Steve Jackson.  This was book number 10 in the Fighting Fantasy series: a collection of choose your own adventure books with a combat gaming system involved.  Most of the series was set in a fantasy world with the usual goblins, dwarves and elves as well as a breath-takingly imaginative menagerie of original creations.  House of Hell was the odd one out in that it was set in modern times.

House of Hell, Steve Jackson, 1984

House of Hell, Steve Jackson, 1984

In the book you are the central character and after driving through a storm and crashing into a ditch you spy an old house and decide to take shelter.  From this moment the choice of the story is in your hands and you can either knock on the door or wander round the side of the house and investigate this potential place of refuge. Once inside the house things get real nasty quickly.  Wandering through the corridors and different floors you encounter zombies, a hunch back, devil worshippers, fire sprites, severed heads, scary ass demons and more.  At the young age of seven this was spooky fun, made even more creepy by having the submersive element of being able to decide what to do next.  I was so scared of turning the wrong corner that I’d keep my fingers in previous pages so I could quickly go back. Unfortunately this would end up with me marking six or seven sections, running out of fingers and make turning the next page an impossibility. I still have my original book from 1985, horded like a piece of treasure and still love to look over the stunning artwork inside. To this day I never completed the book and vanquished the House Of Hell, but I’ll keep trying. My second horrific piece of prose is the sensual and genre breaking work that is Cabal by Clive Barker.  It was 1990 and although still young I was beginning to read more adult books.  Nightbreed was coming out as a movie and I remember seeing it being written about in computer game magazines of the time.

Cabal, Clive Barker, 1988

Cabal, Clive Barker, 1988

Intrigued by this, but knowing I was far too young to be allowed to watch the film I tracked down the book, discovering it to be called Cabal.  Reading this book I realised horror could be much more than the adaptation of Stephen King stories I had seen played late night on the TV.  Barker offered an intellectualism that I had not encountered in the genre mixed with an eroticism that seeped through the text on the page. I read the first few chapters in my mum’s car as she drove me back from the neighbouring city where I had bought my copy.  By the time we had arrived home I had already been witness to a man losing his mind, overdosing on meds and trying to kill himself by jumping in front of truck, only to end up in a hospital with a lunatic that spouted about monsters before tearing his own face off. The speed of the action was wonderful.  Within a short space of time we had gore, horror and the building of an imaginative mythology. The imagination only flourished from there.  A wave of monstrous outcasts, rejects from society, filled the pages as they banded together for survival.  This was a very poignant sentiment for my young teenage mind at the time. I have read this book more times than any other and the beautiful thing is that I keep reading different interpretations. It was only last year I read that Cabal was considered the first openly gay horror story, an allegory I had not thought of before.  But it fits with the ‘Breed being an underground culture persecuted by the Church, the Police and Psychiatry (something very true for the gay community in the 1980s/ early 90s). Another comment and viewpoint came from the author himself, explaining how it was a reaction of the old, fantastical horror of myth and beasts vs the new horror of hack and slash, human killers. I won’t labour the point any more, but this book has hidden depths, deeper than the 268 pages it is printed on. With a restoration of the ‘directors cut’ of the film and a TV series currently being worked on I suggest you take a look at the source material and read this wonderful novella.

jrpark I want to thank J.R. Park for taking the time to sit with us and discuss the two books that have helped shape how he sees and understands horror. I’ve seen Nightbreed but have yet to read Cabal. I think I’ll be adding a new book to my reading list. Thanks! J.R. Park is the author of horror fiction and strange tales, including both Punch and Terror Byte. Mr. Park is also contributing to a horror anthology titled The Black Room Manuscripts to be released later this year. You can keep up with J.R. Park on his website and follow him on Twitter.


Horrors Top Ten Martyrs

There are certain things you come to expect when you watch horror. Characters are typically isolated in remote areas, cornered in buildings or rooftops, and even sometimes sent off to unworldly places, far far away from the land of rationality. Audiences love seeing characters dealing with tuff situations because its entertaining, and sure, we’re twisted, but its a part of why horror is fun; environments are the foundation of suspense. Another aspect common in horror are character tropes, such as: jocks, deviants, stoner, promiscuous, doubting Thomasknow-it-all, curious, investigatory, überpious, bigots, pranksters, nerds, and (sadly too often killed) not-the-white-guy. Out of these familiar character tropes, heroes tend to emerge; however, heroes in horror are not the same as heroes in action films, comedies, or dramas…well…sometimes dramas. The heroes in horror often become the martyrs in horror. These aren’t the characters who end their life because they simply cannot go on, such as when  Dr. Jenner & Jacqui, during The Walking Dead’s season one finale, decide to allow the CDC’s safety protocol system to detonate the building with them inside. No, these martyrs of horror sacrifice themselves for some “greater good,” that helps, in some way, the surviving characters. These martyrs of macabre are as close to saints as horror movies can get. The following are my top ten horror movie heroes turned martyr!!

10. Michael (Dawn of the Dead, 2004):

dawnofthedeadmicheal

Michael was without a doubt one of the most selfless characters through the entire film. Not surprisingly, when we find that our hero was bitten during the armored escape, in his attempt to save Ana, he casts the remaining survivors and stays behind  as an army of undead feverishly search for a way unto the docks. Michael is a typical type of martyr in a zombie movie, but it doesn’t make it any less a tear jerking moment for cinema.

9. Gorman & Vasquez (Aliens, 1986):

gordon and v

When Burke’s betrayal hits its cataclysmic conclusion, more than half of the Colonial Marines sent to planet LV-426 were put in a serious pickle, and for more than a few, it was “game over, man.” The last marines to go were Gorman and Vasquez, who, as the remaining survivors were crawling through the colony complex air ducts, became trapped. Instead of going out by being impregnated by some facehugger or simply being thrashed by the aliens themselves, Gordon & Vasquez, hand-in-hand, detonate a grenade. Arguably, one could say this was a similar situation mentioned above with The Walking Dead; however, Gordon and Vasquez were not suicidal, these marines knew they had run out of options and if they we’re going out, they were going to take as many of the aliens out along with them, semper fi!

8. Childs, MacReady, Garry, & Nauls (The Thing, 1982):

thing1

For the remaining survivors of the American Antarctic Research Station, when Blair is MIA, the last one who could be infected, things become a bit precarious. The Thing plans on going back on ice until rescue comes. Knowing this, the guys decide to burn down the camp, in hopes of destroying the Thing. With sub-freezing temperatures, they know this is a death sentence and still willingly go out and set the complex ablaze. In the end, only MacReady and Childs remain alive to watch the camp burn and while the flames flicker, you can’t help but feel some glimmer of hope for humanity. In the face of death, these men’s sacrifice to keep the alien from reaching a larger population was beyond the call of duty.

7. Sheriff Eben Oleson (30 Days of Night, 2007):

30-days-of-night-eben-and-stella

When the sun is due to rise at the end of the polar-night cycle, the vampires, wanting to remove all evidence of their month long buffet , and to kill any remaining survivors still in hiding, decide to burn down the sleepy town of Barrow, Alaska. Sheriff Eben Oleson knows he cannot face them as a blue collared mortal and injects himself with some vamp blood and faces off with the vampire ring-leader, Marlow. With surprise on his side, the good sheriff wins the fight and the remaining vampires flee. Knowing what he has become, Eben decides to stick around and watch the sunrise with his estranged wife, Stella, sacrificing himself to keep the town safe from…himself.

6. Capt. Miller (Event Horizon, 1997):

eventhorizon

When the rescue vessel Lewis and Clark is dispatched to answer a distress signal received from the Event Horizon, an experimental ship with a gravity drive which generates an artificial black hole and then uses said gravitational power to bridge two points in spacetime(makes sense, right?), they soon after discover that the Event Horizon has been to another (not so sunny) dimension. In the face of horrible hallucinations coming from the Horizons core (gravity drive engine thingy) and Dr. Weir (the ships creator) completely out of his gourde, Captain Miller decides to detonate the Event Horizon and use the forward section of the ship as a lifeboat. During the conflict with two very unpleasant manifestations, Miller is forced to set off the explosions while still on the rear end of the ship. As the near end (ha!) of the ship floats away, the gravity drive activates, sending Miller and his nightmare friends back, assumingly, to hell. 

5. Karen White (The Howling, 1981):

karen

After burning an entire Colony of werewolf’s to the ground, the traumatized news anchor decides to warn the world of these creatures existence. Surprising everyone in studio, Karen decides to “turn,” having been bitten during her Colony burning exploits, and subsequently shot live on television. Differing from the way Sheriff Oleson went out, Karen uses her death as a warning to the greater world, giving some kind of meaning to her demise. Unfortunately, people are great deniers and ignore her stunt, rationalizing the transformation as a stunning special effect.

4. Dean Winchester (Supernatural Season 3 finale):

Swan Song

Obviously, Supernatural is not a horror movie, but the sheer sacrifice of character Dean Winchester has moved me to ignore such litigation’s. At the conclusion of Season Two, Dean had sold his soul to a Crossroads demon in order to bring his brother Sam back from the dead. The Winchester’s are no strangers to self-sacrifice, but Deans event seemed so much more epic. As Season Three drew to a close, when Sam and Dean attempt to take out Lilith, Dean’s “time” runs out and a hellhound tears him to shreds. The scene closes with a frightened and distraught Dean hooked on chains in hell. Normally, i’d stick to my horror movie formula, but, as far as television goes, this was one of the most disturbing episodes i’ve ever seen!

3. John Constantine (Constantine, 2005):

john

Failing to prevent Gabriel from using Angela in unleashing the son of Lucifer on earth himself, John, knowing his soul is the one soul on earth the devil would collect himself (long story), he decides to slit his wrists. Bleeding out, an overjoyed Lucifer arrives. John tells the king of hell about his sons exploits and the devil, grudgingly offers John an “extension.” John refuses and asks the devil to release the soul of Angela’s sister from the pit instead. Lucifer happily agrees, but as he attempts to drag John to hell, Constantine begins to float upward toward heaven. Lucifer ends up, having run out of options, restoring Johns life to give him ample time to make more mistakes that could send him to hell. Constantine is a catch-22 martyr because, in the end, he survived. However, for a time, he was technically dead and gave up his “free pass” to save the soul of his friend.

2. David Allen (Evil Dead, 2013):

david

Davids loyalty to his sister was definitely put to the test in this remote little cabin in the woods. After childhood friend Eric unleashed a forest demon, who ended up possessing Mia, Davids sister, the survivors discover the only way to stop the nightmare is to kill the demons host. In the end, David finds a way to kill the demon and save the life of his sister. Unfortunately, there are corpses-a-plenty for the hellbound heart to possess and David, in an act of love, decides to set the cabin ablaze with the demon and himself trapped inside, because nothing says: “I’m sorry I let you turn into a junky,” like burning yourself alive. I’m sure his screams will have no ill-effect on Mia’s future recovery.

1. Father Damien Karras (The Exorcist, 1973):

damien

After Father Merrin fails to expel a demon from sweet Regan and dies from a “heart attack” during the exorcism, its up to Father Damien to save the sweet innocent girl and send the demon back to hell. Fighting the possessed Regan, Damien implores the demon to enter him instead of remaining in the child. The demon agrees, but while Damien is still, somewhat, in control of his own actions, he throws himself out the window, falling down several flights of stone stairs and breaking his neck in the process, sacrificing himself to save a girl he hardly knew.

 

Honorable Mention. Theodore Douglas (aka. T-Dog, The Walking Dead, season 3):

You have to wonder how T-Dog survived as long as he did, considering his clumsy and non-commonsense nature. However, he was always well intentioned and looked out for the other survivors in the group. Several times he could have ducked out and left, but decided to stay and fight. In the end, even this muscular fellow couldn’t withstand the power of a zombie bite. But he refused to go out as just another victim and so, sacrificed his life to save Carol… For his actions, giving himself to be eaten alive, Theodore most certainly earns honorable mention.