Under the House

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I didn’t crawl under the house

The damn thing fell on me

My broken toes peeking out

A wicked witch parody

 

Like The Fall of the House of Usher

Another woman screaming in the night

With clawing bloody fingers

Body adorned in white

 

Trapped beneath the weight

Of a fate just not worth living

Below the pale stars

Neither forthright nor forgiving

 

Those celestial dancers

Eyes appointed to preside

Over the Hell where we reside

 

From Gothic to suburban

The housewife with her bourbon

The gypsy in her turban

 

Even the devil is down here with me

He’s a fallen angel too, you see

 

He likes to whisper in my ear

“It’s not so bad down here”

“Close your eyes, my dear”

 

I find relief at his behest

Yes there is shade

There is rest

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IT- No Clowning Around

 

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It has only been out for a week, and it’s already completely smashed box office records and blown up social media feeds. It’s seeming likely, that this latest Stephen King remake/adaptation will be the biggest horror movie of the year. Perhaps I’m a bit late to the game, but I figured I’d chime in anyway. It’s taken me some time to compile my thoughts on this one. My feelings are rather jumbled.

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For those of you that have somehow remained unaware, It follows a group of kids trying to stop an ancient evil disguised as a clown. Of course the first element I need to address is the clown, Pennywise. While Tim Curry left some large clown shoes to fill, Skarsgard is a worthy replacement. Skarsgard’s Pennywise doesn’t speak as much as Curry’s, but he’s just as menacing. His fish like eyes that tend to cross, and the weird way he trails off when speaking hint at him being something far more sinister. In the book, it’s quite clear that Pennywise is a Lovecraftian-ish entity. While Curry’s interpretation is more entertaining, Skarsgard’s feels more in line with King’s original vision.

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While Skarsgard’s performance is top notch, it’s the kids who carry the movie. Each of the children stand out as individual characters. Not a single one of them failed to measure up. The interactions between them are humorous, emotional, and authentic. The relationships of the kids in It have been compared to that of the children in Stranger Things. That’s a fair comparison, and audience members that enjoyed one are bound to enjoy the other. While the young actors of It deserve the most credit for bringing their roles to life, director Andy Muschietti is owed praise as well. It can be difficult to work with child/teen actors, and Muschietti managed to bring the best out of all seven of them. Sophia Lillis as Beverly is particularly enchanting. I can see her becoming a household name.

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In addition to the acting, there’s also some bloody good cinematography. The version from 1990 was made for television, so the shots are practical rather than artistic. The new film is a theatrical release with a huge budget, so Muschietti was able to integrate more cinematic camera techniques. The movie is full to the brim of grand drone shots of Derry and slick slow-motion. The scene that stands out for me is the one where Beverly is listening to the voices bubbling up from the sink drain. Then the entire bathroom is splattered with blood in slow motion, while she screams her head off.

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Unfortunately, not all of the visuals hold up. I had a problem with the lighting in most of the interior scenes. While the low lighting worked for the outdoor scenes, it made the indoor scenes just too dark to see. Sometimes even the characters eyes weren’t lit. It’s a small thing, but it makes a world of difference. Horror filmmakers need to learn that just because the subject matter is dark, it doesn’t mean it has to be visually dark.

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I also took issue with the majority of the scary scenes. There is something going on in the current state of horror, where every horror scene is designed to be manic. That’s definitely the case with It. The cuts are too fast, the sound is too loud, and the camera motion is just excessive. I’m a slow burn fan, so I prefer the creeping dread that exists in the form of stillness, or perhaps a room that’s just too quiet. Maybe the climax scene could have benefited from the chaos, but when every Pennywise scene is that wild, the effect wears off fast. It seems like it’s trying too hard. Think about being at a haunted house. What’s creepier, the guy in a mask shouting in your face, or that thing in the lurking in a corner that you only get a glimpse of?

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As long as we’re discussing the scares, I should point out that there were a few questionable effects. For the most part the movie used practical stuff, thank God. Still there were a couple times I caught some weird CGI. The most glaring example is at the beginning. Pennywise is tempting Georgie to get closer to him. Georgie moves in slowly, and then Pennywise opens his ridiculous CGI mouth and chomps down on Georgie’s arm. I wouldn’t say it ruined the scene, but it made it less enjoyable for sure.

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My complaints aside, I’d still give this film a favorable review. If I had to offer a grade, I’d give it a solid B minus. I explained my issues with it to a friend, and he made the point that this movie still signifies that big budget horror is moving in the right direction. I have to agree. While It is not a great film by any stretch, it stands miles above the likes of other theatrical horror films. Still, I think I’ll stick with wacky Tim Curry.

Do you want more AHH in your life? Follow my personal Twitter account @LolaTarantula and our blog @HallowsHaunts.  We can also be found on Facebook All Hallows’ Haunts.

Alice Cooper’s Paranormal Album

Lola Tarantula Earrings

I’ll admit it, I’m not above a little shameless self promotion. I just started my Etsy account, and I’ve been making a wide variety of earrings. I’ve pulled inspiration from many different places to create some cool stuff. I make all of these by myself and every pair is unique. I’ll be adding things frequently. Enjoy!

Lola’s Etsy

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White/Turquoise Day of the Dead Earrings

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Green Man Earrings

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Pumpkin Earrings

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Blue and Pink Coffin Earrings

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Yellow Day of the Dead Earrings

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Orange and White Coffin Earrings

Thanks guys. If you liked this be sure to follow the blog and on Twitter @allhallowshaunts.

The Bearded Lady’s Mystic Museum

 Recently, All Hallows’ Haunts took a trip to the grand opening of the Bearded Lady’s Mystic Museum. The Mystic Museum is a new gift store and museum, created by the owners of the original Bearded Lady vintage shop. Both locations specialize in the weird and the downright creepy.

 

 When we arrived at the Mystic Museum, there were already a large number of people waiting to get in. Once we were admitted, we were overwhelmed by the amount of cool stuff. In one corner  sat a custom Bearded Lady fortune teller machine. Our other favorite gift shop items included the hand made ghost plushies, the Mystic Museum shirts, and the mirrors with horned frames.

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 After we finished checking out all of the cool merchandise, we hit up the snack table. All of the snacks were themed to match the ouija board gallery. There was a ouija board cake and planchette shaped cookies. We washed it down with butterscotch flavored tea.

Inside the museum portion of the shop, we saw a wide variety of ouija boards. There was an old ouija board that looked like the real deal. Then there were novelty versions, with themes like Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Ozzy Osbourne. In addition, there was also a large amount of ouija art. There were paintings of psychics, and sculptures of ghosts. One of our favorite pieces was a rabbit drooling ectoplasm.

 

 The Bearded Lady’s Mystic Museum has a surprising amount to offer, considering it’s located in such a small space. It’s a great place for lovers of the macabre to hang out for an hour or so. When we were there, there were so many people that we didn’t get the opportunity to examine things as closely as we would’ve liked. We’ll definitely be going back to get a better look.

 

 Both the Bearded Lady Vintage shop and the Bearded Lady’s Mystic Museum are located on Magnolia Boulevard in Burbank.

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