Alice Cooper’s Paranormal Album

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Split- M. Night is officially back!

Every horror fan knows that M. Night Shyamalan has had a rocky career. He’s hit some high highs, but unfortunately he’s also hit some extreme lows. In 2015 he gave us the Wayward Pines series, which I’ve yet to finish, but showed promise. He also released The Visit which falls into a weird gray area where it manages to be both awesome and awful. His latest film, Split places him firmly back into good filmmaker territory, well at least for now.

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Split follows a teen outcast (Anya Taylor-Joy) and two of her classmates (Haley Lu Richardson and Jessica Sula) that are captured by a man with multiple personalities (James McAvoy). The girls must figure out how to stay alive, and how to protect themselves from their attacker’s 24 identities.

Split relies on heavy tension and well crafted characters to hold the viewer hostage until the very end. Each one of McAvoy’s personalities is unique and feels like an actual person, or perhaps even something supernatural. He sheds personas with ease, allowing him to shift back and forth between characters. Like his captives, the audience is left waiting for him to snap and change into someone or something else.

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The film tackles issues of mental illness and abuse with an unexpected level of compassion. Split makes you feel for McAvoy’s character, even as he commits horrific crimes. There is great deal of debate about whether Dissociative Identity Disorder/Multiple Personality Disorder even exists. For the purposes of Split, DID is both a gift and a burden. McAvoy’s character, possesses a multitude of talents, due to the diverse nature of his personalities. However, it makes life difficult for him, as he essentially has 24 identities competing for control, and some of them have bad intentions. In addition to DID, Split also delves into abuse. Both the protagonist and the antagonist are victims of child abuse. This is intriguing, because in a sense it makes them kindred spirits, who have wound up on different paths.

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Split is a great theatrical horror film to kick off 2017. It’s smart, it has fully developed characters, and one hell of an ending. Hopefully M. Night can keep producing quality work like Split.

 

A New Room Has Been Discovered At The Winchester Mystery House

Officials at the Winchester Mystery House revealed this week that a new room has been discovered in the mansion and that is now open to the public.

The room, being called “Sarah’s Attic,” appears to have been sealed in 1906 after the San Francisco earthquake. The room contains numerous items including a pump organ, a couch, numerous paintings, and more. It’s speculated that Sarah Winchester sealed the attic after being almost trapped in the attic due to the earthquake, which she believed was caused by angry spirits.

The attic now brings the total to 161 rooms at the Winchester House. It’s believed that there may still be more hidden throughout the property.

Construction on the mansion began in 1884 after Sarah Winchester, heiress to the Winchester Rifle Company, built the mansion believing it would be the only way to protect herself from malevolent spirits. The mansion was under constant construction for nearly 40 years, until her death in 1922. Today, it’s a popular tourist attraction and hotspot for paranormal activity.

For more information on the Winchester Mystery House, please visit http://www.winchestermysteryhouse.com.

(All Photos by Winchester Mystery House.)

Are You Ready For The Exorcist?

excorcist_fox_title_cardA few weeks ago, the world saw the return of The Exorcist with the new TV show based on the classic horror movie franchise. Now, those who are familiar with the franchise, know that historically, the sequels, spinoffs, and reboots of The Exorcist have not met much success. However, it looks like this time around, the series has found success… so far.

As of today, we are two episodes in and the story has become quite intriguing.Viewers have been introduced to the Rance family, who seem to be going through troubled times. Matriarch Angela (Geena Davis) is trying to hold her family together as her husband (Alan Ruck) seems to be suffering from a mental degenerative issue and her oldest daughter has become a recluse after a car accident. Angela finds comfort and support from her local church, headed by Father Tomas Ortega (Alfonso Herrera).

the-exorcist-tv-seriesNow to add more intrigue to the story, Tomas has been experiencing odd dreams of another priest, Father Marcus Keane (Ben Daniels). In his dreams, Keane performs an exorcism on a small boy, that goes horribly wrong, resulting in a demon killing the boy. Tomas tries to ignore the dreams until Angela approaches him after witnessing strange things occurring in her home. When Tomas investigates, he witnesses the demon in action. It’s possessed Angela’s daughter. Now believing that these events are possibly connected, Tomas seeks help from Marcus to fight these demons. Reluctantly, Marcus joins the fight, but may have a few secrets and demons of his own to battle.

Only two episodes in, I’m already intrigued by the story and am finding myself more hooked than I thought I would be. While I’m not finding the show to be particularly terrifying, I am enjoying the story and the mystery. That makes the it worth watching.

the_exorcist2I really appreciate the fact that the show hasn’t tried to rip off the original or ignore it completely. It has a few hidden Easter eggs from the original film. At the same time, it’s trying to pave its own path with its own story and characters. With that being said, I’m excited and nervous to see where it goes from here. There is a fine line between the show being amazing or another disaster, and it’s going to have to tip toe along that line for a while.

For those unfamiliar with original horror film classic, The Exorcist came out in 1973 and still to this day is considered one of the scariest movies ever made. As a fan of both the film and the William Peter Blatty novel, which the film is based, I agree it’s terrifying.

It’s enjoyable, a little creepy, and a mystery. It’s worth checking out, especially if you are a fan of the film.

The Exorcist airs Friday nights on Fox. Check your local listings for times and channels.

(All Photos from 20th Century Fox)

The Conjuring 2 as good as The Exorcist?

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I must admit, I was skeptical going into The Conjuring 2. While I enjoyed the first film, it was way overhyped. Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson shine as Ed and Lorraine Warren. James Wan is clearly a master craftsman. However the story seems lacking. When all is said and done, it’s just another haunted house film. It’s nowhere near as innovative as films like It Follows or The Babadook. So with all that in mind, I entered the sequel with low expectations. I came out blown away, and elated by the delightful creepfest that is The Conjuring 2.

The film opens with the Warrens attempting to rid the Amityville house of evil spirits. Lorraine confronts the spectres in the basement. During her encounter with the ghosts, she has a vision of Ed’s death. This leads the couple to decide to stop taking cases.

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At the same time in Enfield, England, a family is at the mercy of a violent entity occupying their home. It has targeted the youngest daughter, turning her life into a living nightmare. The church requests the help of the Warrens. The Warrens, unable to ignore a family in need, rush to Enfield. They soon find themselves intertwined in one of the most famous and well documented hauntings in history.

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One of my favorite aspects of the film is the way it embraces the style of 70s horror. From the yellow titles, to the production design, and the plot, The Conjuring 2 is a love letter to films like The Sentinel and The Legend of Hell House. The 70s was arguably the best decade for horror films. Wan understands this and he manages to make his film feel like a product of a time gone by, rather than just an imitation.

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Another thing that The Conjuring 2 has going for it, is that it’s blood-curdling to the extreme. Wan knows how to create tension. One of my favorite scenes involves the Warrens attempting to contact the ghost that is tormenting the young girl. The girl tells them that the spirit won’t speak unless they turn around. With his back to the girl, Ed begins asking the spirit questions. The creaky voice of an old man begins to speak through the girl. Now this scene could’ve been shot in a thousand different ways. Wan chose to put Ed in the foreground, and the little girl in the background out of focus. As the entity begins to speak, the girl morphs into an old man. Of course all of this is blurry, so the details are left up to the viewers to imagine.

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At the center of all of this madness are Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson. I’ve always found both of these actors to be quite charming. Together, their chemistry is palpable. Despite being defenders against evil, Wilson and Farmiga make the Warrens seem like normal people. Actually, they come off as kind of square. Some of my favorite moments in the movie are just the two of them talking. It’s a case of true love, if I’ve ever seen one.

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Finally, I need to address the theme of the film. This is an old fashioned good vs. evil flick. If the Catholic church was smart, they would’ve invested in The Conjuring 2. I don’t particularly identify with any religion, but there’s something nice about the idea that if your faith is strong enough it can drive away even the most vile of evils. It reminds me of the old Hammer films like The Horror of Dracula. Van Helsing was only able to defeat Dracula through the strength of his convictions. Lately, films have been reflecting society’s shift away from religion. Again, I’m not opposed to this, but sometimes it’s good to see things from another perspective.

One of the reasons The Conjuring 2 has been so successful, is that it holds appeal for all audiences. It’s artsy enough for the indie horror crowd, yet straightforward enough for mainstream movie-goers. Not to mention, it’s just flat out scary as hell! I don’t think it’s going too far to say that The Conjuring 2 is The Exorcist for a new generation.

P.S. Look at the letters on the bookshelf during Vera Farmiga’s vision.