Archive for the Other Category

Les Filles Incompétentes

Posted in Other on July 23, 2017 by dtrain1008
Martyrs
Greetings, my loyal followers. I still need a name for fans of this blog… accepting recommendations. In any case, welcome back to the Unholy Cathedral. This week I’ve got a new contributor submitting a review for this blog, my good friend The Lipcromancer. So let’s just jump right in with a review of Martyrs.
I bid you a good evening, disciples of the Unholy. I’ve had the pleasure of the Cathedral doors creaking open for me to host you at this, your hour of doom. So please, move those boxes in the corner by that rusty knight armor (mind the ax) and have a seat… for tonight, we discuss The Martyrs, a French film by Pascal Laugier. This movie came recommended to me via the creator of one of my favorite webcomics, “The Last Halloween,” Abby Howard. Technically, it was via one of her comic-blog entries where she ran down her favorite horror movies. Find it here:
I will tell you that all of the movies that I’ve seen on this list are wonderful movies (I still haven’t seen Nightbreed)… eeexcept this one. However, she sort of half-recommended Martyrs and warned that it was a little rough to watch compared to the campiness of the others. It follows the misadventure of 2 young women, one of whom being a survivor of a pretty bad episode of torture and abuse as a child. What follows is half revenge movie, half torture flick. Yes my fellow Unholy fanatics, this movie is more or less two 45-minute plots rolled up into one. The transition isn’t seamless, and the only discomfort I felt during this movie was during the triple overtime spent in this house where our heroines basically committed a crime. Had this been the get-in/get-out operation it should have been, our girls might have turned out okay, but apparently they took an extra does of Fuck-Around OTC with their stupid pills that morning.
This movie is what you get when you combine the feel-good parts of Taken and Girl with the Dragon Tattoo with Natalie Portman’s “torture” scene from V for Vendetta and Hostel if it had a grant from the NSF. Sprinkle on top of all that a little bit of soft lesbian and medium misogynistic undertones, and you have every house party at Bradley University MartyrsSorry not sorry, but no one I call a friend should bother watching this movie. First of all, it’s French (the version I watched had a decent English dub track), and much like my first exposure to the French (besides the cut of their potatoes), Pepé le Pew, it stinks.
All right, so it’s not that terrible, but mon dieu, hold onto your berets and let’s go in for A Closer Look
 
Villain:
Inner demons manifested by a not-so-repressed traumatic experience and white people with too much money who really don’t like the uncertainty of dying.
How Do I Stop It?
Pass the 2nd grade. Honestly the only people who would have found themselves in this pickle are the same people who wouldn’t have figured out that Heinz “Chicago Dog Sauce” is really ketchup. You will never convince me that those people didn’t know that was ketchup. 
Lessons learned: 
FFS, broads… every time… Let’s just say that you DID make the decision to follow your crazy friend from childhood who sees demons around on a revenge spree for about a decade, crushing on them the whole time. Next, after you help clean up her latest mess – after which she offs herself, thanks for that – you stick around the crime scene for, oh I don’t know, 2 days. Then, after you begin to think that maybe she was a little nuts and start to doubt her backstory, you find a mysterious passageway in said house that’s leads down… down… down… the darkest stairs you’ve ever seen. 99% of peoples “GTFO Alarm (R)” should be in the red at this point, and it is at this point that you should completely agree with me that whatever harm falls upon this girl is completely deserved, yes? Good. Moving on… BUT, let’s say you wander down these stairs into a hallway with pictures of mutilated people adorning the walls. My GTFO Alarm’s needle has broken off at this point, and I feel like the universe has sent me plenty of red flags so far. Oh what the hell, let’s keep going, right? Past the Hall of Pictures of Doom, on your left, you’ll find a locked door on the floor. Unlock that shit with some keys you found, drop that steel ladder, and head on down into what is now the darkest hole you’ve ever seen (oh, behave). Behold! A torture victim! What happens next? You guessed it! We’re going to help said victim back up into the house where, yadda yadda yadda, YOU GET CAUGHT BY BAD PEOPLE! Man, if only you had 34 chances to stop, think, and get outta there. Of course, it doesn’t really matter because I stopped caring about what happens to your dumb ass when you went down the stairs. Capiche?
Who Do I Watch This With?
A lab puppy so that you’ll have something to keep you occupied while this plays in the background. Also, no one.
Movie Trivia: Girl 1, Mylène Jampanoï, sure is a cutey-patooty!
Rating the Flick
 
Villain: 7/10 then 2/10. The inner demon that the main character battles is pretty dope to be honest. It looks pretty good and hints at A Nightmare on Elm Street. As for the 2nd half, I’m not a fan of torture-themed films, and their antagonists are usually just middle-aged, rich white guys who get their jollies doing the worst things to innocent people. This is only slightly different in that their motivations are a little obscure. See below if you want a little more in the way of spoilers.
Scare Factor: 4/10. It got me once or twice with a fun jump-scare in the first half. The second half is more conceptual fear, weird pictures for a moment, and straight-up violence.
Gore Rating: Moderately Bloody Machete (3/5)
3_5_machete
This is where some may disagree with me. There’s lots of blood and squeamish acts but nothing that made my stomach turn. Speaking of blood, my heavens, I wish I had the hitpoints that these girls have. I think Girl 1 experienced about 53 deep lacerations and seemed to be doing fine till her final moments #DatWolverineRegenDoh. I’d say this movie has way more violence than gore. Also, the violence in the torture parts are 100% focused on women, so some may get upset with that concept.
Overall Rating: 1/5 Unwelcome Advances From Pepé le Pew
Inline image 1
Isn’t that clever? I mixed the French and misogyny. I think I’ve made my case well enough as to why this movie was sub-par, so let me just give away some plot here. The first half is pretty straight forward and, well, good. The revenge and demon action that accompanies this half is solid and does provide some backstory in what’s to come in the 2nd half. No harm there. Once cutey-patooty takes a hike, we see Girl 2 just keep fucking up until there’s no turning back. She just makes it so hard to sympathize with her by the time she gets in the shit. Anyway, what we have here is a kind of society of experimenters torturing people situation. What are they after? Well, they’re convinced that people who undergo extreme trauma and pain (read: torture), and live, eventually get to a point of euphoria (DMT?) and can see over into the next life. Girl 2, while not looking too good at the end of it all (they go all Predator on her, besides her face, after what is probably months of beating the shit out of her and force-feeding her what looks like spicy mustard), is their breakthrough. She tells the main antagonist/orchestrator (an old woman) what she experiences, and granny is so into it that she blows her own brains out. Seems a little hasty if you ask me as (1) n=1 (you are a shitty researcher), (2) you really didn’t have anything you wanted to do on Earth anymore? Cocoa Puffs and Cedar Point still exist and that afterlife ain’t going anywhere, and (3) she’s assuming the afterlife is the same for everyone regardless if you were tortured for months or the one administering the torturing. But hey, what the hell do I know?
That’s all I got. Let’s get the heck out of this Unholy Cathedral before the Master comes back. Aw, man, who spilled a full glass of water on the floor and didn’t clean it up?
Yeah, Git outta here. Go on, GIT. Hopefully yours truly will be back with another review soon, but a special thanks to the Lipcromancer for stepping in and submitting this great review.
Until next time, stay cool.
-Dvo/Lipcromancer

Does this thing still work?

Posted in Other with tags , , , , , , on October 20, 2016 by dtrain1008

horror-nights2016 Horror Nights 2016

For those keeping score at home, this IS in fact my first post of the horror season. With only 11 days to spare… Many apologies from within these torrid walls. I assume you’ve all survived without me. Let’s see if we can fix that.

The last few months have been one of the most chaotic times of my life. I went to Europe for the first time ever, spent a few unplanned days back at home, and then went to Florida to experience this year’s rendition of Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios.

For my loyal followers (mad props if you’re still with me after all this time!), you know the drill. Horror Nights is the premiere Halloween event, with several haunted houses– some based on movies and/or tv shows, and others based on original content. If you recall, last year’s event was the 25th anniversary, and featured our sinister clown friend Jack. This year, Universal did a spin-off with his creepy sidekick, Chance. Here’s this year’s preview:

As you can see, we’ve got some exciting mazes. There’s mazes based on Halloween 2, The Exorcist, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, American Horror Story, Krampus, and The Walking Dead. In addition to those are three original content houses– Ghost Town: The Curse of Lightning Gulch, Tomb of the Ancients, and Lunatics Playground 3D. My co-contributor Adam and I tackled this event for two consecutive nights, and it was a grueling marathon to say the least. But we got our share of scares… so let’s take a journey through the mazes together.

I think I’ll go through these in order of my rankings, starting with my least favorite and building up. So let’s begin with (sadly) the Icon maze this year: Lunatics Playground 3D.

Lunatics Playground is a journey into Chance’s mind. In the queue for this maze, we’re presented a video with a backstory as to what’s happening. After last year’s Carnival of Carnage, Chance was arrested and taken to an asylum. We’re forced to enter her mind in a 3D horror maze. As for the maze itself… this was easily my least favorite of the event. The whole thing didn’t really make sense. It was more silly than scary, and if you ask me, the 3D mazes need to stop.

Up next, let’s talk about The Walking Dead. It’s baaaaack. AGAIN. At this point, I’m sure I sound like a broken record, but this maze is a broken record in itself. They’ve overplayed this franchise, and this year’s maze takes highlighted scenes from all seasons of TWD. There were some kind of cool throwbacks to the early seasons, but as was the case in previous years, TWD just doesn’t deliver the scares. Here’s to hoping this is the last time we see one of these mazes.

My 7th-ranked haunt at HHN2016 is The Exorcist. I was really excited about this house going in. When we think of horror movies, The Exorcist is one of the first ones that comes to mind on many people’s lists. And this is the first time the movie has made an appearance at Horror Nights, so I expected a great maze here. The entranced was good… you walk up the cobblestone path to the house, just like the priest in the film. But as much as I built this up, the maze was only okay. There are some very cool effects used, from see-through walls, good sound effects, and a few strong scares. But the Reagan animatronics were a little too cheesy, and there were a few hallways at the beginning that were pretty uneventful. As much as I wanted to like this maze, it just didn’t live up to expectations.

Onto the #6 maze: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Another movie based on a classic horror film, and I must say, I really liked the sets in this maze. They’ve constructed the actual house in Texas where Leatherface and his demented family shred up our protagonists. And as for the scares, it’s a lot of what you’d expect. Chainsaws-a-plenty. A good haunt, but far from the top.

That brings us to my Top 5 mazes of Horror Nights 2016. Coming in at #5 is Krampus, the Christmastime scarefest. I actually haven’t seen this movie yet, but I think I’ll need to after going through this haunt. This was a lot of fun. There were a lot of silly characters (elves, teddy bears, etc) that when simply observed, look almost comedic. But combined with some intense sound effects, the smells of gingerbread, a very fun outdoor section, and some solid indoor sets, they’ve turned Krampus into a frightening attraction.

In 4th place, we arrive at Ghost Town: The Curse of Lightning Gulch. This is a classic Wild West maze in a ghost town, where the residents are… well, you know. But this was a really well-themed maze. As you enter the town, a light rain falls from above. And from then on, you’re encountered by all of the former townsfolk, each of them as restless as the next. Some are screaming about the gold they’d left behind. Others are just vengeful. But all of them are creepy in their own right, and this was a solid haunt.

My #3 maze this year is American Horror Story. This is the only maze we were only able to do once, due to the INSANE lines for this thing. In any case, I’m again not really up to speed on AHS, so a lot of the references were lost on me. But even with that, this was a pretty cool maze. It was probably the longest maze of the event, with scenes from 3 different seasons of the show. The clown from the Freakshow season (or so I’m told) made a bunch of appearances throughout, and there were plenty of other creepy characters along the way. Even as someone who hasn’t watched the show, I enjoyed this maze a lot.

And now for the final 2. My runner up this year is Tomb of the Ancients.  Themed to an ancient crypt of sorts, Tomb is all about exploring a lost temple that houses creatures lost for many centuries. It’s full of hidden crypts, undead half-breeds, and wonderful sets throughout. There’s some really clever scares in here, from drop floors to really cool animatronics. There are plenty of jump scares throughout the whole trek, landing Tomb near the top of the list… which brings us to our final maze.

Halloween 2 tops off this year’s Horror Nights event for me. It’s everything you’d expect in a rather unpleasant tour through Haddonfield. A terrifying jaunt through some back yards, where Michael Myers is behind who knows which sheet. Then you head into town and into some buildings, avoiding knife attacks behind every corner. The whole maze is beautifully laid out, and it’s simply packed with Michael Myers actors. On top of that, they do a fantastic job integrating the sounds of Halloween into the maze… the shrieking strings, the subtle note sequences of suspense.. the entire maze is simply terrifying. This was the first maze we went through at the event, and it stuck with me as being my favorite the entire time. Very, very well done.

With all of that said, I’d say this year’s event as a whole was a little “down” when compared to previous years. Last year’s 25th anniversary was truly something special, and really set the bar for what Horror Nights can be. I think there were 3 mazes last year that were better than any of the mazes this year. But even in a down year such as this, HHN still reigns supreme as the best overall Halloween event, and it’s worth the trip every time.

That’ll wrap up this review of Horror Nights. I’m hoping to get back into the normal swing of things, but this is a weird year for Halloween… Where are the scary movies?! It’s been a pretty disappointing year at the Box Office. Hopefully that resolves itself soon. I am hoping to post more haunt reviews, because not including Horror Nights, I’ve been to SEVEN other haunted houses this year. So stay tuned, because hopefully there’ll be more updates coming soon.

Until then, bring out your dark side.

-Dvo

 

Holy Wars

Posted in Other on September 26, 2013 by dtrain1008

Behind The Scenes Of

The Hole

We’re doing things a little different this week, kids.  This is going to be a two-part update.  First we’re going with a speed review of a silly movie I watched last night, and then we’ll get into some creepy media to preview the upcoming haunts for my trip out west.  So anyway, welcome back once again to your favorite (I hope) source for all things terrifying.  Let’s open the doors to the Cathedral and get things started.
The Hole is the story of two boys who move with their single mother to a house in a small town.  The older of the two hates it from the beginning, as he’s used to the big city life; and his annoying little brother only makes things worse. The good news is, there’s at least a cute girl next door.  But an unexpected turn of events takes place when the boys discover a sealed-off hole in their basement. Even stranger, it seemingly has no bottom.  What does it lead to?  How did it get there?  And where did this clown doll come from?  Jinkies.
As I said, this is basically a teen horror movie.  And because of that, we get a full cast of no-name actors… who are really bad.  The absolute saving grace of this movie is that clown, who is legitimately creepy if you’re at-all scared of clowns.  But beyond that, it’s basically just a silly romp with a sort-of plot twist in an attempt to keep it kind of interesting.  Basically, I’m not recommending seeing this.
Let’s dive head first into this hole for A Closer Look (innuendo not intended).
Villain: The sinister creatures that have emerged from a hole in a family’s basement (not a poop joke)
How Do I Stop Them?: These things are weak, in terms of the villain spectrum.  Just don’t chicken out and you should be fine.
Lessons Learned: For the love of god, if you find a large hole in your basement that is sealed off with no less than 6 padlocks… Just leave it be.  Or at least ask your Realtor what the hell it is before just opening it.
Who Do I Watch With?: If you’re going to watch this, you should probably have a 10-12 year-old with you.  They might just like it.
Movie Trivia: The fight scene with the clown puppet took 4 days to shoot.
Rating the Flick
Villain: 5/10
As I briefly discussed above, this is basically the saving grace for this movie.  The clown is pretty darn scary, and there’s a few other ghouls that make an appearance throughout, providing some creepy moments throughout the film.
Scare Factor: Wimps Unite! (4/10)
A few decent scenes throughout go a long way in terms of adding some scares to this flick.  However, the “gotchas” are lackluster at best, and very predictable.
Gore Rating: Barely Bloody Machete (1/5)
 
1_5_machete
 
Just a small taste of blood earns this movie a 1/5 rating on the gore meter.  Don’t plan on being grossed out.
Overall Rating: 1/5 Disney Villains
 
 disney_villains
 
I had to kind of laugh at myself for not looking into this movie more before just going for it, but I figure what the heck.  This is far from the worst-case scenario.  Definitely many gravestones better than some of the other movies I’ve watched (See Birdemic: S&T, Rubber, Children of the Corn re-make, etc).  And I’m certainly a believer that horror is not just for those of us old enough to see R-rated movies.  So props to the director for making this movie I guess. Unfortunately it’s just not for me, and by association, likely not for my readers.
So that’s going to wrap up this review of The Hole.  Stay tuned for the next update!  It’ll be a change of pace with plenty of media for the haunted happenings that I’ll be showcasing in a few weeks from Southern California!
-Dvo

Roll Bounce

Posted in Other on June 25, 2013 by dtrain1008

rubber

Rubber

Well, here we are again.  Greetings, minions of macabre.  And thanks for returning for yet another review of a film from the dark side.  And this week, it’s the very dark side.  That’s right, another B-Movie.  Sort of…  This week’s film is Rubber, an independent/indie feeling horror flick released in 2010, and streaming on Netflix accounts near you.  A friend of mine requested this a while back, and one of my coworkers was saying he watched it, and thought it was entertaining.  And I’ll give just about anything a try.  So I watched it… and, it’s dumb.  Really, really dumb.

Rubber is a film about a group of “film-goers” who go to the middle of the desert to watch a film.  Through binoculars.  I don’t get it either.  The “film” starts with a seemingly desolate landfill.  But then a strange thing happens.. A half-buried tire starts to move, almost as if it’s trying to get out.  Well that’s a little weird.  But more importantly, why are the people watching this “film” through binoculars? There’s too many questions to even ask.  Let’s just acknowledge that this is just effing weird.

So, if you’re not up to speed, this is a movie about a telekinetic tire that rolls around killing everything it can.  I knew that going in, and expected a silly movie.  But this was beyond silly.  It was just weird.  It starts with a really goofy intro and just keeps going from there.  And while there’s definitely some laughs along the way, and even plenty of gore, this was just too off the wall to enjoy.  You could say the director really “stretched” out his creative license.

Let’s roll on in for A Closer Look

Villain: A Telekinetic tire that quite literally blows everyone’s mind

How do I Stop It?: Put a nail in it!  Just kidding.  We’re not having a good year here (count it).  Best bet is to isolate it, and burn the damn thing.

Lessons Learned: If you’re planning a trip to the middle of a desert to watch a movie, you might want to re-think that.  Especially after you learn it’s an over-night event.  And VERY especially after some dude brings a cooked turkey in a bag for everyone and throws it on the ground.  Horror movies really make me lose a lot of faith in humanity.  On that note:  Did anyone see that story from Japan about the woman who killed herself and her husband in a horrific parking accident?  No joke… look it up.  Awful stuff.

Who Do I Watch With?: Ugh. No one ever.  Or maybe a living tire, if you absolutely must.

Movie Trivia: One of the spectators is some dude from some movie where said dude can explode people’s minds in the same manner as… well you get the drift.  Are you getting how much I want this post to end?  This movie sucked.

Rating the Flick

Villain: 0/10

Sorry.  This thing’s treads are worn out.  Dumb dumb dumb.  There’s nothing to it at all.  The first few times the tire makes a kill, it’s kind of funny.  After that it’s just the same thing over and over again.

Scare Factor: Bouncy Castle (0/10)

Not a single remotely scary thing happens in this movie.  The scary part was the duration, which is about 90 minutes of disaster.

Gore Rating: Somewhat Bloody Machete (2/5)

2_5_machete

 

Sigh.  There’s a little bit of gore here, what with all the heads exploding.  And not just people’s heads.  We’re talking straight up, good ol’ animal cruelty here.  They gone.  If you’re not down with bunny/bird murder, you might wanna stay away.

Overall Rating: 0 Michelin Men

michelin_man

Yeah… I’m gonna let the air out and say that this one was basically a flat.  I did want to enjoy it for what it was, but they lost me pretty early on.  The “story” didn’t really make any sense whatsoever, and with a villain incapable of showing emotion, it’s tough to generate any sort of tone for your movie, other than just mindless, repetitive head-exploding.  There’s movies that do mindless horror very well.  This is not one of them.  However, I will say that in terms of “bottom of the barrel,” Birdemic: Shock and Terror still takes the cake.  This is definitely a 0.1 in that regard.

So there you have it.  I’m very sorry about this frustrating review, but that was a frustrating movie.  I did see World War Z last night, and I’ll likely get a review of that up here as well when I get a chance.  I was originally thinking it would be more action/thriller, but it was creepier than I anticipated, so I feel comfortable reviewing it.  So stay tuned for sure!

Also, those of you who follow me on Twitter may have seen my twitter contest trying to boost my following.  That contest will continue to stand, so keep on pushing it!  Once I get to 50 followers I’ll be selecting someone at random and shipping them a horror DVD or Blu Ray of their choice.

I’ll wrap this up with a big thanks once again for all your support.  I’m thinking about some potential big changes to this blog, but I’ll keep you posted if/when things shake up.  So until next time, don’t get too TIRED.  Sorry, that was bad.

-Dvo

 

The Tell-Tale Heart… of America

Posted in Other on October 22, 2012 by dtrain1008

Halloweekends at Cedar Point

Welcome back you crazy cannibals.  I apologize for the delay in this update, it’s been a busy week.  That being said, this will be the first of a double-post this evening, so prepare yourself.  Last weekend I went to the hearland of America, my home state, Ohio.  And in the northern part of the state lies one of my favorite places on this earth, Cedar Point amusement park.  So I spent Friday night at the park, enjoying their halloween event, Halloweekends.

I’ve been going to Halloweekends for a few years, and it’s generally a fantastic time, especially on the Friday evenings.  Crowds are lighter, and they pack this park with haunts galore.  Some are better than others, but for the most part they’re all at least decent.  And let’s be honest, there’s few things better than combining the best amusement park in the world with horrifying attractions.  So without further ado, let’s jump right into the haunts.

We had some dinner around 7:00, and by the time we were done, it was just starting to get dark outside.  And what’s even better, we got to see the parade of monsters.  Right before the haunts open, all of the monsters march in a parade to the center of the park for a pre-haunt ceremony.  Kind of cheesy, but the parade itself is pretty cool to watch.  Literally hundreds of creepy-ass characters walking in a giant horde.  Good stuff.

So by the time the monsters made their way to their haunts, we were in line for CornStalkers.

CornStalkers is a perennial haunt located in the trough for Cedar Point’s raft ride.  They load up the trough with, you guessed it, corn stalks.  But then they dump a bunch of fog in there, and with some really creative lighting and costumes, they’ve got a good haunt on their hands.  We got to go through this in our group of four (my brother, his girlfriend, and my friend Adam), and I was right in front.  I must say, there were at least 3 or 4 times where the actors really got me to jump.  It’s a very simple, but very effective haunt, and this was probably my best experience in it to date.  Giving it an 8/10.

After CornStalkers, we headed to the back of the park.  Cedar Point put in a brand new haunted house this year.  They actually constructed a brand new building just for this house.  It’s called the Eden Musee Wax Museum and Chamber of Horrors.

The premise here is pretty straight forward.  It’s one of those road-side museums with a dark twist.  I had seen the layout of this house earlier in the year, and for some reason I was thinking it seemed really short on paper.  But this is one of the best houses I’ve been through yet this season.  It starts in the wax museum portion, but obviously some of the characters aren’t what they seem.  Props to the make-up artists, as well as the actors, because I was on edge going past virtually all of the wax figures.  It was very hard to tell which were real.  And then the second half was more on the macabre side, with plenty of blood and body parts to be had.  Again it was just the four of us, and I was the target of many scares throughout.  Great addition to the line-up.  9/10.

Once we were done with Eden Musee, I was really on edge, but in a good way.  And that was great, because Cut Throat Cove was right next door.

So I was a little disappointed this year going into Halloweekends.  In recent years, one of the best things about Halloweekends was night rides on Millennium Force.  And that’s primarily because they used to have Terror Island, a haunt that was in the middle of Millennium’s course.  So while flying around the island on a coaster, you were diving in and out of fog whilst cannons were exploding and utter terror was below you.  Just an incredible experience.  However this year they re-located and re-named the haunt to Cut Throat Cove, now inside of Maverick’s course.

That being said, this was a pretty solid walk-through.  It was quite lengthy throughout, and for a “free-walking” haunt, I definitely had a few scares.  I say free-walking because there is no one controlling the line.  So you just walk right in, and go at your own pace.  Even with that, this was a solid haunt.  And there were some very cool views of Maverick that I’d never seen before, so that’s a plus as well.  The Maverick night ride through this haunt was good, but it doesn’t compare to Millennium of years past.  I’m giving this haunt a 6/10.

By this point, it was getting relatively late.  The Maverick line was a bit lengthy, and the park was generally somewhat crowded for a Friday night.  So we made our way around, and did three more haunts before we left.  The first was a scare zone called CarnEvil.

CarnEvil is exactly what you think it is (paging Dennis Greene).  It’s the clown-themed scare zone.  This is another perennial haunt located in the kiddie area of the park (that is obviously closed earlier).  I always like the costumes in this zone, but I generally think the haunt itself is pretty lame.  And this year was no different.  Not very scary, but fun to watch girls run screaming from a fake chainsaw.  4/10.

Our second-last haunt was Blood on the Bayou, a cajun-themed free-walk haunt located next to the waterway in the center of the park.

This was introduced last year, but I missed last year due to Halloween Horror Nights, so this was my first experience in this haunt.  I do like the different themes.. The first half was the messed-up rednecks with animal hides and generally gross things.  But then it transitioned into the Voodoo theme, with plenty of shrunken heads and strangely painted actors.  I liked Cut Throat Cove a little better, but this was enjoyable.  5/10.

And finally, we ended our night at Cedar Point with what has been my favorite house for the last three years.  G. A. Boeckling’s Eerie Estate.

Eerie Estate is just a straight up haunted house.  And what’s even better, they re-modeled it this year and changed the route through the maze, as well as adding new effects.  Now based on that, you’d think this was the best haunt of the night.  Unfortunately, we were put into a pretty big group going into this one, and we were way at the back.  So I didn’t get a single scare throughout, but I’m blaming most of that on the group.  I’m giving it a 6/10 this year, but I think it would have been an 8/10 if it was just the four of us again.

So that’s all of the haunts we went through at Cedar Point on Friday night, but there are PLENTY more throughout the park.  Club Blood; Eternity Infirmary; Maniacal Mechanical Screamworks; Fear Faire.  Plus there’s plenty of decent shows to see, and some delicious fall treats.  Overall, Halloweekends is an absolute blast.  I’m giving it an 8/10 overall.

Okay… so that’s it, right?  After all that haunting, you’d think I’d call it a night and turn down.  But you’d also be wrong.  The night was just getting started, kids!  Why, you ask.  Because Ghostly Manor, a year-round haunted house just down the street, had an event of their own going on… Lake Erie Fear Fest (LEFF)!  Five more haunted houses.  Let’s do it. http://lakeeeriefearfest.com/

Up first was Ghostly Manor itself.  And I’ll start by saying this was well-and-above the best one there.  I had been through Ghostly Manor before, but only in the summer.  It’s a LOT of animatronics, but really, really good ones.  And for LEFF, they added additional rooms onto the house by using trailers.  So this was a very long house.  The opening rooms were pretty good, but it was mostly just actors.  However… once you get into the Manor itself, it just became insane.  All of those rooms with crazy animatronics were now amplified even harder by having actors in them.  There are so many things going on at one time, it’s impossible to not be scared.  And what’s best, Adam and I were allowed to go through all of these houses by ourselves.  So this was really, really good.  9/10.

After Ghostly Manor, things took a steep turn for the worse, however.  The next house was “Caged,” which was basically a few large trailers that were nothing but mazes of chicken-wire and a few actors.  I hope you can see the problem here.  I could definitely see the problem, because I could literally see everything.  In a cage haunt, there’s nowhere for actors to hide, so there’s nothing to be scared of.  2/10.

Up third was Eerie Chateau (I think… these last few got jumbled for me).  These last three were all pretty short and to the point.  But Eerie Chateau was designed as a spooky castle through which you have to walk.  And eventually you make your way into some catacombs with some creepy scenery and such.  I liked the coffins in the walls, but overall this haunt was only decent.  5/10.

Fourth was DarkMare, which was more just a pain in the ass than anything.  It was essentially pitch black, and the majority of the time was spent just feeling your way around the maze.  And every now and then an actor with a flashlight would show up.  It could have been a lot scarier than it was.  But it just wasn’t.  4/10.

And finally, the final haunt of the night.  We were among the last customers of the evening, so I think everyone (including us) wanted to just get it over with.  We even saw the actors for Quarantine just hanging out outside the haunt before we showed up.  Anyway, they let them get back into place and in we went.  Quarantine was themed as a messed up medical center where some deformed people and demented doctors are lurking around.  There was a scare or two, but nothing memorable.  4/10.

Overall, I’d say LEFF was okay.  There’s a LOT of room for improvement here.  I would rather they just have all of the houses connected so it’s just one gigantic Ghostly Manor, since that is clearly the best one there.  But overall it was still enjoyable.  I’d give the event a 6/10 overall.

WHEW, okay.  So there you have it, my trip to Northern Ohio.  If you’re ever in the Sandusky area around this time of year, I strongly recommend checking out Halloweekends, but only if you’re going on Friday night.  Saturdays are among the worst days to go due to massive crowds.  As for LEFF, maybe give them a few years to iron out the kinks.

Until next time (in a few minutes), stay scary.

-Dvo

 

 

 

Haunting Season is Open

Posted in Other on September 30, 2012 by dtrain1008

Opening Haunts 2012

Greetings once again, friends.  It’s October Eve!  And more importantly, it’s opening weekend for some haunted attractions here in Chicagoland.  In case you’ve been living under a box, I had a live tweetcast yesterday from Fright Fest at Six Flags Great America.  Also, on Friday I went to Eleventh Hour haunted house, in Elk Grove Village, IL.  So it was a fright-filled weekend.  And if you want to get in on the action, check out my twitter feed @UnholyCathedral.  In any case, here’s a close look at these haunts.

Eleventh Hour

Eleventh Hour is a small entertainment complex that is normally used as a mini-golf course, but now is home to four haunted attractions.  We arrived at about 8:30 to a very light crowd, as this was opening night.  That was the good part.  The bad part is that the haunts were extremely under-staffed, also likely because it was opening night.

The first attraction: Corn Maze.  They set up a pretty small corn maze made of cheap fencing and some corn stalks.  The maze itself was a bit confusing, but as for scares, we only encountered two people, neither of which were very scary.  Giving this one a 3/10 scare factor.

Attraction 2: Eleventh Hour.  I’m not really sure what the theme of “Eleventh Hour” is supposed to mean, but it was essentially just a haunted house that had a demented “family” within its walls.  It was interesting, because the actors didn’t just jump out and scream.  They all engaged in conversation with you and were just generally weird.  The scenes were good in the house, but I didn’t get the story line, and the scares weren’t that great.  4/10 scare factor.

Attraction 3: Catacombs.  Okay, here we go.  This one had by far the most potential out of the bunch.  We started by boarding an “elevator” down to the catacombs.  It was a pretty clever use of a shaking room, and then the theming inside the catacombs was fantastic.  It was dark, murky, and some really good sound effects were always present.  Right when we started walking through, I was completely on edge.  But that was about it.  Again, this was a decent-length walkthrough… but we only encountered TWO scareactors.  What could have been terrifying was instead a complete disappointment.  I’d be curious to see if this improves as the season progresses.  On this night, 5/10 scare factor just due to the theming.

Final attraction: Tunnel of Terror.  The final haunt is the Tunnel of Terror, which makes no sense to me whatsoever.  There’s no “tunnel” involved at all, and it was more themed to a circus than anything.  The maze was a bit confusing to get through, and we kept encountering the same clowns over and over again, but none of them were scaring us.  There were plenty of areas that we passed through where it seems like there should have been a scareactor, but were instead empty.  I’d say this about sums up the place as a whole… a mediocre haunt that could use some more people inside the houses.  Tunnel of Terror earns a 2/10 scare factor for poor theming and basically no scares.

Day 2: Fright Fest at Six Flags Great America

Again, check out my twitter feed for additional content including some pictures from the event.  I’ll start with the daytime.  I’ve never been to the haunts at Fright Fest, so I assumed that everything started at around 6 or 7 in the evening, like most other parks.  However I was surprised to find that they had some re-done rides and even some haunts that were open during the day.

First attraction: Terror Twister 2: Turn for the Worse.  This is an absolute MUST-DO if you go to Frightfest.  What was originally a teacup ride was boarded up, filled with fog, strobe lights, and LED lighting.  It’s an epileptic’s worst nightmare, but at the same time it was an immense amount of fun.  Your brain cannot process everything going on as you’re spinning around in a blur of blinking lights and crazy strobes.  All while some crazy horror techno is pounding in your ears.  Loved every second of it.  I can’t say it’s scary, but it’s very enjoyable.

Some of the haunts at Fright Fest also open during the day, so keep an eye on the schedule of events.  That being said, we started our day out with Massacre Medical Center.  This is an indoor haunt in the Hometown Square section that is themed to… well, a hospital, complete with a morgue.  The pre-haunt spiel by the entrance worker was sub-par at best, as we couldn’t hear anything she was saying, and she just kind of threw us into the haunt.  As for the haunt itself, we were in the back of our group, and I didn’t really get any scares at all.  But they did have actors in there who were making efforts to scare, so I’d say it was decent. 5/10 scare factor.

Haunt Number 2: Manslaughter Manor

Manslaughter Manor had a much better facade and backstory than the medical center, despite a horrible pre-haunt spiel by the entrance worker.  Nonetheless, the haunt itself was pretty good.  Very dark inside, and good use of strobes throughout.  Still, there was room for improvement as it was a relatively short haunt, and there were only a few solid scareactors.  6/10 scare factor.

Haunt 3: Dead Line

Dead Line is the re-themed train ride at Six Flags, themed to a post-zombie apocalypse train ride, only the zombies aren’t as contained as they think.  Not much to say about this one… it’s pretty lame.  2/10 scare factor.

Haunt 4: Mausoleum of Terror

Mausoleum of Terror is the winner in terms of haunts, in basically every way.  The facade is very nice, the haunt has a very good length to it, and there were definitely some scares to be had.  I thoroughly enjoyed this one, but keep in mind that my standards at this point were very low.  So overall I’ll give it a 7/10 scare factor.

Haunt 5: Wicked Woods

Wicked Woods is the re-themed river rapids ride at Six Flags.  They’ve emptied out the trough, and set up a walkthrough haunt within it.  In a word, this haunt is weak.  There are very sporadically themed areas within the haunt, each one being a different “creature” that you encounter.  From chupacabras to sasquatch, you see a few things.  But other than that, this haunt has a lot of dead space with nothing going on.  3/10 scare factor.

That does it for the walkthrough haunts.  There are also scare zones on several of the midways throughout the park, but I must say, nearly all of these were pretty disappointing.  There were only a few actors in each zone, and most of the zones were basically un-themed.  The only notable thing I can think of is Hellmouth, which was one of the most pathetic attempts at a scare zone I’ve seen.  It’s essentially a 100-foot path with a few scareactors roaming.  The bad part?  We only encountered 2 actors, and they were just talking to each other, out of character.  Awful.

A few more miscellaneous notes… I know it sounds like I’m doing a lot of bashing here, but I think this event could really be good with some work.  The front of the park looks incredible during the day, with the blood-filled main fountain and the creepy soundtrack playing throughout the park.  Not to mention the pumpkinhead monster in front of the carousel.  But despite the good decorating job up front, the haunts themselves just didn’t pull through.  And there was essentially no fog whatsoever at night, which should always be used as much as possible.

Overall rating of Fright Fest: 5/10.

Whew.  I know this review was a little different than normal, and I’m sure there’s a lot of senseless rambling in there.  But I wanted to get a review out there for each haunt we encountered.  So this is something different, no doubt.  But fear not, friends.  We’ll be back to the movies very soon, so be sure to stay tuned.  And if you haven’t participated in the Unholy contests, be sure to check those out!  I’m starting to get a few submissions for haunts, but I’m still accepting entries.  Only a few weeks left!

Until next time, enjoy your scares.

Dvo

A New Year in Horror

Posted in Other on January 4, 2012 by dtrain1008

Event Horizon

Happy New Year, everyone!  I hope everyone had a very enjoyable holiday season.  Mine was scary good.  See what I did there?  Anyway, with winter really starting to lash out its horrible bite, I figured it was time to kick off the 2012 scares.  And what better way to begin with a Sam Neill classic?  I give to you Event Horizon, the interstellar flick about a long-lost spaceship back from who knows where.

In the year 2030, the United States launched a deep-space exploration ship that was intended to explore the far boundaries of our universe.  At least that’s what the official mission was…  But somewhere around Neptune, the ship was lost.  Seventeen years later, a distant distress signal is picked up, and a search and rescue crew is sent to investigate.  As it turns out, the Event Horizon is back, and fully intact.  But where is the crew? What is that revolving “thing” aboard the ship?  And what on earth is with these hallucinations?  Thousands of light years away from anything, this could be some serious trouble. Yikes.

I think outer space horror movies are quite the challenge.  When you set your movie in an uncharted territory like this, you’re setting yourself for a completely open-ended story, simply because you can literally do anything you want.  In space, anything is believable, so I think it’s a challenge to keep a solid story together.  That being said, bravo, Paul Anderson.  This is one creepy ass movie.  One would expect aliens to be present in a spaceship movie.  But not here.  We’re dealing with a far worse evil.  The invisible kind.  And it’s bound to keep you on the edge of your seat.  Not to mention Sam Neill being in it.  Need I say more?

So turn on the gravity drive, and let’s take A Closer Look.

Villain: The evil force brought back from another dimension on the Event Horizon.

How Do I Stop It?: Ugh. Your guess is as good as mine.  As far as stopping it, we’re all screwed.  Just separate yourself from the ship as far and as fast as you can.  Or, better yet, just don’t try to open up wormholes.  Such things aren’t meant to be played with.

Lessons Learned: Seeing is not believing, first of all.  If you’re THOUSANDS of light years away from earth, and you see your paralyzed son… chances are he’s NOT real.  Broads, I tell ya.  Also, I understand that a search and rescue team is supposed to search and rescue.  But if you board a ship and find that the entire crew has been brutally murdered, somethin ain’t right.  Know what I’m saying?  GET OUT.  Oh, and one final thing.  If a mysterious wall of black, inky fluid is somehow manifested in front of your eyes… the trick is NOT to try to put your hand through.  Leave it alone.

Rating the Flick

Scare Factor: Hold on tight (7/10)

There is some fantastic suspense in this movie.  The lighting and sound effects are used quite perfectly throughout the ship to really amp up the scares.  Also, there is some pretty gruesome costume and prop design in here, so go in prepared if you sit down to watch this one.

Villain: 6/10.

I like it, but don’t love it.  The fact that it’s a very invisible force, and that no one has any control over it is pretty scary.  And the director does a good job of creating ways to add some “gotcha” moments.  But at the same time, it’s still nice to see the bad guy lurking about.

Gore Rating: Moderately Bloody Machete

There’s some blood for sure, but not to the point that it’ll gross you out.  As long as you’re not incredibly sensitive, you should be fine.  And (spoiler alert!) everyone should see eye-less Sam Neill at least once in their life.

Overall Rating: Going back to my roots here… 4 Shrunken Heads

Event Horizon is just a generally creepy movie.  Yes, there are plenty of over-the-top parts that make absolutely no sense whatsoever.  I don’t think anyone involved in this film understands what decompression means.  But I, for one, am willing to accept it for the entertainment value.  I absolutely love the premise of this flick.  Who knows what’s out there in other dimensions?  Who wants to know?  It’s a well-written, and well-executed movie from start to finish.  So let 2012 be the year that you explore the deepest parts of our universe.  It’s a scary good time.  I did it again!

Okay, kiddos.  So we’re back on track.  Looking ahead, we still have B-Movie February coming up, and I haven’t received ANY suggestions yet!  I’m looking for the junkiest flicks you can find… I’m thinking along the lines of ThanksKilling, Black Sheep (not the Chris Farley movie), etc.  I’d like to do at least three movies next month, so get in those requests.  And of course I’m still accepting “normal” requests as well.  So keep the scares coming, because we’re only 9.75 months away from the witching hour! Too soon? No such thing.

Until next time, hyperdrive safely.

-Dvo