uberreiniger: (hanging masks)
Being on a Lovecraft kick again, I decided to acquire and read one of the books that inspired Lovecraft's creation of the Cthulu Mythos: The King in Yellow by Robert W. Chambers. Chambers was a bohemian artist of the 1890s who one day, for reasons he never really explained, decided to stop being an artist and start writing sensational romance stories. Shortly before he did that, however, he produced The King In Yellow, a collection of loosely connected, troubling stories of the surreal. The title refers to a fictional play script of the same name that is apparently cursed, bringing madness and death into the lives of all who read it. There are allusions to an entity known only as "Hastur," a blank white mask, and an insidious image known as The Yellow Sign. These things are all the scarier for the way they are only hinted at. These stories are some seriously creepy shit. And this book is messing with my mind.

I only read a few pages of the opening short story the night I got the book. That night I dreamed of Hastur. His white mask didn't have a face. Instead it had the Yellow Sign carved into it where the face should be. It was distressing. But hey, you read horror stories, you have dreams about the monsters, right? No big deal. Later that next day a friend on Facebook posted lyrics to a song by The Dead Milkmen. Not having heard or thought of that band in years, I innocently went and looked them up to see what became of them. It turns out they recently got back together and released a new album... called The King In Yellow!

What are the odds?

So today I went back and finished reading the story. (It's called The Repairer of Reputations, in case you're interested.) Reading it I was struck by a brutal sense of deja vu when I got to a specific line:

...I put the diadem from my head and wiped my forehead, but I thought of Hastur and my own rightful ambition, and I remembered Mr. Wilde as I had last left him...

I realized I had had a dream in which I sat reading this line over and over again several years ago. But I never actually saw it until today.

WTF is going on?

Oh. That...
uberreiniger: (hanging masks)
The Woman In Black turned out to be a pretty fun little scary movie. I wouldn't nominate it for Best Picture or anything, but that' s not because it's bad. It knows exactly what it is supposed to be (a jump scare horror movie,) tries to do it very well, and succeeds. Daniel Radcliffe proves once and for all that he's more than just a one-trick pony, especially during the many long scenes of him by himself, no dialogue, just reacting to the bizarre happenings around him.

The movie also has some gorgeous scenery porn. It's worth seeing for the haunted house sets alone. Best of all, it's a Hammer Film and it succeeds in updating the great qualities of the early Hammer movies for a new century. Hopefully this means they are back and will keep delivering good, interesting horror movies.

Of interest to probably no one besides me, (as if anything else I say is - Ha!) I have repeatedly mistakenly referred to the film as "The Lady In Black" due to the title's similarity to Queensryche's amazing early song, "The Lady Wore Black." Since the lyrics and atmosphere of said song are actually kind of appropriate for The Woman In Black here it is, complete with pretty graphics some kid with editing software compiled into a Youtube video.

uberreiniger: (hanging masks)
While the internet was blacking itself out in protest (and rightly so,) I sat around and watched horror movies. But they were really good horror movies.

Black Death - I've wanted to see this film for a while because it stars Sean Bean and I was expecting to watch him good-naturedly slog through a cheesy, low-budget shocker for the paycheck. This is actually a very good, thought-provoking film. Rather than a straight-up horror film, it's more appropriately thought of as a noir suspense thriller that just happens to be set in medieval England where everything is morally ambiguous and what we see is unreliable.
The main character is actually Osmund (Eddie Redmayne,) a novice Christian monk torn between his vows and the woman he loves. At the height of the bubonic plague one village in the area is untouched by the disease and Osmund accompanies Church investigator Ulrich (Bean) and his squadron of soldiers to find out why. Ulrich believes it's too good to be true and that supernatural forces may be involved.

Continues with spoilers... )

I found this film very thought-provoking and felt it raised good questions about what we take for granted not only in terms of religious beliefs, but even what we may have taken for granted about certain such beliefs being evil or wrong. Be warned that it is a very depressing film.

Noroi: The Curse - Noroi is a Japanese "found footage" film from 2005. That's a few years before the found footage subgenre exploded back into popularity in the West and for those who think that the genre is contrived, not scary, or just plain out of good ideas... you need to see this movie.

Noroi centers around paranormal investigator Masafumi Kobayashi (Jim Muraki) who is filming a documentary of his investigations. He films a series of seemingly unrelated cases... but people he films keep acting in unexpectedly hostile, violent ways and voices and images keep showing up on the tapes that should not be there...

I will be honest, this movie starts out kind of slow and the Japanese variety show footage that Kobayashi draws on for his early leads gets pretty tedious. Having said that, I found the last thirty minutes of this film to be freaking scary! Noroi is one film that really knows how to effectively creep up the tension. It's hard to say more without giving too much away, but I stress again that if you're tired of or not impressed with found footage horror movies, please give this one a chance. You'll see what this much-maligned film technique is truly capable of.

I almost forgot to mention the best part. You can watch the entire movie for free on Youtube divided into eight parts starting here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zha9jJuB2yg Suck on that, SOPA.

Blue Monday

Nov. 8th, 2011 01:53 am
uberreiniger: (Silent Hill nurses)
Subject line has nothing to do with either calling in sick on a Monday or a certain song by New Order, brilliantly covered in the late 90's by flash-in-the-pan industrial goth act Orgy. No, I call it Blue Monday because the color of the outdoors today was about two shades off from that blue filter ubiquitous to horror movies these days. Naturally I loved it. I planned to go for a walk in my new neighborhood but of course it started raining and hasn't stopped since: the kind of fat, gloppy, poisonous drops that are a hallmark of autumn days in the Midwest.

The lack of a walk was disappointing but not defeating. One thing I have not been today was bored. I have done a ton of laundry, started running our boxes of dishes through the dishwasher, and finally started cleaning the kitchen shelves to place said dishes upon. It is starting to feel like we actually live here. I had wanted to get started on the painting we are required to do but I can get away with putting it off a few more days.

About three years ago I bought myself a stack of Playstation 2 games for Christmas and never played any of them. I've made it a goal to start digging through the stack. Today I started on Kuon which is an interesting little survival horror game you've probably never heard of. If you've played Fatal Frame it has a similar premise: young woman with psychic powers goes to investigate a haunted mansion where someone close to her has disappeared and must defeat ghosts in unconventional ways. I think it even uses FF's graphic engine. Difference is that it's set in feudal Japan instead of the modern era and instead of a camera you use exorcism strips, which if you're not familiar with as a Westerner, watch anime for a couple of hours and you will be.

I really like this game. It's got an intricate plot that's as good as anything in the genre, plenty of jump scares, beautifully rendered graphics, and unlike Silent Hill the controls don't actively fight you. Although since your protagonists (you switch characters during the game,) are frail teenaged girls who've never had to hurt anyone before they're still only marginally more effective in hand-to-hand combat than the shambling, mindless undead they run up against. I'm sorry I waited so long to play it but I can't wait to see where it goes.

After gaming it was time for bass practice. Finger style is getting easier finally although I'm still a long way from mastering the gallop. I want to practice the six string more but this gallop business has me obsessed.

So now I've finished job hunting for the night and I suppose finished the day as well. Thankfully it did not go the way blue filtered horror movies usually do.
uberreiniger: (Hell Is Coming)
In honor of this most sacred of days, here's a special treat I came across some time ago and vowed I would link on Halloween.

It is called The Enigma of Amigara Fault by legendary horror manga author Junji Ito. Link takes you to the entire manga posted online. Click and enjoy!

HINT: It's a manga. So be sure you're reading from right to left, just in case you don't know.

Enjoy the day and profane the night!

O R'lyeh?

Apr. 9th, 2011 03:07 am
uberreiniger: (Satanic Winter Goat)
So I have been on a serious, serious H.P. Lovecraft kick lately. Just really gotten obsessed with his stories all of a sudden. And I've got to be honest. It's frustrating. Why? Because he published 70 stories during his lifetime and the Great Old Ones, Outer Gods, etc. (a.k.a., the stuff you immediately think of when you think of Lovecraft,) only appear in like, TEN of them. The other 60 stories aren't bad, you can clearly see in them where he's trying to find his own voice distinctive from that of his idols like Poe and Machen. But they're not what you're really paying to see.

It's like how you go to see a Transformers movie for the sole purpose of watching robots fight and spout pithy one-liners at each other. Yet Bay and Spielberg insist on forcing a pair of untalented twentysomethings pretending to be teenagers (who have inexplicably been spray-painted orange,) onto center screen for 75% of the movie.

It's like how you expect pussy but all you get is tits with the bra on. And though pulsing, green, insidiously tentacled pussy it might be, it is still the pussy you want. And lo though the tits may be Elder tits from beyond the Cosmos whose sanity-warping visage is obscured only barely and not for eternity by the meagerest of bras that we misguidedly call "reality," it is still tits with the bra on.

Why, Howard? Why did you die so young and leave us with so little? Why must I now sit here in frustration, dreaming of the robot fights and braless tits that might have been?
uberreiniger: (Satanic Winter Goat)
A frequent literary criticism leveled against August Derleth is that he "ruined" the Cthulu Mythos by introducing the "benevolent" Elder Gods. I say that whatever damage he did has been mitigated by the fact that his writings are damned hard to find.
uberreiniger: (Satanic Winter Goat)
Ah, Ronald McDonald: gentle corporate mascot, beloved of obese children everywhere. His compassionate smile and outstretched arms beckon gently as if to say "just eat a Happy Meal and everything will be alright." And you know what? It's true. When I am very sad or stressed out I often get a powerful craving for McDonald's and eating it really does make me feel better.

But however you view Ronald McDonald, whether as beloved childhood icon or as the very avatar of poor nutrition we, as a culture have forgotten one very important thing. He is, first and foremost, a clown. And the best that anyone can ever hope for from any clown is to be fucked to death while slowly being eviscerated while having your eyes, nose, and teeth removed in the most painful manner possible. All over a period of several hours, if not days.

The Japanese have not forgotten. WARNING: MAY BE TRIGGERING. No, I am not joking.

I can't find any information on it, but this would appear to be an actual McDonald's commercial. Which means someone said "Hey, let's depict the corporate mascot as the horrific rape clown he really is!" and some McDonald's executive at the Japan branch said "Okay, sure." Perhaps Ronald is merely following in the footsteps of so many American executives before him, using Asia as a playground to feed his insatiable appetite for mayhem and rape. Who knows?

And if it's not an actual McDonald's commercial? Don't worry, there are plenty of links on the Youtube page to real McDonald's commercials that are just as bad. Sleep well! Eat some vegetables!
uberreiniger: (To Hell)
In honor of the first day of October and the season of Halloween here's some scary stuff that's been on my mind.

-I'd like to call your attention to Marble Hornets:a well-plotted and truly creepy story told over a Youtube channel and across a couple of websites. THE PREMISE: A student film maker acts increasingly strange until finally stopping work on his film and abruptly leaving town. A few years later a friend of his decides to watch the footage of the incomplete film to see what might have caused his odd behavior. What he finds is... well, you'd probably skip town too. To get the most out of the story be sure to follow Jay's Twitter feed as you watch the videos. Given how stupid I think Twitter is, the fact I'm telling you to look at a Twitter feed should say something. Marble Hornets joins Silent Hill, House of Leaves, and The Ring as part of the handful of things I've actually found scary. Given the similarities it shares with all of them this is unsurprising.

-A story [livejournal.com profile] chassit19 told me last night about a man accidentally driving over his young daughter reminded me of a horrifying Driver's Ed film I hadn't thought of in years. Driver's Ed films being ridiculously over the top with the scare tactics is a cliche unto itself, but this one was really messed up. I can't remember the title but it focused on the dangers of drunk driving. A man drinks too much in spite of (because of?) his wife constantly nagging him to stop and is always driving intoxicated. There is a subplot involving the couple's young son carving a jack-o-lantern for Halloween. On Halloween night the man stops at the bar, gets drunk and drives home but to the surprise of the viewer makes it home okay. As he's getting out of the truck his wife comes out and starts nagging at him about drinking and being late and how their poor son had been waiting outside to surprise him with the completed jack-o-lantern. As the man ignores her and stumbles into the house, and as the woman goes the opposite direction to find the son, the camera slowly zooms in on the truck to reveal... the pumpkin embedded in the radiator grill! Off camera we hear the woman start screaming. Cut to black.

Fucked. Up. Even by Driver's Ed standards :/
uberreiniger: (To Hell)
Dracula and the Great Old Ones are rare examples of literary characters who are still having new stories written about them 70 or more years after their creators' deaths. Also, they belong to an exclusive fraternity of fictional characters who are so pervasive in popular culture that even if you've never read a book or seen a movie with them in it, you still have a pretty good idea who they are and what they do.

My question is, has there ever been a story where Dracula and the Great Old Ones encounter one another? No, I don't intend to write one. I'm just genuinely curious. I mean, it seems so obvious but I've never heard of it being done.
uberreiniger: (Silent Hill gimp (hiddenviolence))
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All-time favorite would have to be The Shinning. Everything about that film just seemed to work right. But I've got a long list of horror movies that I like, some of which straddle genres:

Hellraiser I & II, Jacob's Ladder, Event Horizon, The Omen, Halloween, The Thing, Eraserhead, The Ring (American remake), Tetsuo the Iron Man, Tetsuo II: Body Hammer, A Tale of Two Sisters, Pan's Labyrinth, All the various incarnations of Juon/The Grudge, Cabin Fever, Hostel, Poltergeist, and the most recent addition is Quarantine


uberreiniger: (Default)

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