Halloween Movie Month Continued

For this installment of Halloween movie month, I’ve included a short reminder of my picture rating system. A full explanation was included the first week.

how to draw a mummy step 4Characters                               http://www.clipartpal.com/_thumbs/pd/holiday/halloween/scared_cat.png Artistry                               Inclusion

Ghost Clipart   Scare Factor                          pT56k8GTB    Ending

1. Red State

Red State Trailer

There are so many things I loved about this film: the script, the acting, the juxtaposition of different organizations, and the fact that the hostages were men instead of women. John Goodman is worth watching this all on his own. The ending lingered with me.

how to draw a mummy step 4  http://www.clipartpal.com/_thumbs/pd/holiday/halloween/scared_cat.png     Ghost Clipart   pT56k8GTB

2. Gaslight

“Gaslight”: still with Boyer and Bergman from “Gaslight”

This film is the origin of the slang term gaslighting, when someone convinces someone else that they’re crazy. So thrilling! I enjoyed watching Bergman struggle against her antagonist.

how to draw a mummy step 4  http://www.clipartpal.com/_thumbs/pd/holiday/halloween/scared_cat.png    Ghost Clipart   pT56k8GTB

3. Maniac


With its use of first person point-of-view, this film includes you whether you want it or not. Elijah Wood delivers a despicable and empathetic performance of a troubled serial killer. While grotesque at times, this film captures the terror of being trapped inside your own psychosis.

how to draw a mummy step 4  http://www.clipartpal.com/_thumbs/pd/holiday/halloween/scared_cat.png     Ghost Clipart   pT56k8GTB

4. Paranormal Activity 3

I’m not a fan of this franchise, because the found footage is so implausible, but the suspense gets to me all the same. The use of realistic homes also adds to the scare.

       Ghost Clipart   

Substitutions: The Blair Witch Project, The Conspiracy, As Above/So Below

What have you been watching?

#TheWalkingDead: Strangers


The group meets Father Gabriel (Seth Gillam), a priest. They take refuge at his church and decide to go to DC with Abraham and Eugene.

The Details

  • Everyone tells Abraham that they’ll do whatever Rick decides.
  • The group is happy together. They prepare a meal and call each other family. There is laughter and trust.
  • Daryl and Carol chase after the car that took Beth.
  • Suspicions abound for Gabriel when Carl finds “You’ll burn for this” carved into the church.
  • Bob is upset about being bitten, which he keeps a secret. He says his veiled goodbyes to Sasha. While he’s crying in the woods, Gareth and the others from Terminus tie him up and eat his leg.

The Big Q

What makes trust good?

The Impact

This episode shows a lot of relationships that have been built on unflinching trust. Though none of them started out that way, because trust takes time, the characters will now unquestionably follow their leaders. The biggest example is, of course, everyone letting Rick decide if they’ll go to D.C., even the people who barely know Rick, if at all. Still, he’s the leader, and so they trust his decisions to be good. Carol hops in with Daryl to find Beth in unknown danger. While I’m glad they went, Carol is usually more hesitant and cutthroat in situations like this, but Daryl is someone she trusts without thought, for better or worse. Gareth’s people follow him to retaliate against the group. The trust his decision to maintain a cannibalistic lifestyle and seek revenge. Who else seeks revenge? Daryl. Who else dabbled (albeit forgivably) in cannibalism? Rick. But Gareth is the bad guy. He is not to be trusted. Ironically, the only person trusted by no one is Father Gabriel. Trust usually has a positive connotation, but it can come at the expense of independent thought. When is that good, and when is it not?

What do you think? What makes trust good? Are there other examples on the show?

Around the Campfire with Jeff Gunhus

Cozy up around the campfire with someone you love, if you dare…

Today’s campfire story is an excerpt from Night Terror by Jeff Gunhus. Ten years after her abduction and near-sacrifice to the Source, Sarah Tremont struggles to be a normal teenager. As much as she’s tried to suppress the power inside of her, it’s grown dangerously strong and has drawn the attention of those who want to possess her power for themselves.

The nightmare that she thought was long over starts again as powerful forces descend upon Prescott City to seek her out. With her parents and Joseph Lonetree’s help, Sarah must stand up to an evil much more powerful than the one she faced in the caves a decade earlier. But in the end, she discovers the greatest danger might come from the power living inside of her.

Night Terror 2

The woman didn’t look evil, but there was no better word to describe her. Charlie Winters would wonder later how he could have missed sensing her earlier than he did. It was equivalent to normal people walking halfway through a field only to look down and find themselves thigh-deep in a pile of rotting animal carcasses, the stench hitting them like a wave. After retching their stomach contents, they would question both their senses and their sanity. How could they have missed such a smell? How could they have not felt their feet sinking into the liquefied soft tissue?

Charlie’s senses were better than a normal person’s. Way better.

It had started when he was only a baby, a fact he knew because he still remembered every second of this life since the moment of his birth. It was a long time before he understood that such a memory was not a normal thing. Other people, normal humans, could not remember the first feeding at their mother’s breast. The hot pain of circumcision. The first glimpse of sunlight as they left the hospital. So many firsts, memories as clear to Charlie as what he’d had for breakfast that day.

Inside those memories, the echoes and shadows of his other unusual senses lingered. The ability to sense emotion. To pick up on intention. Sometimes these abilities strengthened what he observed in the physical world. His grandparents’ cooing excitement over him matched an internal warmth that felt the same as sunshine. His father’s thoughtful stares mirrored Charlie’s sense that his dad would do anything to protect him, to provide for him. Even if there was an undercurrent of trepidation that vibrated like a single out-of-tune string on a guitar, the other intentions drowned it out and gave Charlie a sense of comfort. This was very different from his mother, whose kind smiles and soft features once masked a nearly constant desire to kill him.

Her thoughts alternated between putting a pillow over his head or dropping him down the basement stairs. In darker moments, when his father was gone overnight for a business trip, she would consider carving up her child with a knife. Even going as far as pulling a cleaver from the block and slowly running her sweaty palm down the length of the blade. She never did this in front of him, but that was part of his gift. He could see through her eyes. Feel her emotions. Know her dark intentions. And understand that the threat of violence was very, very real.

But as much as she fantasized about it, his mother didn’t kill him. In fact, she never so much as laid a finger on him in anger. Slowly, over time, the dark thoughts faded, and the light inside his mother came to match her soft eyes and the beautiful mouth that sang to him and called him sunshine. A normal person might never have been able to forget the darkness and might never have trusted the woman who once considered taking a ball-peen hammer to his forehead, but he wasn’t normal people. He was special. And it was that specialness that showed him the truth in her absolute love for him once the veils of shadows had fallen away from her like someone passing through heavy curtains.

Much later, Charlie read about a condition called post-partum depression and understood where the dark had come from. It hadn’t been his fault. Or hers. It was the depression that spawned the evil thoughts. And he liked to think it was her love for him that pushed them back enough to keep him safe.

Even after she recovered, he could sense when she felt pangs of guilt about those days. They were like electric bolts jolting through her. When those moments happened, and they could happen at any time, he would come up and hug her, kiss her on the cheek and tell her how much he loved her. At first, she cried harder when he did it, and he sensed her guilt grow even stronger. Later, she puzzled over how he timed the affection to her thoughts. Over time, the puzzling turned to suspicion, even fear that somehow he knew. After that, like with all of his special gifts, he learned it was best to hide.

But he hadn’t hidden his powers well enough.

If he had, then the woman who called herself Mama D would never have come looking for him.

Jeff GunhusAbout the Author

Jeff Gunhus is the author of both adult thrillers and the Middle Grade/YA series, The Templar Chronicles. The first book, Jack Templar Monster Hunter, was written in an effort to get his reluctant reader eleven-year old son excited about reading. It worked and a new series was born. His book Reaching Your Reluctant Reader has helped hundreds of parents create avid readers. As a father of five, he and his wife lead an active lifestyle simply trying to keep up with their kids. In rare moments of quiet, he can be found in the back of the City Dock Cafe in Annapolis working on his next novel.

For More Information

Halloween Movie Month: Week Four

For this installment of Halloween movie month, I’ve included a short reminder of my picture rating system. A full explanation was included the first week.

how to draw a mummy step 4Characters                               http://www.clipartpal.com/_thumbs/pd/holiday/halloween/scared_cat.png Artistry                               Inclusion

Ghost Clipart   Scare Factor                          pT56k8GTB    Ending

1. Strangers on a Train

Two men meet on a train. One proposes that they murder a person that causing trouble in each other’s lives–the perfect crime. When one decides to go ahead and commit the murder the other needed, things get scary. As with all of Hitchcock’s work, the characters have distinct motivations, and yet at the same time, the stories are simple, like an arrow. The filming is great, and I am included–what if you met someone randomly who ended up being dangerous? The scare factor is in the charming antagonist. The ending ties it all together.

how to draw a mummy step 4 http://www.clipartpal.com/_thumbs/pd/holiday/halloween/scared_cat.png      Ghost Clipart   pT56k8GTB

2. Cursed

I don’t know how I missed this in 2005, but Christina Ricci, Judy Greer, Jesse Eisenberg, and Joshua Jackson? Yes, please! When a brother and sister become infected by a werewolf, they try to find out who it is and try to stop the killings. I mostly liked this one as a bit of nostalgia. I’m on the prowl for good werewolf flicks. I don’t have much to compare this one to yet.

how to draw a mummy step 4          

3. The Craft

That Time THE CRAFT Made Britt Think She Was a Witch

This was a repeat for me, but I love this movie! It earns a full five from me, even though it’s hokey. As a teen, I enjoyed it as a “witch lifestyle” movie. As an adult, I appreciate what it says about dealing with bullies. Fairuza Balk, while over-the-top, is fully committed (ha!) to playing the antagonist. Ultimately, it’s a coming of age horror flick, and I like that.

how to draw a mummy step 4 http://www.clipartpal.com/_thumbs/pd/holiday/halloween/scared_cat.png      Ghost Clipart   pT56k8GTB

 4. Blood and Chocolate

Bottom line: this one did not hold my interest. It was too much paranormal romance, not enough straight-up horror. I’m still on the lookout for some good werewolf movies.

Possible substitutions: The House at the End of the Street or Disturbing Behavior

Guest Spooky Shot: The Menger Hotel

Welcome back, Ruthie Jones! An amateur anthropologist, Ruthie has an eye for great photo opportunities. Participate in some of the features on her blog. It’s a lot of fun. Check out this shot:

The_Menger_HotelThe Menger Hotel in downtown San Antonio, Texas was established in 1859, just 23 years after the Battle of the Alamo. Speaking of the Alamo, the Menger Hotel is right next door to this famous mission. Both sites are home to murder and mayhem, and the Menger is believed (by ghost enthusiasts and innocent and not-so-innocent guests alike) to be haunted by several ghosts, including Teddy Roosevelt, who still likes to partake at the bar every now and then. A haunted hotel wouldn’t be complete without a creepy, deserted staircase. Although, to be on the safe side, you might want to make sure that staircase really is deserted before you decide to ascend to your suite for the long, terrifying night ahead.

Take a spectral tour of this famous hotel and judge its spookiness for yourself.

Have a creepy hotel shot or story? Share it here!