Tag Archives: horrorvision


I’ve seen every episode of Supernatural way too many times. It’s not healthy, but I can’t control myself. I can’t even claim I can stop anytime, because that would be a lie.

It seemed wrong not to re-watch at least one ghost-centric episode this month specifically in honor of Ghost Month. (Ghost Month? Is that what I’m calling it? I keep getting confused. I’m tagging everything for 2010 31ghosts, by the way, in case you need to catch up).

I was having trouble deciding which episode to choose, so I let my Tivo, Overlord II, choose for me. The first episode it selected was…the first episode. It’s not bad for a pilot episode. Sam and Dean solve a mystery involving a woman in white, which in the show’s lore is a variation on the Latin American myth of La Llorona.

I was going to embed the opening scene from the episode, which is chock full of Supernatural mythology, but embedding is blocked. Here’s a link, instead.

I’m sure I have more to say about Supernatural and I’m sure there were better ghost episodes than this one, but Husband just walked in and we got distracted obsessing over Escape from Dinosaur Kingdom and I lost my train of thought.

The Shining

I watched Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining again. I’ve seen this movie a fair number of times but this is the first time I’ve seen a really good HD transfer of it. The richness of the colors was astonishing and the sound in 5.1? Way, way creepier than the terrible mixes I’ve heard in the past. I’ve always found the cinematography and the sound design impressive, but the vibrancy of the movie is stunning and you really should watch it on Blu-ray.

While I was watching the movie in my dimly-lit living room, I thought I saw something move in my peripheral vision. This is when I discovered that our television is now at exactly the right angle to reflect off of the glass doors of the bookcases that line the wall behind the couch. This discovery took several years off my life.

I backed up the movie and managed to get a fairly accurate photo of what I saw when i looked across the room. The demarcation of the television screen wasn’t as sharp in reality as it is in the picture so the effect was much creepier. You’ll just have to take my word for it.

Ghost: Could it really be as bad as I remember?

In a word? Yes.

The 1990 mega-hit Ghost starred Demi Moore, Patrick Swayze’s chest, Tony Goldwyn and Whoopi Goldberg. It was so awesome that it’s been reworked and is currently in previews before heading to London’s otherwise theatrically respectable West End as a musical. Of course it is.

I would like points for having the self-restraint not to suggest that “Patrick Swayze’s Nipples” would make a fantastic band name.

You’re welcome.

Ghost is ham-fisted, but it’s not incompetent. Director Jerry Zucker, part of the genius team that created the Airplane movies, knows what he’s doing. That said, I suspect that no one quite knew what to do with this movie. To be fair, it’s not the worst movie ever, it’s just a muddle of too many genres, each given a shallow treatment. It starts out with a spooky title sequence then transitions abruptly to that staple of the late 80s: New York City Real Estate Porn. Goldwyn and Swayze use sledghammers to knock out a huge wall to make the gigantic amazing loft that characters Sam and Molly just moved into super-gigantic. Barechested, natch. Then it’s a lovestory. Then it’s a mystery. Then it’s a wacky slapstick comedy. Then it’s a ghost story. Then it’s Sam running around barechested again. Can someone please give that man a shirt?

Whoopi Goldberg as medium Oda Mae Brown and Vincent Schiavelli as the ghost-mentor who saves Sam’s bacon turn in great performances. It also has Stephen Root in a small role as a cop. Root has been in pretty much everything you’ve ever seen but is probably most famous for playing Milton in Office Space. Root and I were born in the same hospital. I’m running out of things to say about this movie.

Patrick Swayze & his chest (Sam) and Demi Moore (Molly) apparently have no family or friends other than Carl Bruner (Goldwyn). Despite the fact that they work in a huge bank, Sam and Carl seem to only work together. Sam gets killed and the mystery to be solved is: which one of his one colleague is ripping him off? I can overlook the primitive CGI, Demi Moore rocking a serious Moe, and the uneven Acting. But I can’t overlook that the mystery at the core of the movie isn’t mysterious. At all. And that’s just annoying.

I’ve already identified my mistake. This isn’t a morning-coffee sort of movie unless you routinely put kahlua in your coffee. I wanted to start the day with Beetlejuice but netflix streaming wasn’t cooperating so I thought this would be an okay film to jump ahead to.

If memory serves, I saw this movie at The Avalon with EvilAgent not long after we started working together in 1990. The theatre was packed and we couldn’t stop giggling every time one of the bad guys died and the “dark spirits” came for them. Those weren’t supposed to be the funny parts, or so I’ve been told.

And now, just for you: Puppies Parody The Famous Ghost Pottery Scene:

Paranormal Activity

Because we’re super-cool, we’re often way ahead the culture curve and see hip new things long before mere mortals do. Other times, not so much.

Thus it was that Husband and I didn’t watch Paranormal Activity until over a year after it was released. It grossed almost $200 million at the box office, so I’m sure some of you got to it before we did.

It’s not that we hadn’t heard of it, it just kept slipping down the priority list. This being ghost movie/book/tv show/comic book/breakfast cereal month, I decided it was high time I bumped it to the top of the Netflix.

The summary: Katie and Micah live in a house. Katie and Micah keep hearing things go bump in the night. Katie knows not to screw around with whatever it is. Micah is a dick and does it anyway, putting video cameras in strategic locations in their home to try to capture evidence of the ghost or demon. What part of “put the ouija board down,” did you not understand, Micah?

I wasn’t sure how to describe the movie without spoilers, but this so-so trailer shows some of the things I was going to point out, so maybe they aren’t exactly spoilers anyway:

It’s a fairly creepy little movie that gives you a few good jumps. Something creepy happens, we see it, the story moves on. The lack of lingering is really what’s so effective to me – the scenes just pile up as these people are being inexorably marched to their doom. Or at least Micah is, we hope, because Micah, as I may have mentioned, is a dick.

The most effective scares: the bedroom door slamming, the footprints in the flour, and that swinging chandelier. I don’t think knowing they’re in the movie makes them less creepy or ruins the fun, either. Two of the creepiest scenes, to me, involve Katie merely getting out of bed in the middle of the night and standing by the bed for prolonged periods of time. She’s not doing anything, she’s just staring at Micah while he sleeps. It’s unnerving. This movie might not be the best use of 86 minutes, but it’s not the worst either.

Here’s the trailer for the sequel. They provided the embed code, so I shall embed. Plus, while I was capturing the code I accidentally let the trailer play a second time and I found that stopping it or moving it forward or back at a few points reveals creepy images you don’t see at regular speed. It was unnerving to find it accidentally. The end of the trailer is actually an amusingly clever use of Flash.

I haven’t read anything about the second one, but babies are inherently creepy, so there you go.

Happy haunting!