Post #6: Five Lesser Known Horror Mockumentaries

Mockumentaries are a blast especially when they tap into that part of many of us that secretly indulges a conspiracy theory or two. Who doesn’t love catching wind of a good cover-up about to be blown? So put on your black suit and get out your neuralizer for Five Lesser Known Horror Mockumentaries.

The Landing (2017)- Of the movies on this list, The Landing is the least effective, but it’s still got an interesting premise that makes it fun. If you’ve seen Apollo 18 and/or followed the conspiracy theories surround the scrapped mission, The Landing might by right up your alley. It imagines a successful Apollo 18 mission that doesn’t go awry until returning to Earth. Their re-entry goes off course causing the astronauts to crash land in a Chinese desert. While they all survive the landing, only one is left alive when the rescue team arrives. What killed the other two becomes a topic of speculation as the surviving astronaut’s story doesn’t jibe with the evidence.

Fury Of The Demon (2012)- From Dorian Gray’s portrait to Lovecraftian tomes to The King In Yellow, the idea of cursed works of art has been around for a while. So it was only a matter of time until film and video found curses of their own in such works as Videodrome, and Halloween III: Season Of The Witch. So it is with Georges Méliès’s lost film Fury Of The Demon. As with other mythical films like La Fin Absolue du Monde in John Carpenter’s Cigarette Burns and Enrique Zozoya’s Nero’s Last Days in Sylvia Moreno-Garcia’s story, “Flash Frame,” Fury Of The Demon drives its viewers insane. The insanity in this case is temporary but extremely violent, and along with others on this list, manages to come off as uncomfortably convincing.

The WNUF Halloween Special (2013)- A thoroughly enjoyable, superfun indie set in 1987, The WNUF Halloween Special is shot as a local TV news story (right down to the low-budget local advertisements). It follows a television reporter and crew as they enter the Webber House where accused murderer Donald Webber is suspected to have killed his parents. Webber maintains that he was ordered to do so after he accidentally summoned demons through everyone’s favorite occult family game, a Ouija board. Full marks as well for a nice little twist I didn’t see coming.

Mortal Remains (2012)- Capitalizing on the misdirection-as-publicity used for Blair Witch Project, the folks involved with Mortal Remains leave a number of informational breadcrumbs leading to “information” about this mysterious film and its equally mysterious director, Karl Atticus. Since the time I first ran across this movie, much of the “evidence” for the existence of the director, his films, and his inspirations have been yanked from Wikipedia. He still has entries on IMDB along with a lengthy chat debate concerning the veracity of the director and his films (elements of which may themselves be faked as well). I have to admit that I spent more time down this rabbit hole than I should have, and I also have to admit that I still have my doubts. What can I say? We all have our things.

Savageland (2015)- Lots of writers have stories situated in the Lovecraft mythos. If you read enough of them, you’re bound to come across some that suggest what Lovecraft wrote was all true and merely passed off as fiction. Sometimes, found footage horror will do something very similar, and this is exactly what happens with Savageland. I’m not a huge fan of the zombie subgenre, but this one certainly left a mark. Savageland concerns a zombie attack documented by a lone amateur photographer who is accused of slaughtering an entire Arizona border town. It’s presented with a straightforward, matter-of-fact tone in much the same way as Zombie Survival Guide, but rather than resulting in humor, Savageland results in tension. The film’s major selling point and most chilling feature has to be the grainy, blurry photos that suggest more than show the nature of the events. The overall effect is more than convincing enough to make you wonder.

Okay, there’s the list. Share it as you see fit, and lemme know what you think in the comments. Even better, give me some more titles, and whilst you’re at it, give us a like as well.

 

Post #5: The Curse Of Physical Media

I love DVDs. This can prove costly unless I manage to miss the 24-Hour Criterion 50% Off Sale. “Miss” is a strong word. “Abandon” may be better. For one thing, it’s just too frustrating. Seriously. Weeding movies out of my $500-plus cart is daunting and makes me sleepy.

My first edit only takes me down to $329 or so, and I just can’t justify eliminating more than that (which was fine since the method of payment I planned to max out use had $340 of available credit, and my retirement plan is to die in debt).

Naturally I proceed to Checkout where I’m prompted to login to complete my transaction. Imagine my horror when doing so empties my cart.

So this is how it’s gonna be. Sigh. Fine then.

I reconstruct my list and assume it’s fate that I forget some titles, bringing me down to $220-something. This is when I’m informed I have to update my card which I do only to find my cart empty again.

Now I’m irked.

At this point I can’t remember anything from the cart, so I take another forced march through the entire film list–1400 or so titles.

Cuz I got time.

With two exceptions I decide this time to only get movies I haven’t seen yet. I glow with the pride of financial responsibility as this knocks my total to around $165. What a good boy am I.

What’s still on this list? Well thank ya fer askin’.

  • Exterminating Angel
  • Four-movie horror set from Shochiku (cuz I want Living Skeleton)
  • Jigoku
  • Kiss Me Deadly (seen this)
  • Leave Her To Heaven (and this)
  • Onibaba
  • The Red Shoes
  • Solaris
  • Two-movie Lady Snowblood set

It’s late, I’m tired, my brain has turned to Cream Of Wheat, so I go to bed. Cuz who knows? Maybe I’ll come up with some more essential titles I gotta pick up. Somewhere in the wee hours, I hear my cat swatting stuff off my desk. One of those somethings sounds like a credit card. She’s such a pain in the ass cute little furball.

Sadly, I wake up to an empty cart. I try every way I can think of to recall said cart. This consists largely of hitting the Back arrow and muttering, “What the fuck?” Still, I quickly reconstruct the list before I have to teach my first class online, but not quickly enough to also find where the cat has swatted my card to. Cute. Little. Furball.

No worries. I can finish up after class. Except when I come back–

Yup.

Again.

I give up and consider the relative merits of abandoning physical media.

A Small Post Script: A word to my buddy, Bob, over at A View From This Wilderness–just wanna point out that these are all good movies.

 

 

 

Post #4: Why I Shouldn’t Read Comment Sections

Why yes, I’m on Goodreads. Anyone who knows anything at all about me knows I love books almost as much as movies. It was in perfect innocence, therefore, that I stumbled across this list: 48 Books That Scared The Bejesus Out Of Readers.

It was a good list. I own and have read most of the books on it. Sadly, I made the mistake of reading the Comments. In my defense, the original post ended with, “Check out some of the best in horror below, and be sure to tell us, What’s the scariest horror novel you’ve ever read??” So, of course, I went looking for titles I may need.

Big. Mistake.

I was fine until I got to the following from Han (names altered to protect the terminally clueless): “Does that mean the Name of Jesus has to be abused again?” Normally I could just shake my head and move on, but Han wasn’t done. “If you don’t believe in God don’t abuse His Name. thanks.”

Soon this was echoed by Gracey (get it? “Grace”y? I’m a yuk tsunami): “Same goes for ‘bejesus’. Not okay” and K.T. “Hey, I’ll be frank. Can you please not use Jesus’s name in vain? I’m Christian and I was very disappointed to see such disrespect on the front page of a professional website that I trusted to be classier than that.”

Well now all bets are off, and I’m not the only one who felt that way. They were quickly deluged by needling like, “Oh my god, jesus christ these comments are funny,” and, “for christ’s sake, no Lovecraft?”

Naturally I mentioned some titles.

  • The Book Of Cthulhu– ed. Ross Lockhart
  • The Book Of Cthulhu II– ed. Ross Lockhart (collections of stories inspired/influenced by Lovecraft)
  • The Case Of Charles Dexter Ward– H.P. Lovecraft (someone commented that Lovecraft is creepy and atmospheric, not scary…not sure what Lovecraft she’s been reading besides At The Mountains Of Madness)
  • Demons By Daylight– Ramsey Campbell (criminally underrated)
  • Haunted– Chuck Palahniuk (couldn’t stop reading this…it was that bizarro)
  • Hot Zone– Richard Preston (one of the most terrifying things I’ve ever read, and it’s real)
  • The House Next Door– Anne Rivers Siddons (one of Stephen King’s favorite books)
  • Night Shift– Stephen King (never gets old…I read it every few years)

In my reply, I called it My christ-on-a-bike List. I know. I know. This doesn’t help anything, and I’m no better than the people who annoyed me. I’m just exacerbating the problem. Same kinda thing happened once at a laundromat. Someone was playing loud jeebus music and singing along. I had my laptop on hand, so I started blasting “TV Set” by The Cramps.

The last comment I read was another lament from Gracey: “Wow – there are some deeply ugly people on Goodreads.” What I didn’t say in reply (yet) was, “Maybe try that whole Matthew 7:1-3 thing–judge not, mote that is in thy brother’s eye, and all that. Forgiveness, ain’t that y’all’s shtick?” Perhaps I’ll get to that later.

And hey, I’ll be the first to admit that much of this is a character flaw on my part. I’ve been goading self-righteous religious types since, like, 1980. Probably has a great deal to do with my infantile response to authority.

What can I say? Apparently I’m 12. Oh well…