Horror 365: THE FINAL POST!

Holy crap! Wowzers! Three cheers and a tiger for me, we’re actually here, a post a day for 365 entire damn days! I sincerely don’t know where to begin or what to say, so I suppose we’ll start with a quick recap of how this whole godforsaken project started.

See, this time last year, I was in a kind of creative rut, yet again, and considered, yet again, just shutting down the whole blog, yet again. It’s something that kept happening since Blogferatu first went up on January 19, Edgar Allan Poe’s birthday, back in 2016. But then I stumbled across a guy named Campbell Walker.

Walker has a YouTube channel, Struthless, where he posts lotsa stuff about creativity. In one of his videos, he talks about having this very problem and how an illustrator friend of his suggested drawing the same thing every day for a year. There’s more to it than that, so, yeah, check him out. My immediate thought was, “Hey, I can do something like that. Hell yeah!”

So I took all the movies from The Neverending Movie List and put them in a box (later they were transferred to The Great Trader Joe’s Gingerbread Coffee Can Of Cinema). With some exceptions (maybe a specifically chosen title or theme here and there), every day I’d pick a random title from said can, write it up, and post it. Every. Damn. Day.

Well, it didn’t take long for me to start cheating—writing about stuff I just felt like writing about, coming up with some individual themes, going down a rabbit hole here and there, but I still managed at least some kind of horror and/or movie related post every day. It’s been…interesting.

So, what of value has all this added to the universe, the world, the blogosphere, or even the film world? Well, nothin’ really it’s just another movie blog. But the process has revealed and resulted in a number of valuable things. Here, for instance, are some benefits. For one thing, I was very much not in the habit of writing every day. That’s one of the reasons I started this.

But cranking out on average between 500-700 words—sometimes a couple hundred less, sometimes several hundred more, every day, like it or not, got me past the whole “having to be in the mood to write” problem. That crap is both super precious, more than a little self important, and ultimately useless.

While I won’t continue to post to the blog every single day anymore, I’ll still be getting some stuff on the page every day. It’s become so second-nature by now that I don’t think I’m able to not do it. It’s become a habit.

I’ve also experimented with themes. I’m not sure how I feel about them now. On one hand, they can get boring, especially if you’re doing one every day for a month. In fact, doing the same kind of thing with any degree of regularity, to me at least, becomes a chore. Then again, a theme for a month if I’m posting 4-8 times is likely must less chore-like than 30.

Speaking of chores, I’m afraid one of the things I’m puttin’ the brakes on is Full Moon Friday. As much as I love Full Moon flicks, I got to the point very quickly when I just didn’t feel like watchin’ or rewatchin’ one and reviewing it every week.

I’ll probably keep Thrift Store Thursday, but not as a regular feature. That’s just not sustainable both from a cost perspective and from an it’s gettin’ harder and harder to find stuff perspective. So now it’ll be more like whenever I find something really exciting. In a rare instance of forethought, I numbered those, so I can at least keep that consistent.

So what’s next? I’m for sure taking a good week or two off cuz…damn. Also I’m cutting back on posting. A daily post was surprisingly not too tough, but it do take a minute out of a day. I doubt I’ll scale back as far as once a week. Maybe twice a week. And no more weekends. Also looking forward to more movie watching. For a while, I was gettin’ to a couple movies a day most days, but this endeavor ironically cut back on that.

One other thing I’d like to get back to is doing blogathons. I kinda tabled those this past year, and I’m not really sure why. I might even try hosting one of my own. You’ve been warned. I’m keeping Top 10 Tuesday because lists are fun.

I’m also anxious to get back to writing and sending out some horror fiction, and there’s an unsubstantiated rumor goin’ round regarding a movie book I’m workin’ on. Something about a specific subgenre. Shh. But perhaps the thing I’m the most eager to start is something I mentioned a while back, and that’s…

The podcast!

Yep, there it is, true believers, right before your naked, steaming eyes. It’s time, along with my good friend Jorge Mendez, to start up our horror movie podcast called, what else, Podferatu! Not quite sure what the parameters will be, but you heard it here first kids. Stay tuned for details.

Finally, if you’re one of those misguided souls who found themselves wandering into the confines of Castle Blogferatu, thanks for stickin’ around! I hope you found it mildly diverting if nothing else, and I definitely plan to crack on with it.

Merry Krampusnacht. And cheers.

Horror 365 Movie 364: The Haunting Of Molly Hartley (2008)

Whew! One final draw from The Great Trader Joe’s Gingerbread Coffee Can Of Cinema! And what a doozy this one is—The Haunting Of Molly Hartley. What’s so doozified about it? It’s one of those fun cinematic experiences during which I find myself thinking “Wait. Have I seen this?” without ever managing to come up with a definitive answer.

For one thing, I confused it with Lovely Molly which I liked very much. They do have some common ground in a sense. Namely everyone thinks the victim is insane rather than possessed/demonic. People are so shortsighted.

Anyway, The Haunting Of Molly Hartley starts off with a girl named Laurel (not Molly) following a string through the woods. She pauses briefly, and we hear whispery disembodied voices. Like ya do.

Soon Laurel comes to a cabin. There she finds her boyfriend who’s waiting to give her an early present for her 18th birthday. They kiss. Bleh. Then her dad shows up and demands she come home with him.

On the ride back, he speeds up whilst muttering with his hand on a bible about not letting them take her and how he can’t let her turn 18. They nearly crash, but his truck instead skids to a stop just before they’re t-boned by a farm truck carrying hay bales. Inside the wrecked truck, the father Laurel with a broken piece of glass.

So what do we know? Laurel may or may not turn in to something evil. Her father may or may not be delusional. And “they” may or may not be involved. From there we cut to a bloodied teenage girl staggering down a hallway with a pair of scissors sticking out of her chest. She wakes up with a gasp in her bed. Whew, just a nightmare. Welcome to the present. Thus are we introduced to Molly.

Y’see, her mother, we find out, tried to kill her and is now locked up in an asylum. Molly and her father are trying to move on, and Molly is starting a new school. Things, of course, go awry. Molly is plagued by nightmares of her mother trying to kill her and soon starts seeing glimpses of her around town. Her father is only semi-successful in convincing her everything is okay and that her mother will never hurt her again.

If you haven’t seen this, the following discussion may give you a good hint as to where the story’s gonna go. None of it is surprising, but if you wanna go into the movie cold, you should stop reading. On one hand, it turns out Molly is right. Her mother isn’t locked up and still is trying to kill her. On the other hand, how this is possible and how deep all this goes starts to come out around the 65-minute mark.

Turns out there are a couple competing forces at work—those who want to eliminate Molly versus those who want to see her take come into the darkness she’s been selected for. Very Rosemary’s Baby in the sense of how well established these demonic and divine cults are. Molly’s mother, for instance, is freed by local nurse who’s with the believers. The nurses granddaughter Alexis has been posing as Molly’s friend but then tries to drown her in a baptismal pool.

During the final showdown, we find out that Molly’s father made a pact with the evil cult. Molly more or less died being born when her mother went into precipitous labor in a public bathroom. A woman appeared and said “I’m here to make you an offer.” Molly would live, but she would become some kind of demonic entity upon turning 18.

Well dontcha know, dear ol’ dad is dragged in, and Molly is told if she kills him, maybe the pact will be broken. She picks up knife, and stabs herself right at the stroke of midnight. The big reveal I’ll leave alone. Don’t wanna give it all away.

I’m not sure from whence all the hate for this movie derives. I mean, it does have its problems I must say. Stefan S says this at (A Nutshell) Review: “the movie has an entire look and feel of High School Musical, save the characters don’t break out into song and dance.” Truth be told, the male lead does have a certain Zac Efronality. Then there’s the title. Nothing here has anything whatsoever to do with a haunting. Possession, check. Cult, check. No haunting.

It’s pretty damn predictable as well, but also an idea that Ari Aster will resurrect to much greater effect and fanfare with Hereditary. The stories are in fact strikingly similar. I like The Haunting Of Molly Hartley. It’s certainly not the best movie of its kind, but I knew what to expect going in, and that, for good and/or ill, is exactly what I got. Oh, and I still can’t figure out whether or not I’ve seen it before.

 SKULLS- 7
 BODIES- 3 onscreen, 1 (probably) off
 Streaming- ConTV, Tubi
 Rent- Prime

Horror 365 Movie 363: Full Moon Friday, Seedpeople

This one’s been on the ol’ watchlist for some time, even before Full Moon Friday was Full Moon Friday. This is some more classic Full Moon horror that’s actual horror without playing the story for barnyard humor and sophomoric gags or otherwise pandering to the dudebro-y gratuitous boobs and sex scenes crowd.

No this is straight up creature feature monster mayhem, the kinda stuff that’s more along the lines of Laserblast, Parasite, Puppet Master, From Beyond, Castle Freak, stuff like that.

We start off in a hospital where raving, head-bandaged geologist Tom Baines is strapped to a bed and being sedated by a doctor. I’m no medical professional, but is sedation something they do if you have a head wound? I thought you weren’t supposed to sleep if you have a concussion. But I digress.

Cue Agent Weems from the FBI. He wants to know what’s goin’ on. The majority of the movie is basically an extended flashback as Tom relates the story of what has befallen the cleverly monikered Comet Valley, so named for the meteor (not comet) that apparently landed there 500 years ago.

Tom shows up to give a talk about all this to a local meteor club or something like that. Oh, those small towns and their astronomy buffs. The hijinks they get up to .

We also meet Kim, the daughter of Tom’s ex, Heidi who runs the bed and breakfast Tom just happens to be staying at. Kim already suspects that there’s weird shit goin’ on and is miighty suspicious of the housekeeper Mrs. Santiago. So, Kim sets to investigatin’ armed with her trusty 90s-style VHS camcorder.

Well it turns out that the meteor is really a big ol’ seed carrier, and people are being turned into various types of plant monsters of which there are currently 3.

One, shocking nobody, is Mrs. Santiago. She can change at will into a tumbleweed-sized Critters-type ball that rolls toward its victims then basically opens up and goes “Boo, chomp!” Another is Kim’s father Frank. He can become this thing that inefficiently shuffles about with its two arms kinda like Lon Chaney in The Penalty. The last one is some random flying thing (with no wings) that looks like a giant flea with the head of a wolf spider.

Somehow these things are also able hypnotize the local populace. Slowly. One by one. It’s not clear why, after 500 years, they’ve decided to do this now despite the fact that a cave painting in the vicinity explains the arrival of these things in the first place. Oh well.

If you’re wondering why unflinching rock-jock doesn’t just round up Heidi and Kim and make a break for it, it just so happens there’s only one road into Comet Valley y’see. And it has a bridge. And the bridge is closed for 3 days for repairs apparently rendering said bridge completely impassable for 3 days. What ever shall our plucky band do?

Fortunately, according to the alcohol-fueled ramblings of ol’ Doc Roller, the judicious use of herbicide and UV light can put a stop to all this. Oh, and UV light can also snap one out of the aforementioned hypnotic trance. And so, the climax. A bunch of hip-moe-tized townsfolk start loadin’ seeds into the back of a truck whilst Tom and the doc try to save everyone. It’s all very Invasion Of The Body Snatchers (mainly 1956 as opposed to the good one from 1978).

This is, in fact, fairly derivative stuff overall, and not just from Invasion Of The Body Snatchers and Critters. The fact that nobody believes Kim is straight outta The Blob. Hell, while we’re at it, let’s throw in a little Matango and Day Of The Triffids also too as well. None of this is necessarily a bad thing and does not at all detract from Seedpeople’s sheer Saturday afternoon escapist sci-fi/horror schlock factor appeal.

 SKULLS- 6
 BODIES- 3 (including 1 monster) onscreen, 1 drunk scientist offscreen
 Streaming- Full Moon, Pluto, Tubi
 Rent- Prime