I Love Halloween

Hey, guys, what’s up! I hope you had a wonderful and safe night last night. I know mine was absolutely amazing. It started at 6am PST and I got back home at exactly midnight because, like in Cinderella, I will turn into a grumpy old man after that. It’s bedtime.

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This Halloween ended up being quite the rollercoaster. I learned a lot, too. I learned a lot about the work ethic that has been instilled in some of my students and also that of their parents. I learned about that some parents are really shitty examples for their kids and that’s why they’re really shitty kids in class. I learned why some kids lose their magic. It was a really interesting, eye-opening experience this year.

Let me tell you about my night.

I am a teacher in a small school and I have my own two-story building of which I am in charge. Due to the fact that I have this massive theatre to my disposal, I am able to put on a Haunted House. This was the second year and we had it set up where there were three ways to get through a section of the attraction: One tunnel where you had to crawl; One tunnel where it was so dark that you couldn’t see; One tunnel where you were blinded by flashing lights before getting on an elevator and going down. Then you either went through the Halloween room or the IT room, funneled through  a few more and then out past the chainsaw clown.

It was very simple and nicely signed so that there was no way to screw it up. Well, except the feckers who wanted to screw it up. The ones who didn’t want to play along. I gotta say, why did you come? Why come pay money to get into a Haunted House put on by the school if you were going to break stuff, hide, go off course, ruin scares for others, and generally screw around? It doesn’t make it fun and you become the person nobody wants to hangout with.

Think back on some of your favorite Halloween memories. For me, its times when everybody was playing along. If that’s willing to be scared at a Haunted House and enjoying that feeling of fear, it’s more fun when everybody suspends their disbelief and allows themselves to feel like they’re going to die! One little girl last night said to herself “Is this how I’m going to spend the last moments of my life?” and I couldn’t help but laugh out loud.

For me, that was the most annoying part of the night because it was ruining my fun, too. You’re in MY house and you paid me to scare you… LET ME SCARE YOU!

My next biggest issue was people with shitty work ethics. I had two kids leave during the show and one didn’t even tell me. I learned when I saw him walking away and confronted him. The other got too tired from sitting on the steps making creepy sounds. Seriously. Then 8 students who gave me slips saying they were coming didn’t show up, so I had far less actors, and therefore scares, to work with. I was livid. We pulled it off and had grown women crying, but it could have been so much better if these kids were true to their word. I’m going to call them out on it, too, because it ruined something with my name on it. We were on the front page of the paper, above the fold, and I feel like I gave a sub par performance. That’s my name. That’s my reputation as a teacher and a theatre professional.

 

The worst case of abandonment was when two sisters (twins) approached me the day before the Haunted House. They were supposed to be the girls from The Shining and had even purchased the outfits. One of the girls came up to me and told me that they weren’t going to be able to do the Haunted House because it was their last Halloween. What? I was so confused. Were they dying? No. Apparently their parents decided that they can’t go trick-or-treating once they’re teenagers and they were 12. 12! I didn’t stop collecting candy until I was, like, 15 and even after that I still went with my family and the other kids. It was Halloween where I could stay up late, eat candy, scare people, and be weird. Don’t take that away from your kids. It’s a special time and it keeps them being creative and allowing themselves to be, well, themselves for a night. Truly and purely. What’s more fun than emulating your favorite character, whomever that may be.

So, not only did these parents rob their children of scaring a bunch of people all night, they took actors away from me and taught them, simultaneously, that it’s okay to ditch out on commitments that you don’t want to do and that creativity is something to be grown out of. Wonderful parenting.

When we did get everything going, we were amazing. We were so good that we had grown men screaming, adult women crying, and children wondering if they were going to die. (“Is this how I’m going to spend the last moments of my life?”). Sometimes, we did too good, though, because the kids who thought they were going to be tough ended up getting scared. This made them upset and they would react to their fear with anger, striking my actors and throwing stuff at them. Sometimes they would tear apart walls in order to get around something they saw early and wanted to be cool. Sometimes they threw candy at us, though, so that was fine.

The thing is, sometimes the parents were with them and just allowed this, even leading it a few times. I was astonished that this is how they would behave in a place that wasn’t theirs. They didn’t make the set pieces or the costumes, but they were fine with destroying them. I had to throw a few people out. My actors, kids in this case, were my first priority and the guests were disrespecting them and the space they worked so hard to create. I can’t allow that.

Afterwards, we were all so tired, but so happy. We overcame issues with the sound, worked together as a team to scare the shit out of people, and had a ton of fun doing it. I couldn’t have asked for a better Halloween.

I hope that Samhain was everything you wanted and more, my Darling Devils. Now let’s start planning for next year, WE’RE LATE!

HS!

LH

I Love Horror Movies

Oh my goodness, do I love myself some horror movies. They’ve been an important part of my life ever since I was a little girl and my Dad showed me Scream, which Mom wasn’t super happy about. Though Ghost Face still scares me to this day, as does the girl from The Grudge, I watch a horror at least once a week with my boyfriend. He actually has a blog, Jurassic Massacre 3, that reviews and delves into various movies that fall into horror/thriller genres.

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All that being said, I’ve seen a few horror movies in my time and I thought I’d share with you some of my favorites and why I love them. I meant to have this posted yesterday, but I found it too hard to pick just 10. It’s time for:

Lauren’s Top Ten Horror Movies*

* For now

10) Scream (1996)

As I said before, this was the first Horror movie I ever remember watching and it still scares the crap out of me. I think that’s because I saw it when I was so young. I, now, appreciate it for what it is: A scary movie that pokes fun at scary movies while still, purposefully, falling into those tropes. It’s a fun film that you don’t have to take seriously but still manages to scare. I like to watch this one a lot during Halloween Month (October) as it puts me in a spooky mood and allows me to hide from the rain.

9) The Grudge (2004)

J-Horror scares the crap out of me because of the types of spirits depicted and their use of atmosphere to creep out the audience instead of falling back onto the jump scare. This movie gets me more than any other in the genre because of the damn sound the woman makes. That long, choked inhale will stick with me through the night and I’ll end up scaring myself more than the movie scared me as I imagine where she might be hiding.

8) The Thing (1982)

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The most impressive part of this movie is the practical effects. I have a deep love for practicals because they just look so much better on-screen and age better than CGI and others. I come from the theatre community and we don’t get the luxury of adding or taking away whatever we want in Post because it’s all, obviously, live! That means we have to work extra hard to trick audiences into believing whatever world we are creating. If theatre can, movies can. The Thing is a prime example of what a movie can look like when practical effects are used. The 2011 version is the opposite.

7) Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 (1986)

Now, don’t come at me saying the original is also better. Trust me, I know the argument. I like this one more because it has more replay value, to use video game terms. There’s a bit of humor, some amazing set pieces, and gore that will make your stomach try to escape your body. This is also a great example of a movie not treating its audience like children as there’s very little explanation as to what’s going on or who we should care about. Well, other than the text scrolling in the beginning but I let that slide because it was in the original.

6) Sinister (2012)

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Damn, what a creepy movie. As I have said before, I’m not a huge fan of jump scares because I think they’re a cheap way to scare people and this movie has very few of them. Every detail of the movie is designed to make you feel off. The entire movie takes place in the house (until the end) in order to make you feel claustrophobic; the movie is generally quiet and the music to enhance the terror, not be the scare. I really like the use of color and darkness, too, as everything seems to have a grey wash to it and there are times when the lack of light makes the viewer feel closed in upon.

5) 1408 (2007)

This movie has a crappy rating on Rotten Tomatoes for some reason but I really like it! Basically, it’s John Cusack v An Evil Room. The effects didn’t age well and there are parts that seem a little silly, but I really love the concept presented as well as how they are executed. This movie is also able to make you really sad as you follow the main character through the torture he endures within the room. What’s really cool about this movie is that the set never gets boring, even though the action mostly takes place within the room.

4) Cabin in the Woods (2012)

Alright, I know I already put a horror/comedy making fun of horror movies on this list but I don’t care what you say because this movie his amazing. I really love the overall concept of this movie and if you haven’t seen it, go give it a watch, especially if you’re a horror fan. This movie tips its hat to the horror movies that have come before while also screaming for change. There are also characters worth rooting for and a bunch of tiny details that show just how much thought went into the script. Well, except the eagle part.

3) As Above, So Below (2014)

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So, this movie made me nervous at first because it is shot like a documentary and I was worried I was going to be thrown into shaky-cam hell, which, other than a short piece at the start, I wasn’t! The movie takes place in the catacombs under Paris, which is actually where they filmed a majority of the scenes, so the production value of this movie is astounding. The real human bones in each shot, combined with knowing they are far underground, adds to the feeling of being trapped. Basically, these people are looking for the Philosopher’s Stone and get trapped and have to go through Hell to get out. “The only way out is down”.

2) Night of the Living Dead (1968)

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My grandma and I used to have something called Crappy Movie Night when I was young. We would go the used book store and get an old horror movie. This is how I saw Night of the Living Dead and instantly fell in love. This was great! The zombies weren’t scary alone but as they grew in numbers, the living inside become the real threat. Man, it’s a great film! I loved zombies ever since then and still plan different ZA escapes depending on where I am. Plus I love sad endings. The best part about this movie? I got to meet Barbra.

1) Tusk (2014)

This is the best horror movie ever made. I watched it for the 7thtime last night and I noticed two more details that I hadn’t seen before. I really don’t want to spoil this movie so I’m just going to tell you what it does correctly. First of all, it’s a great idea. There’s something believable about the plot, even though it seems insane. You, as a viewer, feel the pain of the main character on physical and emotional levels and it’s impactful because the movie takes the time to round out its characters. Second, the camera work is perfection. The angles, frames, and close-ups aren’t frivolous and tell you exactly what’s going on and who’s in charge… if you pay attention. Third, IT’S SO FUCKED UP. This is my favorite movie.

Here’s all you need to know: Justin Long gets turned into a walrus.

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That’s all for now, folks! Please, take a few hours and watch one of these (Tusk) and let me (Tusk) know what (Tusk) you (Tusk) think (Tusk).

HS!

LH

(Tusk)