Saturday, April 12, 2014

Movie Spotlight: The Omen

The Omen was a 1976 movie that spawned three sequels (and a remake that didn't need to be made) and is my favorite horror movie of all-time.  It starred Gregory Peck, Lee Remick, Harvey Spencer Stevens, Patrick Troughton, David Warner, Billie Whitelaw, and Leo McKern.  Diplomat Robert Thorn (Gregory Peck) doesn't want to tell his wife Katherine (Lee Remick) that their baby died at birth, so at a shady priest's urging, he adopts the baby of a woman who died in childbirth; the child is named Damien, and strange things happen in his presence because he just so happens to be the Antichrist.  At Damien's (Harvey Stephens) fifth birthday party, his nanny hangs herself after shouting, "It's all for you, Damien!"  Father Brennan (Patrick Troughton), who was there the night of Damien's birth, tries to warn Robert that Damien is not what he seems, but Robert refuses to listen because this is a horror movie.  When Katherine takes Damien to a safari park, some animals run away from Damien, terrified, and others become violent, attacking the car Katherine and Damien are in.  Kids scare me in general, but Damien is on a whole other level...he's such a little shit that he causes his mother to have a miscarriage after running his tricycle into her and knocking her over the upstairs railing; before Robert even knew that Katherine was pregnant, Father Brennan warned him that Damien would stop Katherine from having the baby.

There's an extra on The Omen DVD that talks about the weird things that happened to people who were involved with the movie.  Here are a few:

-John Richardson, who designed the film's decapitation scene, was later in a car accident where his girlfriend was decapitated by a piece of the windshield.
-Gregory Peck and David Seltzer (the writer) were on separate planes that were struck by lightning three days apart.
-A charter plane that had been rented for use in the movie crashed the day they were supposed to use it, killing the passengers in the car it hit; the victims were the pilot's wife and children. (Did anyone else just get chills?)
-A guard was killed while the crew was filming at the safari park; two lions came into his booth and attacked him.

There's a longer documentary called The Curse of The Omen, and when I watch it, I'll write a blog post that goes into more detail about these incidents and any other incidents the documentary covers.

I love The Omen, and watching the Omen Trilogy over a day or two inspired me to write my first Satan play...and now I've written almost twenty of them.  Thanks, Damien!

My rating: 10/10

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

A Haunting: Gateway to Hell

I watched an episode of Destination America's A Haunting not too long ago, and I thought it was one of the better paranormal shows I've seen, so I decided to watch another episode.  This time I watched a 2006 episode called "Gateway to Hell."

Country singer Bobby Mackey has always wanted to own a country music club, so he decides to turn the former Rock ‘n’ Roll Roadhouse in Wilder, Kentucky into Bobby Mackey’s, despite the fact that his pregnant wife Janet has a bad feeling about the place.  Soon after Bobby buys the building, a man named Carl Lawson comes by and says that he used to be a handyman at the former club until it was shut down due to all the murders (there were six in the club’s last year alone); he warns Bobby and Janet that the club may cause people to turn violent, but Bobby isn’t worried since his club will attract a different type of crowd.  One day Janet sees the kitchen sink fill up with blood and feels a hand on her back trying to push her in, but when new employee Carl runs in the room after hearing her screams, the sink is empty.  Janet tells Bobby what happened, but he doesn’t take her seriously since he doesn’t believe in ghosts. (Really?  You don’t think a building where A BUNCH OF MURDERS happened might possibly be haunted?)  One night Officer Larry Hornsby is driving by and sees someone in the window of the club, so he calls for backup; when Hornsby and his fellow officer enter the building, loud music starts playing backstage, and they hear the voices of a man and a woman.  They hear the front door slam, but when they run into the parking lot, no one is there.

Janet is sweeping up a shattered light bulb when something pushes her down the stairs; after she hits the floor, she looks at the top of the stairway and sees a male spirit.  Bobby and Carl rush Janet to the hospital, afraid she’s going to lose the baby; she goes into labor and gives birth to a daughter.  Bobby Mackey’s opens a few weeks later, and Bobby tells Carl not to tell the customers about what’s been going on there.  In the storage room, Carl finds a diary belonging to a woman named Johanna, who was a dancer at the club decades ago and was afraid that her father had killed her lover; she poisoned her father and then herself.  The diary says that Johanna will “roam the halls of the club for all eternity, waiting for her lover to return.”  That night Carl (who now lives above the club) is awoken when he has trouble breathing, then the power goes out, so Carl goes to check the breakers; while he’s in the basement, he finds a hidden door in the floor and opens it to find a deep well.  After he closes the door, he turns to see the spirits of two men behind him.
Carl’s behavior changes after this, and Bobby confides in his friend Doug Hensley, a writer, who asks if he can talk to Carl about it; Carl tells Doug, “This place is evil.  I’ve seen stuff I can’t explain.”  Carl says that he only keeps working there so he can protect Janet and Bobby.  Janet tells Doug about the experiences she’s had in the club, and Doug decides to research the history of the building.  He finds out that two men (Alonzo Walling and Scott Jackson) were hung for murdering a socialite named Pearl Bryan, who was five months pregnant at the time of her death; Walling said that he would haunt the place where Pearl’s head was found.  Pearl’s body was found near a slaughterhouse, and it is believed that Walling and Jackson had put Pearl’s head in a well that was in the basement of the slaughterhouse.  This should come as a surprise to no one: the location where the slaughterhouse stood is now Bobby Mackey’s, and there is probably a decapitated head in the well Carl found.

Doug brings in Patricia Michelle, a psychic, to check out the club.  Carl says, “They’re here,” and Patricia cuts him off and asks him not to say anything and to let her walk through the club and see what she can pick up with her second sight.  She sees the spirit of a woman and asks what her name is; the spirit says her name is Johanna.  Patricia asks Johanna if she’ll let her send her “to the light,” and Johanna responds, “No, lady, don’t send me to no light.”  (Being a ghost is no excuse for bad grammar, Johanna.)  In the basement, Johanna looks down into the well and has a vision of a woman’s head in there.  Patricia feels dizzy and nauseous, so she is escorted to the bar area, so she can sit and have a glass of water.  Carl begins acting scared, and Patricia senses two male spirits in the room; she tells Carl that the spirits are trying to use his body and that he needs to ask a minister for help.  Doug brings in a minister, who says Bobby Mackey’s is “the most evil site that he’d ever stood foot on in his life” and that Carl is possessed by demons.  He agrees to perform an exorcism, and as he prays, Carl’s demeanor and voice changes, and he becomes violent, so Bobby and Doug come in to help hold him down.  The minister continues with the exorcism, and Carl starts speaking backwards and in Latin, at one point saying “I am Satan.”  The exorcism is successful, and Carl decides not to work at Bobby Mackey’s anymore (smart move, Carl); Janet also decides never to set foot in the club again, but Bobby still claims that he has never seen any paranormal activity there. (Seriously?  You witnessed an EXORCISM!  That seems pretty paranormal to me.)

This episode of A Haunting was pretty creepy, and you know I won’t be going to Bobby Mackey’s anytime soon (or ever).

My rating: 8/10

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Movie Spotlight: Vamps

Vamps is a 2012 movie starring Alicia Silverstone, Krysten Ritter, Sigourney Weaver, Todd Barry, Justin Kirk, Richard Lewis, Dan Stevens, Zak Orth, Wallace Shawn, Kristen Johnson, and Malcolm McDowell.  Goody (Silverstone) and Stacy (Ritter) are vampires and best friends living in Manhattan; Goody was turned in the 1840s, while Stacy wasn't turned until the 1990s.  They were both turned by the same vampire (Ciccerus, played by Sigourney Weaver) and refuse to drink human blood, drinking rat blood instead.  Also, Stacy's new boyfriend (Stevens) happens to be the son of Van Helsing, world-famous vampire slayer.

I decided to watch this movie because I've enjoyed Krysten Ritter in everything I've seen her in, and Vamps was no exception (I was also happy to see Todd Barry since he's one of my favorite stand-up comics).  Most vampire movies are dark and serious, but this one was fun and lighthearted in comparison, so it was a nice change of pace.  I prefer funny movies, and I don't think there are enough vampire comedies, so I'm glad I stumbled across this movie.

My rating: 7.5/10

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Book Spotlight: The Bigfoot books by Graham Roumieu

If you're in the mood for some paranormal humor, check out Graham Roumieu's Me Write Book: It Bigfoot Memoir and Bigfoot: I Not Dead.  These books are hilarious, and they're quick reads because there are lots of illustrations (which are also the work of Roumieu).  I laughed out loud many times while reading these books, and I enjoyed reading something from Bigfoot's point of view.  Bigfoot is misunderstood, smelly, and a better writer than you'd think.  He's also friends with the Loch Ness Monster, who wrote the introduction to Me Write Book, and is an aspiring stand-up comedian...I don't know about you, but if I saw that Bigfoot was coming to a comedy club near me, I would buy tickets immediately. ; )

You can find more info about Roumieu's books and see some of his illustrations here:

My rating: 9/10

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Haunted Theaters of the Carolinas by Cheralyn Lambeth

I met Cheralyn Lambeth when I attended a Ghost Huntiing Tech panel at Atomacon (in North Charleston, SC) last November and was happy to learn that she was the author of a book that had been in my Amazon wish list for a few weeks.  The book is called Haunted Theaters of the Carolinas, and since I'm a playwright/paranormal blogger who majored in theatre in college, it should come as no surprise that I enjoyed this book.  Haunted Theaters of the Carolinas was published  in 2009 and focuses on 21 theaters (16 in North Carolina and 5 in South Carolina).  The book is very informative, as Lambeth includes some history about each of the theaters, and I really liked when she talked about her own paranormal experiences at some of the theaters, such as Roanoke Island's Waterside Theatre, where she heard footsteps pass her, then saw a door open and close when there was no one there.  I enjoyed reading about all of the theaters, but especially Charleston's Dock Street Theatre since I have been there many times and Charlotte's Loonis McGlohon Theatre/Spirit Square because it is part of the Blumenthal Performing Arts Center, and I saw Shatner's World and The Book of Mormon in their Belk Theater.  I have never seen a ghost at the Dock Street Theatre, but I had heard that it is haunted by a prostitute named Nettie Dickerson, who died when lightning struck the railing on the balcony she was standing on.  Though I already knew that story, I appreciated that Lambeth gave more details about Dickerson's background that what I had heard before.  I also found out that the Dock Street is said to be haunted by Junius Brutus Booth (John Wilkes Booth's father), who stayed there in 1838 when it was the Planter's Hotel.

If you're interested in books about haunted places, check out this book...and if you happen to be an actor, playwright, director, stage manager, etc. or just enjoy going to plays, I bet you'll find it really interesting. Now I know what to look out for if I see a play at any of the places discussed in the book. ; )

My rating: 8.5/10

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Coolest socks ever

I got these alien socks at the International UFO Museum and Research Center gift shop in Roswell last year...they're my favorite socks, and they match the neon green Roswell t-shirt I bought on the trip. : )

They sell them on their website, so if you want your own pair, you can buy them here:

Monday, March 24, 2014

Mark your calendars...

The Roswell UFO Festival is scheduled for July 5th and 6th.  I went last year, and it was so much fun that I wish I could go every year...and it inspired me to start this blog!  The schedule won't be up until closer to the festival, but you can look at pictures from last year on their website.  I don't think I'll be able to go this year, so if any of you guys go and would like to write a guest post about your experience, let me know!