Nov 30, 2014

LIMBER


Nov 29, 2014

DENVER SPIDERMAN

On a September evening in 1941, Philip Peters was walking home when he bumped into an old acquaintance. The 59-year-old Theodore Coneys excused himself, although it was no accident that they had run into each other. Coneys, down on his luck and without a penny to his name, had every intention of meeting Peters on that evening to ask him for money.

Unfortunately, while Peters was independently wealthy, his money had been running out as he cared for his ailing wife who, most recently, had been hospitalized two weeks prior due to a broken hip. Peters respectfully declined to Theodore and went on his way; Coneys, however, was not done - not ready to starve on the streets.

So he kept an eye on Peters’ house and watched him come and go. As Theodore noted Mr. Peters' schedule, he found a time where Philip had forgotten to lock the door and at this point he went inside and out of the increasingly cold elements. In the house he found food and shelter and even had time to explore the house to find a hidden entrance inside a closet that led into the attic. Realizing that he could remain quite hidden from Philip Peters, Theodore Coneys took up residence in the small attic space, sneaking down at night for food and water.

One night, Coneys had come out of the attic thinking Peters to be at the hospital visiting with his wife, although unbeknown to Theodore, Peters had only taken a nap. Coneys snuck out of the attic and slid down to the kitchen, taking only minimal care as not to be heard. The noises awoke Philip, who went downstairs to investigate, although this would prove to be fatal. Startled and caught, Theodore Coneys grabbed the nearest object, a cast iron, and bludgeoned Mr. Peters to death.

Curious neighbors, noting Peters’ unusual absence, came to the house to check in and found the doors locked. After a call to the police, the body of Mr. Peters was found bloodied and quite deceased. Investigating and finding no signs of forced entry, the police labeled it a closed case.

Meanwhile Mrs. Peters had ended her stay at the hospital and had returned home in the wake of her husband's death. At night, Mrs. Peters and her housekeeper would hear noises and see shadows, and made frequent phone calls to the authorities. When the police would come to examine the house, they searched inside and out, noting the small hole in the closet, but determining that no normal sized adult could possibly fit there and did no further probing.

Months went by and more phone calls were made; the police stopped responding, believing Mrs. Peters to be crazy. So bad, she thought it was, that she simply left with her housekeeper. The rumors that the house was haunted began to arise; kids would dare each other to go in, but none ever would, because from the streets they could see the shadows moving and hear the noises coming from inside.

It wasn’t until July 30, 1942, that the police on a routine patrol happened to catch movement from inside the house. Upon entering, they heard footsteps running away; as they followed, they heard a “click” as the latch to the attic entrance was unlocked. The police followed upstairs and saw Coneys’ legs just outside of the hole; grabbing onto him, the officer pulled back and an emaciated and crazed Coneys fell on the floor. Small and frail, he was unable to fight.

Coneys admitted to the crime and explained in gruesome detail how it had happened. He was tried and convicted and sentenced to a life-term in the Colorado State Penitentiary in Canon City, Colorado, where he died on May 16, 1967. Local newspapers had dubbed him the “Denver Spider Man of Moncrieff Place.”
Source.

Nov 28, 2014

WATCH: THE MACHINE

 
It’s inevitable that the idea of what defines humanity appears in every film about robots. The most famous robot movie of all time, The Terminator, would not even explore this idea until its superior sequel. And Blade Runner, perhaps one of the most divisive films of all time, had already beaten it to the punch.

The Machine is more like Blade Runner than any other film that also explores this idea of organic versus synthetic life, while bringing with it a hypo-technical style recently modernized by director Joseph Kosinksi in his films TRON: Legacy and Oblivion, but only after the look had already been established in Kubrick’s 2001.


Vincent (Toby Stephens, "Black Sails"), a scientist experimenting in synthetic life, is in a tough spot. Though he’s willingly working for and accepting money from the defense department of a very future government to work toward recycling fallen human soldiers and turning them into warfare robots, he’s actually doing so to try to find a way to help his young daughter, trapped inside herself by a severe cerebral palsy-like condition. Ava (The Pact’s Caity Lotz) is Vincent’s new hire and someone whose own previous experimentation in synthetic life has made Vincent sure she’s going to be the one who helps to realize his theories and brings them to fruition. Well, that she does – after she’s killed and resurrected as a sentient robot.

It’s here we ask that question again. What is humanity? Is it flesh and blood, the brain, the heart, or the soul? All of that? None of it?

Wait a minute! Robots?? Run!


The Machine is a great little film, aided by beautiful cinematography, great performances, genuine emotions, an awesome retro synth score by composer Tom Raybould, and a refreshingly serious non-Will Smith take on the sub-genre. If you’re looking for balls-to-the-wall action, then you’re going to be waiting until the last ten minutes. If you’re looking for some kind of horror/thriller hybrid, then you’re not going to get that really whatsoever. But if you’re looking for a philosophical discussion on what humanity is, wrapped around a familiar but not overdone story, you haven’t been able to do better than The Machine since Terminator 2: Judgment Day.

Nov 27, 2014

CANNIBALLESSE

In 2011, Indonesian police arrested a 29-year-old cannibalistic woman who admitted to killing and eating up to 30 girls and then her husband. She kept the human meat in her refrigerator to eat when she pleased. The woman also confessed to cooking human meat for her friends and relatives at dinner parties held at her house. She blamed her inner desires for killing and eating the people and said she would do it again if she had the chance.



Story and image source. 

(In case you missed the joke...Happy Thanksgiving.)

Nov 23, 2014

DEATH STAIN

A stain, shaped like a human body, can be found on the concrete floor of the Athens Mental Health and Retardation Center in Athens, Ohio. According to legend, this stain marks the location where the body of a patient, Margaret Schilling, lay undiscovered for several weeks back in 1979.

A team of forensic scientists recently tested the stain to determine whether it’s a genuine human decomposition stain, or if it was created artificially. They published the results of their investigation in the Nov 2008 issue of the
Journal of Forensic Sciences (vol 53, no. 6), “Analysis of Suspected Trace Human Remains from an Indoor Concrete Surface.”

Their conclusion: Yes, it’s a human decomposition stain, although the stain has been made more prominent over the years by attempts to remove it:

Margaret’s body was probably in contact with the area of the stain for a period of 4–5 weeks. During this time, significant decomposition is known to have occurred, indicating that the room was apparently warm enough to facilitate bacterial degradation. During this time, anaerobic bacterial decomposition could have taken place in the contact areas between the concrete and the heavier, fatty areas of Margaret’s body, such as the buttocks, back and shoulders. Bacterial action is supported by the odd-numbered fatty acids found in the residues. Such decomposition, facilitated by the moisture naturally present in Margaret’s body, formed free fatty acids from the lipids in her subcutaneous tissue. This process may have been accompanied, in part or in whole, by the basic conditions provided through contact with the concrete. During the 4- to 5-week period in which the free fatty acids were being formed, and in any subsequent washing over the years, at least half of the sodium ions were displaced by calcium ions from the concrete. The result is a waxy residue of mostly calcium palmitate which is up to 2 mm thick in certain areas of the stain. In most areas of the stain, the waxy residue also resides in surface pores in the concrete, consistent with the suggestion that removal of the stain was attempted on at least one occasion.

At some point since the removal of Margaret’s remains in January of 1979, the floor has likely been treated with an acidic chemical— probably Blu-Lite (20.5% phosphoric acid)—to lighten the color of the waxy residue and of the concrete. The chemical etching was not uniform across the entire floor surface, however, but was selectively restricted to a shape that resembled the apparent outline of a human body.

Original source unknown.

Nov 21, 2014

THE SOAP MAKER

Leonarda Cianciulli (November 14, 1893, Montella, Province of Avellino – October 15, 1970) was an Italian serial killer. Better known as the “Soap-Maker of Correggio,” she murdered three women in Correggio between 1939 and 1940, and turned their bodies into soap. Having been born the child of a rape, she led a sad childhood with a hateful mother. 
 ...
In 1939, Cianciulli heard that her eldest son, Giuseppe, was to join the Italian army in preparation for World War II. Giuseppe was her favorite child, and she was determined to protect him at all costs. She came to the conclusion that his safety required human sacrifices. She found her victims in three middle-aged women, all neighbors. After murdering her first victim with an axe she got rid of the body in this way (her own words):
“I threw the pieces into a pot, added seven kilos of caustic soda, which I had bought to make soap, and stirred the whole mixture until the pieces dissolved in a thick, dark mush that I poured into several buckets and emptied in a nearby septic tank. As for the blood in the basin, I waited until it had coagulated, dried it in the oven, ground it and mixed it with flour, sugar, chocolate, milk and eggs, as well as a bit of margarine, kneading all the ingredients together. I made lots of crunchy tea cakes and served them to the ladies who came to visit, though Giuseppe and I also ate them.”
Cianciulli’s second victim was killed in exactly the same manner. Her final victim, opera singer Virginia Cacioppo was killed in the same way but with one twist:
“She ended up in the pot, like the other two…her flesh was fat and white, when it had melted I added a bottle of cologne, and after a long time on the boil I was able to make some most acceptable creamy soap. I gave bars to neighbors and acquaintances. The cakes, too, were better: that woman was really sweet.”
Cianciulli was caught due to an eyewitness and found guilty of murder. She was sentenced to thirty years in jail where she died of a brain hemorrhage.


Story source.

Nov 20, 2014

THE SHAPE OF FEAR!!!!!!!!!



Absolutely terrible.

SHITTY FLICKS: BEAR

Shitty Flicks is an ongoing column that celebrates the most hilariously incompetent, amusingly pedestrian, and mind-bogglingly stupid movies ever made by people with a bit of money, some prior porn-directing experience, and no clue whatsoever. It is here you will find unrestrained joy in movies meant to terrify and thrill, but instead poke at your funny bone with their weird, mutant camp-girl penis. 

WARNING: I tend to give away major plot points and twist endings in my reviews because, whatever. Shut up.



If the film Bear has taught me anything, it's this: run, screaming, from bears. For they want nothing more than to trash your minivan, steal your purse, and exacerbate your already strained familial relationships.

Meet Nick. He's 20-something, has a band/girlfriend, and willingly drives a minivan.

His brother is Sam, who might be in his late-20-somethings. You can tell straightaway by his wardrobe that he has never approved of any of Nick's choices.

Nick and Sam and their girlfriends then meet Bear. 

"I don't like the way he's looking at us," says one of the girlfriends about Bear, who seriously looks just adorable. Luckily Sam is there to save the day and shoot Bear something like 37 times.

Nick does not approve of this at all. "That bear was innocent! Now there's one less bear in the world! Thanks a lot!"

In the interim, Sam has just enough time to make an offensive joke about the Chinese before another Bear shows up.

"That's not the same Bear," offers up one of the girlfriends. "This one's got balls."

I honestly don't know if this was intended as a joke or not.

AWWWWWWWW!!

They turn to Sam and his magical gun, but it's empty. They promptly run and flee directly into the van, prepared to leave Jellystone Park forever.

"I don't think so!" says Bear as he pushes the entire fucking minivan over, his strength fueled by his new-found hatred for humans.   

"I'm sorry," Nick says directly to the back of Bear's gigantic fur ass. "I did not mean to invade your home."

In response, Bear lays down next to his fallen cub, looks sad, and has flashbacks to that time this dude named Sam emptied an entire clip into a fucking baby bear.

In the midst of the overturned minivan carnage, all of them offer up legitimately great ideas as to how they can improve their situation:

Girlfriend # 1 picks up a cake box, looks forlornly down at the cake that I guess was for someone's birthday, and thinks, "I wonder if I can fix it."

Sam suggests that Nick get out his guitar and play some music for the bears, in hopes they will sign him to a record deal.

Girlfriend # 2 takes this opportunity to offer up her own pearls of wisdom: "Stop fighting."

Working together, they right the minivan, setting it back on its tires, so that they may continue the minivan's goal of parking its fat ass directly in the express lane and not moving for any fucking reason unless it were to spot a Walmart at the next exit. (And don't forget your Pennsylvania plates, minivan!)

Nick tells Sam he can probably fix the minivan's engine, so he grins as widely as possible for some reason and slips out of the passenger seat. As Nick does all the work, Sam stands over him and continues to berate all of Nick's life choices. According to Sam, Nick's girlfriend is "smokin' hot," but not marriage material, and his career so far has consisted of playing gigs in dive bars for tips. Nick lets all of this roll off his shoulders with ease because he's inhumanly affable. And he LOVES bears.

AWWWWWWWW!!
Meanwhile, inside the van, the girls are getting along famously. "Suck my dick!" one of them says to the other. 

If only.

They quickly forgive each other, though, and trade some secrets, and cry.

Nick manages to fix the van's engine, but then the tire falls off, so it looks like they're walking. 

"I'm getting a really bad vibe like someone's watching us," says Girlfriend # 1.

Cue Bear to stick his head up out of a fucking bush like this is a cartoon. I love it.

Our characters run to a nearby drainpipe and climb inside, which has thankfully been punched full of holes, likely by Bear after a bad day at the mine. This allows Bear to stick his paws in at his convenience and bat around our characters. It's during this moment that Bear becomes not just a vicious animal but also a common thief, as he quite literally steals Girlfriend # 2's purse. I'm not sure why - perhaps it was filled with pic-a-nic foods.

Then they run BACK to the minivan.

HUH????

"Instead of Groundhog Day it's like Grizzly Day where we keep coming back to the same place reliving our terror over and over but instead of the groundhog seeing his shadow it's the bear coming out of the drainpipe trying to kill everybody," says Girlfriend # 1, which is one of the most punchable things anyone has ever said. 

Bear agrees, so he rips her out of the minivan and destroys her. Sad Middle Eastern vocalizations fill the musical score, telling us what has happened is both upsetting AND mystical.

Nick, not quite terribly sure how to confront these new tragic events, runs out of the minivan, cries, and begins to jog in place. Sam hugs him and drags him back to the van, as incensed and disturbed by the jogging-in-place as we all are.

Bear, not satisfied with having taken out Nick's girlfriend, charges the van for Round Two. His adorable, gigantic bear ass can be seen circling the minivan, choosing the weakest spot to attack. 

"I'm going to fucking kill your babies!" Sam shouts at the attacking bear. "I'm going to eat your fucking babies! I am going to skullfuck your fucking face!" he adds, which is not only absurd, but also a bit redundant, but, he's in a really bad place right now, guys.

"He came back for retribution!" Nick offers up. "He came back for his honor! Native Americans believe bears contain a human spirit!"

Then Bear flips over the van. Again.

As our remaining characters root around the van's contents for a potential weapon, it cuts to the bear sitting on top of the van, lounging, one paw awesomely resting on a tire. Memes were invented for this shot.

AWWWWWWWW!!
The back of the DVD case boldly exclaims (including quotation marks) "What makes the film even better is the use of REAL bears, no CGI here, folks," and is credited to exactly no one. And it's true: At no point does the bear seem computer generated or automated. And at no point does the actual footage of the bear suggest it was shot with the same camera as the main action.

Way to go, jack-asses.

Our characters devise a plan to lure the bear inside their van, with the aid of some birthday cake, and then escape the van with enough time to run around the other side and close the door, trapping the bear inside. 

It all goes exactly to plan until Nick gets trapped inside the van with the bear and gets his human ass handed to him. He survives with only a few scratches as the injured bear takes off.

"This is never going to end, is it?" bellows Girlfriend # 2, who is apparently reading my mind.

Sam decides to try and hoof it to their intended destination - a local steakhouse - leaving Sam's girlfriend and Nick behind to openly discuss the affair they had that one time.

"It didn't mean anything to me. You were a good lay, that's all," Nick says, who up until now was supposed to be the likable one.

Girlfriend # 2 begins to sob and the actor playing Nick clearly fucks up his dialogue, but the scene forges ahead, anyway.

Meanwhile, Sam breaks through the shrubbery and finds himself in the parking lot of the steakhouse. And Bear follows, hilariously, right behind him. Sam cowers behind a car for a moment before Bear grabs him and drags him all the fucking way BACK to the van!

Holy shit!

"That bear wants us to suffer," Nick explains. "He brought Sam back because there's unfinished business. That bear knows more about us than we do about ourselves."

"I'm pregnant," adds the girlfriend. (It's Nick's.)

"We Bears are a proud race," adds Bear. (I wish.)

Bear ends in tears, confessions, self-sacrifice, and bears.

The moral of the story is: next time you drive in a minivan with your brother, make sure you're not fucking his wife, or else bears.












































Nov 18, 2014

DIE, WHEN YOU WANT TO

“There was no air; only the dead, still night fired by the dog days of August. Not a breath. I had to suck in the same air I exhaled, cupping it in my hands before it escaped. I felt it, in and out, less each time…until it was so thin it slipped through my fingers forever. I mean, forever.” 


Nov 17, 2014

HEART TO HEART

On March 16, 1995, Terry Cottle shot and killed himself in the bathroom of the home he shared with his wife Cheryl. There had been an argument—there had always been arguments—and Terry had threatened himself with a gun just months before. Cheryl heard the shot from the other side of the door after watching her husband enter the bathroom with a .22. She heard him gasp “Help me, I’m dying,” and then he was gone. He’d fired a single round into his brain.

The only possible silver lining was that Terry, 33, had been in good physical condition—and an organ donor. Terry’s heart saved the life of 57-year-old Sonny Graham, who had contracted an incurable virus of the heart a year earlier.

In 1996, Sonny wrote a letter of appreciation to Terry’s widow, and though the donor procurement agency had advised against contact, they decided to meet. And when they did, Sonny fell instantly in love with the widow of the man whose heart now beat in his chest. “I felt like I had known her for years . . . I couldn’t keep my eyes off her,” Sonny told a local newspaper in 2006. They were both married at the time, but within a few years both had divorced, and they moved in together in 2001. It was a rocky relationship, just like Cheryl and Terry’s had been, but they eventually married in 2004.

Four years later, with no indication that anything was seriously amiss, Sonny’s life ended the same way Terry’s did—suicide by gunshot. The heart that had beat on for 12 years of borrowed time stopped beating for good.


Story source.

Text source.

Nov 16, 2014

REVIEW: THE DEAD AND THE DAMNED 2


You know what we need more of? Zombie movies. 

Just kidding!

But people keep making them. Thanks a lot, "The Walking Dead."

The zombie sub-genre is hard to get right. That show I just mentioned (perhaps you've heard of it?) is currently getting it wrong, as is...well, mostly everything else that contains the Z word. It's been a while since one came out that was even worth valid analysis. But that doesn't keep filmmakers from trying to make them.

The Dead and the Damned 2 (I have not seen the first one, though I sincerely doubt that matters) weaves together a cast of different characters coming together in the wake of a zombpocalypse. One of them is a former military soldier on a mission to lay his family to rest; another is a deaf girl being victimized  by decidedly non-zombie threats (read: redneck penis); then you meet an old man named Wilson living in a train car; and then we've got the immortal Richard Tyson as a fatigued police sheriff - so fatigued, in fact, that he's barely awake for any of his scenes. Naturally, all these characters come together and begin to rely on each other to survive the zombie-infested landscape their world has become. (Well, maybe not Richard Tyson, who shot one scene and fucked off from the rest of the film.) Along the way, some of these characters will be eaten like today's fricassee, and the ones that survive we'll soon "care about."

The Dead and the Damned 2 is not a good film, but that doesn't at all mean you shouldn't watch it. Entertaining for all the wrong reasons, it was a film made when a bunch of people were probably at the diner when one of them asked, "What do you wanna do now?" and someone answered, "We could make a zombie movie?"

And then The Dead and the Damned 2 happened. And we're all the better for it. It's sort of like the Forrest Gump of zombie films. It means well, and because it does, you give it a pass, but you just know there's not all that much going on upstairs.

(Zombie.)

The Dead and the Damned 2 is charming in its execution, although it's not trying to be. It's one of those accidental glorious train-wrecks that has to be seen to be believed. With a score clearly aping bits of the one John Murphy created for 28 Days Later, the "putting the family to rest" concept from the excellent Exit Humanity, and seemingly the amusing over-sized zombie head design from Burial Ground: The Nights of TerrorThe Dead and the Damned 2 is a combination of everything zombie-related that came before it, only getting everything wrong to such a degree that it validates its own existence because of the sheer ridiculousness it creates. There's even a scene in a shopping mall, because, why not?

Sledgehammers slammed into pudding-filled rubber skulls and charmingly stupid zombie designs await you, as does the most non-confrontational attempted rape scene ever committed to digital, dialogue so awkward and unnatural that it sounds like it had been run through an online auto-translator, and even a scene where our deaf girl strips down for bed and the camera pans down ever so slightly after its operator realized not all of her bare boobs were in frame. There, now they are.

The Dead and the Damned 2 is an excellent time waster. Don't expect good and you'll have a good time.

And that's all I have to say...about that.

Nov 15, 2014

THE JUDAS CRADLE (OUCH)

 
The Judas Cradle was a torture device intended to slowly impale the victim. Forced down on the point of the pyramid by either ropes or weights, the orifice placed on the point would slowly stretch and rip. Judas Cradles were never washed, so if this slow torture didn’t kill, the infection afterward would.
Source.

Nov 14, 2014

ESCAPE

My stepfather always hated me. When my mother married him and he moved into our house, my life turned into a living hell. He finds fault  in every little thing I do, was constantly shouting at me and calling me names. For him, I can never do anything right.

Pretty soon, all of the chaos at home began to affect my school life. I found it impossible to study and my grades started slipping. At the dinner table, I was so nervous that I hardly ate a thing. I gradually withdrew into myself and stopped hanging around with my friends.

Things began to grow from bad to worse. I became my stepfather’s punching bag. He started beating me at the slightest excuse. He was a strong man and I was too small to fight him off. Each punch and kick he delivered hurt me both physically and emotionally. It wasn’t long before I was diagnosed with depression and the doctors put me on medication.

Through all this, my mother stood by and refused to intervene. She obviously chose her new husband over me. That hurt me more than anything else. I gave up hope and prayed for the day when I could escape.

One day, I couldn’t take it anymore and ran away from home. I made it as far as the city, when the police found me and brought me home. When they took me back to my house, my stepfather was standing at the door waiting for me. His face was twisted in anger and rage.

As soon as the police left, he turned to me and said, “Did you think you could escape?”

That night, he beat me twice as bad as before. I cried myself to sleep. After that, the violence escalated. Every evening when he came home from work, I tried to avoid him, but it was no use. He began inventing excuses to beat me up. I never understood how anyone could be so mean and cruel. It seemed like it was all a big game to him. Each time he hit me, I could see how much he was enjoying it. My body was covered in bruises that it hurt to breathe.

He eventually went too far. One evening, he beat me so badly that I couldn’t move anymore. I just lay on the floor of my bedroom, staring at the ceiling. I didn’t know it at the time that I was bleeding internally. My mother begged him to bring me to hospital, but he just ignored her. He said I was faking it. During the night, I lay on the floor of my bedroom, moaning in pain and slowly slipping into unconsciousness. The next morning, my mother came in to check on me. However, it was too late. I was already dead.

Time passed…

I don’t know how much time passed…

Suddenly, I saw a bright light.

I heard a voice announce, “It’s a healthy baby boy!”

I started crying loudly.

Slowly, ever so slowly, I opened my eyes.

A man and a woman were staring at me.

They were smiling from ear to ear.

The man leaned down and touched my cheek.

In a gentle voice, he said, “Did you think you could escape?”


Story source. 

Nov 11, 2014

PRESERVES

Photograph from 1873 of a body preserved in a bog. The body had been found in 1871 in the Heidmoor near de:Rendswühren and is now on display at Gottorf Castle, Schleswig Germany. Dated around 1st or 2nd century AD.

Nov 7, 2014

LETTERS FROM A KILLER

Judith Ridgway was married to serial killer Gary Ridgway, “The Green River Killer,” for 13 years before his capture. While in prison, Gary constantly sent Judith letters, sometimes up to three a day.

“I’d get ten letters and they’d get all stacked up and then I’d write maybe half a page back or something. And it was painful to write the letters to him. Because my life was gone.”

The words were so devastating to Judith that she stopped opening his letters. She took out a pen and wrote one final letter to him. She had a question - perhaps the most important question of all:

“One I was wanting to know about is if he was going to kill me too. But he never did answer that question.”

Nov 5, 2014

REVIEW: A HAUNTING AT PRESTON CASTLE


Every horror aficionado has his or her weakness - something that will make them ignore all the signs of something deplorably bad and force them to throw caution to the wind. Some folks are into zombie films, some vampire ones. For me, it's the paranormal. Don't ask me why, because I couldn't tell you. That bug has been there for quite a while, but it seems to have intensified over the years, quite possibly because of the really satisfying output of fantastic fright films: The Innkeepers, The Pact, Lake Mungo, and pretty much anything James Wan has ever done not involving Jigsaw or race cars.

There is always an ongoing quest to discover that next great film that will get under the skin and cause a nice rash of chills. I always like to believe that just because a film doesn't have a huge budget or an intense marketing campaign that it's not capable of providing as spooky a time as those other films made by notable genre filmmakers.

Having watched A Haunting at Preston Castle, I can only say...that quest will have to continue. As generic a concept as one can get, a group of spunky teens break into the allegedly haunted Preston Castle with a video camera to chart the legendary abandoned building, and who knows, maybe even capture proof of the paranormal. Bad acting, immature directing, and one hollow script later, you end up with something that makes you wonder when people are going to stop trying the same old things over and over before they realize it's already been done by someone with far more talent, money, resources, and yeah, passion.


A Haunting at Preston Castle is nothing more than a collection of irritating performances, a formulaic concept, and unintentionally hilarious ghosts. The only saving grace (though it doesn't save anything) is the legitimately impressive and creepy Preston Castle, a real place in California that used to be a reform school until it closed its doors in 2010. Since then, it's sat abandoned, falling victim to the elements.

When a building getting old and crappy without any effort from anyone or anything is better than the script a filmmaker sat down to write, or the performances one hopes the actors were trying to nail, well...that's embarrassing.

Do you like young attractive casts? Point of view camera work? Friends jumping out from dark corners to scare each other? How about a lot of giggling? Teen girls saying the words "fuck" and "fucking"? Or them smacking gum as they point the camera right at their faces? Intensely, absurdly, unbelievably unlikable lead heroines?

If so, A Haunting at Preston Castle is for you.

If you're fourteen or under, bring your hiding blanket!

For everyone else, just stream Grave Encounters again.

Nov 4, 2014

SIN EATERS

"In the county of Hereford was an old custom at funerals to hire poor people, who were to take upon them all the sins of the party deceased, and were called sin-eaters. One of them, I remember, lived in a cottage on Ross high-way. The manner was thus: when the corpse was brought out of the house, and laid on the bier, a loaf of bread was delivered to the sin-eater over the corpse, as also a mazar-bowl (a gossip's bowl of maple) full of beer, which he was to drink up, and sixpence in money; in consequence whereof, he took upon him, ipso facto, all the sins of the defunct, and freed him or her from walking after they were dead. In North Wales, the sin-eaters are frequently made use of; but there, instead of a bowl of beer, they have a bowl of milk. This custom was by some people observed, even in the strictest time of the Presbyterian government. And at Dyndar, volens nolens the parson of the parish, the relations of a woman deceased there had this ceremony punctually performed according to her will. The like was done in the city of Hereford in those times, where a woman kept many years before her death, a mazar bowl for the sin-eater, and in other places in this county, as also at Brecon, at Llangore, where Mr. Gwin, the minister, about 1640, could not hinder this superstition."


-- Aubrey of Gentilisme, MS. quoted in Kennett's Par. Ant. vol. 2, p. 276.