Sunday, April 5, 2015

Goosebumps: The Movie

   Been so looking forward to seeing this final product and was happy to find a few photos on IMDB. I love Jack Black already, but also really hope that writers Carl Ellsworth (Red Eye, Disturbia) and Scott Alexander (Ed Wood, 1408) capture the spookiness and campiness of our other favorite spooky book series! 

Scary Stories: A Documentary

Our favorite childhood book series is not only on its way to being a feature film (see more here, let's just cross our fingers and hope they don't mess it up), but it may also soon be the subject of an in-depth documentary which will focus on the lure and love of the series as well as its controversy. Gammell's art has haunted us and Schwartz' stories have frightened us for decades. Now, filmmaker Cody Meirick wants to discuss the series and all it has become. 

To donate money, visit their IndieGoGo page here! And also check out their website for more information: For more updates, "Like" the project on Facebook!

Had no idea just how banned the series is, thank goodness it wasn't at my schools.  The Scary Story series was the most checked out, shared, and talked about series of books throughout all of my elementary school and even middle school years. I couldn't be more grateful to have spent my beginning years of reading with my head stuck in a series that really made me think, wonder, and stay fascinated about the unexplained. Especially because I reading was very hard for me, I just couldn't stay focused. I soon realized it was because I hadn't been reading anything I found interesting - until I found Scary Stories. Not only did this series get me more open to reading, but they peaked my interest in all things spooky, something that has heavily influenced me as a writer and filmmaker - something I just wouldn't have pursued if it wasn't for this series and other books like it. It's a real bummer that people have banned the series out of so many schools. If I had kids, these books would be required reading! 

Saturday, April 4, 2015

It Follows: To Review or To Rant?

    Just saw the movie a few days ago and have to say it was... interesting. I feel so weird about it because I love a lot of it, but also hate a lot of it, too. There were such cool moments and then such awful/unexplained/trite ones. When I left the theatre, I felt like "we get it, It Follows, you're trying to be the urban outfitters of horror films..." But then again, I couldn't get that cool music out of my head!

   First of all, like I said, the music was great! At least the main theme was. It felt eerie and old school, like it paid homage to horror classics of the 70's and 80's. But there were other bits of music that felt weird, like the scene where she puts her make up on in the mirror. It seemed forced, like it was trying to be quirky and awkward - it took me out of the unity of the film, like I wasn't along for the ride anymore, and instead on the outside looking in, and being irritated.

   The production design was straight out of the 70's and 80's too, which is a cool choice, everything was old school and vintage, but again it felt heavily forced as if the filmmakers relied on it to keep the story interesting. If it were me, I'd just place the movie in the 70's or 80's and not care too much about being "hipster" - just tell the story, if it's better set in another era, go there! I would have liked it a lot better if they had committed to that.

   There were great filmmaking/story decisions and then horrible ones back to back. I loved (although it was sad and scary) the part where she leans out of the car and her hand touches the wild flowers on the ground, and then when she passes out, her hand falls on the flowers- beautiful. But then so much of the movie is filled with dissolves and weird cuts that again feel forced and awkward. There were a lot of moments that felt off or unexplained pulling me out of the story over and over too, so it was hard for me to care about the characters.

   Speaking of characters, what the Hell? I'll start with those who were actually believable: Kelly (the sister), Greg, Paul, and Hugh. They weren't likable characters (accept Kelly) but at least they were written better and did a great job acting-wise. Everyone else irritated me so much! Jay, kept making one mistake after another so I just kind of hated her by the end, which really shouldn't happen since she's the protag'. The character I truly hated, more so than anything, even more so than the scary "followers," is Yara, the quirky girl with the glasses. She just felt so trite and forced. Like we get it, you're the weird one. But be something more than that. Especially in a scary movie where you all need help. I guess I'll chock it up to bad writing. So weird that some characters are written well and others aren't.

   The overall story is a neat idea, but it's a bit flawed - maybe. Let me explain (or explore). While watching it, I wondered if this was some kind of statement on rape or promiscuity. If it's about rape, is it that when you're a victim of rape, things will never be the same, that you now attract a darkness that can come after you and find you once again? Scary! And/or that you'll forever be treated terribly by others, is that what "follows"? A bad reputation? Same with if it deals with promiscuity. Reputation, again? Or hell, even a statement about STD's? Am I giving this movie too much credit, thinking it's about something much deeper than it really is? If so, then that's a bummer. I'm just trying to like it, I guess.

   The other thing that's tricky is that "It" appears in the form of some person that only the victim (Jay) can see. The problem with this is that it deals with strangers and clones - two archetypes no one in an audience really cares about. We don't know them or know what they're capable of and therefore they aren't scary. Mystery and faked identity is scary and awesome, don't get me wrong, but show me what they do! Luckily, in the beginning we see a girl, who is being followed, get killed - ok now we know what they can do, so the "followers" should be scary. The reason they're not however, is because we see them, and they are in the form of clones, which just doesn't work (especially the Yara clone, like please die already!) That being said, the one clone that was truly scary for me was the one that appeared as the dead girl from the beginning. This made me wonder if perhaps all of the followers are actually people (or in the form of people) the "It" has killed, which is fucking awesome! The only problem is that it came up out of nowhere and then was never discussed. It wasn't clear so I'm not sure if it is part of the story, or if I'm just making crap up. If it is not part of the story, then why WOULD it be scary for Jay to see the previously dead girl from the beginning - she didn't know her, so it's not scary.

   What I do like about It Follows, is that it is not you're typical horror film, and not a cheesy slasher (although who doesn't love one of those once in awhile). I love that many parts of it are eerie and they worked with it, they really focus on that mood and it's the strongest part of the movie, carrying the story all together (cause Lord knows the characters didn't). Just before my friend and I saw the film, I was telling her that I wished scary movies used eerie-ness and spookiness as a general tool throughout films and less cheesy gore, so I do have to say that this made me have a lot more respect for the film. It was beautiful, eerie, and suspenseful, three things I really like. However, it just needed more. Alright, enough about what I think, what are your thoughts on the movie? Why is everyone so in love with it?

The Ripper

I don't know about you guys, but this really seems to be the most convincing theory so far! It really answers the questions that have puzzled experts for years. "Jack" had to have been a man amongst the crowd, a man we'd least expect. I also wonder if he perhaps knew the police route and schedule, knowing what he could get away with and at what times (the reason he told police there would be an officer at the body of Polly Nichols, though there hadn't been one there when he left her). Check this amazing episode of Missing Evidence out and tell me what you think.