Aside from tales of haunted houses, and ghosts, the religious horror genre is one of my favorites. These stories of people possessed by demonic forces are some of the creepiest in my opinion, because those demons can do crazy things to ordinary people! Now whether you actually believe in real world demon possession or not, these movies do have a basis in real life events. Maybe it’s not demons per se, but look at the things that mental illness can do to a person?! Still pretty scary.

Here are some of my favorite horror films in which exorcisms play a role:

The Exorcist (1973)

Source: thedistractedglobe.com

Source: thedistractedglobe.com

directed by William Friedkin

Of course I had to start with The Exorcist. No discussion of exorcisms, or even horror movies in general, would be complete without this fantastic film. I swear that the  more I watch this movie, the better and scarier it gets. A little girl possessed by a terrible demonic force just because she wanted to have a little fun with a Ouija board. I mean, that could have been me! The deterioration of her mind and body are terrifying, and her mother’s desperate measures to get her help are so moving. P.S. The book’s really good as well!

The Exorcist III (1990)

Source: denofgeek.com

Source: denofgeek.com

directed by William Peter Blatty

Now, while it’s no match for the original, I think the third film in this series still deserves a place on this list. This is an excellent film that has the police Lieutenant from the original film (now played by George C. Scott) investigating a series of murders that seem to link to a serial killer (modeled after the real life Zodiac killer) who is now dead. It seems that something (serial killer? demon?) is possessing an amnesiac, and traveling from body to body to commit his murders.

The Exorcism of Emily Rose (2005)

Source: imdb.com

Source: imdb.com

directed by Scott Derrickson

Inspired by the true case of a young girl, Anneliese Michel, who died after an unsuccessful (or unnecessary) exorcism attempt, The Exorcism of Emily Rose tells the story of a priest who is on trial for negligent homicide after the death of a young woman, Emily Rose, who died while he was performing an exorcism on her. The movie flashes back so that we can see the events that ultimately led to her unfortunate death… and those events are very creepy… especially when they take advantage of Jennifer Carpenter‘s (playing Emily Rose) double jointed-ness. I really enjoyed this unusual take on the exorcism genre.

The Last Exorcism (2010)

Source: gorestruly.com

Source: gorestruly.com

directed by Daniel Stamm

This found footage movie follows a charlatan, Reverend Cotton Marcus, who performs fake exorcisms making a documentary exposing the truth about the acts he has been performing on unsuspecting people. Unfortunately for him, his next “victim” is actually possessed, and so he gets more that he bargained for when he meets Nell. I felt like the found footage genre was used very well for this particular movie, keeping the viewer on their toes, and keeping things moving along and intense as Cotton realizes that he was wrong in thinking that all possessions are hoaxes. This movie also has a surprise in store at the end.

Exorcismus (2010)

Source: moviehunger.com

Source: moviehunger.com

directed by Manuel Carballo

Again focusing on a young girl, this film has the girl in question, Emma, being the one to think she herself is possessed, rather than having someone else suspect it. In fact, her parents are convinced that something is medically wrong with her, and so decide to have numerous doctors look into Emma’s condition. After she exhibits more strange and dangerous behaviors, she becomes convinced that she caused has some kind of demonic force to take possession of her mind and body and convinces her Uncle, who is a priest, to perform an exorcism on her. All is not exactly as it seems though….

I’d love to hear about your favorite horror movies featuring exorcisms! I’m always on the lookout for a good one.

In the past several years, home invasion-themed movies have heavily saturated the horror  genre. I consider this type of horror movie to be the most terrifying because it is something that actually happens in our society from time to time. I am from Connecticut and I will never forget the Cheshire home invasion back in 2007, when two men killed a mother and her two daughters while the father was bludgeoned and restrained in the basement.

Below are five home invasion horror films that are horrific, but worth a watch if this is a topic you can stomach. Just don’t be surprised if you find yourself sleeping with a knife under your pillow after watching these!

Haute Tension aka High Tension (2003)

high-tension-movie1

Source

This French slasher is one of the most disturbing horror movies I have ever seen (and I have seen many!). When college friends Marie (Cécile de France) and Alexa (Maïwenn) take a break from school at Alexa’s family country house, a sadistic serial killer decides to pay a visit. If you can make it through all the grisly murders, there’s an unexpected twist at the end.

Funny Games (2007)

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Funny Games, a remake of the 1997 German film by the same name, stars several well-known actors including Naomi Watts, Tim Roth, Michael Pitt, and Brady Corbett. Husband and Wife (Roth and Watts) and their son are taken hostage in their summer home by a couple of deranged teens. Though this film isn’t quite in the “horror” genre, it’s so horrific it might as well be. The captive family is taunted and tortured for hours on end by the two sociopathic serial killers, and forced to play sadistic and humiliating  “games” for the killers’ sick pleasure.

The Strangers (2008)

thestrangers2

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This one is my personal favorite. The Strangers, starring Scott Speedman and Liv Tyler, begins when James (Speedman) proposes to girlfriend Kristen (Tyler), while attending a wedding reception for friends. When Kristen unexpectedly turns him down, they must awkwardly spend the evening at James’s parents’ isolated cabin, which James had decorated with roses and candles in anticipation of  celebrating their engagement. This depressing scene turns very scary when three masked assailants show up at their door in the wee hours of the night.

The Collector (2009)

images-1

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This movie takes a creative twist on the home invasion theme. Arkin, played by Josh Stewart, has a serious problem. His estranged wife owes a lot of money to a bookie, and she must come up with the money before midnight or she and their young daughter will suffer the consequences. To save his wife and daughter, Arkin decides to break into the home of a wealthy family he has been doing handiwork for in order to breach their safe and steal their money. The only problem is someone else has targeted the home and has murderous intentions. Arkin must try to save the family he planned to steal from by rescuing them from a series of elaborate booby traps.

The Purge (2013)

images

Source

And finally, we come to The Purge, released earlier this year. One day every year for 12 hours, all emergency services are temporarily suspended so that US citizens can commit murder and any other acts of brutality toward whomever they choose without repercussion. Referred to as “the purge”, this annual event is intended to give people the opportunity to blow off steam and release aggression, while they live the remaining 364 days of the year in a crime-free environment. Ethan Hawke and Lena Headey play James and Mary Sandin, a wealthy couple with two children. James owes his financial security to the success of his home security system. However, the night of this year’s purge things go horribly wrong when the Sandin family’s lockdown is breached by malignant masked intruders.

And later this year, You’re Next will hit the big screen. Imagine a family reunion gone horribly wrong when unwelcome guests appear on the scene…

Now that we are officially in the midst of summer, with temperatures getting into the 90’s in many areas of the country, and  people headed to the beach, lakes, and rivers in droves, it only seems appropriate that I give you some of my favorite  water-based horror films. Not only can water be dangerous and deadly in itself, but so much lurks in it’s depths, unseen by the world… unless it wants to be seen, or some sorry soul invades its territory.

1. Jaws (1975)

Source: listal.com

Source: listal.com

Directed by Steven Spielberg

Obviously Jaws has to have the top spot here. The epitome of the water-based horror film, this film pits the sheriff and residents of Amity Island against a terrifying Great White shark who has a taste for human flesh. The film has the honor of scaring people so much that they were actually afraid to step foot in the water, and it even had its own Universal Studies ride until 2012 (which I had the pleasure of going on years ago). The theme music for Jaws is one of the most iconic scores in all of movie history, and the fact that the shark is rarely shown in the movie just adds to the terror… something is always lurking even if it can’t be seen.

2. Rogue (2007)

Source: johnofthedead.com

Source: johnofthedead.com

Directed by Greg Mclean

Sharks aren’t the only thing lurking beneath the water, and oceans aren’t the only body of water to avoid. In Rogue, a group of tourists, on a cruise exploring the rivers in an Austrailian National Park, run afoul of a crocodile when they steer off their normal course. This is why you should sometimes not take the road less traveled, because in this case, it can lead you straight into the lair of a crocdile, and towards almost-certain death!

3. Open Water (2003)

Source: movieclips.com

Source: movieclips.com

Directed by Chris Kentis

This is one of the most terrifying scenarios I can think of. Getting stranded in open water, with no chance of being able to swim back to land, and with only a glimmer of hope that you’ll be found by a passing boat. How long would you be able to survive? It would be bad enough just having to tread water, but then to have sharks show up and start to circle you? And to think that this is based on a true story…

4. Black Water (2007)

Source: drunkenzombie.com

Source: drunkenzombie.com

Directed by David Nerlich and Andrew Traucki

Another terrifying tale set in Australia, Black Water also pits its characters against a crocodile when they become stranded in a mangrove swamp, far away from civilization. Note to self: don’t go on a tour of any rivers/swamps in Australia. If Rogue and Black Water tell you anything, it’s that these places are not safe!!

5. The Bay (2012)

Source: beyondhollywood.com

Source: beyondhollywood.com

Directed by Barry Levinson

Think that crocodiles and sharks, and other large creatures are the only menace that lives in the water? Then you haven’t seen The Bay, in which the danger comes from a much smaller creature that has infested the water- mutant parasites that infect humans, and turn them into blood-thirsty hosts. This found-footage movie shows the destruction that an ecological disaster and government cover-up can cause.

6. Piranha (2010)

Source: cinefantastiqueonline.com

Source: cinefantastiqueonline.com

Directed by Alexandre Aja

This over-the-top horror film pits a multitude of spring-breakers against a horde of giant man-eating piranhas. When an earthquake unleashes the piranhas into Lake Victoria, after being sealed up in an underground lake for eons, all hell breaks loose. Bloody, gratuitous, and funny- this movie is not to be taken seriously in the slightest, but the gore definitely lives up to expectations.

7. The Reef (2010)

Source: horrorhappyhour.com

Source: horrorhappyhour.com

Directed by Andrew Traucki

Another water-based horror film from one of the directors of Black Water, this film once again pits our heroes against those pesky sharks, when their sailboat capsizes out near the Great Barrier Reef. The dilemma they face is whether to stay with the boat, and hope that help comes along before it sinks, or to try to swim to a near island before they get too weak. Either scenario includes avoiding the deadly sharks. What would you do?

No wonder my boyfriend’s greatest fear is the water… and the creatures that lurk beneath the surface!!

photo-1

For our next installment of Horror d’oeuvres we decided to pick the classic American horror/thriller film The Silence of the Lambs. Released in 1991, Jodie Foster stars as Clarice Starling (Jodie Foster), an FBI cadet who meets with an imprisoned cannibalistic killer (Anthony Hopkins) to obtain information about the motives of a prevalent serial killer who is currently at large. It doesn’t matter how many times I watch this movie, it’s equally disturbing each and every time.

We decided on the below menu, which is most likely self-explanatory to any of you who area already familiar with the movie. For those of you who aren’t, the quesadillas are called “Buffalo Bill” for the name the media has dubbed the serial killer that Clarice is trying to catch with the help of deranged prisoner Hannibal Lecter. We didn’t eat Buffalo Bill’s liver, but we did serve it with a fava bean dip and a nice bottle of chianti as Lecter would have done.

If you’re not familiar with what is quite possibly the most famous quote in the movie, here it is.

Hannibal Lecter: “A census taker once tried to test me. I ate his liver with some fava beans and a nice chianti.”

We ate our meals while watching the movie, but you may not have the stomach for it.

“Buffalo Bill” Chicken Quesadillas, serves 4

Original Source: I Sing in the Kitchen

Ingredients

4 tortillas (recipe called for flour but we used whole wheat)
1/2 lb. broiled chicken, shredded by hand
1/4 c. hot sauce
2 Tbsp. blue cheese or ranch dressing (we used ranch)
1 stick of chopped celery
1/4 c. tomatoes, chopped
1 c. shredded cheddar cheese
Accompaniments: sour cream, chopped tomatoes, crumbled blue cheese

prep

To Make:

Combine shredded chicken, hot sauce, and ranch dress, stirring until well blended.

Lightly grease a skillet with olive oil, heating on medium.

Place one tortilla in the skillet, then top with ¼ c. of shredded cheese, followed by ½ the shredded chicken. Top with half the celery and half the tomato, then spread another ¼ c. of shredded cheese. Place another tortilla over the mixture and let heat through until the bottom of the tortilla is well browned (about 3 minutes).

Flip over and cook for another two minutes until cheese has melted and other side has browned. Repeat with the remaining chicken mixture, celery, tomatoes, and cheese.

Cut the quesadillas in 6 even pieces and serve with sour cream, tomatoes, and blue cheese if desired.

Our review: the quesadillas were quite tasty—the proportions of chicken, celery, hot sauce, tomatoes, and cheese were just right. We would make these again!

Fava Bean and Goat Cheese Dip with Radishes, serves 4

Source: Martha Stewart

Ingredients

Salt and ground pepper
2 lbs. of fava beans, shelled (since fava beans are seasonal and we could not find them, we used edamame, which are said to be a good substitute)
½ c. goat cheese (4 oz.)
3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 Tsp. chopped fresh tarragon
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 Tsp. grated lemon zest
1 Tbsp. water
1 bunch of radishes (we also added carrots and celery)

To Make:

Start by bringing a saucepan of salted water to a boil and cooking the fava beans—in our case edamame—for 1 – 2 minutes until they are tender. Drain, transfer to ice water and let cool. Drain again. If cooking with fava beans, peel before combining them with remaining ingredients.

Pulse either the fava beans or the edamame beans with the remaining ingredients. Serve with radishes and any other crudités you like.

Our review: Emily ate a bit more of this than I did. I had one bite and I didn’t need to eat anymore. To me, there was absolutely zero flavor. With lemon juice and zest, goat cheese and tarragon, this should have been flavorful but it wasn’t at all. I would not make this recipe again. However, feel free to be the judge and try it yourself.

We enjoyed our appetizers with a bottle of 2007 Chianti.

wine

We hope you enjoyed this week’s Horror d’oeuvres!

R

There are many, many horror movies I love… I think that’s pretty obvious, but there are less that I can watch over and over again, and always enjoy. Slither (written and directed by James Gunn) is one of those films. It’s funny, and gory, and gross, and as many times as I’ve watched it, I have never grown tired of it.

Source: impawards.com

Source: impawards.com

So what is it that I love so much about Slither?

Alien Invasions and Mind Control

Some of my favorite horror/sci-fi films take on the alien invasion topic (The Thing, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, The Faculty, Night of the Creeps), and Slither holds its place up there with these other films. The thought of an alien species crashing into Earth, and taking over through parasitic creatures is creepy. I love the fact that Slither has these creatures share a collective consciousness that binds them all together with the purpose of taking over the world. Not only do they infiltrate the humans and bring their history/knowledge with them, they also retain some memories/thoughts of the person they are taking over.

Source: headinjurytheater.com

Source: headinjurytheater.com

This movie is HILARIOUS

Horror-comedy is another of my favorite sub-genres of horror, and once again, Slither does a great job as blending humor into the film in a natural way. This film never feels forced, or like a parody, but rather is comedic in a loving way.. not as a way to make fun of the genre. This movie is very raunchy at times (especially the character of the mayor played by Gregg Henry), but in a wonderfully hilarious way. I especially love the descriptions of Grant’s transformation, as he is describes as looking like a squid… and I love that the mayor’s explanation of what is wrong is to say he must have Lyme disease.

Source: rottentomatoes.com

Source: rottentomatoes.com

Grossness Factor

The effects in this movie are great, especially Grant’s transformation, and by great, I pretty much mean gross. As Grant transforms he becomes more and more disfigured. His face becomes disfigured (something he attributes to a bee sting), he then grows tentacles out of his stomach (which he will use to plant his offspring), and eventually he will absorb his victims into a huge, slimy, monster. Brenda’s transformation is also disgusting, as she grows huge and becomes a giant pulsating ball of worm-like aliens.

Source: horrornews.net

Source: horrornews.net

Source: dbcovers.com

Source: dbcovers.com

 

Smart and Likable Characters

I also love the cast and characters in the film. You have the raunchy, crazy mayor. The love-struck and laid-back sheriff, Bill (played by Nathan Fillion– who I always enjoy seeing in films), who has to take charge of the situation. You have Grant Grant (played by Michael Rooker), who starts as a devoted husband, and remains so even through his deterioration into hideous alien creature. And you have Starla (played by Elizabeth Banks), Grant’s wife, and Bill’s love interest, who actually makes smart decisions, such as tricking Grant into dropping his defenses so that she can try to kill him.

Source: screenjunkies.com

Source: screenjunkies.com

So those are some of the things I love about Slither! It’s an awesome film, and I highly recommend it!

In honor of Father’s Day, this next post is all about horror’s “bad dads”. We hope your dads are bit nicer and less homicidal than the ones that follow.

Source: CrimeLibrary

Source: CrimeLibrary

1. Jack Torrence (The Shining, 1980) – Arguably the scariest dad of them all, writer Jack Torrence (played by Jack Nicholson) takes a temporary position as caretaker of an isolated hotel during its off-season, where his family will join him. It should be an easy job, and Jack plans to work on his novel during his extensive downtime. Instead of writing, however, he stalks his own wife and clairvoyant son under the influence of the ghosts of people who perished in the malevolent hotel. Torrence is truly terrifying as his mental clarity disintegrates and he succumbs to the whims of the hotel’s menacing undead. Ultimately wife and son must find a way to put a stop to Jack’s homicidal tendencies.

Source: Just Mad About Movies

Source: Just Mad About Movies

2. George Lutz (Amityville Horror, 1979) – It is never, ever a good idea to move into a home where savage murders have taken place. You just might become homicidal yourself. Like The Shining’s Jack Torrence, George Lutz (James Brolin) begins to see spiritual manifestations after moving into a new home with his wife and children – which just so happens to have been the site of a multiple homicide. These apparitions have a lethal agenda and they want James to help them. If your dad comes at you with an axe, run the other way!

Source: Le Frelon Vert

Source: Le Frelon Vert

3. David Harris (The Stepfather, 2009) – When Michael Harding (played by Penn Badgley) returns home from military school, he learns that his mother has a new boyfriend. David Harris (Dylan Walsh) seems like perfect husband material – a charming widower who claims that he lost his wife and daughter in a car accident. But David has some secrets from his past and they’re quite unsavory. Michael’s suspicions begin when he catches David referring to his deceased daughter by the wrong name. He continues to question David’s background and motives when David lies about his college history, and installs padlocked cabinets in the basement, the contents of which he keeps secret and carefully guards. A warning: if you catch your mom’s boyfriend in multiple lies about his past, he’s probably a crazy psycho killer – kill him and then make sure he’s actually dead!

 

Unknown

4. Captain Spaulding (The Devil’s Rejects, 2005) – A follow-up to the 2003 Rob Zombie film House of 1000 Corpses, The Devil’s Rejects revisits the sadistic Fireflys, a family of sick and twisted murderers. The clan of deranged serial killers is led by their father Captain Spaulding (Sid Haig), a bizarre redneck who wears clown makeup and runs a nearby shop of horrors and oddities. When the cops stage a seige on the Fireflys’ home and arrest Mother Firefly, Baby and Otis B. Driftwood escape and arrange to seek shelter with the father who raised them to be the vicious killers they are. Captain Spaulding and his kids go on a killing rampage as they attempt to evade the law.

Source: The Hollywood News

Source: The Hollywood News

5. Ellison Oswalt (Sinister, 2012) – Though he didn’t actually murder anyone, I would say that Ellison Oswalt (played by Ethan Hawke) is one of the worst fathers of horror ever. Oswalt is a washed up crime writer who had one huge hit several years back, but has since fallen out of the limelight. He badly needs a new hit to put himself back on the radar and make some major dinero. Oswalt puts his own family in serious danger and jeopardy by moving them into a home where a recent murder has taken place. An entire family, except for one daughter, have been savagely murdered – hung by a tree in their own backyard. The murderer is at large and no one knows where the missing girl has disappeared to. The townsfolk find Oswalt’s desire to write about the murders and move into the deceased’s home to be in extremely poor taste, but he doesn’t care. When he discovers the footage from the murder that took place in the home, as well as some extremely disturbing footage from other similar murders, he realizes that there is a serial killer on the loose. A smart man would take his family far, far away and fast. Instead Oswalt completely disregards the safety of his own family in favor of uncovering the truth of the murders to write his bestseller. He and his family meet and unfortunate an bloody end as a result of his extreme selfishness and thirst for fame.

 

Do you have a favorite father of horror that didn’t make the list? Let us know who and why he should be on the list. And Happy Father’s Day to all you Dads out there!

 

R

 

School is almost out for summer, and so in honor of the end of the school year and the start of the lazy days of summer (for those lucky enough to not have to work) I wanted to share some of my favorite high school horror movies. High School can be a terrifying place as it is, but throw in aliens, serial killers, and witches, and it becomes an even more dangerous place to be.

So without further ado, some of my favorite high school horror movies:

The Faculty (1998)

The Faculty

Source: awesomebmovies.com

Directed by Robert Rodriguez

This tale of an alien invasion is one of my favorite sci-fi films- kind of a cross between a couple of other favorites (Invasion of the Body Snatchers and The Thing). Imagine seeing all your classmates and teachers being replaced by weird (but identical) versions of themselves…who really want to shove disgusting creatures in your ears. How awful would that be? High school seems like the perfect place from which to start an invasion of the world.

Scream (1996)

Source: scream.wikia.com

Source: scream.wikia.com

Directed by Wes Craven

Of course I would have to include Scream on this list as I pretty much find a way to include it on all my lists of favorite horror films. We don’t see much of Sidney, Tatum, Randy and the rest of the Scream gang in their high school habitat, but we see enough to know they go to school with some mean girls, and have pretty much the coolest principal to roam the planet… and those high schoolers can throw some awesome parties!

The Craft (1996)

Source: drafthouse.com

Source: drafthouse.com

Directed by Andrew Fleming

High school is a tough place to be, especially for the new kid, so when you find a group that accepts you and makes you feel like you belong, you stick with the group, even if they are wannabe witches. Sarah and her friends feel justified when they cast spells that deal with the high school jerk who lies about girls to his friends, and the racist mean girls who take pleasure in causing others mental anguish…. But being a witch isn’t always fun and games when it’s taken too far.

Carrie (1976)

Source: totalfilm.com

Source: totalfilm.com

Directed by Brian De Palma

Carrie has an extremely tough life in both her home life, and at school. Living with her crazy religious mother, and pegged as an outcast because she doesn’t fit in with her classmates, she is made fun of on probably a daily basis. Carrie has to deal with the cruelest of all high schoolers who gets joy out of playing cruel jokes on poor Carrie. Her salvation comes in the form of the discovery of her telekinetic ability, but this also proves to be her downfall.

The Loved Ones (2009)

Source: rottentomatoes.com

Source: rottentomatoes.com

Directed by Sean Byrne

Prom can be a stressful event in the life of a teenager. If your desired prom date rejects you, it might cause some mental anguish…. Or if you are a bit deranged, and convinced that a certain guy is the prince you’ve been looking for, you might go a little farther than a normal person… Having your dad capture him, and forcing him to be your date at your own private prom.

Prom Night (1990)

Source: horrordvds.com

Source: horrordvds.com

Directed by Paul Lynch

Speaking of proms… How could I not include this movie, which has one of my favorite dance scenes known to man… Disco and horror were meant for each other. This slasher classic, while really not a good movie by any measure (except for that amazing dance sequence and great opening scene), is still one of my favorites for nostalgic reasons.  Creepy phone calls, menacing notes, and murder, make prom night an even more stressful night that it normally is.

Halloween H2O (1998)

Directed by Steve Miner

Source: mooviees.com

Source: mooviees.com

Boarding school must be a tough place, especially when your headmaster is Michael Myer’s sister. To be stuck in a secluded high school, far away from home, with a mass murderer out to get you, has to be pretty stressful experience… Far more stressful than having an overprotective mom that won’t let you go on a student camping trip.

Dance of the Dead (2008)

Source: soundonsight.org

Source: soundonsight.org

Zombie and prom don’t mix well. You already are worried about impressing your date, trying not to dance too awkwardly, and trying not to act dorky… Isn’t that enough? Zombies just mess everything up… They’re much more into eating brains, than dancing.

Jennifer’s Body (2009)

Source: film.com

Source: film.com

Directed by Karyn Kusama

What do you do when your best friend suddenly turns into a murderous demon? High school friendships can be hard enough without having to worry about whether you should ignore your friend’s sudden cannibalistic tendencies, or whether you should do something about it.

Detention (2011)

Source: beyondhollywood.com

Source: beyondhollywood.com

Directed by Joseph Kahn

This quirky film is not totally horror, but has enough slasher elements to keep to horror crowd happy. Dressed as the villain from a fictional horror film- Cinderhella- someone is murdering students from Grizzly Lake… But who? And why? And what does it have to do with time travel, a stuffed bear, and the destruction of the world? …and of course, there is a prom in this film as well. Prom and horror are just a match made in heaven.

Do you have any high school horror favorites of your own?