Archive for July, 2013

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.

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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)

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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)

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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!!

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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