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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

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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…

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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.

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

R

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!

 

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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

 

One of my favorite genres of horror is the pandemic/post-apocalyptic genre. Maybe because  I absolutely love zombie movies and these films usually feature zombie-like behavior from “humans” as a result of a widespread infectious epidemic.

My 5 favorites in this genre include:

28 Days Later (2002)

Source: Classic-Horror.com

Source: Classic-Horror.com

Directed by Danny Boyle

One of my all-time favorite horror movies ever, 28 Days Later opens with the protagonist Jim waking up from a coma in an abandoned hospital. Once Jim detaches himself from his medical paraphernalia and exits the hospital, he quickly realizes that more than just the hospital is abandoned–the entire city of London is a shambles. It seems that while Jim was in a coma, an extremely contagious blood-born virus called “rage” was released and overtook the population. Aptly named, “rage” caused the Infected to become extremely enraged and aggressive. The Infected behave much like zombies (though they sprint instead of lumber toward their prey), with seemingly no consciousness, merely grunting and attacking anything in sight. Jim meets a few uninfected survivors along the way, and the small group band together to ward off the enraged population. This film is extremely suspenseful and fast-paced, and paints a grim picture of post-pandemic London.

The Crazies (2010)

Source: Only Good Movies

Source: Only Good Movies

Directed by Breck Eisner

Okay, so it’s not quite a “virus” that affects the townspeople of Ogden Marsh, Iowa, it’s a toxin in the water supply that causes people to become homicidally deranged. However, I would still classify this creepy movie starring Timothy Olyphant, Radha Mitchell, and Joe Anderson, in the pandemic category. The 2010 film is actually a remake of George Romero’s 1973 rendition, but the plot is slightly different. After a plane carrying a biological weapon crashes into a bog that feeds into the town’s water supply, the townspeople start going inexplicably mad, emotionlessly and savagely murdering family and friends. Timothy Olyphant is the town sheriff, who is shocked when government military shows up and start mercilessly gunning down citizens. He soon realizes that it’s not just “the crazies” he needs to run from, but also the military, who have been sent to Ogden Marsh to contain the issue, at the expense of crazy and sane alike. Timothy, wife Judy, and Deputy Russell are eventually the only uninfected people left, and they must figure out a way to escape town or become the next casualty.

Carriers (2009)

Source: The Post Apoc

Source: The Post Apoc

Directed by David Pastor and Àlex Pastor

A bit more drama than it is horror, but nonetheless I really enjoyed Carriers. In the aftermath of a widespread viral outbreak in the US, Brian (Chris Pine), his girlfriend Bobby (Piper Perabo), Brian’s brother Danny (Lou Taylor Pucci), and their friend Kate (Emily Van Camp), are headed to Turtle Beach in the southwest in hopes that it will be a sanctuary from the plague that has overtaken mankind. On their way, they run into a father and daughter stranded on the road. The daughter is, in fact, infected and the father begs the gang to take her to a nearby school where a doctor is rumored to have developed a serum to cure the virus. This movie is a bit more cerebral than the others, but it’s got its moments of horror and suspense.

Quarantine (2008)

Source: My Zombie Affair

Source: My Zombie Affair

Directed by John Erick Dowdle

This film is actually a remake of a Spanish movie, REC, released the year prior. A found footage-style movie, it stars Jennifer Carpenter as Angela, a local reporter who is doing a story on the local firefighters. While Jennifer and her cameraman Scott (Steve Harris) are at the fire department, the department gets a call to respond to an emergency call from an apartment building. They could have not have made a worse mistake. Upon arriving at the apartment building to subdue a rabidly aggressive older woman, it becomes clear that something very serious is going on. The movie is seen from the point of view of the cameraman, who captures the chaos that ensues. It seems that a perturbed tenant, a member of a doomsday cult, stole a virus from a chemical weapons lab and released it in the building causing those who came into contact with it to present signs similar to rabies. Like The Crazies, this is another situation where the characters are plagued not only by the infected but also by the government who want to cover up and contain the catastrophe.

I am Legend (2007)

Source: Cinematic Thoughts

Source: Cinematic Thoughts

Directed by Francis Lawrence

And last but not least, I am Legend, stars Will Smith as Robert Neville, a scientist and apparently the lone survivor of a massive virus, which was originally created to cure cancer, but instead killed 90% of the world’s population. The remaining “infected” are vampire-like, avoiding daylight, and attacking anything in sight. All alone except for his dog Sam, Robert spends his time trying to develop a cure, which involves the dangerous task of capturing the infected and taking them back to his lab for vaccine trials.

Got a favorite that’s not on the list? Let us know which plague movies you love most!

Happy Saturday all you lovers of the macabre!

Last week, Emily named some honorable mentions to whet your grisly appetites for our 2012 pick for best horror movie. There were some great picks in there, but we think this one trumps all the others hands down.

The Cabin in the Woods (directed by Drew Goddard) 

Source: IMDB

Source: IMDB

Here are my reasons why this movie reigns supreme for best horror movie of 2012:

It Keeps you Guessing

Released on April 13, 2012 with the tagline, “You think you know the story”, The Cabin in the Woods (written by Drew Goddard and Joss Whedon, creator of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer TV series) leaves you guessing from the opening scene of the movie.

The movie opens with two lab geeks (Richard Jenkins of Stepbrothers and Bradley Whitford of The West Wing) having a seemingly mundane conversation. I saw this in theaters and remember thinking that I might have walked into the wrong movie theater because these two guys seemed to have nothing at all to do with a scary movie. A few seconds later my confusion was dispelled when the movie title splashed across the screen in large red letters. Okay, I had walked into the right theater after all.

The Cabin in the Woods quickly switches gear, and focuses on the main character, Dana (Kristen Connolly) who is readying herself for a weekend away with four friends at a cabin in the woods. Aussie hottie Chris Hemsworth plays Curt, female Aussie hottie Anna Hutchinson plays Jules, pothead Marty is played by the awesome Fran Kranz, and Jesse Williams plays the sweet good guy, Holden.

The five college students head out of town on their backwoods adventure, and that’s when things start getting downright weird. An eagle soars over a canyon, smacks into an invisible electric barrier, and plummets to its death. The two lab geeks make more appearances as the plot unfolds, and you wonder what the heck they have to do with the cabin in the woods. The five friends stop for gas at a rundown shithole of a gas station in the middle of nowhere and are warned of their doom by a creepy, tobacco chewing redneck. They ignore him as young folks always do in horror movies, and head on to their destination. When they arrive at the cabin, that’s when things really start getting weird.

And still you wonder, where is this movie going? Well, I won’t tell you because it’s so bizarre and well-crafted that it will be ruined unless you watch it for yourself. But on to the other reasons this movie is so awesome…

Comedic Element

It can be difficult indeed for a horror movie to successfully straddle the line between scary and comedic but The Cabin in the Woods does just that, and with excellent results. There are many elements of suspense in the movie where you’ll find you’re bracing yourself for something horrific to happen. However, these scary moments are balanced by moments of lightheartedness.

Marty, who reminds me of a human version of Shaggy from Scooby Doo, is perfect for the role of the silly, but sage stoner. He may be high, but he also sees things that no one else is picking up on.

In fact, there are several ways in which The Cabin in the Woods reminds me of one of my all-time favorite movies, Scream. It’s got the comedy/horror juxtaposition, it pokes fun at some of the horror movie stereotypes as this movie also does, and Marty reminds me quite a bit of Scream‘s Randy.

Source: A.V. Club

Source: A.V. Club

It Offers Something Fresh

The horror movie genre has been pretty well picked over, and there hasn’t been a lot of innovation in recent years. We’re seeing a lot of remakes of old movies and redundant plot lines, and it’s just gotten…stale.

Enter The Cabin in the Woods. I guarantee this plot hasn’t been done before….

Creativity

In my opinion, this might be the most creative horror movie I’ve ever seen. The plot is out there and far-fetched but enjoyable, and in what other movie would you see homicidal unicorns, maniacal clowns, unhinged child ballerinas, redneck zombies, masked murderers, and a merman all in one place? I’ve gotta hand it to The Cabin in the Woods–it seamlessly connects a plethora of unconnected horror genres together into one big masterpiece.

Source: Dinosaur Dracula

Source: Dinosaur Dracula

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Source: Dinosaur Dracula

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Source: Dinosaur Dracula

Effects

The movie, shot in Vancouver, Canada, had a budget of $30 million and more than 60 artists worked on the effects before filming even began. The awesome special effects brings all the blood, guts, and fear to life in a tangible way.

Element of the Unexpected

I’m going to be vague so as not to ruin the movie for those of you who haven’t seen it, but suffice it to say, the movie breaks a lot of “rules”. No one is “safe” and don’t assume you know how the movie is going to end. I’ve seen a lot of horror movies but this one definitely went in an unexpected direction. And I loved it!

There’s so much more I could say about this movie, but not without giving it away.  If you haven’t seen The Cabin in the Woods, watch it and let us know what you think!  If you have, do you agree or disagree with our pick as best horror movie of 2012? Let us know, we love to hear from you!

R

Yes. We had!

For a moment we just stood there in wonder, in utter disbelief that we were free. We looked around us; no wonder no one had ever come to our aid. We appeared to be literally in the middle of nowhere.

But I won’t bore you with the unexciting details of how we made it back home.  I’ll just say that it was slow, painful (considering that we were missing some parts), and seemed to take forever. We did finally make it back home again though, and we’ve resolved to implement some serious security measures so no psycho-creepy-cannibalistic-freaks can ever get to us again.

We know we’re really lucky that we made it. Because let’s face it. What percentage of characters in horror movies usually “make it”? The survival rate is pretty pathetic.

And this brings me to a movie about some pretty unlucky ghost hunters trying to escape a haunted asylum. Unlike us, they don’t succeed very well, though not for lack of trying.

We had a significant advantage, though. At least our abductor was human. You’re pretty screwed when you’re dealing with the already dead.

Grave Encounters (2011)

Source: Fantasmo Cult Cinema Explosion

Source: Fantasmo Cult Cinema Explosion

Grave Encounters is a Canadian film by the Vicious Brothers about a group of ghost hunters who make a living embarking on otherworldly expeditions and filming their so-called “encounters” with the paranormal.

The movie is shot in found footage style, like The Blair Witch Project and Paranormal Activity, and in my opinion the Vicious Brothers do a pretty good job filming the movie so that it appears to be authentic footage.

The team, led by Lance Preston, decide to visit an abandoned asylum that is rumored be haunted by the patients and maniacal doctor who resided there years ago. However, they don’t just want to explore the place, they want themselves locked inside until dawn to see if anything goes bump in the night.

The plot isn’t a new one—several movies like House on Haunted Hill, The Haunting, 1408, and Rose Red tell the story of what happens when disbelievers spend the night locked in a supposed haunted house. In this case, though, Grave Encounters combines the foreboding haunted house theme with the crazy, deserted asylum theme, and films it as found footage, making it quite an interesting hybrid.

The haunted house story is quite overdone and the asylum haunted by crazies isn’t new either, but this movie brings something fresh to the table. The documentary-esque filming adds to the suspense of the movie. You only see what the cameraman is filming. And the camera captures the scenes of darkness in a truly terrifying light.

But back to the story.

It can come of no surprise that the team ignores all signs of impending doom, including the fact that the door they enter to get into the asylum is spray painted with the words “Death Awaits”. They’re also told by the caretaker that strange things happen inexplicably—like locked windows opening of their own accord.  But they choose to ignore these revelations.

At sunset, they are bolted inside, and they immediately start provoking the ghosts they don’t believe in in a haughty, disparaging manner. As you can imagine the ghosts don’t react well, and all hell breaks loose. What’s worse is that they end up completely turned around in an asylum-turned-labyrinth that they can’t seem to escape, try as they might.

I don’t want to give away too many details for those of you who haven’t seen the movie, which I do recommend as worth a watch. Not the scariest ghost movie I’ve ever seen, but definitely gripping. Stupid as the ghost hunters may initially be for undertaking such a crazy expedition, they do get creative with their escape tactics. But they are no match for the paranormal.

Check it out, and let us know what you think! If you like it, there’s a sequel (Grave Encounters 2) that was released in 2012.

 

We racked our brains for ideas… We had seen enough horror movies to figure out a way to get out of this mess, right? What does one do when they find themselves chained to a wall, weak from years of torture, body disfigured and missing a few semi-important body parts.  If only we could find a saw- losing a hand at this point didn’t seem so bad compared to the endless days with chains around our wrists… Or if we could somehow get ahold of a wire hanger and jab the masked man in the eye with it…

Should we try to surreptitiously steal a weapon from our captor? Unlikely. The chains would make that difficult as would the strength of the fiend, but maybe during our daily feeding, where we were unhooked from the wall, and had a small range of motion we could find something, anything, that would aid us in our escape.  Many days passed. Every day we jiggled our chains in the hopes that they would loosen, but they seemed to stay just as solid as the first day they had been clamped onto our wrists. During every feeding our eyes searched the floor for any object that could possibly give us a glimmer of hope.  As our plan seemed more and more hopeless, Rebecca whispered, “Sometimes dead is better” but I knew we couldn’t lose hope just yet. “I will not be threatened by a walking meatloaf,” I replied. That seemed to perk Rebecca up, and I knew that at least for a little while longer we would live to see another day.

Finally, one night, as the moon shone in the window and alighted on the floor, something caught our eye, could this be the tool that would aid in our escape? We resolved to get ahold of it the next day and prayed all night that it would be something useful to us, and not just a trick of the eye.  Rebecca prayed, “Maybe tomorrow it’ll be our world again.”

As soon as we were given our porridge the next day, and the villain had ascended the stairs, we inched our way over to the object. At first, we were disgusted and sighed in disappointment. The object that had sparked such hope in our minds turned out to be a remnant of our captor’s dinner the night before- a shard of bone from the chunk of leg he had sawed off… but then an idea started forming in my head…. I said to Rebecca two words… “Gerald’s Game”. A glimmer of hope shone in her eye. You may know the story, a woman handcuffed to a bed by her husband during a “game”, the husband unexpectedly having a heart-attack and dying, the woman trapped… how did she get herself out again? Maybe we could do the same.

Slowly the memory of the book came back to us. It would involve a lot of pain and a lot of blood. “Oh yes, there will be blood,” I thought, but there had already been so much pain and blood, what would a little more hurt?  We resolved to do it that night. It would have to move quickly if we were to survive, but we didn’t see any other option.

After what felt like the longest day of our lives, night came, and with it the dark. I like the dark, it’s friendly, and it was especially friendly that night. The television was on as always, and luckily The Texas Chainsaw Massacre was playing, one of our favorites, but we were especially thankful for it tonight because it might just have the longest scene featuring screaming in a movie ever.

We decided to wait until this moment to make our move, as we knew that once we began our plan, we were sure to be screaming ourselves, and our screams would hopefully blend in with the movie. The time came and I volunteered to go first.

I drew the shard of bone out from its hiding place, a crack in the cement wall behind us, and I geared myself up. I gritted my teeth, and brought the bone to my wrist. The plan? Cutting into my own flesh for enough blood to flow so that I could lubricate my skin and hopefully be able to slide my hand out of the cuff. I didn’t want to cut myself so deep that I would bleed to death, but there had to be an adequate amount. Once that was done, if I couldn’t work my hand out, I would have to either sever some nerves in my hand so that my hand would be able to compress and slide out of the cuff, or if I could somehow gather enough force to slam my hand against the wall and break some bones, maybe that would work. Once one hand was out, I figured I could reach the lotion that we were forced to rub on our skin, which was now kept on a shelf above our heads, and that could lubricate my other hand and Rebecca’s hands.

The time came. I started slicing. Lightly at first and then harder. I wanted to get this over with. I began to sweat, and then whimper and them scream. Rebecca said, “Scream for your life!” And I did. The blood covered my hand, then my wrist and arm. I started twisting, and twisting and twisting. The cuff slid down a little bit and stopped. Okay, now for the hard part I thought, and laughed a little bit.

I decided a few broken fingers was better than a few severed nerves, so I slammed my hand against the wall using what little strength I had left. Again and again I threw myself against the wall and slowly the cuff slid a little more. Maybe it was the fingers I was missing, or the fact that I had lost so much weight, but my hand finally came free. I gasped for air–the  pain was so much that I was afraid I was going to pass out, but I knew I had to stay strong. A voice in my head said, “No tears, please. It’s a waste of good suffering.” That voice sounded so familiar, but somehow it was comforting… and it was right. I stretched and stretched until I felt the bottom of the bottle of lotion, and I worked my mangled hand around it, very carefully, as now would not be the time to drop it, and suddenly it was in my hand. There was only a little left, but it would hopefully be enough. I opened the bottle and squeezed a little onto my other hand and wrist and spread it around. Twisting and slamming, twisting and slamming, and then, by some miracle I was free! Hopefully this freedom was anything but a dream. I squeezed the remaining lotion on Rebecca’s hands, and with the last remnants of whatever vitality she had left, she worked her way out of her chains.

And so we escaped… slowly, painfully, we dragged our mangled bodies out of our chains, along the floor stained with the memories of our disfigurement. Passed disfigured dolls, jars filled with gruesome science experiments, piles of wallets, cell phones, and all sorts of souvenirs of his past victims. Did we dare drag ourselves up the rickety stairs that he descended everyday to inflict our daily dose of terror, or did we try to find another way out from this house of horror?

Rebecca looked up the stairs toward the door at the top and said, “I dunno what the hell’s in there, but it’s weird and pissed off, whatever it is.” And then she asked me in a quiet voice, “Was it the boogeyman?” and I answered, “As a matter of fact it was. It’s all true. The boogeyman is real and you found him.”

We looked around the room where we had spent the past couple years of our lives. Suddenly we saw it, a dusty grate in the far corner of the room. This might be our best chance, we said to ourselves. Plus, without our legs burdening us anymore, and as our bodies had become emaciated from our daily ration of disgusting, mushy gruel, we would have no problem squeezing our bodies through that small space.

It was a painstaking process, but bound by determination and hope, we made it to that possible escape hatch. We pried the cover off with a dull knife that had been left on the far side of the floor, a forgotten artifact from an earlier torture. The passageway was covered in spiderwebs and reeked with a stench of mildew, ammonia, and some other scent that we couldn’t quite place. I debated going in–you know I’m terrified of spiders–but we decided to take our chances with those hideous creatures. At least death by spider bite would be less painful, and if they decided to bind us up in their webs and drain the life-force from our bodies, if would still be preferable to watching our flesh be slowly eaten by a madman.

And so we entered the dark tunnel that would hopefully lead us to freedom. Laboriously we pulled ourself along the passage, and finally, after what seemed like hours upon hours, we saw a faint glimmer of light.

Could we have finally reached freedom?!