For Ghoulish Travels: The Capuchin Crypt

My Dad and a good friend of mine have visited the Capuchin Crypt in Rome, and they both only had intriguing and good things to say about the site. They spoke about their visits like they had entered a different realm of existence—being surrounded by all of those dead people. I dream of honeymooning to Rome one day and, believe you me, this will be our first stop!
capuchin crypt

Haunted Canada: Hamilton Ghost Story

In honor of my going to the Rue Morgue Dark Carnival Expo in Hamilton, Ontario, in July (I’m very excited!), here is an excerpt from a ghost story from that town from the Cold Spot Paranormal Research blog:

“So fast forward a little bit, Christmas season fast approaching. We’ve settled in now. We’ve heard noises that we can’t explain, we hear footsteps in the middle of the night. We assume it’s just our imaginations. We have a Christmas party. A good friend of ours comes up to my wife and says, ‘This house is haunted.’ ‘Why do you say that?’ my wife asks. ‘Well I just watched as that door slammed shut!’ He was speaking of the same door that caused me so much paranoia when we first moved in. Prior to this we’ve told no one of our dealings with this situation. He would not be the last to tell us how creepy our home was.

A few days later after the party it’s around nine o’clock at night. Our kids are in bed. My wife and I are sitting in the living room watching TV when all of a sudden the room goes dark. The tv turned off, the Christmas tree lights go off and the window Christmas lights go off. We automatically think power outage but soon realize it’s just the living room. So I try to turn the TV back on, it doesn’t work. It is then that I discover it is unplugged, as is every other item in the living room. All the Christmas lights are individually unplugged. I felt this really horrible chill run down my neck as I realized there is absolutely no logical explanation of what had just occurred and as I’m considering this the back bedroom door closed. We heard it click. It was once again locked.”

Horror Cinema: The Witch (2015)

A horror cinema review of Robert Eggers’ The Witch by new contributor to the Devil’s Muse, the Bubonic Illiterate.
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I’ve always been a fan of witches. Rhea of the Coos, the witch from Stephen King’s The Dark Tower universe, is one of my favourite fictional characters. Many of my favourite films revolve around witches, too—Suspiria, Rosemary’s Baby, even Hocus Pocus, for the matter. Yet rarely in film do we see an accurate portrayal of the true witch of folklore, the Mother Nature turned rotten, the crusty old woman of the woods who relishes in black magic and carries out Satan’s will. Robert Egger’s witch, however, is an exception.

The Witch is a true period piece. It’s evident that a hefty amount of research went into nailing not only the set and costume design but into replicating the Puritan dialect of the time. As a result of the film’s authenticity to its era, the ensuing horror is both believable and effective.

Here’s what makes The Witch frightening:

• The witch works her way at the family from various angles, and the horror increases with each new burden brought upon them: the immediate robbery of their newborn, their inability to produce bountiful crops, the possession of the family’s eldest son, the deterioration of the mother’s faith. The family crumbles.

• There is more than a menacing witch at work here; the devil is along for the whole ride. The movie is satanic, evil as all hell.

• There are some beautiful night shots of the family’s plot of land—set against a gorgeous backdrop of black woods—that will render you feeling entirely vulnerable.

• She isn’t green-skinned or cauldron-tending. She’s what you want her to be: gross.

Some of the scenes are drawn out and uneventful, and you might find yourself wondering when the real scares are coming. Additionally, some of the dialogue can be tricky to understand. While these things might deter some viewers, I found it greatly worthwhile to stick it out ‘til the film’s end; the final scene crams an abundance of evil down your throat. The camera work is chilling, and paired with the anxiety-inducing score and audio effects, the climax administers a nice dose of dread. Not only is it scary, but the final scene puts a unique spin on one character’s happy ending, which I found to be a wicked (pun totally intended) wrap-up.

She’s the witch you’ve been waiting for, and like her—ruthless and horrid—this film is the one you’ve been begging the genre to produce.

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Eggers, Robert. The Witch, A24, 2015.