Spooky 19th-century Book Illustrations by French Artist Édouard de Beaumont

Happy Mother’s Day!

According to Piper Laurie, she honestly thought her character in Carrie (1976) was too over the top fanatical to be taken seriously. Director Brian De Palma had to take her to the side and personally tell her it was a horror film and not a “black comedy” as she thought it was. Even so, she would constantly burst out into laughter between takes because not only was her characterization and wardrobe laughable in her eyes, but the dialogue itself was humorous for her. To this day, she still refers to and maintains the movie as a black comedy.

More behind-the-scenes facts at IMDb Trivia: Carrie (1976).

Ireland’s Haunted Leap Castle

Built somewhere between the 13th and late 15th century, this Irish castle has seen more gruesome deaths than a Game of Thrones wedding. As legend has it, during a struggle for power within the O’Carroll clan (which had a fondness for poisoning dinner guests), one brother plunged a sword into another, a priest, as he was holding mass in the castle’s chapel. The room is now called “The Bloody Chapel,” and the priest is said to haunt the church at night. And the horror doesn’t end there. During castle renovations in the early 1900s, workmen found a secret dungeon in the Bloody Chapel with so many human skeletons, they filled three cartloads when hauled away. The dungeon was designed so that prisoners would fall through a trap door, have their lungs punctured by wooded spikes on the ground, and die a slow, horrific death within earshot of the sinister clan members above.

From Condé Naste: 15 Haunted Castles Around the World

Horror Cinema: Hatchet III

I had high expectations going into Hatchet III because I thoroughly enjoyed the other movies in the franchise. I was not disappointed. Not only did this iteration of the Victor Crowley story offer satisfying blood and guts, it expanded on the folkloric backstory behind the villain. Whereas other franchises can get bogged down by trying to explain backstory, this one made it better, changing my view of Crowley as a crazy swamp man into a crazy swamp monster.

If you like the Hatchet movies, then I am pretty certain you will like this one, too. Highly recommended!

McDonnell, B.J. Hatchet III, Dark Sky Films, 2013.

Horror Cinema: The Blob (1988)

I was reluctant to watch 1988’s The Blob, but a good friend of mine insisted I see it, and he was right to make me watch it. Unlike the campy original from the 1950s, the 1988 version is scary and has some gruesome effects. Highly recommended!

Russell, Chuck. The Blob, TriStar Pictures, 1988.

Shiver

“Propped, or you might say sitting, on the edge of the bed was — nothing in the round world but a scarecrow! A scarecrow out of the garden, of course, dumped into the deserted room . . . Yes; but here amusement ceased. Have scarecrows bare bony feet? Do their heads loll on to their shoulders? Have they iron collars and links of chain about their necks? Can they get up and move, if never so stiffly, across a floor, with wagging head and arms close at their sides? and shiver?”
– “Rats” by M.R. James, first published in The Collected Ghost Stories of MR James (1931), from Hypnogoria: Chained Ghosts