Bakeneko: Cat Spirits of Japanese Lore

Searching for scary Japanese ghosts, I came across the legend of bakeneko, cats that shape-shift into humans, or near humans. They are tormentors and tricksters.

They appear as a popular monster in kabuki productions, like the one pictured here.
kabuki-bakeneko
Visit Bakeneko — The Changing Cat on the Hyakumonogatari Kaidankai blog to learn all about this spirit’s origins and some of its stories.

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Haunted Canada: Banff Springs Hotel

Built in 1888, the Banff Springs Hotel—also known as the “Castle of the Rockies”—is a grand building in the middle of the forest in Banff, Alberta. Some famous guests have included Marilyn Monroe, Queen Elizabeth II and Helen Keller.sicklongshot4 The hotel is one of Canada’s famous haunted locations. It is most well-known for a ghost story about a phantom bride. The Hammerson Peters blog, which shares tales from Western Canada, describes the phantom bride’s story:

“According to the legend, a young couple was married in Banff sometime in the early 1930’s. It was arranged for their wedding banquet to be held in the Banff Springs Hotel, where the couple was renting the bridal suite. Before the beginning of the banquet, the newlywed bride ascended a marble staircase up to the Cascade Ballroom to join her husband, who was waiting at the top. As she did so, her wedding gown brushed against one of the candles that lined the curved staircase and caught fire. In the panic that ensued, the bride tripped over her wedding dress, fell down the flight of marble stairs, broke her neck and died.

“It is said that her ghost has haunted the hotel ever since. Over the years, various hotel patrons and staff have reported seeing a phantasmal bride dancing alone in the Cascade Ballroom, or ascending the marble staircase on which the tragic incident is rumored to have taken place. Others have heard strange noises emanating from the bridal suite when the room was not in use.”

staircase4

Chucky’s Doll Blood Pact?

Did you know that in the original screenplay for Child’s Play, Chucky was the manifestation of Andy’s Rage?
chuckyThe iHorror.com blog explains: “In the original version of the film, Chucky would do Andy’s subconscious bidding. The original idea was to have Good Guy dolls that had latex skin and blood. If the kids ripped the latex skin, they could go out and buy Official Good Guy bandages. Being the lonely kid that he was, Andy would make a blood pact with the doll, and then comes to life whenever he goes to sleep. Chucky would take out anyone Andy saw as an enemy or a threat.”

Read four more facts about the movie on iHorror.com’s 5 Things You Didn’t Know About Child’s Play.

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Holland, Tom. Child’s Play. United Artists, 1988.

The Addam’s Family

Our local tv station CJOH reran The Addam’s Family after school when I was growing up. I loved everything about it–from the spooky characters to the corny jokes–and I would look forward to getting home every day in hopes that I could sneak in an episode before dinner.

I found 14 Facts You Might Not Know about The Addam’s Family on the Neatorama blog. Lurch had a dance single? If you’re also a fan of the show, these facts are a good read.

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Still from The Addams Family, © Twentieth Century Fox, 1964

Leatherface: Origin

Leatherface is my favourite horror movie villain. He’s a mad, merciless, messy killer.

Did you know that the real-life killer who inspired The Texas Chainsaw Massacre’s Leatherface, Ed Gein, also inspired two other famous horror movie villains? According to chasingthefrog.com, his crimes also inspired Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho’s Norman Bates and The Silence of the Lamb’s Buffalo Bill.

Hooper, Tobe. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Bryanston Pictures, 1974.

All of Them Witches: Rosemary’s Baby

Movie review
Roman Polanski’s Rosemary’s Baby

poster-rosemarys-baby

When pushed to answer what is my favourite horror movie, I reply, “Rosemary’s Baby.” I’ve watched it nearly once a year since I first saw it as a preteen.

One of the features that I particularly love about horror movies is that, sometimes, the bad guy wins. Growing up, I always wanted to read a comic or see a movie where the bad guy won in the end. It didn’t make sense to me that the hero always had to have the advantage.

After first seeing Rosemary’s Baby, I couldn’t believe what I was seeing in the final scene. It was grotesque and perfect: the Anti-Christ was born healthy and would be loved by his mother in a twisted, Satanic retelling of the immaculate conception.

My other favourite aspect of the movie is the psychological horror. Watching Rosemary unravel the secret that her neighbours are “all of them witches” and to watch her be fed to the wolves by the ones she loved and trusted most is, to me, the scariest possible thing that could happen to someone. It is also something that happens to women all the time, especially in the time that the movie was released. To me, it is an added layer of horror to watch her be treated as a possession knowing that the story is likely familiar to so many of my sisters and foremothers.

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Polanski, Roman. Rosemary’s Baby, Paramount Pictures, 1968.