In Theaters Now: Scary Stories To Tell In the Dark

In Theaters Now entries give insight on films currently in theaters. There is a brief review, followed by a deeper dive WITH SPOILERS behind the cut. 

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Pictured: The leading face of my nightmares from 1992-1993. What up, Harold? 

Overall

As an experience, Scary Stories To Tell in the Dark is a delightfully creepy tale.  Based on the legendary book series illustrated by someone who very probably hated children and wanted them to lose sleep, the film creates a narrative out of the otherwise disparate and well-loved stories. The Wendigo (my fave!), The Big Toe, and a few others I’ll refrain from mentioning are present.  The story structure is simple: taking place in Halloween 1968, some kids who trespass into a local haunted house and steal a book of ghost stories that belonged to the local crazy lady must deal with the aftermath. The book’s stories, written in blood, almost always kill the protagonist, and there are both old stories and new ones that appear as events unfold. There are haunted houses, creepy music boxes, mental hospitals, a jerk bully, and all the classic fare.

I would recommend the film for fans of horror, the original book series, and people looking for a thrill. But I stress: just because it’s rated PG-13 doesn’t mean it’s appropriate for children. One family had a 4-year-old present, and while he was chattering away before the movie, I hope his lapse into silence was because he fell asleep and not into a state of paralytic horror. Bad Parenting Decision, Random Family.

Although the movie is a delightful and terrifying romp, it didn’t have the emotional depth I was hoping for. I mention this because when Guillermo Del Toro’s name is attached to something, I expect an emotional payoff.  André Øvredal directed the film and I know he knows how to tell an emotional story because he made The Trollhunter. That isn’t to say the movie isn’t worth seeing, but if you’re looking for Deep Meaning Subtext as I did, you’ll leaving feeling a bit let down.

For more in-depth discussion involving spoilers, dive below the cut!

Continue reading “In Theaters Now: Scary Stories To Tell In the Dark”

Dead Teenager Week – V/H/S

Welcome to Horror Movie Month here at Late to the Theater! Once a year we focus on one of our absolute favorite things, horror movies! For the entire month of October we’ll review at least two movies a week, some old, some new, and usually fitting into a weekly theme. So pop the corn, pour yourself a glass of whatever, and come along for the ride! I’ll do my best to avoid spoilers!

This week’s theme is one coined by dear departed Roger Ebert: it’s Dead Teenager Week! So strip down to your skivvies and dive into the moonlit water with me! I totally got into my dad’s liquor cabinet and stole some of his beers, and the kids from the next school over are meeting us down by the lake where Old Man Crumbles was last seen fishing before he killed that busload of nuns with an axe…or something…

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Just waiting for them to all fall down…

Continue reading “Dead Teenager Week – V/H/S”

Hell Is Other People – Lady In White (1988)

It’s considered a ‘family horror’ movie, which I have never really heard of. Having consulted IMDB just now, I find that it is, in fact, rated R.

AS WELL IT SHOULD BE.

October is Horror Movie month, where we let down our hair and celebrate all things macabre and scary! Not that we don’t during the rest of the year, but still… HORROR MOVIES! People who don’t like horror are encouraged to check back November 1st for less bloody and/or disturbing films. For everyone else, let’s put on our galoshes and WADE INTO THE MIRE!

Hello and welcome to Hell Is Other People* week here at Late to the Theater! This week’s selections are all about the biggest threat facing modern mankind – other people. All this week’s selections take place in Suburbia, and while they might feature supernatural flourishes, people tend to be the at the root of the problem. So throw some plastic flamingos on your lawn and turn up the music; we’re going to get a visit from the concerned people at our HOA**!

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Dat Box Art

Read on for today’s entry, 1988 Family Horror movie, Lady In White. 

Note: for the sake of more expansive discussion, today’s post will include spoilers. 

Continue reading “Hell Is Other People – Lady In White (1988)”

Update!

The business of life has been more wearying than usual lately. I’m doing my best to keep productive and upbeat, but daily horrors on the news are making it an uphill slog.

Currently I’m working on a nice big post about Eddie Murphy and how I miss his creative output (yes, I know he’s still alive). Lots of fun rehashes of some of his best work, both old and … well, mostly old because I haven’t seen much of his work lately. But anyway, stay tuned for that! I’m also three episodes into Stranger Things, the Netflix series that basically has distilled American 80s film culture into a potent brew. I’m loving it so far! When I’m done I’ll do a write-up on that, too.

In the meantime, please enjoy this charming little song, The Unquiet Grave. It’s a folk song about a man in love with a ghost, and dates back to 14th century England. A version of it appeared on Penny Dreadful, sung first by Evelyn Poole and then refrained by her daughter, which is where I first heard of it. After a little digging I found the whole song, sung by a woman with a lovely plaintive voice in a slightly faster tempo than it appeared in the show. I’ll post the lyrics below, with some additional punctuation to make the speakers  more clear.

The Unquiet Grave

Cold blows the wind to my true love
and gently drops the rain
I only had but one true love
and in Greenwood she lies slain.

I’ll do as much for my true love
as any young girl may.
I’ll sit and mourn upon her grave
for twelve month and a day.

When the twelve months and one day had passed
her ghost began to speak,
“Why sittest thou all on my grave
and will not let me sleep?”

There is one thing that I want sweetheart,
there is one thing that I crave.
And that is a kiss from your lily white lips,
then I’ll go from your grave.

“My lips they are as cold as clay,
my breath smells earthy strong
And if you kiss my cold clay lips,
your days they won’t be long.

Go fetch me water from the desert
and blood from out of stone,
Go fetch me milk from a fair maid’s breast
that a young man never has known.”

T’was down in Cupid’s garden
where you and I would walk.
The finest flower that ever I saw
is withered to a stalk.

“The stalk is withered and dry sweetheart,
the flower will never return.”
And since I lost my one true love,
what can I do but mourn?

When shall we meet again, sweetheart,
when shall me meet again?
“When the old dead leaves that fall from the trees
are green and spring up again.”

When shall we meet again, sweetheart,
when shall me meet again?
“When the old dead leaves that fall from the trees
are green and spring up again.”

I hope your week is going well!

 

 

ALL THE THINGS I LOVE…

… are in the trailer for Guillermo Del Toro’s Crimson Peak.

Atmospheric Gothic setting?

Check.

Huge incredibly-designed house that calls back to a gilded age?

Check.

Fantastic art direction in a Victorian setting that includes elements of steampunk and crazy-ass CG ghost effects?

Check.

Jim Beaver from Deadwood and Supernatural?

Check, idjits!

Tom “TiddlesmyDiddles” Hiddleston…. shirtless?

CHECK. That is a BIG ten-four, folks.

And…!!!

…It’s coming out within a week of my birthday!

Should be in theaters in October, but whether it’s the 13th or 23rd I can’t tell.