Looking for something to do and you're in the Fredericton area? I have crafted three new horror short stories that I have hid in the woods. One in New Maryland, one in Lincoln and one in Odell park. They are stories about how three witches haunt the places where they died. It's up to you to find these stories using the footage and coordinates I've provided in the Youtube video below. Did I mention that each horror cache has a Tim Horton's gift card to go to whoever gets there first!
‘Maggie’ is a horror/drama movie starring Arnold Schwarzenegger and Abigail Breslin. It was directed by Henry Hobson, the ugh, Typographer from ‘Tree of Life’ and umm ‘Title Designer’ of Hanger 3 (Gotta love the “known for” section of IMDB), and it was brought to us by a truck load of different groups (Please refer to the conga line of em at the beginning of the movie). Despite the big names associated, it’s something of an indie affair. The tone is a little confusing if you've made a judgment about seeing this movie based on the trailer. Heck, the hook in this movie is misleading, where Arnold goes toe to toe with a Zombie early on, in a brief heart starting segment, but that’s all the horror jump that’s ever injected into it.
So be warned: There’s no action. There’s no real gore. No one-liners...
It’s only even a drama in a loose sense as there’s barely any drama. It’s like we’re coming to the story after everything’s happened and everyone’s just – dealing. It’s a slow moving, heavy, tragic, black cloud. Does that sound like fun? Depressing? Sure is. It’s a Zombie movie, sure, I guess, but especially in the sense that many works in the genre can be seen as commentary on our world and experience. In this instance, it might help to view it as commentary on how dark it gets in the face of terminal illness.
It’s a story about a father being with his daughter through the final stages of turning into a zombie. He wrestles with his role in those final stages; she comes to terms with the impending loss of control and end of her conscious life. The underlying themes here are of choices, control and consequences.
Is it rainy outside? Yes? Do you feel a little like the sky? That might be a good test as to if you’re in the mood for this. If you are, get ready for some artsy cinematography, and some surprising performances. Schwarzenegger pulls off an emotional roll well (Here’s hoping it’s the first of many more), but the real star is Breslin, who really shines. What keeps the movie going is well told stories of how people and families were infected and affected by the outbreak. It keeps you thinking after the end credits have rolled. It was a surprising and impressive watch and it gets an 8/10. It was rainy outside… and now it’ll be rainy inside. *points to heart, “Inside here”.
(SPOILER WARNING) Seriously though, casting Arnold as the father in Maggie, in my opinion was pretty damn smart. Not because Arnold ended up pulling through, and turning out a subtle but effective performance, but because of who he is as an icon. There’s no escaping that tough man, Arnold Schwarzenegger is a pegged action hero. He’s every bit what we imagine a competent protector might be. That’s the appeal for a great part of the movie. It is heartbreaking to watch someone as strong as Arnold struggle to keep his daughter from harm, when really there's little he can do.There's weight in the realization that he must protect her from herself, and eventually others from his own daughter. The twist here is that the movie is more about the person being protected. Because Arnold’s has such a screen presence, it forces a perspective that’s turned on its head in an abrupt ending when we realize that it wasn't about Arnold’s character’s choice and his struggle, but that of his daughter.
The Innkeepers is a 2011 horror movie directed by Ti West (The House of the Devil), and starring Sara Paxton, Pat Healy, and Kelly McGillis.
The Setup: It's old hotel's last weekend open and two of the staffers decide to try and document the presence of longtime ghost, Madeline O'Malley.
I'm a big fan of a slow burning, atmospheric and completely creepy movie. Mmmm, so good, right?. I got to The Innkeepers as a recommendation in line with those interests.
Good news. Slow burning is true in this case. It's a little heavy in the character development area, but the dialogue is an entertaining enough mix of awkward and witty that it carries the movie up until and in between injections of creepy.
Sara Paxton's character here is one of the most offbeat leads I've seen in a horror movie. Kinda refreshing.
The Innkeepers soundtrack is great and surprising. In the beginning, it takes on a very low key approach to tension and gives it an almost made for TV feel. But when the onscreen tension mounts, it delivers in a big way.
The movie has atmosphere. It takes a back seat to character in the first half, slowing the thing down, but when it's there, it's great. The real scary set pieces are here too - mostly - which include a genuinely unsettling old man who checks in to the hotel last minute for a final stay in an old honey moon sweet.
But (...There's a but) there's one fatal flaw that stops this movie from becoming an awesome hidden gem. It's the ghost of Madeline O'Malley herself. In a day and age of CG added effects, it's nice to see filmmakers go for something more practical, but the end result here, was for me, the telltale eye holes cut out of a white bed sheet ghost - The fact that it looked fake took away from the horror. Was the scare factor still there? sure, but not what it could have been. Luckily, at the end, there's one awesomely creepy piece of imagery sandwiched between two shaky ones, so there's that for those who aren't easily spooked.
It's still a good watch, if you like the pacing slow and are in for something different. The Innkeepers gets a 6.8/10.
Welcome to the new Dark Opera!
I recently added another year of service for the domain and decided to give the site an update. Main focus here was a big clean up of the menu options. Don't worry, everything is still here, it's just hidden better.
Also, there are more Youtube videos and even some fan fiction on the way to help draw new followers. If you're here because of that, Welcome. If you're a longtime follower, welcome back! Drop me a line in the comments below.
Please don't forget that if you write stories, you can send them to me to be potentially published here. Also, if you have some cool black and white photographs you think would look awesome in the top banner, please send them in, I am hoping to switch it up from time to time.
What do you think of the new site? I can't wait to dig in on another year of creativity!
So Japan made a video about car breaks. It's got all sorts of hidden meaning too. Supposedly the girl they narrowly avoid hitting is signing "Listen for the..." and then, supposedly, the audio fills in the rest via a small mumble. I couldn't make it out. em Japanese folk for ye.
Wasn't that great?
Now don't forget to show your friends.
Psychological Horror at its finest is horror as an abstract projection of the human psyche.
The best examples are Jacob’s ladder (1990) and the PlayStation 2 video game Silent Hill 2 (2001). While they do use delusion and/or hallucination like devices in their stories, they do more than just use them for shock value or to describe mental illness (usually in a negative light). Bringing up those very serious and alarming symptoms help question reality, but instead of being used to support supposed mental instability, it is used as a springboard to expand on the deep and intense feelings of their protagonists - to describe personal suffering.
When words fail to describe very real pain in life, the expression of our emotions is often better met through connection with art. When horror makes a point of illustrating intensity, it can relate internal conflict like no other. Suddenly the monster isn’t just a monster anymore, it can be say, the embodiment of a character’s resentment towards their father, or perhaps more vague still, repression incarnate. When other pieces of the story become connected commentary, as abstract as it may be, it can create a work of art that leaves an impression, makes you think, ignites conversation and can connect with people on a personal level. Do the two aforementioned titles do all those things? To varying degrees, yes, but is in no way as “good as it gets” as far as psychological horror is concerned. It has yet to be developed in that aspect. The trick is to weave a coherent story, haunting enough to stand on its own, but have all the elements with which to be transform into something more profound for those who go looking for it.
Psychological Horror can be an important tool in expressing life’s otherwise difficult to describe personal horror, its ongoing torment and ultimately healing.
Psychological Horror can be meaningful.
Psychological horror can be art.
Psychological Horror has its place.
And needs your help
If you can - make it, promote it, read or watch it, write about and discuss it. Help it grow by sharing how it’s different from the other horror sub-genres.
Indulge when it finds you, and you may find yourself in it.
I see a lot of Facebook posts these days about being yourself.
You quirky individual you.
The message holds truth: There is no one like you (Thank god?). Well, hey, what if you don’t like being you? Painfully quiet? Thrill seeker playing it safe? Anxious? Depressed? Who are you anyways? Maybe you’re still figuring that out.
Sure, you’re more complex than that. I know “be yourself” is supposed to be a positive message, but I can’t stop thinking about that other stuff. Maybe some of you do to.
I am reading through Edward de Bono’s “Six Thinking Hats” now and I can’t help but recall some of the tools I used together with clients in my past work in the field of Mental Health. Turns out that being someone else (at least for a little while) might be just what you need.
I remember trying to help someone think of ways to handle a situation differently. We could come up with a few answers, but it felt like we hit a roadblock, until I asked this person to try and imagine what a friend might do in their place. By imagining things from a different perspective, this person was free to explore different options, options that suddenly were possibilities for them.
We come will all kinds of beliefs about ourselves, how we should behave, who we might be and where we are headed. If you have a hard time thinking about that, try thinking of how you wouldn’t behave, who you are not and where you’re not headed. It’s a little easier and illustrates bit more that box we put ourselves in.
To be sure, what makes us unique should be embraced. It could indeed be foolish to spend time on something you don’t like or is a distraction from what you’ve already gained some expertise in. It might be a waste of time to do something out of character… but it might not be.
In de Bono’s thinking hats, he advocates we practice putting on different kinds of hats to allow us to be more open in specific ways. For example, when we put on a yellow hat, it gives us license to be optimistic about possible outcomes. It asks that we rack our brains for positive results. A parallel here might be that instead of putting on a hat, you might ask yourself, what would your friend Ryan say about a certain subject, as he is more optimistic than you. Being Ryan for a while helps you open up.
But pretending to be someone else doesn’t just help in the thinking department, it also plays a role in the doing and feeling department.
It’s been shown to be helpful when some are depressed, they benefit from practicing small smiles. Smiling even though they don’t feel like it. Believe it or not, the act of doing that repetitively has increased some people’s mood.
Consider how some big screen actors find that acting a certain role has an impact on their mood when they are off screen.
When you’re looking to break a pattern, being someone else might give you the license to do just that. Think of it as an experiment. While you should be careful about labeling your first set of outcomes as conclusive, you could find that the preliminary results are surprisingly positive. Maybe people reacted a little differently than you imagined when you spoke your mind, while harnessing aunt Marie’s outspoken dinner table antiques. Maybe kickboxing was fun when you channeled your outgoing friend Donnie.
So the next time you are looking for an answer or wanting to broaden your horizons, use the tool of pretend. Be someone else. It could help you find out more about yourself.
It’s true; I’m something of a chocolate fiend. The wonderful taste of chocolate is alluring to say the least, what with its vast palette of flavors from Crème brûlée to orange. The sweet, edible gold’s versatility and appeal don’t end there though does it? No; it’s infused into crunchy wafers, hot drinks, ice creams, liquors, you name it. IT’S EVERYWHERE. You could get lost in its mouth-watering creaminess…
Uh. What was I saying?
Oh yea. Being a chocoholic, I’ve found myself in some sad situation – sweet, chocolaty sad situations. Now it’s time to shed some guilt in this confessional, like extra pounds shed in [gulp] post Christmas treat time workouts. I can’t be the only one that has done these things – and rationalized how doing it is okay. Chocoholic ain’t the prettiest word is it? I prefer “connoisseur” of cocoa, maybe gourmand of ganash?
1. I’m glad that kisses are individually wrapped. It slows me down. I ate the little Hershey ribbon once.
2. I’ve eaten sweets in hiding. Away from the kids, my wife, and away from any mirrors.
3. Have eaten less of supper to make room for dessert
4. “There’s always room for dessert” is a steadfast rule, no matter how full I am.
5. I have to give away birthday cake because I can’t trust myself around the leftovers.
6. I’ve folded my stomach over by belly button to make a mouth and moved it to say “feed me” … and then ate chocolate.
7. I have to go to buy more Halloween candy for trick-or-treaters because I bought the bag too early and devoured it all.
8. I’ll eat the left over candy after Halloween and leave the less desirables at the bottom of the bowl (usually coffee crisp). But if I’m hungry enough, I’ll return for those too.
9. I’ll complain about bad chocolate but eat it anyways
10. Candy just isn’t safe at my house. Even if it’s someone else’s. You have a grace period of a week, but after that it’s fair game.
11. When Tim Horton’s has their smiley cookies, I go there three times as much.
12. I’ve eaten candy I bought for someone, felt guilty, and have gone to the store to buy replacements afterwards.
13. I’m confident in my ability to name most of the chocolate out of the “Pot of Gold” box without a glance at the menu.
14. When premium chocolate has shiny packaging sleeves, I get excited because it reminds me of “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory”
15. … Sometimes I make the sound effect and/or sing, “I’ve got a golden ticket” after I open it.
Life’s busy. “Time seems to fly by” is something I hear a lot and has come out of my mouth more than a couple times. On the subject of catching up with far away friends, an old friend aptly put, “Life needs to slow down, being an adult sucks”
Correspondence takes time and effort, even if it’s just a quick word on a Facebook private message or in the comments. Most of the times a quick glance at status updates as it appears in your news feed is enough to provide some sense that friends are doing okay. That helps. I hope you’re doing okay.
“I’ve been busy. You too.” Mostly everybody understands. You have a job, maybe kids, certainly bills, you need some down time to relax, time to connect with your immediate family, your close friends.
But there are close friends of the past; there are those people that you wish you were closer to that you would like to connect with. The truth is, writing a little greeting takes mere minutes; it’s usually the case when I do, but it always feels like a significant undertaking beforehand. And I’m tired, aren’t you? Or busy tending to life’s laundry list of things that needed to get done yesterday.
Oh the things we could really accomplish when we’re tired but “feel” like we have to lay down a while and sink in some video game or T.V. time.
“You need some time to relax.” It’s true. But if you’re anything like me, you override the “fully recharged” signal in exchange for another half hour on Youtube, maybe more during precious down time.
How much of an active effort have you really been making to connect with friends? When did living with the guilt or sadness of absence (no matter how big or small or fleeting) become easier to bear than spending a moment sending some form of our thoughts that we’re thinking of them?
Wanna change that? On board? Here’s some suggestions for things to do this week:
Write an old friend that you’ve been meaning to get in touch with
Turn off the TV, computer, music, video game, whatever’s your reprieve and think about what kind of person you are to others and who you want to be.
Create something that honors your past.
Just to let you know, I thought about you today. Hope you're doing fine.