Posts Tagged ‘dolls’

A lot of people hated Annabelle when it came out in 2014 as a spin-off of The Conjuring. I didn’t review it on this blog back then because I saw it about three or four weeks after it came out, but I thought it was a decent scary movie. Not as good as The Conjuring, but still very good. So when I heard that the sequel to Annabelle being made was actually going to be a prequel, I was intrigued, hopeful, and confused (wasn’t Annabelle the origin story?). Today, I went to the theater to see for myself if the fourth entry in The Conjuring film series was going to be good, or the start of the inevitable horror film series decline (you know it’s inevitable).

This might actually be the most solid entry since the original Conjuring film, and it’s a lot better than the first Annabelle.

Annabelle: Creation introduces us to the Mullins, a dollmaker and his wife who lose their little girl in an accident. Years later, the Mullins open their home to a girls’ orphanage, only for an ancient and malevolent evil with connections to the Mullins’ little girl to target one of the young girls, and through her, the whole household.

This film scared me pretty badly, using atmosphere, jumpscares, practical effects, and minimal CGI to create a powerful scare factor. There were a number of moments where I was just holding myself, thinking to myself, “NOPE!” or “GTFO,”* which just shows how frightened I was. If you can make me think “NOPE!” and make me want to run (or the characters), you’ve done a good job with your scary movie.

The direction of the film was strong and skillful, the writing for the most part was effective and didn’t have that many issues. This was an almost entirely female cast, and they were all very convincing. I especially loved the interaction between characters Janice and Linda, who have a very sisterly bond between the two of them, to the point that they don’t want to be adopted unless it’s together. It was so adorable, you just wanted to give them that home they wished for! I also liked the character of Sister Charlotte, the nun who takes care of and teaches these girls. Nuns in film, at least in my experience, are either matronly and motherly, or weak and wilting, but Sister Charlotte was strong and decisive, willing to risk her life and even do some things that would make others hesitate when she realizes what’s going on and has to defend her girls.

Me having some fun before the film.

There’s not much else to say on the plus side. The sets and costumes are convincing of their period, there are fun references to both the doll Annabelle’s actual form (a Raggedy Ann doll, if you didn’t know), as well as to the other films in the universe and even a hint of what we might expect in the upcoming film The Nun (coming out in 2018), based off that creepy nun-demon in The Conjuring 2. And they do connect this film to Annabelle, which does explain a lot.

There are some issues, of course, (and here I get a little SPOILER-y). And I don’t just mean the normal ones when watching a horror film (why doesn’t anyone else in this house hear the screaming? Why aren’t they running further away from the house? etc.). I would’ve liked to see more interaction between Linda and Janice, because they were so cute, and because that would’ve made the moment where one of them figures out something’s wrong with the other that much more convincing. I also didn’t care for the moments when they took the demons out of the shadows and showed them full-face, because it looks a little hokey. I would’ve preferred that they showed more of a creepy scarecrow, if truth be told.

And ironically, the way it connects to the original Annabelle leaves a few more questions that we’ll never get answers to.

But, in total, Annabelle: Creation is a great horror film, delivering on its promise of scary dolls making us crap our pants. On a scale of 1 to 5, I’m giving it a 4.6. Go see it, and make sure you bring someone (or a stuffed animal) to hug when you get terrified. Believe me, you may need it.

*GTFO = Get the fuck out. It’s what every person thinks while watching a horror film and seeing when something awful is about to happen in a particular location.

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I swear, this is the last time I’m posting about my Boston trip. Unless I actually did capture ghost voices (or EVPs, as believers prefer), in which case there will be another post. Don’t worry though, that’ll take a while to accomplish, so don’t go to the unsubscribe button just yet. Also, this post will be a quick one…I think. I’m saying that while still writing it, so who knows?

Anyway, as you can tell from the title, this is about the souvenirs from my Boston trip. On Instagram I broke these down by type of souvenir (book, toy, etc), but here I think I’ll separate it by day or location. Why? Just makes more sense that way, it seems.

Independence Day souvenirs.

As I said in my last post, I went into a Harry Potter shop and a comic book shop on that day. I’m a Slytherin (mostly because I’m pure evil), so I bought some Slytherin gear from the Harry Potter shop. Specifically, a sticker and a tie.

The ancient and noble House.

I’m wearing this the next time I wear a tie.

From the comic book store I went a little crazy. In addition to some more stickers, I bought a couple of those Funko Pop dolls. Those who know me won’t be surprised which franchises I bought dolls from.

You know it’s true.

Looks great on my laptop.

My first, and probably my favorite Doctor.

Moonies forever!

Including all the anime figurines I’ve been collecting, I’m building quite the doll collection. And I’m not ashamed to say that.

Salem souvenirs.

It won’t surprise you that most of the souvenirs here are witch-related. They’re also all books. Well, there is a print of the House of the Seven Gables under a creepy moon, but it’s copyrighted, and the last thing I want is a copyright lawsuit on my hands, so forgive me if I don’t post a photo of that here.

Looks cool.

I’ve always been curious.

You knew this was going to be coming home with me.

This will make a great reference material.

I swear, it’s another reference book. I’m not going to do anything evil…probably.

At least you can’t say I won’t get bored or go without reading material for a while.

Lizzie Borden souvenirs.

Luckily, I went easy on the souvenirs here. And of course, they are so totally me.

Because I’m on a true crime kick lately.

 

Not going to lie, this doll creeps even me.

So that’s all my souvenirs. Pretty cool, huh?

That’s all for now…on Boston, anyway. I probably won’t post anything new until the weekend so you don’t get sick of me, but if something big comes up, I’ll probably have to talk about it. In the meantime, I’m going to work on Rose for a little while. Wish me luck, and good night, my Followers of Fear. Pleasant nightmares!

Ooh boy, 2016 is already sucking in terms of horror films. And what made this film so bad? Well, I’m about to go into full SPOILERS to tell you why. I know, I know, I usually try to avoid spoilers at all costs, but in order to tell you how this film screwed up royally, I will have to spoil the film’s very big twist. So be warned, if you still plan to see this film and want to form your own opinions, you might want to stop reading this review.

Still here? Alright, let’s go into the setup. The Boy is about Greta Evans, an American running from an abusive ex, comes to England to be the nanny to an elderly couple’s son Brahms. Thing is, Brahms is a doll, the real Brahms dying in a fire over twenty years before. After the parents leave for a holiday, Greta starts thinking that the doll might actually be alive, inhabited by the soul of the psychopathic child who used to live in the house.

Sounds pretty typical, right? Well they try to switch it up in the last twenty minutes. How? Well, here’s where I get spoiler-y: after Greta’s ex arrives and destroys the supposedly-alive doll, it’s actually revealed that the doll…was just a doll. Brahms, who supposedly died over twenty years ago, is actually alive, a full-grown adult who still kind-of thinks he’s a child but has adult desires, and has been living in the house’s walls and in a hidden attic for the past twenty-something years.

WHAT THE FUCK?!!!

Pardon my French, but come on! I get wanting to defy expectations, but the way it’s done here is not only a little lame, but it totally makes no sense. You’re telling me that Brahms survived the fire over twenty years ago, and that he hid in the walls, made his parents, who are apparently aware their son’s alive and in the walls and maybe holding them hostage but allows his dad to have too many drinks with the local grocery store owner, and then also made them play parents to a doll with a remarkable resemblance to him, for over twenty years? Okay, that stretches credulity. First off, the kid doesn’t mature beyond eight years old mentally, surely he’s not clever enough to come up with such an elaborate plan to hold his parents hostage! And if the parents were aware of Brahms being alive, then it argues against Brahms coming across his parents with the doll and taking advantage of the situation.

Honestly, there are two ways this film could’ve actually improved itself: the first, and most obvious, is that the filmmakers could’ve stuck to the supernatural line and focused a bit more on the weird, motherly relationship between Greta and the doll. The other would’ve taken the story and focused on the parents during those first couple years after the fire, when they became aware of their son being alive and what he’s doing to them. That would’ve been an interesting story! Parents who love their son, but at the same time are terrified of him. The conflict would’ve been amazing, the thrill would’ve been powerful. And heck, if they wanted to include the doll in this version, they could’ve found an angle that would’ve worked easily. Especially if they wanted to portray the kid as not stuck mentally, but instead a growing psychopath to rival Hannibal Lecter.

Other than the twist that ruins the movie, the only other problem that I have with the film is that they could’ve touched upon the weird mother-son relationship between Greta and Brahms the doll a whole lot more. That would’ve made the movie much more emotionally powerful, but unfortunately the film only explores it only a little. Other than those two criticisms though, The Boy was pretty decent. The characters are somewhat fun, the actors who play them are great, and the set is decent for a creepy movie. Heck, they even build a really creepy atmosphere punctuated with jump scares. I was afraid at times, and for a little while I really thought the film entertaining, if not downright terrifying.

It’s just that twist. Even if it didn’t make absolutely no sense, it’s so lame it ruins the entire film. Which is why I’m giving The Boy a 2.8 out of 5. Great atmosphere and characters, a promising premise, but I’d only recommend this film if you want to see how a horror film can totally ruin itself by trying to defy expectations, and doing it in the worst way possible.

2015: 10-6
2014: 10-6, 5-1
2013: 10-6, 5-1

Well, it’s time for the Top 5 Villains of 2015. These are the baddest of the bad, the freakiest of the freaky, the ones you have to watch out for. Are you ready to take on this list? Then let’s dive in!

A reminder that these villains are fictional and none of them were created by me. Otherwise it’s me taking a swing at politicians I don’t like or plugging me own books.

5. Mary Wells/The Weeping Lady (Sleepy Hollow)

People had some differing opinions on Season 2 of Sleepy Hollow, but honestly I think we can all agree this is one of its best episodes, and one of its most memorable villains. Mary Wells was Ichabod Crane’s fiancee, their marriage arranged for them as children. However while Mary was infatuated and obsessed with Ichabod, the latter only felt brotherly feelings for her. When she died in an accident involving Ichabod’s future wife Katrina, she became a ghost forever weeping for her lost love. When she is raised by Henry, the Horseman of War, to cause chaos, she goes after every woman close to Ichabod, including Katrina and Lieutenant Abby Mills. When she reveals Katrina’s role in her death, it is the wedge that begins the end of the Cranes’ marriage. Sad and spooky, we love this woman, feel for her and can’t get her out of our heads. Her spot on the Top 5 is well-deserved.

4. Annabelle (Annabelle)

I love creepy dolls, but even I would hesitate to have this one in my house. Originally from The Conjuring and based on a real haunted doll, Annabelle was popular enough to get her own prequel movie exploring how she was a woman in a satanic cult who died and possessed a rare collectible doll along with her demon master. The result was that she got the chance to cause chaos for a young family, with the intent to take an innocent soul and send it to Hell. And she nearly succeeds too. Creepy to look at and dangerous to have in your house, Annabelle will inhabit your nightmares for years, which is why she’s Number 4 on this list.

Oh, fun fact: the real Annabelle doll is actually a large Raggedy Ann doll. However the makers of Raggedy Ann (or whoever owns the copyright these days) would never consent to have one of their dolls portrayed in a horror movie like that, so the filmmakers designed a creepy looking doll for the part. And that doll has been creeping us out ever since. Yikes!

3. Ultron (Avengers: Age of Ultron)

Actually more like Couple Days of Ultron, but that’s another story. No matter how long he was around though, Ultron is still a terrifying force to be reckoned with. He seems genial and funny at times, but his humor and reasoning, along with his fascination for religious philosophy, are only a cover for his true sinister nature and his plan to cause an extinction event that will wipe out humanity and allow his clones to take over the Earth. With a silky smooth voice provided by James Spader, you won’t want to be anywhere near him when he starts singing classic Disney songs. Definitely deserving of the Number 3 spot.

2. Isaac Heller/The Author (Once Upon a Time)

Now, if you watch the show you may not think he’s much of a villain. But in actuality he’s definitely real villain material. A wannabe F. Scott Fitzgerald who is chosen to become the chronicler of great adventures through out the many different worlds, he abuses his power and starts directing events, earning himself the punishment of being sealed in his own book. When he escapes, he uses his weak attitude and his power to weasel his way out of any situation, not caring who gets hurt or what has to happen in order for him to receive his fifteen minutes of fame. And the crazy thing is, he still considers himself one of the good guys! Yeah, he does. Even when he traps the residents of Storybrooke in a fiction novel and tries to kill the one guy who escaped, he still thinks he’s a good guy. This sleazy character will justify his actions no matter what, and his spot at Number 2 is perfect for him.

1. Meredith Walker/The Benefactor (Teen Wolf)

Sometimes the greatest villain is someone who is sweet and innocent, but has been influenced by the wrong people. Meredith Walker is a banshee, one who predicts death. Years ago she overheard the thoughts of Peter Hale, one of the show’s recurring villains, where he had an insane plan to kill off the weaker members of Beacon Hills’ supernatural community and remake it in his own image. Meredith, who is already a little unhinged but normally very nice, carries out his plan, paying assassins and hunters to go after the supernatural community. Even worse is she doesn’t think this is wrong, she just thinks she’s doing what she’s supposed to do because Peter implanted the idea in her brain. Only when she realized that she’s caused the deaths of many innocent people and that Peter was more unhinged than her does she regret her actions. Kind and afflicted, Meredith’s turn as a villain was terrifying and stunning and I’m seriously hoping she has a role in Season 5. Bravo Meredith, you’ve earned the top spot.

What are your thoughts on my Top 5 villains this year? Do you agree or disagree? Let me know in the comments below. Tune in next summer for 2016’s Top 10 villains. By then we might have a few new entries or maybe some old ones will resurface. One can only hope.

Until next time, my Followers of Fear!

A while back, I wrote a post about how I was kind of scared of dolls, especially older dolls. Well, it’s been nearly three years since that post, and I’m not sure if that applies so much anymore. I mean yeah, I had a nightmare when I was a kid about a doll that was popular among girls at the time chasing me (great thing about having younger sisters, you know what’s popular among their age group when you spend time with them). And the Goosebumps books about the dummy freaked me out at the time. And anyone who saw the movie Annabelle probably had a healthy fear of human-shaped toys for girls for the next few days (I have a friend who’s been afraid ever since, much to my delight worry).

But am I afraid of dolls in general? Particularly the old ones, dummies, and bisque or porcelain dolls? If I was, I’m not so much anymore. It’d be fairer to say that I find myself fascinated with dolls. They show up in stories I write (good or evil, living or otherwise), they’re in the anime I’m watching these days, and as strange as this sounds, I’m thinking of buying one or two because of their association to said anime (though considering my job and financial status, I’ll probably hold off).

I think the fascination I have derives from where the fear comes from in others. Fear of dolls and other human-like objects, or automatonophobia, has several theorized causes. One of them says that when humans recognize other humans, we expect certain behaviors from them. When something looks human but doesn’t conform to those expected behaviors, we feel fear or repulsion. There’s also the idea that being exposed to negative ideas or portrayals of human-like objects (Chucky from Child’s Play or the Autons from Doctor Who), especially at a young age, can cause bad feelings towards them. And of course, the idea where something looks human but isn’t can scare people badly.

I think for me, instead of revulsion or fear, all those reasons cause me to want to know more. Especially about ones reputedly haunted (I found this article about the market for haunted dolls not too long ago, and I kind of wanted to get in on it, though I’m a little wary about having anything with haunted associations in my house). There’s something about something so small, and so seemingly human but not, and possibly containing some secret soul or knowledge that we can’t truly comprehend, that’s powerful. That’s pretty amazing to me. That’s freaking terrifying! And you know me and terrifying! We’re bosom buddies.

So don’t be surprised if I have a few stories come out that involve dolls of all sorts, that come alive or become the focus for a character’s psychosis. And maybe someday I might actually buy a doll or two, ones that have personal connotations to me or may even have a haunted reputation. You never know.

Anyone else feel that some of these dolls are watching you from the photo?

Anyone else think these things might be watching you from the photo?

What are your thoughts on dolls? Like or dislike? Why or why not?

Let me know, I love to hear your thoughts.

 

Oh, and on an unrelated note, yesterday I had my last class as an undergraduate student. And today I turned in my final essay, for both class and, unless I have to write essays for one of my finals, for my undergraduate career. Two finals next week, and then I’m done. Twelve days to graduation. The road is shortening. Hopefully there will be a job too afterwards. Wish me luck, my Followers of Fear!