TRAILER FLASHBACK THURSDAYS – MARCH 23, 2017

(Trailer from YouTube)

Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers (1989)
Director – Dominique Othenin-Girard

Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers is a 1989 American slasher film and the fifth installment in the Halloween film series. It was directed and co-written by Dominique Othenin-Girard and starred Donald Pleasence, who again portrayed Dr. Sam Loomis, and Danielle Harris, who reprised her role as Jamie Lloyd. The film takes place exactly one year after the events depicted in Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers. Michael Myers has returned to the sleepy town of Haddonfield, Illinois to murder his niece, Jamie, who is now mute. Dr. Loomis tries to save the day with the help of Sheriff Meeker.

The film’s on-screen titles do not display the “The Revenge of Michael Myers” subtitle which was used in all of the promotional material, TV spots, trailers, and merchandise. The main titles simply say “Halloween 5“.

On October 31 1988, Michael Myers (Don Shanks) is shot and falls down a mine shaft. The state troopers toss dynamite down the mine, but Michael escapes in time. He comes across a hermit’s shack and falls into a coma. On October 30, 1989, Michael awakens, kills the hermit, and returns to Haddonfield, where his niece Jamie Lloyd (Danielle Harris) continues to live after nearly being killed by Michael the year before.

Jamie has been committed to a children’s hospital, having been rendered mute due to psychological trauma, but exhibits signs of a telepathic link with her uncle. Dr. Sam Loomis (Donald Pleasence) becomes aware of Jamie’s psychic link with Michael, and tries to convince Sheriff Ben Meeker (Beau Starr) that Michael is still alive. Meanwhile, Michael kills Jamie’s sister Rachel (Ellie Cornell) and begins stalking the sisters’ friend Tina (Wendy Kaplan), also killing Tina’s boyfriend Mike.

That night, Tina and her friends Sam and Spitz go to a Halloween party at a farm. Sensing that Tina is in danger, Jamie, having regained her ability to speak, goes to warn her; her friend Billy goes with her. While Sam and Spitz are having sex in the barn, Michael appears and murders them, then leaves the barn and kills two deputies that Loomis had asked to keep an eye on Tina for her protection. After the party, Tina goes to the barn and discovers the bodies. Michael chases Tina, Jamie, and Billy with a car. Tina sacrifices herself to save Jamie, and Michael fatally stabs her in the chest. Loomis, Meeker, and the police arrive on the scene and rescue Jamie and Billy. Jamie agrees to put herself in danger to help Loomis stop Michael for good. Loomis lures Michael back to his abandoned home.

In the old Myers house, Loomis and the police create a set-up. Jamie has visions of Billy, which causes Meeker, along with most of his backup, to leave the Myers house. Eventually, Michael arrives, kills the two remaining officers, and subdues Loomis as he tries to reason with him. Jamie hides in an old laundry chute, but is forced to abandon it after Michael finds her and repeatedly stabs the chute. She then hides in the attic and finds the bodies of Rachel and Mike. Michael finds her, and Jamie tries appealing to her uncle’s humanity but ultimately fails after touching Michael’s face, sending him into a fit of rage. Loomis appears, using a tranquilizer gun to weaken him and then proceeds to violently beat him unconscious with a wooden plank. Afterwards, Loomis suffers a stroke and collapses.

Michael is locked up in the sheriff’s station, to eventually be escorted to a maximum-security prison. However, a stranger in black arrives and attacks the police station, killing everyone, including Sheriff Meeker. Jamie walks through the station, and discovers Michael’s holding cell to be empty.

(from Wikipedia.com)

 

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WRITTEN HORROR RECOMMENDATION WEDNESDAYS – MARCH 22, 2017

Book – Lord of the Flies (1954)
Author – William Golding

Lord of the Flies is a 1954 novel by Nobel Prize-winning English author William Golding. The book’s premise focuses on a group of British boys stranded on an uninhabited island and their attempt to govern themselves, with disastrous results.

In the midst of a war-time evacuation, a British aeroplane crashes on or near an isolated island in a remote region of the Pacific Ocean. The only survivors are boys in their middle childhood or preadolescence. Two boys—the fair-haired Ralph and an overweight, bespectacled boy nicknamed “Piggy”—find a conch, which Ralph uses as a horn to congregate all the survivors to one area. Due largely to the fact that Ralph appears responsible for bringing all the survivors together, he immediately commands some authority over the other boys and is quickly elected their “chief”, but he does not receive the votes of the members of a boys’ choir, led by the red-headed Jack Merridew. Ralph establishes three primary policies: to have fun, survive, and to constantly maintain a smoke signal that could alert passing ships to their presence on the island and thus rescue them. The boys create a form of democracy by declaring that whoever holds the conch shall also be able to speak at their formal gatherings and receive the attentive silence of the larger group.

Jack organises his choir into a hunting party responsible for discovering a food source. Ralph, Jack, and a quiet, dreamy boy named Simon soon form a loose triumvirate of leaders with Ralph as the ultimate authority. Though he is Ralph’s only real confidant, Piggy is quickly made into an outcast by his fellow “biguns” (older boys) and becomes an unwilling source of laughs for the other children while being hated by Jack. Simon, in addition to supervising the project of constructing shelters, feels an instinctive need to protect the “littluns” (younger boys).

The semblance of order quickly deteriorates as the majority of the boys turn idle; they give little aid in building shelters, spend their time having fun and begin to develop paranoias about the island. The central paranoia refers to a supposed monster they call the “beast”, which they all slowly begin to believe exists on the island. Ralph insists that no such beast exists, but Jack, who has started a power struggle with Ralph, gains a level of control over the group by boldly promising to kill the creature. At one point, Jack summons all of his hunters to hunt down a wild pig, drawing away those assigned to maintain the signal fire. A ship travels by the island, but without the boys’ smoke signal to alert the ship’s crew, the vessel continues without stopping. Ralph angrily confronts Jack about his failure to maintain the signal; in frustration Jack assaults Piggy, breaking his glasses. The boys subsequently enjoy their first feast. Angered by the failure of the boys to attract potential rescuers, Ralph considers relinquishing his position as leader, but is convinced not to do so by Piggy, who both understands Ralph’s importance, and deeply fears what will become of him should Jack take total control.

One night, an aerial battle occurs near the island while the boys sleep, during which a fighter pilot ejects from his plane and dies during the descent. His body drifts down to the island in his parachute; both get tangled in a tree near the top of the mountain. Later on, while Jack continues to scheme against Ralph, twins Sam and Eric, now assigned to the maintenance of the signal fire, see the corpse of the fighter pilot and his parachute in the dark. Mistaking the corpse for the beast, they run to the cluster of shelters that Ralph and Simon have erected to warn the others. This unexpected meeting again raises tensions between Jack and Ralph. Shortly thereafter, Jack decides to lead a party to the other side of the island, where a mountain of stones, later called Castle Rock, forms a place where he claims the beast resides. Only Ralph and a quiet suspicious boy, Jack’s closest supporter Roger, agree to go; Ralph turns back shortly before the other two boys but eventually all three see the parachutist whose head rises via the wind; they then flee, now believing the beast is truly real. When they arrive at the shelters, Jack calls an assembly and tries to turn the others against Ralph, asking for them to remove him from his position. Receiving no support, Jack storms off alone to form his own tribe. Roger immediately sneaks off to join Jack, and slowly an increasing amount of older boys abandon Ralph to join Jack’s tribe. Jack’s tribe continues to lure recruits in from the main group by promising feasts of cooked pig. The members begin to paint their faces and enact bizarre rites, including sacrifices to the beast.

Simon, who faints frequently and is likely an epileptic, has a secret hide-away where he goes to be alone. One day while he is there, Jack and his followers erect a faux sacrifice to the beast near-by: a pig’s head, mounted on a sharpened stick, and soon swarming with scavenging flies. Simon conducts an imaginary dialogue with the head, which he dubs the “Lord of the Flies”. The head mocks Simon’s notion that the beast is a real entity, “something you could hunt and kill”, and reveals the truth: they, the boys, are the beast; it is inside them all. The Lord of the Flies also warns Simon that he is in danger, because he represents the soul of man, and predicts that the others will kill him. Simon climbs the mountain alone and discovers that the beast is only a dead parachutist trapped by rocks being moved by the wind. Rushing down to tell the others, Simon is seen by the boys who are engaged in a ritual dance. The frenzied boys mistake Simon for the beast, attack him, and beat him to death.

Jack and his rebel band decide that the real symbol of power on the island is not the conch, but Piggy’s glasses—the only means the boys have of starting a fire. They raid Ralph’s camp, confiscate the glasses, and return to their abode on Castle Rock. Ralph, now deserted by most of his supporters, journeys to Castle Rock to confront Jack and secure the glasses. Taking the conch and accompanied only by Piggy, Sam, and Eric, Ralph finds the tribe and demands that they return the valuable object. Confirming their total rejection of Ralph’s authority, the tribe captures and binds the twins under Jack’s command. Ralph and Jack engage in a fight which neither wins before Piggy tries once more to address the tribe. Any sense of order or safety is permanently eroded when Roger, now sadistic, deliberately drops a boulder from his vantage point above, brutally killing Piggy and shattering the conch. Ralph manages to escape, but Sam and Eric are tortured by Roger until they agree to join Jack’s tribe.

Ralph secretly confronts Sam and Eric who warn him that Jack and Roger hate him and that Roger has sharpened a stick at both ends, implying the tribe intends to hunt him like a pig and behead him. The following morning, Jack orders his tribe to begin a hunt for Ralph. Jack’s savages set fire to the forest while Ralph desperately weighs his options for survival. Following a long chase, most of the island is consumed in flames. With the hunters closely behind him, Ralph trips and falls. He looks up at a uniformed adult – a naval officer whose party has landed from a passing war-ship to investigate the fire. Ralph bursts into tears over the death of Piggy and the “end of innocence”. Jack and the other children, filthy and unkempt, also revert to their true ages and erupt into sobs. The officer expresses his disappointment at seeing British boys exhibiting such feral, warlike behaviour before turning to stare awkwardly at his own war-ship.

(from Wikipedia.com)

 

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HORROR TRIVIA TUESDAYS – MARCH 21, 2017

WES CRAVEN REGRETTED TEASING A SEQUEL IN A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET.

Craven was rather staunchly opposed to any sort of “sequel tease” finale, but the big boss (that’d be New Line’s Bob Shaye) insisted on one. “Bob wanted a hook for a sequel,” Craven told Vulture. “I felt that the film should end when Nancy turns her back on Freddy and his violence—that’s the one thing that kills him. Bob wanted to have Freddy pick up the kids in a car and drive off, which reversed everything I was trying to say—it suddenly presented Freddy as triumphant. I came up with a compromise, which was to have the kids get in the convertible, and when the roof comes down, we’d have Freddy’s red and green stripes on it. Do I regret changing the ending? I do, because it’s the one part of the film that isn’t me.”

(from Mentalfloss.com)

Fifteen-year-old Tina Gray is stalked through a boiler room and attacked by a disfigured man wearing a blade-fixed glove. She awakens from the nightmare, but her mother points out four mysterious slashes in her nightgown.

The following morning, Tina is consoled by her best friend Nancy Thompson and her boyfriend Glen Lantz. Later, Nancy and Glen sleep at Tina’s following her mother’s out-of-town departure; the sleepover is interrupted by Tina’s boyfriend Rod Lane. Falling asleep, Tina sees the man and runs. Awakened by Tina’s thrashing, Rod witnesses her being fatally slashed by an unseen force. He flees as Nancy and Glen find Tina, mistakenly blaming Rod. Nancy tells her father, Lieutenant Don Thompson, of Tina’s death.

The next day, Rod is arrested by Don, despite his pleas of innocence. At school, Nancy falls asleep in class and finds the man, calling himself Freddy Krueger, chasing her in the boiler room. Nancy burns her arm on a pipe and then awakens. She notices the burn mark on her arm and is concerned. At home, Nancy falls asleep in the bathtub and nearly gets drowned by Freddy. Nancy goes to Rod, who tells her what happened to Tina, and Nancy believes Freddy is responsible for Tina’s death.

Nancy has Glen watch over her as she falls asleep. She tries to find Freddy and sees him preparing to kill Rod. He turns his attention on her; she runs and wakes up when her alarm clock goes off. Nancy and Glen go to the jail and discover Rod dead in his cell in an apparent suicide. At Rod’s funeral, Nancy’s parents become worried when she describes the man in her dreams. Her mother Marge takes her to a dream clinic. In her dream, Nancy is attacked again and grabs Freddy’s hat. When the staff wake her up, she has a gash in her arm and Freddy’s hat in her possession.

At home, Marge bars the windows and begins drinking heavily. She tells Nancy that Freddy was a child murderer released on a technicality. In a form of vigilante justice, the parents in the neighborhood burned him alive. Realizing that Freddy desires revenge, Nancy convinces Glen to help her. She plans to take Freddy into the real world, and sets up booby traps in her house. Concerned over her influence, Glen’s parents prevent the two from meeting. Glen falls asleep at their appointed hour, and Freddy kills him and releases his blood in a large fountain in his room, which is witnessed by Glen’s mother.

Alone, Nancy puts Marge to bed and asks Don, who is across the street, to break into the house in twenty minutes. In her sleep, she locates Freddy at the last second and pulls him out of the dream. In the real world, Nancy runs from Freddy, who trips on the booby traps. She lights him on fire, locks him in the basement, and rushes to the door for help. The police arrive, and they realize Freddy has escaped the basement. In Marge’s bedroom, they see a still-burning Freddy smother her. After Don puts out the fire, Freddy and Marge have vanished. Despite her father’s words, Nancy believes she is still in danger.

Freddy attacks Nancy once again. Realizing he is powered by his victim’s fear, she calmly turns her back on him, reducing him to nothingness. She steps outside into a bright morning where all of her friends and mother are still alive. She gets into Glen’s car to go to school when the top comes down and suddenly locks them in. As the car is driven uncontrollably down the street, Marge is grabbed through the window of their front door by Freddy’s gloved hand and is dragged through it to her apparent death.

(from Wikipedia.com)

 

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MOVIE MONSTER MONDAYS – MARCH 20, 2017

Jaws
Movies – Jaws (1975), Jaws 2 (1978), Jaws 3-D (1983), Jaws: The Revenge (1987) 
Creator – Peter Benchley

Jaws is an American natural horror film series that started with a 1975 film that expanded into three sequels, a theme park ride, and other tie-in merchandise, based on a 1974 novel. The main subject of the saga is a great white shark, and its attacks on people in specific areas of the United States. The Brody family is featured in all of the films as the primary antithesis to the shark. The original film was based on a novel written by Peter Benchley, which itself was inspired by the Jersey Shore shark attacks of 1916. Benchley adapted his novel, along with help from Carl Gottlieb and Howard Sackler, into the 1975 film Jaws, which was directed by Steven Spielberg. Although Gottlieb went on to pen two of the three sequels, neither Benchley nor Spielberg returned to the film series in any capacity.

The first film was regarded as a watershed film in motion picture history; it became the father of the summer blockbuster movies and one of the first “high-concept” films. The film is also known for the introduction of John Williams’ famous theme music, which was a simple alternating pattern of the E and F notes of a piano. Williams’ theme won an Academy Award. The film won other Academy Awards, and was nominated for Best Picture.

The success of Jaws led to three sequels, and the four films together have earned nearly $800 million worldwide in box office gross. The franchise has also seen the release of various soundtrack albums, additional novelizations based on the sequels, trading cards, inspired theme park rides at Universal Studios Florida and Universal Studios Japan, multiple video games, and a musical that premiered in 2004. Although the first film was popular with critics when it was originally released, Jaws 2 received generally mixed reception, and the third and fourth films were critically panned. This reception has spread to the merchandise, with video games seen as poor imitations of the original concept. Nevertheless, the original 1975 film has generally been regarded as one of the greatest films ever, and frequently appears in the top 100 of various American Film Institute rankings.

However, Benchley later regretted he ever wrote the original book considering it encouraged a widespread public fear of sharks, which led to massive culls resulting in the various shark species around the world becoming endangered. As such, he spent most of his life promoting the cause of ocean conservation.

Jaws (1975)

The original Jaws, directed by Steven Spielberg, is based on Peter Benchley’s novel of the same name. It tells the story of Police Chief Martin Brody (portrayed by Roy Scheider) of Amity Island (a fictional summer resort town), in his quest to protect beachgoers from a great white shark by closing the beach. This is overruled by the town council, headed by the mayor (Murray Hamilton) that wants the beach to remain open in order to sustain the local tourist economy. After several attacks, the police chief enlists the help of marine biologist Matt Hooper (Richard Dreyfuss) and a professional shark hunter named Quint (Robert Shaw). The three voyage out onto the ocean in Quint’s boat – the Orca. The shark kills Quint, but Brody manages to destroy it by shooting at the highly pressurized air tank that he has wedged in its mouth. In the end, Brody and Hooper are seen swimming away from the sinking Orca, having both of them managed to survive uninjured the shark attack on the boat.

Jaws 2 (1978)

The first sequel, Jaws 2, depicts the same town four years after the events of the original film when another great white shark arrives on the shores of the fictional seaside resort of Amity Island. Directed by Jeannot Szwarc and starring Roy Scheider again as Police Chief Martin Brody, who, after a series of deaths and disappearances, suspects that the culprit is another shark. However, he has trouble convincing the town’s selectmen. He has to act alone to save a group of teenagers, including his two sons, who encounter the shark whilst out sailing.

Jaws 3-D (1983)

The plot of Jaws 3-D (also known as Jaws 3) moves away from Amity Island to SeaWorld in Florida, a water themed-park with underwater tunnels and lagoons. As the park prepares to open, it is infiltrated by a baby great white shark which attacks and kills water-skiers and park employees. Once the baby shark is captured, it becomes apparent that a much larger shark, the mother, is present. The characters of Martin’s sons from the first two films are developed further in this film: Michael Brody (Dennis Quaid) is the chief engineer of the park and his younger brother, Sean (John Putch), arrives at the resort to visit him. The events of the earlier films are implied through Sean’s dislike of the water because of “something that happened when he was a kid.” The events and character development from Jaws 3-D are independent from the rest of the series.[3]

Jaws: The Revenge (1987)

The fourth and final film, Jaws: The Revenge, sees the storyline returning to Amity Island, but ignores all plot elements introduced in Jaws 3-D. No mention is made to Michael’s girlfriend from the previous film, Kathryn Morgan (Bess Armstrong), or his career change from an engineer at SeaWorld to a marine biologist. In fact, one of the Universal Studios press releases for Jaws: The Revenge omits Jaws 3-D entirely by referring to Jaws: The Revenge as the “third film of the remarkable Jaws trilogy.”[3] By the start of the film, Martin Brody had died of a heart-attack, although his wife, Ellen Brody (Lorraine Gary), claims that he died through fear of the shark. Her youngest son, Sean (Mitchell Anderson), now working as a police deputy in Amity, is dispatched to clear a log from a buoy. As he does so, he is attacked and killed by a shark. Ellen becomes convinced that a shark is deliberately victimizing her family for the deaths of the first two sharks. Michael (Lance Guest) convinces her to spend some time with his family in The Bahamas. However, as his job involves a lot of time on and in the sea, Ellen fears that he will be the shark’s next victim. When her granddaughter, Thea (Judith Barsi), narrowly avoids being attacked by a shark, Ellen takes a boat in order to kill her family’s alleged stalker. Hoagie (Michael Caine), Michael, and his friend Jake (Mario Van Peebles) find Ellen and then proceed to electrocute the shark, driving it out of the water and impaling it on the prow of Ellen’s boat.

(From Wikipedia.com)

 

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FRIGHTENING FOLKLORE FRIDAYS – MARCH 17, 2017

(Trailer from YouTube)

The Russian Sleep Experiment

Synopsis: Toward the end of the 1940s, Soviet researchers sealed five prison inmates in an airtight chamber and dosed them with an experimental stimulant gas to test the effects of prolonged sleep deprivation. Their behavior was observed via two-way mirrors and their conversations monitored electronically. They were promised their freedom if they could go without sleep for 30 days.

The first few days passed uneventfully. By the fifth day, however, the subjects began showing signs of stress and were overheard bemoaning their circumstances. They stopped conversing with their fellow inmates, choosing instead to whisper compromising information about one another into the microphones, apparently in an effort to win the favor of the researchers.

Paranoia set in.

On the ninth day the screaming began. First one subject, then another, was observed running around the chamber screaming for hours on end. Equally disconcerting was the behavior of the quieter subjects, who began ripping apart the books they’d been given to read, smearing the pages with feces and plastering them over the mirrored windows so their actions could no longer be observed.

Then, just as suddenly, the screaming stopped. The subjects ceased communicating altogether. Three days passed without a sound from inside the chamber. Fearing the worst, the researchers addressed them via the intercom. “We are opening the chamber to test the microphones,” they said. “Step away from the door and lie flat on the floor or you will be shot. Compliance will earn one of you your immediate freedom.”

A voice from inside answered, “We no longer want to be freed.”

Two more days passed without contact of any kind as the scientists debated what to do next. Finally, they decided to terminate the experiment. At midnight on the fifteenth day the stimulant gas was flushed from the chamber and replaced with fresh air in preparation for the subjects’ release. Far from being pleased at the prospect of leaving, the subjects began screaming as if in fear for their lives. They begged to have the gas turned back on. Instead, the researchers unsealed the door to the chamber and sent armed soldiers inside to retrieve them. Nothing could have prepared them for the carnage they witnessed upon entering.

One subject was found dead, lying face-down in six inches of bloody water. Chunks of his flesh had been torn off and stuffed into the floor drain. All of the subjects had been severely mutilated, in fact. Even worse, the wounds appeared to be self-inflicted. They had ripped open their own abdomens and disemboweled themselves with their bare hands.

Some had even eaten their own flesh.

The four who were still alive seemed terrified of falling asleep and refused to leave the chamber, again pleading with the researchers to turn the gas back on. When the soldiers attempted to remove the inmates by force, they fought back so ferociously they couldn’t believe their eyes. One suffered a ruptured spleen and lost so much blood there was literally nothing left for his heart to pump, yet continued flailing for a full three minutes until his lifeless body collapsed.

The remaining subjects were restrained and transported to a medical facility for treatment. The first to be operated on fought so furiously against being anesthetized that he tore muscles and broke bones during the struggle. As soon as the anesthetic took effect his heart stopped and he died. The rest underwent surgery without sedation. Far from feeling any pain, however, they laughed hysterically on the operating table — so hysterically that the doctors, perhaps fearing for their own sanity, administered a paralytic agent to immobilize them.

After surgery the survivors were asked why they had mutilated themselves, and why they so desperately wanted to go back on the stimulant gas. Each, in turn, gave the same enigmatic answer: “I must remain awake.”

The researchers considered euthanizing them to obliterate every trace of the failed experiment, but were overruled by their commanding officer, who ordered that it be resumed immediately, with three of the researchers joining the inmates in the sealed chamber. Horrified, the chief researcher pulled out a pistol and shot the commanding officer point blank. He then turned and shot one of the two surviving subjects. Aiming his gun at the last one left alive, he asked, “What are you? I must know!”

“Have you forgotten so easily?” the subject said, grinning. “We are you. We are the madness that lurks within you all, begging to be free at every moment in your deepest animal mind. We are what you hide from in your beds every night. We are what you sedate into silence and paralysis when you go to the nocturnal haven where we cannot tread.”

The researcher fired a bullet into his heart. The EEG monitor flat-lined as the subject murmured these last words: “So … nearly … free.”

ANALYSIS AND REALITY CHECK

It’s a given that human beings require a certain amount of sleep on a regular basis in order for our minds and bodies to function properly. Anyone who has experienced a night (or two, or three) of insomnia knows how critical even a few hours of refreshing sleep can be to one’s health and well-being.

What would happen if we went 15 or more days without the natural “downtime” virtually every sentient creature requires? Would we fall apart mentally and physically? Would we go insane? Would we die? It’s questions like these the Russian Sleep Experiment was supposedly designed to answer, with the horrifying, catastrophic results reported above.

Now for a dose of reality gas.

NO SUCH EXPERIMENT TOOK PLACE

While the premise that keeping a group of people awake for 15 days straight would end in a cannibalistic bloodbath makes for a gripping fictional horror story, it’s not borne out by scientific evidence. The so-called Russian Sleep Experiment never took place.

In point of fact, no human experiments of the type and duration described above have ever been conducted (none that have been made public, at any rate), though we do have the results of a 1964 high school science fair project in which the effects of prolonged sleep deprivation were monitored by a bona fide sleep researcher from Stanford University and a professor of neuropsychiatric medicine. By default, it has come to be considered one of the seminal studies in the field.

THE WORLD RECORD: 11 DAYS WITHOUT SLEEP

Randy Gardner, a student at Point Loma High School in San Diego, California, went without sleep for 11 days in a bid for the Guinness World Record for continuous wakefulness. He suffered bouts of dizziness, memory loss, slurred speech, hallucinations, and even paranoia over the course of the 264-hour experiment, but at no time did he exhibit anything resembling the extreme behaviors allegedly observed by the Russian researchers.

Gardner reportedly slept for 14 hours straight when the project was over and awoke feeling rested and alert. He suffered no lasting ill effects.

While Gardner did, in fact, beat the existing benchmark for days gone without sleep, his feat was never actually listed in the Guinness Book of World Records because he missed the submission deadline. The most recent title holder in that category (before Guinness retired it for fear of encouraging risky behavior, that is) was Maureen Weston of Cambridgeshire, England, who stayed awake for 18 days and 17 hours during a rocking chair marathon in 1977. She neither ripped open her own abdomen nor ate her own flesh. Ms. Weston holds the Guinness World Record for sleep deprivation to this day.

A WORD ABOUT CREEPYPASTA

“The Russian Sleep Experiment” is an example of creepypasta, an Internet nickname for frightening images and fictional horror stories that circulate virally online. The oldest version I’ve found was posted to the Creepypasta Wiki on August 10, 2010 by a user calling him- or herself “Orange Soda.” The original author is listed as unknown.

(by David Emery on urbanlegends.about.com)

 

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TRAILER FLASHBACK THURSDAYS – MARCH 16, 2017

(Trailer from YouTube)

Dracula (1931)
Director – Tod Browning

Dracula is a 1931 American pre-Code vampire-horror film directed by Tod Browning and starring Bela Lugosi as Count Dracula. The film was produced by Universal and is based on the 1924 stage play Dracula by Hamilton Deane and John L. Balderston, which in turn is loosely based on the novel Dracula by Bram Stoker.

Renfield (Dwight Frye) is a solicitor traveling to Count Dracula’s (Bela Lugosi) castle in Transylvania on a business matter. The people in the local village fear that vampires inhabit the castle and warn Renfield not to go there. Renfield refuses to stay at the inn and asks his carriage driver to take him to the Borgo Pass. Renfield is driven to the castle by Dracula’s coach, with Dracula disguised as the driver. En route, Renfield sticks his head out the window to ask the driver to slow down, but sees the driver has disappeared; a bat leads the horses.

Renfield enters the castle welcomed by the charming but eccentric Count, who unbeknownst to Renfield, is a vampire. They discuss Dracula’s intention to lease Carfax Abbey in London, where he intends to travel the next day. Dracula hypnotizes Renfield into opening a window. Renfield faints as a bat appears and Dracula’s three wives close in on him. Dracula waves them away, then attacks Renfield himself.

Aboard the schooner Vesta, Renfield is a raving lunatic slave to Dracula, who hides in a coffin and feeds on the ship’s crew. When the ship reaches England, Renfield is discovered to be the only living person. Renfield is sent to Dr. Seward’s sanatorium adjoining Carfax Abbey.

At a London theatre, Dracula meets Seward (Herbert Bunston). Seward introduces his daughter Mina (Helen Chandler), her fiancé John Harker (David Manners) and the family friend Lucy Weston (Frances Dade). Lucy is fascinated by Count Dracula. That night, Dracula enters her room and feasts on her blood while she sleeps. Lucy dies the next day after a string of transfusions.

Renfield is obsessed with eating flies and spiders. Professor Van Helsing (Edward Van Sloan) analyzes Renfield’s blood and discovers his obsession. He starts talking about vampires, and that afternoon Renfield begs Seward to send him away, claiming his nightly cries may disturb Mina’s dreams. When Dracula calls Renfield with wolf howling, Renfield is disturbed by Van Helsing showing him wolfsbane, which Van Helsing says is used for protection from vampires.

Dracula visits Mina, asleep in her bedroom, and bites her. The next evening, Dracula enters for a visit and Van Helsing and Harker notice that he does not have a reflection. When Van Helsing reveals this to Dracula, he smashes the mirror and leaves. Van Helsing deduces that Dracula is the vampire behind the recent tragedies.

Mina leaves her room and runs to Dracula in the garden, where he attacks her. She is found by the maid. Newspapers report that a woman in white is luring children from the park and biting them. Mina recognizes the lady as Lucy, risen as a vampire. Harker wants to take Mina to London for safety, but is convinced to leave Mina with Van Helsing. Van Helsing orders Nurse Briggs (Joan Standing) to take care of Mina when she sleeps, and not to remove the wreath of wolfsbane from her neck.

Renfield escapes from his cell and listens to the men discuss vampires. Before his attendant takes Renfield back to his cell, Renfield relates to them how Dracula convinced Renfield to allow him to enter the sanitorium by promising him thousands of rats with blood and life in them. Dracula enters the Seward parlour and talks with Van Helsing. Dracula states that Mina now belongs to him, and warns Van Helsing to return to his home country. Van Helsing swears to excavate Carfax Abbey and destroy Dracula. Dracula attempts to hypnotize Van Helsing, but the latter’s resolve proves stronger. As Dracula lunges at Van Helsing, he withdraws a crucifix from his coat, forcing Dracula to retreat.

Harker visits Mina on a terrace, and she speaks of how much she loves “nights and fogs”. A bat flies above them and squeaks to Mina. She then attacks Harker but Van Helsing and Seward save him. Mina confesses what Dracula has done to her, and tells Harker their love is finished.

Dracula hypnotizes Briggs into removing the wolfsbane from Mina’s neck and opening the windows. Van Helsing and Harker see Renfield heading for Carfax Abbey. They see Dracula with Mina in the abbey. When Harker shouts to Mina, Dracula thinks Renfield has led them there and kills him. Dracula is hunted by Van Helsing and Harker knowing that Dracula is forced to sleep in his coffin during daylight, and the sun is rising. Van Helsing prepares a wooden stake while Harker searches for Mina. Van Helsing impales Dracula, killing him, and Mina returns to normal.

(from Wikipedia.com)

 

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WRITTEN HORROR RECOMMENDATION WEDNESDAYS – MARCH 15, 2017

Book – Rosemary’s Baby (1967)
Author – Ira Levin

Rosemary’s Baby is a 1967 best-selling horror novel by Ira Levin, his second published book. It sold over 4 million copies, “making it the top bestselling horror novel of the 1960s.”  The commercial success of the novel helped launch a “horror boom”, where horror fiction would achieve enormous commercial success.

The book centers on Rosemary Woodhouse, a young woman who has just moved into the Bramford, an old Gothic Revival style New York City apartment building with her husband, Guy, a struggling actor. The pair is warned that the Bramford has a disturbing history involving witchcraft and murder, but they choose to overlook this. Rosemary has wanted children for some time, but Guy wants to wait until he is more established.

Rosemary and Guy are quickly welcomed to the Bramford by neighbors Minnie and Roman Castevet, an eccentric elderly couple. Rosemary finds them meddlesome and absurd, but Guy begins paying them frequent visits.

After a theatrical rival suddenly goes blind, Guy is given an important part in a stage play. Immediately afterward, Guy unexpectedly agrees with Rosemary that it is time to conceive their first child.

Guy’s performance in the stage play brings him favorable notice and he is subsequently cast in other, increasingly important roles; he soon begins to talk about a career in Hollywood.

After receiving a warning from a friend, who also becomes mysteriously ill, Rosemary discovers that her neighbors are the leaders of a Satanic coven, and she suspects they intend to steal her child and use it as a sacrifice to the Devil. Despite her growing conviction, she is unable to convince anyone else and soon becomes certain that there is no one actually on her side, least of all her own husband. Ultimately, Rosemary finds that she is wrong about the coven’s reason for wanting the baby — the baby that she delivers is the Antichrist, and Guy is not actually the father. Satan is.

(from Wikipedia.com)

 

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HORROR TRIVIA TUESDAYS – MARCH 14, 2017

STEPHEN KING WASN’T A FAN OF THE SHINING.

In 1983, Stephen King told Playboy, “I’d admired [Stanley] Kubrick for a long time and had great expectations for the project, but I was deeply disappointed in the end result. Parts of the film are chilling, charged with a relentlessly claustrophobic terror, but others fell flat.”

King didn’t like the casting of Jack Nicholson either, claiming, “Jack Nicholson, though a fine actor, was all wrong for the part. His last big role had been in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, and between that and the manic grin, the audience automatically identified him as a loony from the first scene. But the book is about Jack Torrance’s gradual descent into madness through the malign influence of the Overlook—if the guy is nuts to begin with, then the entire tragedy of his downfall is wasted.”

(from Mentalfloss.com)

Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson) arrives at the mountain-isolated Overlook Hotel, which is 25 miles from the closest town, to be interviewed for the position of winter caretaker. Once hired, Jack plans to use the hotel’s solitude to write. The hotel, built on the site of a Native American burial ground, becomes snowed-in during the winter; it is closed from October to May. Manager Stuart Ullman (Barry Nelson) warns Jack that a previous caretaker, Charles Grady, developed cabin fever and killed his family and himself. In Boulder, Jack’s son, Danny Torrance (Danny Lloyd), has a terrifying premonition about the hotel, viewing a cascade of blood emerging from an elevator door, and then falls into a trance. Jack’s wife, Wendy (Shelley Duvall), tells a doctor (Anne Jackson) that Danny has an imaginary friend named Tony, and that Jack has given up drinking because he dislocated Danny’s shoulder following a binge.

The family arrives at the hotel on closing day and is given a tour. The chef, Dick Hallorann (Scatman Crothers), surprises Danny by telepathically offering him ice cream. Dick explains to Danny that he and his grandmother shared this telepathic ability, which he calls “shining”. Danny asks if there is anything to be afraid of in the hotel, particularly room 237. Hallorann tells Danny that the hotel has a “shine” to it along with many memories, not all of which are good. He also tells Danny to stay away from room 237.

A month passes; while Jack’s writing goes nowhere, Danny and Wendy explore the hotel’s hedge maze, and Hallorann goes to Florida. Wendy learns that the phone lines are out due to the heavy snowfall, and Danny has frightening visions. Jack, increasingly frustrated, starts behaving strangely and becomes prone to violent outbursts. Danny’s curiosity about room 237 overcomes him when he sees the room’s door open. Later, Wendy finds Jack screaming during a nightmare while asleep at his typewriter. After she awakens him, Jack says he dreamed that he killed her and Danny. Danny arrives and is visibly traumatized with a bruise on his neck, causing Wendy to accuse Jack of abusing him. Jack wanders into the hotel’s Gold Room and meets a ghostly bartender named Lloyd (Joe Turkel). Lloyd serves him bourbon whiskey while Jack complains about his marriage. Wendy later tells Jack that Danny told her a “crazy woman in one of the rooms” attempted to strangle him. Jack investigates room 237, encountering the ghost of a dead woman, but tells Wendy that he saw nothing. Wendy and Jack argue over whether Danny should be removed from the hotel and a furious Jack returns to the Gold Room, now filled with ghosts attending a ball. He meets the ghost of Grady (Philip Stone) who tells Jack that he must “correct” his wife and child and that Danny has reached out to Hallorann using his “talent”. Meanwhile, Hallorann grows concerned about what’s going on at the hotel and flies back to Colorado. Danny starts calling out “redrum” and goes into a trance, referring to himself as “Tony”.

While searching for Jack, Wendy discovers he has been typing pages of a repetitive manuscript: “all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy”. She begs Jack to leave the hotel with Danny, but he threatens her before she knocks him unconscious with a baseball bat. She drags him into the kitchen and locks him in the pantry, but she and Danny are both trapped at the hotel: Jack has disabled the hotel’s two-way radio and snowcat. Later, Jack converses through the pantry door with Grady, who unlocks the door.

Danny writes “REDRUM” on the outside of the bathroom door in the family’s living quarters. When Wendy sees the word reversed in the bedroom mirror, the word is revealed to be “MURDER”. Jack begins hacking through the quarters’ main door with a firefighter’s axe. Wendy sends Danny through the bathroom window, but it will not open sufficiently for her to pass. Jack breaks through the bathroom door, shouting “Here’s Johnny!”, but retreats after Wendy slashes his hand with a butcher’s knife. Hearing Hallorann arriving in a snowcat he borrowed, Jack leaves the room. He murders Hallorann with the axe in the lobby and pursues Danny into the hedge maze. Wendy runs through the hotel looking for Danny, encountering ghosts and the cascade of blood Danny envisioned in Boulder. She also finds Hallorann’s corpse in the lobby. Danny lays a false trail to mislead Jack, who is following his footprints, before hiding behind a drift. Danny escapes from the maze and reunites with Wendy; they escape in Hallorann’s snowcat, while Jack freezes to death in the snow. In a photograph in the hotel hallway dated July 4, 1921, Jack Torrance smiles amid a crowd of party revelers.

(from Wikipedia.com)

 

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MOVIE MONSTER MONDAYS – MARCH 13, 2017

The Crawling Eye
Movie – The Trollenberg Terror (1958)
Director – Quentin Lawrence

The Trollenberg Terror (a.k.a. The Crawling Eye in the United States) is a 1958 independently made British black-and-white science fiction film produced by Robert S. Baker and Monty Berman, directed by Quentin Lawrence, that stars Forrest Tucker, Laurence Payne, Jennifer Jayne and Janet Munro. The film was based on a 1956 British ITV “Saturday Serial” television programme.[1]

The film was distributed in the UK by Eros Films Ltd. as The Trollenberg Terror and in the US by Distributors Corporation of America as The Crawling Eye. In the US it was released on a double bill with the UK film Cosmic Monsters (a.k.a. The Strange World of Planet X). )

The Trollenberg Terrors storyline concerns United Nations troubleshooter Alan Brooks, later joined by journalist Philip Truscott, investigating unusual accidents occurring in the area of a resort hotel on (the fictional) Mount Trollenberg in Switzerland. Brooks suspects these deaths are related to a series of similar incidents that occurred three years earlier in the Andes mountains, which involved an unexplained radioactive mist and odd cloud formation believed by locals to be inhabited.

On the Swiss mountain Trollenberg, one of three student climbers is suddenly killed, his head ripped from his body. Two sisters, Anne (Munro) and Sarah Pilgrim (Jayne), a London mind-reading act, are travelling by train to Geneva when Anne faints as the train passes the mountain. Upon waking, Anne insists that they must get off at the next stop.

UN troubleshooter Alan Brooks (Tucker), in the same train compartment as the sisters, goes to Trollenberg’s observatory, where Professor Crevett (Warren Mitchell) explains that, despite many climbing accidents, no bodies are ever found; an always-stationary radioactive cloud is regularly observed on the mountain’s south face. Brooks learns that similar incidents took place in the Andes three years earlier, before a similar radioactive cloud vanished without a trace. Local rumors circulated that something was living in the mist.

Anne is giving a mind-reading demonstration at the hotel when she “sees” two men in a base camp hut on the mountain: Dewhurst (Stuart Saunders) is asleep when the other man, Brett (Andrew Faulds), under some kind of mental compulsion, walks outside. Meanwhile, the cloud has enveloped the hut. Anne suddenly faints again, and Brooks phones the hut but no one answers.

A rescue party ventures to the hut looking for both men. Anne, in a trance-like state, urges the rescuers to stay away. Inside the hut, the group discover that everything is frozen solid, despite the hut being locked from the inside. Dewhurst’s body is found under the bed, its head missing. A spotter plane arrives and circles overhead, and a man is seen off in the distance. At his location, the first rescuer there finds a rucksack with a severed head inside. He is quickly set upon and killed by Brett, who later attacks and kills a second rescuer.

Now at the hotel, Brett storms in and launches an attack on Anne. The men manage to subdue him, and during the struggle Brett sustains a severe head gash, but no blood flows from the wound. Brett is heavily sedated and locked away. Brooks recalls a similar incident in the Andes that followed a similar pattern: a man murdered an elderly woman who allegedly possessed psychic abilities just like those displayed by Anne. The killer’s body was discovered to have been deceased for at least 24 hours prior to his murder of the old women. Brett escapes his improvised cell and resumes his hunt for Anne, this time armed with a small hand axe. Before he can reach Anne, he is quickly shot and killed by Brooks.

The cloud has begun to move down the mountainside towards the hotel, so the group retreats to the heavily fortified observatory. As they enter the cable car, a mother realises that her young daughter is missing. In a thickening mist a giant, multi-tentacled creature with a single huge eye appears at the hotel, smashing down the front door. Brooks manages to rescue the child from the lobby, both of them narrowly escaping its grasp. They return to the cable car, but the delay has given the thickening mist a chance to reach the car platform. The transport motor begins to freeze, starting and stopping, the cable slipping, but the cable car arrives safely. The single cloud has now split and become four while converging on the observatory.

Hans (Colin Douglas), who left the hotel, suddenly turns up at the observatory. Once inside, he begins exhibiting the same obsession with Anne. Hans tries to strangle her, but the group can only stop him by killing him. As the tentacled monsters near the observatory, everyone makes Molotov cocktails to combat them. By radio, Alan orders an aerial firebombing raid against the observatory, which has a reinforced concrete roof and walls that can withstand the assault.

Journalist Philip Truscott (Payne) strikes one of the creatures with a Molotov cocktail, setting it ablaze. He is caught from above by one of the tentacled monsters on the observatory’s roof. With another Molotov cocktail, Brooks sets that one ablaze, forcing the burning creature to release Truscott. Later, Truscott does the same as another one-eyed monster manages to breach a thick wall, trying to get at Anne. The aerial firebombing assault begins and is successful at torching the remaining creatures.

(From Wikipedia.com)

 

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FRIGHTENING FOLKLORE FRIDAYS – MARCH 10, 2017

(Trailer from YouTube)

They Hurt Her (The Death of David Gregory)

Description: Chain letter / Ghost story / Internet hoax
Circulating since: 2006
Status: False

Analysis: Not to be confused with the still-living TV journalist of the same name, the David Gregory of Internet fame is a fictional character who allegedly died at the hands of a vengeful ghost named Carmen Winstead.

Winstead herself supposedly died after being pushed down a sewer drain by a gang of bullies from her school and suffering a broken neck.

According to an online chain letter circulating since 2006, Winstead returned from the dead to take revenge on her tormentors, killing them one by one before turning her murderous attention to those who failed to share the story of how she died. The hapless David Gregory was one of them.

“16-year-old David Gregory read this post and didn’t repost it,” an addendum to the chain letter claims. “He said good night to his mom and went to sleep, but five hours later, his mom woke up in the middle of the night from a loud noise and David was gone. A few hours later, the police found him in the sewer, with a broken neck and the skin on his face peeled off.”

Why, exactly, his skin was peeled off is never explained.

Carmen Winstead is a classic ghost story chain letter (see below for more specimens). It’s also an example of creepypasta, an Internet phenomenon consisting of brief horror stories, videos, and creepy images shared online and via social media. Creepypasta is a subcategory of copypasta (as in “copy and paste”).

In the case of the David Gregory story, a fragment snipped from a larger text (the Winstead chain letter) has taken on a life of its own thanks to social media.

There is no reason to believe, of course, that the story of Carmen Winstead is true, in whole or in part, nor that a teenager named David Gregory (or any other human being in the real world, for that matter) has had his neck broken and skin peeled off as punishment for failing to repost a chain letter. It’s just a ghost story, the only real point of which is to scare you enough to get you to pass it along to someone else.

 

(by David Emery on urbanlegends.about.com)

 

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