Here in the House of Cruz, we love Fall and most of all, All Hallow's Eve - so much so that these decorations have been up since September 8th. You can probably guess after five years of Creepy Cinema, we love all things spooky. Over the years, we've started to amass quite the collection of vintage Halloween decorations. Markus's favorite go to decoration is blow molds, as you will see in the photos. This year, we scoured the antique markets and were able to find heaps of pumpkin and ghost blow molds and even a cute little skeleton. One of the best finds was a Don Featherstone black cat that we got for way under market price. It was a grave robbery! My favorite part of the house are the Ben Cooper masks that looked perfect with our portrait collection. I like them so much I might leave them up till Thanksgiving! Happy Halloween everyone!
In honor of season 2 of Stranger Things being released today, I wanted to share my photo from the pop-up bar in Logan Square. The bar was just an eight minute drive from our house so we decided to stop in one night to check it out. We went on a Sunday night at 6 p.m. and it was already packed full of people. What I found surprising was the clientele wasn't just the typical hipsters you find in Logan Square, it was mix of all kinds of people. Just goes to show you the scope of people that love Stranger Things. As most of you know, Netflix sent a hilarious cease-and-desist to the owners of the pop-up. It may be shut down now, but may the Upside Down Bar forever live in our hearts.
I cannot believe how fast this month went by! The older we get the faster the days go by, it's crazy. Thank you for sticking with me this month and I hoped you enjoyed the movies and my thoughts on them. Check out the last four films of this year below and don't forget to let me know what you think in the comments below!
It is definitely one of my favorite movies from this year. I’ve been spreading the gospel of It to anyone that will listen, and I think people are getting sick of me talking about it. I’m actually quite surprised at how many people find clowns terrifying. I get it, I don’t really like clowns either. A grown man with a painted face and a permanent, sinister smile - it’s unnerving. This film definitely draws from that fear and turns it up more than a notch.
It was an incredible film that 100% met expectations and lived up to all the hype. This movie had everything: an interesting storyline, great actors and most importantly, a terrifying monster. Pennywise is the epitome of what I think a monster should be. He completely lacks humanity, preys upon all your fears and is downright scary. Bill Skarsgård did an incredible job portraying Pennywise, so much so that you forget how hot he is in real life. Pennywise will forever haunt my dreams. The cast of main characters (all kids), also known as the Losers Club, was phenomenal. They all had great character development, and being a “loser” myself growing up, I definitely empathized with them so much. In the past few years, there has been an influx of 80s nostalgia in media, and this movie really cashed in on it, much like Stranger Things did last year. However It wasn’t nostalgic for nostalgia’s sake, and hits all the right notes an incredible film should. I can honestly say, this is quite possibly one of the best horror films I’ve ever seen.
I was pleasantly surprised at how much I liked this movie. Markus has been going on and on about this franchise, and we purposefully waited till this year to watch it so that we could make it a double feature with the sequel. As you may know, I love Unsolved Mysteries and other shows that deal with mysteries and investigations, so this movie is right up my alley. The film is based on the real life husband and wife paranormal investigative duo, Ed and Lorraine Warren. This film is loosely based on their investigation into the Perron Family Haunting in Rhode Island.
I really liked The Conjuring, I thought it was a well done supernatural horror movie. It didn’t feel like the typical film of its genre. Sure it’s draws on the familiar trope of a family being terrorized by some malevolent spirit, but it still felt fresh and interesting thanks to some great acting and direction. There were some genuine scares as well as jump-scares, but the film didn’t heavily rely on those elements. I also enjoyed that the story is told from the point of view of the Warrens instead of the family. It felt more personal and we delved a bit into their other stories and what drives them to do this type of investigative work for a living. The actors that portray Ed and Lorraine, Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga, deliver a genuine performance. Their chemistry is on point and you can really feel how much this pair needs each other - they really compliment one another on screen. The backstory of the spirit that haunts them was also a really cool mystery that kept me on the edge of my seat. So much so that I was ready to watch The Conjuring 2!
Unfortunately this sequel wasn’t as good as the first, which is usually the case. I still think the concept of these movies are really good and I love Wilson and Farmiga in these roles, but something seemed a bit off. The film opens with the Warrens mid-investigation into the Lutz Family murders, otherwise known as the Amityville Horror. During the investigation Lorraine sees a horrible vision that puts her family in danger, and convinces Ed to stop investigating in order to prevent it from coming true. Of course the Warren’s can’t stay away from their work, and end up traveling to Enfield, England to investigate a series of strange occurrences.
I did like that this film moved the setting to England and focused on a haunting occurring overseas. Most of the famous true crime mysteries are based in the U.S., so it’s always refreshing to watch something that’s set in another country. I also really enjoyed the actress that played the young protagonist, Janet Hodgson. She was a real emphatic, human character and the best part of the film. There was just something about this movie that rubbed me the wrong way, and truly can’t put my finger on it. I had to watch this film in 4 separate parts - I don’t know if it was my fear of that creepy nun at the beginning, pure disinterest, or if I just couldn’t connect with the story itself. Probably just the creepy nun. (shudder)
I couldn’t think of a better film to end Creepy Cinema with, and ease us into the holiday season. The Krampus is an Eastern European Christmas monster from folklore. I first heard about the Krampus when I was younger. Being someone named Noelle, you get curious about all things yuletide. No one knows when and how the Krampus originated, but one thing is sure, he is definitely not Saint Nick. He’s the complete antithesis of the jolly old fellow. He’s described as a horned demon that punishes wicked children and drags them away in chains. When Markus and I first saw the preview for the film, we were so excited and couldn’t wait to watch the movie.
The film follows a very dysfunctional family as they come together for Christmas. It mainly focuses on the younger son, Max, who wants to keep all his family traditions alive, while his parents and relatives fight amongst one another. The tension is quite strong between the family members, and when they’re all finally under one roof, everything goes wrong. A blizzard overtakes the town trapping residents in their homes - and this is when the film becomes a classic bottle movie. We watch as the family tries to survive the terrible weather conditions, handle the growing tensions amongst themselves and inevitably, the arrival of the Krampus. I think for most of us, we know that Christmas time can be a time of great joy, but also stress. So it was fun to watch a familiar situation turn into a horror film. I thought the movie was really enjoyable and entertaining, and the Krampus was totally scari-fying. If you want to hold onto Halloween for just a little longer but still get into the Christmas mood, I most definitely recommend the Krampus! It’s the perfect segway!
It’s been three years since Markus and I went apple picking at County Line Orchardin Hobart, Indiana. I liked our experience there, but there are so many orchards near Chicago that we decided we wanted to check out another place this year. We’ll probably check out a new spot next year as well. Maybe I should make it a goal to visit all the popular orchards and see who has the best donuts. Because let’s be real, that’s why we go to orchards, for the donuts or maybe that’s just me?
This year, we decided to check out Harvest Time Orchards in Twin Lakes, Wisconsin. They have lots of activities for the family: apple picking, donut shop, country smoke house, corn maze, cider barn, brat shop and more. Unfortunately we didn’t have a chance to pick apples, because you have to drive into the orchard and we were having car troubles. We didn’t want to breakdown in the middle of a family picking apples. There were a lot of people at the small orchard, but it didn’t feel too packed. There were lots of things to do so people were spread out all over. We did wait an hour and half for three apple cider donuts, but I have to tell you, those were worth it. I know it sounds crazy to wait that long for something so little, but these donuts were delicious. They were warm and light and not too sweet. I would wait in line again for those fluffy treats.
It's Week Two of Creepy Cinema and one of my favorite Korean movies is on the list! Can't wait to share my thoughts on that as well as the beauty of Gong Yoo! Keep scrolling for this week's films and don't forget to let me know what you think in the comments below!
4. Train to Busan (2016)
Disclaimer, this film stars my favorite Korean actor of all time, Gong Yoo, so there might be a lot of gushing in this review. The film follows a group of strangers that board a cross country train bound for Busan. Fun fact, the two years that Markus and I lived in South Korea, we lived in Busan! So we’ve actually taken the same route in the film, which made it even cooler and realistic, at least for me. As someone who is absolutely obsessed with Korean food, music, shows, etc., I’m not the biggest fan of their films. Korean films tend to be too long and often flounder in their storytelling at the beginning of the third act. At that point I often find myself feeling the length and losing interest quite quickly. Every Korean film I’ve seen thus far seems to be plagued with these two things. Thank goodness Train to Busan proved me wrong and is the best Korean horror film I’ve seen so far.
I cannot express to you how much I loved this movie. It’s chock full of action and the acting was on point. Gong Yoo is pretty dreamy even though he’s playing an absent father, but I kinda loved that he was terrible at the beginning of the film because it gave his character the opportunity grow into a protagonist we actually care about. A real revelation was Kim Su An, the girl playing his daughter. She was such an incredible actress for her age. Actually, the entire ensemble was great and I enjoyed all of their performances, each holding a good amount of character development for a film with such a large cast. Of course no character was safe, and just when you start to get attached to one of them, in true horror movie fashion, they perish along with your heart. Train to Busan manages to be both an incredible Korean film, but also a fantastic survival horror film. Honestly, if there is only one movie you watch from my list this year, please watch this one. If not for me, at least for Gong Yoo, because he’s my fave.
5. Alien Covenant (2017)
I will forever be haunted by my first viewing of Alien back in 2012. It was one of the scariest films, I’ve seen to this day. So much so that when we watch any other films in that universe, I get a bit of anxiety. In regards to the sequels, nothing has been more frightening than the first and I’ve started to lose that initial fear along with interest. I know that it’s hard to meet the standards of the first film in a franchise, but my golly, do we really need this new iteration?
I’m not 100% sure why they made another movie in the vein of Alien prequels when the response to Prometheus was so mixed, but who knows why people make movies these days anymore. (Ahem, money.) Either way, at least this one attempted to get back to the roots of its predecessors. It follows a ragtag crew of people who face the unknown, only to end up being trapped with a killer alien. Who’s going to survive? Who cares, because I sure didn’t. I couldn’t tell you much about the character except that they all possessed some jerk-like qualities and did a lot of senseless and reckless things. Also Michael Fassbender’s weird accent--No. The film also seemed to have tonal issues. The first half of the film was what I feel audiences wanted, explorers discovering a strange land full of mystery and danger. Then we run into a big slow-down where the film starts rambling via creepy Fassbender-bot about the genesis of this world, evolution, blah blah blah. Then out of nowhere it turns into a monster-chase film! I really felt the length of this movie, and I would pass on this one to just re-watch Alien.
6. The Babysitter (2017)
This movie was a last minute addition and I never heard about it before Markus suggested it. I think not knowing anything about it was an advantage because it was a really fun movie. It definitely felt like an homage to classic 80s horror flicks but with a fun twist. The story follows Cole, a twelve-year old boy, who is having a rough time in middle school - who didn’t have a rough time then? Cole is quite book smart, but when it comes to people, he’s a bit awkward and is often bullied and overlooked in life. To add insult to injury, he still has a babysitter, that stays with him when his parents go out of town. It's okay though because she’s real hot and they have an amazingly geeky and almost sibling-like relationship. The montage of all their inside jokes was actually really cute and one of the best parts of the movie.
The first 20 minutes or so didn’t feel like a horror movie at all, then when you least expect it the rug gets pulled out from under you-and you get beaten with it. Things get a bit crazy when Cole decides to spy on his babysitter and see what she does when he’s asleep. Then the film ramps up and it’s a non-stop action horror until the very end. In these sort of movies, you usually expect the women to be the damsels in distress, but not in this movie. The Babysitter was tough as nails and pulled no punches. However what I think makes this movie so strong is that at it’s core, it’s really just a coming of age story and those are always my favorites.