Joyeux Noël 2018 | Nyhavn | Copenhagen, Denmark

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I honestly cannot believe that we’re only eight days away from Christmas. I’m not going to lie, 2018 has been a rough and difficult year and I’m just ready for 2019. Despite the tough trials and challenges, there were still some really great memories. Out trip to Scandinavia couldn’t have come at a more perfect time. July was a rough month, so a trip right at the end of August was perfect.

For our annual Christmas photo, we had three cities full of great spots to choose from, but we ultimately chose Nyhavn in Copenhagen. We scoped it out the day before and were immediately blown away by the iconic colorful buildings. The next morning, we woke up really early to avoid the crowds, headed out in our matching crane shirts and found the perfect spot. I didn’t think we would top our photo at Château de Boucéel last year, but I think we did. Anyway dear friends, I hope you have a Happy Christmas and a spectacular New Year!

Senate Square | Helsinki, Finland

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So excited to share the first post of our recent trip to Scandinavia. The first city we visited was Helsinki in Finland. We added this city because I didn’t think we would ever have the opportunity again. Originally we were going to go to Oslo, but I felt that Norway probably deserved its own trip and not just a stop. We spent three quick days in Helsinki, but I think that was just the right amount of time. Anymore than that and it might have been too much.

One of the must see areas is Senate Square. The square and it’s surrounding areas is one of the the oldest areas in Helsinki. The most recognizable buildings in the square are the Government Palace, the Helsinki Cathedral and Sederholm House, which is the oldest and dates back to 1757. We didn’t spend much time at Senate Square because we had a dinner reservation and the weather was awful. The little bit we did get to see was beautiful and I could see why it’s one of the more popular tourist attractions.

Harvest Time Orchards 2018 | Twin Lakes, Wisconsin

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For some reason this year, Markus and I took longer than normal to head out to the orchards. When we finally made the trek out to Twin Lakes, all the trees were bare and the store was devoid of a single apple. It was kind of sad, but it’s okay because the main reason we drove almost two hours was the apple cider donuts. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to take any photos, because we ended up devouring the entire order in minutes. No joke, I would probably drive another two hours to eat those amazing donuts!

Creepy Cinema 2018 | Attack of the VHS | Week Four

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Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors - 1987

Surprisingly, this is my first Nightmare on Elm Street movie. From what Markus tells me, this is one of the better films in the franchise, and for those of you that don’t know the lore of Freddy Krueger, I’ll break it down real easy for you. When he was alive, Freddy Krueger was a child murderer and was burned alive by an angry mob of parents who live on Elm Street. They thought that would be the end of Freddy, but in reality it was only the beginning of the nightmare. Freddy becomes a sort of dream demon and begins killing all the children of the Elm Street parents (who burned him alive) in their sleep. This movie picks up the story line from the original Elm Street by reintroducing Nancy, the main protagonist from the first film, who is now on a mission to finally put an end to Freddy’s rein of terror.

 Dream Warriors is an interesting movie. I wouldn’t say it’s great but I wouldn’t say it’s awful either. I liked finally seeing Freddy Krueger in action, and there were some really creative death scenes. I also enjoyed how Freddy would take something from your life and twist it into something macabre, just like a true nightmare. He’s definitely a creep, but not as scary as people made him out to be. The scene with his bones being reanimated was a little much and felt very out of place. I mean, how does Freddy even know how to reanimate his bones? And how does he even know where they’re located? I do think that if I watched this movie in the 80s I would’ve been terrified. I mean a guy who can literally murder you in your dreams? That’s pretty clever. Strangely enough, this movie made me want to watch more in the Elm St. series.

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The Hunger - 1983

Of all the films on this year’s list, this was the film I was anticipating the most. If you know me, the reason is quite obvious and takes upon the form of the beautiful human, David Bowie. Prior to this year, I never heard of this movie, which seems strange for me since it has ALL the things I like: Bowie, vampires, tragedy and 80s music. It’s like The Hunger was made for me. The film follows an extremely attractive vampire couple, Bowie and Catherine Deneuve as well as a doctor played by Susan Sarandon. At first I thought the film was going to be similar to the 2013 film Only Lovers Left Alive, and boy was I wrong.

So I think that my rating of “so good” is somewhat skewed by a couple things. One being my absolute blind love of Bowie and how extremely attractive he is in the first half of the movie. The other thing is that the first 20 minutes and the last 20 minutes are pretty great. It’s just the in-between that’s mediocre. The pacing is slow and it’s a bit to arthouse for me. Also the director shoots in a very interesting way where the camera is always close to the actors’ faces. It gives off this weird sense of awkwardness, of course that might have been the director’s intention. The cast is pretty great in this, and the makeup and special effects are truly amazing. I mean, they managed to make Bowie unrecognizable, which is hard especially with his unique eyes. The climax and conclusion of the film piqued my interest again, so I felt comfortable enough giving it a tentative “so good,” but with a warning that it might not be for everyone.

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The Fly - 1986

As long as I’ve been with Markus, he’s been talking about this movie. I’ve been able to hold out on watching this movie for the past 15 years, but this year was definitely my reckoning. I mean, I’m a huge Jeff Goldblum fan, but even he couldn’t convince me to watch this movie sooner than this year. The Fly was directed by, the brilliant yet disturbing, David Cronenberg — who also directed Scanners and The Brood. I’ve covered both of those films in previous years of Creepy Cinema, and found both to be a little unnerving. And as I expected, this movie was far more than unnerving than the aforementioned films. It was down right nightmarish for me.

I knew that there was going to be some gore and body horror in this film, but still nothing could prepare me for what it actually was. I found The Fly to be somewhat deceptive because the first half appears to be standard 80s horror movie affair. Nothing too awful, just a boy and girl who find themselves drawn to each other, and then an inciting action begins that throws them down a nightmarish path. The film follows excentric scientist, Seth Brundle (Jeff Gloldblum), who performs a series of teleportation experiments. He begins with teleporting inanimate objects from one booth to another. Soon he repeats the experiment with animals and eventually moves on to himself — which was probably the worst idea ever. I will say that the special effects makeup is incredibly well done and strikingly believable. There were a few times where I literally felt a bit nauseous and had to look away. Overall this film is actually great! The acting is top notch, the special effects and makeup are incredible and the story is compelling. It’s just that the body horror was WAY too over the top for me. I can’t envision a scenario where I would willingly rewatch The Fly, but for those of you that like that sort of thing, I recommend this movie. For those that are squeamish, at least give it a try — but then stay far-far away!

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Creepy Cinema 2018 | Attack of the VHS | Week Three

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The Being - 1983

Markus described this movie to me as pure 80s B movie schlock. So how could I possibly say no to that? The film takes place in a small fictional town in Idaho where the police chief is investigating a string of disappearances and murders. He teams up with a government scientist and they find the cause to be something quite toxic.

As soon as the film started, I got some real Toxic Avenger vibes and was half expecting Toxi to come jumping out. I will say that The Being isn’t as traumatic as Toxic Avenger. I hated that movie so much and it turned me off of Troma films for life. Overall, The Being is a pretty bad movie. It comes across as a film that someone made in high school. The lead character even does some pretty awful voice over narration, completely devoid of emotion. He comes across as awkward and possibly even drunk. The film’s pacing is really slow and takes forever to get to any sort of plot progression. Most of the movie is just random people dying and the main protagonist doing some real leisurely detective work. When you finally reach the climax of the movie you get to see the monster in all his soggy glory, but you’re no longer interested. Even the monster’s death takes forever, and is ultimately mundane at best. I would say this is not even a film that’s so bad it’s good, it’s just bad and I do not recommend it.

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Earth vs. the Flying Saucers - 1956

The film follows Dr. Russell Marvin a scientist who oversees Project Skyhook, an American space program that launches satellites into space. Strangely enough this movie reminded me of Independence Day. Both films have multiple alien ships invading earth and stationing themselves in famous cities. The aliens in both movies threaten to take over the planet and kill anyone who tries to stop them.

I really wanted to like this movie and there are definite moments of brilliance, but it just fell flat. The stop motion special effects were the saving grace and the only thing that peaked my interest. That’s not surprising since they were done by stop-motion master, Ray Harryhausen, who is well known for his work on the 1981 film Clash of the Titans. All of the best scenes are of the UFOs flying over different cities. Markus and I were both pretty impressed at how gracefully those scenes have aged. The aliens are pretty interesting, but they’re your standard 50s alien. Unfortunately, I don’t think that the special effects are enough to save this movie.  You’re probably just better off watching all the UFO clips on YouTube.

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Frankenstein - 1931

Through Creepy Cinema, Markus and I are slowly making our way through the Universal Classic Monster films. So far, I’ve watched Dracula, The Creature from the Black Lagoon and The Invisible Man and remember loving all of them. It’s strange to think that black and white films from the 30s can still be interesting and entertaining, but there’s something magical about the Universal Classic Monsters. It came as no surprise that I also really enjoyed Frankenstein.

I’m sure I don’t have to explain the story of Dr. Frankenstein and the creature that he pieces together and reanimates. It’s a story that’s been done over and over, but it’s nice seeing the original. The real winner of this movie is Colin Clive and Boris Karloff who portray Dr. Frankenstein and Frankenstein’s monster. They were incredibly amazing in their roles and for someone who “just grunts” their way through the film, Karloff is able to bring a some humanity to the creature. At times you really feel sorry for him, because he had a choice in his creation. His whole existence is at the whim of a mad scientist who is obsessed with his work. I really loved the atmospheric vibe of this movie. The sets and costumes are so moody and lush. I’ve seen enough of these older horror movies to be able to identify the good ones and I find that the Universal films have a higher quality with no expense spared.

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