Movin' On Up

I thought this day would never come, but it's finally here. Markus and I are moving to the city! We spent a year in the burbs and while they've been pleasant, it just isn't for us. The past six months were very challenging and it seemed pretty dismal. I was starting to get discouraged, but then things started to fall into place. We found an awesome apartment in Logan Square, one of the best neighborhoods in the city. Also after five months of patiently searching for the right job, I found it! I'll be working for an awesome company in the Loop, the heart of downtown. It all still seems so surreal, but it's really happening and I'm so excited for this new chapter in our lives. I can't wait to share all of our new adventures with you, my dear readers!

Goodbye Korea Series: Busan English Library

I don't know why it's taken me 10 months to post these pictures, but at least I'm posting them. Towards the end of my time in Korea, I have to admit that I was frustrated. Homesickness really got to me and I had to work with a really inconsiderate person. Due to this, I left Korea happily. Now, ten months out, I really miss it, especially the library. Sometimes, we get so caught up in how we're feeling at the moment.  Working at the library was really one of the best jobs I've ever had and I truly miss every single person there.

For my goodbye dinner, they took me to Korean BBQ, since it's my favorite. Afterward, we went to noreabang and sang to our hearts content. It was a great evening spent with my favorite co-workers.  I even received a few gifts, including shoes for my future baby! In the two years I worked at the library, I made so many good memories, too many to name. I'm so thankful for having the opportunity to work at the Busan English Library and it will always be a cherished time in my life!

A Little Lost...

Since we've come back to America, I haven't been myself. It's like I lost myself somewhere along the way. The two years I spent in Korea were two of the best years of my life. Now that the dust has settled, the reality has finally hit me. Those years were a brief interlude but now I have to face the rest of my life. It's time to stop wandering and to become a real adult. The thought is scary, but it's something that every one of us has to face. It's really started to hit me that that part of my life is over. I think I've been in denial and I've been so overwhelmed. Today, it finally dawned on me. I'll never live in Korea again. That time of my life was beautiful, challenging and amazing but I can never go back.

In the past five months, I've gone through more changes than most people will go through in their entire lives. I've had a lot of ups and downs. I've stopped writing and taking photos. I stopped reading. It's like the happiness and joy I always had disappeared. I became a sad shell of myself. When I realized this, I was terrified. I didn't want to go from being someone who could go on adventures and live life to the fullest, to someone who went to sleep at 9pm because I couldn't deal with the reality of the day. I felt really bad for Markus because he had to deal with a depressed and emotional wife.

Dear readers, that person no longer exists. I made a resolution today. I will never be anything but myself. I will continue to write and blog. I lost that zest for life. I've always been a dreamer and that will never change. I can't be something that I'm not. I can only move forward and I'm really excited for what the future will bring. I don't know what it is, but that's always my favorite part, the unknown.

Creepy Cinema: Cult Camp | Week Two

The second week of Creepy Cinema: Cult Camp was both good and bad. It was good because I saw some really scary and terrifying movies but I really liked them. I think I saw what will probably be my favorite film this year! I also saw probably the worst movie on the list as well. Overall, it was a pretty well rounded week and I can't wait to see more!

1. Evil Dead (1981)  
This is one of the few movies on the list that I knew. I’ve actually seen Evil Dead 2 and Army of Darkness. I enjoyed both those films and was excited to see the movie that started it all. Evil Dead is about a group of friends that drive to a cabin in the woods and inadvertently end up releasing demons in the process. This is the sort of movie that I avoid.

Way back when I saw the other Evil Dead movies, Markus intentionally left out this one, because he knew it would be too much for me. I have to admit that I loved this movie. It was terrifying and I enjoyed every minute. Evil Dead is a low budget film and it honestly looks like a student project. Despite all this, the film really delivers. I think of all the films that we’ve seen so far, this one was my favorite. It has everything that you could want in a horror flick. I spent the entire movie screaming at every little thing and watching with my hands over my eyes. It was perfection. 

2.  Killer Klowns from Outer Space (1988)
If there is one thing that creeps me out, it’s clowns. They’re always smiling and hiding their real faces. I think it has a lot to do with accidentally seeing clips of Stephen King’s “It” when I was a kid. Since then, I’ve always had a fear of clowns. Killer Klowns from Outer Space is about alien clowns that come to earth and start attacking and harvesting humans for food.

I was expecting to be super creeped out by this movie and I really wasn’t. There were a few moments that were scary, but overall, it’s an 80s movie about clowns from outer space. How scary can it really be? The designs for the clowns were really amazing and jarring when I first saw them. I also enjoyed the super sweet and cheesy theme song. It was perfectly 80’s sounding for a cult classic.

3. Re-Animator (1985)
I was really excited to see this movie. I knew that it was very popular and beloved among its fans. The film is based on an HP Lovecraft story titled, “Herbert West-Reanimator”. It follows West and his quest to unlock the power of reanimating the dead, hence the title. This film is known for being able to combine gore with comedy.

I think the driving force for all the love is Jeffrey Combs, who plays Herbert West.
West is an amazing character, he’s so strange and creepy, however you can’t help but root for him. It’s strange because he’s such an anti-hero. Combs is an incredible actor and was also the lead in From Beyond, viewed in last year’s Creepy Cinema. I really enjoyed this film and I think a large part of that is because of Combs’ incredible acting. 

 4. Mad Monster Party (1967)
Words cannot express how much I adore this movie. It was a lot of fun to watch.  It’s a stop motion comedy film that features all the classic monsters we all know and love. The film is about the gathering of said characters and the lure of total destruction. I’m a huge fan of old movies and this one didn’t fail to deliver that same sense of nostalgia. 

I really enjoyed this movie and there was so much to love. It has that style of the 60s that anyone can appreciate. It’s campy and kitschy. All of the characters are incredibly designed. My favorite character was Felix, the only human in the entire film. He’s adorable and sounds a bit like Jimmy Stewart, who I adore. Although the love story with Francesca felt really forced. One minute she hates him and then he slaps her and she’s instantly in love. I don’t get it, but I guess that’s how women fell in love back then. 

 5.  The ABC’s of Death (2012)
I thought that The Toxic Avenger was the worst movie this year, but I was sadly mistaken. Little did I know that the worse was yet to come. When Markus and I read the synopsis for this film, we thought that it would be a nice addition to the list. The film is a horror anthology directed by 26 different directors and spans the alphabet, exploring different words associated with death. According to the Internet, it was toted as a cult classic “in the making.” 

I didn’t think that I would dislike this movie so much, but I did. It was so blasé that I had to stop watching in the middle. I think the main problem with this anthology film is that there were a few good shorts immersed in a sea of horrible ones.  I just really didn’t like most of them, and I think the crux of the problem is that there were 26 shorts.  That’s way too many. Most horror anthologies boast four or even 6 shorts, which is more than enough to deliver quality stories and great characters.  I think The ABC’s of Death would have been better suited for an online horror short competition, not a full film. 

 6.  C.H.U.D (1984)
This movie is one of those movies that you’ve heard of but have no idea what it’s about. Sometimes, it’s best to go into these movies not knowing anything because you don’t have preconceived notions. There were so many famous people in this movie and it was kind of surprising! This film is about strange, mutated, underground dwellers that eat and kill humans.

I thought C.H.U.D. was good, but it was really slow. The story is really interesting and the parts that were meant to be scary were just that. It just took forever to get to the point. I think that’s the thing about 80s movies. They really take their time explaining. The creatures themselves were really gross and I screamed a bit. Not as much as I did during Evil Dead, but it still had its moments. 

 7. Splinter (2008)
Again, Splinter is the kind of movie that I try avoid. It’s the epitome of a horror movie, and evokes so much anxiety. It doesn’t employ jump scares; the entire movie is just terrifying and really scares the junk out of you. This movie was a little known film that has become popular over the years on DVD and streaming. Splinter is your basic bottle movie that has a small cast and focuses on the paranoia and terror of something infecting and killing anyone in the a very horrific way of course.

When the movie starts, it hits the ground running, and it feels like it’s never going to stop. I spent the entire movie cringing and screaming. There were several moments when I had to close my eyes and plug my ears. I think this is the scariest movie we’ve seen in this year’s Creepy Cinema. It’s the kind of movie that traps it’s characters in a small space and pokes at them in horrible ways. I really enjoyed watching it, especially with friends, but I don’t think I could ever watch it again.

Creepy Cinema: Cult Camp | Week One

I'm so excited to finally share my thoughts on this year's list of cult classics. The first week of Creepy Cinema was a nice mix of films and for the most part I enjoyed most of them. Although, it's possible that I saw the worst film I've ever seen. It was pretty awful. Anyway, I hope you enjoy my reviews and let me know what you think in the comments below!
1.   Nosferatu (1922)
This film is the oldest on this year’s list, and since I didn’t want to jump in head first, I dipped in slowly by watching this one first. Nosferatu is probably one of the most iconic horror films of all time. It has such a cult following that they even made a movie about the filming of Nosferatu, called Shadow of the Bat.  The film is such an obvious rip off of Dracula, but that’s what makes it great. The makers of Nosferatu couldn’t obtain the rights to make a movie adaptation of Bram Stoker’s Dracula, so they told their own version, which was just as good in its own right.

I actually wanted to watch this movie last year, but Markus wanted to save it for this year. The movie itself is pretty good, but it isn’t my favorite “Dracula” film or vampire movie. The cinematography is amazing and there are so many iconic shots. I absolutely love the look and feel, but it did lag a bit. I know it has a lot to do with the time period in which it was made, but it was still too slow for my taste. Also, I know the Dracula story really well, so there was no mystery to keep me going.

2.     The Toxic Avenger (1985) 
If there ever was a movie that I could un-see it would be The Toxic Avenger. I don’t even know what possessed me to allow this on the list. What kills me is that in earlier versions of this year’s list, this movie wasn’t even in the running. If I could turn back time…

I don’t think there is anything good about this movie. I wrote notes for all the other films, but I only wrote one sentence for this movie: “ This movie is so gross.” Markus was telling me that all the movies made by Troma Films (the creators of The Toxic Avenger) are like this. It’s just gratuitously disgusting. They basically take every extreme and nasty thing you could think of and intensify it. I will never ever watch another Troma Film movie again.

3.     Atom Age Vampire (1960)
Markus and I saw this movie on Hulu and decided to add it to the list. This was a huge mistake. There probably is a good reason why I’ve never heard of it. The basic premise is that a beautiful woman is scarred in an accident and a scientist cures her, but at a high cost.

The beginning started out really good. I liked the opening sequence and I thought it was the start of a hidden gem. I was definitely wrong. There are some good things about the film, but the woman’s overacting is just too much. She spent most of the movie crying, weeping and screaming. I mean, I get that women tend to be emotional, but this was too much. Also, what is it with men always choosing women that are all wrong for them? I don’t understand why the antagonist in this movie goes crazy for this woman. She doesn’t even feel an attraction to him. Her kindness to him is solely based on her gratitude for having her beauty returned to her.

4.     Plan 9 from Outer Space (1959)
This film has been heralded as the “worst movie of all time”, but I may have to disagree. I’ve definitely seen worse films. Plan 9 was created by Ed Wood, which also happens to be the subject of one of my favorite Tim Burton films. Since I know a little about Wood, I was excited to see this film. He’s known for making a slew of really low budget movies ranging from sci-fi to westerns.

I have to admit that this isn’t a well-done movie, it’s actually really bad. There isn’t any care to continuity and the sets look like they were made by middle-schoolers. Despite all of this, I really liked this movie. Since I knew it was the “worst movie of all time”, I expected it to be badly made, but I think the terrible acting, poor shots and juvenile sets are what made the movie worthwhile and enjoyable.

5.     Children of the Corn (1984)
This is one of those movies that you know about, but haven’t watched because it’s too creepy. I think that Stephen King is quite brilliant and always delivers, but I have a confession to make. Before Children of the Corn, I’ve never seen a Stephen King film or read any of his books. I know, it’s so strange. When I told Markus, I think he was really perplexed.

Children of the Corn was quite good and I enjoyed watching it.  It’s such a creepy movie, and it wasn’t at all what I was expecting. I didn’t know much about it and I honestly thought it was about kids who really liked corn. Or maybe they liked to terrorize people with corn. Or they were actually children made of corn. Either way, the movie will make me think twice before wandering into any fields of corn.

6.     Carrie (1976)
I watched this right after Children of the Corn. I guess after 29 years of a Stephen King-less life I had to catch up. Carrie is one of those movies that you know about without having to watch. That’s the thing about pop culture; you can “know everything” about a film without ever seeing it.

Watching Carrie was a lot like watching Psycho last year. I thought I knew the whole story and I would be bored, but it was the complete opposite. Even though I knew exactly what was going to happen, there was so much more that I didn’t know. Actually seeing the relationship with her mother explains a lot of what motivates Carrie. Every time her mother came on screen, I was instantly irritated. I probably would’ve gone crazy too if I were Carrie and had to deal with an overbearing mother like that.

7.     Pumpkinhead (1988)
Like many movies this year, I’ve never heard of Pumpkinhead. I try not to read anything about the movies before I watch them. It definitely adds more mystery and suspense. The main premise of this movie is revenge and the endless cycle of hate that it perpetuates. It’s set in a small backwater country town where a lot of weird voodoo and occult stuff is present.

Pumpkinhead wasn’t too scary and was easy to watch. It’s got all the fixings of a cult horror: a small budget, great practical effects, staple characters like an old crone, creepy hillbillies and a menacing humanoid creature. When the creature is finally revealed, I thought it looked a lot like the alien from Alien. The story is pretty good and it has it flaws, but like most 80s movie I don’t expect the script to be airtight. I was able to predict the outcome of the story way before it even happened. Nevertheless, it’s still enjoyable and definitely a hidden gem. I can see why this film has a cult following.