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All Hallow’s Eve 2009 November 1, 2009

Posted by patrick.klepek in horror.
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Our Halloween costume! (yes, it’s late…) November 28, 2008

Posted by patrick.klepek in halloween, horror.
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Katie and I were Leech Woman and Blade from “Puppet Master.” Almost no one knew who we were, though we expected that. But a few people did!

Here’s what they look like in the movies:


‘Funny Games’ Makes Me Wonder Why I Like Horror October 20, 2008

Posted by patrick.klepek in horror, movies.
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When some other friends came to visit over the summer,  one asked me a question that I haven’t been able to satisfyingly answer to myself — why do you like to be scared?

Not sure. Maybe it’s the adrenaline rush. Or perhaps it’s a way of laughing and coping with a fear of death. There could be all sorts of reasons I’m not even consciously aware of. But it’s when I enjoy watching movies like “Funny Games” that make coming to any sort of reasonably rationale conclusion even more difficult.

“Funny Games” is a remake of a German horror film I haven’t seen. Like “Them,” which I talked about not too long ago, it’s about a home invasion. But whereas “Them” relished in mystery and dark shadows, everything that happens in “Funny Games” is out in the open, in your face. “Funny Games” chronicles two guys (kids? teens?) that torment a mother (Naomi Watts), father (Tim Roth) and their son over the course of 12 hours.


There is no humor. You never laugh. There is, briefly, a glimmer of hope for the ending before the next plot twist squashes it. People die and the tormentors take great joy in it. I later discovered the plot twists that perplexed me along the way were the director’s way of commenting on society’s obsession with violence in the media — i.e. why is the news always so depressing?! — but it never came through that way to me.

Instead, “Funny Games” came across as a torture film, but not in the same sense as “Hostel,” which hopes to horrify you with realistic-looking special effects. All of that happens off-camera in “Funny Games.” It’s actually the on-screen delight of the main villains that makes “Funny Games” so terrifying. These people, if you can even call them that, feed off the emotional destruction of others. You want to run through the TV and kill them yourself.

But you can’t. And maybe that’s part of the reason horror movies are so entertaining to me, even ones like “Funny Games,” which I’d be hard pressed to say I “enjoyed.” They get a reaction out of me. I get emotional to the point that I want to write something down and express it here. Horror makes me feel alive.

‘Them,’ Reinforcing The Belief That Foreign Horror Is Currently King October 9, 2008

Posted by patrick.klepek in horror, movies.
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https://i2.wp.com/www.toxicshock.tv/news/wp-content/uploads/them_ver2_poster.jpgI have a hard time thinking of something scarier than home invasion.

The idea of someone invading my house or apartment disturbs me in a seriously profound way. A home invasion takes something you otherwise consider sacred and safe — your home — and transforms it into a potential death trap. Do you know how you’d escape your own place?

Last night, Katie and I took in a viewing of “Them,” a French horror film that was the inspiration for “The Strangers,” a horror movie starring Liv Tyler that was released earlier this year. I haven’t seen “The Strangers” yet. I’ve heard it’s a good movie. But I’d be hard pressed to believe it could be freakier than the material it took inspiration from.

Without moving into spoiler territory, the basic premise is a home invasion in the countryside by invaders unknown. You don’t know who they are or what they want. The concept of most horror movies is intended violence prefaced with a derived specific personal joy. That doesn’t exist in “Them.” There is no reason for why this is happening. In fact, it’s not a spoiler to say you never discover that reason by the end of the movie. Not in any clear fashion, anyway.

That’s the scariest part of the movie.

You can check out “Them” on American DVD. “The Strangers” comes out on DVD soon, too. If it’s on par with “The Strangers,” that’d be fantastic, but “Them” backs up my personal belief that the horror pendulum shifted to foreign cinema a few years ago and has yet to be reigned in.

The tragedy of Clive Barker’s ‘Midnight Meat Train’ October 5, 2008

Posted by patrick.klepek in clive barker, hellraiser, horror, movies.
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“Hellraiser” is my favorite horror movie of all time.

Produced on a shoe-string budget and defying traditional genre conventions, it’s a movie that still holds up today. The special effects are a little goofy but add to the charm. “Hellraiser” is what introduced me to author Clive Barker, a man whose literary talents I’ve enjoyed ever since. It’s no surprise, then, that I’m always anxious for the next adaptation of his works.

He’s sadly removed himself from directing his own material anymore, but nonetheless remains involved in them. He worked very closely on the latest, “Midnight Meat Train.” A photographer accidentally stumbles upon the trail of a late-night serial killer who transports the bodies of the deceased through New York’s underground metro. He becomes obsessed with exposing the killer for who he is. From there…it gets pretty weird.

“Midnight Meat Train” is far from a perfect work. It adds superfluous details to the short story for the sake of stretching the run time to over an hour. The movie suffers because of that, but Katie still enjoyed herself, despite having not read the short story, so perhaps I’m just too close to the material.

But the story moves as a brisk pace, paints a wonderfully intimidating and mysterious villain and brilliantly makes the viewer look in one direction…until the ending cold clocks you and forces you to look the other.

The movie’s distributor, Lionsgate, tried to bury the release of “Midnight Meat Train” in its theatrical run. I never had a chance to see it on a big screen. That’s too bad; horror movies are made for that. But thankfully, Lionsgate at least partnered with Comcast and is offering “Midnight Meat Train” for free — even in high-definition. If you’re a horror buff, it’s worth checking out. It’s not the greatest horror movie ever made, but it’s a damn good one.

Turns out I suffer from…Telephonophobia? September 17, 2008

Posted by patrick.klepek in horror.

https://i0.wp.com/img.slate.com/media/1/123125/2110471/2134208/2135431/060208_mb_Cell_phone_Tn.jpgI’m being serious here. For a long, long time I’ve experienced mild-to-annoying factors of stress when faced with the prospect of using a telephone. It happens most often when someone is calling me, especially so if I don’t know who they are. Whereas other people don’t answer unknown calls out of principle, I do it because it causes me a relatively mild panic attack.

I always thought it was a result of my mostly defeated social anxieties, but it’s actually…telephonophobia.

Telephonophobia is the fear of telephones. I’m not talking about that actual telephone itself, I am referring to making and receiving phone calls. Social anxiety is a fear of being judged by others, as well as fearing social situations. Those suffering social anxiety may also have telephonophobia which is the fear of telephones.

The symptoms have never stopped me from doing my job, but I’d joked to Katie that perhaps it was actually a phobia others shared. Turns out it is. I never knew I had an obscure phobia! You learn something new every day.

zOHmahgawd Friday the 13th Part 6 Rules March 9, 2008

Posted by patrick.klepek in cancer, horror, hot, movies, patrick swayze, Uncategorized.
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kt and I still have another 30 minutes to go with Friday the 13th: Part VI, but based on time we spent with the film last night, it is easily, easily the best installment in the franchise since the original. And it’s probably better than that.

Alice Cooper did the friggin’ soundtrack and title song: “He’s Back (Man Behind The Mask)”

Paranormal Activity, or, Possibly the Scariest Movie Ever Made and The Best Reason to Wear Diapers at the Cinema February 18, 2008

Posted by patrick.klepek in ghosts, horror, movies, paranormal activity, pooping.
Paranormal Activity

Anyone who knows me knows that I’m an enormous fan of horror movies. Good, bad, I’ll watch just about anything; there’s a reason I own every single Puppet Master film, even though the vast majority of them aren’t any good. There’s just something about them that pushes my buttons every single damn time, but the strange part? It’s not because they scare me. I’m hardly ever scared watching a horror flick. In fact, I can only name a few that have truly frightened me — Jaws (as a child) and The Blair Witch Project (as a teenager). Last night, kt and I attended the San Francisco Independent Film Festival and added a new one to the list: Paranormal Activity.

“A young couple suspects that their house is haunted by a malevolent entity. They set up video surveillance to capture evidence of what happens at night as they sleep. Their surveillance and home videos have been edited into the 99 minute feature film Paranormal Activity.”

You can check out the trailer right here.

The film plays into today’s popular style of filming from the perspective of your everyman (in this case, a couple that’s living together — one a student, the other a work-from-home day trader) to ground the audience in a reality that’s not achievable with the traditional Hollywood style. That works for me; it was great, if a tad unrealistic, in Cloverfield and was the whole reason The Blair Witch Project was so effective. I was a little offput in the first few minutes, however, when the film attempted to claim the preceding events were real, thanking local authorities for handing over the footage. Ugh. Maybe this movie wasn’t going to be hokey, after all?

No. The movie drops the “lost footage” pretense the moment the footage starts rolling and goes through the typical motions of establishing a relationship with our characters, so that we’ll eventually buy into their fear as the events around them transpire. Thankfully, we’re completely sold on their affection for each other, as they express all the dynamics of a relationship’s day-to-day ups and downs. They’re actually pretty funny, too, which is a plus, and releases the shitload of tension the audience has after each nightly “haunting.”

Paranormal Activity’s narrative is split between day scenes when the couple reacts to what happened the night before and night scenes where a camera is setup on a tripod to record the hauntings. I could spoil every single one of the hauntings and you’d be just as terrified, but much of the fun comes from not knowing what the fuck will happen next and how the situation is going to escalate; often times, they’ll go whole nights without anything happening, prompting the viewers to constantly get riled up. Maybe something will happen, maybe it won’t.

Paranormal Activity

The hauntings themselves start with the staples — lights going on and off, doors opening and shutting, footsteps — and escalates to the point that you’re almost afraid it’s going to become silly and lose the magic (a rather terrifying dose of magic), but it remains grounded and continues to fuck with your head in such a brutal and relentless fashion. You may not believe in ghosts, but this movie will make you scared as fuck at the possibility they are around us. kt and I were gripping each other’s hands to the point of pain during every night encounter, and that’s no joke. Paranormal Activity is not for the weak hearted and is one of the few films that stays with you after you’ve left the theater to the point that you wished it wouldn’t.

The amount of alcohol we drank afterwards was directly to proportional to our desire to simply pass out and not think about the movie in our apartment. As I was typing this very entry up, I went and turned on all the lights and goosebumps line my arms. I can’t oversell this movie enough, and if you have any opportunity to see Paranormal Activity in the future, take it.

Paranormal Activity is our generation’s The Exorcist, and that is not a comparison I make lightly.

in need of a new horror series April 11, 2007

Posted by mrstetris in addiction, film, horror, puppet master.
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our weekly ritual of watching the demonic, cute, little puppets of andre toulon’s invention is coming to an end.  yes, i know it’s incredibly unfortunate.


now the search is on for a new series to capture our sunday amusement.  we need to satisfy our addiction.  suggestions are more than welcomed.

the newest form of fear: sheep March 6, 2007

Posted by patrick.klepek in horror, indie movies, new zealand, sheep.
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black sheep, an independent horror film out of new zealand, is coming to theaters here sometime in june, apparently. i have no idea what to make of this, especially the where the sheep apparently evolve into upright monsters, but it’s a damn unique concept, and when’s the last time we saw a silly horror movie?

there’s a reason we haven’t seen a puppet master sequel (kit and i just finished watching volume 5, which was almost as good as volume 4, but not quite) in too long. 😦