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House of Bones

House of Bones

Year of Release: 2010
Genre: Horror
IMDB Rating: 4.3 / 10
Level of Awful: Surprise!
Breast-O-Meter: 0 /5

WHAT IT’S ABOUT:

Lately I’ve come up against a bit of a brick wall so far as my reviews are concerned. I’ve watched so many movies in the past month, but they’ve all ended up being direly boring and I couldn’t think of a single way to write reviews for any of them (although the good Lord knows I’ve tried). It might just be that my standards have dropped, or I was just so desperate to write about something that my mind is making it all up, but I actually found this to be a decent and passable horror movie. It’s certainly not original, it doesn’t try to shake anything up and it doesn’t try to elicit any kind of emotional response from the audience, but as a standard haunted house story it works in the sense that what it does, it does well. I wouldn’t recommend rushing out to get your hands on a copy, but if it happens to come on TV sometime and you haven’t anything better lined up, give it watch. You may end up being mildly entertained.

WARNING! WARNING! Smarm overload!

WARNING! WARNING! Smarm overload!

In a move that may briefly leave you confused and mistakenly thinking that you’re watching Grave Encounters, the movie opens with us following the crew of a ghost hunting show. The show’s a little old school and is made up primarily of stock footage that they’ve green-screened their rather smarmy and pony-tailed host in front of. Since nobody appreciates a classic anymore, the ratings for the show have started to dip tremendously, and the producers are threatening to axe the show unless something is done. Enter the man who knows buzzwords! In his opinion the show needs to take on some elements from reality TV shows (no it doesn’t – nothing EVER needs to take points from reality shows. EVER.) and place the producer in the haunted houses and record his overly dramatic responses.  So essentially they’re going to make it into Ghost Adventures.

Let's just call it a feminist fertility rite and leave it at that.

Let’s just call it a feminist fertility rite and leave it at that.

The powers behind the show have found the absolutely perfect house! It’s set in a lovely neighbourhood, plenty of room for a family, fresh coat of paint, slave lodgings, the works! It also has a terrible history of people going missing as soon as they set foot inside of it, and the neighbours keep complaining about disembodied voices pleading for mercy, but it’s nothing that a new lamp and a mild exorcism won’t take care of. When the crew arrives there’s nobody there to open up for them; thankfully the movie’s a bit racist and has equipped its only black character with the skills to pick locks and a desire to break into white folks’ homes. It’s all a bit strange inside though: why is there a fully stocked fridge in a house that’s been abandoned since before the 1950s? Why is it so spotlessly clean? Why is the psychic they brought with them bleeding out of her eyes? Nobody seems particularly concerned with these questions, so it’s on with the show they go.

Bitch needs an extra-strength lozenge! Stat!

Bitch needs an extra-strength lozenge! Stat!

It becomes quite apparent quite quickly that this isn’t one of those fake haunted houses – there is some genuine malevolent shit going on in there. Unfortunately the crew is headed up by the biggest asshole of a producer that a film has ever dared to create, so despite the fact that people are disappearing into the walls he absolutely forbids anyone to abandon their posts. As it turns out it isn’t that the house has evil spirits in it – the house itself is the evil spirit. To survive it literally eats its victims in order to maintain itself (gorgeous wallpaper and a meticulously clean crystal chandelier come at a cost, you know), and it isn’t interested in letting any of its new meals out. It’ll be up to the bleeding-eye psychic, a black dude and a melted corpse to solve the case if there’s any hope of them living to see the sun rise again.

LIFE’S LESSONS LEARNED:

  • Haunted houses are known to spin people right round (baby, right round, like a record baby right round, round round).
  • Haunted houses have no right to go around giving themselves fresh coats of paint.
  • When the ratings for your TV show are down, it calls for life threatening situations to revitalise them.
  • It’s supernaturally dangerous when a haunted house’s pleasure to pain ratios are too high.
  • The colour of the ectoplasm you find indicates the level of malevolence you are dealing with.
  • It’s very important to routinely check your psychic for hairballs to ensure optimum health.

HOUSE OF BONES TRAILER

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Seance: The Summoning

Year of Release: 2011
Genre: Horror
IMDB Rating: 3.2 / 10
Level of Awful: High
Breast-O-Meter: 0.5 /5

WHAT IT’S ABOUT:

First off, I’d like to apologise for my recent silence and lack of reviews. I’m in a mad, desperate rush to submit my MA dissertation before the end of the year, and my guess is that it’s gonna get a whole lot worse before it gets better, but I’m gonna try to update things as often as possible. All work and no play makes James a dull boy, after all 😉

Anyways, what to say about Seance: The Summoning. In all the years I’ve been watching shitty horror I’ve never come across a movie quite like this one. To say that it was a rollercoaster to watch is an understatement, and at no point did I ever know how to feel about what I was watching. It’s either one of the most bigoted movies against Christianity ever made, or it’s one of the greatest pieces of Christian propaganda that’s not so cleverly masquerading as a horror movie. At points it’s painful to watch, other times it’s a fun b-movie, and there are also times when you feel it’s pulling itself together nicely. The actors seemed to learn how to act as they went along, so on that front it starts painfully and ends somewhere that’s slightly above average. On the whole I really just don’t know how to feel, but for putting me through so many ups and downs I declare it to be a High Level of Awful. Take that movie crew et al.!

OK, who forgot to pack the malevolent spirit?

Sara is a delightful born again Christian girl who just wants to make the world a better place through Christ’s love. To do this, she’s going to help her friend Eva out with a seance. Because Jesus wants you to summon up the spirits of the damned. Eva comes from a long line of psychic mediums who have perfected their craft over the generations. Her grandmother was burned as a witch by the Catholic Church, but those were less tolerant times and you make do with the hand you’ve been dealt. While the two girlfriends are sitting in a park chatting about life Eva decides to give Sara a tarot card reading. What follows is the most vague and subjective insight into the nether realms you’ve ever heard, but it serves to inform us that, before being reborn, Sara was a very, VERY bad girl. Not that that should come back to haunt her or anything later on…

“Have a seance” you said. “It’ll be fun!” you said. Stupid bitch.

The girls meet up with Joey and Marcus in the park, whereupon they hatch this ingenious plan: they’ll drive a hearse to the morgue for uncollected bodies (hobos, druggies, prostitutes etc., so you know these are some angry spirits) and hold a seance after they’ve inspected the corpse freezer. Joey, in addition to being a security guard at said morgue, is busy doing his unspecified degree in something paranormal and wants to record Eva contacting the dead. Marcus is a stone cold atheist and is only tagging along because a) he wants to bang Lisa and b) if Eva can’t summon up a spirit, she has to dance in a bikini at all of his DJ gigs for a specified amount of time that I can’t quite recall. I reiterate: awesome plan guys!

Now you might experience a slight sensation of extreme agony…

Now, as every reasonable person knows, it’s never a party until someone goes home devastated. In the process of summoning the dead it comes out that Marcus isn’t so much an atheist as he is a closeted psychic. It explains so much really. With the secret out and his friends telling him that it’s OK, that they don’t care if he’s interested in talking to the dead, and that there’s nothing to be ashamed of because he was born that way, the resident evil spirit (see what I did there?) sees a soft target and possesses him. Armed with the powers of hell and an ability to roll his ‘r’s with such power it would intimidate the most hardened latino, Marcus is intent on controlling the whole world. It’ll be up to Eva and Sara to use a concoction of psychic power and Christianity (and a little rubber tubing) to banish this evil back to the hole it crawled out of.

LIFE’S LESSONS LEARNED:

  • No seance is complete without some Satanic apple juice.
  • Satan has his own brand of seance-ready candles.
  • Blondes think that a red flashing light is the highest form of security for a building.
  • Sending a woman with a camera to a toilet next to the corpse freezer in a morgue is an excellent way to come on to her.
  • Why does a morgue for unclaimed bodies need a family waiting area?
  • Good Christian girls have a really powerful right hook.
  • There’s nothing more unattractive than a closeted spirit channeler.
  • There’s no high quite as good as an embalming fluid high.
  • Demons are trained to be back up strippers in case times get tough in Hell.
  • Never tell a demon your secrets – he’ll be running all over town airing your dirty laundry.
  • In the event of friend’s demonic possession, sex is your best weapon against them.

SEANCE: THE SUMMONING TRAILER

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