It’s Coming From Inside the House: When A Stranger Calls (2006)

when-a-stranger-calls-2006-posterWe traced the call! It’s coming from inside the house! Do you hear me? It’s coming from inside the house! You need to get out!

So I love this movie so much! It came out during the period of remakes of 1970s horror films, you had Dracula 2000, The Exorcism of Emily Rose (2005), The Wicker Man (2006), The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003), Carrie (2002), The Omen (2006), The Hills Have Eyes (2006), Dawn of the Dead (2004), Halloween (2007), and Invasion (2007). 

I thought it was a great remake, although I’ve never seen the original. And as the trailer revels the climatic ending I don’t feel bad about doing so either.

So the film starts off a police cleanup as a baby-sitter and the kids she had been watching were ripped to shreds.

The_Wolf_Man_4Crying

 Then we cut to out protagonist Jill who is practicing track. She is suffering from a supremo of bad days. Her times are all off and she needs to improve her speed. Part of the reason she is sucking so much is that she is distracted by her broken heart.

Broken Heart

It turns out that her boyfriend and best friend hooked up! What jerks!

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And she is grounded because she went over the mins on her phone. Remember, back in the day when every cellphone plan had min limits, and everyone was going over them all the time?

Oops!

Oops!

She really wants to go to the bonfire party, but the only place she is allowed to go is to babysit.

Tom-Hanks-Saying-Really

Yep, the money from the job is supposed to be enough to cover the cost of the phone bill. They must be paying her an awful lot of money.

money money money

To further her punishment, she can’t have her own car but has to be dropped off by her dad and then dropped off by the couple when they return from their night. Now this is a pretty sweet baby-sitting job. It is for a rich family, who lets you eat anything in the house, watch things on their massive TV, getting paid lots of money, and you don’t even have to look after the kiddos as they’re sick.

MeanGirls I know right!

Only one problem, she is in the freakin’ middle of nowhere. But it is a beautiful house!

when a stranger calls

It has a so many glass windows and such, it also has an inside garden/aviary thing.

When a stranger calls

Now my home has a whole wall of windows, so when I first watched this with my friends we were all freaked out during the…well I’ll save that for later.

So Jill doesn’t have much to do as the kids are sick and knocked out upstairs. The maid is there, but will be leaving shortly after she finishes her rounds. The couple have an older son who attends college and he may or may not be coming back to visit, but if he does he’ll crash in the guest house in their backyard.

Seems easy enough

Seems easy enough

So Jill gets ready for a night o’ fun. She eats popsicles and tries on jewelry and clothes.

Thesweetestthing.png movie montage

Everything is fun and games until Jill begins to receive anonymous and annoying phone calls.

when-a-stranger-calls

Jill Johnson: [phone rings] Hello? [no answer] [sighs] Mandrakis Residence.

Voice of the Stranger: Have you checked the children?

Jill Johnson: What

[Stranger hangs up. Jill runs and checks on the children. Comes back downstairs]

Jill Johnson: [phone rings] Hello?

Voice of the Stranger: [pauses] How were the children?

At this point in the film if you look hard enough you can actually see him watching her through the window while she is walking around and talking to her on the phone.

Gilmore girls creep

In between she gets some creepy calls from her ex’s friends. She gets even more calls, but then one turns out to be her ex-friend Tiffany. Tiff the big, bad, boyfriend stealer.

angry-young-girl-cute-face-kids2

Tiff comes and tries to fix things between them, with Jill feeling lukewarm about the whole thing. She kicks Tiff out, who tries to leave but can’t as a tree blocks her path. A tree that wasn’t there earlier. That means only one thing, bye-bye Tiff.

Goodbye now!

Goodbye now!

 

The calls continue getting even creepier.

When-a-Stranger-Calls-s01

Jill Johnson: Tiffany, I know it’s you. I can see your name on Caller ID, genius.

Voice of the Stranger: This isn’t Tiffany.

Jill Johnson: Who is this?

Voice of the Stranger: [pause] Who is this?

Jill Johnson: Cody?

Voice of the Stranger: Who’s Cody?

Jill Johnson: You better cut this out!

[stranger hangs up]

Now for the most part Jill is pretty smart girl. She calls the police and tries to get them to trace the call and get rid of her stalker. She keeps the security system on at all times. When she sees a light go on in the guest house, she thinks it might be the son and tries to get him to come back with her to help.

She turns the security system off and runs down to the guest house to get the son. When she gets in there, she discovers that there is no one there.

What the

Jill concludes that it must have been the maid, going over here to clean and then left after she completed the job. She runs back to the house, causing the security system to go off. She gets a call from the company, but tells them that it is only her. She must have only thought she turned the system off.

She continues to get more calls from “the Stranger”, telling her that he can see her.

Oh Crap! [Note: Pic from When a Stranger Calls not Phantoms]

Oh Crap!

Jill Johnson: He can see me!

Officer Burroughs: Sorry?

Jill Johnson: It’s Jill, the girl who called before about the man who keeps on calling.

Officer Burroughs: What’s going on?

Jill Johnson: He called me again.

Officer Burroughs: What did he say?

Jill Johnson: He’s out there, he’s outside, he’s watching me through the windows.

Officer Burroughs: Did you see him?

Jill Johnson: No, but I know he can see me, because I went upstairs…

Officer Burroughs: Okay, take a deep breath, where’s the house keeper?

Jill Johnson: I don’t know, I saw her purse and the keys but I can’t find her.

Officer Burroughs: The house locked up?

Jill Johnson: Yes.

Officer Burroughs: Alarm system?

Jill Johnson: It’s on.

Officer Burroughs: Okay, you’re safe inside that house. If he wanted to break in, he wouldn’t be calling.

Jill Johnson: But he must want something!

Officer Burroughs: Listen to me, Miss, it’s just some a****** trying to hassle you.

So when my friends and I were watching this film, we were in the living room which has a whole wall made entirely out of windows, similar to the house in the film. There is also a window behind the TV. As we were watching this part, something hit our window.

AAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

AAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Our cat had jumped up on the fence outside and hit the window with her tail. We were just so into the film that we were creeped out.

So back to the film. So Jill keeps trying to talk to “the Stranger” so the police can trace the calls. It is so creepy, it was like when that crazy girl kept calling/texting me last spring.

Jill Johnson: [On phone] You really scared me, if that’s what you wanted. Is that what you wanted?

Voice of the Stranger: No.

Jill Johnson: What do you want?

Voice of the Stranger: Your blood all over me.

Gilmore girls creep

As gross and creepy and Nightmare in Elm Street’s Freddy Kreugar.

EW!

EW!

That’s when everything starts to fall apart.

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Besides Tiff, Jill also finds the body of the housemaid. She tries to help save the children, but end up getting in a deadly fight with “the Stranger”.

Save the Children!!!!

Save the Children!!!!

Jill is awesome how she takes down the stranger, totally kicking butt.

Kudos for carrying the crowbar

Kudos for carrying the crowbar

The cops come and capture the killer and cart him off, taking Jill with them to be looked at.

when a stranger calls

The ending is great, with its nod to Friday the 13th. Check it out, it is an amazing film!

The creepiest thing about this film is how the guy watches her and how he gets in the house and does the whole cat and mouse game. It is such a creeptastic film.

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To start Horrorfest III from the beginning, go to Even a Man Pure of Heart

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For more on When a Stranger Calls, go to Do You Know Where Alex Is?

For more on psychopathic killers, go to Everyone’s Entitled to One Good Scare

For more great remakes, go to Redone Done Right

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I’m No Warrior, I’m an Assistant Pig-Keeper: The Black Cauldron (1985)

I’m no warrior…I’m an assistant pig-keeper

So I was never allowed to watch this film as a kid. My mother thought it would scare me. I grew up liking the author Lloyd Alexander, as I have read his book Time Cat. This year I decided that I would finally read The Chronicles of Prydain series, of which The Black Cauldron is a part of. The book series was really good except I wish the Horned King was in more of it and as the series wraps itself up, the books don’t hold up to the beginning ones.

So the film The Black Cauldron is a compilation of the first two books in the series; The Book of Three and The Black Cauldron. I thought the film was okay. Some parts of the film were good; while others a tad corny. I do recommend it to everyone as the end was really good.

Taran was perfect! They made him in that awkward age of when a boy wants to be a man, but hasn’t quite reached the right age of maturity. They depicted his superior side, as he thinks he’s better than Eilonwy; along with showing him leaving behind his immature side and becoming a real man.

mansduty

As he makes the right decision of giving up his magic sword to get the black cauldron and destroy it.

Eilonwy was also fantastic. They captured her attitude of trying to do everything and being extremely brave; but at the same time not always listening to others or doing what needs to be done. She can be really impulsive and imagine slights that aren’t there. She is also kind; along with not only helping Taran, but leading him as well.

Fflewddur Fflam was also perfect. He was older than I imagined him; but captured the boasting, brave, singer. I loved him at the end. He was hilarious as he tries to bargain with the witches.
Gurgi was adorable, I actually had a toy figure of him that I got from McDonalds, but I never knew who he was until I watched the film. They captured his constant hunger and good heart; but he was unfortunately much more cowardly than he was ever in the book. When he sacrifices himself, it was so sad. It made you feel guilty for originally thinking him annoying. This was never how I saw Gurgi, as I always imagined him more like this pokemon:
For some reason he always brought the image of a monkey-like creature to my mind.
Sorry, this is the only pic I could find of Doli. I thought they captured his character so well. He was a grumpy, complaining, elf. The only thing I wish they had done was make him a bit bigger and have him turn invisible.
The witches were also good. I did notice that Orddu resembles Madame Medusa from The Rescuers. I wish I had a better pic of it, but I couldn’t find one. If you watch the film you will notice the resemblance.
Of course there was the pièce de résistance. the Horned King!
black cauldron
He was extremely creepy! I loved it. He probably would have freaked me out as a kid. He is on par with the Headless Horseman. He was so creepy and scary!
Check out the trailer!
So that’s today’s frightful Friday. More posts to come.
Here’s a cover page/poster I made for my facebook as part of my countdown to Halloween
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To start Horrorfest from the beginning, go to I Don’t Belong in the World
To go to the previous post, go to A Halloween Hello from the Austen Men
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For more on The Black Cauldron, go to A Hidden Wonder
For more Disney Animated Film, go to A Fright on Halloween Night
For more films based on books, go to I Bid You Welcome
For more ’80s film, go to Boom Box of Love
For more on Emma, go to Bad Penny
For more on Lloyd Alexander, go to Pot o’ Gold

A Fright on Halloween Night: The Legend of Sleepy Hollow (1949)

You can’t reason with a headless man.

As a kid I remember that this movie used to scare the bejeezus out of me. The headless horseman was uber creepy.

Ghosts are bad, but the one that’s cursed,
Is the Headless Horseman; he’s the worst!

But the film was amazing!

One reason why it was so fantastic was that they had the very handsome, and very charming Bing Crosby be the narrator and singer.

I love this man!

He doesn’t even have to show his face, just listening to his sexy voice is enough for me.

So Disney actually manages to do an extremely good job and creating a fun, but still creepy children’s film. They also managed to keep the story very similar to the short story, in fact taking pieces from the actual text and placing it in the film.

FYI Spoiler Alert

So the cartoon starts out with the classic Disney opening:

All fairy tales or films based on short stories and novels used to open with the pages of a book. I miss that opening and wish they portrayed it in more films. I know they brought it back for Enchanted, but I still wish there was more of it.

The first person we are introduced to is Brom Bones

I never liked Brom. He always seemed like a jerk to me. He was big and brawny, “handsome” to some; but a mean bully. He reminds me of a lesser cool Gaston. (I love Gaston, even though he is a jerk. His song is awesome)

I mean he gives liquor to animals. That’s abuse right there.

Anyways, Brom is shocked at the appereance of a new man in town. In fact this stranger suprises everyone. It’s Ichabod, Ichabod Crane the school teacher.

“Debonair and devil-may-care
It’s the new schoolmaster
What’s his name
Ichabod!
Ichabod Crane!”

He’s tall, rail thin, and has one heck of a schnozza; but I always liked him better as he was well-read and not a loser like Brom.

Icabod also loves to eat. He goes to his student’s homes to partake in their food, making it a complete part of his lifestyle.

Even though Ichabod isn’t really a looker he still has all the girls in town’s hearts a flutter.

With a voice like Bing Crosby’s who could blame them?

This of course upsets Brom, who tries his best to prank Ichabod and make him seem dumb.

Next to enter the scene is the lovely Katrina Van Tassel. Not only is she the prettiest in the town, but her father is the richest man.

“Narrator: Oh, Katrina, my love. Who can resist your grace, your charm? And who can resist your father’s farm? Boy, what a set-up! There’s gold in them acres…Dear Katrina, my love, my treasure. Treasure? Ah, that barn’s a gold mine. How I’d love to hit the jackpot. Sweet Katrina, Papa’s only child. Papa? Well, the old goat can’t take it with him, and when he cuts out, that’s where I cut in.” 

Every guy in town wants to get with Katrina, Ichabod included. The only problem is that Brom is interested in Katrina, in fact he is planning on marrying her. Katrina however is enjoying the attention of Ichabod. She likes the fact that he is so different from anyone she’s ever met.

Ichabod is able to to best Brom in every way, by using his brain over brawn.

However, Ichabod is a very superstitous person. We saw in his song how he doesn’t like black cats, walking under ladders, salt over the shoulder, etc.

Brom catches on to this and tells a horrific story about the Headless Horseman.

“Brom Bones: [singing] When the ghosts have a midnight jamboree, they break it up with fiendish glee. Ghosts are bad, but the one that’s cursed, is the Headless Horseman; he’s the worst! 
Chorus: [singing] That’s right, he’s a fright on Halloween night! 
Brom Bones: When he goes a-jogging across the land, holding his noggin in his hand, demons take one look and groan, and they hit the road for parts unknown!…I’m telling you, brother, it’s a frightful sight for what goes on Halloween night.” 

Its midnight and Halloween, and after hearing the story, Ichabod is doubly freaked out on his walk home.

Of course on his way home he runs into THE HEADLESS HORSEMAN!

 “Next morning, Ichabod’s hat was found, and close beside it, a shattered pumpkin, but there was no trace of the schoolmaster. It was shortly thereafter that Brom Bones led the fair Katrina to the altar. Now, rumors persisted that Ichabod was still alive, married to a wealthy widow in a distant county. But of course, the settlers refused to believe such nonsense, for they knew the schoolmaster had been spirited away by the Headless Horseman.”

I always thought that the horseman was Brom and not a ghost, but I like how they end it so that you can draw your own conculsion as to what has really happened.

Hope you enjoyed this hair-raising tale. More to come!

Here is a cover page I made for my facebook for my Halloween countdown

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To go to the beginning of Horrorfest, go to I Don’t Belong in the World

For the previous post, go to They’re Here

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For more on Disney Animated Films, go to The World’s Greatest Criminal Mind

For more on Disney, go to Doors of Death