Dracula. Not Myth, Nor Ravings of a Mad Irish Novelist, Oh No, He’s Real: Dracula 2000 (2000)

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Dracula. Dracula: not myth, nor ravings of a mad Irish novelist, oh no. He’s real, I assure you.

A long time ago, AMC used to do Fear Fridays. Every friday night at 8 they would show a horror film, and not stop until early Saturday morning. But then they pushed it back to 9, then 10, then 11, then 12, then 1 am, then 2 am; still calling it Fear Friday although it was actually Saturday morning. And then they just stopped doing it, which deeply saddened me as I saw many a good, creepy film those Friday nights.

Why did it end?

Why did it end?

This however, wasn’t one of those good movies.

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My sister and I saw this on one of those Friday nights and I hated this film. I thought it was dumb, stupid, boring, made no sense and couldn’t hold a candle to Bela Lugosi in Dracula (1931). And I vowed to never see it ever again.

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Last week, my friend and I were having a horror film marathon. We saw Once Bitten and then were in the mood for a more serious film. She was going through the list and wanted to see Dracula 2000 as she has never seen it before. I was like

No thank youhowaboutno

She then asked me what the film was about, if I could give her a summary, and I tried to tell her…

Uhhhhhhh

Uhhhhhhh

But I couldn’t remember. The only thing I could think of was that it had Johnny Lee Miller (who played Mr. Knightley in Emma (2009) and Edmund Bertram in Mansfield Park (1999) as the regular person thrust in the adventure (the only character I liked); Gerald Butler as Dracula (the reason I watched it the first time) but he was so young that it didn’t even look like him and I hated his character; a weird scene in the record store; and that I hated it. Why did I hate it, I couldn’t remember. The movie must have been so horrible I just wiped it from my memory banks.

Where

Since I couldn’t remember it, and thought maybe I was too harsh a judge, we decided to watch it and see if it was different this go round.

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I HATED IT!

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I thought it was horrible and stupid. So you know what that means! A countdown!!! Yes, let’s go over everything I liked (barely anything) to everything I hated (practically everything!)

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Synopsis:

The film is supposed to be Dracula set in modern times rather than 1831, so the year is 2000. In London, Matthew Van Helsing (Abraham’s descendent) has an antique store in which he is training Simon (Johnny Lee Miller). That night everyone but Matthew goes home, and unbeknownst to him his secretary Solina is part of a ring of thieves that breaks into his vault. They find nothing in there but crosses and a coffin, taking it as it must be valuable.

But something terrible lurks inside.

But something terrible lurks inside.

When Matthew discovers the theft, he goes after them, leaving Simon to watch over the business. However, Simon is worried about his mentor and follows him instead.

The thieves open the coffin and reveal that it is Dracula (Gerald Butler) who turns them all into vampires.

Renfield: He came and stood below my window in the moonlight. And he promised me things, not in words, but by doing them. Van Helsing: Doing them? Renfield: By making them happen. A red mist spread over the lawn, coming on like a flame of fire! And then he parted it, and I could see that there were thousands of rats, with their eyes blazing red,l ike his, only smaller. Then he held up his hand, and they all stopped, and I thought he seemed to be saying: "Rats! Rats! Rats! Thousands! Millions of them! All red-blood! All these will I give you! If you will obey me!" Van Helsing: What did he want you to do? Renfield: That which has already been done! [giggles sinisterly]

Renfield: He came and stood below my window in the moonlight. And he promised me things, not in words, but by doing them.
Van Helsing: Doing them?
Renfield: By making them happen. A red mist spread over the lawn, coming on like a flame of fire! And then he parted it, and I could see that there were thousands of rats, with their eyes blazing red,l ike his, only smaller. Then he held up his hand, and they all stopped, and I thought he seemed to be saying: “Rats! Rats! Rats! Thousands! Millions of them! All red-blood! All these will I give you! If you will obey me!”
Van Helsing: What did he want you to do?
Renfield: That which has already been done!
[giggles sinisterly]

He then heads to New Orleans, LA. There lives Mary Heller, a devout Catholic, who has had strange dreams/visions her whole life but they seem worse now than ever before. She keeps seeing this man, unsure of who he is, but us viewers know him as Dracula.

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Simon and Matthew team up and try to destroy the new vampires, Simon originally shocked but after being attacked admits they are real. Matthew then reveals his secret, he is really Abraham Van Helsing, the Van Helsing.

Count Dracula: Van Helsing. [Van Helsing turns to face Count Dracula] Count Dracula: Now that you have learned what you have learned, it would be well for you to return to your own country. Van Helsing: I prefer to remain and protect those whom you would destroy. Count Dracula: You are too late. My blood now flows through her veins. She will live through the centuries to come, as I have lived. Van Helsing: Should you escape us, Dracula. We know how to save Miss Mina's soul if not her life. Count Dracula: If she dies by day. But I shall see that she dies by night. Van Helsing: And I will have Carfax Abbey torn down, stone by stone, excavated a mile around. I will find your earth-box and drive that stake through your heart. Count Dracula: Come here. [Dracula raises his hand to hypnotise Van Helsing] Count Dracula: Come here...Your will is strong, Van Helsing. [Van Helsing reaches out for his crucifix as Dracula looms toward him] Count Dracula: More wolfbane? Van Helsing: More effective than wolfbane, Count. Count Dracula: Indeed. [Dracula lunges towards Van Helsing. Van Helsing holds up the crucifix. Dracula snarls and turns away. Van Helsing, in triumph, puts away the crucifix]

[Dracula lunges towards Van Helsing. Van Helsing holds up the crucifix. Dracula snarls and turns away. Van Helsing, in triumph, puts away the crucifix]

When he discovered nothing worked to kill Dracula, he imprisoned him in a coffin and took his blood to keep him young as he continued to try to find a way to destroy him. He was married and they had a daughter Mary, and in her blood is Dracula’s blood. When he told his wife the whole story, she left him and took his daughter to America.

And run fast

Dracula has lost his male vampires, but has three wives: Solina, the secretary; Valerie, a news reporter; and Lucy, Mary’s best friend. Simon and Helsing split up to look for Mary, Helsing being killed by Dracula and the wives at Mary’s house. Simon finds Mary and they escape, only for Mary to be captured later. Simon tries to help her; but is no match for all the vampires.

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Before Dracula turns Mary into a vampire, he reveals that he is Judas Iscariot and that is why he hates silver and crosses. He tried to hang himself, but the “rope broke” and God turned him into a vampire.

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I know. He turns Mary into a vampire, but I guess her already vampire blood counteracts it as she is not his slave.

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She saves Simon, kills Dracula, and decides to continue the family business (although if she killed Dracula it is over) turning into a female Blade, kinda-sorta.

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So What Was Good?

There was only one thing I liked in this entire film, and that was Johnny Lee Miller’s character, Simon.

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Simon was extremely likable because he was just a regular person thrown into this situation and trying to make sense of it. All his reactions are spot on to when he thinks people are crazy to finally becoming a butt-kicking vampire hunter. He is kind, compassionate, caring, intelligent, and extremely witty.

Marcus: [Simon produces a cross] Sorry sport. I’m an atheist.

Simon Sheppard: [a dagger pops out of the cross’ base] God loves you anyway.

The other thing I like about him was how he represented the everyman or everywoman. Here is a guy who has read old inscriptions, heard stories, studied antique weaponry, etc; but studying and hearing it is much different than having to use it, have the myths be real, and be expected to hunt down vampires. He tries his best as he discovers this new reality, and even though he makes mistakes, all is forgiven as he is us, the viewer, in a sense. I thought he was fun and the best thought out thing in the film.

I like it!

I like it!

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So What Was Bad?

Everything else. Seriously, I mean it. The rest of the film was absolutely horrid.

1) Too Many Stars

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Like Scre4m it is hard to focus on a plot of a film when you are being hit right and left with people who are really famous. In every scene it felt more like a game of “Which Star Will Pop Up Next” rather than watching a film about Dracula. I mean we have Shane West, Christopher Plummer, Johnny Lee Miller, Omar Epps, Nathan Fillion, Vitamin C, etc. When casting you really have to be careful and not have too many recognizable people, or else your audience will be going bug-eyed.

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2) For a Dracula film there isn’t a lot of Dracula in it.

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Dracula is supposed to be about Dracula; but Dracula actually has a small role in this film. And unlike previous films, Dracula wasn’t even played by a big star with top billing; instead they choose Gerald Butler who had very little on his acting resume at the time this film was made. To me that is incredibly strange as he is the main character, THE TITLE CHARACTER. He should be the star, the biggest personality. Instead Dracula has very little dialogue and spends most of his time just creepily staring at people.

He's creepin' in your windows. He's starin' at your people.

He’s creepin’ in your windows. He’s starin’ at your people.

I didn’t like that, not one bit. As much as I disliked Bram Stoker’s Dracula, and I did a lot, at least that one knew what to focus on, DRACULA! It was a weird decision made by the writers, and a bad one.

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3) Mary, Mary Quite Boring

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Mary was so boring! I mean it what a yawnfest. All she did was cower, snivel, and act as if she was going to have a breakdown. Her character was bland and completely underdeveloped other than “good”, “Catholic”, and “British”. Now don’t get me wrong, the breakdown character can work but only in films where it is about psychological damage, like Rebecca, Gaslight or Under Capricorn, not a monster movie. In this type of film that kind of behavior is boring!

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4) Taking Blood to Live Longer, Yet He Doesn’t Become a Vampire

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In the book Dracula, the way to have someone become a vampire is to give them vampire blood. In this film Van Helsing keeps transfusing vampire blood into his body to live longer, but doesn’t become a vampire. That makes zero sense! If you ingest vampire blood you are a vampire. Pure and simple.

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5) Dracula is Judas

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Yes. It turns out the reason Dracula hates silver, crosses, bibles, Christianity, etc…is because he is Judas.

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Why would God turn him into a vampire? Why would God create a being that cannot be killed but kill his people making their souls unable to move on? That is just unbelievably dumb.

I mean if the devil was the one who did it, it would still be really dumb, but make a lil’ more sense.

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So yes it was dumb, incredibly dumb. Just stupid and horribly boring. My advice? Just skip it.

And after we finished the film, I asked my friend “What do you think of it?” Her response:

You as in the film

You as in the film

So there you go, not just me.

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To start Horrorfest V from the beginning, go to Who You Gonna Call?: Ghostbusters (1984)

For the previous post, go to I’m…a Werewolf: Teen Wolf (1985)

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For more Dracula, go to We’ve Seen Dracula, the Wolf Man, and Frankenstein’s Monster: Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948)

For more vampire films, go to I Don’t Want to Be a Vampire. I’m a Day Person: Once Bitten (1985)

For more on Judas Iscariot, go to The Arrest

For more modern remakes, go to Heroes are Not Born, They’re Created: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014)

For more sucky remakes, go to Every Three Thousand Years, the Stars Align. Unleashing an Army of Monsters: TMNT (2007)

For more Gerald Butler, go to Pot o’ Gold: 17 Irish Heroes

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No Mere Mortal Can Resist the Evil of the Thriller: Thriller (1983)

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And though you fight to stay alive, your body starts to shiver. For no mere mortal can resist the evil of the thriller.

So I know you are probably thinking, a music video? That’s not a horror film.

Majorly

This music video is almost 14 mins and a recommended length for a short film, by the New York Film Academy, is 10-15 mins. That makes this “music video” a short film, and perfect for our countdown.

It was directed by John Landis, most known for his film An American Werewolf in London, and he made the film because he wanted to bring back the theatrical short, you know the short film before the movie. Like Pixar and Disney used to do.

“I saw it as a chance to resurrect a genre that had once been a Hollywood staple. Music videos were new in 1983, and MTV was just two years old.”

They even tried to get an Academy Award nomination for Best Short Live Action, but the Academy didn’t have the same love for it as the rest of the world did. However in 2009 it was selected for the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress, being the first music video in history to receive that honor.

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It takes place in the 1950s and starts off with Michael and his date (Ola Ray) are driving and the car runs out of gas. They get out to walk through the creepy forest:

Stay out of the forest!

Stay out of the forest!

Michael wears a red letterman that looks a lot like a certain jacket from a certain horror film:

He asks his date to be his girlfriend, and she agrees him giving her a ring to symbolize it.

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How sweet.

But then he warns her:

Michael: There’s something I’ve got to tell you.

Michael’s Girl: Yes, Michael?

Michael: I’m not like other guys.

Michael’s Girl: Of course you’re not. That’s why I love you.

Michael: No, I mean I’m different.

Michael’s Girl: What are you talking about?

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Nothing good is going to come of this.

And then the moon comes out:

attack Wolf Boy Meets World moon full moon night

And he changes into a Werecat!

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And the makeup is pretty creepy. You can thank Rick Baker for that. Even though CGI is probably cheaper, I love seeing what people were able to make with such limited supplies and technology. It is unbelievable.

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Back to the video. So Michael the werecat os chasing his date through the forest. Run girl, run!

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Just as the werecat is about to grab her, we cut to a movie theater. Yes this is a film that Michael and his girlfriend are watching.

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Michael loves the film but his date (Ola Ray) is not into horror films. Such a pity.

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She walks out and Michael, being a good date, follows. As they are outside the music starts up and we get those perfect lyrics that are impossible to hate.

It’s close to midnight and something evil’s lurking
In the dark
Under the moonlight you see a sight that almost stops
Your heart
You try to scream, but terror takes the sound before
You make it
You start to freeze as horror looks you right between
The eyes
You’re paralyzed

Now at first this is Michael just joking around with his girlfriend, teasing her. But it will soon change.

You hear the door slam and realize there’s nowhere left to run
You feel the cold hand and wonder if you’ll ever see the sun
You close your eyes and hope that this is just imagination
But all the while you hear the creature creepin’up behind
You’re out of time

I like how in his dance Michael Jackson throws in a Frankenstein monster move and hints at famous “thrillers”.

Frankenstein

Night creatures call
And the dead start to walk in their masquerade
There’s no escapin’ the jaws of the alien this time (they’re open wide)
This is the end of your life

They’re out to get you, there’s demons closing in on every side
They will possess you unless you change the number on your dial
Now is the time for you and I to cuddle close together
All thru the night I’ll save you from the terrors on the screen,
I’ll make you see

Now in this scene it is very apparent that they are taking there time walking home in not the best conditions. There are no streetlights and a ton of fog. You know what’s coming, something bad.

I'm getting shivers

I’m getting shivers

And then we have the best thing in the world. Just as Michael and his girlfriend go by the cemetery, we hear Vincent Price’s voice. Bringing us:

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And then things begin to rise in the graveyard.

Night of the living dead zombie

Darkness falls across the land
The midnite hour is close at hand
Creatures crawl in search of blood
To terrorize y’awl’s neighbourhood
And whosoever shall be found
Without the soul for getting down
Must stand and face the hounds of hell
And rot inside a corpse’s shell

It’s funny to think that this music video never would have had such an amazing voice in it, I mean aside from Michael Jackson, if it wasn’t for writer Rod Temperton’s wife, Peggy Lipton. Temperton had wanted talking at one part and needed a classic horror actor to give the music the edge he desired. Lipton was a good friend of Price, asked him and he agreed.

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So the rest of the dead are waking up; out of every grave, tomb, and casket.

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The foulest stench is in the air
The funk of forty thousand years
And grizzly ghouls from every tomb
Are closing in to seal your doom
And though you fight to stay alive
Your body starts to shiver
For no mere mortal can resist
The evil of the thriller
Can you dig it?!

And of course, they head after Michael.

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They are surrounded! Oh no! Michael’s girlfriend looks to Michael for help, but it is too late:

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

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

And then we have one of the most engaging dances ever to be created/performed.

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They actually had to think long and hard how to create the scene where they dance that wasn’t childish or silly, but kept to the mood of the previous scenes; and I have to say they accomplished it. In fact, before Landis agreed to direct, he made it mandatory that all extras spend two weeks in rehearsals with the choreographer; something that had never been done before. This dance has been such a big part of our culture from Thrill Around the World to being referenced in numerous films and TV shows.

‘Cause this is thriller, thriller night
And no one’s gonna save you from the beast about to strike
You know it’s thriller, thriller night
You’re fighting for your life inside a killer, thriller tonight

That it’s a thriller, thriller night
‘Cause I can thrill you more than any ghost would dare to try
Girl, this is thriller, thriller night
So let me hold you tight and share a killer, diller, chiller
Thriller here tonight

Michael’s date is horrified and runs into a creepy old house, with the zombies surrounding her on every side. Very Night of the Living Dead.

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Too bad she doesn’t have a Ben to save her as they start destroying the house to get her.

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Michael grabs her and bam. It turns out they are just in a home, Michael isn’t a zombie….Or is he? We close on Vincent Price’s amazing laugh with  frozen still of Michael’s yellow werecat eyes.

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That was Michael Jackson’s Thriller and it is amazing. From the song, to Jackson, to Price, to Ray, to the dancing, the makeup- I could go on and on but it is just perfect. I mean it gives you everything you want

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Plus a fun dance to do. Check it out for yourself!

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To start Horrorfest V from the beginning, go to Who You Gonna Call?: Ghostbusters (1984)

For the previous post, go to Every Three Thousand Years, the Stars Align. Unleashing an Army of Monsters: TMNT (2007)

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For more on Michael Jackson, go to Haunted Harmonies of Halloween: Top 5 Songs to Play on Halloween

For more Vincent Price, go to A Man Without a Face: The Bat (1959)

For more zombies, go to Those Aren’t Men They Are the Living Dead: White Zombie (1932)

For more music reviews, go to Shook Me All Night Long

For more ’80s music, go to Back in Black

For more ’80s films, go to I’ll Be Back: The Terminator (1984)

Horrorfest V: New Blood

Horror Films

So it is once again time for Horrorfest.

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So this year marks my fifth time doing Horrorfest. Since it is such a huge marker I wanted to do something different.

Do tell

Do tell…

The past four years I have started off Horrorfest with a classic Horror film, working from the 1960s, Carnival of Souls, to the 1930s, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. I thought about doing something from the 1920s, or 70s, or starting back in the 1960s; but none of those seemed right.

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I want this year’s Horrorfest to be different. Unexpected. Unusual.

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But full of:

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So what will we cover?

Hmm...

Hmm…

Let’s see we have Alfred Hitchcock, ghosts, kids with powers beyond their control, murderers, psychopaths, radioactive creatures, robots, serial killers, and more.

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Check back daily to find out more.

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To start Horrorfest I from the beginning, go to I Don’t Belong in the World: Carnival of Souls (1962)

To start Horrorfest II from the beginning, go to There Are Many Strange Legends in the Amazon: The Creature From The Black Lagoon (1954)

To start Horrorfest III from the beginning, go to Even a Man Pure of Heart: The Wolf Man (1941)

To start Horrorfest IV from the beginning, go to You Cannot Conquer It. It has Conquered You!: Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1931)

Happy Horrordays

DO YOU LIKE HORROR FILMS?

ME!!!!!

Well I do too!!!!!

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So I love horror films and every October I try and do 31 posts on films, TV shows, songs, ideas, that all revolve around:

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As I am gearing up for Horrorfest V, I may be posting a little haphazardly the rest of of September. Just wanted to warn you guys as I try my best to make this year’s Horrorfest: unusual, different, and unpredictable.

I’m so excited! I just can’t wait!

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So stay tuned! So far I have ghosts, psycho killers, mutated creatures, comedy, noir, science fiction; and who knows what else is next to come!

I do know one thing:

Horror Films

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To start Horrofest: 31 Tales of Terror and Woe from the beginning, go to I Don’t Belong in the World: Carnival of Souls (1962)

To start Horrofest II: The Return of the Terror and Woe from the beginning, go to There Are Many Strange Legends in the Amazon: The Creature From The Black Lagoon (1954)

To start Horrofest III: The Revenge from the beginning, go to Even a Man Pure of Heart: The Wolf Man (1941)

To start Horrofest IV: The Curse from the beginning, go to You Cannot Conquer It. It has Conquered You!: Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1931)

Who Ya Gonna Call?

So you all know what today is!

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And you know what that means!

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Yep, every Friday the 13th I watch horror movies…

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Or horror TV shows…

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Grimm

To be perfectly honest, I love him so much I wouldn't care if he did pop up like that.

Eat pizza…

Pizza Delivery Sabrina the teenage witch

All while wearing my Ghostbuster’s T-shirt.

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It’ll be a great night as always! And for all you out there, remember…

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For more on Friday the 13th, go to The Horror!!!!

For more Horror fun check out Horrrorfest, I Don’t Belong in the World: Carnival of Souls (1962)

Horrorfest II, There Are Many Strange Legends in the Amazon: The Creature From The Black Lagoon (1954)

Horrorfest III, Even a Man Pure of Heart: The Wolf Man (1941)

Horrorfest IV, You Cannot Conquer It. It has Conquered You!: Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1931)

The Horror!!!!

Fridaythe13th

Yes, today is Friday the 13th!

And you all know what that means!!!!!

1)Horror films!

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2) Pizza!

Pizza Delivery Sabrina the teenage witch

3) My Ghostbuster T-Shirt (Or uniform as I made one for Halloween!)

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I wish you all one terrifying night full of spookiness, monsters, scares, and delicious pizza!!!

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For more on Friday the 13th, go to That Video…is Not of This World: Ringu (1998)

For more horror films: check out Horrorfest, Horrorfest II, Horrorfest IIIor Horrorfest IV

It’s a Jolly Holiday

14) Your Favorite Holiday

Your favorite holiday? Oooh that is a hard one to answer. Choose one?

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In case you haven’t noticed, I’m a big holiday person. I love all holidays, even those that aren’t “real” (November 5th or May 4th?). What can I say?

love it

So if I had to pick my three favorite holidays? Here we go!

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3) Thanksgiving

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I love Thanksgiving as I love everything it stands for. I know a lot of people want to say how “the first Thanksgiving shouldn’t count” as “it opened a door to genocide” or whatever, but that’s not true. Not all relationships between the Native Americans and pilgrims (pilgrims not Puritans. Huge difference) was bad. In this case, the Native Americans helped those early settlers. If it weren’t for that goodwill, I wouldn’t be born as my family most likely never would have immigrated and met.

I also love how Abraham Lincoln recognized that in all the stress, bumble, and grind of everyday life; time should be given so that all can stop and be thankful for all they have.

“I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens.”

I also love gathering with family and enjoying each other’s company. And of course, I love to eat until I explode.

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For more on Thanksgiving, go to I Before E, Especially After P

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2) Halloween

Happy Halloween jack-o-lantern

I know you had to see this coming. What with my Horrorfest I do every year (going on my fourth year and it is going to be good. I promise!), you had to know that Halloween is one of my favorite holidays.

What can I say about this holiday? I love that it is fall and there are dry leaves and pumpkins everywhere. I love the chill in the air and that it is usually the start of rain. I love the candy. I love dressing up in a costume, I only wish I could do that more. And most of all I love the horror films that are showing everywhere and on sale to buy. I just love Halloween.

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For more on Halloween, go to Beast or Man: The Wolfman (2010)

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1) Christmas

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I LOVE Christmas! Words cannot describe how much I enjoy when it comes around. I love how almost everyone is trying to be nice and kind, goodwill abounding; people actually going out of their way for others.

Plus I love picking out the perfect gift and wrapping it up and placing it under the tree, just waiting to see their face when they open it!

Going to church, cookie baking, carols, Christmas movies! And the tree, we go every year to chop one down and then decorate with the same decorations we’ve had every year. Pulling out our nativity and retelling the Christmas story again!

I love it, and can’t wait for it to come around!

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For more on Christmas, go to 25 More Films of Christmas

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To start the 30 Day Challenge from the beginning, go to Musical Madness

For the previous post, go to Where There’s a Will, There’s a Way

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For more holidays, go to Every Heart Beats True for the Red, White, & Blue