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.

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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.

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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.

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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 Bid You Welcome: Dracula (1931)

 I am Dracula…I bid you welcome

So Dracula is one of the best horror films ever made. I know you all were wondering when he would be popping up. This version with Bela Lugosi is my favorite; as I feel the other version either have subpar acting, a distortion of the story, or just fall flat in their presentation.

Bela Lugosi was never intended for the part of Dracula. Originally Lon Chaney was going to play him, but he died the year before. As much as I love Lon Chaney, I can’t see Dracula as anyone but Bela Lugosi.

I have to say that this film probably has the most remakes of all time. There’s House of Dracula, Dracula (1958), The Return of Dracula, Dracula: Prince of Darkness, Dracula Has Risen From the Grave, Billy the Kid vs. Dracula, Taste the Blood of Dracula, Scars of Dracula, Blood of Dracula’s Castle, Count Dracula, Dracula vs. Frankenstein, Count Dracula’s Great Love, Dracula AD 1972, The Satanic Rites of Dracula, Dracula (1979), Love at First Bite, Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Dracula: Dead and Loving It, Dracula 2000, Dracula II: Ascension, Dracula III: Legacy, Dracula’s Curse, Dracula 3000, The Batman vs. Dracula, Dracula (2006), Dracula 3D, Hotel Transylvania, Scooby-Doo & the Ghoul School, and Scooby-Doo and the Reluctant Werewolf . Not to mention all sequels or films that Drac has a part in; this guy sure gets around.

Of course even with all of these, Lugosi’s version still stands the test of time. It is the one we quote, the one that we mimic Lugosi’s voice from, and the one that we copy the cape movements from; pretending that we too are a vampire.

Dracula

It’s funny that in this film Dracula doesn’t display fangs or show vampire bite marks on the neck.

So the film starts out with Renfield, a lawyer, going to Dracula’s castle. All the villagers warn him that there are vampires there, but Renfield doesn’t listen.

“Innkeeper: Castle Dracula?
Renfield: Yes. That’s where I’m going.
Innkeeper: To the castle?
Renfield: Yes.
Innkeeper: No. You musn’t go there. We people of the mountains believe in the castle there are vampires. Dracula and his wives – they take the form of wolves and bats. They leave their coffins at night and they feed on the blood of the living.”

When Renfield enters the castle he is greeted by Dracula and those famous lines! My favorite.

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“Count Dracula: I am Dracula.
Renfield: Oh, it’s really good to see you. I don’t know what happened to the driver and my luggage and… Well, and with all this, I thought I was in the wrong place.
Count Dracula: I bid you welcome. [Dracula goes up the stairs. Renfield starts to follow him. Suddenly, Dracula hears wolves howling] Listen to them. Children of the night. What music they make.
[Dracula goes up the steps and waits for Renfield, who, without difficulty, cuts open a hole in a huge spider’s web using his walking stick]
Count Dracula: The spider spinning his web for the unwary fly. The blood is the life, Mr. Renfield.
Renfield: Why, er… yes.”

Renfield doesn’t make it out alive as Dracula ends up attacking him and turning him into a vampire. Renfield becomes crazed as the slave of Dracula. The two travel to England, and when the ship docks only Renfield is left on the boat. Everyone else is dead with the blood sucked out of them. Renfield is a looney, so he is taking to Dr. Seward’s sanitorium.

Martin: Aren’t you ashamed now? Aren’t you? Spiders now, is it? Flies ain’t good enough!
Renfield: Flies? Flies? Poor puny things! Who wants to eat flies?
Martin: You do, you loony!
Renfield: Not when I can get nice fat spiders!
Martin: All right, have it your own way

Later Dracula runs into Dr. Seward, his daughter Mina, Mina’s fiancé John Harker, and family friend Lucy Weston. Lucy becomes enamored of Dracula. Later that night Dracula visits her in her sleep and drinks out all her blood.

Blood!

The next day Lucy is dead as no transfusion is able to save her.

Noooooooooo!!!!!!!

Noooooooooo!!!!!!!

Renfield is acting crazier, and crazier and Professor Van Helsing starts speaking to him to try and help him work through his problems. He believes there is a vampire involved in this.

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 doesn’t like it when Van Helsing shows him wolfsbane; something he declares is able to stop vampires.

Later that evening Dracula attacks Mina; he doesn’t fully drain all her blood, but chooses to do it a little at a time.

Van Helsing also notices that Count Dracula doesn’t have a reflection and concludes he must be a vampire.

Van Helsing puts a wreath of wolfsbane around her neck and tells her nurse not to remove it. He also gives Harker a cross and tells him to hold onto it; that it will protect him from harm of the vampires and not to give it away.

Immediately Harker tries to give it to Mina and it doesn’t work.

DID YOU JUST NOT HEAR THE MAN? HE SAID IT WILL WORK ONLY FOR YOU! YOU KEEP IT!

princess Bride Victim to classic blunder Vizzini

I mean this is such a classic mistake made by these men in these horror films. In The Mummy, he just has to give the girl the charm that is supposed to protect only him, and then gets knocked out and is unable to keep her from being kidnapped. In The Wolf Man, he gives the girl the charm to protect him, and it doesn’t work for her. Instead he manifests into being a werewolf and almost kills her. MORAL OF THESE STORIES, KEEP THE DANG CHARM!!! DON’T GIVE IT AWAY!!!

Van Helsing confronts Dracula and tells him to leave Mina alone. Dracula tells him that it is too late, he has given Mina some of his blood and he belongs to her. Van Helsing tells Dracula that he will hunt down his coffin and drive a stake through his heart no matter what.

“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.
[Van Helsing takes three hypnotised steps towards Dracula but soon steps back, resisting Dracula’s hypnotic power over him]
Count Dracula: Your will is strong, Van Helsing.
[Van Helsing reaches out for his crucifix as Dracula looms toward him]
Count Dracula: More wolfsbane?
Van Helsing: More effective than wolfsbane, 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]”

Harker still hasn’t realized what is happening to Mina. He takes her out in the night, where she attacks him. He is saved by Van Helsing who puts Mina in her room with wolfsbane. He tells the nurse to make sure that she does not remove it.

He and Harker leave to look for the coffin. They know it must be in the area as Dracula would never travel too far from it.

While they are gone, Dracula hypnotizes the nurse and has her remove the wolfsbane.

Dracula takes off with Mina, bringing her to his lair.

 Harker and Van Helsing see him and follow him; Harker wanting to save Mina while Van Helsing wants to destroy Dracula. Renfield manages to escape from his cell and follows them as well. Dracula kills Renfield; thinking that he lead everyone to his lair. Eventually Dracula is forced to return to his coffin as the sun is rising. When he does Van Helsing drives a stake through his heart and Harker goes to get Mina.

This film is truly amazing and I think you should check it out. It has influenced countless generations and really became the face and substance of who Dracula is.

This was one of Bela Lugosi’s favorite films and when he died he was buried wearing the black silk cape he wore for this film.

So that’s today’s  fearsome tale. More on the way.

Here’s poster I made for my cover page on facebook in honor or Halloween. Hope ya love it.

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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 It’s Alive, It’s ALIVE!

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For more on Dracula, go to A Monster Race

For more on vampires, go to Grimwood Ghouls’ Gyn Teacher

For more on Bela Lugosi, go to Universal’s Classic Monster Movies

For more films based on books, go to The Only Thing That Matters is the Ending

For more on Lon Chaney, go to Feast Your Eyes On My Accursed Ugliness

For more films that spanned countless sequels and remakes, go to Camp Blood

I Don’t Belong in the World: Carnival of Souls (1962)

I don’t belong in the world

Carnival of Souls is a very creepy movie! It was simply fantastic! I highly recommend it for anyone out there who is into creepy films as this one really fits the bill. It was made in 1962 in three weeks on a very low budget. It was categorized as a B horror film, and due to problems with the distributing company, (it went out of business), it failed to be as big of a hit as it could have been. However, it is now a cult classic and loved by many. If you want to watch the film click here.

****FYI Spolier Alert****

The film starts off with this girl, Mary, who is out in her car driving around with her friends. They run into these guys who challenge them to a drag race, and as every young adult does in ’50s and ’60s movies, they agree.

As I’m sure you have already guessed, it does not turn out well. In fact the girls’ car ends up going right over a bridge and crashing into a river. The police spend three hours dragging the water searching for the car or the bodies, when something strange happens……

Hey guys! How ya doing?

Mary walks out the river UNHARMED! She is pefectly fine, just dirty and for some strange reason doesn’t remember what happened to cause her to escape unharmed.

However after this episode Mary isn’t at all like herself. She is colder, and wants to isolate herself. She even speaks at one time how she hates being with her parents, calling them “those people”, a feeling she had never expressed before. She ends packing up and moving to Utah where she will be an organist for a local church.

HOWEVER, this is were the film starts to get REALLY CREEPY. I recommend making sure you watch this late at night in the dark for optimal effect.

So she’s driving along on the way to this town and notices this pavillion in which she feels a connection to, but shrugs it off. She continues driving along a deserted road…everything is going great when all of a sudden……

A FLOATING FACE APPEARS IN HER WINDOW!!!!!!!

OMG this part scared me so bad when I first watched it! She’s out on this deserted road and all of a sudden a face without a body APPEARS FLOATING OUTSIDE HER WINDOW!

And this guy is no looker! He’s a majorly creepy dude!

Hello Mary

After that scare, she somehow makes it to a gas station to get directions to the boarding house she is going to stay at. She also asks the attendent about the pavilion. He tells her that it used to be a carnival.

(Okay now we can totally tell that something creepy is going to go down in that Carnival. The anticipation is rising!!!!!)

So she gets to the boarding house where we have a somewhat comedic landlady. Mary is starting to feel better about what happened, shrugging it off as being tired and scared. The next day she visits the church and starts practicing.Everyone is touched by her lovely organ music, it is as sweet as the songs of angels!

(Now I know that organ music can be lovely to some, but to me it always makes me think of creepy monsters such as the Phantom of the Opera or Dracula.)

The minister gives Mary a ride home and she asks to see the carnival.

This movie has some really beautiful cinematography. If you don’t watch it for the horror                                                                              one should watch it for that.

So Mary returns home, still confused as to what her connection to the place must be. Her neighbor John, tries to come on to her but with really lame lines and Mary is just not having any of it.

As she is finally able to get rid of the loser, she looks outside……………..ONLY TO SEE THE FACE AGAIN!!!!!!

AND HE COMES INSIDE THE HOUSE! Mary runs out of her room to look, and THERE HE IS WALKING THROUGH THE DOOR!  AND STARTS TO CLIMB UP THE STAIRS!!!!! HE’S COMING FOR HER!!! RUN MARY! RUN!! RUN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Mary does run up to her room. And there’s a knock on the door and…..and…..and…..and….and….

It turns out to be the landlady! And she hasn’t seen anyone walking around the house. (Hmm….very suspicious!)

The next day John tries to come on to Mary again and we find out that he reeeeeeeeeeally likes to drink. Mary is very much still uninterested and goes on to buy a new dress.

Then the strangest thing happens. Mary tries on her dress and goes out to talk to the salelady about the hem…..When NO ONE CAN HEAR HER. NO ONE SEES HER. AND SHE CAN’T HEAR ANYTHING.

She changes and wanders aimlessly through the town trying to figure out why she can’t be heard or seen or hear anything.Eventually her hearing comes back and she continues on her way.

She goes to get a drink of water from the drinking fountain when a man comes upon her…….

I’m Back!

Luckily as Mary is running away in fear she happens to run right into a psychiatrist.

Literally. He just happened” to be running about in that area.

He takes her to his office so that she can talk to him and they can work out what she is feeling. And what she thinks she is seeing. He tells her that the only way to truly get over these hallucinations is to go to the carnival. The carnival is where everything began.

She goes and hopes that everything will be better for her. That the nightmare will be over.

The next day she goes to work and starts out playing a lovely song in the church…when all of a sudden………something comes over her and she plays devilish, creepy, horrifying music.

What’s coming over me?

Her hellish music causes her to lose her job, and she goes on home. She ends up going out with John as she is so freaked out and doesn’t want to be alone, but that doesn’t turn out to be any good; as Mary is still so cool and icy. She has a major freakout thinking she sees the creepy guy everywhere, and John takes her home. Mary rushes into her room, with John following hoping to get lucky. She looks up in the mirror expecting to see John when who should be there but…..

THE CREEPY GUY! THE GUY IS KISSING HER!

Mary looks up in shock, and screams. John is also freaked out and takes off to the safety of his room.

The next day she takes her car in to be looked at, only to have another experience with the creepy guy! She runs off scared for her life! And then no one can see or hear her anymore. She keeps seeing creepy dead people everywhere she goes.

But just like before, everything goes back to normal. She can hear and others can hear her.

She runs to the psychiatrist’s office, so confused and upset; pouring out all her feelings and emotions to him.

When what should happen but………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

The CREEPY FACE MAN!

But then Mary wakes up in her car. Was it all a dream? What is happening to her?!

She runs to the carnival, once again to try and get where it all began to end it all. But that is where it really gets creepy. Men and women rise from the water and they do a creepy dance of death. The dance that Mary sees herself in!

The creepy guy and company follow her and chase her to the beach where they all grab her and everything fades to black.

The next day the minister and psychiatrist are looking for Mary. They find her shoes, footprints, and what looks like signs of a struggle on the beach, but there is no Mary to be found.

Back in Mary’s town the police have finally been able to drag the river bottoms and get the car out.

However, they are in for a big surprise as there are THREE bodies in the car. Mary’s body is in the car!

dun-dun-duuuun

I thought it was a simply fantastic movie! Some pieces are predictable, but the creepiness lives throughout.

I hope you enjoyed the first of these posts as there are more to come.

Here is a cover page I made for my facebook as part of my countdown to Halloween:

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Fo more on B Horror films, go to Eternal Punishment for Anyone Who Opens This Casket

For more on carnivals, go to A Tale So Strange It Must Be True

For more on cult classics, go to They’re Coming to Get You Barbara