Tag Archives: ghosts

The Vault: Grave Encounters To Scare You Sleepless

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You know a horror movie is done well when you have to sleep with all the lights switched on and a crowbar under the covers.

That is what happened to me on Sunday night. A colleague recommended the mockumentary style horror film Grave Encounters and since I love all things horror I decided to give it a go. The concept was simple. A group of reality television paranormal investigators decide to spend the night locked in an abandoned insane asylum and film their findings through a collection of high-tech night vision cameras. Nothing very original plot wise from the get-go but that is where the film fools you. It lulls you into a false sense of desensitized security because it is all very familiar. If you’re a fan of ghost hunting or reality TV you may think that you have already seen this. You know what the outcome is going to be.

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So you think. So I thought.

I made the mistake of watching this movie alone at midnight with the lights turned off.

This was me for the remaining five hours until the sun came up.

The film, which came out in 2011, has gained an underground following as well as well-deserved respect from the horror community fan base. Better than the Paranormal Activity franchise and out-strips the notoriety of the Blair Witch Project, Grave Encounters is a finely crafted masterpiece of precision scares, highly realistic character delivery, grade A storyline, and perfect timing. The build-up eggs you along and by the time you finally get to the end you are rooted to the couch out of honest to goodness fear because somewhere between the midway point to nowhere you forgot that what you are watching is in fact a work of fiction. This event never occurred. The characters who face off with the psychological terror that comes with a place known for unspeakable horrors are just that. The fear that you have been feeding off is nothing but the creation of expert storytellers.

But it feels so real.

So if you decide to give this film a try keep these in the back of your mind. Stay the heck away from condemned buildings with a well-known documented history of traumatic events, never ever lock the door behind you, always have more than one way out, do not mock the dead, deserted psych wards are to be avoided at all costs, never split up, always carry an extra phone and batteries for your flashlight, never challenge a vengeful spirit outright, and if the screaming starts and you don’t know where your friends are….

run like hell

The Vault: Grim Grinning Ghosts Come Out To Socialize

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It’s Halloween! Well, almost but it’s never too early to get into the spooky spirit of things especially right after the Day of the Turkey. The wind is chilly, there’s that sharp bite in the air that tells you winter is on its way, and the leaves are falling off the trees in droves. Nothing beats October and the weeks leading up to the best holiday of them all. If you disagree, then take it up with the Pumpkin King.

So, what is the best way to get into the Halloween spirit? Aside from dressing up? Carving pumpkins? Decorating the house? Buying boxes of candy? Setting up a full-blown graveyard in your front yard to terrify the pants off of trick-or-treaters? Those are all great ways but there is one that beats them all. It’s time to scare yourself silly with horror films! And guess what? Vaughan Public Libraries has a massive collection of horror movies ranging from family-fun fright flicks to the films that won’t let you sleep without every light in the house being left on in the dead of night. Sir Anthony Hopkins, I blame you for multitude of nightmares about lambs and fava beans. And will you please stop staring? You’re scaring the children.

Speaking of children, check out what the Library has in store for kids of all ages. This installment of the VPL’s Halloween Hootenanny is dedicated to all those pint-sized ghosties, ghoulies, and wee student beasties that are eagerly counting down the days until the Night of Free Candy is upon them. For all those dentists out there, you have permission to panic.

215px Hocuspocusposter photoHocus Pocus is a traditional class-act Halloween flim that is impossible not to fall in love with. It is one of those Must See On Halloween films that will be become part of every family’s happy hauntings once October hits. Why? Because of the three Sanderson sisters of course! Three diabolical witches, led by the enigmatic Bette Midler, are up to no good as they attempt to suck the lives out of the children of Salem before Halloween night is over in order to remain eternally young. But never fear, the good guys are here! In the form of two teenagers, a spunky 7 year-old little sister, and a talking black cat the witches are given a run for their broomsticks. Oh and a zombie makes an appearance halfway through the film and it is an utter laugh riot. Give the film a go but be careful. It might just put a spell on you.

MOV 2ae466a4 b photoThe Haunted Mansion is Disney’s jolt at the Spooktacular market. Based off the famous ride of the same name, the film’s plot revolves around one amazingly creepy old mansion that is home to 999 ghosts, a talking head, and these guys. Eddie Murphy delivers the giggling goods in this fright-filled comedy without going over the top, or losing his head. He and his wife are real estate agents who have been invited to take a look around an old property that is going up for sale. However nothing is as it seems. Well nothing that is besides the graveyard in the backyard. With their two kids along for the ride the Evers family get a crash-course in the Dead And Loving it department with the aide of a few helpful haunts. But will it be enough to break a century’s old curse that has made the mansion a magnet for all things without a pulse? There’s only one way to find out!  

 addams poster photo The Addams Family Values. You think your family strange at times? That’s nothing compared to what the Addams have to deal with on a regular basis. Pastel coloured houses. People sporting beige and pearls. Nannies plotting to eradicate the entire household. Children being send to summer camp where they are forced to learn how to smile of all things.  It’s enough to make a mustachioed baby want to spit fireballs. Indeed that is the case where the Addams and their values are concerned. In this installment of all things Addams the black-clad family of 6 (along with Lurch, Thing, and Cousin It) are now a family of 7. There’s a new baby in the crypt and a serious case of sibling rivaly has arisen. But it gets better. A dastardly diabolical plan has been put into motion to entrap the unsuspecting Uncle Fester into a marriage where Death Do Us Part is taken very seriously. What are the Addams to do?

Beetlejuice%20film%20poster photoBeetlejuice is the Ghost With The Most. There’s never a dull moment when the #1 bio-exorcist is on the job causing goosebump raising trouble. This movie is certainly for more of an older crowd due to its rather eclectic nature and skin-crawling ghoulish cameos. If it creeps and crawls and lurks under the bed then it is going to be found in the Hereafter. After all this is a Tim Burton film and is considered by many to be a much-loved cult classic. Beetlejuice is a portal in which normalcy is given a serious undead wake-up-call. Screaming skull style. There is no denying that the fungus-riddled ghoul withthe flare for scare is without a doubt one of the funniest and most iconic Spooks to ever grace Horror Celluloid. It is that nifty striped suit of his, isn’t it? So crypt-keeper classy. If you’re up for a head-spinning hoot then say it once, say it twice, say it three times… Beetlejuice Beetlejuice Beetlejuice!

So this Halloween remember to have a bone rattling good time courtesy of your local library branch. May it be spooky, kooky, and all together ookey.

 Stay scary. Stay safe. And shake those spooky sillies out!

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Mondays are murder

Anya is a young woman with troubles.  Ashamed of her Russian immigrant heritage, her efforts to escape it are thwarted at every turn.  Her only friend, Siobhan, seems to enjoy putting her down as much as she enjoys anything else.  Her crush is far out of her league.

With all of these worries weighing on her mind, Anya decides to take a walk in the woods.  As she attempts to clear her head, she falls into an abandoned well in the middle of the woods.  As if that isn’t bad enough, at the bottom of the well is a skeleton.  And not just any skeleton, but a skeleton with a ghost.  Emily Reilly was chased into the woods and down the well by a vagrant who murdered her parents – 90 years ago.

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Finally rescued from the well, Anya finds her ghost friend has followed her home (capable of doing so because of the small bone Anya swept into her bag with her other things when rescue was nigh).  But it can only be an improvement to have a friend who can get into other people’s things and help engineer party invites, passing grades, and “chance” encounters with a crush.  Right?

Vera Brosgol’s debut graphic novel has been called a masterpiece by none other than Neil Gaiman.  So there is no need to take my word for it!  Trust Neil!  And read Anya’s Ghost for yourself.

An aside: If you are intrigued by ghosts, graphic novels, and the immigrant experience, you could follow up a reading of Anya’s Ghost with a reading of Lola: A Ghost Story by J. Torres and Elbert Or. 

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Jesse has returned to the Philippines with his parents for his Lola’s funeral.  He remembers his grandmother with both fondness and terror, as do many in her village.  Lola was blessed with the gift of seeing – a gift that Jesse thinks he has inherited.  But he must decide if it is a gift or curse, which he hopes to do when he can determine why his Lola tried to drown him as a baby.