Movie Review: HOUSE OF PURGATORY

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house of purgatoryTerror Films
2016
NR

‘Tis the Halloween Season, mein wundabar freaks. While I’m technically not doing a HALLOWEEN’ING series on the blog this year, I still like to watch movies that feature Halloween as the primary focus. Or at least set during the Greatest Season of the Year. And as such, I came across the movie House Of Purgatory, which was recently made available on DVD, but also for Prime streamin’, so I decided to turn off the lights, and see what kind of spooky shenanigans the stock characters would be getting into.

Sorry, maybe I’m unfairly judging the movie before actually watching it. Force of habit. Let’s take a look, then.

Four teenagers go looking for a legendary haunted house that gives you money back for every floor you can complete. Once finding it, they realize the house is much more terrifying than a normal Halloween attraction — the house knows each of their secrets and one by one uses them against the teens.

So, what we have with House Of Purgatory is your standard low budget teens-in-a-haunted-something-or-other movie that tries so hard to be an effective psychological mind trip of a horror movie that it’s rather adorable, really. The cast is your typical older 20-somethings playing the teenagers, the lot being forgettable personality types. There’s a bit at the beginning that had me thinking that this was going to be another lame Scream knock-off, but fortunately, that wasn’t the case.

Things did pick up once the gang hit the titular haunted house, actually managing to get some good effects and shots in. However, the promise of delving into deep, dark secrets falls flat with the dismount, leaving this House Of Purgatory promising you Disney World’s Haunted Mansion attraction, but ending up being the second-rate haunted house setup the local civic group puts on at the town auditorium.

It really says something when the premise of your horror movie was already done way better with an old episode of Buffy The Vampire Slayer*. House Of Purgatory is fun like a trip to a Spirit Of Halloween store is fun. Worth a look if you’re morbidly curious, or have nothing else to watch for the holiday.

[*=Season 4, Episode 4: “Fear Itself”…go watch that one instead]

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Some bittersweet news…

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NecRoSarX Chronicles Header

sad pumpkinI guess I should go ahead and let people know, before the first of October hits and anyone is actually expecting it:

There will be no HALLOWEEN’ING series this year.

ThereĀ was going to be one this year; I had the entire month of October mapped out, with over half of the articles already written and scheduled.

But, the reality is, my heart just isn’t in this at this time. The reasons and the standard ones: Fatigue. Health issues. Burnout. Also, I really don’t want to have to constantly justify my love of this particular season over the Big Two Christian holidays I’m expected to prefer.

I just want to chill out this year, enjoy the Halloween season without feeling the need to blog about everything. I want to peruse all the wondrous and spooky things without constantly formulating how I’m going to write the article.

I’m telling you, having a strong writer’s mentality is both a blessing and a curse sometimes.

So, yeah. No HALLOWEEN’ING this year. That doesn’t mean I won’t be posting anything related to Halloween. If I see something cool, I’ll have to say something about it. I just won’t be spending every day of the month doing it, if at all.

In the mean time, I’ve been scheduling next year’s movie and music review posts, getting them out of the way for other things. Until next time, cheers everyone, and stay freaky.

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A MIDSUMMER’S NIGHT SCREAM…

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punpkin screamSo, I thought I’d take some time to bring whatever readers I still have up to speed in the life and times of your Uncle NecRo. It’s been a while, and I thought a bit of venting is in order. In a matter of speaking.

First, with the lack of postings since house sitting for my sister’s family whilst they were vacationing in Nevada: Currently, I’m in the midst of writing and scheduling the daily posts for this year’s HALLOWEEN’ING 2018. I’m almost halfway done with that; all that remains is waiting for the stores and seasonal attractions to open up and let me pursue for the remaining posts. This year marks the return of the Shadow’s Edge haunted attraction, after a two year absence. I can’t wait to check that one out. I also want to hit some places I hadn’t made it to for the decorations and costumes. But, there will probably be visits to my standard favorite places, more because of familiarity. I’m old. That’s my excuse.

old metalheadSpeaking of being old, I probably won’t be able to make the Metallica show on the 6th. My health has been not good, and my eyesight is that driving at night and in the dark is getting kind of wonky for me. I’m scheduled for an eye exam later today (as I write this), but the new glasses won’t be back in time for the show. Also, there’s the regular middle age guy things, like I have to work the next day, it’s an hour’s drive, that section of Lincoln is difficult to navigate in the daytime, let alone post-show congestion in the dead of night. And quite frankly, my knees are all shot, making it difficult to make the hike from the parking garages to the arena. If they would have played in Omaha, maybe. Ten, maybe twenty years ago, I would have been all over this show. Now, though, I’m in my mid-fourties. I wasn’t able to find someone to go with me, so I’m probably going to sit this one out. Yeah, I’m probably pissing away my only chance to see them live. I’m at peace with this. Metal up your ass.

As far as blog postings for the rest of the year: I’m holding off on the standard Movie/Book/Music reviews until next year. Right now, I’m focusing on the HALLOWEEN’ING 2018 posts, and getting some of the standard brain dropping style articles take care of. I’ve had quite a few percolating for a number of years that keep bubbling back up to the surface ever now and again. So, bit of a relaxed schedule for the blog, here.

Anyway, if anything else comes up, y’all will be the first to know. That you know of. Until then, God bless, my wonderful freaks. Cheers and all that…

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HALLOWEEN’ING Day 31: HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

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halloween'ing 2017
It’s here! It’s here! The Greatest Day of the Year! Okay, so I usually don’t get this kind of excitable, but…IT’S HALLOWEEN! It’s the day we’ve been counting down to, waiting for with baited breath, marking the passage of time with…well, you know. Anyway, it’s time to do whatever it is you do for this day of days. As for me, I’m going to probably do what I always do: Stay in, make up some snacky-snacks, and settle in for a bit of a Horror Movie Marathon! But, not too late…it is a work night, after all. Until next year, cheers, and keep the Halloween Spirit alive for the rest of the year…

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HALLOWEEN’ING Day 30: Bram Stoker’s Dracula

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halloween'ing 2017bram stokers dracula

I realize that it seems odd that I’m recommending the Francis Ford Coppola-directed remake of the movie Dracula that came out in 1992 for a Halloween movie viewing, rather than the original Bela Lugosi classic from 1932. And believe me, it’s not because I think that Bram Stoker’s Dracula is superior to the first one. Far from it. It’s just that, this iteration of the big screen Dracula was the first movie I watched straight through, and ignited an interest in the character that has lasted for decades later.

Comparisons to the source material aside, as a movie itself, Bram Stoker’s Dracula still holds up as a Gothic romance movie, complete with great period visuals, breathtaking scenes, and some great performances…and also Keanue Reeves. Who, I think, can be forgiven his performance, as he was still trying to shake free of being pigeonholed as Ted “Theodore” Logan at this point in his career.

Greatly atmospheric, a nice slow and dark buildup, and a first part that actually references Vlad Tepes, aka the inspiration for the character of Dracula. And let’s face it, there are way worse Dracula movies out there.

Bram Stoker’s DRACULA

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HALLOWEEN’ING Day 29: The Golden Arm

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halloween'ing 2017golden arm
It was October of 1984. I was at a sleepover at a friend’s farm, along with various other grade school chums. We were out in the back area, near the grove of trees that seemed to go on forever. The sun had gone down a while ago, and we were all sitting around a fire, and began telling stories ghost stories. I mostly listened, myself having not yet developed the story-telling skill, and not being well-versed in some of the more traditional campfire stories. But, these guys did. One of which was the classic tale, “The Golden Arm”.

Doing some research on the history of this particular folk tale, “The Golden Arm” dates back to at least 200 years prior, and was used by one Mark Twain as an example of how to tell a story.

Truly, the best way to get the most out of this story is to tell it orally. And it’s not just how you tell it, but also the place you’re telling it and the aesthetics of the setting are part of the whole experience. That night, all those decades ago, was the perfect setting, which is probably why this story has stuck with me for so long, and probably was instrumental in collecting folklore and ghost stories.

The GOLDEN ARM

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HALLOWEEN’ING Day 28: “Cold” (Static-X)

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halloween'ing 2017
I first heard the song “Cold” as part of the movie Queen Of The Damned. It’s played during the part where Lestat is playing around with a couple of groupies’ heads before he eats them. It’s one of the highlights of an otherwise passable vampire film (in and of itself; as an adaptation…well, that’s not the point of this article, really). I soon came to find out that this song was re-purposed for the film, and the original was done by cyber nu-metal group Static-X.

Coming off of their 2001 release Machine, “Cold” is chilling enough as it is, a nice neo-Gothic metal ode to vampires. However, it’s the video that really makes this a staple in my Halloween music mix: A disheveled looking Wayne Static inside a remote house that’s heavily fortified and barricaded, preparing for a showdown with vampires once the sun goes down. It’s very much an homage to Richard Matheson’s I Am Legend, and is awesome in its own right.

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