ORPHAN wasn’t perfect, but I still love it 10 years later (Originally published for Bloody Disgusting)

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The original post was published on July 24, 2019 under “Editorials” at Bloody-Disgusting.com.

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Something is wrong with Esther, alright.

Released on this day 10 years ago, Jaume Collett-Serra’s unique twist on the bad seed subgenre, Orphan, pummeled its way into theaters after weeks of both anticipation and controversy, going on to earn $78 million at the box office over its relatively modest budget. Both influenced by, yet also a subversion of the tropes of previous films such as The Bad Seed, The Omen, and The Good Son— and undoubtedly affecting the coldness within this year’s The ProdigyOrphan is one of the more memorable psychological horror efforts we were given in 2009.

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10 of the Most Unsettling Moments in Doll Horror (Originally published for Bloody-Disgusting.com)

The original post can be found under “Editorials” at Bloody-Disgusting.com.

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There is a very specific reason why I asked my mother to return the many porcelain dolls she bought for me when I was a kid: I watched too many horror movies. Porcelain dolls, baby dolls, life-size dolls, and especially ventriloquist dummies: I had seen far too many of those damn things open their eyes, come to life, and kill people in movies, and I wanted no parts of it.

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The 10 Most Memorable Mother Figures in Horror Since 2010 (Originally Published for NightmarishConjurings.com)

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The original post can be found here.

It’s Mother’s Day, and no one sacrifices their heads and literally goes to hell more for you than your mother.  Within the horror genre of the 2010s, we’ve witnessed brave moms, nurturing moms, witchy moms, mentally ill moms, grief-stricken moms, and everything in between, creating one of the most unforgettable decades for motherly horror than ever before.  Here are the 10 Most Memorable Mother Figures within the Horror Genre of the 2010s. (Spoilers Below)

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Horror Genre Films Coming in 2019

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2018 absolutely slayed the horror genre with amazing directorial debuts and surprising indie wonders, but it appears 2019 may give the previous year a run for its money.  I scoured the Internet to find that 2019 will bring us many big budget curiosities, subversive A24 arthouse horrors, and…quite a few remakes of things we didn’t necessarily ask for.  Here are over 40 genre films (including horror-thrillers, crime mysteries, and dark biopics) that will be coming our way in 2019.

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60 of the Greatest Horror films from the 1960s to 2010s

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In honor of Horrormonal’s first anniversary and the catharsis and opportunities it has given me within the last year, along with the conversations it has started with other horror film lovers, I give you 60 of (some) of the greatest horror films of all time, starting with the 1960s until the 2010s (so far).  I’ve been musing over this since August, and I’ve had such a difficult time narrowing it down to just 10 movies from each decade, but I think I chose pretty carefully.  I love each film for different reasons- some for their artistic integrity, some for their metaphors, some for changing the way I look at cinematic arts entirely, some for haunting my nightmares, some for repulsing me, and others for their entertainment value.  If you haven’t seen some of the more obscure picks, please consider checking them out, and be sure to revisit some old classics you may not have viewed in a long time.  (Thank you to Collider.com for some guidance.)

Here are 60 of (some) of the greatest horror films of modern times…

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Annabelle: Creation is not as bad as you would expect..

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She’s back…on HBO at least. 

A person like myself, who watches at least 1-2 different horror films a week, doesn’t exactly scare easily.  I’m lucky in that I’m not a person that possess many phobias- clowns  make me laugh, instead of fearful; blood will only make me queazy for mere seconds; psycho movie killers are more interesting and cool in a sardonic way for me; I find possible demonic presences and paranormal activity more fascinating than terrifying.  However, one fear that I’ve never completely shaken since I was a kid…is dolls.  When I was 7, 8 years old, I couldn’t even walk into a Spencer’s store because I was too scared of the Chucky dolls lingering the shelves.  When my mom bought me beautiful porcelain bridal dolls (that cost her more than a few pennies) when I was a preteen, I told her I didn’t want them staring at me in my room, and I asked her to please move them. Haha. Fast forward to me as an adult, and luckily I grew to love Chucky the killer doll, and even have my own version of him in my possession, as well as not totally panicking at seeing people’s collectible dolls in their homes that I would be visiting.  I’m nowhere near afraid of damn dolls like I used to be, but every now and again, there will be one in a horror movie may or may not still get under my skin after watching.

I recently watched Annabelle: Creation for the first time on HBO, after missing its theatrical release last summer- and it’s not terrible! The critics from its initial August 2017 release date really weren’t lying!  I’ll admit, I was skeptical- after that first movie.🤨If you’re expecting the same height of fear-inducing levels and well-crafted character arcs that its franchise housemother The Conjuring produced, look elsewhere. But, for a movie that followed the piece of 💩 that was 2014’s Annabelle, Creation is definitely an improvement.

Creation serves as a prequel to the 2014 film, and I felt that it gives us a proper lead to where things pick up in the original film. After a dollmaking couple loses their daughter in a tragic accident, they decide to use their home to host a group of young orphans and their guardian nun. As is expected, shit starts to quickly hit the fan, as one young orphan with polio begins to notice movements from a porcelain doll with pigtails and a dead stare within the house, that we all come to know as Miss Annabelle herself.

I picked up major Ouija franchise vibes- no, not the first piece of shit movie that came out; the other one- its prequel Ouija: Origin of Evil. Like the Ouija franchise, Annabelle producers ditched (some) of the corniness and messiness of their original movies, and added way more simplicity– with old-school, effective horror tropes that get under your skin, to a degree. The titular doll often feels creepier this time around because she hasn’t lost her innocent looks yet. In the 2014 film, the producers made the mistake of augmenting her appearance to a grey, weathered skin tone, as she becomes more and more of a conduit for the demon, which makes it unbelievable to the viewer who can’t understand why the fuck the main characters would still keep her around in the first place. In Creation, the doll just gives her potential victims more deadly, dirty looks instead.

Director David F. Sandberg doesn’t do anything innovative with Creation necessarily, but that doesn’t mean that the film is not effective.  Firstly, the sound effects and sound editing are pretty stellar: the first real “scare” of the film (which I will admit- startled me!) I had to turn down the volume because the roar was so loud that I was afraid it would freak my neighbors out. Other scenes containing footsteps approaching the protagonist characters from behind also proved effective, as the footstep sounds increased as the demon walked closer and closer to our heroines.  Secondly, the acting is not bad.  I’m not saying it’s fantastic, but child actors can usually make or break a movie with their tendency to over act a scene, but a certain young character is forced to change (for the better or worse- I won’t reveal spoilers) and you can tell she enjoyed every second of those scenes.  Thirdly, the scares contained in the film are not always jump scares (even though several are) and Creation does a decent job at building tension, instead of always throwing eye-rolling, corny “Surprise! Gotcha!” scares all throughout.  Finally, the ending left a satisfied taste in my mouth, as someone who was disappointed in the original Annabelle.  We receive an “homage” if you will, to- not only the original film that was lacking (you’ll see what I mean)- but also to the real-life “possessed” Raggedy Ann doll known as Annabelle (pictured below), which the real-life Ed and Lorraine Warren held in a glass casing in their home for years, explaining its danger onto others, just like the Ed and Lorraine characters did in The Conjuring.  Also, watch until post-credits!  A little snippet from the Conjuring universe makes a brief appearance after the credits roll.

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The real-life Annabelle, that the Warrens kept in a safe place in their home, allegedly had the power to taunt/kill those who mocked her after visiting her in the Warrens’ home.  

Annabelle: Creation is not a memorable masterpiece per se, but if you’re doll-a-phobic like me, it’ll still give you a chill.  Worth a watch on a Friday night.  Rating: 7/10

Horror to look forward to (and a few to probably avoid) in 2018!

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The Endless (2018)

2017 was truly incredible for our favorite red-headed stepchild genre, aka horror, as we witnessed some masterpieces like Get Out receive not only great numbers at the box office and critical acclaim, but even Golden Globe nominations…so 2018 has some huge shoes to fill.  From the looks of things as of now, 2018 will have its share of things that I ABSOLUTELY CANNOT WAIT for…as well as a couple that look laughable, that I will likely skip, but others may enjoy.  Here are some of the horror pieces to look forward to (and a few to probably not waste your money on) coming out this year, in order of their releases.

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