Syndicated from the Web

Quick Takes: Extra Ordinary, Sea Fever, The Wretched, The Turning

by on May.03, 2020, under Syndicated from the Web

Reposted from Wicked October | Go to Original Post

Extra Ordinary blends rom-com with the paranormal to produce a snort out-loud giddy #horror comedy. Between the ectoplasm collection, satanic absurdity & lampooned tropes lie great performances that ground the shenanigans. It’s the best time I’ve had “at the movies” this year.

Sea Fever is a grim nautical horror thriller that draws heavily from The Thing, The Descent, and Alien. With themes of isolation and infection, it’s resonates but it quickly loses momentum in the second half. The characters are well-rounded but all fairly unlikeable keeping you detached. And the ambiguous creature design seems interesting but leaves you wanting much more. It’s harrowing and frustrating at the same time.

The Wretched is old-school #horror with a Fright Night template (a teen knows there’s an evil witch next door but no one believes him!). It’s a witch instead of a vampire & not the pretty, pouty lipstick kind. This is a more terrifying, volatile creature. Sadly, the lore is not explored & it moves along predictably but solidly enough to entertain.

The Turning starts well-enough with a rich, gothic atmosphere, some ghostly scares & great performances. But the it rambles towards an abrupt and maddening non-ending. This was so off putting it ruined everything that came before it. The problem lies in how the director attempted to pay homage to the original novella’s debated ambiguity. Here it’s confused, clumsy, unsupported, and a serious embarrassment.

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Delve Into the Dystopian Ceramics of Laura C. Hewitt

by on Apr.13, 2020, under Syndicated from the Web

Reposted from Wicked October | Go to Original Post

The work of Alaskan artist Laura C. Hewitt is strikingly beautiful and startling dark and whimsical. It immediately evokes the work of H.R. Giger but upon further inspection, there’s an aesthetic that’s so completely unique and ethereal. She earned her MFA in 1998 at the Vermont College of Norwich, and her work has been exhibited from Alaska to Seattle to New York. Her Etsy shop, INAEENT or It’s Not Anything Exactly Enterprises, is now the prime location for acquiring one of her mysterious and otherworldly pieces, which include decorative vases, plates, cups and saucers, jars, and ornaments. The work must be seen to be believed. Ms. Hewitt writes,

“I’m particularly interested in exploring the intersections between technology and nature, art and craft, destruction and creation. As inspiration, I look for the magical within the mundane, provoke thoughtfulness with the practical and animate the pragmatic with mischievousness.”

For my birthday, I purchased the piece called a “Hybrid Dystopia Cappuccino Mug. On Wheels” and  it is detailed exquisitely in 22k gold. It’s heavy, solid and even a little sharp is spots.

Holding it for the first time was it’s own ephemeral experience. I felt the true artist’s energy and passion coming through, and it evoked a strange feeling like she has somehow tapped into a different consciousness and that realm was being channeled directly into her work.

Upon studying the piece, the mind reels out of time, looking for mooring, as faces, hands, teeth, tails emerge and recede. There’s a story going on from all sides, underneath, and inside. Its energy transports the imagination to the far reaches of the cosmos.

I reached out to Ms. Hewitt with a few questions, which she graciously answered.


What drew you to this kind of expression and medium? 

Pottery was the only medium I’ve worked in where I could actually make money from home. 18-hour exhibition related flights + teaching job got really old, really fast. 

Who are some of the artists that inspire you? 

Anything edgy, contemporary, trope defying, a bit of danger and a dash of science helps, too.  Currently: Cai Guo Qiang, Adrian Piper, Roberto Lugo, Tsutomu Nihei, William Gibson, Megan Thee Stallion, Carmen Maria Muchado, Augusten Burroughs, Dark Souls video game, Handmaid’s Tale (series) and those animated engineering videos on Instagram of concrete being poured underwater or bridges getting built or whatever.   

Your work evokes an otherworldliness. What is your sense on the secrets of the cosmos?  

Well, that’s certainly not a question I’ve been asked hundreds of times!  I really haven’t a clue.  Probably it’s a huge joke we’re just not getting.   

Your work feels deeply spiritual and meaningful. What is your message?

Think Dangerously.  Embrace everything, even the icky stuff. Take care of yourself because no one else can do that for you. When life feels pointless and meaningless, we can create meaning for ourselves, we’re responsible for creating meaning for ourselves (those of us who have the privilege, of course, the time and resources) and it can start with small personal rituals, as simple as using a thoughtfully chosen cup for the day’s first coffee.

How do your family and friends perceive the work?

Not much different to what you, and others, have written about it, but they’ve always seen sardonic humor as well.  It’s been said to me, and they’ve heard many times, “It looks like it was created by several different people.” And they’re like “Oh no.  That’s all her alright.”

Follow CyborgWidow on Instagram to keep up with her latest works. They truly are one-of-a-kind artwork that you can own!

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Quick Takes: The Platform, Zombieland: Double Tap, Child’s Play

by on Mar.21, 2020, under Syndicated from the Web

Reposted from Wicked October | Go to Original Post


The Platform bristles with a vexing, timely message & social commentary on class, resources & the penal system. Exquisite direction & a fascinating dystopian/alternate reality plot thrills, but leaves you hungry for more exposition, resolution & character development.

Zombieland: Double Tap sadly proves again that lighting doesn’t strike twice. It’s great to see this cast again but unfortunately the paper-thin plot doesn’t add much to the original. There are some great moments & a few chuckles but there’s just no reason for this sequel, released 10 years after the original, to exist.

Child’s Play is a smart remake that lives in a mighty big shadow. This film was created for a new generation that depends on tech to live & the horror lies in grounded fears of runaway A.I. Some of  it is beyond the limits of plausibility and I didn’t buy Aubrey Plaza as a mom, but still a dumb, fun popcorn movie.

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Quick Takes: The Platform, Zombieland: Double Tap, Child’s Play

by on Mar.21, 2020, under Syndicated from the Web

Reposted from Wicked October | Go to Original Post


The Platform bristles with a vexing, timely message & social commentary on class, resources & the penal system. Exquisite direction & a fascinating dystopian/alternate reality plot thrills, but leaves you hungry for more exposition, resolution & character development.

Zombieland: Double Tap sadly proves again that lighting doesn’t strike twice. It’s great to see this cast again but unfortunately the paper-thin plot doesn’t add much to the original. There are some great moments & a few chuckles but there’s just no reason for this sequel, released 10 years after the original, to exist.

Child’s Play is a smart remake that lives in a mighty big shadow. This film was created for a new generation that depends on tech to live & the horror lies in grounded fears of runaway A.I. Some of  it is beyond the limits of plausibility and I didn’t buy Aubrey Plaza as a mom, but still a dumb, fun popcorn movie.

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Quick Takes: Invisible Man, Color Out of Space, The Lodge, Come to Daddy

by on Mar.03, 2020, under Syndicated from the Web

Reposted from Wicked October | Go to Original Post

The Invisible Man updates the classic mad scientist story with a domestic violence angle. Elizabeth Moss commands our empathy & anchors a slapdash & often surprising plot. It’s effective, thrilling horror with stellar effects but its final reveal is problematic. If you make a message film, be sure its a good message through to the end. Clearly they were trying to set up a sequel regardless of the cost.

Color Out of Space attempts the unimaginable task of adapting H.P. Lovecraft & succeeds with a new familial narrative. The dreadful tone & creeping mayhem explode into colorful cosmic horror that evokes absolute hopelessness. Nicholas Cage is presumably loony but the rest of cast grounds the madness. This is one stellar movie.

The Lodge is unrepented, psychological torment about the inner devil within that awakens to wreck havoc. This cerebral, gloomy & exceptionally tragic horror drama gives up the ghost midway through to agonize us with the weight of choices made by those with deep grief & anger. It’s a pleasant watch but it’s an essential film.

Come To Daddy puts a Beverly Hills poser with daddy issues in the middle of an oddly amusing feud. It’s nutty, tonally loopy, and carving forks will be forever tainted. Elijah Wood is made for straight-faced dark comedy but this is not quite the horror as the marketing implies. It’s still highly recommended.

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Quick Takes: The Boat, After Midnight, Freaks

by on Feb.25, 2020, under Syndicated from the Web

Reposted from Wicked October | Go to Original Post

With minimal dialogue & one character, The Boat is a clever nautical horror is a cat-&-mouse thriller that only keeps getting more mysterious. It’s a tense ride that won’t please those wanting answers but will be a bounty for those beguiled by the sea’s dark side.
⭐⭐⭐⭐

After Midnight is a dreary romance with fits of humor & peculiar music. Also, a creature pops up. It’s a tonal mishmash that rests on whether you find the two affable leads charming & buy into their wine-swirling, rural-living, karaoke-loving hangs. As horror it doesn’t satisfy.
⭐⭐

Freaks starts as a mysterious but off-putting captive child drama then frustratingly treks into spectacularly ambitious yet all too familiar sci-fi territory. There is excellent world building, a strong cast, and a forceful finish that soars in to save the day.
⭐⭐⭐

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Quick Takes: The Boat, After Midnight, Freaks

by on Feb.25, 2020, under Syndicated from the Web

Reposted from Wicked October | Go to Original Post

With minimal dialogue & one character, The Boat is a clever nautical horror is a cat-&-mouse thriller that only keeps getting more mysterious. It’s a tense ride that won’t please those wanting answers but will be a bounty for those beguiled by the sea’s dark side.
⭐⭐⭐⭐

After Midnight is a dreary romance with fits of humor & peculiar music. Also, a creature pops up. It’s a tonal mishmash that rests on whether you find the two affable leads charming & buy into their wine-swirling, rural-living, karaoke-loving hangs. As horror it doesn’t satisfy.
⭐⭐

Freaks starts as a mysterious but off-putting captive child drama then frustratingly treks into spectacularly ambitious yet all too familiar sci-fi territory. There is excellent world building, a strong cast, and a forceful finish that soars in to save the day.
⭐⭐⭐

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Illusions of the Passed at Winchester Mystery House

by on Feb.15, 2020, under Syndicated from the Web

Reposted from Wicked October | Go to Original Post


Valentine’s Day can be a horror so attending a seance at the Winchester Mystery House seems like a good fit. Master magician and apparitionist Aiden Sinclair performed what is called a “theatrical seance” which unlike the seemingly traditional seance where people sit around a table, hold hands and talk to the dead, an audience sitting in near darkness participates in demonstrations of “mentalism” such as clairvoyance, ESP, and in this case, tarot reading. Everyone in the room was asked to close their eyes, concentrate on a ghost standing beside Mr. Sinclair and accept messages from him. It’s these messages Mr. Sinclair harnesses for answers.

He did produce bewildering results in prescribing tarot cards picked at random to complete strangers. It was quite the spectacle and yet not quite what I was expecting (parlor tricks, fog machines, and projections). This felt like a much more real experience. Yes, it’s entertainment but I could not figure out the trickery involved, and it made me a believer.

Photo courtesy of Britta Peterson.

After the seance, a limited number of high-rolling guests where treated to a private investigation of the Winchester House. Various experiments were held in two rooms, including a laser matrix to detect ghostly activity in the Daisy Bedroom below, and a spirit box to listen to words hidden in the static (the Estes method) in the Seance room. Some guests participated in these experiments while listening to stories from Mr. Sinclair’s previous investigations.

Photo courtesy of Britta Peterson.

My friend Britta Peterson of Eerie Elegance pointed out the respectful and compassionate approach Mr. Sinclair has to paranormal investigations. In talking about the tourist destinations like the Winchester House many guests don’t seem to respect the spirits adding, “How would you like it if so many people came through your house demanding you do tricks?” Mr. Sinclair prefers to listen, hear what they might have to say, and perhaps even help those lost souls.

Photo courtesy of Britta Peterson.

Aiden Sinclair and his Illusions of the Passed series explores other haunted places including the Queen Mary and The Stanley Hotel. For more information and tickets to upcoming events, visit illusionsofthepassed.com and follow them on Facebook, Instagram & Twitter.

Photo courtesy of Britta Peterson.


Editor’s Note: Gracias to Britta Peterson for contributing photos and information to this post! And you can deduce, she was a high-roller. Please follow her on Instagram and Facebook for comprehensive recaps!

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