Horrors of Netflix: “Twixt”

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TwixtPosterIn the three years I’ve been writing my “Horrors of Netflix” posts, it’s only recently dawned on me that I’ve never written one about a vampire movie. Sure, I’ve sat through my fair share of ghosts, serial killers, and other paranormal entities (and there was also that one incident with Gary Busey), but the most classic of horror figures- Dracula and his ilk- are scarce.

I decided to rectify that gross oversight this year- and skimmed through the “Vampire Horror Movies” category on Netflix (it’s a real thing!) to find a bottom of the barrel bloodsucker film. To my surprise, I came across a one-star rated flick from 2011, “Twixt”, which was written and directed by none other than Francis Ford Coppola.

While Mr. Coppola is undoubtedly one of the finest writers and directors of all time- he’s also been responsible for some Godawful contributions to the cinematic world (hello, ‘Godfather: Part III’!) and judging solely by the synopsis for ‘Twixt’, this is another one to add to his scrap pile of movies he probably wants to forget about. Unfortunately for him- the internet forgets nothing.

From Netflix:

“In this gothic horror film from Francis Ford Coppola, a has-been writer becomes embroiled in a murder mystery during a stop on his book tour.”

While reviewing the synopsis, I also noticed that this movie stars Elle Fanning, and- wait for it…

… Wait for it…

Val. Kilmer.

I didn’t choose this movie for that reason. I swear.

As usual, I’m putting my break-down of this movie behind a “Continue Reading” tag. If you don’t want to be spoiled and would rather see this movie for yourself- DO NOT PROCEED. You’ve been warned!

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Horrors of Netflix: “The Traveler”

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TheTravelerPosterOh, you’re damned right I’m kicking off October with one of my favorite traditions- reviewing the absolute worst horror movies that Netflix has to offer! Maybe it’s because I’m a bit of a masochist, since watching most of these 1-2 star rated flicks on a regular basis over the course of a month could be considered a form of torture or punishment to those with a more refined cinematic palate- but I really and truly do enjoy it. You could say I’m even inspired by these typically low-budget filmmaking endeavors- because you know that as bad as they are (and they usually are pretty terrible)– they came from a place of love and respect for one of my favorite genres, and were made with the best of intentions…

… They’re just almost always executed awfully from start to finish.

Choosing the first movie to sink my teeth into for what will be my third year of doing “Horrors of Netflix” proved to be slightly difficult. I mean, I wanted to start this season’s reviews with a bang. Scrolling down my recommendations and watching as the rating for each film that passed by my eyes gradually became lower and lower and the covers became more and more cheesy- I wanted something that looked suspenseful, not-too-old- and, wait–

— oh my God, is that Val Kilmer? The same Val Kilmer I had a crush on when I was nine?

We have a winner.

2010’s “The Traveler” boasts a rating that falls just a fraction higher than one star. The synopsis, via Netflix:

“A mysterious drifter wanders into a small-town police station and confesses to a series of murders, none of which has occurred… yet.”

Wuh oh. That “yet” in the description is pretty ominous!

As always, I’ll be posting the thorough and detailed review under a “Continue Reading” cut for those who would rather watch the movie for themselves. You’ve been warned! If you don’t want to be spoiled- do not proceed!

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That’s a Wrap! Dissecting Season 5 of “The Walking Dead.”

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TheWalkingDeadSeason5PosterPast reviews and reflections of previous seasons of “The Walking Dead” have always been fairly easy to write- in my own experience- because the story arcs have been relatively similar throughout the years. The surviving group takes up residence somewhere they believe to be safe. It turns out not to be safe at all. They encounter the designated “bad guy” of the season- be it living or undead- they prevail, although they typically lose one or two members of the group along the way- and the audience is left with a cliffhanger ending to keep us coming back the following season for more. It’s a simple formula, but it works- and it’s entertaining.

At the end of season four, Rick and the remaining members of his group (sans-Carol, Tyreese, Judith, and Beth- who were elsewhere,) were preparing to fight their way out of a train cart after being ambushed and subsequently captured by the shady folks at the slaughterhouse disguised as a sanctuary, Terminus. Rick’s final line, a call to arms in the form of “they’re screwing with the wrong people,” left fans counting down the days until the season five premiere last October to see just how our favorite band of survivors would escape in one piece.

This past season, concluding just over a week ago, had the distinction of breaking away from the aforementioned storytelling formula- firing on all cylinders from the first agonizing, brutal, and bloody minutes of the season premiere and rarely losing momentum. There were a lot of losses amid the chaos, of course- and more than one designated “bad guy,” which made for a lot of intersecting story arcs and character development- but did the show suffer as a result of too much going on at once?

I’m putting my review, which includes a LOT of spoilers- behind the “Read More” tag, so if you haven’t seen the season finale or haven’t quite caught up with the show just yet- don’t proceed!

Otherwise, let Eugene’s seductive gaze guide you in.

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“The Walking Ginger-Dead”

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“The Walking Dead” mid-season finale aired a little more than a week ago, thus beginning the show’s brief hiatus until it’s return in February- and I’m already going through withdrawals. My Sunday nights feel empty and meaningless now, and I find myself curling up in the fetal position- and weeping- when I’m not checking off the days on the calendar until the show comes back (not really, but you know what I mean. I can’t wait for the second half of the season!)

Luckily, I have the upcoming holidays to distract me during the first few weeks of Michonne deprivation. I also have this “Walking Ginger-Dead” cookie kit I picked up in Western Massachusetts a couple of weeks ago to give me my walker fix with a semi-festive (and more delicious) twist. I haven’t made actual Christmas cookies in a couple of years, and it’s been even longer than that since I’ve baked and decorated gingerbread men- so I was excited to give this box full of slightly-morbid fun a try. I even included one of my numerous Daryl Dixon FUNKO figurines to help out while I snapped some photos of the process and finished cookies.

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The kit comes with everything: the gingerbread mix, four “walker” molds, white frosting mix, red and black icing, and a bag of multi-colored candy balls for decorating. I only had to scrounge up a minimal amount of supplies on my own (water, butter and honey.)

From there, it was just a matter of mixing the gingerbread, letting it settle and harden in the fridge for twenty minutes, and rolling it flat to make the molds. My Daryl figurine was there to keep a watchful eye on things.

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After the shapes were cut from the dough and stuck on a baking sheet, I only had to heat them up in the oven for about 10-15 minutes to get them warm and solid enough for decorating. As always- Daryl stayed vigilant.

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Now, I’m no artist, and the decorating process was messy, to say the least- but I personally think the cookies came out rather (and unexpectedly) cute once the icing had dried. It’s hard to make gingerbread men look gory and scary- but I did my best!

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The box made a total of ten cookies, and the entire process- mixing, baking, AND decorating- took just under an hour to complete. It was a lot of fun. Maybe not the most Christmas-y confection I could have whipped up, but fun nonetheless! Best of all? The cookies are delicious- although it felt a little weird biting into them when it’s usually the walkers biting into people.

If you’re in the mood to bake some unconventional gingerbread men of your own, or if you’re just as big a “Walking Dead” fan as I am and need something tasty to get you through the hiatus- you can purchase your own “The Walking Ginger-Dead” kit at Amazon for $11.25 by CLICKING HERE!

Thanks for the help, Daryl!

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Horrors of Netflix: “The Pact”

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ThePactPosterI can’t believe October is nearly over, and with it’s conclusion, my “Horrors of Netflix” reviews wrap up for another year. I’ve had a lot of fun (mixed with a good amount of misery, of course,) watching a handful of terrible, ridiculous, poorly rated horror movies over the past few weeks- and I hope those of you who have read the reviews have enjoyed them as much as I’ve enjoyed writing them. I’ll be continuing the tradition next October, since Netflix will undoubtedly have plenty more awful films to browse.

For my final review this month, I chose a movie that was continuously recommended to me each and every time I logged onto my account: 2012’s “The Pact.” A brief synopsis, from Netflix:

Feeling obligated to return home for the funeral of the mother she despised, Annie soon senses an evil presence in her childhood home.

The movie apparently did well at Sundance that year, which doesn’t really mean anything when you consider some of the other films that have received good reviews over the years and have turned out to be absolute garbage. I’ll take this one at it’s 1 1/2 star rating.

As usual, I’ll be spoiling the hell out of this movie- so if you don’t want to know what happens (or if you just really don’t care,) then DO NOT CLICK “CONTINUE READING”

Onward!

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Horrors of Netflix: “Stitches”

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StitchesMoviePosterGrowing up, I’ve never been afraid of clowns. My parents took me to the circus and to carnivals plenty of times without incident- and most of the circus-themed rooms/attractions at haunted houses or Halloween events like New England’s “Spooky World” have done little more than get me to laugh at some of my other friends who are terrified of them (which is making this season of ‘American Horror Story’ particularly enjoyable to watch with them.)

I digress. Despite the likes of Insane Clown Posse being comically terrible and John Wayne Gacy’s overall creep-factor- with and without makeup- clowns just don’t freak me out, but Netflix is loaded with crazy, murderous clown movies. Up until now, I’ve managed to skip over them- but the poster for “Stitches” (and it’s terrible rating,) caught my eye and I felt compelled to give it a shot.

The synopsis, from Netflix:

“After his accidental death, Stitches the criminally insane clown is on the loose and hunting down the young partygoers who caused his untimely demise.”

Right away, I wondered how a group of kids accidentally killed a guy in clown makeup, and from there- I only fell further into the rabbit hole.

As usual, full-spoilers lay ahead. If you don’t want to know what happens in this movie (for whatever reason,) DO NOT CLICK “CONTINUE READING.” YOU’VE BEEN WARNED.

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Loot Crate: October 2014.

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I’ve been subscribed to Loot Crate for nearly a year now, and I enjoy the assortment of items I receive more and more with each passing month and with every theme. Since October is my favorite time of year, I was really excited for this month’s Halloween/horror-themed “FEAR” box- which arrived earlier than expected last week and still has me grinning from ear to ear with delight. I feel like I say it every month when it comes to Loot Crate, but this might very well be my favorite box to date (really! I really mean it this time!)

First of all, the box in itself features some fun, zombie-themed artwork- which was pretty cool to see once I unloaded the contents of my box- which I’ll get to now!

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October’s mini-magazine was really interesting for two reasons: one, the 3-D cover (glasses included!) and two, the interview with the man behind my favorite life-ruining franchise himself- “The Walking Dead” creator Robert Kirkman. Also featured in the mini-mag was the usual break-down of the items included in the box, fan photos, and a quick Q&A with artist JSalvador– who drew an original print for October’s collection.

And, of course- this month’s crate included my monthly collector’s pin (and some sour candy!)

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If the internet- and the world in general- collectively loves one thing: it’s cats. And if you’re like me and you love Halloween, then you have a fondness for the morbid and macabre, too. This super soft and really flattering t-shirt from Super 7 combines the two- creating an adorably eerie skull design that is compiled entirely out of kittens. I recently stepped out in this shirt for the first time, and when I didn’t catch people leaning in a little too close for comfort to make sure their eyes weren’t playing tricks on them- I got a lot of compliments on it!

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I’m spending this Halloween in New York City where I’ll be attending a “7 Deadly Sins” themed party. The dress code calls for all black, which is all well and good- but Halloween just doesn’t feel like Halloween without a little fake blood. Just a little. Thankfully, Loot Crate came to my rescue with these temporary tattoos. I’ve shown a great deal of restraint in not applying them all, at once, in various locations on my body- but I’m thinking the vampire bite one will make a nice accessory to my party dress for the big night.

And since I’ll be traveling to NYC by train, I’m bringing along this “How to Survive a Sharknado” manual to read on the way. Although I’ve learned a great deal about surviving Sharknados by watching Ian Ziering in action- I’m unfortunately not as prepared for other natural disasters or creatures like Antdemics, Boaricanes, Piranhacondas or Robocrocs. This book has me covered (and it’s hysterical!)

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It takes a lot of talent to take one of the most heartbreaking scenes in ‘The Walking Dead’s TV history and make it adorable- and even a little funny- but artist JSalvador of SuperEmoFriends pulled it off. I admittedly cackled when I first saw this print, which I plan on keeping in it’s plastic wrapper and proudly displaying on my currently under construction “Walking Dead” wall space. R.I.P. Merle!

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Pens in my office seem to have a bad habit of disappearing on a regular basis. Maybe it’s because I lose track of them when I’m in full-blown work mode, or maybe it’s because my co-workers and I tend to use the same types of pens and therefore just take each other’s without malicious intent- but either way- it’s frustrating. I don’t see that being a problem now that I have this Sledgesaw Hammer pen inspired by Capcom’s “Dead Rising 3.” I highly doubt anyone in my office can use the “I thought it was mine” excuse should this one go missing.

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Lastly, I was beyond thrilled to receive this alternate-covered copy of issue #132 of ‘The Walking Dead.’ The  cover art, drawn by Charlie Adlard, is really kick-ass. As much as I would love to tear this beauty out of it’s packaging and read away- I think I’m going to keep it in pristine condition. It’s just so cool to look at.

October’s Loot Crate also featured a digital bonus in the form of a gift card to obtain a “Jack the Reaper” skin for the game ‘Smite.’ I haven’t played (I’ve been obsessively battling it out in South Park’s ‘Stick of Truth’ as of late,) but I’ll be holding onto this for the future!

I cannot get over how great October’s box was. I do mean it, with all sincerity- that this one is by far my favorite (until November’s crate arrives, anyway!)

Can it be Halloween EVERY month?

Horrors of Netflix: “The Den”

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TheDenPosterI’m not going to lie, for this installment of “Horrors of Netflix,” I tried to find the shortest movie possible, but one that also had a terrible enough rating where I would still hate myself for sitting through it and the world around me for allowing it to be made in the first place. As much as I inexplicably enjoy torturing myself with bad horror movies- sometimes 90+ minutes of one feels like an eternity and I need a break to appreciate a condensed version of a cinematic atrocity.

My search yielded 2013’s “The Den.” The synopsis, from Netflix:

“While investigating webcam chat habits, a young woman witnesses a gruesome murder online. Now she and those she loves are being pursued by the killer.”

As someone who occasionally uses the webcam built into my laptop and has made the horrible mistake of visiting Chatroulette before- I’m pretty sure seeing a murder would fall into the “tame” spectrum of things I’ve witnessed on the internet. Is “The Den” a cautionary tale of internet stranger-danger? Or is it an ingenious social commentary on this generation’s blind trust and faith in technology and social networking disguised as a 76 minute horror movie with a 1 1/2 star rating on Netflix?

There’s only one way to find out.

As always, this movie will be spoiled- heavily– under the “Read More” tag, so if you want to see this film for yourself and don’t want to know what happens until you do- TURN BACK NOW. You’ve been warned!

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Horrors of Netflix: “Apartment 1303”

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Apartment1303PosterMaking the transition from star of a popular TV series- typically geared towards teenagers- to serious and well-respected film actor/actress can’t be easy- and success stories are far and few between. Dustin Diamond of “Saved by the Bell” fame ended up being a gross, arrogant and unlikable prick that made a short return to the spotlight (if you could even call it that) on reality television, whereas Will Smith reigned supreme on “Fresh Prince” only to go on to create blockbuster gold time and time again over the years.

Mischa Barton, previously of the once enormously popular “The O.C.” unfortunately falls into the not-so-successful category. After dropping out of the show (did they kill of Marissa Cooper? I can’t remember. I sort of lost track about halfway through the second season,) Mischa all but went M.I.A. for years, I was surprised to see her name attached to this. Same thing with Rebecca De Mornay. For a movie that was somehow released in 3-D (although I cannot for the life of me ever recall hearing about this film being shown in any theaters, ever-) and having a currently working movie actress and formerly employed television actress receiving top billing- I hadn’t expected to find this at the bottom of the barrel of Netflix horror- usually reserved for unknown and aspiring actors looking to build their resume. Then I noticed the one star rating and knew I was in for a disaster that both Ms. De Mornay and Ms. Barton probably wish would fade into obscurity forever.

The synopsis, from Netflix:

“After Janet moves into a 13th-floor apartment and falls out the window to her death, her sister aims to reveal the frightening truth about the place.”

As always, I will spoiling this movie at length and in vivid detail. If you don’t want to be spoiled- DO NOT PROCEED FORWARD.

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Halloween Giveaway!

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I’ve been occasionally mentioning it in my past few posts, and the time is finally here to announce the details of my 2014 Halloween Giveaway! As most of you have probably figured out by now- October is my favorite month of the year- and Halloween is undoubtedly my favorite holiday. For that reason, I wanted to do something a little different this year and curate an assortment of items  to give away to one lucky Legally Redhead reader! And unlike other giveaways I’ve hosted here on the blog in the past: this giveaway isn’t limited to United States residents only. I’ll be paying for the shipping and handling myself- which means it’s open to those of you across the pond, below the border, and anywhere in between, too!

Before I get to the important part: how to enter- let’s take a closer look at what’s inside!

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As an avid collector of Funko figurines, included in this giveaway is a POP! Vinyl figure of one of my favorite horror movie villains- Freddy Krueger. From the detail on his burned and scarred face, to his infamous striped sweater- to the even more infamous metal clawed glove- this toy is too adorable to be afraid of. Put it up on a shelf, in a display case, or- if you dare- near your bed.

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To help get the winner into the Halloween spirit, I’ve also included the medium sized “Pumpkin Patch” candle from Yankee Candle in the giveaway. A mix of the “Harvest” and “Spiced Pumpkin” scents from the same company, this swirl candle will get your entire room/home/wherever you light it smelling like a delicious combination of sweet cinnamon and pumpkin pie- perfect for the season.

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I couldn’t possibly have a Halloween themed giveaway without including SOMETHING “Walking Dead” related, could I? To help the winner catch up just as we’re set to begin the fifth season (one week to go!) or even just provide them with something to gift to a TWD-enthusiast they may know, I included a new copy of the recently released fourth season of the show. This particular edition is Blu-Ray – Digital HD formatted and is loaded with special featurettes and deleted scenes that will keep you occupied for hours after you’ve binge-watched every single episode.

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Fable & Fury has been one of my favorite Etsy-based jewelry shops for a long time. Their pieces are well-made, unique, and guaranteed to garner attention. This stainless steel Nosferatu pendant is no exception. This would be a perfect accessory to wear on Halloween night to whatever frightening plans you have lined up- although I’m the type of person who would wear this year-round, too.

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On the surface, this brown bar from Fortune Cookie Soap– scented like berries and cinnamon- may look a little bland, but inside- it’s loaded with bugs. Not real ones, of course. From the “Nightmare Before Christmas” collection, this “Oogie Boogie” bar soap is made from natural ingredients and adds a bit of fun to any bath or shower as the soap begins to melt away with each use, revealing a bunch of creepy crawlers lurking on the inside, below the surface.

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Lastly, most people my age can recall reading Alvin Schwartz’s “Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark,” “More Scary Stories to Tell in The Dark,” and “Scary Stories 3 : More Tales to Chill Your Bones” in middle school around this time of year. Admittedly, the stories weren’t particularly terrifying, but when paired with the haunting illustrations by Stephen Gammell- the books became timeless. This hardcover compilation of the best works from the three novels is a nice shot of nostalgia to keep for yourself or to gift to a friend or loved one.

Not shown in the above photos, but will definitely be included in the giveaway- is the candy I plan to send the winner after contacting them (just to make sure he/she doesn’t have any allergies, of course!) and a personalized card once someone has been selected!

So now, some important stuff:

The giveaway is running from now through midnight (EST) on Sunday, October 19th, after which time a winner will be selected  at random through Rafflecopter and contacted directly to obtain additional information to process shipping. If selected, you’ll have 72 hours to respond to the confirmation e-mail. If I don’t receive a response in that time, I’ll unfortunately have to select another winner, instead!

Nothing in this giveaway can be traded or swapped for something else. What you see is what you’ll be receiving if you win!

HOW TO ENTER:

First and foremost- please visit the Rafflecopter page for the giveaway by CLICKING HERE to make sure your entry is properly counted!

1. Comment on this post with your name and e-mail address. Please keep in mind that I have comment moderation turned on to avoid spambots- so if your comment doesn’t appear right away; don’t panic! I’ll put it through as soon as I’m able!

2. You can tweet about the giveaway and link back directly to this post or to my homepage: legallyredhead.com

That’s it! Just two simple steps and you’re in!

Good luck to everyone who participates. I’m really looking forward to selecting a winner!

xx