Horrorthon 2014 Recap

Happy Halloween my faithful readers!! Tonight's the night...when unfortunately the window for my horror viewing comes to a close. As always I'm sad to say goodbye to the genre. But before I put away my scary movies for good until 2015, let me pause and reflect on my viewing experience for the month. This year I saw the good, the bad and the ugly! The quality ranged from the bland, to the classic. I watched A LOT of movies, so I'll try to keep my thoughts on each film brief. What movies did you watch this year? And as always, any suggestions for next year is always appreciated!

Annabelle - A good looking couple, some really tense moments and a Rosemary's baby vibe. I'm in the minority, but I liked it. My full review HERE

An American Werewolf in London - This is quite possibly, the best werewolf movie I've ever seen. It's a few laughs short of a good horcom...but as a horror film itself it's quite effective!

The Silence of the Lambs - It's taken me 22 years to finally see this film, and my goodness it's terrifying. Probably one of the scariest movies I've ever seen since it's based so closely in reality.

Ouija - From one of the best movies (see above) to one of the worst. Ouija is kinda entertaining in that so bad it's good kinda way...but that's it. Full review HERE

The Descent - This might just be the most intense horror film I happened to see this year...and a lot of it is mostly due to claustrophobia. A horror film set in a cave? It's all kinds of scary.

Jennifer's Body - So this film is pretty trashy. There's no way around that. I caught in on tv and was still pretty surprised what was shown. It's all very stupid...but still there's something about the humor I appreciate (that an indie band felt they had to get into the occult to make it big is just amusing to me.)

Shutter - I remember hearing good things about this movie, and then I caught it on tv. I'm not sure horror movies can get more vanilla than this! Then I realized it was an American remake and all the good things I'd heard were about the Thai original. Oops.

Tucker & Dale vs. Evil - This horror comedy about two hillbillies was undoubtedly one of my favorite finds of the season. Absolutely hilarious.

The Mist - This Steven King horror film about survivors trapped in a supermarket examines the ugly side of humanity when fear creeps in. I just wish it had better special effects.

The Fog - No I'm not talking about the remake, but the original 1980 film from John Carpenter. I'll be honest...it had its moments, but it never grabbed my full attention.

Gremlins - This weird little horror film has a special place in my heart for all its ridiculousness.

Oculus - This story of a haunted mirror came out earlier this year left me wanting more. Nothing is ever really explained, but I like the capability it has to descend everyone into madness. I loved the way this story was told.

What We Do in the Shadows - I actually saw this horror comedy in the summer, but forgot to include it on my list of horror comedies! For shame! It totally has a Flight of the Conchords-esque humor...if that's what you're into.

Trick 'r Treat - This horror anthology covers four different stories told on Halloween night. Unfortunately some are miles better than others. Anna Paquin's storyline kinda ruins the movie for me. It's too bad an entire movie wasn't made about the kids and the school bus, because THAT I'd adore.

Carnival of Souls -  I watched this back when I was preparing my horror gems list back in August, and rewatched it in October. It's creepy...but it's best to watch it alone to really amp up the unsettling vibe.

City of the Dead - Anther one I watched back in August, this one was all about witches. And you know what? There's just not enough movies about that. At least good ones. This was like Psycho meets the Salem witch trials. Plus it's got Christopher Lee.

House on Haunted Hill - I watched the Vincent Price classic at the beginning of October and it's a treat. It's definitely got the classic horror vibe. Its biggest downside is it has a REALLY annoying female character that screams at just about everything.

The Changeling - This creepy chiller really has got it all. From music boxes, to wells, seances and the like. Almost everything you name that defines the horror genre can be found here.

The Awakening - This was one of the blander movies I saw all season. It's too bad because it started off with promise and then ends in a bunch of confusion. Plus its big twist kinda makes everything that happened before seem silly to be afraid of.

Peeping Tom - This movie totally felt like a Hitchcock film. With some great dialogue and a terrifying premise (a man has a fetish of filming the women he kills,) I found it fascinating.

Spider Baby - This movie...was pretty odd. It's got the chipper 1960's obligatory theme song at the beginning, yet it's trying to be demented. I fell asleep...

The Strangers - This movie was kind of terrifying because you get the sense the whole time that this is something that could actually happen to you. Along with The Descent, I probably felt the most unsettled after this one.

Burnt Offerings - This is just a great haunted house movie. Not a lot of tricks here. Just a lot of slowly going insane. 

And of course, a whole lot of Are You Afraid of the Dark?

And that's a wrap! But let me leave you with a couple treats. I decided to try my hand at trailer making (okay only one I made from scratch...the other I used my imovie trailer template app...) but I had to share my two finished products.

This is what happens when your young women's leader loves horror movies and is a video editor...

And this is what happens when you buy a new iPhone and discover trailer templates on iMovie


The Tale of the 90's Zingers

At the start of the month when commencing my horror viewing, I had the intense desire to walk down memory lane by revisiting one of my favorite television shows growing up: Are You Afraid of the Dark? Reuniting with this show was like getting in touch with my past young self and rediscovering what helped me fall in love with the horror genre in the first place. For those who are unfamiliar it's like The Twilight Zone for kids (or in other words...Goosebumps.) Guys. They don't make 'em like they used to. The style, the cheesiness and the innocence all combine into something wonderful. 90's television for kids was nothing short of fabulous. But my favorite thing of all in opening this time capsule? Undoubtedly it would have to be the hilarious dialogue that naturally occurs in an era full of smart alecky teenage characters. There just was this way of insulting someone so creatively back then that you don't see nowadays. Some time into my viewing of the series, I knew a record needed to be kept of these verbal gems (mostly insults, with a few pickup line as a bonus...) to share with the world. So with that I share the best of the best and say: submitted for the approval of the readers of movies & mayhem, I call this list: The Tale of the 90's Zingers. *Throws magical dust into a campfire..*


1. "I heard you got the wrong end of a brain transplant. Any truth to that?" Ouch!
2. "Why don't you take your traveling circus please and leave me alone?" Why insult the guy who is bothering you when you can insult his friends instead?
3. "You should have seen Vicky when she first started working here. What a Bowser."I can only take that to mean the villain in Mario who I'm sure many women seek to resemble.
4. "He was one of those dips who lived for homework. I guess you might call him the smartest loser in school." The compusult! Half compliment half insult.
5.  "You're a zero! You'll always be a zero! You won't see me sitting around like some toad." These words spoken by a loving sister to her quirky brother.
6.  "Every second I spend with you my brain shrinks." Aka I HATE you, please die.
7."I couldn't stand being you." Elegant hatred and an insult of the highest degree.
8. Don't worry, I'll smack you when we get home. Live in FEAR of me little sibling.
9. "How do you like it here?" "I don't know. It's kind of a loser neighborhood." I'm insulting everyone who chose to live in the same area as me.
10. It's just a piece of old junky wood....like your head." Your head is made of wood?
11.  "Maybe they got dressed in the dark and don't know they look stupid." Going for their fashion is like going for their heart.
12. "Everyone has a special talent: in your case it's being a complete idiot" A talent for idiocy.
13. "Everyone thinks I'm a few sandwiches short of a picnic." If you wanna insult yourself..

1. "I don't suppose there's any chance we could make out?" Smooth as LETTUCE.
2. "I think you're the hottest thing around this campfire." Frank never had a subtle approach
3. "You're kind of a strange person, but I like that." Gotta bond over something..
4. "It's gonna be really hard calling someone that looks like you Sam." Well okay then.
5. "You're the most creative person I know...but I don't know anyone." It's the thought that counts.

A few of these insults below were said by a young Ryan Gosling. Can you guess which ones?

Wild Boar
Miss Perfect
Your Twerpy Sister
Dip Munch
Toe Jam
Old man
Strange Little Guy
Totally Weird
Vile Creature
Mr. Tough Stuff
Nutbag (If called this, retort:I am NOT a nutbag)
Little Brat
Mr. Sourdough (That's Sar-DO. No Mr. Accent on the do.)
Onion Breath (I think that's the worst of them all..)
Schmunkinhead (don't ask me what this means)
A Complete and TOTAL Wuss (if wuss isn't strong enough)
Couch Potato
You Scabs
Little Puke
You Zero
Little Wart
Stupid Little Jerk
Babbling Mortal
Little Skid Mark
Total Butthead
Stinking Little...
Little Dweeb
Little Spud
Rotten Kid
Turd Face
Overgrown Dirtbag
Tough Guy
Old fool
Smells like fish
Ice Queen
Bucket Boy
Little Twerp
Grungy boy
Beaker Boy
Your dork friends
Hearse boy
Ugly little thing
Wuss boy
Dirt ball
Sick Little Puppy

And this was just the first 5 seasons. Next year I'll return with the last two seasons feature the Midnight Society 2.0. But for now, which insult/pickup line is your favorite? I declare this blog post closed....until next year.


Bored Games

The Halloween horror marathon continues and this week I was able to add a brand new release to my viewing list Ouija (fyi: full recap of said list coming next week.) When I first heard a movie based on the age old game was being made, I was mildly excited and cautiously optimistic. How has there never been a movie made before this, whose plot revolved around the myths associated with the game?? A movie with such a premise could be awesome with the right script, a solid cast and talented filmmakers behind it all.....or it could be a ridiculous teeny bopper horror lite movie based on a board game. My friends, I'm afraid to say it is the latter.

As I said when I was reviewing Annabelle, there's a quality scale that all horror movies fall into. The tensely effective horror films such as Sinister, The Conjuring and The Descent can be found at the top of the totem pole, decently entertaining horror flicks like Annabelle fall in the middle, and then Ouija finds its way at the very bottom (well maybe no lower than something like The Unborn or The Apparition.) The story is nothing new. Someone dies, a house is discovered to be haunted, and a mystery must be solved. Ouija's biggest problem though with this movie, other than how uninspired and generic it is, is how cheap the scares are. A note to filmmakers: loud volumes do not equal a genuine scare. The fake out scares are out of control in this movie, and there's just a lot that's way too convenient (how long are your friends parents out of town for that you can constantly use their house to play with the ouija board??)

Also to the film's detriment is the fact that at times, it is unintentionally hilarious....and I wasn't the only one who thought so. There were definitely a few chucklefests happening in my screening, and that only made everything seem even more preposterous. To put it in context, let's just say the screenwriter would have you believe that "Hi friend" is the new "redrum." You can't make this stuff up folks! So unless you're a sucker for stupid movies that you can laugh at (which I am..) and attempt (successfully) to predict then it's probably best to avoid this one. EMILY RATING: 3/10.


Dinner & A Movie: Christopher's Prime Steakhouse

Next stop on the Salt Lake City dining tour is Christopher's Prime Steakhouse & Grill located at 134 W Pierpont Ave, in Salt Lake City, Utah. How did my experience rank compared to Gourmandise in the ever so-important categories of FOOD, AMBIANCE & SERVICE? And what movie should accompany the experience you have at Christopher's? Read on to find out. Also I neglected in my last review to mention another important category, that doesn't necessarily effect it's overall rating....but is important to include: THE PRICE.

So here's the price key that I'll include for future reviews:

$ = 5-10 avg. per entree 
$$ = 10-15 avg. per entree 
$$$ = 15-20 avg. per entree 
$$$$ = 20-30 avg. per entree 
$$$$$ = $30+ and above per entree.

Christopher's Prime Steakhouse is $$$$$

RATINGS: 1 star = Poor, 2 stars = fair, 3 stars = pretty good, 4 stars = very good, and 5 stars = AMAZING. 


Both the interior and the exterior of Christopher's Prime Steakhouse were both extremely easy on the eyes. The atmosphere is quite lovely, there's no mistake about that. You definitely get the feeling you're in a fancy restaurant...and for the most part it shows! In the summer you can enjoy a table under some ivy and twinkle lights on the patio, otherwise the rest of the year you'll have to settle for in doors. Don't worry though, you're not really settling at all. The interior with its two floors and vaulted ceilings was one of the restaurant's greatest charms. RATING: 4


The food at Christopher's was beyond delicious! For an appetizer I ordered the almond crusted baked brie. As I mentioned in the last post, brie happens to be my favorite cheese so this brie, covered in toasted almonds was heaven. It came with small toasted baguette pieces and a raspberry sauce, and all put together it was absolutely wonderful. For dinner I ordered the Bacon Wrapped Medallions, which was beef wrapped bacon in a bourbon peppercorn sauce. The sauce was absolutely delectable and undoubtedly the best part of the meal. For dessert, my brother was kind enough to share his creme brûlée and it was also yummy...though far from the best I've had (I am the creme brûlée connoisseur after all...) Then again...maybe we were just incredibly starving.. (read on for explanation on THAT.) Read the full menu HERE RATING: 4


Unfortunately the great ambiance and terrific food was paired with some pretty pretentious and unbearably slow service. It took 45 minutes before we received our appetizers (see photo on the side...I ate half of it because I was so hungry before I realized I was supposed to be taking pictures)! And that was for an already late dinner where the restaurant didn't seem too full! We were given one roll a piece to try and fill our starving tummies, but for a restaurant of that caliber why not a bread basket at the very least? Then after waiting 45 minutes for the appetizer and scarfing it down in no time, we had to wait another half hour before our entrees would show up. All the while being served by a very unfriendly waiter who seemed to think we weren't good enough to be there. But the worst moment came when he offered us some free fries for making us wait so long, only to have those fries show up later on our bill. When we asked him about what happened, he mentioned that was because My brother and his wife shared their dinner item and that's against their policy. Maybe you could have told us that when they actually ordered, instead of when we received our bill. Instead he just told us we were upset. RATING: 1. DEAL BREAKER.

So while it met 2/3 criteria....the third one happened to be a deal breaker. I won't return to Christopher's....at least the one in Salt Lake. Here's what my companions thought:

SEAN & ROBIN SAY: The food was great, but I'm not sure if it was worth the wait. It took 45 minutes alone to receive our appetizers.

COURTNEY SAYS: Christopher's ... no one can argue that the atmosphere isn't classy, and the food is very good. I ordered the chicken picacata and was pleasantly surprised with how delectable it tasted. That Christopher really knows his way around the sauces. Both the chicken piccata sauce and the sauce that accompanied the bacon wrapped tenderloins were top notch. Unfortunately, with all the good christopher's had to offer, horrible service was also included. First of all, a person shouldn't ever come to a restaurant and feel unwelcome. Any service oriented establishment should treat you like a queen, as you are the one that will be providing their tip. First strike: the stuffy attitude. Another item that i judge service by, is whether or not my drink is full, consistently. This was not the case at christophers, and when ordering an appetizer, i expect that it be brought to the table in a reasonable amount of time. The definition of an appetizer, after all, is to stimulate the appetite prior to the meal. Our appetizers came out 45 minutes after we had been sitting at the table. By this time we were starving! The appetizer therefore, was not so much a stimulant, but a bit of nourishment for a hungry souls. Strike two: long waits for food, and empty glasses. Strike three is a lengthy story that Emily already covered: a miscommunication about the bill (read: our waiter did not communicate what the restaurant would be charging us for the meal). Hey, if the establishment doesn't split meals, let us know up front rather than adding a fee afterwards without warning. I won't be going back to Christopher's. Although the food is quite good, there are plenty of delicious meals to be had at restaurants that have significantly better service. For 40 bucks a plate? Skip it.

& A movie. I paired my experience at Christopher's with The Silence of the Lambs and it seemed pretty much the perfect movie to top off such a night (you can interpret that any way you want...) But if you're not in the mood for something scary, I'd say the restaurant in Ferris Bueller's Day Off will remind you a lot of the service at Christopher's. Snooty waiters or maitre D's who belittle the sausage king of Chicago are not usually bound to receive good tips.  For a night out on the town, Fury because the experience might make you FURIOUS. Or out tomorrow you can subject yourself to the pain of Ouija (review from me out tomorrow) as a good reminder that perhaps there's worse things than bad service? Bad movies? Nah.


A Sense of Hormor

Once upon a time I discovered a cross breed of two very different genres; a strange concoction that would quickly become one of my very favorite movie classifications. I speak to you today about a topic very dear to my heart: the horror comedy.  A good horror comedy is as rare as a precious stone. This is because with two genres that are polar opposites like this, you have to walk the finest of lines to get it quite right. If you make it too scary, the audience will be too tense to laugh at anything. On the flip side, if you make it too funny you run the risk of crossing into outright spoof territory. Over the past few years I've come across a handful of films worthy of the genre. Here's some of my favorites.

CABIN IN THE WOODS (2012) - What if horror tropes only existed to appease some type of horror film deity? The answer is Cabin in the Woods. The ending has grown on me over time (at first I HATED it...) but the real reason to watch this film isn't for the scares. It's for the nods. And if you are a true horror buff you can appreciate all the pokes at every possible horror cliche. It's a hoot. Previous entries on the film HERE and HERE

TUCKER & DALE VS. EVIL  (2010) - The newest addition to the list of my favorite horror-coms is this tale of two hillbilly buddies with horrible luck. This movie, like Cabin in the Woods turns the horror genre on its ear and the results are hilarious. I only saw it merely a few days ago and it's already an instant favorite. I won't give away much about the plot because it's best to be surprised, so with that said I advise you not to watch the trailer before you see this movie whatever you do! It gives everything away. Just know it's side splittingly funny (pun intended)...and also contains gore of the hilarious variety.

ZOMBIELAND (2009) - The zom-com wasn't introduced here, but this film still happens to be one of my favorites to that entry. A lot of that is due to one of the best cameos in film history (yeah I'm saying it.) But even apart from that, the film boasts and awesome ensemble cast and a lot of wit. There's a big debate about whether or not it's as good as Shaun of the Dead, but I'm here to tell you there's room in your heart for both. Previous entries HERE and HERE

DRAG ME TO HELL (2009) - This horror com is an acquired taste, and I don't say that lightly. But if you can appreciate the fact that this bizarre humor is in fact intended and just go with the ride...it's simply marvelous. This film is brutal to the senses but one of the most gripping films I can think of. It DEMANDS your attention and if you're willing to submit you'll have a great time. If you have a sense of hormor anyway. Previous entries HERE and HERE

SHAUN OF THE DEAD (2004) - The other zom-com on the list contains some very good dry humor...which happens to be one of my favorite types of humor. These band of survivors try their best to blend in with the brainless flesh eating monsters. It's either that or join them! Simon Pegg is a love him or hate him kind of guy for some people, and thankfully I'm pretty fond of him and his collaborations with Edgar Wright. Previous post HERE

THE EVIL DEAD TRILOGY (1981-1992) - Sam Raimi truly is the king of horror comedy and it is never more evident than in the Evil Dead trilogy. The best and most outrageous of the lot is undoubtedly Evil Dead 2. The humor gore is at an all time high...and it's wonderful. But the other installments have more than worthy moments of horror humor. You don't get much darker comedy than this! Previous entry HERE

THE 'BURBS (1989) - Toward the end of our list we get things a bit more balanced toward the comedic side, but I think The 'Burbs qualifies enough as a great horror comedy. The 'Burbs is a Rear Window-esque tale with a tough of hilarity. Like Rear Window, it centers around a man who is convinced his new neighbor is a murderer. Unlike Rear Window, he and his neighbors take a more ridiculous approach to the situation. And of course hilarity ensues.

BEETLEJUICE (1988) - Okay I'll be honest. I'm not really sure WHAT genre this crazy movie belongs to. But whatever it is, it will always own a weird place in my heart. Not THAT funny and not THAT scary...the movie falls more on the weird side. But if that's what your in the mood for it is its own kind of fabulous.

GREMLINS (1984) - Who doesn't have fond memories for this bizarre little horror movie that somehow makes you chuckle? This oddball little feature (and no I'm not talking specifically about Gizmo,) is a fun throwback to the B-movie creature films of the 1950's. The subject of the horror itself is the joke in this film....the key is you've got to allow yourself to be "in" on the joke.

GHOSTBUSTERS (1984)- Probably the closest to straight comedy on our list, but don't forget the film's actual subject matter. The ghosts here range from scary, mildly scary and to the ridiculous. But it's the ridiculous ghosts that help make this one of the funniest movies ever (specifically the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man). That and Bill Murray.

If there's any that I missed I'd love some more recommendations!


Dinner & A Movie: Gourmandise

Thanks to Downtown SLC I have something to consistently review besides movies and the occasional travel destination. Today the blog reaches a new territory as I begin reviewing restaurants! After winning the Dine O' Round (I wrote about being nominated HERE,) I've decided to document each restaurant experience here for the good of all my readers. People always ask me for good food recommendations in Salt Lake and in a years time I will be an expert. But in the meantime you can be a part of the adventure here as I tell you about each dining experience and then recommend the perfect movie(s) to top it off. Hey, you knew I had to tie in movies somehow...so I present to you the first edition of Dinner & A Movie: Gourmandise.

It was a tough decision trying to figure out which of all the many gift cards to use first, but when it finally came down to it I wanted my first stop on the Dine O' Round winning tour to be an old reliable. With that decision in mind, my friends and I chose Gourmandise, the deliciously yummy bakery and restaurant that's one of our favorites in such a category. During the Dine O' Round in September I came to an understanding that I judge restaurants by 3 criteria, and in order for me to want to return to said restaurant, 2 out of the 3 categories must be done well. Number one and most importantly is the food itself, number two is the ambiance, and number three (which can sometimes make or break the whole thing) is the service.

$ = 5-10 avg. per entree 
$$ = 10-15 avg. per entree 
$$$ = 15-20 avg. per entree 
$$$$ = 20-30 avg. per entree 
$$$$$ = $30+ and above per entree.

Gourmandise can range from $-$$

RATINGS: 1 star = Poor, 2 stars = fair, 3 stars = pretty good, 4 stars = very good, and 5 stars = AMAZING. 

#1. The Food.

I ordered the Brie & Bartlett Panini, described by the menu as:
Grilled ciabatta bread drizzled with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, layered with smoked ham, brie, 
sun-dried cherries, Bartlett pears, caramelized onions and baby spinach… exquisite! I held the onions obviously, and I was more than pleased with my sandwich. I'm a sucker for brie, so to find it on any sandwhich I'm usually pretty delighted. I was a bit disappointed because I didn't come on a Saturday...because the special then was a brie & BACON sandwich. Brie & Bacon? Sign me up! For dessert I ordered the peach (fun fact: I learned about the peach on a horrible date where our waitress was flirting with my date the whole time. The whole thing wasn't completely fruitless with the discovery of the peach. Pun intended,) and I must say it might just be the epitome of deliciousness. In the menu it's described as: Brioche pastry soaked in peach syrup, hollowed and filled with light custard, dusted with sugar. What they neglect to mention it also has little marzipan leaves on it. Delectable! SCORE: 4

"The Peach" in all its glory. Amelia ordered a slice of passionfruit cake.

For Gourmandise FULL MENU go HERE

#2. The Ambiance. 

One of the finalists in the D O'R picture contest was taken at Gourmandise and what made that picture so great was undoubtedly the ambiance. The patio decked out with lights is simply adorable, but the inside of the restaurant is really nice too! Though at times it can be somewhat on the loud side, the place as a whole really is just quite charming. It's a great place to visit year round, but summers on that patio are probably the loveliest. SCORE: 4

#3. The Service. 

Did I mention how the last time I was here my waitress flirted with my date all night? Haha okay okay, I won't judge THAT server, I'll write about the one last night. In her defense, she did try to take our order a few times but we had table visitors so she gave us more time before returning. A bit too much time. But I won't fault her on that. The place was hopping that night, so she was forgetful on some things (like that she never gave me my side chips, and said she would but....never did) and unfortunately pretty slow in getting us our check (the moment of truth for a server as Amelia says.) SCORE: 2 

So there you have it. 2/3 requirements met for me! But what did my dining companions think??

COURTNEY SAYS: the gourmet grilled cheese sandwich at gourmandies was a wholly welcomed departure from the run of the mill grilled cheese sandwich. with feta, caramelized onions, and sun dried tomatoes, you can't go wrong. feta!? you say, that's right. feta on a grilled cheese sandwich. who da thunk? but what is most appealing about this salt lakery frenchery bakery is their desserts. oh the desserts. for me, it's tiramisu in a cup. and it's HEAVEN. go! and be full.

AMELIA SAYS: I loved the Brie Bartlett Panini (A combination of smoked ham, brie, sun-dried cherries, Bartlett pears, caramelized onions, and baby spinach). It was a unique spin on your usual café sandwich, but still had all the hallmarks of a comfort food (hearty bread, satisfying portions, and warm, gooey cheese). If you want to take it to an even better place, trade in your boring chips for the fruit side. Instead of getting stuck with the typical, underwhelming mountain of honey dew, you’ll get a lovely mix of fresh fruit (that in my case included a good dose of yummy raspberries). Oh, and whatever you do, don’t skip dessert!! It’s hard to go wrong, so take your time perusing the big glass case and try something new.

& A movie: If you want a night out Saint Vincent and Fury are in theaters. I haven't seen either, but both are getting good reviews. For a night in, desiring to revel in Halloween-ness? The French thriller Diabolique (I wrote about yesterday,) would be an excellent choice. Not wanting to watch anything scary? Amelie and Gourmandise are a match made in heaven.

Gourmandise is located 250 S 300 E, Salt Lake City, UT 84111.


Horror Films the Obscure

It's that time of year again when the air is crisp, the leaves are falling and the best movies to watch are the ones that put you in the Halloween spirit. Unfortunately though, the horror genre can sometimes be pretty tedious to wade through. There's the reliable classics that everyone remembers, and then there's the formulaic knockoffs and gory slasher flicks. But every now and then, I stumble upon a lesser known horror film that is truly amazing and absolutely worth watching. Below are ten of my favorites. Debate amongst yourselves whether or not some deserve the label obscure. "Lesser known" might be more appropriate.

Diabolique (1955) Remember how Alfred Hitchcock made audiences afraid to get into the shower? Watching the French horror film Diabolique will make you swear off bathtubs as well! The story centers around a woman who, with the help of her husband's mistress plot to murder the two-timer. Little do they know the supernatural consequences that will soon haunt them. This movie is a slow burner, but the ending is definitely worth the wait.

Carnival of Souls (1962) This movie is creepy with a capitol C. But do you want to know the best thing about it? The movie happens to be set in our very own state! After surviving a serious car accident, Mary takes a job out near the old Saltair. Soon she finds herself drawn to the old abandoned carnival site, and she discovers she might not be the only one... Watch this movie by yourself late at night for best results.

Look familiar?

The Haunting (1963) Remember that horrible movie in the 90's with Liam Neeson, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Owen Wilson? True movie buffs will know that film was based on a far superior film directed by Robert Wise in the 1960's. The original film perfected the now classic horror formula: a group of people spend the night in a haunted house, and we as an audience get to sit back and see the results. This film had a huge impact on modern day horror and features one of the most eerie uses of voiceover in film.

Let's Scare Jessica to Death (1971) This movie is great, and not just because of its fabulous title. Jessica and her husband are living in a country lake house when they meet a drifter named Emily who wants to stay with them. It soon becomes apparent to Jessica that Emily isn't all that she seems, yet no one else seems to see it. LikeDiabolique, Let's Scare Jessica to Death is somewhat of a slower paced film, but the unsettling atmosphere that is ever present in the film will keep you on your toes. Not everything makes a whole lot of sense compared to today's horror standards and myths, but that doesn't detract from its entertainment value.

Burnt Offerings (1976) This film was one of my favorite discoveries last Halloween. The film gives off a veryShining vibe, even though it actually came out a few years before! Karen Black is terrific as the enthusiastic matriarch, who along with her family, inherits the caretaking duties of a beautiful mansion. A mansion, that of course has a spooky secret: it rejuvenates itself based on the amount of deaths that occur on its premises...meaning the house is pretty much has got it out for anyone who lives there. Terror ensues.

The Changeling (1980) Every staple you can imagine in a horror film happens to appear in The Changeling in the best possible way. It's got everything you could want in a scary movie, yet many people seem to forget about it. The plot is one of the oldest in the horror movie book: man moves into a haunted mansion and discovers a terrifying secret about the house's past. While the story may be simple, the scares are not.

Lady In White (1988) Locked in a school on Halloween night, a young boy sees the ghost of a little girl...and becomes determined to solve her murder. This is a fun horror flick that suffers from pretty dated visual effects, but luckily the story is captivating enough that you don't notice quite as much. The final twenty minutes will most definitely keep you in suspense!

The Frighteners (1996) If you're in the mood for some 90's nostalgia and you like movies with a Tim Burton vibe, look no further than The Frighteners. This movie definitely would fool you into thinking it was directed by Mr. Burton, but it was none other than Peter Jackson of the Lord of the Rings trilogy who was behind this horror comedy. Michael J. Fox plays a man, who happens to be gifted with the ability to talk to ghosts...but uses it to con innocent people. After a series of murders from beyond the grave occur, he has no choice but to solve the mystery. Like Lady In White, the film features some silly visual effects that don't quite hold up. The conclusion in particular, you might find difficulty in keeping a straight face.

The Devil's Backbone (2001) When most people think of Guillermo Del Toro's horror movies, they usually think ofPan's Labyrinth or The Orphanage. But The Devil's Backbone might be even more frightening. Here the threat of supernatural is contrasted with the evil that mankind as a race is capable of. Some of the imagery here will definitely haunt you.

Fright Night (2011) This film is a remake of an also awesome 80's flick of the same name... but I slightly prefer the newer take on the tale. A high schooler has a hunch that a vampire moved in to the house next door and will do just about anything to prove it... even if that means contacting a celebrity vampire hunter. The cast here is superb. Featuring Colin Farrell, Anton Yelchin, David Tennant and Toni Collette, Fright Night is loads of fun and pretty darn entertaining.

And don't worry, there's plenty more where that came from. I'll continue watching my obscure movies all month, so check back for more reports.