Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Amy & Carol’s Spooktacular Movie Reviews by Amy Vastine & Carol Ross


Fall is in full swing and tis the season! The season to be creeped out, that is. Halloween is only a couple weeks away and, scary clowns aside, Amy and I both enjoy a little spooky this time of year. It’s fun to break out a good movie and scare yourself silly. Now, we’re not talking about blood and guts horror films here. Chainsaws and machetes are inherently terrifying. So, sure, putting these weapons into the hands of a psycho and turning said psycho loose on a gang of less-than-bright teenagers at summer camp is utterly terrifying. Also pretty boring, though. Predictable. Possibly it’s the writer in us but we’d like some plot, please. And the cleverer the better. Make us think. Surprise us.

We thought we’d share a couple of our favorite scary movies that most spooktacularly fit this bill.

Amy ~ It Follows


Scary movies. I love to hate them. My family just plain LOVES them. My 12 and 14 year old watch every single horror movie they can find On Demand. Every time I go into the menu to search for a movie, all the terrifying ones are marked WATCHED. I know I didn’t watch them. My 16 year old is a little more like me. He likes the thrill of seeing one, but thinks about them way too much after watching. He and I are famous for turning on every light in the house after a good one. Because ghosts won’t jump out at you when the lights are on … duh!

I also tend to watch scary movies through my fingers. That way I can quickly cover my eyes if something horrible is about to happen. It works fairly well. This is how I watched the movie It Follows. It Follows is NOT heartwarming. The plot centers around “It”. We don’t know what “It” is except that it follows its victim until it kills him or her. “It” doesn’t run. “It” doesn’t look like a monster. “It” can be anyone. Even your mom if “It” wants.

Jamie is a young woman on a date with what seems like a nice guy named Hugh. He takes her to a movie but gets a little freaked out when he says he sees someone. Jamie doesn’t see anyone, but she leaves the theater with him. They end up having “relations” in the backseat of his car and she wakes up tied to a chair after getting knocked out by not-so-nice Hugh. This is where it gets a little nuts.

Hugh explains that “It” is coming. He tells Jamie that “It” can be anyone. “It” doesn’t move very fast but “It” never stops. “It” will keep following her until “It” catches her. A woman shows up and slowly walks toward them. Hugh continues to explain that the only way to stop being followed is to pass the curse on by sleeping with someone else. Only, she may not want to do it without explaining to the next person (a mistake he made) because once “It” kills whoever it’s following, “It” comes after the previous person on the list. He believes by giving Jamie all the information, she will have a better chance of surviving and therefore keep him out of danger a little longer. He takes her home and disappears.

The rest of the movie is about Jamie’s struggle to stay away from “It” while battling the biggest moral dilemma of all time. Does she sleep with someone and pass “It” along, basically sentencing someone to death, or does she find another way to stop “It”?

This movie reminds me of The Ring, which basically asked the same question. Would you put someone else’s life in danger to save yourself or someone you love? These movies freak me out the most because they make me scared of myself. What would I do? Would I curse someone else? What if my child was cursed? Would I pass it on to someone else to save my child? It’s this kind of psychological monster that keeps me up at night. I don’t need blood and gore. Just make me question my own goodness. It’s interesting how Jamie decided to handle it. The movie doesn’t tie everything up in a pretty bow but is satisfying nonetheless!

Carol ~ The Others

To say I’m very particular about scary movies would be a colossal understatement. But the reason I’m picky? It’s an absolute necessity. Put simply, I’m a ‘fraidy cat. I don’t do “evil” movies because they give me nightmares. Anything with possession and demons and exorcisms and I’ll need to be medicated, or possibly hypnotized, to rid myself of the after-effects. I don’t like slasher films because, in addition to above-mentioned predictability, they’re gross and make me nauseous. So that leaves me with ghost stories and psychological thrillers. The Others has both. This movie is a wonderful, old-fashioned, skin-prickling, hair-on-the-back-of-the-neck-raising ghost story.

It’s about a young widow named Grace Stewart, played by Nicole Kidman, who lives with her two children in a maze-like Victorian house in Jersey, England. The story takes place post World War II so the time period, the décor, and the costumes present a welcome spookiness as well. Grace’s children, Anne and Nicholas, have some kind of photosensitivity condition and have to avoid light. She has to be careful about keeping the kids contained and the curtains drawn. She has a set of keys reminiscent to a jailer that she uses to lock and unlock the doors to all the rooms. The children’s’ condition and the clattering of these keys enhance the urgent, edgy feel of the movie.

A bit about the plot: Enter the arrival of three servants and a mute girl named Lydia and the weirdness begins. The children begin to report sightings of “others” in the house. Anne draws a picture of them, but, of course, Grace doesn’t believe they exist at first. Not until she hears them herself. Strange hints of their presence unfold. One morning Grace wakes up to discover all the curtains have been removed from the house. She is outraged, but the servants don’t appear to be alarmed. Suspecting them of being involved, she banishes them from the home. Clues are revealed and eventually she discovers that the servants died 50 years ago. I know what you’re thinking, story over, right? But no, they are not the “others.” And if I tell you more I’ll be giving the story away. Suffice it to say, this movie will leave you white-knuckled on the edge of your sofa forgetting to breathe. There is a solid and creative story here along with a delightful plot twist and of well-placed scream-worthy moments – all without a trace of blood or demons.

If you liked What Lies Beneath, The Village, or pretty much any Alfred Hitchcock film, I think you’ll love The Others. The acting is incredible as well. Nicole Kidman earned a well-deserved Golden Globe nomination for this role. And the children are just perfect.

We'd love to hear your scary movie recommendations. But please, for the sake of our mental health, let us know the type of scary we're in for!



For more information about Amy Vastine or Carol Ross including their lists of books click here to visit their websites: 




33 comments:

  1. Not a fan of horror or scary. A good writer just makes it too real. I love Halloween though. The kids that come to the door are just too cute.

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    1. I understand Sandra! I agree about the good writing. Sometimes I'm blown away by the places people's imaginations go. I try not to think about the scary stuff.

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  2. I don't like spooky, or anything they film in the dark with scary music. Don't like things that go bump in the night and never have. Especially don't like when they have screams in the dark. But I always loved Halloween until they started using icky spiders for decoration which I loathe.

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    1. Lol, Roz. Definitely don't watch either of these movies. I am truly a scaredy cat myself. I have to be careful about what I watch and often have my stepdaughter "screen" the movie first.

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  3. Okay, can you hear my nervous laughter? I scare/jump easily. And somehow I'm picturing what it would be like if Carol and Amy watched a really scary movie together...popcorn flying when they startle then both would start laughing hysterically ;). Am I right lol? Now, I used to watch all the older scary movies...all Hitchcock films...movies like the Aliens series or Jaws...The Amityville Horror etc...But the filming of new films is so real I don't think I could make it through one. It depends on the type of movie too. If it's scary but something that won't happen (more suspenseful...like Jurassic movies)...I'm okay, but if it involves psychos (I still haven't seen Silence of the Lambs but I have seen Psycho) I can't do it. Bloody freaky faces...can't do. I wouldn't sleep for months. You two are brave!

    I do love Halloween though and always go through a Harry Potter marathon this time of year! I'll watch some scaryish movies...just not extreme horror.

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    1. Too funny, Rula! I am also very jumpy. I'm sure that's exactly what it would be like if Amy and I watched these together. It sounds like we have similar taste actually. I like scary suspense the most, without the gore. The Others might be a good choice for you. It has a very old-fashioned ghost story feel to it.

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    2. Okay...just because I trust you, Carol, (insert big grin)...I'll try The Others this month...

      Everyone knows Carol is totally trustworthy and would never spook anyone or play a joke on anyone. Too innocent. When people say 'Trick or Treat', Carol's like...'Trick? What's a trick?' ;) lol.

      I actually like Nicole Kidman in movies so I'll try it...

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    3. LOL Rula! I can't believe you think Carol would try to trick you! Ok maybe she would but not this time. The Others is safe. And I think seeing scary movies with Carol would make them a million times less scary. Too much laughing would be going on!

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    4. LOL!! Dying, you two. Yes, you can trust me, Rula. And I would love to watch scary movies with both of you. It would definitely help alleviate my terror!

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    5. I don't know if you can trust ME, Carol and Amy! I'd probably slip behind the couch and wait to jump up and scare both of you during the movie lol. I pretend to be innocent but I make popcorn fly lol.

      As for scary movies, I like some paranormal ones, ghosts don't scare me. Crazy people do.

      One movie I love watching around Halloween is Nicole Kidman and Sandra Bullock in Practical Magic. Just the right amount of suspense/scare with a dash of romance ;).

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  4. Sorry ladies. I'm not into scary movies. I have enough scary in my life!

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    1. Perfectly understandable, Marion. There is definitely plenty in real life to be frightened of these days!

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  5. Hi, Guys! I hate slasher stuff, but I don't mind being scared if there isn't a lot of tortured screaming. The edge-of-my seat movie I appreciate most is an oldie with Audrey Hepburn called Wait Until Dark about a young woman who recently went blind and is caught in her apartment with a murderer she doesn't even know is there for a while. It's amazing. The villain is a young Alan Arkin at his most sinister. Now I have to go watch a Doris Day movie. Fun post.

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    1. Muriel, you're speaking my language! I LOVE that movie. Audrey Hepburn is incredible. That's exactly the kind of scary I like. Now I want to watch it again. Thank you for mentioning it.

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  6. I get scared enough watching the news, so I avoid scary movies and books. Like Rula, I enjoyed the old movies that had more suspense than blood. As for Silence of the Lambs...I looked under my bed and in closets for a week after seeing that movie...definitely one of the scariest.

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    1. Jill, Lol. I know what you mean. I prefer the older movies myself. I'm always excited when a newer movie with that old-fashioned feel comes out. The Others and The Village both fall into this category. Silence of the Lambs scared the bejeebies (is that a word?) out of me!

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    2. LOL! Buffalo Bill scared me more than Hannibal...what a creepy character!

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    3. Jill does not want to put the lotion in the basket.

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  7. Nope. Nope, can't do scary creepy movies. *shudder*. I'm a life long doll collector and I can't tell you how freaked out I got at slumber parties at times. Whaaa!! But...I will admit to having seen Silence of the Lambs a lot of times. It's not a scary movie to me, it's a thriller. :) I'm with Carol. I like older spooky movies. LIke Abbott and Costello meet Frankenstein, LOL

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    1. This surprises me given your love for paranormal stories! Very, very interesting ...

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    2. Oh my gosh, Anna, I love that Abbott and Costello movie, too! I'm smiling just thinking about it. I'm a little surprised as well. I thought you'd be a fan because you have such a love for "story" in general.

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  8. I love this post, ladies! I have to admit that I have not heard of It Follows, but you've captured my interest and it's going on my "to be viewed" list! I have seen The Others, but Carol's skillful writing drew me right in and it, too, is going on my TBV list. I prefer psychological thrillers as well, so these two movies sound perferct.

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    1. Thanks, Kate. I haven't seen It Follows yet either. It sounds like it might be a little on the scary side for me. But Amy's review is drawing me in. I'll have to quiz my stepdaughter and see if she's seen it. She knows what really terrifies me and always gives me a scary rating.

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  9. Great post, ladies! I love Halloween ... I love decorating for Halloween, the costumes, all of it. And I like ghost encounters (the real ones people share) so I should like scary movies, but I don't. Even with all the lights turned on, I can't watch a scary movie... maybe it is the music and creepy sound effects. I could try watching it on mute, I suppose :)

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    1. Thank you, Cari! I love Halloween, too. Also enjoy real life ghost stories. Actually watching on mute probably really would help lower the fright factor, Lol.

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  10. I'm also a chicken about scary movies. I'll have to look into The Others, since I do like Alfred Hitchcock movies, especially the ones that are more mystery than horror like Vertigo and Rear Window. I agree with Amy that the choice of cursing someone else to same yourself or your family is the scariest.

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    1. Beth, I really think you'd enjoy The Others. Vertigo and Rear Window are two of my favorites as well, especially Rear Window.

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  11. No. No no no no no! I hate scary movies! Much like Amy, I don't like being but in the "what if it was me?" mode and I really don't like anything with demons or evil. That being said, I watch a lot of them because everyone else in the family outvotes me. I much prefer to watch Hocus Pocus thank you very much.

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  12. LeAnne, this made me laugh. Getting outvoted is the worst. You should take turns choosing instead. I don't do demons, evil, or exorcisms either. Hocus Pocus is a fun movie. It reminds me of Practical Magic, which I also love!

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  13. I love love love scary movies!! A couple of oldie but goodies:
    Gothika
    The Skeleton Key
    Frailty
    Identity
    Seven
    Shutter

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  14. The last scary movie I watched (dating myself here) was The Amityville Horror. I've never gotten over that cat jumping up at the window. See you in Muriel's living room watching Doris Day--I'll bring popcorn!

    Loved your reviews, though! :-)

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