Sunday, July 30, 2017

Chopping Mall (1986)

I have friends where when we meet up some of the first words out of our mouths are: "Have you seen....?"

In fact, most of the content on my Have You Seen page is collected from these conversations! I have great friends.

Although Chopping Mall didn't come to my attention from such a conversation, I did share it in such a conversation recently.

First and foremost, this film is simply offensive on multiple levels. Multiple. Levels. But, that's pretty much what I'd expect with a film where killer robots are on the loose in a shopping mall. 

From IMDB: "Eight teenagers are trapped after hours in a high tech shopping mall and pursued by three murderous security robots out of control."

*You had me at murderous security robots*

Fans of schlock entertainment will find lots of entertainment with this film. I was actually surprised by how entertained I was - and I have a healthy appreciation for terrible B films and my valuable, precious time. 

With a plethora of campy moments, eye-rolling one-liners, 1980's nostalgia, and really amazing kill scenes, Chopping Mall, is a ridiculously innovative slasher that will latch on to the heart (with lasers) all the B rated and cult following feels.

Also, I can't get over how funny the film's tag lines are - I think this list should continue growing:
  • Tonight Park Plaza Mall switches on the world's toughest security force. Absolutely nothing can go wrong...
  • Shopping will never be the same!
  • Where shopping can cost you an arm and a leg.
  • Chopping Mall - Where they slash their prices - and their customers!
  • Buy or Die
  • At Park Plaza Mall the security force isn't just tight, it's terrifying!
  • Shop til you drop, dead!

Film will pair wonderfully with a group of friends (after a shopping spree, of course), beer, more beer, pizza - or preferably - a truck load of food from the local mall food court. 

I watched this film on Amazon. Check out Horror Habit's Find It. Watch It links to locate where else you can see this absolutely absurdly entertaining film.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

S & M: Les Sadiques (2016)

It should come as no surprise to anyone, but Alex Bakshaev has done it again!

I was first introduced to Alex and his work by way of his still stunning 2015 film, The Devil of Kreuzberg.

Also, much to my complete delight, he played Inspektor Lang in the very definition of if a moving painting was a short horror film, Tlmea (2016) - a short that happens to be directed by Kevin Kopacka. The same Kevin Kopacka who stars in Alex's latest film: S & M: Les SadiquesMy heart is made happy by the coordination of such talents.

This Lynchian art house thriller is not a friendly one. From the brilliant backdrop of the cold, wintery, nearly almost always night setting in bustling Berlin, to the standoffish (nearly heartless) interactions of all the characters, viewers may need a hug afterwards.

My first thought on the film was that it felt like a coming of age nightmare. The dreamy atmosphere felt as if someone was recalling a really traumatic period in their life when just starting out in the world. A period in almost everyone's life that is already uncertain, sometimes frightening, and - based on some life choices or equally unfortunate luck - is fraught with peril.

The story opens with a young woman who has run away and is looking for a safe place to spend the night and from there our young Marie unexpectedly finds herself under the wing of the lovely Sandra (from The Devil of Kreuzberg fame), who offers support and shelter. The women become close, very close, and then life happens and their worlds spiral into a hell neither saw coming.

There are several tales interwoven throughout the film. Tales of suspicion, jealously, intimidation, power, and deception. All these whispering stories build up together to form a massive tower that points directly at This Is Not Going To End Well.

As I said earlier, this is a dreamy film - not dissimilar from someone recalling a life they wish to forget or told by someone who is trying to recall an intense dream they had the night before. Supporting this dream world is a brilliant, misty and intense score, as well as a striking cinematographic land where realities intermingle with the dangerous mysteries of the heart.

This film creeps, crawls (sometimes on top of you), and then - particularly in the last few minutes - slaps you in the face and walks away. This is not a film for everyone, but if you are fan of art house horror (particularly anything David Lynchian) then I have no doubt you'll find yourself as fully absorbed as I did.

Please take a moment to check out the teaser!

Once again, a round of applause to all who helped make this film possible, and thank you for giving me the opportunity to see it! Best of luck to everyone on their future endeavors!

Saturday, June 10, 2017

I Am The Pretty Thing That Lives In The House (2016)

I have been wanting to talk about I Am The Pretty Thing That Lives In The House for several months but I could not seem to find the words - but I'm going to try to give it shot now.

I've seen this film a couple times already. In the first viewing I was struck by the ambiance (confusing, relatable, cold, warm, uninviting, snug, sad, thrilling) and the characters (confusing, relatable, cold, warm, uninviting, snug, sad, thrilling). I loved it.

However, it took me some time to warm up to the film ... my conducting odd jobs in the background during the show didn't help... but when I did fully tune in, the entire watching experience changed. I wanted more, I wanted answers, I wanted to hug everyone.

In the second viewing I was completely absorbed, so much so that I wanted to touch the story, eat it.

I wanted to eat this film. Caress it. Devour it.

This is a super tactile, sexy film. Every little move is delicate and perfect. The voices and sounds are low, soft, and ghostly. Clothing, lighting, hair, the paint job in entry hallway, the books in the shelf - all shown through the screen canvas as if done by a master painter. Beautiful, simply beautiful. 

Going back quickly to the first viewing, I'd like to take a moment to talk about the clothes. The woman depicted in the poster image, for example, plays a significant role in the film (no surprise there), however her role in the film suggests her time and place is in the early 1800's. Fans of history, such as myself, will quickly note that the clothing style is more appropriate for the mid 1800's. 

This bugged me for a moment. Thinking to myself: how could such an expertly done film make such a mistake? By the second viewing, I realized my blunder. This was no mistake. I Am The Pretty Thing That Lives In The House has no mistakes. 

By the second viewing I realized that I was transported to a world were time and being is intermingled, lost, without a home (outside the house itself). Memories, identity, truth, and linear steps in existence are left to the viewer to decide. This story calls into question what we know about ourselves and how we respond to "The Other Side".  

I found the film as a whole, beautifully heavy despite it's light and airy initial feel. I loved it. I want to eat this angel food cake of a movie.

Not a film for everyone, but certainly a film for fans of slow, slow, slow thrillers. Or as a tour guide at a winery once told me about a part of the brewing process, "...slowly exploding...", which I found absolutely hilarious at the time because it didn't make sense to me, but it applies well (and makes sense to me now) in relation to this film.

The last few minutes are downright terrifying, for many reasons but mostly because the 'big reveal' is so completely opposite of the entire movie experience up until then. It shocked me, it actually frightened me. I ended up rewatching the last few scenes several time because I couldn't believe/understand what had just happened. I loved it.

In short, this is a stellar film and I think it's required viewing for story tellers in all medias. Pairs well with strong coffee or cold, cold water. Angle food cake. Watch with those who know how to appreciate extremely expensive scotch, or watch alone on a dark, late night. 

I saw this movie on Netflix, or use the links under Find It. Watch It. on Horror Habit's side bar to locate where else you can find this original, heart-wrenching, masterful thriller.

Friday, May 26, 2017

The Drain (Short Horror Film)

Writer and director, Collin Blair, brought this delectable little morsel of a horror film to my attention recently, much to my delight.

The Drain is a nine minute clip about a lonely man and his talking tub. Folks, I simply love these types of stories. Horror in the elements of the absurd and madness, clever in all shapes and forms, while still packed in a very limited amount of time.  Everyone wins (except for the man talking to his tub...perhaps).

In any case, I wanted to bring this particular short horror film to everyone's attention because it's brilliant AND I thought (if you're looking for more of the same) some might like to make it a dangerous objects short horror film double feature with: Attack of the Killer Sock!

Both dark humor shorts deal with somewhat similar subjects, but I personally found them remarkable in their use of space, actors, cinematography, topic - particularly with the focus on solitude - and narrative twists.

So do yourself a favor and checkout The Drain, and if you're in the mood for more, Attack of the Killer Sock.

Thanks again, Collin and team!

Monday, May 1, 2017

Adieu, Rain City Video

Last week I said goodbye to a beloved local haunt.

Rain City Video has been a video rental store staple in Seattle, WA for nearly 30 years, and I have had the great joy of having their flagship store located just down the street from me.

For 10 years I enjoyed the sometimes hot and humid and sometimes brisk and bright walks down the quiet neighborhood street, then rounding the corner to be faced with Never A Cloudy Day.

I've thoroughly enjoyed visits to a local independent video store ever since Dad brought home our first VHS player in 1986 - and we all gathered around, gazing and gawking at it like it was a rare diamond. The youngest brother figured out how it worked first.

From then on Friday family night visits to the video store in our small South Dakota town became a highlight of the week, for all of us. Naturally, nearly all of us gathered in the Horror section.

Adulthood and a move to the city didn't change my opinion of video stores or my love of visiting one on a weekend night. I could spend an embarrassingly long time in one - even in Blockbuster. Family-owned shops will always be my favorite, however.

Even as technology made it possible for me to stream nearly any film I desired directly from my TV and without the burden of moving a muscle, there is still nothing quiet like walking down the street to the local video store. Being greeted by the quirky film aficionado staff, hearing a random film play in the background, slowly working my way down the isle - shelf by shelf...

I visited Rain City Video for the last time last week. I wandered around it's nearly bare shelves, recalling so many fond memories ...and sighing.

For the last four years I visited this shop every week in October to select Horror Habit's October Challenge random movie picks. I loved everything about this experience. Loved everything. The walk through the falling leaves, and taking a different route as much as possible so I could see all the latest Halloween decorations. The wonderful greetings from the staff when they saw me, "Oh, hello again! Back for more for Horror Habit?"

Of course.

I loved hearing the giggling kids trying to pick out the "scariest film, ever!" No doubt having a sleep over party and wanting to be sure to pick out the best one to keep them up all night.

I loved going over the Staff Pick shelf during October and seeing that all their favorite horror films were also my favorite horror films.

I loved this store. I loved how much nostalgia it conjured in me. I loved just closing my eyes and selecting a film for the October Challenge. I loved how close I got to seeing every horror movie in their selection. I loved my impromptu visits throughout the year and then joining my husband for a drink at the tiny fancy bar across the street, where we would talk about our day and get excited to see the latest movie pick.

I loved absolutely everything about this store and I will miss it terribly.

Not all is lost, however. Rain City is looking to transition:

"Although our store front is going away, with a bit of luck the bulk of our inventory will live on. As you may already know, Rain City Video has over 4 times the number of movies available online at Netflix and Amazon Prime combined! We are working on a plan to move the inventory of Rain City Video to an online website where movies can be viewed on your TV, Tablet, Smartphone or Computer. The name of the venture is Please sign up to at the store to receive information on our Kickstarter campaign when it is complete. If we can’t serve you through our Brick & Mortar store, it would be our pleasure to be your on-line video store. It is a big undertaking for a small company but we think it is worth a shot for many reasons and we hope you will support our efforts!"

Additionally and in the mean time, Seattle is not without its video rental store. There's still Scarecrow Video. Thank god.

Adieu, old friend. I'm very thankful to have had the opportunities I did to visit you as often I could.

Onward, upward.

Monday, April 24, 2017

The Red Man (2016)

I was contacted recently to see if I'd be interested in taking a look at Jimmie Gonzalez's full length debut The Red Man, a psychological horror show that intertwines madness with celebrity mayhem.

As the film's website elaborates:

"A celebrity DJ and recovering drug addict, Evan Gough has had enough — the fame, fortune and transparent friends; he is done. Increasingly recurring nightmares from a tragic past are stirring skepticism and suspicion about his life and neighbors at his trendy apartment tower.

Especially unsure about his psychiatrist’s prescribed medication regimen, Evan turns within and embarks on a soul-searching journey through psycho-self-analysis and his own intuition.

Suspecting that his psychiatrist, along with his new apartment neighbor, are possibly involved in a secret society conspiracy and are drugging and killing his fellow celebrity tenants, Evan teams up with Dr. Verde’s intern to find the truth."

I'll be honest with you folks, I had some skepticism about this - mostly because I couldn't quite wrap my head around a secret society that is drugging and killing celebrity tenants. But surprises awaited me ...

I also really really really love this poster. I mean - just look at it. Look at this brilliant work of art. Horror Habit Genius Award to whoever designed this because I seriously can't stop staring at it.


This is an ambitious feature. Ambitious in that the story revolves around drugs, madness, nightmares, conspiracy theory's, secret societies, murder, sexual violence - all under the influence of an intense musical score. That's a lot to put together in one film (and for the audience to experience)! Still, I think the ambition paid off.

Cringy, claustrophobic, bizarre, and surreal - this is a film that will make you uncomfortable. You know, like a good horror story should. It's taken me some time to write up a review for this film because it encompasses so many different aspects of horror and in so many ways. For a while there I wasn't even sure where to begin with a review, but I found a portion of the Director's statement that I felt helped express the film and the film watching experience nicely:

"After going through my own “DJ career” meltdown in 2004 I found redemption in an old friend, Cinema, most significantly, horror cinema. Like an addict, I searched for the safest near death experience in the confines of my own home theater. In that, I not only found myself, but the pure beauty and art in filmmaking from the likes of auteur’s Dario Argento, Roman Polanski, Stanley Kubrick and Alejandro Jodorowsky to name a few. Originally I intended to write, direct and score a modest entry level “slasher film” but the deeper I dove into researching the themes of my story; psychoanalysis, spirituality and pop culture, I couldn’t deny my drive to not only crack a personal code, but the fictional psychological horror mystery that is THE RED MAN....The Red Man is not only a personal film, but I feel a universal story. The awakening of a searching soul striving to know the answers to life’s most mysterious questions. Why am I here? What is my destiny? What’s on the other side of that rainbow? Although personally an optimist, the film sticks to its horror-mystery path, leading our protagonist to his own nefarious fate."

This film questions much of sanity, security, and success - while also exposing the audience to some of our darkest sides to self evolution.

I am not certain this is a film for every horror fan, but if you're a fan of the work of Dario Argento, Roman Polanski, Stanley Kubrick and Alejandro Jodorowsky then I think you might want to add this film to your To Watch list.

This film is now available world wide for all to watch. Go here to learn more.

A huge thanks again to the team for providing me this opportunity, and best of luck to the success of this film and to everyone's future endeavors.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Agatha (Short Horror Film)

Timothy Vandenberg contacted me recently asking if I wouldn't mind taking a look at his short horror film, Agatha

Victoria era? Spirited orphan girl? A creature living in a spooky mansion? Sign me up!

The first thing that grabbed me about this one was the sound effects. Saints preserve us, I had to pause it a few times - and this only a 10 minute film - just to give myself a moment to process *the sounds*. So much beautiful cringe binge.

Gut-wrenching and atmospheric, this brilliantly filmed short will absorb you within seconds and keep you locked until the bitter end. By far one of the more sinister short horror films I've seen in a long time. Added bonus, the costumes and settings are simply marvelous. 

Well done, very well done horror.

Agatha has recently joined the film festival circuit (including the Transylvania Film Festival!) , please keep an eye out for it and in the mean time learn more about this film by checking out both the Facebook page and the teaser trailer on Fangoria.

Thanks again Timothy and team for providing me with this opportunity. Best of luck to the film and everyone's future endeavors. 

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

A Film by Vera Vaughn (Short Horror Film)

The director of this short horror film, Sorrel Brae, contacted me in October and asked if I'd be interested in checking out A Film By Vera Vaughn.

Short horror films, those delicious little morsels of terror, of course I'd be happy to check it out. Although it took me some time to get to the film - the second half of 2016 was all consuming - this short is a horrorific delight on all levels.

Synopsis: In this ghost story for the digital age, filmmaker Vera Vaughn works late into the night, editing her psychological thriller about a woman jeopardized by a mysterious home intruder. But when she’s interrupted by a knock at the door, Vera’s world takes a frightening turn toward the surreal as life threatens to imitate art – or is it the other way around…?

Director's Statement: What is the nature of identity? What are the psychological consequences of the creative process? Would you destroy a part of yourself if you could? And would you then still be yourself? How does a growing psychological isolation parallel our age of hyper-connectivity? These are just a few of the questions that inspired A Film By Vera Vaughn and, we hope, will inspire our audience.

Just 10 minutes long and packed with texture and bony ambiance, this cool and calculated thriller is sure to delight just about any horror fan, and maybe even a few who don't consider themselves fans of the genre.

Although it might leave you with a few more questions than answers, this one will still leave any viewer with a nice collection of chills and mighty mind melds. Smart, original, brilliantly shot, and totally engaging - a round of applause to Sorrel and team.

Already highly acclaimed, this short premiered at the fabulous on October 19, 2016. You can also learn more about the film and the artists who helped make this short possible here:

Pairs with smokes, a shot of whiskey, and your phone set to vibrate. I know you have 10 minutes, so do yourself a favor and check this one out:

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Hades (2015) and Tlmea (2016) (Short Horror Films)

Kevin Kopacka, director of both short horror films Hades and Tlmea, reached out to me in September, asking if I'd be interested in reviewing his films. I was more than happy to (once I had the time - second half of 2016 was insane. Thanks for your patience, team!).

Synopsis for Hades:

"The story of a woman trapped in an endless dream in which she has to cross the five rivers of Hades, each representing different stages of her relationship."

I watched this film several times. I loved it. It's beautiful, poetic, jarring, and weaved together with wonderfully striking vision. Everything had a purpose in this film, every tiny element, thus making (to me) the story that unfolded that much more of an intimate and tender experience. 

The symbolism throughout this short film is simply fantastic, from the sounds of running water to paying the cab driver, and every tiny detail in-between. All that reflect the many emotions related to relationships and their complications - all are done beautifully and poignantly here. 

I have recently discovered the conspiracy theories and various art forms debated/discussed regarding Kubrick's The Shining. So imagine my surprise at seeing The Shining's movie poster sitting in a closet in this film! What does it mean, you guys?!?!

This is absolutely a film that should be talked about afterwards with others. See for yourself, I know you have 15 minutes. Please enjoy:

Synopsis for Tlmea:

"The sequel to Hades, Tlmea (pronounced Tolomea) tells the story of two undercover cops, caught in a dream during a drug raid, in which they descend down the 9 levels of hell."

A moving painting! A moving Bosch painting at times, but still a moving painting! This film, a half hour long, is very similar to Hades in story line interconnections and style but far, far more frightening. Frightening in that it welcomes you with open arms into nightmare land. 

Vibrant in color and cinematography, while also thrilling in it's ability to locate deep-seated dread, this film will have you looking for hugs afterwards. 

Terrific acting, score, (well done on those tunes, Kevin), and a dialog that seethes with tension: this a well made art house horror film that may not connect with every horror fan but one that every horror fan should see at least once. 

Kevin informed me that he considers both films rather unconventional in narrative and style (and I can see where he's coming from on that - love it!), and he's also a graduate of the University of Arts in Berlin and currently working as a painter. I absolutely see the influences in these two films. I also see him going far in this medium. 

You can learn more about the director and his work here.

Although the full film is not yet available to the public, please take a moment to check out the trailer:

Best of luck to you, Kevin, the team and all your future endeavors. Thank you for giving me an opportunity to see these films. 

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Shadows Fall (2016)

Back in September I was contacted by director Aditya Vishwanath, asking if I could take some time to review their first feature film, Shadows Fall (thanks again for your patience, team!).

Always a fan of independent horror films, I was more than happy to take a look (once I had the time - second half of 2016 was insane).

Here's a short synopsis from the film's website:

"A haunting story of Senka, a young widow who confronts and answers that eternal question - what would you do for one more moment with someone that you love? Resorting to the supernatural, she makes a bargain with a demon for the life of her dead husband, Jonas. Now she must live with the price of that deal. Trapped in her once happy home, she is caught in the balance between every moment of happiness with Jonas and the terror and darkness slowly invading their lives. Yet more terrifying is the fact that Jonas is no longer the man that he was. And the only ally she may have in understanding what happened to him, may be the demon himself."

If you're thinking to yourself: Oh, I don't think this is going to turn out well for Senka, then I trust you're not one to tango with demons. Smart.

This is a cerebral slow burn, I dare say almost a melancholy waking nightmare for anyone who's felt the pains of loosing a loved one (and one's mind in the process).

The cinematography, soundtrack, and special effects were all stellar. Minimal, effective, striking, and efficient. I particularly enjoyed the dichotomy that built the house (where nearly the entire film takes place). The cold, uninviting, and mentally disjointed world where there still is hope for a safe, warm, 'perfect' home. From the See No Evil, Speak No Evil, Hear No Evil art down to the cold blue colors in the bedroom, this clever and haunting creation of the environment is wonderfully done.

I got absorbed in the acting - the demon and the husband particularly. Both giving me the creeps mighty well! Although I didn't connect with the character Senka as well, it still worked perfectly because she's one you might not want to buddy up with anyway. Distance worked very well in this particular situation. And here is where I see the influences of David Lynch and art house horror: nothing is as it seems, no one is quite who you think they are, and yet the story will unfold nicely but remorselessly before you.

Shadows Fall is a surprise in that it's their first feature film. The quality of the work, the dialogue (particularly between husband and wife), and wonderful attention to detail while building up the suspense, all reflect the talented artistic passion and dedication that went into creating this movie. Well done, everyone. I look forward to future projects.

This is not a film for those who are not fans of slow burn psychological thrillers that induce the sads, or anyone who's struggling to move on after the death of a loved one. Pairs with tea, eggs, and pancakes - probably all served cold.

I thoroughly enjoyed this film, and I really appreciate Aditya and the team for providing me the opportunity to see and review it. Again, check out their website for more information about the film, and please take a moment to check-out the trailer. 

Thanks again, and best of luck to the success of this film and to everyone's future endeavors. 

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

French Films or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Madness

The topic of French horror films came up, randomly, in a British pub and the initiator turned to me and said, "Now, I know you hate French films, Jolie, but ... "

Me: "Wait, what? No, I don't hate French films."

Them: "Yes you do."

Me: "No I don't. I love how much they frustrate me. There's a big difference."

So, seeing how the French TV series Dead Crossroads continues to be my most popular (and controversial) post, and the confusion about my respect for French films lingers, all the while my 100% Scandinavian self is given a French name - I thought I would dedicate a few words to help clear up my complicated appreciation for these films. 

*Note, not all films written here are considered horror, but nearly all of them left me with a cold, dark feeling of utter hopelessness and dread (at some point during the film).*

First, I obtained my name because I was born on my father's birthday - the only girl in a large family of boys. Jolie, French for Pretty. I became Jolie Dawn for the pretty morning I decided to suddenly show up on - getting my mother out of a baby shower she wasn't the slightest bit interested in attending. In school I took French classes wherever possible, assuming that my name would automatically give me special powers to understand the language. Several thrown textbooks, time spent in France, and 4 years of classes later I still can only understand it un petit peu.

In 1990 my mother took me to the theater to see Le Château de Ma Mère, my introduction to French cinema. I haven't seen it since but I remember it being a haunting, beautiful, complicated, and a completely Mind-Blowing Film. Mind-Blowing because I actually hadn't seen anything like it before and I realized then, deep down in my gut, that French films and I were going to be butting heads for the rest of my life. They are able to capture a part of my mind, heart, and imagination without giving anything in return except confusion, panic, heartbreak, and total fascination. 

In my early 20s I spent a great deal of time in movie theaters. Have recently been working in one and not yet realizing I could go out and have a beer on a "school night", I would wander from theater to theater watching films in passing - or just to pass the time sometimes. One of the films I caught at that period of my life was the 2001 film Brotherhood of the Wolf (Le Pacte Des Loups). Within the first 10 minutes of the movie I was pretty convinced I was going to marry it. Dashing, dramatic, adventurous, and whole-heartedly entertaining, it was the first film I can remember seeing where I absolutely lost myself entirely in it's wonderful and amazing world. And then it got weird and deeply disturbing - downright frightening on a whole new level. I called the marriage off but it still stands as one of the most influential horror films in my love for the genre. 

In my mid-20s I joined my roommate in a showing of the 1966 Au Hasard Balthazar, at our local film festival. About 35 minutes in my eyes glazed over. At that time I stopped trying to chew my popcorn and was just throwing kernels at my face to keep awake. At roughly an hour in something *snapped* in me. I remember it clearly: I was watching the sweet young woman reach for a jar of jam but her hand was suddenly slapped away by the mean older woman (dramatic scene!). I felt it creep up suddenly, violently, and mercilessly: The Laughter. I jumped up, covered my mouth, and ran out of the theater appearing as if I'm about to spurt vomit over everyone in my path. I plowed through the double doors just in time to let out a wail of such bellowing laughter I was sure everyone in the building could hear me (and I didn't care). I laughed so hard I couldn't breathe. I laughed until my eyes hurt from the tears. I stood there in the hallway, ripping out all the laughter I stifled in my life. The laughter came out with such an honest, gratifying, and freeing force that to this day I still look back with fondness. There's not a damn thing funny in the entire film! It's about a mistreated girl and her abused donkey! And here I am, having never laughed harder at a film in all my life. I will always tip my hat to this movie for it's marvel of emotional confusion and absolute odd freedom it brought out in my growth as a person.

By my 30s I had moved out into my own place, acquired a respectable office job, and overall considered myself adult enough to handle actual French Horror Films. I was wrong! Around this time I thought a nice afternoon with the 2003 film High Tension would be a good idea. Not only was I left with more questions than answers but I'm now left with a lifetime of scenes seen that CAN NOT be UNSEEN. I don't think I can forgive this movie for it's ability to make me relive seeing these scenes in my head in attempts to put all the pieces of the story together. Nearly 10 years now, still can't get over it...

Just when I thought High Tension had messed me up, no one - I seriously think no one - can be ready for Martyrs. This is a film where my brother and I whisper the title now and again, give each other a hug, and try to think happy thoughts for several hours. Martyrs, the pinnacle in my absolute loathing/love/hate/appreciation/disgust/fandom for French Horror. It's a horror story unlike anything, *ANYTHING* I have ever seen. Earlier this last year it was suggested by someone that we watch this film for a movie night at a friend's house (a home usually reserved for Mystery Science Theater 3000 films...). I jumped on that suggestion and threw it out of the conversation as fast as someone would a ticking bomb. No one who is mostly a MST3000 Horror Fan is ready for Martyrs - you just ... you just don't do that to people, not if you love them.

During an October Challenge in 2015 I watched the 2007 film, Inside . I essentially bit into a lemon and shouted at the DVD - "Come at me bro!" I thought I was so ready for this film. I was so certain I was ready for this French horror film (particularly since I survived Martyrs) that I blatantly watched a goretastic movie about a pregnant woman ... on my mother's birthday ...  and I vomited, folks. I seriously threw-up in the kitchen sink. Several times. 

As I'm approaching the 40s with the dignity and grace of a someone who abides by the 5 second rule when food falls on the floor, I've slowly but surely introduced French classics into my life. Such as:
In all, I've come to realize that French films are my nemesis only in entertainment form. They do not relax me, they do not *entertain* me, they do not indulge me. They thrust me into an unfamiliar and uncomfortable world where I am not safe and nothing is guaranteed. They make me uneasy, they fascinate me, and they always seems to bring something out in me that I didn't realize was there (and have no idea what to do with afterwards). Why is it always French films that do this? I have no idea and frankly, I don't really want to know. I'm perfectly happy with the mysterious relationship we have. 

Several months ago I read the late 1800's French novel Thérèse Raquin. Just when I thought French horror movies couldn't get more disturbing I've discovered, so help me, a whole new level of cold-sweat torment:

French horror, French stories, French tales of absolute terror: they are my favorite/least favorite/the best/the best at giving me nightmares for a lifetime. I respect it more than I can possibly articulate and probably will until the end of my days. I also look forward to more.

Adieu for now,