From the Mind of Master Imaginationist Crystal Connor ~"A Trusted Name in Terror."

The Darkness, Artificial Light, In The Valley of Shadows

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

DVD pick of the week: When magic is done right.

Things you never see black people doing in horror movies, thing # 31

Playing with Ouija boards

DVD pick of the week….a month in review.
Dudes! So sorry for the absence everytime I thing I’ve gotten a handle of my social media responsibilities I lose my rabid ass mind and completely shut down =/ I am so behind. Since the last time I posted I’ve toured with Juniper Grove Book Solutions to promote the two books  I co-wrote with paranormal romance author Lori Titus, The End is Now & The Guardians of Man I should have been posting/tweeting every day of that tour, I have no idea why I didn’t. But more on that in a later post.

Ok, today’s post is going to be talking about how awesome a story can be when ritual magic is done right! The most important thing in telling a story is making sure you do the research but that doesn’t necessarily mean you have to spend a year researching your subject matter. When it comes to magic the information out there is almost limitless.

When I was writing the Spectrum Trilogy I took the very basic rules, magic 101, if you will and built my stories within those boundaries. Once you establish credibility and the reader/watcher willingly agrees to the suspension of disbelief, you can take them anywhere. But 1st you need to establish credibility. Let’s take a look a four films that do exactly that.

1st up Colm McCarthy’s 2010 Outcast

Plotline: It tells the tale of Petronella (a Scottish/Romany girl) and Fergal (her mysterious Irish traveller boyfriend). As their doomed relationship plays out, a Beast stalks the estate, killing locals, working its way towards our protagonists. Meanwhile Cathal and Liam, two mysterious travellers from Ireland use ritual and magic on a blood hunt. Mary, Fergal's mother performs ritual and magic of her own. As Cathal comes face to face with Mary in a vicious finale we know one thing: the Beast must die.

Scariness Factor: It’s more intense than scary, there is one part where the witch and warlock and fighting each other in a ritual and I’m pretty sure I held my breath for the entire scene =D

Gross out factor: N/A

Complaints: None

High points: The movie doesn’t bogs us down with the explanation of symbol and ritual, instead it allows the viewers to call upon what people inherently know about magic to tell the story.

Personal Commentary: The reason this movie worked for me is because they make it a point to show how dangerous, even for the most skilled, practicing magic can be. Another thing that is established from the very beginning is that even though the two clans are using ancient rites in a modern society, the old world rules still apply. The people who came to hunt this beast don’t do anything until they are granted permission from Laird, the regions elder wizard, to hunt there. When the terms of the permission are broken he corrects it with an iron fist.

Stars: 5

Where I rented it: Streamed from Netflix

Next up: Anthony Leonardi’s 2013 Nothing Left to Fear
Plotline:: A family's journey toward a better life is interrupted by an unstable man of the cloth.

Scariness Factor: 4 ½ out of 5 You know something isn’t right fairly quickly, you just don’t know what, and the feeling of uneasiness just rises the longer you watch. I love it!

Gross-out Factor: N/A

Complaints: This is not really a complaint per se, but the new guy in town is a preacher but he seemed to be really naïve about the things that were going on around him.

Highpoints: Again all the basic rules of ritual magic are adhered to and I loved the fact that this story was told on a foundation of Christianity because religious-themed horror is my all time favorite genre.
Personal Commentary: I loved this movie! But like I said before the new preacher seemed clueless and I was left to wonder if he had been a catholic priest (sense those guys are the ones to call if an exorcism is needed) if he would have caught on sooner. I understand you’re supposed to place all of your faith in God, but the bible warns time and time and again about false prophets and wolves in sheep’s clothing. But in retrospect his belief that men are basically good is what added to the tension of this film

Stars: 5

Where I rented it: Netflix

#3 Chad Kinkle’s Jug Face
Plotline: Jug Face tells the story of an entity in the pit requires a life for keeping the community safe. The face of the person to be sacrificed is crafted onto a ceramic jug. When ignored, the entity unleashes an evil onto the community. Now no one is safe as tragedy befalls each member one by one and they soon realize that the pit wants what it wants.

Scariness Factor: It’s not really scary but it is thrilling with plenty of opportunities to scream at the people on screen ;p

Gross-out Factor: Not really gross but this movie takes place in a very rural area and the community living there is a small one so there are scenes involving incest.  

Complaints: Actually this movie didn’t give me not one thing to complain about

Highpoints: The story revolves around regional specific, again they don’t bog the story down w/a history lesson, they give us just enough back story to let us know what’s going on. Another thing that I super duper loved about this movie was that the town’s people did go traipsing their asses thru those woods   

Personal Commentary: The trailer I posted above is not the trailer that I was when I heard about this movie. The trailer I saw was horrible so I assumed this was going to be another low budget movie where the director just phoned it in. My sister is the person who showed me this trailer. Man I’m so glad she did because otherwise I would have missed this.

Stars: 5

Where I rented it: Red Box

Last but nowhere near least is Anthony J. Rickert-Epstein’s Compound Fracture 2013
Plotline: After the gruesome death of his sister's husband, Michael returns home with his fiancée and his recently orphaned nephew to take care of his father Gary. Gary has changed much since the last time Michael saw him: he's become extremely paranoid that a supernatural force is out to get him and is obsessed with making his home an unassailable compound. While Michael and his family initially believe that Gary is suffering from symptoms of  dementia, they soon discover that Gary has a reason to be scared.

Scariness Factor: A solid 5

Gross-out Factor: N/A

Complaints: None!

Highpoints: The basic rules of ritual magic are followed to a T.  

Personal Commentary: This is another movie that relies on what the viewer inherently know about magic to tell the story. As what’s shown in the trailer the salt and symbols are emphasized without commentary. There is a scene where the adult son drops his glass due to a bang on the window, he cuts his foot on the glass on his way to see what happened. He opened the door and stepped right in the middle of a symbol and it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that a blood offering was just made.

The rituals performed in this movie come from old Norse magic they don’t tell you that til near the end and the timing is perfect because it adds depth to the why of what’s going on   

Stars: 5

Where I rented it: Streamed video on demand