Miley Cyrus Is Possessed.

I know you’re sick of hearing about MILEY CYRUS and well you should be! What is the big deal? Anybody with even a cursory knowledge of horror films could tell you that the girl is simply possessed! She’s not the first and she won’t be the last. Get over it! It’s not like she can’t afford an exorcist and really, isn’t becoming possessed a natural part of growing up? People who view poor Miley’s behavior as some kind of calculated media manipulation need to educate themselves! Thank God I’m here to do just that. Here’s proof that Miley is possessed as illustrated by the always informative world of horror cinema…

PROTRUDING TOUNGUE. Sticking out your tongue in a provocative manner is the simplest way to let folks know that you are possessed! AMITYVILLE 2: THE POSSESSION (1982) is a fine example of this but really just about any possession movie will tell you the same!

STAIR SLITHER. Those possessed know that making an entrance is key and nothing leaves a more indelible mark than a creepy crawl down a staircase. One needn’t attempt a full EXCORCIST style crab walk to be effective; punished heathen Lucy’s crypt decent in BRAM STOKER’s DRACULA (1992), for example, looses no steam for being streamlined and straight forward.

DANCING TEDDY BEARS. Do your toys dance on their own accord? Congratulations you are possessed! Sometimes it is not your actions but the actions of the inanimate objects around you that determine how lost you are to possession. There are far too many examples of toys, dolls, teddy bears and other symbols of childhood coming to life in possession films (Not to mention THE WALTONS) for me to name them all so allow me to simply reference the doll in BROTHERHOOD OF SATAN (1971) and assume that title alone is enough to back my theory.

SATAN GOT BACK. Honestly I don’t know what the devil’s long recorded SIR MIX-A-LOT-like obsession with posteriors is all about. I suppose whatever gets the church folk in an uproar is worth his while. Satyr-horned Cyrus’ recent display of fanny fascination fits right in with the archfiend’s modus operandi. Maybe just count your blessings that a goat was not involved as depicted in THE ANTICHRIST aka THE TEMPTER (1974).

SIMULATED MASTURBATION. I probably do not need to remind you of little Regan’s disturbing repurposing of a crucifix in THE EXCORCIST (1973). Unless you’ve sprayed SCRUBBING BUBBLES directly into your ear, that’s still in your head. Miley doesn’t go quite that far but if she thinks wearing a foam finger will save her from the curse of hairy palms, she is mistaken. On the other hand what better way to communicate you are Satan’s #1 fan?

BODY COTORTIONS. Be real and admit that Miley’s twerking stance is basically just the backwards version of the torso origami showcased in THE LAST EXCORCISM (2010).

BODY MUTATION. When you are possessed your body can do crazy things that seem to go against the laws of nature. Your head can blow up like in THE BEAST WITHIN (1982), you can somehow stick a lipstick into your breast like in NIGHT OF THE DEMONS (1988) or your boobs can turn into monster faces like in MAUSOLEUM (1983)! In other words, if Miley doesn’t fit into her costume as well as she might- don’t blame her blame Satan!

SHAMELESS BEHAVIOR! Opinion has ranged from “Hey, that’s too sexy!” to “Hey that’s not sexy!” Dusty professional MADONNA sycophant CAMILLE PAGLIA even called MILEY’s performance “cringingly unsexy.” (Would-be pop stars take note: If you fail to deliver Jane Hathaway a lady boner, it isn’t art!) It’s as if disobedient CYRUS thought she could just wing it and have fun while Lady Gaga spent all her days practicing her precision SPROCKETS moves! This love it or leave it attitude and scandalous lack of shame over one’s physique can only bring to mind that rude scantily clad attic beast from [REC] (2007)! Don’t kids today realize empowerment requires flawless choreography and tailoring?

SEDUCTION OF MEN! If only there was some way to figure out why the first order of business for recently possessed gals is to seduce innocent older men! I know you must be thinking “ROBIN THICKE is not so much innocent as the dude that sang this past summer’s smash hit date rape anthem.” Yes, but don’t you understand that Satan speaks in symbols and codes? ROBIN THICKE is the son of ALAN THICKE and when you hear “son of ALAN THICKE” you subconsciously picture KIRK CAMERON, America’s greatest Christian! Oh Satan, you and your mocking trickery! How dare you!

O.K., now I’m just being facetious…but only half so. I truly think if you look under the hood of the hysterical outrage to CYRUS’s performance you’ll see the same engine that drives your standard possession film. Fear of female sexuality doesn’t even begin to cover it (though it’s a crucial start), something tells me CYRUS could be as sexy as she wanted to be as long as she respectfully emulated an approved icon like deceased exploited trainwreck MARILYN MONROE (see: MADONNA) or expressed the proper reverence and gratitude toward fame and commerce (see: LADY GAGA). Instead her entire shindig was a goofy, gangly, semi-bratty, free-spirited blow-off to the status quo and no, that’s not going to sit well with certain folks.

Because the real fear billowing up here (as in many a possession film) is the fear of uncontrollable youth, the fear of the next generation coming up to bat, the fear that they’ll stick their (foam) finger up at the boundaries we’ve drawn for them, the fear that they will not adopt and be loaded down by our collective neurosis as planned, the fear (resentment, really) of their freedom to make their own path where we were too meek to do so. The fear that they’ll have more fun than we allowed ourselves, the fear that we misspent our time worrying about the wrong things. This makes the older generation angry but more importantly, and stingingly, this makes the older generation…older (and “older” by the way, is super secret code for “closer to death”).

Damn, CYRUS’ Pan-tastic rite of passage ritual was a pagan dance on all of our graves! She even transformed 27-year old LADY GAGA into a haggard crone right before our eyes! Don’t believe me? check out this clip of GAGA‘s opening number…

(alright, maybe she can’t be blamed for that but still…) In any case, the point is there are plenty of things to be outraged, angry and scared of in this world and a young woman leaving behind childhood has never been nor ever should be one of them. I have little interest in MILEY’s musical output (I’m still trying to adapt to OLIVIA NEWTON JOHN’s “Physical” and SHEENA EASTON singing songs penned by PRINCE) but from what I’ve seen, each generation is slightly less ignorant and hateful than the one that came before it so I’m perfectly fine with MILEY and her contemporaries twerking to their hearts content. I say go for it… go for it, have fun and hail Satan!

It’s a Horror to Know You:: Bigwig!

It’s a Horror to Know You: Bigwig

Hey Guys;

I would have submitted this ages ago, but was trumped by 5 interesting places on the internet, (I would have had no problem with 5 places to avoid) and the fact that I’m not really a Horror-phile in comparison to most others who frequent the site. (I’m more a Trauma-phile I suppose.) Anyway, you can only sit along the wall while the others dance for so long, so here goes nothing…

1. What is the first film that ever scared you?

That would be Live and Let Die, as shown at the pool we belonged to one summer Saturday night. I was about seven, and we had seen a few tame Disney movies at the pool previously. I was on the kid’s blanket with my friends, away from any adults. James Bond shooting it up wasn’t a shocker….it was the voodoo ritual scenes, specifically Baron Samadhi’s screen appearances…”The Man who Couldn’t Die”… Was he even supposed to be real? At one point, his head gets blown off, and it turns out he was mechanical (?), but then sure enough he comes back to fight and fall in a coffin of snakes, plus, he’s on the train cowcatcher at the end. Very vivid…

2. What is the last film that scared you?

I’ll have to say Prometheus for this one. Say what you will of the plot, it captured for me the exact same sense of “Space Dread” that we had as young un’s watching Alien in the theatre unsupervised when such things mattered. (The conundrum of getting frightened, but not being able to tell a parent why at night, since you were forbidden to go to R rated movies, making the nights even worse) The fact that there was an escaping internal logic to what was happening with the black goo, only made it scarier in my mind, and I didn’t mind it one bit.

3. Name three horror movies that you believe are underrated

The Skeleton Key. Maybe it harkens back to Baron Samadhi, but I really thought this was a well done voodoo flick. Good heady scares without the gore – my kind of movie. John Hurt was especially convincing, and all the more when you realized his true predicament.

The Ordeal (AKA Calvaire). Not very well known, and truly disturbing to me. The dance scene alone is worth a watch. Quite Lynchian. Probably the one movie of my adulthood that still manages to have me thinking at night.

Let the Right One In (Non-English version) (probably not underrated, but I never hear it talked about). As an adult and parent, the scene that nails me is the confrontation at the pool. The extreme vulnerability and the age of the (almost) victim juxtaposed against his clothed attackers sets off every alarm I have in my body. Subtitles somehow make it all the more riveting.
If the last one doesn’t qualify, substitute it with Videodrome, which doesn’t seem nearly as abstract in concept 30 years later…kind of like Naked Lunch with a healthy smattering of Night Flight.

4. Name three horror movies you enjoy against your better judgment.

The Incredible Melting Man. I remember this trailer very well, but was too young to even think about wanting to see it, not that I would have. But ever since I have, I won’t miss it. Perhaps the least rational movie of its decade.

Return of the Living Dead. This gets my vote for the soundtrack alone. The Cramps, TSOL, 45 Grave, the Flesheaters — all this goodness before Goth/Psychobilly was even dreamed up as a concept which in turn sunk the fun. At least one zombie (the one in the tank) could have posed as the Incredible Melting Man!

Altered States. I would hardly call this a horror film, and boy the effects get cheesy, but I dunno, something about William Hurt pounding the hallway at the end he devolves into Proto-Blob status trying to keep it together….another one that had me up as a teen hoping my bad choices in drug experimentation didn’t lead me down that path.

5.Send us five places on the internet!

No thanks; please go on without me…

It’s a Horror to Know You:: Adam Sherlock of A Damn Movie Podcast

It’s a Horror to Know You: Adam Sherlock of A Damn Movie Podcast!

1. What is the first film that ever scared you?

I remember being really scared of Garfield’s Halloween Adventure. The idea of the ghost pirates, and the fact that they follow him BACK to his house always terrified me. Also, the episode of The Bloodhound Gang where the house was supposed to be haunted.

As far as films go, Poltergeist was huge, to the point where any 80’s architecture creeps me out and makes me think of Questa Verde. And of course Jaws held massive sway over my tender young mind. For years I was sure that there was a trap door in my bathtub that led to a shark tank. I also saw a trailer for Blood Beach as a child and was forever traumatized. But the reigning champ is still the librarian ghost from Ghostbusters. I saw this in the theater with my dad and just about jumped out of my skin when it transformed. I thought about that stupid ghost for months after that.

2. What is the last film that scared you?

There have been a few the last couple of years that have really done a number on me. Lake Mungo, which has such a surprising emotional and artistic impact that I thought about it for days, not to mention an undercurrent of real world dread. Absentia, which refuses to ever become a traditional horror film, whether through not giving us shocking scares, but rather ones that make us know what it might feel like to be losing ones mind. And speaking of losing your mind, The Eclipse with Ciaran Hinds has a couple of scenes that made me accidently drop kick the beer I was drinking across my living room.

And finally, The Last Will and Testament of Rosalind Leigh does some amazing stuff with just atmosphere and one of the things that gets me more than just about anything: Religious Cult crap! Those who have seen this (which is streaming on Netflix) will know what scene got me the worse. It has to do with a quaint little framed needlepoint saying on the wall. Yikes!

3. Name three horror movies that you believe are underrated.

I go nuts for undiscovered or underrated. It’s a trait I am still holding onto from high school, when having that record by that really good punk band meant something (before the internet made all of that obsolete).

Let’s start with the Dowdle BrothersThe Poughkeepsie Tapes. It’s kind of a shame that nothing they have done since (Quarantine, Devil) in any way live up to the grim terror and surreal viciousness of this film. There are some real August Underground-esque levels of depravity here and some really effective unsettling doom and gloom with fairly little gore. Is some of the acting cheesy? Sure. But it cost them $500,000 dollars! Plus, it was a real stroke of genius to take the found footage genre and go full Court TV Forensic Files with it. I love this movie.

I know that you guys have talked about it a little bit on your site, but I want to give another shout out to Exorcist 3: Legion. There are so many reasons why I think that this movie should be more important. It’s always a shame when a studio gets their hands in a film and twists it away from its original vision. And to be sure, the last twenty minutes of lightning, snakes, acrobatic priests and pyrotechnics does nothing but fly in the face of the deft and subtle hand of Director William Peter Blatty. But let’s not get bogged down in that. What still works? The arguments of morality and faith between Father Dyer and Lt. Kinderman. The incredible performances from George C. Scott, Brad Durif and Ed Flanders. The slow, methodical pacing of the first half of the film, having us show up after the gruesome scenes, and not showing us the atrocities, but just showing us Scott’s face as he reacts to them. Brilliant. Not to mention some of the most memorable single images. The statue of Christ with no head, old ladies playing the piano too fast, the neatly organized jars of blood, the scissor-legged figure in the white sheet bounding down the hall, and heart attack of heart attacks: the old lady climbing across the ceiling.

Alright. My third may be a little controversial. I thought that the second installment of Paranormal Activity was the stupidest thing I ever saw (probably not true, but hyperbole is just so damn fun). Why should I be scared of a pool vacuum? Who green-lighted this thing? But I gave the third installment a chance, and I am really glad I did. I loved the throwback to the 80’s timeline, and it makes sense to set a found footage film in this era. We were crazier about filming everything when home camcorders came of age than we are now. I like how Paranormal Activity 3 adds to the mythology of the girls. Toby is a pretty creepy (giant rabbit?) entity, but nowhere near as creepy as some of the reveals towards the end. Everything gets pretty Wicker Man, which as I said above, the culty thing always freaks me out. And, one of the most cheap / effective scares? A freaking person under a sheet! Man, that takes some serious cojones to put that in your film, but it was AWESOME! Too bad that part 4 was so god-awful.

4. Name three horror movies that you enjoy against your better judgment.

I’m going to start with a movie that I think is actually pretty good, and well done (no pun intended) but that in and of itself is one of the problems. The movie is Long Pigs, a Mockumentary style film that follows serial killer cannibal Anthony McAllister while he does his ‘work’. Far from a perfect film, a lot of the acting and realistic portrayals are really creepy, shocking and effective. I guess I have the same problem with this as I do with something like Nekromantik. I am drawn to the things I find the most repulsive, and then when I get so queasy later that I can’t finish my dinner, I get really pissed at myself.

So I know that for some people, Prince Of Darkness is a great film, but for me, it is pretty embarrassing. Lots of the effects in it just suck, like the whole green ooze, the dude made of bugs, not nearly enough creature transformation, etc. let’s not forget that this is the same year that Hellraiser came out and a year after Aliens and The Fly, so the bar was pretty high. Plus, it’s John Carpenter, fer crying out loud! Then the whole homeless people army led by Alice Cooper (who does nothing but stare menacingly at our main characters and eventually kills someone with a bike!?!), this movie has a lot of problems. SO why have I watched it fifteen times? I LOVE the story here. The idea of the end times being explored by scientists inside of an old church. The hubris of researchers accidentally unmasking some ancient evil that they cannot control totally gives me the willies. And the whole ‘transmission from the future’ with a veiled in fog silhouette of some Lovecraft like ‘old one’ is totally the stuff of nightmares.

Finally, Dr. Tarr’s Torture Dungeon (A.K.A. The Mansion Of Madness) is one of my favorite films, but at times it is almost unwatchable due to it’s low budget, acting and overall weirdness. Directed by Juan Lopez Moctezuma (who was a protégé of Alejandro Jodorowsky’s, and actually served as a producer on El Topo, if that is any indication) it was filmed in Mexico, and then all of the actors voices were dubbed over. It isn’t a good movie, but man, some of the visuals are hilarious, violent, and all around painfully surreal. There is a dandy Prince look-a-like, an awful rape scene with Benny Hill style music set to it, a man dressed up as a giant chicken, a psychedelic dance sequence with a group of women who look like the Bene Gesserit witches from Dune. You get the picture. It’s like a bad fever dream. Plus, the whole thing is on YouTube!

5. Send us to five places on the Internet!

1. I need to pimp my podcast of course, A DAMN MOVIE PODCAST. We are currently getting ready to celebrate our 200th episode. We have been doing this since 2008. We review all kinds of films, old and new, and are super casual about it. Just a couple of buddies sitting around drinking beers and being nerds.

2. I also would like to share my job website. I help incarcerated youth tell their own personal stories in radio podcast form. It’s called Sending Messages, and it is basically a This American Life for incarcerated kids. Check it out HERE.

3. I totally just stumbled onto this guy’s stuff. It is very genre based artwork, and it is really gorgeous. It is also very NSFW, but the combination of pin up girls with giant creepy robots and sea monsters is your thing, THIS GUY is right up your alley.

My last one is a friend’s movie review blog that is just plain stellar. If you like in depth thought provoking film critique, check it out: HERE.

Name That Trauma:: Michelle D. on an Aussie Anti- Smoking Ad

Hi! Before I begin I would like to say how awesome your site is even though I’m not into horror myself.

Maybe you can help me with this trauma.

It was the ’90s and I was a little maybe nine or ten and I remember this one particular ad that used to scare me and I would dread it when it came on.

It’s an Aussie ad from “smarter than smoking” And that was a talking cigarette with a rather sinister voice. One part of the ad he would say “All I want is your money… AND I’LL TAKE YOUR HEALTH!!!” He would laugh and say “I’m going to get you. We come in packs!” Then he laughs manically. Brrrr. I don’t think I was the only one scared of that ad as it didn’t last very long on the set.

UNK SEZ: Thanks Michelle! Hopefully one of our Aussie pals will remember this one too! As for myself, I just learned the hard way never to google “anti smoking ad”! What a horror show! The delusional commercial below is more my speed!

Sunday Streaming:: In Her Skin (2009)

Who wants to feel terrible? Yeah, me too! Gather around because I’m about to ruin your day! Don’t be shy! I only want to confirm your suspicions that humans are capable of the most horrible things. IN HER SKIN is based on a true story and I’m still trying to wrap my head around that. It’s the tragic tale of a family dealing with the disappearance of their 15-year-old daughter and their coming to terms with what befell her once her heart-breaking fate is discovered. It’s currently on Netflix Streaming and why have I never heard of it? People should throw awards at everybody in it! Did you like HEAVENLY CREATURES? Of course you did! And you’ll dig this also. I say that because this too is a reality-based story with flashes of surreal, psychologically expressive fantasy not because I don’t know the difference between New Zealand where HEAVENLY CREATURES is set and Australia where IN HER SKIN’s events occurred. I promise I do.

It’s hard to imagine anyone who would want to do harm to the Barbers’ daughter, Rachel who is pretty, talented and loves life. That is until you meet her next-door neighbor and former baby sitter Caroline Reid Robertson who is not so pretty, not so talented and not so life-loving. Caroline suffers from a raging hatred of herself. She covets Rachel’s seemingly charmed existence to the point where she fantasizes, obsesses and ultimately devises a plan to appropriate her life by destroying it. If I’m making this sound like your standard SINGLE WHITE-usurper Lifetime drama than I really stink because it’s not. Director/writer SIMONE NORTH takes what could have been such and creates something darkly poetic and profound.

GUY PEARCE and MIRANDA OTTO give excellent performances as the slowly loosing hope parents of Rachel and SAM NEILL is convincingly artic as Caroline’s emotionally absent father. The real stunner though is RUTH BRADLEY as roaring misery monster Caroline. She oozes the most uncomfortable type of madness… sad, sick, insecure and, most challenging of all, somewhat sympathetic. (She kept me flashing back to that line from SESSION 9: “I live in the weak and the wounded”.) As impossible as her actions are to fathom, it’s nearly as difficult to understand the inaction of those in her life to get her the help she outright begged for.

Grim, shocking and fascinating, IN HER SKIN coils around the viewer like a snake. As rare as this true case may be there’s something common and timely about Caroline’s frenzied coveting of someone else’s life to the point of destroying it and her own. Seriously, how much of our current culture goads and feeds upon people hating themselves and desiring to be someone else? This is a hard movie to watch and it’s a hard movie to turn away from- even though turning away is exactly what we all seem to have been trained to do. Go on, check it out. You’re looking a little too chipper today anyway.

Name That Trauma:: Philip W. on a Detergent Demon

Love the site! Back in the late 70s, there was a commercial for a dishwashing detergent that featured an animated green monster that had a head reminiscent of Mr. Clean’s and who’s arms and legs were straight and ended in points. I suppose it was a representation of either caked-on food or the detergent itself – I don’t remember the finer points, being quite young. This commercial absolutely terrified me. Does anyone know what the detergent was?

UNK SEZ: Thanks Philip! I’m happy to say I know this one like the back of my hand! You are speaking of Kindertrauma’s arch nemesis “The Spotmaker”! That snidely goblin was the reluctant spokesperson for CALGONITE! You can find an earlier traumafession that includes a partial list of Spotmaker’s cinematic appearances HERE!

NOTE: It turns out that CALGONITE commercials are terrifying even without The Spotmaker….

Name That Trauma:: Blaine H. on a Circus Set Clown Chase


Please help me find this movie…

I remember watching a film when I was younger. It was on TV. I couldn’t have watched it any later than 1998. So it was definitely made before then.

I’m not sure what it was about, but it featured a scene where this scary clown or circus guy was chasing this kid through a circus; around the big tents, under cables and storage areas, and in the truck area etc. He was really creepy looking – probably a clown as this is what gave me a fear of clowns.

That’s all I remember. It was dark, at night when this chase happened. I got the feeling it was in a European city, maybe Budapest or Moscow, but it could have been anywhere. It was on TV in the UK when I was younger, so it wouldn’t have been an obscure foreign film, it must be a US or UK-produced film, and despite it being scary, I feel it was made for kids. It was on on a Sunday lunch afternoon so it was definitely a PG and not a “horror” movie.

Any ideas?

PS: It wasn’t IT Although that also contributed to my fear of clowns.

UNK SEZ: Shame on me for not knowing the answer to this clown themed NTT right off the bat! My first instinct is CLOWNHOUSE (1989) but I can’t find a scene of a kid being chased at the circus! My second guess is KILLER KLOWNS FROM OUTER SPACE (1988) but something tells me that one would have left a more vivid impression. I do know that a kid is chased on fairgrounds in THE FUNHOUSE (1981) but like my other guesses that doesn’t fit your “not horror” description at all! I’m going to need some help on this one!

Name That Trauma:: Woody Monster on an Ear Severing Silver Disc

I recently stumbled onto Kindertrauma, and I’m already hooked. I would love it if you guys could help me figure out what movie scared the crap out of me as a kid. I don’t remember much about most of the movie, but there was one thing that was imprinted on my brain. I remember being terrified of this movie. There was a silver disc like object that could float and fly up to high speeds. On the side of this disc was an eye. At one point this sharp barb ejects from the disc and it rips a guy’s ear off. That probably isn’t much to go from, I was quite young when I saw the movie. If I’m not mistaken there was also a scene with some type of impish creature that was quick and darted and ducked around shelves and corners (again, it was so long ago that might not even be part of the same movie). If anyone could help, I know it would be you guys.

UNK SEZ: Thanks Woody! This one had me stumped but then I realized that perhaps the “disc” was actually a sphere and that would land your NTT right in the PHANTASM zone! I do know that in PHANTASM 2 (1988) an ear is most definitely sliced off by one of the series’ signature silver spheres! This would also fit in with your recollection of an imp as there are some hooded gnome-types running around in this picture! Taking a screen-shot of the floating devil, I even think I can see where one might imagine an eye! I hope this helps. If anybody has another guess , please let us know about it in the comments section!