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Kindertrauma Funhouse

February 16th, 2018 · 15 Comments

Hey, let’s celebrate THE RITUAL being on NETFLIX by taking a trip to the woods today! How many of these woody movies do you recognize?

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Tags: Kindertrauma Funhouse

I Recommend…

February 7th, 2018 · 16 Comments

Dear kinder-kritters, I’m going to be going on a trip to visit family and my computer is not invited so the lights are going to be off in Kindertrauma Kastle for a spell. Normally I’d hire a sitter but since sitters attract home invasions and unwanted telephone solicitation, I have decided against it. I won’t be gone long and I plan to return with an extra spring in my step. Please help yourself to anything you find in the fridge and do wait a half hour after eating to swim in the moat!

While I’m gone let’s say we play a game of “I Recommend” in the comments section of this post! If you’ve recently seen a movie you enjoyed please tell your fellow Kindertrauma pals all about it. You can simply leave the title with zero explanation or expand upon your thoughts to your hearts content. Add as many as you like! If you can provide how you viewed your recommended title (via Netflix, Hulu, telepathy, osmosis, through the crack in a car trunk at the Drive-In etc.) that couldn’t hurt either (I’ll even start first). Have fun. Be safe. Don’t open the door for anyone!

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Tags: General Horror · General Insanity

Name That Haunted House Movie!

February 2nd, 2018 · 24 Comments

Hey! WINCHESTER opens today and the screenplay was written by my very own brother so make sure you go see it! In the meantime, below are images from twenty haunted house flicks. How many can you identify?

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Tags: Name That Trauma!

Name That Trauma:: Scott P. on Multiple Monsters in an Old House

January 29th, 2018 · 9 Comments

Scott P: Not my trauma, but one of my favorite musicians ( Ginger Wildheart ) was asking about this on Twitter, & I suggested he come here to see if any of the experts can crack it. In case he didn’t see that Tweet, I thought I’d send the details he mentioned :

Trying to remember a movie where there are monsters inside of an old house. Some are tall, some are hunched deformed things. It was made in the last decade. The action kicks off in the kitchen, and culminates in a tall creature chasing a woman down the hall, while a hunched over goblin thing sits in the corner.

It was not a found footage film. I think the premise of this horror movie was a house built on top of Hell, or something.

These monsters all looked different from each other. Different shapes, sizes and looks. Some of these monsters weren’t remotely human shaped.

It was a small budget movie, not much promotion. I think it was American, but had more of a European horror than a 50’s B-movie feel. It was an indie flick, similar vibe to Digging The Marrow, looked fairly expensive too.

Any chance we can figure this out for him? Thanks!

~ Scott P.

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Tags: Name That Trauma!

Name That 30 Year Old Horror Movie Poster!

January 26th, 2018 · 21 Comments

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Tags: Kindertrauma Funhouse

For the Love of:: The Boogens (1981)

January 24th, 2018 · 4 Comments

UNK SEZ: Today is all about THE BOOGENS! Your Unkle Lancifer has teamed up with fellow BOOGENS enthusiast Amanda Reyes of MADE FOR TV MAYHEM fame and we’re both going to share our five favorite things about this lovable 1981 flick which STEPHEN KING himself recommended as a “wildly energetic monster movie”! I think we can all agree that what the world needs now is more BOOGENS! Amanda, take it away….

AMANDA: Opening credits: As an archivist I have an unhealthy fixation on not just history, but also the diverse ways we can (and do) recount the past. That history is often stitched together like a quilt (or maybe Frankenstein is a better reference for this article!), with distinctive artifacts, manuscripts and sometimes oral histories helping us develop the bigger picture. I’m also really into economical storytelling and low budget horror. There is something really simple but brilliant about how the opening credits sequence of The Boogens creates the standard slasher flashback sequence through sepia tone photos and ratty newspaper headlines. The film quietly lays out the story about a booming mine that has been shut down due to several mysterious cave-ins, and deaths, generating an impressive level of intrigue. And don’t forget that sweet harmonica score, which adds just the right amount of melancholy. This is easily one of my favorite openings to a horror film, and without one visceral moment to be had. It’s all about mood and storytelling.

AMANDA: Fred McCarren: I’m not sure when or where I first laid eyes on the adorable and affable Fred McCarren, but he was always a reliable “Oh, that guy,” for me through most of my life. Predominately a character actor who showed up in everything from Hill Street Blues to Here’s Boomer, every so often Fred got to star in a film. And, The Boogens really lets Fred’s star shine. He’s appealing, likeable and beyond charismatic as good guy Mark. In The Boogens, Fred showcases his incredible knack for comic timing, and he constructs Mark as a guy who is funny in small, simple ways, which makes him realistic as a buddy and potential boyfriend. It also seems fairly obvious that Fred is an actor who is not so egotistical that he has to own every scene. I get the feeling he loved the ensemble cast of The Boogens, and he never attempts to be the biggest personality in the room. It’s that low-key approach that makes him so disarmingly sexy, and that is very sexy indeed.

AMANDA: Romance: Going back to Fred McCarren for a minute (sorry, I can’t help myself!)… There are many things about The Boogens that I adore, but ultimately it is my love of love that keeps me coming back to the film. Most genre films of this era have some level of romance, whether it’s unrequited love (which often spurs a character to kill), or simply pure animal lust (which is the case 90% of the time in most of these films), there are always characters who only speak of love (or sex, but we’ll call it love for the sake of the argument). The Boogens definitely has the animal lust component in Roger (Jeff Harlan) and Jessica (Anne-Marie Martin), who are undoubtedly loveable but almost exhausting in their pursuit of carnal desire. They’re fun and all, but it’s the courtship dance between Mark and Trish (my hero, Rebecca Balding) that keeps me coming back for more. There is such a sense of fun in the dialog delivery, and there are so many genuine sparks you think all of that snowfall is going to melt around them. A bit like my heart does! I feel like I’m falling in love with them as they fall in love with each other. Sure, I’m a sentimental fool, but goshdarnit, the love affair between Mark and Trish beats the crap out of any Harlequin romance novel going, and will ultimately defeat the Boogens! So sue me, K?

AMANDA: Friendship: A while ago I wrote a paper for school about female friendship in horror films, and I noted how the influx of slashers coming out at the time (the Halloween remake, Sorority Row, etc.) featured very antagonistic characters. It often seemed as though no one liked each other and I wondered why on earth they would hang out together. I’m a bit old school, but that gives me the benefit of hindsight, and I can see that movies like Friday the 13th, Friday the 13th Part 2 and so on were appealing because people actually liked each other (I mean, mostly, let’s not get into Melissa in Friday the 13th Part 7, who is amazing but not someone you’d want to share a bowl of ice cream with). When they hung out in the film, you were hanging out with them, and it was cool, man. Real cool. The Boogens has several endearing friendship moments, and I want to drink a beer and barbeque with all of them. But it’s probably Trish and her best girl bud, Jessica that always makes me smile. They want what’s best for each other, and when Jessica plays cupid for her gal pal, the way she tries to sell Trish to Mark by asking, “Isn’t Trish neat?” is one of the sweetest moments I can remember in any horror film. Ever. It’s the engaging nature of the characters that keeps me invested in their outcome, and sad when some don’t make it. I mean, this is a horror film, and yes, I love the death scenes, but I also hate them because that means I have to say goodbye to someone I actually care about. Tiger forever, y’all!

AMANDA: Boogens-cam: Let’s go back to what I said about The Boogens being an exercise in economical horror filmmaking. They’ve got a great location, awesome characters and good set-pieces, but, I have to admit, the monster effects leave a little to be desired. Don’t get me wrong, the worm-like Boogens are charming as all get out, but they are budget too. The filmmakers realize this and in place of overselling it, they opt instead to use what I have always referred to as the “Boogens-cam.” So, it’s like most slashers in that the there are several killer POV shots, but here we’re seeing the terror from the monster’s eyes. A giant worm monster! This means we’re looking through some crazy and fun angles, usually taken from the ground, giving us a glimpse of the victims-to-be as they find themselves in very precarious situations. Jessica’s death is especially gripping, but the awesome POV shots also give those scenes a bit of a tongue-in-cheek feel, adding to all that charm I keep falling over myself for. I don’t even care what the monster looks like when all is revealed. Well played, Boogens. Well played.

UNKLE LANCIFER: The Title. Much like Smucker’s jelly, with a name like THE BOOGENS — it has to be good! I have to salute this wonderfully unique and creative name for a horror movie. Some unknown genius snatched something familiar from childhood fears (the “Boog” from “Boogeyman”) then streamlined and pluralized it to come up with something creepy, catchy and uniquely its own. I dig that it sounds like an incurable disease or a fearful feeling like the jitters or the heebie jeebies. I love that it is equal parts threatening and amusing because that is my favorite flavor of all time. It’s such a potent moniker that it even became a go-to punchline on the sitcom NEWHART (in one episode, the character of Michael (PETER SCOLARI) rejoices in the fact that a Fellini festival is finally over and has been replaced by THE BOOGENS. A later episode finds him telling his employer Joanne that she looks scarier than anything in THE BOOGENS). I’m also fond of its bedraggled cursive font that resembles a hastily painted warning sign suggesting unknown danger is ahead. I’m only sad I never got to see THE BOOGENS RETURN on a marquee.

UNK L: The Creatures. First time viewers are nearly unanimous when it comes to being somewhat disappointed by the titular monsters lack of screen-time and less than impressive ultimate reveal. I can’t say I blame them; the film does such a fine job of building them up in our imaginations throughout that their rubbery puppet appearance can be a bit of a sobering let down. That said, once you embrace the clawed, tentacled turtles as simply the humble victims of a limited budget, you kind of have to love them (even if they strangely resemble Witchiepoo’s spider henchman from H.R. PUFF N’ STUFF). The little dudes are a big part of what makes THE BOOGENS so special. For the most part, the film chugs along not unlike your typical (albeit superior) early eighties slasher fare but once our little devils are exposed we’re in pure, squishy monster movie territory (think FIEND WITHOUT A FACE (1958) or ISLAND OF TERROR (1966)). That type of hybrid may not seem like such a big deal now but I can tell you from personal experience (I’ll never forget seeing THE BOOGENS in the theater) it was a blast of minty fresh air at the time (the same might be said of the previous year’s creature feature dancing to a slasher beat, HUMANOIDS FROM THE DEEP). Anyway, let’s just say if somebody made a BOOGENS stuffed animal I would buy it in an instant and if I were Santa Claus, a HUNGRY, HUNGRY BOOGENS game would be under every tree.

UNK L: The Dog. Hey, it’s Tiger, the greatest dog who ever lived! Sure, there are plenty of other adorable pooches that inhabit the horror genre (Muffin from FRIDAY THE 13TH PART 2, Thor from BAD MOON, good ol’ misunderstood CUJO, et al.) but none are quite like unflappable Tiger. Animal rights activist should be smitten with THE BOOGENS because Tiger is presented not only as a sidekick or accessory but also as a fully developed character complete with his (or her?) own meaty storyline. We’re talking real acting chops here, folks! Tiger doesn’t have to resort to language to express wants, needs and fears; Tiger speaks loud and clear with facial expressions and eyeballs alone (and maybe a yelp or two). Tiger alone understands that danger is a foot and the Cassandra-esque canine’s warnings go unheeded to the peril of all involved. If only they had listened! Tiger may not survive the BOOGENS onslaught but that does not negate the puffy puppy’s persistent pluckiness! All hail Tiger!

UNK L: The Snow. I’ve probably mentioned this a million times before but I’ve really got a soft spot for snowbound horror films. They’re great all year round. In cold months you can commiserate along with the characters and in hot months they provide relief from the heat. THE BOOGENS, which was filmed in Colorado and Utah whips up a stark and snowy atmosphere under oppressive slate grey skies and it’s a movie I would not mind living in. The cabin in which most of the action takes place in is all kinds of old-school cozy and inviting and the same can be said for the local watering hole inhabited by counter-Hollywood, salt of the Earth types. The brisk weather also necessitates that all characters involved don exceptionally solid late seventies layered flannel and sweater ensembles. Yep, I’m into the whole look of this movie from the isolated, frigid landscape right down to REBECCA BALDING’s signature pageboy hairdo.

UNK L: The Novelization. This has to be one of my favorite literary adaptions of a horror movie (it’s only real competition would be OWEN WEST (aka DEAN KOONTZ)’s THE FUNHOUSE). It does a fantastic job of not only touching the bases covered in the film but expanding upon them as well. There are several additional interesting characters and a much more catastrophic climax. The mood is tense and grim throughout and the creatures themselves come alive in ways unachievable on film. There’s something almost LOVECRAFTian in the way the monsters squirm about on the page. They are described more as gelatinous blob-like entities and their multitudes and anatomy come across as way more convincing. I recommend you track this paperback down while it’s still relatively affordable. Much like the film, it’s perfect for delivering chills any time of year. The only thing more dog-eared than my copy is Tiger himself.

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Tags: Amanda By Night · For The Love of:: · Uncategorized

Name That Trauma:: Koddie K. on Jacuzzi Murders and More

January 22nd, 2018 · 10 Comments

Hey, I’m looking for titles from a few movies. I’ll try to be as specific as possible. Hope you can help me.

Movie number 1

Horror film from the ‘80s, I think. It’s about a troubled boy who has to take his medication on time to make sure he doesn’t go crazy. His parents go away for the weekend and his mum insists on taking his medicine. He invites some friends from school to have a party. His ex is also at the party and tries to persuade him to give it another go but he has a new girlfriend now. She is also at the party but she’s kinda new so nobody really knows her. One couple goes in the Jacuzzi and the guy goes back inside to get champagne or wine and the girl gets killed in the Jacuzzi. Apparently this ‘new girlfriend’ is a lot more crazy than the guy poppin’ pills. In the end she seems to be the killer.

Movie number 2

Horror/thriller from the ‘90s, I think. A group of people bury some guy with his face down cause he should go straight to hell. The wife of this buried guy is out for revenge and kidnaps the child of one of the relatives of the people that killed him ‘cause apparently she is the last one to still be alive. The child is kept in some kind of dungeon underneath the house. The mother does a neighborhood questioning and ends up with the wife of the buried guy but of course they don’t know right away that she has the child locked up.

Movie number 3

Horror film from early 2000s, I think. Some people end up at some kind of farm in the middle of the night, the guy gets out ‘cause he sees someone running around, and pretty much right away he gets shot by a shotgun (it reminded me of the movie PLAGUE TOWN a little bit but that’s not the one). Two of the other guys run off since their friend got shot, the killer hunts them down and finally they come across some cabin and hide there. Pretty quickly they find out that the cabin belongs to the killer. I believe it was raining a lot and the killer wore a raincoat.

I hope you can help me in my search, thanks in advance.

Koddie K.

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Tags: Name That Trauma!

Name That 1998 Movie!

January 19th, 2018 · 12 Comments

All of the images below are from movies that are (ouch!) twenty years old this year! How many of the horror flicks from 1998 do you recognize?

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Tags: Kindertrauma Funhouse

Insidious: The Last Key

January 18th, 2018 · 4 Comments

Dagnabbit, the unthinkable has happened. They finally made an INSIDIOUS installment that yours truly has zero gumption to rally behind. We must be trapped in an alternate dimension because I had more fun watching a football game (Go Eagles!) this past weekend than a horror movie (a sign of the Apocalypse?). It’s not that the fourth horse in the INSIDIOUS parade is terrible or anything. It certainly has its heart in the right place but geez Louise, I found it dishwater dull. In fact, at some point in the middle, I got up to go to the restroom and instead of rushing in a frenzied panic, worried I’d miss an important beat; I found myself leisurely strolling knowing that it was unlikely. There are such long, drawn-out, static moments of non-consequence in this movie that I think I could have dropped by the concession stand as well. I’m all for quiet junctures in horror that build up the tension but I’m not down with empty stalling. I’d think I’d be the perfect audience for a film concerning a mature woman confronting a childhood of abuse in a dwelling chock full of demons but you have to throw me a semi-fresh bone to gnaw on periodically. This trudging rehash is creakier than the house it takes place in.

Things start out promising enough with the immensely likable and sympathetic psychic Elise Rainier (the blameless LIN SHAYE) experiencing a nightmare/flashback of her youth. It seems poor Elise is haunted by memories of her brutal father who tried to quell her clairvoyant talents by beating them out of her. After waking up she receives a phone call from a man looking for her assistance in ridding his home of malignant spirits only to find out the address in question is that of her childhood home. This is an intriguing premise and I’m all on board but as soon as she and her henchmen Specks and Tucker (LEIGH WHANNELL and ANGUS SAMPSON) arrive at the (barely changed in 60 years) haunted abode things begin to slide towards the mundane. Even worse, the characters of Specs and Tucker who have been consistent sources of amusement in the INSIDIOUS series are regulated to leering at Elise’s nieces and repeating painful dad jokes. The closing scene of INSIDIOUS 3, which involved the trio teaming up and facing a future of ghostbusting together was so promising, it seemed the sky was the limit as far as what they might encounter next. Disappointingly, even with Elise’s personal history attached, we still end up in the increasingly less interesting phantom zone “the further.”

I think INSIDIOUS: THE LAST KEY might do the trick as a rainy night time-killer. It’s a respectable enough attempt and a little SHAYE goes a long way. Still, it seems like there were more than a few potentially profound moments involving Elise’s reconciliation with her parents and her rejecting the urge to empower the evil with her rage that fall much flatter than they should. Maybe I’m experiencing INSIDIOUS fatigue or maybe it’s the fact that horror fans have been gifted much more lively and exciting fare to devour as of late. In any case, this movie has done well enough financially that a fifth installment is not unlikely. Here’s hoping that next time those in power are creative enough to take us someplace we don’t expect, someplace further than “the further.”

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Tags: General Horror

Goodbye, 2017!

January 11th, 2018 · 12 Comments

I can’t say I was a big fan of life in general circa 2017 but mercifully, it was a gonzo year in horror entertainment. It’s like the old saying goes, “When life hands you lemons, sell those lemons and use the cash to buy a movie ticket.” The list below represents my favorite horror offerings from an otherwise odious year. Whether they’re “good” or “bad’ is somebody else’s burden to decide, these babies kept my paper boat afloat either way. (In no particular order….)

IT. Yep, some of these picks are going to be obvious no-brainers. How could I not dig one of the most kindertrauma-iest movies ever made? I loved the characters, the town and even the clown and at least two scenes freaked me to the core. I’ll be looking forward to returning to this one again and again.

GET OUT. This flick is fascinating on too many levels to count and who would of thunk a scene involving someone simply searching for keys could be so damn suspenseful? Taking paranoid cues from ROSEMARY’S BABY and THE STEPFORD WIVES, this scorching social critique is in a league of its own.

SPLIT. Don’t call it a comeback, M. NIGHT’s momma said knock you out. I don’t see how anyone could not be thoroughly entertained by this darkly humorous, twist-infested thriller. It’s like a long lost Di PALMA film complete with a side dish of BETTY BUCKLEY. My hometown of Philadelphia has never looked better on screen and JAMES McAVOY is non-stop mesmerizing.

ANNABELLE: CREATION. Forget it’s a prequel and part of a franchise; this creepy flick can stand on its own. You could replace the titular doll with any raggedy moppet and it’d work just as well. The camerawork and cinematography are surprisingly exquisite and I love the time period detail and the moving way loss and loyalty are represented. This is a keeper in my book.

THE SHAPE OF WATER. 2017 was not only the year of astounding commercial success for horror films; it was host to some the genre’s greatest critical glory as well. GUILLERMO DEL TORO’s poetic fairy tale clarifies that there are infinite uncharted depths for monster movies to explore.

THE EVIL WITHIN. I’m not sure if this counts because it was made 15 years ago but 2017 saw its unlikely release (two years after its creator’s death) and so here we are. This movie is disturbingly bonkers but it’s also a one of a kind personal vision and I’ve got to throw laurels upon it for originality alone. Batty as it may be, the bizarre effects are eye-popping and the dank, morbid dread it conjures is surprisingly potent.

TRAGEDY GIRLS. Sadly, I don’t get to see more independent horror in these parts and even sadder, I’ve been burned by so many bad independent horror films that I’m not crying too many tears over that fact. Thankfully PUFF (The Philadelphia Unnamed Film Festival) knows how to separate the wheat from the chaff and I got to see this HEATHERS-esque dark teen comedy. This flick might have sunk like a stone with lesser casting but its two leads are charismatic as hell. Don’t be surprised if this one quietly becomes a cult classic.

KONG: SKULL ISLAND. Is it kosher if I add a movie simply because I’m in love with its lead? Good, because I love King Kong! He’s awesome and he really knows how to throw a helicopter and clearly has a taste for seafood grander than my own (he eats an octopus). I felt like a kid watching this movie and that’s gold.

TERRIFIER. Speaking of feeling like a kid, this movie brought me back to that unsafe space of watching sleazy VHS tapes as a teen and giddily fearing what obscenity could happen next. I can’t recommend the plot too much (besides the fact that it’s set on Halloween) but killer clown “Art” genuinely had me shaking in my shoes and the almost too realistic gore scenes are horrifically impressive.

CULT OF CHUCKY. Long running horror franchises take note — a great way to revitalize a sagging storyline may be to add an interesting new character. I’m sure I’d watch any movie featuring my friend ‘til the end Chucky but the addition of FIONA DOURIFF to the last two CHILD’S PLAY installments has greatly sharpened the killer toy’s blade. DON MANCINI deserves mucho credit for pushing the mayhem into less familiar zones and for keeping fans on their toes.

LOGAN. I know this isn’t considered a horror movie but my library only had the B&W “noir” version to borrow and it ended up tasting like a late night horror classic to me. I mean, essentially, it’s really about people perceived as “monsters” being chased cross-country by an ignorant torch-carrying mob. Furthermore it’s got a killer kid in it so that even further justifies its inclusion here. In any case, I’m sticking with the B&W version and hope to never see it in color.

BETTER WATCH OUT. This movie shocked the hell out of me and I thought I’d seen everything. The premise is as hoary as the hills, involving a babysitter besieged by intruders during the holidays but before you know it, the old grey mare is flipped on its head. It also happens to feature my hero for life, CANDYMAN’s VIRGINIA MADSEN. Do you have a library card? If so, you can watch this FOR FREE on HOOPLA right now. If you don’t have a library card, all I can do is shake my head.

SUPER DARK TIMES. Imagine A SIMPLE PLAN but instead of finding money, a trio of teens accidentally kill a (rather obnoxious) peer. What follows is a haunting nosedive into regret that crashes into true horror. There’s something slightly heartbreaking about this movie and its exploration of the limits of social connection. It’s beautifully shot too, full of memorably moody images and the performances are so real you almost feel like an accomplice.

GERALD’S GAME and 1922. I hope it’s not rude to lump these two together but they’re both NETFLIX originals based on the work of by STEPHEN KING and they’re both exceptional works of psychological horror. In fact, they are rather like flip sides of the same coin. GERALD’S GAME explores the mind of an abuse survivor haunted by her past while 1922 rummages through the aftermath guilt of a man who chooses to murder his wife. I found GERALD’S GAME superior in the suspense department but I ultimately preferred 1922’s more consistent tone. The other thing these two films have in common is that they both feature absolutely stunning performances from their leads (CARLA GUGINO and THOMAS JANE, respectfully).

ONE DISAPPOINTMENT: ALIEN: COVENANT. I appreciate this film’s visual style and overall impressive artistry but egad, I’ve never liked an ALIEN movie less. I found myself so surprised by my aversion toward it that I gave it a second viewing hoping it would gel and it only left me feeling more slighted. Maybe movies are like people and there are just some that you can’t click with no matter the effort. On a bright note, it did make me reconsider 2017’s other Sci-Fi monster effort LIFE in a more favorable light. That movie at least closed with one truly mortifying scene that really stuck with me.

LOOKING FORWARD TO: WINCHESTER. Hey, my very own brother wrote the screenplay to this movie WINCHESTER and it’s opening February 2 in the US (and March 2 in the UK). It stars HELEN MIRREN (!!!) and it’s all about the fascinating Winchester house, which is said to be one of the most haunted places on Earth. You can read up on Winchester House HERE and watch the spooky, badass trailer below! Here’s to WINCHESTER starting off another epic year for the genre!

What were you favorite horror films of 2017 and which ones are you looking forward to in 2018? Leave us a comment and let us know!

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Tags: General Horror