FRIDAY NIGHT AT THE TRAILER PARK: BERKSHIRE COUNTY

SynopsisAlysa King plays Kylie, a teen who is coerced into a sexual encounter at a party by a popular boy (Aaron Chartrand), whose friends send video of it across social media. Her self-confidence in shreds, and her reputation in tatters, she is in chronic victim mode when she reluctantly agrees to a desperate plea by a couple in a secluded castle-like mansion to babysit their two children on Halloween. Alone in the country, she is a prime target when she begins receiving prank phone calls, and a boy wearing a pig’s head makes a suspiciously-late trick-or-treat call. What follows is a game of cat-and-mouse between Kylie and a surprisingly sophisticated gang of butchering hicks. It is a test of will that requires her to stand up and take charge if she and the children in her care are to survive the night.

Berkshire County was first shown at the Shriekfest Horror Film Festival in 2014. I don’t know much about it except to say that it has won numerous awards and that it adds Audrey Cummings to a growing list of female fright film directors that include Jen and Sylvia Soska (American Mary), Ana Lily Amirpour (A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night) and Jennifer Kent (The Babadook). If the trailer is any indication then Berkshire County could be a pretty damn intense affair. It kind of reminded me of a sinister “Three Little Pigs” meets The Strangers with a little bit of Halloween or perhaps The House of the Devil thrown in for good measure. But don’t take my word for it; check out the trailer for yourself:

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Starring Alysa King, Samora Smallwood, Bart Rochon, Aaron Chartrand, Robert Nolan, Madison Ferguson, Cristophe Gallander, and Leo Pady, Berkshire County will make its widespread debut on June 3, 2015.

 

 

A-Z TRIVIA WEDNESDAY: THIR13EN GHOSTS

This is a new feature that I want to try out here on Written in Blood. I have a pretty huge collection of horror DVDs and Blu-rays (always growing) and I thought what I would do is go down the line from the numeric titles all the way to Z and feature a still from a film and a piece of trivia to go along with it. It might be something you already know but then again maybe not. One thing I know about my readers is that you are all damn smart and you love your horror. Hopefully you’ll love A-Z Trivia Wednesday and it will be my new Wednesday feature. If not then I will keep trying.

Number One: Thir13en Ghosts* (2001):

Shannon Elizabeth in Thir13en Ghosts

Shannon Elizabeth in Thir13en Ghosts

 

 

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In the movie, the characters need special glasses to see the ghosts. In the original 13 Ghosts (1960), viewers needed special glasses to see the ghosts. This is one of the few details from the original that was kept.
*Yes, I realize the title starts with a ‘T'; it also has the number 13 in the title and therefore I figure it could be placed either in the ‘T’ section or the numerical section: Thirteen Ghosts or 13 Ghosts. I chose numerically.

 

WHAT’S THEIR BEST FILM?: JOHN CARPENTER

The votes for last weeks poll have been tallied and you, readers and voters, chose Inglourious Basterds as Quentin Tarantino’s best film.

This week’s entrant has a more extensive filmography so move this along, shall we? Don’t forget to vote in the poll after the posters.

What’s Their Best Film?: John Carpenter

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UPDATE: SCREAM QUEEN OF THE YEAR

Okay, I posted the poll for Scream Queen of the Year on Dec. 7. The poll will be open for a few more days so may I remind you to catsvote, folks.

Here’s how the voting is going so far:

Lily Rabe is in the lead:

January

Gillian Anderson and Sharni Vinson are tied for second:

July

November

Carolyn Jones is in third place:

February

Danai Gurira and Raquel Welch are in fourth place:

March

Various - 1965

Christina Ricci and Amber Heard are in fifth place:

September

October

Bringing up the rear are Chelan Simmons, The Soska Sisters, A.J. Cook and Traci Lords:

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May

June

August

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CAST YOUR VOTE FOR THE WRITTEN IN BLOOD SCREAM QUEEN OF THE YEAR FOR 2014

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This is a first here at Written in Blood. I would like for you, my readers, followers and subscribers, to pick from this years crop of Scream Queens the one that you think deserves the title of Written in Blood Scream Queen of the Year for 2014. Look them over once again from January to December and then kindly cast your vote in the poll at the end. The voting will run for one week and after that the winner will be featured in a pictorial post a few days later. Happy voting and always remember to take care…and stay scared.

LILY RABE

January

CAROLYN JONES

February

DANAI GURIRA

March

RAQUEL WELCH

Various - 1965

JEN AND SYLVIA SOSKA

May

A.J. COOK

June

GILLIAN ANDERSON

July

TRACI LORDS

August

CHRISTINA RICCI

September

AMBER HEARD

October

SHARNI VINSON

November

CHELAN SIMMONS

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COMING SOON-WRITTEN IN BLOOD SCREAM QUEEN OF THE YEAR-COMING SOON

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IT’S IN A WORD AND IT’S IN A LOOK AND I WANT MORE OF THE BABADOOK

THE BABADOOK-Australia-93 Mins. 2014

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Essie Davis as Amelia in The Babadook

Essie Davis as Amelia in The Babadook

Noah Wiseman as Samuel in The Babadook

Noah Wiseman as Samuel in The Babadook

Hayley McElhinney (L) as Claire in The Babadook

Hayley McElhinney (L) as Claire in The Babadook

Daniel Henshall as Robbie in The Babadook

Daniel Henshall as Robbie in The Babadook

Barbara West as Mrs Roach in The Babadook

Barbara West as Mrs. Roach in The Babadook

Also starring Ben Winspear

Directed and Written by Jennifer Kent

The Babadook is not what I expected and I am abundantly grateful for this. I expected a film about a storybook monster that comes to life and terrorizes a mother and her child and it would include jump scare after jump scare because by now most of us have been conditioned to suckle on that teat. I was half right; The Babadook is about a storybook monster that comes to life and terrorizes a mother and her child. Except that there are no jump scares to be found in this movie. The Babadook scares us the old-fashioned way by building up and playing on our fears rather than by shoving the frights down our throats. Essie Davis gives a startling performance as Amelia. Director Jennifer Kent plays on our childhood fears to scare the hell out of us and in doing so has given us one of the finest films of psychological horror that has been produced in quite some time.

The Babadook begins with Essie being shaken, glass breaking and flying into her vision as she looks to her husband for comfort. Her husband is and has been dead for six years but we don’t know this from the opening scene. We learn from Samuel that his father died in a car accident while rushing Amelia to the hospital when she went into labor with him. Samuel has a tendency to allow whatever pops into his mind to emerge from his mouth. It’s certainly not his only  personality flaw; Samuel is a child who has a deep-seated fear of monsters and who never seems to stop moving, talking, screaming much to the stress of Amelia, his exhausted and exasperated mother. By the time she reads the storybook that unleashes the Babadook upon them she is already a defeated woman. What makes The Babadook scary is that we continually feel afraid for Samuel and Amelia and as the Babadook grows in power so does that fear; so subtle yet we feel as if we’ve been slammed by a locomotive. However, as much as we fear for mother and child there is that nagging question: is the Babadook real or the manifestation of a mother at her wits end over a child that she finds difficult to care for, much less love? I have my own opinions but would rather not share. I would rather you experience The Babadook for yourself.

The highest praise that I can give The Babadook is not in a vocabulary of hyperbole. I compare this movie to the works of author Ramsey Campbell. Campbell’s books (such as The Nameless, The Influence and The Doll Who Ate His Mother) and short stories at first seem slow and tedious until we begin to let the words sink in and he sets our minds reeling and chills cascade down our spines. After years of horror films that are nothing but cerebral bludgeoning The Babadook and its quiet horror are nirvana to this reviewer.

TRIVIA

Of the film’s modest budget, $30,071 was raised via Kickstarter. Most of the funds raised from Kickstarter were channelled toward the art department.
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Essie Davis also appears in The Matrix Revolutions and Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’hoole.

Noah Wiseman makes his feature film debut in The Babadook.

Hayley McElhinney also appears in My Mother Frank and Inhuman Resources.

Daniel Henshall also appears in The Snowtown Murders and These Final Hours.

Barbara West makes her feature film debut in The Babadook.

Ben Winspear also appears in The Last Goodbye.