Vile Vacation Idea: Hoia-Baciu Forest in Cluj-Napoca, Romania

Keeping up with the theme this month of Vile Vacations, I wanted to think of a place I could go to ensure that I would have nightmares to come! I thought of the world’s most haunted forest: Hoia-Baciu Forest in Cluj-Napoca, Romania. This forest has so much to offer someone like myself: Urban Legend, paranormal activity, creepy fairy tale like trees, and even UFO sightings!

forestthree

Located in the historical region of Transylvania, and a massive forest at 617 acres (250 hectares) you can definitely get lost at night. Especially with no compass or sense of direction, this forest is also nicknamed as the “Bermuda Triangle of Transylvania”.  It is named after a shepherd that disappeared along with two hundred sheep. This makes the locals believe that if they go in the forest, they may never return. Also, they believe that some souls of the locals who have been murdered go to this forest for unrest. This can account for witnessing odd lights, noises and seeing heads floating among the trees. Certainly, several visitors have experienced mysterious rashes, burns, nausea, and unexplained loss of time. Not to mention the feeling of being watched and hearing unexplained voices.

foresttwo

A large portion of the forest that is barren. People believe that this is where most paranormal activity is. But there’s also several springs that border the forest which can be a conduit for activity. How exciting is this!? Ghost Hunters and Paranormal Researchers visit the forest in hopes to find something here.

 
forest-oneThere was one documented sighting of a UFO in the 70s with a photo for proof, but some have not been able to be so lucky to see another as successfully. While the photo is pretty cool and such, the idea that there hasn’t been another sighting is possibly the only disappointment if to visit.

So, with the idea that you will be guaranteed some kind of experience when visiting this creepy, but awesome forest, would you go? I most definitely think it would be well worth the experience and great material for nightmares.

 

What is your favorite vacation destination? Let me know and if you have visited Hoia-Baciu Forest, I would definitely love to hear about it!

 

A Guest Top Ten Horror Movie List – Philip Chidel

To help our Horror Addicts fans get an idea of the type of things we are looking for here is a guest list of Top Ten Horror Films from Philip Chidel.  You may remember Philip from his interview on Horror Addicts along with the review of his short film ‘Til Death.

So take a look at his list of top Ten Horror Films between the years of 2000 to 2011.  He provides us with reasons for his choice which should help shed some light on what had him pick the film.

So without further discussion here is his list.

Philip Chidel’s Top 10

10  OPEN WATER:  (2003 – domestic) Some say over hyped for such a low budget, which may not be possible, but real sharks are scary.  The final scene haunts me still.  Boring to some, terrifying to me.

9  THE STRANGERS: (2008 – domestic) A guilty pleasure.  Could have been an easily forgettable low-budget slasher flick.  Instead has sharp direction, slick production value, and genuinely creepy masked baddies.

8  PARANORMAL ACTIVITY: (2007 – domestic)   Perhaps damaged by its lesser and imitative sequels, but this first one really did make me scared to go to bed at night.  Unique and inventive.

7  THE DESCENT: (2005 – UK)   Girl power!!  But not enough girl power to scare away Batmen.  Also has one of the great scare moments in the last 20 years.  Maybe more.

6 TRICK ‘R TREAT: (2007 – domestic)  Great campy fun.  Great for a Halloween in.

5 RINGU: (1998 – Japan)   The original.  Still the definitive J-horror movie, and you still don’t get a better creep on than the girl thru the TV set.

Note remade as, The Ring (2002 – Domestic)

4 REC: (2007 – Spanish)  Spain is scary.  Esp. those quarantined apartments with weird angry things in the attic that attack for no damn reason.  Sequel is good too!

3 THE HOST: (2006 – South Korean)   Anotherll time fave.   Monster as metaphor.  Or if you like: Just plain old badass monster.

2 LET THE RIGHT ONE IN:  (2008 – Sweden) Smart hard drama is always scarier than real horror.  But add vampires and kids, and you’re golden.

1  AUDITION: (2000 – Japan) The scariest most gloriously repulsive movie and it is actually ABOUT something.  All time fave.

Paranormal Activity Franchise

First-time director and writer, Oren Peji, went to extremes to make his first independent feature.  Peji started his journey by not only remodeling his own home, but researching the films unseen protagonist.  The remodeling of his home, the research and the dramatic form of story-telling created a cult phenomenon which later became one of 2009’s run away hits.  The film has spawned two sequels with each continuing to step back into the story set by the original film.

Some of the original films lure and success, came from an ingenious online marketing campaign.  Fans were asked to go online and demand that it be shown in the city in which they live.  In many major cities this worked well as fans were treated to the film.  After the film’s original run fans who signed up on the website were even given an opportunity to re-sign up and get their name in the films credits.  This of course caused the film to have some of the longest listed credits in recent movies but it helped fans, like me, feel this film was for us.

While all this excitement over the film was going on, Paramount purchased the rights to the film, and thus opened the door for sequels.  The second film in the series was released in 2010 and like the original scared viewers nearly out of their seats.  This second film can be called a prequel and did just as well as the original, and then we have the third film in the franchise coming out in 2011.

By now some of those reading may be wondering what film franchise I am referring to and others may have guessed by now.  I am, of course, referring to the Paranormal Activity franchise of films.

What makes these films so unique, is the way in which the story is told and the time much of the action takes place.  In both films we find one of two sisters being harassed by some mysterious entity.  The entity primarily uses the night hours to make its attention known to the family.  In the original film we find Katie (Katie Featherston) being tormented by something.  Noises in the night, bumps and thuds and eventually things get worse.  Katie is dragged from her bed, kicking and screaming and worst of all her boyfriend is no help.  Micah (Micah Sloat) refuses to listen to the advice given to them by a psychic and attempts communication with the entity and taunts the creature.  This leads to an ending that has shocked those who saw the film.

The eventual sequel, takes us back into the story.  It shows how Katie’s sister, Kristi (Sprague Grayden), is married with an infant son.  Kristi and her husband, Dan (Brian Boland), arrive home one night to find their home ransacked and eventually the only thing found missing is a necklace her sister had given her.  This leads to security camera’s being installed within the house.

As in the first film things begin to happen.  Kristi’s house is besieged by an entity of some sort as well.  It starts simple with the pool cleaner ending up on the pool’s deck and moves on.  At one point Dan’s daughter, Ali (Molly Ephraim) is locked out of the home while babysitting her brother.  Unlike the original film, in this one we find out that whatever is haunting them wants the baby boy.  Thanks in part to research that Ali does we find out that the entity is a demon and somewhere in Kristi’s and Katie’s, family someone had to have made a deal with the demon.  Now that the time has come the beast want’s its payment.

What makes these two films so unique is they prey on your base fears.  We see people sleeping as doors open around them.  Shadows reach out to touch an individual and at times it appears as if it could be standing there watching them.  How many can say a thought of someone, or something, staring at them as they sleep doesn’t send a chill down your spine.  Closets, cupboards and other items move and do their own thing with no sign of what caused it.  Worst of all, people seem to become possessed – their actions are no longer their own.

Beyond that base fear, the other item in both films that can get to an individual is how we see the men in these sisters’ lives have no disregard for their fears.  Neither man is willing to listen to the woman in their life until things get to their ultimate worst.  The men do not take the fears and concerns these woman are trying to share with them seriously but instead either deny or encourage what is going on.  This is a fear many couples have, the mistrust of a loved one.  The fear of knowing someone you care about, and cares about you, will not listen.  This can add to the tension in both films and in a subtle way is as scary as what is happening.

The Paranormal Activity Franchise is telling its story in reverse, giving us the back story to each film as it moves forward.  We understand the driving story to each original film as the franchise moves along.  The films tie together beautifully as they tell the story of this poor family.  In all cases a slow building event grows and the tension of not only the viewer but those watching the events as they unfold.  In a world where we are used to watching film crews record the life of people for reality television, these films work perfectly.  We can understand how a single camera, or more, is able to capture all this activity with no one knowing what to do. As paranormal television shows grow in popularity and we start to hear the true stories of other the events of this franchise become more real and possibly even scarier.