Kbatz Kraft: Gothic Dark Shadows Sconces

Anyone else love those giant candelabras in the Collinwood foyer on Dark Shadows? Over the years I’ve collected some fine iron stands and hefty glam candlesticks, but such tall electric faux mood is obviously tough to find. This past holiday season, however, inspiration in creating my own imitation struck thanks to wrapping paper rolls and Christmas tree ornaments. Yes!

Upon finishing the wrapping paper, I swished the empty cardboard roll like a lightsaber as you do, but could these large tubes become a supersized Halloween Candle Cluster? Tea light toppers seemed too small, but eureka the Dollar Store came through once again with oversized light bulb shaped ornaments! Of course, they’re supposed to hang upside down, however sitting upright on top the cardboard rolls they’re perfect for that mid-century mood. A few hours and mixed coats of orange, red, and gold paint later, that bold flame faux was in full Dark Shadows effect. The location in mind for these candle imitations, unfortunately, is a small spot with little floor room for any ornate base – perhaps a re-purposed tall lamp or plant stand. On what then could I set my faux candle rolls? I spent the winter browsing ugly brass and plastic sconce shelves in the thrift store yet none were the right size, shape, or material for this old fashioned Dark Shadows look. Sconces would keep the floor free, but perusing home improvement stores didn’t yield any kind of affordable corbel or ye olde wooden plaque, either. Then, #stayathome forced my search online, and after a late night scouring on Amazon, I finally found a set of reasonably sized sconce shelves with an ornate scroll motif in the spirit of those big old candelabras. My black heart could see passed their white finish thanks to some handy burnt umber paint! The interior scrolls were painted black for dark definition, and after two umber coats, a yellow ochre dry brush added a bronzed patina.

Initially, the cardboard rolls were cut into four twelve-inch and two fourteen-inch candle pillars. Glue drips around the top created that faux melting wax, and the painted bulbs were glued on top. The bulb height, however, made the candles too tall for the shelves, so they were cut down to two ten-inch and one twelve-inch pillar per sconce. After a white base coat, more yellow ochre mixed with a dash of brown added dimension to the glue drips before mixing the white with the yellow ochre for a creamy, antique finish. The completed candles with bulbs were glued to the sconce, though the candle base felt bare compared to the Dark Shadows lamps with metal foliage accents. A $5 roll of metal craft trim from Amazon worked splendidly once painted with black and ochre for an aged look and glued in place (and I used the remaining piece to make an impromptu tiara, as you do in a pandemic amirite?) Although I spent more than usual for the sconce shelves at $20 for a set of four, the “only a few left” and delayed shipping fears are what really kick-started this three-day project into action. With $2 for wrapping paper, $6 for the bulbs, and $5 for paint and glue sticks already in stash, $38 total is an affordable, fun homage compared to a much more complex electrical redesign or antique purchase.

These gothic mock sconces were a case of working with what I had, finding inexpensive items to use in new ways, and paying more for a completed vision. It’s difficult to hold out for the right pieces or even see creative value in these tough times, but ideas and inspirations can still become a reality! There is however, a certain irony to making fake Dark Shadows candles imitating a real electric lamp that was fake candles – “vampires pretending to be humans pretending to be vampires.”

Revisit more Kbatz Krafts and Frightening Flix including:

Dark Shadows Video Review

DIY Cardboard Coffin

Painting it Black

For more step by step Project Photos, Follow Kbatz Krafts on Facebook

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/kbatzkrafts/

Odds and Dead Ends: The danger of the future in ‘A Warning to the Curious’ by M. R. James

“May I ask what you intend to do with it next?”

“I’m going to put it back.”

The 1972 Christmas adaptation of the classic M. R. James ghost story, A Warning to the Curious, perfectly captured the unique terror of the story, a terror that was at the heart of most of James’ classics. In the tale, an amateur archaeologist finds himself on the trail of an ancient Anglian crown said to protect the ancient kingdom from invasion, but is pursued by its ghostly protector intent on keeping it hidden. What drives the story is that the past should remain in the past, admired from a distance but never defiled for personal gain, lest destruction be wrought on more than just the individual.

For note, I’m going to discuss the story in detail, so, spoilers ahead. Just a little warning to the curious.

The idea of a ghostly companion isn’t something new; for one such example, Sheridan Le Fanu used a disturbing rendition of a demonic presence in Green Tea, about a man who had his third eye opened to a demon, which takes the shape of a monkey with glowing red eyes that haunts his every waking moment. As James was a great admirer of Le Fanu’s work, and helped compile several volumes of his stories, he would have obviously been aware of this story, and the ghostly companion idea.

For James, however, he uses this device for more than just scaring people. James in his personal life was most at home in the old libraries of Cambridge and Eton, as a medievalist and scholar. He was, for all intents and purposes, very much afraid of radical changes of life, especially through technology and social upheaval. The First World War is said to have affected him tremendously, to hear and know of his students, and friends, dying in the trenches abroad. All of this helps us understand where James comes from when his story puts so much emphasis on maintenance of a status quo, of letting the past lie.

It’s interesting to me that in both the original short story and the BBC adaptation, the main character, Paxton, is going through a period of personal lifestyle change. In the short story he is in the process of moving to Sweden, and spending a last few weeks in England before he follows his belongings abroad. In the BBC version, Paxton has been a clerk for twelve years before his company folded the week before, and he decided to follow up on the story of the Anglian crown as a result of nothing else to do, and nothing left to lose; a chance of making a name for himself. The curiosity in finding an ancient relic, and using it to begin a new life (economically and socially on the screen, as a metaphorical omen of good luck for a new beginning in the original), morphs into Paxton’s eventual undoing.

Even the title spells out the intended meaning of the text; don’t let your curiosity get the better of you. And that in both versions of the text, the re-burial of the crown doesn’t deter the spirit from pursuing Paxton, is further proof that the uncovering of the artifact is not simply a physical defiling of the past, but an endangerment on a larger scale. By removing the crown, there is danger of the shores being invaded, bringing about that social upheaval and radical change that James feared so much. To deter others from doing likewise, and having knock-on effects which negatively influences the wider world, the guardian of the crown must end Paxton’s life. This punishment for curiosity is famously central to H. P. Lovecraft’s stories. Lovecraft would have had the protagonist end up insane, or gods breaking through into our dimension in some way. Lovecraft himself wrote of M R James in many letters and articles, praising him as a master of weird fiction, so the connection between the two writers is certainly there.

In our own days of great social change, with the world going through unprecedented times, the antiquated verse of James’ ghost stories might seem a little stilted. Yet he seemed to express that fear in all of us with the best, that the change overcoming the world might contain some ghosts to be feared. How we choose to take his warning for the world, is up to us, but it seems chilling nonetheless that James was putting into fiction exactly what many people fear will happen if one kicks the hornet’s nest of the past. For an old-fashioned Victorian like James, he wanted the comfort of his history. For any change to happen, we must be prepared to face whatever consequences we unleash.

-Article by Kieran Judge

-If you want more M. R. James, here’s a link to an article I did a few years ago, comparing the device of very literal ‘deadlines’ in James’ Casting The Runes and Koji Suzuki’s novel, Ring: https://horroraddicts.wordpress.com/2018/08/06/odds-and-dead-ends-analysis-of-casting-the-runes-and-ring/

From the Vault: Irish Ghost Stories by Patrick Byrne

In the mood for some fun ghost tales from the wilds of Ireland? Check out Irish Ghost Stories by Patrick Byrne.

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Irish Ghost Stories contains stories that tell of spooky goings-on in almost every part of the country. They include the tales of the Wizard Earl of Kildare, the Scanlan Lights of Limerick, Buttoncap of Antrim, Maynooth College’s haunted room, Loftus Hall in Wexford, and an account of how the poet Fancis Ledwidge appeared to an old friend in County Meath. The country of Ireland is full of old castles with secret rooms, and while some of the stories are obvious figments of lively imaginations, there are other tales that cannot be easily explained.

While many of these stories are quaint hearsay and exaggerated truths, they are fun to read. The location and historical details are interesting and probably mean more to those who live in the area. I especially like to read these aloud during a fireside gathering. They lend themselves to a storytelling sort of atmosphere and are fun to share.

My favorite tales are:

“Murder Hole”, which is a door on a high floor with no outlet but a 50 foot drop to your death.

“Devil’s Horse”, which tells of a late night customer at a blacksmith. When the blacksmith is done, he’s paid in gold and the customer’s cloven feet walk away. After the customer is gone, the blacksmith finds what he thought was gold, is glass.

This book also tells of ladies in white, banshees, and all the fun stuff ghost lovers have come to enjoy.

 

Odds and DEAD Ends: Shutter – A curse defined by it’s country

I think we often assume such concepts as ‘curses’ or ‘evil’, and their representations in media, to be generic and similar wherever we go. I’d like to challenge that notion here.

Just under two years ago I was completing a module for my course entitled ‘Film Genre’, the focus example being horror. Due to a mix-up in my head and getting the date wrong, I went to submit my second assignment two days late. I had to resit the assignment (an essay eventually completed about Takashi Miike’s film As The Gods Will), but I’ve always wondered what my work on the original assignment would have garnered.

And so, in time for the finale of HorrorAddicts.net’s examination of curses in all their various guises, I’ve decided to bring out that original essay, redraft it, give it a little touch up, and present it to you for your enjoyment and, hopefully, education. It’s about one of my favourite horror films of all time, Shutter, and the direct influence of Thailand on its presentation, creation, construction, and identity. If you take nothing away from this article than an increased awareness of how a country can create a unique, different experience, perhaps a differing viewpoint and perspective than a western film might show, then that’ll suit me fine.

Enjoy.

“National specificity is often what is being ‘sold’ as a distinguishing quality in any film being offered for export in a world market.” (Knee, 2008, p. 125).

Thailand may seem an unlikely place for a healthy horror tradition, given western audiences’ tendencies to associate the genre with the USA and UK, from the Technicolor castles of Hammer Horror to the 1980’s American slasher era, but it thrives nonetheless. As Adam Knee notes, “Over the course of several months from late 2001 into early 2002, no fewer than four Thai horror films were released in Thai cinemas – a substantial enough phenomenon (given the dozen or so Thai films being produced annually in recent years)” (Knee, 2005, p. 141). The rich past of Thailand, with its prevalence of Theravada Buddhism, history of trading and cultural exchanges with neighbouring nations, and relatively accelerated technological advances and recent urbanisation, make it a perfect setting for horror. I shall discuss the influences of many of these aspects of Thai life and history on its horror films, focusing on the film Shutter from 2004, and the many influences that Thailand has had on its themes and formal construction.

The premise of Shutter is a simple one. A photographer, Tun, and his girlfriend, Jane, hit a young girl whilst driving home one night after meeting with the photographer’s friends, and drive off without checking to see if she’s alive. The girl’s spirit, Natre, haunts the pair, mostly Tun and his photographs, unlocking the secrets of Tun’s past, and the dark connection between himself, the ghostly spirit and the cameras he loves so much. Whilst this premise could seemingly be picked up and placed in any country, Shutter is nevertheless distinctly Thai.

I’ll begin with the fear of technology in the film as a symbol for the evils of Thailand’s rapidly developing urban areas. Thailand, and more specifically Bangkok, is one of the most quickly developed areas in the world. As noted in A History of Thailand, “In 1998, the economy shrank 11 percent – a dramatic end to the 40 year ‘development’ era during which the Thai economy had averaged 7 percent growth and never fallen below 4 percent,” and when discussing a man who had visited rural Thailand in the latter half of the 20th century in one decade and returned the next, he said that “Villagers who had described the local rituals to him only a decade ago now exclaimed that ‘the rice spirit is no match for chemical fertiliser.’” (Baker & Phongpaichit, 2010, pp. 259, 160). As Knee notes, “Bangkok, a city that, in an architectural sense, is haunted indeed – with the old and the new, the disused and the thriving often crammed into the same spaces,” (Knee, 2005, p. 147). This all illustrates that Thailand has changed dramatically over the past few decades leading to Shutter’s production and release, becoming almost unrecognisable from what it once was, complete with the invasion of technology into the home, including television; “By the mid-1990s, over 90 percent of households had one,” (Baker & Phongpaichit, 2010, p. 223).

This chaotic eruption of advancement gives the film the perfect backdrop to use technology, a symbol of advancement and modernity, as a vehicle for Natre’s spirit to conduct herself. Although not confined to the camera, it is photography, and the technology associated with it, that is her main medium of choice for her haunting. Not only does she use the camera to present herself (such as Tun seeing her through the viewfinder), or uses the photographs (she turns her head in a developed photograph in another scene), but she actively uses this medium to manifest as a physical presence. In the scene with Jane in the development room, Natre’s spirit manifests itself inside a sink covered with photographs, rising slowly out of it, as if emerging from the photographs themselves. Natre’s use of the camera therefore may not only be seen as a narrative link between her and Tun, but also as a warning of the dislocation from reality that technology can provide in a new and thriving Bangkok. “Bangkok, as an emblem or instantiation of modernity, is a key reference point… and often appears to engender an anxiety over foreign influence and the loss of traditional mores,” (Knee, 2005, p. 157)

This unease around technology is expressed as unreality, which the film discusses in Jane’s University lecture, “photography does not produce reality.” Tun’s obsession with this ability to capture an unreality means he is more easily pressured into photographing Natre’s rape; he is able to detach himself from the scene because in his mind photography doesn’t replicate reality, only an unreality. He is able to forget these events after Natre’s departure from Bangkok, to the ‘real’ world, until Tonn mentions it again; the Bangkok he lives in has become to him, through the influence of his photography, an unreality, the world of his photographs even more so, easily dealt with because they are not the true reality.

It is perhaps impossible to lead on from the evils of Thailand than to go to its religious good, and its prevalent religious beliefs in Theravada Buddhism. One of the key ways in which Shutter creates its terror can be seen in both the grounding, and eventual perversion, of this particular strand of Buddhism’s treatment of malevolent spirits.

In Buddhism, “Villagers view abnormal death with great fear, because the winjan may become a malevolent phi called a phii tai hoeng”, (winjan being a form of consciousness, phii  a spirit, and phii tai hoeng a vengeful and restless spirit of one who has come to an abnormal death) (Tambiah, 1975, p. 189). Suicide falls into this category of abnormal death, and so it may be correct to classify Natre’s vengeful ghost as a phii tai hoeng, according to Buddhist tradition, perhaps not too dissimilar to Japanese Onryō. Natre isn’t disconnected from Buddhist teachings either, as is displayed by the Buddhist funeral held for her. A Buddhist view and understanding of her spirit is a decent idea therefore, with Buddhist rules to follow in our understanding of the film.

When her mother initially denies the village’s wish to bury her, the villagers treat her afterward like an outcast; “All the villagers were scared. No one wanted to socialise with her.” Natre’s spirit is unable to rest, as she hasn’t been given a proper burial, and will return as a phii tai hoeng in due course. Her mother, however, may hold a clue as to why she did not return immediately. A short booklet called Thailand Society & Culture Complete Report, when discussing the belief of evil spirits arising from suicide, remarks that “the music and presence of loved ones generally keep the spirits at bay,” (Press, World Trade, 2010, p. 12). By this logic, the presence of her mother, living in the same house as her corpse, should have kept Natre’s spirit at bay, despite the lack of a funeral. However, several events may have led to Natre’s sudden appearance again at the beginning of the film.

At the house, as Tun and Jane proceed to Natre’s room to discover her body, they pass hundreds of bottles of liquid. On the DVD commentary, Natthaweeranuch Thongmee, who plays Jane, says that “some people didn’t know what those bottles were,” to which director Parkpoom Wongpoom replies “the drunken mum.” (Shutter (DVD Commentary), 2004). This excessive drinking, an evil no doubt symbolically returning with Natre from Bangkok, would surely have an effect on the restraining of Natre’s spirit to her corpse, allowing her to escape at the right moment more easily.

Along with this, Tun, her former lover, is now with a new partner, and taking her on nights out with the group that raped her. It seems no coincidence then that she first materialises after Tun looks at Jane and remarks “beautiful you.” With no mother able to hold her back (she acts as if Natre is alive, and goes away when she says she will fetch Natre upstairs, proof she is in no fit mental state to able to contain Natre’s spirit), along with Tun’s display of affection for Jane, we see that the immoral, violent world of modern, Bangkok society overrides the Buddhist teachings and traditions that would hold Natre at bay. It is, of course, at a great hospital (probably in an urbanised area, maybe Bangkok), that Natre jumps from and commits suicide, and inside a Bangkok University where she is raped. Natre has become a product of the evils of the allure of the technological advancement of Bangkok, which might prevent the Buddhist teachings from keeping hold of her, and hold of morality as a whole.

In terms of the possible perversion of Buddhist traditions mentioned, it could be possible to understand Tun’s camera as a symbolic form of amulet. According to the World Trade Press, “The Thai people widely use amulets called khawng-khlong, which literally means ‘sacred potent objects’”, and “Amulet-wearers usually seek protection from diseases, witchcraft and accidents.” (Press, World Trade, 2010). The image of Tun using his camera as a means of profession, hanging by a strap around his neck, warding off the evils of poverty and illegal money-making, could be taken as symbolism for a Buddhist amulet. If we adopt this theory, we can see that Natre’s usage of this symbol of protection for her haunting is a direct attack on Buddhist traditions and beliefs. Even her eventual cremation and Buddhist funereal rites can’t stop her, with Natre manifesting at her own funeral by putting a hand on Tun’s shoulder, perhaps the biggest insult to Buddhism one could imagine.

As mentioned before, the Buddhist elements in the film are mainly associated with the rural areas outside Bangkok, which adds further reasoning to Bangkok being an immoral place removed from righteous, religious teachings. It is only in the rural areas that we see evidence of Buddhism, with the monks at the roadside as Tun and Jane are asking about Natre’s mother, and then again at the funeral and subsequent cremation. Whilst in Bangkok, nothing of these traditions are seen or mentioned. Instead we have the drunken ‘gang’ of Tonn’s raping a young woman in one of the city’s Universities, and the eventual madness and chaos brought about by her revenge. This can be no accident. Buddhism is firmly planted in the rural, whereas the urbanisation represents evil, both in life and after it.

Another key thing to note is the context of other Thai film in relation to Shutter, especially Nang Nak, released five years earlier in 1999. It tells a traditional Thai folk story of a woman who died during childbirth whilst her husband is away at war, whose spirit continues to dwell in their home and live with him after he returns, eventually being discovered by her husband, Mak, and exorcised and set to rest by the Buddhist monks. This film became a box office hit in Thailand, winning over a dozen awards. In considering Shutter, it is important to also consider the links to Nang Nak and the influence it had on the creation of the film.

Aside from the concept of a departed woman not being able to rest without her significant other, there are several places where the two films bear a striking resemblance to one another. The opening title sequence of Nang Nak has the titles appearing over paintings and murals depicting Thai history, as a way to enhance the film’s setting. This is not too dissimilar from Shutter’s opening sequence of what could almost be described as a photographic mural, a montage of images showing the main character’s past. Having the titles over images of the past, with the film so closely following Nang Nak, can’t be coincidence. Along with this, the sequence where Natre walks towards Tun outside his apartment along the ceiling is strikingly similar to a scene in Nang Nak where Nak stands on the roof of the Buddhist temple (this image being frightening and representative of an inversion and perversion of Buddhism, such as Natre’s spirit represents). Nak’s spirit is eventually contained inside a fragment of her skull made into a broach, just as Natre is contained initially inside the camera, and eventually in the hospital room with Tun at the very end. Added to all of these resemblances is the fact that Chatchai Pongrapaphan, who composed for Nang Nak, also composed the music for Shutter, providing yet another link between the two. Without a doubt, Shutter took inspiration from the 1999 film and, as the tale of Nak is a well-known legend in Thailand with dozens of adaptations, it is possible that Natre herself was even inspired by Nak.

The influences on Shutter however, are not merely restricted to Thailand. Many international considerations need to be made in order to understand it, perhaps the most important one being the emergence of the cycle of Japanese horror films kick-started by the release of Ringu, a 1998 adaptation of the 1991 novel of the same name. The film’s main antagonist, the vengeful spirit or onryō of Sadako Yamamura, became a cultural icon when the film hit theatres, becoming one of Japan’s top box-office hits of all time. The USA would commission a remake, The Ring, to be released four years later. In the wake of Ringu’s immense success, the image of a vengeful ghostly female character with long black hair became prevalent in films such as Ju-On: The Grudge (2002), One Missed Call (2003) and Dark Water (2002).

It wasn’t long before word got around that this was an almost sure-fire method to get people into cinemas, along with international interest. This is noted perhaps humorously in a blog post by Grady Hendrix on Kaiju Shakedown, “after The Ring, The Ring Two, The Ring Virus, Nightmare, Scissors, Ju-On 1 & 2, A Tale of Two Sisters, Dark Water, Kakashi, The Phone, Shutter, Unborn but forgotten, Into The Mirror, Wicked Ghost, Shikoku, One Missed Call, Horror Hotline… Big Head Monster, Pulse, R-Point, Three Extremes and on and on, this whole ‘long-haired-dead-wet-chick’ trope is dead.” (McRoy, 2008, p. 173) His association of numerous films on his list, including Shutter, with ‘J-Horror’, even when they aren’t from Japan, is perhaps telling of the cycle’s influence on Asian cinema. Everyone wanted to have their own ghost-girl film that was more terrifying than the others.

On a horror revival, with western eyes turning towards Asia for ghostly women to see on their screens, it’s not hard to see that Shutter took influences from Ringu and the like for its character of Natre, similarly a vengeful female ghost with long black hair. Thailand had been looking to Japan for influences for decades, especially when it comes to film; “the first permanent exhibition space for films in Thailand was built by a Japanese promoter in 1905,” (Ruh, 2008, p. 143). Added to this, Davis and Yeh state that “Japanese horror films have a long history, tapping ghost tales and Buddhist sermons in the Edo period,” similar to Shutter’s usage of Buddhist influences, as well as noting that, in their discussion of Ringu, “In this story, some of our most trusted devices inexplicably turn against us”, similar to Natre turning the camera on Tun (Davis & Yeh, 2008, p. 119). Also to note is in the DVD commentary, when Tun walks into the room before seeing Tonn jump to his death, remarking about the static on the television, Pisanthanakun remarks that “on the website they said we’d copied this scene from The Ring,” This remark clearly indicates that the filmmakers are aware of Ringu/The Ring and its influence on current Asian cinema, and whilst this is a denial that the scene is explicitly referencing the Japanese film, the general motifs and iconography of the film are so similar to the cycle that they cannot be ignored.

The cycle of horror at that time, especially the original J-horror as well, also loved to use technology as a means of manifesting the malevolent entity involved. In Ringu it is a videotape, Pulse (2001) uses computers, Suicide Club (2002) uses the radio and television broadcasting. Shutter, then, follows a long line of films in Japanese cinema by using technology as a focus point for its malevolence and evil, but added the influence of Bangkok for this technological evil.

A final point to note might be the inclusion of the number 4 in the staircase scene with Tun running away from Natre. On the DVD commentary, Wongpoom states that “Foreigners say that they know the number four means death for the Chinese… I was surprised they knew that,” and when asked if it was intentional, both he and Pisanthanakun replied “yes”. This use of numbers in Chinese culture and tradition specifically for foreshadowing events and themes of the action taking place shows a very nice cross-cultural connection between the Thai filmmakers and the neighbouring country that has had so much connection with Thailand in the past centuries through to the present day, with many millions of Chinese residents living in the country.

In conclusion, Thailand’s social and cultural history has led to its films becoming rich with remnants and depictions of its setting in both formal construction and through its themes and symbolism. In Shutter, Buddhism and its traditions are invoked and subverted in an attempt to portray the rural countryside as a place of tranquillity and peace, with the city of Bangkok a thriving haven of rape, alcohol abuse and evil. Bangkok’s malevolence includes its rapid industrialisation and technological advancement which can further enhance and continue to spread the evil, in a similar fashion (but different meaning) to Asia’s cycle of horror films inspired by the kaidan tales of Japan, with Thailand’s own film history in Nang Nak influencing its construction. China also shows its influence in its superstitions appearing in the film, knowledge of which is acquired via close national connections with the country. Shutter then, despite first appearing to be a standard ghostly horror movie, is in fact layered deeply with the social concerns and cultural influences of Thailand, with other Asian nations helping to create a rich, transnational horror film.

 

 

Bibliography

Baker, C. & Phongpaichit, P., 2010. A History of Thailand. Second Edition ed. China: Cambridge University Press.

Dark Water. 2002. [Film] Directed by Hideo Nakata. Japan: Oz.

Davis, D. W. & Yeh, E. Y.-Y., 2008. East Asian Screen Industries. London: British Film Institute.

Ju-On: The Grudge. 2002. [Film] Directed by Takashi Shimizu. Japan: Pioneer LDC.

Knee, A., 2005. Thailand Haunted: The Power of the Past in the Contemporary Thai Horror Film.. In: S. J. Schneider & T. Williams, eds. Horror International. Detroit: Wayne State University Press, pp. 141 – 159.

Knee, A., 2008. Suriyothai becomes Legend: National Identity and Global Currency. In: L. Hunt & W. Leung, eds. East Asian Cineams, Exploring Transnational Connections on Film. London: I.B Tauris, pp. 123 – 137.

Nang Nak. 1999. [Film] Directed by Nonzee Nimibutr. Thailand: Tai Entertainment.

One Missed Call. 2003. [Film] Directed by Takashi Miike. Japan: Kadokawa Pictures.

Press, World Trade, 2010. Thailand Society and Culture Complete Report: An All-Inclusive Profile Containing All Of Our Society & Culture Reports, s.l.: World Trade Press.

Pulse. 2001. [Film] Directed by Kiyoshi Kurosawa. Japan: Toho Company.

Ringu. 1998. [Film] Directed by Hideo Nakata. Japan: Ringu/Rasen Production Company.

Ruh, B., 2008. Last Life in the Universe: Nationality, Technologies and Authorship. In: L. Hunt & L. Wing-Fai, eds. East Asian Cinemas: Exploring Transnational Connections on Film. New York: I.B Tauris + Co Ltd., pp. 138 – 152.

Shutter (DVD Commentary). 2004. [Film] Directed by Parkpoom Wongpoom, Banjong Pisanthanakun. Thailand: Contender Films.

Shutter. 2004. [Film] Directed by Parkpoom Wongpoom, Banjong Pisanthanakun. Thailand: GMM Pictures.

Suicide Club. 2002. [Film] Directed by Sion Sono. Japan: Earthrise.

Suzuki, K., 1991. Ringu. Tokyo: Kodakawa Shoten.

Tambiah, S., 1975. Buddhism and the Spirit Cults in North-east Thailand. Cabridge: Cabridge University Press.

The Ring. 2002. [Film] Directed by Gore Verbinski. USA: Dreamworks Pictures.

 

Cure for the Holidaze Guest, Courtney Mroch

In our Cure for the Holidaze episode #150, Emz chats with Courtney Mroch from Haunt Jaunts. Listen below and check out her site, Haunt Jaunts.

C. Le Mroch is the horror nom de plume for Independent Author Courtney Lynn Mroch.

Don’t let the sweet face fool you. It masks a dark mind that delights in the twisted. It always has.

When she was little, C.’s family figured her love for all things creepy and macabre (books, movies, places, etc.) would fade as she grew up, but nope. It’s only grown stronger.

Much to her husband’s chagrin. C. often recruits him to accompany her on what he’s dubbed as “Haunt Jaunts” (and is thus the name of the travel site C. runs as Courtney Mroch.)

Like many horror authors, C.s’ all-time idle is Stephen King. Except where his books are more character driven, hers are plot based. Still, she owes a lot of what she learned about storytelling to the Master of Horror and aims to scare as chillingly as he does.

The two scariest things C.’s ever lived through are:

  1. Halloween Horror Nights. (Her husband convinced her to arrive early, before the crowds. They were practically the only people in the park, allowing the actors to terrorize them at will. Which they did brilliantly and relentlessly.)
  2. Cancer. In 2009, C. battled Stage 2 Non Hodgkin Lymphoma.

C. lives in Nashville, Tennessee with her husband Wayne Pryor and their fur daughter Lady Tabitha Tabernathy Tabberkins Pryor (or Tabby for short). When she’s not writing, traveling or spending time with her family, it’s a safe bet you’ll find her either watching a horror movie or on a tennis court somewhere.

Happy Halloween from HorrorAddicts.net

From all of us at HorrorAddicts.net, have a very creepy, fantastical, spooky, holiday!
If you haven’t listened to our Halloween finale, listen now:

And don’t forget our submission call for the next anthology Crescendo of Darkness closes tonight at 11:59pm, PST

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 Happy Halloween!!!!
Now go eat some candy and then read
a horror novel,
save the horror movies for the other 364 days. ~David Watson

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Keeping it Halloween 24/7 amirite, Addicts?! 😉 ~ Kbatz

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Pleasant nightmares on this All Hallows’ Eve, Addicts! ~Donald Pitsiladis

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Happy Halloween my Addicts!!! I shall miss you so much!
Don’t forget to send me pictures of your great Halloween outfits
and party festivities so we can carry over until January!!
Batty Hugz! ~Emerian Rich

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Dark blessings to all our “Addicts” – until we rise again! Love,
“The Darque Halo” ~Lisa Vasquez

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Ghoulish Greetings, Addicts!
Enjoy your haunted holidays and we’ll see you all after our hibernation!
Darkest Dreams! ~Dan Shaurette

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Something’s sniffing around this time of year.
Is it a demon? A werewolf? Maybe a ghost?
Nope, just Kenzie!
Happy All Hallows Eve and to all a ghoulish holiday. ~Kenzie Kordic

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The demon is up in the Attic to the left … Happy Halloween! ~Stacy Rich

mimielle

Happy Halloween from HorrorAddicts.net

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From all of us at HorrorAddicts.net, have a very creepy, fantastical, spooky, holiday!
If you haven’t listened to our Halloween special, listen now:

And don’t forget our submission call for the next anthology Clockwork Wonderland closes tonight at 11:59pm, PST

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Beware of the clown apocalypse. Happy Halloween. ~David Watson
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The demon is up in the Attic to the left … Happy Halloween! ~Stacy Rich

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Here’s to a Spooktacular Halloween, Addicts! Have a ghoulishly great new year! ~Dan Shaurette

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It’s okay to be a little BATTY! ~Kristin Battestella (aka Kbatz)

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The first step toward overcoming addiction is admitting you’ve got a problem. ~Jesse Orr

mimielle

Ghastly Games: Monster Fluxx

GhastlyGames2

On episode #133, hear Emerian Rich talk about Fluxx, Monster edition

fm fmFluxx is a card game where the rules keep changing and the excitement never stops. You still start out simple: draw one card and play one card, changing the rules as you go, while collecting up different cards to combine into the goals. Changing Goals will keep you on your toes as well, and Action cards are still shaking things up! Monster Fluxx takes classic monster movies and TV shows and adds them to the basic Fluxx deck. With the prominent monster presence, this deck is designed to introduce new players to the Fluxx system and has it has just four main card types.

 

Find out more about this awesome game on Episode #133, coming September 3rd.

Pat-a-pan, a Spooky Holiday Carol?

Pat-a-pan, a Spooky Holiday Carol?
by Emerian Rich

My favorite holiday song is a French Christmas Carol called “Pat-a-pan” written by Bernard de La Monnoye and first published in 1720. Written way before “The Little Drummer Boy” (circa 1941) it has the same sort of concept. A young boy playing a drum in celebration of the birth of Christ.

“Willie, bring your little drum, Robin bring your fife and come!
And be merry while you play, ture-lure-lu, pata-pata-pan,
Come be merry while you play for the joy of Christmas day.”

Often played as an instrumental due to the awesome drum and flute parts that can be highlighted without vocals, “Pat-a-pan” is most well known by the Mannheim Steamroller version here:

I fell in love with this song in high school choir where we learned the French lyrics which meant nothing to me. Its haunting melody and renaissancy sound always made me feel as if there were some underlying tale, like it spoke of a story without using words. Very few songs can evoke feelings in just the music – without lyrics.

You might be wondering what this has to do with horror. It’s hard to imagine such a benign song conjuring evil images, but one year when playing it around my husband I found out. The ultimate scrooge when it comes to Christmas music, my husband quirked a brow and said, “I kind of like this one. It’s spooky.”

I had to know more!

You see, his vision of “Pat-a-pan” plays out a bit differently than the “Willie, bring your drum” message that La Monnoye thought up. Instead of little Willie and Robin rallying the town into Christmas spirit by playing their drum and fife, his version features another little boy.spooky

Patapan is a little ghost or demon boy who runs around up in the attic. I’m not sure of the extent of evil he perpetrates (hubby wasn’t clear on the deets) but he was sure nothing good could come from it. The thought of the evil minion “pat-a-panning” around up in the attic makes my husband happy (as it would any self-respecting horror addict).

So, I play this shared favorite faithfully every year and grin at my husband’s dark imaginings. I’ll never share the actual lyrics with him and burst his happy twisted bubble—ever.

Now, listen to the instrumental version again and conjure the image of a pasty-skinned, shadow-eyed boy in an old school uniform, haunting your attic.

For those of you curious about the English lyrics, my favorite vocal version is by Mindy Gledhill below.

Have a spooky connection to a holiday carol? Tell us! We can’t wait to share it.

HorrorAddicts.net 116, Kristin Battestella

ha-tag

Horror Addicts Episode# 116

Horror Hostess: Emerian Rich

Intro Music by: Valentine Wolfe

kristin battestella | new years day | only lovers left alive

Find all articles and interviews at: http://www.horroraddicts.net

111 days till halloween

jenn vix, andy anderson, cure, halloween costumes, baycon, san mateo county fair, facebook quizzes, addicts on the street, sumiko saulson, anne rice, christopher rice, supernatural, mad max, wicked women writers challenge, master of macabre contest, dungeon san francisco, where’s jack?, jack the ripper, matt gunter, spooky, entertainment, sam roberts, torture room, history of san francisco, gold miner, murder, terry west, turning face, horror addicts guide to life, james newman, pembroke sinclair, chantal boudreau, consumed, d.j pitsiladis, t.s.charles, david watson, shadylight, kimberley steele, suicide forest, jeremy bates, belfry network, cemetary confessions, the count, morbid meals, dan shaurette, blood black truffles, lovers tarot, sparky lee anderson, allure of horror, lovecraft, new years day, dawn wood, c.a. milson, defago, horror music, jesse orr, grant me serenity, paul, satan, black jack, sandra harris, kbatz, only lovers left alive, marc advice, sarah, ventriloquists, dummies, dolls, possessed, kristin battestella, fates and fangs, vampire, novella, series.

Horror Addicts Guide to Life now available on Amazon!
http://www.amazon.com/Horror-Addicts-Guide-Life-Emerian/dp/1508772525/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1428730091&sr=8-1&keywords=horror+addicts+guide+to+life

HorrorAddicts.net blog Kindle syndicated

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Review: Irish Ghost Stories by Patrick Byrne

In the mood for some fun ghost tales from the wilds of Ireland? Check out Irish Ghost Stories by Patrick Byrne.

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Irish Ghost Stories contains stories that tell of spooky goings-on in almost every part of the country. They include the tales of the Wizard Earl of Kildare, the Scanlan Lights of Limerick, Buttoncap of Antrim, Maynooth College’s haunted room, Loftus Hall in Wexford, and an account of how the poet Fancis Ledwidge appeared to an old friend in County Meath. The country of Ireland is full of old castles with secret rooms, and while some of the stories are obvious figments of lively imaginations, there are other tales that cannot be easily explained.

While many of these stories are quaint hearsay and exaggerated truths, they are fun to read. The location and historical details are interesting and probably mean more to those who live in the area. I especially like to read these aloud during a fireside gathering. They lend themselves to a storytelling sort of atmosphere and are fun to share.

My favorite tales are:

“Murder Hole”, which is a door on a high floor with no outlet but a 50 foot drop to your death.

“Devil’s Horse”, which tells of a late night customer at a blacksmith. When the blacksmith is done, he’s paid in gold and the customer’s cloven feet walk away. After the customer is gone, the blacksmith finds what he thought was gold, is glass.

This book also tells of ladies in white, banshees, and all the fun stuff ghost lovers have come to enjoy.

 

6 Food Items to Make Your Haunted House Spookier

For those of you trying to torture little children on Halloween night by building the best ever Haunted House, check out these sensory items to really creep them out.

  1. grapesPeeled grape eyeballs.
  2. Ketchup Blood.
  3. Spaghetti veins.
  4. Mayo pus.
  5. Crushed Oreo mud.
  6. Strings dipped in honey spiderwebs.

Do you have some other food you use for your Haunted House? Please share!

Meet Writer Wm. A. Yandell, #107

williamFor episode #107, our very own David Watson will be reading Wm. A Yandell’s “Cross Back.” “Cross Back” is a chapter from William’s novel, coming out next year. It is a story about a doctor who is investigating if people can return from the dead and describe their experiences. He uses convicts and the terminally ill, bringing them back from the other side.

HA: What is your most recent work for sale and what is it about?Containment Breach Cover front
William: Coming soon is Containment Breach. It is set in the near future, in a world of diminishing freedom. A genetic scientist has created a new life form. He is following the work of another scientist who he believes has made the same discovery, then mysteriously disappeared. This has given him a good reason to hide his discovery. He is brought in by the military to now help fight the creatures his predecessor has indeed created who are now killing every human they can find.

HA: What was the spookiest night of your life?
William: It was actually a day where I was at a chess tournament at a downtown university. Between matches I would go up to the roof to clear my mind before I would meet my next opponent. After getting on the elevator I noticed someone had pushed all the top floor buttons before getting off. Deciding I did not want to go through this I hit the button for the next floor and got off. As I went to push the button in the floor lobby to catch another elevator, I found the button did not work. I decided to take the stairs only to find the door locked. I found myself locked into a 6 ft by 15 ft elevator lobby with only a window on the closed for renovation 12th floor. After pounding on the steel fire door and trying to get the elevator doors open for about a half an hour I opened the window. Looking down only to find the next level roof to be about six floors down. Being a Saturday I knew the first time someone might be one the floor would be Monday, it got really spooky. I finally got the attention of a police man who did not believe I was anyone but a college student performing a stunt. Once I crawled out on to the window ledge he got the campus maintenance to take the elevator up and check on where I was. When those elevator doors opened I was out of that room in a blink of an eye. No one could explain how that could have possibly happened, only that it did.

HA: How do you create stories? What is in your writers tool kit?
William: I use a spiral note book once a story forms in my mind. I will sit down at a coffee shop or even a fast food place, typically late morning, to write out the story outline. I then take off with the outline on the computer. My first computer was an Apple 2E which I got handed down to me and I have used one ever since.

HA: What era do you feel most at home in?
William: I like the near future, it gives me the most liberty. I prefer to take our world and twist it up so to speak.

HA: Who is one person you’d like to meet, living or dead, and why?
William: Nostradamus, he could see the future and I would love to understand him.

HA: What is your favorite horror flick?
William: The first Halloween flick, it was not predicable. You did not know what was going on and the ending was fantastic.

HA: If you were to battle a hoard of zombies, who would be your dream team fighting next to you?
William: All terminators, even the early Arnold version. Artificial intelligence drones are one of the scariest things to me, like zombies they never give up and lack moral pause.

HA: What is the most horrifying costume experience you’ve ever had?
William: I went to a costume party in a high rise and got in the elevator with a women who was terrified of clowns. Of course I was dressed as a clown and as soon as the door closed she started screaming. No matter what I said she was in full freak out. I got out of the elevator as soon as I could and left the building and did not go to the party. A couple of days later I talked to my friend who said, “Was that you? Her husband had the cops come upstairs to find you.” She called after to apologize for her husband calling the police and for flipping out on me.

HA: Where can the addicts find you?
https://www.facebook.com/william.yandell.71?fref=ts

A Christmas Carol Vision by Willo Hausman

A Christmas Carol

VISION

Director: Willo Hausman 

Melancholy Lurking 2Being a director who is smitten with ghosts and monsters I was immediately drawn to taking on the job of directing a theatrical version of Charles Dickens’ haunting tale.  When I think of A Christmas Carol I go immediately to the world that the author so clearly created in this classic story. None of the schmaltzy over-bright happy-go-lucky stuff that is so often presented in this traditional holiday fare.

The Undertaker Man_Samuel Millard

So the first rule of thumb in taking on this endeavor, was that I would be allowed free rein to stick to the original story with all it’s strange and ominous intent.  The elements that make this novel intriguing and caused its incredible success depict frightening ghosts (four of them to be precise), depressing poverty and illness, the permanence of death and a central character that is an incredibly mean-spirited man, living his life in miserly bitterness. It is only at the very end that Scrooge is redeemed and if we have gone through this truly dark journey alongside him, experiencing all the nightmares that he does, then we too will rejoice in his enlightenment, as well as our own.

Bob CratchitI first pitched the idea of putting up A Christmas Carol to Steve Coleman, The Throckmorton Theater’s fabulously gifted set designer. After realizing that we were kindred artistic spirits and connected creatively in numerous ways, the notion of putting up this play burned that much brighter in my mind.  I felt even more driven to direct this piece on that particular stage, surrounded by such appropriate ambiance. There is a very old-fashioned charm to this space (it began as a cabaret in the 1920s) and it really rang true for the vision I had in mind for this production. This inspiration was fueled even further after reading a certain version of the script, written in England (by Charles Ludlam) and true to the original tale; shadowy, mysterious, witty and finally, upbeat.

The Bag LadyAs Scrooge enters the realm of his memories, confronts the truth of his present and imagines a future without hope, we learn what truly matters; truth, kindness and heart. What better way to impart lessons then with spooky apparitions, intense imagery, haunting realizations, rich dialogue and in the end, utter spectacular joy? Dickens does it best with his original intent, just as the fairy tales of old were wont to do. With this production we planned to stick as close as possible to the real message within the authors words and use his inventive tactics to present them.

Bag Lady Pomegranate

We ended up with a terrifically twisted and authentic set (which ultimately went through 18 shifts during the show, carried out primarily by the performers themselves); a talented cast of 25 (aged 7-77), consisting of both professionals and amateurs; old-fashioned stage trickery (we used black-lights and human-made sounds to announce the arrival of Marley’s ghost); new-fangled elements (9 fantastic projections depicting Scrooge’s memories and ghostly travels, filmed by the masterful Mark Bowen) and mesmerizing Ghost Girllive sound fx (Steve Kirk, our composer, designed an incredible cinematic score, which underlined the action and added to the shadowy mood). We also mixed in a few modern day splashes via our fantastic costume designer, Morganne Newson, who brought some steam-punk hues to her slate of Victorian clothing and then topped it all off with fantastically unique looks created by Maya Lopez and Leonie Meissner, our hair and make-up designers, who worked their magic on our diverse set of characters.  Many of the actors played up to three roles each and needed to change looks fairly rapidly.  After the initial opening night jitters, the play acquired a great rhythm and the audience (including Robin Williams) laughed and appeared in awe at all the right places.  Happily, I even heard reports of some folk being rather frightened by the eerie specters and mesmerizing illuminations.

The Nephews Party

Currently in the works are a grand scale version of FRANKENSTEIN, a theatrical trilogy of GRIMM and a play based on the intriguing life of my mother, actress Diane Varsi. In active development are two feature films: CLARE, a murder mystery revolving around a clan of modern-day clan witches living in the midst of a bustling metropolis (screenplay by Maria Bernhard) and AMONG THE WONDERFUL (based on a novel by Stacy Carlson); a vintage circus tale set at Barnum’s NYC museum circa 1842 with a giantess and a taxidermist at the center of the mix.  Also on the slate are a sitcom THE VIBE (written by Jon Mosher), an Edward Gorey based film, a Buster Keaton bio-movie and a documentary film about mental illness.

Willo Hausman Bio

Director WilloAfter graduating NYU with a BFA in acting, Willo was the Founding Artistic Director of NRG, a theatre company in NYC which primarily employed a film-based crew and performed verite’ style throughout Manhattan.  NRGS’ most notable endeavor, THE HOBBYWOOD CANTEEN, was performed on a soundstage at Culver Studios in LA where it received much kudos and notoriety.  While attending he Tisch School at NYU Willo was also honored with the opportunity to perform in a few David Mamet movies where she honed her skills as an actor.  Willo enriched her film knowledge by continuing training on many high-powered film sets, working in a multitude of capacities, including NOBODY’S FOOL (Stand-in/Perdiem-Envelope-Stuffer and Art Department Production Assistant), FAMILY THING (Set PA and Casting Assistant), PEOPLE VS. LARRY FLYNT (Extras Casting Director), TWILIGHT (No, not That Twilight, a different film with Paul Newman and Susan Sarandon) as a Producer’s Assistant and MAN ON THE MOON (Camera Assistant).  Willo also spent many years working by her father’s side at his NY-based production company, CINEHAUS.

FAIRIE was Willo’s filmic directorial debut. A fantastical tale about 9 fairy creatures celebrating the new millennium at the Hollywood sign. Willo also shot and directed LAST DAY AT CINETEL, a short work in the reality genre, humorously revealing the inherent frustrations of being an artist trapped in a menial job. Recently, Willo directed a well-received and elaborate theatrical production of A CHRISTMAS CAROL, combining cinema, an original score, Victorian Steampunk costumes and an exquisite gothic-hued set. She has also helmed an innovative stage version of DRACULA.

Willo is the founder of GRYPHON PICTURES, a LA and SF-based film company.

MY COMPANY WEBSITE

www.gryphonpictures.com

http://www.gryphonpictures.com

FACEBOOK PAGE-GRYPHON PICTURES

https://www.facebook.com/gryphonpictures

Movie Quiz & Prize Contest : Lo

loAnswer ONE of these questions (that has not already been answered)
in the comments and be entered to win a free art print from HorrorAddicts.net.

  1. What is the new name that Lo gives Justin?
  2. What does Lo say when Justin says, “It’s Justin.”
  3. What is the tag line for Lo?
  4. What is the name of the Demon that took April?
  5. The director of Lo is Travis Betz. Name two other horror movies that Travis Betz directed.

Comment below to be entered into the drawing for a free horror art print by Emerian Rich.