39. Coraline – And here’s the one movie of the three I did remember. While I would have loved to see it on the day of Halloween, it is nice having a surprise waiting for me, too. As I believe I’ve mentioned before, I love stop motion, and this is a great example of it. It’s a beautiful movie, and a creepy one, right from the opening credits – honestly, it’s quite possibly the darkest and scariest kids’ movie I’ve ever seen, with the possible exception of Return to Oz. In fact, it might go a little overboard with how neglectful they make her real parents at the start, but that just makes the Other world more appealing, and if you look at the whole movie as being seen through Coraline’s eyes, it makes perfect sense anyway. I love the book, and while I’m not a huge fan of the changes that were made, I can understand why they were made, since otherwise Coraline would have been stuck talking to herself for most of the movie, but I’d love to be able to see a version of the movie without Wyborne. I do fully approve of the Other Mother’s transformation, though, because it’s very creepy, and a great design, and the hand thing at the end is great, too. The garden is another good change, since it makes for a couple gorgeous sequences. And, really, the Other Wyborne does lead to some creepy moments, too, so he’s not all bad.
Bonus: Eraserhead – I’ve been wanting to see this for a long time, ever since I started getting into David Lynch with Twin Peaks, once that was all released on DVDs that weren’t incredibly hard to get a hold of. I haven’t seen a ton of his movies, but I’ve seen a few anyway, mostly his newer stuff, and I’ve been curious to go back to his first full length picture. I wasn’t sure if it would really qualify as horror, since it’s hard to classify any of his movies as anything in particular, but I’d say this counts, if just for that baby, though there are some other unsettling moments spread throughout, more than in most of the other things I’ve seen by him. His style seems really suited to black and white, and it’s a very good looking movie. And there’s some stop motion here, too! Like most of his other movies, there’s not a lot of plot here, but after watching most of Jan Svankmajer‘s short films, it’s much easier to look past that. Also like with most of his other movies, I find just thinking of them as very strange nightmares keeps the lack of plot from really mattering, since you don’t really expect it, but still keeps it interesting to watch. I don’t know that I’ll watch it again, at least not anytime soon, but I was glad to see it once, anyway.
Bonus: Tremors – This is another movie I’ve been wanting to see for a while. I happened to catch little bits and pieces of it on TV while on vacation ten or so years ago, and it looked interesting, and the concept of these monsters that can burrow through the ground and snatch you up from beneath was pretty scary, but I just never managed to watch the rest. I never realized it was actually a horror comedy, not just straight horror, nor did I realize it had Lex from Jurassic Park and Egg Shen from Big Trouble in Little China in it, looking incredibly young, since she was. I’d always assumed the monsters were basically just like the sandworms from Dune, and there’s a definite similarity, but the real design is still surprising once you see a whole one, though it makes sense, comparing it to deep-water fish, and a little creepier since parts of it look a lot like snakes, which I’m not a fan of. Other than that bit of ickiness, and the situation itself, it isn’t terribly scary, but there are a few tense moments, and the rest of the movie is fun enough (it almost feels like a game of The Floor Is Lava!, only with weird worm-things instead of lava) to make up for the shortage of thrills. It’s like a classic monster movie, a B-movie that knows what it is and doesn’t try to be anything more.
38. Dead Snow – I was just thinking yesterday that I could not at all remember what I hadn’t seen yet, so I had no idea what two of these last three movies were, and even the third took me a moment to remember adding, though I’m pretty happy that I’ll be watching it so close to Halloween day, if not on it. So, anyway, I’d completely forgotten that this movie was in the mix, which made it a nice surprise, especially after having a bit of a break from zombie movies. This movie is basically Evil Dead 2 with Nazi zombies and an obsession with intestines. It even has toolshed sequence with lots of quick cuts and dramatic zooms, and a fair bit of chainsawing zombies, and another clear homage I wouldn’t want to spoil. Being set, and made, in Norway, it also features a lot of snow, which gives the zombies a lot of chances to pop out of nowhere when you least expect them, which is, most of the time, pretty creepy, as is a dream sequence early in the movie. It also has some good moments of comedy, with a favorite of mine, for some reason, being the stranger’s deadpan assessment of the campers’ coffee making skills near the beginning. Definitely a fun little surprise for me as the first of my last three movies for this (well, barring any more bonus movies, of which there should be at least one).
“Let me just find the switch…” Veruca said, when her mind could work again. Her hands nervously patted at the mirrored wall behind her, trying to remember how she’d gotten out before, but this time, her hand went right through her reflection. She gasped and fell forward, hands slamming against the mirrored floor to keep herself from cracking her face against it, and it rippled beneath her like a solid puddle.
Frank pulled her to her feet and turned her around as the others started to edge past her. “Look at the walls,” he instructed, and while it was hard to tell where any of those began or ended, she could see areas in the endless reflections that seemed to be melting, almost, falling away as the room expanded infinitely outward. “What is going on?”
“Did you slip us all something?” Diane demanded of Scruffy, but he was frozen in fear, clutching the dog desperately.
Only for another second or two, however. “Let’s get outta here!” he yelled, out of nowhere, making Veruca jump in surprise as he took off, running right into what should have been a wall, but, of course, wasn’t anymore.
A few of the ghosts – one in a bloody butcher’s apron, a cleaver wedged in his back, another in a fancy suit, with half his face gone from what Veruca guessed was a gunshot – chased after him and the dog, who had followed obediently. “Scruffy!” Frank called after him, and, a moment later, Scruffy and the dog reappeared from the other side of the room, skidding to a stop as he saw the ghosts in front of him. “Scruffy, wait!”
“What are you doing?” Diane hissed, grabbing Frank’s arm as he moved toward his friend.
“We can’t just leave him alone!” Frank declared. “We have to help him!”
He hurried after him, barreling through the collection of spooks and pushing Scruffy out of the way of a whip, cracked by a rather large woman in leather. Instead of propelling him backwards, however, they sank through the floor, with more ghosts stomping after them, vanishing downward as if they were stomping across a pool from the shallow end to the deep.
“Frank!” Diane screamed, moving toward him. Some deep recess of Veruca’s mind was conscious enough to reach out and grab her before she could get too far, while the rest of her brain was too busy trying to process what was happening, and how her plan had gone so very wrong so quickly. Her head wasn’t screwed on quite well enough to come up with a justification for stopping Diane that she could actually tell the other girl, but it didn’t matter, since, by the time Diane was turning to give her a dirty look, the remaining ghosts were coming after them, and she was dragging Diane away.
“Stop it!” Diane protested, pulling away. “I’m not just leaving him!”
“You can’t go back there!” Veruca pleaded, but clearly she was wrong, as Diane went running towards the collection of ghosts on their tail. A man with one arm torn bloodily off, and held in his other arm, and a woman whose skin had a blueish color, even as a ghost, went after her, while another woman, in a white dress and apron, with a rather large bosom and blood staining the bottom of her dress continued towards Veruca with an air of fierce determination in her dead eyes.
Veruca cursed under her breath, then turned and ran in the opposite direction of Diane. Since they didn’t really need them to move, she wasn’t sure if there was any direct correlation to the tallness of a ghost, and thus how long their legs were, to how quickly they moved, but the speed at which she sensed this one getting closer to her compared to how slow she was moving would seem to indicate that she was significantly shorter than it, like comparing the gait of an adult and a child. That, combined with her diaper, made her feel quite small and helpless, which only scared her all the more.
After a few moments, she took a quick turn, and found herself nearly running straight into Diane. Determined not to lose her again, she grabbed her and pulled her back in the opposite direction, as her two ghosts were advancing rather quickly on them. This time, Diane cooperated with her, running alongside her. The whole place was disorienting, hard to figure out where you were going, or where you’d come from, since everything was mirrored, but they just kept going. Every once in a while, they’d catch a glimpse of the guys and go towards them, but almost as soon as they did, a ghost or two would seem to appear right in front of them and they’d have to backtrack, or turn and head another direction. No matter where they went, they never seemed to run out of room, the reflections just stretching on further and further away.
But it didn’t seem to make any difference how long they ran, or in what direction. The ghosts always showed back up sooner or later. It was inevitable that they were going to get caught, Veruca knew – it was only a matter of time and luck. And their luck ran out as they turned away from one group of ghosts and ran straight into the man in the suit. They split, but his arms seemed to grow as he enveloped them. Everything went dark for a moment, and then they were in an office. It was still in the mirror world – the windows looked out into the endless sea of reflection, and the ceiling and floor were mirrors as well, making it seem like the four walls were floating freely, not really attached to anything – yet inside that world was a large office, decorated sparsely but elegantly.
“What do you want?” Diane demanded, backing away from the man with the hole in his head.
“I need you,” he replied. His voice was different from Carol’s, more hollow, more desperate. “I need your flesh…”
“What are they, zombies?” Diane asked, scrambling away. Veruca couldn’t think of a way to explain why she knew that they were “simply” looking to use them as hosts to fulfill whatever obsession they’d had that had kept them as ghosts rather than letting them move on, so she kept quiet.
She was a little slower than Diane, and the man managed to grab her. She screamed as she felt her skin harden beneath his ghostly fingers, and as she looked down, she saw it turning into gold where he’d touched her, an undead King Midas. She tried to pull away, but his grip only tightened as she squirmed.
Then, from the mirrored ground, the woman in the apron burst forth, smacking the man aside. Veruca gasped as he let go of her, rubbing her skin and watching it turn back to its normal color and hardness, glancing up every few seconds to see the woman chasing the man away. “They’re mine!” she was screaming. “I need them more than you!”
The walls of the office began to quiver as she beat on the man, kicking and screaming otherworldly shrieks, eventually shattering as he sank into the floor. In their place rose the walls of a nursery, and the usual furniture one would find there, much to Veruca’s embarrassment, especially as a huge crib rose from beneath her, bars rising far above her head before she could try to escape, while, as she watched, a playpen similarly captured Diane.
It was Veruca the woman went to first, however, seeming to grow taller with every step. “I knew you were meant for me,” she cooed. “All I ever wanted was to be a mother… And here’s my baby, at last…”
“What? No, I’m not a baby!” Veruca protested, trying to scramble to the far side of the crib, but stumbling on the soft mattress and falling onto her diapered bottom with an especially loud crinkle, one that echoed from both her clothes and the plastic sheet on the mattress. By the time the woman was reaching down for her, she was the size of a giant, and her arms, as incorporeal as they were, felt strong and inescapable as they wrapped around Veruca’s squirming form.
“Of course you are,” she said, patting the seat of Veruca’s wet diaper. “You’re my little baby… And I bet you’re hungry, aren’t you?” Before Veruca could answer, she was shifted to one of the woman’s gigantic arms so the woman could use her other hand to slip her shoulder out of the dress, pushing it down, exposing one huge breast.
Veruca started to struggle, knowing with a sick certainty what was about to happen, despite how disturbing and unreal it felt. “No, no,” she shook her head as she was readjusted again, held in more of a cradle in the woman’s arms, one hand rhythmically patting the back of her diaper as she was brought closer and closer to that phantom nipple. “No, please, I’m not a baby, I’m not hungry, don’t!”
And then her protesting mouth was shoved around the breast, and filled almost instantly with milk. Her eyes went wide, and she tried to spit it out, but there was just too much, and while she managed to get a small stream of it trickling from the corners of her mouth, she had to swallow the majority of it to avoid drowning. It felt sweet and thick going down, and brought a pleasantly warm sensation to her tummy that made her instantly drowsy. Her eyes began to droop, and it was a struggle not to let them close entirely as she kept automatically sucking down mouthful after mouthful of the stuff. It became all she could concentrate on, though she could faintly hear Diane in the background yelling at the woman to stop.
After a minute, that pleasant warmth began to grow a little warmer, and then a little more, turning into a raging liquid fire in her guts. Her eyes opened again as she began to wriggle, only for the woman’s arms to lock tighter around her, push her mouth further around the mound of ghostly flesh. Her brain began to buzz, as if she were drunk, but she could tell it was different, could almost feel the milk sloshing through her memories, her thoughts, everything that made her her and erasing them. She looked down at herself and saw her belly bulging out, saw her scrawny limbs start to plump out, her baby fat returning. She tried to gasp, to scream, but that just let the milk in all the more quickly.
Weakly, she tried to kick at the woman, but her legs just hung there limply, out of her control now, and while she got a few lame flails out of her arms, they soon fell still, too, as she watched her fingers puff outward into a chubby baby hand. She looked down at her own chest, which had never been particularly impressive, and saw her breasts seem to melt beneath her sweater, redistributing themselves across her torso, making it fit in with the rest of her now infantile body.
The world was starting to get dark around the edges now, and Veruca knew she didn’t have much time left. Rapidly running out of parts of herself she was still in control of, and with a mind that was just as quickly getting hollowed out, like a pumpkin about to be cut into a jack-o-lantern, she desperately tried to come up with a plan. Only one thought came to her, and she had no time to second guess it.
She bit. She bit down into the ghost woman’s breast, and kept biting, hanging on even as she felt the milk continue working, as it kept pouring into her, mixed with the irony tang of blood, making her teeth start to recede into her gums. She was sure she’d waited too long, that it was all for nothing, but, at last, just when she was certain all was lost, the woman pulled her away, giving her a sharp smack on her thighs before returning her to her crib, laying her on her back.
“I guess I’ll start with the other one,” Veruca thought she heard her say, but her vision was still blurry, and her hearing not much better. She couldn’t even get off of her back, and could only do the barest of wriggling there. It took a significant amount of concentration to even remember who “the other one” was, and while she knew she should try to help her, or at least warn her, she couldn’t even sit up.
“I told you not to do it,” another woman said, suddenly standing beside the crib. Veruca had to squint to get her face to focus into anything but a blur, and work even harder to remember her name was Carol. With all her concentration and strength focused there, there was nothing she could do to stop the sudden invasion of something warm and thick and mushy working its way around her bottom, and only the feeling of discomfort it brought to make her think she should even try. “You just wouldn’t listen,” Carol shook her head. “With us gone, the room attracted any ghosts in the area, and it made them stronger… After spending so much time as just ghosts, they’d lost everything that made them human, reduced them to thoughtless animals. If you’d just left them alone, you would have been okay.”
Veruca tried to open her mouth, to respond, but only incoherent babbling came out. Deep inside, she knew all this was wrong, and the thought filled her with fear, but there was nothing she could do about it. “You silly, silly girl,” she shook her head, reaching down to pick her up. Gently, she put her over her shoulder and began patting her back. In Veruca’s addled mind, she couldn’t figure out what was going on, not until she felt a burp escape from her lips, followed by a cascade of milk. As it flowed from her, she began to feel more and more embarrassed about it, and about the fact of throwing up on this woman’s shoulder, which, she realized happily, meant she was becoming herself again.
When she was done, Carol set her down on the floor, and, though she was still a little shaky, her legs held her. She could feel her full diaper all the more acutely, but after the past few days, it didn’t bother her as much as it could, or, really, as much as it should have. “You have to get out of the box,” Carol told her. “You have to escape, or your friends are doomed.”
“But I can’t,” Veruca shook her still-clearing mind. “The shelf… I don’t know where it is anymore.”
Before Carol could reply, Veruca heard the other woman roaring, “What are you doing with my baby?!” She turned around right in time to see the woman put Diane on the floor, the girl slumping forward, glassy-eyed, like a rag doll.
“Get her and get out of here!” Carol instructed, pushing Veruca out of the way and intercepting the raging mother. Veruca clumsily scrambled towards Diane, trying to pull her to her feet to no avail. Even in the best of times, Diane was enough bigger than her that she couldn’t have drug her out, and now, still weak from her ordeal, there was no chance. She tried to drag Diane across her shoulder, to burp her as Carol had done for her, but, not being a ghost and thus able to change her size, that was just as useless.
“Damn it,” she groaned, slamming her fist angrily against the floor. What was she supposed to do?! She looked around the room, noting that the only door had its knob set too high for her to reach, anyway. How was she supposed to get out?! She hit the floor again, staring down into her reflection, seeing the tears dotting her eyes, the drying milk around her mouth and the front of her sweater. “Of course!” she shook her head, hardly able to believe it had taken her this long to work it out.
She got to her feet and ran past the two feuding ghosts, grabbing her bag and pulling it out from between the bars of the crib. She returned to Diane with it, throwing open the front flap and digging through it. Her hand brushed against the box she’d prepared, and she glanced back at the ghosts. She probably had time, didn’t she? And since it was what she’d come here to do, it was almost wrong not to do it, after all they’d been through.
“I’m sorry,” she told Diane. “I was going to do this to Scruffy… I mean, it’s not like he does anything, and maybe he’d just leave us alone, you know?” Still, she had to admit she felt a certain amount of satisfaction as she cast the spell on Diane instead, tempered by a sharp pang of guilt as soon as it was done, thinking back to when Diane had helped her out, bought those diapers for her, even if she hated wearing them. “It’s not like you mind now, anyway, is it?” she asked, trying to make herself feel better.
She stared into Diane’s blank eyes for another moment, then grabbed her flashlight, the big, heavy thing, and slammed it against the floor. At first she didn’t think it was going to do anything, that there really was no escape, and then, at last, a crack began to form. She began banging the flashlight against it, harder and harder, faster and faster, watching it grow, lines forming and growing along the floor like a spiderweb, crawling along the floor, and then up the nursery walls and across the ceiling, until at last the whole thing shattered.
For a moment, she felt like she was falling, and then she realized it was the glass falling, huge slabs of it slamming down, forming the fours walls of the devil’s toy box. All her friends were there, at different places in the room, shocked and horrified, but slowly growing relieved as they realized it was over. Veruca heaved a sigh and sat back, wrinkling her nose as her diaper squished beneath her, staring down at the small crack she’d made in the floor beneath her, enough to break the symmetry of the room.
She crawled straight, until she hit a wall, then simply began working her way around the room until she found the right wall, the right spot, and the shelf began to slide open. Nobody said much of anything as they quickly fled the house, Frank carrying Diane.
They went to the hospital first, though they could find nothing wrong with Diane. Veruca couldn’t help but feel guilty as she stared at her – also feeling rather like her, as she stood there, naked beneath her skirt, having taken the first opportunity to change her diaper in the hospital bathroom, wishing she’d thought to bring along a spare pair of panties, though thinking that only made her feel more guilty – wondering if the spell had even been necessary. She hadn’t really known what would happen when she broken the devil’s toy box. She hadn’t even known for sure it would work, only that it seemed to be her only option. Still, since Carol and the kids were attached to her, surely they would have kept existing, wouldn’t they? They weren’t linked directly to the box anymore. And since she could only do the transference inside a box, she’d really had no choice, in the moment, but to use Diane, even though it was only her insistence in returning to the house that meant she was there at all, and that the other ghost had put her in a coma.
That didn’t do much to ease her conscience, though, so it would a blessed relief when, the next day, she got a call from Frank telling her Diane had woken up, and was fine now. It didn’t last for long, however, as she remembered the spirits attached to Diane now, knowing she’d sentenced her to the same diapered fate she’d suffered through, and with no end in sight.
She tried to look on the bright side – perhaps, like the plan had been with Scruffy, this would keep her from wanting to go on investigations with the team. Of course, she might also insist Frank didn’t go either, but maybe she’d change her mind by the time he, or even Veruca, was ready to get back into action. And Diane really could be a bitch to her sometimes, especially when they’d both still been in high school. The thought of her in diapers did bring her a certain satisfaction, but every time she tried to gloat too much about it, she recalled that trip to the store after their first trip to the house.
Later that day, as she lazily browsed the Internet, she heard the doorbell ring. She wasn’t expecting anyone, so she assumed it was a deliveryman and ran down to answer it, still in her PJs, and wearing her glasses, only to find Diane herself standing on the other side of the door, looking just as stylish as ever.
“Hi,” she blushed, somehow managing to feel like a kid in her presence, despite knowing that, most likely, she had somehow hidden a diaper beneath that stylish purple dress of hers, or she was going to need one soon. “I’m glad you’re okay.”
“Yeah, yeah,” Diane said, pushing her aside and walking in. “Look, I need to talk to you about something.”
“Okay,” Veruca nodded, closing the door and following Diane through her own house, nervously wondering if she’d figured out what happened and was going to beat her up or something for sentencing her to a life of incontinence. “Sorry about how I’m dressed, I was just… Well, I wasn’t expecting visitors, and it was a long night last night, and…”
“This is your room, right?” Diane asked, walking into it.
“Uh-huh,” Veruca answered, following her in. “What..?”
“Did you go through all of those diapers I bought for you?” Veruca couldn’t help but blush as she shook her head. “Do you still have them?”
“Yeah, I haven’t gotten around to getting rid of them. Why, do you… umm..?” Diane nodded that time, though it was still only Veruca who was blushing. “All right, I’ll get them.”
She went to her closet and pushed aside the piles of clothes she’d hidden the package beneath, picking them up. “I can loan you some sweatpants or something, too,” she offered. “I mean, that dress is kinda tight, I don’t know that these will fit under…”
She stood and turned back around, only to find Diane right behind her, one side of her dress hanging down, exposing a pert, shapely breast. “What are you…?” Veruca started to ask, but before she could finish, Diane reached out and grabbed her, pulling her face into her chest. Almost instantly, she felt her mouth filling with milk.
“Don’t you worry, I’ll get you in a nice, comfy diaper just as soon as you’re done feeding,” Diane cooed at her, patting her back. “There’s my baby…”
Veruca’s eyes darted around the room as she struggled against Diane’s strangely strong arms, stopping only as she caught a reflection of the pair of them in her mirror, showing her, as she was, suckling, once again, at the breast of the ghost woman she’d only barely escaped.
“Now I can take care of you forever,” she said, patting Veruca’s back again as the girl struggled and whined helplessly, the warm milk in her tummy already starting to work its magic. “Forever…”
37. Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon – I actually saw this movie before I saw most of the movies it references, and is part of why I wound up watching them. This is a fun sort of parody of slasher movies, done in a mockumentary style that has some problems, but is enjoyable overall. It works best in the first 2/3s of the movie, when it’s fully devoted to its style (other than a fairly distracting divergence), with some nice cameos (though it’s weird to see Robert Englund as a good guy), as a pretty clever dissection of the genre and its history. Leslie even manages to be pretty likable, even knowing all along, and being consistently reminded of, what he’s planning on doing. It eventually breaks format to become a fairly standard, if relatively tame, slasher in and of itself. It makes sense in-movie why the shift happens, and it would have been much harder to justify maintaining the same style, and being able to do it well, but it still gives the whole thing an unfortunately disjointed feel. As self-aware slasher movies go, despite it’s problems, I might even put this above Scream, though those movies are a little scarier.
“Do we really need to be here?” Diane whined. “Seriously. Aren’t you done with all this yet?”
“Yes, we do have to be here,” Veruca growled. It had been like pulling teeth getting Frank to agree to go back to the house again, despite him having already agreed to it, and Veruca could tell Diane was behind that, and that she still thought this had been some twisted scheme on Veruca’s part. As if Veruca wanted to spend the last few days constantly in diapers, and almost as constantly wet. Like she wanted to spend her nights thrashing about in bed in double-thick diapers, as she thought about Diane, dressed up in what was surely some slutty costume, having the time of her life and keeping her from being able to fix this any earlier. Though, if there was any bright side to that, it was that it had given her the resolve to do what she was there to do.
“We’re already here,” Frank said calmly. “Let’s just go check things out.”
“Right,” Veruca stepped in quickly. “I think we should split up, and since I’m still not… feeling well… I think I need some help, so I was thinking…”
“Actually, I thought maybe we’d stick together this time,” Frank cut in. “That way we can be more thorough.”
“Like, I can stay and guard the van,” Scruffy offered timidly.
Veruca could hardly believe she was saying it, but, before she could come up with any better way to put it, the words were coming out. “I think we need you this time! A fresh set of eyes!”
“Yeah, Scruffy,” Diane rolled her eyes from the front seat, “it’s not like there’s anything to be scared of in there anyway.”
“Yeah, well, in case you haven’t noticed, it’s Halloween,” Scruffy pointed out. “All kinds of ghosts and goblins could be in there waiting for us!”
“I’ll protect you,” Veruca said dryly, opening the door and hopping out of the van. “Come on. Bring the dog, too, if you want.”
“Yeah, aren’t dogs supposed to be sensitive to ghosts or something?” Diane asked as she got out of the van as well, staring down at Veruca. “Do you think he’ll sniff any out?”
“It’s hard to tell, Diane,” Veruca glared at her. She didn’t want to get into an argument with her here – it would take too much time, run the risk of giving Diane enough ammunition to change Frank’s mind about this, and would just be tacky – but Diane seemed pretty set on pushing her buttons.
“I don’t know…” Scruffy shook his head, still firmly planted in his seat, arms around the dog’s neck. “Like, maybe if it was any other day…”
“Come on,” Veruca sighed. “Please?” She reached down into her bag, digging around in her bag. “Here, look… I’ve got some cookies here. I bet you’re hungry, aren’t you?”
His eyes opened a little wider. “What kind?”
She pulled them out, holding them out so he could see them. They were sugar cookies, frosted and decorated like jack-o-lanterns. It was what her parents had handed out to the trick-or-treaters, though, since nobody in the family was much into cooking, they were just something her mother had picked up at the grocery store, but they weren’t bad. And since Scruffy’s eyes were their usual bloodshot red, she was sure he’d appreciate them all the more. She jiggled the bag she’d put them in. “Just help me look around.”
“Oh, all right,” he caved finally, climbing out of the van, dragging the dog along with him. She handed him the bag, then, rest of the group behind her, headed into the house.
“Do you think they have the explosives set already?” Scruffy asked between mouthfuls of cookie.
“It isn’t a skyscraper,” Veruca rolled her eyes, flipping on her flashlight. “I’m sure they’re just going to bulldoze it down.”
The house looked the same as it had last time they’d been there, but there was a different feeling in the air, a chill that made her rub her arms through her sweater and wish she’d put on some jeans instead of a skirt, even though she hated the bulge her diapers made in pants. She was sure it hadn’t been this cold outside, but she was less certain that it really was any chillier in there. It could just be her nerves, knowing what she was about to try to do, or even memories of what had already happened to her in there.
“I really think we’ll get more done if we split up,” she offered again. “I mean, we’ll get done faster, anyway. I know you two always team up,” she looked at Diane and Frank, “so I can just take Scruffy, and we’ll…”
“Seriously?” Diane raised an eyebrow, smirking.
Veruca blushed. “God, don’t be gross! I’m just trying to be helpful!”
“I’m sure you are,” Diane teased.
“I’m not going anywhere alone with you,” Scruffy interrupted. “You already got attacked by a ghost here once!”
“Of course she did,” Diane rolled her eyes.
“Gang, let’s just concentrate on getting this done,” Frank finally broke in, “or we’ll be here all night.”
They began to creep from room to room, checking out every dust-covered, but otherwise empty, corner. Veruca did her best to pretend she was looking, since she was the one who had insisted they do so, but since she knew right where they were going, the other rooms just seemed like a waste of time, so she spent more time trying to figure out some natural way to split the group up. She didn’t have to, of course, but she thought it would make things easier.
“What are you doing, Veruca? Why are you back here?”
She turned around to see Carol standing there, with her children in tow. None of the others turned to look, so Veruca was pretty sure they couldn’t see or hear her. It was, Veruca pondered, kind of striking how easily she accepted that, but then, after spending several days solid doing research on ghosts, she’d sort of come to expect it. She couldn’t exactly answer without looking crazy, however, not that she planned to do so anyway. She gave Carol a cold look, then turned back around and returned to her half-hearted search.
“This is a bad idea, Veruca,” Carol informed her. “This is a dangerous time. You shouldn’t be back here.”
“I cannot have you… in me,” Veruca whispered. “I’m just doing what I have to do. Just leave me alone, okay?”
“You can’t,” Carol protested.
“There’s nothing in here,” Veruca said, speaking up as she turned back around, walking right through Carol, which gave her the shivers all the worse. “Let’s go on to the next room.”
“This is a horrible idea,” Carol told her once they were there. “You don’t know what you’re doing!”
“Next room!” Veruca cried, just as soon as she dared.
The room with the shelf was getting closer, and yet she was still stuck with the whole group. They all seemed to be getting restless, but none of them were suggesting the split on their own. She sidled up to Diane in the hallway, quietly telling her, “I could always team up with you, too, if we split up. I mean, I know you’re usually with Frank, but at least that way you wouldn’t have to worry about me being with him, and…”
“Not into that,” Diane cut her off, looking her up and down. “Way not into that.”
“That’s not what I meant!” Veruca insisted. “Why do you have to take everything like that? What is wrong with you?!” But Diane just ignored her, pushing past to catch up with Frank. Veruca knew she had no shot at getting him alone – and, honestly, she’d never even considered him as an option, partially because she’d expected that, and partly because he was the only one other than her that actually contributed. But it looked like he was going to have to come along, too.
“Veruca, you can’t do this!” Carol told her sternly. Veruca was feeling a little more uneasy, but she blamed that on the ghost’s constant warnings.
Finally, she was back in the room. Her stomach twisted a little at the sight of the shelves, as she looked around at the rest of her little group. She could always declare that room clean as well, then double back if she got the chance, but that would look pretty suspicious, she knew. It was going to have to be now.
“Veruca, please, don’t! For your sake, I’m begging you!” Carol was down on her ghostly knees now.
Veruca glared through her, then turned and tapped the trigger. “Whoa!” she exclaimed, almost before the shelf started moving. “Guys, come check this out!”
“Zoinks!” Scruffy exclaimed, eyeing the moving shelf in fear, empty cookie bag clutched in one hand. “Like, what is that?”
“Only one way to find out,” Frank said, shining his flashlight in and moving closer.
“I don’t know…” Diane followed him, hanging back a little. “I don’t like it…”
“What are you scared of?” Veruca couldn’t resist sneering at her. “Ghosts?”
“It just feels… wrong,” Diane shook her head.
“I’ll say! Let’s get out of here!”
Scruffy started to turn to leave, but Frank stopped him. “Dogs are supposed to be sensitive to spooky stuff,” he said. “Bring him over and have him check it out.”
“What?” Scruffy practically squeaked. “You want me to go in there first?”
“Well, I can,” Frank offered, “but I need the dog.”
“No way, man,” Scruffy shook his head. “He’s sticking with me, aren’t you, buddy?”
“Then get going!” Frank stepped to one side, leaving the path open for Scruffy.
Veruca watched this anxiously, seeing the shelves slowly sliding back, tapping her foot. She wanted to urge them all to hurry up, but she didn’t dare. Scruffy slowly edged toward the little room, dog following obediently, pausing at the doorway and looking around at the others, scared. Veruca couldn’t help feeling a little guilty for trying to force him into this – though she doubted she could have even come close to getting him inside without Frank’s help – but it was what she had to do.
“Come on,” Diane voiced Veruca’s thoughts. “Just go in.”
Scruffy crept in, the dog trotting in after him. “It doesn’t really feel different,” he offered. Veruca went dead still as she saw him inside, just as she wanted him. As inconspicuously, but still quickly, as she could, she started to move closer to the door.
Frank stepped back towards the entrance as well, and Diane moved next to him as they peered inside. “It looks like a bunch of mirrors,” he observed. “Kind of weird, but harmless.”
Veruca bit her bottom lip as she saw the shelf starting to slide shut again. Frank and Diane were blocking her path now, and there wasn’t much time. She only needed one – in fact, she wasn’t sure if having more would affect it or not – but it looked like she didn’t have a choice. She dashed towards them, using her small frame to crash into them and push them inside, falling in between them as the shelf slid shut behind them.
“Sorry, I tripped,” she said lamely. “I’m sure there’s some way to get out of here…” She started pawing at the wall, while, with her other hand, she began digging in her bag for the ingredients she was going to need.
“Umm, Veruca…” Scruffy edged over to her, tapping her on the shoulder.
“This would be easier if we all searched our own wall,” Veruca told him, mostly since she knew she had the wall with the trigger, so she’d have all the time she needed.
“No, Veruca, I think you should look at this,” Frank said.
“What, is there a ghost?” she asked, half-joking. She was sure Carol and the kids would show up, and probably even let the others see them, but she wasn’t really concerned about that at the moment.
“Yes,” Diane answered. Veruca had never heard her voice sound so un-confident. It almost made her feel proud, knowing that Diane was finally seeing that she hadn’t been lying after all; she was also pretty sure she hadn’t been anywhere near that freaked out when she’d first seen Carol, though she also hadn’t known what she was then.
“I thought there was no such thing as ghosts,” Veruca teased, turning around to give Diane a smug look. “I’m sure there’s nothing to…”
She froze as she saw what was behind her. There was a whole group of ghosts – and these were definitely ghosts, being semi-transparent, many of them splattered with blood or missing parts of their body, all of them staring at the four teenagers with a look of hunger in their eyes. Veruca felt her diaper grow wet, but, for once, she knew that was all her fault. “Jinkies,” she gulped.
36. Paranormal Activity 2 – So, like I said when talking about the first Paranormal Activity, I really like the way the sequels are set up. When I first heard they were making a sequel, I was pretty unimpressed, and didn’t bother to learn much about it, until I finally just got it from Netflix for the heck of it, mostly because I assumed they were just going to be doing a remake of the original, but with a different family, and little, if any, connection to the first. And while you could argue that the basic premise is pretty much the same, this movie is, in my opinion, a much better one than the first, and ties in very, very directly to it. I still haven’t seen the third one, but I like the idea of seeing the original hauntings… Though I’m not sure, really, where they could go afterwards that would feel at all satisfying. Again, the characters here aren’t terribly likable, and since there’s more of them, we get an introduction scene that feels a bit artificial (though, in return, the justification for the constant videotaping feels a little more natural since we get to see the motivation for putting in security cameras) and they don’t have as much time to establish themselves, but they’re certainly not the worst horror movie characters I’ve seen, even just this month. I’m also not thrilled about both of the first two movies use the “screaming over stupid stuff from off-camera” fake-out, especially when the one this time around was infinitely stupider. Which I didn’t expect to be possible, since I’ve always thought the spider scene from the first one was pretty dumb. Back on the plus side, it’s a lot more visually interesting than the first one, just by being able to switch from the handheld camera to the security cameras, and even just between the security cameras. And while I still think the attic scene from the first one is the scariest scene in the two, there are a few very good candidates for second place here, namely a late night trip through the house with the handheld camera (which comes the closest to matching the same sense of dread, though it doesn’t quite make it), a kitchen scene that’s really just a jump scare, but a very good one, and just about anything having to do with the basement.
Bonus: Garfield in Disguise – Or Garfield’s Halloween Adventure, but that’s what IMDB has it as. I don’t even know when I last saw this, so it’s kind of surprising how many little details I remembered, especially the costume song and “candy-candy-candy-candy!” There was definitely enough that I didn’t remember to make it fun to re-watch, though, like most of the plot besides Garfield just wanting to go trick-or-treating. Or even the ghost pirates, which, I have to say, look pretty cool. The whole thing is really a lot of fun, and captures a lot of the feeling of Halloween as a kid.