We like to wish everyone a Happy Christmas and may this eve before be filled with good tidings. Remembering a fond British tradition from long ago, may we recommend a few ghostly tales from About.com or Ed Sum’s own list of supernatural delights to partake in.
The horror movie Ouija overrlooks some details as to how to communicate with the dead. This film is right to have its cast of troubled teenagers using the board to ask for a particular spirit to come forth but It’s funny that they never realize what they are holding is actually a séance. In those cases, everyone should have protected themselves by invoking a measure of protection, conducting an opening prayer and closing it properly. Also, once the planchette is touched, people are not allowed to take their fingers off for any reason. If they must, another finger has to take its place. By simply moving the pointing device to the word ‘goodbye’ is never enough. Something spoken only adds to the power of sealing the door so nothing lingers around. Thanking it at the end is an act of courtesy. People forget what’s summoned may have been once human.
These rules were not necessarily forgotten. The terror comes from the fact that nobody in this film ever properly learned how to use the Ouija board. In that regard, that’s where this movie succeeds; in what they awakened, only the dead can tell. If the folklore fs to be believed, then there’s a bit of a scare to be found. That’s what a team of producers hoped to create, and in what was delivered is nothing but pure Hollywood pap. This supposedly harmless game is said to bridge the gap between the human and spirit world. With Halloween night approaching, some people might be dragging out the board when they should not!
The problem with the modern horror these days lays in the production team not understanding what makes a terrifying age-old concept uniquely scary. Cursed and possessed dolls have existed for a long time, and there are many. Some are used as effigies for elemental spirits to inhabit to give them “life.” In other instances, they are used as representations of a greater force that the human mind can not understand.
In a real-life example of where the dolls are said to come to life to placate a young child, a lot can be experienced if the entire production team stayed overnight at Isla de las Munecas – The Island of the Dolls (located near Mexico City). If they did, the producers, writers and directors might have crafted an entirely different product. At least their experiences there would have seeped into the film a lot more than the premise of a cult murderer’s blood spilling upon a once beautiful Victorian age doll to make it haunted.
But nobody except the audience are aware that this deux et machina is what gets this film going. Otherwise, this movie is no better than a fond favourite to some paranormal enthusiasts. Another well known cursed object is Robert the Doll, where many folks find difficult to photograph.
In the cinematic and television front, the pilot episode of Friday the 13th, the TV Series (1987) did a better job with the cursed doll formula since it was a totemic reminder of how dolls were sometimes used in shamanic if not animistic ways. They can influence the living in unsettling tones. No, we’re not talking about Chucky from Child’s Play where killer Charles Lee Ray magically transferred his essence to a doll to continue his murderous rampage. Neither does this movie reference the Puppet Master series; the concept behind that film’s mystical creations required siphoning out a liquid at the base of the brain of a “donor” (it’s believed to contain the essence / soul ) and injecting it into a doll so the dead can live again.
This film reproduces the latter idea but it does not go far enough. Bram Stoker wrote in Dracula, “The blood is the life!” And it is this life-force of a crazed Annabelle Higgins that gives life to the inert doll that Mia Gordon (played by Annabelle Wallis) once loved. Mia is forced to learn who this Higgins is. In the film’s introduction, she is the daughter of their neighbours, the Higgins, whom has lost for a while. But when she abruptly returns and forces her way in to the household to assault them, that’s when the Gordon’s pristine world gets unsettled.
The chills offered are mild and the scares are modestly effective. Much of the creep factor comes from seeing how a pristine doll turns grey and her innocent eyes turn demonic. When compared to the real life Annabelle doll, a Raggedy Ann doll, most viewers will whole-heartedly agree to why the producers decided to change the appearance of the possessed item. A far more sinster design was much needed, and a different origin (completely made-up with only the name from the real life case remaining) was needed.
This doll can be compared to the Dibbuk Box said to contain an evil entity too. Although for this wine box, just how an evil force got there is not fully explained.
To make further comparisons, some avid readers may recall from the Harry Potter books that Voldemort (this serie’s main villain) destroyed his soul so parts of it can inhabit various innocent looking objects. But for the person in the know, these objects are now known as a Horcrux. Anyone who has seen the trailers of Annabelle will identify that once the blood seeped into the doll, just what it truly represents has changed. Anyone still holding it dear as a possession will get influenced by its innocuous energy.
This film is decent enough to get its folklore right up to a point. But as a horror film, it’s awfully generic by not presenting a story that’s properly ties in to The Conjuring, when the Annabelle doll was first presented. This film’s introduction just does not do enough to reveal how ownership has changed over the years, and it could have been edited out without ruining the actual story’s flow.
Instead, this film plays with church dogma to drive the plot in predictable patterns. Athough the pacing is satisfactory, the ending that was rushed in front of viewers needed more finessing. Not every movie has to follow the trope that The Exorcist successfully ended with. Rinse and repeat is not needed here.
Well, PARAVI’s own Ed Sum has worked with James Shaw to bring Internet users a hopefully definitive guide to all the events that’s supernaturally related on the island! There’s a lot of mention about what PARAVI has investigated and where they’ve been before.
Check it out here!
Fans of the movie Woman in Black will most likely get to enjoy The Quiet Ones too. Although not created in the same vein, the same creative team behind both products is paving a way for ghostly treats than monsterous beats in this decade for terror. This film is loosely based on real life events, and in forums, hints towards the Philip Experiment is suggested.
Yes, even paranormal investigators love getting a dose of horror Hollywood or Hammer style. This film is making its debut in theatres in the UK April 10th and in North America the 25tth.
Just a heads up for people interested in checking out Victoria’s Haunted History themselves: CTV’s Marilyn Denis featured John Adams in this quick walkabout two of Victoria’s best known haunts, the Maritime Museum and Legislature Building.
You can check it out here or you can cut and paste this link to a new browser window. http://www.marilyn.ca/Travel/segments/Daily/October2013/10_30_2013/VictoriaHaunted
Our friend John Adams has announced the dates and plans in what will happen for his Ghost Bus Tours 2013. He will be the tour leader again for the Old Cemeteries Society which has held Ghost Bus Tours since 1994 as its main annual fund raiser.
Please join him on an amazing 2-hour trip in the comfort of a luxury coach through Victoria’s haunted neighbourhoods. This year’s route will feature Oak Bay, Gordon Head, Saanich and the Gorge. Two stops for on-site ghost hunting are scheduled at the Victoria Golf Course and the grounds of Point Ellice House. Tours start at the Oak Bay Marina, two places that PARAVI has investigated previously! This can be exciting as we could had an interesting time within the doors of the Golf Course’s wayhouse. Just what will the outside yield also needs to be explored.
The dates are as follows:
Saturday October 19 at 6:30 pm
Friday October 25 at 6:30 pm
Saturday October 26 at 6:30 and 9:00 pm
Wednesday October 30 at 6:30 pm
Tickets are $34 each and are available exclusively through TicketRocket. They can be done online, by phone at 250.590.6291 or at the counter at 1609 Blanshard St. at Fisgard (Serious Coffee, Monday-Friday 10 am to 5 pm).