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HALLOWEEN HAVOC 2020


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On 10/24/2020 at 1:25 PM, No Point Stance said:

wish I had the balls to make the likes of Don't Go in the Woods (Alone) my pick. 

I picked it because it’s one of my favorite movies ever. I’ve literally watched it hundreds of times at this point. I don’t think it’s actually a well-made movie, I just love it’s whole weird vibe. It’s kind of in and inbetween space of seeming like it’s in on the joke but also needing someone to explain the joke. Great review, even If you didn’t like the movie!

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20 minutes ago, Execproducer said:

So I know that there isn't much time left but I have a pick that needs to be covered and it is too good to just let drop. Anyone interested?

I’ll do it.

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My baby's in her arms

Crawling up her legs
Like a liar at a witch trial
You look good for your age
 
I'm eating you
I'm overfed
Your milk's in my mouth
It makes me sick
 
- Hole, Plump
 
 
Prevenge ( Lowe, 2016)

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt5154288/?ref_=nv_sr_srsg_0

 
Pick: Execproducer
 
"  Stumbled onto this awhile back. Had seen Sightseers that  Alice Lowe had starred in so thought it would be worth a look. Yeah, buddy! .......
 
Everything else I wrote for this is more or less odessa's review so to eliminate the redundancy I'll simply add that I'll watch anything Lowe does."
 
Reviewed by: odessasteps
 

Disclaimer: I have no children and no wife, so many of the themes about pregnancy and identity loss and such were largely lost on me. 

 

Ruth (the name she tells her nurse) is a woman 6 or 7 months pregnant, trying to come to terms with the death of the baby’s father in a climbing accident. And the best way to cope is to get revenge on the other people in the party that fateful day. And did I mention she is apparently being spurred on to commit these murders by the unborn child in her womb? 

 

Not a straight horror, but a British black comedy horror movie, along the likes of Black Mirror and other such projects. And Alice Lowe, the films creator, had earlier been in another film of this genre, Sightseers.

 

And there are plenty of connections to the British comedy scene of the area. Lowe had worked with Edgar Wright, Charlie Brooker and Steve Coogan. In fact, in you watch a lot of British Telly,  much of the cast elicits a “hey, that guy.” And then you have two cast members (Gemma Whalen and Kate Dickie) from Game of Thrones.

 

And for a black comedy, some of the murders are fairly gruesome, since most are done by Ruth with the same kitchen knife. 

 

The most interesting thing about the film might be that Lowe made it while she was pregnant herself and the film was shot in just a few days. Lowe’s daughter herself appears as Ruth’s baby at the end of the picture. 

 

Overall, this was an entertaining film, with a crisp running time of 87 minutes, so it gets in and out of each situation quickly. 

Spoiler

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BONUS REVIEW!!!
 
 
Inside No. 9, Season 5, Ep. 4 "Misdirection".
 
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Pick: Ultimo Necro
  "Shearsmith & Pemberton are that peculiarly British phenomenon that is dark, yet funny; horrifying yet campy all rolled into one.  This is one of the best half hours of TV I’ve ever watched. Again I think this is available on most streaming platforms. (Amazon, Hulu)."
 
Review: Execproducer
 
When Ultimo suggested someone else review this as a bonus, I thought "Great! I can justify my BritBox subscription this month!". I had it to watch the Classic Dr. Who stuff you see, but so much to watch and so little time, I had fallen off that path. Anyway, knowing nothing about the series or it's creators/stars, Reece Shearsmith and Steve Pemberton, I dived right in. Inside No. 9 is a black humor anthology series written by the duo and each episode features one or both of them. In the episode Misdirection, a famous magician, Neville Griffin (Shearsmith) is interviewed by a young man posing as a student journalist (Fionn Whitehead) who is seeking justice for his long missing grand-father ( Pemberton), a small-time magician murdered and robbed of his breakthrough trick by Griffin, who ultimately built his career upon it. The two quickly become locked in a battle of wits and magic skills but while the magician believes he is playing checkers against a hapless amatuer, his opponent is actually playing chess.  And the game he is playing requires a pawn sacrifice.
 
This was really good stuff and as I have my stuff set to auto-watch, I ended up watching the following episode, Thinking Out Loud, about a series of connected social media videos that aren't quite what they seem. Both recommended. 
 
In lieu of a trailer here is a short scene.
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Prevenge sounds kinda like Baby Blood/The Evil Within

Trailer doesn't say much. Anyway, it's a French movie about a pregnant woman who's child is possessed and forces her to kill people. And the voice of the child, which talks to her internally, is an uncredited Gary Oldman. 

This guy's reaction to getting stabbed is hilarious, as is the dubbing.

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Indeed. The baby's voice is clearly Lowe doing baby talk.

 

Spoiler

Though that clip for Baby Blood made me think of the vomit kiss in Prevenge which I definitely could have lived without.

 

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When the devil comes blowing through your door
You'll know there's trouble, and he's coming back for more
You better keep what is precious hidden under the floor
Or you better treat it so good it will never want for more

But looking back in retrospect
Did you ever really get what you'd expect?
Trying to rectify
Got lost a little further
You've been trying to justify
Find out how and where it came

Devil was your angel, but it's not no more
The devil was your angel, when you weren't sure

 
- Beth Orton, Devil Song
 
 
Prince of Darkness ( Carpenter, 1987 )

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0093777/?ref_=nv_sr_srsg_0

 
Pick: Lawful Metal
 
" My wife is getting me a private screening of Prince of Darkness at the Alamo Drafthouse for my birthday and that’s gotta be my pick for Halloween Havoc. I owned this on VHS that I stole from Blockbuster or Hollywood that I absolutely wore out. 

also features a diamond cutter. And Alice Cooper stabbing someone with a bicycle."

 
Reviewed by: Brian Fowler
 

I turned 6 in the fall of 1987, so I don't remember the situation, but I cannot begin to imagine how exciting John Carpenter's return to horror for the first time in half a decade was. The director of The Thing, The Fog, and Halloween (quite possibly my favorite movie ever) doing horror again!

 

From that standpoint, even here in 2020, this movie could only have been a disappointment. That's not even necessarily a meaningful criticism though, given, again, Halloween and The Thing would be the movies driving the hype. 

 

But perhaps it's less instructive to look at what this movie isn't (one of the greatest horror films of all-time) than at what it is. So, what it is, is...

 

Well, weird is the first word. Satan is, apparently, a vial of green liquid, explained by differential equations. And the local priest who just discovered this great secret (hidden away before now in a monastery that practices the art of talking to one another in dreams?) is played by the great Donald Pleasence, in his final role under Carpenter. Per usual with Pleasence in these kinds of movies, he chews up incredibly purple dialogue with just a slightly unhinged tint.

 

He recruits a local physics professor (I think physics) who apparently spends most of his class time lecturing on theoretical natures of reality, along with his best students, few if any of whom have much in the way of personalities beyond "kinda shiity.

 

You'll be shocked to learn that, while they examine this Satan liquid, some of it escapes and begins to posses the students. And violence ensues. And whenever anyone tries to leave the monastery, they are murdered by homeless people, led by, and this is the listed character name, Street Schizo. Who is played by goddamn Alice Cooper.

 

Oh, and Satan is a servant of the Anti-God from a different dimension so this is basically DC comics now as well.

 

The ending stretch is suitably insane and has a couple fun effects.

 

I can't say I disliked it, once I got past the whole "it's not Halloween or The Thing" disappointment.

 

Spoiler

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Edited by Execproducer
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The beauty of Prince of Darkness is in the scientific / philosophical mumbo jumbo being played completely straight with crazy shit just going on and on.  Alice Cooper stabs someone with a bicycle!  None of what they're doing makes sense or even factors into anything. 

"You will not be saved by the Holy Ghost.

You will not be saved by the god Plutonium.

In fact,

YOU WILL NOT BE SAVED."

Not a diamond cutter, like I remembered.  More of a lariat / rock bottom type deal. 

But the parting shot and downer ending -- that's some powerful stuff. 

Spoiler

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see you in Hell ...

Plus DJ Shadow sampled this on ...Endtroducing... so it can't be bad.

 

 

 

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That movie fucking rules. The possessions are so gross and out-there. Plus I've always thought bodily possession/infestation/infection stuff is particularly nasty and this did it better than any film except for Alien or The Exorcist.

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Lightning flashing on heavy iron gate
Scares me to death but I just can’t wait
Deep in a dungeon there's a rattling of chains
Mad Dr. Phibes, he’s going to eat my brain 

 
 It feels so good to be afraid

Vincent Price is back again

 
- Deep Purple, Vincent Price
 
 
Pit and the Pendulum ( Corman, 1961 )

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0055304/?ref_=nv_sr_srsg_0

 
Pick: Travis Sheldon
 
"This year I would like to nominate Roger Corman's The Pit and the Pendulum (1961). 

It's not my favorite Corman film or Vincent Price performance, but it's a solid one. 

I picked up the recently re-released Vincent Price Collection on Blu-Ray and this was the first film I watched and it still holds up. 

Solid performances from the entire cast and Price gives a great "tweener" performance."

 
Reviewed by: Lawful Metal
 

Vincent Price~!!!!

It’s a classic!  I’ve actually never seen this one before.  I love Masque of the Red Death.  Price has a way of overacting and chewing all the scenery that is both mindboggling stupid and funny and deadly serious all at the same time.  In Masque, Prince Prospero just casually throws in a “Hail Satan” so nonchalantly it pretty much explains everything and nothing about his character and is about perfect. 

So, coming in to this one, I was expecting fireworks from the get go and I get … none of that?  It’s pretty slow going for the first hour, including 3 (THREE!!!) flashbacks to Vincent’s Nicholas as a child watching his parents get tortured by … his adult self?  Honestly I was falling asleep at that point and it didn’t make a ton of sense but I was fine with it. 

Oh, plot.  English dude comes to Castle Medina because his sister Elizabeth (Nicholas’s wife) died under mysterious circumstances.  English dude is no nonsense dude trying to figure out what the hell’s going on.  Price’s Nicholas is all nonsense and crazy faces because Elizabeth is still haunting the castle and leaving jewelry around, calling his name.  The Doctor shows up and he’s the one who declared Elizabeth dead, and he’s trying to convince Nicholas that she was really dead, and he didn’t bury her alive – apparently that’s what happened to Nicholas’s mother.  There’s secret passages and a torture chamber in the house. 

That’s all well and good, and they exhume Elizabeth’s body, and yes, she appears to have been alive when she was buried and died trying to claw her way out.  Yikes.  So Price goes full bonkers, wide eyes and mustache doing all the acting.  It’s brilliant, silly, and on brand. 

Mystery solved, everyone plans on leaving the next day.  Only that Nicholas hears Elizabeth calling to him, and he goes down to the crypt and finds … Elizabeth’s ghost! Or her zombie self, or who knows what Nicholas is thinking because he’s even more bonkers! She chases him to the torture chamber where he finally breaks mentally.  And then it’s revealed that Elizabeth and the no-good doctor were having an affair and faked her death and then faked her second death of being buried alive to … do what now?  Not terribly sure what they were trying to accomplish, but Price no-sells mental breakdown, puts Elizabeth in the Iron Maiden? Maybe? Fights the Doctor and eventually the Doctor runs into the titular Pit and the Pendulum and manages to fall into the pit because no guard rails?  Where’s OSHA when you need them? 

Price knocks out English dude and ties him to the Pit and the Pendulum because … reasons?  Doesn't matter, because Price has gone even more bonkers and is now wearing some ridiculous executioner gimmick with a cape and his eyes are even wider now.  So, the pendulum’s swinging, and Nicholas’s sister who’s in this but barely does anything gets one of the servants, and the servant is the one that pushes Nicholas into the pit – again, guard rails?  Solves so many problems (Except in Tomb Raider: Angel of Darkness – why in the hell is there an option to jump over guard rails without pushing a button?  Jesus Christ my main enemy in that game was a narrow bridge.  And jumping, apparently). 

The sister declares that no one will ever enter the torture chamber again as we leave, only to see a close up of Elizabeth’s eyes while she’s stuck in the Iron Maiden – she’s being buried alive a second time!  (first time.  They faked the first one?  Probably should’ve just killed Nicholas by pushing him into the pit, inheriting all his shit.  Blame it on the lack of guard rails.  Who’s idea was this anyway?  Stupid doctor.  Yeah, I get it, being married to Price and all his faces would probably get tiring, but it don’t got to be so damn complicated.)

A million billion stars.

Spoiler

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The Corman/Poe Cycle is, for me, one of the greatest contributions to horror cinema. Vincent Price puts in some of his greatest work, which should be reason enough to make them historical documents. Their surreal mood and style is nearly impossible to replicate today.

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Pit and House of Usher were two of the first films I ever got on VHS, so I have a great fondness for the Corman-Poe Cycle and Price films in general. My favorite has to be Masque but most all I've seen are about equal. Tomb of Ligeia tends to be the other critical favorite along with Masque but I'd have to put Pit and House above it for nostalgia value. The Raven might be better than all of them but it's a horror comedy so pretty different; Peter Lorre vamping the whole time and cracking up the cast is priceless. There's  a couple I still need to see though: The Oblong Box, Premature Burial, Tales of Terror, Haunted Palace. I know I've got two of those on the back of DVDs and Tales on my DVR. 

They sure did like the buried alive/dead still alive trope in these...

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19 minutes ago, Curt McGirt said:

There's  a couple I still need to see though: The Oblong Box, Premature Burial, Tales of Terror, Haunted Palace. I know I've got two of those on the back of DVDs and Tales on my DVR. 

Premature Burial is great because it has this really deep cast with the likes of Ray Milland, Hazel Court, Heather Angel, Batman's Alfred Alan Napier. All of that and Dick Miller too.

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In my household we had a running joke about "patted mash" after Price said that's all he could tolerate eating at the beginning of House of Usher. We laughed at that relentlessly. It's a great example of how he could take on multiple tones because you can be laughing at that and then in awe of how he makes the next line sound about how he can hear the rats scratching in the walls within the same little speech, within the same line even. What a maestro. 

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9 hours ago, Curt McGirt said:

Pit and House of Usher were two of the first films I ever got on VHS, so I have a great fondness for the Corman-Poe Cycle and Price films in general. My favorite has to be Masque but most all I've seen are about equal. Tomb of Ligeia tends to be the other critical favorite along with Masque but I'd have to put Pit and House above it for nostalgia value. The Raven might be better than all of them but it's a horror comedy so pretty different; Peter Lorre vamping the whole time and cracking up the cast is priceless. There's  a couple I still need to see though: The Oblong Box, Premature Burial, Tales of Terror, Haunted Palace. I know I've got two of those on the back of DVDs and Tales on my DVR. 

They sure did like the buried alive/dead still alive trope in these...

M'lady and I watched The Haunted Palace a couple of weeks ago. Neither of us had ever seen it and her tastes lean toward high-gothic with all the trappings. It leans more Lovecraft than Poe, for sure, but the style is very much the same in terms of production design, casting, etc. We both really, really liked it.

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I'm in the middle of Tales of Terror right now. "Morella" was yet another Dead Body Reanimation story, dark and well done. "The Black Cat" (really "The Cask of Amontillado" as well) has Lorre and Price again doing their thing with Lorre as a drunk. This one has a reversal of the classic wine-tasting scene between Price and Basil Rathbone in Tower of London, with Price as the sober one this time. The faces Price makes during the tasting are, well, priceless. 

(Warning: the flashes in this gif are strobe-like)

Spoiler

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DDT did a job on me
Now I am a real sickie
Guess I'll have to break the news
That I got no mind to lose
All the girls are in love with me
I'm a teenage lobotomy
 
- The Ramones,  Teenage Lobotomy
 
Strange Behavior ( Laughlin, 1981 )

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0082243/?ref_=nv_sr_srsg_0

 
Pick: jaedmc
 
" Eventually I'm going to run out of classic slashers that surprise me. I hadn't heard of this one until recently, and from what I understand it's starting to get a little more following among horror nerds. So I'm doing my part for anyone taking part and spreading the word on Strange Behavior.

First big surprise is the bizarre group of creatives involved. Louis Fletcher had won an Oscar six years prior. It's the first movie William Condon wrote, and he'd later win an Oscar for his Screenplay Gods & Monsters(He'd also direct the last two Twilight movies but whatevs.). It was produced by David Hemmings company. Michael Laughlin directed and he had produced Two Lane Blacktop 10 years prior. AND TANGERINE DREAM DID THE SCORE. I'm not saying that should have made this a household name, but it's odd that it's not as widely revered, particularly since it came about during the Golden Age of Slashers and did something weird and different.

This movie is a pastiche of slasher concepts and 1950's science horror, that bucks around on the line of cheese and creepy. It's filled with these peculiar character moments, that make you feel everyone might be fucking crazy. I couldn't tear my eyes away because I was afraid I would miss something. The mystery isn't much of a mystery, as it keeps most of its cards on the table for you to see, but there's still unease.

Not that one has anything to do with the other, but if you were hugely disappointed in the James Marsden/Katie Holmes flick Disturbing Behavior from 1998(who wasn't, even the director was), this will replace it and then some."

 
Reviewed by: Curt McGirt
 

Strange Behavior AKA Dead Kids (1981)

Okay, I'm coming into this one completely cold. I haven't even watched A TRAILER for this film, or read a review, or ever heard anything about it. That has to be a first. 

Just finished it. Deep breath here. Spoilers ahead... though it doesn't matter.

The story is set in a small college town outside of Chicago. Mysterious blackouts have been occurring. A couple of high school seniors need some fast cash, so they decide to take part as lab rats in some kind of medical experiment at the college. Meanwhile teens in the town are showing up dead. There's a goofy New Wave party with a hilarious dance scene that ends up having a guy and his date stabbed by a guy wearing a Halloween mask, who takes it off after and reveals himself to be one of the guys who enrolled in the program. The other guy (who is the police chief's son) is first given a pill, goes out and gets laid, the next day comes back and the Sinister Lady Doctor shoves a fuckin' needle the size of the Washington Monument through the top of his eye socket right into his brain to inject him with something... and man, I don't know if they faked it or not. In between those things we get a random young woman killing an 11 year old kid and trying to saw his hand off in a bathtub and slashing the throat of the housekeeper when she's discovered. The cops (none of whom are ever uniformed) and the mayor are trying to find out what's going on; the chief thinks it all has something to do with a mysterious doctor involved with the program that is supposedly dead (along with the mayor's wife). The chief's kid is the one who got the needle and he ends up pissing blood in a Steak 'n' Shake while his dad and dad's girlfriend exhumes the doctor's body only to find a pair of leg bones. Well then. Responsible policing there.

Anyway all this rigamarole boils down to the doctor isn't really dead, the kid has been zombified to kill his dad, and the doctor killed the kid's mom/chief's wife in some medical experiment that isn't explained at all. In fact NOTHING is explained -- why the research was done, what it was for, the relationship between the doctor and the chief and the wife, what happened to the other kid who was the killer at the party, what happened to the lady that killed the kid and the housekeeper... it's all just completely random and it takes a full hour to get any sense of it at all. And then after some routine bloodletting (including someone slashing both their wrists vertically and somehow surviving) it ends on a wedding? 

This film felt totally pointless. It's like it wanted to build to this great reveal and then there was nothing behind the curtain. They could have tried to explain some of it and ended up explaining none of it. Aside from some decent gore and the silly dance scene this offered pretty much nothing. To save you some time, here's the party scene. 

Spoiler

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Yeah I don't know what you were seeing in this one dude. We tend to really jive on our tastes but this was not one of them. For a film with such an artistic pedigree from its makers it didn't show any of that IMO; I didn't even notice that Tangerine Dream did the soundtrack. It just looked and came off like a slightly better than usual TV movie to me minus the blood (and part of that was watching it on the crappy Youtube version, I admit). 

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My so-called friends say you're not alive
I'll bake their bones for telling lies
Then pull the pastry from the pie
And pour the gravy in their eye

Listen to his body moan
Make a wish and send us home
To spin the gold and silver stitches
We can turn his rags to riches
 
 
- Siouxsie and the Banshees, Scarecrow
 
 
 
Scarecrows ( Wesley, 1988 )

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0096046/?ref_=nv_sr_srsg_0

 
Pick: No Point Stance
 
I'll be introducing my girlfriend to Scarecrows this year as well. It's a film I haven't seen since probably the early 1990s, but I remember really enjoying the moody, oppressive vibe. It's low budget and doesn't attempt anything particularly big or clever, but what it does it does well in under 90 minutes and I've always been a bit sad that we never got the promised sequel, The Last Straw. "
 
Reviewed by: Travis Sheldon
 

When I first was assigned Scarecrows (1988) to review, I flashed back to the video store aisles that I used to haunt in the 80s and 90s.
In those days video stores, comic book shops, and record stores were like second homes to me.
Confident that I had seen this film on VHS at some point, I searched the internet for VHS releases of the film.
Sure enough I found the familiar cover within seconds, but the memory of the actual movie never came to me.
Was it so bad that I had forgotten it shortly after viewing?
Likely, as this has happened too many times to count through the years.
So I opened a streaming app that had the film available and started on my journey to relive the past.

Scarecrows (1988) dir. William Wesley
Five mercenaries have robbed a military base and are fleeing in a plane when one of the mercs shoves the loot out of the plane
and parachutes out leaving his buddies a grenade as a parting gift.
Bert, the thief that ripped off his buddies, parachutes into a field near a house and goes in search of the crate of money which is nearby.
He is killed by one of the scarecrows after he sets out on foot.
The rest of the robbers find the house and start looking for Bert.
Bert eventually returns to the house only to be captured and beaten nearly to death by the robbers.
Turns out that Bert is dead and has been gutted and stuffed with straw and the money they so desperately want to retrieve.
The thieves decide it's time to try to get as much money as they can find and return to the plane.
Once they split up they start to get picked off one by one.
Who are the scarecrows, why are they here, what is causing all this?
None of that is satisfyingly explained, but it's still interesting.

Turns out I had never seen this hidden gem before.
And I call it a hidden gem because despite the thin plotline, this film has a good atmosphere and decent performances all around.
Maybe I like this film because the story of how it got made helps enhance the enjoyment.
Much like Raiders of the Living Dead, the backstory of how it happened is more important than what actually happens onscreen.
There are supernatural things that happen that are never explained.

Satanic sacrifices are alluded to but followed up with any evidence.

The device of using the radios to add flavor turned out to be a great addition.
All in all, Scarecrows is a fun and unique film.
I recommend it to the horror buffs.

Spoiler

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Scarecrows was on TCM Underground a couple of years ago, so I set a recording. I fell asleep with the television on, and that thing where real sounds stimulate your dreams happened. I had the most terrifying nightmare of my adult life. When I finally watched the movie the next day it didn’t live up to that, but it’s pretty good. 

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