Tuesday, October 28, 2014

my top ten halloween movies

We are down to the wire! Halloween is only days away. My candy bowl is filled to the brim & my dvd player is ready for some spooky action.

I will quickly preface this list by telling you what I like in my scary movies. I don't like anything that is overly gory or evil...I like a good scare & I like suspense, but movies like The Exorcism or Chainsaw Massacre are not for me. I like a movie that has an interesting plot, decent acting, consistent suspense and/or startling moments & an overall spooky or creepy vibe. This description in a review I read of The Awakening really nailed it on the head:

"Sometimes less really is more. There is a fine line to walk--especially with a ghost story--to achieve that spine-tingling, skin-crawling feeling, and that element can only be teased from the psyche with mystery, not in your face guts or a head being lopped off--that is shock value and gross out, which is perfectly fine for a slasher pic or a grind house movie, but not a good ghost story."

Also, I like Tim Burton. The end.

So without further ado, here is a list of my favorite scary flicks.

1. Casper

Girl meets ghost. Ghost falls in love with girl. Oh what a timeless story :) So I know this one isn't actually scary & it's a kids' movie, but it's a classic! Plus with the awesome party Kat throws in her haunted mansion, it's even more Halloween appropriate than your average ghost movie.

2. The Sixth Sense

A classic M Night Shayamalan movie, it's a twisty ghost story about a boy who can see dead people & a man who is trying to help him deal with these apparitions. And the Hubs says once you've seen it, you can't really enjoy it again because you know the ending. But I still love it. I think this was one of the first movies I saw that combined good storytelling, good acting, good filmmaking & a great plot twist.

3. The Haunting

A group of people brought together under false pretenses discover that this house is haunted...or maybe just evil. This is another I consider sort of a classic, but maybe that's just because I first saw it a long time ago. This movie used to seriously creep me out &, honestly, it still does if I watch it alone in the dark. Again, a  nice plot with a good twist at the end.

4. The Nightmare Before Christmas

The classic story of the Pumpkin King who longs for something that will fill the empty space in his heart. Ahhhh, Tim Burton. Where would we be without him. I seriously watch at least 3 or 4 Tim Burton movies each October. Side note: If you haven't heard the Nightmare Revisited soundtrack & you are a fan of this movie, you should really check it out.

5. The Awakening

Florence Cathcart, an expert on supernatural hoaxes, is called to figure out what is happening at a boarding school. But is this "haunting" really a hoax? This one is mostly pretty mild, but I really enjoyed the plot & the artistic element of this movie. I completely agree with the tag line on the movie poster...visually sumptuous and chilling.

6. The Woman in Black

A young lawyer travels to a remote village to settle a large estate. But his work is interrupted by strange events that seem to be linked to a vengeful ghost. Maybe I just really like the way Brits tell ghost stories, but The Woman in Black is right up my alley. Creepy, dreary, suspenseful...plus it's fun to see Harry Potter as an awkward lawyer.

7. Corpse Bride

On the eve of his arranged marriage, a clumsy young man accidentally marries a corpse bride. Definitely one of my favorite Tim Burton movies. The music, the animation, the fun! If you like Tim Burton, you'll love this one.

8. The Uninvited

After returning from a stint in a mental hospital, Anna has trouble adjusting back to normal life with a cruel stepmother, aloof father & a ghost haunting the house. This one is a remake of a japanese horror film. And though I'm sure the original was scarier (the japanese apparently know how to scare you out of your pants), I enjoyed the filmmaking, plot & acting. Creepy & well done. I always really like Emily Browning.

9. The Conjuring

This might be the scariest one on my list. It's also one of the newer movies. Based on the experiences of Ed & Lorraine Warren, a married couple who investigated paranormal activities. A well-made, totally scary movie.

10. The Haunting in Connecticut

Talk about a well-told ghost story! A boy suffering from cancer is starts seeing disturbing thing after his family moves into a house that used to be a mortuary. When someone asks me what my favorite scary movie is, I answer with this movie. I've seen it enough now that it no longer scares me as much as it used to, but I still appreciate the story & like the fact that it revolves so much around the characters.

Now tell me, what movies would you recommend to me?

xo, erinkay

Friday, October 24, 2014

a very good {october} book

One of my favorite October traditions is to read (almost exclusively) scary literature during the month of October. I've read some awesome Stephen King books (a special shout out to Pet Cemetery & The Shining), a fair amount of Edgar Allen Poe and a few other randoms.

This year, I started off October reading Summer of Night by Dan Simmons. And I tell you, I LOVED it. It was the perfect blend of creepiness, story-telling & nostalgia & I would highly recommend this book to anyone who isn't afraid to be afraid.

Hope you're having a very spooky October.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

all hallows' eve

Just thought I'd pop in to show a few pictures of my house, all dressed up for the holidays. On October 1st, I went into a decorating/crafting frenzy that lasted for three days (although crafts & decorating has continued through the month). It was fueled by lots of pumpkin bread, pandora "Halloween Party" radio and classic Halloween movies. We went from having about 3 decorations to having a house full, which is just as I like it, especially since October is possibly my favorite month of the year!

Upon approaching our house, you are greeted with this wreath...please ignore the craziness of our front door. It is about to be repainted. Hopefully tomorrow. This was once one of those twig wreaths. But I covered it with torn up drop cloth & some book page scrolls. And a skeleton hand for good measure.

This is our entryway. I made the Happy Halloween banner last year using a drop cloth, a sharpie & some coffee to give it an aged look. The candles on the left are black tapers from Hobby Lobby placed in wine bottles spray painted matte black. I've used these several places in the house.

The pillows throughout the house were all crafted by me. I LOVE having a sewing machine :) The designs on all the light-colored pillows were drawn with sharpie & a careful hand. Making the pillows was definitely one of my favorite parts of crafting this year. The skull is from Walmart. I general avoid that place (the one in our town is such a nightmare to go to), but they have some great, cheap Halloween decor. And I feel like even something small, like a skull sitting on your coffee table, can do a lot for giving your home a bit of spooky Halloween spirit.

The black & orange garland hangs behind the couch with the trick or treat & nevermore pillows in the first picture. It was a pretty quick craft that I originally intended to bedeck an outdoor buffet table for a party we had a few weeks ago.

The "double, double toil & trouble" pillow is probably my favorite thing I made this year.

Our dining room is a fun hodge-podge of items. I went to several thrift stores & found lots of old silver trays to pull into my decor this year. While I was there, I spotted the candle-holder-arch-thing on the buffet hutch. I knew immediately it would be perfect somewhere in my house for Halloween. Once again you can see I have some wine bottles, one holding a candle & the others just looking pretty. I also have more bones & skulls from Walmart. Then I pulled in some pieces from TJ Maxx (white ceramic pumpkin, skull salt & pepper shakers, cake stand, glass container) & some real pumpkins & candles. The glass container on the table is actually a decanter I found at West Elm. It wasn't too expensive & it was beautiful & I knew I could use it to decorate in a lot of different ways.

This is our kitchen table. The skeleton is from Walmart...one of those 3 ft guys you see hanging in a lot of people's yards. I accidentally broke his head off & then actually liked him a lot better without a head on his shoulders, so I hot glued his skull to his hand & added some hot glue to his joints as well to keep him propped up. The bottle is another empty bottle of something intoxicating. If you don't have friends who drink, you should definitely get some if just for the cast off bottles. A lot of alcohol bottles are really pretty! And it seems like wine bottles in particular have infinite uses.

Anyway, add a couple mercury glass votives & a slab of beautiful olive wood (all from TJ Maxx over the years) & it's finished!

The thing hanging on the wall behind the table is just a roll of craft paper that says "something wicked this way comes." I originally planned to do the whole "by the pricking of my thumbs, something wicked this way comes" but it was really time consuming & I wanted to move onto other projects. I intended to come back to it, but haven't yet. Anyway, to make it I googled "halloween chalkboard art" and used a couple of the results as inspiration to make a design that suited my tastes. I freehanded the design with a pencil & then traced over it in sharpie.

The final room on our Halloween home tour is the living room, aka the fireplace room. Decorating the mantle is a favorite of mine & I like to think I've gotten pretty good at it with some practice :) I always like how my mantles turn out, anyway. The mantle was pulled together from a lot of items around the house, a lot of thrift store items & some mini pumpkins. The only items I bought for this mantle specifically are the silver trays (thrifted) & the orange glass bottle on the right (TJ Maxx). I made the "all hallows' eve" banner from old book pages, a sharpie & some coffee to age it.

The skull pillow was something I had been dreaming up for a long time. I think there was a pottery barn something-or-other that had a skull print similar to this ages ago & I had always liked it. Then I decided to try my hand this year at drawing the skull. It probably would be easier to just print it onto transfer paper & iron it on, but we don't have a printer & I don't think I ever found this same skull face on. The images were always skewed or showed the skull on a plate or something.

Anyway, here are a few more random images from around the house. Hope you enjoyed the tour of our house!