‘Based on a True Story’: A Look at the Use of this Horror Movie Tagline

    ‘Based on a True Story’ is eye-catching, head-turning and ticket-worthy for many movie fans. For horror, this tagline alone and its message is especially enticing and ups the ante on all other movies playing that week in theaters. Quite simply: it sells. But what does ‘based on a true story’ really mean? As movie-goers, how much can we hold such a movie accountable as being truthful towards the real persons and events it portrays?   Advertising that a movie is based in a true story goes back to 1899 with the short film Major Wilson’s Last Stand. However, the first….

Let’s Play! The Ouija Board

    Whether or not you consider yourself a fan of horror, chances are you’ve heard of the famed Ouija Board. A simple concept for a board game, it contains only two objects: a flat board and a planchette. On the board are written in black bold font the numbers zero through nine, the letters of the alphabet, the words ‘yes’ and ‘no’ and sometimes the word ‘goodbye’ for manner’s sake. Players (one or more) are to place their hands on the planchette, ask the spirit world or specific spirits a question and wait for a reply. The planchette is….

What are the ‘Supernatural’ and ‘Paranormal’?

    We often hear the two words “Supernatural” and “Paranormal” used interchangeably. A simple online search shows overlapping horror television and films categorized under both terms, leading to even more confusion. Forget grabbing the dictionary, Webster remains vague. So how do we differentiate the two? Let’s start with ‘Supernatural’:   History tells us that the term ‘Supernatural’ was first used between 1520 and 1530 AD and is rooted in religion and spiritualism. The things or occurrences which believers believe to be true based on their faith or willingness to believe is the foundation of the term. As early humans….

10 of the Creepiest Folklores from Around the World

    We all love folklore, especially the type that makes us tremble simply by recalling a line. I remember listening to my mother tell my siblings and I stories which had been passed down generations, of ghost men on horses still clip-clopping at night through the streets of her hometown or the lore of a bleeding tree that, when cut, the ground shook and buildings threatened to fall. While these stories are truly imaginative, the horror that they portray feels real to the listener because it is very likely that the words are coming from someone they know, and may even look….

Poetry in Film: A Closer Look at The Changeling’s Camerawork

  “A film is never really good unless the camera is an eye in the head of a poet.” — Orson Welles   In 1980, a Canadian film titled The Changeling was released starring Oscar winner George C. Scott and directed by Peter Medak. It joins ‘The Shining’ as it, too, was released that same year, jump starting the thriller and fantasy-horrors that would later come to characterize the decade.   Films like The Changeling and The Shining sit in a strange timezone for the horror genre, right between the romanticized drama of (arguably) horror’s golden era and the squeamish oriented scares yet to come.   Medak carried on….