31 Days of Scary Movies: The Mist

For the month of October, I will be posting reviews of scary movies. The opinions in these reviews, unless otherwise noted, are my own.

The Mist


I have a confession to make: I am a Stepehen King nut. I’ve read lots of his books, seen lots of his movies, and I love them all. I, like many other King fans, was so excited to see this movie when it came out. It is based on one of his most popular short stories. It was adapted by Frank Darabont, who also worked on “The Shawshank Redemption” and “The Green Mile”, which were great films. He seems to have a good handle on how to turn a King story into a great movie.

Not everyone loves this movie, though. I did. It was very true to the story, and I thought the casting was great. I was curious how the monsters were going to come to life and not be cheesy, as in the book they’re pretty scary. I have to say… they were just a little cheesy. However, this story is not so much about the monsters, as about the mob mentality that affects those people that are trapped in the supermarket by the Mist and what it brings. Marcia Gay Harden plays an awesome Mrs. Carmody, the Bible-thumping, holier than thou town crazy who gets one group of people to turn against everyone else. The most disturbing death in the movie ultimately comes at the hands of this group, making the fear caused by the Mist the real villian.

The ending of this movie is quite disturbing, and is the second reason that people don’t like the film. Its controversial, sickening, and King said he wishes he thought of it himself. That’s all I’ll say about it. But if you’re watching the movie and are kind of not into it… just watch it til the end. You’ll like it or hate it, but it will hit you one way or the other. I do recommend this film, you just need to take the monster part for what it is… monsters in the mist! Pay more attention to how the folks handle being trapped by them.

Fun Facts (from IMDB)

  • Frank Darabont agreed to make the film with Dimension as long as they agreed not to change the scripted ending. They agreed.
  • The movie is set in Maine but was filmed in Lousiana. Stephen King couldn’t tell the difference.
  • Shot in 37 days
  • Thomas Jane’s second Stephen King movie. He was also in Dreamcatcher.
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31 Days of Scary Movies: Session 9

Today’s review comes as a guest post from my brother, David.

Session 9


Session 9 is one of the greatest suspense movies that no one saw. Filmed in 2001, the movie follows an asbestos clean-up crew cleamiing up abandoned mental institute, Danvers State Mental Institute. The team, led by Gordon Fleming played by Scottish actor and film-maker Peter Mullan, suffers from high levels of stress caused by both personal conflicts, and the deadline Gordon forced on them to get the bid for the job. Each character relies heavily on no-so-subtle exposition during lunch breaks to relay their personal stories, but far more subtle insights into their motivations from their time by themselves while on the job, and facial expressions. Something one would rarely expect from Gordon’s right hand man Phil played by the CSI Miami pose-mugging David Caruso, yet he undeniably gets one of the best zoom ins in film history during a suspense filled conversation. Sueriously, the movie is worth watching just to see the deadpan stereotype acting with emotion.

Filling out the team we have Gordon’s nephew Jeff, who suffers from nyctophobia or fear of the dark, Hank played by Josh Lucas who we find as obnoxious and insufferable a role as he always plays, and Mike, the man who winds up listening to the tapes which feature as the movie’s theme.

The suspense and ultiimate villain of this film is the abandoned hospital itself, which let’s face it, is the scariest setting for a scary movie next to an abandoned elemetary school. There’s something about long brick hallways and parallel rooms that speak to us of being trapped in a prison. As Mike listens to the tapes of one patient, “Mary”, the disturbing tale of how she wound up in the institute coincides well with the team’s slow descent into their own caustic troubles, leading to an ending which still leaves me with goosebumps every time.

One of those unsung sleepers, Session 9 as a scary movie has been getting more attention. With very little blood or gore, the psychological depths this film plumes plays on some of those great fears all people have when alone. Set primarily in the daylight, the characters’ dialogues and own personal demons force the imagination into dark places and leaves the watcher without a feeling catharsis, as though the movie is still happening and terrible things could occur at any time, which for a suspense movie is really important.

On a personal note, I spoke with the lead make-up designer for the film after seeing it, and without knowing he was involved in the project, Joe Rossi. He told me each of the actors for this film were considerably disturbed by the location. This was confirmed by David Caruso himself in trivia taken from IMDB.

He reports in the official Production Notes that he saw “something pass my window” when shooting inside the Bonner Medical Building of Danvers State Hospital. “I didn’t want to tell anybody, because people would start looking at me strangely…”

Only 3 rooms had additions outside of the natural setting for atmosphere, the kitchen had meat hooks hung, the tunnel had plastic surgical gloves hung up, and the hydrotherapy room had a metal tub added. Almost everything else related to the asylum setting was found on site as the crew scoured the building for set dressing to keep things authentic.

The film only ever used a very small percentage of the building as most of it was off limits as it was unsafe.

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31 Days of Scary Movies: Amityville Horror (2005)

For the month of October, to celebrate the season of Halloween, I will be posting a review of a movie for each day. Movies will be old, new, vampire, slasher, zombie, ghosts, etc. If you are curious about any movies, shoot me an email! These opinions, unless otherwise noted, are all my own.


Ok I’m going to be honest and throw it out there. One of the best parts of this movie is that Ryan Reynolds spends a good amount of it shirtless, nude, competing in a wet tshirt contest, or doing manual labor.

In addition to that, I really enjoyed this movie. The beginning gives you just enough time to settle in and get comfortable before crazy things start happening in the house. I haven’t seen the original in awhile, so I don’t feel right comparing them just yet. There are definitely some startling moments as well as some more subtle scares. The one thing I didn’t like was the part where the history of the house was described. As usual, it made the supernatural part of the movie a little less scary, because it actually (kind of) explained what was going on.

What’s great is Ryan Reynolds’ casual descent into craziness. The scariest moments of this movie happen toward the middle, with some ghostly happenings, a claustrophobic closet scene, and RR acting just plain weird. The end has some action, but isn’t necessarily scary… more action/suspenseful. Its still a very fun movie to watch for the house, the story, and the scares.

Oh, and this.



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Shake it off

For the past 3 weeks or so, I’ve been battling something yukky. It started as a deep, unproductive cough. I stayed home from work one day and felt a little better the next day. At the beginning of next week, it moved into my head and my nose and at my physical I was prescribed Amoxicillin for a sinus infection and what I assume is bronchitis. Blech!

The Tufts 10K is on Monday! I’m so excited to run a race, my last one was in July! Annnnd… I plan on meeting up with a couple of blog friends there, woohoo! Anyone else coming?

I took a couple of weeks off from running to recover from my illness, and I wanted to get one last 5+ mile run in this past weekend. I said I was running Sunday… and then I didn’t feel well. I vowed to do it Monday… but when I got home, I felt like I had been hit by a truck. So, I took a bath and parked myself on the couch. Tuesday morning, I figured I had to get it out of the way in the morning, since by the time I get out of work lately, I feel awful. I really wanted to run outside and get myself used to running in the cold again. However, going outside sent chills through my body, and not good ones. I figured a run on the treadmill was better than running outside and potentially making myself more sick, so off to the gym I went.

I started off feeling GREAT for the first 3 miles. Then… everything went downhill. I was having kind of a tough time breathing (just from the cold… nothing alarming). And I when I finished, I was cold-sweating. Physically, I felt awful. But mentally, I felt really great for dragging myself to run when I didn’t want to. Today I felt okay, so I didn’t do any permanent damage 😉 My pace started out perfect, but from the walk breaks and slower pace at the end, I ended up doing 5.46 miles in 55:00, a 10:04/mile pace. My goal for the 10K is 60:00, which is a 9:40 pace. I was running faster than that before I got sick… so I’m hoping the energy of the race and a week of rest will help me out. But… I’m not going to beat myself up if I don’t hit that goal. I’ll just have to sign up for another 10K!

When I got home, I knew I needed protein and potassium, stat. I had an overripe banana, a can of pumpkin… you see where this is going.

Shake it off Pumpkin Protein Shake

  • 1 overripe banana
  • 1/2-2/3 cup canned pumpkin
  • cinnamon
  • nutmeg
  • almond milk
  • chocolate protein powder

I tried so hard to get the perfect shot of this smoothie… but the light or my camera weren’t cooperating! Still… its beautiful. And it tasted beautiful, too 😉 Like pumpkin pie in my glass!

How do you handle training when you’re sick?

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31 Days of Scary Movies: Candyman

For the month of October, to celebrate the season of Halloween, I will be posting a review of a movie for each day. Movies will be old, new, vampire, slasher, zombie, ghosts, etc. If you are curious about any movies, shoot me an email! These opinions, unless otherwise noted, are all my own.


Add this to my list of movies I was too scared to see when I was younger. Not only was it not scary… it wasn’t worth watching. I’m glad I did watch it, though, to remind me how great other horror movies are.

The story is about Candyman, an urban legend who appears behind you if you say his name five times while looking in a mirror. A bathroom mirror, to be exact. Virginia Madsen and a friend are doing research on the story and they learn about a death in the projects who people attribute to Candyman. So they investigate, and all hell breaks loose. Oh, and they’ve already jokingly said his name 5 times in the bathroom, but he never showed up… or did he?

Aside from Virginia Madsen’s acting, which is actually decent, I didn’t like anything about this movie. The Candyman speaks and says some pretty silly stuff. Not Freddie Krueger silly, but trying-to-be-scary silly. There’s a side story going on with her and her husband that’s not really important to the plot, in my opinion. There’s a couple of startling moments, but you can even kind of see them coming. The ending clearly sets us up for a sequel, which I will be skipping. If you’re curious, go ahead and watch it. But if you’re looking for a fun, interesting, or scary movie… don’t.

Fun Facts (from IMDB)

  • Virginia Madsen claims she was hypnotized for some of the films scenes
  • Real bees were put into Tony Todd’s mouth while shooting the climax. His only protection was a mouthguard to prevent them from going down his throat
  • If Virginia Madsen wasn’t available, the lead role would have gone to Sandra Bullock
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31 Days of Scary Movies: Jaws

For the month of October, to celebrate the season of Halloween, I will be posting a review of a movie for each day. Movies will be old, new, vampire, slasher, zombie, ghosts, etc. If you are curious about any movies, shoot me an email! These opinions, unless otherwise noted, are all my own.


You’re going to need a bigger boat

This movie is a classic for so many reasons. My mother tells me that people were actually afraid to go into swimming pools, or even bathtubs, when it came out. From the beginning, the whole movie has a tone of suspense to it, and you’re constantly waiting for the next person in the water to get it.

And you don’t even see the shark for the first half of the movie.

This movie actually sort of feels like two movies. The first half is about how the seaside vacationland of Amity is reacting to the recent shark attacks. As scary as the shark himself is, the other scary part about this movie is how the mayor is treating the crisis. Its a commentary on human nature and greed, and is something that transcends to today. Its not farfetched to picture people downplaying shark attacks to avoid losing money on tourism, is it?

Finally, a fisherman, marine biologist, and the chief of police venture out to try to catch the shark for the second part of the movie. (Sounds like the start of a bad joke) This part of the movie moves very fast, and we see a lot of the shark. But still… the suspense is caused more by the actors and signs of the shark. (The barrels they tie to him, for example). I love this movie for not only the shark, but the acting and the scenery, too. If you haven’t seen it from beginning to end recently, you should do so. Especially now that swimming season is over 😉

Fun Facts (from IMDB)

  • The shark robot was named “Bruce” in real life.
  • Richard Dreyfuss originally passed on the film
  • Roy Scheider improvised the famous line “You’re gonna need a bigger boat”
  • After the shark was built, it was never tested in the water, and when it was put in the water at Martha’s Vineyard, it sank straight to the ocean floor. It took a team of divers to retrieve it.
  • Peter Benchley (author of the book the movie was based off of) was thrown off the set because he objected so much to the end of the movie
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Apples, cinnamon, and bread

While making my regular oatmeal last week, I looked over at the huge bag of apples we have on the counter from our most recent picking. Aside from pies, applesauce, and casual eating, I’m always looking for things to do with apples… And then it hit me. It was kind of like the old commercials where the chocolate and the peanut butter bumped into each other and made peanut butter cups!

Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal

  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1/2 apple, cut into small cubes

Bring the above to a boil and add

  • 1/2 cup oats
  • ~ 1 tsp cinnamon (I didn’t measure, I just shook the bottle til it looked like enough)
  • couple dashes nutmeg

Cook for about 4 mins

I added walnuts and maple syrup

And served it with a cup of coffee with milk, Agave, and cinnamon!

For a very fall-like breakfast 🙂

Yesterday, I went on an adventure and made my first bread from scratch! I’ve wanted to make bread for years but was scared of the yeast, and the rising, and the whole process. I cannot tell a lie… I had a meltdown during the making of this bread. It just wasn’t looking right, and when it came out, it still didn’t look pretty, but it tasted DELICIOUS. I’m very proud of it. Maybe when I get better at it, I’ll post a tutorial with tips for anyone else who is nervous about making bread 😉

So here’s my ugly bread. I have a feeling its going to be making a regular appearance around here this fall and winter

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