October 30, 2011

The Scariest Movies I've Ever Seen.

As a participant in the 2nd annual Octoberween Palooza Ganza over at Vincent's Handmade Art, I was to write a post about something Halloween or horror-related.  That sounds easy, but for some reason I've had trouble coming up with something that has any wow-factor at all.  I mean, my hair in the morning is quite frightening, and there was that time I was mugged, but neither story is very gripping.  I do have a couple of ghost stories, or at least what I believe to have been ghostly experiences for lack of any other explanation, but you kinda had to be there for those.  Hence, I shall bore you with my own personal list of scariest movies.

I will preface this list by reminding all of you that I'm not a huge movie buff.  I frequently shock and offend others by the movies I have never seen, that apparently everyone should see.  I don't know how I got this way.  Society makes me feel like a freak because of it.  You don't realize how often the topic of conversation is about movies unless you are like me.  It is extremely rare that I will sit by myself and watch a movie, but I do enjoy it once in a while when I'm with other people.  I guess, to me, it's more of a social thing.  I notice that I tend to watch more movies when I'm in a relationship, and thinking back on my high school days when I used to watch movies on a fairly regular basis, it was always with friends or family.  Always.  I like the opportunity to sit and talk about it afterwards, and I am known to annoyingly ask questions throughout as I analyze in the moment, especially if someone in the room has seen the movie before.  I'm like a child who needs to know NOW, and sometimes I need to be shushed.  Despite my lack of movie-watching overall, scary movies are my favorite, and always have been.  I am intrigued by fear as well as the unknown.  I like to be on the edge of my seat, curled up in a ball with my heart pounding, grabbing the nearest person, ready to scream like a girl should during such a movie. 

You will notice that most of the movies on my list are old.  Obviously my lack of movie-watching in my adult life has something to do with this.  As far as the more modern horror flicks I've seen, for whatever reason I typically don't find the newer stuff to be as good as the older stuff.  Or maybe I'm choosing the wrong ones to watch.  At some point the gore factor became overly prominent, which to me isn't that frightening in and of itself.  Give me suspense, baby!  Give me hauntings, psychological torture, demonic entities and/or aliens, and I'm a happy camper.  Ok, on with the list, in no particular order because that's just too hard.

1.  Rosemary's Baby.  I first saw this movie on TV, and it freaked my shit out.  Apparently there was a lack of parental guidance in my home, because I never should've been allowed to watch this at such an early age.  Keep in mind that I was raised Catholic, and at the time, the idea of the devil's spawn being birthed by a seemingly regular gal was about as horrifying as it got.  I honestly wonder if this was the beginning of my desire to never have children.

2.  The Entity.  Any movie, especially a scary one, that is based on a true story will always have a head start in my eyes.  Keeping that in mind while watching this as a young gal in the early 80's made it scary as all fuck.  This was not just a mere house haunting.  The demonic Entity violently rapes Barbara Hershey's character.  It's a freaky scene to watch that is forever burned in my brain.

3.  The Exorcist.  I would imagine most people have this one on their list.  I'm only on number 3, but there seems to be a Satanic theme going on here.  Another movie based on a true story that still scares the hell out of me despite having seen it about 15 times.  Fact:  my mother was friends with one of the priests who was supposedly part of the actual exorcism.  Another fact:  I have been to the actual staircase in Georgetown many times, and it's just as creepy in person.  The crab walk scene is fucked up awesomeness.

4.  Halloween II.  This movie was indeed scary, but it's on this list for one specific reason only:  the scene where the kid bites into a candy apple and ends up with a razor blade firmly planted in his lip.  As an 11 or 12 year old at the time, it was one of my earliest reminders that the world is not a safe place, and it marked the official end of my trick-or-treating days.  It was probably time anyway.

5.  Cujo.  I think this is self explanatory.  That dog would scare anyone.  And all that snot, blood, saliva and goo all over the car was equally horrifying.  I wanted to shower when it was all over.

6.  Silence of the Lambs.  It's hard not to like this one.  Superb acting.  Superb storyline.  A lot of eerie mind-fucking, which I always enjoy.  Anthony Hopkins has creeped me out ever since.

7.  When a Stranger Calls.  An oldie but a goodie.  The first phone call you get either during, or just after, watching this movie will just about give you a heart attack.

8.  The Ring.  A lot of plot twists that keep you on the edge of your seat as you try to figure out what the hell is going on.  Also includes the ol' stand-by phone and white noise creepiness factors.  Hey, they work.

9.  Amityville Horror.  One of the two best haunted house-centric movies ever, plus it's based on a true story.  I could watch this one over and over.  Did you ever happen to wake up, look at your alarm clock, and see that it's 3:15am?  I have, more than once, and it always scares me a little bit.  The scene with all the flies completely freaks me out.  Whomever lives in that house today is very, very brave.

10.  Poltergeist.  The other best haunted house-centric movie ever.  I'm not sure, but I believe this is the movie I've watched more times than any other.  More than the Muppet Movie.  That's because this was released on cable shortly after my family got cable for the first time.  I watched it over and over and over.  Probably 20 times.  This film confirmed every person's fear of clowns.

8.  The Shining.  You knew this one was coming.  Every aspect of this movie is creepy.  I love everything about it.  The isolation factor is huge.

10. The Omen.  It's got suspense, satanic themes, and one of the scariest kids ever.  Although that redhead from Children of the Corn is a close second.

11.  Alien.  This movie, along with Close Encounters of the Third Kind, caused me to forever wonder about beings outside this planet.  I love all things alien, ufo, etc.  I can't for sure say I'm a believer, but it's a big universe and I wouldn't be surprised if something's lurking around out there.  The unknown makes it scary and I like scary so I am going to assume there might be something out there so as to make life more interesting.

12.  The Thing.  A fantastic movie and one of my all-time faves.  An absolute must-see, if you've never done so.  Again, the isolation factor comes into play.

13.  Burnt Offerings. This one is slightly more obscure.  I happened to catch it on TV as a kid a few years after it came out.  I was maybe 12, 13 or so.  This movie weighs very heavy on the creepiness scale, from the setting, to the guy who plays the small, yet very memorable role of the chauffeur.  Without fail, every single time there was a shot of that guy flashing his sinister grin, my sister and I screamed.  This might be my all-time favorite scary movie. 

I'm sure there is something crucial out there that I've forgotten, and there are definitely many other great movies out there that have made me petrified to go home alone afterwards, but these are the movies that come to mind as the ones that impacted me the most.  Feel free to add in your 2 cents or criticize that which I have omitted.

Oh, and go visit Vinny for some fabulous OPG artwork, full of blood, guts, skellies, and the like.  It will put you in the Halloween spirit.

October 29, 2011

Gateway to the Best.

Each time I posted here about the playoffs, I gushed like a fool and thought there was no way it could get more exciting.  Yet it kept getting more exciting.  After my last post, Texas took the next 2 games, both awesome games, ...and then came Game 6.  The game that will be remembered by all baseball fans forever.  Remembered simply as Game 6, because it was THAT special.  Not only one of the best World Series games ever, but, plain and simple, one of the absolute greatest baseball games ever played.  I realize everyone everywhere is saying that, but it's worth repeating because it's true.  I thought I was going into cardiac arrest about 5 times during that game.  I screamed and jumped and maybe pulled a muscle or two in the process.  I cried.  I simply could not believe what awesomeness I was witnessing.  Again.  A 4-1/2 hour game.  A crazy amount of errors by both teams.  Tied at 4 through 6 innings.  Beltre and Cruz with back-to-back homers in the 7th.  Some of the Rangers were noticed doing some dangerously early celebrating in the dugout.  Never a good idea.  At this point I said to my friends, "If the Cardinals are going to tie or win this, it's not going to happen until the bottom of the 9th, because that seems to be how they roll".  And then my psychic prediction came true.  In the most dramatic fashion even I could not fathom.  The Cardinals were down to their last out.  Not just their last out, but the Rangers were one strike away from winning it all.  And then it happened.  A game-tying triple by one David Freese, a St. Louis native most people had never heard of prior to these playoffs.  The crowd went nuts.  I went nuts.  I got another vodka cocktail to calm my nerves and celebrate this unbelievable spectacle.  Holy hell, now there's extra innings to deal with.  The Rangers scored and were up by one.  Once again, they were down to their final strike in the 10th, but then Lance Berkman got an RBI single and tied the game.  I said to my friends, "If the Cards are going to win this, they'll do it in the bottom of the 11th" - which for those of you not in the know, was only fitting for this crazy team of obvious destiny, who was going for their 11th World Series victory, in 2011, of course.  Once again, my prediction came though.  And once again in the most dramatic fashion with the hometown kid hitting a 2-run walk-off homer.   Oh my.  Someone call the authorities, because I'm going nutso.

Watching the post-game commentary, I could not believe my ears when, after everything that just happened, ALL of the commentators STILL picked the Rangers to take it all.  Are you fucking kidding me?  With the Cardinals at home, and going into it with the incredible momentum they gained from Game 6?  What fools.  Apparently you don't have to be an expert to be an "expert".  Anyone with any sense knew that the Rangers were going to have a very tough Game 7 ahead.

In a sense, Game 7 was almost anti-climactic after Game 6.  This game had a sense of calm that was nowhere to be found in Game 6.  But what was great about it is that the Cardinals dominated and proved they should be champs.  Texas got 2 runs in the top of the first?  No problem, the Cards matched that in the bottom of the first.  Eventually they tacked on a few more runs, their bullpen did their job after their ace did his job, and then they were World Champs. 

What a postseason.  What a Series.  What a game.  I'm exhausted.   

October 23, 2011

Phat Albert.

I realize I sound like a broken record, but I cannot believe this baseball that I am witnessing.  I can tell by the flood of comments that you fine readers are in baseball bliss just like I am.  *tap, tap-is this thing on?*

I literally get tears in my eyes just thinking about it, knowing damn well deep in my heart that this is the best baseball I will witness in my lifetime.  It's a special feeling.  That feeling I've mentioned having before, and you only have a handful of them in life.  I don't want it to go away.  I've had a perma-grin that began at the end of the season, and I'm in such a great mood that literally nothing can bring me down.  $400 to get new brakes on my car unexpectedly?  Who cares!?!  People at work being assholes?  Who cares!?!  You can't rain on this parade.   

This World Series is not even over and I will say confidently that it will go down as one of the best ever.  And that's after some of the best divisional and championship series' ever.  It doesn't matter who wins, we are seeing spectacular fall ball. 

I almost felt sorry for Texas last night.  Almost, I say.  They got spanked, but they did manage to do a fair amount of damage themselves.  But it wasn't enough.  Because Albert Pujols reminded the world why he's the best player in baseball.  Why he will go to the Hall of Fame as one of the best ever to play the game.  EVER.  And we are witnessing it all unfold.  Thank you, universe, for such a gift. 

October 20, 2011

Fall Ball.

I'm gonna make this real quick-like because World Series game 2 just started and the television is calling my name.  I would like to say the following, even though my sparse few readers in the world probably don't give a flying crap.

I'm not happy about Texas being in the series, the main reason being that which I have stated on this here blog a couple of times before:  I hate all things Texas.  I can't explain it, as Texas certainly never did anything to me, but I just can't stand Texas or anything having to do with Texas.  With that being said, I will say that the Rangers seem like a good group of non-cocky guys, they are clearly a talented bunch, and I admit there are no blatant reasons to dislike any of them, other than the fact that they play for Texas, of course.  I also appreciate their manager, Ron Washington, and the fact that he's not afraid to show emotion and jump up and down like a kid when his team does something good.  He's also dealt with a fair amount of adversity, and I give the guy kudos for persevering and coming out on top. 

The Cardinals, on the other hand, I'm very pleased to see in the World Series.  Talk about adversity - these guys are like the team of destiny.  Which, by the way, I said midway during the NLDS against Philly, and a couple of people laughed at me.  How ya like me now, suckas?  This team has overcome so many obstacles this season, a screenplay should be written about it.  If you aren't familiar, here's an article that hits most of the highlights.  And then there's their manager, Tony La Russa, who typically acts like it's a crime to show emotion during a game, but is pure genius.  I know I've said it before, but I'm saying it again.  The guy is so goddamn knowledgeable about other teams/players, it's insane.  He's like a savant.  I love that not a single one of the "experts" picked the Cards to win against Philly.  And, despite how well they played that series, only one "expert" picked them to beat the Brewers.  Even after how they played the Brewers, everyone kept saying there's no way they could beat the superior Rangers.  Only now, after winning game 1, are the "experts" finally recognizing that the Cardinals aren't fucking around, and now I'm reading that the Cards have the edge.  Bandwagon, anyone?

Regardless, I'm excited about what should continue to be a fantastic World Series, to cap off what has been the best end of season/post season I recall in some time.  Dare I say in my lifetime?  Or at least what I remember of my lifetime at this point.  Such a great season-ending-high that I forsee a mild depression in my future once it's all over and I must accept that there is no more baseball for 5 months.  That's a long-ass time.

October 8, 2011

Best. Baseball. Ever.

I don't think I could love the sport of baseball any more than I do right now.  I was born in a baseball town, into a family of baseball fans.  It is in my blood.  I know a lot more than I should about the sport and about those who play/have played the game.  I remember once in a bar years ago I asked a guy some question that apparently was hard to answer because his weird response was, "How would I know?  That's like asking who the shortstop was for the 1974 Cincinnati Reds".  "That would be Dave Concepcion", I replied without even pausing.  That guy's jaw about dropped on the floor.  And I have to say I felt pretty cool for knowing that, albeit dumb luck that I did.  Although in my opinion, if you are a baseball fan and old enough, you should remember the Big Red Machine.  One of the best lineups ever in the game.  Another incident at an away game in Chicago years ago found me being confronted by evil Cubs fans in a bar post-game.  Two guys came up to me, apparently assuming that because I am a female I'm not a real fan and am clueless about the sport.  They asked, with a cocky tone as if they were going to stump me, if I could name 4 starting players from my own team.  I proceeded to give them our entire lineup by position, and then proceeded to do the same with the Cubs.  Again, jaws dropped in silence until one said, "You scare me".  Ah, another proud moment.  I have always appreciated the sport, but something about this post season has made me fall in love all over again.  I still cannot believe what I have witnessed in the past few weeks (or in some cases listened to on the radio/saw on Gameday on my computer).  It's complete insanity.  I already feel like this is the best post-season ever, and we're only through round 1.  Let's take a quick look at the LDS, shall we?

Three of the four division series matchups went to 5 games.  That right there is superb.  The one that didn't saw Tampa Bay losing to stupid Texas.  My god, I hate Texas and anything having to do with Texas.  That was the only LDS outcome I was not happy about.  Detroit thankfully knocked out the goddamn Yankees, and we're all thankful for that.  Plus, Detroit needs something to be happy about, so I'm happy for 'em.  The Brewers-Diamondback series started out rather tame, but got exciting real-quick-like and could not have ended more spectacular than it did.  SPECTACULAR, I say.  And then there's the Cardinals-Phillies series.  None of the "experts" gave the Cardinals a chance.   And for good reason if you look at each team's season overall.  But it's still surprising seeing what the Cardinals accomplished to get to that series.  They were down by 10.5 games for the wild card with exactly 1 month left in the season.  They were down by 3 when there were only 6 games left.  While Atlanta self-destructed, the Cardinals swept their final series in Houston, capping it off with Chris Carpenter pitching a shutout that ultimately got them into the playoffs.  You couldn't write a better script.  Until the series with Philly.  The best team in baseball in the regular season.  Best pitching that no one thought the Cardinals could hit on, despite their powerful offense.  The loveable, classy Charlie Manuel vs. the wacky genius that is Tony LaRussa.  Every game of that series both teams fought like I've never seen them fight before.  The Cardinals did hit off their supposed superior pitching, a lot, whereas the Phillies struggled to hit against the Cardinals supposed crappy pitching.  Even though the Cardinals were holding their own, still no one gave them a chance.  Until they evened it up in Game 4.  Then one guy at ESPN changed his mind and said he thought they could take the series.  One.  Guy.  Game 5 saw two Cy Young Award winners pitted against each other, which in itself is special and historic.  They are best friends off the field.  They are both 6'6" and weigh 230.  Two of the best pitchers in baseball.  The Cardinals scored 1 run in the first freaking inning that ultimately won the game for them.  Chris Carpenter pitched a full 9-inning shutout.  Yadier Molina, the best catcher in MLB in my opinion, caught Philly stealing with ease, which was a huge play in the game.  The Cardinals stunned Philly, they stunned the world, and they made those guys at ESPN look like fools.  You gotta love it.  Stuff like this is great because it doesn't matter if you like the teams or not.  If you are a fan of the sport, you appreciate what you are witnessing.

I've seen a lot of exciting moments in baseball, but what is going on right now is magical.  I love when something special happens and while it's happening, you know you are witnessing something extraordinary of the likes you will probably never see again.  That's only happened a few times in my life, and this is one of them.  I felt it very early on, and it's only proven true in even better fashion than I thought.  This post-season will be talked about as one of the best for many years to come.  And it's not even over.  Let's hope the LCS and World Series provide more such moments.  I think it's destined to continue as it started.  I've got that feeling.  I wish good luck to all the teams left, except for Texas of course who can suck it.  I absolutely want to see Detroit go to the Series.  I would love to see the Cardinals go as well and make it a re-match of 2006.  Plus, there would be the drama factor because the Cardinals are obviously bringing plenty of that this season, and the underdog factor is always exciting.  But I love the Brewers and have a lot of respect for their team and their fans, and I love how they went from being at the bottom of the pack for years, to slowly working their way to the top.  They are abolutely deserving.

All I know is, my heart can't take much more excitment, yet I don't want it to end.  Every game I watch I'm like Redd Foxx thinking The Big One is coming.  I see a brief depression in my future once this high is over for the season.  And then I shall count down the days until the next Opening Day.