Low-budget ghost horror marathon

Okay, I watched these 4 films because they came on one of those bargain bin collections. You know. The types of films where the entire budget seems to be used for kick ass DVD artwork. All of these films are available as individual DVDs, but you are getting mega bang for your buck if you get the collection—which includes 4 other films as well! Anyway, here are my quick thoughts on these 4.

Ominous (2009)

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In this one, a very hot daddy takes his wife and kids to a cabin in the woods to try to heal the wounds of his infidelity. As the family drama plays out, we get a never ending slow burner with creepy musical cues, awesome fixed camera angles, spooky shadows, eerie lighting, and shots of ghost children. And that’s pretty much it. This flick is all atmosphere and not much more. It feels like television scary—you know, like an episode of Supernatural that’s cool but is obviously not going to freak you out. Even the stinger music used in scary moments that have no pay off, just a cut to another scene instead, feel like those used when a show is about to go to commercial.

But then, right near the end, we get a whole flashback story of grisly family murder! It comes out of nowhere, takes us right to the end and makes us go…”Huh?”

The Haunting of Winchester House (2009)

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People like revolt and shit over this film since it doesn’t have much to do with the Winchester legend about the chick who kept building the house because she believe everyone who was killed by a Winchester rifle was haunting it and needed more space to…um…afterlive? I say chill out, purists; not many of the numerous Amityville sequels have much to do with the Amityville house, either.

If The Shining were a low-budget indie, it would be The Haunting of Winchester House. A husband, wife, and daughter come to take care of the Winchester House. In typical haunted house fashion, there are spooky figures passing by the camera (quite frequently), a mysterious little girl hiding in corners, and the introduction of a strange local man who seems to know that the family is in danger.

Eventually, the daughter goes missing and, I’ll admit, the house gets loaded with cool ghouls and ghosts. The atmosphere is dark and creepy, but the film gets caught in a cycle of person getting attacked by monster, then monster just “POOF” vanishing. The amusement park haunted house fun falls apart as the plot gets hokey and drawn out until we finally get a twist that has become a modern day ghost story cliché….

Evidence of a Haunting (2010)

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Evidence of a Haunting is sort of a Ghost Hunters/The Last Exorcism hybrid. We basically follow around a group of television paranormal investigators, including a priest who likes to hook up with chicks in bars. Awesome. Some demon possessed chick also calls him a faggot and a pedophile. Awesome. Most of the footage is wicked dark with not much else happening. Awesome. There are flashbacks to why one chick became a paranormal investigator, showing her as a little girl on a bed with pumpkin lights…and experiencing some Paranormal Activity shit. Awesome—no, this time I kind of mean it. This is really the best part of the movie. A lot of the jumping investigations make for a lack of cohesive story, even though some of it ties together in the end for the final exorcism—complete with demon voice.

7 Nights of Darkness (2011)

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Found footage meets reality show horror! In 7 Nights of Darkness, contestants enter a haunted asylum to win 1 million. I actually kind of like this one, although the constant screaming of the chicks in the movie over false alarms gets really irritating. But it’s gritty and dark with plenty of those computer-created zombie faces anyone can do and post on YouTube. Some of the actors here can actually do a bit more than just scream (they get to show off their acting chops in the confession cam segments). My favorite is this guy who locks himself in his room and refuses to come out. His lines rule. Stay tuned after the credits for a tag.

About Daniel

I am the author of the horror anthologies CLOSET MONSTERS: ZOMBIED OUT AND TALES OF GOTHROTICA and HORNY DEVILS, and the horror novels COMBUSTION and NO PLACE FOR LITTLE ONES. I am also the founder of BOYS, BEARS & SCARES, a facebook page for gay male horror fans! Check it out and like it at www.facebook.com/BoysBearsandScares.
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