Flaming Pumpkins – Cemetery Zombie and Morty

It has indeed been awhile since I took a pumpkin out back and torched it to light up the night sky. The primary reason has been a concern over what the neighbors might think. Some people get a little unnerved when they look out their window while sitting at the dining room table or sitting town to watch TV and see a 7 foot column of fire shooting out the ground while some dark figure sits there taking pictures of the whole ordeal.

With that in mind I’ve relocated to a super secret pumpkin burning facility out in the middle of nowhere, far from the prying eyes of people who don’t believe that pumpkins, toilet paper and gasoline should mix.

For the inaugural torching I went with an image of Cemetery Zombie and Morty, both patterns from ZombiePumpkins.com. Using a restaurant style measuring scoop, it took about 20 minutes to clean the pumpkin and thin down the walls. To punch the stencils and then cut them took about 30 minutes for Morty and around 45 minutes for Cemetery Zombie. The Zombie had several more pieces and was a little more intricate. I wanted something pretty easy to start off with and I think these were good choices. I’ll get a little more fancy next time around.

The pumpkins were set on a cast iron grate so as not to tip over. And last time I checked, cast iron was fireproof. This was placed inside an actual firepit lined circled by large rocks to make sure the flames didn’t go anywhere.

The fire column was the usual 6 feet tall, but my toilet paper roll didn’t get the good soaking it normally does so it didn’t go quite as high or burn as long. But no matter, it was pretty spectacular.

What do you think?

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I was just messing around for this last picture. It was a very overcast night and the moon was just peeking through the clouds. It looked quite ominous.

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Martina Cole’s Ladykillers

image While movies like Halloween, Friday the 13th and Nightmare on Elm Street are meant to scare us because of their unbelievable villains and acts that can only be described as human, the truth as they say is something stranger than fiction. And with that I present to you Martina Cole’s The Ladykillers, a series of stories that will leave you shocked and stunned. Comparatively speaking, Freddy is a pussy!

Martina Cole is a British crime author who is researching female serial killers. I came across this series while doing my own bit of research on H.H. Holmes. There is no doubt Holmes is a wicked man, but these woman are sinister companions and it’s hard to tell who’s the greater evil.

We start off with the story of Elizabeth Bathory, the 16th century Hungarian noblewoman who is said to have murdered hundreds of young girls. She was so notorious that it’s even rumored she bathed in the blood of those she killed to keep herself young. That has turned out to be legend and rumor and while the true body count is unknown it’s very clear she murder a great deal of women and much of her life is shrouded in violence and sexual sadism.

In the mid 1800s there was Mary Ann Cotton a female serial poisoner who is believed to have murdered 21 people including her own children. She murdered multiple husbands to get the insurance money and dispatched multiple children to make it easier to find new husbands. She had dozens of men in her life and children by several fathers. In the end she was hanged for multiple counts of murder.

During the late 1800s we had Amelia Dyer a baby farm murderer in Victorian England. While only hanged for one murder it is believed she carried out the murder of over 400 children. She did it all for the money. Her crimes are pretty grim and may not be for the faint of heart. No need to be gruesome so you can look up the details on the links below.

Myra Hindley is the female part of the team responsible for the Moors Murders, a series of murders where the bodies were buried on the moors and at least one of their victims has never been found. Myra Hindley was the victim of violence and abuse in her own life and when she teamed up with Ian Brady they went on a murder spree with 5 people losing their lives. Myra has been described as a "sexually sadistic psychopath".

Evil doesn’t just lurk in the past, it’s right here with us now. Such is the case of Beverly Allitt, a young nurse who was convicted of the murder of four children, attempting to murder three others and causing grievous bodily harm to another six. She worked in the children’s ward and would administer massive doses of insulin and then do her best to revive the children be claimed their savior. It’s some pretty gruesome business and like some of the others may not be for the faint of heart. Allitt was found guilty and is scheduled to be locked away until 2022.

Beverly Allitt may only be outdone by the serial killer Rose West. Rose was convicted of 10 murders, most of which involved torture and sexual abuse. Rose lived a life of abuse and then in turn began to abuse others. With her husband Fred, they imprisoned several woman and made them into sex slaves. Rose would easily be classified as a sexual sadist. West has been sentenced to life in prison.

The information presented in these documentaries is stunning. It’s hard to image these crimes and how they were carried out. And sadly, most of these crimes were carried out for the sheer thrill of doing them or the age old motive of money.

Watch with caution. That’s not a joke, these are some seriously twisted tales.

Ladykillers – Elizabeth Bathory
Ladykillers – Mary Ann Cotton
Ladykillers – Amelia Dyer
Ladykillers – Myra Hindley
Ladykillers – Beverly Allitt
Ladykillers – Rose West

Elizabeth Bathory – Wikipedia
Mary Ann Cotton – Wikipedia
Amelia Dyer – Wikipedia
Myra Hindley – Wikipedia
Beverly Allitt – Wikipedia
Rose West – Wikipedia

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Ghost Adventures – Alcatraz – S08E08

In their latest outing, Zak, Nick and Aaron head out to the infamous and notorious Alcatraz island to investigate what many feel is a presence that stalks the grounds. It’s been reported that a pair of red eyes can be seen in multiple places and that there is a presence in some of the cells.

As they make their way around to different locations, they hone in on Cell 14 where they feel their equilibrium has been thrown off. They feel a presence and that something is odd. When they come back to this spot during the night, pretty much everyone on the team, including Billy and Jay see and feel something odd in there. Zak feels he sees two red eyes and later, Jay says the same thing.

They also use the Ovilus and get several different words such as Fire, Threshold, Doctor, Opening, Touch and Mist. Interestingly, when the words Touch and Mist come across, Aaron feels something touch him and they capture what they thing is a mist on camera.

While the EVPs are incredibly poor in quality, they feel they get, Come Back, Get Naked, He’s Here and Dear God. It’s really, really hard to agree with those. They are so garbled and so scratchy.

Since Zak felt so uneasy in Cell 14, he had Jay and Billy go check it out for themselves. While in there Billy becomes absolutely lethargic and can barely move. He claims to see something swirling in the corner of the cell. Jay takes dozens of pictures with a real 35mm film camera. When they’re developed there two pictures that show light streaks. Those pictures were taken in Cell 14. But the question is, why just Cell 14. It’s only inches away from Cell 13. It’s not like the spirit would be stuck in one location and couldn’t shift over just a touch. The fact it’s so localized leads me to believe it’s something else.

And why is Zak so focused on these orbs all of a sudden? Ok, maybe they are balls of energy, but they look more like random balls of dust or reflected light that are just swirling around a place like that. Saying it’s energy inhabiting their bodies seems a bit more of want than a reality. They’re so eager to make them spirits to enhance the haunted nature of the place. They just seem so fixated on them these days, I’ve just never given much credence to them.

So many people claim that Alcatraz is haunted. It’s true that several people have died there, both prisoners and guards. And not to mention that thousands of people have committed suicide from the Golden Gate Bridge which is right up from the prison. Violent members of society were housed there and I’m sure there was plenty of misery and suffering. But is it really haunted?

Are the red eyes simply a misinterpretation of the lights from the harbor? Is that vertigo feeling from the tightness and confined space of the cell? Is it simply off angle with an uneven floor or walls? Can we really trust what those EVPs are saying the quality is so awful?

It’s really hard to say that spirit energy still lingers in Alcatraz. Maybe, as Zak says, the water and the material of the prison act as a battery. But to be honest, the evidence they captured is quite mild. It’s not very abundant and most of it could be easily explained by earthly means. To me, Alcatraz is still an old, rickety prison with lots of man made ghosts based on legends and myths. It seems the creaking of building makes a lot of the noises they hear. The lights from the harbor may look quite unusual from those cells. The crash of the ocean can make for sound interesting sounds. Poor building construction can make people feel uneasy in an enclosed space.

So what do you think, is Alcatraz haunted?

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The Scream Trilogy – Good Campy Fun

Scream was one of those rare movies that came across as a spoof, yet still had so much bite and it’s own unique story as to let it stand on it’s own. Since this is the Halloween season I dug into the archives and brought out all 3 Scream movies. Yes, there are indeed 4, but we’re just going to look at the original trilogy.

The first movie was quite an interesting take because it sets itself up as a scary movie and gives you plenty of clues as to what you need to watch for. It’s sort of like you’re watching a tutorial. Don’t ever say, "I’ll be right back!" because you won’t. "No having sex in the movie!" "Look behind you!" What’s funny is, Scream points out all these cliché’s while they’re happening in the movie. Of course they mock them and reference dozens of other movies where the same thing happen. It lulls you into a false sense of security, then Scream does the same thing – you just weren’t expecting it.

Once you actually get immersed into the movie itself, it goes about making everyone a suspect. It brings all the central characters onto the screen and shows off some quirk or behavior that could make them the prime suspect. Even, Sidney, the victim in all this is actually shown to have some motives for carrying out these murders.

The movie twists and turns and slowly, like in an Agatha Christie novel, the major characters fall away one by one. You have to keep guessing to see if your guilty party makes it to the end. And then in the typical dramatic finish, there is a big showdown and the big reveal as to why the killer is causing mayhem. And oddly it’s a viable reason and the movie works. Wes Craven has actually pulled off a horror spoof that’s suspenseful with a decent story, lots of action and plenty of misdirection. How the hell did he do that? Most movies can’t get that right when they take themselves seriously.

Then we have the sequel, which we all know is never as good as the first. But as stated in Randy’s film class, the Godfather was as good if not better than the original. An exception to the rule? And perhaps Scream 2 is following in those footsteps, albeit with some bloody shoes.

Scream 2 continues the misadventures of poor Sidness who’s being hunted and victimized because of the sins of her mom. Seems mom was a pretty naughty girl and got a few men in trouble with her feminine wiles. Like a wrecking ball she tore some families apart and those left behind aren’t too happy.

Like the first Scream movie, everyone becomes a suspect. Misdirection abounds and while we’re familiar with the plot and nemesis, we know it can’t be the same person as the first movie, so who is it? Unlike a Michael Meyers who can take multiple shots to the body, our villains in the first movie were dealt with by a headshot. That absolutely put them in the ground, right?

So who’s causing all the new murders and for what reason? Again, suspects start falling one by one and once again, Sid’s boyfriend seems the prime suspect. Even the wrongly accused Cotton Weary is back on the streets and might be looking for some vengeance for that prison time he did. But yet again, Scream 2 comes off like a spoof of itself with the Stab movie showing the events that took place in the original Scream movie.

But there is an actual mystery to solve here and the murders of the young girls coincide with the names of the original murders. There is a nasty copycat on the loose and ultimately Sidney is in the crosshairs.

There is some interesting commentary on violence in movies since when the killer is revealed, a point is made that the defense will blame violent movies for violent behavior. The killer is really the victim and the media is responsible for all the murders. But, there is more of a twist ending here and we have some vengeance that spills over from the first movie and the two boys that were killed.

For the final part of the trilogy, all the rules need to be thrown out, Randy tells us from beyond the grave. Everything we assumed will turn out to be incorrect and nothing is what we believed. And true to that we’re taken on a wild ride into Sindey’s past as they uncover some truth about her mom. It really comes across as dirt since mom was a pretty naughty girl. And once again, everyone is suspect, from the movie producer of the new Stab movie, to the director, to the cast, to a stalker fan. And yet again we have the big reveal at the end that changes what we know about the first movie. All sorts of new information is brought forward that we never knew about. It doesn’t contradict anything, we just didn’t know.

And once again, the whole thing seems to work. It may not be quite as tight as the first and we’ve now come to expect these twists and the attempts at misdirection, but on the whole it’s still pretty good. It’s sort of the like the M. Night Shyamalan movies, you can get away with it twice, but by the time the third movie comes out, we’re onto the game.

Even still, these are by far better than a lot of the other movies out there. There is the typical decline, just like we see in everything else. Saw was good, Saw III was not. Scream is good, Scream 3 is better than most. Either way, there is still a lot of fun to be had with these movies. They comes across as whodunit movies as much as slasher films. They actually have a pretty decent blend of both. It’s certainly a fun nights worth of entertainment and since I hadn’t seen these in several years, since they came out really, I had a great time trying to remember what happened.

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Scream (Collector’s Series)
Scream 2 (Deluxe Collector’s Series)
Scream 3 (Collector’s Series)
Scream / Scream 2 / Scream 3 (Triple Feature 3-DVD Set)

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