September 30, 2013 |
Every year at Knott's Halloween Haunt, I spend the whole night visiting the dozen or so haunted mazes at the Buena Park theme park. Photos: Halloween Haunt 2013 Shows | Mazes With only six to seven hours to hit all the Knott's Scary Farm mazes, there's never enough time to catch any of the shows - except for maybe "The Hanging" if I'm lucky. Review: Knott's Halloween Haunt 2013 focuses on quality over quantity It really takes two full nights to see everything Haunt has to offer.
September 26, 2013 |
If American Gothic tales intrigue, if a taste for the macabre tempts, the Parkers in "We Are What We Are" are certain to haunt. Starring Bill Sage, Ambyr Childers and Julia Garner, what they are is a family of cannibals. Present day, tucked into a forgotten corner of the Catskills, they are as marked by entrenched poverty as their dark gastronomic rituals. Director Jim Mickle's latest, like his 2010 "Stake Land," is about much more than horror. Or he at least mixes his blood with contemporary issues to create the requisite chill.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
September 21, 2013 |
Three decades ago, when so many of his friends were dying of AIDS, Stephen Crohn wondered why he - a gay man whose longtime companion had been one of the first to die from the disease--had managed to avoid it. Was it just a matter of time before he caught the human immunodeficiency virus that causes AIDS? Was there something wrong with the HIV antibody tests he took that always came back negative? Crohn, an artist and freelance editor, lived with the questions for 14 years before he finally learned the answer was in his genes.
September 13, 2013 |
It looks like this year Knott's Halloween Haunt will finally drop the more-is-more mantra in favor of the right kind of more: more back story, more attention to detail, more monsters wearing custom masks and more intimate scares. PHOTOS: Halloween Haunt 2013 at Knott's Berry Farm After four decades of screams and scares, Halloween Haunt had gained a reputation for quantity over quality -- with unimaginative paint-on-plywood mazes, interchangeable story lines and monsters wearing store-bought masks.
HOME & GARDEN
August 16, 2013 |
I'm watching an unfamiliar man pace my room, sweat dripping from his scarred neck. He tells me I'm in danger. I'd been in a minor car accident, and he believes I may have suffered permanent injury. "You need an MRI," he urges. "But I feel fine and my X-rays were normal," I insist. "Injuries don't show up right away. You could have traumatic brain injury. You can't just assume everything is OK. " His agitation grows. I know this man, but I've never seen him like this. His years serving as an Air Force captain in Afghanistan are bearing down on him - and on us. I don't know if I can stay with someone this afraid.
July 24, 2013 |
“We need to get the hell out of here,” George Clooney can be heard saying, through a space mask to an increasingly panicked Sandra Bullock, in the new trailer for Alfonso Cuaron's “Gravity.” Earlier marketing material for the into-the-blackness adventure focused on the quiet beauty before the trouble hits. This one gets right to the danger: debris is falling and hitting Explorer, the craft to which the pair of heroes are (tenuously) tethered. As Bullock is swung wildly by a space arm as though in a horrifyingly existentialist amusement-park ride, contact with Houston is lost and Clooney's character tries desperately to save her (“Listen to my voice!
July 18, 2013 |
When a really good new horror film comes out, one that's more about creative intelligence than executing the next grisly kill shot, it's something of a miracle in this eviscerating post-"Saw" era. Old-school and supremely confident in its attack, "The Conjuring" is this year's miracle - an "Amityville Horror" for a new century (and a far better movie than that 1979 hit), yet firmly rooted, without being slavish or self-conscious, in the visual language of 1970s filmmaking. Also like "Amityville," "The Conjuring" derives from an alleged true-life haunting, this one in rural Rhode Island, at an old house where terrible things happened and are happening still.
July 11, 2013 |
Knott's Berry Farm will add six new haunted mazes for Halloween Haunt 2013 and bring back Elvira Mistress of the Dark for her first show at the Buena Park theme park in more than a decade. The 41st annual Knott's Scary Farm will start Sept. 26 and run on select nights through Nov. 2. The granddaddy of Halloween events will feature 12 mazes, six shows and four scare zones scattered throughout the theme park. Knott's has made the wise decision to trim the quantity of its mazes in favor of quality as Halloween Haunt continues to compete with Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios Hollywood, which has delivered an increasingly superior haunted event in recent years.
July 10, 2013 |
Readers flooded me with emails over the weekend; they couldn't say enough about the new indie "The Way, Way Back. " So I couldn't resist saying a bit more too. Don't miss one of this summer's pure pleasures. Written and directed by Nat Faxon and Jim Rash, the film is full of fun, family insights and just enough of a burn to keep things interesting. Its terrific acting ensemble includes Steve Carell, Toni Collette and a deliciously naughty Allison Janney. But go for the heart - Sam Rockwell as Owen, the cool dude who runs the local kid-magnet, a water park.
June 27, 2013 |
"Byzantium" is a very different sort of vampire drama for director Neil Jordan, whose undead were so fabulously rich and fashion-forward in "Interview With the Vampire" so many years ago. This vision of the immortal has more of an Irish fable quality, complete with swirling mists, choppy seas and the grit of hard lives. The movie's stars are haunting as well. Saoirse Ronan and Gemma Arterton portray daughter and mother vampires on the run, bound and torn in ways that mothers and daughters always are. PHOTOS: Are vampires sexy or not sexy?