Thursday, October 28, 2010

In Retrospect: The Faded Glitz and Glamour - The Women

Once upon a time, Hollywood used to be filled with classy, glamorous and smoldering actresses. They were bombshell-dynamo women who didn't have to get naked (on camera) to have the credentials of a sex symbol. They simply just set the silver screen ablaze with their charm, wit, passion, and acting skills (what a concept!). The sad thing is that they are being forgotten. It's almost as if the fairytale never existed when I have to explain who Marilyn Monroe, Elizabeth Taylor and Joan Crawford is.

Let me introduce (or reintroduce) you to The Hollywood Woman that once was:

Joan Crawford
Bette DavisElizabeth TaylorGrace KellyAva GardnerEva Marie SaintIngrid BergmanAudrey HepburnKatharine HepburnMarilyn MonroeKim NovakNatalie WoodGloria Swanson

Eve Arden

Photos courtesy of Google

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Press Release - Paranormal Investigation

I still remember it like yesterday when the "firestorm" hit Texas A&M University - Commerce. I remember it because I caused it...

It all started when I innocently participated in a paranormal investigation of the Hall of Languages in Commerce, TX with my colleague Allyson Smith. The investigation was conducted by Chad Miller and his organization called Paranormal Research and Investigations of North Texas (PRINT).

Well, when the news broke in our campus newspaper (The East Texan) of PRINT's adventure in the Hall of Languages...the crap hit the fan (I'm being nice here). Firstly, Lt. Jason Bone of the University Police Department (UPD) claimed that the police officers provided were there for security purposes only and did not participate. He even said that the officers did not witness any of the events described in the article. Hmmmmm...I really don't recall Bone being there, and there was audio recordings of a police officer participating. Secondly, many students who had class in the Hall of Languages on a regular basis (and faculty members) had sooooo many nice things to say. They all made a mountain out of a molehill, and they just added fuel to the little story.

To be perfectly honest...I laughed about it and enjoyed seeing the article go around in mass circulation on the social media. It's just sad that this was one of the controversial pieces in my career. Very sad indeed...

Oh it is once more in the spirit of Halloween!

Paranormal Team Takes to Hall of Languages
By: Chance Crane

Nine Paranormal Research and Investigations of North Texas (PRINT) investigators conducted an overnight investigation of the Hall of Languages on Saturday, April 24.

The investigators were locked in from 9 p.m.-5 a.m. to see if reports of a spirit or spirits allegedly haunting the building were true.

"The Hall of Languages was the epitome of all that is evil," PRINT co-founder Chad Miller said.

The second floor experienced little to no activity, while the third floor was the highlight of the night. Reports from University Police Department officers said that the third floor sitting area did used to exist. There use to be a rotunda above the sitting area's current location and the square space was open all the way to the first floor. The central focus of the activity was near the sitting area.

"I believe this area is the key to all of it," Miller said. "It feels like this sitting area has its own atmosphere. When you walk into it, it is muggy and you feel top-heavy."

Nine group members, two press members and two university police officers participated in the investigation. The group members were separated into smaller teams and exchanged posts periodically throughout the night. As each group cycled, different activities began to occur. The first group reported a strange happening on the third floor.

"We could see the shadows of people walking down the hall and going into the classrooms," PRINT co-founder Shahnez Ragosino said. "There was a lot of activity."

During the first investigation, Ragosino felt as if someone was following her. Her frightened reaction, along with the echoing voice of a woman, was caught on tape.

"There are only three women in our group tonight," Miller said. "All of them are accounted for. I have no idea who that woman is talking in the background."

Another recording caught the sound of a phonograph playing in the background. These sounds were not audible to the normal human ear. However, a chair being dragged across the floor in a classroom was heard down the third floor hallway. Matthew Key, a reserve, went to investigate.

"I saw a pair of legs walking away," Key said. "I also felt a cold spot that moved down the hallway, and then it just disappeared."

Efforts to prompt the ghost to show itself or speak through one of the investigator's electronic devices drew a visible response in the form of contrails, and white and black masses.

However, after hours of little activity on the third floor, the group decided to pack and leave. Everyone was downstairs when a series of demonic-like screams sounded from the third floor, followed by pounding and banging on the walls and floor.

"We thought it was a car squealing by at first," investigator Brad Allison said. "However, no one outside heard anything. The noise came from inside above us and it was so loud that it could be heard throughout the entire building."

The group rushed upstairs and the once-silent electronic device lit up. It lasted a few seconds and stopped.

However, the activity did not stop. Everyone patrolling the hallways reported hearing heavy breathing and seeing a strange light as bright as a flashlight radiating from the other end of the hallway. This was all before a full-body apparition finally appeared between Ragosino and lead investigator D.J. Eichelman for a few seconds.

It wasn't until the next day that Eichelman replayed more audio and heard more strange noises.

"I ran all my tests and the ‘voices' are far from being in the human range and I believe to be residual," he said. "It sounds like a church choir or monks chanting."

Overall, PRINT found the Hall of Languages worth the hype.

"It did not disappoint at all," Miller said. "We would love to come back if they will have us. When the press and the police experience everything with you, it just validates what you're trying to accomplish. They'll be talking about this place for years to come."

PS: I heard those audio recordings and I'll just say they creeped the crap out of me!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Popcorn Worthy? - Paranormal Activity 2

READER BEWARE: Opinions are Expressed Below

Paranormal Activity 2 has been the movie that I have eagerly been anticipating the very second I heard about it. I know that I've already gushed about how I loved the first Paranormal Activity (which is truly an acquired taste). So now, what did I think about this bigger budget sequel? The first one had a $15,000 budget...this one had a $3 million budget. That still pales in comparison to other movie budgets. My reactions to this movie are complex...

I can't believe I'm saying this, but PA 2 bored me, thrilled me, terrified me and amazed me.

Boring you say? That's just awful! Well let me explain what I mean by the statement above. The movie starts off in the happy household of a family (and their dog) who has a newborn son (Hunter) in 2006. They are documenting Hunter growing up and the reason why the camera is always running is perfectly clear. Well, within the first 10 minutes of the movie...Katie Featherston makes her appearance. She's just as happy and as normal as she can be. This unsettles me...unnerves me. Why is she at this family's house and holding their baby? Don't they know she is a crazed, possessed killer? No, they don't because she hasn't done anything yet.

Yep, you heard me correctly...PA 2 is a prequel. However, the last frighting moments are truly part of a sequel. It's a hybrid more or less.

Micah Sloat is still alive, and Katie Featherston is still innocent. That still doesn't explain how she is involved with this happy family. FYI: Hunter's mother (Kristi) is Katie's sister. Gasp!

After this fact is established, someone breaks into the happy family's home and trashes it (without stealing anything but a "special" necklace). They are all upset by this (I can't imagine why...sarcasm there), and the father decides to install security cameras all over the house. No more are we, the audience, bedroom voyeurs! We are able to spy all over a huge house! Don't get too excited though...the only spooky thing going on in this household for the first thirty minutes is a crying baby, a superstitious Hispanic nanny (or cook...or whatever) that I can't understand and a pool cleaner that just won't stay in the pool. This is where the movie is boring. However, it's realistic. I give the movie props for that.

The movie really picks up when the parents leave their teenage daughter (Ali) to babysit Hunter. The nanny (cook...whatever) has already been fired at this point for crazy ranting about demons. Some things happen (not going to tell you), and the rest of the movie is tense and frightening in ways that will make your hair stand on end. Hunter is put in danger, the dog's life hangs in the balance, and Katie's inevitable crossover to the dark side is closely looming. That's what I love about PA 2. It is closely linked to the first PA. FYI: If you haven't seen the first PA, then you will be completely lost.

I'm going to straight up admit that there were three parts to this movie that literally terrified me. I'm not saying that I just jolted out of my seat...I'm talking the cold sweat, hands shaking, heart pounding and fingernail biting type of terror.

A lot of elements from the first PA have been transferred to this one. Doors open by themselves, footsteps can be heard on the staircase, someone gets dragged down the hallway...but these happenings have been injected with steroids and are scarier than ever. However, PA 2 has some new tricks up its sleeves. It even provides a reason why all of this is happening in the first place, but it just makes the mystery deepen.

All in all, PA 2 managed to do what Blair Witch 2 couldn't. There is a legitimately great franchise here that is ready to be harvested, and everyone involved knows it. I'll just say that a PA 3 was more than hinted at when the final 10-15 minutes of the movie played out.

4.5 Popcorn Kernels Out Of 5 (scary, tense, dog didn't die...that I know of, a cliffhanger ending, but a slow start)

Photo courtesy of Google

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

More Than You Need To Know - Anneliese Michel

READER BEWARE: Contents of a Graphic and Frightening Nature are Found Below

With my recent viewing of The Exorcist, I wondered if such a thing could actually occur. Yes, I know it's in the Bible...but you just don't hear a lot about demon possession. Well, through the miracle of the Internet and Youtube...I actually found something. Sure, I dismissed the video as something fabricated by some bored teenager, but I couldn't shake that the video had 16,955,565 hits. So I Googled Anneliese Michel, and I couldn't deny it anymore. Everything I saw and heard in the video actually happened. Was she really possessed, or was she just psychotic? Who knows? Either way, an exorcism actually did occur. The case of Anneliese Michel actually inspired two movies. I'm sure you've heard of The Exorcism of Emily Rose.

Anneliese Michel was a very devout Catholic girl that took the burdens of other sinners upon her back and tried to make reparations by sleeping on the floor. At the age of 16, Anneliese started to experience convulsions, and she had an epileptic attack in 1969. It wasn't too long after this that Anneliese could no longer pray without experiencing hallucinations and hearing voices that told her that she was damned. Her behavior increasingly became more odd as time passed. She started to lick her urine off of the floor. She ate spiders and coal off of the floor. She bit the head off of a bird. She got underneath the kitchen table and barked like a dog for two days. She even tore off her clothes.

At the age of 23 (1975), a elderly woman was shocked to find that Anneliese could not walk past the idol of Jesus Christ. She wouldn't even drink blessed water. The elderly woman instantly suspected demonic possession, and an exorcist in a nearby town agreed. With the proper approval, the exorcist was allowed to perform the rite of exorcism (after two failed requests).

Psychiatric treatments could not help Anneliese, and the doctors did not know how to get rid of the "demons" inside of her. Anneliese claimed that the demons inside of her were Lucifer, Judas Iscariot, Nero, Cain, Hitler, and Fleischmann (as well as some others). So all efforts to "save" Anneliese went into exorcism overseen by Father Arnold Renz and Pastor Ernst Alt. 67 exorcism sessions were held over a 10 month period, and a session could last up to 4 hours.

During these 10 months, Anneliese refused to eat and allowed her weight to drop to 68pounds. She also ruptured the ligaments in her knees from doing 600 genuflections (falling on one or both knees as an act of reverence). Eventually in 1976, Anneliese died in her sleep from malnutrition and dehydration. The parents and exorcists were held accountable for her death, and went to prison for six months.

There is information about Anneliese and her alleged possession all over the Internet. But FYI...don't waste your time on Wikipedia. I just summed everything that it had to say.

So what do you believe?

Here are some released recordings of Anneliese's "demon voices" during her exorcisms:

Well...there was a video here. But due to an order from the highest authority (yes I still have a censor AKA my mother)...I removed it. However, I will still provide the link to the video on YouTube. If you are faint of heart, and are uneasy about viewing such things please just don't watch it.

Photos courtesy of Google

In Retrospect: Halloween Movies

As some of you have probably guessed after reading about The Last Exorcism, Devil, A Nightmare on Elm Street and Paranormal Activity on here...I love scary movies. I especially love watching them during this time of year. The very second that I changed my calender from September 30 to October 1, I popped in a scary movie.

Well anyways, I guess you could say I've had a scary movie overload this month. Don't judge me! When you don't have movies for get a little stir crazy. I've seen some stupid ones, some funny ones and some downright scary ones this month. I can't say that I didn't learn some things along the way.
  1. Stay a virgin.
  2. Don't drink or do drugs.
  3. Don't enter a dark room where you just heard an unusual noise.
  4. Don't go into a cornfield.
  5. Love for personality...not looks.
  6. Don't go camping.
  7. Believe in what your delusional friend is trying to tell you.
  8. Have a priest on standby.
  9. It's every man for himself...leave your friends behind.
  10. Don't go inside that creepy building/home.
  11. Protect all private parts from a spear gun.
  12. Run away without breaking a limb.
  13. Don't get into scary situations in the first place.
  14. Lastly...chop the killer's head off! How hard is that?
I shall now highlight for you what I have seen so far... Please excuse me for not watching anything else "scary" that you like. I would like to add Psycho, Darkness Falls, Ghost Ship, Single White Female and many others to this list...but I just haven't gotten to them yet. Oh and I was really, REALLY nice, and I gave you all the IMDB links so you can learn more about the movie if you're interested!

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre Remake

The Texas Chain Saw Massacre

A Nightmare on Elm Street Remake

Friday the 13th

Friday the 13th Part 2

Friday the 13th Part 3

Friday the 13th Part 4

Friday the 13th Remake

The Blair Witch Project Paranormal Activity Night of the Living Dead Shaun of the Dead The Others American Psycho The Haunting Hellraiser

The Ring


Halloween 2
Halloween H20

Halloween Remake

Hocus Pocus


Children of the Corn

The Uninvited

The Exorcist

2000 Maniacs

Photos courtesy of Google

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Popcorn Worthy? - RED

READER BEWARE: Opinions Are Expressed Below

With DC Comics churning out movies like its main competitor Marvel, they can either have a hit or a miss. Batman Begins and The Dark Knight are mega hits while Jonah Hex is a messy miss. So, going into seeing RED...I was a mix of emotions. Was it going to be good, or was it going to suck? I simply did not know. But with a cast of Bruce Willis, Morgan Freeman, Helen Mirren and John Malkovich on board...something had to be cooking.

RED (Retired Extremely Dangerous) starts off slow with the humdrum life of Bruce Willis who gets his kicks by ripping up pension checks. In turn, he is able to call and complain about not getting his money. This enables him to have an excuse to flirt with the girl of his dreams (Mary-Louise Parker) that he has never physically met. After about 15 minutes of their awkward blossoming romance, the action starts to pick up. Amazingly cool action to be more precise.

It takes awhile for Bruce Willis to "get the group together," but once the retired quartet does reunite...the hardcore laughs start to emerge. Morgan Freeman is smooth as ever. Helen Mirren is just plain sexy with a gun. That's all I can say about that... The pinnacle of laughs come from John Malkovich who is crazy (and amazing) as ever. All I can say is, watch out for "The Pig!"

As far as the plot was pretty predictable in parts and not so predictable in other parts. This certainly isn't Hitchcock, and this certainly isn't an Academy Award winner. However, it's a really good movie, and I wouldn't mind seeing it again.

4.0 Popcorn Kernels Out Of 5 (great action sequences, truly funny moments, John Malkovich)

Photo courtesy of Google

Monday, October 4, 2010

Popcorn Preview - Paranormal Activity 2

I'm not ashamed to say that I am a huge fan and supporter of last year's "Blair Witch" phenomenon called Paranormal Activity. Need proof? Just watch the credits on the DVD and my name will be listed there (along with millions of other names). So, don't find it too shocking that I'm really, REALLY excited about the long awaited sequel. However, there are a lot out there that are not excited about a sequel, because the first movie "sucked", "wasn't scary" and "boring". I admit that the original movie was the type of movie that you either loved or hated. Me and thousands loved it, and thousands of others hated it.

I have only have three things left to say. Firstly, that baby is all kinds of messed up. Secondly, that dog better not die. Thirdly, the "Demand It!" option above is only to decide which city the movie is shown in first. You can click on it, or you don't have to click on it. Either way...I AM GOING TO SEE THIS MOVIE!

Well anyways, here it is in all its glory.

Photo courtesy of Google

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Terror Trails

Well, October is finally here! The nights are comfortably chilly, and the haunted houses are officially open for business. I must admit that getting a good adrenaline rush from people popping out the darkness is one of my guilty pleasures. I've been needing a good scare, so last night I returned to my haunted house roots and went to Terror Trails in Yantis, Texas near Lake Fork. Technically, it is not a haunted house but a 1/2 mile trek through the extremely dark backwoods of East Texas.

I've been to Terror Trails several times before, but this time around I had three Terror Trails virgins (Megan, Katelyn and Camilo) tag along. When we reached our destination, they were all pretty skittish and trying to decide who was going to be upfront and who was going to be in the back. Me, being the noble one, decided to take up the front position and to be Megan's "Pillar of Strength". In other words, I allowed her to squeeze the circulation out of my right arm and place her face into my back when we had had to walk through the several tightly enclosed spaces.

Last night, of all nights, was the best night to go to Terror Trails who is celebrating its 13th year of operation this year. Since it was a Friday everyone was at a football game. So we literally managed to "hit the trail" within five minutes. In the past years, I've waited in line for almost an hour. It's usually worth the wait, and last night was no exception.

I pretty much knew what to expect, but the rest of the crew was about as nervous as a virgin at a prison rodeo (that's pretty nervous). Tensions were high as we walked into "The Black Room". Katelyn and Camilo were pressed up pretty tightly against me and Megan, and they had the general fear that we were going to run off and leave them.

"Sorry if I choke you, Chance," Katelyn said as she clung to the hood of my jacket.

We reassured them over and over again that we would try our best not to, but it's every man for himself. Just kidding! Well...maybe not. There was series of incidents shared between all of us that showed what might happen if we were stuck in a "scary movie situation". My companion Megan sacrificed me to a big bat, or pushed me into it to be more precise. Later on, while we were running from a chainsaw wielding maniac, I dragged Megan through a semi-maze like building and made her face smack up against a wall...I did not stop. Yes folks, that would be the same infamous wall that broke my glasses many moons ago. As for Katelyn and Camilo, they fought over who would form the rear when we walked into the several buildings, but they made up when Katelyn tumbled (chainsaw maniac scenario again) and Camilo stayed behind to encourage her to get up. And that folks, would be murder victims two and three (since I was already eaten by a man-sized bat). The question is, would Megan have made it out alive? I don't think so. She would most likely be the last one left, but murdered she would be (after being punched in the back by Camilo). How? Most likely by some troll hiding underneath a bridge.

At the end, I realized I left out a very important rule aside from mentioning anyone's names (they will call you by name if they know it)... don't run or otherwise they will just chase you farther. I remembered this rule as the entire group tried to catch its breath.

"God, this place needs a bench," Katelyn said as we stumbled away breathlessly from the first chainsaw.

All in all, scary and mindless fun was achieved. Afterwards we all went to one of the friendliest places in Sulphur Springs...Whataburger.

And now for some blurbs from last nights spooky adventure...

"Do we have to walk through there? Can't we just walk around?" - Megan
"I've got a great idea, why don't we just turn around and go the opposite direction?" - Katelyn

"Was he spitting on us, or using a water bottle?" - Megan
"The water was dripping from the ceiling." - Chance
"That's even worse." - Katelyn

"Oh my God, is that a bridge? Is that a bridge!?!" - Megan
"No, that's a building." - Chance

"Those buildings weren't designed with fat people in mind." - Camilo

"I'm too out of breath to scream. I can only grunt." - Katelyn

"There's somebody in there...there's somebody in there. Don't push me!" - Chance

"Would someone please stop stepping on the back of my shoes?" - Chance

Photo courtesy of Google