Category Archives: Horror Movies

Tot Terrors: Rikki Tikki Tavi

I often get asked about what influences my work as a writer. Inspired by the amazing website  Kindertrauma–which is right up my alley–I’m compiling all of my childhood (and some adult) terrors.

Rikki Tikki Tavi Chuck Jones Title Card

The title card for Chuck Jones’ Rikki Tikki Tavi special.

Back in the 1970s, every Easter–usually on Good Friday–one of the major networks (I wanna say CBS, but it could’ve been ABC) would air Chuck Jones’ cartoon special Rikki Tikki Tavi, based on one of Kipling’s Jungle Book tales about a mongoose and his fights to the death.

Despite the fact that I looked forward to this every year–it might have had something to do with the fact that my young mind associated it with the Easter Bunny’s visit–there were things in it that were so terrifying they’d haunt my waking (yes, waking) hours.

rikki-tikki-abandoned

From the opening credit sequence…abandoned temples of a forgotten civilization.

  1. The opening credits show us a violent, terrifying storm deep among the frightening, mysterious remnants of the abandoned temples of a lost civilization. This was like a train wreck I couldn’t stop watching.
  2. The narration by Orson Welles. His voice was chilling enough, but there is some kind of reverb or something put on it that gave it a slight echo, rendering it almost ghostly. I sounds like a dead person talking from beyond the grave. This really bothered me.
  3. The first time we meet the cobras, Nag and Nagaina, they are presented as looming shadows speaking in sinister whispers (which are performed by Welles as part of the narration). Heart-stopping.
  4. There is also another snake the color of sand, so he’s presented against the sandy background as almost spectral. Yipes.
rikki-tikki-nag

The heart-arresting shadow of Nag the cobra. Just…holy SHIT.

I was not alone in my terror. Kindertrauma (if you’ve not heard of this website, you owe it to yourself to check it out–I have managed to rediscover horrors that had become nameless over the years) has Rikki Tikki Tavi featured here.

Still, there were a couple of positive things I never forgot. I always remembered the line “A full meal makes a slow mongoose,” and I swear to God that’s what’s kept me for never being overstuffed at a meal, even one as big as Thanksgiving. It’s also where I learned all about mongooses and their relationship with snakes, and probably where I got such a fascination for all things overgrown and abandoned (one of the sources for that, anyway–I also know I was fascinated with the abandoned temples in Disney’s animated version of The Jungle Book).

As far as this has influenced my writing, when I was in high school, I wrote a story (two versions of it, actually, a couple of years apart) set in a village in India with the terrible title of “Slithering Serpents” (the stories are probably equally terrible). It was Rikki Tikki Tavi that made me start reading about India, and that’s how I learned about the subject matter that inspired the stories.

God knows why I’m doing this, but you can read both versions of the story by opening the PDF below. Special thanks to my friend Rob Mayette, who found the only existing printed copy of the one that was published in The Piper — our high school literary magazine (which I’d forgotten even existed) in his basement during a move.

slithering-serpents-only-existing-copy

If you’d like to cleanse your palette after reading those pieces of crap with Rikki Tikki Tavi, you can get it here.

Dark Discussions looks forward to 2017!

Dark Discussions Ep 266 Masthead

The crew of Dark Discussions picks its most anticipated horror movies of 2017! Listen/download on ITunes, Stitcher, or here: http://www.darkdiscussions.com/Pages/podcast_266.html

 

 

Getting in on Dark Discussions: September 2016

1978's Piranha was the final film of Dark Discussions' KILLER FISH FEST.

1978’s Piranha was the final film of Dark Discussions’ KILLER FISH FEST.

September’s such an interesting month, because, here in New England, it’s a fluid transition between summer and autumn.

Dark Discussions‘ topics for September were just as transitory, taking us from the final days Read the rest of this entry

10 movies that wouldn’t be scary if you watched them on mute

Horror films rely on all sorts of tricks to induce their frights: jump scares, atmosphere, and creepy or gory visuals. They also rely on something else that’s often overlooked: sound.

Sound, including music, can play a key role in how scary something is. Consider, for example, Robert Wise’s 1963 The Haunting; one of the most terrifying moments in that film is the scene in which the girls huddle in their room as an infernal banging roams the hall. We never see the ghost; we simply hear it—and if one turned down the volume and watched that scene without any noise, it would just look like two women making goofy faces in a room.

That said, here are ten films that rely so heavily on sound or dialogue Read the rest of this entry

Starts this week!

Dark Discussions takes the plunge and dives deep into six films of aquatic terror in our Killer Fish Fest!

We are not going to tell you which films we’re going to cover; you’ll have to find out as we go, but all of our episodes released in August will have to do with some kind of scary aquatic horror movie.

New episodes of Dark Discussions are released every Thursday on I-Tunes, Stitcher, and at http://www.darkdiscussions.com/. To get release announcements and to talk all things horror film with other DD fans (quite a knowledgeable, busy, and fun bunch), join the Facebook Group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/DarkDiscussionsPodcast/

Get out those bathing suits and take a dip with us!

Killer Fish Fest Logo

 

DARK DISCUSSIONS on THE CONJURING 2; resources for exploring the story behind the film

Conjuring2BlogArt

Nathan Schoonover (occult specialist, paranormal investigator, co-host of The Ghostman & Demon Hunter Show and my husband) joined us on Dark Discussions for an in-depth look at The Conjuring 2. We had a total blast! We discuss Amityville, Ouija boards, the real Enfield Poltergeist, DBox (and if you don’t know what that is you’ll just have to check it out) and more!

You can listen through I-Tunes and Stitcher or you can simply download it right from the Dark Discussions website here: http://www.darkdiscussions.com/Pages/podcast_238.html

Below, a very basic (I do mean VERY basic) list of resources in case you’re interested in exploring the real stories behind the film. This has already Read the rest of this entry

SHARKNADO 3: OH HELL NO AIRS TONIGHT (oh, hell yes!)

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In case you’re dying to know, Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No! will air tonight on the SyFy Channel at 9 p.m. Eastern time.

The Sharknado series has taken pride not in how good it can be, but how bad. Tonight’s installment promises loads of overdone cheese from the likes of David Hasselhoff, Bo Derek, and even Jerry Springer. However, tornados really can make animals fall from the skies; snails, worms, cows, frogs, even fish have been reported in the past. For a brief overview, check out National Geographic‘s article here, and don’t call me after 9 p.m., because you know where I’ll be!

Horrorfesting It!

My cousin Maryanne and I used to enjoy a horror movie or two following our annual excursion to the Hudson Valley Garlic Festival or before one of my famous (or infamous) parties. We enjoyed the chance to share our favorites with each other (and play catch up on things we wanted to see but hadn’t yet) so much we decided to get together a couple of weekends a year and make films the focus.

Here’s what we’ve seen so far and what we thought…what will we watch this weekend? Time will tell. We tend to get a giant stack and pick according to mood.

 

Love Bigfoot? EXISTS on DVD/Blu-Ray today…hear all about it on DARK DISCUSSIONS!

Exists Poster

Exists, the new Eduardo Sanchez (The Blair Witch Project) found footage piece about Bigfoot that’s one hell of an edge-of-your-seat ride, is available today on DVD. I don’t know if it has any special features — and that’s usually how I judge whether or not I’m going to own the disc — but this movie is so good I’m getting it regardless. Here’s the Amazon link: http://amzn.com/B00Q582P5E

Need a fix? In the meantime, check out Dark Discussions Episode 162 by clicking here…I was lucky enough to get to guest to discuss this movie that’s so wonderfully reminiscent of The Legend of Boggy Creek. In case you’re wondering whether or not this thing is terrifying? It’s made several 2014 Top Ten Horror Movie Lists:

Playboy

CrypticRock

Sound on Sight

Enjoy!

 

Let It Snow…

SNOW Clip

Snow. It can drive a person mad.

Snow! I luckily missed the [non-blizzard for my area just north of NYC] Juno because I was down in Walt Disney World, but I didn’t miss this one! Luckily, a friend of mine from around the local theater community (more specifically, TheatreWorks New Milford) has a wicked sense of humor and cooked this up just in time. I couldn’t resist sharing it. Snowbound or Snowbird, you’re sure to get a chuckle out of it! Enjoy!

Watch SNOW here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1lz6fxUUcog&index=3&list=UUcKNahAGn1tK9xfCtV7wlxQ

 

 

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