Hello to all those faithfully reading and hopefully enjoying this effort to make even the worst horror movie more watcha... aw, screw that - I'm not that good. If a movie makes you cringe because yet another batch of unlikable teens that are pushing 30 are inching toward their deaths, having a party no one does anywhere ever, a paranormal movie is boring you to tears with unending pans of empty rooms, or thanks to CGI technology when people finally bite it, their blood squirts everywhere except on the victim, the ground, the people next to them... you're in good company and this is the right place for you.

Monday, December 30, 2013


An American Haunting (2005)

Okay people very quick history lesson here. This is a movie based on, not 'true events', but the telling of a story that was from a story that was told in a story that was found in a paragraph in an old book that someone found and went oooh, easy novel material and wrote yet another book claiming it to be true. Pffft. The Bell Witch or Bell Witch Haunting is a poltergeist legend from Southern folklore, centered on the 19th century fictional Bell family in Tennessee. Okay, partially fictional. There was a family named Bell and they were in Tennessee. Capicé? 
Just think of it as an early version of The Enquirer

No Andrew Jackson did not meet the witch and get scared off by it, no it did not torture a family in the 1800's, no it was NEVER a true story, it was ALWAYS a novel or an article written by someone out to make money, not history.

So. (My husband hates one word sentences so I use them a lot) So. This movie tanked. Since it was a fake story that's no great loss, but the waste of talent in Sissy Spacek and Donald Sutherland is almost a crime. It can claim to be 'the only case in the US where a spirit caused the death of a man' all it wants, that doesn't make it so you MORONS. That was directed at the movie makers, not you guys of course.

The truth as far as you can find it being he was a nothing kind of man in the 19th century, John Bell contracted a disease that he had for three years before his death. The claim that a 'spirit' caused the disease is like saying 'my mama is sick 'cause she was mean to me so God is killing her'. It's gross, it's wrong, and it's just plain stupid. 

Besides, it is stated with several sources (including this dumb movie I might add) that the cause of his death (as the illness was not considered fatal in itself) was poisoning at the hand of his daughter. How, then does one conclude that a 'spirit' killed him? Massive duh and I'm getting a wicked headache.

November 1848. Kids are playing soccer. Critics say that's anachronistic and as horrid as the film is, that's not entirely true. The idea of kicking around a ball has been in place since the 2nd and 3rd centuries BC. In China, it was during the Han dynasty that people dribbled leather balls by kicking it into a small net. It made its way to England so it is not a big stretch to find it in colonial America. Why did I put that in? 'Cause this movie has nothing to say and I have almost nothing to put here.

The bottom line to this sorry mess of a movie is the subject of incest. The dumbass (and so lacking in anything original YOU could tell me the movie plot and you'd mostly be right) effects are the same, the progression, same, the fact that no one ever pays attention to their kids 'cause they're wrapped up in themselves and their own miseries until it's too late, same. Same same same same same.

Present: A divorced woman and her daughter live together. The daughter has bad dreams of being chased. She has to spend the weekend with her father and really doesn't want to. The mother doesn't care. In her daughter's room she finds stuff from the attic and chastises her daughter for being up there. She takes the stuff and the story begins as she opens a letter and reads and somehow one letter becomes a 93 minute movie.

Past: Again, 19th century. This must have been the CLEANEST place in the new world 'cause every scene looked like the actors picked up their bleached and starched and ironed outfits without a speck of dirt anywhere, the homes looked better than any I've ever lived in, and everything was one lightbulb away from being ripped out of Better Homes and Gardens.

Betsy Bell is having fits. She's not spoiled, she's actually having fits. To make this movie more dramatic we've got the smashed windows, voices, Betsy levitating, you know, everything you probably already have seen in another film. No wonder I get these 'The Haunting Of' movies confused. What's happening to her is obvious to everyone except her mother - no strike that. Her mother knows perfectly well what's going on but has chosen to ignore/forget it. Betsy is being 'visited' during the night by her father. Duh.

They ask a, umm, I don't know who the hell he was supposed to be but he had a Bible. He attempts to - you know. It fails. They then for whatever reason (probably to advance the plot since he's the writer of the letter) call the schoolmaster over to discover what the hell is going on. During all of this the father chooses to blame a neighbor he had a property dispute with. Never once does he confess his sin against his daughter. Figures. Since he doesn't the torture continues until Betsy poisons him with her mother looking on (in the movie, I have no idea what happened in real life). All the spooky stuff stops and Betsy marries the schoolmaster. He makes the remark that he hopes this never happens again. <snort>

Riiiight. And the small Washington town I used to
live in has a Bigfoot festival every year. Cause
everything you hear/read is true.
Skip to present day. Mother has conveniently just finished the story when her daughter comes in and announces her father is there and she's leaving. She watches them drive away, her daughter looking upset and worried (DUUUUUH). Going back into the house she's confronted by the 'ghost' of Betsy (also conveniently still looking like she did in the movie) who tells her to 'Help her'. She gets a clue way too late and runs back outside, trying to stop her ex from taking off with his apparently already-being-abused-daughter. And the credits run. And now I can put down the whiskey bottle.