All posts by Ainsley Peace

Content writer, playwright, screenwriter and author, By the Lake and Featured Silence on Amazon.

Supernatural Sunday: The Conjuring

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Post written by Ainsley Peace

One of the best ghost stories and haunted house thrillers in years, The Conjuring follows the famed Warrens as they investigate the haunting of the Perron family after they move into a farmhouse in Rhode Island.

The Warren’s, by the time of this case were not as well known as they would later become. A year prior to investigating the Perron’s residence they became involved with Possessed doll Annabelle. Their encounter with her is scene in the opening of this film. After this case they would later become one of the teams to investigate the Amityville haunting. While many of their cases have been greatly criticized and debunked, the Perron haunting hasn’t experienced as much backlash. That was until the films release. The current residents are suing Warner Brothers for damages after their home has been targeted several times.

Considered one of the best Supernatural Thrillers in years, The Conjuring doesn’t oversaturate itself with jump scares, relying heavily on its atmospheric tone and the suspense in the silence. James Wan, writers Chad and Carey W. Hayes and the actors all stir the pot and create an excellent ghost story that is soon to be considered a classic in the genre.

Not only is this films success based on the opinions of the relative few, The Conjuring has also experienced financial success. While Annabelle the prequel/spinoff wasn’t as successful The Conjuring 2 was a success and other prequels, sequels and spinoffs are said to be great as well. While The Conjuring carries a lot of weight with it there is no shame and in trying to take its energy and put it into another film. We all know how success works in Hollywood and when you find something that brings in the mula you usually try to milk it for what it is worth and The Conjuring is worth a lot.

One of the best ghost stories and haunted house thrillers in years, The Conjuring follows the famed Warrens as they investigate the haunting of the Perron family after they move into a farmhouse in Rhode Island.

The Warren’s, by the time of this case were not as well known as they would later become. A year prior to investigating the Perron’s residence they became involved with Possessed doll Annabelle. Their encounter with her is scene in the opening of this film. After this case they would later become one of the teams to investigate the Amityville haunting. While many of their cases have been greatly criticized and debunked, the Perron haunting hasn’t experienced as much backlash. That was until the films release. The current residents are suing Warner Brothers for damages after their home has been targeted several times.

Considered one of the best Supernatural Thrillers in years, The Conjuring doesn’t oversaturate itself with jump scares, relying heavily on its atmospheric tone and the suspense in the silence. James Wan, writers Chad and Carey W. Hayes and the actors all stir the pot and create an excellent ghost story that is soon to be considered a classic in the genre.

Not only is this films success based on the opinions of the relative few, The Conjuring has also experienced financial success. While Annabelle the prequel/spinoff wasn’t as successful The Conjuring 2 was a success and other prequels, sequels and spinoffs are said to be great as well. While The Conjuring carries a lot of weight with it there is no shame and in trying to take its energy and put it into another film. We all know how success works in Hollywood and when you find something that brings in the mula you usually try to milk it for what it is worth and The Conjuring is worth a lot.

Suspense Saturday: The Sixth Sense

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Post written by Ainsley Peace

I remember the first time I saw The Sixth Sense. While my surroundings are blurry, I can reach back into my memory and recall exactly how this film made me feel. By nine years old I had already fallen deeply in love with cinema so I could easily tell you that this movie had one of the best twists ever. This may come as a shock to those of you who have experienced more of M. Night Shyamalan’s failures than his successes but The Sixth Sense was one of the best films of the year.
The Sixth Sense follows child psychologist Malcom Crowe after he is confronted by a former patient. Shaken by the encounter, Crowe takes on the task of attempting to cure a young boy who “sees dead people.”
Inspired by an episode of Are You Afraid of the Dark? The Sixth Sense has a depth that many ghost stories and horror films were lacking at the time. The emotional impact far outweighs many horror films with its use of child psychology and very personal fears. Cole, played by Haley Joel Osment, who was best known for playing the titular character’s young son, gave a memorable performance as the young boy plagued by literal ghosts.
There are probably very few people that don’t know the twist of this movie. With the wide variety of content that is constantly being released there is a chance you won’t be as surprised as the audiences that originally saw it. As you go into this movie let go of all the baggage that comes with ghost stories, horror films and movies directed by Shyamalan. Allow yourself to be swept up by the psychological thriller. It’s slow pace and lack of gore make it the perfect horror movie for people who don’t love horror movies.

TV Tuesday: Zoo

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Post written by Ainsley Peace

Loosely based on the novel by James Patterson, Zoo was quite the surprise when I decided to watch it. I am glad that I finally jumped on it as there are many aspects of this show that play into our very real fears. It makes us question our place on the food chain and puts at the very bottom as animals begin to attack humans. The investigations bring’s together five very different individuals, tour guides Abraham Kenyatta and Jackson Oz, French Intelligence Officer Chloe Tousignant, Veterinary Pathologist Mitch Morgan and Journalist Jamie Campbell. Caught up in the investigations the team leads their old lives behind and realize that even when fighting the animals, humans really are the worlds worst predators.

There has been a lot of growth in the series and not all of it has been beneficial. It is normal to lose characters early on and new ones to be added. The changes that occurred in the second season may have changed things up quite a bit the added characters gave the show something more as the story developed and the problem grew larger. Now the show is in its third season complete with time jump and major character development it appears that the story may have take far too many sharp turns. What I loved about the first season with the viability and honesty that came with it. It was an adventure and the characters were relatable but still gave us someone to live through. I was enthralled with the story but as I went into season three I realized that so much about what made seasons one and two enjoyable are missing.

While I wouldn’t be so quick to recommend the series were it is now I would gladly send someone over to Netflix to watch the first two seasons. Two strong, independent female leads who don’t sacrifice their femininity for strength stands out. Friendships and a growing familia bond that is embraced over the course of the first two seasons adds to the heartbreak that comes with fighting the war on humans, a war that many of the audience members probably understand.

Zoo may take the story to extremes but as you watch this show you will probably embrace some of those fears we once thought as irrational while nodding along to the fears that are all too real on a daily basis. We are often told not to be afraid of animals because they are more afraid of us. Now I am beginning to think that is part of the problem.

More Than a Little Black Dress: Roman Holiday, Breakfast at Tiffany’s and UNICEF

Audrey Hepburn, UNICEF ambassador in Ethiopia

What do you think of when you hear the name Audrey Hepburn? Most people will picture her in a little black dress with a slender cigarette holder between her fingers but we should see her as so much more. Before she was Holly Golightly, Hepburn appeared in many successful films including her first film and Oscar winning performance in Roman Holiday opposite Gregory Peck. She would appear with Humphrey Bogart and William Holden in Sabrina and dance with Fred Astaire in Funny Face. With a long and successful career, Hepburn can easily be seen as an overrated star considering the fact that it is her image in that black dress with a string of pearls around her neck that stands out. What should stand out is the work she did after her long film career. Audrey Hepburn was an ambassador for UNICEF. That was the work she was most proud of and that is how we should remember her.

Born Audrey Kathleen Hepburn-Ruston on May 4, 1926 in Brussels, Belgium, Audrey Hepburn lived a privileged life during her younger years. Due to her father’s job, the family traveled and relocated several times before finally settling in Brussels. Eventually the family would help raise money for the British Union of Fascists before her father left the family for London where he would become more involved in Fascism. This was a turning point in young Audrey’s life and it began the downfall of the family. As World War II broke out, Audrey’s mother relocated the family to the Netherlands believing that they would stay neutral and no harm would come to them there. Sadly things didn’t go as planned. The Nazi’s invaded, her uncle was killed, one brother went to a work camp and the other went on the run. It’s these horrific happenings in her early life that would later inspire her and influence her work with UNICEF.

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When the war ended in 1945, Hepburn moved with her family to Amsterdam where she began studying Ballet. Her aspirations to be a prima ballerina were lost when she was told that her height and weak constitution made it impossible. Hepburn decided to focus on acting and she moved to London. Here she would find success after work as a chorus girl when she was offered a role in her future Tony Award Winning performance in the Broadway adaptation of the film Gigi.

As 1953 rolled around, Audrey Hepburn’s life was looking better than ever. An appearance in Roman Holiday, the film that would win her the Academy Award, catapulted her to stardom. After her first Hollywood film, Audrey went on to have a successful career in the US. Popular among female audiences, Audrey’s most iconic role came in 1961 when she was cast as Holly Golightly in the adaptation of Truman Capote’s Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Her Holly is far different the novella’s Holly. The film traded in the book’s Teenage Blonde with a more appropriately aged brunette; and today we can’t imagine anyone else in the role.

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While Hepburn continued to work into the seventies it was her work in the eighties and to her death that should be what we remember her for. Her work with UNICEF has changed lives and spread the word for the wonderful organization. Her work in Ethiopia, Bangladesh, Somalia, and Vietnam would lead to being awarded the Presidential Medal for Freedom. After a successful film career and a remarkable resume, the work we should remember is the efforts she put in to making the lives of starving children something we were all forced to see.

There is something that attracts so many young women to Audrey Hepburn. I have a picture of her on my wall. I love her movies and anytime I see her image I automatically take note. In the end, we should look past the surface and see the beautiful soul that lived inside this remarkable woman. If you want to honor her, do what you can to help those who are less fortunate. Remember money isn’t the only thing you can give. Your time is also valuable, as are the clothes in your closet you don’t wear and the books on your shelf you don’t read. I challenge you to look into the work Audrey and to research UNICEF for yourself. When you watch a film, or even think of her, share a link on your social media pages. The list of things we can do to help our fellow humans is long so let’s make Audrey Hepburn proud and participate in making this world a better place.

http://www.audreyhepburn.com, https://www.unicef.org

Netflix Pick of the Week: It Follows

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It Follows Poster

Directed by David Robert Mitchell and staring Maika Monroe, It Follows is one of the best horror films of the last ten years. Set in the suburbs of Detroit, Michigan, It Follows tells the story of an unknown entity that haunts its victims. It only leaves them alone once they pass it on through a sexual act. Not a metaphor for a STD, It Follows can be what you want it to be and what it is, is unsettling.

One of the things that makes this post 2000s horror film so great is that we don’t know exactly what It is or what its motives are. More often than not the more recent films in the genre tend to give us a little too much detail, letting go of the mystery. Sometimes the best horror is the unknown and if you can keep that, you’ve got a better chance at getting under someones skin.

Set in a Michigan suburb the timeless nature of this film prevents it from being dated. A lack of cell phones, old cars and TVs and a reading device that doesn’t exist make us question what period the film is set. No modern conveniences in sight add to the spooky atmosphere. Wearing its inspirations on its sleeve, It Follows will satisfy film fans and you may even recognize a few scenes that mirror other movies. John Carpenter was obviously a big influence on the film, right down to the killer score. The suspenseful nature of this film alludes to Hitchcock and several scenes also mirror even older films like the original Cat People.

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Maika Monroa in It Follows

Many Directors of the horror genre should take note and enjoy the subtleties that bring this world to life. It Follows stands out for what it doesn’t tell and show us. If you haven’t taken the time to watch this film in the past couple of years do yourself a favor and watch it now. This is one every fan should have on their shelf or in their queue

TV Tuesday: Loch Ness

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Loch Ness also called The Loch

Broadchurch it is not but Loch Ness manages to draw you in to the mythical shores of Loch Ness to find what other monsters may lurk along the Lochs of Scotland. Set in Bonnie Scotland near the country’s most famous Loch, Loch Ness is a murder mystery starring Laura Fraser. Secrets and scandals thwart the investigation as a serial killer continues to haunt the town.

Available in the States on Amazon Prime, Loch Ness is a six episode mini-series also starring ‎Siobhan Finneran. The show itself is most admired for the beautiful images of Scotland herself. A country that deserves to have a starring credit. The gorgeous scenery is tough to ignore and, regardless of the weather, The Highlands still manage to shine.

The mystery itself is a slow burn until the final moments when things speed up a little too fast. This is a common mistake in most mysteries. They spend so much time on the suspense that they forget the importance of the pieces. Still, a great mystery with an interesting twist that resembles a few older tales, Loch Ness may surprise you when in reaches its climax.

Supernatural Sunday: The Uninvited

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After stealing money from her bosses client, Secretary Marion Craine runs off with the money. After ditching her old car in favor of her new one, Marion stops at The Bates Motel during a stormy night. This would be her biggest mistake. After her disappearance, Marion’s sister searches for her with the help of her sisters lover Sam Loomis and Private Detective Milton Arbogast.

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Using a television crew and a small budget, Psycho was a big departure from his previous film North by Northwest. Hitchcock’s willingness to take risks and try new and exciting things aided him in a long and successful career that spanned six decades. Beginning in the his career in Britain during the silent film era, Hitchcock made five silent films. In the thirties he would make one musical and one of his best and better know British films The Man Who Knew Too Much. After his move to the US, Hitchcock found greater success with his films like Rebecca, his first film in America and Shadow of a Doubt in Film Noir style. The Fifties would become his peak years with films like Rear Window and Vertigo that are often cited as his best films. His first film in the sixties was Psycho and you can tell that Hitchcock can’t do the same thing over and over. His peak years that came in the decade prior all had a different flair and that would be the same for his films in the sixties.

Receiving mixed reviews upon its initial release, box office sales changed things for Psycho and it has grown into a classic film often scene as a top movie for Hitchcock. Adapted from the novel of the same name, Hitchcock got as many copies as he could not to spoil the ending something impossible today.