Archive for January 4th, 2011

Ghost watching

My daughters and I were snowbound over the Christmas holiday on a farm dating back to 1666 on the Eastern Shore of Virginia bordered on three sides by a tidal marsh (and woods on the fourth).

The surprising snow storm dumped 16 inches of snow on a part of the country not accustomed to dealing with such weather and so we watched a lot of movies sitting next to the woodstove.

There were 11 of us in all, but fortunately we had plenty of alcohol and DVDs.

Among the DVDs was the fantastic ghost story The Woman in Black, which may have the most terrifying scene in any ghost movie ever.

Sadly The Woman in Black is not available on Netflix or even on DVD except for pirated copies, but it’s worth hunting down.

The 2002 “docudrama” A Haunting In Connecticut also provided some chills, particularly for the younger members in the crowd. Available on Netflix.

The 2008 “docudrama,” also from the Discovery Channel, A Haunting in Georgia, came off as more cheesy, but was still entertaining for the isolated snowbound in an isolated, haunted farmhouse. Available on Netflix.

Haunting of Winchester House from 2009 offered more cheese than chills and was entertaining when paired with enough alcohol and MST3K-styled quipping from a smart group, but I wouldn’t recommend it under other circumstances. Available on Netflix instant watch.

Below, a 2002 supernatural thriller, changed the scenery to a World War II submarine and offered plenty of jump scares mixed with the gritty WWII realism. Below is available on Netflix instant watch and is well worth a watch.

The real hidden gem of the impromptu Willowdale film fest was The Eclipse, a 2009 Irish film that blends family drama, romance and supernatural thriller in a slow-paced, but never dull film that allows the story and characters to develop naturally. A recent widower and long-time volunteer for a local literary festival is haunted by the recent death of his wife and by the specter of his still-living father-in-law. While some reviewers criticize it unfairly in my view for tacking on supernatural elements onto a romantic film, The Eclipse offers genuine frights and is well-worth a watch by those who like intelligently presented horror that treats its ghosts — and characters — with respect. Available on Netflix instant watch.

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