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Necessary Evil: Self-Aware Haunting Movie

06.10.2016by: Mike Catalano
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Howdy all! Welcome back to another rendition of horror that has to happen! I enjoyed reading everyone's reaction to our last Memorial Day Necessary Evil. This Friday sees the release of James Wan's The Conjuring 2, which I hear is fantastic! So, in the spirit of the latest haunted home/possession film hitting theaters, we decided to offer our own version of the genre... something that hasn't been done before. Since there has already been quite a fair share of haunting movies, I say it's time we come up with one that, like Scream, is self-aware.

IDEA: A haunted house/possession horror movie with a self-aware edge. Let's call it Fixer Upper.

OUTLINE: Laura and her carpenter father, Bill, move to a sleepy town and into a large, but old house in need of renovations. After losing his job, causing an eviction from his apartment, Bill feels very lucky to have gotten an amazing deal on the house that he can fix up on his own. During the first night in the house, Laura hears some strange noises and notices a strange mist floating through the halls. The next day is her first day of school. A couple of kids approach her in the lunchroom and ask if she's the one who now lives in the large, old house. Once Laura replies yes, she is immediately hit with a barrage of information about the house being haunted. One boy, Rick, has a keen interest in any activity in the house. He's a big fan of haunted house movies like Amityville Horror and The Conjuring, and is well versed in all the tropes that go along with said films.

The second night in the house, Laura wakes up in her bed feeling very cold. She goes to her closet to find a blanket. Upon opening the door, she finds a pale young girl with circular markings all over her body. "Nothing can save you," the girls hisses. Laura screams and runs out of her room. She wakes up Bill who thinks she merely had a bad dream. However the next morning, she wakes up and discovers a circular marking on her stomach just the like the ones she saw on the pale girl.

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At school, Laura seeks out Rick and asks him to help her learn more about the house. He informs her that like most haunted house movies, something terrible must have happened there which allowed her father to buy the house for so little. After school, the two set out on a fact-finding mission where all the stereotypical steps of a haunted house/possession movie are revealed and explored such as obtaining a priest to bless the house, paranormal investigators, and animals sensing danger near the home. Rick goes through each step in the same manner as Randy from Scream. They even talk to the town's sheriff.

Unfortunately after all their investigating, the two still can't come to a solid conclusion as to why the house is seemingly haunted. No one else in the town seems to believe them, so help is in short supply. On their third night in the house, Laura stays with her father in his room. This is where all Hell breaks loose. The bed begins to shake as more circular markings appear on both of them. The two rush out of the room with the intentions of leaving the house forever. They are met in the hall by many more ghostly apparitions with the same circular markings. The ghosts continuously warn them that they can not be saved. Bill and Laura head for the front door, but it can't be opened or kicked down. Every other possible exit becomes locked and blocked off. They are trapped.

Suddenly, Rick appears out of nowhere, claiming that he snuck in through a door in the basement that leads to the backyard. Not looking to waste time, Laura and Bill follow him into the basement. All the while, the house is shaking like crazy. The basement is surprisingly low in creepy items. Rick even remarks that for a haunted house, the basement is severely lacking. Also, there is indeed a small door that is wide open. All three rush out into the backyard to safety... and find that they are surrounded by people... the townspeople.

A sharp spear comes bursting out of Bill's chest. In shock, Laura looks back to see Rick holding onto the spear's handle. Before she can say a word, the local sheriff cracks her over the head with a large rock. Bill and Laura drop to the ground. Rick stands over them and explains that their house is possessed by a powerful demon that demands a blood sacrifice every five years. The entire town is under its control. The ritual takes three days to be carried out as the demon coats its prey in a mist and ceremonial circular markings (kind of like marinating a steak before it hits the grill). As the ground begins to consume Bill and Laura's bloody bodies, Rick leans in and says, "Bet you never saw that in a haunted house movie."

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WHY IT COULD WORK: Thanks to great films like The Conjuring and Insidious, the haunted house/possession angle is quite popular today. People also seem to enjoy any movie with a bit of a self-aware edge. As long as this film can balance the scares and laughs like Scream, I think there is some strong potential here!

CHARACTERS: To play Laura, we should get someone cute who you'd never expect to meet her demise in the end. Maybe a Disney star like Olivia Holt. For her father, Bill, we need someone who could pull off being a handyman, but also vulnerable. Billy Zane might be an interesting choice. I'd want someone very charismatic yet kind of plain to play Rick. Maybe that kid who played the older brother in last year's Vacation reboot?

CONCLUSION: When done right with organic scares and strong actors, haunted house/possession movies can really be special. I know that audiences are still hungry for these types of movies and if we add in a little self-aware twist, they may end up appreciating it even more!

I'm definitely curious to hear your thoughts on this. Are you still hungry for more haunted house horror? Would you be down with some self-aware action? Or would you rather this whole idea be sacrificed? Kindly fire them bullets below! And if you have any ideas that you think should be made into horror reality, let me know at mikecatalano@joblo.com.

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Extra Tidbit: Okay, name your favorite haunting-themed movie!

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11:12AM on 06/11/2016

Blood Sacrifice?

So your twist ending is the reveal from Cabin in the Woods? Disappointing.
So your twist ending is the reveal from Cabin in the Woods? Disappointing.
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11:54AM on 06/14/2016
Actually, the twist is the whole town being possessed. The blood sacrifice is yet ANOTHER haunted house movie staple that ironically ends up happening to the dad and daughter. Thanks for reading!
Actually, the twist is the whole town being possessed. The blood sacrifice is yet ANOTHER haunted house movie staple that ironically ends up happening to the dad and daughter. Thanks for reading!
10:06PM on 06/10/2016

I want to see the haunted house movie...

Where KNOWING that the house is haunted and actually are CAUTIOUS about being there as opposed to treating it like an outing to the mall. And I'm not talking about, oh lets wear our crosses or lets all sleep in the same room...
If I was going to a place that was supposedly haunted the first thing I'd do is long range recon to asses any possible pitfalls to entering. And I damn well wouldn't go into the house without some kind of planned ecit strategy. like the windows/doors invariably always
Where KNOWING that the house is haunted and actually are CAUTIOUS about being there as opposed to treating it like an outing to the mall. And I'm not talking about, oh lets wear our crosses or lets all sleep in the same room...
If I was going to a place that was supposedly haunted the first thing I'd do is long range recon to asses any possible pitfalls to entering. And I damn well wouldn't go into the house without some kind of planned ecit strategy. like the windows/doors invariably always get blocked preventing escape in these moveis. You know what doesn't get blocked? A man-sized rectangle of primachord on an external wall. Keep someone outside your haunted asylum/whatever with a remote detonator and a walky talkie and a detonator. Lose contact for more than one minute?Head outside until communications re-established. Lose communications for more than TWO minutes? Blam! instanexit for the people inside to leave through if they are still alive. Meanwhile the SECOND person outside who is 50 meteres away from the house and the guy with primachord is informing the appropriate people that things are up.
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