Sleep Paralysis in “The Nightmare” (2015)

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The Nightmare (2015)

Director: Rodney Ascher

Starring: Yatoya Toy, Siegfried Peters, Steven Yvette, Age Wilson, Elise Robson, Nicole Bosworth

Guys. I  have a lot of thoughts about this documentary, but I’ll keep this review short. As someone who battled sleep paralysis daily for 19 years, I had high hopes and expected The Nightmare (2015) to shed new information about the misunderstood sleep condition. Instead, I got weak re-enactments of the documentary subjects’ hallucinations and zero scientific clarification about sleep paralysis. There’s literally one sentence in the opening credits explaining what sleep paralysis is, and then discordant montages of “alien abductions,” “demonic possessions,” “Shadowman,” and other paranoid conspiracy theories linking sleep paralysis with the paranormal.

To say I’m disappointed is an understatement. So let me break it down for you without scare tactics.

What is sleep paralysis? In a nutshell, it’s a physiological disorder that happens during the REM sleep cycle when the sufferer awakens while the body is still immobilized from sleep. The dream continues to play outside their mind while they are paralyzed and aware. This can be a very frightening experience and can sometimes leads to panic attacks, hallucinations, and anxiety. Every person with sleep paralysis experiences their own unique cocktail of symptoms, but ones most people share are:

1. Full-body paralysis–unable to open or close eyes, sit up, or open mouth to call for help

2. Buzzing, banging, and other auditory hallucinations (some people hear screams or disembodied voices)

3. Heavy feeling weighing down the chest (can feel like being smothered or forcibly restrained)

4. Sensing an outside “presence” hovering above or near the body

If you’re like me, you also get crazy, intense hallucinations and temporary amnesia. I used to wake up each morning not even remembering what my name was. Panic attacks and night terrors haunted me almost every night, and as a child I slept in bathtubs at sleepovers, hid inside kitchen sink cabinets, and laid awake for hours, to the point of exhaustion, just to avoid falling asleep. I found no relief until starting relaxation therapy with a professional therapist.

It is tempting to link sleep paralysis with demons, alien abductions, and other paranormal phenomena, but I assure you, sleep paralysis is a medical condition and can and SHOULD be treated. I only wish the filmmakers had taken a scientific approach instead of misleading people.

If I were to judge this documentary for its entertainment value, it’d still get a lackluster grade. I’m afraid I can’t recommend The Nightmare (2015) to anyone who actually has sleep paralysis. It is triggering. Make time to “cool down” after watching the film (if you choose to watch it at all!) For everyone else, meh, if you like cheesy re-enactments with unconvincing graphics, this documentary is chocked full of them. Giving this one a “D.”

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GISHWHES Registration Time!

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It’s that magical time of year where like-minded nutballs come together showing off creativity, madness, and fun all across the globe. Who presides of this week of hysteria? Actor Misha Collins of the show Supernatural. Yes, he creates the most insane challenges for teams all over the world to do like make a dress out of kale or have a storm trooper clean your pool.

But it’s for a good cause! I promise! Throughout the week teams are also given challenges to do random acts of kindness like last year there was a challenge to become a bone marrow donor!

I participated last year and I had a blast! I met some interesting people from all over the USA and still keep in contact with a couple. I hope we can be on the same team this year. Read about my little adventure HERE

Anyway, I recommend that you all register and be part of breaking world records and bringing awareness to a number of great causes.

Sites:

https://www.gishwhes.com/g_blog/what-is-gishwhes/

https://twitter.com/gishwhes

https://www.facebook.com/officialgishwhes

Body Art: Scarification

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Scarification.. I am the one who reached down and pulled you from perdition. -Castiel If thats not makeup or a tatt, then that is one devoted fan...and theres no denying that is going to look Awesome.

I love Castiel s handprint on Dean s arm. There's something so attractive about it...

Thanks to Damsel Cannibal, I was introduced to this type of Body Modification. Yeah…that’s the kind of conversations we have. Whereas most people would find this art disgusting and ugly, we think it’s beautiful. I was drawn to the picture above because I love the show Supernatural and any Supernatural fan will look at this and think of Castiel’s line “I’m the one who gripped you tight and raised you from Perdition”. I saw that and I thought, “If this is a tribute to the show, then that is one dedicated fan! COOL!” If not then that’s still awesome.

Anyway, Scarification is exactly how it sounds. It’s cutting pictures or designs into the skin so when it heals, a scar forms in it’s place for a permanent body modification. The results are breathtaking.

Gorgeous scarification back piece by Iestyn Flye at London’s Divine Canvas on client, Moniasse Sessou

To whoever can handle the pain of getting Scarification, I tip my hat to you. I’m such a wimp that I won’t get a tattoo even though I want one. Maybe I’ll just have to grid my teeth and bear it because I love tattoo art. No pain no gain. Anyway, Damsel Cannibal is thinking about getting one and I think that’s awesome. I would actually like to be there when she gets it just to see the process.

Not to sound silly, but I find something like this a bit spiritual. As Damsel Cannibal pointed out, this isn’t some new trend flooding America. This art has been around for centuries and has been a part of a number of cultures. I find it spiritual because of the dedication that you go through to have this procedure done. It…is…a…scar! It’s not like a tattoo where you can get a cover-up tattoo or have it lasered off when you don’t want it anymore. It’s not something you get on a whim because you were out on the town with your buddies. This is something that will last forever.

The more I look at it, the more I admire it and consider getting one. If I was brave enough to get one, I would get a pair of angel wings on my back. And not tiny wings either. Wings aren’t exactly an original idea but for me they are the perfect symbol. I have two reasons for choosing wings. Reason 1: Angels, to me, represent righteousness, compassion, and strength. These are values I was raised on and I love the idea of having this reminder on my back to live my life according these values, no matter how hard life gets. My second reason: These wings, as well as the scarification process, represent my freedom. I was raised in a very Catholic and Conservative household where Body Modifications are dirty and only sinners participate in such things. Getting these represents how I finally have a say with what I do with my life, what career I’ll choose, what I do with my body,  or who I’ll love. It’s my time to fly.

If that sounds cheesy then I guess it’s cheesy. But that’s just how I see most Body Modifications. It should be something that means something to you. Something that you will want to show off and something that represents you. I’m still trying to find the best place to get one without breaking the law(in most States it’s illegal).

What would you get if chose this type of Body Modification?

Cheers,

Damsel Bruja

GISHWHES 2014…….It was Awesome!

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I realize that it’s been a really really really long time since we’ve posted anything and for that we apologize. That’s what happens when life gets in the way of Bloggers. Anyway, I thought I’d share my experience with GISHWHES, I remember I promised I would.

I should probably start by saying that I was very fortunate in finding a group of like-minded individuals to join with. I found these amazing people through the Wonder that is Facebook. I’m in a couple of Supernatural and Misha Collins Facebook groups and when registration came around, many posted asking for people to join. At first I was hesitant because I really don’t trust the Internet but then I thought, “Fuck It!”

Just as I was going to sign up, I ran into another problem….I didn’t have the money to register. For a couple of days I thought my Grand Plan of doing something exciting for once in my life had been brought down by a measly registration fee. Fortunately, someone from the Facebook groups sent me a message saying she would love to sponsor me. I’m just going to call her Saint Sarah because she kind heart gave me a chance to participate in this adventure.

MY THOUGHTS WHEN I FINALLY REGISTERED

The team that I joined, along with Saint Sarah, was Team IDontThinkSo. I met many fun people who shared my love for Supernatural. Now that may not seem like a big deal to you, but when you have friends who tell you to stop spamming their Pinterest with Destiel/Supernatural themed pins you kinda feel alone. Just because they don’t understand something, it doesn’t mean it’s not awesome, right? Anyway, we all got to know each other a little bit. We learned who were GISHWHES veterans and who were the newbies. We even learned where our skills could be applied for the upcoming challenges.

Once the Item List was posted, we all picked which once we wanted to do and shared our projects with our teammates on our Facebook page. One of things I did was “build an Elopus using all natural materials”. What is an Elopus, you ask? It is a cross between an octopus and an elephant. I went to my backyard and used the rocks to build it. Did I mention that it started to rain that week? It was kinda hard to put that thing together when I’m tripping over mud and I could only put it together when the rain stopped. I found it amusing how no one in my house was surprised by my behavior.

My dad actually came outside and say, “What the hell are you doing?”

“Making an Elopus.”

“……..OK.”

The Elopus is still sitting in the backyard.IMG_0839

It was amazing to see what the Team came up with! It was also fun to do something silly. One of the Items was have a crazy name announced when the Starbucks barista gives your order. Too bad that the Starbucks in my city are a bunch of snobs. I tried to get them to cooperate, I even told them it was for a scavenger hunt! But they weren’t having it. So thankfully, Robin(my teammate) got that challenge done!

But not all the challenges were just doing something crazy. Some things were to bring awareness to problems we have in the world. For example, one challenge was sign up to be a bone marrow donor, but you had to be really serious about it otherwise it wouldn’t count for points. Misha Collins even signed up to be a bone marrow donor! I didn’t have the courage to do it, but Kathleen and Heather had more balls than I did. There’s a special place in Heaven for people like that.

But another issue that was brought up was the struggle between the Ukraine and Russia. One of the challenges was to wrap yourself in a Ukraine or Russian flag kissing; you got bonus points if you were actually at the Russian/Ukraine border.

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I think I’ll conclude with how much fun I had. I made an elephant/octopus hybrid in my backyard, I made a pop-up book, made a public service announcement about Jellyfish Overlords(sadly the video wouldn’t cooperate with Robin), I let go of a grudge, and I even gave a ridiculous name to a Starbucks barista(even though the bastards wouldn’t say it). I also watched others, people I’ve never met in person, crawl out of their comfort zones as first timers and veteran Gishers encourage and help the newbies. I’ll always be thankful for this experience and I hope that I’ll be able to participate next year. I also hope that I’ll be teammates with the same amazing people.

TEAM IDON’TTHINKSO ROCKS!!!

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This Way Darkness (anthology review)

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Supernatural creeps and bizarre creatures lurk behind the pages in “This Way Darkness” written by indie horror author, Latashia Figueroa. I was hunting for a well-rounded horror anthology to read this summer–y’know something spooky, well-written but short. Like waiting-for-your-pedicure-to-dry short. (Doesn’t everybody read axe murderer stories at the salon? No? Just me? ‘Kay) These three spine-tingling stories were just the little perk I needed.

Wrapped in Small Flesh and Bone | Figueroa opens the anthology with a tale reminiscent of The Omen; a familiar and predictable storyline, however entertaining. Unable to conceive, a desperate husband and his wife visit a mysterious witch. The husband realizes their mistake when the witch refuses to touch his crucifix necklace. Predictably, the wife becomes pregnant a short time after meeting the witch and then their child, Jenny, is born. Jenny is a lot like Damien. She talks to “imaginary friends” and always seems to be near or at the scene of a crime. I won’t spoil the ending. Ha, if you’re familiar with The Omen I don’t have to. Although I knew how the story would end, it didn’t detract from my overall enjoyment of the story. I think creepy kids are adorable.

The Alternative | The second story has more gore and violence. I thought the rape scene was the predominant horror element…but no. Hell no. This story took a direction I didn’t expect at all! If there’s such a thing as a fate worse than rape, Figueroa presents it here. There’s a religious thread throughout all of her stories, but this one was the most interesting and dare I say philosophical? “The Alternative” explores the Christian perspective of death and the afterlife. Traumatized by the death of her mother, the main character develops an intense fear of old age and dying. She does not think death is her ticket to salvation and so she turns her back on God. Literally. The plot rambles in places. Not my favorite in the collection but I’d say it was worth the read.

The Retreat | Everyone is familiar with the secret cult trope, right? Well here it is again. Like all of the stories in this anthology, the plot is very straightforward. A dude goes off on a religious retreat for self-empowerment only to be tortured and terrorized by his fellow campers. Their camp leader convinces his flock that everyone is their own god and therefore are above human laws. First the campers kill a deer. Then a priest. There’s even a homicidal vegetarian who goes apeshit. What an entertaining romp! I knew where the story would go, but I enjoyed the author’s route.

All in all I’d give this anthology a solid 4/5 stars. No, the book wasn’t inventive…and yes, it relied heavily on well-worn horror tropes. But still I found the anthology to be funny in some places and easy to read. I would recommend this delightful anthology for horror lovers who are looking for a light summer snack. It’ll fly by quickly–but you won’t be bored while reading it!

Crucible of Horror (1970) REVIEW

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Classic British horror at its finest. I must say, I really enjoyed this movie! This cult-classic flick was directed by Viktor Ritelis and stars Michael Gough, Yvonne Mitchell, and Sharon Gurney.  John Hotchkins provides a deliciously eerie score, and the music reminded me very much of the wailing theremin in Dark Shadows. Is the story supernatural or a crime-mystery? Not quite sure. But I won’t spoil the surprise ending by revealing too much, here.

First five minutes: Not much dialogue, moody camera closeups while patriarch, Walter Eastwood, incessantly washes his hands and stares at his blinking cat. All of this would have bored me to tears if not for the odd camera angles and the characters’ stifled movements. Right away the audience feels a sense of veiled oppression, which is fully-realized once Walter’s daughter, Jane,  kisses a business associate and is savagely beaten with a switch. The camera immediately snaps back to Walter washing his hands again. His wife, Edith, listens to disembodied voices in the attic while Jane sobs from her wounds. There isn’t much dialogue and we’re still not sure what’s going on , but the absence of information only adds to the mounting suspense. We learn Walter is as meticulous as he is cruel. He coddles his son, Rupert, while terrorizing his wife and daughter with physical violence. He seems fixated on his daughter (and her sexuality) most of all.

When she receives a letter at breakfast the next morning, Walter snatches it away and tells his family he will go to the family cottage by himself. Once his back is turned, Edith casually suggests that she and Jane should kill him. Only she’s not joking. The mother-daughter kill-team show up at the cottage that night with poison and a loaded rifle.

I’m not going to write what happens next–but, oh, dear! Things for Walter go downhill from there!

It’s easy to see why Crucible of Horror is a cult-classic. The family is horrifying because audience can relate to them. And the twist ending…you will NOT see it coming! It is strange. Open-ended. And leaves unsettling questions in your mind long after the credits have finished. I didn’t expect to like the movie so much, but I will certainly add it to my collection. I recommend this movie for folks who like mysteries, family horror, British actors, and psychological surrealism. I’m giving this movie an A+ for creeping me out!