Article: Poltergeists

Poltergeist MovieLittle Heather O’Rourke’s “They’re heeeeeeere,” in Poltergeist is one of the most memorable lines in horror film history.

Characteristics of poltergeist activity include flying objects, unexplained noises, disgusting smells, disembodied voices, opening and closing of doors, and miscellaneous electrical disturbances. In rare cases, victims experience physical assaults.

The term poltergeist, meaning “noisy spirit,” was first used in print by German theologian Martin Luther (1483 – 1546). He considered them the work of the Devil, and until the 19th century, poltergeist activity was blamed on the devil, demons, or witches. When spiritualism came into vogue, poltergeists were associated with mediumship. A popular recent theory connects poltergeist activity with unconscious psychokinesis on the part of a human agent, usually a child or teenager with repressed emotions such as anger, stress, or sexual tension. Whether the person causes the manifestations or is only a magnet for unruly spirit entities is unclear.

poltergeist1Poltergeist type disturbances have been reported since Roman times. German author Jacob Grimm wrote in his 1835 book, Teutonic Mythology, about a case in 355 C.E. in the town of Bingen-am-Rhein, where loud noises and raps were heard, and people were pulled from their beds. Catholic Archdeacon of Brecknock, Giraldus Cambrensis, cited in his Itinerarium Cambriae an incident of ‘unclean spirits’ in the Pembrokeshire, Wales, home of one Stephen Wyrriot, in 1188. These spirits threw dirt and other objects, ripped clothes, and spoke of the secrets of people who were present.

More recently, several compelling cases have been thoroughly documented.

The Bell Witch incident (so-called although no witch was involved) began in 1817 at the Bell farm in Robertson County, Tennessee, and lasted three years. The terrified family heard noises like the gnawing of giant rats, followed by whistling, laughing, and singing by a disembodied voice who reportedly identified herself as ‘Kate Batts’. Strange lights were seen outside the house, furniture was thrown around, and bed clothes were pulled off sleeping family members. Young Elizabeth was slapped, pinched, and had her hair pulled. After Elizabeth’s father, John Bell, died on Dec. 20, 1820, ‘Kate’ claimed she had poisoned him. Elizabeth married in 1821, at which time ‘Kate’ said she would return in seven years. Apparently she did, with some scratching noises and pulling off of bed covers, but after two weeks, the disturbances stopped.

PoltergeistThe Amherst Haunting took place in 1878 at the Teed cottage in Amherst, Nova Scotia. Teed’s 19-year-old niece, Esther Cox, awoke screaming one night, her eyes blood-red and popping, her body grotesquely swollen. The swelling subsided, but returned four nights later, when Esther’s bedclothes were torn from her body and thrown across the room. A doctor could find no cause for Esther’s problems, but he did witness a mysteriously puffing pillow, flying plaster, and scratching of writing on Esther’s bedroom wall: “Esther Cox you are mine to kill”. The writing quickly faded, yet the manifestations continued, with the entity who identified himself as ‘Bob’ knocking things around, levitating the family cat, and setting fires in the house. ‘Bob’ even frightened away the local clergyman who came to perform an exorcism. When Esther moved out of the house, ‘Bob’ followed her, setting fire to a barn on the farm where she was working. Poor Esther was arrested for arson and sentenced to four months in prison, but served only one. She eventually married and ‘Bob’ was never heard from again.

The poltergeist phenomenon has inspired numerous films, including: The Haunting (1963), The Amityville Horror (1979), The Changeling (1980), The Entity (1982), The Others (2001), An American Haunting (2006), When the Lights Went Out (2012), and of course the Poltergeist trilogy (1982 – 1988). Watch one the next time you have an evening free – but you had better leave the lights on!

Press Release: Revenge of the Killer Shrews

killershrewRevenge of the Killer Shrews
is the new feature film from award winning writer/director Bart Grieb. Revenge of the Killer Shrews is based on characters from the original 1959 classic “Killer Shrews.” It is also a sequel to Bart Grieb’s first film; “Taming of the Killer Shrews.”
Revenge finds our hero Captain Rex Harrison isolated and drunk for the past 15 years. He is pulled out of retirement by General Marcus Learer and asked to go on a top secret mission to stop the evil Fumond Corporation from creating a electromagnetic bomb that will render the earth’s satellites useless thus plunging the world into communicational chaos. Rex, Marcus and Big Jim Slade lead a elite band of marines back to the island where it all began. The island of The Killer Shrews! Can Rex and the team stop the evil Dr. Fumond and mad scientist Dorothy Holland? Can they survive the bloodthirsty genetically enhanced Killer Shrews? Find out in this new production from Cygnet Films and Blue Dot Entertainment.
The Revenge of the Killer Shrews is currently looking for a production company and funding and is planning to shoot end of summer of 2015. For further and information and how to contact please visit and “like” us on Facebook at Revenge of the Killer Shrews.

Passing of the Dawn of the Dead Bridge

bridgedawnoftehdeadZombies infiltrated the Monroeville Mall situated east of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on Wednesday, 22 July, 2015 to help mark the passage of a piece film history. Fans of George Romero’s 1978 “Dawn of the Dead” recognize the significance of the footbridge shambled upon during the movie. The mall itself provided not only the backdrop of the film, but much like any Gothic setting, also became something of a character itself.

“Dawn of the Dead,” the second film in George Romero’s Cult Classic trilogy, is lauded as a social commentary about the mindlessness of commercialism. It received praise, including its addition by Empire Magazine (along with its predecessor movie, “Night of the Living Dead”) as “one of the 500 greatest movies of all time.” During the four months of filming, the crew employed over 300 extras painted grey and splattered with brilliant crimson by effects artist Tom Savini.

When plans to remove the iconic item began in May, 2015, fans headed by the curator of the “Living Dead Museum” Kevin Kriess started a petition to mark its importance and preserve the bridge. They garnered several thousand signatures, and the petition influenced Monroeville Mall’s decisions.

Monroeville Mall’s spokeswoman Stacey Keating said, “The Dawn of the Dead bridge is an important piece of the mall’s history, and we understand how special it is to the loyal fans of the movie. The bridge is being removed because we’re currently undergoing a multimillion dollar renovation.”

Zombies, including actors from the original film, shambled to assist in its deconstruction and transportation to its new home. Fans can visit this cinematic reminder of Mr. Romero’s game-changing film at the Heinz History Center on Smallman Street, Pittsburgh in 2018.

Movie Review: Sharknado 3 (2015)

sharknado 3The Asylum has made a name for itself by creating silly knockoffs of pop culture films as well as pitting monsters against each other and the world, but none of it’s creations captured the pop culture B-movie zeitgeist quite like Sharknado in 2013. The film spawned a sequel set in New York last summer and now they are back again to reek havoc on the U.S. east coast following a tooth filled twister in Washington D.C. and now Ian Ziering and Tara Reid return to save the world along with another cast of cameos and surprises that include Mark Cuban and Ann Coulter as the President and First Lady as well as Frankie Muniz and David Hasselhoff, who plays a space shuttle pilot, (could the next chapter be space sharks?) Other cameos include U.S. Representative Anthony Weiner, Lou Ferrigno, Jackie Collins, Playboy playmates Holly Madison and Kendra Wilkinson as well as former U.S. Rep. Michelle Bachman; Jerry Springer, and Bo Derek.

It is what it is as far as what one should expect. More of the same with a larger canvass and a ton of guest appearances to match the ton of airborne sharks. Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No! will debut on Wednesday, July 22, 2015 at 9PM (ET)/8PM (CT) only on Syfy.


exorcistThe belief that a person can be possessed by a spirit, ghost, demon, or deity is as old as civilization itself. Such great minds as Greek philosophers Pythagoras and Plutarch taught that demons or evil spirits could enter human bodies, causing disease.

In Jewish tradition a doomed soul or evil spirit, called a dybbuk, can enter a person’s body, causing anguish and torment. Stories of possession and exorcism in the Holy Bible’s Old Testament include that of Saul, who was exorcised by David’s playing of his harp (1 Samuel 16: 14 – 23). Early on, people believed dybbuks could only enter the bodies of the sick. By the 16th century, this had evolved to include the bodies of sinners. The Kabbalah (Jewish mystical school of thought) contains instructions for exorcising dybbuks, some of which are still practiced today.

The New Testament relates many cases of possession that were exorcised by Jesus Christ, including:

“Then was brought unto him one possessed with a devil, blind and dumb: and he healed him. . .” (Matthew 12: 22)

“And devils also came out of many, crying out, and saying, Thou art Christ the Son of God. And he rebuking them suffered them not to speak . . .” (Luke 4:41)

The Roman Catholic Church recognizes signs of possession such as superhuman strength, ability to understand and speak languages unknown to the victim, levitating, knowledge of the future or other occult information, and revulsion toward sacred texts or objects. In 1614 the Church created a formal rite of exorcism, called the Rituale Romanum. Specially ordained priests cast out demons from their victims by adhering to certain rituals and pronouncing the prescribed words and prayers. This is not medieval superstition. In 1992 Roman Catholic priest and official exorcist of Vatican City, Father Gabriele Amorth, founded the International Association of Exorcists, which now boasts some 250 members from 30 countries. Its statutes were approved by the Vatican’s Congregation for Clergy on June 13, 2014.

Tales of demon possession and exorcism have spawned many books and films:

ReganThe Exorcist: William Peter Blatty’s 1971 novel was inspired by the 1949 case of an anonymous St. Louis, Missouri boy who exhibited signs of possession: shaking bed, bloody welts and scratches on his body, and violent behavior. When two Jesuit priests arrived to exorcise him, he physically attacked them, exhibiting amazing strength. After violent exorcisms lasting several weeks, the intervention was deemed a success. The 1973 movie starring Linda Blair as the victim and Max Von Sydow as the priest determined to save her is an Academy award winner, and one of the great horror classics.

emily roseThe Exorcism of Emily Rose:
This 2005 film starring Jennifer Carpenter and Tom Wilkinson has Father Moore (Wilkinson) performing an exorcism on Emily (Carpenter), after which the girl dies. The story mirrors the case of Anneliese Michel, a teenaged German girl who in 1975 began hearing strange voices, and experiencing seizures and demonic visions. Two Catholic priests spent 11 months exorcising Anneliese, who died of starvation and dehydration during the ordeal. The priests were found guilty of manslaughter and given suspended sentences.

The Rite: The Making of a Modern Exorcist: In his revealing book, journalist Matt Baglio documents the training of a genuine exorcist, Father Gary of Los Altos, California, in Italy in 2005, and his subsequent early experiences with cases of possession. The book inspired a disturbing film starring Colin O’Donoghue as Michael Kovak, a young seminary student taking a course in exorcism, and Anthony Hopkins as his Jesuit mentor.

Movie Review: The Drownsman (2015)

Drownsman-posterAfter a year of torment following a trauma wherein a young woman almost drowned, her friends decide to do a seance with the hope the terrifying visions she is suffering from will cease. Unfortunately the supernatural events only intensify as the vision begins to seize them one by one never to return. The Drownsman combines modern supernatural horror with a traditional 1980s horror flair that is quite entertaining.

On Blu-Ray Disc, The Drownsman is presented in a widescreen (2.35:1) aspect ratio with full and clear 1080p full HD picture quality.  A vibrant and effective English Dolby TrueHD 5.1 Surround Soundtrack is provided along with English Subtitles for the Deaf and Hearing Impaired and Spanish Language Subtitles encoded as options. There are no extra value features directly related to this film on Blu-Ray Disc.

The Drownsman was released at retailers on and offline on Blu-Ray Disc on March 12, 2015 courtesy of Anchor Bay Entertainment.