Sunday, January 23, 2011

Camp Sunningdale, Part 2

It's the dead of winter in New England. Snow and ice cover pretty much everything. Parking bans are in effect every couple of days for new snowfall. Cars are coated in salt. Everyone's breath is showing.

It may be time to warm my thoughts a bit. A while back, I showed some photos of Camp Sunningdale, a run down and rotted summer camp in the middle of the woods in Maine. I said I would have some photos of the inside of the cabins and of the Rec Hall. Well, here they are.

If you also are suffering from the condition popularly referred to as "winter," I hope these summer shots help.

Here are the cabins from a front view. I think there are six in this row.

There are no stairs into any of these cabins. Climbing is the only option, but it's not high enough to keep anyone out.

The rope for the shutters is all rotted, so the only light comes from a broken window in the bathroom in the back of the cabin.

Here's a 3/4 view of one of the cabins. All the cabins in this row are the same.

The cabins are broken up in half. This is one side of the cabin, presumably where a group of campers would sleep.

This is the space between the two camper rooms. It looks like a bathroom and changing area.

The bathroom... and the only source of light in this cabin.

A closer view of the changing area between the camper rooms, opposite the bathroom.

This is the outside view of the Rec Hall. It's a large one room building with a pitched roof and a covered porch.

Again, no stairs into the building. Years ago, when I first visited this camp in all it's disrepair, there were stairs here, but they were terribly decayed.

There is a set of stairs onto the porch from the right-hand side of the building.

There is almost no light into the Rec Hall. I shot what I could. There is an old piano in here that is terribly detuned. There are a couple basketball hoops, though the building's rafters are in the way of making any shots. There is a stage on one side of the hall with a storage area underneath. The floors are all broken and uneven from roots trying to grow through them.

The flash on my camera helped a bit, but still it did nothing for my crappy photo-taking skills...

After exploring the insides of the buildings it was time to go. This is the path that leads back to my car, back through the woods.

So, that concludes my visit to Camp Sunningdale in the late summer of 2007. I hope this journey remedied a bit of your winter blues, at least for a while. Now, where did I put my ice scraper?

Saturday, January 22, 2011

John Carpenter's Halloween (1978) Entered As Part Of The Horror Canon

So, this is the third inductee into The Horror Canon. Was there any doubt that it would end up here? I hope not! It totally deserves it's place among the great horror films of the 20th century. In my opinion, it just gets better with age.

Halloween is one of those films that everyone knows about. Even those who are not into horror films will recognize the main theme, or the Myers mask. John Carpenter's third directorial outing was made relatively cheaply (estimated at $320,000), but I'll be damned if every penny wasn't put to perfect good use!

Donald Pleasence stars as Dr. Sam Loomis, in a wonderfully over-the-top performance. Jaime Lee Curtis plays virginal babysitter Laurie Strode. Both actors are perfectly cast. I can't think of anyone who could best these actors here.

I won't bore you with the storyline, as it's pretty well known these days. But I will hit some of the highlights of the film, the parts that make it so special.

It's almost impossible to get the full impact of this opening scene nowadays: In the viewer's mind the stalker outside the house becomes a burglar entering the house, then becomes someone the victim is familiar with, then becomes a murderer, and ultimately becomes...

...the 6 year old Michael Myers that horror fans will never forget! That's pretty shocking stuff when no one was expecting it. It's still amazingly watchable after all these years.

After 15 years in an asylum, Michael escapes and plans to return home to continue killing this Halloween Night, 1978.

Michael continues the pattern he started in the opening of the film. He stalks....

He kills...

To finish his killing duties, as they may be, he ends with Laurie. Michael chases her...

...and gets a knitting needle in his neck for his efforts.

Michael's not a quitter, so he chases Laurie some more...

...but this time gets a wire hanger in the eye...

...AND a knife in the chest!

Laurie is certain she has vanquished The Boogeyman.

Michael decides to give it one more shot. He chases Laurie...

...but this time he gets Loomis! And it's the final showdown!

Loomis shoots Michael right out of the house and off the balcony.

Loomis sees Michael lying on the ground, and turns to console Laurie.

When Loomis turns back to Michael's body, it's gone.

The Aftermath...

Now, having made light of the final showdown between Michael Myers and Laurie Strode, I don't want to belittle the film. It's still and extremely effective horror film. The stalking scenes are perfection throughout the film. The end of the film is as tense a film as you are likely to see. The film looks dated by today's standards, what with the fashions and vehicles, but with the cinematography, direction, and level of acting in this film, you will not have a chance to let that bother you. This is film perfection, nevermind horror film perfection.

And with that I give you John Carpenter's Halloween, officially canonized in the world of horror cinema.

Almost Horror...

I've certainly been neglacting this little corner of the interwebs. For that I appologize. As a bit of a peace offering I give you a video that I've recently been introduced to. I don't think it's new, but it's new to me.

Those poor spiders...