Author Archives: Jennifer

Day 304: I “dressed up” as a witch for halloween. Pretty much I took a dress from the closet and put on a $3 witch hat. I made a bunch of kids pretty happy to see someone dressed up on the other side of the door.
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Day 305: I am not sure what went wrong with this photo. I took a photo of the bush in front of our house because I loved the red leaves, and it just looks grainy and like an old camera photo!


Day 306: On Monday I made a pumpkin cheesecakes. The recipe was actually kind-of a bust, but I took a photo of the almond nut mix on top before it got put in the oven.


Day 307: I’ve taken a photo of this plant before. It is one in the garden at my work. The weather has been crazy, reaching frost, then getting back up to 70 degrees! So I guess the plant started to grow again, creating some bright green tips!


Day 308: Another plant from work that previously photographed. It has developed some pink on the edge of the leaves.


Day 309: I’m really loving being able to see how other plants handle to cooler weather. We always think about how everything simply dies, and the leaves on the trees change colors. Clearly things are more complicated. I forget what type of plant this is, but I think it was some sort of bush.


Day 310: I am in love with these flower shots! I definitely started the week with some mediocre photos, but ended with a big bang!


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Big bummer, my server deleted this post and so I have do it all over again. I mean that should be too hard to write up two reviews again. I totally forgot to write a review for Day of the Dead which I saw earlier in October. And then I watched The Brood on Halloween day. Overall we watched 14 horror films in the month of October which I thought was pretty good! And we have been watching plenty of Goosebumps, and Halloween cartoon episodes. I also was sick in October and didn’t want to watch anything that might make me feel queazy. Anyways, I hope you enjoy these last two reviews.


The Brood

Year: 1978
Directed by: David Cronenberg
Rank: 10/10
Spooky Type: Mutants
Watch: Hulu

Plot: A man tries to uncover an unconventional psychologist’s therapy techniques on his institutionalized wife, while a series of brutal attacks committed by a brood of mutant children coincides with the husband’s investigation. –IMDB

Review: This is easily the best film I watched all month. I am not saying it is the best film of all time, just be best film that balances shock and gore with a great script/production. Apparently when the film first came out a lot of people thought it was complete trash, a cheap shot at the alternative mental health professionals. But the film is much more than that. It is about divorce and the difficulties children go through. 

At the time of the filming the director himself was getting out of a divorce with his then wife. During the divorce process it can be incredibly difficult for the child, and depending on how the adults act, can be a heavy weight into adulthood. I’ve heard petty stories of parents refusing to go to weddings if their ex is there as well. What the heck? To show the trauma, the lead characters Nola and Frank are separated, and Nola is getting mental help to try and save their marriage. During her sessions, we find out that her parents divorced as well, with both parents drunks, implying the damage seeped into Nola’s adult life.

Even with this heavy message, the movie has plenty of shocks. There is a kill fairly early in the movie, getting the momentum in the film going. And in Cronenberg’s style there is a great mutated body shock scene, so good that I am probably going to steal the idea for my next halloween costume. Since the movie is so trashy, but uses it to convey a message (and done in an excellent way) the movie makes it a perfect halloween film.

Overall: Perfect horror film, in my opinion.


Day of the Dead

Year: 1985
Directed by: George A. Romero
Rank: 7/10
Spooky Type: Zombies
Watch: Hulu

Plot: Zombies rule the world, except for a small group of scientists and military personnel who reside in an underground bunker in Florida. The scientists are using the undead in gruesome experiments; much to the chagrin of the military. Finally the military finds that their men have been used in the scientists’ experiments, and banish the scientists to the caves that house the Living Dead. Unfortunately, the zombies from above ground have made their way into the bunker. –IMDB

Review: This was the first film by George A. Romero that I watched, and that was probably a mistake. Romero is known for his zombie themes, and this is the third film in the dead series. It has also been (loosely) remade in 2008. This film is known for being gory and the best special effects, but the tone is quite different. Yes there are zombies, but they aren’t really the scary part. The scary part is the tension between the military personnel and the scientists. This makes an interesting twist to the zombie genre so I have to give props to Romero for that.

But the film is really of the times. The clothing, hair, stereotypes, music, filming styles, everything is very 80s. It is not my favorite time period so I had to focus to ignore the stylistic choices. The idea is really interesting, but the execution didn’t match up. The characters were pretty flat, which is probably why the acting was lacking. Overall I found the film decent, and worth checking out if you like watching a lot of different films.

Overall: Not the best Romero film to start with

Day 290: A quick photo of downtown Frederick before we headed home.


Day 291: The trees are starting to turn colors, and I love this stage when certain species change colors while others don’t


Day 292-294: I got sick so no photos for three days. T_T

Day 295: Snapped a quick photo of a small tree at work. 


Day 296: I had to take a photo of this lone flower. Everything was shaded by tree leaves, and this flower happened to be sitting in a pocket of sunlight.


Day 297: Piggie at the farm.


Day 298: I finally started to feel better so I took some photos of some cocktails for the blog.


Day 299: I got this quick snap on my way home from work.


Day 300: Lime and absinthe.


Day 301: The last few days at work have been pretty busy so I ended up leaving during rush hour. I took up a new hobby- traffic photography! When the car was completely stopped I snapped a few photos. It gave me a chance to capture the halloween decorations.


Day 302: I love this boarded up pink house. 


Day 303: Another traffic shot, does this person know they kind of a penis and balls thing going on with their bushes and chimney?


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I hope everyone had a happy Halloween. I think Alexa and I sure did. Alexa had to work but still got dress up as Ariel. Then changed for a spooky Halloween party. This year Jon and I wanted to the whole give away candy thing in our new home. We got a good amount of kids. While waiting we made vegan mummy dogs, brussel sprouts and sweet potatoes (scary to kids). We watched episodes of Simpson’s Tree House of Terror, seasons 2 to 7. When we finished we watched Ichabod Crane and The Brood. OMG, was The Brood good! I know who I’m going to be for Halloween next year- Nola!

Anyways, we have a big list of articles, probably because I’ve been all about Apple News. I’ve been reading so much more. I probably should take a break because some days I think I do feel a little overwhelmed by facts.


Not sure how many people will be able to read this, but New York Times wrote a profile on Smarties. I loved them since I was a kid but I love that they are vegan friendly. They also are based in New Jersey and Liz Dee is vegan herself! So I really try and support the company!

I really want to make these!

The New Yorker NAILS the almond milk versus cows milk debate. Okay not all the points! But brings up an important one about our food. We need variety, and we need to know how to handle our waste!

I first heard of savory oats from Oh She Glow’s cookbook with her red lentil oats. Now The Full Helping gives a lot of suggestions, which I should try taking up, especially for pre-run breakfast.

Two good videos from Eat Your Kimchi- one is a 3D chocolate maker! OMG gotta make these chocolates. The other is a dakgalbi recipe which makes me want to veganize it.

Spoopy Reads:

The New Yorker profiles several different black cats.

Alexa and I were super happy to try these out! They are like creamsicles.


I love this article by The Atlantic talking about taxidermy displays. I feel a similar feeling about zoos. There is this weird contradiction that zoos and taxidermy isn’t helping the animals directly and can be cruel. But at the same time it sparks interest and gets the average person concerned about the well being of the animals. And there is the fact that animals are beautiful, and it is amazing to see an animal that isn’t native to your area and marvel at it’s existence. Anyways, I hope you enjoy that read.

Apparently parts of India are banning cow meat and it isn’t making vegans happy. They have excellent reasons why this is problematic, which is also a reason why I feel like if you ditch meat, you need to ditch dairy as well.

One of my husband’s favorite Simpson’s episodes is the one where Lisa becomes a vegetarian, here is an article praising it.

This episode of Bite Size Vegan made me really happy. She has been trying to document the history of veganism, and found that people have been making the same arguments over time. If you have the time, I suggest watching it. The quotes are really beautiful.

I love learning new “ethnic” foods that are made vegan. This one is a cinnamon spiced milk drink from Puerto Rico.

Don’t go to these type of wildlife attractions!


I totally back up the Body Positivity Movement. Yeah, I think there is a link between obesity and health, but I think it is more complicated than “I’m fat therefore I’m sick.” I don’t like when people just chalk it up to “dieting” because there are some health habits that we picked up on in the USA that might be BETTER for our health overall (for example we consume more whole grains!) So I was happy to see yet another study that supports that there is more to weight than calories and calories out.

There is an interesting study focusing on the amount of words spoken to a child, and how it effects their ability to learn.


Halloween is almost here! And I’ve been busy watching some spooky things! Some are TV shows, some a YouTube videos, but for now I am sharing the movies I’ve seen. If you haven’t already seen my first list of films I’ve seen this October, you can check out my first post. I might have another coming up next week if I watch anymore films on Halloween Day. Last time it was movies starting with “the” (okay that wasn’t my intention, it just happened that way) and this time I have mostly foreign films! One from South Korea, Mexico, Italy, and Spain! And two from the US, but you know whatever. 

Just wondering, do you guys like reading these reviews? I love films, and I feel like I’ve fallen out of the habit of watching them. I would like to watch more, and I love sharing what I think of them. But it is time consuming, so I am never sure if I want to share my love them. Anyways, enough talk about things, and lets talk about the films.



Year: 2006
Directed by: Byeong-ki Ahn
Rank: 7/10
Spooky Type: Vengeful Ghost
Watch: Hulu

Plot: Se-jin Oh is a typical Korean “spinster,” living alone, single, and career focused. Her days are a little lonely, and it doesn’t help that it is the Christmas season. After a rough day at work, she witnesses a suicide on the subway. Shaken up by the accident, Se-jin starts to notice some odd occurrences in her apartment complex. The lights flicker on and off people are committing suicide throughout the building. She starts spying on everyone to try and figure out what is going on.

Review: The beginning of the film might seem confusing, it starts with a TV broadcast of various recluses in Korea. Then it cuts to a girl mutilating herself in front of the broadcast, which has nothing to do with the film’s plot. This is pretty common with Asian horror films to have an opening that is vague but sets the mood for the spooky story. It is also worth saying that I made a distinction between “ghost” and “vengeful ghost.” Why? Well, Asian ghosts are very different from Western ghosts. Our ghosts tend to be very untangle. Things move, we get followed, some are evil, some are sad, there are strict rules. While in Asian cultures, specifically Chinese, Japanese, and Korean folklore, most ghosts are ambiguous, touchable apparitions, and almost always vengeful females. That being said, there are lots of illogical spooks throughout the film.

The story is kind-of a refreshing twist to the haunted house trope, using an apartment complex as the central focus. What I tend to like about Asian horrors over Western/American horrors is that there is usually a message that the writer or director is trying to convey. Loneliness is definitely what is being talked about here. There are high suicide rates in Korea, and socialization is a big role in Korean culture.

Overall I think the pace is good, everything is evenly spaced. The story is intriguing, and I wasn’t fully expecting what was going to happen. But, the ending gets a little weird. We go from ghosts to recluses. Then back to ghosts. The police investigator, moves into the house, to basically give the viewer a quick scare before the end of the film, which was pretty off putting. The story was based on a comic written by Kang Full, which I am unsure how much differs between the two.

Overall: Okay. Different type of story for western viewers and still spooky



Year: 1993
Directed by: Guillermo del Toro
Rank: 9/10
Spooky Type: Vampires
Watch: Hulu

Plot: In 1536, in Veracruz, Mexico, during the Inquisition, an alchemist builds a mysterious and sophisticated device named Cronos to provide eternal life to the owner. In the present days, the antiques dealer Jesus Gris finds Cronos hidden inside an ancient statue while cleaning it with his granddaughter Aurora. He accidentally triggers the device and soon his wife Mercedes and he note that he has a younger appearance. Out of the blue, the stranger Angel de la Guardia visits Gris’s shop and buys the old statue. On the next day, Gris finds his shop trashed and Angel’s card on the floor. He pays a visit to Angel that introduces him to the eccentric millionaire De la Guardia that explains the healing power and the eternal life given by Cronos. Angel is sent by De la Guardia to hunt down Gris to get Cronos no matter the costs –IMDB

Review: This is Guillermo del Toro’s debut film. It was independently made, which meant Guillermo had individuals invest money in the film, rather than going to a major film company. This is really rare to happen, especially at the time the film cost an estimated 2 million dollars, which was a lot for Mexican film. Because of this Guillermo had a lot of free reign as the director, probably saving the film from being a major gore-fest. Majority of the film is in Spanish with exception of the opening monologue and Ron Perlman’s character Angel.

It was really hard to categorize this film, because vampires is a little misleading. Gris only becomes a vampire from the cronos device which houses a bug inside of it. There is only one vampire, so there isn’t the threat of “spreading” the disease. The horror in the film I think also lies in the little girl seeing her grandfather become a monster, not the vampire himself. All of these factors makes the story refreshing to the vampire genre, heck the horror genre. 

Although I loved this film, take a grain of salt, this is a slow moving and understated film. One might debate if it is even a horror film (but it totes is, it follows the rules of Art Horror) so sit back and don’t expect buckets of blood. The film has beautiful set design and great acting. Basically you should be in the same frame of mind as you would be for a regular old film.

Overall: Beautiful film, totally new twist to vampire genre.



Year: 1987
Directed by: Dario Argento
Rank: 9/10
Spooky Type: Slasher
Watch: Youtube Trailer

Plot: Betty is a young opperata, getting her first role as Lady MacBeth, a role in a cursed opera. Betty is nervous taking the role, thinking her talent isn’t strong enough, and perhaps because the opera is off to a rough start since the original Lady MacBeth has hurt her leg. During the debut performance, there is a homicide, shaking up Betty. But the killing keeps following her, with the murderer forcing Betty to watch by placing pins near her eyes.

Review: This movie was a big surprise. I love Susperia, Dario Argento’s classic film. Some of his other films I liked aspects of it, but not the whole film. Deep Red was alright, but I think it was so different from Susperia that I didn’t know how to react. Then I watched Inferno, and visually it was amazing, but the plot and characters were… uh awful. So awful I can’t go into them right now. But there is an easy way to sum up all of Argento’s films, lacking in story and character depth but strong auteur vision. Visual cues and filming techniques help fill in the gaps of the characters and helps progress the story.

This is considered the last “great” Dario Argento film, as there has been a downward spiral in quality with his films. This is probably the biggest budget for all of his films, which becomes obvious. The effects are more impressive than any of his other films, beautiful costume design, and over the top sets. This not a film you want to turn away from, and trying to touch all the different themes of the film is difficult.

The idea of keeping Betty from turning away with pins near her eyes was a joke with Dario Argento. He was tired of seeing viewers cower away from the gore of the film, and joked he would force the viewer to keep their eyes open. In fact the idea of seeing and not seeing is played up through out the film. We see the killers point of view, we don’t see the star opera singer in the beginning of the film, we see things from a birds eye view, we rarely see the anything of the killer outside of his hands. And what we see onscreen is visually overwhelming.

Two big notes to the viewers. This is a vegan based blog, and this is probably the only movie that I would give a big “vegan warning” as it seems obvious that the crows are not treated properly in the film. It seems that Italian horrors have a reputation for not being animal friendly, as many people know Cannibal Holocaust for being the worst (coatimundi killed with a knife, large turtle decapitated and its limbs, shell, and entrails removed, tarantula killed with a machete, snake, killed with a machete, squirrel monkey decapitated with a machete, and a pig shot in the head with a shotgun at close range) Supposedly the movie was so awful the actors were near to tears during the filming of the turtle scene. But Opera isn’t that bad, just a few birds punches and batted at. Not ideal, so use your judgement.

The next note is that this is an Italian film, which almost always involve dubbing. Higher budget films have pretty good syncing, but this film is particularly bad at dubbing. It is in English, so there won’t be any subs. But most of the actors are Italian, so English is not their first language, which might explain why the lips are so far off. Take a deep breath, and try not to get too annoyed by it.

I am not one who loves a slasher film, but this was well crafted. Dario isn’t know for slasher films, but at the time there was a rise in popularity and it worked his way around it. I think he handled it well, adding his own flair to the genre. Truthfully, not that many deaths happen, but they are indeed memorable.

Overall: Great gory film, visually amazing!


The Orphanage

Year: 2007
Directed by: J.A. Bayona
Rank: 8/10
Spooky Type: Ghost/Haunted House
Watch: YouTube Trailer

Plot: Laura, a former orphan, raises her adopted son Simón together with her husband Carlos in an old house and former orphanage where she was raised. While at the orphanage Simón tells Laura that he has five invisible friends which she believes are a product of his active imagination. Laura decides to reopen the orphanage to cater for disabled children and throws a party. During the party Simón tries to persuade Laura to go and take a look at his friends cabin but she’s too busy. Later on she sees a mysterious masked boy and realizes that Simón has also disappeared. Laura feels the presence of other people in the house and months later Laura invites a team of parapsychologists to try to unravel the mystery. –IMDB

Review: We sure have a lot of subtitled films for this batch? This film was produced in Spain and was produced by Guillermo del Toro. I remembered the film getting good reviews when it came out, but never got around to seeing it in theaters. So now was the time. This movie is heavily based on plot and the horror is from the point of view of parents that loose their child. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t enough atmosphere in the film. The ghosts play heavy role in the film, Laura comes to the edge of insanity, there is blood, and there are creepy kids.

Although I loved the film and I think it is an excellent horror film, there are plot holes or things that don’t really make sense. Like how does Simón not know he has a disease? I mean, he is taking pills often, and I can’t imagine the doctor just “pretending” everything is honky-dory. And there are others that would give away the ending, so I will just stop there. That said, it is a good film to watch once, I think watching it over and over would make this holes seem much more obvious. Besides, I’ve seen much more weakly put together scripts for horrors.

Overall: Good for a good spook and mystery



Year: 1982
Directed by: Tobe Hooper
Rank: 8/10
Spooky Type: Ghosts
Watch: YouTube Trailer

Plot: A young family are visited by ghosts in their home. At first the ghosts appear friendly, moving objects around the house to the amusement of everyone, then they turn nasty and start to terrorise the family before they “kidnap” the youngest daughter. –IMDB

Review: This is a horror film classic, and it does have some spooky value to it. There is tons of action and horrific elements. I guess my beef is that it is definetly a blockbuster film, and therefore has only so much depth to it. Well, it does present itself with the horrors of being a new parent. Yes, the family featured has three children, but the first born was an accident. The parents, Steve and Diane rush to get married and settle down together. Overall the story is about the fears of becoming a parent, Can you provide? Can you protect your children? How much can you shelter your children from the outside world? How to do you cope with all the responsibility? Because of this message, I think the movie is saved from being a spectacle of special effects and shocks.

The special effects are a little dated, but some really hold up the test of time. I guess my only word of caution is that if you are big ghost freak like me, you will probably find it way over the top. But I can see why so many people love this film.

Overall: Pretty good and mainstream.


Tales from the Darkside: The Movie

Year: 1990
Directed by: John Harrison
Rank: 7/10
Spooky Type: Short Stories
Watch: Netlfix

Plot: This is really three shorter movies, bound together by a fourth tale in which the other three stories are read. The first segment features an animated mummy stalking selected student victims; the second tale tells the story of a “cat from Hell” who cannot be killed and leaves a trail of victims behind it; the third story is about a man who witnesses a bizarre killing and promises never to tell what he saw, and the “in-between” bit is the story of a woman preparing to cook her newspaper boy for supper. –IMDB

Review: This was a pick from my husband. He is a fan of Tale from the Crypt tv series, and had this one on queue. There were two films made before this one Creepshow and Creepshow 2, which was based on the original comic books. But some of the shorts from Tales from the Darkside are actually based on shorts stories. One based off of Stephen King’s The Cat from Hell, and the other Arthur Conan Doyle’s Lot No. 249. But both stories have some classic feels to them that I could picture in an old horror comic book.

I wasn’t blown away by these shorts, but then again, I think I might of been sick when watching it. I found them entertaining, and the stories are short so if you aren’t feeling the story, it will end soon. There are some notable stars in it including Debbie Harry, Christian Slater, Steve Buscemi, and Julianne Moore, and Matthew Lawrence (though he might not of been famous at the time). What I liked about this film is that the stories are very different from most modern horror film plots. So this is a perfect film if you want something really different from your average slasher film.

Overall: Bored with most horrors? Check this one out.


I’ve seen a few “spooky” cocktails out there. Some do make me get the Halloween feels, but most just have spooky photos and a spooky name. Maybe these do too. But I tried to keep some “creepy” ingredients, mostly kombucha and absinthe. Why are they spooky? Well both drinks are brightly colored like many candies. Eerily unnatural if you will. Then kombucha really reminds me of the blob with it’s mother culture. You are drinking living creatures by having this drink.

Absinthe on the other hand has a more sinister history. For anyone who hasn’t had the drink before, it is composed of various plants, but the most well known ones are wormwood, green anise, and sweet fennel. So it really has a taste like licorice. It is often described as a liqueur but it has no added sugar so it is technically just a spirit. Absinthe became popular in 19th-20th century France in part because of a wine shortage (European grapes were plagues by a bacteria from the United States) and also from soldier drinking it during the war to prevent malaria (thanks to the wormwood). The drink was popular with various artists, and got a reputation for causing hallucinations. Often the effects of the drink were described as being visited by the Green Faerie. Many paintings show a poor soul drinking absinthe while being visited by the green faerie, being driven to madness. Although wormwood technically does have some psychoactive chemicals, the amount present is absinthe is minimal. Many countries banned the drink, but once proven to be no more harmful that other alcoholic drinks, the bans were lifted.


So next question, is absinthe vegan? It should be. Absinthe is characterized by the plant based flavoring, not what is used to produce the alcohol. There is an absinthe that is made from honey, which is unusual. If you want to be safe, you can see the list of approved vegan absinthes on barnivore. There aren’t many listed, and truthfully I have only seen one of these liquors sold in a store- Lucid. And I understand that what you find at your local liquor store might vary greatly from mine, but I used a very cheap absinthe called Parnasse. I got it for roughly $14 from Total Wine and More. Would I get it again? No. Hell no! But it gave me an idea what absinthe tasted like, and I am now more willing to splurge more money on a bottle when I run out. Another way you can try absinthe are those cute little bottles of booze. Total Wine and More sells one brand- so grab it if you can get liquor shipped to you in your state. 

And what about that beautiful green color? Well, I know my bottle artificially colors it, but some companies choose to let the liquor stay clear. But there can be a natural green color, it just won’t be as bright. In the past, some companies used copper to color the drink green, which is thought to be the culprit to it’s hallucinatory reputation. So if you are looking for something more natural, look for less toxic green colored bottles.


Ever read a recipe, and make it, but the recipe is so simple that you don’t need to look at it again next time you make it, so you completely forget where you got it originally? That happened to me with The Reanimator. I couldn’t for the life of me find the recipe, until I found it on a fluke. I knew it was in the book Let’s Bring Back the Cocktail, but where? There are so many recipes. Turns out the original drink was “Battery Charger” and I made some artist interpretations on it. Which is fine, but when I tried to find it again I was looking for all the wrong things. 

I like to pretend this is the ye-old jägerbomb. I may of had one or two of these in college, but I like to point out that I went to art school. We knew why we were drinking booze, it was to get drunk. Why bother with crappy beer? But this drink is actually very different. I am not sure what Red Bull is suppose to taste like, but the red in this drink is from grenadine, you know like in a Shirley Temple. The mix between pomegranates and licorice is a big eye opener, which is why I named the drink The Reanimator. The color of your drink will rely on the grenadine you use and the absinthe you use.


What I love about these two drink is how different they are. This cocktail I named Suspiria in honor of my favorite horror film of the same name. The movie features so many vivid colors, including green, and evil being are witches. This completely looks like some mystery witch brew. The drink features lime juice and bee free honee to flavor it. This really lets the true colors of absinthe shine through, but still working with the lime-citrus flavors. If you can’t use kombucha, feel free to just use water.

I hope these two drinks give you the courage to give absinthe a try! They are both really very different from each other, giving something for everybody. 

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A shot of downtown Frederick

A shot of downtown Frederick

So you may of seen my post for Vegan MOFO about How we planned our trip for Frederick. Well, we went on that trip and now I am reporting back. It is worth noting we were only there for 2 days, and mainly for a wedding, so we don’t have so many things post about places to go and see.  So if you read our post earlier, I talked about making a list of places you want to go to and make a small chart, maybe according to when those places are opened and figure out holes in your schedule. But always be flexible! For example our trip changed because my friend ended up having a rehearsal dinner that we were last minute invited to so we didn’t do as much exploring of Frederick as expected.

The Game Plan

Eat breakfast at home, packed
Head out to Frederick around 10 am
Arrive in Frederick really late around 2 pm whomp whomp
Eat pre-packed wraps and apples for lunch
Spent some time unpacking, talking to our AirBnB hosts and generally relaxed
Around 3 pm we went to Flying Dog
Headed to The Orchard for Dinner
Rummaged through some used records
Headed over to the bride and grooms rehearsal dinner, late, around 8pm
Went to bed around 11pm

Our flight from Flying Dog- Kettle Sou, Spiced Pear, Counter Culture Red Ale, and a Pumpkin Beer

Our flight from Flying Dog- Kettle Sou, Spiced Pear, Counter Culture Red Ale, and a Pumpkin Beer

Packed lunches for the hike
Drove to Glory Donuts for breakfast got two snacks for the hike
Headed directly over to Annapolis Rock trail around 10:30
At the end of the trail we ate our faux deli and cheese sandwiches
Got back to our car and got ready for the wedding
Went to the wedding around 4pm packed some bars just incase
Drank a buttload, ate fresh fruit, crackers, bread, and artichoke salad (picked out cheese)
Went to Wedding after party (we got invited to TWO! Life of the party!)
Went to bed around midnight

Packed all our stuff
Headed directly to Glory Donuts
Decided we were too tired (or hungover) and headed home.. whomp whomp

Flying Dog is served everywhere, including the wedding we went to.

Flying Dog is served everywhere, including the wedding we went to.

Packing List

4 sliced apples (2 leftover apples)
1 pack of celery sticks and carrot sticks (never ate)
1 box of clif bars
4 protein clif bars (3 leftover)
4 peanut butter packs (3 leftovers)
Tofurky Peppered Deli Meat
Go Veggie Vegan Cheese
Sliced Bread

As you can see, we didn’t really eat any of our snacks. We were pretty busy or just had a lot of options of things to eat. I think if we stayed a day longer we would of eaten more them. Heck when we got home my husband pretty much ate a bagel, chips, and a clif bar. *rolls eyes* You could of just eaten the bar in the car. But part of the lack of snack eating was because we stopped by Glory Donuts and got some muffins and donuts that we partially had  during the hike.

The BBQ sandwich from Glory Donuts, three slices of bread, tofu, bbq sauce, tomatoes, greens, and a slice of chao cheese

The BBQ sandwich from Glory Donuts, three slices of bread, tofu, bbq sauce, tomatoes, greens, and a slice of chao cheese

It is funny because way back when I told Alexa we had a wedding to go to in the middle of Maryland. She mentioned how she had a wedding in Maryland that was in a very boring place. She told me, but I quickly forgot. When talking to the bride and groom we asked where they were living since their wedding registry shipping address was still listed at their parents house. They explained that they lived in an apartment but it wasn’t in the greatest neighborhood in Hagerstown so they were shipping it to their parents so no one would steal it. Hagerstown is the place where Alexa’s wedding was. Now, before we get any Hagertownians getting mad, we are both well aware that there are nice areas and bad areas in Hagerstown. But regardless Alexa was a little bummed since there were a bunch of cool hikes and places in a short drive away.

Overall from what I can tell Hagerstown and Frederick are the two big cities in central Maryland. Hagerstown I think is bigger and more based in industries while Frederick is a college town and most people who live there actually commute to Baltimore or Washington D.C., making it a commuter town or a sleeper town. The numbers show the difference in income. According to the numbers on Wikipedia the medium income for Hagerstown is $30,796, while Frederick’s income is $303,900! That extra digit makes a big difference! So each town has their own different charms. I mention this only because Alexa visited one place, and the two are close to each other, about a 30 minute drive. Frederick is about an hour drive away from Baltimore, Washington D.C and Gettysburg, making it a great place to make a day trip out of.

The view from Gambrill State Park's Tea Room

The view from Gambrill State Park’s Tea Room

With that said, I think I was surprised by how cute the town of Frederick was. It reminded me a lot of Philadelphia’s residential sections in Center City. Only the houses in Frederick were all in perfect condition! Although you would think Philadelphia would have the money to keep places in top shape, but many row homes are rented out into apartments, and therefore aren’t always well maintained. There is clearly a town wide pride in keeping the city historic. We saw many newer building but they would be attached to older farms. On the flip side, since there is a university in the town, there are a lot of hip stores as well. Point and case would be Glory Donuts, a vegan breakfast shop.

So what can you do in this town? Well, if you are strictly talking about the town, there are a few historical sites to see. Sadly, Jon and I didn’t get the chance to see them. You could easily park your car and walk around the downtown area, and expand outwards with lots of beautiful building to photograph. There are many ghost tours, walking tours, and museums. One of the most talked about museums is the National Museum of Civil War Medicine.

If you are willing to venture out of town there are lots of parks and hiking trails to the west. We went on a trail to Annapolis Rock, but there are many other places. Just ask anyone in town what their favorite trail is, and you probably will get an answer. There is Gambrill State Park, Catoctin Mountain Park, Cunningham Falls State Park, and parts of the Appalachian Trail. To the east of the city, where we stayed the night, the scene gets more rural. We passed by many different hay rides, corn mazes, petting zoo, and the like for the fall season. We could of made a day out of those alone! So there is plenty of things to do if you look around. We didn’t scratch the surface since of our friends wedding. We definitely would like to make another trip down to discover the area more in the future. But for now, here is the list of places we checked out.



Glory Donuts
45 North Market Street Frederick, MD 21701
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Hands down this has been my favorite place in Frederick! It is clearly a town wide favorite. My friends that were getting married heard of it and they aren’t vegan or interested in vegan food. While we ate there, people were always ordering doughnuts and breakfast. I wonder how many people knew the food was vegan? Their doughnut flavors are really creative, they had rosemary, vampire chocolate (novelty vampire teeth were on the doughnut), s’mores, and chai tea. Our favorites were probably the cinnamon sugar twist, chocolate bourbon, and the peanut butter chocolate pretzel.

But they also have sit down brunch foods. They have a menu on their official website, but they have daily specials as well. We got the regular stuff though we were tempted by their pumpkin french toast! Jon got the salted apple pie stuffed french toast. Now when you hear a name like that, you sometimes just assume they use apple pie as way to describe the overall flavor, right? We were told that the french toast might take 20 minutes to make because they were still BAKING THE PIE! Yup, they weren’t joking around with that. I got the bbq tofu club, which was amazing to have a savory breakfast food. It had 3 slices of toast, a tofu slice, veggies, ranch dressing, and a slice of chao cheese. When we went the second time, Jon got the bbq tofu club and I tried the tofu fried egg sandwich. Everything was pretty awesome.

I can’t recommend this place highly enough! There aren’t many stores like this vegan or otherwise. The staff was nice a chipper even though I was probably incoherent. They definitely know the regulars, and I even caught one of the staffers using sign language with one of their deaf customers! Okay, maybe it is a person they knew before working there, but it just shows how well educated the staff is. If you are going to Hagerstown, Baltimore, Washington DC, or Gettysburg, go out of your way to try this place out! It is your duty as a vegan!


The Orchard
45 North Market Street Frederick, MD 21701
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The Orchard is an omni restaurant focusing on organic and locally sourced foods. They mean it, even down to the booze! They do have lots of options for vegans, vegetarians, and gluten-free. They have it very clearly marked on the menu, including meals that can be made vegan. Most of the vegan options are tofu stir fries so keep that in mind when picking here to eat. There are so more options if you don’t mind your food to share the same deep frier as meat. In fact, they assume that you as a vegan, wouldn’t want that. So some foods in the appetizers are listed as not vegan because of this. Our server knew the menu well, and knew most of the answers on top of her head about what was and wasn’t vegan.

We didn’t mind the shared frier so we got the vegetable tempura which was cooked to perfection. I got the hunan bean curd (pictured above) which was pretty amazing. It was a little salty, but that is part of the dish. Underneath all those tofu pieces is a pile of brown rice. My dish was an entree, so I got a soup. I picked the BBQ bean soup, which was recently made vegan by subbing the honey for maple syrup. It was a nice balance of bbq flavor and soup consistency. My husband got the Polynesian stir fry and ate the whole thing, so I can only assume it was good.



Crickenwood Farm via AirBnB
Greystone Drive, Monrovia, MD
Hydrangea Room | Silhouette Room | Victorian Room
This AirBnB is highly recommended from my husband and myself. The two owners were really nice and provided a clean and unique house. They were really laid back and we enjoyed sitting down and talking to them. There is a continental breakfast, and they offered to buy us anything we needed for our vegan diet. We would of took up that offer if we didn’t keep going to Glory Doughnuts. They have a bunch of friendly puppies on their property, and they do own some cows. The place is nicely tucked away and gives a nice quiet place to sleep. Downside is that the drive is 30 minutes into Frederick, which wasn’t so bad except we had to drive back and forth often because of the wedding. (we went hiking then had to drive to get dressed, the drive all the way back)

Places of Interest


Annapolis Rock & Black Rock
12000 Government Center Parkway Fairfax, MD 22035
Trail Information
There are lots of different parks in the area, so if you want to go hiking you have options. We asked our friends if they knew of a long trail that wasn’t too long that we could do before the wedding. He recommended this trail, which seemed to be popular with the locals. The trail is part of the Appalachian Trail, an important part of American natural history. I always joke with my husband that if he looses his mind and quits on the job, I would take a long vacation, sublet the house and hike the entire Appalachian Trail together. But I digress. This hike is pretty easy, it is steep on the first bit, but levels out after while. You also walk next to the highway for a little bit, but it quickly goes away. The hike is one way, so you pretty much will walk past Annapolis Rock, then to Black Rock, then backtrack to the parking lot. The trail continues, but it will not bring you back to the starting point. Roundtrip it is a little under 8 miles, and took us about 3 1/2 hours, though lots of people suggest that it would take more like 4 hours.


Flying Dog
Greystone Drive, Monrovia, MD
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Flying Dog is a fairly common beer in the area. Although we have it always around us, we rarely drink it. So visiting the brewery was really nice. They do beer tastings at their brewery, so you will get to drive down “English Muffin Lane” and through some warehouses. They do tours, but they usually only take reservations before hand, which I wasn’t use to as New Jersey requires people to take a tour before sampling beer at breweries. They have it so it is set up like a bar, you can get growlers filled, individual glasses, and flights. There are also some non-vegan meat and cheese platters, but it looked like some people brought their own take out and ate it there as well, though you might want to call and ask before hand if this is okay. Their website says that children aren’t allowed in the tasting area, and everyone must be 21 and older, so keep that in mind. We did get carded when entering.

All beers do not use any animal products during the filtering process, though they had a few beers in the past that used honey and oysters. So ask before filling up your glasses. The brewery is known for their experimental brews. While there we were surprised by their interesting brew choices. For example we got the Counter Culture Red Ale, which I would never of thought to put coffee in anything outside of a stout. Their best known beer is probably the Gonzo Imperial Porter. If you don’t have time to check out the brewery don’t worry, almost all restaurants in the area serve the beers.

The Record Exchange
151 N Market St, Frederick, MD 21701
8642 Colesville Rd, Silver Spring, MD 20910
Jon and I recently got a hold of a portable record player that sits upstairs for when we workout. So when we left The Orchard, we figured we would stop by The Record Exchange. It is a nice grab bag of vinyl, cds, tapes, dvds, video games, and even laserdiscs! Prices range from a buck to $40! It really depends on the type of record, is it new, and if it is collectable. For example they did have a copy of Aaliyah’s Age Ain’t Nothing but a Number that I was eyeing up, but it was like $35. But we still managed to find a bunch of records, none that we paid more than $4 for.

Rock & Roll Graveyard
115A E Patrick St Frederick, MD 21701
I thought I would mention this place even though we didn’t actually get to go here since my friend swears by it. If you are a big music nerd, supposedly you can find more records at cheap prices. The owner goes to flea markets, buys a bunch of a dirty records in bulk and cleans them himself for the store. So nothing goes over a few bucks. Worth checking out since it is still in the general downtown area.

Sadly when I got back from my trip to Frederick, I caught a stomach bug. I am not sure where I got it from. I think MAYBE eating leftover food that might of been sitting in my car too long, or maybe I just drank way too much during the wedding. Who knows. Needless to say my Aunt Flo is visiting too so you know, that makes everything so much more disgusting. Oh but wait! I am done talking about gross stuff! I swear!

Okay scratch that whole first paragraph, and lets just say I need more calories and probiotics (I lost 6lbs of water weight at the height of the sickness) so I bought a whole bunch of live culture yogurts at my supermarket. I know there are more out there, but these are what were available. I think it is worth noting I am not a huge yogurt fan. I think part of the bias is that cups (everything is number 5 plastics, which is hard to recycle) and the prices. None of these yogurts were less than $1 a piece, making it is a pricey snack food. But this review is also to give you a chance to compare some prices, nutritional info, and descriptions on one page.

I also want to note that since I did this review when I wasn’t feeling good, I am just using stock images from the manufacturer websites. So sorry for the lack of creativity. Whomp whomp.


So Delicious Cultured Coconut Milk Yogurt

Calories per cup: 130-150
Sugar: Plain 8g, Flavors 16-24g
Size: 5.3/16 oz
Protein: 0-2g
Price: $2.09 (Wegman’s)

This yogurt was on par with Kite Hill with it’s creamy and smooth textures. It is also awesome because it does come in larger 16oz containers for baking and cooking. They also have a huge range of a yogurt flavors to choose from. Downsides? LOTS OF SUGAR! Sure there is an unsweetened version that has only 1 gram of sugar in it, but how many of you will be eating plain unsweetened yogurt? Not many. I happened to eat the one with the most sugar, raspberry. It was pretty good, but a little too sweet for my preference.


Silk Soy Yogurt

Calories per cup: 140
Sugar: 14-17g
Size: 5.3 oz
Protein: 6g
Price: $1.69 (Wegman’s)

I find it a little funny that Silk is introducing their “new” yogurt, since I remember it being around for awhile. Clearly it is a new recipe which I think is better than what I remembered. The old being slightly chalky (maybe, it has been a few years). I tried to strawberry which somehow has the lowest sugar content (who knew) and it was tasty. It has small chunks of strawberries. My biggest issue is the unique packaging, which is a pain to find space for in a full fridge. It also has a little more preservatives in it than the other brands. Flavors are a little limited and they don’t come in any bigger sizes at the moment making it hard to buy in bulk.


Kite Hill Almond Yogurt

Calories per cup: 160-200
Sugar: Plain 5g, Flavors 15g
Size: 5.3 oz
Protein: 6g
Price: $2 (I think)
Availability: Whole Foods

I think I can say this is my favorite yogurt from the bunch. This yogurt is insanely rich and smooth, and thought it could sit by itself as a dessert, rather than a breakfast food. I think the company upped their almond to water ratio to give a large amount of protein (most almond milk yogurts have about 1-2g protein) and such smooth rich texture. I would have to say comparing prices, I would say this is the winner. At first I thought $2 was a lot but not when compared to what I paid for the other yogurts, it isn’t much more. A big plus is that there is a PLAIN yogurt! This is sometimes hard to find, and is good for cooking/baking. This probably has the smallest selection of flavors to choose from and only comes in the small cups right now. That stinks but I don’t think I would eat them in any other context out of a small snack, so I am not worried about buying this yogurt in bulk.

Nancy's soy image

Nancy’s Cultured Soy Yogurt

Calories per cup: 120-170
Sugar: 10-23g
Size: 6, 24, 32oz
Protein: 5g
Price: $1.69 (Wegman’s)

The sugar might come off as crazy high, but most stay in the low teen ranges. The sugar count spikes up in the mango yogurt, so I am guessing a good portion is from natural sugars. I also like how many of their flavors come in the larger containers. Like plain comes in three sizes, and more than half of the flavors can come in 24oz. Which saves money and plastic. Oh and the containers have lids! Even the small ones! I am actually washing the one I bought and probably will reuse it for crafts, like saving mixed paint. But let’s talk flavor- it is weird. I actually kind-of like it better than the other yogurts, but I am accutely aware it ain’t yogurt flavor. What Nancy’s does to the yogurt is blend of probiotics, ones that you find in normal yogurts and amazake, a fermented rice drink. The result is a gritty yogurt, that has a deeper flavor. The best way I can describe it is like comparing a fruit wine made in the West, and drinking it next to a fruit wine from East Asia. Personally I like the addition of grains, but I can see why a lot of people would hate it.

The Result?

I personally liked the Nancy’s Yogurt the best, but like I said before, I am not a yogurt fan. I liked the complex flavor, cutting down on the sugar and fruity flavoring. But I did enjoy Kite Hill a lot. When I did eat yogurt I tended to like baby yogurt the best, which seems weird, but it was because baby yogurt had full fat milk, making it richer. I think Kite Hill is more on par with that. So if you like yogurt I would suggest picking up Kite Hill over everything else.

Day 276: The squirrels are going nuts over here… no pun intended. So I keep finding this groups of acorn tops near our house.


Day 277: Since the squirrels are all over the place, Toulouse has been pretty much glued to the window. I had to put something outside and she tried sticking her head out for a closer look.


Day 278: Got my halloween decorations up.


Day 279: I find these blinds kind-of interesting


Day 280: Getting a new shot of my air plants, sadly I am a horrible owner and they are pretty much dying. I guess I should order new ones and try again. XD


Day 281: Our cat has been pretty consistently doing this, sneaking behind the blinds to look at the squirrels on our little patio area.


Day 282: I’ve been really into espresso lately, and making pumpkin spice lattes using Almond Dream Pumpkin Spice milk.


Day 283: This apple was on the ground at the orchard and it just looked too pretty… but it wasn’t so pretty on the other side.


Day 284: This was less photography practice and more documentation of this really cool looking fungi. I wish I knew how to find out.


Day 285: New shot of my owl clock, in the new place.


Day 286: Okay, I’m cheating, this is a photo I posted on Instagram. This week has been crazy! But I think Toulouse is such a sweetheart! And I find it even funnier that Jon keeps leaving his sweatshirt for her to sleep on.


Day 287: I know, phone photo! Sorry! This was a weird avocado pit from a florida avocado. It was starting to sprout! It looks very much like a weird Cronenberg beast.


Day 288: We down to Maryland and got to our Air BnB.


Day 289: We went to our friends wedding and some of the kids that were there were pretty stinking cute.


I love Halloween. I try to watch as many spooky movies that I can during October. Oh, and I also try and watch as many halloween themed TV episodes. I know my husband personally loves to watch the old Goosebumps series, but truthfully they are too painfully 90s kid for me. But the problem is that sometimes it is hard to filter through the horror reviews. As I flip through Netflix, I see such a large range of reviews, some giving 2 stars for movies that are pretty good! So I’ll be posting my reviews for the week of what I thought of the films I saw, and to give viewers a heads up about what they are jumping into. I think most “bad” reviews are because the viewer expects one thing, and gets another.


The Awakening

Year: 2011
Directed by: Nick Murphy
Rank: 7/10
Spooky Type: Ghost/Haunted House
Watch: Netflix

Plot: A surge of followers of the spiritualists movement has motivated Florence Cathcart to expose frauds. She becomes the expert in her field, even though she is a woman in the 1920s. She is contacted to help out with a ghost sighting in an all boys boarding school. It seems that Florence had wrapped up all the loose ends of the so called “ghost sightings” but something bothers her that keeps her at the school a little longer, giving the school enough time to expose it’s true colors.

Review: The Awakening‘s strong points are the visuals. The cinematography is beautiful, the tone is great, and everything is visually spectacular. Pretty much all the aesthetics are perfected, from sound, to editing. It is easy to fall in love with the movie because of this. Sadly the plot was a little lacking. Truthfully, ghost movies are hard to do, since they are one of the oldest horror genre. But there were enough red herrings in the film to distract the viewer and have a surprise ending, or rather an ending that you didn’t guess ALL OF the facts. There were lots of themes that seem to of been tossed into the story but had no real deep meaning, influenza and the World War. 

My other beef with the film was the historical aspect. Setting films into the past is a great way to remove ourselves from our connected world. It is so easy to get data, make a phone call in emergencies, research history, that sometimes it makes the plot too easy to solve by the protagonist. So having a movie take places in a huge mansion with little light and stone cold walls can make a creepy setting. Unfortunately if you know some things about history, you find errors. Florence’s character was a little too modern for the time period, which seems intentional, but a little too overdone. The historical inaccuracies aren’t glaring, but if you are a history buff, you might not want to watch the film.

Overall: It’s a good watch, and would recommend watching for a good ghost story.


The Omen

Year: 1976
Directed by: Richard Donner
Rank: 5/10
Spooky Type: Demon Child
Watch: Netflix

Plot: Robert Thorn is an American ambassador in Great Britain. His wife Katherine has a stillborn baby during childbirth. The hospital happens to have a healthy baby that had it’s mother die. So a priest suggests to Robert they switched the babies around. Katharine is unaware of the switch and raises her child as their own. Strange things start to happen that make the couple question where their child came from.

Review: I had pretty high hopes for this movie. It is considered a classic, almost every horror movie buff have seen it. I remember having a hard time finding someone to watch it with me. I figured it would be something I love. The Exorcist is awesome, 70s witchcraft based horror films are excellent, and Gregory Peck is a dreamboat. So it seems to make sense that this film would have it all.

But everything that I loved about those films were pretty much missing from The Omen. There wasn’t a mystery of trying to find out that the son was the devil. Spoiler alert, he is a demon child. Actually it isn’t a spoiler, all synopsizes say he is, so do trailers, and posters. You find out pretty much right away. Trouble follows as Robert Thorn tries to solve the problem, but it doesn’t have the stalking qualities that so many witch movies have. There are no hints of occult activities, or witchcraft. Just a boring kid, who doesn’t act evil or creepy.

So why is this a classic? I don’t get it. Maybe it was a product of the times, but wasn’t too gory or tacky to be dismissed by mainstream culture. The film is overall polished, great acting, direction, writing etc, but it doesn’t take the viewer to horrifying world. Some people present the argument that the viewer shouldn’t know if the characters are just paranoid, or if child is truly the devil. But I think the story presents too much evidence that would support the story that the child is the demon, especially since some of the evidence isn’t ever revealed to the Robert Thorn character. Lacking spooks, and lacking a deeper meaning.

Overall: Pass


The Orphan

Year: 2009
Directed by: Jaume Collet-Serra
Rank: 7/10
Spooky Type: Demon Child
Watch: Hulu Trailer

Plot: Kate and John are a married couple with two children. Their second child was born with a hearing complication, leaving her almost deaf. Their third child resulted in a still born, leaving the couple with the decision to adopt a child. At the orphanage, they meet Esther, a quiet girl who is exceptionally great at painting, has an old fashioned taste in clothing, and has excellent English despite being born in Russia. But Kate starts to notice trouble follows Esther around, leaving her to try and find out what Esther’s history is.

Review: If you are looking for a scary movie with lots of gore and scares, I would recommend this movie. Within the genre of scary movies, I think this is really good. The ending is unexpected, I was on the edge of my seat to see what would happen, and there were was an eerie atmosphere. But… the movie has it’s flaws, but not in ways that would take away from it’s fun horror gimmicks. Everyone did a great job acting, many small details are well paid attention to, and nothing seems super tacky. But if you picked up the script you would probably say it was a okay suspense film, most of the “horror” is built up by filming techniques.

The director gets too caught up in the style of editing, and sound production, making things “scary” when it makes no logical sense to. Spoiler Alert here- Esther makes enemies with a girl at school. So while the girl is playing on a jungle gym, there are editing styles that make the whole experience seem like the girl is on edge.. but why? Because Esther stared this girl down on the playground? If this were to happen in real life, the girl would have no reason to be scared, and I think the filming techniques should of reflected this.

Looking back at the story, most of the actions from the character are irrational, or over the top. And I get it, but it leaves me with the conclusion that this film is just a horror film. And that is okay. I think it is well produced for a late night scare. Though it is disappointing to not have a story with a deeper message about society. To put it this way, I liked this film, but I don’t think I would watch it again.

Overall: Good scary movie, but not a solid message.


The Others

Year: 2001
Directed by: Alejandro Amenábar
Rank: 8/10
Spooky Type: Ghost/Haunted House
Watch: Netflix

Plot: Grace lives all alone in a mansion in Jersey with her two children. She hires three new house keepers as the previous staff got up and left mysteriously. The house is a strange one, there are strict rules about closing doors and locking them since her children are diagnosed with xeroderma pigmentosum, an extreme sensitivity to sunlight. The children start talking about people they see around the house. Grace first assumes they are just making up stories, but strange things start to happen making her believe them.

Review: This movie is very aware of it the tropes of a Haunted House film. Rules are put into place, all doors must be closed before entering the next room. Doors must be locked, curtains must always be closed. All for the sake of the children. Which made me think right away of House on Haunted Hill, or other haunted house films, there are always specific rules for the house. But unlike those films, messing up those rules doesn’t bring upon the ghosts. The story has been described as almost a remake of The Innocents.

Although I enjoyed the film, I think I “solved” the mystery halfway through, but then doubted myself, then knew I was right all along. Is it painfully predictable? Maybe if you are a huge ghost film fan, but anyone who is a general horror or movie fan might get stumped. That aside, I think the story is fairly solid, well researched for accuracies, and believable characters. I think the only thing that bothered me was the “backstory” of the maid who couldn’t speak. It really made no sense.

Oddly I remember this movie being a bust when it came out. I guess I just remembered the high profile divorce with Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman, which happened during the release of the movie. I think the movie got compared too often with The Sixth Sense, which was released two years earlier. So watching the movie today, out of context of pop culture really lets the viewer enjoy the movie.

Overall: Highly underrated ghost story. Great throw back to the old movies.


The Uninvited

Year: 1944
Directed by: Lewis Allen
Rank: 9/10
Spooky Type: Ghost/Haunted House
Watch: Youtube Trailer

Plot: Ray and his sister Ruth discover a beautiful abandoned house while vacationing in Maine. They are able to buy the house for a steal, but find the original owner odd. The owner’s granddaughter Stella befriends Ray and is excited to explore the home. But Stella seems to experience a panic attack in the house, and while they try and nurse her back to health, strange things happen around the house.

Review: As a horror film, this is much slower paced that what most modern viewers are use to. The movie tries to focus on the story and relationships between characters as the history of the house is revealed. And it is tempting to try and “guess the surprise ending” like with so many ghost/haunted house stories, but you really do need to focus on the dialogue, especially towards the end.

I loved this film and would recommend that viewers take a few notes of what to expect when watching. The film doesn’t pull a lot of hokey stuff, so I think it makes it very classic to watch. It isn’t like watching old Frankenstein films, where subtleties are ignored. But the film does take awhile to get the “spooky” ball rolling. There are some transitional things, crying in the house, spooked pets, etc, but no filming stylistic choices to get viewers at the edge of their seat. But what holds together the movie is the story, as you will find yourself wanting to solve the mystery of the house.

The special effects are actually quite good for the time. The ghost was pretty haunting, and pretty convincing. Pretty much this is the horror film for film fans, and fans of classic horror films. Yes it is a little melodramatic, but heck I love that. The merits of this film is well known, as it is part of the Criterion Collection.

Overall: Watch, but be aware it is older and dialogue driven.


The Wicker Man

Year: 1973
Directed by: Robin Hardy
Rank: 8/10
Spooky Type: Witches
Watch: Youtube Trailer

Plot: Sergeant Howie arrives on a small island in Scotland called Summerisle to investigate the death of a young girl, Rowan Morrison. Once at the island, no one seems to know who this girl is, which is perplexing since everyone seems to know each other in the town. When night falls, it seems all the locals are crazy, naked women crying at graves, orgies, singing (my god so much singing), and a women trying to seduce him. But as Howie finds out more about Rowan, the more lies are uncovered, leaving Howie racing to be the clock to discovering Rowan before it is too late.

Review: This is kind-of funny contrast to The Orphan. This is probably a movie that doesn’t fall very well into the “horror” genre, as there aren’t that many editing, visual, or sound choices that enhance the spooky environment. But there is a lot of theme going for the film. Xenophobia, classes, power struggles, lawlessness, and religion is scattered throughout the film, giving the viewer a lot of think about.

The story is well researched and thought out. Every scene has importance, and all stories are fairly true to wiccan practices. Sure somethings are played up, like all the sex, which is to manipulate Sergeant Howie. Some things are just done to make things more cinematic, like creating music to the wiccan chants. Unlike many witch stories during this time, there isn’t the feeling of supernatural stalking, though there is a big brother sort of watch by the community as a whole. In fact this much more realistic true to life feel gives a different creepy feel. There nothing unrealistic about anything that happens.

This is defiantly a horror film for a lover of story and conversations. It isn’t full of campy spooks, although here is plenty of nudity which is kind-of a given for any 70s horror. But if you are looking for a late night scare fest, this might not be the best film.

Overall: Great film, but a little predictable because of it’s prevalence in pop culture. Low on a the “spooky” factor, but the realism does add to the unnerving tone.