Blackout Overlook

I fit the giant brass key into the door lock, turned it, and was terrified to hear it click open. This wasn’t my hotel room, and I didn’t know what was waiting inside for me. I just knew it was nothing good.

My life had taken a strange turn in the past day, and I was living inside a horror movie at the Timberline Hotel, the iconic hotel that served as the outdoor setting for The Shining and the host of the horror-centric Overlook Film Festival. Like any old hotel, it has its share of ghost stories and we had been essentially snowed in the day before. There was so much snow that it came to the window of my second-floor room. Last night screams echoed through the hallways. They could have been drunken revelers or something far worse.

And now, here I was, participating in Blackout, an experience that has been dubbed the scariest “haunted house” of all time. This was the absolute last place I should be walking around, entering strange bedrooms. I hesitated for a second, hearing what sounded like static coming from a radio, and strained my ears hoping to get a hint of what else might be in the room. No, nothing good would come of this.

I took a deep breath and pushed on in.

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Hounds of Love review

This is not an easy movie to get through. Hounds of Love depicts graphic scenes of sexual assault and torture. It’s the kind of movie that makes you question why you enjoy watching horror movies in the first place. Why subject yourself to something like this? Why sit through something that makes you feel like you need to take a shower afterwards?

But nothing here is done for the sake of exploitation or titillation. Hounds of Love is a surprisingly deep meditation on domestic violence and controlling relationships, an astonishingly well-acted piece of film, and it doesn’t end quite the way you’d expect from its rape-revenge trappings. But it’s certainly not going to be for everyone.

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Mayhem

There are few better locations to watch horror movies than in the iconic hotel that was featured in Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining, and the inaugural Overlook Film Festival, which I wrote about in great detail, took full advantage of this. Along with some possible classics (you can read my review of It Comes At Night right now and a full review of Hounds of Love is coming) I spent much of my time there watching movie after movie, and was pleased by the variety of genre films on hand.

Let’s take a look at what I saw, in order that I watched them!

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Overlook Film Festival

When you host a film festival at the actual location that served as the outside of the Overlook Hotel in Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining, you don’t need to do a whole lot to provide atmosphere. But the snowstorm sure didn’t hurt.

That’s what travelers to the inaugural Overlook Film Festival were greeted by last Thursday as they made their way up the treacherous mountain pass to the iconic lodge. The Timberline Hotel is an utterly gorgeous location, a still-functioning ski lodge on top of a snowy mountain about 60 miles outside of Portland. To say it’s picturesque would be putting it mildly, but we didn’t see much in the way of anything on the way up. Whiteout conditions and a driver using tire chains for the first time led to a harrowing journey up the slippery road. We made it intact, but later on, I heard from more than one person who had fishtailed all over the place, or even ended up in the snow.

It was one helluva way to kick things off a weekend filled with horror movies, haunted houses, and an immersive “game” that thrust me into an actual horror story, that’s for sure.

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it comes at night review

[It Comes At Night premiered as a secret screening at the Overlook Film Festival this weekend. The film came right from the edit bay, and while it’s not final, (they’re still working on a few effects, and it contained no credits) the picture is locked.]

It Comes At Night is either a survivalist’s greatest dream or biggest nightmare. It touches on something that many people have hidden away in the dark recesses of their minds, a plan for when civilization collapses and you have to fend for yourself. It usually involves a secluded location deep in the woods, and with more than a couple of guns.

That’s the case for young Travis (Kelvin Harrison, Jr.), who lives in a secured and heavily armed home with his parents (Joel Edgerton and Carmen Ejogo.) Society might be gone for all they know, because they’ve been living far out in the woods for quite a while, surviving day-to-day.

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firestarter

You can’t keep a good Firestarter down. After the opening night screening at the Overlook Film Festival tonight, Akiva Goldsman and Jason Blum announced that they would be teaming up once again to bring Stephen King’s classic pyrokinetic tale back to the big screen. Hit the jump to learn more about the Firestarter remake.

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