Happy Thanksgiving America

NOVEMBER 24th, 2016


We would like to wish all our friends and neighbours south of the border a safe, happy and healthy Thanksgiving. May your stretchy pants and zippers be up to the challenge of Turkey Day.

The 2nd Annual 31 Movies and 31 Songs for 31 Days of Hallowe'en

NOVEMBER 15th, 2016


Happy Hallowe’en everyone!

[Lana] Yes, we realize that the day has actually passed but we had to wait to get in our final movie before posting this article.

[John] And, posting articles always takes longer than we anticipate, hence the further delay.

[Lana] Hopefully you have been following along with us on our social media accounts, so these lists will act as a reminder for you of what we watched and also give you a little bit of our thoughts about the films. If you didn’t have the opportunity to follow along, you are in for a treat! Who knows, maybe within our 31 you will find a few selections you have yet to see or an old classic you had totally forgotten about that you would now love to revisit. Let us know… we would love to hear about your own Hallowe’en movie watching experiences.

*Please note…There are a lot of classic Hallowe’en movies missing from this list, as this is our 2nd Annual movie adventure. We tried to avoid movies from last year’s list, so you won’t find The Exorcist, The Shining, Beetlejuice, etc. which we would normally watch every year. So, please be gentle on us when asking why certain movies didn’t make the list… odds are, they were on last year’s list or are waiting for next year. There are a lot of movies out there that we want to capture.

1. Ghost Team (2016)
[Lana] This movie was somewhat of a dual-purpose movie for us as it was not only the kick-off to our 31 but we also watched it on National Ghost Hunting Day. The movie itself had a few laughs with Justin Long stealing the show in my opinion.
[John] I didn’t know what to expect with this movie and was pleasantly surprised. There aren’t many comedies that actually make me laugh and this one, surprisingly, did garner a few chuckles and also made me jump a few times. We paired this movie with the song Worlds Collide by Apocalyptica, mainly because it felt appropriate. As you read through our little blurbs and see the songs chosen, you will notice that most of my explanations on the music we paired come down to emotions and intuition… that ‘feeling’ that tells me ‘this is the song’. I am often unable to articulate why I do certain things.

2. The Birds (1963)
[Lana] The movie was being replayed in theatres and we were lucky enough to be able to go see it the way it was intended. I was surprised that there were so few of us there to see this Hitchcock classic. It sparked a discussion for us as to whether some of the legendary filmmakers are being forgotten. We hope that these greats are not going to be relegated only to the classrooms of film students and the rare movie buff. I hope that some of the older generations will show the newer generations what they are missing in these older films…and not through remakes.
[John] This was the first Hitchcock film I ever saw (I think I was about 15 years old when I watched it for the first time) and to have an opportunity to see it in the theatre was a moment I was not willing to pass up. This was a great experience and Bird on a Wire by the now late Leonard Cohen, was the song we chose. In title it seems obvious, however the lyrics also felt appropriate to me and really made me want to use this song.

3. The Conjuring 2 (2016)
[Lana] Had we known nothing about the Enfield case, this would have been a whole lot better. I knew I couldn’t sit through it without scoffing at the overly dramatized (and demonized) version of the case that we had watched during the Enfield Poltergeist mini-series (even though that too, was heavily dramatized). I suggest emptying your mind and opening up to the action sequences if you want to enjoy this one the way it was intended.
[John] Due to our previous knowledge of this case perhaps making us somewhat jaded towards what this movie might offer, I decided to approach it as any other Hollywood tale. I worked hard to just take it in as a regular thriller so that I wouldn’t feel critical the entire time. I succeeded in walking away thinking that from a perspective of entertainment, this movie accomplished what it set out to – some thrills and anxious moments with some fun effects. I would not suggest using it to learn about the actual Enfield case. The song for this one was tough to choose because of our disconnected feelings to the movie. So, we chose to go with a different version of a song used in the movie, Can’t Help Falling in Love as covered by Miller’s Tale.

4. The Legend of Hell House (1973)
[Lana] The 70’s is a very confusing time for me when it comes to movies because some of them feel a little dated but relevant and well acted. Then you have movies like this one. It is still a classic movie which should be enjoyed but the acting is bad…I mean really bad.
[John] I enjoy this one… every time I watch it I realize how entertained I am by the acting and the effects and the story. Cheesy or not, it really is one of my favourites. For the song, I chose A Little Bit Closer by Johnny Hollow, mostly because it just felt right.

5. It Follows (2014)
[Lana] After reading through last year’s list, Sister Lilies gifted us with this movie for Christmas 2015. We held off watching it so that we could add it to this year’s list. The plot followed a different concept that is likely to make new couples wonder about their partners’ previous relationships more than ever before.
[John] I didn’t know what to expect with It Follows. I’m not sure I was prepared for what I got but I’m glad I watched it. I didn’t find it scary but it was an interesting concept; thank you Sister Lilies. For this movie, I felt that the best song would be The Killing Horizon by Encephalon.

6. Housebound (2014)
[Lana] Thanks to one of our Facebook friends, Dianna Lloyd, for suggesting this one to us. This movie, which I hadn’t even heard of before, is one of those hidden gems we are always talking about. A little bit comedic, a little bit gory (just a touch) and a whole lot cheesy in all the right ways to keep you invested. I loved this film.
[John] Oh, this was a fantastic one! Loved it entirely. Simply great. Smoke and Mirrors by Agnes Obel felt like the most appropriate song for this cool movie. The title pretty much sold it but it’s also a wonderful song.

7. Hocus Pocus (1993)
[Lana] By popular demand (and to avoid being lynched) we added this popular witchy tale for kids of all ages, to this year’s list. When we finished our 31 movies last year and this movie wasn’t in the mix, so many people questioned the omission; it was the most frightened I had been all month. I honestly do love this movie though, so was happy to include it this year.
[John] This was my first Hocus Pocus experience and I enjoyed it. A great family film with some wonderful talent; definitely worth it. The song I chose for this movie may seem obvious in title, and it was, but it was also the song that kept playing through my head while I watched the movie… Spellbound by Siouxsie and the Banshees.

8. Evil Dead (1981)
[Lana] I love my horror movies on the cheesy side and they don’t come any cheesier than the Evil Dead trilogy. This is the film that epitomizes the term cult classic. You either love it or hate it and I am in love. I’m not usually a fan of the blood and gore but when it is used in such a humorous way, you almost can’t help but laugh. However, the gore was the reason that I was on my own for this one as we realized it might be a little too much for John.
[John] Yep… Lana explained it to me and I was happy to sit this one out. Thanks for letting me off the hook here. Lana chose the song and A Forest by The Cure is what he decided on, which from what he told me of the movie, was quite fitting.

9. Pumpkinhead (1988)
[Lana] Can it get any more Hallowe’en than a movie called Pumpkinhead? Well yes, it really could but this is another cheesy horror film from the 80’s that spawned way too many sequels. Although, if I were a demon and my name was Pumpkinhead, I’d probably be willing to go on a few revenge-fueled murderous rampages too. This was another one I did on my own, saving John from a few of the more graphic scenes she loves so much (that may be a touch of sarcasm).
[John] Thanks again… last year’s selection left me needing a very long break from horrors and thrillers, so making this year a bit easier on my mind was greatly appreciated. Though I didn’t watch this one, Lana explained it to me in detail and I did choose the song. It felt most natural to go with In Your Eyes by Peter Gabriel.

10. The Watcher in the Woods (1980)
[Lana] I liked the idea of this movie. I liked how most of the scenes and information were handled in it. I didn’t even mind the majority of the acting. When you put it all together as a whole though, it left me wanting something and not in that excited “I wish there was more” way. Yet, I can’t put my finger on why.
[John] I read this book when I was in elementary school and watched the movie shortly after reading the book. I love it. It actually does give me nightmares in a strange way and it crosses my mind fairly often, almost like someone hanging out on the periphery and quietly observing. One of my favourites. Comptine d’un Autre Été: L’Après Midi by Yann Tiersen felt to me like the best match for this movie.

11. The Others (2001)
[Lana] I love the vintage feel of this movie. They don’t rely on blood and gore or special effects to get the scares across but instead, they count on good, old-fashioned suspenseful storytelling.
[John] I’ve always enjoyed the way this movie is done and was quite happy to watch it again as part of this year’s 31. I chose Ghosts by Assemblage 23 for the song to this one and yes, it is entirely obvious. However, as with other songs, these lyrics also felt appropriate to me.

12. The Wolf Man (1941)
[Lana] The old Universal Monster movies knew how to make their ‘big bads’ tragic victims as well. None represented this better in my opinion than the Wolf Man. He should have been a hero. I love the way they did the makeup then too. Nowadays, they try to make it too realistic and take it to the wolf end of the spectrum. I thought this film was terrific.
[John] I thoroughly enjoyed the representation in this film and I really did develop a soft spot for the ‘monster’. I was happy that Lana introduced me to this. We chose the song for this movie together. I was thinking I wanted Aesthetic Perfection and when Lana heard that, he immediately jumped to Big Bad Wolf. Sometimes the obvious is entirely necessary.

13. Zombieland (2009)
[Lana] Any movie with Bill Murray, Twinkies and Zombies involved and I’m sold. I don’t know what it is about a comedy that makes me love zombie movies when I dislike their serious counterparts so much. I guess that is the power of laughter.
[John] Lana brought this movie to my attention some time ago and I really wanted to include it in this year’s list. Selfishly, I wanted to watch it again and I also did think it would be a great addition to our 31. Neither of us is a fan of Country music but for this movie, no song felt more appropriate than It’s All Going to Pot by Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard. On multiple levels, this just had to be our chosen track.

14. Oculus (2013)
[Lana] A spirit capable of toying with your memories and your very sanity has to be one of the most frightening concepts to consider. That is what this movie does right.
[John] The idea behind this movie did truly creep me out. It might have left a little bit to be desired in some aspects but generally speaking, I enjoyed this one. I decided we needed another instrumental song for Oculus and one that stood out to me was Architect of the Mind by Kerry Muzzey, so I had to go with it.

15. Ginger Snaps 2 (2004)
[Lana] One of the few sequels from last year’s list, we had to have it on here for the Canadian content alone. Besides, who wouldn’t want to see what happens when you lock someone up without the only thing stopping them from becoming a murderous, rampaging furball.
[John] The first in this series is one of my favourite horror movies. I am a fan of Canadian film and television and I had never watched the second Ginger Snaps. I enjoyed this second film as much as the first and am really happy that we included it in our list this year. We had to go with a Canadian musical artist for this movie and well, of course the song had to be Clap for the Wolfman by The Guess Who.

16. Night of the Living Dead (1968)
[Lana] “They’re coming for you Barbara!” I won’t spoil the ending for the few people who haven’t seen this but this is exactly how rewarded a lot of folks probably feel they are, after putting in a hard day at the office, I‘m sure.
[John] Another one of my all-time favourites. I love this movie and that is about all I will say. For the song, nothing felt more suited to this movie than All Night Long by Peter Murphy. I do loves me some Peter Murphy.

17. Mr. Boogedy (1986)
[Lana] This was such a treasured memory from my youth. Sure it is dated and super cheesy now but some of us still like cheese.
[John] I had never even heard of this one until Lana said he wanted it on the list for this year. I can see why Lana would have enjoyed it as a child; I don’t have the nostalgia attached to it so it wasn’t quite the same enjoyable experience for me. It was, however, fun to watch Lana dig it so much. I felt like we needed to stay in the 80’s for our song choice, so I headed to an old local band and chose Standing in the Dark by Platinum Blonde.

18. Needful Things (1993)
[Lana] It makes you wonder, what is your needful thing? This is one of my favourite Stephen King horror films (right up there with The Shining and It) and Max von Sydow is cast perfectly as Leland Gaunt.
[John] If you haven’t read it in the past or picked up on it yet, I basically live under a rock when it comes to pop culture. I haven’t read much of Stephen King and I haven’t watched many movies, so this one was a completely new experience for me and I did enjoy it. A cool concept that made me reflect on society’s desires and I really wondered what this would look like across the world. So, what song could possibly be better than The Devil Inside by INXS?

19. The Orphanage (2007)
[Lana] I find this haunting in a heartbreaking way more than a frightening one. The story is beautifully told and well worth watching at any time of year. This is in Spanish, so if you don’t speak the language or enjoy reading subtitles you are unfortunately going to miss a great film.
[John] This truly is a beautiful story and is shared in a fantastic way. If you don’t typically enjoy subtitles, please still give this one a chance… it’s worth it. Come Little Children by Pelle K was our song choice… Obvious and chilling.

20. Candyman (1992)
[Lana] Not on par with Freddy, Jason or Michael, Candyman is still one of horror’s legendary killers. I just wish I could get that Candyman song out of my head every time I read the title.
[John] I may not have helped with that earworm… I sing the song for days after seeing or hearing the name to the point that I don’t even remember what the actual song from the movie is. I enjoy this movie a lot because it’s creepy like the urban legends and tales we grew up with and it takes me back to the days when I believed, and simultaneously didn’t believe, in Bloody Mary. When choosing the song for this movie, I had to work hard to make the earworm disappear long enough to think of other music. Once I had managed that, it quickly became obvious to me which song we needed to use… Bee by The Sugarcubes felt absolutely perfect.

21. The Haunted Palace (1963)
[Lana] Vincent Price playing a ghost possessing a descendent played by… Vincent Price. Now add in some witchcraft, mutants and the Necronomicon and we have ourselves a movie, folks.
[John] I had a tough time following this for a little while but it all came together for me eventually. I love Vincent Price so this was well worth it. The Sisters of Mercy kept playing through my head while watching this movie, so for the song I had to choose Possession by Sisters of Mercy.

22. Bad Moon (1996)
[Lana] This movie reminds me of why I am a dog lover…and not because it is about a werewolf. At the same time, if you are a dog lover, you may not want to watch this film at all.
[John] This was another solo venture for Lana… and after he told me about it, I was happy we made that decision. Lana chose the song for this movie and he felt the best option would be Dogs of War by AC/DC.

23. The Monster Squad (1987)
[Lana] This is a great family movie that features versions of all the classic movie monsters and, perhaps more importantly, gives the answer to one of life’s biggest questions. That answer is yes, Wolfman does have nards.
[John] Again… Lana was alone for this one. I had a few scheduling challenges in October and so this was one we had to decide I would skip. Because Lana was solo on this, again he chose the music and the most natural match for him was Welcome to My Nightmare by Alice Cooper.

24. Friday the 13th (1980)
[Lana] We all know about Friday the 13th right? Jason Voorhees, everyone’s favourite hockey-mask-wearing-serial-killer, goes on a rampage with his machete in hand to take down some teenage campers, right? Not so fast… this is the original.
[John] I hadn’t watched this in such a long time that I couldn’t remember the majority of how it played out. I am so happy I took the opportunity to watch it again. It is everything you want from this genre during that time period. I really wanted to use some Trent Reznor here but decided to go in a slightly different direction than my usual classic Nine Inch Nails selections, so instead I chose Technically, Missing by Trent Reznor.

25. Pontypool (2008)
[Lana] This is a great piece of Canadiana (on an extremely local level, actually) that offers a completely new take on zombies. Amazing job for a low budget film.
[John] I don’t have much more to say beyond, “I love this movie.” Lana and I worked really hard to find a song that we connected to this movie. Our final choice was originally my first choice that I had quickly abandoned; I was trying hard to find a great song by a band that was local to an area much closer to the real Pontypool than Toronto. However, in the end and without knowing my first choice, Lana chose Help, I’m Alive by Metric and I realized it was the proper selection.

26. Séance on a Wet Afternoon (1964)
[Lana] While the séance scenes are intriguing to say the least, this is one of the most disturbing movies I have watched in quite some time.
[John] This really was a tough film to watch because it was so unsettling. However, it is a great one to experience and so I highly recommend it. The eeriness of this film paired with the gloomy factor just screamed The Carpenters to me and so what better piece could I play than Rainy Days and Mondays?

27. Young Frankenstein (1974)
[Lana] The basic Frankenstein story… if the Monster could tap dance. Mel Brooks’ hilarious take on the classic monster tale hit my funny bone even if it did miss John’s.
[John] I have said it before… I don’t think I have a sense of humour. This movie was lost on me, but again it was fun to watch Lana enjoy it so much. Lana chose the music for this one and went with Putting on the Ritz covered by Gene Wilder and Peter Boyle… an appropriate selection.

28. Something Wicked This Way Comes (1983)
[Lana] One of, if not the creepiest movie ever put out but Disney. Johnathon Pryce does a wonderful job as the eerie Mr. Dark but the young actor who played Mr. Cooger really sent shivers down our spines.
[John] This one was eerier than I had expected it to be, however it still didn’t really draw me in. To be honest, I didn’t really dig it and only barely remember it. It was an interesting concept but I just didn’t connect to it. What better music to accompany a creepy carnival tale, than Dark Carnival Music (Fortune Tellers) by Midnight Syndicate? 

29. National Theatre Live Presents: Frankenstein (2011) (an encore presentation)
[Lana] We were so excited when we saw that this was playing and we could make it part of our list this year. The version we saw had Benedict Cumberbatch as the Creature and it was phenomenal. If you have never seen one of the National Theatre Live performances, we strongly recommend you do so immediately.
[John] This one was actually a play but we decided that it was still relevant to our 31 movies for 31 days project and also… it’s our gig so we get to make up the rules. I would not have watched anything in its place. This was an incredible display. For the music, my heart pulled me towards Sæglópur by Sigur Rós. I can’t explain why; I just needed to use Sigur Rós for this and this track spoke to me the loudest.

30. The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920)
[Lana] A silent film that many consider the first horror movie. Still to this day, it takes the viewer on a journey of wonder of where the truth lies.
[John] There is a lot of symbolism embedded in this story and so you really do have to watch closely and carefully follow along. A cool film that tells an interesting story. Somnabulism by Laundry League is a track that Lana found. We struggled with finding the music for this movie and we were each on the same wavelength in what we wanted to represent with the music. Thankfully, Lana came up with this and it really couldn’t be more perfect for this film.

31. Halloween H2O (1998)
[Lana] After 20 years, Michael is still after his sister and anyone who is foolish enough to stand in his way…or even in his vicinity. Hard to believe this movie is nearly 20 years old now. Ugh…I feel old.
[John] I had only ever watched the first (original) Halloween and I found this one to be fairly in line with the way the first story was told. I enjoyed this one like I did the original… and I will likely not watch any others (unless they land on our list in years to come). Going into this year’s 31 movies for 31 days, I knew which movie and which song I wanted to use for our final day and really, what would be better to end off the month than Everyday is Halloween by Astrovamps? Last year, we ended with the original version by Ministry and this year I wanted to give a new version a try. I think it worked.

[John] This year, the movie selections were tough to finalize because we definitely did not want to duplicate any choices from 2015 and there are so many movies out there to choose from that we had a difficult time narrowing down our list. We decided that we would not include any bonus movies this year (if you followed along last year, you will remember the numerous additional films we squeezed in - and by ‘we’ I mean Lana). That decision was partially because of time constraints this year and partially because Lana smartly pointed out that if we intend to attempt this ridiculous challenge for at least another few years, we need to maintain some movie choices for the future. So… 31 movies are all we enjoyed this round. 31 movies. 31. I’m still not sure how we managed it this year. Scheduling was much trickier, mainly because I went and added night school to the mix this fall (because working full time, maintaining family commitments, working on Carbon Lilies, spending time with my favourite guy, and managing the rest of life didn’t really feel like enough on our plates). The time we spent together watching these movies were precious minutes to me for which I am deeply grateful. Thank you Lana, for being on this absurd journey with me; for being the motivating, loving, and encouraging energy in the most exhausting and overwhelming moments. Shall we do it again next year? Let’s go on a coffee date and plan the 2017 list!!

If any of you would like to offer up suggestions, please do! We can’t guarantee they will make the final list but we would love to have some more options for next year… we are sure you will know of some great finds we haven’t watched or heard of.

[Lana] One more thing before we go… This list has grown to be very special to me, as it is a way to celebrate Hallowe’en since I can no longer celebrate it in a traditional way. I used to love going out trick-or-treating and when I became too old for it to be acceptable, I then grew into the role of candy-giver and enjoyed watching the youngsters come to my door in their costumes. Now that we live in an apartment, we can no longer give out candy and some of the Hallowe’en mystique has been taken from us. So, this list has rejuvenated my love for the holiday that has always been so dear to my heart. For our final movie this year, John made that even more special by personally creating a work of art in the form of a Hallowe’en mask for each of us. She made these for us to wear while watching our final movie. I hope she knows that it meant the world to me and brought me back to the days of my youth… if only I’d had a big bowl of candy in front of me, everything would have been perfect. So, I raise to you a Snickerdoodle or a Reese’s Pieces… (insert your candy of choice)… and once more hope you all had the happiest of Hallowe’ens.

A Poem of Remembrance

NOVEMBER 11th, 2016

By SHELDON BACON, dear friend and mentor to Carbon Lilies

Today we honour all of our soldiers of the past.
Their place in history has already been cast.
War is a particularly terrible and gruesome plight.
But our brave men and women continued to fight.
They were on foreign soil so it would have been easy to run
But they knew they had to stay and do what had to be done.
Our soldiers were so strong, courageous, and brave.
It was our way of life that they were fighting to save.
The loss of so many lives is something to regret.
But their brave sacrifices we should never forget.

Lest We Forget

NOVEMBER 11th, 2016

Please take a moment today to remember those who fought and sacrificed their lives for us and our freedom.