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5 Reasons Why I Still Can’t Get Enough of House of the Devil


If you know me, you definitely know how fond I am of writer/director Ti West’s 2009 film, House of the Devil. I recommended it to everyone, even to people I don’t know! Simply put, it's a fantastic film with an extreme amount of artistic detail and effort put into it.

I still remember the first time I rented it from Netflix. I literally knew nothing about it, which to me is the best way to watch any movie. I turned out the lights, popped some popcorn, and hit play, and immediately I was taken back by the look and feel of the film. So, without further ado, here is the breakdown of why I love this film so much and continue to watch it often.


A horror film is only as good as its protagonist. A good one will make you care about them and their well being. This was the first time I had seen Donahue in a film and I immediately fell in love with her and her as Samantha. It’s not an easy thing for a director to ask an actress to carry a film for long portions of running time in solitude and silence, but she easily keeps your attention while she explores her surroundings and slowly but surely becomes suspicious of her situation. Donahue plays the role with a quiet normalcy that makes you believe in her as just another stressed out college student trying to better her situation by taking on the questionable job offer. 


By the time things turn up a notch, you really sympathize with her fear and want her to survive. This is a true testament to a rare likable character in a horror film because usually audiences are clamoring for everyone onscreen to meet their demise in the worst possible way. An honorable mention and credit also must be given to Jocelin’s co star, Greta Gerwig, who plays Samantha’s energetic best friend, Megan. It's through her interactions and chemistry with Donahue that we really get a sense of who Sam is, and Donahue’s performance surely benefits from having such a strong co-star to play off.

Also, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention of the now classic Risky Business-esque dance sequence set to The Fixx’s “One Thing Leads to Another,” which totally steals the show.



Retro is HUGE these days. Everything and everybody wants to be inspired by a retro aesthetic, whether its clothing, music, or even toys-- the world seems to be cashing in on that dangerous drug known as nostalgia. 

This is especially true in the horror film community where retro has become the norm. This film is, in my opinion, where that started and it still trumps every attempt that has come after it. House of the Devil perfectly recreates the look and feel of a late 70s early 80’s horror film. Beginning with the opening title sequence, you realize Ti West and everyone involved pays attention to the smallest details like the authentic wardrobe selection and smaller things like the throwback style Coca Cola cups used in the pizza parlor scene (I heard they found these on eBay). These details go a long way for me as a viewer and end up making huge differences in the overall end product. The movie is also appropriately “grainy” for lack of a better word. The use of post-production filters gives it a dated, VHS vibe that's popular these days. The music and scoring is also era appropriate.


House of the Devil did retro so well, when I first showed it to my brother (whom also knew nothing about it other than my vague spoiler-free synopsis of the plot) for the first time on dvd, he told me after it was over, “That was really good. I can’t believe I never saw this back in the day! I don’t remember hearing about it.” He was stunned when I then told him that it had just been filmed and released the year prior in 2009. If there was ever a ringing endorsement (to me) of its successful attempt to be a film of that bygone era, that would be it. 


When your movie is called House of the Devil, the HOUSE should play as important a role as any character, and should in fact be a character itself. The house where most of the action takes place was discovered by the filmmakers in Connecticut. It’s a foreboding yet beautiful Victorian home that screams bad news; however, it does so without being a clichéd “spooky house.” No cobwebs, no lightning, creepy trees, or peeling wallpaper to give away the fact that something bad is going to happen. But as Samantha navigates its narrow, dimly lit hallways and ominous staircases, and slowly starts to sense something is not right, it begins to take on a life all its own. I especially love how many of the rooms in the house intertwine so you never know where you're headed and where you may end up. It is one of my favorite settings for a horror film in recent memory.


House of the Devil is a slow burn. I've heard less seasoned horror viewers of the A.D.D. mindset that it’s “boring” or “nothing happens" but, in reality, what they are really getting is suspense and an uncomfortable stillness they're not used to. The film takes its time establishing a mood of dread and sense of isolation. People these days cannot stand not knowing when something is going to happen, but I love it. The film is also filled with pristine shot compositions and lighting, which elevate the atmosphere the director tries to convey. Everything from zoom ins to freeze frames to hand held techniques are utilized in crafting the moody visuals the film stands on.


This may seem like an odd choice to round out my reasoning but, truth be told, the commentaries on the dvd/blu-ray are quite entertaining and help you truly appreciate all the care that went into crafting such a fine horror movie. There are two commentaries: the first features Writer/Director Ti West and star Jocelin Donahue and is full of entertaining anecdotes and insight into the directors motivations, as well as the actor's choices in the role; The second is another entertaining listen and features Ti West, second unit director/sound designer Graham Resnik, and producers Larry Fessenden and Peter Phok, who all have a great rapport with each other and delve further into the making of the film, detailing its genesis from conception to screen. Listening to these two commentaries is inspiring and something I like to check out from time to time when I need a creative boost or motivation.


These are just a handful of great things about House of the Devil. The film is almost 5 years old now and I still find myself revisiting it again and again. It’s a source of creative inspiration for me and it is simply a must see horror film. If you haven’t seen it, do yourself a favor and do so immediately.

Good Morning w/ Krystal


It’s no secret that I'm a huge “Child’s Play” fan. I wanted to do something new inspired by the films and, after discussing ideas with Krystal (who is one of my new favorite people to collaborate with), we decided to do a shoot inspired by the breakfast scene from the original movie. For those who aren’t aware, in the film 6-year-old Andy Barclay makes his mother breakfast in bed. It’s one of the cutest scenes you will see in a horror film and it helps show audiences what a great bond the two have. The best part of it is that Andy isn’t very adept at making breakfast just yet, but he tries his best by preparing a messy tray featuring an overflowing bowl of Good Guy cereal that's saturated with heaps of spooned-on sugar and way too much milk, severely burnt wheat toast topped with a giant spoonful of country crock margarine, and a glass of dripping orange juice all nicely mixed together at the bottom of the tray. While making the breakfast, Andy is of course watching his favorite “Good Guys” cartoon, which spawned the infamous doll.


So what Krystal and I have done is a shoot inspired by this scene. She enjoys the very same breakfast Andy made for his mother, right down to the Good Guy cereal! Of Course her morning wouldn’t be complete without watching her favorite cartoon, “Good Guys,” which she has on VHS ready to go on the table. To compliment all of the Good Guy goodies, we have a special guest joining her for breakfast, too! 

 
I was really excited about doing these photos. We thought they would be fun to set up and shoot and it turns out we were right. I think she looks great in the outfit we picked out and it works perfectly with the retro feel we were going with. Part of the fun in putting these photos together is adding the details that keep things as movie-accurate as possible. It’s even more fun adding my own made-up details to things such as the cereal box and the VHS tape (look closely). I also included two “advertisements” for the products you see in the photos, such as the Good Guys cereal and VHS.


Special thanks to Mirkala who helped out a great deal on this shoot! We hope you enjoy this photo set as much as we enjoyed creating it; It really was a labor of love that shows through in the end product! Hope you all enjoy your breakfasts and have a GOOD Morning!




Good Guys Breakfast Cereal promotional material by TrueHorror.net

Good Guys volume 1 VHS promotional material by TrueHorror.net

Season's Bleedings w/ Krystal


Happy Horror-Days everyone! While we here at TrueHorror.net are faithful Halloween loyalists, we could not overlook Christmas and all the joy it brings even the most devoted Horror fans. So, Krystal and I dreamed up a "Red Christmas" for this photo set to spread the joy (or dread) of the season among the masses. For her first time shooting, she did a great job, as she was very enthusiastic and helpful. l am looking forward to seeing what we create next because I was extremely happy with how these shots turned out. 

Hope you all have a bloody yet merry Christmas!






Friday the 13th


All horror fans know that Friday the 13th is a holiday within the community. Whether it's perusing Friday the 13th themed artwork and imagery or watching any one of the films in the series, everyone has their own way of celebrating this special day. 

So, today I was sitting around thinking what I could do to come up with something cool for the holiday and decided on designing a Friday the 13th image. I grabbed a few of my Jason props and got to work. 

At first it was just going to be a simple image: black background with the mask, axe and machete, but then it dawned on me to just do a full-fledged one sheet and add the classic white border from the old 80's Paramount movie posters. It didn't take too long for it all to fall into place and I'm pleased with the outcome. I hope you dig it as much as I do. 

Happy Friday the 13th!








TrueHorror.net Halloween Double Feature


To Celebrate Halloween we have a special Double Feature post!

There will be more updated from these photo sets, but the time just wasn't there to edit as many as I had wanted to. So, for now, these will have to do. Hope you guys enjoy these and have a horrific Halloween!


First up we have "Movie Night" featuring Holly, one of my favorite people to collaborate with. Here we see her all set to watch her favorite horror films on Halloween night popcorn and all, along with some recently expired company. Probably tired of them talking and texting through all the important parts of the movie.



Secondly we have Diana doing her best Tiffany impression from Bride of Chucky. She really got into Character and definitely does Tiff justice! 



Again, thank you all for your continued support throughout October! I really appreciate everyone's kind words. And remember-- Halloween may be over, but the horror continues year round.

TrueHorror October Mix Vol. 2



As we continue on with our month long October/Halloween celebrations, TrueHorror.net brings you our second horror film themed mix. Yet again, this mix is filled with some of film's most haunting soundscapes for you to keep that October feel going.  


Simply download the file, unzip, and upload into your music library and enjoy. The track listing is as follows:


Wanna Play? w/ Holly


WANNA PLAY? : Holly visits the Play Pals Toy factory in search of a Good Guy. 

In dual honor of the re- launch of TrueHorror.net and the release of Curse of Chucky, I am excited to present a brand new photo set featuring one of my favorite people to collaborate with, Holly. This photo set is inspired by the Good Guy Doll factory seen in Child’s Play 2. A great deal of enthusiasm, care, and effort was put into creating these colorful new images and I hope it shows in the final product. 



In addition to these new photos we also have our first ever behind the scenes video, detailing the process behind this latest project.


Child's Play Prints and Stickers Now Available!


Child’s Play inspired Good Guy Doll Prints and Stickers!

TrueHorror.net is proud to present our first two exclusive prints inspired by the horror classic, Child’s Play


First up is our "Toy Store Good Guy Doll Box" print. It features a stack of the iconic Good Guy Doll boxes with one’s window being ominously ripped open and empty, presumably from the inside. 

Our second is a Good Guy Doll advertisement. Everything on it is pulled straight from the film right down to the smallest detail. 

Both of these prints were created with extreme attention to detail by a die-hard Child’s Play and Chucky fan. 

Prints are just under 19 x 13 printed on a thick slightly glossy sheet (100 silk cover, 96 brightness, recycled paper). 

Also available is a Good Guy Doll mascot sticker pack!

TrueHorror October Mix Vol. 1



Just in time for October, we here at TrueHorror.net have put together a mix of some of the most famous horror theme in movie history, along with some other choice cuts to help set the mood for your month long celebration of all things Halloween.


Simply download the file, unzip, and upload into your music library and enjoy. The track listing is as follows: