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    • Belated Halloween Story #2

      5 years ago


      During my freshman year of college my friends and I used to go see a movie almost every week. The theater we went to had a special on Thursdays where students could get in for $1.50. This theater just so happened to be located in an abandoned shopping mall. You couldn't even get to the theater by going through the mall, which would have been cool, you had to drive around behind the mall and park in the gravel lot set back into the trees.

      The cinema itself consisted of half a dozen dilapidated rooms which had peeling wallpaper, broken seats, stains everywhere, support beams in the middle of the seats making certain seats unusable, etc. I remember seeing a James Bond movie one week where the screen was so small it cut off the edges of the film to the point where we couldn't read the subtitles when non-English speaking characters were talking. Luckily I had already seen that particular movie a week or so before at a better theater, so I could translate for my friends.

      (Spoiler Warning, but the movie is 10 years old, 15 if you count the Japanese version)

      In October of 2002 the movie "The Ring" was released, which is a remake of a Japanese movie of the same name, or also called "Ringu" which was released in 1998 in Japan. This still holds the title of being the scariest movie I've ever seen.

      Towards the end of the movie there is a scene where the ghost girl comes out of a TV set, it's probably the most famous moment from that movie. It starts with TV flickering and showing static and the victim trying to turn it off, of course it turns itself back on. It then cuts to a close up of a well, the well the ghost girl, named Samara I believe, was dumped in. Between flickering bits of static we see Samara climb out of the well, hair first (a nice creepy touch) and begin to walk towards the screen. When she reaches the screen, in a not quite close-up of the television, she begins to climb out. Keep in mind, I was watching this, the scariest movie I had ever seen, in a run-down, dilapidated theater, in an abandoned shopping mall that was basically in the woods since this is a very rural area. The particular theater this movie was shown in held maybe 200 people, and was so small that the first row seats were just a few feet from the screen, which wasn't a huge issue since the screen wasn't really that large to begin with.

      As Samara began to climb out of the TV on screen, for one brief, horrifying moment you almost believe she's climbing out of the actual screen you're watching. As such, I got to see the most hilarious thing I've ever seen in a theater. From my seat towards the middle of the theater I saw the first three rows of people actually climb over their seats into the rows behind. Thus, one of the scariest moments in recent films became one of the funniest to me.

    • Belated Halloween Story

      5 years ago


      Back in 2002 I was a freshman in college majoring in Music Education. As part of that I was part of the several of school's music ensembles, including the marching and concert bands. One thing the band did together was take a trip during Fall and Spring breaks. The Fall Break that year just so happened to coincide with with "Fright Fest" at Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom.

      Fright Fest was an annual event held at Halloween that took place after regular park hours. The regular rides were still running, but there were also new seasonal shows, such as haunted houses and generally spooky things opened that weren't open during the day. It was basically the 60 or so of us college kids plus a couple dozen other people, so the park was mostly empty. There were no lines for anything, and running around in a mostly empty amusement park at night was kind of creepy by itself.

      After we had been there a couple of hours my friends and I went to see one of the new spook shows. It was like a haunted house, except the entire show was in a single room, standing room only. It was billed as a freak show, I don't remember what the first show was, but the second was of a supposed werewolf in a cage. I don't know what the ratio of smoke to mirrors was, but they managed to show this actor transform into a werewolf on stage. It was done very well. The scariest part of the show, however, was after they showed the transformation of the werewolf the lights in this windowless room went out and we were left in pitch darkness for close to a minute.

      The last part of the performance we saw was the werewolf breaking out of its cage and people shouting. Now the room is completely black and nothing is happening. I'm expecting a jump scare, for the lights to come back on and there to be monsters in the crowd around us.or something like that. Since my friends and I were some of the last to enter the room for this performance, we were standing towards the back, so I took a step or two backwards until my back was against the wall, this way at least nobody could grab me from behind. The last thing you want when you're a super manly 18 year-old surrounded by friends is to scream like a little girl.

      Then we waited. And waited. And nothing happened for at least a minute. Then they opened the doors at the side of the room and asked us to file out. A tornado had been spotted in the area and they were closing the park down for the day. This was by far one of the scariest things to ever happen to me, they built up the tension so well, then just left us in a dark room without paying off the scare, then, in the end, it was just a stupid tornado. The only other thing I remember from that trip is standing at the entrance gate to the park playing hacky-sack with friends in the howling wind while waiting for everyone in our group to assemble so we could leave.

      Not strictly related, but in 2007 a 13 year-old girl had both feet severed above the ankle when a poorly maintained cable on the Superman Tower of Power ride snapped. According to Wikipedia, the park closed in 2010 after the it went bankrupt, but it is slated to reopen in May of 2014.

    • Money where my mouth is

      6 years ago


      I've never understood the compulsion people feel to get achievements, either to increase their gamerscore, or to just get 100%. The gamerscore is just an arbitrary number to me, and I don't always consider getting all of the achievements to be 100% of the game, such as side quests, Easter Eggs, etc. I've always thought that a game achievement should be challenging, they shouldn't be awarded for just completing the game, or for doing things that are required to finish the game. Maybe 1 big achievement (100-250 pts or something) for completing the main story, and the rest should be challenges within the game. I do like it when an achievement gives me an idea for a different way to play a game, such as "Akimbo Assassin" in Left 4 Dead. I may have done a pistols only run through a campaign at some point on my own, but seeing that achievement put the idea in my head, and I did it because it sounded challenging and fun.

      Obviously a lot of people care about achievements, so I wonder, "am I missing something?" So to find out I'm going to try to get all the achievements in a few games. I was thinking I would try to get 100% of the achievements in Fallout New Vegas (not counting DLC), and after hearing Burnie talk on the podcast about doing the achievements in the Lego games I think I'll try one of those as well, maybe Harry Potter years 1-4, but I don't know. Also because Burnie talked about arcade games being just as challenging as retail games for achievements, I'll also pick a single player arcade game to try to 100%, but I haven't picked one yet.

      So, we'll see if this achievement thing is all it's cracked up to be. :)

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