With you, letter O.
The Orphanage (2007)
Directed by Juan Antonio Bayona.
Plot: When her old orphanage goes on the market, Laura and her family settle in and plan to re-open it as a home for special-needs children. Husband and wife initiate a series of works in the house while their seven-year-old son, Simon, starts talking about five invisible friends that Laura thinks are his way of adapting to their secluded new house. When Simon disappears without a trace, his parents contact the police but to no avail. Laura is haunted by odd noises and strange visions. She is convinced that they aren't alone in the old manor and whoever is with them holds the clue to her son's disappearance. Produced and presented by Guillermo Del Toro, The Orphanage bears a vague resemblance to the ghostly Devil's Backbone.
Review: An excellent movie. Bayona's imagery wraps us in the tragic story of this mother and the derailment of her life. The Orphanage is, at its core, not a ghost movie, but a story about how the love between a mother and her son knows no boundaries. I was surprised at the emotionally charged ending but cheer up, the movie does have its very creepy side.
Once again, I was turned between two great books and I couldn't bring myself to cut one.
Published by Alfred A Knopf in 1971.
Blurb: Holland and Niles Perry are identical thirteen-year-old twins. They are close, close enough to almost read each other’s thoughts, but they couldn’t be more different. Holland is bold and mischievous, a bad influence, while Niles is kind and eager to please, the sort of boy who makes his parents proud. The Perrys live in the bucolic New England town their family settled in centuries ago and now the extended family has gathered at their farm this summer to mourn the death of the twins’ father in an unfortunate accident. Mrs. Perry never quite recovered from the shock and stays sequestered in her room, leaving her sons to roam free. As the summer goes on and Holland’s pranks become increasingly sinister, Niles finds he can no longer make excuses for his brother’s actions.is a landmark of psychological horror, Thomas Tryon’s bestselling novel about a homegrown monster is an eerie examination of the darkness that dwells within everyone.
Review: A genuinely frightening story, The Other sweeps away the reader to the tranquil life of a Connecticut country town where everything can be hiding behind the facade of normality. The subtle prose plays with our fears and maximizes the creepiness effect. The Other is one of the most influential horror novels ever written. Its impeccable recreation of small-town life and its skillful handling of personality transference led to widespread critical acclaim for the novel, which was successfully adapted to film with the author himself writing the screenplay.
2. An Occurrence at Owl Creek by Ambrose Bierce.
Blurb: The condemned man stands on a bridge, his hands bound behind his back. A noose is tied around his neck. In a moment he will meet his fate: DEATH BY HANGING. There is no escape. Or is there?
Review: One of the forefathers of horror in general and a master at quiet horror, An Occurrence at Owl Creek is one of the most influential stories of Ambrose Bierce. This short story told in a jumping timeline and with the original twist of an ending has been adapted as a Twilight Zone and Alfred Hitchcock Presents episodes and a number of movies, the most recent being 2008 The Escapist. You are missing a cornerstone if you haven't read it.