‘Annabelle: Creation’ Review

  • Posted by Jacquie Lantern in HNN News on August 8th, 2017



Set in the mid-fifties, a respected doll maker, Samuel Mullins, and his wife, Esther, are struck by tragedy when their daughter, Bee, suddenly dies in an accident.

12 years later a bus of orphans along with their chaperone, Sister Charlotte, arrive at the Mullins residence. Samuel and Esther (now bedridden because of a “condition”), have invited the orphans to stay with them. The children, all young girls, are excited and call the house a castle. They laugh and joke that if they are living in a castle, they must be princesses. They have fun running around and exploring until one of the girls, Janice, enters an off limits room and discovers a doll in a hidden wardrobe.

The doll, Annabelle, now free from confinement (Way to go, Janice), is possessed by a demon and terrorizes the newest residents of the Mullins house. The demon is determined to claim a new soul for itself and be free from the body of the doll.

“Annabelle: Creation” is filled with a TON of jump scares, however, rest assured if you think there is going to be one, there will be. I did like the movie, however, I found it to be highly predictable and more funny than scary. There are several scenes where Annabelle is supposed to be creepily gazing at the girls, but it comes off as awkward and the theater erupted into laughter. While I am certain that laughter wasn’t the intended result, I still enjoyed myself and didn’t find this film to be a huge disappointment.

Talitha Bateman was excellent in her role as Janice, and the story is pretty solid as far as explaining how Annabelle was created and how she came to be possessed. I was particularly impressed that the story makes a COMPLETE circle and ends at the beginning of the original “Annabelle” (2014) movie. We also get a brief glimpse of Valak, the demon nun, and there is a scene that pays tribute to the real-life Annabelle, a Raggedy Ann doll that is held at The Warren’s Occult Museum in Connecticut. A few months back, I did an Annabelle makeup (see below) in which I tried to incorporate the features of the original Raggedy Ann Annabelle as well as the film Annabelle, so seeing a nod to the real-life doll was pretty cool in my book.

Overall, I thought “Annabelle: Creation” was ok. I think it’s worth seeing, but I would save a few bucks and wait for Redbox or Netflix and skip seeing it in the theater.

“Annabelle: Creation,” Rated R, Runtime: 109 min, Director: David F. Sandberg

Starring: Adam Bartley, Alicia Vela-Bailey, Anthony LaPaglia, Joseph Bishara, Kerry O’Malley, Lulu Wilson, Miranda Otto, Philippa Coulthard, Stephanie Sigman, Talitha Bateman

Release Date: August 11, 2017


Special thanks to Allied Integrated Marketing, Darkness Radio and Showplace Icon, St. Louis Park, MN, for allowing me to view this screening!



A Tower Stands at the Center of the Universe…

  • Posted by Jacquie Lantern in HNN News on August 4th, 2017

…of which Earth is just one part. It protects the universe from demons and whatnot that lie beyond, but it’s said the mind of a child could bring it down.

The Dark Tower

To condense THOUSANDS of pages from several books into 95 minutes is not possible. Inevitably, things will be left out, and of course the books are always “better”. Also to be noted, I have not read the books. That being said, I went into The Dark Tower with an open mind. Was it the best movie I’ve ever seen? No. But it definitely wasn’t the worst and contrary to popular opinion, I really enjoyed it! For those who HAVE read the novels, I’ve been told that the movie has some variations. Keeping that in mind –  BEWARE: Spoilers ahead.

The movie centers on Jake Chambers. A young boy who lives with his mother and not so awesome stepfather. Jake has visions/vivid dreams, and recreates these images through his drawings. His dreams seem to coincide with increasingly intense earthquakes and he begins to see what he calls “skin people” around him.

At the urging of his stepfather, Jake’s mother sends him to therapy to which the therapist rationalizes Jake’s nightmares to be the result of his father’s death. Jake’s mother then arranges for him to be sent to an in-patient treatment facility. When the facility reps come to transport Jake, he notices that these aren’t people, he sees the sign of “the skin people”.

Jake manages to elude them and sets off into an adventure in and out of different portals and worlds. Jake discovers his visions and drawings weren’t his imagination, they are REAL. He meets Roland Deschain, a Gunslinger, and together they set out on a quest to save The Dark Tower, which if destroyed, will result in the extinction of all existence. During the journey, Roland teaches Jake the Gunslinger’s Creed which comes into play several times throughout the film:

“I do not aim with my hand; he who aims with his hand has forgotten the face of his father.
I aim with my eye.
I do not shoot with my hand; he who shoots with his hand has forgotten the face of his father.
I shoot with my mind.
I do not kill with my gun; he who kills with his gun has forgotten the face of his father.
I kill with my heart.”

The mission to save The Dark Tower is put at risk as Walter o’Dim, The Man in Black, a sorcerer, is tracking Jake and Roland. Jake has a gift, “the shine”, which Walter can fixate on and locate him. This “shine” also has the ability to destroy The Dark Tower, and that is what The Man in Black is determined to do. Walter’s powers are fierce, and all who have traveled with The Gunslinger have been defeated by these powers. The Man in Black tells Roland: “Death Always Wins.”

But does it? Find out for yourself! The Dark Tower is in theaters August 4, 2017. Running time 95 minutes, PG-13. Directed by: Nikolaj Arcel,  Starring: Idris Elba, Matthew McConaughey, Tom Taylor.

Final thoughts: The acting was great! Matthew McConaughey plays an excellent creep! Idris Elba is the perfect mix of serious, funny, and badass! There are several humorous parts throughout the film, particularly when Roland visits “Keystone Earth.” I also noticed several references throughout the film to other Stephen King creations including, Cujo, Christine, and IT. I am sure I missed many more. Did you catch additional references that I didn’t? Comment below and tell us what Stephen King tidbits you saw!

Special thanks to Allied Integrated Marketing, Darkness Radio and AMC Rosedale 14 Theater, MN, for allowing me to view this screening!


This Fog Consumes Me: an Intro to Paranormal Investigation

  • Posted by Gina Passante in HNN News on May 1st, 2017

I know what you’re thinking… Paranormal Investigation: made up ghost stories, right? Not in my line of work. Let me tell you about one of our more memorable cases and let you decide.

As professionals, our cases are private, so I won’t go into too many specifics about the individuals and homes involved, but here’s the gist of this case. A few years ago, a man contacted us about his home in Corder Missouri. After some mysterious events at the house, the homeowner began to fear his house may, in fact, be haunted. He provided us with some of the evidence he had collected, and asked us to look into his case, looking for reassurance that he wasn’t just “going crazy” (believe me, we get that a lot).

Client Claims

Before accepting the case, we carefully reviewed the potential client’s claims to determine if it merited personal investigation. For example, the homeowner described one experience where he felt had been pushed and scratched by something — or someone — unseen. Along with this, he noted a burning sensation on his back. This was the photo taken just after the incident.

A closeup of the wounds the client received.

The prospective client also told us that he always kept the back door to his home locked, yet, inexplicably, he had seen it open and close multiple times, seemingly on its own. Concerned, he set up a camera to attempt to capture the phenomenon on video. Once we saw that video ourselves, our team was convinced to pack up our gear and embark on the three hour journey west from St. Louis to start our paranormal investigation.

The Paranormal Investigation Begins

With a presumed “haunted” location, we use several investigation procedures, including metaphysical techniques, top quality paranormal investigation equipment, and sometimes just raw instinct. One piece of paranormal investigation gear we use frequently in the field is called an Electronic Voice Phenomena recorder, or EVP recorder for short. Using this tool, we can capture the audio of paranormal sounds and voices that have no other explanation for existing–queue the spooky music. When we can hear disembodied voices from no one in the room, it could be the manifestation of a spirit trying to communicate.

On this particular paranormal investigation, the majority of the paranormal evidence we recorded was with the EVP. One EVP recording we collected that night was particularly haunting. Early on in the investigation, the homeowner who contacted us told us he had witnessed a white mist flowing in his dining area on two separate occasions. So when we heard a disembodied voice whisper, “This Fog Consumes Me,” we all felt there was definitely something worth investigating more.

If you’re interested in learning more about this case, you can find it in the evidence section of our website, 3girlsinthedark.com.



IT’s here! Are you ready, Captain?

  • Posted by Jacquie Lantern in HNN News on March 29th, 2017

The S.S. Georgie has set sail to the sinister sewers where IT lives! Grab your inhalers and prepare for a panic attack because the first official trailer for Stephen King’s IT (2017) was released today! Check it out below!


What do you think? Will it “float” to the top, or will it disappear as fast as the residents of Derry? We want to know! Tell us your thoughts! WHAT ARE YOU AFRAID OF?



Tick Tock. The Countdown to Transworld is on!

  • Posted by Jacquie Lantern in HNN News on March 20th, 2017

It’s almost that time of year again! If you don’t know what I am referring to, then you are missing out! I am talking about TRANSWORLD! Transworld’s Halloween and Attractions Show  is held annually in March at The America’s Center Convention Complex in downtown St. Louis.

This show is MASSIVE, the only one of it’s kind, and a must see! There is no way to truly describe the show to someone who hasn’t attended –  it’s breathtaking. Here is a floor map, to give an idea of it’s size. The show floor is filled with everything you could want or need for your attraction. Masks, makeup, props, and costumes are literally EVERYWHERE. This is an awesome chance to check out merchandise up close and in person as well as try on some of the most high quality industry related items. Also, did I mention the DISCOUNTS? Many vendors offer special trade show pricing, so, not only can you meet with and speak to the people directly involved in the making of that special prop or costume, there is a great chance that you can purchase it at a special show price!

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Are animatronics your thing? The Dark Zone is an explosion of animatronics. From small to gargantuan, this is the place to get your animatronics fix! Shrieks, screams and strobes await your every turn in here! Check out our video here! At 0:40 there is a glimpse into The Dark Zone!

Are you more into or need direction with the behind-the-scenes aspect of your attraction? Transworld has what you’re looking for! Vendors in the area of ticketing, insurance, media, and more, are on hand to answer any questions you may have! Have you considered merchandise with your logo, but not sure what to do or where to start? Interested in adding paintball or laser tag to your attraction? Transworld will have a vendor for you!

Attention Makeup Artists! While browsing the seemingly endless amount of supplies and products, don’t forget to check out the many FREE makeup demos happening on the stage as well as the show floor!

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Have you been hearing about Escape Rooms and been wanting to learn more? Check out the Escape Room City section of the show and attend an Escape Room seminar!  As described on their website, this is “an area dedicated exclusively to the room escape and adventure game industries.”

If you are reading this and thinking: “Oh wow, my haunt isn’t THAT big yet. I’m not ready for ticketing, King Kong sized animatronics, or Escape Rooms… Maybe this isn’t for me…


In addition to every type of vendor imaginable tailored to the haunt industry, Transworld also offers daily seminars! These lectures are highly informative and presented by some of the most experienced professionals in the business. This is your chance to learn about recruitment, safety, staff retention, makeup application, concessions, media, customer service, EVERYTHING! There are seminars for the beginner, all the way up to and including the seasoned haunter. There is most definitely something for everyone. Check out the incredible selection of seminars here!
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This year’s show dates are 3/23/2017 – 3/26/2017. The show floor is open Thursday – Sunday from 10 am – 5pm and Sunday from 10 am – 2pm. However, just because the show has ended for the day, does not mean the experience stops with it! Transworld is a gold mine of networking opportunities! This is the time to make some lifelong friends (mark my words, it WILL happen!) and pick the brains of other like-minded individuals. This is NOT the time to be shy! However, if you are a little on the shy side, the after parties and other events are perfect ice-breaker environments that will make it easy for you to kick back, relax, and mingle with the macabre!
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Please note that this show is not open to the general public. For information on purchasing tickets, what credentials are required to attend, and some other basic rules, please click this link.

I’ve only barely touched the surface of a few of the many, MANY highlights of this show. This will be my 4th year attending and I look forward to it every year! I can’t wait to see all the friends I’ve made in the past and look forward to making new ones as well. If you are a haunter, this is where you need to be! See you soon!