66 Things to Do in Salem, MA

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Halloween - derby st house

The famous Derby St House of fantastic decorations. They make an incredible effort every year that it’s a tourist attraction in and of itself – even on Christmas. Next to Dave Eng’s Flowers, 136 1/2 Derby St.

Because I like lists, and sympathise with the tourist dilemma of “Bollocks! We only have 5 hours to spend here – what do we do first??”, I’ve decided to compile a big fat list of 66* awesome things to do in Salem.

*Yes, this list could have been shorter, but the number 66 is evilly cool, and Salem is a spooky, kooky version of that surreal little hamlet in Gilmore Girls, so ner. (Click “Continue reading” to read more!)

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31 Days of Hallowe’en 2021, Day 25: The Dark Tapes [2016]

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In a couple of Reddit threads over the years, I’d seen The Dark Tapes recommended a few times. For the life of me, I can’t understand why. I had to eat an entire box of blueberry cheesecake pretz just to stay awake to finish it. And I’m a night person.

The Dark Tapes - Wikipedia
source: wikipedia
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31 Days of Hallowe’en 2021, Day 24: The Mare [2020]

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This tiny Norwegian film almost escaped my radar because it was nestled into what I consider to be the movie dumping ground that is Amazon Prime, a site with a terrible user interface, full of bugs, with utterly crap sorting and filters, so you can never bloody find what you want. So luckily this film, with a date of one year ago (20 years in horror-movie-years) – somehow I was able to come across it. And it’s weirdly almost brilliant. But fuck them for making it, because I’m never watching it again.

The Mare (2020) - IMDb
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31 Days of Hallowe’en 2021, Day 23: Gaia [2021]

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Eco-horror is usually something for which I have a soft spot, but when the pace moves slower than earth itself, I struggle to recommend it.

Gaia (2021) - IMDb
source: imdb

This is a shame because Gaia has all the hallmarks of something that sets itself apart: a less-trodden setting (South Africa), a non-traditional lead (a WOC), and SFX that are a mesmerising blend of practical and CGI, all packaged in a brisk runtime punctuated with quieter, subtler storytelling beats, rather than the amped-up, by-the-numbers creature feature I had been expecting. So, for that at least, credit is due.

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31 Days of Hallowe’en 2021, Day 22: Detention [返校] [2019]

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I must confess that I am shamefully ignorant of the political history of Taiwan, but that didn’t detract from my understanding of what was going on (something I’ve read at least one professional review complain about – ???). As long as you’re not second-screening like a dickhead (and why would you if you can’t understand Mandarin?), you shouldn’t have any problems following the plot of this movie – Detention, or 返校.

Detention (2019 film) - Wikipedia
source: imdb
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31 Days of Hallowe’en 2021, Day 21: Titane [2021]

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I feel weird and bad that I struggle to recommend Titane, because actual critics seem to like it and it won the Palme d’Or. And I loved director Julia Ducournau‘s other film Raw. She clearly knows how to push boundaries with body horror but via an entertaining film, and Titane does tick all those boxes. But parts of it feel…problematic.

Titane (2021) - IMDb
source: imdb
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31 Days of Hallowe’en 2021, Day 20: Midnight [2021]

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This one is for fans of Squid Game and, specifically, Wi Ha Jun (the cop). I first saw him as a very nice man/second ML in the rather cozy Romance is a Bonus Book (which I’d recommend as a very hygge kdrama pick-me-up) so seeing him first as a morally dubious character in Squid Game was jarring enough. But then he took that honest-looking face and played a serial killer in Midnight, so the next time I watch BB I’ll be worried about that cute doggo he dotes over in it.

Midnight 2021 film.jpg
source: wikipedia
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31 Days of Hallowe’en 2021, Day 19: Night of Terror [1933]

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I’m really bad with obscure classic films like Night of Terror. Yes, it stars the legend Bela Lugosi, but not everything he did was golden.

Night of Terror (1933) - IMDb
source: imdb

Night of Terror, which would not qualify now as a feature film, is just over an hour long (so less than a kdrama), concerns a group of people in and around a small estate that finds themselves terrorised (very slowly and very sporadically) by a killer who doesn’t ever kill on screen but gurns a lot and displays a profuse need for soap. He also looks like a friend of mine. If you’re reading this friend: Fuck you for making me watch this when I could have introduced you to Strangers From Hell. You haven’t even fucking watched Squid Game yet, you zeitgeist-less fuck.

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31 Days of Hallowe’en 2021, Day 18: Homewrecker [2019]

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Oof. Where to start with this one?

Homewrecker - Movie Reviews
source: i don’t even care, i just want to get this fucking post over with

This is just a movie-shaped bag of poor choices and missed opportunities. After having heard some festival buzz on this a couple of years back, I’d been looking forward to seeing Homewrecker. I hadn’t expected anything game-changing – if anything, a small but but well-made dark comedy. This is one of those things.

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31 Days of Hallowe’en 2021, Day 17: Hellarious [2019]

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Another year, another anthology, only it wasn’t until nearing 5am and right near the end that I realised that this wasn’t a collection of short films new for the overall film as I’d already seen Death Metal years back.

Hellarious (2019) - IMDb
source: imdb
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31 Days of Hallowe’en 2021, Day 16: Seance [2021]

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First of all, I’m annoyed that this film doesn’t use the accent-grave over the e in the title, because I specifically remembered to hold down that fucking key while typing. And then I had to delete it.

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Second, for a film that’s set in a hoity-toity private school full of rich cunts, NOBODY is able to pronounce the Latin ritual phrases correctly. Look, I’ve been casually learning Latin on Duolingo and even I could have made an better educated stab at saying those fucking words properly. It sounds like gammon trying to order Indian food from my parents.

Also: CW: descriptions of SH (in the very first scene)

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