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Traveling Carnival Brings Death Along East Coast

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A traveling carnival is known for bringing laughter, fun, and an air of mystery with them from town to town, but this particular east coast carnival brought something else; murder.

In a span of just 18 days James Michael Wright of Mendota, Va., allegedly killed three women.  The 23 year old met all three victims at his job.  The traveling carnival hired Wright as a subcontractor for James H. Drew Exposition, and this gave him the opportunity to meet his victims.  The Georgia based amusement company had yet to immediately comment on the murders, and when they did they claimed they had no record of Wright’s employment with them.

Victims include two Tennessee women; 22 year old Elizabeth Vanmeter, 25 year old Athina Hopson, and 17 year old Jocelyn Alsup of Georgia.

From left; James Michael Wright, Athina Hopson, Jocelyn Alsup, Elizabeth Vanmeter

While Wright met all three victims through his work, the murders did not occur at the carnival, rather near his home.

Vanmeter met her early demise on February 28, 2017 when she and Wright were allegedly engaged in a fight and he shot her.  Wright then buried her body in a shallow grave to conceal his crime.

Alsup met her fate at the hands of Wright on March 09 after engaging in sex in the woods near his home.  He claimed to have accidentally shot her while trying to shoot an animal and missed.  He then proceeded to bury her body beneath some logs in the forest.  Wright met 17 year old Alsup through her mother who was a co-worker of his at the traveling carnival.

Lastly Hopson met her death at the end of Wright’s firearm on March 17 when they were on a walk together.  He reported to have tripped and fell when his gun suddenly discharged and went off, killing Hopson.  He then loaded her lifeless body into the back of his truck but it fell out when he was driving over a bridge and rolled down the bank into a river where he decided not to retrieve it.

He insists all three shootings were accidental, yet given the evidence collected by law enforcement Washington County Sheriff Fred Newman told reporters “We find that hard to believe based on the information we have.”

Police are deeming Wright a serial killer, and an investigation is underway in search for any additional victims.  Given the nature of his work, law enforcement agencies are examining if towns the carnival made their stops at have reported any missing persons during Wright’s employment and time with the company.

While Wright has had no history of criminal activity he is currently being held without bond on three counts of capital murder.  If convicted Wright can face the death penalty.

Comedy Horror

7 Netflix Titles We’re Interested in Coming in August

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Netflix in August is giving us 7 titles we’re interested in. Some are returning series, some are original movies, but all are worthy of a watchlist ping. Let us know what you think and if there are some we missed that you want us to know about.

Coming in August 2022

The Sandman (August 5)

Here is a highly anticipated live-action version of Neil Gaiman’s comic book classic. At almost 40 years old, the story is getting a Netflix series. The streamer had a successful run with Lucifer, a spin-off character from the comics.

Gaiman himself describes the story of The Sandman: A wizard attempting to capture Death to bargain for eternal life traps her younger brother Dream instead. Fearful for his safety, the wizard kept him imprisoned in a glass bottle for decades. After his escape, Dream, also known as Morpheus, goes on a quest for his lost objects of power.

I Just Killed My Dad (August 9)

Netflix has been hitting their true-crime docu-series’ out of the park. Often compelling and full of twists, these true crime titles are a popular sub-genre. I Just Killed My Dad is definitely an attention-grabbing title, so it seems we are in for another wild, interesting ride.

Synopsis: Anthony Templet shot his father and never denied it. But why he did is a complex question with profound implications that go far beyond one family.

Locke & Key Season 3 (August 10)

Are you ready to return to Keyhouse? The popular series Locke & Key is dropping its third season, premiering this month. A nail-biting cliffhanger in the season two finale will most likely be addressed.

Not only that but this is reported to be the final season of the supernatural thriller. Don’t dodge this one if you know what I mean.

School Tales: The Series (August 10)

Who doesn’t like anthologies? With Asian horror becoming trendy again stateside, we get this offering from Thailand. There are eight stories in all, each with its own ghost story to tell:

A girl jumping to her death; a haunted library; canteen food made from human flesh; a headless ghost in the school warehouse; a devil-infested room; a vengeful demon in an abandoned building; and a classroom where only dead students attend class.

Will the stories have a wraparound arc? We’ll have to wait and see.

Day Shift (August 12)

Jamie Foxx is a Los Angeles pool boy who just wants to provide for his daughter in Day Shift. So what’s a little side-hustle killing vampires? This highly anticipated action opus is from the creators of John Wick 4 so you know it’s going to be frenetic. The trailer alone is watchlist worthy and we’ve already checked the box.

Co-starring Dave Franco and Snoop Dogg, Day Shift is probably going to chart through the roof. Is it going to be Stranger Things popular? Probably not, but it looks like a real good time.

Echoes (August 19)

This Australian thriller is coming up top to the states this month. Not much is known about the plot and that might be a good thing if you like a little mystery with your horror. This comes from the creator of 13 Reasons Why but feels a little more like 2021’s I Know What You Did Last Summer.

Leni and Gina are identical twins who have secretly swapped their lives since they were children, culminating in a double life as adults, but one of the sisters goes missing and everything in their perfectly schemed world turns into chaos

The Girl in the Mirror (August 19)

Anyone else noticing a trend in movie titles that start with “The Girl”? This series is imported from Spain, another country that is rising in quality horror entertainment. With heavy Final Destination vibes, The Girl in the Mirror has us intrigued.

Synopsis: After surviving a bus accident in which almost all her classmates die, Alma wakes up in a hospital with no memory of the incident… or of her past. Her house is full of memories that are not hers, and both amnesia and trauma cause her to experience night terrors and visions that she cannot clarify. With the help of her parents and friends, unknown to her, she will try to uncover the mystery surrounding the accident while struggling to recover her life and her identity.

From July:

July means half the year is over and boy, has Netflix had a great one. Stranger things have happened.

But it’s not over yet, and the streamer has more up its sleeve in July as far as fascinating content. In the remaining days they are offering up some intriguing stories and we have picked several that have caught our attention.

We present them here so that you can plan the rest of July in anticipation just like the rest of us.

The Wretched July 31

Even though 2020 sucked for a lot of people there were some decent titles that came out that year to appease the homebound horror fan. The Wretched is one of those titles and it delivers. With an interesting story and strikingly creepy visuals, The Wretched still holds up right down to its final act. If you didn’t get a chance to see this when it first came out, give it a watch on Netlfix and let it cast its spell.

A defiant teenage boy, struggling with his parents’ imminent divorce, faces off with a thousand-year-old witch, who is living beneath the skin of and posing as the woman next door.

Keep Breathing July 28

At first, it seems like Yellowjackets for one, but then it delves into some Stephen King-type territory. Either way, Keep Breathing looks like an adventure in terror and we’ve got our figurative tickets. Scream’s (2021) Melissa Barrera stars as a plane crash survivor who seemingly gets caught between reality and fantasy. The fantasy part might be more damaging than the elements as her will to survive lessens every hour.

When a small plane crashes in the middle of the Canadian wilderness, a lone survivor must battle the elements — and her personal demons— to stay alive.

Indian Predator: The Butcher of Delhi

Netflix has shown up for foreign filmmakers recently. They aren’t afraid of subtitles even though they seem to love bad dubbing. This offering is based on true events and has some English-speaking interviews. But what intrigues us the most is how one person can dismember so many people and still evade authorities.

One city, one cold-blooded murderer and multiple horrifying crimes. Brace yourself for the most bone-chilling, blood curdling true crime story you’ll ever see. Because this time, evil is closer than you thought it would be.

School Tales The Series TBD

As stated above, Netflix is leveling up on their foreign horror movie game. Earlier this month we got the found footage creeper Incantation, and now we get another Taiwanese horror movie, School Tales; this time it’s an anthology. It has all the earmarks of an Asian horror movie with its curses, classrooms, and evil school girls. But will we hold a grudge if it doesn’t hold up to our standards?

Every school has its tales of horror and mystery… the marching band is staying over at the school for annual camp and the members decide to “test” if some of their school’s ghostly tales are for real.

My Village People July 22

From East Asia to West Africa we get a witchy offering with My Village People. No, it’s not an autobiography about a 70s boy group who are famous for a wedding reception dance, although that might make our 6 Netflix titles we’re interested list. This one’s about a coven of witches who appear unhappy with a man who courts two of them. Will this put a spell on us or drive us into the woods?

A young man’s weakness for women lands him in trouble when he is caught in a bizarre love triangle with witches.

Bad Exorcist Wednesday, July 20

A TV-MA animated series? Yes and thank you very much. This Polish series looks two parts South Park and two parts Beavis and Butt-Head. Apparently, this series is about a freelance exorcist who is fouler than the monsters he’s provoking. Sounds like a regular Saturday to me!

No demon is safe as Bogdan Boner, the alcohol-loving, self-taught exorcist-for-hire, returns with more inventive, obscene and deadly deeds.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=45tmBZM4G3w

So that’s it so far; our 6 Netflix titles we’re interested in to round out the month. Even if they aren’t as great as we would like, it’s comforting to know we are halfway to Halloween.

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Horror Entertainment News

Netflix Documentary ‘I Just Killed My Dad’ Dives Deep to Explore a Chilling Case

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Killed

Netflix’s I Just killed My Dad is a chilling 3-part series that delves into a case that was solved easily enough, with a confession that didn’t take much trouble to receive. However, the reasons behind the “why” of it all are still baffling to this day.

The series explores the events that lead up to the murder as well as diving into the mind of the son following the life-altering event. A lot of what the media told was the story that existed on the surface that painted the picture of a son killing his father. However, it never bothered to dig further to discover exactly what led up to those events.

The synopsis for Netflix’s I Just Killed My Dad goes like this:

I Just Killed My Dad is an unprecedented documentary series, which tells the unbelievable, never-been-told-before true story of the Templet family. Anthony Templet shot his father and never denied it. But why he did it is a complex question with profound implications that go far beyond one family. This three-episode documentary series explores the psyche of Anthony leading up to the events of June 3, 2019 and the journey of his mental and emotional aftermath.

I Just Killed My Dad premieres on Netflix beginning August 9.

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Horror Entertainment News

Ed Gein: How the Notorious Psychopath Inspired Some of Horror’s Greatest Villains

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Ed Gein, born August 27, 1906, is perhaps one of the most notoriously deranged maniacs in American history.

While we all recognize the household names of Jeffrey Dahmer, Ted Bundy, and John Wayne Gacy Jr., their legacies have a shorter reach. Gein’s crimes were so horrific that they went on to inspire some of the most recognizable villains in pop culture.

Leatherface (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre)

While the film is marketed as a true story, I’m sorry to say that there was no real Texas Chainsaw Massacre. The “real events” are actually referring to Ed Gein’s farmhouse of horrors in rural Wisconsin.

Gein confessed to killing two women, but his reputation grew from his disturbing fascination with human taxidermy. When he was taken by authorities, his house was decorated with human skulls on the bedposts and carved into bowls. Lampshades, a wastebasket, and chair coverings were made from human skin, and it doesn’t end there. Leatherface’s mask was inspired by Gein’s own choice of adornments.

While Leatherface is seen as the main antagonist of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre series, he does take a lot of influence and direction from his family. If we can get any indication from the trailer, we should see more of this in the upcoming 2017 film. Leatherface’s dependent relationship with his toxic family could have been inspired by Gein’s own challenges with his mother.

What challenges, you ask? Well, I’m glad you brought it up.

Norman Bates (Psycho)

Prior to his crimes, Gein had an unhealthy relationship with his domineering mother, Augusta. She raised her two sons – Ed and his older brother, Henry – mostly in isolation, punishing them when they attempted to make friends at school. The boys were often abused by their mother, who was convinced that they were destined to become failures like their alcoholic father.

Augusta vehemently preached to Ed and Henry about the innate immorality of the world – she believed that all women (herself excluded) were prostitutes and instruments of the devil. Every day Augusta would read to the boys from the Old Testament – her usual selections were graphic stories about death, murder, and divine retribution.

Naturally, these lessons had a great effect on young Ed. After all, a boy’s best friend is his mother.

Horror writer Robert Bloch drew inspiration from Gein’s maternal obsession to build the prototype for the modern-day slasher. Norman Bates “transformed” into his mother to carry out his violent acts, much in the way that Gein wanted to create a woman suit to become his mother – to “crawl into her skin”.

Which brings me to our next character.

Buffalo Bill (Silence of the Lambs)

Jame Gumb (aka Buffalo Bill) was inspired by a few different serial killers, including Ted Bundy’s modus operandi (he would pretend to be injured to seek assistance from his victims) and Edmund Kemper (who killed his grandparents as a teen, “just to see what it felt like”).

Gein obtained “trophies” from the bodies of recently deceased middle-aged women who he thought resembled his mother, probably in an attempt to remain close to her. It’s said that shortly after his mother’s death, Gein wanted a sex change, not just to become a woman, but to become his mother.

Like Gein, Gumb made a “woman suit” for himself using human skin. He, too, wanted to take the identity of a woman, but as an extremely misguided reaction to his perceived gender dysphoria, misattributed due to his intense self-hatred. In the book The Silence of the Lambs, Jack Crawford explains that Gumb is “not in fact transsexual but merely believes himself to be”. Gumb didn’t just want to change his gender, he wanted a transformative rebirth.

Although there are numerous elements that contribute to the unnerving terror of Buffalo Bill, the number one thing that stands out in everyone’s memory is the woman suit. Ed Gein pioneered that look, and it’s not a good one, but the pure horror of it effectively crawls under your skin (so to speak).

It’s a terrifying thought, but sometimes the worst things we can imagine have already been done.

 

If you’re not creeped out yet, check out these Ed Gein inspired creations

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