31 Days of Horror: Paranormal Activity / The Haunting

Paranormal Activity opens today in Regina and Saskatoon. This low budget haunted house story has been generating buzz for a while on the internet and has been slowly climbing up the box office chart for a few weeks now. It crushed the lame remake of The Stepfather and now it's up against the latest Saw film.

It's another pseudo-documentary like The Blair Witch Project that relies on suggestion rather than actually showing anything. I haven't seen it yet but it looks and sounds interesting and from the trailer - it looks like a fun film to see in a theatre full of people. The Galaxy is playing midnight showings on Friday and Saturday for those brave enough.

Which brings me to today's film - The Haunting (1963). This brilliant horror film is one of the best haunted house movies ever made. Directed by Robert Wise this adaptation of Shirley Jackson's novel The Haunting of Hill House is creepy, eerie and just plain unsettling at times.

Wise goes for the less is more philosophy - using sound and shadows to create chills rather than relying on special effects. The story takes place in Hill House, a house with a dark and disturbing past. Richard Johnson is Dr. John Markway. Markway wants to explore the house and try to solve its mysteries. To do this he assembles a team of people with a history of the paranormal. One of those people is Eleanor 'Nell' Lance (Julie Harris) who is drawn to the house.

The movie is extremely effective. There was a remake in 1999 that was all CGI effects and no bite. It was terrible and it just about ended director Jan De Bont's short career. The last film he directed was in 2003 - the equally crappy Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life. Filmmakers seem to forget that the best way to scare people is to build tension, establish mood and let the audiences imagination do the rest.

Friday Afternoon Kitty!

This installment in prairie dog's hard-hitting weekly exposé of kitty porn on the web is a doozy. It's the story of two guys and their cat: Boys meet cat, boys save cat, boys send cat to Africa, boys reunite with cat a year later and get totally covered in cat slime. A real tear jerker, and guaranteed to melt your heart, unless you're a music lover. It's just soooooo popular, you can't find a version without an obnoxious Whitney Houston soundtrack. This one isn't bad, just mute at 00:26 and you should be barf free while you marvel at the magic of life.

Candidate Profiles: Who's Running for Mayor?

For the latest prairie dog, we got the candidates in October 28's municipal election to fill out Candidate Questionnaires, in which they had to answer such hard-hitting questions as "Which Star Trek character are you?" and "What's your totem animal?" (Oh, don't worry. We grilled them on the issues, too.) Unfortunately, due to space contraints, we weren't able to run every answer we received and we weren't able to run profiles for candidates in the school board races.

As a result over the next few days, we'll be posting the candidates' complete profiles here, on the dog blog. Tomorrow we'll post the profiles for candidates running for spots on city council. Sunday, we'll tackle the two school board races. But today, we'll take a look at the three people running for the job of mayor....

JIM ELLIOTT says he's running for mayor because the current council isn't doing enough for marginalized people and for the environment. He's reading Less Law and Order by Irwin Waller and his totem animal is the Owl. Read his complete profile.

PAT FIACCO says he's running for reelection as mayor because he wants to see continue the work council's been doing to make Regina affordable, safe and environmentally sustainable. He says the Star Trek character he resembles is Captain Kirk (they both have great hair) and he's reading a tonne of reports. Read his complete profile.

LINDA WHITE says she's running for mayor because she wants to raise awareness about how difficult it is to find affordable, safe housing in Regina. She says in Regina City Hall: the Movie, the part of Linda White should be played by Julia Roberts and her totem animal is the eagle. Read her complete profile.

Pick of the Day: Propagandhi

You know them, you love them -- even though they're from Winnipeg. They're punk/hardcore/thrash veterans Propagandhi.

Founded in 1986, the band has endured a few line-up changes over the years. But one thing that hasn't changed is their strident advocacy on behalf of human and animal rights, free speech, anti-imperialism and other progressive causes. Currently touring as a four-piece fronted by founding members Chris Hannah and Jord Samolesky, they released their latest album Supporting Caste in March.

Tonight, Propagandhi headline a concert at Riddell Centre that features a supporting cast composed of Rebel Spell, local favourites Armour Fou, and Beelzebison. Here's video of them performing "Anti-Manifesto" at a show in Peru in 2007. (YouTube)