Vanja and I recently had a trip to Paris, and of course visited Disneyland Paris as it’s a part of our “routine” when we travel there. This time, our favorite attraction “Phantom Manor” had been given some upgrades and the first reopening since 1992. First of all, Vincent Price’s introduction in the opening area was back once again, with original excerpts as well as previously unused material from his 1990 recording. The French actor Bernarde Alane is doing the parts in French. They’ve also tied the story of the manor a lot more into the attraction itself, which in my opinion makes it even more “horror”. So, good work by the “renovators”, and two thumbs up from us!

 

Below is an older photo from our second visit, which was in October 2012. The facade remains the same.

Phantom Manor

 

 

I filmed a little bit of the hallway and the attraction, where the hallway had some very nice additions regarding the paintings on the wall. Photos wouldn’t really do them justice, so I decided to make some animated gifs from the videos I captured. Enjoy:

 

The painting in the hallway featuring the Phantom, showing both his previous human side and what he eventually becomes.

 

 

Another painting in the hallway, showing a duel in front of Phantom Manor.

 

 

The loading area, where you get into the “doom buggies”. A new addition to this area, is that the bride is now present on top of the stairs.

 

 

And of course, the upgraded animatronics of the Phantom in all his glory, from inside the attraction (the cemetery part)! His upgraded version has more fluid movements and overall looks much better.

 

For more photos from Disneyland Paris, and other places,  check out my SmugMug page: https://tomte.smugmug.com/Travel

 

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We had a great Halloween celebration (as always, as it’s our favorite time of the year!) and here are some photos.

Vanja and I didn’t have a specific theme for our costumes this year, so we picked something a bit more random:

Halloween

 

Halloween

 

Halloween

 

And of course, we had some Halloween cupcakes and cake! They’re watching…

Halloween

 

Halloween

 

Halloween

 

Vanja’s brother playing Super Castlevania IV, no-damage run.

Halloween

 

And I carved two pumpkins. The smallest one was left all alone in the grocery store, so I just had to buy it, that poor thing.. and it ended up as a Cyclops pumpkin, which we put out on the porch to welcome the kids who came trick or treating.

Halloween

99 percent of the movies Vanja and I watch in the cinema are horror movies (wow, what a shocker), and 2019 has definitely been a really strong year for the genre. In fact, I can’t remember another year where there have been so many horror movies in the cinema, and I’m speaking of my home country Norway. Most of the horror movies we’ve seen at the big screen this year has already been reviewed on our new site horrorghouls.com we launched in March. And to our excitement it looks like 2020 will be a strong year for horror as well.

But, yeah, we do see other types of films too, on the rare occasion when there pops up titles that are worth our attention. For example, Rambo V: Last Blood. We also saw the Joker movie on its premiere day, which I also will share some thoughts on later. But first, let’s take a look at what our old friend John Rambo has been up to lately:

 

Rambo: Last Blood

Since Rambo slaughtered a gang of local infantry units in Burma’s war zone eleven years ago, he has settled down on a farm in the quiet country side in Arizona with his old friend Maria and her granddaughter Gabrielle. Even though Rambo is still struggling with trauma, a misanthropic worldview and keeps chewing pills, he finally seems to have gotten some inner piece while he train horses and builds underground tunnels by the farm. Well, the little peace he has achieved is going to be shattered soon, when Gabrielle wants to go to Mexico to track down her biological father who abandoned her and her mother years ago. A very bad idea, but after John and her grandmother strongly advice her to stay as far away from the place as if it was the plague, she goes anyway, under their radar.

And what could possible go wrong..?

Mexico looks like a big, broken, rusty toilet filled with criminals and corrupt police officers lurking in every corner, and it doesn’t take long before she gets drugged in a nightclub and sold off to a Mexican cartel. They throw her like worthless trash in a basement filled with other young women, who have been forced into prostitution for the all sleazy men to enjoy like they were wild animals, including the police. Welcome to Mexico. Rambo drives straight to the border to rescue her, which ends up in a spectacular tirade of merciless body counts that would even put Jason Vorhees to shame. I’m actually a little baffled that this got only a PG-rating when it feels way more like an R-rating. But okay, I eat movies like this for breakfast anyway.

There is nothing new to learn about Rambo here, we know what we need to know, where he comes from and the zero tolerance he has for garbage people who dare to make his life miserable, or if they hurt the few people he cares about. At the age of 73, Stallone is in great shape and more intense than ever, and is practically evolving into a walking killing machine in full psychotic rage where he has nothing more to lose, and getting his revenge is the only thing that matters. Even though his mind is pretty broken and gone, his physics tells a whole other story. Heads are cut off, limbs dismembered, and I couldn’t avoid giggling when one of the cartel members got his collarbone ripped out with Rambo’s bare hands. Pure gold!

Rambo 4 from 2008 had a perfect ending and closure, so I’m lying if I say this movie doesn’t seem a little unnecessary. Last Blood feels more like one big encore, and is made for fans and the fans only, who still wants more with a straight-forward revenge premise for those who think Death Wish seems outdated and The Expendables too tame. It’s a simple and no-brainer popcorn flick at its best, and it is not trying to be more than what it is. It’s steadily directed by Adrian Grunberg who also made “Get the Gringo” with Mel Gibson in 2012. The same raw vibe from Rambo 4 is also still here, but it seems somewhat underdeveloped in some places. What ever happened to his sidekick, Carmen, who just comes and goes? Well, whatever. Still, it’s an entertaining ride of an epilogue to the Rambo saga with a pretty insane, bloody climax where it goes in full-blown slasher film territory. Fun!

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