Dream Home (2010): Chinese Urban Horror

This cross genre Chinese film about a girl seeking her “dream Home” is a must see. Here are my thoughts about the film. Enjoy.

Getting Used to the Silence

My front garden (aka front yard)
My front garden (aka front yard)

Up until Friday the 26th of March this year, I was used to a (to me anyway) fairly full house. Then my daughter and her fella moved out of the house.

Now the house feels very empty…and quiet.

I’ve spent the past two days cleaning and washing and sorting the house until it looks fresh. It also looks empty. I decided this morning to take a few pictures and describe this silent location I live in. So tighten up your belts, the tour starts now.

The first thing you’ll see coming into my abode will be the front hallway –

My front hallway.
My front hallway.

Not too exciting by anyone’s standards but it is mine and it leads into the kitchen.

IMG_0067
See! I told you I’d been cleaning!

Then, if you turn around and go straight to your left you enter…The front room, aka sitting room.

My entertainment corner! Video games are mandatory.
My entertainment corner! Video games are mandatory.
My place of work...the downstairs one. Gloves for the heavy jobs only.
My place of work…the downstairs one. Gloves for the heavy jobs only.
My Stevie King collection, unfortunately a lot of them are in the attic due to lack of bookcases.
My Stevie King collection, unfortunately a lot of them are in the attic due to lack of bookcases.
My "remembrance" wall, The Twin towers skyline before 9/11 and my Gran Know way on the right.
My “remembrance” wall, The Twin towers skyline before 9/11 and my Gran Knox way on the right.

Then if you go up the stairs the first room you come to will be this one –

My third bedroom, cum spare room, cum office.
My third bedroom, cum spare room, cum office.

Then the very empty and too quiet second bedroom –

It's so empty! *sniff*
It’s so empty! *sniff*

And finally my last refuge at night, the master bedroom!

Complete with American "made in Missouri" quilt.
Complete with American “made in Missouri” quilt.

I’ve stopped the tour here. Why? Well because as the post title says “Getting Used to the Silence”  and that is a bit of a misnomer. I’ve discovered that since I have become the sole occupant of this house, that it makes one hell of a row at night. Especially at bedtime and especially just as I’m drifting off to sleep.

I don’t know how I never noticed it before. the house: creaks, pops, shuffles (I know, weird right), groans, snaps and makes a myriad of other sounds that defy description.

The end result of this cacophony of noise? Me jumping back awake every two minutes or so until I’ve convinced myself that, “Yes the downstairs doors were all locked and bolted. And yes, you are alone in the house!”

I personally blame the emptiness, and the pervading quiet that disarms me and is taking ages to get used to.

But honestly, it is allowing me to get on with my new-found work (I’m writing for Rogue Cinema and I’m now a part of the staff with owner/editor Duane L Martin and a bunch of other folks (including Misty Layne from Cinema Schninema).

I’m also signing on with Tomorrow Comes Media to participate in their author’s tour programme as well as writing my own blog and trying to write my first book (along with creating more short stories for a collection).

On top of that, I’m still watching films and excitedly awaiting the shooting date of Once Bitten, Twice Shy written, directed and produced by the super talented Natasha Harmer.

My cup truly “runneth over.”

So I’m trying to get used to the silence (except at night) and working on a schedule that will allow me to do everything and get to spend some quality me-time in my back garden.

We've got the sun, now we just need some warmth!
We’ve got the sun, now we just need some warmth!

AN ARKANSAS RAZORBACK IN QUEEN ELIZABETH COUNTRY 7

After I’d lived in the shared house about six months, Ralph had a female friend who was flying in to visit him. He’d never been to Stansted Airport so I said I would help him navigate his way there. The night before we both hit the hay early because we would be leaving at about 0630 in the morning. I drifted right off after double checking my alarm clock to make sure that I had set it right.

BAM! BAM! BAM! BAM! I fell out of bed as the last of the heavy ‘bangs‘ on my door faded. I leapt up and ran to my bedroom door trying to put my trousers on as I went. With one trouser leg on and the other limply dragging behind me, I flung open the door. I had overslept, I just knew it. The words of apology that were forming on my lips died before I could utter them.

The kitchen, which was outside my bedroom, was silent and dark. I paused for a split second to put my other leg in my trousers. I rushed through the house to find Ralph and tell him that I’d be ready in a quick minute. I went all the way upstairs and his bedroom door was shut and the light was off. Puzzled, I went back down to my room and looked at the alarm clock.

0300.

I was completely stumped. The ‘banging’ had been real, I’d heard it still resonating through the house while I trying to put my trousers on. I looked thoughtfully at my ‘outside’ bedroom door. I decided that perhaps a drunken idiot and kicked my door for a laugh.

I stood in front of the door and after I put my boots on I kicked the living hell out of it. Try as I might (and with several different implements as well) I could not get the loud BAM that had disrupted my slumber. The most I could get from the bolted shut door was a dull, heavy sounding thud. I knew I hadn’t imagined it I’d actually woken up after the first two bangs. I had been on a Rapid Deployment Team when I’d first joined the Air Force and I was used to waking up at the first noise.

I then remembered the ghostly footsteps and the rocking bit of leather on Ralph’s recliner and I got spooked. I turned on every light in my bedroom as a sort of talisman that would ward off any mischievous spirits. I finally drifted off to sleep in a blaze of light at about half-past five.

Ralph did come and knocked on my bedroom door around 0615 and I startled him by opening the door before his fist could connect with the door the second time. I told him about my experience in the wee hours of the night and he then helped me conduct a few experiments on banging the doors the wall and even smacking the hell out of the kitchen table.

Nothing we did could replicate those loud bangs that had resounded through the house at three in the morning.

Ralph confided in me later that he didn’t like walking through the house without having a light on. I’d noticed that he turned on every light in the house when he walked through each room. As he was hardly there, I thought it was because he couldn’t remember where the furniture was. No, it turned out that the house, “Give’s me the hinks.” Whatever that meant.

I had moved out and was living in Cambridge and when I went to work one day Ralph approached me excitedly. He had a new girlfriend. Her name was Sarah and I’d met her quite a few times.

“Dude! The house is haunted!”

“No shit.”

“Yeah man. We had a medium out and everything. After you left the shit got worse.”

“Maybe it missed me.”

He laughed, “Yeah that must be it.”

I asked him what had happened and over lunch he told me. It turned out that his new girl had something touch her on the neck while the two of them were watching telly in the sitting room. It also go to the point that when she went up the stairs something would brush past her as if someone was trying to go around her on the stairs. After a month things began to escalate. Every time Sarah would go down the stairs she could feel someone breathing on the back of her neck. She ignored it, thinking that after awhile it would stop.

It didn’t.

One night as she and Ralph hurried to get ready for a party she went down the stairs to touch up her make-up. Halfway down the stairs someone pushed her hard from behind. She fell down the last six steps and badly hurt her ankle. Furious, she hobbled back up the stairs to yell at Ralph only to find he wasn’t there. He’d been in the kitchen the whole time.

The straw that broke the camels back was when one week later and she was going down the same stairs. One of the hall lights had burnt out and Ralph had not replaced the bulb yet. This made the stairway gloomier than ever. As Sarah made her way cautiously down the stairs a face suddenly appeared in front of her and pushed right up into her face. Her shrieks brought Ralph running from his bedroom thinking that she had fallen down the stairs again.

Ralph told me that all he could see was a bit of ‘darker’ air in front of Sarah, but no face. Sarah then gave Ralph an ultimatum. Either get the house looked at by somebody who knew about these things or it would be a very cold day in Hell before she ever stepped foot in the house again.

Ralph called a medium the next day.

She came out and did a “reading” of the house. She then informed Ralph that he did indeed have an unwanted guest in his house. She explained to him that the house had been a coach house in the early days and that one of the ‘footmen’ was still attached to the house. Ralph told her about the ghostly footsteps and the swinging leather throw. He also told her about the bangs in the night. She explained that because we hadn’t really reacted the spirit had calmed down.

Unfortunately when Sarah turned up, the spirit decided he quite fancied her. When she ‘rebuffed’ him he got angry. According to her he was still angry and very jealous of Ralph.

He got the house ‘cleansed’ the very next day and the romantic footman was never heard from again.