Halloween

Los Feliz Murder Mansion

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This abandoned mansion possesses a horrific history, and after reading a few blog posts about it, I had to visit it for myself.  

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The facts of the story are this...a seemingly harmless husband and father of three went crazy one December evening in 1959 and killed his wife with a ball peen hammer and then went after his oldest daughter.  She managed to escape, and when the two youngest children awaked, frightened by all the commotion, their father told them they were having a nightmare and to go back to bed.  Then he drank a lethal dose of poison or acid, depending on which version of the story you read, and died.

 

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After the tragedy, the children were sent to live with relatives, and the house was purchased at auction by Julian and Emily Enriquez (imagine attending THAT real estate auction).  The couple willed it to their son and current owner, Rudy.  None of the Enriquez family have ever moved in or made any changes to the house.  The murders are disturbing enough, but the Enriquez family actions are what really make this an infamous story...what logical reason could someone have for holding onto over 5000 square feet of prime real estate in Los Angeles, and leaving the scene of a horrific crime completely untouched?  I took the photos below a couple of years ago, showing the inside of the house that is visible...it certainly doesn't look like anyone has done much cleaning since that night in 1959.

 

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Many of the ground level doors and windows were boarded up over the years due to vandalism, but the front windows to the living room were still completely exposed (as was I, standing at the top of the hill in the front yard, trying to sneak a peek through them)!

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I'd read about some of the things in these photos, but I didn't quite believe it until I saw it in person.

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This was the only evidence I could find peeking through windows of any alleged Christmas-tree-with-unwrapped-presents situation, but it was enough to make this ghastly story a little too real for me:

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The story is that the Enriquez family used the place for storage.  That's a pretty expensive and fancy storage facility, but not very organized.  I'm really curious to know if this was their vintage fat burning/shaker machine:

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I find murder/haunting stories to be wildly exaggerated, but this is an interesting case in that almost everything I've read out there about it from different sources is pretty consistent.

It's rumored that Rudy Enriquez had been approached by potential buyers over the years but had refused to sell, although these real estate agents appear to have held out hope as late as 2002:

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These photos were taken a couple of years ago, and now the home may finally be ready for a new chapter.  It sold in June of 2016 for $2.289 million in a probate sale.  I checked it out a few days ago, and it still looks uninhabited, although the inside was finally cleaned out when it was listed for sale.  Here's hoping that the Mansion and it's new owners have happier days ahead!  

You can read more about the Los Feliz Murder Mansion and it's history here:

Absurd LA

LA Times

Curbed LA

Classic Halloween Films

If you're like me, you love Halloween but the blood and gore side of it might not be your thing.  Classic films are great alternatives to modern horror films because they can strike a spooky tone without going overboard.  Here are a few of my favorite classic Halloween flicks...enjoy!

I Married A Witch - 1942

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A delightful romantic comedy, this film stars the glamorous Veronica Lake as a witch freed after 270 years of imprisonment to exact her revenge upon the descendants of the puritans that had her burned at the stake (but don't worry, that gruesome bit of business is over and done with long before the opening credits!). This movie is complete with all the fun Halloween staples like witches, black cats, broomsticks, spells, and potions.  Basically everything except anything scary!

Young Frankenstein - 1974

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Mel Brooks's timeless spoof on Frankenstein is a scream...in a good way!  Gene Wilder and Marty Feldman are a perfect comedy team, and the movie is full of double entendres and sight gags that will leave you in stitches.  

Nosferatu - 1922

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This is one of the earliest surviving vampire films, but the 1922 special effects and the fact that it is a silent film make it safe enough for a squeamish viewer the get the thrills of a horror film without being horrified.  Having seen this early version of Dracula will also get you points with your cinema-snob friends, as it's considered one of the most influential early horror films.  If you're throwing a Halloween party, Nosferatu can provide great atmosphere playing in the background with title cards like these:

"Is that your wife? What a lovely throat!"

"SPIDERS!"

"Blood is life!  Blood is life!"

House on Haunted Hill - 1959

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How much more Halloween can you get than Vincent Price, the "voice" of Michael Jackson's Thriller?  Price stars as a millionaire who offers $10,000 to five strangers if they agree to be locked in for a night at his spooky mansion.  The 1960s special effects are pretty tame by today's standards, making it fun & spooky to watch without seeing anything too disturbing.  Fun Fact: The actual house from the title is the famous Ennis House designed by Frank Lloyd Wright in Los Feliz.

Alfred Hitchcock Presents

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Aside from Psycho, which has a pretty gory shower scene, any Hitchcock film is great for Halloween.  As the Master of Suspense, Hitchcock's gift is creating said suspense without showing anything too nightmare-inducing.  I couldn't pick just one Hitchcock film, so instead I recommend binge-watch Alfred Hitchcock Presents for the entire month of October to get into the Halloween spirit!

What are your favorite classic Halloween films?