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While You Were Sleeping is a Horror Movie

The title alone is a straight-up horror movie. So how was WHILE YOU WERE SLEEPING a 90s rom-com classic? This week, we’re here to prove it’s more like a psychological thriller.

If you grew up swooning over Sandy B deceiving a grieving family to find love, this is the podcast for you. Because, same. If Sandra Bullock, Bill Pullman and Peter Gallagher weren’t charming AF, would this even be a movie?

Amanda and Brooke debate which of the characters (who are all 100% psychopaths) is the least problematic. Spoiler alert, it’s definitely not Joe Jr.

Let’s revisit this 90s staple from an older, wiser perspective and all agree that it would have been better served by embracing the fact that it’s actually terrifying.

Episode Notes:  

The article where Brooke found some of the facts we chat about. 

 

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How to Survive a Hallmark Holiday Movie

Hallmark Holiday Movie Survival Guide

Each December, we sit idly by as high-powered business executives throw their MBAs into festively decked fireplaces for love. The fallout from Hallmark holiday movies seems like somebody else’s problem. Sure, it happened to Erica, the New York City advertising exec, and Ashleigh, the out-of-work fashion journalist, but it could never happen to you.

That’s where you’re wrong. No one is safe from finding love at Christmastime, so it’s best you be prepared.

Familiarize yourself with this guide, or you may find yourself stranded in a remote village at the mercy of an altruistic innkeep, or worse, your hometown being low-key stalked by your high school sweetheart.

Scenario 1: You have a high profile job in New York, Chicago, or San Francisco, and you’re offered a quick turnaround assignment in a quaint mountain town with a hard deadline of Christmas Eve.

Just say no. Work-life balance is so important, and it’s better to learn that now than after boarding a propeller plane to a regional airport in the middle of nowhere, falling in love with the heir to a local tree farm, and spending the rest of your life running the town’s year-round Christmas store.

If you must take the assignment, don’t panic. Panic may cause a slip on ice that will result in a severe head injury, which may in turn trigger a Christmas do-over. If this happens, you’ll likely awaken in the childhood bedroom you spent 18 years planning your escape from. But that’s a worst-case scenario. However, if it should occur, skip ahead to Scenario 3.

Scenario 2: You’ve received an elaborately handmade advent calendar whittled from balsam wood, or a series of unsigned cards addressed in perfect calligraphy.

Don’t open them. Douse them in gasoline, watch them burn, and toast the ashes with a cheerful mug of cocoa. Sure, it seems romantic, but door 23 likely contains a doll made from human hair. (Spoiler alert: it’s yours and it’s actually a tree topper! How festive.)

If the words “don’t open them” only made you more resolved to know your admirer’s secret identity, ask yourself: does your childhood best friend live nearby? You know, the one who never left home and won’t shut up about how it’s the BEST decision they ever made? It’s them. Congratulations. Board the first bus out of town before you end up spending your prime upselling reindeer tea cozies in the middle of June.

Scenario 3: You wake up in your childhood split-level in Minnesota when you fell asleep in a Manhattan highrise.

While your first thought might be to see a doctor for the traumatic brain injury you’ve likely suffered, if you’re in a Hallmark holiday movie, it’s too late for that now. Follow these directions carefully.

Find your high school sweetheart. If you don’t know how to reach them, look for clues in the easy-to-reach shoebox of photographs you keep under your bed even though it’s been roughly 20 years and you’ve moved five times.

Now pay attention, time is of the essence. It’s imperative you navigate this situation quickly so you can get yourself the medical attention you desperately need as you’re likely bleeding out on a patch of ice in Central Park.

First, admit every decision you’ve made in the last two decades has been wrong. You should never have left town to get an education. There are perfectly accredited business schools online! And sure, your current job is professionally fulfilling and comes with a great benefits package, but who needs vision and dental when you have love and a 50% stake in a store that only turns a profit 2 months a year.

Confess your mistake and you’ll wake up with a second chance at life – literally, you’re losing so much blood.

Scenario 4: You find yourself forced to spend time with an attractive work colleague who is your exact opposite.*

(*You’re a Type A all work-no play caricature of a person with a tendency towards thick-rimmed fashion glasses, a high pony, and brushing your teeth with military precision until your gums bleed.)

Quit your job. You can learn to let your hair down without spending 90 minutes plus commercials babysitting a charismatic 35-year-old who never learned how alarm clocks work – even though you’re both up for the same promotion.

If your strong work ethic won’t allow for you to carelessly quit without notice, brace yourself. Unfortunately, the Hyundai Sonata product placement wasn’t a great choice during a holiday blizzard and the two of you will be trapped at a rustic inn with only one room left. Be forewarned, a “no rooms left at the inn” joke will tempt you to sleep in the car.

QUICK. Ask them about the college ex who left them at the altar last Christmas so you can cut to the part where they become a relatable human being. But let’s be honest, the simple act of them having one emotion paired with the stress of being snowed-in a 200-year-old converted barn in the middle of nowhere while trying to make a midnight work deadline is enough to heighten anyone’s emotions. Marry them, it might work out.

Scenario 5: You’re attracted to a mall Santa.

‘Tis the damn season! But, if you’re in a Hallmark Christmas movie, it’s likely they’re the real Santa – which comes with a whole new set of problems. Relocation to the North Pole, fewer job prospects, premature aging, Christmas Eve deadlines every year for the rest of your life. Don’t make any commitments until December 26th, when the holiday spirit fades and you realize he’s more or less an overgrown child who’s married to their job and doesn’t properly groom their facial hair.

CONGRATS! With our help, you’ve made it to the New Year alone! You’ve successfully avoided becoming another cautionary tale.

A Cautionary Christmas. Coming to Hallmark December 2021.

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Episodes

Ep. 18 – Black Christmas & The House Bunny

We’re your family now…. This week, we’re getting into the holiday spirit – 2000s style with two movies about orphans finding their own family in a group of unsuspecting sorority girls. So grab your low-rise Santa suit with rhinestone bedazzled buckle and hold onto your eyeballs as we go back to school just in time for winter break with BLACK CHRISTMAS (2006). And since we’ve been extra aughty this year, we’re comparing it to that other 2000s sorority classic, THE HOUSE BUNNY (2008).

Join us as we ask the hard questions like how feminist are these two girl-powered movies and can a candy cane *actually* be used as a shiv? We also call back to BLACK CHRISTMAS (1974) because it’s actually a true holiday classic.

Episode Notes:

This interview with THE HOUSE BUNNY writers Kirsten Smith & Karen McCullah Lutz 10 years after the film’s release.

IMDb Trivia about Dean Friss being cast as Agnes in BLACK CHRISTMAS.

 

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Ep. 17 – Scream is a love story

This week on the podcast, we’re talking one of our favorite movies – Wes Craven’s SCREAM (1996). Sure, it may be known as the groundbreaking slasher movie that reinvigorated horror in the 90s, but it’s also a love story.

And we’re not just talking about the actual rom-com that is Gale and Dewey. (Strip away the murders, set it at Christmas and Hallmark would be all 👏 over 👏 it 👏)

From all the ways it’s a love letter to horror itself to one couple that should have been canon, the love is very very real. Plus, if you’re over 21 and not driving, play along as we drink every time Amanda calls a scene her favorite. Spoiler alert: It’s a lot. How do we love SCREAM? Let us count the ways…

 

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Episodes

Ep. 16 – Hocus Pocus & Halloween

It’s our favorite time of year. And, this week, we’re getting into the spirit of the spooky season with two of the most Halloween movies ever made – HOCUS POCUS (1993) and HALLOWEEN (1978).

If you’ve ever had basic cable during the month of October, you’ve seen HOCUS POCUS at least 437 times. And, unless you’ve been living under a jack o’ lantern for the last 42 years, statistically, you’ve probably seen at least one of the 12 HALLOWEEN movies.

While you could say the theme of this episode is Halloween nostalgia, these two movies actually have an unnatural amount in common. From exploring the complexities of sibling relationships (brothers are always causing trouble, amirite?) to the importance of being a virgin on Halloween (whether it’s the power to light the black flame candle or survive the night in Haddonfield, virginity has its perks!).

So, put on your best Halloween costume (or just find a cheap William Shatner mask and give it a coat of spray paint), grab a family-size bag of mini Snickers and join us for a Halloween night in the suburbs.

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Ep. 15 – Practical Magic is a horror movie

This week, we’re revisiting Halloween classic PRACTICAL MAGIC (1998). This wacky witchy romp is often billed as a romantic comedy – but is it though? What if it’s actually been a horror movie the whole time?!

Millennials grew up thinking this was a rom-com and could you blame us? It’s got Nicole Kidman, Sandy B, a couple of eccentric aunts AND midnight margaritas! But is a family curse that causes the gruesome deaths of numerous men spanning generations and culminating in murder, corpse reanimation and finally an exorcism *actually* romantic or have we been lied to our entire lives?

Join us as we discuss this cult fave and talk ways the film could have been (and mayybeeee already is) a horror movie. Spoiler alert: it doesn’t take much.

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Bonus episode – Would you rather?

Happily Ever Slasher is back after a brief intermission – and we have a new co-host! This week, Tara says goodbye and we welcome Brooke to the podcast. She’s been a horror fan since THE RING prevented her from getting a good night’s sleep as a kid and her superpower is correctly guessing the ending to any movie in the first 20 minutes. In this bonus episode, Amanda and Brooke play an eye-opening game of horror and rom-com themed “Would you rather?”.

You may not learn our deepest, darkest secrets but you will find out whether we’d rather make out with Pennywise or Freddy Krueger and who we’d choose as our early aughts rom-com sidekick – Judy Greer or Kathryn Hahn. Join us and play along! Share your own answers with us on Instagram.

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Episodes

Ep. 14 – Camp Nowhere & Lord of the Flies

It’s another week at Camp Happily Ever Slasher. And this week, we’re going back to the 90s with two movies about what happens when kids are left to their own devices… with very different results. We’re talking about the batshit crazy Christopher Lloyd-fronted comedy CAMP NOWHERE (1994) and the film adaptation of LORD OF THE FLIES (1990).

Both movies feature groups of kids surviving on their own with the presence of one adult who is in no condition to be responsible for multiple children. (In LORD OF THE FLIES, this character is critically injured and dies halfway through; in CAMP NOWHERE it’s Christopher Lloyd.)

What is it about Christopher Lloyd befriending a plucky high school kid that is just always so damn good? Also, how does CAMP NOWHERE have a *checks notes* 18% on Rotten Tomatoes? It’s a national treasure!

The lesson this week? Growing up is a trap. Sure, we can make our own bedtime and eat whatever we want – but at what cost?! Are adults *actually* smarter than any of these minors? We want to say yes, but LORD OF THE FLIES feels weirdly relevant. Pass the conch and join us, won’t you?

Episode Notes:  

Watch Lord of the Flies (1990) 👀

Read Lord of the Flies (the Amanda way) 

Read Lord of the Flies (the Tara way)

Learn more about the ridiculous 2007 reality show – Kid Nation

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Happily Ever Slasher Goes to Summer Camp

This summer, Happily Ever Slasher is going to camp! You know we love a theme. And since we’re spending this summer mostly indoors and six feet away from other people, we couldn’t think of anything more the opposite of that than summer camp.

Ahh throwing a dozen pre-teens in varying stages of puberty together in tiny poorly ventilated cabins crammed with bunk beds – what could go wrong?! And don’t get us started on the food. But turns out movies LIE and the real-life summer camp dining experience rarely dissolves into cafeteria-wide food fights.

Every episode, we compare one rom-com and one horror movie to find out just how much they have in common – and turns out there are A LOT of movies in both genres set at camp. Note: not all of the movies we’ve chosen take place at camp – our criteria was one film per episode. But two of our pairings even offer up double features of summer camp goodness!

The prevalence of camp in both rom-coms and horror makes sense if you think about it. Summer camps are full of promise and opportunities for young love to blossom, but they also give a questionable amount of responsibility to teen counselors tasked with keeping tabs on a whole lot of small children.

So we chose some of our favorite camp classics – FRIDAY THE 13TH and THE PARENT TRAP – for a camp mash-up of the good, the bad, and the absolutely terrifying.  We for sure missed a lot of others, so if we didn’t get to your fave camp movie, please share and we’ll do this again next summer. (NOTE: We had an episode on SLEEPAWAY CAMP and LITTLE DARLINGS that was lost. We’re still not over it, but will definitely be revisiting.)

The episodes:

Friday the 13th* and Wet Hot American Summer*

Us and The Parent Trap*

Lord of the Flies and Camp Nowhere* 

*Camp movies!

Going to summer camp in a movie is LIFE CHANGING. From coming of age at Camp Little Wolf to reuniting with your long-lost twin sister at Camp Walden to being prey to a camp killer at Camp Crystal Lake, camp always results in a summer you won’t soon forget. Unless you’re one of the aforementioned killers’ victims…

So defrost those corn dogs that expired in 2017, put on your best 80s short shorts and join us as we head to camp.

Let us know which camp-themed episode was your favorite by finding us on Instagram @HappilyEverSlasher or emailing us at happilyeverslasher [at] gmail [dot] com. And if you like what you hear, please rate or review us wherever you listen – it really helps!

 

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Ep. 13 – Us & The Parent Trap

This summer, Happily Ever Slasher is going to camp with 4 episodes featuring at least one movie that takes place at a summer camp.

Get ready for all the camp hijinx and twice the recommended amount of Lindsay Lohan with Nancy Meyers’ 1998 favorite THE PARENT TRAP. But don’t get too comfortable – it’s double trouble x 2 as an unsuspecting family finds themselves on summer vacation – it’s Jordan Peele’s 2019 horror masterpiece US.

What’s the deal with the isolation cabin at Camp Walden? Should it have really taken Hallie and Annie *that* long to realize they’re twins? And is Meredith *actually* the villain or was it really Hallie this whole time?

If you haven’t seen US, we recommend watching it before you tune in. Spoiler alert: It was one of our favorite horror movies we’ve done on the pod (and maybe of all time). What are you waiting for? Tether yourself to your nearest listening device and join us.