I Am the Pretty Thing That Lives in the House / Blackwater

Welcome to the “soft launch” of Bloody High and thanks for reading the very first post. Think of this entry as a “proof of concept” to give you a taste of the type of content and writing style you can expect beginning this July.

The night started innocently enough. A night like so many nights before it. That’s to say, I’ve smoked a bowl and settled in for a horror movie numerous times in the past. And I’ve done it numerous times since. But this particular trip was exceptional. In fact, it was this stoney experience that inspired me to start this blog. An experience I’ve been chasing ever since – trying to replicate that perfect strain/movie pairing that will transport my consciousness into cerebral bliss.

It was May 5th – a Saturday. I made a run to the local dispensary earlier that day and picked up an eighth of Blackwater. I wasn’t familiar with this indica, but the budtender assured me that it would help treat chronic pain and insomnia. Since I smoke cannabis in the evenings, that makes me almost exclusively an “indica guy”. Unlike those who prefer a good sativa, I’m not interested in becoming more focused, productive or social. All I want is to turn off my brain and melt my pain into a euphoric cloud of relief before succumbing to the Sandman. That’s it. The fact that cannabis makes food taste better, colors more vibrant, music more immersive and movies more entertaining is just an added benefit. I view it as a delightful side effect of its primary treatment purpose.

Blackwater is a pretty rare strain… at least in my area. Had I known, I would’ve picked up more than just an eighth. As far as indicas go, it’s a special one. This indica is a cross between Mendocino Purps and San Fernando Valley OG Kush. I also found out later that it was awarded 3rd place for “best indica” in the 2014 LA Cannabis Cup. Nugs are dense and covered with little orange hairs and beautiful trichome crystals. Overall the color is more purple and the smell is heavenly. I could close my eyes and inhale that sweet, sweet flower right now. Hints of grape and pine. Not overly dank. Unfortunately the flavor isn’t as sweet as it’s aroma. I found flavors leaning more toward earthy notes like tobacco and hops.

Minutes after sparking up, Blackwater’s effects started kicking in. As I settled into bed and started up Netflix, I could already begin to feel my mind drift away. My eyelids felt heavy, my forehead tingled, I could hear my heart beating in my ears, and before I knew it, had spent the last 5 (maybe 10?) minutes staring lifelessly at the Netflix main menu. I’d like to think I was internalizing what horror movie I would watch that night. The reality is, most certainly, I was in a thc-induced trance. Time is a funny thing when you’re high.

When I eventually came to, I was able to somehow navigate Netflix and select I Am the Pretty Thing That Lives in the House. The movie is a Netflix Original and was directed by Oz Perkins, son of Anthony Perkins. It stars Ruth Wilson as Lily, a live-in nurse hired to look after an ailing horror novelist, Iris Blum (Paula Prentiss). Throughout the movie Ms. Blum only calls Lily "Polly" and never calls her by her real name. Later, Lily learns Polly Parsons is the main character of Ms. Blum's most popular novel, The Lady in the Walls. Lily decides to read the book and soon suspect that Polly may have been a real person that used to live in the house. After some supernatural events, Lily is convinced that Polly is a ghost who now haunts the house.
A house with a death in it can never again be bought or sold by the living. It can only be borrowed by the ghosts who have stayed behind.
I still don’t know if it’s because I was high, or if I would’ve been just as invested in the movie had I been sober, but from the opening scene I was under its spell. The movie starts pitch black with a creepy female voiceover that sounds like it was being played back on an old record player. The voice says: “A house with a death in it can never again be bought or sold by the living. It can only be borrowed by the ghosts who have stayed behind.” It was at this point when I started to think I was hallucinating. I blurry figure in what looked like a white dress started to slide and fade into view against the black screen. I wasn’t able to make out detail in the face, but I could swear it was morphing into different faces. This “hallucination” (among others) would happen throughout the movie. I never went back and rewatched the movie to confirm if I was hallucinating or not. Regardless, I Am the Pretty Thing That Lives in the House does a great job of elevating your high, making you trip balls into thinking you’re more stoned than you probably are.

This movie is slow. Really slow. And pretentious. And artsy. And self indulgent. But none of that bothered me. It methodically plods along building tension with each passing scene. Throughout the movie I found it difficult keeping my head wrapped around what was happening - as is often the case when I watch anything high. But I loved the cinematography and sound design. From the opening frame to the closing credits the movie kept a steady sense of unease and dread. I Am the Pretty Thing That Lives in the House falls squarely into the haunted house sub-genre and is presented as a layered ghost story within a ghost story… I think. Also, the majority of the movie’s dialogue is delivered via voiceover. Again, I THINK it’s from our protagonist, Lily, but I’m not sure since I may have also been experiencing auditory hallucinations along with visual. The voiceover seemed to change back and forth during the course of the movie. Sometimes the female voice sounded American. Other times it sounded Australian or British. I have a theory that maybe it was two different ghosts telling the story, but again, I’m not certain. Totally could be the same voice and I was just tripping my ass off. This Blackwater strain was playing tricks on me and the dreamlike visuals and subject matter of the movie only added to the unsettling horror.

I Am the Pretty Thing That Lives in the House is a movie I can wholeheartedly recommend watching stoned. It’s trippy, atmospheric, and the sustained aura of looming dread will keep you locked in. Sober, on the other hand… well that’s all on you.

Thanks again for checking out Bloody High and I hope you'll return in July when the site officially launches. In the meantime, please leave a comment below if you've watched I Am the Pretty Thing That Lives in the House or have tried Blackwater. And don't forget to follow Bloody High on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

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