Archive for October, 2013

Some quick, mini-reviews for ya as I blast through movies and stories on this fine October friday:

Let Me In – This is a shot for shot remake of the original foreign film Let the Right One In.  What it lacked was the emotion that was delivered in the original.  I suggest getting your hands on the original and best.  Subtitles be damned, it is a great story.  Not a scary story, but one worth experiencing.

Crypto-Squad by Eric S. Brown – A fun, quick read featuring your favorite cryptids; such as Loch Ness Monster, Mothman, the Sasquatch, Jersey Devil, and many more.  Brown creates a world in midst of a zombie invasion.  They have not overtaken the country, but are close to the verge of doing so.  A cult is at work to raising the dead for an army and in hopes of raising an ancient Snake God.  Working against them is a secret agency where humans and cryptids work together to fight the forces of evil.  This work is very sci-fi, very pulpy, and just plain fun.  The Mothman is by far the strongest character and will grow throughout the rest of the series.

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre – I attempted to watch this when I was 15 years old.  I ended up stopping the movie, because I was bored.  It must have been my young, adolescent mind that could not keep my attention.  I just viewed this ground-breaking film last night.  I wanted to gain the original perspective before watching the latest movie in the series.  First, Ed Gein has been a hell of a muse.  He inspired Hitchcock for developing Psycho.  Leatherface and his messed up family can also thank Ed Gein.  The story is a bit of a slow build as some teens are on a road trip through rural Texas.  They pickup a hitchhiker who, like in all horror movies, displays how insane he is.  They proceed to kick the man out and head out to some old property.  The action and killing picks up as one by one, the teens fall victim to Leatherface.

What TCM accomplished is using brutality to bring fear to the audience.  Everyone cringes at the sound of a chainsaw.  It is a tool of unstoppable pain and destruction.  The chase scene with Sally is very riveting.  I loved it when Leatherface would get close as she struggled through the brush.  And then Hooper has the audience delve into the insanity of the family at the dinner scene.  Superb horror film-making.  I anxiously await for the latest TCM movie to compare.

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I’ve been a fan of Hunter Shea since he come onto the horror fiction scene with his debut novel, Forest of Shadows.  I became a fan because he convinced me to give his novel a try and it turned out to be a horror gem.  Shea gives us horror mixed in with fun, great characters, and his interests of ghost-hunting, comics, and writing.

Shea’s short, The Graveyard Speaks, is an intro to the character Jessica Backman, the main protagonist in his latest novel: Sinister Entity.  Sinister Entity is the second in a series orbiting around this character.  Backman was first introduced in Forest of Shadows, but only as a little girl with a special gift.

In this short, Backman is a college student while fulfilling her destiny as a ghost hunter.  She picks up a mysterious case featuring a black mist.  The story felt very episodic.  Character discovers a mystery.  Uses her friends to gain intel.  Takes on the problem.  Uses her gift to solve said problem.

Like an episode in a paranormal TV series, the short was used to establish the character of Jessica Backman.  Considering readers last knew her as a small girl, this was a great way for Shea to show us where he was going to take this character.

What I liked best and worst about the story was the ending.  Shea teases us with Backman’s next case about a Poltergeist (my fave kind of paranormal story).  I expect you to follow through on this one, Mr. Shea.

Hello everyone,

Sorry its been a while.  Coming in the next couple of days will be a bevy of reviews.  I was able to catch up on some reading and movie viewing.  Here’s the first.

 

So in the first release of this serial novel titled ‘Night Terrors’, Janz introduced us to some characters that really get to your heart.  A mother stuck in a relationship with an abusive husband.  A photographer on a trip with a reporter and crush of his life and their fellow co-worker.  Janz did a great job of quickly getting me attached to these characters.  And just as ‘Night Terrors’ finished, shit was hitting the fan.

In part 2 titled ‘The Children’, Janz does not let up on the action.  By the time the book was 60% done, I was literally breathless.  The main cast featuring Jesse do not get a break with the pursuing monsters.  The monsters themselves are parodies of the beasts from Richard Laymon’s work.  Janz has done a great job of giving tribute while still adding his own spice.  I especially enjoy the monsters marking some of their prey.  I can only guess what that will allude to, but I will not reveal anything here.

The B-story featuring Eric, Sam, and Charly also gets some development.  Janz shines again with characterization before throwing this cast of characters into the pit of hell, literally.

The monsters live up to their name in this one:  Savages.

Pick up Janz’s Savage Species on Amazon or at Samhain’s website.

Tomorrow will be the review of Hunter Shea’s short:  THE GRAVEYARD SPEAKS