Posts Tagged ‘Horror’

What would you do if happen to win the lottery?  And not the scratch off lottery, I’m talking about the big ‘Jackpot’?  What sort of hobbies would you indulge in?  What if one of your hobbies was murder?

‘Jackpot’ is the collaboration of Kristopher Rufty, David Bernstein, Adam Cesare, and Shane McKenzie.  Four great authors working on the story of Booker and his new found fortune.  If you pick up a book from any of these authors and you know you are reading the future of horror.  I got the great chance to read this collaboration and my first thought when I finished…

What a sick and twisted ride!

None of these authors pull the punches in this one.  Every grisly detail and every concept of torture is pushed from start to finish.

So here are the details:

Booker is a serial killer.  One fateful and bloody night brings him the Jackpot.  Before he can enjoy his dreams of fortune, he is hounded by some white trash psychos.  Booker begins to invest in his dreams of a murderer’s fantasy with the help of a slick lawyer.  It all leads to a celebration before Booker rides off into the sunset.

This is the second book that has ever made me cringe from the amount of gore and torture.  I had to stop at points and let my stomach settle.  So I recommend not eating before reading this book; especially chicken wings.

If you do venture into ‘Jackpot’, you will be surprised to discover that this is a collaboration work.  Each chapter flows perfectly and the each writer’s style blends so well that you forget that this is the work of four authors.

A slight criticism from me would be that this is an intense and hardcore book.  There are no good characters.  No one to root for.  Just bad people interacting with bad people.  This is a book of ultimate depravity of the human being.  So this book is not for everyone.  In fact I cannot recommend it for everyone.

So after reading this review, I just one question…

Can You handle it?

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A season of reading is upon us.  And I begin with a story that packs a lot of emotion and action.

‘Animosity’ by James Newman is the tale of a divorced horror writer who makes a grisly discovery in his suburban neighborhood.  As days pass, Andrew notices that his neighbors are acting suspicious towards him.  Paranoia leeches away to a violence.  Cops will not help and Andy is left to fight for his livelihood. 

This book is action-packed and filled with tension.  It grabs you by the heart and refuses to let go.  Tears and panic attacks are just some of your own emotions that you will feel; as you are whisked through a very quick tale of paranoia and a brewing hatred that your quiet neighbors feel for you.

I had wonderful time reading this.  It is a quick read, but the pace of the story matches it.  It will gut punch you and make you question your own neighbors. 

With the arrival of Autumn, the reading season is upon us (well maybe just for me).  And it started off grand with Newman’s story about the beast of mob mentality.  Pick it up here on Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/Animosity-James-Newman-ebook/dp/B00J122K2Y/

Curse Blog is back with more reviews coming your way!

‘Animosty’ by James Newman:  8 out of 10.

Next up:  ‘Jackpot’

This past Halloween I got a chance to finish up Jonathan Janz’s serial novel, Savage Species.  The last two parts of this book are pretty relentless.  The action is very high tension and there is no ease off the accelerator.  Just when you think a threat has been eliminated, three more pop up.  Janz has done a wonderful job of connecting the readers with the characters.  To the point that my heart was pounding hard as I read each word.

So let me get you caught up.  Group A which consists of Jesse, Emma, Colleen, and Red Elk are being chased through some caverns by a vicious species that Red Elk refers to as The Children.  We last left off with Emma and Colleen being taken away by some nasty bats.  Group B is Sam and Charly, followed by Charly’s jealous husband, Eric and his assistant Mel.  Group B is searching for Charly’s newborn who was kidnapped by one of the Children.

So naturally both groups eventually collide.  In part 4, The Arena, both groups finally reunite with their lost loved ones and are placed squarely in the middle of a battle between the Children and the Winged Species.  From here its escape and survive.

Since I was able to finish Savage Species, I can now comment on the story as  whole.  I loved what Janz did with the Species.  They are not necessarily vampires, but they are vampiric in nature.  Way more vicious than vampires and they certainly do not sparkle.  The characters and their stories are well crafted.  They help keep the story going forward when there are not any savages breathing down their necks.  The connection with the characters also make it difficult to get through part 5. 

Janz has crafted one hell of an action-packed story with wonderful characters and some nasty antagonists.

And I have a feeling we will be seeing the Savage Species again.

 

Mini-Movie Review:

Evil Dead:  Not so great.  Like many remakes, this one fails to capture most of the magic of the original.  There are some iconic images that fit well.  But for the most part, there is no character development and a whole lot of blood.  I enjoyed the twist of the story and the characters, but not enough for me to really tout this movie.  I am confounded as to why this movie received so much praise.  Two out of five stars.

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.

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

I have always loved the tale of Sleepy Hollow.  As a kid, I was fascinated with the Headless Horseman and his mission to decapitate the poor residents of the small town.  I even enjoyed the Johnny Depp movie, despite its quite confusing ending and plot holes abound.

Most recently, Fox has followed the trend and produced Horror TV.  That’s right horror fans, Horror is the latest pop culture bubble.  With success of The Walking Dead, networks have scrambled to produce anything horror related to boost ratings.  SLEEPY HOLLOW is one of those recently produced television shows.

SLEEPY HOLLOW is part buddy cop with smart and tough Lieutenant for the Sleepy Hollow Sheriff’s department and a time-traveling Ichabod Crane.  Stay with me here, ’cause it gets better.  So Lt. Abbie Mills loses her partner and father figure at the hands of the headless horseman.  Meanwhile, Ichabod Crane wakes up in a cave surrounded by objects that suggest witchcraft.  A couple one-liners later with Crane making quips about the future and we figure out that there is evil abound in this small town.  Including a demon and John Cho.  The big reveal is that the Headless Horseman is actually part of THE Four Horseman.  So these two set out to stop the apocalypse. 

So that is the first episode, and I was curious to see how things were going to progress from there.  Hooked is a bit strong of a word; I would say I am the curious fish, nibbling at the bait.  After viewing the second episode, I can say they are going in the right direction…so far.  There is still plenty of time to mess this up.  Instead of Crane and the Horseman facing off each episode, it seems the buddies will be taking on all sorts of supernatural baddies as they come to this town.

This is not ground-breaking television.  This is popcorn television.  Guilty pleasure television.  Its a rehashed formula that the show SUPERNATURAL has used for years now; but It is also fun with a mystery.  I’m not going to proclaim that this program is must see.  But I just might miss it if it leaves.

I think this is best viewed Netflix style on a rainy Saturday afternoon.

Catch SLEEPY HOLLOW Mondays on Fox at 9pm.