Horrors – A Full Year of Horror #44

Horrors! 365 Scary Stories – A Full Year of Horror

11/04/2017 – 11/10/2017

 

The horror short-short isn’t easy to master, but more than 100 of the genre’s critically acclaimed authors & hottest up-&-comers have taken a stab at it in Horrors! 365 Scary Stories, an anthology that contains a short tale for every day of the year. Steve Rasnic Tem, Wm F. Nolan, Tom Piccirilli, Yvonne Navarro, Peter Atkins, Brian Hodge, Martin Mundt & 166 others give you short, sharp shocks.

If you missed the first post you can find it here.

 

Fall has fallen (all over the yard) and it’s officially cold enough to start being invaded by by all of the four-legged furballs who are trying to take over the bed. It’s a stalemate at the moment. They seem to have a hatred of books as that seems to be their preferred layabout spot. I shall prevail!

 

 


Summer RetreatKevin Shadle

Synopsis:
The Copse family has a lot to do before their summer retreat. They have to bring in the harvest, mulch it into the ground and avoid the inquisitive neighbors. It’s tough being a were-tree.

Review:
Enjoyable with a bit of a different spin on the ‘were’ creatures.


Swamp FlowersDavid C. Woomer

Synopsis:
On their honeymoon Lynette and her new husband made the mistake of going out into the Great Dismal swamp. Lynette never returned. Every year her husband takes a skiff into the swamp for their anniversary ritual.

Review:
A beautiful and sad story. I’m a sucker for ghostly anniversaries.


Sympathy for Mad ScientistsJohn Gregory Betancourt

Synopsis:
A series of letters from baron Frankenstein to Dr. Schmidt on attending the Hamelberg Conference for scientists. Between a punctured assistant and tending to the boiling oil ones needs as defense against ignorant peasants a mad scientists has a lot on his hands.

Review:
I’ve always liked epistolary stories. This one is hilarious and I love the asides about annoying peasants and Igor’s puncturing.


Sympathy for MummiesJohn Gregory Betancourt

Synopsis:
On an Egyptian dig they are uncovering the tomb of an ancient bureaucrat. So what would a bureaucrat curse someone with? Paperwork, lots and lots of paperwork.

Review:
Another funny one by Mr. Betancourt. There are a few of them in a row by hi.


Sympathy for Psychos John Gregory Betancourt

Synopsis:
Crane has been hiding in the cemetery, ever since the spiders first attacked. They are sneaky, though. They look like humans but Crane knows better. He knows the spiders are just using them.

Review:
A very good story. Crane’s character is at once horrifying and sympathetic.


Sympathy for Vampires John Gregory Betancourt

Synopsis:
Shelly has had it with her neighbor. He hovers outside of her window at night, waiting to be invited in for a bite. His wife declares he’s just going through a phase but Shelly is getting irritated. Finally, she strikes on the perfect way to get him to leave her alone. It seems wannabe vampires don’t see the romance of scrubbing the shower.

Review:
Another funny one. Especially Shelly’s idea of getting rid of him. There’s nothing worse than a man going through a mid-vamp crisis.


Sympathy for Wolves John Gregory Betancourt

Synopsis:
A man stands at his window, his pack calling for him to join them. But he’s a man now and it’s so cold out. He’s not heartless though. As the pack files into his house they all share a common ground, briefly.

Review:
A nice story and the ending made me happy because I thought it would have been really mean not to let his pack in to spend the night.


Favourite of the Week:
Well, um, there’s a lot of John Gregory Betancourt isn’t there? While his titles aren’t exactly creative his stories were certainly varied, thank goodness. He shows a talent for switching between laughter and heartbreak with ease. That being said my favorite for this week was Swamp Flowers by David C. Woomer. It’s heartbreaking but beautiful as well. As for Mr. Betancourt’s entries I loved Sympathy for Mad Scientists and Sympathy for Wolves the best.


Join us again next week for another round of horror stories to make you laugh and cry.

A Special Slate of Spooky Spectral Reads

A banner with the words The Top Ten Tuesday List on it.

How perfect is it that Halloween falls on a Tuesday this year? Beyond the fact that it means no little monsters prowling our streets on a weekend, it enables us to have a perfectly timed Top Ten Tuesday list for our lovely readers. Well, it enabled Gracie to make a great list for you, as I mostly sat this one out due to life being life, and all of that.

Now, we gave you a list of interesting sci-fi / horror movies to consider watching for the lead up to All Hallows Eve, but if none of them tickled your fancy, perhaps one of these lovely books will.

Gracie has put together an excellent list of spectral-themed books that she’s paired up with commonly known (and liked) spooky movies for you.

We hope everyone has a safe, happy and haunting Halloween!

Top Ten Tuesday is brought to you by Broke & Bookish

 


If You Like to Watch: 

 

You’ll Love Reading:

Casualties

Small Sci-Fi and Scary Divider

If You Like to Watch:

 

You’ll Love Reading:

 

Small Sci-Fi and Scary Divider

If You Like to Watch:

 

You’ll Love Reading:

Small Sci-Fi and Scary Divider

If You Like to Watch:

 

You’ll Love Reading:

Small Sci-Fi and Scary Divider

If You Like to Watch:

 

You’ll Love Reading:


Now that you’ve hopefully got a book or movie in mind that you can watch in betwixt visits from ickle ghosties and goblins a’rappin’ at your door, why don’t you take a minute to talk about Halloween with us?

Are you going to dress up to hand out candy or to escort your little monster from door to door? Do you go all out for Halloween around your house?

We like it when you talk spooky with us. – L&G

The Frighteners #MovieReview

 The Frighteners Synopsis: After a tragic car accident kills his wife, a man discovers he can communicate with the dead to con people. However, when a demonic spirit appears, he may be the only one who can stop it from killing the living and the dead.

Tagline: Death is no way to make a living!

Starring: Michael J. Fox, Trini Alvarado, Peter Dobson

Release Date: July 19, 1996

Runtime: 1 hr. 50 min.

 

 

 

Coolthulhus Earned: 3

The Frighteners Review

The Frighteners, quite honestly, is a little harder to review than I thought it would be. It’s pretty much a horror comedy but it’s nothing along the lines of Tucker and Dale Vs. Evil. The humour is dry for the most part and instead of cracking up it produces mostly light chuckles and amusement. 

Michael J. Fox is great in it and it’s a more unusual part for him to play. He’s cynical and kind of a jerk through most of the movie. Since we’re used to seeing The Fox in more good-natured roles it was a huge departure for him that he pulls off amazingly. As far as the rest of the cast there is truly a stellar line-up which includes John Astin, Jake Busey, Jeffrey Combs (who is definitely no stranger to the horror genre) and Dee Wallace (who, again, is one of horror’s ‘familiar faces’).

The plot of The Frighteners is entertaining overall with some genuinely creepy and dark moments. There is a reveal at the end that was surprising but also felt like a bit of a cheat. I can’t really say more than that without spoiling it, The pacing is good throughout, with no real lags in the action.

There are a few minor issues with it, however. The love story that’s shoe-horned into it being the biggest. The movie’s timeline seems to take place over two weeks, at the most. But in that time the character of Dr. Lucy Lynskey loses her husband and then almost immediately falls in love with Frank Bannister. I’m never a fan of insta-love and when you mix in the fact that her husband just died it becomes a bit more…icky. They do try to wave it off with a “we haven’t been happy for some time” but it doesn’t feel like enough.

There are a few oddities in The Frighteners that don’t exactly tank it but will leave you scratching your head a bit at the sheer ridiculousness. For instance, Frank Bannister is on the police radar because he makes his living as a “ghostbuster”. So, naturally, they seem to think that he has something to do with deaths that are perhaps psychically caused. No real shocker there but everyone in town seems to think he’s nothing more than a con man and make it abundantly clear they don’t believe in ghosts. So it makes it a bit puzzling why they would even connect the two. Also, Combs’ character, while extremely fun, is a bit puzzling. There is absolutely no motivation or explanation for half the things he does. But, to give him credit, you have so much fun watching him be batshit crazy that it almost doesn’t matter.

The effects in The Frighteners are insane. They do not look dated at all. Of course, with Zemeckis in charge that’s not much of a surprise. The movie came out in 1996 and I’ve seen movies from 1999 – 2000’s with more dated looking CGI than this. The Reaper, the mouth of hell (literally) and more all look amazing. Danny Elfman also creates an amazing score to go with. But then, when doesn’t he?

With all of the serious star-power behind The Frighteners it’s a little strange that this movie seems to slip under the radar so often. It’s not perfect but it’s certainly worth a Halloween watch. 

These Are a Few of My Scariest Things by Kat Mayor

Kat Mayor, who wrote the lovely The Spirit Chaser, along with it’s follow-up Melancholy Ghost, has written for the site in the past for Halloween. Last year she gave us a lovely article on Chinese Ghosts that still gets views. This year, she presents These Are a Few of My Scariest Things. I loved this list and agree with her on almost all of them! Please feel free to chime in below and tell us what a few of your scariest things are!


My Scariest Things

Clowns in white make-up with big red balloons,

Animatronics and talking dolls, too.

Old hag and mirrors like those in The Ring

These are a few of my Scariest Things.

These Are a Few of My Scariest Things

by Kat Mayor

How many times have you watched a horror flick and thought, “Again? Can’t they come up with something new?” We may complain about it, but there are certain devices that are very effective at creating unease and that tingly feeling up and down your spine. The writers of film know this and that is why we see the same things reappear over and over in slightly different ways.

This is my personal compilation of things that I find terrifying. You may not agree with all of the things on this list, but I bet there’s at least one or two that raise the hair on the back of your neck. Especially if you’re a connoisseur of the horror genre.

  1. Clowns—We float down here. We all float.

            Clowns have been around for thousands of years. From the court jester in Rome to the French pantomime, clowns have served the purpose of humoring and entertaining us. But it’s not all fun and games. Clowns have fairly or unfairly been linked to tragedy, depression, murder, and pedophilia. Pennywise, from Stephen King’s IT, epitomizes why children are right to fear what lurks behind the painted face and drawn on smile.

I first realized that, “Yes, I hate clowns,” while viewing Poltergeist. The boy’s creepy stuffed clown attacking and pulling him under the bed will forever be imprinted on my brain. In the nineties the fear of clowns moved from the television and book realm to real life with the conviction of John Wayne Gacy, the serial killer clown. Now with the latest rash of stalkings at school yards around the country, these pasty-faced monsters are breeding a new generation of coulrophobics.

  1. Mirrors—Mirror, mirror on the wall who’s the most terrifying of all?

            Mirrors are considered by many to be portals to other realms or windows into the soul. The idea that malevolent, inhuman beings can cross into our world is reason enough to fear them. You might not like what is staring back, and I’m not talking about your own reflection.

            The woman in front of the mirror in the movie, The Ring, is a perfect example. Combing one’s hair is a mundane activity, but captured in black and white with grainy, speckled film, it creates a sense of dread in the viewer. Oculus capitalized on the scary mirror trope. House plants die and dogs disappear in in this imposing mirror’s presence. It tricks you into not eating or drinking, but it doesn’t stop there. This evil antique looking glass creates hallucinations. Those in its thrall become psychotic and homicidal.

  1. Dolls—I’m Chucky. Wanna play?

            I have mixed feelings about dolls. The plush ones, that don’t look too human, and don’t have vacant, staring eyes, I can deal with. Typically, my fear of dolls increases with the age and size of the doll. You won’t catch me in a room alone with a life-size doll or a porcelain-headed doll from the early twentieth century. The more realistic they look, the creepier they are. I’ve noticed that fear of dolls is not something that has to be taught or learned. When my son was younger he would ask for his sister’s dolls to be removed to another room at bedtime because he didn’t like them staring at him.

            The presumption that evil spirits can inhabit or attach to a doll, as in the case of Annabelle, is what I believe gave me the heebie-jeebies about dolls in the first place. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the subset of dolls that talk, and their creepy cousins, ventriloquist/dummies. There’s something inherently unsettling about a voice emanating from an inanimate, human-looking object. I blame the Twilight Zone for this particular fear. Just watch the episodes Living Doll or The Dummy and see if you don’t agree.

  1. Animatronics—Where a kid can be a kid. Or a haunted robotic character.

            One of my first memories of Chuck E. Cheese and similar themed pizza restaurants was seeing a group of plastic robots performing on a stage. They danced with stiff, exaggerated movements and sang with clacking jaws that didn’t quite move in sync with the lyrics. Even their plastic eyelids moved up and down in an unnatural blink. It made me uncomfortable, but at the same time, I couldn’t look away.

            The creators of Five Nights at Freddy’s took my fear, injected it with steroids, and packaged it as a game for my children. It is the first video game I’ve come across, that if I’m being honest, kind of unsettles me. The backstory is this: Five children are murdered at Freddy Fazbear’s Pizzeria, a kid-friendly restaurant that often hosts children’s birthday parties. Instead of passing on, they stick around as unhappy spirits inhabiting the animatronics. The game player in the earlier versions is a security guard who must survive five nights in the haunted restaurant without being “jumpscared”.

FNaF’s use of eerie music creates an anxiety-filled atmosphere. “My Grandfather’s Clock”, and the “Toreador” are inextricably linked to this game in my mind. I can’t hear either one of these tunes without imagining mangled animatronics lumbering toward me. FNaF 3 upped the creepy song game with “Die in a Fire”.  As you might guess from the title, the singer, (Purple guy who killed the kids), hopes you die in a fire or suffer an equally unpleasant death.

  1. Sleep Paralysis

            Although there are plenty of movies that feature this nightmare scenario, I can’t blame video or pop culture on this one. My fear directly stems from research I’ve done on the subject.

            I know the scientific explanation of it. It’s a safety mechanism so you don’t hurt yourself sleep-walking. Sometimes your mind “wakes up” before you do and you can’t move. Scary yes—but according to scientists, not paranormal. I’ve seen the documentaries and horror movies about it. Then I read the book, Dark Intrusions by Louis Proud, and changed my mind.

Proud’s own experiences with sleep paralysis set him on a journey to find out what was happening to him and why. He presents several case studies of sleep paralysis and draws a connection between SP and poltergeist activity, mediumship, astral projection, spirit possession, and even alien abduction. While a lot of the evidence he presents is anecdotal, he does cite a host of sources to back up his claims. Proud notes that SP is not a new phenomenon. It has been described in literature and depicted in art for over three hundred years. One of the most famous examples of this is Henri Fuseli’s painting, “The Nightmare.”

A picture of Fuseli's The Nightmare
Fuseli’s “The Nightmare” – Public Domain

What I found most convincing was the similarity of experiences for those suffering from SP.  They know they are awake and that their eyes are open but they are unable to move. Sufferers describe a sense of something evil in the room with them and overwhelming fear of it. Many see the “old hag” sitting on their chest or “shadow figures” choking them.  If it’s just the brain acting up in an altered sleep state, then why do all those afflicted with SP see the same hallucination? I’ll let you make up your own mind on whether SP is an occurrence with a rational, scientific explanation, or as I believe, paranormal and truly scary.

What about these things make them so scary? For me, it’s the element of realism. Unlike ghost sightings or disembodied voices, we can actually see and touch these objects. No matter what you think of its origins, sleep paralysis is a well-documented phenomenon. The possibility that these mundane things could have a supernatural side is enough to induce fear and fire up my imagination. My best advice? Steer clear of clowns and only visit pizza parlors in the day time.  Keep your dolls out of sight when you go to bed, don’t gaze too long into mirrors, and pray that you never wake up to an old hag riding your chest.


Book cover for The Spirit Chaser The Spirit Chaser

Some places are too evil. Some places should be left alone.

Austin Cole has it made. Star of the hit television show Spirit Chaser Investigations, he has become the world’s most famous paranormal investigator. Although hard work, a talented investigation team, and favorable genetics have something to do with it, it’s his lack of fear and willingness to take risks no one else will that make Spirit Chaser Investigations cable’s number-one show. When a ghost-hunt-gone-wrong seriously injures his best friend and lead psychic, Austin is forced to find a replacement for a team member he considers irreplaceable.

Casey Lawson can’t catch a break. She’s been on her own since she turned eighteen and is scraping by as a part-time psychic and cashier at a New Age store. When a desperate Austin Cole calls her up and offers her a position on his team, has her fortune finally changed?

He’s a control freak; she’s stubborn and opinionated. It takes time, but when they finally realize they’re working on the same side, everything clicks, both on and off screen.

Just when things are looking up, a new threat emerges. Over the years, Austin has angered plenty of demons, and one of them has set her sights on him. Now he’s the one in danger, and it’s up to the team to rescue him from the riskiest investigation of their lives.

Our review.

Buy link: Amazon

Ghosts of Manor House – Matt Powers #BookReview

Title: Ghosts of Manor House | Author: Matt Powers | Publisher: Powers Publishing | Pub. Date: 09/06/2017 | Pages: 186 | ISBN13: 9781548462741 | Genre: Psychological Horror | Language: English | Triggers: Child death, suicide | Rating: 3 out of 4


Ghosts of Manor House

Edmund and Mary Wilder are very much in love. But the death of their young son, Tommy, has shattered their family. Edmund is determined to bring them back together, drawing on the only bit of strength he has left—his love for Mary and their daughter, Stephanie. But Mary sinks deeper into depression while little Stephanie’s anger grows. Edmund flounders in his attempts to rescue his family from the brink of collapse and doesn’t know where to turn.

Then Mary receives an invitation for the family to become guests at Manor House, a seemingly quaint Bed and Breakfast. This, she assures her husband, is the answer to all their troubles.

Edmund arrives ahead of his family to spend a couple days working on his long-delayed novel. But his growing curiosity about the old house leads Edmund to an encounter that will change him forever. 

What will you sacrifice for love?

An old fashioned psychological thriller with a nod to Stephen King, Manor House will keep you guessing and compel you to turn the page to the very end. 

A mother will sacrifice anything for her children. A husband will risk everything to save his wife. Manor House will take them all.

Ghosts of Manor House Review

I really love the cover of Ghosts of Manor House. It has a beautiful and eerie feeling to it. I also like that  the tree was featured rather than the house as is typical with haunted house stories.

In general I did like Ghosts of Manor House. It kept me interested and, even though the end is a little easy to see coming, I still wanted to get there. The writing is very good. This is an author that I would like to keep an eye on as I think that once he moves away from his influences I think his writing will be very good. The main issue with it was the heavy feeling of familiarity with it. There were quite a few passages that reminded me distinctly of The Shining.

I wasn’t enthused with the choppiness of the chapters. I think overall it fit the story but I don’t know whether or not it was intentional. Another issue I had with it was the second person point of view. It made it very hard to get attached to the characters because it seemed to keep them at a distance.

In Ghosts of Manor House there were also a few parts that seemed far too brief and unexplained. What did the psychic have to do with anything? Who exactly is Lucas? How old were the kids? I kept getting fluctuating ideas of the children because they are just not described in depth at all. Which is kind of important, Particularly with two specific scenes.

I would also like to ask the author if, besides being inspired by the classic haunted house stories, he also derived a bit of inspiration from Silent Hill 2 for Ghosts of Manor House. The story of Edmund and Mary really brought that to mind.

I liked the little vignettes and the bits of history that we’re shown about the events at the house and tree. In fact, I wish Ghosts of Manor House had been a bit longer. I know that with some ghostie stories we’re not given the full story and reasons for the haunting but this seemed a bit unfinished. It’s very brief and I really would have liked to know more about the house and people. With the mystery of Mary the end revelation seemed to be a bit rushed and wrapped up in just a page or two. Especially in regards to the Kranes. Their wrap-up seemed to be a bit of an after-thought. For as much as they are in the story and how much feels hinted about them, their wrap-up with Edmund seems rushed. I did like the ‘Epilogue’ though. I really liked the character of Charlie, Mary’s brother. He seemed very real and his actions were what normal people would do. I was very interested in his part of the story. Although, again, his story seemed wrapped up pretty quickly when I was hoping for more.

Ghosts of Manor House is short and moves along quickly and, really, the greatest feeling of disappointment with it was that it was too short. Which is really a compliment because I wanted more. More of the history of the house, more story with Edmund and Lucas and Charlie.

There were a few technical issues with the layout of the paperback. The grammar and spelling was spot-on, no complaints there. But there was an odd format error that resulted in sentences like this:

Lucas’ tall frame fills the doorway. “How is everything else?”

“What do you mean?” “How are you?”*

The “What do you mean?” is Edmund speaking. The “How are you?” is Lucas speaking. This happens often in the book. two separate speakers are together on the same line with no identifiers. This happens quite often in the book and I’m assuming that it’s a formatting/printing error as the lines would be perfectly clear if separated.

All in all, I am looking forward to reading Mr. Powers’ next book as I do think he has talent, he just needs to move away from his influences a bit more to find his own voice more firmly.

*Quotes used fall within the Fair Use guidelines

Ghosts by Nicholas Sansbury Smith (Hell Divers #2) Review

Title: Ghosts | Series: Hell Divers II | Author: Nicholas Sansbury Smith | Publisher: Blackstone Audio | Pub. Date: 2017-7-18 | Pages: 288 / 8 hrs 13 min | ASIN: B01I5ZZDQW | Genre: Post-Apocalyptic Sci-Fi | Language: English | Triggers: None | Rating: 3 out of 5 | Source: Received a copy from the publisher for review consideration


Hell Divers II: Ghosts

Ten years ago, Hell Diver Xavier “X” Rodriguez fell to Earth. Those he left behind went on without him aboard the airship he once called home.

Michael Everheart — the boy once known as Tin — has grown into a man and the commander of Hell Diver Raptor Team. While Michael dives to help keep the Hive in the air, Captain Leon Jordan rules with an iron fist at the helm of the ship. But unrest stirs under his strict leadership as a prophecy of hope sweeps the lower decks.

When a mysterious distress signal calls the Hell Divers to the surface, Michael and his loyal team begin to uncover long-buried truths and the secrets Captain Jordan will do anything to keep. They dive so humanity survives… but will they survive the ultimate betrayal?
Book cover for Ghosts Helldivers 2

Hell Divers II: Ghosts Review

I have mixed feelings about Ghosts. On one hand, I liked the action and loved hating on the new Captain. On the other hand, there was hardly mention of the one character from the first book that I really liked, most of the story focused around minor characters from it that I didn’t particularly care about, and the crazy got old pretty fast. I spent most of my time waiting for the author to get back around to the characters I wanted to hear about, and that just didn’t happen. However, I will say the POV choice regarding the Captain, given the issues involved, was a good one.

The Hell Divers series is an interesting one. I love the concept that Nicholas Sansbury Smith created these novels from. A post-apocalyptic Earth is nothing new. But generally humans have migrated to the stars, or they’re wandering the earth in small patches. A world where the last remaining humans are floating above the earth in giant airships? Yes, I like this! I want to read more!

Ghosts is a book filled with emotions that run the gamut from obsession to vengeance. The first book left us with a sense of hope for humanity. This one not so much. I suppose there is something to be said from the introduction at the end of the book, but the situation still feels very bleak. Readers can only hope that the author delivers a pulse-pounding return to hope and victory in the final book.

R.C. Bray does a good job narrating Ghosts. While Bray’s vocal range isn’t very wide, his voice is a pleasant rasp to listen to, and he is able to communicate emotions (particularly sarcasm) clearly.  His delivery is well-paced and nicely suited to the science fiction and horror genres.

Overall, Ghosts was a well-written book but it didn’t particularly satisfy me. It, like so many other middle-of-the-trilogy books, suffers just a bit because of it’s role. I have no doubt that Nicholas Sansbury Smith is going to pull something epic in the final book, though, that will make up for the bridge that Ghosts is.  And I can’t wait.

Bones Movie Review

 Bones Synopsis: Over 20 years after his death by a gunshot, Jimmy Bones comes back as a ghost to wreak revenge on those who killed him and to clean up his neighborhood.

Release Date: October 24th, 2001 | Runtime: 1 hour and 36 minutes | MPAA Rating: M | Coolthulhus Earned: 4

Starring: Snoop Dog, Pam Grier, Michael T. Weiss, Clifton Powell, Ricky Harris

 

 

 

Bones Review

With a 4.1 rating on IMDB this movie, in my opinion, is criminally underrated. There are a few missteps but overall this is a well-done mix of horror with a crime mystery to chew on as well.

The sets of Bones are great. I love the Bones building. The City of the Dead has a great atmosphere and the lighting makes it look cold and unforgiving. The CGI might be a bit iffy by today’s standards but it still holds up decently.

The plot is a creepy mix of horror, Tales from the Crypt, and a crime mystery with an urban legend vibe to it. These elements seem like they shouldn’t work together well but they do. I believe this is due, in part, to how streamlined the plot actually is. The intro scene shows us the building, gives us a tease about what might be lurking there and keeps up the tension from there. The credit sequence gives us a mini-story, entirely visually, about the street itself. From its good days to how it ended up without Bones’ patronage and the introduction of crack. A lot of reviews slam the movie about not hammering this point home but c’mon. It’s a horror movie. It makes its point and sets up the fact that Bones was keeping his neighborhood tight and going strong. And just like an good larger-than’life character that verges into legend he even has his own song.

“This is the story of Jimmy Bones, dark as night and hard as stone. Gold-plated deuce like the King of Siam, got a switchblade loose and a diamond on his hand”

And, this is a bit nit-picky, but I love knives so this stood out to me. I’d like to point out that the knife Jimmy uses is a butterfly knife. And quite well. They look easy to twirl around but they’re not. Trust me. Got a few knuckle and finger scars to prove it. But switchblade was probably easier to work into a rhyme than butterfly knife.

The younger cast members are able in their parts. Patrick, the son of one of Bones’ friends, along with his step-sister Tia, their brother Bill and friend Maurice is purchasing the house to turn it into a club – Illbient. The supernatural crap hits the fan when they discover a random dog that they keep and feed, unknowingly bringing Bones back to life. They also find a skeleton in the basement that they blow off with surprising ease. Maurice also pulls a ‘bonehead’ move early on when not only does he steal Bones’ ring but breaks off a finger to do so. One thing you do not do is steal the Doggfather’s ring. Ever. They don’t really stand out but they move the story along capably enough and don’t drag it down.

The haunting portion of it is a little uneven as sometimes the scenes seem to be a little random. They culminate in Bones being fully reincarnated (well, as much as a ghost can be) in a very freaking cool vision/nightmare sequence. Seriously, this part alone is worth watching it for. If for nothing else than to see Snoop do a badass gunslinger stroll.

Really, for me, the best parts were the mystery portions. It’s pretty easy to figure out who did what and why but it still draws you in. Barring Bones’ return, they’re some of the best portions in the movie. Bones’ revenge is fun and full of all kinds of craziness like a bleeding pool table, talking heads and a whole City of the Dead. A bit of humour is injected into the plot at this point and you’ll either love it or hate it. I thought it was a nice nod to the Tales from the Crypt style that Snoop obviously loves. Don’t believe me? Check out Hood of Horror. Tales from the Crypting all over the place. Some people didn’t like it, however, complaining it broke the more serious mood set up previously.

This may seem like an overly long review but it is a lot harder than I thought it would be. Analyzing it, a lot of the parts don’t seem to match and it doesn’t sound very good. But when you’re watching it that doesn’t seem to matter. It sucks you in and doesn’t let go. And there are some very genuinely awesome scenes. The previously mentioned nightmare scene, the City of the Dead, and Bones’ betrayal. It’s (quite literally) a stab in the heart.

A lot of that is due to the charisma between Snoop and Pam Grier, the original Foxy Brown. Their chemistry is great together. As a side-note, watching the DVD commentary it’s cute to see Snoop basically fangirling about being able to kiss Foxy Brown and be her boyfriend. Who, I will say, is looking pretty damn foxy in it.

In wrap-up this movie is creepy, cool and just outright fun to watch. And I also want to put this here just because…eye candy:


Top Ten Movies Set in Asylums

A banner with the words The Top Ten Tuesday List on it.Abandoned buildings are creepy. Abandoned hospitals and insane asylums are creepiest of them all. So journey with us through a top ten list of creepy movies set in asylums, abandoned or otherwise.

 

 

Broke and Bookish are taking a break until August 15th with their topics for Top Ten Tuesday, so we’re going to fill the slot with some movie related lists until they’re back at it!

 

 


Bedlam

Bedlam Cover - Top Ten Movies Set in Asylums Nell Bowen, the spirited protege of rich Lord Mortimer, becomes interested in the conditions of notorious St. Mary’s of Bethlehem Asylum (Bedlam). Encouraged by the Quaker Hannay, she tries to bring support to reforming Bedlam, but the cruel Master Sims who runs it has her committed there. The inmates, however, have the last say.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Ninth Configuration

The Ninth Configuration - Top Ten Movies Set in AsylumsA new commanding officer arrives at a remote castle serving as an insane asylum for crazy and AWOL U.S. Army soldiers where he attempts to rehabilitate them by allowing them to live out their crazy fantasies while combating his own long-suppressed insanity.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Isola

Isola - Top Ten Movies Set in AsylumsWhen a woman, able to read the thoughts of others, comes to help survivors of the 1995 Kobe earthquake, she encounters a girl with Multiple Personality Disorder whose dangerous 13th personality, Isola, must be stopped.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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House on Haunted Hill

House on Haunted Hill - Top Ten Movies Set in AsylumsAn amusement park mogul offers a group of diverse people $1,000,000 to spend the night in a haunted house with a horrifying past.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Session 9

Session 9 - Top Ten Movies Set in AsylumsTensions rise within an asbestos cleaning crew as they work in an abandoned mental hospital with a horrific past that seems to be coming back.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Gothika

Gothika - Top Ten Movies Set in AsylumsA repressed female psychiatrist wakes up as a patient in the asylum where she worked, with no memory of why she is there or what she has done.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Jacket

The Jacket - Top Ten Movies Set in AsylumsA Gulf war veteran is wrongly sent to a mental institution for insane criminals, where he becomes the object of a Doctor’s experiments, and his life is completely affected by them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Ward

The Ward - Top Ten Movies Set in AsylumsAn institutionalized young woman becomes terrorized by a ghost.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Grave Encounters

Grave Encounters - Top Ten Movies Set in AsylumsFor their ghost hunting reality show, a production crew locks themselves inside an abandoned mental hospital that’s supposedly haunted – and it might prove to be all too true.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Stonehearst Asylum

Stonehearst Asylum - Top Ten Movies Set in AsylumsAn Oxford graduate takes up a job in a mental asylum, only to discover that the “revolutionary” new treatments are inhumane and that there is more going on than meets the eye.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Are there any crazy-good movies that we’ve left out? Let us know! Want to talk about any of them? Catch us in the comments!

Horrors! A Full Year of Horror #26

Horrors! 365 Scary Stories – A Full Year of Horror

07/01/2017 – 07/07/2017

 

The horror short-short isn’t easy to master, but more than 100 of the genre’s critically acclaimed authors & hottest up-&-comers have taken a stab at it in Horrors! 365 Scary Stories, an anthology that contains a short tale for every day of the year. Steve Rasnic Tem, Wm F. Nolan, Tom Piccirilli, Yvonne Navarro, Peter Atkins, Brian Hodge, Martin Mundt & 166 others give you short, sharp shocks.

If you missed the first post you can find it here.

 

It’s a perfect week! How cool is that? Hopefully pretty cool since things are getting hot this summer.

 

 

 


Lovelocks Brian McNaughton

Synopsis:
Caleb Hopkins is in love with Abishag Barebones but her father doesn’t like him very much. Caleb decides to bind Abishag to him using magic but which witch is the bewitcher?

Review:
A pretty good story and the image of a man ” bumping down the street on his hindquarters” is definitely…different.


MagpieBrian McNaughton

Synopsis:
Dwight likes to steal things, particularly ladies purses. Especially since it gets them to his house for the night. the suspicion falls on an unknown woman who my have lifted the purse. The tables are turned though, when he finds out that this particular lady he’s trying to lure back to his house has lifted his nitro pills. They were in her purse…

Review:
Two stories by the same author right in a row! I don’t think that’s happened before. A pretty enjoyable story with a nicely dark twist of humour at the end. Although her excuse that she didn’t think the pills were important is kind of lame. Most pills that people bother to carry on them usually are important. and nitros in particular are pretty recognizable.


Making it RightBob Stein

Synopsis:
While driving drunk Charlie narrowly manages to not hit a child crossing the road but does hit the little boy’s dog. Despite trying to talk his way out of it the boy insists that Charlie must “make it right”. Charlie thinks the boy wants money but he doesn’t. He just wants Charlie to “make it right”.

Review:
Loved this story. Some people can be very heartless when it comes to accidentally hitting an animal. I like the little boy’s method of making it right.


Mall of the DeadDel Stone Jr.

Synopsis:
When Beverly comes out of the dressing room everyone is dead. She thinks there must be something going on since displays in the mall are broken and even mannequins are scattered amongst the dead bodies. The police arrive as she makes it to the front door and they tell her it’s happening everywhere. The mannequins are getting even.

Review:
This actually gave me the creeps because mannequins creep me out. Although with the weird torso only ones now they wouldn’t get very far.


Many Happy Returns Brian McNaughton

Synopsis:
A man who has lost his wife has moved into a new home. At first he notices strangers appearing and disappearing quickly in the alley. After that he notices a door into his home that’s been bricked up. Coming home one night he sees that the door is ajar and people who have passed away are inviting him in.

Review:
Aaaah! He’s back again! But with a very good story so we’ll let it slide. A little sad but a little hopeful at the same time. I like to think he found his Susan through the doorway.


MemoryMollie L. Burleson

Synopsis:
Impersonal office work really gets under Sarah’s skin. That and air conditioning. Co-workers she feels are whispering behind her back, a boss that is constantly looking over her shoulder so today she decides to quit. And discovers she can’t. The whiff of brimstone reminds her why she’s there and why she’ll always be there.

Review:
I’m so happy I found this story again! I’ve always remembered it and I loved it but since I read a lot of anthologies and collections I could not remember where it came from. That being said I’ve always liked (that might be a strange term, maybe intrigued would be a better word) by the idea of Hell as a personalized thing. As it says right in the story “what bothers one person may not bother another”. So a ‘one size fits all’ Hell never really made sense to me.


The Midwife’s Temptation Michael L. McComas (I don’t usually put trigger warnings before the synopsis but I felt this story deserved a few from the subject matter).

Trigger Warning – Highlight to read: Baby deaths, religious themes in the story and review

Synopsis:
A fallen angel, the fallen angel one can presume, tells a midwife that she has a gift. The gift of fore-telling when a child is born whether he be good or evil. After dispatching the first child that she surely knows is damned the ‘angel’ reappears to her. His advice is to hurry the blessed ones to heaven and the born damned to leave. his argument being that ‘evil done to evil matters not to God’. She believes him and carries her task out with zeal. Soon the witchcraft fever is kindled and they come for her one night. She begs the angel to tell them of the gift he has bestowed upon her. Revealing his true form he tells her he gave her no gift. It was all a lie.

Review:
A very good, very interesting story. The temptation spoken of could be meant to reveal the midwife’s pride in being so singled out and a feeling of power at a time when women had little power or agency of their own. And, if you believe in religion, it could also be a way of testing her faith. Because, according to most religions God does care even for the ones who have strayed so if the midwife had thought about it then the angel’s explanation makes no sense.


Favorite of the Week:
This has been a great week for stories. It’s always hard to choose just one but this week it’s very hard. I loved Memory by Mollie L. Burleson. I also loved The Midwife’s Temptation by Michael L. McComas. Of the three by Brian McNaughton my favorite was Magpie.


Thanks for joining us this week and please come back next week for more spooky stories.

Horrors! A Full Year of Horror #25

Horrors! 365 Scary Stories – A Full Year of Horror

06/24/2017 – 06/30/2017

The horror short-short isn’t easy to master, but more than 100 of the genre’s critically acclaimed authors & hottest up-&-comers have taken a stab at it in Horrors! 365 Scary Stories, an anthology that contains a short tale for every day of the year. Steve Rasnic Tem, Wm F. Nolan, Tom Piccirilli, Yvonne Navarro, Peter Atkins, Brian Hodge, Martin Mundt & 166 others give you short, sharp shocks.

If you missed the first post you can find it here.

 

Step into my parlour said the GracieKat to her readers and let me tell you some tales.

 

 

 

 


 

Like a Charm David Niall Wilson

Synopsis:
Exiting a bar Lucky finds three guys beating up an old man and drives them off. As a thank you the old man gives Lucky a charm in the shape of a bird. Maybe Lucky’s luck will change soon, after all.

Review:
I generally liked the story but it’s full of stereotypes about country people that are a little insulting.


A Likeness of MeDawn Dunn

Synopsis:
John thinks he got lucky when a woman invites him back to her place to see her paintings. Experiencing an odd feeling of deja vu he suddenly knows the awful truth.

Review:
I really liked this one because I love creepy paintings. Especially when the line between creation and creator becomes blurred.


The Little Black DogLinda J. Dunn

Synopsis:
A little girl’s dog runs off when her parents make a stop. The new owners find Blackie and give her a new home. Blackie’s just a little thing but it’s appetite is a little larger than the new owners think it is. Of course, you can’t ask them, they’ve disappeared.

Review:
I loved this story and the twist at the end is great. I thought at first that Blackie might be a werewolf but the answer is a little more…galactic.


Little ManScott M. Brents

Synopsis:
A little boy tells the neighbor about the strange little man he found in the woods. A little creature he killed and now he’s scared he’ll get in trouble. Even though he doesn’t believe him the neighbor says it’ll be ok.

Review:
For such a short story it was kind of all over the place. So it was kind of meh.


Lopez Benjamin Adams

Synopsis:
A wrong number in the middle of the night for a man named Lopez turns into a bizarre mystery for a couple.

Review:
I didn’t really get this one at all. It was a little confusing whether it was a conspiracy or a case of mistaken identity.


Lost Pao Jessica Amanda Salmonson

Synopsis:
A you boy named Pao wanders away from his home when he’s young and returns as a young man speaking cryptically. Then he turns into a monster.

Review:
A good folk tale type of tale but a little blunt and short.


Love Sat Alone on a Foggy PierTerry Campbell

Synopsis:
A man out hunting a ghostly lady on a foggy night meets one but doesn’t realize it. so he keeps coming back, hoping to meet his own Lady of the Lake.


Favorite of the Week:
Kind of slim pickings for this week. I did really like Love Sat Alone on a Foggy Pier by Terry Campbell. I like a good ghost story, especially one with a bit of a romantic element. Scratch that, a mysterious romantic element.


Join us again next week for another round of chilling tales.