Lore Ep 1: They Made a Tonic #Review

They Made a Tonic

Before we knew how disease spread, medicine was as much superstition as it was science. And in the small New England towns of the 1800s, there is a belief that consumption can only be stopped by making sure the dead are actually dead.

Movie cover for Lore - They Made a Tonic

They Made a Tonic Review


I’ve never listened to the podcast, so I had no idea what to expect from Lore going in.

Episode one, They Made a Tonic, talks about the prevalent fear of being buried alive and medicine in the late 19th century. It starts with the tale of a true story in which this actually happened. This section is done in a dark, yet interesting animation style with a halting narration. Thereafter it switches to a period piece (non-animation) overlaid with occasional narration by Aaron Mahnke, who was the originator of the Lore podcast.

I can’t say I particularly care for Aaron Mahnke’s narration. It sounds very stilted at times, like he is carefully and nervously reciting from written notes. He would definitely benefit from a few speech classes. I can’t imagine just having his voice and no visuals. I wouldn’t have made it ten minutes.

I felt for the father, wonderfully played by Campbell Scott. The situation he was placed in was a desperate one, and you couldn’t really blame him for placing hope where he did. Especially considering the time that he was living in. And when this leads to the exhumation of his family, you can tell exactly how much it all bothers him. He leans towards medicine and science, but when you’re desperate to find a way to save what/who you can…

When it finally gets to the line that makes the title of the episode, I was completely grossed out. I can handle a lot of stuff, and have read a lot about medicine from this earlier times, but…eww. Just eww. Immediate “Oh, my god. No. NO NO NO.” revulsion.

Interesting tidbit: “Saved by the bell” comes from this paranoia of being buried alive and one of the ‘life-savers’ that an inventor patented at that time.

Spoiler Tidbit

It is amusing (and incredibly frustrating and sad) that even today, people cling to beliefs that remedies for actual illnesses can lie in the realm of the supernatural. No matter how much things change, some stuff remains the same. I think as long as religion continues to be a part of society, these foolish beliefs in the supernatural’s ability to fix something will continue.

I feel like the animation was very well done. The way they did the special effects and illustrated certain things was nice. The whole episode had a dark feel to it, and that was enhanced by the art.

Overall, They Made a Tonic was very interesting and well-done. The only thing I didn’t care for for was the narration, but with subtitles on it’s amazingly easy to ignore Mahnke’s voice.

Buy Link: Amazon

The Golden Age of Film and Horror

This infographic was sent to me by Steph at Chamber of Horrors NY. I admire the people who can put things like this together. I know I’m certainly not capable of it

The Golden Age of Film and Horror

Horror films have been around for as long as film has, and this means that it had gone through the same genre changes and development – both highs and lows – and the great pinnacles that the other popular genres have also experienced. In modern times, the horror genre has garnered such a huge following and Investopedia even reports that it is one of the movie genres with the best ROI (return of investment).

While many horror films today rely on over-the-top violence, plots, monsters, and gore to horrify their viewers, the Golden Age of Film had a much more delicate balance of acting, plot, and suspense when it comes to horror films.

Here are the six films from the Golden Age of Horror that not only became classics beloved by generations, but also shaped the genre and movies we watch today, as seen in this infographic by Chamber of Horrors NY: (click on the image to open up a full-scale version in a new window on the original site.)

Golden Age of Film and Horror Infographic

What did you think of it? Are you a fan of the classic horror movies on this list? I have to confess, I honestly haven’t watched many of them. In fact, I’ve actually seen *cough*one*cough* of them.  Possibly Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein, but that was something I would have seen at least 20 years ago, so… Yeah.

Even though it’s not listed on here, one of the things that stands out to me about the classic horror movies is something I read somewhere about The Mummy. That even though it was considered to be a scary movie, The Mummy actually is only visible on screen for something like 13 seconds? I’m happy with gore and blood and paranormal stuff, but I do think the quality isn’t as high as what you used to find.

Dracula’s Cat (Monster Pets: Book 1)

Title: Dracula’s Cat | Series: Monster Pets #1 | Author: Gary Buettner | Pub. Date: 2014-10-7 | ISBN13: 9781940344164 | Genre: Kids Fiction | Language: English | Triggers: Near-drowning | Rating: 3 out of 5 | Source: Self-purchased | Purchase on Amazon |

Monster Pets: Dracula’s Cat

Belfry has an afternoon appointment to see the vet and Dracula is, uhhh, busy.

Mina is a regular girl who pet-sits to save money for camp.  Mina’s father is an accountant who works with monsters and makes house calls to their secret neighborhood, Midnight Villas.  On a visit to the Villas, Mina has the sudden idea to offer her pet-sitting service to the monsters. When Dracula calls, she accepts the job even though she knows nothing about cats with wings.

When Belfry escapes, Mina learns that there are many monsters out there. Some are obvious, while others stay hidden. Some are good, but others are very, very bad, and one, in particular, is very unhappy about losing his cat.  Join Mina as she races against time and monsters to find Belfry and return Dracula’s Cat!- Goodreads

Book cover for Dracula's Cat

Monster Pets: Dracula’s Cat Review

Dracula’s Cat, the first book in the Monster Pets series by Gary Buettner, was a fun read. It’s solidly middle-graded, with a heroine who is just starting to realize boys aren’t entirely yucky. Mina is smart, brave, and desperately wants to go to Zoo Camp. If that means she has to babysit pets, so be it. However, babysitting Monster Pets, that might be a little more than she planned for and the hijinks that ensue definitely test her mettle.

At 116 pages long (with a bonus section from the next book), Dracula’s Cat the perfect size for your middle-grade reader to tackle alone. I read it with my eight-year-old over a stretch of four nights. The first night, she begged me for additional chapters after I had planned to stop reading. She was completely wrapped up in the story and thought that Dracula’s cat was just the coolest animal ever. There was appropriate wincing, hissing, and cheering from her as we made our way through the book.

The detail is simple and perfect. The author builds the Monster Villas area just enough to sketch out the area in young reader’s minds without losing them in info-dumps. The dialogue is believable. The pacing is solid, with every bit of the story propelling the plot forward.  Buettner’s Monster Pets series is imaginative, quirky, and interesting. He knows how to write a story that easily appeals to young readers.

Really, my only major complaint with Dracula’s Cat was the lack of proofreading. There were a lot of errors in this book. Given that I paid the full price for it at the Ohioana Book Festival, I can’t excuse it as a beta read or ARC copy. Even though it had a great cover and felt high-quality, the sheer amount of errors really ratcheted back my opinion of the book.  Anyone reading with an objective eye before this went to the printer should have been able to catch at least most of the errors. (To be fair, it’s not like there was one every page, but my threshold for errors in printed book is 1-3, and there was a lot more than that.)

Overall, though it needs a good go with a red pen, there is potential in Monster Pets: Dracula’s Cat. I can’t say that I’d pay full price for paperbacks for the rest of the series right now, but I’d probably get the kindle version without batting an eyelash.

3 Star Rated book Review on Sci-Fi & Scary

Horrors! A Full Year of Horror #8

Horrors! 365 Scary Stories – A Full Year of Horror

02/18/2017 – 02/24/2017

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.





Each day I’ll be reading one story per day with a weekly wrap-up on Fridays. If you missed the first post you can find it here.

The first one up is one of my favorites so let’s get started!

Christmas with the CountIan McDowell
(I’m going to caution you that I do spoil the ending a little bit. I couldn’t help myself.)

After Anne Rice’s success with ‘The Interview with the Vampire’, the most famous of all vampires gives his own interview. The cost for the interview, however, is the interviewer’s own induction into the vampire club. They talk a bit about Stoker, Oscar Wilde and what the movies got right and wrong. At the end they go out to snack upon some carloers because, after all, “They are celebrating his birth”.

I loved, loved, loved this story. The twist at the end made me gape at it, then giggle.

Circles of PurgatorySandra Hutchinson

A man sitting alone by the telephone, waiting for the call that comes every night. She calls every night, the night of her suicide. He finishes the cycle by making his nightly call.

It’s very well-written and very sad. Very good story.

Claws John B. Rosenman

After impulsively murdering his boss, Jacobs receives a swift lesson in karma and reincarnation.

I don’t think reincarnation would work quite that fast but it was an entertaining read nonetheless.

Cold Comfort Lillian Csernica

A recently separated man finds a mirror on the beach. While reminiscing on fairy tales and magic mirrors, the owner of the mirror comes to claim it. And only one type of woman would leave a smoky mirror on a beach.

An interesting story and I liked the fairy tale element to it. I think the curse was a little unfair. Technically she’s the one who broke the damn thing.

Cold MoonJudy L. Tucker

A girl goes out for her vision quest with her Native American friend, Bear Claw. However, the woods at night can be a dangerous place.

Just ok. The plot was a little iffy but I do love a good were-bear story.

The CollectorLinda J. Dunn

Karen is tired of living in a hoarder’s nightmare. She tries to leave her husband, Bob. But once a collector, always a collector.

Not too bad but it was pretty easy to see where it was going.

Collector of RugsJessica Amanda Salmonson

A man who collects only the rarest of rugs is teased because there is one rug he cannot possess. He makes the mistake of desiring this rarest of rugs at the cost of all of his prized rugs. Be careful what you wish for.

Very good story with a nice twist ending. I saw part of it coming but not the rest.

Favorite of the Week:
Most definitely the Christmas with the Count. I loved the story and I loved the ending. Especially because it actually makes a bit of sense when you think about it.

That’s all for this week’s does of horror! I hope you’ll join me again next week for another weekly round of horror plus February’s tally for the repeat writers.

Night Things: Dracula Vs. Frankenstein Review

Night Things

Night Things: Dracula Vs. Frankenstein Synopsis: This novel spans several centuries, following the relationship of the two most iconic monsters in literary history. Once as close as brothers but now sworn enemies, Bram Stoker’s Dracula and Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein meet for a final showdown beneath the streets of New York City.

Night Things (Dracula versus Frankenstein) takes place in a world just like yours with one startling difference: every creature of legend has stepped forward from the shadow and they now exist shoulder to shoulder with humankind! New York City has become a macabre melting pot. Vampires, werewolves, zombies and ghouls are now the new immigrants and they are chasing the American dream. The Night Things have become part of the system. But many humans feel the creatures are dangerous ticking time bombs.

Dracula, considered the messiah of the Night Things, builds an unstoppable army as he plots to wipe humanity from the face of the earth. The mysterious New York crime boss, Johnny Stücke (the creation of Frankenstein) wants to keep the peace between the Night Things and humanity. Stücke fears total extermination of his kind, should Dracula unleash his forces on New York.

The fight for the night begins.

Critically-acclaimed horror author Terry M. West continues his Magic Now series with this standalone novel that presents a world only a slight shade darker than our own. – Goodreads

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