🎃 Fall Blogging Events 2019

It’s that time of the year again, friends. In Arizona, the weather doesn’t actually get cool (“cool” defined as low 80s) until late October, but that doesn’t stop me from enjoying a good pumpkin porter, putting up my Halloween tree, and reading all the creepy good literature.  As is usual, I’ll be taking part in two events: Readers Imbibing Peril and Something Wicked Fall.


Continue reading “🎃 Fall Blogging Events 2019”

📽 30-Day Horror Movie Challenge, Days 19 & 20 🎃

What’s this all about? See the first post.

Day 19 – Your favorite horror film involving the powers of Hell or Satanism

Day 19 brings me to another sentimental favorite. (Should I worry that I have so many sentimental favorite horror movies?) On Halloween night 1997, I went on a date with this guy from my physiology class. We went to see The Devil’s Advocate (1997). Like Wolf, this movie has actors at their most actorly: Al Pacino is a bombastic Satan, Keanu Reeves is trying hard to be taken seriously post-Speed and pre-Matrix, and Charlize Theron quietly out-shines them both. I rewatched this not long ago. Sadly, it goes a bit around the bend at the end. And it has maybe too much sex for a first-date movie. But then again, the physiology class guy and I have been married for 19 years now. *shrug*

Day 20 – Your favorite horror film involving a killer animal

I gotta go with Jaws (1975) here. I believe that the first time I saw Jaws was when it came on network television when I was a kid. Sure, it was “edited for television.” It didn’t matter. I was left forevermore apprehensive of the water. (Also, there was this nature show clip of an orca whale coming out of the water to chomp a seal. Good thing I grew up in Nebraska…) But I also became utterly fascinated by sharks, especially great whites. They really are interesting animals, more complex than the movies have made them out to be. Monterey Bay Aquarium has a couple of great shark videos.

📽 30-Day Horror Movie Challenge, Days 17 & 18 🎃

What’s this all about? See the first post.

Day 17 – Your favorite horror film remake

I probably love Fright Night (2011) more than it deserves. Blame my sister, Tess. The original is beloved, but the remake penned by Buffy the Vampire Slayer scribe Marti Noxon has some inventive moments. I always enjoy a counter-intuitive setting, and I don’t think you can get less “vampire” than a Las Vegas suburb. Plus, excellent cast: the late Anton Yelchin, low-key scream queen Toni Collette, Chris Angel, I mean, David Tennant, and the “name” star Colin Farrel as, yes, Jerry the Vampire.

Day 18 – Your favorite foreign horror film (outside of your country of origin)

It was unlikely that I was going to get through this list without more than one Guillermo del Toro entry. The Devil’s Backbone (2001). Honestly, with my general want of different settings, I should watch more foreign films. It’s a better movie than Crimson Peak really, more focused and more real with just as much mystery and just as many chills.

📽 30-Day Horror Movie Challenge, Days 15 & 16 🎃

What’s this all about? See the first post.

(Late posting today. Played a little bit of frisbee last night and today. My body thinks eating and sleeping are really the only two options. And I’m not an advanced-poster-type blogger…)

Day 15 – Your favorite horror film involving serial killers

Confession time: My favorite film about a serial killer is not Se7en (1995). It’s a different David Fincher movie: Zodiac (2007). The rub here is that if Se7en stretches the definition of “horror film,” Zodiac certainly does. But Se7en is a very close second. Fincher at his best creates a strong sense of place, which is something that resonates with me. Bonus points for a screenplay chocked full of literary references and a detective who hits the library for information.

Day 16 – Your favorite childhood themed horror film

I had an internal war about where Let the Right One In (2008) was going to go on this list. It was a strong contender for favorite vampire movie or favorite foreign film, but the young actors in this film are *so* good. The US remake is good too (Let Me In (2010)), but the original is just a more real feeling and a little more brutal. Oh, and the book’s good too.

{Book + Short Stories} What Went Back to the Library Today

Took a couple of #RIPXIV / #somethingWickedFall books back to the library today:

Cover via Goodreads

The Small Hand and Dolly by Susan Hill

Two chilling ghost stories from the author of The Woman in Black, both set in crumbling English houses that are haunted by the spirits of thwarted children.

In The Small Hand, antiquarian bookseller Adam Snow is returning from a client visit when he takes a wrong turn and stumbles across a derelict Edwardian house with a lush, overgrown garden. Approaching the door, he is startled to feel the unmistakable sensation of a small cold hand creeping into his own, almost as though a child had taken hold of it. Plagued by nightmares, he returns with the intention of figuring out its mysteries, only to be troubled by further, increasingly sinister visits. In Dolly, orphan Edward Cayley is sent to spend the summer with his forbidding Aunt Kestrel at Iyot House, her decaying home in the damp, lonely fens. With him is his spoiled, spiteful cousin, Leonora. And when Leonora’s birthday wish for a beautiful doll is denied, she unleashes a furious rage which will haunt Edward for years afterward. (via Goodreads)

Read both The Small Hand and Dolly. I enjoyed them well enough, but really don’t have too much to say about them. Neither was as good as the other Susan Hill book I’ve read, The Woman in Black, but that *is* considered a ghost story classic. I probably liked Dolly better because The Small Hand felt a little padded out. Still, some nice reading for autumn nights.

Cover via Goodreads

Poe’s Children: The New Horror edited by Peter Straub

From the incomparable master of horror and suspense comes an electrifying collection of contemporary literary horror, with stories from twenty-five writers representing today’s most talented voices in the genre.

Horror writing is usually associated with formulaic gore, but New Wave horror writers have more in common with the wildly inventive, evocative spookiness of Edgar Allan Poe than with the sometimes-predictable hallmarks of their peers. Showcasing this cutting-edge talent, Poe’s Children now brings the best of the genre’s stories to a wider audience. (via Goodreads)

I find it funny that a this anthology of “new” fiction is over 10 years old at this point… It’s my habit when I go to the library to pluck a couple books from shelves, give some a 10-page test, and maybe read a short story from a random anthology. A few weeks back I picked up Poe’s Children and started reading “Notes on the Writing of a Horror Story” by Thomas Ligotti, since I hadn’t read any Ligotti before. Unfortunately, it was a too long to finish at the library. So, I took it home. I meant to read a few more of the stories, but I only fit in one more. “Notes on the Writing of a Horror Story” was clever with an excellently twisted ending. The other story I read was “The Bees” by Dan Chaon. The setting was great but I thought the ending was a little flat.

📽 30-Day Horror Movie Challenge, Days 13 & 14 🎃

What’s this all about? See the first post.

Day 13 – Your favorite horror comedy

There are a certain group of horror comedies of the late 80s and early 90s that I really love. Maybe it was because I was a high-schooler at that time and was more likely to instigate seeing these movies rather than going along with what my family wanted to see. It was also the heyday of my reading Fangoria. Whatever the case, these are a bunch of movie I love, for better or worse. I hate spiders. I do have low-level arachnophobia. I went to see Arachnophobia (1990) in the theater. I mean, Julian Sands being British and intellectual and John Goodman being…John Goodman. How was I not going to go see this movie?  It’s cheesy, but takes itself seriously, which is always an attribute I value.

Day 14 – Your favorite zombie film

From an old favorite to a new one. After I tracked down Pontypool (2008), I watched it twice in row. As I said on day one, I don’t really like zombie flicks. (Aside from, well, 28 Days Later and Shaun of the Dead…) Pontypool‘s twist on the genre is the manner of infection: language. How exactly? We don’t know and care about as much as how space radiation caused the hungry corpses in Night of the Living Dead. But mostly, I like this movie because, while it has a few shocks based on gore, it’s a movie of sound, of listening to horror. We experience this as an audience in the same way the characters do.

📽 30-Day Horror Movie Challenge, Days 11 & 12 🎃

What’s this all about? See the first post.

Day 11 – Your favorite science fiction horror film

I’m not a super fan of Lovecraftian cosmic horror, but if there is any place in which it’s especially appropriate, it’s the actual cosmos. Space is scary. Let’s leave out what things we might share the universe with. Instead, there is the threat of catastrophe, the internal demons a person might bring, and unimaginable forces that might twist perception. Event Horizon (1997) perfectly embodies this (but see also Danny Boyle’s Sunshine (2007) and the quite a few Doctor Who episodes).  Solid cast and setting only bested by Alien3.

Day 12 – Your favorite horror film involving the occult

The Wicker Man (1973) is another movie whose reputation far preceded it and another movie I watched the first time via pretty crappy early internet streaming. Unlike The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, I was immediately impressed with The Wicker Man. I consider myself a fairly sophisticated movie-watcher, but like Sergeant Howie, I had no idea what turn the story was taking other than the islanders were definitely up to something. I can’t think of too many movies that provide such a feeling of suffocating otherness. (Side note: this might be the only film on my list with Christopher Lee!)


📽 30-Day Horror Movie Challenge, Days 9 & 10 🎃

What’s this all about? See the first post.

Day 09 – Your favorite exploitation/grindhouse type film

Exploitation/grindhouse isn’t really my thing. I’m not easily shocked and that might be because my original interest in horror films was due to my interest in movie-making and special effects. Before I really got into watching horror movies, I read a lot of Fangoria magazines. Knowing how the blood and gore are made has lessened the impact for me, and that’s okay. The first time I watched The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974) was on my laptop during the early days of internet streaming. It was probably an illegal YouTube upload. After hearing about the movie for years, I wasn’t impressed. But then, a few days later, I was out jogging in my neighborhood, as I often do, and someone, probably intending to trim the palm trees in their backyard, fired up a chain saw… The film had gotten under my skin.

Day 10 – Your favorite psychological horror film

Yes, yes, I know. The Vanishing (1993) is a remake of a Dutch film with the same name and is generally considered better. But I like this one. I have a soft spot for Jeff Bridges, even creepy Jeff Bridges. I haven’t watched it in a few years, but I think it gets a bad rap due to the comparison. (I didn’t realize that it was the same director. Huh.) And honestly, I did not see the ending coming. It’s also a little funny that Sandra Bullock is a below the title credit.