The Alpha Wolf Bent Me Over (Review)

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http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/205972

I met the author of this  short story on Goodreads. It was free on smashwords, and so I sat down and gave it a go.

To be fair, this story is more erotica than horror, but I’m always down for smut. However I was disappointed that the Alpha Wolf played such a teensy role. The premise of the story is pretty basic: slutty step-sisters at summer camp discover urban legend about an Alpha Wolf’s insatiable lust for virgins. I was hoping to see more doggy-stalking and frothy, teen homicides in the woods, but alas. I guess there is only so much you can pack into a 3,000 word story. Anyway, the story wasn’t bad. Just not what the title advertised. The slutty stepsisters got more action from human boys than werewolves. It was a free story so I don’t feel gipped. But yeah, don’t go into it thinking you’ll see lots of carnage and beastly transformations. This isn’t that kind of story. Still, I’m glad I picked it up. 3.5 stars out of 5!

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Jessica’s Room: A Review

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Director: Erik J. Knight

Starring: Erik Knight, Deacon Ledges, James Warnock, Allison King, David Jite, James Fowler, and John Demitri

Now this is what Indie Horror is about! It’s not about the budget, it’s about the presentation.

The film is about a haunted(or possessed) house where a girl named Jessica Owens murdered her parents and a couple other adults. When ghost hunter John Street dies in the house, he close friend Sevin gathers a small group to investigate Street’s death. You have Melanie, Eddie, Mark, and Steve that make up his rag-tag group. Melanie is the one who doesn’t want to be there, Eddie is Sevin’s support, and then there’s Mark and Steve who are the comic relief to the film.

This film was made on a $5,000! It’s also important to add that Mr. Knight knew absolutely nothing about film making. That being said, this was a great start! Like I said, this is what Indie Horror is all about. While watching this on youtube, I couldn’t help but frown at the comments. Many viewer complained about the acting…IT’S A $5,000 BUDGET! You’re not going to find Jennifer Garner or Brad Pitt anywhere. Honestly I thought that the amateur acting was charming.

Now the effect were what kept me hooked. Scared the shit out of me! Not in a bad way where I won’t sleep, but in the best way where I’m like “holy crap! This is awesome!” I’m definitely going to recommend this to all my friends.

Here’s the video!

Uzumaki, a Japanese Classic (Review)

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I fucking love Junji Ito! He is the master. The legend. If you love comics and weird, supernatural shit, he’s THE MANGAKA to read. Junji Ito is the only horror writer/artist whose work makes me physically ill and or gives me nightmares. Seriously, it takes A LOT to frighten me and Junji Ito’s drawings get under my skin each time. If I think about “Glyceride” too hard, I get sick all over again! Ugh! *shudders*

Newcomers to Ito’s work should read “The Enigma of Amigara Fault” or the celebrated “Tomie” series. Ito’s influences are H.P. Lovecraft, Kazuo Umezo (I’ll review his comics in another post), and Katsuhiro Otomo, the creator of “Akira.”

I recently got my hands on the complete hardcover edition of Ito’s famous spiral horror, “Uzumaki.” I wanted something other than “Johnny the Homicidal Maniac,” and “The Walking Dead” in my horror comic book collection. “Uzumaki” looks so pretty on my shelf now. I’m fangirling, I know, but Jesus Christ, I love comic books in hardcover! Why aren’t all comic books published in hardcover? *drool* There are lush, color pages, too, which is nice. I’ve only ever read Ito’s work on scanlation sites. So it is nice to own a physical copy of the man’s brilliance.

“Uzumaki” is terrifying, gorgeous, hilarious, and weird all at once. Ito steers clear of blood and splatter and uses psychological mindfuckery to frighten his readers instead. The basic premise follows a schoolgirl and her town’s obsession with supernatural spirals. Ito has an incredible imagination–each chapter is more insane than the previous one. The distance between reality and fantasy is what drives the horror, here. Reading his comics is like tripping on literary-acid. The stories seep slowly into your subconscious, scrambling your disbelief, and then throwing your renewed perception together in haphazard, unrecognizable ways. It’s nothing short of genius. His art isn’t beautiful. In fact, it borders on the simplistic. And yet that’s why it works! If he drew elaborate dreamscapes, it would be too fantastical for the reader to accept. Ito’s straightforward approach adds to the story’s credibility. I always feel strange when I read Junji Ito’s comics. I hope you will, too. He really is one of my favorites. He’s right up there with Stephen King, Neil Gaiman, Anne Rice, Chuck Palahniuk, and other modern classics, I think.

The Tortured: A Review

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Director: Robert Lieberman

Starring: Erika Christensen and Jesse Metcalfe

Let’s get on with the gory madness! A couple experience the most terrifying thing a parent can go through…the murder of their child. For sum unknown reason, their son’s killer get 25 to life with possibility of parole. That just won’t do. So they plan on kidnapping the killer while he’s being transported and torture him to death.  JUSTICE!!

I liked this movie because of how it presented the pain of both parents. Most movies focus on how the mother feels with the whole “I gave birth to him” speech. With this they show how the mother feels and the heartbreak of the father blaming himself. There’s also the point in the relationship where they blame each other. Until the killer is given his sentence and they decide that the only justice is making him feel the same pain their son went through.

The torture bits were pretty gruesome. Since the father is a doctor he had all kinds of med to keep the guy awake.  Watching this guy get tortured I didn’t know whether to be right there with the parents and cheer or be horrified that someone was being tortured. I can’t talk more about without spoilers and I promised myself I’d do my best to avoid spoilers. So I’d say that was good but not great. I’d give it a B.

In closing I pose some questions: Were they torturing this guy for justice or were they torturing him just because it made them feel good? If the latter then doesn’t that make them just as bad as the killer?

African American Tarot

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I have several tarot decks but I haven’t reviewed any of them. Today I’m pulling out my newest  set, African American Tarot by Lo Scarabeo. Lord knows, I searched low and high for a tarot deck that didn’t have the generic white, European characters on them! I saw a few decks that depicted “ethnic” characters/themes, but the artwork was hideous and I don’t accept that having brown characters means I have to compromise on quality. No, honey, not this one. White folks have been whitewashing the trade since…well…colonialism. But that’s another rant for another post. Just walk into your local occult shop or hoodoo shop (haha, don’t get me started!) and count how many people of color you see. Chances are, not many.

So I searched for a beautiful tarot deck with lush, detailed pictures like the Euro-centric ones in my collection. It wasn’t easy. There were a few that caught my eye, but I’ll only review  the deck my boyfriend surprised me with. I like obscure and or rare tarot decks, and I was not disappointed by African American Tarot. Illustrations are by Thomas Davis and Jamal R. is the writer.

The African American Tarot has nothing to do with “African Americans,” like advertised.  It’s more like generic tribal with afro-centric imagery. Lots of zebras, elephants, lions, and muscle-y men in loincloths and elaborate headdresses. I don’t mind all this, but there’s nothing “American” about what I just described, either. I was hoping for a more…um…”modern” approach, but whatevs. At least I have a deck with characters that (sorta) look like me! Historical black figures grace the foreground on some of the cards. 2 of Chalices has Jean Baptiste Du Sable and 5 of Pentacles features Sojourner Truth.

The minor and major arcana are based on traditional Rider-Waite themes. Like most tarot decks, there’s a booklet included with notes from the author. He infuses African-based folklore and deities into the descriptions and does not limit his scope to just one African religion/region. But I appreciate his broad approach. I don’t know what Sojourner Truth has to do with the 5 of Pentacles, but I’m happy she’s there, haha. Disjointed? Yes. But I’m willing to forget all that because the artwork is so well-done! The images are interpretive and I feel a visceral connection to them. Some of the images are odd, like the 2 of Wands, which depict a ghostlike man screaming in agony while a man rides on a bull above a baby in a crib. Um…yeah.

My favorite card (in any deck) is the Queen of Swords and so I always look to her first before making up my mind about the rest of the deck. In the African American Tarot, she is personified by Yemaja, who also just  happens to be my favorite Goddess. All in all, I like this deck. It’s not my favorite of all time, but I do look forward to using it when I am in the mood for an intuitive and less structured experience.

The Fascinating “Freaks”

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[CONTAINS SPOILERS!!!]

Now this is a classic gem that everyone should enjoy! It centers around a group of circus freaks and the bond they share with each other. But when Cleopatra(Olga Baclanova) and her lover, Hercules(Henry Victor), plot to kill the owner of the circus(who happens to be a midget) and take his fortune, the rest of the circus freaks plan their own form of justice.

Now why am I talking about this film. I think this film is an important part of horror film history. This film had real circus freaks in it and was actually banned in most parts of the United States and has been cut and re-cut. This film was made in 1932, so there was a certain standard to be held for audiences.  In the original version of the film the Freaks castrate Hercules so he becomes a castrato and they also disfigure a helpless Cleopatra and turn her into a human duck. Apparently this was took much for some audiences to handle because one woman threatened to sue MGM for causing a miscarriage. Yikes!

That goes to show  how big a grip audiences have on a film. So instead of the horrifying mutilations of Hercules and Cleopatra, we get a happier ending with Hans the midget(played by Harry Earles) reunites with his former fiancee and lives happily ever after. We still see Cleopatra as the human duck but we don’t see how she got that way.

 We also see, what could be called, real circus freaks. Frances O’Connor played the armless woman and she was born without arms. Daisy and Violet Hilton were real conjoined twins, and Prince Randian played the human torso; he was born without arms or legs. That adds to the horror, knowing that the freaks were real. Don’t you think?

Some references:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freaks

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0022913/

Live interview today–hope you’ll join!

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COVER ART Tuesday Apocalypse

Hello, minions! Please join my live interview on Twitter 6:30-7:00pm EST by following the hashtag: #WritersKaboodle. I’ll talk about my novel, Tuesday Apocalypse, and answer all your burning questions about the writing process and my zany sources of inspiration. Expect snorts, sarcasm, and obligatory tentacle pics. Probably NSFW. See you there! 😀

Liberator: A Review

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So this is my first comic/graphic novel that I’ve read. Damsel Cannibal was kind enough to let me borrow it. Well, I didn’t know whether to laugh hysterically or think it was pretty badass. I say hysterically because I love making fun yuppie groups like PETA. Although I do hate people who abuse animals. I thought this was badass because the main character Damon is my kind of hero. He doesn’t go looking for attention and doesn’t make a show of what he does. He has a mission, he makes a plan, and he executes that plan. Jeannette on the other hand is all about running around the streets shouting “FUR IS MURDER!!”

Anyway, the basic set up of this comic is that Damon and Jeannette are animal rights people. They hate any form of animal abuse. Jeannette organizes protest against furs, chicken abuse, dog fights etc. But most of the time she gets arrested for her troubles. Damon on the other hand is more of a vigilante. He hangs out in the shadows and takes matters into his own hands.

I also liked how it subtly reminded you about animal abuse. I don’t think people are as aware of it as they think. I mean I almost had a shit-fit when I heard that some of my neighbors were hosting Rooster Fights! Don’t worry, those neighbors have since had their chickens and roosters removed. It’s important that we are reminded that animals have feelings and should be respected.

At first I didn’t think that I would like it. I’m serious I didn’t want to like it. But it was actually pretty cool. Like I said earlier, Damon is my kind of character. He doesn’t show off. I’d actually recommend it to anybody.

Crucible of Horror (1970) REVIEW

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Classic British horror at its finest. I must say, I really enjoyed this movie! This cult-classic flick was directed by Viktor Ritelis and stars Michael Gough, Yvonne Mitchell, and Sharon Gurney.  John Hotchkins provides a deliciously eerie score, and the music reminded me very much of the wailing theremin in Dark Shadows. Is the story supernatural or a crime-mystery? Not quite sure. But I won’t spoil the surprise ending by revealing too much, here.

First five minutes: Not much dialogue, moody camera closeups while patriarch, Walter Eastwood, incessantly washes his hands and stares at his blinking cat. All of this would have bored me to tears if not for the odd camera angles and the characters’ stifled movements. Right away the audience feels a sense of veiled oppression, which is fully-realized once Walter’s daughter, Jane,  kisses a business associate and is savagely beaten with a switch. The camera immediately snaps back to Walter washing his hands again. His wife, Edith, listens to disembodied voices in the attic while Jane sobs from her wounds. There isn’t much dialogue and we’re still not sure what’s going on , but the absence of information only adds to the mounting suspense. We learn Walter is as meticulous as he is cruel. He coddles his son, Rupert, while terrorizing his wife and daughter with physical violence. He seems fixated on his daughter (and her sexuality) most of all.

When she receives a letter at breakfast the next morning, Walter snatches it away and tells his family he will go to the family cottage by himself. Once his back is turned, Edith casually suggests that she and Jane should kill him. Only she’s not joking. The mother-daughter kill-team show up at the cottage that night with poison and a loaded rifle.

I’m not going to write what happens next–but, oh, dear! Things for Walter go downhill from there!

It’s easy to see why Crucible of Horror is a cult-classic. The family is horrifying because audience can relate to them. And the twist ending…you will NOT see it coming! It is strange. Open-ended. And leaves unsettling questions in your mind long after the credits have finished. I didn’t expect to like the movie so much, but I will certainly add it to my collection. I recommend this movie for folks who like mysteries, family horror, British actors, and psychological surrealism. I’m giving this movie an A+ for creeping me out!