Wednesday, January 28, 2009

BOOK REVIEW: Red by Jack Ketchum

Since I reviewed the film Red based on Jack Ketchum's novel yesterday, I thought I should review the book. I don't have much to add because the film was on par with the book, and almost identical, but I'll try.

Here's my plot summary from yesterday's review:

During an attempted robbery, three teens shoot a man's dog for kicks. But that dog was the best thing in Avery Ludlow's life and he's not going to let them get away with it. He wants justice for Red and he's going to get it no matter what it takes.

What I love about Jack Ketchum is that all of his novels are realistic. I could see any of his plots happening to myself, which makes them even scarier.

And Red is no exception. Loving and losing an animal is something everyone can relate to, making it easy to understand how Ludlow feels. It will really tug at your heartstrings when Red dies. I teared up and had to stop reading because I was in public.

The book moves slowly and there isn't much action, but it doesn't matter because Avery Ludlow and his attempts to get the boys to confess is interesting. And when there is action, it's definitely worth the wait.

The characters are well-developed. I was rooting for Ludlow and was livid with the boys and their parents, praying for their comeuppance.

Even though I really enjoyed the movie, I would say that the book is a tiny bit better than the film. Just because it gives the characters more depth and I liked the ending better.

Rating: 4.5/5

Tuesday, January 27, 2009


I also finally got around to seeing Red this past weekend. It's yet another film based on a book by Jack Ketchum. I enjoyed the book, so I was hoping I would enjoy the film as well. I did.

During an attempted robbery, three teens shoot a man's dog for kicks. But that dog was the best thing in Avery Ludlow's life and he's not going to let them get away with it. He wants justice for Red and he's going to get it no matter what it takes.

The film was very faithful to the book, only changing a few details. They changed the ending slightly and changed the characters a bit, but that was about it. Also, everything in the movie was exactly how I pictured it in the book. Even some of the actors were how I pictured them. I was addicted to Veronica Mars at the time, so I pictured the brothers as two brothers on the show, and one of them (Kyle Gallner) was in the movie.

It also stars Brian Cox, Tom Sizemore and Robert Englund. Brian Cox gives an amazing performance as Avery Ludlow, making you really feel for him. Lucky McKee (May) directed it and did a great job, just as he did with May. I hope he does more projects because I've loved all his films I've seen so far.

It is more of a drama/ suspense rather than a horror film. There isn't any gore. There isn't much action and it moves a little slow at times. But it still keeps you interested, wanting to know how Ludlow will get justice.

Red was a great film and was equally as good as the book. It is sad (a dog dies after all), but it has a happy ending. This movie will really get to you, especially if you're an animal lover.

Rating: 4/5

Monday, January 26, 2009


I finally got around to seeing Mirrors on the weekend. I was pretty disappointed.

Mirrors, directed by Alexandre Aja (High Tension, The Hills Have Eyes remake) is about an ex-cop (Kiefer Sutherland) who gets a job as a night watchman at a department store that was recently gutted by a fire. The store used to be a psychiatric hospital until a massacre, killing everyone, forced it to close. When he sees something in the mirrors he thinks he's going crazy...until he receives a package from the last security guard with clippings about the fire. Now he has to find a way to stop what's behind the mirrors before it kills his family.

I wouldn't call it a horror movie. There were only a few gory scenes and I had already seen them from previews. It was more like a thriller with a supernatural plot. Or one long episode of 24.

I'm sick of previews showing all the best gore scenes. Sure, it makes you want to see the movie, but when that's all the film has to offer it ruins it.

The lack of gore was surprising considering Aja's previous films have been filled with it. And I'm not exaggerating, there are actually only two gory scenes in the entire film. And Kiefer Sutherland apparently only has one role he can play, and that's Jack Bauer. In one scene he shoots at the mirrors and when that doesn't work he proceeds to punch them.

But Mirrors was still fact-paced and worked well as a thriller. The beginning which focused on the department store was creepy, but then when his family was brought into the story it became one of those my-family-is-in-danger-I-must-save-them thrillers.

Mirrors worked okay as a thriller, but it could've been a great horror film provided it had more gore and focused on the creepy department store instead of Kiefer's and his family's problems. And if it was minus one Jack Bauer.

Rating: 3/5

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Cheap VHS Movies!

I just thought I would share this great store my boyfriend told me about. It's called Entertainment Liquidators of Canada and it sells cheap computer games, books, DVDs and used VHS movies. All the VHS movies were only $1 each.

The VHS movies I bought were: House, Deadly Friend, Night Terrors, Killer Rats, Cameron's Closet, The Dentist, Mikey, Lord of Illusions. And a lot of sequels: Silent Night, Deadly Night 2, Critters 3, Children of the Corn II, Children of the Corn III, The Gate II, Halloween III, House II, The Howling III, Phantasm II and Slumber Party Massacre II.

The cashier remarked "Do you even have a VCR still?" Well obviously I'm not going to buy movies just to look at them. Damn kids and their DVDs.

Actually, I also got a few DVDs: The Howling, Child's Play 3, Gremlins 2 and Parents. Most of the DVDs were $4, but the most expensive ones were still only $10.

If you're interested in checking it out, they're located at 1330 Eglinton Ave. E. Mississauga.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Leisure Horror Book Club

For part of my Christmas present, my boyfriend signed me up for the Leisure Horror Book Club. I just got my books in the mail today. It took awhile to get here - five weeks - because I live in Canada.

For my first book club selections, I received Jake's Wake by John Skipp and Cody Goodfellow, and Black Cathedral by L.H. Maynard and M.P.N. Sims.

If you're interested in joining the club, you get your first two books for free and then it's $10.50 a month. You can send back any unwanted books and get a refund.

Book club members also get a few perks. As a member, you get a discount on other leisure books. And with my books I was sent an ordering form featuring a list of books that were only $1.00 plus shipping.

I posted a list of Leisure's 2009 horror schedule last month, but I just updated it and added months September - November. September will be Flesh by Richard Laymon and Wolf's Gambit by W. D. Gagliani. October will be Feeding Ground by Sarah Pinborough and
Depraved by Bryan Smith. And November will be an Edward Lee book which is currently untitled and The 13th by John Everson.

I can't wait to get my next books! This was a great present...a good idea for a gift if you know someone who loves horror.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

T.V. REVIEW: 13: Fear is Real

Fear is boring, apparently. Or that is what I've deducted from the new reality series 13: Fear is Real which premiered on the CW tonight.

The premise of the show is that the 13 contestants are dumped in the Louisiana bayou and have the chance to win $66,666, but have to endure torture and horrors first. They also need to be careful because each week a contestant is "killed" off.

For the first competition, the contestants pair up and one is blindfolded and tied to a chair in the middle of the swamp at night. The other partner has to find them and the last ones back to the cabin have to go through the elimination competition.

Lauren and Kelly, the only all-girl team, come in last. They have to be buried alive and the first one to dig herself out wins. Kelly gets out and Lauren is left in the coffin die. Or we are supposed to assume she died.

13: Fear is Real was excruciatingly boring. 3/4 of the episode was devoted to introducing the contestants, listing off their fears or claiming how competitive they are and why they're going to win the money. The rest of the episode played like The Blair Witch Project or a bad episode of Scare Tactics; just people running around screaming and crying. That definitely does not make entertaining T.V.

This reality series really does remind me of Scare Tactics. (If you haven't seen Scare Tactics, it's a prank show where they try to scare people.) A bunch of people enter into competitions designed to frighten them. Unfortunately, it doesn't frighten the viewers. Sure it may be scary to them while they're experiencing it, but watching someone running around screaming and crying is not scary.

I thought I would give 13:Fear is Real a second chance, but after writing this and thinking back to how dull it was, I think I might skip it. If "reality" isn't scary, I think I'll just stick with my fiction.

Rating: 1/5