Saturday, July 25, 2009

BOOK NEWS: Urban Gothic

Brian Keene's new novel Urban Gothic is in stock on Amazon. I read the first few chapters on there and I can't wait to read the rest. Here's the description on the back of the book:

When their car broke down in a dangerous neighbourhood of the inner city, Kerri and her friends thought they would find shelter in the old dark row house. They thought it was abandoned. They thought they would be safe there until morning. They were wrong on all counts. The residents of the row house live in the cellar and rarely come out in the light of day. They're far worse than anything on the streets outside. And they don't like intruders. Before the sun comes up, Kerri and her friends will fight for their very lives...though death is only part of their nightmare.

I can't wait to read this. It sounds sort of like The Texas Chainsaw Massacre or The People Under The Stairs, which would make an interesting book. And all the reviews I've read rave about it and say it's Keene's best so far. We'll see....

Horror Books To Bring Camping

I'm more likely to read while camping than to sit in my trailer and watch a movie. And seeing as how Bloody Disgusting has already done a list of the top 10 movies to watch while camping, I thought I would do a list of the top books to read while camping.

Camping and scary stories just go together. I can remember telling scary stories around the campfire, or telling scary stories in my tent with a flashlight under my face. The following books all have a plot that revolves around camping. It's scarier to read something at the same time as you're experiencing it.

Dark Mountain by Richard Laymon

Two families go on a camping trip in the mountains. But they don't know that there's a witch living in the mountains. The standard fast-paced Laymon novel.

Also by Richard Laymon

No Sanctuary: There are two parts to this novel that almost feel like separate books. In one part, a couple goes camping in the woods and meet three guys who have plans to terrorize them. The other part is about a woman who likes to break into others' houses while they're gone and stay there until they get back. But she breaks into the wrong house.... Both of the stories are tied together in the end.

Off Season by Jack Ketchum

Three couples rent a cabin on the Maine coastline. But they don't know that there's a bunch of cannibals living in the caves. This is one of the goriest novels I've ever read. It reads like a B-movie, which makes for a really fun camping read. I don't understand how The Girl Next Door, The Lost and Red were all made into movies before this Ketchum novel.

Also by Jack Ketchum

Offspring: The sequel to Off Season.

Cover: A group goes camping in the woods and come across a crazed Vietnam vet.

The Mountain King by Rick Hautala

Two men are hiking in the mountains and one is taken by Bigfoot. The other man returns to the mountain to find his friend.

Deliverance by James Dickey

The book that the movie was based on. Four men go on a canoeing trip and encounter crazed backwoods hicks.

The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon by Stephen King

A young girl gets lost while hiking in the woods with her family. This book is about how she survives alone in the woods. One of my teachers read this book to my grade 8 class. Not scary and not really horror, but it's still a compelling read.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

MOVIE REVIEW: Just Before Dawn

I got this movie on VHS from a library book sale. Pretty cheap too, all I had to give was a donation. So I gave $10 for a box of books and a couple movies. The bottom picture on the left is my VHS copy. I didn't expect much judging from the cover art, which is just a drawing of a man with a knife standing in front of a tent. But the description on the back sounded promising.

Just Before Dawn is about five teens heading up in the mountains to camp for a weekend. Although a forest ranger warns them not to go up there, naturally they ignore him, and discover there's a killer in the woods.

The film has a pretty slow pace. After the initial murder scene to grab viewers nothing else happens for awhile. But it's very atmospheric and has a creepy soundtrack.

Also, there's not really any gore. Just a few people stabbed and a little bit of blood. Just Before Dawn leads more towards Deliverance than say Friday the 13th. It relies more on the atmosphere to creep you out instead of a bunch of gory deaths.

The standard slasher cliched characters make an appearance in this movie. I liked a couple of them, but most of them got on my nerves.

Overall, Just Before Dawn is an okay slasher. It's a bit slow and doesn't have much gore, but it makes up for that with its creepy atmosphere.

Rating: 3/5

Monday, July 20, 2009


I'm going camping in one week and I'm pretty excited. So this week I'm going to dedicate all my posts to camping-related horror.

First up, Eden Lake.I saw this movie a few months ago and it has stuck with me since, especially its disturbing ending.

Eden Lake is about a couple who spend a romantic weekend at a secluded lake. However, the lake isn't too secluded. It's a hangout spot for a group of unruly teenagers. When the couple asks the teens to turn their music down, they refuse and slash the couple's tires in retaliation. The action keeps escalating, until the powerful conclusion.

This film's suspense didn't let up for a second. I was glued to the screen to see just how far these kids would go. And they go pretty far.... The film doesn't have a happy ending, but it will stick with you for a long time.

The plot is very believable, unlike other killer kid movies. I mean, kids aren't going to feed you to the monster in the corn fields or turn out to be the son of Satan. But kids nowadays are pretty messed up. They cave into peer pressure fairly easily, and just one rotten apple could spoil the bunch. Just like in this movie. It seems like most of the teens are essentially good kids, except for the leader of the group.

Occasionally the main characters' stupidity got on my nerves, just like most horror movies. First of all, none of this would've happened in the first place if the couple hadn't confronted the kids numerous times. Obviously they weren't going to turn the music down, so they should've just sucked it up or left. And I couldn't believe she spent the night in the forest after the teens take her boyfriend. Um how about going and getting some help?

Eden Lake was (mostly) a realistic film, making it that more disturbing. And it's different than most camping/lost in the woods films. Instead of having the usual monster, mutant hillbilly or masked killer, the monster is just a bunch of kids.

Hopefully irritating kids won't be at my campground next week. Well, even if there is I doubt this would happen to me...knock on wood.

Rating: 5/5

Thursday, July 16, 2009


When I saw this movie at the library, I didn't hesitate to check it out. It's from the director of The Blair Witch Project. That didn't entice me at all since I'm not a big fan of The Blair Witch Project. But Amanda Seyfried (Veronica Mars) and Hilarie Burton (One Tree Hill) are in it and I think they're both awesome actresses. Too bad this movie wasn't.

The main character's twin sister killed herself six months earlier, but the gang still went on their usual summer getaway to the bayou to celebrate the Summer Solstice. Then creepy things start to happen and it seems like the twin's ghost has come to party after all.

Solstice sucked. I can't think of any other way to put it. I think it might possibly be the most boring movie I have ever seen. Nothing happens until an hour and 15 minutes in. I timed it. Unless you count having a cut on your hand and then it disappearing a second later something happening. I do not.

I don't want to waste my time talking about how much Solstice sucked. I recommend that you steer clear of this movie.

Rating: 1/5

MOVIE REVIEW: The Toxic Avenger

After buying another Troma film, Mother's Day, from The Beat Goes On for $5.99 and enjoying it, I thought I would check out The Toxic Avenger. It's one of their most popular movies and it was on FearNet for free so I thought it might be worth a look. And I would say it's one of the cheesiest, funniest, goriest horror movies I've ever seen.

Melvin is the nerdy mop boy at health club in Tromaville. When bullies play a prank on him, he ends up accidentally diving into a barrel of toxic waste. It turns him into a muscular mutant. Then he takes it upon himself to save the citizens of Tromaville from evil. And he falls in love with a blind woman. But the criminals in town want to kill Melvin a.k.a Toxie before he can kill them.

There were a lot of gory scenes, which were funny at the same time. Like the scene where Toxie uses things in a restaurant kitchen to kill robbers. Or the scene where he rips out the corrupt mayor's organs to "see if he has any guts" and then the mayor tries to shove them back into his stomach.

I loved Melvin's relationship with Sarah, a blind lady. Seeing this pretty lady paired up with a monster made me laugh.

Toxie makes such a great superhero. He's a grotesque monster who should be killing people instead of saving them. No one expects him to be nice, but he's helping old ladies with their groceries, saving kids from being run over, etc.

I definitely recommend this movie. It's funny and gory at the same time and I wasn't bored for a second.

Rating: 5/5

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

MOVIE REVIEW: 2001 Maniacs

My favourite horror subgenre would have to be slashers, especially backwoods/cannibal/inbred hick movies (like The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Wrong Turn, Deliverance). So when I saw that this movie was on FEARnet, I watched it immediately.

2001 Maniacs is about some college kids heading to the beach for Spring Break. But they come across a detour sign leading them to a strange town having a celebration in honour of the Civil War. They decide to stay, unaware that they're being killed off in preparation for the big feast.

This movie is a remake of Herschell Gordon Lewis's film Two Thousand Maniacs, which I haven't seen yet. I enjoyed his film The Wizard of Gore and this movie so I think I'll have to check it out.

I really enjoyed 2001 Maniacs. It mixes gore and humour together perfectly. And it stars a few horror favourites. Robert Englund played the mayor of the town (George W. Buckman) and there were cameos by Eli Roth, Kane Hodder and Travis Tritt.

I don't want to say too much about this movie because I don't want to give anything away. If you like horror movies with a little bit of gore and lots of humour, check this one out.

Rating: 5/5

MOVIE REVIEW: The Haunting in Connecticut

I rented The Haunting in Connecticut last night, after waiting for what seems like forever for it to come out on DVD. It wasn't as good as I had hoped.

Supposedly based on a true story, this movie is about a family who moves into a house that was formerly a funeral parlor and used to conduct seances. The eldest son in the family has cancer and they need to be near the hospital, which leads them to the house. When he starts seeing things, it's blamed on his treatments, but slowly they discover the dark history of the house.

Virginia Madsen (Candyman) stars as the mother and Kyle Gallner (Veronica Mars) stars as the son. The main reason I wanted to see this movie so bad was because I loved Kyle Gallner in Veronica Mars. He's becoming quite the scream king, having already starred in Red, and in the upcoming relases Jennifer's Body and the Nightmare on Elm Street remake.

This film seemed more like a drama than a horror film. There are a lot of scenes that just involve talk about him having cancer, i.e. having money troubles because of it, the other kids in the family resenting him for having to move, how horrible his treatments are. That comprised at least half of the film. Occasionally I like to watch a drama, but I don't like it in my horror films. I'm more of a horror/comedy fan. I think those two genres go well together. But not horror and drama.

And since this movie was mostly a drama, I was mostly bored. Well, that and the fact that the movie moves along at a snail's pace. And how there were only a handful of ghost scenes in what is supposed to be a movie about a haunted house.

But it does have a couple of creepy scenes. And I was grossed out by the whole eyelid thing...I don't really want to go into details....

It wasn't really a bad movie, it just wasn't a good movie either. If the pace had been faster and it had more scenes with ghosts it probably could've been a good movie. If you want to watch a better haunted house movie based on a true story, you're better off with The Amityville Horror. I would say even the remake of that was better than this.

Rating: 3/5

Monday, July 13, 2009

MOVIE REVIEW: Happy Birthday to Me

I've been wanting to see this movie for a long time, mainly because of its infamous death by shish kabob scene (see left). And thanks to FEARnet, I got to watch it online for free. I'm glad I did.

Happy Birthday to Me stars my namesake Melissa Sue Anderson (my parents liked Little House on the Prairie) as a young woman who finally fits in at her snotty school, Crawford Academy, gaining acceptance into the most exclusive clique the "Top 10." But being in the group isn't all it's cracked up to be since someone is offing them, one by one.

I loved this movie. Sure it's pretty cheesy at times, but so are most 80's slashers.

The plot had so many twists at times I had no idea what was going on. I had so many questions that I wanted to skip to the end so I could understand, but of course at the end everything is wrapped up in a neat little package. So I waited, trying to guess who the killer was (I was way off).

The characters in the Top 10 are the standard snobby rich kids, except for the main character who is a little different. Oh, and the nerdy kid who brings his pet rat to the pub and has an interest in taxidermy. It seems like the only reason he's in the Top 10 is so the others can make fun of him.... But I didn't mind because they're pretty much just there to die anyway.

I liked how the kills start with the norm (strangulation) and keep getting more and more creative (death by shish kabob) as the film goes on. Eventually they lead to a twisted ending.

Happy Birthday to Me is one of the most original slashers I've ever seen. It's definitely worth a viewing...especially since you can watch it online for free!

Rating: 5/5


If you're bored and looking for a horror flick to watch, check out I'd never heard of FEARnet until I saw a preview for it on a movie I rented, so I decided to check it out. It's a horror T.V. channel (or it used to be until it was dropped by Time Warner) in the States, so I guess that's why I've never heard of it (I live in Canada). Anyway, they have a bunch of horror movies you can watch for free on their website. Here are the movies you can watch there right now:

2001 Maniacs
The Amityville Curse
The Butcher
Carnival of Souls
Dance of the Dead
Dead and Gone
Happy Birthday to Me
Haunted Highway
Jekyll & Hyde
Night of the Living Dead (2006)
No Man's Land
Resurrection Mary
Room 205
Soul Survivers
The Substitute
The Toxic Avenger
The Toxic Avenger II
The Toxic Avenger III
The Toxic Avenger IV
The Unholy
Waxwork II: Lost in Time

Thursday, July 9, 2009

MOVIE REVIEW: The Burrowers

I had never heard of The Burrowers until I saw a preview for it on another horror flick I rented. I'm not a big fan of westerns but the preview was just so creepy I thought I would give it a try.

The Burrowers is about a family that goes missing, prompting a group of men to go in search of them, thinking that the local Indians kidnapped them.

Since I'm not into westerns I was hoping that this movie would be about 3/4 horror and 1/2 western, but sadly it was the other way around. I'm sure that fans of both horror and westerns would enjoy it.

It takes awhile for the horror portion to begin. And even after it does it seems like it's mostly about cowboys fighting Indians.

But the monsters are unlike any I've ever seen in a horror movie and look very creepy. And all the horror scenes were pretty scary.

If you like both horror and westerns then I would definitely recommend it. But if you're like me and can't stand westerns...well the monsters are pretty creepy so it might be worth a rental.

Rating: 3/5

Wednesday, July 8, 2009


I set a goal for myself to watch all the movies I've bought and never seen, and then just a few days later I rent three movies. No wonder I have so many movies I haven't watched yet. But I've been looking forward to seeing The Unborn for a long time.

I shouldn't have set my expectations so high. I saw the preview and thought "Wow that's a creepy looking kid, this movie is going to be awesome!" And then I had it cemented in my brain that The Unborn would be awesome. But it wasn't.

The Unborn is about a young woman who was supposed to have a twin brother but he died in the womb. And he starts haunting her because he wants to be born now.

The "creepy" scenes in this movie consist of: the creepy looking kid, a dog wearing a mask, a dog with an upside down head, bugs, a rip off of The Exorcist scene when Regan crawls down the stairs. There's virtually no gore and very few deaths. And it has tons of horror movie cliches, having something appear behind you in the mirror for instance.

All the characters were weak, boring and cliched, making me care very little about whether they lived or died.

I didn't enjoy The Unborn at all, and can't recommend it to anyone.

Rating: 1/5

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

MOVIE REVIEW: Summer of Fear

To begin my summer goal of movie watching, I chose the aptly named Summer of Fear (1978), directed by Wes Craven and starring Linda Blair post-Exorcist. Oh and a pre-Nanny Fran Drescher.

I bought this movie quite awhile ago but was wary of watching it because of all the negative reviews I read for it. But I was actually pleasantly surprised. I guess it just goes to show that you shouldn't listen to reviews. Except mine...

Summer of Fear isn't really a horror movie, I would call it a supernatural thriller. It was probably labeled horror because it involves witchcraft and was directed by horror master Wes Craven.

Based on the young adult book of the same name by Lois Duncan (writer of the novel I Know What You Did Last Summer), Summer of Fear tells the story of Rachel and her odd cousin Julia. Julia comes to live with Rachel after her parents are killed in a car crash. Several horrible events occur after Julia moves in, leading Rachel to believe that she's a witch, but of course no one believes her.

The beginning of this movie reminded me a bit of The Craft because Julia used witchcraft to achieve petty high school goals. Like stealing Rachel's boyfriend and making Rachel's dress for the dance no longer fit, but look perfect on her. But eventually she moves onto more serious things, like killing people.

Rachel, played by Linda Blair, was one of the strongest horror movie heroines I've ever seen. She suspects there's something wrong with Julia from the beginning and won't give up until she proves that Julia's a witch. Even though everyone thinks she's crazy and Julia keeps putting obstacles in her way.

The plot moves along quickly, but there's no gore and very few deaths. And there are a few lame scenes, like Julia's crazy eyes, for instance. But I still enjoyed it and thought it was a pretty good thriller.

Rating: 4/5

MOVIE NEWS: Jennifer's Body Trailer

The trailer for Diablo Cody's new film Jennifer's Body just came out. I think it looks hilarious and I can't wait for it to come out. Especially since I loved Juno. And Adam Brody (from The O.C.) is in it!

Here's the plot: A newly possessed cheerleader turns into a killer who specializes in offing her male classmates. Can her best friend put an end to the horror?

Monday, July 6, 2009

My Summer Goal

Seeing as how my hours at work got drastically cut back because of the recession, I have decided to come up with a goal to occupy my time. My goal for the summer (besides trying all of the 10 flavours of Slush Puppies at the corner store and getting a nice tan) is to watch every movie I own that I've never seen.

I know everyone is thinking that I can't possibly have enough movies to last the whole summer. Well you would be wrong. I have around 70 movies that I bought and haven't gotten around to watching yet.

I used to watch movies I bought as soon as I got home. But then I got a little backed up and it got way out of control. Now that I have time on my hands and no money to buy more movies I can finally watch all of them.

The picture on the left was my movie collection a few years back. It has at least doubled in size since that picture was taken.