Sunday, January 31, 2010

Women in Horror Recognition Month

February is Women in Horror Recognition Month. Created by Hannah Neurotica, the editor of Ax Wound Zine, WIH Month is to celebrate women in the horror industry.

Some fun events happening in February include Bleed For Women in Horror: Canadian Blood Donation Drive, the Women in Horror Appreciation Film Festival in Athens, Georgia, Women in Horror Con: In Honor of Bay Area Women in Horror in San Francisco, the Pretty Scary Bloodbath Film Festival in Addison, Texas and Ghouls on Film: Women Made Horror Film Fest in Birmingham, UK.

There are also several female bloggers doing something special for WIH Month. Day of the Woman held a poll where readers could vote for the special event. There was a tie between "Exposing my floormates to horror," where BJ-C will expose her best friends to horror films ("what about the opinions of the women who would trade in a shitty Nicholas Sparks adaptation or something starring Anne Hathaway over Bruce Campbell and buckets of blood? Well...WE'RE ABOUT TO FIND OUT!) and "If _____ had been a woman," where she will take a famous male horror character and explain what it would be like if he had been a woman. And at the request of other female bloggers, BJ-C will be doing something that lost in the poll: "Horror makeup tutorials."

Dollar Bin Horror
is doing "Viral Scream Queen of the Day," where Rhonny Reaper will post about a female horror blogger or website.

Fascination With Fear will focus on women villains in horror, posting one each day and "a paragraph or two on why they deserved mentioning."

Fatally Yours will be posting interviews from various women in horror ("from authors to journalists to makeup and special FX artists to actresses to directors to producers to musicians and so on!") for the month of February.

And here's what I plan on doing for Women in Horror Recognition Month:

Everyday I will review a horror book written by a woman. They will be the same as my usual book reviews, except I will write a paragraph or two about each author before my review. I've been reading like crazy for the past few weeks, realizing that the amount of horror novels by women I have read is appalling. I still have lots to read to make it to 28 - I might just post Monday - Friday.

To keep updated on events happening for Women in Horror Recognition Month, join their fan page on Facebook, or check out their website.

R.L. STINE BOOK OF THE WEEK: Goosebumps: The Girl Who Cried Monster

She's got the monster of all problems!

From the back cover:


Lucy likes to tell monster stories. She's told so many that her friends and family are sick of it.

Then one day, Lucy discovers a real, live monster: the librarian in charge of the summer reading program.

Too bad Lucy's told so many monster tales.

Too bad no one believes a word she says.

Too bad the monster knows who she is...

...and is coming after her next.

My thoughts:

In my post announcing the R.L. Stine Book of the Week, I mentioned that The Girl Who Cried Monster is one of my favourite Goosebumps books, mostly because of the crazy twist ending. And I was lucky enough to find it for 50 cents at a thrift store.

It was just as good as I remembered. Even though it seems all Goosebumps books have the same characters (the main character who has a bratty younger sibling, a platonic friend of the opposite sex, brief appearances from parents and some sort of monster), I could still relate to the main character, Lucy. I remember when I was younger and would have boring summers where I ended up reading the whole time.

The Girl Who Cried Monster is suspenseful and creepy, maybe even too creepy for some children, and it has a very unsettling ending. It only took me an hour to read it because I wanted to see what happened next. Or maybe because it's only 100 pages long with 14 pt. font....

Rating: 5/5

PG gore: "Mr. Mortman held the turtle higher, studying it with his bulging, rolling eyes. He held it up to the sunlight. The turtle's legs continued to move.

Then he popped the turtle into his mouth.

I heard the crack of the shell as Mr. Mortman bit down.

He chewed noisily, several times, making a loud crunch with each chew. Then I saw him swallow once, twice, till he got it down. "

Published in: 1993

Evident by references to: Super Nintendo, a camera which uses film (?) and has a viewfinder (?)

Next week: Fear Street: Secret Admirer

Saturday, January 30, 2010

MOVIE NEWS: After Dark Horrorfest 4

After Dark Horrorfest 4 was released in theatres yesterday. Unfortunately, I live in Canada and won't get the chance to see the films in the theatre and will have to wait for the DVD releases. But hopefully you get the chance to see them, and if you do, let me know what you think. Judging by these trailers, they all look interesting.


Dread, the second in the Book of Blood franchise is a stylish horror/thriller about three college students working on a documentary for school focusing on what others dread in life.

The Final

After receiving a lake-house granted to him in his uncle’s will, Dane and his friends, Jack, Ravi, Andy and Emily prepare for a single night that will leave their tormentors scarred for life…physically and emotionally.

The Graves

On their last weekend together, two girls are lost in a remote part of the Arizona desert where they are lured to Skull City Mine, an abandoned mine town. But they soon learn Skull City is anything but abandoned, and there’s no way out.


A man unwillingly returns to the small town he ran from 19 years ago. His cruel mother has recently died, and left him the house he grew up in and soon is entangled up in a series of events that seem beyond anyone’s control….

Kill Theory

Are you capable of the unthinkable? That’s the question seven college students face when they visit a secluded vacation home to celebrate graduation and are put to a horrific test by a mysterious killer.

Lake Mungo

A sixteen-year-old girl drowns while swimming in the local dam. With a verdict of accidental death, her grieving family buries her. A series of clues lead the family to Lake Mungo where her secret past emerges.

The Reeds

A weekend boating trip through the Norfolk Broads becomes a terrifying, deadly ordeal for six 20-something friends.

ZMD: Zombies of Mass Destruction

A conservative island community is under attack! Port Gamble, WA is being overrun with braineaters, and a rag tag band of rebels try to turn the tide and push the invading hoards of undead back.

Thursday, January 28, 2010


I keep catching bits and pieces of this film and finally sat down to watch the whole thing when it aired on Showcase (the home of Kenny vs. Spenny and Trailer Park Boys!) tonight. I could tell from the beginning that it was a made-for-TV Syfy Channel movie - and made in Canada - but that's not necessarily a bad thing. I've had fun watching other Syfy films. Unfortunately, I can't say the same for this film.

Residents of a town make a deal with the devil in the 1800's to grant them immortality. The only catch is that they have to sacrifice one person per year to a hungry ogre. When two young adults stumble upon the community, the townspeople have a chance to save one of their own....

The plot is kind of like The Village meets Pissed Off Bloodthirsty Shrek. It is very convoluted and hard to follow. I don't understand what an ogre has to do with the devil. And the film didn't need the addition of a town magi and spells. Ogre had potential if it had simply been a film about an ogre eating people.

The CGI ogre is awful; it looks ridiculously fake. The ogre bears resemblance to Shrek in that it looks like it should be in an animated film. Oh, that and the fact it's wearing clothes. Can't leave his cave and stomp into town to eat people without getting gussied up in the finest loincloth. Here's a picture in case you don't believe it:

One aspect of Ogre that's good is the acting. It features one of my favourite scream queens, Katherine Isabelle (Ginger Snaps), John Schneider (who most people know as Bo Duke from The Dukes of Hazzard, but I know as the father of teen dramas - particularly Smallville and The Secret Life of the American Teenager) and Chelan Simmons (Final Destination 3).

I would skip this one, unless you want to see an ogre looking all fancy in his loincloth while killing people.

Rating: 2/5

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

BOOK REVIEW: Urban Gothic by Brian Keene

Being a huge Brian Keene, fan I had been looking forward to Urban Gothic for months before it was released. But it took me almost six months to finish reading it. I got halfway through and gave up. It actually turned me off horror for awhile and made me wonder why I preferred gore and monsters over interesting characters. I don't, what I want is for my horror novels to have it all: fascinating characters that I don't want to see die, monsters and gore. But Urban Gothic focused more on the characters' torture than on their description and development. Eventually I got back to reading Urban Gothic (obviously, or else I wouldn't be reviewing it now) and found the second half to be better than the first.

Three young couples attend a rap concert and on the way home their car breaks down in a bad neighbourhood. When a group of young black men approach them, they become frightened and run away, hiding in an abandoned house. Or so they think - the house is actually inhabited by a family of mutant creatures.

The plot is a familiar one, but I didn't mind because it's a plot I love (almost) every time I encounter it. It's similar to Brian Keene's last novel, Castaways, which was also about monsters killing and eating people, but had a different setting (a tropical island).

The pace moves fairly quick, having the first mutant sighting/teen killing by the end of Chapter One. But the teens' efforts to hide or escape get old fast. Eventually Urban Gothic becomes dull and monotonous, which was the point I stopped reading. But when I picked the book up again months later, I was surprised to find that it wasn't as bad as I remembered. And it introduced a few fresh plot developments (killer mutant babies, for instance), which kept me reading to the end.

As I already mentioned, the area of the novel most lacking are the characters. Keene gives virtually no back story on them, making me careless about what happens to them and wonder why I should read any further. And because of this, I couldn't tell any of them apart. I spent the entire novel trying to identify Kerri from Heather, having to flip back to previous chapters to remember.

But I liked the group of black young men. They were the only interesting, non-stereotypical characters in the story and Urban Gothic would've been better if Keene focused on them more instead of the teens. And I did find the mutants (and mutant babies) disturbing.

It's not a bad novel, especially if gore interests you more than compelling characters. But if you're looking for a good mutant cannibal novel, I would stick with Ketchum's Off Season.

Rating: 3/5

Monday, January 25, 2010


Since every horror film made in a different language has to be Americanized and remade in the U.S., the Filipino film, Sigaw (meaning "Scream" in English) was made into The Echo.

When a young man (Jesse Bradford) moves into his deceased mother's apartment after being released from prison, he intervenes when a police officer is abusing his wife and child. But after that, things get much worse....

The plot was cliched and has been done dozens of times. And the film was slooooowwww. Nothing - creepy or otherwise - happens until 20 minutes before the end. And by that time I was fast asleep. But I got woken up to see the "scary" ghosts at the end, which weren't scary or creepy in the least.

The one good thing about the film was Jesse Bradford (Swimfan). He looked very sexy in this film. I love when films have a final guy instead of a final girl because there are so few. But even that couldn't save this horribly dull film.

Rating: 1/5

Sunday, January 24, 2010

R.L. STINE BOOK OF THE WEEK: Fear Street: What Holly Heard

It was too shocking to tell....

From the back cover:

Do you want to hear a secret?

Holly did. She learned a terrible secret, and now her friends know it too.

Someone wants to make sure they never talk about it. Someone who'll go any length to keep them quiet.



Even murder.

My thoughts:

I vaguely remember reading What Holly Heard when I was in high school. I couldn't recall the identity of the killer or anything important. I only remembered liking it - oh and Holly and her stylish blue scarf.

I knew who the killer - and the motive - was on Page 4. So every time I read "So-and-so is the killer!" I wanted to scream, "No, it's ____!" I almost put the book down several times because Miriam was so blind. The killer was right in front of her the whole time, but she kept accusing everyone else.

The main character Miriam and her boyfriend, Jed, were possibly the most boring characters I've ever encountered (okay maybe I'm exaggerating, but they were pretty bad). Jed's only interest was basketball and Miriam's only interest was Jed. But I did like Holly, she reminded me of myself a bit. I mean, what girl doesn't love gossip and bad boys?

And what's the deal with R.L. Stine and killing animals? It happened in the last Fear Street book I reviewed (Ski Weekend), and now in this one. I felt so sorry for poor Lizzy and Tilly, Ruth's hamsters. They didn't deserve to die such a gory death. Miriam and Jed, on the other hand....

So far R.L. Stine's Fear Street books have been a disappointment, but I've only read two so I still have hope.

Rating: 2/5

PG-13 Gore: "Ruth's hamsters lay in a puddle of blood. Gaping in disbelief, Miriam took a step closer.
'Ohhhhh.' A moan escaped her throat as she saw their heads.
Their heads.
Their heads had been smashed. Smashed flat.
And their little, furry bodies.
Torn and battered.

Body Count: 4 (Including the two poor, defenseless hamsters.)

Next week: Goosebumps: The Girl Who Cried Monster

Thursday, January 21, 2010

BOOK NEWS: Fresh Blood Writing Contest

ChiZine Publications (an independent horror publisher), Dorchester Publishing (publisher of Leisure Horror) and Rue Morgue Magazine teamed up to put together a novel writing contest and the results are in. There are nine finalists, one of which will have his/her book published in paperback by Leisure Books and in hardcover by ChiZine Publications in 2011.

Now that the contest has been narrowed down to nine finalists, readers get the chance to vote for their favourite. Each month there will be a different competition to weed out the contestants.

This month the competition is "Best First Chapter." But - for this month only - although you get to vote, the judges still get to choose the five who move onto the next round. The writer who wins the most votes in January is the "Fan Favourite" and is awarded a one-year subscription to the Leisure Horror Book Club and two signed copies of ChiZine books of his/her choice.

The judges of the contest are: Sandra Kasturi (Co-Publisher of ChiZine Publications), Brett Alexander Savory (Co-Publisher of ChiZine Publications) and Halli Villegas, (Publisher of Tightrope Books). There will also be a celebrity guest judge per round: in January, Monica S. Kuebler (Managing Editor of Rue Morgue Magazine), in March, Jeff Strand (author of Pressure), in April, Nate Kenyon (author of The Bone Factory), in May, John Everson (author of The 13th) and in June, Byan Smith (author of Depraved). Each month the judges' critiques will be posted.

Here are the nine finalists:
  • Disunity by Aaron Dries
  • The Burning Time by J.G. Faherty
  • The Sorrows by Jonathan Janz
  • Hell to Pay by Brian Johnson
  • Heart of the City by Lisa A. Koosis
  • Jack's Inferno by Mike Lamb
  • Breed by Sean Logan
  • A Fine Likeness by Sean McLachlan
  • The Balderdash Lowdown by Robert Stevens
And here are the monthly competitions:
  • January: Best First Chapter
  • February: No voting, just descriptions of each novel
  • March: Best Cover Copy
  • April: Best Description of the Novel's "Monster"
  • May: Most Frightening Scene
  • June: Best First Two Chapters
Voting for this month ends January 31 and you can find out more here.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

R.L. STINE BOOK OF THE WEEK: Goosebumps: The Abominable Snowman of Pasadena

He's no fun in the sun!

From the back cover:


Jordan Blake and his sister, Nicole, are sick of the hot weather in Pasadena. Just once they'd like to have a real winter. A real winter with real snow.

And then it happens. The Blakes are off to Alaska! Seems that Mr. Blake has been asked to photograph a mysterious snow creature there.

Poor Jordan and Nicole. They just wanted to see snow. But now they're being chased by a monstrous creature. A big furry-faced creature...known as the Abominable Snowman!

My thoughts:

I thought another snow-themed R.L. Stine book would be appropriate, even though the snow is gone here and it's fairly warm (above 0 degrees celsius!).

This book actually creeped me out a little (I'm a bit embarrassed that a book meant for 7-year-olds creeped me out, but whatever). Especially the part where they were trapped in a cave (I'm a bit claustrophobic).

It was fast-paced thanks to the fake-out cliffhangers Stine is famous for. But I don't mind them, they keep you reading.

The characters were your typical kids: an average kid and his bratty little sister who never listen to their parents and always get in trouble. But don't we all have bratty younger siblings? I know I do....

The only parts of the book I didn't like was how it never explained whether the Abominable Snowman was a scary people-eating monster, or a nice, gentle creature. I'm leaning toward the latter because that was how it seemed, but I'm still not completely sure. And the twist had pretty much nothing to do with the Snowman. It didn't even involve the main characters! But up until the last 30 pages, the book is great.

Phew. After reading Ski Weekend last week I was worried that maybe R.L. Stine Book of the Week was a mistake. But reading Goosebumps: The Abominable Snowman of Pasadena brought back fond memories.

Rating: 4/5

PG gore: " "Then Mrs. Carter - she lives at the end of Main Street - she saw the snow monster a few days later," Arthur continued in a low voice. "She was looking through her telescope and spied him out in the tundra. He was chewing on bones, she said. Don't believe me, go ask her yourself." "

Published in: 1995

Evident by references to: Super Soakers, Arnold Schwarzenegger as an actor

Next week: Fear Street: What Holly Heard

Thursday, January 14, 2010

MOVIE REVIEW: Jennifer's Body

I enjoyed Juno and had been looking forward to seeing Diablo Cody's second film, Jennifer's Body for awhile and I finally watched it. And I enjoyed it almost as much as Juno.

After surviving a fire at the local bar in Devil's Kettle, Needy Lesnicki's (Amanda Seyfried) best friend, Jennifer Check (Megan Fox) begins acting strangely; for example, coming over to Needy's house late at night covered in blood. When dead bodies of boys from school are found partially eaten, Needy realizes that there's something very wrong with Jennifer.

The plot took an interesting twist on sacrificing virgins that I had never given any thought to before. It was a combination of a teen flick and a horror comedy, with lots of teen made-up slang, or "Cody-speak". I didn't mind though because I like teen films, if you don't, then you might not enjoy it as much as I did. But it's a funny, smart, satirical teen movie a la Heathers.

I loved the characters Needy and Jennifer, who reminded me of Laney Boggs (Rachel Leigh Cook) and Taylor Vaughn (Jodi Lyn O'Keefe) from one of my favourite teen flicks, She's All That. Megan Fox plays a believable bitchy demon and Amanda Seyfried is great as a nerdy pushover who changes drastically by the end of the film.

And everyone keeps talking about how hot Megan Fox is, but no one has mentioned the hot guys in the film. Two of my celebrity crushes are in the film: Adam Brody (The O.C.) and Kyle Gallner (Veronica Mars). And they look damn sexy with eye liner.

Adam Brody as the lead singer of indie
rock band Low Shoulder.

Kyle Gallner stars as one of Jennifer's snacks

Jennifer's Body is a fun flick and if you liked Juno, you'll enjoy it too. But if you hate Diablo Cody and can't stand "Cody-speak", well then why would you watch it anyway?

Rating: 4/5

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

MOVIE REVIEW: Wrong Turn 3: Left for Dead

The first Wrong Turn film is one of my favourite horror films and I loved the second one almost as much as the first. So I had high hopes for the third film, Wrong Turn 3: Left for Dead, but ended up being disappointed.

While a group of prisoners are being transferred from one jail to another, their bus is run off the road by inbred mutant Three Finger. The prisoners see it as a chance to escape and run off into the woods, not expecting it to be inhabited by inbred cannibals. When two of them find a van filled with money, they have more motivation to survive.

The plot wasn't anything new and the subplot about the money was dull and unnecessary. It seemed like they didn't think inbred mutants killing people was enough for 92 minutes, so they added it. And it felt like more of a prison film than a horror film. Prison movies don't interest me at all, so I just sat there waiting for the next gory kill. There was a lot of gore, but nothing to set it apart from the first two films.

The film moved slowly, focusing more on the money subplot and arguments between characters than on Three Finger and his family. And the characters were the standard prisoner cliches. Most of them were assholes and I wanted them to die.

Although Wrong Turn 3 has some okay gore scenes, skip this film and watch the first two instead.

Rating: 2/5

Sunday, January 10, 2010


It was a perfect setting - for murder!

From the back cover:


Don't listen to the stories they tell you about Fear Street. Wouldn't you rather explore it yourself...and see if its dark terrors and unexplained mysteries are true? You're not afraid, are you?


"Red" Porter was a stranger they'd met on their ski weekend. But Ariel Munroe, Doug Mahr and his girlfriend Shannon Harper were grateful he was there when they set out for home on the icy roads. Thank heaven for Red! He spotted the hilltop lodge when they were stranded by the blizzard. He took charge when they stumbled into strange surroundings, scared, tired and looking for refuge. But can he save them when their refuge becomes a trap? Suddenly their hosts are acting very sinisterly. Doug's car is gone. The phones are dead. And the house is full of guns. If they steal one, maybe they can escape! Until a shot is fired and the real terror begins...

My thoughts:

I never read this book during my Fear Street kick because I grew out of them before I got to it. When I read " 'Red' Porter was a stranger" on the back cover I should've said "Done!" and put the book down without opening it because I knew who the villain was from the get-go. But I thought that a book titled "Ski Weekend" would be an appropriate read since we finally have snow on the ground and it's freezing here. And there were lots of lovely descriptions of snow, for example: "It was snowing so hard the air was white!"

Nothing exciting - or even slightly interesting - happens. Lou (the man who lives in the house where they take shelter) drinks a lot, owns tons of guns, hits on Shannon, thinks death is funny and allegedly hits his wife. I know people who are like that so I didn't really find him creepy like I was supposed to.... And Lou acting "weird" is pretty much all that happens.

The characters are the standard cardboard ones I remember from R.L. Stine books: Doug was the "macho" jock, Shannon was...his girlfriend (that is all she is described as), Ariel was the whiny main character and Red was the cute stranger. But there's a couple who live down the hall from me with the names Doug and Shannon, which I thought was funny.

Ski Weekend was too predictable and nothing really happened. My R.L. Stine Book of the Week feature is off to a lousy start. Hopefully next week's book will be better.

Rating: 1/5

PG-13 Gore: "A tiny brown mouse was struggling in the trap - the metal bar clamped over its neck. Its little black eyes bulged wide, and its tiny legs thrashed violently, scratching against the flat, wooden part of the trap. And then all at once they stopped."

Body Count: 2

Published in: 1993, also the year that...

Next week: Goosebumps: The Abominable Snowman of Pasadena

Saturday, January 9, 2010

R.L. Stine Book of the Week

Since I have a passion for nostalgia, I have decided to re-read all R.L. Stine's books. Beginning tomorrow, I will start a new feature called "R.L. Stine Book of the Week", where I will review an R.L. Stine book every Sunday.

I remember way back in Grade 3 and Grade 4 we would have a library period and all the kids would fight over the Goosebumps books. I can still recall a few of my favourites. It Came From Beneath the Sink!, which was about an evil sponge; The Girl Who Cried Monster, I still remember the twist ending where her parents turn out to be monsters; and the Night of the Living Dummy books because I love killer dolls. And I loved Stine's Goosebumps spin-off, Give Yourself Goosebumps, which were choose your own ending books. But I always cheated and kept my finger on the page and turned back if I died.

I also read every Goosebumps rip-off I could get my hands on. And there were a lot of them: Bone Chillers, Shivers, Phantom Valley, Spooksville. But all of them had happy endings instead of Stine's Twilight Zone-y endings.

I stopped reading Goosebumps around Beware, The Snowman (which is pretty good, #51 out of 62) and graduated to Stine's teen series Fear Street, which is a more grown up version of Goosebumps minus the crazy twist endings and with a little gore added. When I began high school, I made my first friend by bonding over Fear Street books in English class. I was completely obsessed with his Cheerleaders series.

And again I read anything similar: any Point Horror book (Diane Hoh, Caroline B. Cooney, Richie Tankersley Cusick, etc.), the Nightmare Hall series, Christopher Pike. Eventually I graduated to Stephen King, but I really have to thank R.L. Stine for my obsession with horror.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

MOVIE REVIEW: The Children

Wow, another killer kid movie. This seems to be turning into a killer kid week.... Unfortunately, The Children wasn't nearly as good as Orphan.

When two families spend Christmas holidays together, the children begin acting strangely and eventually start killing their family. But their parents can't bring themselves to murder their own kids.

The Children doesn't have much of a plot, just kids killing their parents, which isn't necessarily a bad thing, except that it never gives a reason for the kids going crazy. At first the kids get sick, so I guess it's some sort of illness that turns them into killers? I would've liked some more explanation on what the sickness was, why it was happening, etc.

All the characters, with the exception of teenage daughter Casey, were morons and I couldn't stand any of them. I know they're just kids, but if one of them had a knife and was about to stab me, I wouldn't just stand there staring. And as Casey said, Jonah (her mother's boyfriend/husband/whatever) really was a knob. I loathed him and hoped throughout the film that the kids would get him.

But the aspect of the film I hated the most was how a character would be shown screaming or gasping and then it would cut away to something else and not return to that character for 20 minutes. It's important for a film to have suspense, but it shouldn't torture the audience.

Even though I hated the characters they played, the actors gave great performances. Especially the kids, they were all very creepy.

The whole film was pretty creepy and the kill scenes were gory and shocking, especially when kids were killed. Even though they're crazed killers, they're still kids.

Overall, The Children isn't a bad film, but I think an explanation about why the kids went nuts and more likable, less moronic characters would've made it better.

Rating: 3/5

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

MOVIE REVIEW: The Butterfly Effect 3: Revelations

The other film I put on my Best of 2009 list but haven't reviewed yet was The Butterfly Effect 3: Revelations. I loved the first Butterfly Effect film and thought this one was even better because it combines the time travel plot with horror elements. But you don't need to see the first film before this one. The only thing they have in common is time travel.

Sam Reide (Chris Carmack) can travel through time and uses his gift to help the police catch murderers. When the man who supposedly killed his girlfriend is about to be executed, her sister offers Sam $5000 to find out who the real killer is. But while he travels back, he leaves behind evidence that he was there and becomes implicated in the crimes.

I love time travel plots and I like how this one infused that with a whodunit murder mystery - a gory mystery. All the kills were incredibly gory since the weapon of choice was a hand-held buzz saw. And the twist in the film was mind-blowing. I was way off on who the killer was and couldn't believe the motive.

As I mentioned in my Best of 2009 list, the ending of this film was depressing, but not as depressing as the end of the first film when he strangles himself in the womb so that he's never born. Sorry if I'm spoiling that for anyone, but it's just the alternate ending, they copped out and gave the film a happy ending.

Chris Carmack (The O.C.) and Rachel Miner (Californication) give great performances. I'm a big fan of Miner, who has appeared in every After Dark Horrorfest so far. In 2006, she appeared in Penny Dreadful and in 2007, she was in Tooth and Nail. Melissa Jones, the winner of Miss HorrorFest 2007, also has a role in the movie.

There is only one special feature on the DVD, but it's an interesting and loooong one. It shows entries for the Miss HorrorFest 2008 contest, which were all very unique and well done (the winner was Vic Tim a.k.a. Kelly Marchand).

If you liked The Butterfly Effect and you like horror, then you'll love The Butterfly Effect 3: Revelations. Even if you've never seen the first film or hated it I recommend this film. It has an interesting plot and enough gore to keep you entertained. I still can't get over the

Rating: 5/5

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

BOOK REVIEW: The Godsend by Bernard Taylor

I keep mentioning this book without reviewing it, so I'm going to remedy that now. The Godsend was published in 1976, but I've seen a few copies around at used book sales and if you're interested you could probably find a copy on eBay or BookMooch.

As I said in my review of Orphan, the plot of that film and this book are very similar. Alan and Kate have the perfect family with four young children. Until they take in a pregnant drifter and she gives birth, leaving them with the baby girl. The couple adopts her, names her Bonnie and loves her just as much as their other children. But as she grows older, the other children begin to die in horrible ways. Alan blames Bonnie, but Kate is blinded by her love for the child and can't see that she's evil. Alan must get Kate to see the truth about Bonnie before she kills all their children.

The Godsend is slow to start, but once Bonnie enters it picks up the pace. And then it was hard to put down. I wanted to keep reading to know what Bonnie would do next and when Alan and Kate would finally figure out that it's her hurting the other children.

I had a love/hate relationship with the characters. I loved Alan and Kate, but hated how dumb they were at times. At least Alan eventually figured it out. Sometimes I just wanted to slap Kate for being such a moron. All of the kids were cute and didn't deserve what Bonnie dished out.

I don't want to give anything away, but the ending is bleak and depressing. But it matched the tone of the book. It would've been odd to suddenly wrap everything up with a happy ending.

If you love killer kids, I highly recommend The Godsend.

Rating: 5/5


When I was making my Best of 2009 list, I realized that I haven't reviewed two of the films yet, so I'm going to review them this week. One of them was Orphan.

After their third child was stillborn, Kate (Vera Farmiga) and John Coleman (Peter Sarsgaard) decide to adopt a child. They adopt 9-year-old Esther, who is Estonian and a bit strange, always wearing frilly dresses, carrying a Bible to school and saying mean things. Kate quickly realizes that there's something wrong with Esther, but being a recovering alcoholic, John doesn't believe her. So she must try to save her family herself, before it's too late.

The plot of this film is very similar to the novel, The Godsend by Bernard Taylor. In the novel, a family adopts a baby girl and the father thinks she is evil, while the mother won't believe it. If you liked Orphan, try reading The Godsend, it's one of the best killer kid stories I've come across and I guarantee you'll enjoy it.

While the plot of Orphan isn't anything new, the twist is unique and surprising. With all the talk of the shocking twist, I tried so hard to figure out what it was but didn't come close.

And the acting in the film sets it apart. Isabelle Furhman (Esther) was only 10-years-old when they filmed it and still managed to make Esther one creepy little kid AND pull off a believable Russian accent. The other kids, Jimmy Bennett (Daniel) and Aryana Engineer (Max) did a great job as well.

It takes awhile for the film to really get going, dedicating a bunch of scenes to establishing Esther's strangeness/ craziness, but it's always interesting and atmospheric.

As I've already mentioned, I thought this film was one of the best of 2009. It's creepy, has great performances and a twist that no one will ever guess. Definitely a treat for killer kid fans.

Rating: 5/5

Saturday, January 2, 2010

MOVIE REVIEW: Cherry Falls

In memory of Brittany Murphy, I am reviewing one of my favourite films she starred in, Cherry Falls.

When a serial killer preys on teenage virgins in the small town of Cherry Falls, the teens decide to save themselves by having sex. But Jody (Brittany Murphy), the town sheriff's daughter, still wants her first time to be special. So instead she tries to find the killer herself and stumbles upon a dark secret involving some of Cherry Falls' most prominent citizens.

The plot of Cherry Falls takes one of the horror movie rules - virgins are the only survivors - and turns it on its head. It is a bit similar to Scream (especially in the first scene when a girl is nailed to a tree, like Drew Barrymore's character being hung from a tree in the opening scene of Scream), but there are still enough differences so it isn't a complete rip-off. I never came close to figuring out who the killer was and I was shocked when I found out the motive as well.

Most of the characters are smarter than the usual horror movie teens, taking matters into their own hands, holding a "Pop Your Cherry Ball" to lose their virginity so they don't become prey for the killer. And the acting is superb; Murphy plays a smart brunette, which is a change from some of her bubbly, blonde characters (like in Uptown Girls or Just Married).

The pace is a bit slow. After the initial kill scene, there isn't another for awhile. Overall, there aren't many deaths in the film and when they finally are shown, there is little blood or gore. But I was never bored because of the snappy dialogue and interesting plot and characters. Here are a few funny quotes:

"We're talking hymen holocaust here!"

"Hail, hail, Virgin High, drop your pants, it's fuck or die!"

"This is my post; I just can't split!" (Followed by his head being split in half)

Although somewhat of a Scream rip-off, Cherry Falls is a slasher with funny dialogue and a fresh twist on slasher conventions.