Wednesday, September 29, 2010

And the winner of Scream Queens Season 2 is...


I am thrilled that Gabby won Scream Queens. I've been rooting for her since the very beginning and still cheered for her despite a few poor performances in the director's challenges. I knew she could overcome those to win.

It was still a bit of a surprise when Gabby won because Jessica has been consistently good throughout the competition. But Gabby definitely did a better job in the final director's challenge. I felt very "meh" about Jessica's last two performances.

I wasn't planning on watching Saw 3D, but now I can't wait!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

R.L. STINE BOOK OF THE WEEK: Goosebumps: The Scarecrow Walks at Midnight

It's a field of screams!

From the back cover:


Jodie loves visiting her grandparents' farm. Okay, so it's not the most exciting place in the world. Still, Grandpa tells great scary stories. And Grandma's chocolate chip pancakes are the best.

But this summer the farm has really changed. The cornfields are sparse. Grandma and Grandpa seem worn out. And the single scarecrow has been replaced by twelve evil-looking ones.

Then one night Jodie sees something really odd. The scarecrows seem to be moving. Twitching on their stakes. Coming alive...

My thoughts:

Although scarecrows are only supposed to scare pests, many people (including me) find them creepy. The Scarecrow Walks at Midnight is about scarecrows coming to life therefore should be terrifying but is ultimately a letdown.

There are some creepy images (like Grandma's hands being made of straw) but most of them end up being one of Stine's ridiculous chapter ending cliffhangers (oh, Grandma was just holding a broom).

But the book is still fairly suspenseful and keeps you reading to find out if the scarecrows are really coming to life or if Sticks is just playing a prank. And how/why the scarecrows would come alive.

Overall, an okay Goosebumps book. Even if it's a bit of a disappointment, The Scarecrow Walks at Midnight still has its moments of suspense - and evil scarecrows.

Rating: 3/5

PG gore: The corn was a disgusting brown color. And it was moving on the cob. Wriggling. Squirming.

Stanley raised the corn to his face to examine it. And I realized it was covered with worms. Hundreds of wriggling, brown worms.

Next week: Fear Street: Halloween Night

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

BOOK NEWS: Fresh Blood Writing Contest Winner

The winner for the Fresh Blood Writing Contest was announced a few weeks ago. It is Disunity by Aaron Dries. Here is what was posted on the ChiZine website:

The contest is over. The results are in. The winner is Aaron Dries, whose novel Disunity (now entitled House of Sighs) will be released by ChiZine Publications in a signed limited edition hardcover edition on February 15th, 2011.

There is no mention of the Leisure edition, which was promised to the winner.

Here is what Disunity is about:

Liz Frost is a bus driver. She began the day wanting to kill herself.

It would've been better if she had...

Her passengers are now hostages. They must unite & fight.

But where is the real danger? In the driver, her family, or among each other?

And the book trailers:

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

BOOK REVIEW: Joyride by Jack Ketchum

Jack Ketchum frequently uses true crime stories as inspiration for his novels. Off Season is based on the legend of the Sawney Bean family, The Girl Next Door tells the horrors that befell Sylvia Likens and this novel, Joyride, is derived from Howard Unruh's killing spree. In Ketchum's afterword, he reveals that he found his story (and the story of Sylvia Likens) in Bloodletters and Badmen by Jay Robert Nash.

 Usually Ketchum's combination of real-life terror and an interesting "what if" scenario hooks me, but Joyride never grabbed my interest and is a mediocre effort from a usually amazing writer.

Carole and Lee planned the perfect murder of Carole's abusive husband. But they didn't count on a man named Wayne watching them. He doesn't want to turn them in or blackmail the couple. He mistakes them for being as sadistic and depraved as himself. What Wayne wants is simple: friends who understand his dark side and can indulge in it together.

The plot is more like that of a crime thriller than a horror novel. The story is told from Lieutenant Rule's perspective on the chase of the spree killers, and then Carole, Lee and Wayne's viewpoint in alternating chapters. And there isn't much gore - at least for a Ketchum novel.

It takes several chapters before anything exciting happens and even then the pace doesn't really pick up. There are a few more dull chapters, one action-packed chapter, and then back to the same tediousness. This formula is repeated throughout the novel.

The reason for my boredom is probably due to the lack of depth in the characters. Carole and Lee are fairly bland and hard to emphasize with. While the reasons behind Wayne's madness are never touched upon, he is merely crazy, end of story. Lieutenant Rule is an interesting and well-drawn character, but isn't featured in the story as much as Wayne or Carole.

But I didn't hate Joyride, although it may sound like I did. It's still a Ketchum novel, so it's well-written and the climax is exciting, but it still doesn't make up for the rest of the lackluster novel.

Rating: 3/5

This novel also includes the bonus novella, Weed Species, previously released in 2006 as a hardcover, limited edition from Cemetery Dance.

Weed Species is also based on a true crime story, this time on that of Karla Homolka and Paul Bernardo. This story still angers many of us Canadians especially since Homolka is now free and married with a baby although the videotapes found showed that she is just as depraved as Bernardo. And Ketchum's imagining of what happened after Komolka was released from prison is our worst fears brought to life.

 At a mere 86 pages, this novella still packs an enormous punch. Anyone who is familiar with the rapes and murders of Bernardo and Homolka will know the brutality and gore to expect. For those of you who aren't, I'll warn you that there is a lot of violence in this novella, including graphic rape scenes.

Although Weed Species is well-written, interesting and leaves you wanting more, it's so disturbing and graphic that it will have you questioning why you enjoy reading stuff like this. But it takes a great novel to give you that feeling, so I'll give it a 4. This bonus novella is far better than the main novel, so I would recommend buying Joyride just for Weed Species.

Rating: 4/5

Combing rating: 3.5/5

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Fan Expo 2010

Two weekends ago I got the chance to attend the 2010 Fan Expo in Toronto. It was a spur of the moment thing so I went late Sunday afternoon and unfortunately didn't get to see some of the big celebrities like David Cronenberg, Lance Henriksen, William Shatner, Adam West or Leslie Nielsen. But I did see William Forsythe, Bill Moseley, Camille Keaton, Summer Glau and Heather Langenkamp. I didn't have much money so I could only afford to get Heather Langenkamp's autograph and a copy of Johnny Gruesome signed by Greg Lamberson. They were both crazy nice and I had a great time.

Me with Heather Langenkamp.
My autograph from Heather Langenkamp: 1,2... Freddy's coming for you!
William Forsythe
Bill Moseley
Camille Keaton
My signed copy of Johnny Gruesome by Greg Lamberson.

Summer Glau
My b/f and I in front of Dean Winchester's car (Supernatural).