Wednesday, 31 October 2018

13 Days of Halloween: HALLOWEEN: A Fan's Retrospective





While most kids were watching cartoons in 1988, I was a seven-year-old sitting in the floor directly in front of my grandparent's old television set watching Jamie Lee Curtis being stalked by a psychopath wearing a William Shatner mask. 

Yeah, you shouldn't let a seven-year-old watch a slasher film, but my grandmother did. Thanks, Grandma! 

I believe I was probably pestering my grandmother, so she played a movie in the VHS player for me to watch. Don't worry, the movie was edited. She had recorded Halloween I, II, and III onto a VHS tape off of television the previous year. I would say she played the movie just to get me to leave her alone. Whatever the reason, it was the first time I watched Halloween, which would become my favorite movie.

While Halloween wasn't my venture into the world of horror (Midnight Hour (1985) gets that honor!), it was my very first slasher flick, which kicked off my lifetime love for the Halloween franchise. (Yes, that even includes the godawful Halloween Resurrection!)

I can't explain why my favorite movie is about a masked killer stalking a babysitter on Halloween Night. It might have something to do with the film's Gothic-like atmosphere or it might have something to with the little fact that my first crush was on Jamie Lee Curtis! 

My mother thought I was crazy for liking a slasher film and thought there was something mentally wrong with me. I'm not joking, she really thought there was something wrong with me. Through my eyes Halloween was just a movie. I knew the difference between make-believe and reality, so I never saw the harm in watching the movie.

I believe I still have my grandmother's VHS tape, but for the life of me I couldn't find it before I started writing this. I believe it is stored in a box somewhere. 

Tuesday, 30 October 2018

13 Days of Halloween: Halloween: The Official Movie Novelization


Titan; 384 pages; Amazon
It's been a long, long day for me, but here I am determined to write this review for Halloween: The Official Movie Novelization by John Passarella, which is based on the screenplay by Jeff Fradley, Danny McBride, and David Gordon Green.

The original Halloween (1978) happens to my favorite movie (more on that topic tomorrow), so I guess you can say I have been really excited about the new reboot sequel that was released on October 19th. Yes, you would think I would be one of the first people in line to see the film, but the only theater near me only has one screen and it takes them forever to get a new movie. I highly doubt if they will ever get Halloween. I have no problem waiting for the film to arrive on Blu-ray; especially since I have already read the novelization.

Halloween ignores all the original sequels and the Rob Zombie's movies. It's a direct sequel to the 1978 classic. The novel begins with two true-crime podcasters visiting Smith's Grove Rehabilitation Hospital to interview Michael Myers, which makes little sense as he never talks. Michael and a few other patients are being transported on a prison bus on Halloween Eve to another facility when an unknown accident occurs that allows Michael to escape. 

For the last forty years, Laurie Strode has been haunted by the events of Halloween 1978, when three of her friends were murdered by Michael Myers. She's has developed PTSD and has prepared herself if Michael would ever come after her again. She has a collection of guns that she has been trained to use and she has fortified her house.

After learning Michael has escaped, Laurie goes on the hunt to kill him on Halloween Night, but she's too late as Michael has already gone on a killing spree in Haddonfield. With her daughter, Karen, and granddaughter, Allyson, in Michael's pathway, Laurie will do anything she can to protect them from the boogeyman.



Tuesday Picks!: October 30, 2018


Welcome to my Tuesday Picks! post, where I'll be picking out my favorite books and movies that are being released this week.


Books

Elevation
by Stephen King

Buy Link: Barnes & Noble



The only book I'm excited about this week is Elevation by Stephen King. I had requested to review the book from the publisher several weeks ago, but I never heard back from them. I looked for the book at my local Walmart today, but it wasn't there. While the store's book selection is very slim, they are normally up-to-date on most "big name" titles. I was probably just there too early before the "book person" brought in the new batch of books. Walmart employees don't stock the books; somebody else comes to do it. If the store doesn't get the book in, I will eventually order the book.



Movies

Batman: The Complete Animated Series

Buy Link: Amazon


Monday, 29 October 2018

DVD Review: Jack London's Sea Wolf: The Complete Mini-series



Mill Creek Ent., 185 mins; Not Rated; Amazon

Does anyone remember the countless miniseries that aired on network television and cable channels throughout the 1990s?

Well, I remember them. Miniseries were the big "events" for television back then. Nowadays, miniseries have long since disappeared, except for the few campy ones on cable. 

Recently, I watched Jack London's Sea Wolf: The Complete Mini-series DVD, which was released earlier this year from Mill Creek Entertainment. Directed by Michael Barker, the two-part miniseries stars Sebastian Koch, Neve Campbell, Stephen Campbell Moore, and Tim Roth. 

Based on the 1904 novel The Sea-Wolf by Jack London, the 2009 miniseries centers on the harsh captain of the seal hunting schooner the "Ghost," Wolf  Larsen (played by Sebastian Koch), who rescues a castaway poetry critic, Humphrey Van Wyden (played by Stephen Campbell Moore) from the high seas. Humphrey quickly learns that Wolf is a horrible captain, who puts him and the rest of the crew through hell.

The Ghost comes across another castaway, a beautiful woman named Maud, who had barely escaped the clutches of Wolf's crazed brother, Death (played by Tim Roth). After falling in love, Humphrey and Maud escape on a rowboat in the middle of the night. Unfortunately, they will once again intertwine with both Wolf and Death in a final confrontation.

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?


It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is a weekly meme hosted by The Book Date.


What am I currently reading?


I'm currently reading Halloween: The Official Novelization by John Passarella. I'll be posting my review for it sometime tomorrow.



America Mirror: The Life and Art of Norman Rockwell is more of a passion read. I'm currently on page 39 (Chapter Three). I'm reading it one chapter at a time or one chapter per week.


What am I reading next?

13 Days of Halloween: Goosebumps SlappyWorld: The Ghost of Slappy


Scholastic; 160 pagers; Amazon
I could never have a Halloween event without featuring one Goosebumps title! 

I've been reading and collecting Goosebumps books since the very first book was released back in 1992! The latest spinoff series is titled Goosebumps SlappyWorld, which features the #1 Goosebumps villain Slappy as the host of each and every tale. 

The newest entry "The Ghost of Slappy" centers around Shep Mooney, who's scared of anything supernatural related, especially ghosts! Shep thinks that his basement is haunted by a ghost named Annalee, but neither his parents nor his younger sister, Patti, believes him. 

Maybe a camping trip will make Shep forget about the ghost. His class is having a sleepover in the woods. Sounds like fun, right?

Think again!

His teacher, Mr. Hanson, has brought along a very special gift for the trip - a ventriloquist dummy named Slappy! It seems Mr. Hanson had found the dummy in an attic and thought it would be fun to bring it for the campout. Mr. Hanson is aware about the curse that was put on the dummy and tells the story to Shep and classmates. 

After the camping trip is over, Slappy decides to stalk Shep and his family, but the boy is one step ahead of the dummy. However, Shep doesn't know that Slappy has a few new tricks up his sleeve!


Sunday, 28 October 2018

13 Days of Halloween: The House With a Clock in Its Walls


Puffin; 185 pages; Walmart
This will probably sound a bit weird to some of you, but I had never heard of the late author John Bellairs until this summer when I stumbled upon The House with a Clock in it's Walls at a Barnes & Nobles. The book was republished to tie-in with the feature film of the same name that was released in September starring Jack Black and Cate Blanchett. I almost purchased it, but decided not to at the last second. A few days later, I found the book at my local Walmart at a slightly cheaper price, so I bought it. 

First published in 1973, the young adult Gothic mystery centers around Lewis Barnavelt, an orphan who is sent to New Zebedee, Michigan to live with his uncle, Jonathan Barnavelt. Not long after arriving, the boy learns that magic really does exist. Uncle Jonathan is a warlock and his next door neighbor, Florence Zimmermann, is a witch!

To make things even stranger for Lewis, he also learns that his uncle's house was once owned by Isaac and Selenna Izard, a couple who practiced black magic. Before Isaac's death, the man had hid a clock somewhere within the walls of the house. The ticking clock slowly pulls the world into the magical realm.

At school, Lewis befriends Tarby Corrigan, who's the complete opposite of him. In fear that Tarby will lose interests with him, Lewis shows off his own magic skills by raising the dead in a local cemetery on Halloween, which includes Selenna Izard.

There are a total of 12 books in the Lewis Barnavelt series, which only the first three titles were written by John Bellairs. Brad Strickland took over writing the series after Bellair's death, though three of the later titles were based on Bellair's unfinished writings and notes.



Sunday Post: October 28, 2018

Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimberly @  Caffeinated Book Reviewer!

Good Morning, Everyone!


My Current Reads 


Today, I'll be reading Goosebumps SlappyWorld: The Ghost of Slappy. It's a really short book, so it shouldn't take me very long to read it. I'll be posting my review for it tomorrow as Day 11 of my 13 Days of Halloween. Then I'm going to jump right in and start reading Halloween: The Official Movie Novelization, which I will be reviewing on Tuesday (Day 12). I won't be reviewing a book on the last day of the event. However, this doesn't mean I'll be taking much of a break as I plan on reading/reviewing Mark of the Raven by Morgan L Busse and Her Fear by Shelley Shepard Gray towards the end of the week.

Update:
I'm now on page 39 of the nonfiction book "American Mirror: The Life and Art of Norman Rockwell" by Deborah Solomon. 



Last Week's Reviews

(Book)
(Blu-ray)
(DVD)
(Book)
(Book)
(Book)
(Book)
(Book)
(Book)


In The Mail


Didn't get to much in the mail this week. 

Saturday, 27 October 2018

13 Days of Halloween: Monsterland Reanimated


WordFire Press; pages; Amazon

I don't know why horror novels and movies appeal to me so much. I don't believe it has anything to do with the them being scary, as there has only been a few books and films that have actually frightened me. Maybe I just like things that go bump in the night!

Today, I'm reviewing Monsterland: Reanimated by Michael Okon. It's a sequel to the young adult horror novel Monsterland, which I had reviewed on this very blog in 2015 (read the review here). The first book was original written under the name Michael Phillip Cash.

Monsterland centered around Wyatt Baldwin, a teenager obsessed with anything horror and that includes Monsterland, a theme park full of vampires, werewolves, and vampires. The kid is thrilled when he gets an invitation to the grand opening, which he drags his two friends with him.

Sound like fun, right?

Not really! In this world, there was an outbreak and all the infected was saved by Dr. Vincent Konrad. Where are the infected?

Take a wild guess! They're the attractions in Monsterland!

The sequel picks up shortly after events of Monsterland, where the infected have escaped into the real world. Thousands of people are dead, along with the Present of the United States and other world leaders. Governments are starting to shut down as the world falls into complete chaos.

To save his town, Wyatt and his pals must go on a journey to reestablish communication with whatever is left of the government in the hopes of warning them about a new threat. However, his quest isn't going to be an easy one as he must battle more supernatural creatures, including a blob-like thing called The Glob, a reanimated Behemoth, and a few mummies.



Friday, 26 October 2018

13 Days of Halloween: Scream and Scream Again!


Harper; 410 pages; Amazon
Reading a good old fashioned ghost story always gets me in the mood for Halloween, which is one of two reasons why I wanted to read the anthology Scream and Scream Again!. The second reason is because the book is edited by one of my favorite authors - R.L.Stine.

The anthology features twenty young adult short stories from the Mystery Writers Of America. The stories are:


  • The Best Revenge by R.L. Stine
  • Raw Head and Bloody Bones by Bruce Hale
  • Bricks and Bones by Emily Laybourne
  • Ring and Run by Steve Hockensmith
  • The Unknown Patriot by Chris Grabenstein
  • Summer of Sharks by Lisa Morton
  • Rule Seven by Ray Daniel
  • Cat Got Your Tongue by Wendy Corsi Staub
  • The I Scream Truck by Beth Fantaskey
  • The Witch of Bryon's Bayou by Heather Graham
  • Bloodstone by Phil Matthews
  • Area Code 666 by Carter Wilson
  • The Trouble with Squirrels by Doug Levin
  • The Necklace and the Monster by Jeff Soloway
  • The Only Child by Joseph S. Walker
  • Kamikaze Iguanas by Alison McMahan
  • The Nightmare Express by Daniel Palmer
  • The Girl in the Window by Tonya Hurley
  • Feed the Birds by Stephen Ross
  • The Platform by Peter Lerangis

Book Blogger Hop: Halloween Editon! - October 26th - November 1st




Instructions: Select all code above, copy it and paste it inside your blog post as HTML



Welcome Ghouls and Goblins
to the
Book Blogger Hop: Halloween Edition!
  
If you want schedule next week's thrilling question, click here to find the next prompt fright-fest. 
To submit a question, fill out this form.

How to participate in this week's creepy meme:


1. Post on your blog answering this haunt:

  Recommend one horror novel for non-horror readers.


(This week's question is submitted by Billy @ Coffee Addicted Writer.)

2. Enter the link to your terrifying tale in the haunting list below (enter your Blog Name and the direct link to your post answering this week’s question. Failure to do so will result in a curse).

 

3. Visit other haunters in the list and comment on their posts. Try to spend some time on the blogs reading other posts and possible become a new creeper.  The purpose of the hop is to give bloggers a chance to follow other blogs, learn about new books, befriend other bloggers, and receive new followers to your own blog.
 

Billy's Answer!

The Haunting of Hill House
by Shirley Jackson





Linky List:

The Friday 56: Monsterland Reanimated


Rules:
  • Grab a book, any book.
  • Turn to page 56 or 56% in your eReader.
  • Find any sentence, (or few, just don't spoil it).
  • Post it.
  •  Add your (url) post below in the Linky at: www.fredasvoice.com
  • Add the post url, not your blog url.

Thursday, 25 October 2018

13 Days of Halloween: Hocus Pocus & the All-New Sequel


Freeform Books; 528 pages; Amazon
Go ahead an admit it! You have watched Hocus Pocus at least one time! 

I'm not for sure when the tradition started, but Freeform (formerly ABC Family) airs the 1993 film dozens of times throughout the month of October every year; resulting in it becoming a cult classic. Since I'm a bit older than the typical Freeform viewer, I was quite aware that Hocus Pocus existed long before it became popular. I remember seeing it in theaters when I was a 12-years-old and later watching it countless times on VHS; so I was a big fan before everyone else started appreciating the little horror-comedy. 

To celebrate the 25th anniversary of the film, Disney published Hocus Pocus & the All-New Sequel written by A. W. Jantha, which is actually two books in one. The first 200 pages is the novelization of the original film and the rest of the book is the long awaited sequel.

I'm not going to go into a detailed description of the novelization's plot, as by now practically everyone in the world has seen the movie. However, I will mentioned about the differences in novelization. For instance, the beginning of the movie that was set in 1693 is split up in the book in flashbacks, which are intertwined in several chapters with the 1993 setting. There's a few new scenes with Max prior to going to school and he's given a backstory about his life prior to moving to Salem. Also, there's a few additional scenes expanding his relationship with Allison. Then there's the ending, which has been completely reconned with the Sanderson's spell book disappearing.

Set 25 years later, the sequel centers on Max and Allison's seventeen-year-old daughter Poppy, her best friend  Travis, and her new friend Isabella breaking into the Sanderson sister's home to play an Ouija board-like game. Isabella just happens to have found the spell book that very same day and with the game they accidentally recite a spell that transports Max, Allison, and Dani into Hell. To make matters even worse, the spell brings back the Sanderson sisters!


Wednesday, 24 October 2018

13 Days of Halloween: Echoes in the Walls by V.C. Andrews


Pocket Books; 400 pages; Amazon

When I hear the author's name V.C. Andrews, I think of the word "Gothic," as her original Flower in the Attic and sequels had the perfect Gothic-vibe to them. However, when it comes to the ghostwritten titles written by Andrew Neiderman, the Gothic touch that I loved so much seems to have completely vanished. The once well-plotted novels have been replaced with generic young adult stories.

Like most V.C. Andrews' fans, I've been very critical of the last batch of ghostwritten titles, all of which were badly written with one-dimensional characters. Just when I was about to give up on all future V.C. Andrews books, I read House of Secrets and I didn't hate it. (Read my review here!). Yes, it had some writing issues, but the plot and characters were a major improvement.

Here I am today writing my review for the sequel Echoes in the Walls, which was published on August 28th. Pocket Books has sent an ARC copy a few weeks prior to the release date, but I held off reading it, just so I could feature it during this year's Halloween event!

It's a little difficult for me to explain the actual plot of the sequel without giving away the ending of House of Secrets. WARNING - THERE WILL BE SPOLIERS!

House of Secrets centered around Fern, a teenager who has lived her entire life at the Wyndemere mansion with her mother, who worked as a maid for the Davenport family. While Fern isn't supposed to have anything to do with the Davenport children, she has developed a close relationship with Ryder Davenport, who she has romantic feelings for. To make a long story short, towards the ending of the book Fern learns that Mr. Davenport is her real father and Ryder is her half-brother.

After barely surviving a boat accident, Ryder now has selective memory and he doesn't remember that Fern is his half-sister. Most of the time in Echoes in the Walls, Ryder has no clue who Fern is and has long forgotten his sexual feelings for her. Actually, the character has very little to do in the sequel. He's either shut inside his room or spending time at the hospital.

The majority of the sequel centers on Fern's relationship with her new boyfriend, Dillon, which is full of the typical teenage romance cliches. When she's not with Dillon, Fern has her mind on the upcoming school production of Dracula.

Tuesday, 23 October 2018

13 Days of Halloween: Return To Fear Street: The Wrong Girl


Harper Teen; 330 pages; Amazon
If you read yesterday's review for Return To Fear Street: You May Now Kill The Bride, then you would know I have been a fan of R.L. Stine's Fear Street series since I was a kid. No, the Fear Street books weren't my first introduction to the world of horror, as I had first watched the slasher classic Halloween when I was seven-years-old. (There will be more on that topic on Oct. 31st.). As you can probably imagine, I was more than thrilled when I heard about the new Return To Fear Street books.

The second book in the Return To Fear Street series, titled The Wrong Girl, was published last month by Harper Teen. The plot centers around Poppy Miller, a teenager who loves to write poetry and dreams of receiving a scholarship to the drama department at Carnegie Mellon. She's pretty much your typical teen who is into all the normal teenage stuff. She has a boyfriend named Keith, who she doesn't really like, but she keeps him around anyway. Ivy Tanner is her BFF, who is currently dating Jeremy Klavan. And then there's Manny, the musical genius of the group, who happens to be allergic to just about everything.

Poppy's life takes a sudden turn into the danger zone after becoming friends with the new Shadyside High student, Jack Saber, who is quickly accepted into the group. Jack is a wild child with a taste for fear. He insists they all start doing dangerous things, such as causing a car accident while they are filming it on their cell phones. Then they would put the video on YouTube, so they can become famous.

Things turn to the dark side after they play a prank on Poppy while they are attempting to rob a store. Poppy swears she will get revenge on them all!

Tuesday Picks! - October 23th, 2018


Welcome to my Tuesday Picks! post, where I'll be picking out my favorite books and movies that are being released this week.


Books

The Reckoning
by John Grisham

Buy Link: Barnes & Noble


Halloween: The Official Movie Novelization
by John Passarella
Buy Link: Barnes & Noble


I've only read a few titles by John Grisham. He's a good writer but I don't care much for legal thrillers. The Reckoning looks like an interesting read, as the plot seems to be different than his other books. I requested to review the title from the publisher today, so we'll see what happens.

While I'm a huge Halloween fan, I have not seen the new feature film that started last Friday. The town I live in has only a one-screen theater, so I doubt if they'll ever get the movie. If somehow they do get the movie, then I'll go see it. If not, I'll just wait for the film to be released in Blu-ray. Until, then I'm going to read the Halloween: The Official Movie Novelization by John Passarella which was released today. I had pre-ordered it from Amazon several weeks ago and it arrived in my mailbox today. I'll be reviewing it on October 30th!



Movies

Creepshow (Collector's Edition

Buy Link: Amazon

Monday, 22 October 2018

13 Days of Halloween: Return To Fear Street: You May Now Kill The Bride


Harper Teen; 346 pages; Amazon

I have always wondered why a movie studio has never attempted to adapt any of the Fear Street books into a horror film series. There's was some talk a year or two ago about a film company making back-to-back Fear Street films, but nothing has ever officially been announced. Until such a day comes about, I will keep rereading the old Fear Street books, as well as the newer entries.

As you can tell by the title of this post, today I'm reviewing Return to Fear Street: You May Now Kill The Bride by R.L. Stine, who is one of my favorite authors. The book was published by Harper Teen during the summer and I kept the book back just so can I review it for near Halloween.

The book takes place during two different timelines - 1923 and 2018. In 1923, the plot centers around sisters Rebecca and Ruth-Ann Fear. Rebecca is the spoiled of the two and always gets what she wants, even if it means betraying her sister. Ruth-Ann isn't someone to mess with. She had stumbled upon a few books of witchcraft that were hidden in their family's home, and she has learned a few tricks, but her powers might not be strong enough to stop the "curse" that has been haunting their family for many generations.

Fast Forward to the present, where we meet two other sisters - Marissa and Harmony Fear. Coincidentally, Marissa is soon to be married at the exact same resort where Rebecca's wedding ending in disaster all those years ago. Just like Ruth-Ann, Harmony has a taste of for witchcraft, which her powers will be put to the test when Marissa is kidnapped. 

Harmony must find a way stop the family's curse forever!