Book Review: Barnabas, Quentin, and the Sea Ghost by Marilyn Ross

Dark Shadows is a classic for Horror Addicts everywhere, so when I saw a row of 1970 paperbacks based on the Dark Shadows theme at a thrift store, I couldn’t pass them up. My only regret is that I didn’t buy all of them.

Barnabas, Quentin, and the Sea Ghost by Marilyn Ross were a combination of everything we love. A vampire, a werewolf, and what seems like a pirate ghost, Jenny Swift.

Nora and her father have come to Collinwood to head a salvage project deep under the sea. They’ve been told of the curses of the Jenny Swift including the death of the wife of the last salvage expert. But those warnings fall on deaf ears as Nora and her father are skeptics. As soon as Nora arrives, she encounters a midnight visitor and then shortly after meets Barnabas Collins who she falls in love with.

Despite the rumors of the curse of the Jenny Swift, the salvage operation goes forward. But when accidents start to arise and Nora finds seaweed in her bed, she thinks there might be something to it. On a scary night in the fog, she sees the apparition of Jenny Swift, the beautiful side of her face calling her to the ship and the horrid, mutilated side of her face scaring Nora to the bone. But when Nora is attacked in the cemetery—only to be saved by Barnabas—the Collinwood family wonders if there’s more going on. Could the mysterious Quentin Collins be the one attacking villagers and Nora? Adding a fortune hunter claiming to have rights to the treasure and you’ve got quite a story.

I really enjoyed the story and the descriptions especially of the cemetery and of the apparition Jenny Swift. Some leniency can be given to the quality of writing because of the time and because of the writing style being very script-like. If you can get your hands on this book, I say buy! And if you see any others, buy them up! Or, call me so I can go get them! For lovers of Dark Shadows, these are must-reads and for us regular Addicts it’s a pretty damn good waste of an evening.

Book Review: It’s a Bad, Bad, Bad, Bad World by Curtis M. Lawson

Review of the Curtis M. Lawson book It’s a Bad, Bad, Bad, Bad World

By Michele Roger

Grinning like a school girl, she said a prayer of thanks to God Almighty and pressed a hand against her ribs. The bones should have been broken. They had been earlier when she lay on the snowy cobblestone in Boston alley. Now there was no pain, and breathing came easily. The blade, which bore the seal of Samael, had performed what it had advertised.”

51ms92t5gxlWhat if eternal youth didn’t come by way of a holy grail, or a fountain? What if it came in the form of a pair of ancient knives? The blades are said to not only take the life of a victim but also transfer the victim’s vitality to their murderer. Such knives are considered the reality behind the mythical powers of Vlad the Impaler and Jack the Ripper, showing up at just the right, or wrong time throughout the world and history, depending on which side of the blade you’re standing.

It’s a Bad, Bad, Bad, Bad World” is one part ancient relic mystery, much like the Dan Brown novels. Characters the reader comes to trust suddenly commit acts of betrayal. Villains, (and there are a whole lot of them in this story) come from every different background, backstory and motive. In the race to possess the two knives known as the Fangs of Wallachia, an assassin nun sent by the Vatican, a ninety year old occultist, two terminal cancer patients, a junkie, a gun for hire, a cop, and a pawn dealer, a misspent teenager, an antiques dealer and an aristocrat are all entangled in a dark web.

A little slow to start, Lawson’s book becomes a page turner. His characters are richly written with a plot that quickens its pace with every chapter. One part gore, one part Indiana Jones, it was a thrill ride I would highly recommend.

Nurse Blood by Rebecca Besser Review

Nurse Blood by Rebecca Besser Review

nurse-blood-front-cover A fast paced read, you found that the characters were built as the plot was being laid out, the description of the characters through their actions were on the nose. Also, there was not a scene that didn’t belong. While the subject and the gore was there, it wasn’t over the top and it was not done in poor taste. I was afraid there might have been a couple of tasteless gore scenes again, not disappointed.

So, Sonya is a nurse and harvests organs to sell on the Blackmarket to make extra money. She has a couple of guys to help her, but she is the main in the catching of the men to lure the men to their deaths. Sonya and her team make these disappearances quick and leave little to no traces. They have been successful, but how long could they continue to get away with this?

One victim she lures is Daniel Mccoy, he just so happens to a twin brother to an FBI agent David, who wants to find the truth behind his brother’s disappearance. While he is looking for clues and trying to find the truth, Sonya is faced with one last big harvest (that involves a family, just a warning). Will she be successful and evade David just long enough to pull off the harvest?

The writing style Besser had was perfect for character building while the plot moves forward. I really enjoy this kind of book, and would recommend this book only to people who enjoy senseless killing, fast action and the main character to be a villain. Find out what happens to Sonya, and if David ever finds out what happened to his twin brother here.

Review – Chameleon by Layden Robinson

Chameleon by Layden Robinson
Edited by: B.Z. Hercules, Jessica Hueras and Layden Robinson
Cover Art by: Daniel Johnson (Squared Motion)

Synopsis: Epic tale of a mysterious man in search of peace, love and eternal answers. An acid trip frenzy that delivers color and intensity the whole way. Think a David Lynch movie meets Stephen King “Wastelands” with a hint of Chuck Palahniuk. Download this massive story. You will not be disappointed.

This short read by Layden Robinson will definitely put color in your vision and perhaps even your dreams if you read it before bedtime. It was a cross between poetry and campfire stories with the Manson Family. Is that a bad thing? I’ll let the reader decide. I wouldn’t say it had a feel of Chuck Palahniuk, but definitely a “Mickey and Mallory” peyote trip under the stars. I found a few instances where the wording was redundant, which disrupted the flow of the story. This book is definitely for readers who love flowing, psychedelic prose while curling up with chill music (for more effect, add incense). The cover work was genius and gives you all the set up you need for what’s inside!

I gave this read 3.5 stars because I felt the editing could’ve been a little tighter and because there were a few spots I hit a bump in the rabbit hole.

David’s Haunted Library: The Human Condition

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28368109Terror, murder and madness are all part of the human condition. We try to hide the fact that we have evil thoughts inside us and we don’t speak about the things that scare us the most. Like what bad things a person can do to another or even to themselves in a desperate situation. The Human Condition by Mark Taylor is a collection of 17 stories that have to do with the dark side of life, such as what happens when a person is driven to madness or faced with their worst nightmare.

The first story in this collection and one of my favorites is Christmas At The Mill. The story is about a man named Jimmy who gets trapped in a room at his work over the holidays. He wanted some peace and quiet and got much more than he bargained for. I love the simplicity of this story, it’s just one character and his struggle to escape his situation. I loved how the tension builds in this story and how everything was described. Mark proves here that you don’t need a lot of elements to tell a great story.

Another good one was Bobo. This was about a man named Tim who works as a clown on a famous children’s TV show. Things start to go bad for Tim as he starts having visions of everyone in the studio audience dying. Is Tim going insane or is his subconscious trying to tell him something? Once again I loved the storytelling here, I liked how Tim sees himself as crazy, but as the story moves along you see that’s not the case. I especially liked the ending to this one.

Each story in this book is well written and focuses on characters that are just average people put in gruesome, horrifying situations.  I love character driven fiction so I enjoyed all the stories in this anthology. Mark Taylor made me like every person in this book, which made it that much scarier when they were put in danger. When I finished reading this I wondered if Mark Taylor can make short stories this good, then his novels must be excellent.

Ghastly Games: Minecraft – Halloween Texture Pack

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Most everyone has heard of Minecraft, but for those of you who don’t play, you may not understand exactly what it is.
0922161518aImagine you could build a world with streets, neighborhoods, amusement parks, and underwater cities. Then imagine that if you were bored with the normal world you could put a sweater on it for any type of texture you want. Say it’s Christmas time, you could put a Christmas sweater on your entire world. The basics would still be the same, you still have your museum and opera house in the middle of town, but now it has Christmas lights all over it.

When I first started playing Minecraft I didn’t really understand the coolness of it all. I mean, I was able to build buildings in Sims and in Second Life, no big deal. But in Minecraft you can change those buildings and roads by simply changing textures. Depending on how you want to experience the world that is the covering you choose. They have many different textures. Some of my favorites are Halo, Skyrim, Christmas, Candyland, and of course Halloween.

That’s right, there is a Minecraft theme for our dark little horror hearts. They did everything from changing the animals to skeletons and mummies, to changing the beds to coffins and making the blocks all our favorite colors.

0922161530There are many different ways to play Minecraft beyond the texture packs. They also have skin packs so your character can look like your favorite movie character or dress up as a skeleton for Halloween. You can play Minecraft like I do, in the creative peaceful mode where you can build to your heart’s content without having to earn things, or you can play like my husband plays on survival mode where you have to earn every single thing you get and to survive you’re going to have to kill cows and other animals to eat. You also have to grow your own crops and make sure you’re protected at night time because that’s when the zombies, skeletons, spiders, and endermen come out to attack. I just hope you made some swords to fight back with. There are also these scary monsters called creepers who blow up on you. In survival mode, you can die, so make sure you’re protected before you go out at night or go exploring those caves. I don’t like the stress of playing in survival, but my husband likes trying to survive as if a real zombie apocalypse has happened.

Now, all forms of Minecraft have two alternate worlds contained within that require the production of portals to get to. The Ender Portal takes you to a land where there’s a giant dragon trying to kill you. The Nether Portal takes you to Hell, where a whole other cast of monsters try to kill you, but if you’re lucky you’ll find a castle or stronghold fit for a demon lord.

0922161517aA special note for those playing on Xbox One, the Halloween texture pack was updated last year and contains some animated things like the vampire roses that try to chomp you, the bouncing skull flowers, bloodied-toothed cacti, and blocks that have eyes peeking out between floorboards. Also, the same texture pack comes with a Halloween town sample that you should look at before you start building your own world. The sample features a haunted house, a spooky town that looks like Harry Potter’s, and a massive roller coaster that goes through a clown’s mouth and down a monster’s gullet.

If you’re thinking about trying out Minecraft, now is the best time. The Halloween texture packs are only available during October, so if you want to try it out, you must be on watch soon. Happy mining!

Live Action Reviews! By Crystal Connor: Otesanek

Live Action Reviews! By Crystal Connor: Otesanek

At 5pm am on March 17th, 2016, Crystal Connor, excitedly ripped open one of the red envelopes she gets twice a week grabbed some snacks flopped on the couch and picked up her remote.

This is the unedited journal chronicles the harrowing experience that her neighbors endured for hours as she screamed, cried, and shouted expletive obscenities at her television as she watched Jan Svankmajer’s 2000 Otesanek.

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Reader Discretion is Advised

Entry 1: Wait, what?

 Entry 2: Of course … that’s the last thing she needs to see.

Entry 3: What in the hell?!

Entry 4: Awww, man =(

Entry 5: Ha! That was shot beautifully!

Entry 6: Ok, there’s something else going on here.

Entry 7: Really, what else do you do at this point?

Entry 8: No! No, no, no…your gonna make it worse.

Entry 9: No, that wasn’t stupid that was downright mean

Entry 10: How the hell are they gonna get outta of this?

Entry 11: HOT ASS MESS!!!

Entry 12: WFT?!! So then they both saw that?

Entry 13: Nope.

Entry 14: Oh HELL NO!!

Entry 15: See, what did I tell you

Entry 16: And now they’re afraid.

Entry 17: WTF is wrong with her?!!

Entry 18: He said no. Damn.

Entry 19: Are you kidding me?! That’s a social worker, someone is gonna come looking for her.

Entry 20: Little. Ass. Girl.

Entry 21: You’re the only one who knows the truth, why would you go down there.

Entry 22: Jesus keep me near The Cross, take the wheel, or something…see!

Entry 23: What?! Whyyyyyy?

Entry 24: Of course it would be another child.

Entry 25: That’s two bodies and the police aren’t that stupid.

Entry 26: Oh my God this shit is getting out of hand…

Entry 27: As a parent tho, what do you do?

Entry 28: Sweet Jesus

Entry 29: There was an old woman! And Q the tears

Entry 30: Wow. Bravo!

 Otesanek Trailer

Plotline: When a childless couple learn that they cannot have children, it causes great distress. To ease his wife’s pain, the man finds a piece of root in the backyard and chops it and varnishes it into the shape of a child. However the woman takes the root as her baby and starts to pretend that it is real.~ Written by bob the moo on IMDb

 Who would like it: Fans of foreign/sub titled films, fantasy, drama, live action, surreal animation, stop motion, suspense fans and those who like the dark original fairy tales.

Overall: I think watching horror movies should be an ‘interactive’ activity (which is why I watch them alone) and the more I yell at the people on the screen the more fun I’m having. I’m a tough customer and I can be pretty unforgiving when it comes to the myopic way in which I prefer to be entertained. And as you can tell from my entries above I had a blast.

Let me squeeze in this tiny complaint and get it out of the way. Watching Otesanek which is also known as Little Orik, and sometimes referred to as Greed Guts is the cinematic equivalent of reading bizarro. It’s really, really wtf weird if you aren’t prepared for it, and let me tell you, I wasn’t ready. It took me three days to get into this movie and I almost didn’t watch it. Let me tell you that I am so glad I did not rob myself of this movie. Like reading Shakespeare it takes a minute to get into the rhythm of how this film is shot, but once you do you’re not going to be able to look away. It’s like watching a train that’s getting ready to crash but in slow agonizing motion.

When you make the decision to stick with this movie, at first it’s because you’re trying to figure out what the hell is going on and process the things you are being shown and like a fly in a web from this point on you’ll be trapped because quite subtly things stop being so weird and you began to care and worry about the people in this movie.

These two people so desperately want a child that it consumes their entire lives, and the lives of those around them. You can see how, why things start to go wrong.

This story is based on a Czech fairytale and knowing that this movie would be seen by an audience who may not be familiar of the story, the writers used a child to explained things to us, which was brilliant. Being the only child in a cast full of grown-ups even from the beginning the things she’s telling them aren’t believed, but early on she starts to put two-and-two together. Reading the story out loud she skips ahead and seeing where this is going she tries to intervene to change the fate of Little Orik, too young to realize that it’s her interference which sees the prophecy of the fairytale foretold.

Stars: 5 full stars

Where I watched it: Netflix

 

 

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Washington State native Crystal Connor has been terrorizing readers since before Jr. high School and loves anything to do with monsters, bad guys, rogue scientific experiments, jewelry, sky-high high heel shoes & unreasonably priced hang bags. She is also considering changing her professional title to ‘dramatization specialist’ because it’s so much more theatrical than being just a mere drama queen. Crystal’s latest projects can be found both on her blog and Facebook fan page at:

Crystal’s blog

Crystal’s Facebook

Download your free copy of …And They All Lived Happily Ever After! from Podiobooks.com and see why the name Crystal Connor has become “A Trusted Name in Terror!” 

Download Crystal’s Book here!