Halloween Would You Rather?

Putzel

Happy Best Day of the Year! I’ll be eating candy with Stranger Things and the lights off tonight, what are you doing?

In the spirit of this great holiday, I thought I’d do my own Halloween version of Would You Rather? (I stole the idea from the internet). I’ve put my answers in too, so you can get to know me even better than you already do. Play along if you fancy.

Here goes.

Would You Rather:

Or

Go on date with Jason Vorhees for a whole evening OR kiss Michael Myers on the lips for ten seconds (over his mask)?

The date with JV, though the conversation would definitely be stilted. Still, been on worse.

Spend the night in a haunted house on your own OR visit The Upside Down for an hour?

Haunted house I think, although I definitely would not make it through the night. But it would be cool to say I’d done it if I did survive.

Be turned forever into a vampire OR a werewolf?

Even though werewolves are infinitely cooler, the whole process of changing every full moon seems exhausting, so I choose vampire. Vampires also get to stay young and beautiful, so that’s a bonus.

Or (2)

Have your Air B&B turn out to be The Overlook Hotel in The Shining OR the cabin in The Evil Dead?

Yikes. Definitely The Overlook. At least there’s a bar and no tree branches.

Eat nothing but pumpkins OR get egged every night for the whole of October?

Pumpkins I guess? Although I’m not even sure if I’ve ever really tasted pumpkin without all the cinnamon and sugar and spice that usually goes with it.

Or (6)

Go to your Halloween party dressed as Winona Ryder’s Joyce Byers OR Lydia Deetz?

I think Joyce is going to be as iconic as Lydia one day so I’m going for her. I’d wrap myself in fairy lights and work on my deer-in-headlights look.

Or (7)

Be a horror writer OR a horror director?

I love horror movies with all my heart but I think to be able to write a genuinely terrifying book would be incredible so I say writer. I love how prolific female writers are in the thriller/horror/ghost genres.

Have awesome telekinetic abilities AKA Eleven/Carrie OR amazing medium abilities AKA Lorraine in The Conjuring?

I think it would be so cool to be able to move things with the mind. I wouldn’t be able to handle being bugged by the dead. I have enough trouble keeping up with friends let alone having to be there for a whole other realm.

Or (8)

Ryan Reynolds in The Amityville Horror OR The Voices?

This was just my excuse to post a picture of a half-naked RR with a beard, not gonna lie. So I think you have an idea of my answer.

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Be a Ghostbuster OR be in the Stranger Things gang?

Stranger Things, hands down. Those kids are so cool.

Get a Good Guy Doll for your birthday OR Annabelle?

Chucky. At least he’d be a laugh before he murdered me.

Be a Trump Supporter OR star in the real life remake of Ghostwatch?

The latter any day of the week. Over and over if I had to.

2017 Pennywise OR 1990 Pennywise?

Tim Curry all the way, even though I like the new IT. You can give it a good go but you can’t beat the original and best Pennywise. Obvs.

Or (12)

Do a Ouija board with guaranteed ghostly interaction all night OR play one round of Would You Rather?

Ouija baby, I’m too much of a wimp to allow myself to get physically hurt (or hurt someone else for no good reason).

~

Over the next couple of day I’ll be rounding up Blogtober 2017 and my 31 Horrors, but apart from that, my Halloween work here is done.

Until next year, my spooky friends.

Night of the Living Deb (Film) Review

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The last in our Halloween month for another year and I’m feeling blue about that. But there’s not a lot of time for crying when there’s a film review to be done and this week’s pick looks set to be fun if nothing else.

Here’s hoping.

*Spoilers*

Night of the Living Deb (2015)

IMDB Synopsis

After a girls’ night out, endearingly awkward Deb wakes up in the apartment of the most attractive guy in Portland, Maine. She’s thrilled, but she can’t remember much of what got her there….

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Same, sister

My Review

Deb (Maria Thayer) is an awkward redhead and therefore hugely relateable (though it turns out she’s an idiot savant, so not so average after all). While out sinking jars at the bar with her best friend Ruby, she’s cajoled into talking to a hot guy, despite her self-doubt. Although said hottie is in a relationship, the two hit it off enough to spend the night together.

In the morning, Ryan (Michael Cassidy) is eager to get Deb out of his apartment, claiming no memory of their one night stand. Despite Debs’ best efforts, she is forced to concede defeat when Ryan fails to fall for her charms again. She takes his hints finally but there’s a snag in the pair’s goodbye: zombie apocalypse.

While they’re been doing their thing it seems that most of the town has been overrun by bloody lusty zombies. Ryan might be something of a dickhead but he does allow Deb back up to his to think about their next move. That she has a car makes her suddenly more appealing to Ryan and together they hatch a plan to drive to his father’s estate, where an escape route has already been mapped out.

The new unlikely companions share a little family history on their way to Frank Waverly’s (Ray Wise) and Ryan is patronisingly surprised to learn that Deb has basic local knowledge of who Frank is because of her job as a news network camera person. He also reveals that his father runs the most ethically unsound business ever (water treatment of some sort) and therefore goes against everything he personally stands for. (Ooooh, foreshadowing!).

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“Wait a minute. This isn’t the Bake Off audition…”

Frank is reluctant to welcome a stranger into the fold, given that their escape helicopter (rich people, amiright?) is only prepared for four. But Ryan insists that Deb stay. This is pretty awkward given that his girlfriend Stacy (Syd Wilder) is also at the house – and she’s not the fluffiest of souls. Brother Chaz is a douche bag too, secretly in love with his brother’s girl who he’s also been sleeping with.

Anyway, there’s some misunderstanding and Deb decides to leave the Waverlys to it. Along the way she uncovers the cause of the zombie breakout (remember the foreshadowing) and this leads to a dangerous altercation with the military. Frank Waverly turns out to be willing to lay his life on the line for his son and that kind of makes him okay in my book.

There’s loads of zombie shenanigans and our plucky pair begin to bond (who knew?). Deb opens up about her dream of becoming a news anchor and Ryan is actually so bland, I can’t even remember what he talks about.

Then Deb has a brainwave and our new heroes peg it to the news station to make a satellite broadcast to the rest of the world about what it going on in their town (and has been covered up by the government).

Will they survive this end of days? Will they get it together despite their massive differences as human beings?

Will you care? 

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Running from their decisions to make this film

My Comments

Meh. Horror comedy is pretty difficult to smash out of the ball park and this definitely doesn’t do that. It isn’t terrible, it’s just instantly forgettable and kind of boring. Which is a shame as I wanted to like Deb.

Why did she have to be so boy-obsessed though and then secretly smart and cool? It’s kind of patronising. I get that it’s a comment on one night stands and never really knowing them until you take the time to but still.

It seems a bit dated for a 2015 movie, I guess is what I’m getting at. I get that we women have needs and are allowed to like men but the ditzy boy-crazy heroine seems a little 80’s and not in a John Hughes charming way.

Also, genuinely, justice for poor Ruby!

My Rating

2.5/5. Missed the mark for me. 

What did my darling wife think? Would she eat it’s braaaaaaaains or put a bullet in it’s head no questions asked? Find out here.

All the Eternal Love I Have for the Pumpkins: A Halloween Weekend Update

A lazy Sunday post for a lazy Sunday day. We had a blast last night with my brother and sister-in-law at The Chambers Halloween party in Folkestone – and now G and I are nestled back home in our PJs.

I’m watching a couple of films for homework and later we’ll get stuck in to Stranger Things 2 (finally!). Which is the perfect end to the perfect weekend. 

I don’t even mind too much that Monday’s just around the corner…

Hope your Sunday is as blissful ❤

Halloween

I’ve given good Halloween this year, if I say it myself…

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Title of this post borrowed from Yayoi Kusama‘s All the Eternal Love I Have for the Pumpkins, 2016

Halloween Digest : Bumper Edition

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It truly is the most wonderful time of the year – and I’m sad that it’s coming to an end for now. I’ve been having a blast watching horror movies, playing dress up, stuffing myself with sweets (though this is an evergreen activity tbf) – and wearing dark lipstick.

The office has been awash with Halloween goodness, skeletons are dripping from every surface and we dressed up for my first work party on Friday night, which was lovely. Tonight I’m with my brother and sister-in-law at another party and I can’t think of a holiday season I enjoy more. It’s so perfect and so AUTUMN.

Here’s what I’m digging this week, in addition to all the socialising.

My Halloween Bumper Digest:

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Trick R’ Treat (2007)

This is a classic part of the Halloween season as far as I’m concerned and the horror anthology is a huge part of the horror genre too. While this might not be in the same league as Creepshow (1982) and pals, as a contemporary piece I think it works well. It has a sense of humour that I enjoy.

A series of small vignettes splice together to bring us a satisfyingly gory Halloween treat. A reluctant Halloween participant, a bus full of doomed children, a sexy Red Riding Hood and her friends on a unique night out, a sack headed loner kid and a vindictive single dad – there’s something here for every horror fan and I enjoy it more every time I watch it.

There’s still time to enjoy this before the month is out, just sayin’.

Digging Up the Marrow (2013)

A seasoned horror filmmaker and his camera crew meet up with a man who claims there is a whole metropolis of monsters living beneath the ground, in a parallel world just like ours, called The Marrow. Initially deeply cynical, despite the desire to believe, the crew are delighted to discover their new friend AIN’T LYING.

UGH. This film is so beautiful in terms of the monster work. I’m so surprised I haven’t seen or heard of it before now. As a whole piece, I really liked it.

Coming to the podcast soon!

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Pumpkin Carving

I love pumpkin carving – it’s too much fun. The smell, the feels of the innards are they ooze through your fingers – the opportunity to create something wonderful and terrifying. Or in my case, pretty damn cute actually.

 


Winona Forever (But Especially During Her Best Month)

Literal Queen of Halloween – then, now and forever. She looks as incredible today as she always has but I am loving these pictures of young, gothic Winona.

Winona Forever, indeed.

Creep 2

I’m not saying much now because I will probably be blogging this one – but OMG 😮 !!!

What are you digging?

Final Girl Friday: Nica, Cult of Chucky (2017)

I can’t remember how this week’s FG fell in with the infamous ginger doll, probably because their meet cute was so forgettable.

But I very much do remember Cult of Chucky because I’ve only just seen it and that’s what has reminded me how cool Nica is. Not least because she’s the only paraplegic horror heroine I can think of.

If you know of any more disabled horror protagonists, I would love to know of them. A Google search throws up only Cherry Darling, Mr. Glass and The Blind Man in Don’t Breathe but he’s nasty.

The Girl

Nica Pierce, Cult of Chucky (2017) – first introduced in Curse of Chucky (2013)

The Situation

Nica’s in a mental institution following the murder of her family. She’s finally accepted that “Chucky” was all in her head and that she is the one responsible for all that carnage. Under the care of Doctor Foley she’s been granted a small amount of freedom in medium security but her life is set to change forever (again) when it becomes clear that the truth she’s been living for the last few years ain’t anywhere near the truth.

He’s baaaaaaaaak…

*Spoilers – beware!*

The Final Girl

I mentioned above that Nica is in a wheelchair and even though it shouldn’t be a big deal, it is fucking great to see a disabled heroine on the big screen. She’s a proper badass is Nica with a fearless streak I admire. Her only true concern in life now is Alice, the niece who now has a new guardian and a new life away from all the horror. When she finds out her raison d’être has passed on from this realm, she feels incredibly helpless, resigning herself to her own death.

When Chucky comes a-calling again (aborting her suicide attempt) and she accepts he’s real after all, she’s quite calm considering. Her dickhead (but not really) fellow patients don’t believe her story but she sets out to prove Chucky’s existence regardless. As the murder count rises and only one other person believes Nica, she’s forced to fight the short shit all over again.

Nica is by far a more satisfying ‘victim’ than pathetic Andy (the original kid now slightly off-putting Chucky obsessive adult) – and the point is, she doesn’t come off as a victim really. She fights smart and hard.

On discovering that Doctor Foley has been sexually assaulting her while she’s been under hypnosis, Nica smashes his fucking face in and then inadvertently joins the dark side, giving us a glimpse at the very best film in the Chucky franchise to come (if the Heavens align and there is a God): The Tiffany and Nica Road Trip Movie. 

Sure, this Final Girl is now possessed by Charles Lee Ray but how fun? He’s a great horror character and now he’s in Nica’s body. I can’t wait for the next tacky af instalment! I do want Good Nica back but not yet – let her have some fucking freedom for a bit, yeah? She’s been through so much.

You shall soon have your bloody revenge, girlfriend!

Final Girl Rating

4/5 – She’s on another journey now but this won’t be last we’ve seen of Nica.

You can read my Cult of Chucky review here, if you fancy.

The King & I

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I didn’t grow up with Stephen King, which seems odd to me now. I liked horror alright but I just never got around to plundering SK’s catalogue. In place of his classics I was all over Judy Bloom, Jilly Cooper and Jackie Collins.

I guess I was a precocious kid in my reading tastes, I like the feeling of being more adult than my years, even if I didn’t understand most of it. I loved Dean Koontz too and the Sweet Valley High series (you can decide which is scarier).

In some ways I’m sad I don’t share the same nostalgic feelings my loved ones have for his stories but I’m in the happy position of having an awful lot of material to work through now. In the last few years I’ve done: The Shining and Doctor Sleep. Needful Things and Rose Madder.

More recently, the mammoth IT and Carrie. Next on my list is Mr. Mercedes. I’ve also got On Writing waiting for me on the shelf. It’s safe to say then that, along with the rest of the world who can’t get enough of his adaptations this year, I am very much into The King.

His books aren’t without criticism and he has written characters unflatteringly, AKA fat. See Carrie, her mother Mrs White, one of the kids’ mums in IT – more. Fat isn’t a problem as a descriptor obviously but there’s a way to do it. As I read more of his books I’m sure I will uncover more comments of this nature.

So King can be problematic (certainly for the fatphobia) but I love him. He’s such a compelling writer who taps into something deeper. Yes, it’s part nostalgia for the children we were, sometimes it’s guilt, hope, terror – magic. I don’t know if you can pinpoint exactly what it is about Stephen, all I know is that is one of the most satisfying relationships I’ve ever known. He’s part of me now and I’m so happy to have found him.

Which Stephen King stories are your favourite? 🎃🍂👻🍁🔪

Let’s Scare Jessica to Death (Film) Review

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Not much preamble this time around – just a whole lot of paranoia in a super-seventies setting. Hurrah!

Let’s Scare Jessica to Death (1971)

IMDB Synopsis

A recently institutionalized woman has bizarre experiences after moving into a supposedly haunted country farmhouse and fears she may be losing her sanity once again.

My Review

Jess (Zohra Lampert) is elated to be out of the institute she’s been residing in. If she’s haunted by her time there, it doesn’t show, at least not initially. She seems very optimistic, even child-like in her excitement to be ‘free’.

She’s on the road with her husband Duncan (Barton Heyman) and his hippy friend Woody who’s along for the ride for some inexplicable reason. The couple (and their third wheel) are driving in a hearse toward their new life in remote Connecticut.

Which, horror fans, could never go wrong. FYI Jess is still seeing things, in the form of a young blonde woman trying to get her attention but to save face, she’s keeping that to herself for now.

When they arrive in their new town, they’re bemused to find a not-very warm welcome awaiting them. The pretty much all male community are openly hostile, guess they just don’t like out-of-towners. Our rag tag trio laugh it off, even when the ferryman to their tiny island mumbles something ominous under his breath. (Seriously, have these people not heard of red flags?).

Things get freakier when they arrive at the house and Jessica sees a strange woman on the porch. She thinks she’s losing her shit again but it soon transpires that the others can see her too and when they chase her down, she reveals herself to be Emily (Mariclare Costello), a drifter who’s been squatting in the house while it’s been empty. Liberties.

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Riding in hearses with boys

Jess sees something of a kindred spirit in Emily and invites her to stay the night. DON’T DOOOOOO ITTTT! Sensing that Woody is into her, Jess then persuades Duncan to let her stay indefinitely. HONESTLY, DON’T! I would say for a woman who has previously been treated for her fear and paranoia of literally everything, Jess is very trusting and non-suspicious. I think this makes me love her but also want to stab anyone who wrongs her – and strange girls in remote locations seldom turn out to be baggage free, not in the movies, just saying.

Anywhoo, the gang become quite tight and all is well and good for a while, until Jess is grabbed from below the water by what looks like a dead lady during a swim. She understandably freaks de fuq out but nobody believes her and this irritates me. I mean, I get it but at least try and be kind guys, could you?

Duncan and Jess decide to sell some of the antiques in the house to a local dealer. The dealer is a little friendlier than the others and tells the couple a horrifying story about a girl who drowned in the lake behind their house just before her wedding day in the 1800s. Rumour has it the body was never found and that she roams the island as a vampire (sure). Duncan gets shirty about this, fearing it will freak out his wife but she tells him his constant worrying is the thing making her ill. You go, Jessie.

Meanwhile, Jess can sense the sexy tension between her husband and Emily – and she does not like it one bit. It comes to a head when she goes grave rubbing (exactly what it says on the tin), sees the blonde girl again and is lead by her to a rather macabre scene. Her so-called friends do not believe her about the body she’s just uncovered (yeah, the macabre scene is the body of the antiques dealer) but they do see the girl. So at least there’s that. The girl runs off when she sees Emily… hmm.

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Jess was not a Free Hugs kind of gal

Later Duncan suggests that Jess goes back to the city (AKA hospital) and she makes him sleep on the couch. GOOD. While here Duncan does something he will live to regret and I don’t care anymore. If you’ve seen one douchey husband in film, you’ve pretty much seen them all.

Anyway, lots of awful things happen from hereon-in. Jess is made to feel like she’s a liability and she finally puts two and two together about her new frenemy, Emily (even though we’ve arrived here ourselves already) – and it all goes to Hell, quite literally. The fact Jess is a supposed nut-job goes against her so hard at the end.

As usual though this is a lesson in stranger danger. The mental health element could be worse but is still clunky and annoying. I find Duncan quite quick to disbelieve his wife who is a joyous person. In my version of this film Jess would get sick of the bland men and start a new life with super-vixen Emily while the townsmen do their evil bidding instead. Now that would be a GREAT film.

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Who run this island?

My Thoughts

I won’t pretend that this is the scariest movie of all time, or even the most dynamic. However, it is atmospheric and builds up the feeling of paranoia well. Most of the characters are the worst (not you, Jess) so I don’t really care about their outcome. It bothers me that a mouse gets elaborately murdered halfway through the film (I had to cover my gerbils’ eyes). Otherwise, there’s a nice 70’s sheen to this movie.

Fin.

My Rating

3/5. Eery.

What did my love think of this one? Would she bite in the neck and turn it into something inhuman or take it for a ride in her hearse? Find out here.

Carrie (Book) Review

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Carrie White is no ordinary girl

Carrie is one of those stories I’ve been aware of since the beginning of time because of the Brian De Palma adaptation. It was a terrifying movie as a teenager and is still eerily sad today. I’d never picked up the book but as mentioned here, I was inspired to do so by a podcast I really love.

I couldn’t put Carrie down and devoured it in two days. The story is so familiar but the book is more nuanced (who knew?). Carrie’s tale is inter-spliced with witness reports (from Prom Night), reports on the telekinetic phenomenon and news reports from earlier incidents in Carrie’s psychic past – which I really enjoyed. It was very satisfying to get more of an insight into her character and that of her mother, who is awful, frankly.

You can’t really read this story without feeling regret for the life Carrie should’ve had, though those feelings are naturally counterbalanced with disgust and impatience for her, exactly the emotions stirred in her classmates and especially, Susan Snell. The book also makes me wonder how I would have been at school around a girl like this, and think back to how I was around anybody notably different. I’m sure I wasn’t always nice as a kid and I think this story also makes you feel guilt for past actions, so from the off you’re already in Sue’s shoes. It’s an unsettling feeling.

We all know Carrie’s story by now so I don’t need to tell you how is all pans out. My favourite parts are often her inner monologue, those give you more insight in to how she feels during certain events. Prom night is so hopeful and heartbreaking, and as I read it I willed the ending to change, that Carrie would be fine and go on to live a fulfilling excellent life. Alas.

Carrie is a fat girl in the book (which I didn’t know until recently). In the film versions she has always been skinny and as has Mrs White, but in Stephen King’s novel they are both grotesque in part because they are fat. Carrie is repeatedly described as bovine and Mrs White was left on the shelf because she was large (and also a religious fanatic, if we’re being honest). King often writes characters as hideously fat as though that’s the worst thing they could be and of course I don’t like it.

Carrie is picked on because she’s weird and her looks make her an easy target for the bullies but apart from the odd slur, no more reference is made to her size, at least by her classmates. Although I see it as problematic, it could have been a lot worse. Again, I’m not crazy about the fatphobia in King’s books and I’m sure I have a lot more to uncover as I work my way through more of his novels.

I do love King and he’s on my mind lately. He’s not perfect but he’s one of the greatest storytellers I know and this so far is probably his best.

Book details:

Carrie
Publisher: Hodder Paperbacks (13 Oct. 2011)
ISBN-10: 1444720694
ISBN-13: 978-1444720693
Bought paperback (new)

What are you currently reading?

Yet Another Horror Questionnaire

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What’s Blogtober without a little horror questionnaire, eh? I’ve also been stuck for ideas today so here’s a little quiz I found on the internet*. This week’s film review will be up tomorrow.

How old are you?

Ancient.

What’s your favourite aspect of a horror film?

I’m all for heads rolling and guts spilling but I also like a good story, call me old-fashioned. Sure, Freddy Vs. Jason isn’t expected to deliver a nuanced narrative but I do like it when I’m presented with something fresh like The Babadook, that makes me think in a different way. Or at the very least, a modern twist on a traditional theme, like It Follows – which I found genuinely petrifying.

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What scares you the most in a horror film?

I think ghosts are the scariest, then home invasions. I’ve a huge soft spot for the Paranormal Activity films because they genuinely make the hairs on the back of my neck rise and stop me from sleeping, even if they started to slip in quality towards the end of the franchise.

I remember The Others freaked me out so much when it came out that I needed people to come to the loo with me – and The Blair Witch Project did the same. That ending is burned into my brain forever.

In a trailer for a horror film, what would entice you to go and see the film?

Anything deeply twisted or a little bit different. Although, who am I kidding, I’m usually up for most things, even if I’ve seen it hundreds of times. Home invasion? Cool. Found footage? I’m in.

I won’t lie though, I like horror with a strong female protagonist!

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Within a horror, what’s your favourite genre?

It is very hard to pick. I love it all. Psychological, a great creature feature – there’s a place for all of it. I guess I don’t like anything too gratuitous, which I’ll go into below. And as above, I love a good ghost story.

What do you dislike about horror films?

I really do not enjoy the rape revenge sub-genre, and I don’t like torture porn either. Hostel is a prime example of a what could have been an interesting premise, destroyed by making it into a soft porno. Like, I get it: boobs are nice to look at, I agree but why not cut down on the chicks in white cotton pants slow mo shots and focus on making the film good? Disappointing.

Oh and I get so hacked off when a film plays its hand too soon and shitty special effects. I’m not talking Tom Savini film effects, I mean just disappointing monsters and demons. See The Conjuring 2‘s nasty nun.

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What’s your all time favourite horror film and why?

I’ve got two: Candyman and Hellraiser.

Candyman because it was the first film to truly terrify me after Jaws and I really enjoy the folk-lore of the story. Virginia Madsen‘s Helen is mesmerising to watch and it feels so topical, 25 years later in terms of its comments on race, white privilege, poverty. Man, I’m definitely watching it again this week.

And Hellraiser is pure perfection. Pinhead (Doug Bradley) is firmly up there with the best of the horror icons and Claire Higgins‘ Julia is the most deliciously evil and self-serving movie step mother of all time. I couldn’t love her more.

I will never tire of either.

Do you feel that documentary style horror films such as the Blair Witch Project are more effective than purely fictional horror films such as Saw and why?

I don’t think they are more effective although if done well they can really immerse you in the terror, like Paranormal Activity did. I really have a soft spot for found footage actually but I think those films can be as effective as fictional horror films. I guess it depends on the films. Lame-o answer, sorry but I’ve got nothing else.

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What puts you off watching a horror film the most?

As above, anything sexually gratuitous, shit actors who are also shitty characters I don’t care about, horrible effects, crappy monsters/demons/ghosts, stupid twists, obvious jump scares and rape revenge fantasies (unless they’re done very well). I hate puke too and also animal torture, like can we just not anymore? It’s such a cheap shot.

What do you expect to see when watching a horror film?

Nothing really. Something interesting and if not scary then at least interesting or a bit twisted. Going into any horror I always think: “Scare me please”. So scare me, please!

Three of the worst horror films ever made?

I’m not doing ever, I’m going to do of recent times:

  1. The Black Room
  2. Annabelle
  3. Cat Sick Blues

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Three of the best horror films ever made?

Easier:

  1. Candyman
  2. Hellraiser
  3. The Devil’s Rejects (or The Blair Witch Project? Shiiit!)

On a scale of 1-10, how much do you like watching horror films?

10/10, my very favourite hobby.

Feel free to do the questionnaire yourselves, horror fans.

*I can’t remember where hence no credit given. Sorry!

The Snowman (Book) Review

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In the spirit of Fall, colder evenings and crispy clean duvet covers, I added this crime thriller to my Autumn Reading List.

It’s recently been adapted for the big screen which could be interesting, though I’ll probably wait to stream it at home. There’s talk of it not really living up to the book – which is pretty good actually. It’s no Red Dragon, obviously but then what is?

The Snowman is Detective Harry Hole’s 7th outing but this is my first time meeting him. He is a damaged soul (but of course) haunted by a series of events that claimed the lives of several of his colleagues. He’s also just out of broken relationship that might not be as over as they think – though most of his woes are only touched upon briefly because our anti-hero has more on his mind, namely the uncovering and capture of Norway’s first serial killer.

The tale of The Snowman kicks off with the disappearance of a young mother. In her place is a small snowman constructed on the front lawn, her pink woolen scarf wrapped around its neck. Inside its belly is the missing woman’s mobile phone. This disappearance corresponds conveniently with a letter received by Harry Hole from a killer calling himself The Snowman – but where is the woman? And who is The not-that-terrifying-sounding Snowman?

What follows is a series of missing women, some of whom turn up dead and dismembered pretty quickly – at every crime scene Hole finds SM’s signature: a snowman. Hole entrusts his brilliant new colleague Katrine Bratt with the task of finding a connection between all the women and she does: all are mothers and have dealings with a very discreet clinic where all the kids are patients. Hmmm.

Luckily for Norway, Hole is a dog with a bone and will stop at nothing to catch The Snowman. Unfortunately, there are lots of suspects and subsequent accusations about who is responsible for the murders being thrown around, some hitting closer to home than others. Will Hole get his man? Or will the case kill him in the process?

I enjoyed this well enough. There’s a lot to like about it, even though by the climax I felt a little fatigued, there are three prime suspects who all turn out to be innocent. I had an inkling in the back of my mind of who it was but it feels like forever before we get there.

Hole is a weathered and fucked-up character with demons in his past. He is the best in the business, unorthodox in his approach, something of a loose cannon and because of all this he has lots in common with some of the best literary detectives.

The female characters are pretty liberal though they’re judged harshly for some of their behaviour through the eyes of The Snowman. Their fates are definitely of a misogynistic nature and that’s the point here. I’m not sure if Katrine Bratt goes on to appear in any of the later books but she’s a strong character despite the fact that an awful lot of effort goes into describing her looks. Rakel too is pretty fun, even if she can’t keep away from Hole for love nor money.

All in all, this is good gory fun and I might be tempted to pick up another Jo Nesbo in the future.

Book details:

The Snowman
Publisher: Vintage (6 Nov. 2014)
ISBN-10: 1784700924
ISBN-13: 978-1784700928
Bought paperback (new)

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