What I’m Listening To: Podcasts #3

I love me a podcast as you know. I love making them and I love listening to them.

Say It Five Times podcast has been quiet for a while now. In fact, we have decided to stop doing it for now and probably forever. Not for any reason other than I had too much on at the time and I started to not enjoy it, which was the opposite of its purpose.

On reflection, it wasn’t exactly what I wanted either so I very much hope to be looking into refining and picking it up again in the New Year. Right now I’m thinking this will be with a fresh new name, outlook and mission statement. I’ll go into this in way more detail when I know more but for now watch this space, ‘cos I’ll be back and so will at least one of my co-hosts – and yes, we will still be more or less horror themed.

Eek!

In the meantime, here’s a little run down of what I’m listening to on my travels to and from work.

The Black Tapes

The Black Tapes Podcast is a serialized docudrama about one journalist’s search for truth, her subject’s mysterious past, and the literal and figurative ghosts that haunt them both. Do you believe?

There’s something really likeable about host Alex Reagan and honestly, this podcast has brought me a lot of joy over the last couple of weeks. It is seriously spooky and there have been times I’ve been listening in the dark and then really wished I wasn’t.

Currently focused on the “black tapes” of paranormal investigator Dr. Richard Strand, which contain supposedly unsolved supernatural (or not) phenomena – and the personal life of the enigmatic man himself, whose wife went missing under mysterious circumstances – it’s seriously addictive.

You can learn more about the fictional series here.

Homecoming

Homecoming centres on a caseworker at an experimental facility, her ambitious supervisor, and a soldier eager to re-join civilian life — presented in an enigmatic collage of telephone calls, therapy sessions, and overheard conversations.

I accidentally stumbled across this one and stayed for Catherine Keener’s wonderfully familiar voice. I’m only one episode or so in so far but it’s a compelling story.

Heidi Bergman is a full-time waitress who has returned home to care for her mother whose health is failing. She used to be a caseworker for Homecoming though, a program designed to help soldiers who have returned from tour re-acclimatise back into their former lives. When she is approached at her new place of work, it all kicks off again – or so I’m expecting. Other voice talent includes Oscar Isaac and David Schwimmer – and this six part radio series has also since been made into an Prime Original TV show starring Julia Roberts.

You can learn more about the fictional series here.

The Losers’ Club

The Losers’ Club is a weekly podcast for Constant Readers of Stephen King to dig deep into his oeuvre and the myriad TV, film, print, and stage adaptations of his work.

Gee, I wonder what this one has to offer me, a horror geek and Stephen King obsessive (but not purist)? LOL.

Again I haven’t listened to all the episodes but the ones I have I have thoroughly enjoyed. The most recent episode for me was an examination of Mike Flanagan’s Doctor Sleep and was very detailed. Although my recent review was mostly positive, having had time to let the dust settle and listen to a couple of other opinions, I agree with a lot of what the hosts here say about what does and doesn’t work well.

So I Got to Thinking

A hilarious new podcast from bestselling author and journalist Juno Dawson and the editor of QX Magazine Dylan B Jones. Each week, the friends (and sexperts) rewatch the classic HBO sitcom Sex and the City and then attempt to answer Carrie Bradshaw’s soul-searching, and occasionally ridiculous, questions for the modern day.

Juno Dawson lives in Brighton and I really want to meet her. I love that this podcast re-examines beloved episodes of SATC from the start, pondering the earnest questions Miss Bradshaw herself is considering in each. With questions such as “Can woman have sex like men?” and “Is there a war between Singles and Couples?”, do they stand up in 2019?

Well the answer so far is sort of yes and kind of no, exactly as you’d expect. The episodes are really fun to revisit, particularly as an avid SATC fan and in the hands of these two brilliant hosts, it’s one of my current favourites. The good news is that there are tonnes of episodes still to be explored so this should go on for a long time. I also really appreciate the LGBT lens in which the hosts examine certain scenarios given their own life experiences.

No Sleep Podcast

The No Sleep Podcast is an anthology horror fiction podcast. WARNING: This is a horror fiction podcast. It is intended for mature adults, not the faint of heart. Join us at your own risk…

One of the things I love to do the most but have had to stop as my nightmares got a bit too much is to read No Sleep stories on Reddit. This is the audio version of doing just that and I am treading very lightly for the aforementioned reason.

There are too many episodes to go through by name but there’s bound to be something that taps into your personal fears and keeps you awake at night, why not give it a go?

There’s a helpful guide to getting started with No Sleep here.


And in addition to the five new blogs mentioned above, I am still finding time to slot in the regulars. I can’t let those slip for every new young buck that comes into view.

Also listening to: My Dad Wrote a PornoThe Guilty FeministCriminalHow Did This Get Made?The Evolution of Horror

What are your favourite podcasts?

The Forbidden

As she prepared to leave the sun went in, and the bands of light faded. She glanced over her shoulder at the boarded windows, and saw for the first time that one four-word slogan had been sprayed on the wall beneath them. “Sweets to the sweet” it read.

I’m currently reading Christine but as I mentioned before, it’s quite the sizeable tome and hasn’t been the quickest read. I felt like taking a quick break from Uncle Stephen for a moment to read this short by his horror contemporary, Clive Barker. In fact, the anthology that houses this story – Books of Blood: Volumes 4-6 – features a cover blurb from the man himself: “Clive Barker is so good I am almost literally tongue-tied.”

Cute, huh?

The Forbidden in case you weren’t aware, is the story that inspired (and was adapted into) my favourite horror movie of all time, Candyman (1992).  So no prizes for guessing why I wanted to read it. The novella is based in England rather than the Chicago of the film which really intrigued me – and tells tale of Helen, a post-grad student doing her thesis on urban graffiti. When she visits the rundown Spector Street Estate to take some photographs for her project, she learns about a horrible murder and becomes just a little bit too involved in the sinister goings on.

Her weary body understood. Her nerves, tired of jangling, understood. The sweetness he offered was life withoutliving: was to be dead, but remembered everywhere; immortal in gossip and graffiti.”Be my victim,” he said.”No…” she murmured.

*Spoilers*

I loved it. The Candyman of the story is every bit as seductive as my boo Tony Todd but he’s terrifying in such a visceral way. The way he’s described is so different and heinous, yet there’s still something appealing about him, like giving into the death he’s offering would be the sweetest relief and delicious to boot.

Some of the names are the same as in the movie (Trevor, Anne-Marie, Bernadette) – even patronising shit-bag Purcell makes an appearance – and I loved his little segment but they are quite different characters. Trevor is still a cheating bastard but this time Helen turns a blind eye, claiming not to give a single shit when he disappears for two nights straight. The setting is very similar, even if the locations are not, right down to the rotten public toilet in which an  alleged attack is made on a young man with learning disabilities.

The crime surrounding Anne-Marie and her son is far more sinister and graphic however and I find the realism of the estate much creepier than I do Cabrini Green. Maybe it’s just how normal and mundane Anne-Marie’s life seems, how can such horror live side by side her tiny maisonette, while she makes tea for Helen and moans about the council?

A must-read for any horror fan and I’m quite keen to read the rest of the stories now. Barker writes beautiful prose that sure as hell suits the elegance of the Candyman. I’ll keep you updated on my progress.

Book details:

The Forbidden (from Books of Blood: Volumes 4-6)
Publisher: Sphere (1 Feb. 1988)
ISBN-10: 0751512257
ISBN-13: 978-0751512250
Borrowed

What are you reading?

Doctor Sleep

I’m introducing mini reviews to the blog for the films I really enjoy and first up is this really rather decent adaptation of Mr King’s novel of the same name.

Doctor Sleep (2019)

Years following the events of “The Shining,” a now-adult Dan Torrance must protect a young girl with similar powers from a cult known as The True Knot, who prey on children with powers to remain immortal.

In the hands of Hill House‘s Mike Flanagan I knew this wouldn’t be rubbish but I was surprised by how much I liked it. The book (which admittedly I might read again) was quite meh and I could barely remember most of it. So I was happy to have it brought back to me by one of my favourite horror directors and a pretty solid cast.

It must be said that Rebecca Ferguson‘s Rose the Hat is the stand out of the piece, bringing real evil to the character while still encouraging you to kind of root for her. I mean, the Baseball Boy scenes are horrifying and testament to the fact she ain’t messing around – but there’s real love between The True Knot who are just like a genuine family. Plus, I like Rose a lot more than I like Danny and Abra. LOL.

Obviously the revisit to The Overlook is the money shot and the director’s respectful attention to detail is really something. We revisit beloved characters from The Shining, both central and sideline – and it is magical.

Flanagan is definitely not Kubrick and he’s not trying to be. His own signature style really suits this story and I’m all over his take on the hotel.

I’ve been thinking a lot about this movie since I saw it yesterday and I don’t really have many negatives. I didn’t warm to Abra much and Dan Torrance was fine but I really enjoyed spending time with The True Knot. The fantasy elements are sublime too – the segment in which Rose the Hat goes searching for Abra in her mind is breathtaking and very effective.

Colour me impressed.

4.5/5

What have you been watching?

Paint It Black

A Free for All after the excitement of October’s Horror Month and we appear to have naturally landed on another very dark movie to kick it off. Another horror if you will. I’m not complaining though, especially since this one stars one of my faves.

Paint It Black (2016)

“A young woman attempts to deal with the death of her boyfriend while continuously confronted by his mentally unstable mother.”

Director: Amber Tamblyn
Stars: Alia Shawkat, Simon Helberg, Janet McTeer, Alfred Molina

By all accounts the book that inspired this adaptation is fantastic. The film is fine, gorgeous to look at and very moody but there’s not much to it really.

Josie (Shawkat) is pissed off with her boyfriend Michael who’s been ignoring her for a couple of days. So she goes out drinking with her girlfriend to take her mind off things. Outside the apartment she shares with Michael (Rhys Wakefield), she realises she is being watched by a middle-aged women in an expensive car. Michael’s mother Meredith.

The morning after a heavy night out, Josie finds out why Michael has gone so silent. After checking himself into a motel under the alias Oscar Wilde, he has taken his own life. The bottom falls out of Josie’s world but she barely has time to register the news before Meredith (McTeer) is on the phone making cruel accusations about who’s fault her son’s suicide is.

At the funeral, Meredith attacks Josie and Michael’s father Cal steps in, sweeping her away for some post-funeral drinks. At the bar Cal admits that it’s always really been Michael and Meredith, with him considered the interloper. After realising that Meredith is still following her, Josie goes to her house and the pair get drunk together. Josie tries to leave but she’s too pissed and wakes up in Meredith’s guestroom. When Meredith finds her looking around Michael’s old room, she screams at Josie to get out.

Later the pair dine together and Josie permits Meredith to visit their shared apartment afterwards but forbids her from taking anything home with her. So begins an unsettling back and forth as the women compete for the prize of Michael; of his memory, his possessions and the right to grieve. Meredith clears out the apartment of everything and Josie steals it back – later Josie accuses Meredith of trying to kill her.

This twisted relationship comes to a head when Meredith makes Josie a peculiar offer that has the power to change her life forever. What will she do?

Well. This is a slow burner. It’s not bad – I mean there’s a lot of strong imagery and it’s very stylish – I just wish it had done more. Josie is starring in some sort of amateur movie project that looks pretentious AF and is being directed by Howard Wolowitz of The Big Bang Theory. She looks great because she’s Alia Shawkat and Shawkat is born to be filmed in low golden LA light (and in delicious vintage clothing) at all times.

There’s a sadness that permeates everything and I have sympathy for both the central characters, despite the fact neither of them are very likeable. Meredith is on the edge but it’s hardly surprising. As a girl her father drowned himself in the family pool, so she’s no stranger to suicide when her son kills himself. Josie doesn’t seem to have much direction herself and shares the history of her relationship with us via deeply photogenic flashbacks. We don’t really know much about the enigmatic Michael and that’s okay, really this is a movie about the women in his life and I like it for that.

Personally, I would have holed up with Meredith and accepted the lavish lifestyle she was offering. Who needs freedom of choice and moving on when you have designer frocks and dinner parties on tap? I jest obviously, and Josie does the right thing.

I’ll probably not think of this movie again honestly but it wasn’t a bad way to spend 98 minutes.

3/5

What does my love think of Paint It Black? Would she run away and live with it in a massive creepy house or drive away as quickly as possible? Find out here.

31 Horrors 2019 – The List

the-furies-image-01

The Furies

A cheeky little recap of all the films we watched this October. Phew. I’m (almost) all horror’d out.

Almost.

  1. The Grudge (2004) – 2.5/5
  2. Wrong Turn (2003) – 4/5
  3. The Human Centipede (First Sequence) (2009) – 3.5/5
  4. You’re Next (2011) – 4.5/5
  5. In the Tall Grass (2019) – 0.5/5
  6. The Furies (2019) – 3.5/5
  7. Hell House LLC (2015) – 4.5/5
  8. Satanic Panic (2019) – 4/5
  9. 3 From Hell (2019) – 3/5
  10. The Curse of La Llorona (2019) – 3.5/5

    House of Wax

  11. House of Wax (2005) – 4/5
  12. The Cleaning Lady (2018) – 3.5/5
  13. Little Monsters (2019) – 3.5/5
  14. Mayhem (2017) – 3/5
  15. Final Destination (2000) – 4/5
  16. The Blair Witch Project (1999) – 5/5
  17. The Visit (2015) – 4/5
  18. Trick ‘r Treat (2007) – 4.5/5
  19. Tone Deaf (2019) – 3/5
  20. Wounds (2019) – 3/5
  21. Prom Night (1980) – 3.5/5

    Prom Night

  22. The House of the Devil (2009) – 4/5
  23. Scream (1996) – 5/5
  24. Drag Me to Hell (2009) – 4.5/5
  25. Mandy (2018) – 5/5
  26. Trash Fire (2016) – 3.5/5
  27. The Exorcist (1973) – 5/5
  28. The Hills Have Eyes (2006) – 4/5
  29. Countdown (2019) – 3.5/5
  30. Halloween (1978) – 4/5
  31. Halloween (2018) – 4/5

Drag Me to Hell

To recap:

Not one but two Richard Bates Jr. movies, who knew? Not nearly enough Stephen King though there is one very bad one on this list. A lot of new films from this year, a classic turn from Prince of Peculiar Nicholas Cage (Mandy is a masterpiece) – and an Exorcist revisit.

2 Halloweens – 40 years apart – and I almost prefer the newer one, not going to lie. Strong cameos from horror gems Babak Anvari, Alexandre Aja and Ti West. One low-key Shyamalan horror which absolutely slaps.

Sarah Michelle Gellar absolutely wasted in a remake nobody needed or asked for. A classically meta Wes Craven nightmare – and lots more besides.

Bring on #31 Horror 2020.

Countdown

If you could find out exactly when you’re going to die… would you want to know?


This movie has such a lame title I completely forgot what it was called when I went to buy the ticket. In the UK we have a quintessentially British quiz show of the same name – which tests vocabulary and mathematic skill against the clock – and I just can’t with it. Despite the fact the film isn’t that bad, it loses one point off the bat for the title.

When a nurse downloads an app that claims to predict the moment a person will die, it tells her she only has three days to live. With the clock ticking and a figure haunting her, she must find a way to save her life before time runs out.

Countdown

*Spoilers*

My Review

Some kids at a party accidentally stumble across a phone app called Countdown and, for a laugh, all decide to download it at once. The app as you know if you’ve read the above synopsis tells you how much longer you have to live. The kids decide that the loser (aka the person with the least life left) has to drink everyone else’s booze. Alas, Courtney draws the short straw in this sicko game with mere hours to live.

Well no prizes for guessing who won’t have to worry about a hangover in the morning: the app doesn’t fuck around and more than that eerily eludes to the fact that you can’t cheat death if your time is really up. Which is something I think we’ve heard before…

Countdown is a sort of Final Destination/Happy Death Day hybrid (though not as good as either) but I was quite pleasantly surprised by it anyway.



When newly qualified nurse Quinn Harris (You‘s Elizabeth Lail) learns about Countdown from one of her patients – Evan, boyfriend of our first victim – she stupidly downloads it without a care in the world. It’s something she grows to regret when it tells her she only has a few days left.

And when Evan’s own fate it revealed, she starts to believe there might be something more to the app than it just being a silly prank. Add to the mix sexual harassment in the form of a smarmy doctor and family stuff, Quinn ain’t having the best few days but she’s willing to try everything to turn back the clock.

Unfortunately, her first thought – to simply get a new phone – is not the one, so she’s forced to get increasingly  creative.

When she teams up with Matt, another Countdown victim, they try technology AND religion to save themselves – and the life of Quinn’s annoying little sister Jordan. Will any of their hare-brained schemes work?



Honestly, it’s very silly and a little bit loose on the old folklore but we’re not here for realism, are we? I kind of love how it escalates – and becomes a completely different film to the one I expected. The main demon guy is dreamy af and I love his particular brand of mischief, as he tortures the dead victims to be.

There are some brilliant side characters in the form of Tech Guy and the crazy demonologist/priest which went a long way to keeping this interesting and Lail is very good as Quinn. In fact, she is a likeable and well-rounded final girl who probably didn’t need the tragic backstory she was given.

In contrast I did like the shit-head doctor (sort of) getting his comeuppance but the climax is a little sloppy. Generally I could have done with more killings in more creative ways too.

Otherwise this movie was fun and stupid and exactly what you need on a Monday night straight from work.

Film details:

Starring: Elizabeth Lail, Jordan Calloway, Talitha Eliana Bateman
Director: Justin Dec
Year: 2019
IMDB Rating: 5.4/10
My Rating: 3.5/5

What are you watching?

 

Wounds

Don’t call it in.

Jill was happy with this pick because she wanted to see Armie Hammer die, which is as good as reason as any to be excited I guess. I was intrigued because this is the second full-length feature from Under the Shadow’s Babak Anvari. UTS was a properly eerie folktale with some simple yet devastating (on the nerves) effects so I was stoked for this…

Does it suffer from ‘difficult second album syndrome’? Read on friends!

Disturbing and mysterious things begin to happen to a bartender in New Orleans after he picks up a phone left behind at his bar.

Wounds

*Spoilers*

My Review

Will is barkeep in a cockroach ridden dive in New Orleans called Rosie’s. One night while shooting the shit with his friend Alicia (Beetz) and her boyfriend Jeffrey (Glusman) there’s a ruckus between bar regular Eric (OITNB’s Brad William Henke) and his buddies. Eric sustains a really fucking nasty injury to the face but refuses to seek medical help.

Present at the scene are a couple of college kids who clearly have no business in a bar but get a free pass anyway. In the kerfuffle, one of the kids’ phones is left behind and Will pockets it for safe keeping. He returns home to the frankly lush pad he shares with his girlfriend Carrie (Johnson). Later when he properly looks at the phone, it receives a message from someone called Garret who claims to be scared and is also being followed by something from the “tunnel”. Will somehow manages to unlock the phone and messages Garrett, telling him to pack it in.

In the morning the phone has received some rather disturbing images from Garrett. Carrie is sickened by what she sees and insists Will calls the police. He promises he will. Carrie and Will btw are very much a couple on the ropes, there’s a prominent coldness between them and Will is convinced his girlfriend is shagging her college professor.

When Will visits Eric to check on him, the wound is worse than expected and it looks as though something inhuman is lurking in there. Eric is not a model patient though so there’s not a lot of room to make sure he’s okay.

In addition to his rocky relationship with Carrie, Will has a mammoth crush on Alicia (well, DUH) and is deeply jealous of creepy looking Jeffery. They don’t seem to want him around much probably because all this is so obvious, so Will wanders around town on his own. He doesn’t realise that he’s being followed by one of the kids and meanwhile, he is getting more and more disturbing media sent to the phone, including one of a decapitated head and lots of roaches.

Things go from bad to worse and Will still doesn’t call it in but he and Carrie find a clue to all this tunnel business. A photo of a book called “The Translation of Wounds”. When they call Garrett, an inhuman screech comes from the phone.

There are hallucinations a go go, yet more bug imagery including a roach for a hand and Will finally contacts the authorities. Although he does so with no evidence, having lost the phone and they can do bugger all. Will also tries to get off with Alicia (who reciprocates for a second or two), which pretty much ruins their friendship and Carrie seems to be newly under the influence of whatever the fuck this tunnel is.

Carrie has been doing what any good girlfriend would do: try to find out more about Garrett on the internet. Later Will receives a visit from “Garrett” to their home.

Reader, it’s a lot and I’m not sure I followed all any of it. I liked it well enough but it lost me.

My Comments

The ending is (semi)satisfying, horrible and weird af – and I think it went some way toward my enjoyment. Hammer, despite being above averagely handsome also has a little bit of the everyman going on here and I think that probably worked in his favour for this role. Will is a non-entity which is one of the accusations thrown at him by Carrie when she finally breaks up with him. She calls him empty and perhaps that’s the whole point.

Both Johnson and Beetz are kind of wasted here, they don’t really have much to do beyond being connected to whiney Will but I like seeing them both.

I don’t know, Wounds has an intriguing premise and some strong imagery but doesn’t quite bring it home. It might be a grower though. Some of the best things in life are.

Film details:

Starring: Armie Hammer, Zazie Beetz, Karl Glusman
Director: Babak Anvari
Year: 2019
IMDB Rating: 4.1/10
My Rating: 3/5

What does my wifey think of this one? Would she slice its face open in a bar brawl or let it go home unscathed? Most importantly is she satisfied by Arnie’s fate? Find out here.

Read my review of Under the Shadow here.

The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon

I introduced you to my new favourite protagonist last week but I still want to talk about the full novel because I really loved it and devoured it in two days. For a Stephen King book it’s like a tasty snack rather than a main meal – and sometimes, that’s just enough to satisfy.

Tricia is lost in the woods. But she’s not alone . . .

The world has teeth and it could bite you with them anytime it wanted. Trisha McFarland discovered this when she was nine years old. Lost in the woods.

Trisha McFarland is just nine years old when, on a hike with her mum and brother, she wanders off the beaten track and gets lost in the forest. Her family, too busy bitterly arguing to notice, don’t discover her gone until it’s too late. In mere hours, Trish is so lost that it doesn’t feel like she’ll ever see or hear another human being again. Although, judging from the creeping feeling she has, she’s definitely not alone out there.

While Trish stumbles through the woods, determined to find her way back to her old life, she imagines she is joined by her favourite baseball player, Tom Gordon and sometimes her best friend Pepsi. At night she grabs a few moments with her Walkman, catching up on the ball games and sometimes, news reports about her own disappearance. By day she eeks out the small packed lunch in her backpack but little by little she must rely on the basic survival techniques her mother has taught her.

As the clock ticks and the authorities fail to retrieve her, she believes she is being gained on by something not altogether human. If her fever dreams are anything to go by she has something new to fear besides starvation and eating the wrong berries: The God of the Lost in all his wasp-faced goodness.

Can Trish make it to the end of this horrible journey, despite all the bites, the sickness, the hunger and her mystery stalker? You bet your arse she can.

The book is incredible vivid and King, as usual gives us a very well-rounded central character to root for. He plays with reality a lot and again with the concept of self-preservation via an inner fantasy world.

While I couldn’t 100% be sure we’d get a happy ending – King has absolutely left me floored with the unexpected more than once – I was so satisfied by this ending. A definite recommendation from me if you fancy a quick but impactful read.

Book details:

The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon
Publisher: Hodder Paperbacks (19 Sept. 2019)
ISBN-10: 1529311128
ISBN-13: 978-1529311129
Bought Halloween edition paperback for myself

What are you reading?

A.M.I.

A seventeen year old girl forms a co-dependent relationship with an artificial intelligence on her phone and goes on a murderous rampage.


A.M.I.

*Spoilers*

My Review

Cassie has recently lost her mum and via the medium of flashback, it seems she might have been driving the car that claimed her life. She spends a fair amount of time at ma’s graveside while her father is largely a) drunk and b) absent. Don’t worry though she has a close-knit group of loyal friends and an adoring boyfriend who tends to her every whim to make up for it.  

NOOOOOOT. 

Jock boyfriend Liam is a slimy toad hell-bent on banging any girl that moves, while BFF Sarah goes out of her way to blow all of Cassie’s boyfriends (literally), including Liam – and currently has her eyes on the ultimate prize, Cassie’s dad Greg. Other BFF Ruby is something of a non-entity but is also definitely being hit on by Liam. While she doesn’t openly reciprocate, she doesn’t tell him to fuck off either. 

When her friends start talking about a new app called AMEE, a phone service that acts like a pocket friend, Cassie is reluctant. This reluctance turns to something else when she finds an abandoned phone near her mother’s gravestone which asks her if she wants to be friends. She leaves it but later returns to retrieve it and, curious, she sets up her own AMEE. Eerily, Cassie calls hers ‘Mother’ and the app does the rest, replicating her mum Diane’s voice and adopting traditionally maternal personality traits. 

For a while Cassie takes great comfort from Mother and suddenly, doesn’t feel so alone. But it doesn’t take long for everything to go pear-shaped. Liam neglects his girlfriend horribly, usually for ‘leg day’ even though she clearly needs him – and when she spies him leaving Sarah’s house, she has no choice but to serve up some justice. 

Alas, and annoyingly, it’s the women in Sarah’s life that get their comeuppance first. Sarah tells Cassie she’s always hated her (on account of being rich and pretty, I guess) which gets her murdered. Mother in this case goads Cassie to finish her and then guides her in the perfect way to dispose of a body in the woods. An innocent witness also has to be eliminated which is unfortunate but proves our girl is evolving quickly into her new role of cold-blooded killer. 

One by one obstacles present themselves – and Cassie and Mother are forced to address them, usually via violent means. When Dad finds a video Sarah has made, showing Cassie murdering her – he blames her head injury from the car accident and vows (finally!) to get her the help she needs.

It is too late? It’s too late, isn’t it?

My Comments

Uh. This is one of those trashy teen horrors that Netflix churns out on the regs. They’re not great but sometimes they have potential – and this wasn’t horrible. I actually think Debs Howard is pretty good as the wholesome Cassie who turns bad but (sort of) through no fault of her own. I mean, sure some of the responsibility should lie at her feet but what with all the bastard people in her life and an evil operating system taking advantage of her – what’s a girl to do?

I do not buy her as a 17 year old though – she looks and acts like a woman born in 1991 – which is exactly what she is. It’s a minor beef but still. 

All in all, I ain’t mad at you, A.M.I.

Film details:

Starring: Debs Howard, Philip Granger, Bonnie Hay
Director: Rusty Nixon
Year: 2019
IMDB Rating: 4/10
My Rating: 3/5

What are you watching?

This is Halloween

In all the excitement of my lovely guest posts – thank you girls – I had almost forgotten to take a moment to think about what my favourite holiday means to me. 

Kath has already touched upon the fact that Halloween hasn’t always been the most hands on in the UK. It was a thing but not in the same way as Stateside and as such I can’t remember ever trick or treating. Our family was more of the mind of turning off all the lights and pretending not to be home when the kids came calling, something Glynn and I do now. 

In fact I had never so much as carved a pumpkin until I was living in Vancouver and my BFF David and his family took me under their wing and showed me how. I’ve been a big believer ever since.

We did do a couple of years of taking my step son out along the beautifully decorated streets of Hove when he was younger but his heart was never really in it. He had a habit of saying, loudly: “Oh no, not Haribo AGAIN!” which lead to some very indignant vampire mums and dads. 

I might not have had Halloween in my blood from an early age but I have always loved the wicked and the macabre. I blame John Landis for the Thriller video, which inspired my future tastes from the moment I saw it. From there I fell into creepy things quite quickly but only really started devouring the ‘classics’ when I was about 18 and got my own TV for my birthday. 

From here I really got into the big boys – not just Jason, Freddy and Michael – but George. A Romero, Stephen King, John Carpenter. To say a whole world opened up to me would be an understatement. 

Now horror soothes me like no other. I feel nourished by horror stories and calmed somehow, like all my daily anxieties are distracted by the terror unravelling before my eyes. There’s less likelihood of me fretting about a stupid thing I said in a meeting earlier in the week when there’s a demonic possession going on, you know? 

I have also succumbed to dressing up a bit more, certainly in the last few years. At work I’m on the Rewards & Recognition committee so get to be involved in the party planning. It’s impossible not to get carried away when you’re helping glam up the venue for Halloween. This Friday I’ll be partying as Wednesday Addams and last year I went as Wonder Woman. 

Thinking about my spotty fancy dress history reminds me of my last job, where absolutely nobody cared about Halloween and it annoyed me so much that I went to work dressed as a cat – and was literally the only one in any sort of costume. Which I refused to be embarrassed about, frankly.  

This Halloween, or the weekend before anyway, I’m going to an intimate gathering with friends where we’ll carve pumpkins and get a spooky.

Apart from that we’re not planning much. Glynn and I  have been happily devouring a horror a night for 31 Horrors and we’ll probably finish off with Michael Myers terrorising Haddonfield whilst eating our body weight in sweets. The usual. 

What will you be up to?  


  • Read Kath’s guest post here
  • Read Meghan’s guest post here
  • Read Jillian’s guest post here