The Strangers: Prey at Night – Second in series, this 2018 film stars Christina Hendricks, featuring a clip from Tiffany’s “I Think We’re Alone Now”. The 2008 installment, The Strangers stars Liv Tyler and uses another song to great effect, the country classic “Mama Tried” by Merle Haggard. No, it wasn’t really a sequel. I thought the original movie was better than the second, but maybe it will grow on me over time. Worth watching? I say yes.  




GOODBYE CARL? – Carl became friends with Sophia, survival camping alongside Lori (his mom) and Shane. After the walker outbreak, they all thought Carl’s father was dead. Until Lori and Rick reunite and together lead the other survivors to the CDC, Herschel’s farm, Woodbury, the prison, Terminus and Alexandria. Shane, Lori, Sophia, Beth and many others die off along the way. Later, little boy Carl transforms into One-Eye-Carl, when a stray bullet half blinds him while battling walkers. Last season ends with a bite by either a Whisperer or a walker? Right now, conspiracy theorists contend Rick passed his superhero invincibility onto his son. So, do you think Carl lives or dies? I have no idea. But you better get ready to say goodbye. Stay tuned. 


HP LOVECRAFT – HP (Howard Phillips) Lovecraft was born an only child in Providence RI where many of his tales are set. His biological father, who was not involved in his life, went insane and was confined to an asylum. Lovecraft grew up with his mother and grandparents, with a grandfather who was a successful businessman. During high school his grandfather died which meant the family had to vacate their prestigious home. Lovecraft himself had a nervous breakdown and his physical health wasn’t good either. Both circumstances led to his failure to obtain a high school diploma. It also meant going to university at Brown was no longer an option. Lovecraft became involved in amateur journalism and published his first short story The Alchemist in 1916. His mother also had a nervous breakdown and was confined to the same mental hospital as his father. Lacking conventional skills, his job prospects diminished, and he struggled to make it as a working writer. The period from 1919 to 1920, Lovecraft’s Dream Cycle, inspired such works as The White Ship, The Cats of Ulthar, Nyarlathotep and The Nameless City. The first story in the Cthulhu Mythos. Lovecraft married and shortly thereafter his wife lost her business. He lived in Brooklyn NY but was robbed and returned to Providence. He placed short stories in pulp magazines, almost exclusively in Weird Tales, in the 1920s and 30s. Weird Tales offered him the position of editor and he declined. Lovecraft was known to give up on stories that had been rejected once, while some went unsubmitted altogether, such as The Shadow Over Innsmouth. He failed to reply when one publisher inquired about having a novel ready, although The Case of Charles Dexter Ward was finished. Lovecraft had not typed up a manuscript into submission format. He was fully capable of writing commercially viable stories such as The Dunwich Horror. Ones with action the Weird Tales editor wanted. But Lovecraft continued to produce work that he couldn’t sell for profit. After a few years of living away from his wife, both agreed to divorce. She remarried after being told he signed the decree when he actually had not. Lovecraft lived off an inheritance and was nearly broke prior to his death. He wouldn’t eat so he could continue to send letters. He suffered cancer and chronic pain until his death by 1937. He died in poverty at the very young age of 46. His work is rooted in the themes of science, the occult, decayed antiques, gothic architecture, churches and graveyards, Anglophilia, gods and monsters. HP Lovecraft never had a book commercially published in his lifetime. Yet his fame as a writer continued to grow after his death. He is considered to be amongst the greatest American fiction writers, shelved alongside Hawthorne and Poe. His posthumous collections became best sellers but his writing was virtually unknown in his lifetime.


HORROR 2018 – Here’s my short list of (potentially good) films for this year along with a couple years of recap. There are still a lot of remakes but Hollywood seems to be taking more risks on horror recently.

Insidious The Last Key – January 4

Day of the Dead Bloodline – January 5
Winchester – February 2

The Strangers Prey at Night – March 9

A Quiet Place – April 6

The School – April 13

Predator – August 3

The Meg – August 18

Halloween – October 18


KRAMPUS – Krampus is a demon/ goat who punishes naughty children in pre-Christian Germanic folk tales. He’s celebrated on Krampuskarten with festivals, greeting cards and parades. Sounds great. But, in large part, Krampus — the movie –disappoints. It attempts to capture the spirit of the 80s horror/ comedy classic film entitled Goonies. What’s wrong with it? It’s too gimmicky, there are too many jump scares and the CGI images are overdone. Forty minutes into the movie nothing has happened other than a dinner and a snow storm. Moments that have horror potential are actually missed opportunities. I really wanted to like this movie but it wasn’t funny and it also wasn’t scary. A cool idea? Yes. A good movie? Clearly, no. 


CHRISTMAS HORROR MOVIES – Here are some old and new Christmas themed horror movies to consider watching this holiday season.

Tales From the Crypt: And All Through the House (1972)
The crypt keeper narrates an anthology film with 5 segments based on stories from EC Comics.

Black Christmas (1974)
Sorority sisters become murder victims when an unidentified caller makes creepy calls. 

Christmas Evil (1980)
When a toy factory worker discovers the truth about Santa, he embarks on a killing spree.
Silent Night, Deadly Night (1984)
A sadistic Santa wields a hatchet and packs a pistol, intent on murdering kids that misbehave.

Santa Claws (1996)

A disturbed murderer, wearing a Santa suit, stalks a scream queen.

Rare Exports (2010)
An ‘archeological’ dig has just unearthed a malicious spirit, the secret behind Santa Claus.

A Christmas Horror Story (2015)
An anthology of 4 stories, including Santa Claus and Krampus.
Krampus (2015)
A cloven-footed demon hungers for holiday spirit.

Better Watch Out (2017)
A boy decides to tell his babysitter he loves her since it’s the holidays. 


EDGAR ALLAN POE – Eliza Arnold, an angelic 18 year old widow, married David Poe, Jr. in 1806. She’d been a traveling stage actress since 8 years old, dubbed The Nightingale for her sweet voice. When David saw her perform, he decided to join her traveling troupe. Their first child was born in 9 months and their second, Edgar, was born in 1809. Times were tough for the young family, who relocated to New York City that same summer. David wasn’t doing well, partly because he was an angry drunk with stage fright. But also, because Eliza’s performances were lauded while his own were harshly criticized. He couldn’t handle the criticism, abandoning both the stage and his young family, 6 weeks later. Pregnant Eliza had a third child after he left. When she died in 1811, the children were split up amongst relatives. Edgar Poe was taken in by John Allan but remained forever marked by his mother’s death. In fact the deaths of women–his mother, adopted mother and wives–are recurrent themes in his important stories. His first recognized short story came in 1833, when he won a $50 prize for MS. Found in a Bottle. This success led to editorial work in early periodicals, writing short stories and publishing reviews. He took his literature reviews very seriously, which were usually scathing, earning him more than one enemy. He worked all day and then wrote fiction late into the night, always unstable since he couldn’t keep a job for long. Poe wrote in a range of genres to reach the widest possible audience. His C. Auguste Dupin tales spawned the detective genre including The Murders in the Rue Morgue, The Mystery of Marie Roget and The Purloined Letter. He sold The Raven to The American Review for $9 in February 1845 under the pseudonym Quarles. Poe was found delirious in 1849 and taken to the hospital, where he died soon thereafter under circumstances that are mysterious to this day. He was buried after a 3 minute funeral attended by 7 people in a cheap coffin without a nameplate, cloth lining, or head cushion. Poe’s rival Rufus Wilmot Griswold wrote an obituary describing him as a mad, drunken, womanizing opium addict who based his darkest tales on personal experience. Today Poe remains best known for his most popular tales of gothic horror, which are relatively few in his larger body of work. 

1. The Cask of Amontillado
2. The Black Cat
3. The Tell-tale Heart
4. The Masque of the Red Death
5. The Fall of the House of Usher
6. The Pit and the Pendulum
7. The Premature Burial
8. Ligeia
9. Bernice 
10. William Wilson 
11. The Oval Portrait
12. Hop Frog 


HALLOWEEN MOVIES – Here are some horror movies coming out in October just time in for Halloween.

Theatrical releases 
October 6 2017
Dementia 13 – A retelling of 1963 horror-thriller film of the same name. 
Better Watch Out – A babysitter defends a boy from intruders, only to discover it’s not a normal home invasion.
The Crucifixion – Did a priest murder a mentally ill person? Or did he battle a demon?
October 13
Happy Death Day – When a college student relives her murder over and over again, with its unexceptional details and terrifying end, she discovers her killer’s identity. 
October 20
The Snowman – A woman’s pink scarf is found wrapped around an ominous-looking snowman.
Nightworld – Investigate a sinister building to uncover a malevolent force desperate to be released into our world.
October 24
Creep 2 – A visual artist can’t resist the chance to take footage of a man claiming to be a serial killer.
October 27
Jigsaw – Evidence of gruesome murders is found, and it seems to be the work of Jigsaw, but how can this be? He’s been dead for over a decade.

DVD releases 
DVD October 10
Wish Upon – A girl finds a magic box that grants wishes … but each one comes with dark and gruesome consequences.
The Poughkeepsie Tapes – Would you be willing to watch hundreds of tapes depicting decades of a serial killer’s work?
DVD October 17
Escape Room – One by one a new victim’s life is claimed, chosen from young couples trapped in a locked room, they’re playing for their lives. 
DVD October 24 
Cult of Chucky – Chucky is back to settle some scores with old enemies with the help of his former wife.
DVD October 23
A Ghost Story – Recently deceased, a white-sheeted ghost returns home to reconnect with his bereft wife.


MOTHER! MOVIE REVIEW – This is a great movie that relies on hidden meaning, symbolism and allegory. On the face of it, a woman busies herself settling into her new house, about ready to enjoy breakfast. When a stranger shows up suddenly at her door, she’s surprised her husband invites him to stay. Soon after, when the man’s wife also shows up, she realizes things are not as they seem. That’s just the surface plot, because there is so much unapparent hidden meaning, when all the pieces tie together. A good percentage of viewers will likely react negatively to the violent imagery. But it’s not gratuitous in the sense of the greater mythos of the story.  Once this subtext is understood more and more audiences will get on board with this movie. Most certainly the script raises more questions than it answers. What is her husband writing? Who are all these people? Why don’t they tell them to get out sooner? What is the purpose behind all the strange behaviors of the houseguests? And many more, I’m sure. I believe this film will be a classic of the horror thriller variety for years to come. 


IT MOVIE REVIEW – When a younger brother disappears, a group of friends known as ‘The Loser’s Club’ begins to investigate a series of unusual events, in the fictional town of Derry. Each of them experiences a haunting vision capitalizing on their greatest fears. It’s only then they come to realize the embodiment of IT takes the shape of Pennywise, an old time clown from Derry’s past. This is one of the few Stephen King books I haven’t read. I watched the 2017 version on opening weekend and saw the 1990 mini-series previously. I always say there’s no reason to remake a classic horror movie if there isn’t an improvement on the original. While IT 2017 isn’t perfect, I appreciated many things about this film. The cast of ‘losers’ demonstrated such deep emotion that I’m sure all of them are destined for stardom. And I liked (for the most part) the dazzling tricks and jump scares coupled with the new Pennywise’s acting. If anything, the movie would be stronger with fewer CGI effects.