Day 22 of 31 days of horror: Dead Alive (1992)

The devil is amongst us. Stay back, boy. This calls for divine intervention!

Peter Jackson is best known for the Lord of the Rings series. Long before that came a movie called Braindead, that was released in North America under the name Dead Alive. I recognize the movie cover, but now that I’m watching it, I don’t think I’ve ever seen it before.

It is terrible. And wonderful. It has all the makings of a great horror comedy. Ridiculous premise, bad acting, eccentric characters, and more blood and gore than the average person can stomach. Several laugh out loud moments. The scene in the park where Lionel is punching the zombie baby and everyone just watches (and one guy laughs)…LMAO. And the party scene where the one guy yells “I’m sorry I called Nabokov a pedophile!” as he’s being attacked. And then later he pops off with “Some of my best friends are pedophiles!” Reminded me of this one person who posts the same couple books in all the book groups all the time. Zombie status confirmed. Anyway, if you like cheesy zombie movies where the gore flows freely, you’ll like this one.

I read a book: Little Vampire Women, by Lynn Messina, Louisa May Alcott

Christmas won’t be Christmas without any corpses.

If you’ve read Little Women, by Louisa May Alcott, you basically know what this book is all about. This is a retelling of the classic book, only the main characters are vampires and they talk about eating creatures like it’s the most natural thing in the world. Which, I suppose, in their world it is.

There isn’t a lot to say about this one that hasn’t already been said. It was published in 2010, a year into the the monster mashup trend, but is being re-released on October 25, 2022 for…reasons? It’s kind of a fun idea, but not particularly well executed. I mean, anyone can grab a book whose copyright protection has expired off Project Gutenburg, copy the text in its entirety, and stick in a vampire reference here and there.

⭐️⭐️ for me. Meh. Are all of the monster mashups like this? Maybe I don’t need to read them, no matter how entertaining they seem in theory. This wasn’t for me, but if you already like the genre, you’ll probably like this one.

Big thanks to Lynn Messina (and Louisa May Alcott?), Potatoworks Press, and NetGalley for providing an ARC in exchange for an honest review. You can pre-order Little Vampire Women on Amazon and begin reading it on October 24, 2022.

Day 21 of 31 days of horror: Night of the Living Dead (1968)

Yeah, they’re dead. They’re…all messed up.

Night of the Living Dead is probably the classic zombie movie. The Library of Congress deemed it “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant” and it was selected for preservation in the National Film Registry. That’s kind of a big deal for a zombie flick.

Of course it’s more than just a zombie flick. Wikipedia has a decent explanation of how critics interpreted it, so I’ll just drop a link.

Poor Ben. Survives the night, but I guess there’s no salvation from redneck zombie hunters for a black man during a zombie apocalypse.

I read a book: The Haunting of Ashburn House, by Darcy Coates

This is the book that Book Lovers Cafe chose for October book club. It wasn’t the one that I wanted, so I’ve been reading just about everything else before deciding to start this one. I started this morning and probably would have finished before the work day is over if it wasn’t for an afternoon staff meeting. It is way more interesting than I expected. Fair warning, there may be spoilers in this review.

I’m generally not into ghost stories. Ghosts are one of those things that I have trouble suspending disbelief enough to enjoy. Other monsters are fantastical. No one believes zombies or vampires are real. But there are plenty of people who believe in ghosts, because most religions include some kind of afterlife. I am still nowhere near on board with the whole afterlife thing, but I’m loosening up on my stance on ghost stories. After all, I did love the show Supernatural, including the huge angels vs demons arc. Maybe I can accept ghosts as a fictional monster without considering the real life implications.

That said, (minor spoiler) this isn’t even a ghost story. It’s not a haunting in that sense. Not really. I mean it is, and it isn’t. This is the story of a young woman named Adrienne who inherits an old house in a little town from an old relative she met only once as a small child. Because of the tragic deaths of the family who once lived there (her elderly aunt’s family), the townspeople believe the house is haunted. After a series of strange inexplicable (and terrifying) events, Adrienne learns that the house is in fact haunted, just not in the way she thinks. Things get pretty scary for our heroine for a while. Will the evil forces at work triumph? There were parts that I definitely didn’t see coming. I engaged in discussion before getting too far into the book and a big part of it was revealed to me, which was fine by me because I actually love spoilers. I actively seek them out. This spoiler fueled my interest, because as I mentioned earlier, I’m not big on ghost stories.

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ for me. I’m glad I read this book, despite the fact that it wasn’t my first choice. I thoroughly enjoyed it. I’m happy to see that Darcy Coates has a large catalog and many of her books are available as part of my Kindle Unlimited subscription.

Day 20 of 31 days of horror: Carrie (1976)

And the first sin was intercourse. SAY IT.

Today’s movie is Carrie. That opening scene in the locker room always catches me off guard, what with the nude teenagers frolicking about, boobs and bush on full display. There’s a lot of ridiculous stuff, like a group of teenagers going to a pig farm to slaughter pigs and collect their blood. But there’s a lot of great stuff, like the use of that pig blood. The cast is great. I really enjoy this movie.

There are some differences between the book and the movie (audiobook is great btw). The movie characters are all way more attractive than their book counterparts. Carrie’s powers and the mother’s character were toned down. Different endings. But both are pretty great. The movie is definitely a classic and one of my personal favorite Stephen King adaptations.

Day 19 of 31 days of horror: Child’s Play (1988)

Chucky: We’re friends ’til the end! Remember?
Andy: This is the end, friend!

My first encounter with Brad Dourif was his portrayal of Bajoran engineer Lon Suder in Star Trek: Voyager. His character murdered a guy because…he was bored? He sure gave Tuvok a hell of a time trying to figure out motive because one simply did not exist. A whole lot of mind meld stuff happened, and ultimately Suder was sent to his room for the rest of the ride back to the alpha quadrant. Starships don’t have long term prisons, after all.

Child’s Play is the first of 8 Chucky movies and Brad Dourif is in most of them. Pretty sure I’ve only ever seen the first one, because unless it’s Star Trek or Lord of the Rings, I don’t always watch all the sequels. I admit I’m kind of interested in watching the Child’s Play 2 because I just have to know how he comes back after the doll was destroyed. Whoops, is that a spoiler? The movie was made in 1988 so…

I like this movie. This was a fun rewatch. I should probably add it to my yearly Spooktober watch list.

Eventually, long after we’ve forgotten about Lon Suder and his house arrest, he gets his redemption arc. And then he dies a heroic death.

Day 18 of 31 days of horror: Bloodstone: Subspecies 2 (1993)

Spurn me and I will torment you to eternity.

I was 11 years old when this came out in 1993 and not much older when I first watched this movie. I watched this movie recorded off the TV on VHS many times in the days before DVD. If I were so inclined, I could probably dig up that old VHS from the shelf of old VHS in my living room and plug in an old VCR and relive those late night Taco Bell commercials breaking the movie tension. TACO SUNDAYYYY AT TACO BELLLLL!!

It’s been a minute since I last watched this movie. I don’t have strong memories of it, but it is all so familiar. It’s a great movie. I say that with all sincerity. It’s great. As I watch, I wonder if certain aspects were ingrained in me. I remember thinking vampire Michelle was the loveliest woman I’d ever seen in a movie. Radu was oddly appealing despite his inability to take leave me the fuck alone for an answer. Something about all the blood dripping everywhere. Michelle goes into survival mode and even saves her sister all while trying to come to terms with her new life as a vampire. And just when it seems like they get a happy ending, something happens that turns this neat little package into a mega cliffhanger. I guess I have to watch the rest of the series 🤷🏻‍♀️

Day 17 of 31 days of horror: Killer Klowns from Outer Space (1988)

What are you gonna do? Knock my block off?

This movie is super dumb, but also great in that campy B movie sort of way. Aliens that look like clowns and kill people by doing typical clown things. I like the whole creepy clown circus of horrors aesthetic. The killer klowns are the stuff of coulrophobia sufferers’ nightmares. This movie isn’t scary, but I imagine a darker reboot wouldn’t be difficult to pull off. Not that this one needs a reboot. Honestly kinda surprised this movie even exists. But I kinda love it.

I read a book: Jokes to Offend Men, by Allison Kelley, Danielle Kraese, Kate Herzlin, and Ysabel Yates

A modern, feminist take on the classic joke book to amuse and empower readers who are tired of being the punchline…A cutting, cathartic spin on the old-fashioned joke book, Jokes to Offend Men is a refreshing reclamation of a tired form for anyone who’s ever been told to “lighten up, it’s just a joke!”

If you go into this expecting funny hahas, you will be disappointed. While it is formatted like a joke book, the jokes are not funny. It’s mostly sad observations of the differences between how men and women are treated in different circumstances. Much of it is relatable, but I wish it wasn’t. And I guess that’s the point.

Some of the jokes tickled my dark funny bone. Why did the dad cross the road? Because the neighbor called him a chicken and he just couldn’t let it go. While my dad doesn’t care about someone calling him a chicken, he doesn’t let things go. Particularly when it comes to the neighbors. What did the “lady killer” grow up to be? Ted Bundy. What did Ted Bundy grow up to be? Played by Zac Efron. Isn’t that something.

Courtney Love, anyone?

⭐️⭐️⭐️ for me. Decent read. Not particularly funny, but I think that’s intentional. Nothing groundbreaking, but sometimes it’s nice to know that you’re not alone in your experiences.

Big thanks to the authors, Andrews McMeel Publishing, and NetGalley for providing an ARC in exchange for an honest review. You can pre-order Jokes to Offend Men on Amazon and begin reading it on October 25, 2022.

Day 16 of 31 days of horror: Midsommar (2019)

This was a really weird movie. At first it’s like, cultural differences type of weird. They partake in rituals that seem strange to those outside the colony, but ultimately harmless and even fun. But then we learn that some things aren’t symbolic at all and there’s no escape.

Pretty good movie. It is one of those that I needed to watch with no distractions because if you are poking at your phone, you’ll miss something. I liked it.