Friday the 13th: A December Movie Kickback

I watch a lot of horror movies. Horror is one of my favorite genres and I don’t know why, but looking at the darkest part of what humanity could be is fascinating to me. However, I had never really watched a Christmas horror film. Mostly because that feels like betrayal to the essence of what Christmas is. But, this year, Friday the 13th happened to land in December and so, a Christmas horror film is what I wanted to see.

I choose to watch Pooka!

Pooka! is your Gremlin come to life worst nightmare. (An aside, I have seen Gremlins many a time, so I guess I have seen a Christmas horror film. I don’t know why that didn’t seem to count in my head). A toy that repeats what you say, but only what it feels like repeating. Yet it’s not the toy itself that is what makes this film terrifying. It’s the man who becomes Pooka!

Wilson is a struggling actor who gets a job to be Pooka! In person encounters, commercials, and any promotion is done with him being the sole actor behind the mask. But, quickly you come to understand that there is something off about Wilson. He’s strange. With strange inclinations and an oddly normal way of speaking that somehow doesn’t take away from the oddness.

This is one of those films that is made so much better by the ending. The ending shapes how you think about the beginning and makes you wonder what was really going on all along. The ending made this film well worth the watch for me.

There is a lot of stylization to the film that I really appreciate. The flashing of very specific colors. How it all comes full circle to what the ending is. How things unravel and come together very specifically just by the way the story was shown visually. That part for me was really cool.

I can’t talk about much else without spoiling the story. But, I if you enjoy horror and are looking for an interesting Christmas horror film Pooka! is definitely worth the watch!

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Till next time!

Celebrating October!!

This October I did a lot of things. I didn’t post as much as I wanted to, but that didn’t mean I didn’t have quite the spooky and wonderful October!

One of the highlights was watching Shane Dawson’s Episodes of the making of the Conspiracy pallet! Which I am saving up money for so I can purchase the bundle with the lipsticks and lip balms when they do a full restock in 2020. I was so excited when they announced that the collection was going to be permanent because it’s the first makeup I’ve ever been excited about buying and I can’t wait to get my hands on it!

Another big YouTube thing that happened was Markiplier’s: A Heist with Markiplier! I watched it and got every single ending and I was never more proud of one of my all time favorite You-tubers!

As for the spooky things I watched, I finally got to watch Annabel: Comes Home on a rental DVD with my sister. It was really nice because for some reason the dvd wouldn’t work in our tv DVD player, but it worked on the computer DVD player and we watched it being forced to sit closer then usual and it felt like a nice bonding experience with my sister.

I also watched The Exorcist tv show seasons 1 & 2, Uncanny Annie, They come Knocking, a weird movie called New Year, New You, and both seasons of Scream Queens. I enjoyed the majority of what I watched and it was for the most part a nicely spooky time for me.

Then, on November 3rd I went to six flags fright fest, which was fun, but there wasn’t that many monsters. I went with my sister her friend Tony and his nephew Andrew and really I barely know either of them so the only person I had to protect me from scares was myself. This lead for me to develop my own “I’m not scared” technique of smiling like a mannequin while walking in scare zones and being as ridged as possible while I’d get monsters growling in my ear. As well as staring down any monster in my sight, because if I see them coming I’m way less scared.

The whole time I meant to post about some of the movies I watched, but towards the last two weeks I got distracted and the last week of October and into November some personal things happened that lead me to have a short bought of anxiety and sadness. I got over it much more quickly then I have before and I feel great now. It’s just sometimes things happen that hit you hard when your not suspecting it.

All in all, I had an incredible October. I listened to my Halloween playlist non-stop. I added many songs to it (I love it even more now then ever). I wore my spooky earrings all month long (I’m in need of getting myself more cause you can never have too many spooky earrings). I bought two adorable Halloween mugs and I finally got an adorable Hocus Pocus Sweatshirt from Hot Topic that I had my eyes on since I first saw it. I also got another vampire t-shirt that I want to wear all the time.

I love October and I adore Halloween. Something about the spooky season lifts up my spirits and makes me feel so alive. I love how everyone puts on whatever costume they like and become macabre character versions of themselves. I love the horror and the exploration of all our greatest fears. I love the decorations and the dark vibe Halloween has. It’s a wonderful season and I enjoyed every moment of it!

Thank you all for reading! Let me know your thoughts down in the comments below! What did you do for Halloween? Did you dress up? Did you watch some spooky films? How do you love to celebrate the season?

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Watching: It Chapter 2

I saw It: Chapter 2 two weeks ago and I loved it! Some friends of mine have seen it and they hated it because watching a terrifying clown reck havoc was terrible, but that’s not really how I saw the film. Through my eyes I saw the way the story came together. I saw what about certain parts made me pull my knees up to my chest to feel a little safer.

Spoilers ahead!

Right off the back the film hits you with a terrible death and the horror of the darker side of human nature. A gay couple were at a carnival having fun and get interrupted by some horrible people who beat them up and throw one of them in a river from the bridge they were standing on. Then pennywise gets to the guy and his partner watches in horror as he gets brutally killed.

This is the inciting incident to bring together the lost losers club. Each and every person in the losers club has very intense and unique human backstories. Mike stayed behind and remembered the horrors they went through. He’s the lore keeper of sorts and organizes what happens. Ben who was once the chubby kid became a fit millionaire who is still in love with Beverly. Beverly has gone through the ringer. She went from being abused by her father to being abused by her husband and she finally leaves him to join her friends to face pennywise once again. Stanley killed himself at the very beginning of the film and never makes it back to his friends. Bill who lost his brother to pennywise and still feels paralyzed by his own guilt. Riche is a comedian and deals with not being able to be himself. Which adds this beautiful arch of him accepting himself and his sexuality. Eddie’s adulthood mirrors his childhood in who he is married to is similar to his mother and makes him miserable.

Most of all, Pennywise’s brand of horror is internal. It’s what we fear most about ourselves. The horrors we face by the reality of our choices and the choices of others everyday. Pennywise is terrifying because he knows what you fear most and of course the way to fight him is to shape him into what you want by what you believe him to be. That’s what makes me love the film so much because our fears truly are as big or as small as we want them to be.

Of course there are horrors you cannot avoid, but most of life is as good or bad as you create it to be for yourself.

What I love so much about this story is that it is unapologetically horrible yet there are powerful messages of hope and triumph that exist within it. Some of the characters are arguably as terrible as pennywise. For one Henry:

Henry is a literal psychopath and as much of an a-hole as he was as a kid. If I ever saw someone as insane as him in real life I’m running far far away. Pennywise at times uses illusions and tricks for his fear-mongering, but Henry.. Henry is just bat-shit crazy. He’s the epitome of those serial killers you hear about that cruelly kill animals as a kid and grow up to be just as cruel killers of human beings.

The other thing I loved about the film was it’s humor. It scares you most of all, but it also gives you a laugh. That’s something I can really appreciate.

All in all, this film is one of my favorites as far as horror films go. I love when a story goes deeper then just trying to cheaply scare you. There was depth here and a lot of mirroring to the past that made what was happening in the present all the more terrifying.

If you haven’t already, I recommend watching It: Chapter 2! It’s an incredible film. I highly recommend it.

Thank you all for reading! Let me know your thoughts down in the comments below! What horror movies do you love?

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Yesterday’s Wordcount: 0

The Curse of La llorona: A Movie Review

Yesterday my mom randomly decided to take me and my sister to amc to watch La llorona. This was one of the most exciting things to spontaneously happen for me in a long while. I was like a little kid running in the hot sun all the way to the theater because we were running a little late and I didn’t want to miss anything.

The first thing I have to say about this film has nothing to do with the film really, but the song that it plays before the film even starts. It’s called Arrorró Mi Niño and it’s hauntingly beautiful. Actually not even, it’s just beautiful in general and so peaceful and relaxing in a way I wasn’t expecting going in to see the film.

Here is the song link below for your listening pleasure:

https://youtu.be/nZ71XeFEaO

Another thing that I want to say is that even my mom enjoyed the film and she usually doesn’t like horror films. So that’s special on its own.

On the scary scale this movie wasn’t that scary for me, but that’s not saying much because I’m pretty used to horror films. There were some tense moments that got to me, but for the most part I wasn’t particularly scared.

What I love about this franchise is that most of the films have some sort of softness to them. Some sort of humor or sweet moment to break up the monotony of fear. It makes these films pretty well balanced and makes them more then just films to inspire fear.

What was special about this film for me is that it helped me learn a little bit more about my mom’s culture. She grew up in New Mexico to stories about La Llorona her whole life. She said that it stayed true to parts of the story, but it still was its own story.

I won’t spoil the ritual itself, but there is a ritual performed in this movie that my mom told me is actually performed and in the way they performed it. It’s an odd looking ritual so I was surprised to hear that it is really something that is performed.

Overall, this was a really great film. If you like horror films I highly recommend this one. The action was good. The story was good. It had an interesting plot. Good suspense. Some tense moments. It’s a great spooky film.

Thanks for reading! As this just came out I didn’t really want to spoil any of this. If you love the conjuring and Annabelle, you’ll definitely enjoy The Curse of La Llorona

My Goodreads Year In Books: 2018

I started off the year really strongly with all the books I’d been reading. Then as time went on life threw a bunch of changes at me and my reading suffered for it. In the new year, I hope to get back into reading again. In 2018, I did get to read some incredible books. As far as that goes it was a great year. I’m excited to share them with all of you.

I look forward to the new year and what books will be coming my way. It feels good to look back and remember how wonderful it was to read all these books when I got to read them.

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-Till next time!

Watching: Hell Fest

Part of me not being able to fully get in the Spirit of Christmas this year was the fact that I Still was in a very halloween mood. So upon the end of the Christmas season I immediately felt myself shift back into the spooky spirit and found myself watching one of this years spooky features, Hell Fest.

This film was fun to watch. I liked the concept of it and even as some parts made me want to scream “Why-though?” I enjoyed my time watching this.

Hell Fest follows a group of teens having a night out at a horror nights in a theme park. The idea of real deaths happening in front of you and you not realizing it because in that situation your already meant to suspend your disbelief is terrifying. It made me question if I’d be able to tell a real death vs. a fake one should I go out to a horror nights for halloween in the future. It’s not something I had previously thought of.

Overall, what I really enjoyed the most was the visuals the movie had. It felt realistic to what a horror nights would look like. Although, there were times where I wondered how the cast kept getting into parts of the park where no one was around so often. Usually a place like that is packed everywhere. I don’t see how there wasn’t a ton of people around on a constant basis, but that’s me being a bit picky.

Of the deaths only one way overtly gore heavy and that death will be stuck in my brain permanently. I can still see it perfectly in my mind and it’s something I’d like to erase. Most of the horror I watch doesn’t typically have all that much gore. So for that one part this movie was not my cup of tea. It’s weird because most of the rest of the movie isn’t that overtly gore filled. There is Death sure, but it wasn’t the worst as far as horror deaths go. Then all of a sudden I was scared for life.

What I found to be really cool was that the situation didn’t come off as too far-fetched. In reality, a killer like that could exist and it could be really hard to catch him right away once he was set loose inside the park. Once the friends realized what was happening and got to talk with security about what was happening and security couldn’t and wouldn’t do anything to help especially because all the actors in the park are masked and they had no way of knowing who to take down felt pretty realistic to me. Even them downplaying the situation and saying that the missing friends were drunk or passed out somewhere made sense to me. At the end of the day no one wants the worst case scenario to be the true one.

I also liked that in between the moments of death there was some comedy. Maybe, a bit crude with the humor, but really it wasn’t in bad taste.

All in all, I enjoyed Hell Fest. I loved the visuals. I liked its darkness. I liked the realistic nature of the fear. If you like spooky cinema with flecks of comedic flavor you’ll enjoy this movie. It’s not perfect, but it was a fun time.

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-Till next time!

Watching: Bird Box

It’s New Year’s Eve and I want to talk about the movie that has been a very hot topic lately: Bird Box.

Bird Box is an intense and emotional thriller that brings you on the edge of your seat. However, I found it to feel like a metaphor for life. I know in my life in a much smaller way I’m just focused on survival first. Doing what I need to do so my family and I have food on the table and that the bills are paid.

Bird Box is very different from that or course. It’s far more sinister. The forces at play are much more malicious and the end result is something more then terrifying. But the characters essentially do as we all do when we as human beings are threatened: Anything and everything that can be done to ensure survival. They forget warmth. They forget truly living. They adapt to the difficult new reality and live on.

Sometimes, I think in all our lives we forget to enjoy life. We get lost in doing task after task and make our lives into one great big to-do list and suddenly we look back and realize we didn’t let ourselves enjoy what the world has to offer. I want to live my life in such a way that should I pass on tomorrow that I have no regrets. That I at least can say I lived my life the way I wanted to an lived it well. I hadn’t been doing that for a long time in 2018, but I’m remedying that now and will continue that into the future.

Either way, watching Bird Box made me feel very intensely. Watching people make sacrifices for each other and loose loved ones and live in a world of pure chaos all trying to find at least something or someone to hold on to was terribly beautiful. The deaths were terrible. Watching people kill themselves in such horrible ways broke my heart. Yet this story really isn’t about the death. It’s about those who live on. About finding meaning in what is now. That’s an incredible message.

I’m not going to talk about the ending or even the blind aspect of the movie. Which visually put me on edge the entire movie. Because even if those things are important and have technical affect on making the person watching feel a certain way it’s not what I got out of this movie.

I gained a new perspective. A reaffirmation to move forward in life full force. To take chances and not give up. Maybe, this isn’t the typical thing that is received from watching this movie. I’m not sure how much this aspect is talked about. Either way, this is movie that is a fantastic watch. It’s definitely my brand of Sci-fi.

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-Till next time!

Writing Horror in December

There was a poem I wrote for Halloween that inspired a brand new book idea that I immediately fell in love with. I shared it with my closest friend at the time and they told me that I should definitely write it. I immediately wrote the first chapter and then life happened. I felt no longer motivated to continue the story and it was at a standstill. My life was at a standstill.

However, now more then ever I look back at that story and I’m still in love with it. So yesterday I wrote 1,000 words towards it and I now can’t wait to keep the story moving! This story has the snarkiest Mc I’ve ever written, a mom battling anger and depression, and a house that may or may not be driving one of the two into insanity.

This book is fun because it writes so easily. There is no outline necessary and I can just go for it! I’m letting this story take me wherever it wants to go and so far I’m really enjoying where it’s gone!

I know I can write this book to completion decently quickly. Which is odd and unusual for me. But it’s one of those books that is calling my name and I have a feeling that to deny that call would be a mistake.

Maybe it’s weird to write horror during the Christmas season, but I’m so happy with this story that I don’t really mind it. I can’t wait to see how the first draft turns out!

Thanks for reading! Let me know your thoughts down in the comments below.

-Till next time!

Watching The Nun: My Thoughts

Of all the movies coming out in recent times this was the movie I was most looking forward to watching. The prequel to The Conjuring movies. I now see it more as a movie within the pocket of The Conjuring that just happened to occur before the events of The Conjuring.

Of all the movies in the conjuring universe this one felt the most different. It wasn’t quite in the same vein of House hauntings and demonic possession, but I enjoyed it anyway. I liked the Monastery setting. I liked the creepiness of it. I just wish the inside shots weren’t shot so dark. It’s hard to be scared when you can’t see much at all.

What I wished was different was the character development. I didn’t really care about anyone. I wasn’t invested in if anyone lived or died. It was of little consequence to me. In the conjuring movies it is much the opposite, I cared about everyone and what happened to them. There were these beautiful relationships that formed and you felt like you were watching a good family undergo something awful.

In The Nun, there is a little characterization, but not much. Basically you have an idea about the people based solely on their job. Sister Irene who is not quite a nun yet as she hasn’t taken her vows. Father Burke who is a pastor. Frenchie whom I don’t know what he does, but sort of provides comic relief. Other then that most everyone is two demential. Which sucks after the previous movies in this universe having some amazing characters that are so enjoyable to watch.

What also threw me for a loop was that some of the shots were so disorienting that they didn’t make sense. A character who was once above ground would be below and then one that was inside would find their way outside. Then the way it would all happen was just in general very confusing for me. Although, I did like the idea of someone being stuck in a coffin alive having been dragged under by a ghost. Plus, the bells above that could be rung should you find yourself buried alive was a nice touch. That made for one of my favorite scenes of the movie.

There wasn’t as much story as I would have liked at the beginning. A lot of the actual story line was revealed later. It was more like these two people were there investigating mostly just because they were told to. Which is fine I guess, but it was not as good of a reason as I would have liked. I mean yeah they are testing to see if the grounds are still Holy, but why those two in particular? I don’t really know.

Maybe, I’m being a little harsh on this movie. I did enjoy it. Some of the scenes were really cool. Yeah, I wish things were different, but overall I did like watching. It’s fun to watch. It was spooky. It had spooky paranormal demon vibes. I do recommend giving this movie a shot.

Thanks for reading! Let me know your thoughts down in the comments below.

-Till next time!

The Ballad of Black Tom: A Review

The Ballad of Black Tom by Victor LaValle

My Rating: 4/5 Stars!

Cover Rating: 9/10 Stars! I love this cover! I love the nods to Cthulhu in the tentacles. I love the contrast of the art piece. It’s just Tom holding his guitar looking like he’s about to go do something intense. The only word to describe this cover properly is badass.

Publisher: Tor

Publish Date: February 16th, 2016

Number of Pages: 149

Received: Through the Tor monthly sci-fi/fantasy book club

Purchase: Amazon

Synopsis:

“People move to New York looking for magic and nothing will convince them it isn’t there.

Charles Thomas Tester hustles to put food on the table, keep the roof over his father’s head, from Harlem to Flushing Meadows to Red Hook. He knows what magic a suit can cast, the invisibility a guitar case can provide, and the curse written on his skin that attracts the eye of wealthy white folks and their cops. But when he delivers an occult tome to a reclusive sorceress in the heart of Queens, Tom opens a door to a deeper realm of magic, and earns the attention of things best left sleeping.

A storm that might swallow the world is building in Brooklyn. Will Black Tom live to see it break?”

Opening Sentence: “People who move to New York always make the same mistake.”

Musings:

The Ballad of Black Tom is a wonderful nod to one of the greatest horror writers of all time H.P. Lovecraft. I haven’t read much of Lovecraft’s work, only The Call of Cthulhu, but I really enjoyed reading that story. It’s a good one. Lovecraft had a talent and passion for horror like no other. Even so, I could recognize the nods to Lovecraft’s style in the way the story was approached. Something not quite fantasy or sci-fi, but could only be explained as otherworldly. Even as it is very much set within the world we live in.

What I Loved:

The writing. Victor created atmosphere with the way he choose his details. He brought you into New York of the time period and it felt like you could smell the smoke. You could imagine the stares. The many white folk growing uncomfortable in the presence of a black man.

The places. I could imagine each place things occurred in my head. It wasn’t too much description, but just enough. When places were revisited more then once you could imagine that place again and it felt like the same place. The description was very well handled.

The story took after Lovecraft in a great way. This story was all it’s own, however it felt like a Lovecraft story. The way the horror was woven in. The way things go from kinda off to very wrong. It felt very much within the brand of Lovecraft and I really enjoyed that.

It kept me in the halloween mood. Even if this story didn’t creep me out. It did feel very horror-esque. It reminded me of what I love most about the season. What horror does. Tom is a man fighting to stay a good man. Just trying to survive, but when someone gets pushed too far you have to wonder what they’ll do when they just don’t care anymore.

Grey morality. I love books where morality isn’t black and white. In life morality isn’t black and white. Humans are the most terrifying of creatures. That is something I will always keep in mind. It isn’t just the actions Tom takes. It’s the actions of others that lead him to make the choices he did. We all like to think we are completely independent, but how you are treated in life is often majorly impactful on how you choose to act. Even that thought can be terrifying.

The guitar case. For some reason the simplicity of Tom carrying this guitar, the mystery of it made me more and more intrigued by the story. It’s not anything grand and yet the connection between it, Tom, his father, and magic is undeniable. I really loved that about this book.

Final Thoughts:

The Ballad of Black Tom is well worth the read. It’s perfect to put you in the mood for this dark holiday season. It’s fantasy, sci-fi, and horror all rolled into one. I think Lovecraft is smiling in his grave with the thought of inspiring such a atmospheric horror novel written in his honor.

About the Author:

Victor LaValle is the author of the short story collection Slapboxing with Jesus, four novels, The Ecstatic, Big Machine, The Devil in Silver, and The Changeling and two novellas, Lucretia and the Kroons and The Ballad of Black Tom. He is also the creator and writer of a comic book Victor LaValle’s DESTROYER.

He has been the recipient of numerous awards including a Whiting Writers’ Award, a United States Artists Ford Fellowship, a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Shirley Jackson Award, an American Book Award, and the key to Southeast Queens.

He was raised in Queens, New York. He now lives in Washington Heights with his wife and kids. He teaches at Columbia University.

He can be kind of hard to reach, but he still loves you.

Thanks for reading! Let me know your thoughts down in the comments. Let me know any horror recommendations you may have for me. I’d love to put together a list.

-Till next time!