Wednesday, December 25, 2019


Reblog from 2012

DICKENS BIRTHDAY - This post is in honor of Charles Dickens, on his 200th birthday. There’s a great article on the author, in the current issue of Smithsonian ( Years later, he’s an author as popular as ever. Did you know about Dickens World, a theme park in Chatham England? It’s purported to be an “1800’s immersion experience”.  A film version of Great Expectations is currently in production. It’s scheduled for fall release, starring Ralph Fiennes and Helena Bonham Carter. There are events around the world, notably the NYC Morgan Library’s offering, titled Charles Dickens at 200. Dickens captured the squalid misery of Victorian London with masterfully turned phrases and visceral reactions. It was a world of urchin pickpockets, bloody butchers, prisoners of debt and seedy tenements.  Since all of his writing is public domain, why not spend a little time, read this author and transport yourself into his world. Here is a list of some of his literary highlights.

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens PIC

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

A Christmas CarolA Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens - Ebenezer Scrooge encounters visits by spirits- Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Yet to Come- with his own moral transformation, set in Victorian England’s classic holiday traditions. The classic has never been out of print and has been adapted to film, opera, and other media.
A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

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A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens PDF

Tuesday, December 24, 2019



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. 

The Witching Hour feat. Never Kill Santa Claus circa 73

The Witching Hour feat. Never Kill Santa Claus circa 73


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Friday, December 20, 2019


Review of The Merchandiser by Myra G – “In this case, the Merchandiser is a department store decorator. It is almost Thanksgiving and Fred Dorman's job is to dress the store for Christmas. Fred is a loner, but not by choice. He knows he's an ugly man who has had no luck with women. He thinks it's perfectly alright to sleep with a mannequin that he's smuggled home. The store decorations and windows are so perfect he is sure he will get a raise. Instead, when he reaches out to the store's pretty bookkeeper, what he gets is a domino effect as things get hopelessly out of control. I can see this story being presented by Alfred Hitchcock. Very well done.”

Sunday, December 15, 2019

Phantastes by George MacDonald (1858)

PhantastesPhantastes by George MacDonald
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Phantastes by George MacDonald (1858)
A young man is pulled into a dream world, hunting for the Marble Lady, an idealized beauty. After many adventures and temptations he gives up his ideals.

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Friday, December 6, 2019


JOKER - This material has been fashioned into comic books, merchandise tie-ins, live action flicks, animated movies, TV series, books and video games. The Joker was created by Bill Finger, Bob Kane, and Jerry Robinson, in Batman’s debut issue, published in 1940 by DC Comics. Directed by Todd Phillips and starring Joaquin Phoenix, the setting of Joker (2019) is razor sharp:  Manhattan in the early 80s. Imbued with sleazy porn theaters, sidewalk assassinations, garbage strikes and police corruption. Many character defects contribute to his craziness: jokes that don’t land, his childhood abandonment, weird dance moves, bizarre sense of style, and uncontrollable laughter at inappropriate times. Joaquin Phoenix takes exceedingly challenging material for an actor, and transforms himself. He’s pitiful at first, but becomes the embodiment of the Joker, in a swirling descent into madness. The film has many critics, complaining it condones violence. I will offer an alternate opinion: it can’t be gratuitous if it’s essential to the plot. Joker is a triumph of originality in movie making, in an era of cookie cutter comic book remakes. Yes, you heard that right. An original remake. An antihero becomes heroic, and accomplishes this solo, for all the wrong reasons. Somehow 80 year old source material has been formed into something fresh and new. In this nihilistic world, society steps over the most unfortunate, or does worse. You might think the audience would dislike Arthur Fleck. But you’d be wrong. Who is to blame for the Joker’s atrocities? Perhaps it’s a little bit on all of us. 

Sunday, December 1, 2019

Midwinter by Chad Schimke

Midwinter by Chad Schimke - When the first edge of the setting Father Sun touches the horizon, the High Priest lights fire to the wicker man. A Teryn stands on the shoulders of his ancestors during Winter Solstice on Salisbury Plain. Follow the tale of the lone pine, from the bluestone cliffs of South Wales, to the hamlet of Feldmid. Read ‘Midwinter’ today!

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Sunday, November 24, 2019


GRAFFITI SONATA by gene o’neil - Imagine the loneliness you’d feel, if your classically trained flautist of a spouse moved out, and took your young daughter with her. Flip through the artist’s sketchbook, as his images transform from love, to loss, and give way to grief. The story is organized in a sonata structure, with dream sequences blending ghost-like visions with the natural world. In ‘Graffiti Sonata’, the reader delves into an unfocused mind, sinking into despair as he loses everything he ever loved. This story first appeared in Dark Discoveries Magazine issue #18, Winter/ Spring 2011, and was reprinted in Best of Dark Discoveries, published by Dark Regions Press in 2015.

Want to read more? Check this and other good horror for a great cause, in Tales for the Campfire by following this link:

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas (1844)

The Three Musketeers (The D'Artagnan Romances, #1)The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas (1844)
A young man leaves home to join the Musketeers of the Guard. Unable to join the elite corps, he befriends the three inseparables.
The Three Musketeers (The D'Artagnan Romances, #1) by Alexandre Dumas

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Monday, November 4, 2019

The Merchandiser by Chad Schimke

The Merchandiser by Chad Schimke  – When a merchandiser becomes preoccupied with decorations, he gives in to his chilling obsession. Second best will have to do, but he makes the most of it. Fear meets perfection in this unnerving tale, set against a backdrop of stark film noir. Read ‘The Merchandiser’ today!

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Wednesday, October 30, 2019


HALLOWEEN - Written by John Carpenter and Debra Hill, the original Halloween (1978), was the first installment in the franchise. It has spawned ten films to date. Most recently directed by Rob Zombie, a purported Halloween III, will be released this year. If you’re a regular visitor to my blog, you’re well aware the orig is one of my favorites.