Friday, September 27, 2019


DEATH'S PARADE FILM FESTIVAL - Just in time for Halloween: Death's Parade Film Festival, a series of shorts and feature films, including gore, ghosts, killers, monsters and dark comedy. The festival runs from 2 to 11PM Pacific at the following address: Towne 3 Cinemas at 1433 The Alameda in San Jose. Enjoy the virtual world of Sansar on October 3rd, then attend the festival in person, on Saturday October 5th. I was a panel selection judge, along with judging the award for best writing. The festival is sponsored by the Horror Writer’s Association, so stop by and say hell-o-ween!

Thursday, September 19, 2019


IT CHAPTER TWO MOVIE REVIEW - This is a two-part review, see below for an earlier post. In 2017, I watched ‘It’ on opening weekend, and also mentioned I’d previously seen the 1990 mini-series.  The film is adapted from Stephen King’s book of the same name. ‘The Loser’s Club’ are adults now, and everyone has moved away from Derry, except Mike. He fears Pennywise has returned, 27 years later. People in Derry start disappearing, so Mike calls club members, and asks them to meet up with him. It’s at this point that plot problems with the movie begin to creep in. As adults, the ‘Losers’ don’t remember the clown battle which occurred in ‘It Chapter One’. This begs the question: Why drop everything and immediately rush back to Derry? Since only Mike knows Pennywise has returned. The ending isn’t great either. King acknowledges this, and it becomes a running joke. King pokes fun at himself, when he’s featured onscreen, in a cameo appearance. I don’t like ruining movies with spoilers, so read on at your own peril. In the climatic ending, the ‘Losers’ (or at least Mike) know Pennywise represents their greatest fears. The solution is as simple as: “just don’t be afraid anymore”. If it’s that easy to defeat the monster, why not do that a lot earlier? And finally: the opening. A homophobic hate crime occurs, that does come right out of the book. I think that scene is a throwaway which has nothing to do with the movie. I found the scene to be a random afterthought, unnecessarily gratuitous and not connected to the plot in any way. The production was better, and there was less CGI than part one, but overall there are some pretty glaring missed opportunities.

Sunday, September 15, 2019


STILL LIFE WITH SHATTERED GLASS BY lOREN rHOADS  - Horror writers are often asked – Why are you so fascinated by the macabre? In ‘Still Life with Shattered Glass’, Loren Rhoads explores motivations of people who share those particular predilections. 
When a college junior finds herself stranded at a party, she hitches a ride and spends the night with a photographer.  It’s a little bit sexy, with a touch of dark humor, and comes together with a scary (of course) twist ending. A different version of this story was originally published in Cemetery Dance #54 in 2006. Don’t forget that profits from this anthology go to victims of California’s greatest disaster, the Camp Fire of 2018. 

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Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill 2007

Heart-Shaped BoxHeart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill 2007
An aging collector of the macabre gets more than he bargained for when he buys a heart-shaped box.
Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill

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Thursday, September 5, 2019


THE DARK CRYSTAL - Based on a 25-page story written by Jim Henson entitled The Crystal, The Dark Crystal (1982) is a puppet animated dark fantasy film. A young Gelfling goes on a quest to heal the crystal, before Thra’s three suns align, to prevent the Skeksis from ruling Gelflings forever. Directed by Jim Henson and Frank Oz, The Dark Crystal relied on groundbreaking animatronic puppets instead of human actors. The most recent installment in the franchise is entitled The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance (2019), available to stream now on Netflix. Development on the new series was based on rich notes, archival puppets and set designs, that were developed for the original feature film. In keeping with the original, actual puppets and sets are used, instead of CGI.