Wednesday, November 11, 2015
Friday, November 6, 2015
It's a rare thing for me to be utterly disturbed, but that is what has happened this morning when doing random bits of general research on the web. General research is what I do when between novels. The little tidbits I pick up get put into the back of my mind where they act like seeds that might one day sprout into something that will work for a short story or novel. There is no conscious tending to this plot of mental landscape where the seeds are allowed to grow. They are left to do their own thing, and if that thing becomes grand, I harvest it. Today, I feel like something grand may be in the works, the seed of disturbing information - coupled with a screenshot I was not expecting to see - having landed in a nice soft patch of soil that has been fertilized by the decaying sprouts of ideas that never got the chance to fully bloom. We shall see what comes of it . . . if I have the stomach to venture near the horrific growth and pluck what I need.
For everyone else, however, this title may be accurate because they likely did not come face to face with such stories while growing up, and for me, I simply can't wait to dive into the tales that Hitchcock selected for this volume. Prior to this, I read Alfred Hitchcock's Noose Report and was blown away by how amazing and terrifying the stories were. A couple of them actually left me chilled, which doesn't happen too often. The best of them was the first by Robert Bloch titled "Home Away From Home." My god, the twist in that was just spectacular.
And now I hope to experience a repeat of those chills as I open up this anthology. Nothing would please me more than to be sitting in the reading chair downstairs, house darkness broken only by my one reading lamp, a cup of tea sitting by my side, a cold November wind stirring up the October leaves outside, my mind terrified by the words I just read. Such does not happen often these days, so when it does, it is a moment to be cherished.
Friday, October 30, 2015
Anyway, I haven't actually read this book, so I can't comment on the story just yet. However, given how much fun I think (hope) this one will be, I'm going to bump it up to the top of the To Be Read list (sorry, Jack Reacher, Running Blind will have to wait a bit). Until then . . .
Wednesday, October 28, 2015
Vintage Paperback and Book Covers Facebook Page. Intrigued, I went to Amazon and voila, a week later I had an old Dell paperback copy of Panic waiting for me in the mail. Best of all, it seems Helen McCloy penned quite a few novels, many of them featuring a continuing detective-like character named Dr. Basil Willing, so, if I enjoy this title and the writing style, chances are I will be making even more orders. Hell, even if I don't quite enjoy this one, which could happen (fingers crossed it doesn't given how fun the cover looks), I will probably still seek out a few more titles, especially ones featuring Dr. Basil Willing.
Have any of you read any of Helen McCloy's work? If so, what did you think?
Monday, October 26, 2015
I had bought the book a few weeks earlier while shopping at Half Price Books with my mom. During that trip the two of us happened upon several titles that all turned out great, titles that were parts of larger bodies of work that we quickly bought in their entirety and read. The most famous of those other titles would have to be The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson. My mom read that one while I read Covenant. I then read Dragon while waiting to head to Half Price Books to get the rest of the Covenant trilogy, all while my mom bought the rest of the Dragon trilogy. Within a few weeks I had completed both trilogies. It was great. During that first trip we also bought books by Steven Saylor and Jo Nesbo. Saylor writes fantastic first person novels about a citizen in the Roman Republic named Gordianus the Finder who is the equivalent of a modern day private investigator in the ancient world, and Nesbo writes detective novels about a Norwegian police office named Harry Hole that works out of Oslo. Both series are ones that I highly recommend.
I also recommend the Family Dracul trilogy by Jeanne Kalogridis, of which Covenant with the Vampire pictured above is the first. Not since my discovery of Brian Lumley's Necroscope series back in 2001 have I enjoying a vampire series so much. In fact, this one and that one are the only two vampire series I have ever really enjoyed. Vampires are a tough sell for me. There are many stand alone novels that I have really liked and would recommend, Salem's Lot by Stephen King and Midnight Mass by F. Paul Wilson being two that pop into my head, but when it comes to series with continuing characters, Necroscope by Brian Lumley and the Family Dracul trilogy mentioned above are the only two where I have craved the next book to the point of rushing out and buying all of them simply so I don't have to wait between reads.
Sunday, October 25, 2015
My brother Tom and I were no stranger to horror movies while growing up, mostly because our mother and grandmother were huge horror fans. As a child, I was chilled by Stephen King and Dean Koontz novels without even reading them simply because my mother would share with us what was happening within as she read them. She wouldn't actually read the scenes to us (the only exception being the prologue of Darkfall), but simply sum them up, which was terrifying in itself as our imaginations filled in the details. And then there were the movies she and our grandmother would watch with us, typically around Halloween because that is when they would be on TV.
The Haunting (1963)
Silver Bullet (1985)
Child's Play 1, 2 and 3
Friday the 13th Part One and Two
Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982)
Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978)
Christmas morning back when I was in the third or forth grade. I can't remember which one it was exactly, but one of the gifts my grandmother got me was a VHS of Invasion of the Body Snatchers because she loved the movie when she was younger, and thought I would as well given that I loved creepy black and white thrillers. Oh wait, not realizing the movie had been remade, she grabbed the wrong one. And she wasn't there to tell me this when I sat down to watch it one snowy January night. Jesus Christ, for someone in grade school, this movie was terrifying. So terrifying, that I turned it off during the mud bath scene after the body opens its eyes. Not long after that, maybe about a month later, my grandmother asked me if I had liked Invasion and I informed her that it was too scary. Surprised by this, she agreed to watch it with me and the other grandchildren one night when we were all over for Camp Grandma - a week long stay that my grandmother had every summer that was just like going to camp -- which is when she realized she had gotten me the wrong one. We were also all really surprised by the really long topless scene toward the end of the film, but given my grandmother's opinion on nudity -- they're just boobs! -- she didn't make us turn it off. My brother and I have been terrified of this movie ever since and it wasn't until last year that we dared watch it again.
One of the things I remember most about my first viewing of this film was again the way the TV channel gave a tiny sneak peak of what was to come as they returned from the commercials. During this viewing, it was an image of Jamie Lee Curtis peering over the edge of the couch with the kitchen knife. That scene would show itself every time the commercials came to an end, making me wonder what exactly was going to happen between now and that scene. I also wondered if I would actually be able to watch until that scene, or if I would be too scared to continue. In the end, I was able to watch it until that scene and beyond, my seventh grade mind brave enough to finish the movie. Okay, it wasn't really bravery, but a need to know that all ended well, that the masked villain was killed and that I could rest easy. Dammit John Carpenter. Why did you have to express the notion that evil never dies!?
So, there we have it, some of the movies that really REALLY scared me when I was younger. This is not a complete list, since I have left out The Blob, Jurassic Park and some other movie that I know are there but whose titles escape me, but it is enough for now. What movies terrified you?