Sunday, July 19, 2015

Nightmare Child by Daniel Ransom

From the darkness beyond the grave comes . . . Nightmare Child. Last time I wrote a review for a Daniel Ransom horror novel I went on and on about how the cover promised a story that had nothing to do with the actual tale within. That book was titled Daddy’s Little Girl and was published by Zebra Horror. Nightmare Child, however, published by the St. Martin’s Paperbacks horror imprint back in 1990, has a cover and description that is pretty much spot on. Jenny, the little innocent looking schoolgirl on the front cover does come back from the grave and becomes a child perfectly suited for one’s nightmares, especially if those she has returned to are the ones responsible for her murder. Even the faint three head image rising from her that slowly but surely changes from an innocent schoolgirl into a wicked looking old lady is pretty much spot on. What isn’t known until one reads the story is what the three headed changing image is depicting, and what it means for all those involved. It also isn’t known who the story is going to be told from. In reading the back cover one gets the impression that the two murder’s Jeff and Mindy McKay are going to be the view point characters, their story unfolding day by day once the child they buried alive is returned to them. This isn’t the case. Early on, a few of the chapters do follow them around, but once the girl comes back the story switches over to the widow next door, one who notices several odd things occurring in the house where the girl everyone thought had been kidnapped for several months has returned. The question is, can she convince those around her that something isn’t right about the situation next door, and if so will those that try to help be able to do anything to stop it or will they simply become victims as well?

On the back cover of the book Joe R. Lansdale (author of Cold in July and many other amazing suspenseful thrillers) is quoted as saying, “The prose is so lean and mean and red-blooded, the pages practically crackle with electricity.” Having read this one in a day (almost a single sitting really) I couldn’t agree more. It truly is a fast paced clipper, one that practically turns the pages on its own as the words fly by, the suspense building and building as the mysterious events surrounding Jenny unfold toward a perfect climax. At that point the short novel could easily have concluded, but instead Daniel Ransom goes ahead and takes it one step further with a final segment that really sets the overall horror of situation in stone. It was a perfect ending I didn’t see coming, though looking back; I now realize it was hinted at over and over again with several tiny well placed clues. More important it was a story and ending that makes me want to read everything else this author has written, and not just the tales that were published under the Daniel Ransom pen name. I want everything Edward Gorman wrote, especially all the crime stories I have seen his name attached too. I also believe he has edited some anthologies (unless there is another Ed Gorman out there that I don’t know about), one of which was titled Stalkers (co-edited by Marty Greenberg) that I really want to pick up. Writers whose prose I enjoy often have the similar taste in stories, thus if they thought something was good enough for a anthology collection, chances are I will like it as well. Time will only tell on that, and I’ll be sure to let everyone know. In the meantime, if you like face paced horror tales that can easily be read in one or two sittings, go out and find a copy of Nightmare Child by Daniel Ransom -- it’s only $0.99 on Amazon when one buys a used copy. I’m pretty sure you won’t be disappointed.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Daddy’s Little Girl by Daniel Ransom

Have you ever been tricked by a book cover? How about the story description on the back? Have the two ever worked together to completely fool you? The 1985 Zebra Books edition of Daddy’s Little Girl by Daniel Ransom (ask Edward Gorman) does both. First, let’s start with the cover. A skeleton in a bathrobe holding a young schoolgirl on its lap, one who looks less than pleased to be in such a situation. Now move up to the blurb above the title: She was young, innocent -- and deadly . . . The deadly statement doesn’t seem to go with the picture very well, not with the look of terror on the girl, or the outfit she is wearing, but then anyone who is a fan of horror will know that such trickery is common when it comes to evil children. Plus it does say young and innocent, and what can be more innocent that a girl wearing a white blouse and skirt that reaches passed the knees? Hmm, you know what, never mind on that question. I’ve been in far too many clubs where such outfits and the word innocent could never be used in the same sentence. Moving on, let’s take a look at the back cover. No illustration, just words, ones that describe a sweet and innocent girl named Deirdre who has disappeared. Nothing odd about that until the next line which informs potential readers that the town doesn’t want to find her. Why? Well, it seems she is to be used as a sacrifice, one that the town had waited a long time to perform. Makes sense, this is a horror novel after all, and small towns have been know to carry interesting secrets, some of which involve sacrifices. So, what kind of sacrifice will it be? The second descriptive statement gives a bit of a clue, especially the part about the evil that is invading Deirdre, evil that will corrupt her soul and make it so that she can ‘never again be Daddy’s Little Girl.’ This brings it back around to the front. Maybe she was a young and innocent schoolgirl, one who is slowly becoming deadly as the evil brought forth to invade her body after the town sacrifices her. Sounds interesting, right? If you think so, like I did, be warned because that isn’t the story that is told.

Adam Carnes and his seventeen year old daughter Deirdre are on a trip from Chicago to the Badlands when they decide to pull off the interstate for the night and crash at a hotel. Oops, bad timing. The hotels off the interstate are full due to a regional conference involving a convenience store chain, thus they have to travel many miles into a small town called Burton that is home to a very rundown middle of nowhere motel (believe it or not this same thing happened to me earlier this summer while driving through West Virginia -- natural gas conference -- so apparently it does happen outside of horror novels and movies). As expected, the motel and town hide a dark secret and while Adam is inside booking a room Deirdre disappears from the car. Startled, but thinking maybe she just had to pee, Adam heads over to a nearby diner and starts asking about her. No one saw her. The clerk at the motel gives the same answer, as do all the guest that are awakened; no one has seen her. Soon Burton’s head lawman, Sheriff Wayman, is brought in and a search of the surrounding area is undertaken. As with the questioning, this doesn’t bring any results, and eventually Adam returns to the motel with the sheriff. Night turns to day and Adam meets the town’s newspaper lady while staring at an untouched breakfast plate in a local diner. Her name is Beth Daye, and though weary of her at first, Adam soon realizes the two would make a great team, especially since she harbors some suspicions about the town, ones that have been growing ever since finding an odd note up in the attic from her late husband. Together they begin an investigation, one that won’t just uncover the truth about Adam’s daughter Deirdre, but the truth about the town itself, a truth that has been kept secret since 1953 when something terrible occurred. Not everyone wants the secret revealed, however. Some will even kill to protect it.

Though one might get the impression that I did not like this novel based on my opening paragraph, such is not the case. I actually really enjoyed Daddy’s Little Girl. It just wasn’t what I was expecting based on the cover and description. I’m sure the author had nothing to do with this, however, and instead will point a finger of blame upon Zebra Books and their marketing strategy during the time when this book was released. Almost everything I’ve gotten from them that was published during the 1980s has a cover that seems mismatched with the story within. This isn’t to say the covers aren’t spectacular (I’d frame the artwork of most and hang them on my wall); they just don’t match the story that is told within. With Daddy’s Little Girl it went one step further thanks to the description which was equally misleading. Evil invading her soul? Seriously, the only thing invading daddy’s little girl is going to be the demented penis of her kidnapper, and maybe a knife blade once he tires of her hanging body. That’s it. No big sacrifice here, no strange supernatural evil lurking beneath the surface, just a sick twisted bastard that likes to hang up girls in a cavern and have his way with them while wearing a goofy mask. Oh, and a town that will do whatever it can to keep it a secret. With that said, this was a pretty good read, one that I would recommend to horror fans. It’s a fast one too. Only took me two days to gobble it up, and I must say, spending those two days on the couch with Daddy’s Little Girl was great.  Sorry, couldn't resist.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Friday the 13th Part 2 (1981)

Anyone out there ever find themselves frightened by a horror movie sequel just as much as they were by the original movie? For me this has only happened once, and while some may claim my fear was the accumulating result of having watched the first two movies back to back rather than apart, I have a strong feeling this isn’t the case. The reason, the same thing happened to my little brother, a horror fan himself, two years later when I showed him the movies, and his viewings were separated by a week. The sequel I am talking about (if you didn’t see the title of this post) is Friday the 13th Part 2. As many of you may already know if you read my post on the original Friday the 13th, I saw these two movies back to back one Halloween night on Joe Bob Brigg’s Monster Vision during my freshman year in high school and was scared senseless. Even more impressive, horror movies never seemed that scary to me at that age, my advancement into the high school years having seemingly killed the part of my mind that allowed itself to be terrified. Some might welcome such a moment in time, I, however, was mourning it. Thankfully, as it turned out, that part of my mind hadn’t been dismissed. Instead I just hadn’t seen anything good since the last movie that scared me, that being the original Halloween exactly two years earlier (actually, almost every movie that has ever scared me senseless was viewed on Halloween, which is kind of interesting). Sadly the trend of being scared by these movies would not continue, but that is a disappointment we won’t get into now.

Despite the bloody events that occurred at the nearby summer camp on Crystal Lake five years earlier, and the subsequent disappearance of the only survivor of that horrible night on that Friday the 13th, Paul Holt chooses Crystal Lake as the location for his new counselor training facility. Knowing of the rumors that a killer man-beast roams the woods of the former Camp Crystal Lake, which is within walking distance of the new training facility, but also knowing they can’t be true given that the person locals claim it to be drowned back in 1957, Paul goes about welcoming and training all the counselors that show up. Little does he know the rumors are true and Jason is on the prowl, the slaying of his mother having sparked an unquenchable range toward camp counselors and anyone else who ventures near his home. Unlike the events five years earlier, the camp counselors are allowed one peaceful night on site before the terror begins. Like the events of the previous bloodbath, the majority of the killing takes place once a storm rolls in, the rain and lightening making it easier for the counselors who stay behind while the rest go into town to be isolated and dispatched. One by one (well, two by two for one sex focused couple) Jason takes everyone out, and then waits for the rest to show up. Paul and his girlfriend Ginni are the first to return, and quickly realize something is wrong, though just what it is remains a mystery for a while as Jason waits for them to enter the room he had chosen to attack from. Will the two be able to survive the crazy thirst for blood that Jason displays? Also, what madness awaits them should they mistakenly run into the former Camp Crystal Lake? Whatever the answer, it becomes clear that Paul made a huge mistake in choosing Crystal Lake for his training facility, a mistake that many young people will pay the ultimate price for.

As noted many times throughout this webpage I first saw Friday the 13th and Friday the 13th Part Two during my freshman year in high school. This was back in 1998. Since then an ongoing debate has been in my head, one that asks which of the two was the scarier movie? Having originally watched them back to back I can’t answer it very well. No one I talk to that was scared by both can say for sure either. Each one seems to be a masterpiece of terror. A part of this is the similar film style both movies used, one which pretty much saw the filmmakers simply setting the camera behind some bushes and watching the events unfold. Sometimes one even gets the sense that they are watching things from the killer’s point of view, which is always creepy. The lack of lighting adds to this. With both these movies the woods are actually dark rather than just appearing to be dark while really completely visible. To me this is a big deal in projecting terror because you get the sense that the people on screen really can’t see what is around them and that anything can happen. Because of all this, however, I can’t answer which of the two was more frightening. I do know one thing though; the scene where Jason runs passed a window while wearing the burlap sack over his head is one of the most chilling things I have ever seen on screen. The burlap sack is also the second most effective mask in inducing terror for any horror movie in my opinion, and makes me always wonder why everyone loves the hockey mask Jason eventually acquired. It may be iconic, but it isn’t scary, and after the third movie, which didn’t terrifying audiences at all, the directors should have gone back to the mask that was effective. Looking back fans might ask why, after all, the hockey mask is classic, but at the time it wasn’t, so no one would have cared, and if you ask me, many would have given up the classic Jason mask if it meant Jason continued to be scary. Alas, this wasn’t the case, and if one wants a scary Jason they have to watch Friday the 13th Part Two, a movie which, I highly recommend.

Friday the 13th (1980)

As a kid I was too scared to go to summer camp. The reason, at the time, was a mystery, but now, looking back, I have a feeling I was somehow tuned into my future horror genre loving self and knew such a place could be dangerous, especially if it was on a lake in the middle of the woods. It just never seemed like a good idea, and even though my friends almost always came home safe and sound, and full of stories, I didn’t envy them. Not when I felt like they had somehow dodged a bullet. What I didn’t realize at the time was that being a kid I probably would have been okay at the summer camp because such pre-teen beings generally are not the intended target of lakeside killers -- unless of course the killer is a fellow camper, then anything goes. Instead, lakeside killers seem to like their victims a little older and more developed, especially in the chest region. Being sexually active is a quality they often seek out as well, though it isn’t always a must-have prerequisite. Because of this I had a window of opportunity to enjoy summer camp, one that was eventually pulled shut around the age of fifteen. After that the risk I always feared became genuine. Adding to it, any visits to a summer camp once I reached that age wouldn’t be as a camper (who goes to summer camp at that age?), but as a camp counselor. Thankfully, being well versed in the horror genre by then, I always turned down such offers despite how much money some of my friends were earning. I just couldn’t take the chance.

In 1980 several camp counselors and the new owner learn the hard way that lakeside camps in the woods can be dangerous. It all happens one Friday in June -- on the 13th to be exact. Ignoring the rumors that the place holds a “death curse” due to a boy drowning in 1957 followed by the unsolved murder of two camp counselors in 1958, the owner and counselors go about readying the place for its new opening the following week. The name is Camp Crystal Lake and once ready it will house fifty young campers from the inner city and about ten staff members, unless one counselor, Alice, quits before everything gets going, something that she has threatened to do for unspecified reasons. Another counselor named Annie, the camp cook, may be a no-show, her suspected arrival time having come and gone during the day time hours. Knowing a storm is brewing, the camp owner, Steve Christy, heads off into town to grab supplies and leaves his new team of counselors with a list of choirs. What no one knows is that they aren’t alone at the camp site. Someone is watching and waiting. For what? The answer is simple: isolated counselors. It happens frequently as day turns to night and the storm rolls in. Couples run off to be alone, while others visit the bathrooms to relieve themselves or get ready for bed. Some visit the generator hut to switch the power back on, their investigations into why the generator was shut off never given enough time to reach a conclusion. One by one these counselors venture off never to return until only two remain. Fearing something is amiss they go off in search of their peers, but turn up nothing but empty cabins. Thinking its time to call for help they go to the only phone the place holds, but for some reason it doesn’t work. Driving out of the camp site is also a problem since the cars won’t start. Hoping their boss will return soon, the two decide to wait in the main cabin, only to have the power go off again. Will either live long enough to see the sun rise over the lake, or will they too meet an untimely demise?

Though thirty five years old now, Friday the 13th is a horror movie that still has the power to terrify audiences. It is also one that can surprise them the first time around, their supposed knowledge on who the killer is going to be given how iconic the hockey mask wearing, sharp weapon wielding, camp counselor slashing series villain has become throwing them for a loop. Even those who know the true identity of the killer going in may find themselves forgetting it as they sit in silent terror while watching the dark scenes unfold. I know because this happened to me. I saw Friday the 13th for the first time on Halloween night during my freshman year in high school and though I was sure nothing on screen could scare me at that point in my life, viewing this and its 1981 sequel back to back left me completely shaken to the core. In fact, I was so startled by the two movies that I actually waited until after midnight -- until Halloween finally ended -- before calling it a night, my mind finding a bit of relief in knowing that the creepiest night of the year was over. Even more impressive, later the following year, I stumbled upon Friday the 13th again one night while I couldn’t sleep and found myself frightened a second time around, which is something that has only happened a few other times with movies. Because of this I will always hold Friday the 13th and its sequel Friday the 13th Part 2 in high regard and encourage its viewing anytime I find someone who has yet to sit through it. I will also always argue the ridiculousness of creating a remake for this movie, and shake my head in sadness for anyone who watches that over the original the first time around.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

The Vampire’s Apprentice by Richard Lee Byers

Have you ever dreamed of becoming a vampire? For many, especially teen outcasts, it is the ultimate fantasy, their minds wishing for the day when they could walk the night streets in an all powerful, nearly indestructible body, their former human weaknesses having been vanquished with a single bite. Being irresistible to women, or at least being able to manipulate the minds of women, is another attraction for the male side of things, as is the mystical mental powers that seem to come with the vampire gene. Best of all, there is a chance of eternal life if one can survive, the mind acquiring so much knowledge as time passes that eventually they are looked upon as a sort of authority figure by other young vampires. Actually, when put that way it doesn’t sound all that bad. Where do I sign up? What if it was that simple? What if you had all the above desires and then came face to face with a charming vampire who promised a vampire apprenticeship after giving the much sought after bite? And what if, after receiving that bite, you learned it was all a lie and that being a vampire was the worst thing one could ever hope for?

For David Brent this is exactly what happens. One day while working he meets a mystical man named Carter who is the coolest person to ever come into his life, one who is completely at one with the world and has the abilities to manipulate the hidden powers of the mind that most don’t even know exist. In time David learns the man is a vampire, and that he too could be just like him if he so desires. David does. Unfortunately everything Carter promises him is a lie. By the time David figures this out, he has been buried in a grave, his body in considerable pain from the embalming process. Realizing Carter is not coming for him, David claws his way to the surface and, still not fully grasping Carter’s deception, goes in search of his vampire mentor only to learn the reality of the situation. Alone and confused, David heads into the night to find shelter, his broken corpse like body seemingly vulnerable to everything around him. Even his new mental powers don’t work properly and instead just cause him pain when he attempts to use them. Blood also tastes bad, yet is something he needs to consume. Unhappy and completely disgusted with himself, David goes about his new life night by night until eventually a new thirst develops, one that wants revenge against Carter. Adding to this desire is Carter’s sadistic desire to slowly but surely destroy all those who were important to David while human, something that David doesn’t want to see happen. Will David be able to stop Carter who is more powerful and cunning then he is? Also, will he be able to survive against the human mobs hunting him down long enough to attempt this revenge? Only time will tell.

The Vampire’s Apprentice by Richard Lee Byers was a well written, fast paced tale, yet one that I couldn’t enjoy because it’s hard to read about a character that is always so down and disgusted with himself. Adding to this was that just about every action David takes in the story meets with failure, which, after a while, gets really depressing for the reader. At one point I just wanted him to call it quits and trap himself outside so that he burned to death in the sunlight, or to simply give up when a mob of vampire hunters comes for him rather than make another mad dash for safety. Just do us all a favor and end it! On the flip side, it was interesting to read a vampire book that didn’t glorify being a vampire. No one, not even the most bullied outcast trench coat wearing teen would ever want the vampire bite that is provided in this tale. It’s just too horrible. Never before have I come across such a depressing bit of vampire lore. Even the grimy filth riddled drug addicted vampire youths in Knuckle Supper by Drew Stepek had some joy in their life. In this one David had nothing. Because of this I have trouble recommending this book, which is odd given how readable and competent the writing was. Instead, I would suggest one seek out other works by the author, and give them a try. I haven’t yet, but will be doing so in the near future. Also, if anyone has read anything else by Richard Lee Byers that was enjoyable please speak up. I’d love to hear about it and seek out suggested titles.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Letting the Demons Out by Ray Wallace

No limits. That is one of the things I love about the horror genre.   If an author can imagine it, they can write a story around it.  The only requirement is that it is grounded in some sort of reality that the reader can believe.  After that, anything can happen, which in turn leaves the door wide open on what the reader may find.  Letting The Demons Out by Ray Wallace is a perfect example.  No theme frames this collection of horror tales, and because of that one can experience everything from Lovecraft inspired monsters, to vampires, to crazy religious fanatics, to self-aware cars, to hungry diners that consume pain, to ill-intentioned aliens, to zombies and rebellious body parts.  From one story to the next readers are given a steady diet of horror, the contents of the each plate a mystery until it is set before them.  Even then, a few surprises may await, for not everything is as it seems. 

Of the fifteen tales, my three favorites were “The Nameless,” “Keepsake,” and “Times Long Past,” each one of which tells a story of a world that Ray Wallace further explores in his novel The Nameless.  Vampires are present in this world, only the ones focused on are a bit different from the ones generally portrayed within horror fiction and movies – though those ones may also exist within this world.  The vampires focused on in these tales need more than just blood to survive, and thus will often rip apart their victims as they attempt to consume everything in their cannibalistic cravings.  They also try to live by certain rules and govern themselves so as not to bring attention to themselves, which occasionally can breed conflict.  Within “Keepsake” the consequences of going outside the boundaries set by the group are realized.  Something similar happens in “The Nameless,” only by someone who isn’t a part of the group, and thus has no understanding of the rules one is supposed to follow.  Will the coven be successful in teaching them?

Other tales that really stood out to me were “A Few For The Many,” “The Full Seven Courses,” and “Who’s Laughing Now,” the latter of which has an unexpected comedic factor to it, one that is almost alarming given the subject matter of the tale (to say anything more would spoil it).   I also must say that the listing of these three as ones that stood out, and the three before it as my favorites doesn’t in any way mean the other tales found within this collection were somehow lacking.  All of them were fantastic and enjoyable, evidence of this being in how quickly I read the collection.  The ones listed simply were the best of the bunch in my opinion, all because they were the ones that stood out in my mind in the days following the competition of this collection. 

Let me close by saying that one should be ready to buy more from this author when selecting this collection because Ray Wallace’s skill as a writer is proven with these stories, his ability to weave a tale and keep the reader hooked eloquently displayed.  This statement is not a simple sales pitch.  I went into this collection having never read anything by this author, and before I was finished I already knew that I would be seeking out his other titles, specifically The Nameless given my enjoyment of the stories that gave a taste of that world.  Chances are I won’t stop there.  Who would after discovering such a talented author like this?              

Sunday, July 12, 2015

First Movie Night in the New House - The Amityville Horror

I'm not sure why, but I like to be scared.  Not genuine fear for my life terror, which I have experienced, but safe, holy fuck, I now can't sleep thanks to that movie terror.  Don't ask me why, it's just how I am.  As I kid, I loved it when my grandmother, an aspiring horror writer, would read us stories that she had penned in her spooky house off of Route 59 in West Chicago, and on Friday nights, when the new The X-Files TV show was on, I loved watching it -- well, trying to watch it since early on it did often scare me to the point of having to turn it off (Squeeze, The Host, Home being just a few that bested me during those early years).  My younger brother Tom is the same way.  For years we have been renting and watching horror movies in the basement of our parents house, our minds always craving the thrill of being terrified from what we were seeing and then having to go to bed. Such an event would be the highlight of having the house to ourselves while growing up.  Some teens would throw parties that would have to be erased from existence before the parents came home, we would go to the video store, check out movies we had not yet seen, and bring them home, minds counting down the hours until the sun set, popcorn ready to be popped, sodas chilling in the fridge.  It was great.

Knowing this, it should come to no surprise that one of the things we have been looking forward to the most while buying our new house would be getting to watch a horror movie we had never before seen.  Last night, that event happened.

The countdown to this began last December when Tom and I decided to buy a house together.  Right away, while looking at the 100 year old structures in the rural Fox Valley areas of Illinois, we knew that one of the first thing we would have to do once we did finally move in was watch a horror movie.  Of course, finding a movie we had never seen before that had the potential to terrify us was going to be tricky.  A haunted house one would be best since those still had the ability to scare the living daylights out of us.  It also needed to be an older once since modern horror movies, especially ones with ghosts, tend to show too much with CGI.

Enter The Amityville Horror.

I have no idea how this came to be, but neither one of us had ever seen The Amityville Horror.  Sequels yes, but the original one, no.  Realizing this, and also knowing that we would probably be in a new house within a month, two at the most, I went to the video store at the mall to see if they had a copy.  Nope.  Only the remake -- grrr, stupid Hollywood!  Amazon to the rescue.

DVD ordered, Tom and I waited for the day we could move into our new house.  And waited.  And waited.  And waited.

I won't go into the details here, but there were several really frustrating delays that stressed Tom and I to the breaking point.  And yes, we know that buying a house is a stressful process, but trust me when I say this was different.  Okay, one example: they kept trying to verify that I work for Amazon because my books are available on Amazon, and then they kept coming back and telling me that when they contacted Amazon, that Amazon had no documentation that I worked for them, which would prompt me to tell them that I don't work for Amazon, which would prompt them to tell me the loan couldn't be approved until the income from Amazon was verified, which would prompt me to tell them that they had my 1099s from Amazon, which would prompt them to tell me they needed more documentation than that.  WHAT?!  This went on for nearly a month, and was finally resolved when I sent an spreadsheet of my royalties from Amazon that I downloaded from the Kindle Publishing Platform.  Go figure.

Anyway . . .

Last week Tom and I moved into our new house, which is a 115 year old farmhouse out in the Fox Valley area of Illinois.  Once moved in, we headed to Best Buy and bought a smart TV, one that turned out to be a bit bigger than we realized since it wouldn't fit into my car and required Tom to go get his truck.  Following that, we set everything up and went to play the DVD . . . only it wasn't in our stuff.  I'm not sure why, but for some reason, shortly before moving, I pulled out the Amityville DVD and set it aside at my Mom's place.  I then put something on top of it without realizing it and by the time I went to move boxes into the truck, I had already grabbed the lamp from that room, so it was dark and hard to see things.  Thus, I left the DVD behind and during that first night, once it was dark out, Tom and I didn't have it to watch.  Stupid! Stupid! Stupid!  In the end, however, not having it was for the better because we discovered that the old DVD player we had wasn't a good match for the TV and made everything very dark.

A week later (last night), this was rectified since I had gotten Tom a PlayStation 4 for his birthday, and we could watch DVDs on that.  So, DVD ready, we waited until it was dark, popped some popcorn, got some chilled sodas (all natural root beer for me, Coke with real sugar, not corn syrup crap, for Tom) and started the movie . . .

. . . and were weren't scared.

Though chilling due to the set pieces, creepy music, and a really freaky little girl actor, the movie didn't scare us at all, which was a bit disappointing.  Adding to the disappointment, about a month ago, at my parents house, we rented The Woman in Black, which did scare us -- so much so that we didn't drink our sodas because we didn't want to jump while having the glass bottles near our teeth.  Go figure, a modern remake scares us to death while an original from the seventies doesn't.  Thankfully, there are plenty of other haunted house movies out there that we have not seen, many of them modern creations that we are going to check out given how terrifying The Woman in Black was for us (go ahead, tell me how it wasn't scary, I don't care, it scared us!).  First up will be The Conjuring, which we hear was really good.

Until then . . .

Oh, by the way, Tom discovered that our neighborhood was build on old sacred Native American burial land.  No joke.  It's right on the website in the history section for the city we live in.  This area was sacred land that the natives were forced from due to the Indian Removal Act of 1830.  Eeks!  This is prompting us to do some serious research into the history of the house and area.