Sunday, February 9, 2020

Brandon Ford's Open Wounds #Review

Brandon Ford is a horror author of scary stories I've enjoyed in the past. Open Wounds is different, but that doesn't make the story any less horrific. The book shines a spotlight on abuse: emotional, physical, sexual. It's a spotlight many of us would rather go dark, as the subject of abuse is so very hard for so many. However, it needs to shine brightly to bring awareness to something which still happens far too much in our society.

The story is set in 1981. I was thirteen that year and I am so thankful I did not have to endure what Kate did. Ford was smart setting the story in this era because these kinds of abuse were even less recognized back then. Often, if a girl told what was happening, no one would even believe her. We're seeing this come out in the present time...that abuses were going on back then and no one believed.

I'll be honest. This story is very dark. I sometimes found it hard to continue because it was so disturbing and distressing. Plus, I listened to the audio book which made it even more real. The young voice of the reader made it seem like Kate was really relating the story. I had to keep listening though. I had to know how it would all end.

I love stories that draw me in, while still teaching a lesson along the way. I warn's very dark, and those who are triggered by stories containing subjects of abuse and self-harm (though not suicide) should probably avoid. For others, read it. Learn why it's so important to believe when someone tells you something bad is happening to them. If they're lying, fine, but if they're not, you just might save a life.

About the book
The first cut brings a wave of calm that immediately washes over her. The second, an incomparable bliss. The third, euphoria in its purest, most absolute form.

A twisted and often unsettling glimpse into the mind of an unwitting victim, OPEN WOUNDS tells the story of a young girl’s battle to maintain her safety and sanity after she is preyed upon by a savage predator. She finds only the slightest comfort in scrawling the details of her horrific tale onto the pages of a leatherbound diary. But when her living nightmare becomes more than she can bear, the only comfort she finds is beneath the blade of a paring knife. Night after night, she slices into her own tender flesh, while praying for some escape from a world filled with anguish and torment.

Before long, those leatherbound pages are dripping with crimson and soon, open wounds become ripples of scar tissue.

About the author
Brandon Ford (b. August 28, 1981) grew up in South Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He started writing at the approximate age of 8 and spent a lot of time testing the waters with various genres. He wrote dramas, comedies, essays, plays, and, of course, thrillers. There were few things he took pleasure in crafting more than a good old-fashioned scary story. Throughout grade school, as well as high school, he continued to build his portfolio with various works (mostly short stories and novellas, but a few plays here and there). He’d pass around these manuscripts to friends and teachers for feedback. Knowing others enjoyed his work and craved more inspired him to keep going.
A few months shy of 23, he sat down to pen his first novel, which became Crystal Bay. Arctic Wolf Publishing, a small press based in Georgia, picked the book up a few years later. Shortly thereafter, he completed Splattered Beauty, an ode to his favorite Scream Queens. In 2009, he teamed up with Alan Draven and Jessica Lynne Gardner for Creeping Shadows (Pixie Dust Press), a collection of three short novels. Ford’s contribution, Merciless, was heavily inspired by a real-life kidnapping that took place in California in 2002. In March 2010, Arctic Wolf released his third novel, Pay Phone. Ford has also contributed works of short fiction to several anthologies, including Abaculus 2007 and Abaculus III (Leucrota Press), Sinister Landscapes (Pixie Dust Press), Raw: Brutality As Art (Snuff Books), and The Death Panel (Comet Press). Some of his biggest influences have been writers like Jack Ketchum and the late Richard Laymon. In his spare time he enjoys reading, watching bad TV, and all things horror. He still resides in South Philadelphia. (From Goodreads)

Read my review of Creeping Shadows (a collection by Brandon Ford, Alan Draven and Jessica Lynne Gardner).

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Thursday, October 31, 2019

Doctor Sleep Read-Along - Final Thoughts #SomethingWickedFall

Yes, I am dreadfully late with this final post for the Doctor Sleep read-along. So sorry!

Did you finish? What did you think?

I have to say, I really enjoyed this book. I thought it was a solid sequel to The Shining. Finding out what happened to Danny when he grew up was one of life's big unanswered questions for Stephen King fans. He granted our wish. It was a fitting choice for Danny to have become an alcoholic, just like his father. We also learn that both of them took to drinking as an escape from the "Shine," as we find out that Jack Torrance probably had a bit of the shine himself. What worked in this book was how Dan was not doomed to repeat the legacy of his father, but instead found a way to heal himself and really live a life that matters.

The True Knot was a brilliant addition to the story. What a scary bunch of creeps. SK really knows how to invent some interesting villains. Loved the twist on vampirism too. Rose the Hat and that tooth. Ugh!

Really looking forward to the movie next week. It's apparent that the film is going with what happened to the hotel in Stanley Kubrick's version of The Shining, in which the hotel does not burn to the ground, as it did in King's novel. It's going to be an interesting change from this book. We shall see how well it works.

Let me know what you thought of the book, and if you're planning to see the movie.

Thanks for joining me for the read-along, and for Something Wicked Fall. See you next year!

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30-Day Horror Movie Challenge - Favorite of all time...

Tagline: Just because you're invited, doesn't mean you're welcome.

Synopsis: Now that Chris (Daniel Kaluuya) and his girlfriend, Rose (Allison Williams), have reached the meet-the-parents milestone of dating, she invites him for a weekend getaway upstate with Missy and Dean. At first, Chris reads the family's overly accommodating behavior as nervous attempts to deal with their daughter's interracial relationship, but as the weekend progresses, a series of increasingly disturbing discoveries lead him to a truth that he never could have imagined. (Google)
You might ask why I would choose a relatively new movie as my favorite of all time. Well, I love smart horror films and this movie, in my opinion, is one of the smartest ever made. Mildly funny at first, it soon descends further and further into disturbia. I think it almost could be considered folk horror, as this "secret society" looks for strong African American men and women for their nefarious purposes. I won't go into further details, as to avoid spoilers.

I knew this movie was becoming a favorite as I found myself watching it over and over again. The story never gets old. Jordan Peele took a risk with this one, and it paid off. His next offering was this past summer's "Us," which I also liked, but perhaps not as well as "Get Out." I hope Peele keeps coming up with brilliant films in the future.

What is your favorite horror film of all time?

Well, that's it for this year, and it has been fun! A big thank you to Leah for introducing me to this challenge. I wonder what horror movies will make the list next year? Exciting to consider.

Happy Halloween...Blessed Samhain!

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Wednesday, October 30, 2019

30-Day Horror Movie Challenge - Least favorite of all time...

Tagline: Seeing is believing

Synopsis: A young woman spends her days renovating the Victorian mansion that she lives in with her husband in the countryside. When a stranger knocks on the door one night, he becomes an unexpected guest in their home. Later, his wife and two children also arrive to make themselves welcome. Terror soon strikes when the beleaguered wife tries to figure out why her husband is so seemingly friendly and accommodating to everyone but her. (Google)
I really don't find myself hating too many movies, but when I do, it's usually vehemently. When I first started seeing the previews for Mother!, I was so psyched. It looked intriguing. It had a fantastic cast: Jennifer Lawrence, Javier Bardem, Michelle Pfeiffer. However, what started out promising soon became...I still don't even know what. I sat there thinking, "What the hell am I watching?" After it was over, that became "What the hell did I just watch?" I remember there was a guy who left well before it got really bad and I thought, as I always do, "How can someone leave a movie before it's over." Later, I wished I had done the same. Disappointing. All things considered, when the movie popped up on Hulu, I thought about watching it again...just to see if my opinion might change, as it has before, on a second viewing. I still haven't worked up the courage to watch it again. I know it's supposed to be this sweeping epic allegory on climate change, and since I care about the environment, I should consider the movie genius story telling. Maybe I'll get there eventually?

What is your least favorite horror film of all time?

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Tuesday, October 29, 2019

30-Day Horror Movie Challenge - A film no one’s ever heard of...

Tagline: Take a trip… into the past

Synopsis: Two men capture a small group of deserters during England's civil war. After the captives ingest some wild mushrooms, they fall victim to the powerful energies of a mystical field.
I was going to go with Hagazussa: A Heathen’s Curse, but then my friend (Heather) mentioned she had it on her list to watch so...had to choose something else. As Hagazussa is, A Field in England is also considered folk horror. It really is a weird movie. It has some creepy moments, and some rather grotesque ones as well. It's worth a watch if you like weird, obscure movies like I do. (Google)

What's your favorite film no one's ever heard of?

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Monday, October 28, 2019

30-Day Horror Movie Challenge - Cryptozoological film...

Tagline: The Myth is True

Synopsis: An ex-soldier ventures into the forests of the Pacific Northwest to uncover the truth behind his fiance's disappearance.


Yes, I changed up the category again. I just don't believe in "guilty pleasures." To me, it implies being embarrassed by something we might read or watch, and I simply do not feel embarrassed or "guilty" about anything I read or watch. Hence, the change of category.

Now some might argue that Bigfoot movies are most definitely a guilty pleasure, but I disagree. As a cryptozoological creature, Bigfoot is a pretty solid entry in horror films. Since I am basically obsessed with Bigfoot movies (I've been obsessed with the subject since I was a kid...even wrote a paper about it in 7th grade), I've seen my fair share, some good and some really, really bad. Among the good ones was the recent The Man Who Killed Hitler and Then the Bigfoot (not really horror, but just a good film...Sam Elliott). Also, Exists, Abominable (2006), Hunting Grounds, Primal Rage, Man Vs. (not sure if it was a Bigfoot, but possibly). One of my top favorites is Willow Creek. We never really see the monster, though the palpable fear of the two characters literally bleeds off the screen, but my pick for this category is Big Legend. The reviews have not been kind, but this was one that really scared me so it gets top spot...until the next good Bigfoot movie comes along.

Do you have a favorite cryptozoological film, or creature?

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Sunday, October 27, 2019

30-Day Horror Movie Challenge - Favorite to watch as a child...

Tagline: The Most Fun You'll Ever Have... BEING SCARED!

Synopsis: A compendium of five short but terrifying tales contained within a single full-length feature, this film conjures scares from traditional bogeymen and portents of doom. In one story, a monster escapes from its holding cell. Another focuses on a husband (Leslie Nielsen) with a creative way of getting back at his cheating wife. Other stories concern a rural man (Stephen King) and a visitor from outer space, and a homeowner (E.G. Marshall) with huge bug problems and a boozing corpse. (Google)
This was a movie I watched over and over again when I was a kid. My parents were big Stephen King fans which meant we saw all the film adaptations in the theater. This movie had a lot of scary and a bit of funny. My favorite of the five tales by far is "The Crate." Adrienne Barbeau was so great as the obnoxious and overbearing Wilma. This quote is the ultimate: "Just tell it to call you Billie, you bitch!" My second favorite tale is "Father's Day"...."Where's my cake!!!???" How about Ed Harris in one of his early roles? That dancing! HaHaHa!!

There's a new Creepshow series on Shudder. I have not watched it yet, as I cancelled my Shudder subscription a while back. I think I'm going to resubscribe before Halloween so I can watch this. Plus, my friend has been recommending some good horror movies on there.

What was your favorite horror film to watch as a child?

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