Well, I got to see One Hour of Dracula Unbound today….

I love our local Value Cinema. Even though it’s for sale, I have a lot of fond memories of some great, good and sometimes outright terrible movies I’ve seen for $2.00. Today I was going to see Dracula Unbound It was that or Ouija, since Annabelle didn’t start until 4-ish and I didn’t want to fork over another buck.
But JUST AFTER Luke Evans makes a really bad decision regarding his future and decimates the Turkish Army by himself, the movie literally wobbled, split into three images and died. I guess that things don’t end well for Dracula, Mrs. Dracula, Dracula Jr. or Transylvania as a whole, but it would’ve been nice to actually see it.
Why? Because as formulaic horror spectacles go, Dracula Unbound wasn’t terrible. Despite seriously shoehorning a heroic character into a scumbag historical personage, Dracula Unbound had a couple things that made me want to see the preordained ending.
– The costumes and scenery were suitably over-the-top, as was the pseudo-Shakespeare dialog
– Was that Charles Dance as Decrepit Vampire in Cave?
– The scene with Decrepit Vampire in a Cave showed just how terrible eternal un-life as a vampire would be. The idea of choosing to become one should be a horrific choice, not a passport to the Enternal Jet Set existence of Twilight’s SparklePires.

Sigh. Now I’ll get the BR just to see the darned ending!

Free Horror Worth Your Reading Time

If you subscribe to BookBub.com or EReaderperks.com, you can find a lot (sometime too much) to read for little to no cost. When a book is that inexpensive in money, the question for me becomes – was it worth the time invested as a reader?  For the title below, my answer is yes.  Not all are perfect, but all had enough interest and originality to keep me reading to the end.

Hope you enjoy them also.

In addition to the sites mentioned above, NOOK readers can go to B&N.com and enter 0.00 horror in the B&N search bar (or 0.00 science fiction, or mystery).  I select from Newest to Oldest, and browse.  I’ve found a couple good reads this way.

As of this post date, all of the books listed were  free on B&N.com (since I have a NOOK E-reader), but most if not all can be found on  platforms such as Smashwords or Amazon.

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens ISBN-13 9781451685626 I know there are a lot of free editions of this title, but this one has a very nice typeface/readability; from Simon & Schuster/Atria Books

The Rollerboard by A. E. Hodge BN ID: 2940046427707 Post apocalyptic short story with an interesting narrative technique and a nice twist ending.

The Edge of Life by Joe Hart BN ID: 2940045363679 Another short story, contemporary setting, very Twilight-zone/horror-ish

13 Drops of Blood by Daley, James Roy BN ID: 2940011176890 Any book that has an introduction entitled “Dear Literate Horror Fan” mentioning the 1979 miniseries ‘Salem’s Lot has a place in my library.

Dead Leaves: Eight Tales from the Witching Season by Kealan Patrick Burke BN ID: 2940032800989

Goodbye to The Walking Dead (comic)

I started reading The Walking Dead comic with issue 4 or 5.  The folks at Westfields Comics in Madison, WI knew I liked horror comics, and recommended TWD to me.  Many years later I’ve stopped reading TWD; my last issue is #136.  Why?

In a way, my reason is the same that caused my husband to quit after issue #100; the death of Glenn, killed by the Governor-wannabe Negan and his stupid barbed wire baseball bat.  Seeing the only character left in TWD who had any moral compass left was hard enough.  Having that death come at the hands of a potty-mouth imitation of the best TWD antagonist was worse.

But then to keep reading in the hope that things would somehow improve from that was the worst.  The Walking Dead television series manages to both follow the general course of the comic while adding and expanding the world it’s characters inhabit.  But TWD comic, for me, has not done that.  It slogs along, now without any kind of character like Glenn or Hershel.  At least one character to serve as a contrast to the comic book version of Rick.

Economics brought me to this decisions also.  If I’m not caring what happens in TWD anymore, there are plenty of great comics out there.  I’d rather stay in my budget reading titles like Ghosted, Criminal Macabre and Creepy.  The Walking Dead television series has become a much more satisfying way to experience the ZA than the source material.

Too Many Good Books to Read!

This is a great problem to have.  As soon as I’m done with Foundation by Peter Ackroyd, all of the treats below are waiting to be read.

The Grimm Conclusion (Grimm Series #3) by Adam Gidwitz (Third in a YA trilogy – if you enjoy Fables, Once Upon a Time, or just plain good, funny breaking-the-fourth-wall humor, TRY IT)

Nevermore – A Novel of Love, Loss, and Edgar Allan Poe by David Niall Wilson, Lisa Snellings (Illustrator) – Edgar Allan Poe on vacation at the Great Dismal Swamp.

Breed by Chase Novak – Urban horror by an Author Who Usually Doesn’t Do That Type of Thing

Firstborn: A Novel by Lorie Ann Grover – Interesting dystopian YA

The Attic and Other Stories by David Evans Katz – I bought this one because according to the blurb these stories are “in the tradition of M.R. James, (and) H.P. Lovecraft”  SOLD! 

Mao’s Great Famine: The History of China’s Most Devastating Catastrophe, 1958-1962by Frank Dikotter – And some history to round out the waiting list

In the Horror House are Many Mansions

(or, why I’m looking forward to American Horror Story: Freak Show, even if I won’t get around to actually watching it for a while)

Confession – I’ve actually only watched the last episode of AHS’s first season.  But I have the first and second season on Blu-Ray/DVD, will be getting the third season (AHS:Coven) as soon as I can, and plan to do the same for as many seasons as this show lasts.  Why?

AHS isn’t exactly my cup of tea as far as the genre goes. What would be for me?  Well, until one of the BBCs decides to adapt The Complete Ghost Stories of M. R. James, I’m out of luck. But in terms of “props” “street cred”, or just basic “respectability” I think AHS is the TV equivalent of Silence of the Lambs (1991).  As with that movie, AHS is a show that people who hate horror movies watch.  It gets on the cover of magazines besides Fangoria or Horror Hound.  It helps move horror beyond the genre ghetto into mainstream pop culture.

In a way, AHS and (and the newer Hannibal on NBC)have been part of two trends.  First is the splintering of audiences due to Cable and other outlets.  NBC and FOX want the eyeballs currently going to HBO and Netflix; if that means going with shows that are more purely genre than in past years, so be it.  Second is the “Geekification” of American entertainment and pop culture. Being a genre geek fan has changed. Loving genre shows is no longer something you didn’t admit around the water cooler; instead it’s a prized segment of the audience, valued for their disposable income if nothing else.

Back to Lambs. I read the Thomas Harris novel, then saw the movie back in the day.  It was ok, but by no means the scariest book or film adaptation I’d seen.  It was, to me, just okay – but not much more.  But to see it win multiple Oscars with respectable actors – besides making the usual boatload of cash – that was something different. A movie classified in the Horror genre making a ton of money AND getting critical raves and recognized honors at Award Season? It was the first time I remember seeing a horror movie being treated as the belle of the ball, and not just the red-headed stepchild.  Hannibal is proving to be a much creepier viewing experience, but I know that even if I don’t love it, Silence of the Lambs is a favorite for many.

I may prefer the Ghost Story wing of the Horror House, but the success of AHS is a great thing the Horror genre as a whole.  Maybe they’ll do a good old fashioned Jamesian arc next season?