Category: Ghosts/Hauntings

11/16/10

Judge a book by its cover (November 2010)


Slights (2009) New!

by Kaaron Warren

"Sickening ... Gruesome... Outstanding." Publisher's Weekly Starred Review

I was browsing through some new paperbacks last week and my eyes were immediately drawn to this cover for Slights by Kaaron Warren ... creepy, wouldn't you agree? Then there's what the book is about:

STEVIE IS A KILLER.

But she brings her victims back to life to demand of them: "WHAT DO YOU SEE?"

Now she's about to find out for herself...

Cue appropriately ominous organ music ...

So now it's become a must-read. Review to follow!


03/02/10

2 horror classics get the graphic novel treatment

Richard Matheson has long been recognized as one of the founding fathers of modern horror. Stephen King has called Matheson: "the author who influenced me most as a writer."

An American literary legend, Matheson has not only published some of the most well-known and influential horror novels out there (Hell House; I Am Legend; The Incredible Shrinking Man; Stir of Echoes), he has also written countless short stories, including many teleplays for the original Twilight Zone series. Steven Spielberg's directorial debut, the 1971 made-for-TV Duel was also a Richard Matheson screenplay based on one of his short stories.

Now two of Matheson's most famous novels are available in graphic novel format, in black and white drawings that perfectly capture mood and action. Filled with moments of dreadful anticipation and hair-raising sequences. Whether you know the original Matheson novels or not, you will not want to miss out on these visual treats!

Richard Matheson's I Am Legend

adapted by Steve Niles and illustrated by Elman Brown.

Summary: The tale of the last human on an Earth overrun by the undead - returns to graphic novel format in a single volume collection of four long out-of-print books. A pandemic is unleashed upon the world, the symptoms of which are very similar to vampirism. The lone “survivor” of this apocalypse is Robert Neville and his solitary battles to remain uninfected and fight off numerous nocturnal attacks makes for riveting storytelling. Fantastic in premise yet firmly grounded in reality, I Am Legend is an original "vampire" story unlike any other. Even if vampires aren't your thing, this apocalyptic tale of survival is a must read.

Richard Matheson's Hell House

adapation by Ian Edginton ; illustrated by Simon Fraser

Summary: IDW brings you this lavishly illustrated adaptation of Richard Matheson's tale of newspaper publisher Rudolph Deutsch facing his impending demise. To help Deutsch forestall his death and to learn the secrets of life after death, a team of experts must survive a night in Belasco House, a place known amongst the local townsfolk as "Hell House." The notorious Belasco House starts to exert its dark influence on the group of scientists and spiritualists as they unearth the perverse and wretched secrets from within its walls. Hell House has let them in... but will it ever let them leave?

The Cryptkeeper


02/22/10

Paranormal Activity "too scary" for Italian moviegoers


According to Sci-Fi Wire, the Italian government is considering restricting the blockbuster horror hit Paranormal Activity because it's "too scary".

The article goes on to describe that: "some Italian moviegoers have actually suffered panic attacks after watching the documentary-style movie, sparking protests by children's and consumer groups."

I find it hard to believe that Italian movie-goers should be so .... ahem.... sensitive shall we say. After all, Italy is the birthplace of zombie gore godfather, Lucio Fulci, and slasher maestro Dario Argento.

For the record, I really enjoyed Paranormal Activity. It was supremely creepy -- so little actually happens, but my stomach was in knots the entire time -- the knockings, thumps and bumps are adrenaline inducing. Because action is minimal, the few violent, thrashing scenes that occur are quite a rush!

But is it a ban-worthy experience? No, not in the least. Like The Blair Witch Project, what you imagine is much worse than what you actually see. Now The Exorcist -- there's a movie that remains truly horrifying and disturbing on so many levels. I still think no one under 18 should see this movie.

The Cryptkeeper


01/26/10

Stephen King picks his favourite book of 2009


The Little Stranger (2009)

by Sarah Waters

Plot Summary: When Dr. Faraday, a Warwickshire physician, pays a visit to the Ayres family at their Hundreds Hall estate, he unknowingly enters a wickedly haunted house. His life soon becomes entwined with a family plagued by a terrifying past.

As part of his semi-regular Entertainment Weekly column (Pop of King), the master of the macabre himself - Stephen King - picks his top read for this past year.

About The Little Stranger, King writes:"This is a terrifying, engrossing ghost story set in the English countryside not long after World War II, but it's so much more. The ghost haunting Hundreds Hall may or may not be real, but the malevolence Waters evokes is unquestionable, and the first evil manifestation — involving an unpleasant little girl and a normally good-natured dog — is an authentic shocker. Although told in straightforward prose, this is a deeply textured and thoughtful piece of work. Several sleepless nights are guaranteed."


11/19/09

Supernatural ... are you watching?

The Cryptkeeper says: Okay, I will be the first to admit it when I've made a mistake ... and did I ever get it so very wrong when it came to the CW's Supernatural.

I rejected this show outright without ever seeing it because I assumed it wasn't scary in the least, the writing would be lame and it was all about titillating young teens. As I'm a grown-up woman who likes her horror on the horrific side, and demands great writing at all costs -- no excuses -- I figured this show was not for me.

Was I wrong!!!! I stand corrected and profusely apologize to the show's many talented writers and series creator Eric Kripke. Supernatural is A-W-E-S-O-M-E. If you are not watching, don't wait another precious second!

Yes I admit, the eye-candy is appealing -- Jensen Ackles, Jared Paledecki, Misha Collins ... pick your poison, they are all pretty yummy. But the show offers SO MUCH MORE than cheap thrills. The writing is truly fantastic, the story arc original and perfectly paced, the scares are truly scary, the humor side-splitting.

Ghosts, monsters, demons, angels, Lucifer, the Apocalypse - this show has everything!

Plot Summary: The series begins as two brothers travel America's back roads in a '68 Chevy Impala. They are searching for a missing father who raised them to hunt and destroy every evil supernatural incarnation they encounter. On the top of their hit-list is the Yellow-Eyed Demon that killed their mother 22 years previously. As the series progresses the brothers discover they have a much larger role to play that involves the end of the world.

Not a fan yet? Find Supernatural in the RPL Catalogue:

Supernatural: The complete 1st season (DVD)

Supernatural: The complete 2nd season (DVD)

Supernatural: The complete 3rd season (DVD)

Supernatural: The complete 4th season (DVD)

Season 5 is currently airing on the CW and Space networks.


09/25/09

New John Saul promises chilling ghost story with gothic flair



House of Reckoning (2009) New and Popular!

From Jacket Notes:
...fourteen-year-old Sarah Crane is forced to grow up quickly.... Left in the cold care of a loveless foster family and alienated at school, Sarah finds a kindred spirit in classmate Nick Dunnigan, a former mental patient still plagued by voices and visions. And in eccentric art instructor Bettina Phillips, Sarah finds a mentor eager to nurture her talent for painting.

But within the walls of Bettina’s ancestral home, the mansion called Shutters, Sarah finds something altogether different and disturbing. Monstrous images from the house’s dark history seem to flow unbidden from Sarah’s paintbrush–images echoed by Nick’s chilling hallucinations. Trapped for ages in the shadowy rooms of Shutters, the violence and fury of long-dead generations have finally found a gateway from the grave into the world of the living. And Sarah and Nick have found a power they never had: to take control, and take revenge.


08/11/09

It's not The Shining or anything, but still pretty good



Rose Red (DVD 2002)

Every House Has a Story to tell...
This One Will Kill You

Directed by: Craig R. Baxley
Starring: Nancy Travis, Matt Keeslar

From Amazon.com: "On regular television, punctuated by frenetic commercials, the leisurely pace of the horror miniseries Rose Red probably felt grueling; but on its own terms, the effect is like settling into a long book full of detail -- a book not unlike those of Stephen King, who wrote the script. The story (about a researcher into the paranormal who takes a team of psychics into a haunted house) recycles themes that King has used before -- a telekinetic girl, a house with its own consciousness -- but for his fans, the familiarity is probably comfortable and even enjoyable. The cast (including Nancy Travis, Julian Sands, and Melanie Lynsky from Heavenly Creatures) give committed performances, and the special effects are television-grade but used pretty well. Most of it doesn't make much sense, but at its best Rose Red is absurd and creepy at the same time. --Bret Fetzer


06/26/09

New Book: Classic Anthology of Ghost Stories

New book hitting the Library's shelves...

The Oxford Book of English Ghost Stories, chosen by Michael Cox and R.A. Gilbert.

Summary: The thrill and chill of the ghost story is displayed in all its variety and vitality through this marvelous anthology. Ranging from the early 19th century to the 1960s, the collection reveals the development of the genre, and showcases many of its greatest expositors - from Sir Walter Scott, H.G. Wells, M. R. James, T.H. White, Walter de la Mare, and Elizabeth Bowen in the UK to Edith Wharton in America. Though its heyday coincided with the golden age of Empire in the nineteenth century, the ghost story enjoyed a second flowering between the two World Wars and its popularity is as great as ever.


05/22/09

Del Toro delivers a ghostly masterpiece!




The Devil's Backbone (Spain 2001)

Written and Directed by Guillermo Del Toro

The living will always be more dangerous than the dead

Click here to play the trailer

The Cryptkeeper says:
I loved this movie -- it's a beautiful, sad, richly told story ... that will scare the pants off you! Set during the Spanish Civil War in an isolated countryside orphanage, The Devil's Backbone is a bubbling cauldron of friendships, betrayal, violence, secrets ... and a sinister, ghostly apparition who is the key to it all. This is a movie with real emotional impact. Spanish with English subtitles.

Also Recommended:

Pan's Labyrinth (Spain 2006)

The Orphanage (Spain 2007)


05/19/09

Southern gothic ghost story delivers!



The Girl Who Stopped Swimming (2008)

by Joshilyn Jackson

The Cryptkeeper says: This one has everything -- ghosts, buried family secrets, betrayal, mystery, and a rich Southern setting. Not to mention a delicious lead-up to an explosive finish!

Entertainment Weekly says:
"A ghost story, family psychodrama, and murder mystery all in one. Jackson's latest is a wild, smartly calibrated achievement. Grade: A-."

Publisher's Weekly says: "Jackson matches effortless Southern storytelling with a keen eye for character and heart-stopping circumstances."

Plot Summary:
Lauren Gray Hawthorne needs to make things pretty, whether she's helping her mother keep family skeletons in the closet or sewing her acclaimed art quilts. Her estranged sister, Thalia, is her opposite, an impoverished actress who prides herself on exposing the lurid truths lurking behind middle class niceties. While Laurel's life seems neatly on track -- a passionate marriage, a treasured daughter, a lovely suburban home -- everything she holds dear is threatened the night she is visited by the ghost of her 13-year-old neighbor Molly. The ghost leads Laurel to the real Molly, floating lifelessly in the Hawthorne's backyard pool. Molly's death is an unseemly mystery that no one in her whitewashed neighborhood is up to solving. Laurel enlists Thalia's help, even though she knows it comes with a high price tag. Together, they set out on a life-altering journey that triggers startling revelations about their family's haunted past, the true state of Laurel's marriage, and the girl who stopped swimming.

******Recommended Readalike: Sharp Objects (2006), by Gillian Flynn


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