Friday, December 26, 2014

A Low-Priced Horror Bundle for that New Kindle or Nook - Holiday Deals

Got a new Kindle? Crossroad Press is offering a 20-book  horror bundle called A Haunting of Horrors for just $2.99. It includes my book Gnelfs, in which cartoon characters turn deadly, plus books by great writers including John Farris, Elizabeth Massie, Yvonne Navarro, Chet Williams, David J. Schow, Ronald Kelly and others.

It's a great bargain for a new device, and it's available on Nook too.

Look for A Haunting of Horrors 2 also  from Crossroad and a A Murder of Mysteries as well including a Janek thriller by William Bayer.

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

A look at The Babadook

Since The Babadook's been scaring a small army of film critics and The Exorcist director William Friedkin, I started to search for local showtimes. Wasn't even at the local indy venue, but I happily discovered it on streaming on Amazon and sprung for a rental last night.

It didn't absolutely terrify me. Perhaps I wasn't able to get into quite the right mental place while sitting in my living room, but it manages some sustained creepiness, delivers just enough on the monster front and mixes in psychological thriller elements and strong characterizations.

I think the fact that it ventures out of safe and cookie-cutter horror territory is responsible for much of the hoopla. I aslo think the accolades are well earned.

The tale's not template free. A middle section bears some resemblance to Roman Polankski's Repulsion, as critics have noted, and there's a touch of The Exorcist and other terrors, but it stirs the mixture enough to make things new and different.

Directed by Jennifer Kent, who's also an actress, the tale focuses on Amelia (Essie Davis), a single mother who works mind-numbing shifts in a nursing home to support her son, Robbie (Daniel Henshall). The performances are incredible. Really.

Amelia's husband was killed in an accident while driving her to a hospital for the boy's birth, and she's never allowed a party on the child's calendar birthday. As the story begins, Robbie's acting out at school and amid relatives, and Amelia's struggles and challenges are clear.

A wonderfully creepy pop up book turns up to complicate things or perhaps reflect the state of affairs. Mr. Babadook literally leaps off the page to become a boogie man who haunts the shadows and the imagination. He's a great, understated figure.

Is it all real or is Amelia snapping from the pressure? The tale treads that grey territory deftly, and things grow more and more jittery as Amelia seems to become possessed and thus more threatening to Robbie than Mr. Babadook.

The story becomes at once a creepy tale and a metaphor for family difficulties.

Will it scare everyone? Probably not. Will its subtleties be lost on some audiences? Probably so.

Does it represent the new face of horror? Maybe not totally, but the genre could do with more films that attempt what The Babadook does. More Amelia's, fewer dead teens!

I'd definitely say it was worthy my time and the rental fee.  

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