Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Reviews by Shellie ~ Scary Shorts, Movies, and Book Contest Links

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Swamp Thing?  ~  Nope.

But its so campy,  and I liked the spooky picture.  So with a play on words and the fact that I may be “swamping” readers with these multiple mini horror-ish reviews –  with that in mind skim and skip to those bits of your liking or interest. Be sure to check the bottom of the post since I am linking a huge blog hop where you can win Halloween related books all designed for those who want a chill for the season. 

Now on to the reviews.


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Short Story:  Recrossing the Styx  ~ by  Ian R. MacLeod 

This was an intriguing short by Ian R, MacLeod; I have not read anything of his writing prior to this. I  will definitely be looking out for more or his writing. This short is a dystopian with an element of horror. But what dystopian doesn’t have a scare factor? 

The setting is in a future US where the landscape has become environmentally sterile. Many of our current practices are still in place, such as those nasty “consumeristic” tendencies. Things have changed just every so slightly, and there now exists a section of the population - which are referred to as the “dead” – who have been re-animated thanks to medical advances which have allowed some body parts to be replaced. The availability of this treatment is based upon the ability to pay for it. 

This has created a large population of wealthy, old, rickety, piecemeal people who spend their time on cruise ships floating on a lifeless sea having body parts replaced, including the frequent “jump starts” when things really do completely give out.  But here's the really creepy bit - where do these spare parts come from? I’m not telling….. *giggle*

I do have to say that MacLeod is an exceptional writer. His writing is easy to read yet his wording and message are complex. This particular story has that dry twist which is darkly funny and so very entertaining. The ending is great and unexpected making this type of short are my very favorite. Highly recommended.


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Short Stories:  Dark Faith ~  edited by Maurice Broaddus and Jerry Grodon

Basis for the collection ~ Editor’s Quote:   ….we all believe in something. So I invited horror, science fiction, and fantasy writers to riff on the idea of faith. Who we are, artists and people of faith, expressing our theology, whatever it may be, in our writing. And with the challenge to take it to another level: art is never for its own sake, but for people’s sake. I believe that art should be engaged with—and, in its own way, explore—truth; and we shouldn’t be afraid of truth, no matter where it takes us.

Thoughts around several stories/poems from this collection:

While the editor is deeply committed to his personal faith, I like the fact that in a search for horror/art and mind bending stories he has included the varying beliefs that each author has represented in this collection. So these stories display diversity and many belief systems.

“The Story of Belief-Non” (Poem) by Linda D. Addison ~  A lovely poem where the writer holds science as her belief system.

“Ghosts of New York” by Jennifer Pelland  ~  This particular story is based on a ghost who is doomed to repeat her jump from one of the two towers on 9-11. This is a difficult and sad read, and pulls in some history from New York and its older tragedies which are also paralleled within the story. It questions what occurs after death and why would one become a tethered ghost, as is the main character. It leaves the reader with an uneasy sense of disquiet and wondering about how our lives really end.

“I Sing a New Psalm” by Brian Keene   ~  This is a poem written in the format of a modern psalm, which tells a horrific and sad story, and recounts the teller’s loss of faith.

“He Who Would Not Bow” by Wrath James White ~ This is a very scary story about the Angel of Death and an unforgiving and cruel God who takes over Earth and demands fealty.

There are twenty odd stories in this collection and what better way to find a new favorite author. Here are the titles for a few other stories in the collection, with authors that I recognize:

“The Last Words of Dutch Schultz Jesus Christ” ~ Nick Mamatas
“You Dream” ~ Ekaterina Sedia
“Mother Urban’s Booke of Dayes” ~ Jay Lake
“Days of Flaming Motorcycles” ~ Catherynne M. Valente

This book comes very highly recommended from several friends on Goodreads. I do have to agree so far and for $4.99 you cannot beat it. The Smashwords link for purchase is in the title above.


Movies:

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The Cave ~ In the hopes of exploring a legendary cave a group of professionals looking for unknown life forms find its opening in the mountains of Transylvania. As this expert team gets trapped below the surface they find they are not alone, and its not just bats. US/UK/Canada - The Cave

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We watched this several years ago and had forgotten until the very end. It tells you how memorable the story is. Fortunately there is another movie released close to the same time which occurs in a cave as well. I would opt for it. US/UK/Canada  - The Descent

 

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 Vampyr ~ This is touted as one of the first movies to have had sound and was filmed in the 1930s. It is very atmospheric and has very little or no gore; it is worth the watch just to see the differences in techniques for making movies when the options for editing and special effects were very limited. I liked it. Quite funny in bits actually, and it would be suitable for most children.

One bit of trivia, the financier who funded the movie did so on agreement that he could be one of the main characters. US/UK/Canada  - Vampyr

 

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Jacob’s Ladder ~  Now this movie gets a five star in our book. It is one of the best horror flicks I have seen and would even count it as one of my favorite movies. It is based upon the terror a man feels after he returns from Vietnam… or perhaps not. This eerie, surreal, horrific, and mind bending film is very highly recommended. US/UK/Canada  - Jacob’s Ladder

 

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Pandorum ~ If you like science fiction and horror this will be a movie you love. If you don’t then I would skip it. The movie settings are incredible and the monster is very very creepy. They did some fancy art work and incredible makeup in this movie. I do have to say the martial arts are a bit over the top but a good movie never the less. US/UK/Canada  - Pandorum

I have to credit a few new friends on twitter from #SciFiChat who recommended this several weeks ago.  We loved it.

Do note that with the possible exception of Vampyr I do not recommend any of the above movies for children.


Link Up to Win Books:  A huge number of giveaways is being offered via the Spooktacular Blog Hop which I have joined for the season. The books which are offered from Layers of Thought are:

  • Fire Burn & Cauldron Boil and To Kill a Warlock ~ by HP Mallory (urban fantasy romance ebooks)
  • Bood Song and Siren Song ~ by Cat Adams (scary vampire series)
  • The Half-Made World ~ by Felix Gilman (steampunk western)
  • Dying Light ~ by Scott M. Meek (futuristic sci fi vampire)

You do not need to be a subscriber to enter any of the above giveaways and two are international. These giveaways can be found with the 87 other blogs who are hosting similar books at the Spooktacular Blog Hop post.

You have until October 31st 12 pm EST to enter most of the contests. Good Luck!


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This review list was specifically created for the RIP V Challenge for the movie and short story portion. And although this scary challenge is almost over stay tuned to Stainless Steel Droppings for the Once Upon a Time challenge in the spring which is based upon fantasy and fairy tales. I can’t wait.

Until then enjoy your chills and thrills ~ Happy Almost Halloween!

2 comments:

Blodeuedd said...

Nice short reviews!

Hm, that last movie does sound interesting

Shellie - Layers of Thought said...

Blodeuedd -
If you like sci fi and horror then you will like it.

Have you seen Pan's Labyrinth? thats very very good!

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