3 Campy Horror Films to Watch When Sick

Whenever I was little my go-to whenever I was sick was Gatorade, saltines, chamomile tea, Archie Comics, and campy horror movies. My parents would always rent me some new campy horrors and buy me new comics, and I’d always feel marginally better afterward. So, if you ever find yourself stuck in bed and need a way to kill a few horrors with some campy horrors, don’t worry! I have you covered.

PSYCHO GOREMAN

Intergalactic assassins converge on a small town after two siblings unwittingly resurrect an ancient alien overlord.

EVIL DEAD 2: DEAD BY DAWN

The second of three films in the Evil Dead series is part horror, part comedy, with Ash Williams (Bruce Campbell) once again battling horrifying demons at a secluded cabin in the woods. After discovering an audiotape left by a college professor that contains voices reading from the Book of the Dead, Ash’s girlfriend Linda (Denise Bixler) becomes possessed by evil spirits that are awakened by the voices on the tape. Ash soon discovers there is no escaping the woods.

AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN PARIS

A group of carousing American tourists is taking in the cultural landmarks of Paris when a chance encounter results in sightseer Andy McDermott (Tom Everett Scott) saving the life of Parisian Serafine Pigot (Julie Delpy). While on a date at a nightclub with Serafine, Andy is suddenly attacked and bitten by a werewolf. The next day he discovers that Serafine is also a lycanthrope, and that he is beginning his own grueling, hirsute transformation into one of the fanged beasts.

WHAT ARE YOUR FAVE CAMPY HORRORS?

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3 QUEER HORRORS TO CELEBRATE PRIDE MONTH

OUR WIVES UNDER THE SEA BY JULIA ARMFIELD

Leah is changed. A marine biologist, she left for a routine expedition months earlier, only this time her submarine sank to the sea floor. When she finally surfaces and returns home, her wife Miri knows that something is wrong. Barely eating and lost in her thoughts, Leah rotates between rooms in their apartment, running the taps morning and night. Whatever happened in that vessel, whatever it was they were supposed to be studying before they were stranded, Leah has carried part of it with her, onto dry land and into their home. As Miri searches for answers, desperate to understand what happened below the water, she must face the possibility that the woman she loves is slipping from her grasp.

THE MONSTER OF ELENDHAVEN BY JENNIFER GIESBRECHT

The city of Elendhaven sulks on the edge of the ocean. Wracked by plague, abandoned by the South, stripped of industry and left to die. But not everything dies so easily. A thing without a name stalks the city, a thing shaped like a man, with a dark heart and long pale fingers yearning to wrap around throats. A monster who cannot die. His frail master sends him out on errands, twisting him with magic, crafting a plan too cruel to name, while the monster’s heart grows fonder and colder and more cunning.

These monsters of Elendhaven will have their revenge on everyone who wronged the city, even if they have to burn the world to do it.

MANHUNT BY GRETCHEN FELKER-MARTIN

Beth and Fran spend their days traveling the ravaged New England coast, hunting feral men and harvesting their organs in a gruesome effort to ensure they’ll never face the same fate.

Robbie lives by his gun and one hard-learned motto: other people aren’t safe.

After a brutal accident entwines the three of them, this found family of survivors must navigate murderous TERFs, a sociopathic billionaire bunker brat, and awkward relationship dynamics—all while outrunning packs of feral men, and their own demons.

HAVE YOU READ ANY OF THESE BOOKS? WHAT ARE YOUR FAVOURITE QUEER HORRORS?


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Book Review: Suburban Hell by Maureen Kilmer

A Chicago cul-de-sac is about to get a new neighbor…of the demonic kind.

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Release Date: August 30, 2022

Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons

Price: $17 (paperback)

PLOT SUMMARY

   Amy Foster considers herself lucky. After she left the city and moved to the suburbs, she found her place quickly with neighbors Liz, Jess, and Melissa, snarking together from the outskirts of the PTA crowd. One night during their monthly wine get-together, the crew concoct a plan for a clubhouse She Shed in Liz’s backyard—a space for just them, no spouses or kids allowed.
 
    But the night after they christen the She Shed, things start to feel . . . off. They didn’t expect Liz’s little home-improvement project to release a demonic force that turns their quiet enclave into something out of a nightmare. And that’s before the homeowners’ association gets wind of it.
 
    Even the calmest moms can’t justify the strange burn marks, self-moving dolls, and horrible smells surrounding their possessed friend, Liz. Together, Amy, Jess, and Melissa must fight the evil spirit to save Liz and the neighborhood . . . before the suburbs go completely to hell.

GRADE: A

REVIEW

If you love your horror with a pinch of comedy, then Suburban Hell is the book for you. Written in a manner that’s evocative of Grady Hendrix, the pace is fast and hella funny. Amy is convinced her good friend Liz is possessed after a hole in the other woman’s yard unleashes a foul odor and brings about unexplained incidents. The possession is slow, and at times one can’t tell whether it’s true or if Amy is overreacting, as she herself questions if she’s jumping the ship like in the 80’s Satanic Panic. But after a pivotal incident, Amy now knows that something sinister and supernatural has overtaken their suburban lives and she is dead set on proving her suspicions to her friends Melissa and Jess. Often while reading the book I wasn’t sure what was more hellish, having a possessed friend living next door to you or dealing with the ridiculous suburban wives that Amy had to deal with on a daily basis. The writing flows well and is pressed on a fast tempo, only slightly slowing down for a few moments to only pick up right away. The winning point of this novel is that sure, it’s a fun read, but when the horror sets in, it doesn’t disappoint, as it is dark and extremely creepy!

I recommend this book if you love your horror to have a dash of comedy to it. This book is a mashup of The Exorcist and Desperate Housewives.

*Thank you so much to NetGalley and G.P. Putnam’s Sons for the digital copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

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Book Review: We Can Never Leave This Place by Eric LaRocca

When you’re given a gift, something else gets taken away.

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Release Date: June 24, 2022

Publisher: Trepidatio Publishing

Price: $12.95 (paperback)

PLOT SUMMARY:

A precocious young girl with an unusual imagination is sent on an odyssey into the depths of depravity. After her father dies violently, young Mara is surprised to find her mother welcoming a new guest into their home, claiming that he will protect them from the world of devastation and destruction outside their door.

A grotesque and thrilling dark fantasy, We Can Never Leave This Place is a harrowing portrait of inherited grief and familial trauma.

GRADE: A-

REVIEW:

I’m still trying to make sense of this fever dream that reads like a horror induced Alice in Wonderland tale. Mara has just lost her father, and she lives with her abusive mother who’s expecting a baby, while an unexpected visitor shows up and wreaks havoc in their lives. We’re frequently told that Mara is an expert storyteller throughout the novella (or liar as her mother likes to chide), so take what happens within the pages of this novella with a grain of salt. What is real and what is fantasy? And ultimately, does it really matter to know the difference? LaRocca weaves a dreadful tale soaked in trauma and grief that is easily gulped in one sitting, but that leaves the reader feeling a bit disorientated. If you’re a fan of Kafka, I think you might enjoy this horror novella very much.

*Thank you so much to Nightworms & the author for the digital copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

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Book Review: The Reyes Incident by Briana Morgan

What really happened in that bunker?

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Publisher: Self-published

Price: $11.99 (paperback)

PLOT SUMMARY:

A local legend gone haywire.

A small-town cop.

An impossible eyewitness testimony.

Which is easier to believe—that killer mermaids exist, or that one person is worth risking everything for?

For fans of The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo and Into the Drowning Deep comes a chilling horror story steeped in urban rumor.

GRADE: B+

REVIEW:

Killer mermaids is one of my favourite tropes, or in general, any story or film that has a mermaid already feels instantly cool so once I found out that this book had killer mermaids I knew I had to read it asap. In film form, I’m usually not a fan of found footage, but I do like the format in book form better (or at least ones I’ve read like World War Z or The Living Dead were awesome).

Having read the play Unboxed, I enjoyed the little Easter egg that the author placed in this book. The premise is pretty simple, a group of friends who have a YouTube channel decide to investigate an old military bunker in Georgia. What the group finds when going into the bunker is killer mermaids – and only one girl (Liv) survives to tell the tale. The police officer whom Liv is telling her story to Andie begins to catch feelings for her and readily believes her story. Although I don’t know if she believes Liv’s story because she’s blinded by her feelings rather than actually believing in the existence of mermaids. I don’t know why, but it seemed kind of unlikely that someone would readily believe such a far-fetched story, let alone someone in law enforcement.

We find out that the mermaids were being experimented on by the military, but I would’ve preferred the journal that they found to reveal a bit more as in a how they acquired the mermaids and how the military knew of their existence in the first place. I would really love a prequel to this novella to know the history of what actually went on in the bunker prior.

The story is very fast-paced and delivers all the slasher/gore needs a horror book should. I did like that the ending is ambiguous, but wasn’t a fan of everyone spilling their feelings for one another while they’re being killed (I can understand one person doing this, but then another does, and then the same person a couple of days later suddenly has feelings for another person, for a book so short, it just feels like they’re catching feelings way too fast). But other than that, the book is a fun, wild read and I recommend it for fans of horror who like gore.

*Thank you so much to Nightworms & the author for the digital copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

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Book Review: Just Like Mother by Anne Heltzel

A girl would be such a blessing….

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Publisher: Tor Nightfire

Price: $26.99 (hardcover)

Release Date: May 22, 2022

PLOT SUMMARY:

The last time Maeve saw her cousin was the night she escaped the cult they were raised in. For the past two decades, Maeve has worked hard to build a normal life in New York City, where she keeps everything—and everyone—at a safe distance.

When Andrea suddenly reappears, Maeve regains the only true friend she’s ever had. Soon she’s spending more time at Andrea’s remote Catskills estate than in her own cramped apartment. Maeve doesn’t even mind that her cousin’s wealthy work friends clearly disapprove of her single lifestyle. After all, Andrea has made her fortune in the fertility industry—baby fever comes with the territory.

The more Maeve immerses herself in Andrea’s world, the more disconnected she feels from her life back in the city; and the cousins’ increasing attachment triggers memories Maeve has fought hard to bury. But confronting the terrors of her childhood may be the only way for Maeve to transcend the nightmare still to come…

GRADE: A

REVIEW:

I knew that I had to read this book the moment I saw the creepy doll on the cover. This book definitely delivers on all things creepy. Crazy cult. Check. Creepy dolls. Check. Psychobitches. Check.

Maeve hasn’t seen her cousin Andrea since the night she escaped the all-female cult The Mother Collective. Whilst Maeve is still dealing with the aftermath of the cult, Andrea seems to be doing amazing and has a multi-million dollar home and enterprise.

Throughout the book, you can’t help but feel this increasing sense of dread and you begin to notice that the book is a cross between Rosemary’s Baby and The Stepford Wives. Personally, this book is one wild ride and I enjoyed every crazy second of it.

I recommend this book to anyone who loves twisty cult stories that don’t focus on a cult led by a man and if motherhood has ever terrified you. You will find this read absolutely unsettling!

*Thank you so much to NetGalley and Tor Nightfire for the digital copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

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Book Review: It Will End Like This by Kyra Leigh

Not every story ends with a happily ever after.

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Publisher: Delacorte Press

Price: $16.99 (hardcover)

Release Date: January 4, 2022

PLOT SUMMARY:

Charlotte lost her mother six months ago, and still no one will tell her exactly what happened the day she mysteriously died. They say her heart stopped, but Charlotte knows deep down that there’s more to the story. 

The only person who gets it is Charlotte’s sister, Maddi. Maddi agrees—people’s hearts don’t just stop. There are too many questions left unanswered for the girls to move on.
 
But their father is moving on. With their mother’s personal assistant. And both girls are sure of one thing: she’s going to steal everything that’s theirs for herself. She’ll even get rid of them eventually.
 
Now, in order to get their lives back, Charlotte and Maddi have to decide what kind of story they live in. Do they remain the obedient girls their father insists they be or do they follow their rage to the end?

GRADE: C-

REVIEW:

I was really disappointed in this book. It was marketed as a retelling of the Lizzie Borden crime and it truly didn’t live up to that hype at all. First of all, the chapters between Charlotte and Maddi are one and the same, the voice is similar and the only reason you can tell them apart is that there tend to be more Charlotte’s chapters and her chapters also tend to contain more inner dialogue, but apart from that, they were very similar. None of the side characters were fleshed out. I feel like I never got to know any of the characters, really, and so when there’s a huge reveal it doesn’t come as shocking but more as a “WTF?” moment, as it makes no sense as to why certain characters we barely saw throughout the book would suddenly act the way they did.

This book had a good premise but the execution was poor and the writing wasn’t that great. I did enjoy the short chapters but ultimately, apart from the ONE BIG THING that happened, nothing else seemed to occur. The sisters spend the majority of their time mourning their dead mother, driving to and from school, barely interacting with anyone there, or locked up in their rooms. Their interactions with anyone else besides themselves feel stilted and forced, and I’m surprised Charlotte could ever think that Lana was her friend, because she acted very strange from the very beginning.

All in all, some people seemed to have enjoyed this book, but this wasn’t the case for me. Not sure if I can really recommend it as the story wasn’t really compelling nor good. It’s a pass for me.

*Thank you so much to NetGalley and Delacorte Press for the digital copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

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Film Review: Nightmare Alley

By the time this post will be live, Nightmare Alley will have been nominated for Best Picture for 2022. Now, as a horror fan, it always excites me whenever I see a horror film on the Academy Awards ballot, so of course, I’m thrilled to see it there. At the same time, I don’t feel like this film was Del Toro’s best. This film was a remake of the 1947’s Nightmare Alley, in which Tyrone Power played the lead, but also was the one to insist for the film to be made in the first place. Having watched the original film, it’s very difficult to enjoy Bradley Cooper attempting to be the leading noir man when despite his best efforts at being a good actor, simply lacks the charisma of a true leading man (especially when you compare Power’s stage presence with his).

The film is adapted from the bestselling novel of the same name by William Lindsay Gresham. The plot is a fascinating one: a man down on hi luck joins a traveling carnival. The man in question is Stanton Carlisle (Bradley Cooper) and he quickly grows fascinated with wanting to learn the tricks to become a mentalist (mind reader). He believes he can outsmart the average man and in doing so can make money off of their stupidity and hope.

That is until he meets Lilith Ritter (Cate Blanchett) a psychiatrist with wealthy clients. The two team up to try to schill money out of the wealthy, but Stanton makes the mistake of thinking that he’s more powerful and cunning than he actually is.

Of course, Del Toro excels in depicting the perfect noir film scenes and the pacing is excellent, and the cast’s saving graces are Cate Blanchett and Toni Collette. But with a movie that runs over two hours, it’s difficult to root for a leading man that we don’t care anything about (in the 1947 original we do feel sorry for Tyrone Power’s Stanton) in this remake, we can’t help but be happy for Bradley Cooper’s Stanton to get exactly what he deserved.

If you haven’t watched the original you may enjoy this version more than I did, or if at least you don’t expect much from your leading men other than being “easy on the eye,” as Toni Collette’s Zeena tells Stanton in the very beginning, then you may overlook this miscasting. Other than that, I recommend the film because the plot is interesting and has a very bold message: Can we truly outrun our real nature, or will we ultimately befall what we really are? I’d also say to read the book because it’s excellent.

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Top 5 Horror Films Directed by Women

In the past couple of years, female directors have truly flexed their predilections for all things scary and creepy, and have managed to create some true gems. Here are some amazing films directed by female directors that will be sure to keep you up at night and leave you questioning a few things about yourselves and others (as all excellent horrors do).

TITANE (2021) DIRECTED BY JULIA DUCOURMAU

A woman who has a titanium plate fitted in her head embarks on a bizarre journey involving her fetish for cars.

CENSOR (2021) DIRECTED BY PRANO BAILEY-BOND

A British film censor links a disturbing horror movie to her sister’s mysterious disappearance.

CANDYMAN (2021)DIRECTED BY NIA DACOSTA

For decades, the housing projects of Chicago’s Cabrini-Green were terrorized by a ghost story about a supernatural, hook-handed killer. In present day, an artist begins to explore the macabre history of Candyman, not knowing it would unravel his sanity and unleash a terrifying wave of violence that puts him on a collision course with destiny.

12 HOUR SHIFT (2020) DIRECTED BY BREA GRANT

Bodies start to pile up when a drug-addicted nurse and her crazed cousin try to find a replacement kidney for an organ trafficker.

BLEED WITH ME (2020) DIRECTED BY AMELIA MOSES

During a winter getaway at an isolated cabin, a self-destructive young woman becomes convinced that her best friend is stealing her blood.

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Top 5 Books to Celebrate Women in Horror Month

It’s that time of year again when we celebrate the Women in Horror, and every week for the month of February I’ll share my Top 5 picks across the different mediums. Today, I’ll focus on books and here are some of my recent favourite female authors that I can assure you, will scare the pants off of you!

The Winter People by Jennifer McMaHon

West Hall, Vermont, has always been a town of strange disappearances and old legends. The most mysterious is that of Sara Harrison Shea, who, in 1908, was found dead in the field behind her house just months after the tragic death of her daughter, Gertie. Now, in present day, nineteen-year-old Ruthie lives in Sara’s farmhouse with her mother, Alice, and her younger sister, Fawn. Alice has always insisted that they live off the grid, a decision that suddenly proves perilous when Ruthie wakes up one morning to find that Alice has vanished without a trace. Searching for clues, she is startled to find a copy of Sara Harrison Shea’s diary hidden beneath the floorboards of her mother’s bedroom. As Ruthie gets sucked deeper into the mystery of Sara’s fate, she discovers that she’s not the only person who’s desperately looking for someone that they’ve lost. But she may be the only one who can stop history from repeating itself.

Children of Chicago by Cynthia Pelayo

Reminiscent of the Bloody Mary urban legend, the Pied Piper’s story can be tracked back to the deaths of children for centuries and across the world—call to him for help with your problems, but beware when he comes back asking for payment.

Chicago detective Lauren Medina’s latest call brings her to investigate a brutally murdered teenager in Humboldt Park—a crime eerily similar to the murder of her sister decades before. Unlike her straight-laced partner, she recognizes the crime, and the new graffiti popping up all over the city, for what it really means: the Pied Piper has returned.

When more children are found dead, Lauren is certain her suspicion is correct. Still reeling from the recent death of her father, she knows she must find out who has summoned him again, and why, before more people die. Lauren’s torn between protecting the city she has sworn to keep safe, and keeping a promise she made long ago with her sister’s murderer. She may have to ruin her life by exposing her secrets and lies to stop the Pied Piper before he collects.

Check out my review & author interview here!

Come Closer by Sara Gran

A recurrent, unidentifiable noise in her apartment. A memo to her boss that’s replaced by obscene insults. Amanda—a successful architect in a happy marriage—finds her life going off kilter by degrees. She starts smoking again, and one night for no reason, without even the knowledge that she’s doing it, she burns her husband with a cigarette. At night she dreams of a beautiful woman with pointed teeth on the shore of a blood-red sea.
 
The new voice in Amanda’s head, the one that tells her to steal things and talk to strange men in bars, is strange and frightening, and Amanda struggles to wrest back control of her life. Is she possessed by a demon, or is she simply insane?

Queen of Teeth by Hailey Piper

Within forty-eight hours, Yaya Betancourt will go from discovering teeth between her thighs to being hunted by one of the most powerful corporations in America.

She assumes the vagina dentata is a side effect of a rare genetic condition caused by AlphaBeta Pharmaceutical, decades ago, when she and several thousand others were still in the womb.

But, when ABP corporate goons upend her life, she realizes her secondary teeth might be evidence of a new experiment for which she’s the most advanced test tube . . . a situation worsened when Yaya’s condition sprouts horns, tentacles, and a mind of its own.

On the run and transforming, Yaya may be either ABP’s greatest success, or the deadliest failure science has ever created.

The Things We Say In The Dark by Kirsty Logan

A shocking collection of dark stories, ranging from chilling contemporary fairytales to disturbing supernatural fiction. Alone in a remote house in Iceland, a woman is unnerved by her isolation; another can only find respite from the clinging ghost that follows her by submerging herself in an overgrown pool. Couples wrestle with a lack of connection to their children; a schoolgirl becomes obsessed with the female anatomical models in a museum; and a cheery account of child’s day out is undercut by chilling footnotes. These dark tales explore women’s fears with electrifying honesty and invention and speak to one another about female bodies, domestic claustrophobia, desire, and violence.

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