Jun 09

Horror Movie Review – Home Sweet Home

HomeSweetHomeTitle: Home Sweet Home
Genre: Thriller/Horror
Trope:  A killer in the house
Director: David Morlet (As David Morley)
IMDB link: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2348394
Tagline:  Your house, my rules.

I don’t have much to say about this movie. Here’s the plot, according to IMDB:

A young married couple comes home from a date night to discover that they are imprisoned in their own house with a methodical killer inside.

Film opens, you get this set up of a dude going around someone’s house, nailing the windows shut etc. OOOO, boy, you think, he’s going to get a bunch of partying teens in this house and knock ‘em off one by one. Score!!!

Look, I’m no movie snob. I enjoy a good hunt-em-down and kill ‘em flick. But this….this movie was so empty that I could barely make myself finish it.

Basically, it’s what’s on the tin. A young married couple (who didn’t look that young to me) come for a weekend at this house and get trapped inside with a killer.

Whatever message the filmmaker was trying to send, I didn’t get it. The movie was a big yawn for me.
I found some of the victims’ actions strange and inexplicable. I found myself asking why don’t they do this…or that? And why didn’t they do this? (I’m being deliberately vague so as not to give anything away.)

At the end I just sat for a bit, thinking….okaaaaaay, so that’s it?

I will say that the killer’s mask creeped me out to no end and I was watching this in the middle of the day.

Gore: It was rather bloody in parts. Not Jason bloody, but bloody enough. I’d say at least 2 or 3 bottles of Karo Syrup and red food coloring were used. (Do they use corn syrup for blood anymore or am I dating myself?)

Animal Lovers: There is a cat in the movie. He/she is not harmed.

Grade: D
Watch or not to watch?:
I wouldn’t give this a second viewing. Maybe I’m missing some deeper meaning here, but I don’t think so. The movie was devoid of any character to root for or dislike. I found myself glancing away from the screen torn between not wanting to give up on the movie and just turning it off. I should have turned it off – I wouldn’t have missed much.

May 30

Horror Movie Review: Annabelle

Annabelle-posterTitle: Annabelle
Genre: Horror
Director: John R. Leonetti
IMDB link: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3322940/
IMDB synopsis: A couple begins to experience terrifying supernatural occurrences involving a vintage doll shortly after their home is invaded by satanic cultists.

By now you know that I am not the strongest of heart when it comes to watching horror movies, but I watch them anyway because apparently I’m an idiot. Also, I like to be scared.
I started Annabelle waaaay early in the morning because I can’t stand possessed doll movies. In the 1970s, I was scared to DEATH of the Magic trailer because of that weird-looking ventriloquist doll. I rewatched that movie a couple of months ago and it’s still kinda scary.

My list of scary movie dolls or doll type things:
Poltergeist (That damn clown!)
Child’s Play (Only the first one)
Magic (see above)
The Puppetmaster (Ugh, I got chills just typing that.)

But I digress, as a woman with a deep fear of scary movie dolls will do.
Given the creepy movie poster, I figured that Annabelle would join the list.

It didn’t.

First of all, I was annoyed at the main character’s name…..Mia. Can we say Mia Farrow from Rosemary’s Baby? Come on folks….of all the names in the world. Anyhoo, our lovely Mia is given the most evil looking doll ever in the history of movies by her super bland doctor husband and of course, she loves it. I’m like…honey, get yourself an American Girl doll please and thank you.

So la dee dee la dee da, strange things begin to happen of course. She has the baby and they are happy for a bit, then ish starts to jump off, as we all knew it would.

Bonus points for cool sixties/seventies clothes, hairstyles and call backs.

Boo points for the Magical Negro trope, where the Black lady is not only knowledgeable about everything that is bothering poor Mia and the whole curse thing, but sacrifices herself via suicide to save the white couple.


We’re not through with this trope yet? And the sad part was, I saw it coming twenty miles away. The even sadder part was the writers didn’t even make an effort to make the journey interesting.

I was also ticked Evelyn (the Black woman) owned a bookstore. Who’s going to run it now that she’s dead? Dammit!

Oh, and the doll is REAL and resides in this weird museum that I saw on Mysteries at the Museum. But in real life it’s a Raggedy Ann doll. I don’t know if that makes it better or worse….

Grade: D
Not even entertaining enough to laugh at or have fun with. Annoying cliches. However, there were good jump scares and some blood.
Watch or not to watch?: Watch it if you like, but even chicken-me wasn’t scared. I guess I was just too busy rolling my eyes.


Sidenote:  Look how similar the doll is to the dummy from Magic (1978).  And yes, that’s Sir Anthony Hopkins.

Magic Poster

May 29

I Don’t Binge Watch Shows…and Here’s Why

homer-simpsonI’ve seen all over social media about how people are planning to order in and binge watch this show or that show on Netflix (my viewing poison of choice) or from their bulging DVR lists. Take it from me, I love some television. I will watch Mountain Monsters, Law and Order (The Lenny Briscoe years), Finding Bigfoot (you know they’re just thisclose to finding Bigfoot, right?) River Monsters and an occasional Tosh.0.

But I don’t binge watch. It drives me nuts.

Being a detailed oriented person, I tend to notice details and the underlying structure of things. Take Law and Order for instance. The show follows a consistent pattern most times you see it. It’s comforting, knowing what’s coming next, but yet still being entertained by the writing. Most shows, however don’t stand up to that scrutiny.

One show I watched on Netflix was so fascinating to me I kept clicking “next episode”. After the third episode, however, I found myself getting annoyed with the characters. By the fourth, I was rolling my eyes and shut it off in the middle.

The problem was, each and every episode started with one character wandering off and the second character chasing after him. This is how they jumped into whatever hijinks the writers scheduled for them that week. Yawn. Wasn’t there any other way to kick off the inciting incident?

Binge-watching keeps me from absorbing the nuances of an episode, rolling the events of the story around in my head and mulling over what might happen next. Watching one episode after another doesn’t give me space or time to do that.

I like to let the characters and situations linger, allow them to breathe like a fine wine. I certainly wouldn’t pour a bottle of perfume over myself. Binge watching is like eating a whole cake in one sitting. Sure, the first two or three pieces might be pretty good, but after that, the flavor becomes dull and unsatisfying.

So I don’t binge watch. I don’t like it and sometimes it serves to turn me off a show. Plus who has the time to veg out in front of the television? There’s life outside to be lived!

May 27

Movie Review – Shrew’s Nest

Title: Shrew’s Nest
Genre: Horror, Thriller, Drama
Director: Juanfer Andrés, Esteban Roel
IMDB link:  http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3417756/

ShrewsNestPoster-thumb-630xauto-47594Synopsis according to IMDB:
Spain, 1950s. Montse’s agoraphobia keeps her locked in a sinister apartment in Madrid and her only link to reality is the little sister she lost her youth raising. But one day, a reckless young neighbor, Carlos, falls down the stairwell and drags himself to their door. Someone has entered the shrew’s nest… perhaps he’ll never leave.

This little gem from Spain took me by surprise. As always, I started in the morning, so that any residual fright would wear off by the time I went to bed. Yes. I love horror movies, but I’m the world’s worst scaredy-cat.

(One time I watched Jeeper Creepers 2 for the first time and went to bed. I kept expecting the Creeper to come out of my closet. And no, I’m not 12.)

Anyhoo, this film is in Spanish with English subtitles, so I had to pay close attention to the screen in order to understand what was going on. Let me tell you, I’ve seen a ton of movies working with the same material, but this one presented it in a new and thoroughly shocking way, at least for me. The actors kept the…some may say “tired” plot going until its climax.

It is a psychological drama combined with a horror/slasher so there’s plenty of dark, spooky shadows and sticky blood for all.

The visuals are top notch and, well, the 50s fashion and hair I just loved.

Grade: B+

Watch or not to watch?: Catholic guilt and sin, religious imagery, blood and crazy ladies your thing? Watch it. It has echoes of both Misery and Whatever Happened to Baby Jane. And as I said above, if you have watched enough movies, you know where the movie is going and where it has been….but enjoy it for what it is, spooky, Gothic and damned bloody!


May 20

Movie Review: The Battery

Title: The Battery
Genre: Horror: Zombies
Director: Jeremy Gardner
IMDB link: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2272350/



In a land ravaged by the undead, Ben and Mickey must first learn to survive each other.

It’s a zombie movie. Of course I’m going to watch it, either through my fingers or like a boss, but I’m going to watch it. I liked the movie poster. I’m still a fan of the baseball move to whack a zombie skull, so to see one of the characters holding a bat…I was pretty pleased.

This is not your typical zombie movie with the characters hiding in an attic or basement, surviving on canned food and sniping at each other. Rather, this is an open movie: regaling us with the beauty of the New England countryside in summer while also reminding us of the danger that lurks around nearly every corner.

The director, Jeremy Gardner, is also one of the main characters named Ben. Ben has an epic beard and is the alpha of the two males. The second main character, Mickey, is the softer type. He walks around with headphones on, keeping the music going in his ears as he follows Ben through the woods and along the roads, basically allowing Ben to make most of the decisions and all of the zombie kills.

Ben’s growing impatience with Mickey’s refusal to cope with their reality leads to some interesting scenes that I won’t spoil here.

Overall, this is more of a character study of the two men and how they react to these new circumstance than a run-for-your-life post apocalyptic movie.

Special Effects: The effects are not the point here. If I read correctly, Gardner spent about 6k to make the film in two weeks. Don’t go into this expecting realistic splatter and gross-out gore.

Watch or not to watch?:
If you like quiet, self-contained movies and the dynamic of male relationships, then you’ll like this movie. If you’re looking for blood, gore, brains and breathless chases, you will find this movie boring.

Trivia: In baseball, the term battery refers collectively to the pitcher and the catcher, who may also be called batterymen[1] or batterymates of one another. (wikipedia.org)

Grade: A minus

Apr 07

#ListMission: Books I Re-Read Every Year



Apr 06

Featured Author: Jamallah Bergman – The Lady of Gladstone Manor

Another new release and we’ve got it here!  Author Jamallah Bergman has a new one out called “The Lady of Gladstone Manor”.  The cover is so elegant!

Title:  The Lady of Gladstone Manor

Author:  Jamallah Bergman

Genre: Romance

Length: 111 pages


Jackson Belle, the son of a prominent family of landscapers and architects whose work has been the “Showcase of the South”, goes to take what he thinks is a routine job for his father who is soon in bed after a fall. He soon finds himself going to Gladstone Manor, a home well known in town as a house that once would host grand balls and parties for the town. But is nothing more than a shell of its former glorious self. Soon Jackson finds himself diving deep within the mystery of Gladstone Manor and its owner Brooke Langley.

Brooke Langley’s life at Gladstone Manor at one time was wonderful and she enjoyed the many memories she had as a child, watching the many people coming to the parties and balls that her parents would give. But a tragic accident leaves Brooke in seclusion, afraid of what the world outside of the Manor would think of her now. It isn’t until Jackson Belle comes into her life and shows her that someone does care that slowly starts to come out to the world and soon finds true love as well.


“Let me ask you this, do you remember Mr. Langley’s daughter?”

“You mean, Brooke,” Jackson’s mother interjected as she came in with a tray holding Howard’s lunch.

“Brooke, that’s her name, right?”

“Oh yes, I remember Brooke, she was such a sweet child. Always smiling and making everybody around her laugh. Such a beautiful child with so much life in her until that evil woman of a stepmother messed her up. I remember Walter was so heartbroken by what happened. He knew they didn’t get along because they were like oil and water, they just didn’t mix well. She hated Brooke because she was the apple of Walter’s eye and a constant reminder of her late mother. She got more of his attention and her stepmother hated her with a passion because of that. When she had the accident, her father had her going to all kinds of doctors and surgeons, even sent her to Europe to see a specialist who dealt with people in her situation. After Walter died, she stayed in Europe for the longest time. Some people thought that she had passed away but then one day, word got out that groceries and other things were being delivered to the Manor.” She stared at the photo of Brooke by the fountain.

That entire day while at his father’s, they both worked on the plans for the garden. He would go from his father’s work area to his father’s bedroom to see what he thought of the plans so far.

“Sweetheart, you have a phone call. I think it’s from the Manor,” Nancy said, popping her head in the room while Jackson drew on the blueprint.

Picking up the phone, Jackson said, “Hello.”

“Hello, Mr. Belle, this is Brooke Langley calling,” a soft, mellow voice said on the other end.

“Hello, Ms. Langley, it’s nice to finally hear from you. How are you?”

“Fine, thank you, I talked with Nora and I just wanted to see what your point of view on the condition of the garden.”

“Well, I will tell you that it needs plenty of work but it’s a job that I look forward to starting. I am always up for a challenge. I told Nora I wanted you to make a list of things you might want to see in your garden. Have you started yet?”

“Yes, I have. I was trying to go by memory, but there’s plenty I want to add. I have to say I’m pretty excited that this is being done. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen the garden the way it was before.”

Her voice entranced Jackson. “I can come get the list from you if you want. That way, I can show you what I have so far.” Jackson replied, hoping she would agree to meet in person.

At first, he heard nothing and thought that maybe she hung up the phone. “Hello? Are you there, Ms. Langley?”

“Yes, I’m still here. I don’t think it would be a good idea to meet just yet. I can have Nora give you the list when you get here, if that’s all right?”

“That would be just fine, Ms. Langley. But I do hope to get the chance to actually see you one of these days, face to face.”

“Take care, Mr. Belle.” She hung up.

The conversation left Jackson with a sense of accomplishment in what he’d done so far. Also, he felt curious, wondering who the woman behind the voice was.

Buy links:
Amazon US: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00VPPXAD8
Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B00VPPXAD8…
Kobo: https://store.kobobooks.com/…/e…/the-lady-of-gladstone-manor

Connect with Jamallah:
Facebook Author Page
Amazon Author Page
Barnes and Noble Author Page

Apr 01

#ListMission: Today’s Playlist – April 1

I’ve embarked on a new project – making lists.  It’s a fun way to fill the time between more lengthy blog posts and it gives me the chance to pause a little and do a little digital scrap booking.  Keep an eye on this space!



Mar 27

Five Fierce Women of March – Entertainment Edition

March is a huge birthday month in my house.  Two of my three children were born in March, I’m at the end of March, and many of my favorite women (and men) were born in March.  Since March is a focus on Women’s History, let’s take a look at five of them.

Chaka Khan

Chaka Khan!

From Wikipedia:  Chaka Khan was born Yvette Marie Stevens on March 23, 1953 into an artistic, bohemian household in Chicago, Illinois. She was the eldest of five children to Charles Stevens and Sandra Coleman, and has described her father Charles as a beatnik and her mother as ‘able to do anything’ (bolding mine)


 Gloria Swanson

Gloria Swanson

From Wikipedia:   an American actress, singer, and producer perhaps best known for her role as Norma Desmond, a reclusive silent film star, in the critically acclaimed 1950 film, Sunset Boulevard. She was one of the most prominent stars during the silent film era as both an actress and a fashion icon, especially under the direction of Cecil B. DeMille.

 Diana Ross

Diana Ross

From Wikipedia:   an American singer, actress, record producer and an occasional songwriter. Born and raised in Detroit, she rose to fame as a founding member and lead singer of the vocal group the Supremes, which, during the 1960s, became Motown’s most successful act and is to this day America’s most successful vocal group as well as one of the world’s best-selling girl groups of all time. As part of the Supremes, Ross most notably rivaled the career of the Beatles in worldwide popularity…(bolding mine)


Joan Crawford

Joan Crawford

From Wikipedia:   a noted, Oscar-winning American film and television actress who started as a dancer and stage chorine.

She also, reportedly, disliked wire hangers……(not from Wikipedia)

Aretha Franklin

Aretha Franklin

Can’t leave out the Queen of Soul!  Always imitated, never duplicated, her voice soars above the rest.  Don’t believe me?  Listen to her version of Dr. Feelgood and if you’re not throwing your hands up for #church by the end of the song, then you are dead inside and might want to be checked for zombie-itis.


Go….be inspired!


Mar 26

Featured Author: Eden Royce – Open All Hours (Carnival Magic 2)

This is fresh off the press, new release this very day!  I have had the distinct pleasure of beta reading this author’s work and I am eager to read her newest story.  Yes, I have tendency to prattle on and on, but I’m going to – barely – restrain myself and let the work speak for itself.

Title:  Open All Hours (Carnival Magic 2)

Author:  Eden Royce

Publisher:  Changeling Press

Genre: Paranormal Romance

Theme: Interracial/MultiCultural, Shapeshifters (Other), Magic, Big Beautiful Women

Series: Carnival Magic (#2)

Length: Novella

Page Count: 72

Blurb: Leesa Cobb has been cursed to shift form into a black cat. Can Vol, the owner of a nearby diner and a grizzly bear shifter himself, help her reverse the spell?

If not, can he convince Leesa that he wants her — no matter what her species?


“Aw, darlin’, how’d you get in here?”

The small black cat let Vol reach down and slide his huge hand under her fuzzy belly. Once he made contact, it seemed to startle her into movement.

“No, you don’t.” He caught her mid-leap and brought her to his massive chest. “I’m not going to hurt you, little one.”

The cat trembled in his grip and looked down, then back up, giving a forlorn cry. He rubbed under its furry neck and was rewarded with a short rumbling purr. No collar, and while its body was light, it was sleek and muscular. So, it wasn’t a stray. He’d keep an eye out for whoever the little beauty belonged to. There was no way he was going to leave it to the October night. The temperature was plummeting and people had a suspicion of black cats. He knew as well as anyone that people tend to destroy what they didn’t understand. As he looked into the kitten’s frightened eyes and gently loosened her tiny claws from his T-shirt, he knew he wouldn’t let that happen to her.

Her? He hadn’t checked the little cat to find out her gender, but something just felt right to refer to her as a female. What was he going to do about keeping her until he could find her a home? He lived over the diner and health inspectors tended to drop in at any moment. Vol felt a tremor in the cat’s hollow belly and gave a chuckle. “Well, at least I can find you something to eat. The special’s tuna.”

Inside the restaurant was warm and well lit, the décor a fifties theme, complete with turquoise vinyl bar stools and a functioning jukebox. Earth Angel played from the speakers, the classic song covered quite well by a modern band. The wait staff was also modern in their choice to mix tattoos and piercings with biker and rockabilly clothing. A server came by with a full face of pinup girl makeup and a bald, tattooed skull. The low hum of chatter mixed with the sizzle from the flat-top grill, and the scent of seared meat made the kitten wail again.

“Two Tone!” Vol yelled from the back doorway.

A black man turned from the grill at the sound of his name. A large irregularly shaped mark covered one side of his cheek and descended to part of his neck in pale, white skin. “Yo, Vol. You been out there sleeping or something?” Tone looked around the wall that separated the kitchen from the back door.

“No, man. Something else entirely.” He pulled the struggling kitten closer to his chest. “We got any more tuna?”

The cat hissed, pushing away from the Vol’s chest with its front paws.

“Yeah, we got some.” He gestured toward the animal. “But I don’t think he’s cool with fish.”

“She,” Vol corrected, unsure of why he did so.

Buy links:  Open All Hours – Buy Now!

*Will be updated when other buy links come out – right now it’s exclusive to Changeling Press!

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