Horror

Top Ten Books/Movies I Want To Watch To Get Into The Halloween Spirit

Top Ten Books/Movies I Want To Watch To Get

Into the Halloween Spirit

50ab0-toptentuesdayTop Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish. Every Tuesday, participating book bloggers blog about their top ten lists.


I’m a total wimp when it comes to horror movies.

I was scared of Coraline in 4th grade. The Conjuring, which honestly was not that scary, freaked me out so much. I can’t do jump scares. I can’t do creepy as eff faces. I hide even when I know there is a jump scare. But  I suppose, to “get into the Halloween spirit” I’ll have to list some of them.

Truth be told, I was never really a huge fan of Halloween anyways.

My thanks to my friend who gave me a list of some good horror movies.


1. Nightmare Before Christmas

This was her first suggestion and I actually do want to watch this. Our conversation went as follows:

Her: “You have to watch Nightmare Before Christmas!

Me: “Isn’t that a Christmas movie?”

Her: “You loser, it’s not just a Christmas movie! They literally have that “This is Halloween” song in the beginning.”

Me: “Okay then”.

So this is on here because apparently it’s a Halloween movie and I actually do want to watch it. *shrugs*

2. Halloweentown

Don’t judge me. I used to watch all of the Disney Channel Halloween movie specials back when I had cable. I’d love to watch this movie now just to figure out if it’s as good as I remember it being. Gotta love the witches right?

(And it’s one the only things on this list that isn’t remotely scary)

3. Vampire Academy

The book, not the movie. It has vampires and paranormal figures are associated with Halloween amiright? I’m 100 pages into this book and I can say that it’s definitely not what I expected from it. I’m not really sure if it’ll “get me into the Halloween spirit” but I guess it should qualify.

4. Blood of My Blood

It be the third I Hunt Killers book. I got it from the library this weekend. It has serial killers and blood and should qualify as a gruesome if not scary read. And I really want to read it.

5. Any and all Neil Gaiman books

I love Neil Gaiman’s books. Coraline was amazing and The Graveyard Book was even better. His books are always sort of creepy in some way and definitely good for Halloween. I’d be okay with rereading his old books or any other ones.

My Friend’s Lovely Suggestions (AKA stuff that’s going to seriously scare me)

6. The Silence of the Lambs

I kind of don’t want to ever see this but I have a feeling I’ll be forced to watch it in it’s entirety at least once before I’m out of highschool. Cannibals are ew and a horror movie like this one will likely give me nightmares about Hannibal Lector crawling through my window to eat me.

7. Black Swan

This one I am okay with because I actually do like ballet and dancing (If you haven’t noticed by the name of my blog). I think I’ve seen tidbits of it too. And I think this one probably isn’t as scary as the other ones. I hope not.

8. Stephen King books

I have never read a King novel although it is on my reading bucket list. My friend suggested The Tommyknockers, but after reading the synopsis I was kind of turned off by it. I’m not too big of a sci-fi fan. Maybe I’ll read one of his more popular novels like It or The Shining.

(I’ll probably get nightmares from reading his books)

I’m going to count the King and Gaiman one as two each because technically, they both encompass a large number of books.

Any suggestions for Halloween-themed novels or movies?

The Monstrumologist – Rick Yancey

The Monstrumologist

The Monstrumologist (The Monstrumologist, #1)

Author: Rick Yancey

Series: The Monstrumologist #1

Publish Date: September 22nd, 2009

Genre: Horror, YA, Paranormal, Historical Fiction

These are the secrets I have kept. This is the trust I never betrayed. But he is dead now and has been for more than forty years, the one who gave me his trust, the one for whom I kept these secrets. The one who saved me . . . and the one who cursed me.

So starts the diary of Will Henry, orphaned assistant to Dr. Pellinore Warthorpe, a man with a most unusual specialty: monstrumology, the study of monsters. In his time with the doctor, Will has met many a mysterious late-night visitor, and seen things he never imagined were real. But when a grave robber comes calling in the middle of the night with a gruesome find, he brings with him their most deadly case yet.

A gothic tour de force that explores the darkest heart of man and monster and asks the question: When does man become the very thing he hunts?


Review

Before I start this review, I have to say a few things regarding The Monstrumologist.

Firstly, I picked this book for a school book report and that I read it because every other girl in my English class was reading some sort of contemporary novel (and it was on my neverending to-be-read list). The next couple of posts on my blog will be related to this book because one of the options for the projects were to create a series of blog posts. They’ll cover a variety of topics from symbolism, theme, to other aspects of the novel. Needless to say, there will most definitely be spoilers. I’ll do my best to try to censor or warn but my teacher is going to read this so I’m sorry in advance if you get spoiled.

Maybe I’ll turn this into a sort of book feature. “Deconstructing a Novel” or something like that.

But yes, onto the review.

I was so so so excited to read The Monstrumologist. It had been on my to-be-read list for a while and omigod the premise sounds amazing. It mixes historical fiction (which I love) and monsters and it sounded really good. And I’m happy that I picked this one. I really enjoyed reading The Monstrumologist but there were a few problems here and there that I had with it.

Obviously it’s going to be completely fictional so any qualms I had about how realistic it would be flew out the window. Sure, I questioned the relationship between Will Henry and Dr. Warthrop (*cough child labor cough*) but in a world with monsters, why not?

It’s classified as a horror novel, yet never once did I ever feel scared. The Anthropophagi are depicted as fierce, man-eating beasts with long claws, huge jaws, and the ability to jump forty feet high. While the monsters and setting are fantastically described, the mood and suspense fell flat. The mood did feel historic (as the book is set in the 1800s) but there was a noticeable lack of suspense and fear. In my opinion, had Yancey had this aspect, the novel would have been even better than it was. While this book was missing this one emotion, it did have some pretty gory scenes in which I felt disgust (reading about worms come out of some nasty sores? ew.)

Additionally, the book started to really drag about halfway through. It had already been a slow book but it had really start to become boring at this point. The Monstrumologist chronicles the entire Anthropophagi case, from the moment Will Henry and Warthrop discover the first death to the aftermath of the case. As a result, the moments that are less suspenseful and exciting became extremely slow and were the reason that it took me so long to finish it. Would it surprise you if I said that entire 450ish-page book happens over the course of 2ish weeks? It feels like their expedition would have taken so much longer when you read it but it’s just how slow the plot progresses.

The characters are characterized very well. I have a love-hate relationship with Warthrop at the moment. I adore his eccentric personality but I hated some of the things he did and said to Will Henry. He was portrayed as a hard-working man that didn’t understand people emotionally. His backstory did explain why he was like that though. His change over the course of the book was simply great. He grew to learn how to understand people a little more, especially Will Henry, and I enjoyed reading about the progression and changes in his character over the course of the book.

He had a catch-phrase which some people might have found annoying. Contrary to this, it made me smile every time I read it.

“Will Henry!” floated his call through the open basement door. “Will Henry, where are you? Snap to, Will Henry!” Page 38

The main character, Will Henry, is a 12-year-old boy, orphaned a mere year earlier. He has been taken in as Dr. Warthrop’s apprentice and is the author of the journals. The book is entirely from his point-of-view. Will Henry was an interesting character. Although he isn’t forced to stay with Dr. Warthrop, in fact, he’s been asked many times during the book if he wants to live with a foster home instead, he stays with Dr. Warthrop for reasons unknown to the reader at the beginning of the novel. His reasons and desires for staying are complicated and also related to his back-story. While the writing and language is significantly more mature in terms of vocabulary and word choice than a 12-year-old would have, it can be attributed to the fact that these journals had been penned years after the incidents had happened. His character was also portrayed very well.

I wasn’t satisfied with the ending. The epilogue felt rushed and cheesy compared to the rest of the book. It flashed back to the future, the same setting as the prologue, right after the man (he’s unnamed in the book) has finished reading the journals. It was fine up until the last two pages. Then the events that transpire feel like a cop-out. Yancey ended it with a scene that felt unfinished and a quote! I would have been perfectly okay with it if there had been no prologue or epilogue. I felt that they didn’t contribute to the story of Dr. Warthrop and Will Henry. The ending of the last chapter before the prologue felt like a more appropriate ending.

About halfway through the book, I realized that this was the same author that wrote The 5th Wave. While I haven’t read that one yet, I’ve been hearing a lot of good things about it and after reading The Monstrumologist, my expectations have skyrocketed. I will be picking up the sequel, The Curse of the Wendigo as well.

4/5 Stars

Welcome to the Dark House – Laurie Faria Stolarz

Welcome to the Dark House

Welcome to the Dark House

Author: Laurie Faria Stolarz

Series: Welcome to the Dark House #1

Publish Date: July 22nd, 2014

Genre: Horror, YA, Thriller, Mystery

What’s your worst nightmare?

For Ivy Jensen, it’s the eyes of a killer that haunt her nights. For Parker Bradley, it’s bloodthirsty sea serpents that slither in his dreams.

And for seven essay contestants, it’s their worst nightmares that win them an exclusive, behind-the-scenes look at director Justin Blake’s latest, confidential project. Ivy doesn’t even like scary movies, but she’s ready to face her real-world fears. Parker’s sympathetic words and perfect smile help keep her spirits up. . . at least for now.

Not everyone is so charming, though. Horror-film fanatic Garth Vader wants to stir up trouble. It’s bad enough he has to stay in the middle of nowhere with this group—the girl who locks herself in her room; the know-it-all roommate; “Mister Sensitive”; and the one who’s too cheery for her own good. Someone has to make things interesting.

Except, things are already a little weird. The hostess is a serial-killer look-alike, the dream-stealing Nightmare Elf is lurking about, and the seventh member of the group is missing.

By the time Ivy and Parker realize what’s really at stake, it’s too late to wake up and run.


Review

This was one of my first times reading a horror YA novel because I’m pretty sure that Mary Downing Hahn doesn’t count (She’s fab). Welcome to the Dark House was decidedly not scary in any way which is a shame because although I don’t like horror, if I’m reading a horror novel, I expect to be scared. The tone of the writing lacked the creep factor that would have made me scared. Instead of actually being terrified, I felt pity for the characters and I’m fairly certain that pity isn’t supposed to be the main emotion felt during horror.

Nonscary factor aside, I actually enjoyed this novel. Although I guessed the purpose of the contest less than a hundred pages in, I found the novel interesting. But by the end, I was kind of disappointed and wished that I had picked a different book to introduce me to the genre (but can you blame me for picking this book based on the cover and synopsis?)

The writing is confusing. It changes between seven different point-of-views and it’s very difficult to distinguish between each one. Many times, I’d be halfway through a chapter in Frankie’s POV and forget that it was him. Even Garth, the guy that’s supposed to be “creepy” and “trouble-making” sounds the same as Ivy, who is the complete opposite.

The characterization is also sloppily done most likely a result of the seven different POVs and the fact that every one sounds exactly the same. It’s shallowly done for some, a little better for others based on what their fear was. But even so, in the end, I felt like I barely knew who they were. I could care less if they died or not.

The plot was slow. Half of the book was spent setting up the contest and foreshadowing the bad events that are to come. However, I feel like Stolarz didn’t utilize this to the best of her ability, evidently seen in the characterization and the lackluster tone. Isn’t the introduction to the action supposed to make the reader feel uneasy? The book just seemed to lack the “umph” factor that would have made the reader scared. And then that ending. What the heck was that ending? It was rushed and squeezed into the last forty pages and a lot happened in those forty pages. The book is obviously set up for a sequel and one that I’m looking forward to reading only so that I can see what happens to the last people standing. I really liked how Stolarz used the seven fear essays as the epilogue even if it also really annoyed me because I wanted to know more.

3/5 Stars