Book Review

Book Review: Pet Sematary

I recently saw some previews for the new film adaptation of Pet Sematary and it made me realize I had never actually read it. I have a huge amount of respect for Stephen King and all that he’s done for the horror genre, but his writing style isn’t always my favorite, especially in his longer, more recent books. Still, since this one is Classic King, I thought I’d give it a try before seeing the movie!

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I truly believe that this is one of King’s best! It doesn’t quite reach the level of my top three favorite King stories: It, The Shining, and ‘Salem’s Lot – but it was still a very enjoyable reading experience. Generally, the premise is about a young family that moves to a small town shrouded in local legend about a Native American cemetery with powers to raise the dead. I’ll avoid giving too many details because I abhor spoilers.

Overall, this novel proves that King is a master of suspense and foreshadowing. Coming in at about 400 pages, this book was much longer than it needed to be (which is another trademark of Stephen King), yet just when the story was seeming to drag too much, hints of future horror were dropped in expert fashion. It was absolutely enough to keep the momentum and intrigue.

I was surprised at how long the buildup took before we got to the crux of the story. Much of the beginning half is devoted to intricate character development, which I did like (but which I know many will not). When we finally get to the story’s climax, the rest of the book felt rushed compared to the slow pacing of the beginning, but it still left me with that great eerie feeling long after the last page. Now, I’m super excited to see the two film adaptations as I know this plot really lends itself to a more visual medium!

I definitely recommend this one to readers looking for Classic King nostalgia (before his books became all 600+ pages) and to those who like moderately frightening horror with strong character development!

Thanks for reading,

Tiffany Renee Harmon

Movie Review

31 Days of Halloween: It (2017)

For Day 19 of 31 Days of Halloween, we have another movie based off of a Stephen King novel: It. This newest version is so much closer to the book than the Tim Curry version. I love how terrifying but whimsical the villain of Pennywise is in this film, and I can’t wait for part two to come out!

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IMDB’s Description: “In the summer of 1989, a group of bullied kids band together to destroy a shapeshifting monster, which disguises itself as a clown and preys on the children of Derry, their small Maine town.”

This is a fabulous adaptation! It’s genuinely scary and visually very interesting. If you’re afraid of clowns, prepare to lose some sleep for sure! But that’s not all that this film has to offer. The eclectic bunch of kids that band together are a truly lovable group of misfits, and this makes you really want to root for them!

Movie Review

31 Days of Halloween: The Shining (1980)

For Day 12 of my 31 Days of Halloween, I have another movie based on a Stephen King novel: The Shining. Adapted and directed by Stanley Kubrick, this has become one of the most iconic horror movies ever.

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IMDB’s Description: “A family heads to an isolated hotel for the winter where an evil spiritual presence influences the father into violence, while his psychic son sees horrific forebodings from the past and of the future.”

While the movie has a lot of differences from the book, it is still fantastic. There’s something really terrifying about being isolated, and that’s exactly where this family is at. Is this madness cabin fever or something even more sinister? Overall, this is a visually stunning movie with lots of frightening moments.

Movie Review

31 Days of Halloween: Misery (1990)

Sometimes, realistic things are the scariest. While vampires and werewolves might be fictitious, psychopaths and the deranged definitely are real. I think that’s why Misery was such a great movie (and book!) This is my pick for Day 11 of my 31 Days of Halloween.

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IMDB Description: “After a famous author is rescued from a car crash by a fan of his novels, he comes to realize that the care he is receiving is only the beginning of a nightmare of captivity and abuse.”

First, Kathy Bates is a fantastic actress, so this is worth seeing just to watch her in this role. Also, this is one of the least scary movies on my list, but I wanted to include it because it’s just psychologically interesting. Real people can be every bit as horrifying and damaged as this woman. It’s a fascinating analysis of what might constitute a number 1 fan of something. Sometimes, people just break loose from reality in their mind and there can be terrifying results.

Book Review

My Favorite Horror Novels

Halloween is about a month away. To celebrate, I’ll be doing a “31 Days of Halloween” series where I talk about my 31 favorite Halloween movies. Since that’s going to be taking up all of October, I thought I’d end September with mentioning some of my favorite horror novels:

 

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‘Salem’s Lot by Stephen King

This is King’s take on vampires, and it’s for sure one of his best works. I love that he took the traditional vampire mythos and allusions to Dracula while still putting his original spin on it. It feels very familiar to those who like classic vampires, but there’s still a whole second layer.

 

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Ring by Koji Suzuki

It’s commonly known that the Ring movie franchise was inspired by the Japanese movie, but that movie was actually inspired by a book series! This is the first in an excellent series of Japanese horror novels (which deviate quite a bit from the films). I just couldn’t put them down.

 

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We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver

While this may not traditionally be considered horror, it talks about a realistic horror: school shootings. This is one of the most interesting books I’ve ever read, and it deals a lot with the psychology of evil, specifically nature versus nurture.

 

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The Ruins by Scott Smith

In this unique horror story, some vacationers encounter killer plants in the Mexican jungle. Yes, I admit that that sounds ridiculous, but this was actually a super interesting book about much more than external horror. It had a surprising amount of character development too.

 

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Help for the Haunted by John Searles

This book is classified as both mystery and horror. It’s about a girl named Sylvie whose parents were traveling paranormal investigators who helped spirits cross over. After their deaths, Sylvie copes with their loss as well as the loss of her own childhood. As she tries to come to terms with everything that has happened, she must discover whether her parents were truly gifted or were just clever con artists. Is she being haunted by something otherworldly or hunted by someone very much alive?

 

Well, I’ll be back tomorrow with the start of “31 Days of Halloween” so stay tuned for more spooky recommendations!

Thanks for reading,

Tiffany