Tag: 5 stars

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween! This is one of my favorite times of year: Everyone is happy, dressed up, and high on candy. We also had corn mazes, haunted houses, and cooler weather.  (Well not the cooler weather this year…)  Today Kim reviews The Exorcist and gives a video movie comparison! 

The Exorcist
Author: William Peter Blatty
Published: 1971
385 Pages

Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 5 stars

Book Description:

Originally published in 1971, The Exorcist is now a major television series on FOX. It remains one of the most controversial novels ever written and went on to become a literary phenomenon: It spent fifty-seven weeks on the New York Times bestseller list, seventeen consecutively at number one. Inspired by a true story of a child’s demonic possession in the 1940s, William Peter Blatty created an iconic novel that focuses on Regan, the eleven-year-old daughter of a movie actress residing in Washington, D.C. A small group of overwhelmed yet determined individuals must rescue Regan from her unspeakable fate, and the drama that ensues is gripping and unfailingly terrifying.

Two years after its publication, The Exorcist was, of course, turned into a wildly popular motion picture, garnering ten Academy Award nominations. On opening day of the film, lines of the novel’s fans stretched around city blocks. In Chicago, frustrated moviegoers used a battering ram to gain entry through the double side doors of a theater. In Kansas City, police used tear gas to disperse an impatient crowd who tried to force their way into a cinema. The three major television networks carried footage of these events; CBS’s Walter Cronkite devoted almost ten minutes to the story. The Exorcist was, and is, more than just a novel and a film: it is a true landmark.

Purposefully raw and profane, The Exorcist still has the extraordinary ability to disturb readers and cause them to forget that it is “just a story.” The Exorcist remains an unforgettable reading experience and will continue to shock and frighten a new generation of readers.

Kim’s Review:

The perfect scary story for all horror fans! There aren’t too many that I can say that about, but with The Exorcist, I have no doubts. It is classic horror at its finest. I first listened to this book on audio back when I was working at the car dealership and I had to stop my work, take my headphones off, and check to make sure that the sun was still shining and I wasn’t alone in the office! It was that creepy! The movie is almost as good and will go down in history as one of the most classic and terrifying horror movies of all time. My mom has always said that we were never allowed to watch it and when she saw it in the theater when it first came out, she had nightmares and never really recovered from it. She’s avoided pretty much all horror ever since.

I wanted to read the physical book for a while and when I saw it at Barnes and Noble, the mood hit me and I started reading. Strangely enough, it’s an incredibly easy book to read. I read it in less than 48 hours and I lost a couple hours in between. I was absolutely engrossed. There is so much implied horror and that seems to be the scariest element within the story. The church desecration and terror of Merrin at the archeological dig in the Middle East are fascinating and terrifying. But the characterization of Regan while she is possessed and strapped to her bed is easily the most intense in the book. The little girl who is wasting away and sitting in her own vomit and excrement is one of the most powerful scenes I’ve ever read.

Father Karras might just be one of my favorite characters in literature. He’s comforting, sympathetic, empathetic, and likable all at once. Overall, The Exorcist is a book I believe every adult should read, even those who aren’t necessarily horror fans. This is also the perfect book to introduce the horror genre to those who have never tried it. I absolutely recommend it and the movie!


Kim’s Movie Comparison:

Purchase Links:
Novel
Amazon US
Amazon UK
Movie
Amazon US
Amazon UK

Whatever you do, have fun and be safe tonight! Me, I’ll be watching a scary movie after work!

It’s Time For Some Poe!

Today Kim shares with us some mini-reviews of a few of Edgar Allan Poe’s writings. She also does a video film comparison of a movie based off one of his short stories!

Today she reviews:
The Tell-Tale Heart
The Masque of the Red Death
Some Account of Stonehenge, The Giant’s Dance
The System of Doctor Tarr and Professor Fether

The Tell-Tale Heart
Kim’s Rating: 5 Stars

The Tell-Tale Heart” is a short story by Edgar Allan Poe first published in 1843. It follows an unnamed narrator who insists on his sanity after murdering an old man with a “vulture eye”. The murder is carefully calculated, and the murderer hides the body by cutting it into pieces and hiding it under the floorboards. Ultimately the narrator’s guilt manifests itself in the hallucination that the man’s heart is still beating under the floorboards.

Kim’s Review:

Such a great look at guilt! Once the murder is committed, the narrator is nearly driven mad by his own guilt, manifesting in the loud beating heart under the floorboards! And then, like icing on cake, he throws in some hubris! The narrator has it all under control, until the cops show up and then he literally gives himself away! Excellent short story that everyone should read!

 

The Masque of the Red Death   
Kim’s Rating: 5 Stars

A short story by Edgar Allan Poe about a wealthy prince who hides out at a masquerade ball with other wealthy nobles in order to avoid the plague known as “Red Death.”

Kim’s Review:
A classic tale of hubris and irony! Also one of those stories that teachers love to dissect and analyze. I remember reading it back in school and trying to figure out the meaning behind all the colors of the rooms … I still don’t know, but I don’t think I’m missing much! However this is a chilling tale that has crazy imagery that gives me goosebumps! You can’t run from death, so don’t even try!

 

Some Account of Stonehenge, The Giant’s Dance 
Kim’s Rating: 4 Stars

An informative article about the possible origins and functions of Stonehenge.

Kim’s Review:
Poe wrote a historical article about Stonehenge and I found it fascinating! This piece is far from his normal dark fiction, but it is well done and informative. He sticks with facts and we’ll documented speculation from respected historians and ancient writings. My one issue is in his introduction, which is where a writer’s creativity belongs in a work of non-fiction. And I will admit it’s just my personal preference based on my own experience with Stonehenge. I went to Stonehenge with very low expectations, very much like Poe’s view. However, I left with a sense of wonder! There’s something so ancient and magical about Stonehenge and I’m left wondering if Poe had actually been to or seen Stonehenge. But, he didn’t let this color his facts in anyway and gave an impartial view. Very good article!

 

The System of Doctor Tarr and Professor Fether        
Kim’s Rating: 5 Stars

The System of Doctor Tarr and Professor Fether is a dark comedy short story by the American author Edgar Allan Poe. The story follows an unnamed narrator who visits a mental institution in southern France known for a revolutionary new method of treating mental illnesses called the “system of soothing”. A companion with whom he is travelling knows Monsieur Maillard, the originator of the system, and makes introductions before leaving the narrator. The narrator is shocked to learn that the “system of soothing” has recently been abandoned. He questions this, as he has heard of its success and popularity, but Maillard tells him to “believe nothing you hear, and only one half that you see”.

Kim’s Review:
Such a simple tale, yet so effective!! Poe in his typical dark style, tells a story of an asylum where a different sort of treatment is used. One of acceptance and comfort. Pretty unheard of for this time so naturally I’m curious and reveling in the setting!! For such a short story, the twist is nuts … pardon the pun! It’s an amazing story that shows Poe’s genius! It’s easy to read and quick to get through! I absolutely recommend it to everyone!

 

The System of Doctor Tarr and Professor Fether by Edgar Allan Poe vs. Stonehearst Asylum starring Kate Beckinsale and Ben Kingsley Movie Comparison:

Purchase Link:
The Complete Tales and Poems of Edgar Allan Poe
(Barnes & Noble Collectible Edition)

 

 

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Short Story Sunday: A Double Review of Shirley Jackson’s The Lottery and Movie Comparison

Today Kim and I bring you a double review of Shirley Jackson’s classic short story The Lottery, and I also give a film comparison of the 1996 TV movie.

Author: Shirley Jackson
Published: June 26, 1948
Short Story

Short Story Description:

Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery” is a memorable and terrifying masterpiece, fueled by a tension that creeps up on you slowly without any clear indication of why. This is just a townful of people, after all, choosing their numbers for the annual lottery. What’s there to be scared of?

Kim’s Rating: 5 stars
Kim’s Review:

I love Shirley Jackson so much; she keeps getting better and better the more I read. The Lottery is one that sits quietly in anthologies and literature textbooks. We’ve all read it,  back in high school where we complained about the required reading. It wasn’t until I read it again as an adult that I really understood its value and potency. Everything about this story is unassuming, until you reach the end, when all hell breaks loose, but calmly and simply. And that’s how Jackson gets her readers. A little bit of discomfort here, a little bit of creepy there, but then when you see the bigger picture …mind blown. The Lottery is an extra layer of brilliance since the terror is hidden until Jackson is ready. You don’t see the problem until the end. And then, the goosebumps raise on your skin and the story sticks with you for days. Genius in every way!

Jessica’s Rating: 4 Stars
Jessica’s Review:

I read this one back in high school and really enjoyed the story.  As an adult I still enjoy it. What does that say about me???? LOL.  The Lottery is a classic short story and Shirley Jackson has influenced so many authors today. Not popular at the time it was written, The Lottery shows the mob mentality and how ‘tradition’ keeps going despite not knowing where it started and why it continues.  This short story moves at a quick pace and there are signs showing what is to come, but until you reach the end you don’t see it for what it is. 

This is one lottery you don’t want to win! I also realize that I need to read more by Shirley Jackson….


1996 TV Movie Comparison

Jessica’s Rating: 4 Stars

**I was unable to find a trailer of the movie, which is understandable as it was a tv movie.  I was able to find the movie poster**

I watched the tv movie version from 1996. I watched this as a teen and remember enjoying it and also enjoyed it as an adult. This version stars Dan Cortese (I have no idea who he is), Keri Russell (Felicity) , and William Daniels( Mr. Feeny!!!) Again, what does it say that I enjoyed this film?!?!?  I can’t help it that I enjoy dark situations that could actually happen! 

You can’t really compare this film to the short story: It takes Shirley Jackson’s story and brings it to present day (in 1996) and builds upon the story.  Jason Smith’s dad just passed away and there is a mystery to his mom’s death when he was a child. Jason’s father wanted his ashes poured over his wife’s grave, thus begins Jason’s journey to Small Town America (New Hope) and a journey he never expected, including a romance with a small town girl torn between family and tradition and an altogether possible different life. 

Despite the cheesiness of the Lifetime-esque movie, it still has aged relatively well and does the Shirley Jackson short story proud. 

Purchase Links:
short story

Amazon US
Amazon UK

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