Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween!!!!!

Happy Halloween everyone!!!! I hope everyone has a very scary holiday. I am going to my brother's house for a spooky dinner and won't be dressed up. Boo. :(

But, on Monday, I shall share the first pumpkin I have ever carved (it's a misfit, deformed pumpkin) and my experience in Las Vegas (the first time I'll be leaving California!!!) at the Trinity of Terrors Conventions at the Palms Casino. I hope it'll be awesome!!!!
***The above picture is from Roman Dirge's comic Lenore, which is darkly comic and just awesome. You need to check it out!! Here is Roman Dirge's official site.***

Monday, October 26, 2009

My Entries for Princess Bookie's Big Box Challenge

I have chosen to do two entries: one book cover recreation with my own photos and an original book cover based on the title of the book.

This is my own version of Fallen by Lauren Kate.

This is my recreation of I Kissed a Zombie and I Liked It by Adam Selzer. This is a picture of my boyfriend DJ and I that was taken at E's Zombie Fest.

If you would like to enter this contest or look at everyone else's entries, please go here.

E. Van Lowe's Zombie Fest!!

I had the wonderful opportunity to take part in an amazingly fun event this past Saturday: E. Van Lowe's Zombie Fest!! I went as Margot, the main character of Never Slow Dance with a Zombie and I brought my zombie boyfriend DJ (as Dirk from the novel). We arrived early so DJ could be made up by Cat Elrod, a very talented Hollywood makeup artist. Here she is, getting attacked by her own creations!

The event started with a grand opening of zombies in a mini dance to introduce E. Van Lowe. First, he did a reading from Never Slow Dance with a Zombie, starting from the part where Margot is fighting with her best friend, Sybil, and they discover that all of their classmates have turned into zombies. Then, there was a Q&A, where we learned a lot about E's writing process, his music selections, and his inner girl.

He also unveiled his next project: I Want You Back, a paranormal YA novella. This funny and thrilling and FREE eBook will become available to subscribers of E's website through e-mail every time a new chapter is available. This book will also be illustrated by E's friend, Tatiana, who I got to meet at the party. Meet Emy, the 16 year old protagonist
of the story:

To begin with, I’m not a nice girl. Don’t get me wrong, I used to be a nice girl. I used to be kind, and helpful, considerate and thoughtful. The kind of girl who went to all of her boyfriend’s games, even though she hates basketball; the kind of girl who helped her boyfriend study for his English final while she should have been studying for her own calculus final—and maybe she would have done better than that C; the kind of girl the boys at school lovingly call, oh, what’s that cute little name they have for us again? Oh, yes—Doormat.

I Want You Back is the story of 16 year-old, Emy Grant, who uses magic to ensnare the boy of her dreams.

It sounds great and I can't wait to read it!

After that, E signed books and there was a reception with yummy food and great people. Here are some other pictures I took:

DJ/Dirk is enjoying the brain/watermelon.

Some other zombies join in on the fun!

Margot looks terrified and E looks thoughtful as the zombie horde closes in on them...
DJ and I had a blast at this awesome party. I would like to congratulate E on the success of Never Slow Dance with a Zombie!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Saw VI: A Rant

First of all, I watched the first three Saw movies in the theater. The first one was really scary and was ALMOST good. The ending really killed it for me. It was laughable and just seemed as it needed to be hastily ended because they ran out of money or something. I went to the next two films in hopes that they would be better. They were not. They were boring, predictable, and unimaginative. Some of the traps are interesting: the backwards bear trap in the first film was amazing and the needle pit from the thrid film made me squirm. But these were a couple of shining moments in a generally mediocre series. I made a conscious effort not to see the other Saw movies because I don't want to reward mediocrity and give them enough money to make another installment. Normally, I'll pretty much go see any movie, even if it looks awful, because it's a fun experience to enjoy or tear apart a movie with my friends and family.

Now, all I see everywhere is Saw. On every horror movie site, on (badly done) TV commercials, in the newspaper, in magazines...What other horror movie has this much advertising? None that I know of. It upsets me that it's not even good horror that is getting this much exposure. In a few years, it will be viewed just like every other overdone horror franchise: the first one was ok, but the other ones really sucked. Really good, original, edgy horror movies, such as Grace, Trick 'r Treat, Let the Right One In, Deadgirl, Otis, and countless others have to struggle just to get a LIMITED theatrical release, let alone any TV spots. The only exception to this has been Paranormal Activity, which went from a couple of free screenings to a wide release based on fan interest. (I haven't seen this film yet, but plan to this Sunday.)

What really set me off to write this rant was Scott Sigler's article, Move Over Michael...Jigsaw is Horror's New King of the Kill. The Saw movies are going to be the biggest horror movie franchise in America when the new movie comes out (not taking into account inflation, so I refuse to acknowledge it as such). I hate the "Halloween is now synonymous not with a movie from the Halloween franchise (which would seem a no-brainer), but with Saw..." Thank you, Lionsgate, for making me suffer on my favorite holiday with your incessant, badly executed advertising.

I just have to shake my head at the fact that big studios will pretty much only make sequels and remakes instead of taking a chance on any type of horror film. I will go on looking for overlooked gems and going to see them at little theaters or conventions.

The Zombie Survival Guide: Recorded Attacks

Max Brook's newest installment of his zombie journalism series is a book of short stories in comic book form. This report is very enlightening, detailing the presence and outbreaks of the zombie virus throughout time. The narratives are arranged in chronological order, from 60,000 BC to AD 1992. The places of each incident are as diverse as the time periods, starting from Central Africa and ending in California. The important part of this text is how other cultures in different time periods reacted to and survived the zombie outbreak so we can learn from others' experiences when zombies attack our own cities.

I read this book in about a half an hour. This graphic novel is very fast read, but it packs a punch. It is indeed very graphic and not for the faint of heart. I don't think I've ever seen zombies drawn with such care and attention. Every sinew, bite, and bone is very detailed. The art is simply amazing. In my opinion, it might have been more powerful if it had been in color, but it's still enjoyable in black and white.

There is very light dialog and narrative, but the art shows you a lot of the story. A lot of narration isn't really necessary. It's a great way to utilize the form of a graphic novel. Each story has the same basic plot in that zombies attack and they must learn how to defeat them swiftly or face the same fate as their attackers. However, each had different characters and ways of dealing with them. I was impressed that so much can be told in a very short story. Each of the scenes were unique and evoked a different emotion. A couple made me laugh, but a some gave me a sick, sinking feeling in my stomach. (I love when I get that feeling from something I'm reading.) Most of those moments were because of the derangement and cruelty of man in events in history more than the zombies. My favorite story is the one about Ancient Egypt and the possible reason behind their traditional treatment of the dead.

I would recommend reading The Zombie Survival Guide and World War Z first, because this is a more of a supplementary text (and those two books are awesome), but I think it can still be enjoyed all by itself. I would recommend this to zombie fans with a high tolerance for gore.


Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Edgar Allan Poe

How could I post about Halloween and horror without mentioning Edgar Allan Poe? His stories and poems were my first introduction into the horror genre. My dad would read his works to me before I went to bed at night when I was little. He would read to me with such furvor, using different voices. I think he's part of the reason I love to read so much. This is my favorite poem by Edgar Allan Poe. The ending always gives me chills no matter how many times I read it.

Annabel Lee by Edgar Allan Poe

It was many and many a year ago,
In a kingdom by the sea,
That a maiden there lived whom you may know
By the name of ANNABEL LEE;--
And this maiden she lived with no other thought
Than to love and be loved by me.
She was a child and I was a child,
In this kingdom by the sea,
But we loved with a love that was more than love--
I and my Annabel Lee--
With a love that the winged seraphs of heaven
Coveted her and me.

And this was the reason that, long ago,
In this kingdom by the sea,
A wind blew out of a cloud by night
Chilling my Annabel Lee;
So that her high-born kinsman came
And bore her away from me,
To shut her up in a sepulchre
In this kingdom by the sea.

The angels, not half so happy in Heaven,
Went envying her and me:--
Yes! that was the reason (as all men know,
In this kingdom by the sea)
That the wind came out of a cloud, chilling
And killing my Annabel Lee.

But our love it was stronger by far than the love
Of those who were older than we--
Of many far wiser than we-
And neither the angels in Heaven above,
Nor the demons down under the sea,
Can ever dissever my soul from the soul
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee:--

For the moon never beams without bringing me dreams
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
And the stars never rise but I see the bright eyes
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
And so, all the night-tide, I lie down by the side
Of my darling, my darling, my life and my bride,
In her sepulchre there by the sea--
In her tomb by the side of the sea.

*The beautiful painting above is from dustfae on*

Edgar Allan Poe Part 2

Edgar Allan Poe also inspired other artists to create works of art.

Voltaire wrote a song about visiting Edgar Allan Poe's grave (which I totally want to do even if it is weird!!!), called Graveyard Picnic. It's full of references to Annabel, the Conqueror Worm, and so many other of Poe's works.

Many artists have captured the poem Annabel Lee in paintings and photomanipulations.

* The beautiful acrylic painting of Annabel Lee came from dustfae.

* The above photomanipulation was created by RavenxCorpse.

* Another awesome photomanipulation was created by miss-ninja.

* You can see other works at the gallery at

*All of these artists have accounts on If you like these works, please check out the rest of their galleries.*

There was even a Living Dead Doll made of Edgar Allan Poe and Annabel Lee (of which I am a proud owner). The Poe doll just looks so cute and sad. Aww.

There have been countless parodies and reimaginings of Poe's work for television. My favorite has to be the Raven from The Simpson's from the first Treehouse of Horror. Unfortunately, I could only find the audio of the clip. I actually first saw this in an English class in middle school.

Zombie Queen of Newbury High

Mia Everett could not believe her luck! The cutest boy in school, Rob, went on SIX dates with her and asked her to the prom! All of her dreams come tumbling down when pretty, popular, cheerleader Samantha Griffin sets her sights on him to get the prom queen tiara. She always gets what she wants. So, Mia is completely desperate and enlists the aid of her faithful (and hypochondriac) friend, Candice. Together, they procure a love spell and perform it at a school assembly. Mia is convinced that it worked because everyone is suddenly nice to her and bringing her lots of tasty treats. Later, she finds out from Chase Miller, undercover agent of the Department of Paranormal Containment, that it did, but not in a way that was expected. She inadvertently turned the senior class in to zombies AND they want to fatten her up and eat her! Can she reverse the spell before it's too late or will Chase have to kill the entire senior class? Will she still have a date to the prom?

This book was really light and fun. I've owned it for a while and when I finally got to it, I read it easily in a day. The language was very fluid and the story flowed very well. The characters all had defined and unique personalities. I think with this type of novel, it's easy to fall back on flat stereotypes, but Amanda Ashby seizes this opportunity to create likable and memorable characters. Mia is my favorite character. Despite her irrational, shallow behavior, I really like her. I relate to her because I too have an obsession with everything Joss Whedon and I wasn't very popular in high school. I had a lot of fun reading her story with all the references to pop culture and her sense of humor. Candice is also a great character, with her hypochondriac tendencies and high intelligence. Her quirkiness is so endearing. I really liked seeing great, detailed characters that still have flaws, but remain likable.

This novel, much like E. Van Lowe's Never Slow Dance with a Zombie, is not just about zombies (although zombies are still awesome). It's really about standing up for your own convictions and being an individual. Mia had to admit to herself that she liked a boy that may not have been as popular as Rob, but has more in common with her, knows her, and loves her for who she is. When trying to solve the problem she created, Mia shows great maturity and even forgets about the petty conflict between her and Samantha until Samantha keeps persisting. Mia shows growth through the novel and learns some valuable lessons.

Zombie Queen of Newbury High by Amanda Ashby was very fun and entertaining to read. There wasn't any zombie carnage, but there was humor, fun, and heart. I would recommend this to anyone, but especially those who aren't into gory horror.


Sunday, October 18, 2009


Alexia Tarabotti is a strong-willed and practical spinster, who lives in Victorian London. In addition to this, she is soulless and always carries around a sturdy parasol. It all starts when a rude, obviously new vampire has the audacity to attack her at a party. She ends up accidentally slaying the offending beast, which attracts the investigation of the infuriating and handsome Lord Maccon. It turns out there have been many vampires mysteriously appearing with no knowledge of proper etiquette and established vampires disappearing. Can they figure out who is behind the disappearances? Will Alexia and Lord Maccon ever get over the hedgehog incident?

I loved this book. Alexia was my favorite character by far. Her thought processes and observations were so funny and clinical. She was also reminiscent of Amelia Peabody from the series by Elizabeth Peters, which I also greatly enjoy. They are both strong female characters in a society where strength in the fairer sex is frowned upon and also use parasols as effective weapons.

The novel had a great blend of mystery, romance, science, and humor. The mystery was engrossing and I kept trying to predict what would happen next. I wasn't very successful, but the twists and turns were fun to read. I really enjoyed the romance between Lord Maccon and Alexia. I normally really hate werewolves because it seems like it's all about being super macho, power struggles within the pack, and the fact that women are usually seen as submissive in their society. This book is the antithesis of everything I despise about them. Lord Maccon and his packmates get along well and are strong without being overbearing. Women are respected and the men aren't even allowed to fight over them because of the shortage of werewolf women. I even liked the werewolf characters more than the vampires (except Lord Akeldama). It gives me a renewed interest in reading other novels about werewolves.

This book was great fun to read. I can't wait until the sequel, Changeless, comes out next year.

Blog With Bite

Friday, October 16, 2009

Classical Music for Halloween Part 2

My second classical piece to focus on is: Danse Macabre by Camille Saint-Saens!

The Dance of Death (or Danse Macabre in French) is a sort of celebration that originated in late Medieval era. It was an allegory in which they recognized the unity of all mankind through death. No matter what a person's station, social status, or wealth, everyone ends up in the same place. According to Wikipedia,"La Danse Macabre consists of the personified death leading a row of dancing figures from all walks of life to the grave, typically an emperor, king, youngster, and beautiful girl- all skeletal. They were produced to remind people of how fragile their lives and how vain the glories of earthly life were. Its origins are postulated from illustrated sermon texts; the earliest artistic examples are in a cemetery in Paris from 1424."

My favorite setting of this concept is that of Saint-Saens' tone poem for orchestra. The harp opens the piece playing 12 subsequent D's to signify a clock striking midnight. The opening violin solo acts as Death, calling forth the dead to dance for the night, until he lays them to rest until next year. The E string of the violin is actually tuned down to E flat to play the tritone chord, which was also known as the Devil's chord. The xylophone is used to call to mind the rattling of bones. The piece is just really fun! I could totally imagine this piece in The Graveyard Book during the Danse Macabre celebration in chapter 5, where the dead dance with the living. Please listen to the piece below and enjoy!

Who Killed Amanda Palmer?

Amanda Palmer is an incredibly talented singer, songwriter, and pianist. She is half of the punk cabaret duo, The Dresden Dolls, and has recently branched out with her own solo album, Who Killed Amanda Palmer. I have seen her in concert five times (both solo and with The Dresden Dolls) and she's simply amazing. She plays with such reckless abandon and passion and it charges her music. It is so unique compared to anything else I've ever heard. This beautiful and macabre book is the companion to her solo album. If you have no idea who she is and want to hear some of her music, here is her MySpace page and The Dresden Dolls' MySpace page.

I finally received this book after ordering it almost a year ago. Needless to say, I was so excited about getting the package that I might have scared the UPS man a tiny bit. The wait was worth it.

This is a beautiful coffee table-type book full of photographs of the dearly departed Amanda Palmer in various places and states of undress taken by a large variety of photographers. They are accompanied by wonderful short stories by Neil Gaiman and lyrics from Amanda Palmer's solo album. The photos are incredibly dynamic, each it's own little morbid and macabre vignette. Some of them are sad, funny, ironic, odd, beautiful, and gruesome, but all of them are unique. My favorite is of Amanda brandishing a sword triumphantly over her slaughtered, younger self.

Neil Gaiman's short stories are nothing short of genius. They go perfectly with the corresponding pictures. He utilizes different voices expertly to tell the story of a young girl with an abusive mother, a suicidal housewife, and others. The stories triggered strong responses in me. Some made me laugh out loud, but others disturbed and sickened me. It's amazing how such emotion and plot can be encompassed in so few words. The longest story is two pages, but each is like a window deep into each of Amanda Palmer's many deaths.

This awesome book is a great collaboration between two talented artists. It's a must-have for any Amanda F-ing Palmer or Neil Gaiman fan.


Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Ravenous: An Underrated Classic

Here's the plot summary from

Captain John Boyd receives a promotion after defeating the enemy command in a battle of the Mexican-American War, but because the general realizes it was an act of cowardice that got him there, he is given a backhanded promotion to Fort Spencer, where he is third in command. The others at the fort are two Indians, George and his sister, Martha, who came with the place, Chaplain Toffler, Reich, the soldier; Cleaves, a drugged-up cook; and Knox, who is frequently drunk. When a Scottish stranger named Colqhoun appears and recovers from frostbite almost instantly after being bathed, he tells a story about his party leader, Ives, eating members of the party to survive. As part of their duty, they must go up to the cave where this occurred to see if any have survived. Only Martha, Knox, and Cleaves stay behind. George warns that since Colqhoun admits to eating human flesh, he must be a Wendigo, a ravenous cannibalistic creature.

This film is one of my all-time favorites. Everything about this quirky little movie is perfect. The acting by everyone, especially Guy Pearce as our tortured hero and Robert Carlyle as our delightful cannibal, is superb. The group of ragtag misfits is completely believable and awkwardly endearing. The script is darkly comic, but holds up as a horror movie with suspense and a dash of gore. The soundtrack is innovative and unconventional. It's minimalistic with repeated musical ideas that build on one another. It creates tension in suspenseful moments very effectively. In a climactic chase scene, the music may seem inappropriate, but not if the focus is on the gleeful predator instead of the fearful prey.

When the film came out in 1999, it didn't do very well because of horrible marketing. I remember the first time I watched it with my sister, I was 14 and I felt slightly sick and uncomfortable. After a few more viewings, the movie became one of my favorites because of the mixture of humor and horror and the fact that after multiple viewings, I still find things I didn't notice before. This film was a big influence in my continued love of the horror genre and possibly the precursor for my love of zombies. This is definitely one of the best cannibal movies you will ever see.

Classical Music for Halloween!!!!

I'm a music major at Cal State Long Beach and I want to share my love of classical Halloween music! My absolute favorite orchestral piece of all time is Hector Berlioz's Symphonie Fantastique. It's an awesome piece with 5 movements that tells an amazing story using absolutely no words.

This is the basic story: Boy meets girl. He falls in love with her in the first movement (Passions). He sees her at a party and is pretty much obsessed in the second movement (A Ball). In the third movement (Scene in the fields), he reflects upon his loneliness in the countryside and eventually begins to doubt that his love would be faithful. The fourth movement (March to the Scaffold) gets really weird: our young hero poisons himself with opium and he dreams that he has killed his love and was beheaded for it. The fifth movement (The Witch's Sabbath) takes place at his funeral, where witches and sorcerers converge and rejoice. His love also makes an appearance, but is changed. She mocks him and dances with the witches.

The most impressive part of this work is the development of the fixed idea, which is the young lady's them, that recurs in each movement, tying the work together. This was an early version of Wagner's leitmotif. Each time the theme returns, it's colored by the way the young man feels.

I love this piece so much. The fourth and fifth movements are of course my favorites. I love that you can hear so much of the plot through the music, like the French people's joy at the beheading, the witches mocking the young man and dancing in circles, and the young man's infatuation. If you haven't heard this piece before, I would highly recommend that you give it a try.

By Velvet's request, I have embedded the entire symphony below.


A Ball

Scene in the Fields
Part 1


The March to the Scaffold

The Witch's Sabbath

Friday, October 9, 2009

Zombieland: A Heartwarming Zombie Flick

I saw Zombieland last night with my horror movie buddy sister. I had pretty high expectations based on the trailers and I wasn't disappointed.

Columbus is kind of a wimp, but successfully survives the zombie apocalypse because of his extensive list of do's and don'ts. He hitches a ride with Tallahassee, a Twinkie-obsessed, gun-toting tough guy, and his life takes a wild turn. On their adventure they encounter Wichita and Little Rock, two cunning and manipulative sisters. This rag-tag team of survivors may become a zombie-fighting family, if they don't kill each other first.

Zombieland was a blast. From the very first scene, the film just took off. I loved when the rules would just appear on the screen whenever they were followed or ignored. It was so hilarious in places, I couldn't stop laughing. The big cameo that takes place in Hollywood is priceless. I would say this film is in the same category as Shaun of the Dead (which is the film that inspired it).

The zombies were a product of a rage virus, so they did move pretty fast. This makes sense, since they are alive and not dead. The speed actually made the film a bit more thrilling. It wasn't really scary, but it was definitely suspenseful and surprising at points. The stripper zombie and the clown zombies were the best

The characters were very real. On the surface, you might think Tallahassee is just a meat-headed jerk, but each and every character had their own motivations and reasons for being the way they are. As the movie progresses, you gradually get to piece together the character's pasts, their inner workings, and the process as they start to trust each other. What really made this film unique was that it was heart warming and optimistic. I know it sounds really weird about a post-apocalyptic zombie movie, but it's true. I think everyone should see this movie!

Nathan Fillion, Sarah Rees Brennan, and Scott Westerfeld

These past couple of weeks have been so busy! I've had a great day and I want to report about my awesome events that have occurred recently.

Last Tuesday, I saw Nathan Fillion at the Borders in Northridge. He was signing Heat Wave by Richard Castle, the character he plays on the show Castle. It was pretty far away from my house. He just signed the entire time and didn't have any sort of presentation. My boyfriend and I waited in line for about two and a half hours to see him and got about 30 seconds of "hello, I think you're awesome, 'k thanks bye." I was kind of disappointed, but it was nice to have met him.
Yesterday, I went to the Borders in Torrance to see Scott Westerfeld and Sarah Rees Brennan. This Borders has the most awesome events. I've seen Stephenie Meyer and Terry Pratchett at this Borders. The event was so fun! Scott Westerfeld had an amazing slideshow featuring the beautiful illustrations from Leviathan. He described it as Victorian manga because it's in the older Victorian illustration style, but modernized by making the illustrations burst out of their frames. He also informed us about the rise and fall of the illustrated novel, which was really interesting. I hope the recent influx of illustrated novels will start a new trend that will stick.

I have never read anything by Sarah Rees Brennan, but I can't wait to now! My sister loves her blog and fanfics and now I can see why. Her talk was so funny and witty, I was in tears with laughter. She told us about her very first book (as a 7 year old; it had ponies and ninjas) and her hilarious adventures doing research for her book. She was really sweet and her energy lit up the room. I can't wait to read The Demon's Lexicon.

I had so much fun at this signing (yay hugs!) and I can't wait for their next books to come out so I can come see them again.

* These two pictures were taken by my wonderful fiance, DJ, who I so cruelly drag with me on these various events. :)

Tuesday, October 6, 2009


This review is in honor of the film version's 10th anniversary. I was happily surprised to see there was an article in the LA Times about it.

Audition by Ryu Murakami is at first a romance. Aoyama, a widower, decides get remarried after many years of being alone and raising his son. His friend comes up with the idea of creating a movie that will probably never be made to host an audition. Then Aoyama can specify what kind of woman he wants and have his choice in that group. It's a bit misogynistic, but sounds like a typical sweet romance set up. Aoyama meets Asami, a former ballerina with a melancholy air about her. They go on a few dates and then she disappears. This is also when the novel descends into madness.

I love Takashi Miike's film adaptation of Audition, so I was really excited when I found out it was finally translated into English. I thought it was interesting that the book excelled where the movie failed and vice versa. In the first fifteen pages in the book, the reader knows more about Aoyama and his family than in the entire movie. Giving Aoyama a realistic background endeared him to me and made me forgive his shortcomings more than in the film. The courtship between Asami and Aoyama was much more interesting and believable in the novel. There were many more dates than in the film and it involved more normal conversation, plus Aoyama fussing about what to do like a teenage boy. The first three quarters of the film were extremely boring, but provided a great contrast to the last quarter of the film. The only thing I'm going to say about the ending of the story is that the film was much better and much more effective. I wish I could combine the good parts of both versions of the story.

Overall, the book was very good. The crazy ending seems pretty out of the blue and abrupt, unlike the film, which has more of a lead into it. I loved the fleshing out of all the characters into people I can relate to and care about. I would especially recommend this book to fans of the film.

Trick 'r Treat

Here is the synopsis from Five interwoven stories that occur on the same block, on the same night. A couple finds what happens when they blow a jack o' lantern out before midnight, a high school principal has a secret life as a serial killer, a college virgin might have met the right guy for her, a group of mean teens play a prank that they take too far, and a hermit is visited by a special trick or treater.

Chances are you have never heard of this film. It was supposed to come out in 2007, but for some reason was shelved until now. It has never had a theatrical release, but has been touring at various horror film festivals. I heard about it last year at LA's Screamfest, but wasn't able to see it there. I think i's very sad that Saw VI and the remake of The Nightmare on Elm Street get wide releases, but this gem of a movie does not.

I have been waiting a full year to see and I have to say that I am not disappointed at all. This movie is one of the most unique horror movies that has come out recently. It goes back to the Tales from the Crypt or Creepshow format of film, except that the stories are interwoven throughout the film. The story goes back and forwards in time and some characters are seen in more than one story. This sounds like it could get confusing, but it really does not. Based on horror conventions, I thought I knew where each story was going to go, but I was totally wrong. This movie has unpredictable twists and turns. It's funny, as well as creepy and scary. The acting is great; the special effects, sets, and mood are awesome for fairly low budget movies.

My favorite character of the entire film is Sam. He is like the spirit of Halloween. The writer and director, Michael Dougherty, describes him as a twisted version of Charlie Brown's Great Pumpkin. Sam goes around and enforces the rules of Halloween in interesting ways, like always check your candy and never blow out a jack-o-lantern before midnight.

This film is out on DVD today, so if you're interested I invite you to buy or rent it. It's the perfect movie for Halloween!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Alice I Have Been Review

Have you ever wondered about the little girl who was the inspiration behind Alice in Wonderland? Her name is Alice Liddell and she grew up in Victorian England. Melanie Benjamin takes the facts and figures from Alice’s life and intertwines them with fiction, creating a unique story. The narrative follows Alice throughout her life, including her childhood relationship with Charles Dodgson (also known as Lewis Carroll) and the mysterious end of their friendship.

I really enjoyed this book. One of the most interesting aspects was the transformation of Alice at each stage of her life. Victorian England is an extremely hard era for any child to grow up in. The society is very restrictive and bound by expectations, which isn’t conducive to a precocious and imaginative young girl. She’s kind of a wild child that her parents constantly have to rein in. Her friendship with Dodgson is organic because he’s the only adult who really takes her seriously and listens to what she has to say. The breach happens at this point in her life, which goes unexplained until the very end of the novel. Throughout Alice’s young adult life, this is hinted at and danced around, but never definitely answered, which creates mystery and compels me to read on.

As a child, Alice wants Charles Dodgson to write down the story that will become Alice in Wonderland because it makes her feel special. Throughout the rest of her life, the novel holds her in the past, with the memories associated with it and the expectations and vision of her that other people have because of it. As an adult, she matures and learns to come to grips with the literary version of herself. Throughout the entire narrative, from childhood to late adulthood, Alice’s narrative as it transforms is completely genuine and believable.

The mixture of fact and fiction also makes this novel special. The photos Charles Dodgson took that are talked about in the book actually exist. All the people in Alice’s life are real people. This gives the novel an extra layer that piques my interest and makes me so curious that I look up the figures, photos, or facts on the internet. After the story, there is an afterword by the author that reveals the motivation behind writing the novel and which things are facts and which are speculation.

Alice I Have Been is very beautifully written and plunges the reader into the world of the real Alice. The story is genuine and had me so emotionally invested that it brought tears to my eyes at points. I would definitely encourage anyone to read it.


Friday, October 2, 2009

Never Slow Dance with a Zombie Twitter Contest!

Do you like free books and Twitter? Well, this contest combines both of these awesome things! E. Van Lowe's good friend Park Avenue Princess is hosting this wonderful contest. It runs from October 2 to October 7th. All you have to do is tweet or retweet a sentence with the book title in it. For example: Bella may dance with Edward, but I will Never Slow Dance with a Zombie. (I stole this from E because it made me laugh! ^__^) Be as creative as you want! Each time you tweet or retweet the title in one day counts as an entry, but those entries are only good for the day. There will be one winner per day and no one person can win 2 days in a row.

Each day, the winner gets to choose one of these 6 YA zombie books:

Never Slow Dance with a Zombie by E. Van Lowe (autographed!)
I Kissed a Zombie and I Liked It by Adam Selzer
Zombie Queen of Newbury High by Amanda Ashby
The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan
Generation Dead by Daniel Waters
You Are So Undead to Me by Stacey Jay

Winners can choose any of the 6 books on any given day.

The grand prize, which will be chosen out of all the tweets sent over the 6 days, is: an Amazon gift card for $54.90 (the cost of all the books put together)! Prizes will be sent within 2 weeks of the contest.

Now tweet away! If you have any questions about the contest, please direct them to E's Blog or Park Avenue Princess. They know much more about the contest than I do. :)

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Banned Books Week

I haven't been too active on my blog lately because I have school work and tend to procrastinate a lot. I know I'm late to the game, but I completely and utterly support reading banned books. I've seen the very large list of most banned books and all of them are banned for completely ridiculous reasons.
I saw on Francesca Lia Block's blog that people wanted to not only remove her book Baby Bebop from the shelves of the library, but also publicly burn it. That's both disgusting and shocking to me. This isn't Nazi Germany. Libraries just provide books; they don't tell you whether to read them or not.

Now I will leave you with an awesome librarian's response to a patron's protesting of Uncle Bobby's Wedding. Other librarians are encouraged to use this. Read it here.