Book Review – The Lurkers by Kristopher Rufty (2012)

The Lurkers
by Kristopher Rufty
Release Date: December 4, 2012
Publisher: Samhain Publishing

The Lurkers

Back in February, I reviewed an excellent novel from Kristopher Rufty titled A DARK AUTUMN (click here to read that review). I mentioned in the review that I tore through the book in a single day because it was that good. I can almost make the same claim for THE LURKERS; it is even better than the prior book, however this one took me a total of three days to read. Why? Well, it is considerably longer…

If you are not familiar with THE LURKERS, here is the plot synopsis courtesy of Samhain Publishing:

They’ve lived in the woods and cornfields for as long as anyone can remember. Small, humanoid creatures with sharp teeth and grasping hands. The people in what’s left of the nearby town live in fear. They’ve learned that if they let the creatures take what they want, they won’t be attacked. An uneasy peace has reigned. But no more. The leader of the creatures has decided his kind will be dormant no longer. To survive, they must kill. They will satisfy their unholy hunger with their favorite prey—humans. But some humans—females—will be kept alive in captivity…to breed.

I knew from the moment I read the plot synopsis that this was a Must Read for me. And I’m damn glad I read it. Rufty goes to great lengths to entertain in this book, and the results are a thrill-ride of epic proportions. I enjoyed this book so much that I e-mailed Mr. Rufty and asked him to write a sequel.

As with his previous book, THE LURKERS is written well with simple prose and flowing dialogue. I again have to compliment Rufty on his ability to convey so much with simple sentences and modest descriptions. The author lets his characters do the talking, so to speak, and this allows for a much more pleasant reading experience.

The concept behind this book is the true winner, though. The idea of small, humanoid creatures that have existed alongside us without our knowing is a lot of fun…not to mention the terror that ensues for those unfortunate folks that stumble across them. Rufty builds a unique mythology behind the Haunchies (as the creatures are called) and fleshes them out to believable proportions.

I highly recommend THE LURKERS and suggest you check it out soon. You have to be careful, though: after reading this book, you might never want to walk into the woods again. Give it a look for sure.

MSB

Movie Review – Tormented 3D (2011)

Tormented 3D
Directed by Takashi Shimizu
Courtesy of Well Go USA
Release Date: April 2, 2013

Tormented

Japanese horror is a lot of fun, although it can be an acquired taste. Some folks find it too quirky, since the Japanese culture has different views on society and what scares them. Others find it too nonsensical. But for me, I love it. These films usually hit on something primal, a deeply ingrained nerve that gives everyone an uneasy feeling, regardless of race. TORMENTED is one of those films. Deeply rooted in psychological fears, this film will haunt you long after it is over.

If you are not familiar with TORMENTED, here is the plot synopsis courtesy of Well Go USA’s website:

Daigo doesn’t speak anymore. Not since he killed that rabbit on the playground at school. His sister, Kiriko, is worried. He’s bullied; he sleepwalks; and their father is no help, trapped in his own grief and illustrating fantasy worlds where families are happily reunited and no one dies. They never should have gone to that 3D movie, the one with the stuffed rabbit that floated out of the screen. Now Daigo is missing. He’s in danger, and Kiriko will have to follow him into a world of nightmares to discover the truth. And the truth is worse than any dream.

Last summer, long before my blog crashed, I reviewed another one of Takashi Shimizu’s films titled SHOCK LABYRINTH 3D. I had mixed feelings on that particular film because, although it was shot well and had a nice chill to it, the storyline was sketchy and didn’t make sense in certain parts. This is important for TORMENTED because the film pulls from SHOCK LABYRINTH in a few different ways.

Let me explain: the characters in TORMENTED go to a movie theater and see SHOCK LABYRINTH in 3D…which is where the rabbit comes from. It literally flies out of the picture and into their world. Sound crazy? Trust me…it is…but it is really cool. This “tie-in” runs throughout the film as well, even taking the characters to the hospital in which the previous movie was set.

But TORMENTED is not a sequel, nor is it technically related to the other film. It just relies on SHOCK LABYRINTH a bit to give it some plot-plugs. I really like how Shimizu was able to pull this off; if it were done any other way, it would have been cheesy.

TORMENTED is shot very well with some eye-popping 3D effects. The acting is really good as well, with a well-rounded cast that gives great performances. There’s even a bit of good looking gore (although it is very brief) for you gore-hounds out there.

This film is a wide-eyed win for me and I suggest checking it out. It has an awesome twist that I didn’t see coming and some spellbinding 3D for total immersion. The film hit store shelves earlier this week, so give it a look.

MSB

Book Review – Sinister Entity by Hunter Shea (2013)

Sinister Entity
by Hunter Shea
Release Date: April 2, 2013
Publisher: Samhain Publishing

SinisterEntity72lg

If you love original horror concepts, then you are in for a real treat. Author Hunter Shea brings originality and excellent storytelling to the table with SINISTER ENTITY, his newest release from Samhain Publishing.

If you are not familiar with SINISTER ENTITY, here is the plot synopsis courtesy of Samhain Publishing:

The Leigh family is terrified. They’ve been haunted by the ghostly image of their young daughter, Selena. But how can that be, when Selena is alive and well, and as frightened as her parents? With nowhere else to turn, the Leighs place their hopes in Jessica Backman, who has dedicated her life to investigating paranormal activity. Accompanied by a new partner who claims to be able to speak to the dead, Jessica will soon encounter an entity that scares even her. And a terror far worse than she imagined.  

This is not a traditional ghost story or haunted house tale. Oh, no…this book is about something far more evil. SINISTER ENTITY will take you to levels of horror you have never before imagined. And if you can survive the ride, you will never be the same.

The book is written very well, with flowing prose that immerses the reader in the story and never once lets go. I particularly enjoy how Shea creates such a vivid and horrific picture within the real world. The events that unfold could very well happen right next door!

The characters in SINISTER ENTITY are realistic and believable, traits which are definitely needed in a story like this one. The family dynamic between the Leighs is exactly how I would picture a typical New England family, and their reactions to the horrors they encounter are what one would expect. This realism heightens the sense of impending terror within the book and makes you cringe even more so when things go wrong.

The plot is the true winner for this book, however. Shea weaves together a skillful blend of supernatural terror and blood-chilling suspense; the result is an intriguing and unique tale that will leave your heart pounding in your chest long after the final page has been closed. Make no mistake: this is not a book you want to read in the dark.

SINISTER ENTITY is the first book of Shea’s that I have read, but I am definitely a life-long fan now. His work is smart and inventive, in both scope and merit. His themes are universal and his horror is, well, horrifying. You can’t ask for anything else. This book hit store shelves yesterday, so give it a look for sure.

MSB

Movie Review – The Frankenstein Theory (2013)

The Frankenstein Theory
Directed by Andrew Weiner
Courtesy of Image Entertainment
Release Date: March 26, 2013

the-frankenstein-theory

When I heard the premise for the film, I knew I had to see it. Although I have never sat down and read the original “Frankenstein” by Mary Shelly, the concept behind it has enthralled me ever since I was a kid. Something about a mad scientist and his quest to actually create life really reaches out to me. In THE FRANKENSTEIN THEORY, director Andrew Weiner gives a new and unique twist to the story, and the result is a fun and chilling film.

If you are not familiar with THE FRANKENSTEIN THEORY, here is the plot synopsis courtesy of Image Entertainment:

What if the most chilling novel of all time was actually based on a true account of a horrific experiment gone awry? When he is suspended from his university job for his outlandish ideas, Professor John Venkenheim leads a documentary film crew to the rim of the Arctic Circle in a desperate effort to vindicate his academic reputation. His theory: Mary Shelly’s ghastly story “Frankenstein” is, in fact, a work of non-fiction disguised as fantasy. In the vast, frozen wilderness, Venkenheim and his team search for the legendary monster, a creature mired in mystery and drenched in blood. What they find is an unspeakable truth more terrifying than any fiction…a nightmare from which there is no waking.

From some of the other reviews I’ve seen around the Internet, it appears that this is one of those films that you either love or hate. For me, I loved it. It’s not perfect, but very few films are. And there’s plenty about this one to enjoy it.

I think the originality behind THE FRANKENSTEIN THEORY is what entices me the most. It’s intelligent and unique, attributes that seem to be hard to find in the found-footage sub-genre of horror.

THE FRANKENSTEIN THEORY is shot well, especially when you consider it’s ‘found-footage’, which tends to be shaky and grainy. The documentary crew used HD cameras and stabilizers for the most part, which makes for a much more enjoyable movie experience. Add to this the stunning Alaskan scenery (the film was shot in Alaska for the most part), and you’ve got one vivid film.

The acting is not bad, although I doubt it will win any awards. I enjoy seeing Kris Lemche on-screen and Timothy V. Murphy does an outstanding job as the guide. But unfortunately, the rest of the cast isn’t really that noteworthy.

Still, THE FRANKENSTEIN THEORY is an absolute blast for me and I recommend checking it out. Whether you like it or hate it, chances are the last few scenes in the film might just haunt you for a bit after the credits roll. And be sure to watch in surround-sound; the noises and ambient sounds are extremely powerful if you can do so. Give this a look and let us know what you think.

MSB