HallowReads 2020 Recap 2

The month continues to be fun. I've held up watching something nearly every day that's considered spooky. My reading has started picking up, but I'm still slow on anthology goals. The Twitter monthly read-a-longs aren't that active, I think a few of them are mainly geared toward Booktube so there aren't many posts. 

The week-long and read-a-thons that are time-based are more active. Boo-a-thon started Monday fortunately, and this upcoming Saturday is the Dewey's 24-Hour Read-a-thon, which is always a  big favorite of mine. Can't wait.

There are two virtual, Twitter based book clubs also. You still have time to join if you're interested.


Goth Lit Club

 Live show for this book on October 31 - but it's early in the day so there's still time for trick or treating if those are your plans. Halloween is on a Saturday this year. Link goes to their Twitter page.

Cozy Mystery Book Club

This looks like a cute cozy, and I've had it on my list for a few years.

Oct 27, 7 PM ET / 4 PM PT is the live video show on Booktube. Link goes to their website.

Movie and Show Wise...


The Haunting of Bly Manor has been all the rage on Netflix since it was finally released as the second season of Hell House. The first season was based on the Haunting of Hill House and the second The Taming of the Shrew. I watched the show over a three day period. As some mentioned, it's not always creepy, I find it more the point of being psychologically haunting. Some called it a romance story, but that's only semi-true to me. 

There is romance, sure, but it's the focus of life and having the characters fleshed out - that they'll end up in a romantic relationship eventually isn't far-fetched. I didn't find any of the romantic longings forced; they added to the shows realism and feels. It's slower paced and filled with grief. These characters did not lead pleasant lives, before or after the fact. There are chilling scenes that are both subtle and in your face - a few jump scares, but those are dialed back for psychological creepiness. Episode 8 tells the back story of the woman in the lake and makes it clear what's been going on all along.

I do recommend it. I liked the first season a little more in a few ways, but this one won in other ways. Both are well done and worth a watch.

I've also started the show on Netflix, Evil. I'm on episode four of the first season right now and find it intriguing. It was recommended by a few offline friends and I've seen it get good reviews with a few people watching it right now on Twitter.

I also finally tried a few episodes of the very old soap-opera, Dark Shadows. I did this for two reasons - one, curiosity and it's always been on my mini bucket list. Second, it fit the theme for Gothtober challenge of something to watch that fits the prompt. This show was definitely old. I made it six
episodes. The episodes fly by, about 21 minutes each. It's during the time when acting was exaggerated and enhanced for, I suppose, live type of performances. Black and white pictures are accompanied by a pure-gothic score that's played too much. That just adds to its charm though, it's not an insult. The show isn't bad, but it's not something I'm interested in continuing. After all, isn't there over 200 episodes? I'd probably get into it more if I kept going. My point was to give it a fair sampling, and I think out of six episodes, I did. The show is so gothic that you could put a picture of the show in the dictionary by the term!

I re-watched a few Bart Simpson's Treehouse of Horrors - they did not live  up to my memories and I could not get into them sadly.

But I did put on some other light, young classics. I have several still planning to watch before Halloween along this vein, including the Great Pumpkin with Charlie Brown. For now I have completed Paranorman (Cute!), and aim to try "The Little Vampires" on Netflix because I saw the trailer and it just looks fun. Animated, light movies work for the spooky season based on mood and add nostalgic charm, even if they're new to me and I'm so much older now. Don't ask how much older, yikes 0_0



When my brother was younger we had a few of the Scooby Doo movies that were cute, especially the Ghoul School, which remains my favorite. I tried Scooby Doo and Zombie Island this time since it was on Netflix. I'm not that into Scooby Doo anymore, and this one was mixed. Wasn't bad, but not one of the best. 



Netflix Spooky Verdict: Netflix has a host of children's and family movies well-suited for the season. Both originals and some mainstays from other networks and companies. While I think they have fallen down much over the years for the adult horror movie selection - I prefer other streaming networks for that - they have kept up the effort for fun animated movies, cartoons, series, and featured live-shows.

But it's been more than TV shows. Mainly movies. I finally got that DVD player hooked up, only took me over 20 days. Go, me!

With this done, I rewatched my favorite werewolf horror movie ever, the original Howling. Dee Wallace has always been my favorite scream queen. Her acting is phenomenal in this one, as well as Critters, Popcorn, Halloween remake, Cujo, etc, etc. She's just great. The storyline is well done. Yes, it ages, yes some of the effects are cheesy, but no matter. Popping in the old DVD with the animated menu that kept playing "howling" in the background was a nostalgic dose of delight. Agreeing with most, I despise the sequels --- except part 5. It's so bad it's great. An old crumbling castle with a who-is-it mystery wrapped into a cheesy movie --- fun. I plan to rewatch that one sometime too, but it's best suited for night.


Now You See Me, Now You Don't...

With the DVD player hooked up, I whipped out some of the Universal monster sets. I plan to watch a lot of these, we'll see. Right now I got to the original Invisible Man. With my Legacy Set I see there are five of them. I know I never watched all of them, perhaps 2, perhaps 1. Eeek. I rewatched the original, which may have more obvious humor at the beginning than most of the other original monster feature films, and some of the extra feature on the DVD, "now you see me."  The Legacy Collection menu sound effects sounds suspiciously similar to the Creature's. The Creature having this sound effect makes sense because of picturing underwater caverns and caves with echoing effects, but it doesn't fit Invisible Man. I think Universal just lazily compiled the same sound effects with the menu animation for all the Legacy sets? I'll have to pay attention when I pop in the others. 

So, hopefully I get to them and provide experiences in the next update. My son is turned off by the old stuff so I get him coming into the living room with commentary, "Ugh, what are you watching?" kind of stuff. 

The movie is a good one, perhaps even better than the book, which I reviewed here. They did a good job bringing it to the silver screen.

I watched the remake with my son, who had seen it before and recommended it. I really enjoyed it! The main character got on my nerves, first she wasn't that bright, then she was smug, but otherwise I like the different view for the remake and it sure was tense. The Invisible Man suit concept was a worthy one, makes more sense than a magic potion causing the entire body to disappear. I'm betting the man was mean and mad before the science in this case, though. The cop and his daughter were great side characters. The score was well done, subtle when it needed to be, instrumentally intense in the other direction. 

If you like thrillers, you should like this one. The cast, directing, premise, these all worked together to make an enjoyable two hours.

Speaking of movies made from books, I also finally watched Doctor Sleep. Loved it! I had put off watching it for some reason, dont' ask me why. No, I haven't read the book either. The plan to has been bumped up on my TBR list since I enjoyed the movie so much. Fascinating and intense, disturbing without being gory (but sad, poor kids), the story was creative tie-in with the shining bringing up brand new villains while including the old ones. 

I got all giddy when the Overlook popped up and that drive with a rescore of the music started up. Be still my heart! My son told me that when he watched it in the theater, the audience started cheering in enthusiasm, clapping, stomping, and going all out crazy during this scene. I can imagine, would have been joining in. It's especially potent for people of my generation who grew up on the Kubrick version. Stephen King's quips about the film aside, I've always loved the original Shining, even more so than the book, which I've reviewed here. The second adaptation was more faithful to the source material, but I found much less creepy, less artfully directed, and melodramatic.

If curious, I did a Book to Film comparison for the book and the original movie a few years ago here.

So, if you've been hesitant to watch it and you are a fan of the book or movies, trust me - try it. You may be pleasantly surprised as I was.

With all my plans to watch these horror movies and shows while doing day-to-day life stuff, sometimes I enjoy putting on movies I've seen a few times for easy rewatching without having to dedicate my full focus and attention. Enter movies like the classic Witchboard, which I love for some reason. Acting is iffy but that doesn't matter. Plotline is cheesy but no matter, there are twists and turns, the pacing was well done for this type of story and it's never dull, there's some humor, it's just great. Sometimes there are movies that stand the test of time for you and you're not even fully sure why. Witchboard is just one of these. If you've never seen this slasher classic, do yourself a favor and watch. Jim and Brandon's relationship is especially interesting.
And with a Ouija board, of course this fits into the spooky October season well.
Continuing the rewatch trend, this time with my son, we popped on Stir of Echoes. This movie is excellent every watching. Kevin Bacon is a worthy actor for every role I've seen him in, an exception being the slightly wooden start in the original Friday the 13th. But I can't deny his humorous charm in Tremors, a favorite, or his serious role here in what should one day be regarded as a classic. It's a ghost story through and through and recommended viewing for the October season. It was the first time for my son, and he enjoyed it as well thankfully.
I previously reviewed the book here.
Another book to movie adaption, I watched The Girl with All the Gifts on netflix. They did a great job transferring this to the screen. Glenn Close was well suited as the yicky scientist. All acting worked, the pacing followed the storyline of the book, and without the written text feeding you your emotional oomph, it came through fine in the film version too. Zombies are always gory, of course, so do I need to mention that's there? It still stays as a cerebral interpretation of a zombie story, although your time in the hospital feels shortened since you have less time on screen than you do with book browsing. I have read the book, but it doesn't look like I've reviewed it, or uploaded my review of it, yet.

Another rewatch was April Fool's Day. I saw this plenty as a teen, so my interest in it this time was half-hearted. It's a fun slasher whodunnit that's worth watching. Not perfect but it doesn't need to  be.

I also rewatched the classic Halloween 2 because Halloween = Halloween. I am saving a rewatch of the original for later. While some don't like the sequel much, I always enjoyed it, and was happy to meet Dick Warlock a few years ago at a con. He was a sweet man to his fans and a true joy to meet.

My son and I watched (for the first time) The Tribe, lost boys sequel, but that's best not mentioned....Avoid! Repel it with holy items!

So, I've watched a lot of stuff the last week and a half. 
Have I read anything??

Yes, I promise, I've actually been reading too. It's funny, I feel like I've been slacking a little with my original watch plans, but then I look at it when I compile a list, and damn. That's a lot of viewing time.

As a matter of fact, I'm watching Evil episode 5 right now while writing this update post.

I feel like my reading has kicked up too. Will I meet all my goals? No. That's not due to the TV, though, it's because I always overdo my goal plans because I get wrapped up in planning and run away with it. I have finally finished two anthologies. I did a plan post here to show how overambitious I'm being with anthologies. The anthology I finished was the werewolf fiction Leaders of the Pack and the short anthology, volume one of Halloween Carnival. I have written the review for Leaders of the Pack but apparently it has not trickled over to the site  yet. I'm so slow. I have not written the review for Halloween Carnival Vol 1 yet. I have four more of those to read. :::shfits eyes:::

I took a mini break from horror to fit other spooky challenge goals -- I read some truly bad reverse harem romances and one fun delightful m/m paranormal romance. It has introduced me to a new series where I am not planning my September plans. *rubs hands together gleefully*

The Reverse Harem romances I did not enjoy were: First Moon (Goodreads Link) and its sequel Second Blood (Goodreads Link) I did like some parts, and they are easy reads. I will not be fully reviewing these besides brief snippets on GR, I don't believe. Same for Chaotic (Goodreads Link) and Phantoms of the Library (Goodreads Link). First Moon, Chaotic, and Phantom of the Library fit the theme for Gothtober goals.

I very much enjoyed the short stories in James A. Moore's Where the Sun Goes to Die, a historical setting with repeat antihero Jonathan Crowley. Review will be coming shortly.
 I have read and did not enjoy Blood and Rain much (sadly), review is here on the site. I finally finished Crystal Lake: Friday the 13th - huge book and will  be a LARGE review, I have notes all over the place, so that will be awhile to come. I hope to have it on the site before November though. It's great, five stars.

The very cute romantic paranormal that I mentioned above is By Fairy Means or Foul - I just finished this week and have yet to review. I can't wait to read the two other books in the series.

Finally, I am working my way through fun and simple audiobooks to fill in extra challenges and moods - I have done two Goosebumps. Two hour, fun audiobooks with an introduction from the author R.L. Stine preceeding both. Great on Scribd if you have kids who enjoy these books. So far I have done Welcome to Dead House and The Ghost Next Door. Having fun with these!


So, plenty of reading and plenty of viewing. What I haven't done is any listening. I haven't listened to any creepy podcasts, which I plan to do, or any of my halloween music playlists, which I also plan to do. So much to do and always so little time and numerous distractions. Still plenty of fun to be had.

Check out the Hallow-Reads tag to find more announcements, read-a-thon recaps, and book themed events that take place this time of year. Book reviews do not get the Hallow-Reads tag to keep the tag feed tidy, but will be marked and summarized at the end of the season in one large recap post. Click on the Hallow-Reads graphic to find more tagged content.

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