Monday, November 17, 2014

Review: Season 4 of American Horror Story

This year's American Horror Story is about circus freaks.  The show takes place during the 1950's in Jupiter, Florida.  Jessica Lange is the ringleader of a bearded lady (Kathy Bates), a man with a clawed hand (Lobster Boy nickname), a three-boobed woman (Angela Bassett), Siamese twins (Sarah Paulsen), world's tiniest woman, and many more.  

Jessica Lange's character is an amputee who wants to become a famous singer.  She hopes her freaks will attract people from Hollywood.  She wasn't always an amputee.  Her character started off as a French woman living in Berlin during World War II.  She worked as a dominatrix and starred in rough pornos.  In one of her films, the director drugged her and then hacked off her legs, leaving her for dead.  One of her best customers saved her.  Years later, she turned to alcohol, depression, and her freaks, choosing to live a life as an outcast.

The season begins with a killer clown on a murder rampage.  He is not affiliated with the freak show.  He soon gets a fan who wants to follow his footsteps.  His fan is a good-looking, rich, spoiled sociopath who wants in on all of the bloody fun.  The rich kid has been practicing to be a serial murderer for years by killing animals all over the property of his mansion.  (I think the actor who takes the part of the killer clown's sidekick was also the actor in a made-for-TV movie about another rich kid who killed his girlfriend and then video-taped himself with other friends bragging about it and even re-enacting it with a Barbie doll.)  My point is this-the perfect actor to make your skin crawl.  Anyway, his mentor, the killer clown, gets killed during one of his murders and now it's up to the rich kid to continue what was started.  He begins by slashing up his maid.  His mom is upset, but covers his tracks by getting rid of the body.  He then hits a gay bar and picks up a male prostitute.  His paid escort is also his next victim.  Shades of Jeffrey Dahmer? This story line has lots of blood.
The Siamese twins were hidden away until their guardian is murdered.  One of the twins tried to kill the other one which landed them in the emergency room.  The news covers the story.  Jessica Lange reads about it and then recruits the twins into her freak show. They are the starring attraction.  Although the money starts rolling in, Jessica Lange is jealous because she always wanted to be star.

Lobster Boy, the man with the pincher claw hand, is one of the most complicated characters.  He knows that he is a freak, yet wants a normal life.  Early in the season he gets a side job jamming his claw up womens' vaginae.  He's got the magic touch.  His mother, the bearded lady, and father, the new husband to the 3-boobed lady, are also freaks.  He might not remember, but his mother flashes back with a ghost about how her son was born into exploitation.  As she gave birth, her husband charged people to watch.
My Review: Writers of Freak Show American Horror Story prove that the imagination is truly limitless when it comes to horror.  Asylum, Coven, and Haunted House look like children's stories.  The two serial killer clowns freak me out the most.  I also like the con-artist who is trying to kidnap the Siamese twins for money.  Jessica Lange is one of the finest actresses the world has ever known.  Love, love, love her!  She might be old, but she is still one hot mama.  The director maximizes the creepy factor throughout the show.  My only complaint is the music.  David Bowie and Fiona Apple were not around in the 1950s.  I do not like it when cultural time lines are blurred.  Otherwise, if you like violence, emotional discomfort, twisted people, and revolting scenes, then this show is for you!  So far, Freak Show is the freakiest of all the American Horror Stories.  5/5 Stars

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Movie Review: Gone Girl

Forced my husband to take me to the new movie Gone Girl last weekend, starring Ben Afleck, Rosamund Pike, Neil Patrick Harris, and Carrie Coon.  I did not read the book by Gillian Flynn.  Friends told me it moved too slow.  However, the story line sounded interesting, plus the movie people always tend to cut things out and speed things up.

For those of you who know nothing about the movie, it's basically a simple story about an unhappily married couple.  The wife, Amy, disappears on their fifth anniversary.  As the police investigate, the husband appears to have been involved in foul play.  Forensics show us a covered up blood stain and broken furniture that look staged with the goal of the appearance of a break-in.  The husband is having an affair with hot 20 year-old.  The wife's diary is found, describing him as a money-draining, cheating, abusing, good-for-nothing bum.  Despite the absence of a body, the husband is convicted of murder in the court of public opinion.  He fights back, getting a Johnny-Cochrane style attorney who wants to defend the husband.  The tables soon turn and we discover that the wife is not dead.  Without giving too much away, the plot took on many twists and turns.

My Review: I enjoyed this movie from start to finish.  All of the actors were brilliant.  The way the plot was laid out made me feel like I was spying on this couple's lives over sitting in a movie theatre.  The story reminded me of Fatal Attraction, Chinatown and Dial M for Murder, yet still seemed original.  The movie felt like the best of Alfred Hitchcock and Roman Polanski rolled up into one.
Emily Ratjakowski makes a small but noteworthy performance as Ben Affleck's girlfriend.  I predict she will become a big star-gorgeous woman.  She is currently on the cover of this month's Cosmo.

 Patrick Neil Harris's character added even more intrigue.  My only complaint is wanting to know his character a little more.  His back story was unfortunately rushed.  My husband, who hates thrillers and wanted to see Bill Murray/Melissa McCarthy in St. Vincent, even liked the movie.  This is my pick for best movie of the year and hope the Academy sees the value in a blockbuster hit.  Loved it and recommend that everyone pay the 10.00 or whatever the ticket price.  It's one of the few movies that is worth every penny. 5/5 Stars

Thursday, October 30, 2014

6 Shows That Will Add Some Fright To Your Halloween by Elizabeth Eckhart

6 Shows That Will Add Some Fright To Your Halloween

With Halloween just a few days away, why not consider staying in this year and enjoying a new or classic horror television series. Here are six horror-themed television shows that will put you in the mood for the scariest night of the year.

1. The Walking Dead: Not only is this series breaking cable ratings records left and right, The Walking Dead is easily one of the most disturbing and frightening pieces of zombie filmmaking ever seen on the big or small screen. While it pushes the boundaries of gore on television, it also tugs at the heart as the series follows a small group of survivors trying to exist in a post-apocalyptic world overrun with zombies. The Walking Dead currently airs Sunday nights on AMC.

2. The X-Files:  Most television experts have hailed The X-Files as one of the definitive television shows of the 1990’s. It is also the show that pushed the boundaries of decency opening the door for so many of today’s horror-themed shows. From fluke-like creatures that live in the sewers to a house full of inbred mutants, the exploits of FBI agents Fox Mulder and Dana Scully are just as frightening today as they were in the 1990’s. The show, which ran on the FOX network for nine years, is available on DVD and on DTV in your area through most streaming services.

3. Sleepy Hollow: For a new and frightening take on the Headless Horseman legend, check out Sleepy Hollow, which currently airs Monday nights on FOX. The show brings Ichabod Crane and his nemesis the Headless Horseman into the modern day New England town of Sleepy Hollow. With horrifying demons, monsters and good old-fashioned scares, this is definitely a show that should be watched with the lights off.

4. Grimm: What if the creatures from Grimm’s Fairytales lived among us and we never knew they were there? That’s the premise of Grimm, which follows detective Nick Burkhardt, who is from a long line of guardians called Grimms that strive to keep balance between humanity and the mythological creatures that exist among us. The show features some of the most creative monsters ever seen on television including creatures inspired by wolves, spiders, jackals and even mermaids. Grimm airs Friday nights on NBC.

5. American Horror Story: This anthology show earns its name well as it is easily one of the creepiest, scariest and most stylish shows on television. Each season features its own unique story and the current season airing on FX each Wednesday night may be the best. This season, entitled Freak Show, takes place in 1952 in Jupiter, Florida where a group of freak show circus performers have pitched their tents. Get ready to meet the most unsettling group of performers ever seen, from the bearded lady to the conjoined twins. It also features the most terrifying clown ever portrayed on screen, who is so creepy the clown from Stephen King’s It suddenly looks like a children’s performer.

6. Buffy the Vampire Slayer: If you like a little fun mixed in with your scares, then this Joss Whedon-created series is an ideal choice. During its seven seasons that ran from 1997 to 2003, Buffy and her band of vampire hunters, called the “Scooby Gang,” strived to save their high school from every manner of demonic and evil creature. While horror fans will enjoy the vampires and monsters, get ready to be sucked in by some of the most likeable and fun characters ever portrayed on television. The show is available on most streaming services and DVD.

Thanks, Elizabeth!  My personal fave is American Horror Story, but all are great shows!  Happy Halloween and thanks for the post!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Zombie Terms 101: Bad Juju

With the so-called zombie apocalypse approaching, one must be educated about the different kinds of zombies before prepping for defense. First, there is the most common and believable-the human that turns into a zombie because of mental collapse, disease, infection, and/or radiation. They stagger around dazed and confused and cause panic to others. Then there is the man-made monster kind or the kind Hollywood and horror authors like me tend to capitalize on.
Zombie interest continues to fascinate the world. Jeffrey Dahmer drilled holes then poured acid down his victim’s heads in hopes of creating his own zombie. His madness didn’t work. Can man make his own zombie? Are these monsters real?
According to Wade Davis, author of The Serpent of the Rainbow, zombies are real. They are a product of the Voodoo religion. He was originally hired by a pharmaceutical company to find out about the drugs Voduists used in their death rituals. He believed that datura also known as zombie’s cucumber was a plant that could medically make one who ingested it appear to be dead for a certain length of time. Sounds like the stuff Juliet used to fake her death. Could Shakespeare known about the magical zombie-making plant?
Datura or sometimes Cimora, a close relative of Datura’s, eventually wears off but leaves the victim in a state of confusion, highly susceptible to the art of persuasion. Presto! A zombie slave is at the captor’s disposal. Mr. Davis didn’t just find his datura flower, but witnessed zombie phenomena as he immersed himself within the Haitian culture.
Bad Juju is a unique blend of horror, romance, and fantasy. Besides The Serpent and the Rainbow, I read volumes of other Voodoo material and watched hours of TV specials. Some of the terms I learned can be found below:
Bokor: A wizard who practices black magic, a zombie maker.
Loa: deity/spirit
Ghede Family: A family of loas known as the spirits of the dead. Three barons rule the family. Baron Samedi is the loa of resurrection. Baron Kriminel is the most feared loa associated with cannibalism and souls. He’s honored on The Day of the Dead. Baron LaCroix is the loa of the dead and sexuality.
Poppet: Voodoo doll
Ti-bon-ange: “little good angel” The part of the soul that represents a person’s individuality.
Gros-bon-ange: “great good angel” Part of the soul that is collected into a reservoir of the Cosmos or spirit world.
Baka: Voodoo spirits in animal form.
Loup Garou: werewolf
Djab: a devil
Dessounin: Death ritual that separates the gros-bon-ange from the body.
Bizango Society: Secret society of Vodouists. They have Freemason-like qualities such as aprons, secret handshakes, oaths, hierarchy, and symbols. Legend states they change into animals at will. They are known for stealing black cats and boiling them to death for Voodoo services. They drink each other’s blood from a human skull chalice.

Bad Juju is available on Amazon for free this weekend.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Review: Homeland's New Season

I am a big fan of Homeland.  Wasn't sure if I was going to watch it after Damian Lewis's Brody character died last season.  Last Sunday, the new season kicked off with an hour and a half special.

Kerri begins a new post in Kabul, Afghanistan, as a station chief. She and her crew track down a bin Laden type of bad guy in a warehouse.  They bomb the place to smithereens.  What should be considered a victory for the U.S. is quickly spun as a massacre as rumors spread that several innocent bystanders died along with the bad guy.  One of the few survivors has a video that proves the rumors, showing a wedding taking pace inside.  He is reluctant to get involved, but his roommate posts the video on Youtube without his consent.  Once again, the U.S. is portrayed as the bad guy. Kerri's promotion is short-lived as she is quickly called back to Washington to explain the PR mess the bombing has caused.
Once back home, Kerri sees her sister and her baby (the one she was pregnant with last season with Brody being the father).  Her maternal instincts are no where to be found.  The idea of having her career destroyed and being stuck taking care of her baby is too much for her to deal with.  She desperately tries to find a way out.  Sure enough, in a Benghazi style cover-up, she learns some dirt on the Secretary of Defense and uses it to get her job back.  She then manipulates her sister into taking care of her baby.

My Review: Where do I start-blown away from the first second to the last.  Brilliant everything-writing, acting, directing, special effects, etc.  Kerri's heroic personality is compromised when it comes to motherhood.  
I was shocked when Kerri almost drowned her baby in the bathtub.  I loved how the moderate Muslim with the wedding video had plenty of secrets.  Quinn gave an outstanding performance as an emotional basketcase with PTSD.  One of my favorite scenes was when Kerri's co-worker gets his face plastered all over the Afghani news for blowing up the wedding and the Muslims beat him to death in the street.  Kerri and Quinn try to save him, but they are too late.  I felt like a witness to a crime rather than an audience of a TV show.  One of the best shows on TV ever-5/5 Stars.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Erotica Review: Skye Jordan's Reckless-Book 1

Reckless is a romance-erotica novel about a clothes designer who designs wedding dresses and a Hollywood stunt man.  These Californians sort of meet at the airport.  The clothes designer flirts with him through a phone app and then shows up at his hotel room.  In the dark, she has oral sex with him and then eventually regular sex while on her business trip.  She wants to chalk off their liason as a one-night stand, but he (Jax) wants more.  They begin to miss each other.  Both have been burned in relationships and aren't ready to jump into another one.  However, the sex is too good to ignore.  SPOILER ALERT: They hook up for good in the end.

My Review: I downloaded this book for free, not really expecting to finish it, but was pleasantly surprised.  The writer knows her way around bedroom.  Her sex scenes were very steamy, but not too steamy in the sense of being edgy, avante guard, uncomfortable, or just plain weird.  I liked both of the characters.  There seemed to be some research done about the fashion world.  Vera Wang's wedding dresses came to mind.  The stuntman's character was interesting as well.  Reckless is a terrific book to read for entertainment.  Erotica and romance are not favorite genres of mine, but Ms. Jordan still managed to drag me into her imagination.  Well done!  4.5/5 Stars

Thursday, September 18, 2014

War in the Middle East: To Be or Not To Be

Both right and left wingers are constantly slamming Obama for his foreign policy.  They feel he is weak, harsh, complacent, indifferent, apologetic, more interested in golf, and everything in between.  Although I am not an Obama fan, I did admire his style. 

Up until today, I thought his actions resembled Ron and Rand Paul.  Why risk the lives of soldiers and throw tax dollars away?
The left is so concerned with the disenfranchised while the right demands war.  Or are they parroting what the inner circle wants-war?  You have to remember that reporters report first to their boss and second to you and me.
Why is it so important to fight ...let's see...-Russia, pro-Russian separatists, ISIL/ISIS, Hamas, al-Qaeda...?  Wait, I think the U.S. now funds al-Qaeda.  I'm sure I'm leaving some group out.  
The only consistency to this hawkish attitude is New World Order conspiracy theory.  To establish New World Order, we need to establish world dominance.  You can't have world dominance without oil dominance.  You also need drug and food dominance, but that's another story or even book.  Big Pharma, Big Agri, Big Conspiracy explains it all.  

Let's start with the Middle East-not our problem.  What happened to those reporters was horrific, but think about this rationally.  With exception to political assassination (Archduke Ferdinand for example), when does any country go to war because a few citizens were brutally murdered?  These reporters were not murdered by a government, they were murdered by a bunch of yahoos who roam the desert and jump from terrorist group to terrorist group like a high school student trying to find his/her niche.  Who are we going to war against?  Define ISIS or ISIL.  What is their address?  What is their driver's license number or voter's registration card?  Do they pay taxes to any particular government?  How do you fight a terrorist group who might join another terrorist group the next week?  How do you know they aren't posing as your ally?  

Obama finally caved from the constant criticism by funding anti-Syrian rebels to fight Assad.  Many believe these "rebels" are al-Qaeda.  What a slap in the face of the U.S soldiers!  And the tie-in to ISIS/ISIL is too confusing.
Is war really just a disguise for a favor?  Or is it pay back?  To begin with, Saudi Arabia aka oil exporters in terms of debt charts is the U.S.'s third biggest sugar daddy.  China and Japan are the biggest debt-holders and the only one the main stream media ever talks about.  But the fact is this: the U.S. owes the Saudis big.  This might be the reason for our "concern" for the Middle East.  Saudi Arabia wants to clean up the Islamo-mess and we can't afford to say no.  
Unlike ISIS, the Saudis like making money and like the idea of an elite class running the world.  Unlike ISIS, they understand real power and it's not going to be found in the middle of the desert with a few machine guns and knives with serrated edges.  The inner circle globalist sees ISIS's terror as an opportunity to take over the region.  What do you think about U.S.'s constant meddling into Middle Eastern affairs?  Leave a comment.