Terese Pampellone is one of the few female authors who writes true horror. No romances, no wacky mysteries, no love triangles with supernatural beings, just horror. It's tragic that she has only released one novel. But if The Unwelcome Child is the only thing Terese ever publishes, it's a great book to both begin and end your career on.
The Unwelcome Child centers around Annie Wojtoko, a jaded New York actress. She goes to visit Jan, her pregnant best friend at a B&B which used to be an orphanage/abortion clinic. Annie tries to help Jan who is slowly becoming convinced that her baby is being possessed by a girl who had died tragically there.
Terese's writing style is reminiscent to the early writings of John Saul, think Hellfire/Nathaniel era. It's dark, atmospheric and unpredictable. Terese uses flashbacks sparingly and slowly introduces you to the characters in the novel. She avoids the chapter long info dump that a lot of horror authors fall into. Slowly gleaning these details about the characters made them feel more real to me. This is a book for a true horror fan and highly recommended. There are a couple of uncomfortable scenes but the book manages to avoid too much gore or unnecessary violence. Warning the book does deal heavily with the pro life/pro choice debates. If that kind of thing deeply offends you, you should probably steer clear.
The characters aren't perfect and make no apologies for it. You won't find a single Mary Sue or a traditional bad guy. These are flawed characters who don't always do the right thing and you love them for it. Annie in particular is a great character. Sometimes she's likable, sometimes she isn't. She can loyal one moment and completely selfish the next. She's an enigma which is something that you want in a lead character.
Terese's novel is so well done that I don't mind the tacked on sequel hook that ends the novel. It stays true to the rest of the novel and comes off more like a logical continuation than a desperate attempt at more money.
I can only hope that this author keeps writing. It would be a shame to see such talent vanish so quickly.
Tucker & Dale, in my opinion, is one of the best horror movie parodies I've ever seen. It's genuinely funny, smart and doesn't heavily rely on too much special effects.
The movies stars Tyler Labine and Alan Tudyck who play a couple of kindhearted rednecks on vacation. They wind up saving the life of a college student and take her back to their cabin to recoup. Her prejudiced friends however mistakenly believe the duo are serial killers and attempt to rescue her.
It's hard to find a really decent horror movie parody. It's either wall to wall juvenile humor or just completely clueless of the genre they are trying to spoof. Tucker & Dale has some great sight gags that are also subtle. The humor is actually intelligent and the main characters are likable.
The twist ending was easy to guess but still fun to watch. The even manage to have a love story in the film that doesn't seem like it was shoehorned in. Even the sequel hook was a pleasant surprise, it occurs at the beginning of the film instead of the end. The only problem is that it also proves to be a mini spoiler. This doesn't detract from the film though.
I have to say Alan Tudyck really is a man of many faces. As I do with any movie, I look up the actors on IMDB. Not only was Tudyck in one of my favorite movies (28 Days) he was also in the V remake which I also adored. And I never made the connection between the two nor did I when I saw Tucker & Dale. Now that is what I call a versatile actor. The film also stars Chelan Simmons, Katrina Bowden, Jesse Moss, and Jay Brandon McLaren.
For anyone who's ever sat through Wrong Turn or The Hills Have Eyes, this is the perfect film for you.
I love Phantom of the Opera. I've seen it live, read the book and even own the soundtrack. I love Robert Englund and I thought that I had seen everything he had done. How a horror version of Phantom starring Englund managed to slip by me I will never know. I must be slipping in my old age.
Phantom is a perfect blend. It respects the source material while giving it a dose of modern horror. It's more geared towards the novel than the popular musical. However subtle uses of the music are incorporated into the film.
Englund is delightfully sinister as the Phantom. I love Freddy Krueger and he will always be my favorite horror villain. Sadly though he got downright cartoonish and it seemed an insult to the actor's talents. Robert is perfect for the lead role and is honestly terrifying.
The film also stars Jill Schoelen who is one of the more underrated scream queens of the '80s. She plays Christine, the object of the Phantom's affection. She can play weak without seeming helpless and bad ass without turning into an action chick. She is the heart of the film and it's sad that the actress never got her proper due. The film also stars Molly Shannon as Christine's nerdy gal pal.
My only quibble with the film was the ending. In the film, Christine is a wannabe singer in the '80s who travels back in time. After the Phantom is defeated, she wakes up to discover that it was "just a dream" This leads to a painfully long scene where she defeats the Phantom a second time or does she? Yes, there's a tacked on, unnecessary sequel hook.
The main action took place in the past and already had a fine ending. It did not need a second ending, it seemed rather hastily placed in my opinion.