TMP – TV Edition: Horror (Halloween Edition)

It’s Thursday, which means it’s time for the Thursday Movie Picks feature. This series is hosted by Wandering through the Shelves and offers you a weekly prompt to post some movie recommendations/talking points according to the theme. Usually, you are supposed to post about 3-5 examples, which I find a very manageable amount.

The entirety of October is dedicated to a special Halloween Edition, meaning we’ll take a look at themes through the lens of Spooktober! This week, however, is also the week we focus on TV shows instead of movies, so the theme was kept simple with – horror! I don’t watch a lot of horror shows in general, but I already have a few in mind that I’d love to discuss with you. Here we go!

Nancy Drew

I thought I’d start off with an example of super light horror, but it still has some really creepy scenes, plenty of ghosts and hauntings and not all things end well. Still, I was never much into the whole Nancy Drew lore, but I adore this show (not at the least, because it gave me one of my comfort characters – Ace). They keep getting better each season, while also proving that they know how to write a continuous story with plenty callbacks. I’m curious about the Tom Swift spin-off!

From Dusk Till Dawn

I wrote a whole detailed post about this show, which you can check out here. I never in a million years expected to like this, but I did. I was bumbed when it ended, but I have my headcanon where they are now. That’s what matters the most.

Helstrom

You all know how obsessed I am with Marvel, so it should have come as no surprise to you that I watched Marvel’s first attempt at a horror show. It definitely was creepy in atmosphere, but I suppose it could have gone further. They also cancelled it after one season and didn’t make it part of their MCU, although TV shows are canon now, so I always should have known it wasn’t going to last long. Impeccable casting though!

SurrealEstate

I was almost going to put Wynonna Earp (it IS a supernatural western horror show), but then I figured, why not hype up Tim Rozon’s aka Doc’s new show? SurrealEstate is a mix of real estate stuff and paranormal things. Enough said. It’s cool!

The Haunting of Bly Manor

Bly Manor was the first time, I felt like I put on a horror show on purpose, fully knowing what kind of show I was getting into. I sought it out, more than feeling pressured into it. No regrets whatsoever! In the end, it was more of a love story than a ghost story, or maybe a bit of both, and I fell in love with it too. Bly Manor also paved the way for me to watch the next show…

The Haunting of Hill House

I love Hill House so much. The characters, the complexity, the end! So amazing! I will never forget the emotional journey they took me on. I can’t even say if I like Hill House or Bly Manor better, because I wouldn’t have one without it the other, even if they are two separate stories.

 


Previous Halloween Editions:


What did you think of my list? Do you agree that those are (at least in part) horror shows? Let’s talk! 

Thursday Movie Picks: Horror Comedy (Halloween Edition)

It’s Thursday, which means it’s time for the Thursday Movie Picks feature. This series is hosted by Wandering through the Shelves and offers you a weekly prompt to post some movie recommendations/talking points according to the theme. Usually, you are supposed to post about 3-5 examples, which I find a very manageable amount.

The entirety of October is dedicated to a special Halloween Edition, meaning we’ll take a look at themes through the lens of Spooktober! This week is all about Horror Comedies, which is something I can get behind more than just plain scary stuff. To be fair, I’m not sure all the movies really fit the category, but imdb put them under horror and comedy, so I thought that would be alright.

The Rocky Horror Picture Show

I remember getting the DVD because it was on sale and then watching that movie for the first time alone at home, and I might have been glad no one was there. At that point, I had no idea how iconic it was, but it was fun and it stuck with me.

Ready or Not

I’ve seen this one so many times now? I really didn’t expect to like it as much as I did and while I think the ending is in no way good for Grace, she was amazing and so was the movie. I still wish Daniel didn’t have to die though.

The Babysitter

I thought I’d mind this one way more. It’s super silly, but I actually laughed quite a bit during this one. I do tune out a lot of the violence though, it turns out. I even watched the sequel! Not that it was all that great, but I did watch them both.

Warm Bodies

In general, I wouldn’t consider myself a zombie fan, but I liked this one. It’s not so much a comedy as it is a romance, but still. There’s a certain kind of sweetness to it and I enjoyed that.

Death Becomes Her

Look at me bringing in some classics this week! This movie was made before I was even born, but I’m pretty sure I have watched it as a kid … like I remember the whole in the body and the turned around head? How young was I when I first watched it!? I’m now questioning some stuff …


What did you think of my picks? What are some horror comedies you like? Let’s chat!

Spooky Books That Didn’t Give Me Nightmares!

We all know that I don’t do well with scary stuff, but because I am terribly slow at reading this month and I want to give you some bookish content, I thought it would be best to make a list of spooky books – that didn’t give me nightmares? Which, just to be clear, is what I want in books. Mildly spooky or full of ghosts or whatever, but not something that will leave a mark of terror on me. So, beware that this is a very tame list and obviously a very subjective one.

*If you click on the title, you will get redirected to my full review, which includes trigger warnings!*

The Taking of Jake Livingston

The Taking of Jake Livingston

I’ve seen opinions differ on this one, but I really enjoyed reading it. First of all, it’s a very short book. Some might say that the fast pacing hinders an emotional connection, but I teared up at some of Jake’s revelations, so I really don’t think that was a disadvantage for me. In addition to that, I liked the dual POV, even if bits of it felt disjointed. This is totally something you can read in one sitting!

Spooky elements: ghosts, relived deaths, possessions

My rating: 3.5 stars

Dark and Shallow Lies

Dark and Shallow LiesThe setting and the atmosphere for this one was great. As a supernatural thriller, it did keep me guessing in part, while I figured out a lot (gut feeling is rarely wrong) early on. It especially focuses on grief and how irrational we can become because of it. While I would have wished for some aspects to be explored further, I liked the vibes of this one.

Spooky elements: supernatural predators, swamp legends, potential mysterious serial killers?

My rating: 3.5 stars

Don’t Tell a Soul

Don't Tell a SoulI like books that teeter the line between ghosts and people just imagining things in their terror. This book was alright and definitely handled the creepy atmosphere well, however, there were a lot of characters that could have been explored deeper. Because of the main character being so closed off and us only getting secondhand information on everyone, it wasn’t easy to connect to the different players.

Spooky elements: haunted house, ghost girls

My rating: 3 stars

This Is Not a Ghost Story

This Is Not a Ghost StoryThis book surprised me, to be completely honest. I can see how the voice of the narrator/main character might not be for everyone, but I liked it. The ending is also very controversial, so I’d understand if people disagreed with me, but I had a grand time reading this one. It flowed nicely, gave me little scares, but resolved it in a way that felt very human.

Spooky elements: haunted house, spirits and danger everywhere

My rating: 4.5 stars

Watch Over Me

Watch Over MeI’m a huge Nina LaCour fan and this was not my favorite book, but it’s still fantastic in its own way. I get that she can write beautiful stories that evoke emotions in you, this was no exception, but somehow it felt less polished than the others I have read. As always, it was whimsical and filled with grief and heart. LaCour just knows what she’s doing.

Spooky elements: trauma, ghosts

My rating: 3 stars

Ninth House

Ninth House (Alex Stern, #1)This book was a lot. I do prefer Leigh Bardugo’s other series, but she still has me hooked on some of the characters here (I so fell for Darlington and Dawes). I like the world she built, I’m also curious how it continues, but it’s very heavy in parts – both in terms of content and descriptions. This is a field day for Yale fans, but I could have done with a little less campus talk.

Spooky elements: ghosts, secret magical society (with loads of sinister occult activities)

My rating: 3.5 stars

Burn Our Bodies Down

Burn Our Bodies DownI went into this book with completely wrong expectations. I thought it was going to be a mere family drama, but oh no – it is creepy! I didn’t end up enjoying this one very much, but I know others loved it, so it seemed fitting on this list.

Spooky elements: buried secrets (literally) – anything more would be spoilers

My rating: 2 stars


What are some mild but still spooky reads you enjoyed? Have you read anything I mentioned? Let’s talk!

The Taking of Jake Livingston by Ryan Douglass (ARC Review)

Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
Page Count
: 256
Release Date: July 13, 2021

*I was provided with an eARC by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review!*

CW: racism, homophobia, bullying, school shooting, graphic violence/death, suicide and suicidal ideation, physical and emotional abuse, mental illness, parental neglect and abandonment, attempted rape/child molestation, drug use, possession

Ever since I saw the cover for this book (shout out to Jessica Jenkins, who designed it, and Corey Brickley, who did the cover art), I knew I had to pick it up. Horror is still a new-to-me genre and I’m slowly easing myself into it, unsure where I truly stand on it, but I have no regrets reading The Taking of Jake Livingston.

While it may seem short, The Taking of Jake Livingston packs quite the punch. From the get go, Jake’s narration style mixed with the diary entries from Sawyer manage to create great tension and suspense. Although Sawyer gave me the creeps, I enjoyed how reasons for his behavior were explained but not excused. I felt like it was really easy to connect to the teen voices, which were casual but also had some really beautiful lines included. I was barely a couple pages in and I wanted to know everything that had happened and was about to happen.
I have to say that you barely get a breather while you read, with heavy topics such as abuse, racism, bullying, etc. being around every other corner. It became quite a lot at some point, but, at the same time, perfectly portrayed Jake’s dire circumstances. He was about to be stripped of everything, even his self, and you really felt that along with him. All of that made the lighter moments, especially those with Fiona and Allister, who were like bright spots in the ever-growing darkness, all the sweeter. I often wished they had been featured even more prominently, just to give Jake someone to lean on, although I understood that wasn’t the main plot.

Despite the heaviness and the gruesome scenes, some of which had me in literal tears, the book does end on a hopeful and lovely note. I don’t know if I could have handled a glum ending, but I was really pleased and even happy at what I got. This was a story about ghosts, control and letting go of things/people that hurt you, but it was also about self-acceptance and even queer Black love. While the romance surely wasn’t the main plot, the author managed to incorporate it perfectly, making it something that eased the heavy parts without ridiculing what was happening.

In the end, I was impressed by how much intensity could fit into such a “short” book. Some parts felt a bit disjointed and rushed, lacking consequences at times, but the discomfort and creepiness of some scenes will continue to haunt me. I’ll try to just think of the nice ending instead …

Fazit: 3.5/5 stars! Gripping and haunting story you will surely fly through!


Do you intend to pick up The Taking of Jake Livingston? Are you interested in YA horror?

This Is Not a Ghost Story by Andrea Portes (Book Review)

Publisher: HarperTeen
Page Count
: 288

CW: suicidal ideation, depression, mental health decline, grief

When I hear the phrase “this is not a ghost story”, my mind immediately goes to the latest installment of the Haunting series – Bly Manor. So, it came as no surprise when this book was recommended to me as the perfect complimentary read. However, once I started I more and more got Hill House vibes from it (a menacing house working against you, rapidly declining mental health). Then again, it doesn’t seem like either one and yet would fit into the series really well … that is, if you were focusing on just one 17-year-old girl instead of a large ensemble cast. But I digress.

This Is Not a Ghost Story is written in a stream of consciousness/inner monologue style that immediately made Daffodil (the main character and our narrator) endearing to me. She is chaotic, daydreaming, binges conspiracy theory documentaries on Netflix all day and manages to not move from her bed unless strictly necessary. Human contact? Who needs that!?
While I adored her voice, because it helped lighten some of the creepier scenes with a tinge of humour, I could also see a couple people struggling with it. The way I see it is that it’s one of those things that’s either totally your thing or not at all.

As you all well know, I don’t really do horror. OR I mostly only do horror light, so, this worked really well for me. The title already says it, it is not a ghost story. It sure feels like one at times, but there’s a lot more to it that just keeps unraveling and tricking you. This book is for all the people who hear a creepy noise and deliberately ignore it until no longer possible. It’s for all of us who will try to explain away the most illogical and impossible things like there is any kind of rationale to it.

The only thing I am kind of grapple with is the end. It’s not that it doesn’t make sense. It really does, but I am not sure if it feels right? Some have described it as lackluster, which isn’t even my issue with it. I am just uncertain about the involvement of a certain someone in getting Daffodil into this situation in the first place. It just does not sit right with me entirely, but maybe … maybe that is just not for me to understand. As Daffodil said, there’s not yet words for some things you want to say.

In the end, I did pick up a horror-esque book on purpose and … I enjoyed myself! A LOT! I have really ventured out of my comfort zone a little bit this year and I am really proud of that. Maybe this book isn’t perfect, but I am basing this rating on how much it entertained me and I more or less inhaled This Is Not a Ghost Story.

Fazit: 4.5/5 stars! Still trying to come to terms with the ending, but overall I really enjoyed this!


What are we thinking? Would you pick up this book? Let’s talk in the comments!

What I’ve Been (Binge-)Watching #44 (Spooky Edition)

Look, I know what I always say. I keep telling you all that I don’t watch horror, yet here we are today. I did a whole freaking horror binge and will now talk to you about it! (also, I am not going to do the whole “for fans of”-part … cause it would be for fans of horror and the cast for all of those? This is a very specific round up of things I’ve watched …)

The Haunting of Bly Manor

Why did I start with Bly Manor? I don’t really know.

I just saw a bunch of people talking about the sapphic vibes and how it wasn’t as scary as Hill House and … I caved? I always knew I liked the cast they got for this series (as well as the previous one), but I am an utter scaredy cat and I don’t enjoy feeling scared. (I honestly still don’t understand why anyone would.) Bly Manor really wasn’t that bad in that regard. Yes, dolls and people without faces are inherently creepy, but except for maybe two jump scares, this was rather tame.

The kids weren’t really my cup of tea and you will have to endure some elements of repeitiveness, but I think it makes sense in the overall picture (the repeating of things, not the kids being annoying).

In the show itself, they say how it is more of a love story than a ghost story, or how there sometimes is no difference and I liked that. I enjoyed that this was more about existential dread of being forgotten albeit having loved so much. How you can fail at protecting those you care about most, or succeed at it, depending on how you look at it. There was something thought provoking about it, but not anything that left me too terrified … although I will jump at anything moving in my mirrors.

Here’s another one of my original drawings, portraying Victoria Perdetti (a goddess) as Dani Clayton

The Haunting of Hill House

I already knew that much of the cast from Bly Manor had already worked together in Hill House and I wasn’t quite ready to let them go. In a way, a lot of horror-fans weren’t too pumped about Bly Manor, but I just have to give it credit, because it paved the way for people like me to check out Hill House. And yes, it is far more scary. I did not enjoy those ghosts or entities or screams or foreboding signs a lot, but I did live for the family dynamic.

The casting was so well done (again, I had a feeling that would be the case), but I especially loved the kids. I wanted to hold them and protect them and get them as far away from that cursed house as possible. Seeing their grown up counterparts was also such a joy and their fights cut deep even without any paranormal occurrences.

Overall, I think I liked Bly Manor a bit more, because I had troubles with Hill House after dark, but it was still amazing.

Helstrom (Season 1) 

This was marketed as a Marvel horror show. And it is Marvel, in the sense that it is based on the material from Marvel, but it is not, in fact, part of the MCU. And I don’t know if it’s really horror either. Do you think gross demons (that really only do anything gross every other episode) is horror? I don’t know. It’s a tough call, but I think it would have sufficed to advertise it as an edgier and darker show

Anyway, I binged through this pretty quickly and yes, it had a lot to do with my love for Tom Austen and missing him on my screen. It is a fairly slow show and needs time until about the halfway point to pick up. The strong suit are definitely the various relationships the characters have with each other. And even though I would have preferred not to have a romantic plotline, when there is a fantastic sibling relationsihp to explore RIGHT THERE, I will concede to it being important in the grand scheme of things.

I liked the occasional weird humour, but I can see it being hit or miss with a lot of people. All in all, I think it had a really intriguing set up for a potential next season (which I am not sure they will get).

Not my best work, but here you go anyway

The Invisible Man

If you haven’t noticed a certain pattern here … I will spell it out for you! I apparently am into a very specific type of man aka Oliver Jackson-Cohen and Tom Austen kind of men. Oliver was in this one as well, pair it with Elisabeth Moss and Aldis Hodge and you have my freaking attention. Once again, the cast was 100% the reason I watched this.

The lingering shots of just looking at nothing were so unsettling. The lack of sound and then very cleverly used sound – brilliant! You knew he was there, but you couldn’t see him. No one could and the way that gaslit poor Cecilia, I cannot even. It’s one of my worst nightmares that everyone will think that I have gone insane even though I am stating plain facts. That, in itself, is horror to me.

It was a tad long maybe, because we were like halfway through the thing and had had some pretty major confrontations already, but other than that … creepy. Definitely creepy.


Technically I also watched Ready or Not, but I only wanted to talk about spoiler stuff when it came to that one. The conclusion of this is that I still don’t like *most* horror. I will tolerate some? It’s really all down to the cast. What do you think?