Katie Recommends

Katie Recommends: Kendall Rae

Today I want to recommend another YouTube channel.

While the main focus of our letters is horror, True Crime has been an interest of mine for a long time, often the real world can be scarier than fiction.

With that in mind I highly recommend Kendall Rae on YouTube.

Kendall’s channel has a wonderful collection of True Crime videos where she dissects everything, from the events that happened, how the story was covered in the media/social media, and her opinion on it. She also encourages discussion and if the story hasn’t been resolved she posts updates. She also puts out videos about people who have gone missing and people who have been found, again dissecting the situation and presenting all the information in an easy to watch way.

Lastly, I want to also bring to your attention the amazing fund raising work she does for Thorn. Thorn is an organisation that builds technology which protects people, partially children from sexual abuse and human trafficking. Kendall and her subscribers create awesome clothing designs which she then sells via her channel and all the profits go to Thorn and she’s raised an amazing amount.

Overall, it’s a great channel, a must watch for anyone interested in real world horror.

Reviews - Films

Review: Haunt

Comedy Horror

Today I am writing to talk to you about the film Haunt.

Haunt isn’t the kind of horror I would normally enjoy as it is a slasher film, I prefer supernatural or psychological horror, yet I still found this film enjoyable so I wanted to talk about it.

Haunt came out in 2019 (remember 2019, before the pandemic, wistful sigh), and recieved mixed and positive reviews. It was written by Scott Beck and Bryan Woods, they both also directed it.

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Reviews - Books

Review: Something Wicked This Way Comes

Something Wicked indeed

Today I am writing to talk to you about a novel by Ray Bradbury, it was published in 1962 and tells the story about two 13 year old friends who have a terrifying encounter with a passing carnival. I am of course, talking about Something Wicked This Way Comes.

For those of you up on your Shakespeare you’ll recognise the title as a line from Macbeth, spoken by the witches.

This book has an interesting backstory, as it was not written as a book initially, it started out life as a short story, which Bradbury turned into a film treatment for Gene Kelly, but when no studio would purchase the treatment Bradbury (over a five year period) turned it into a novel. A transformative past if ever there was one.

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Reviews - Books

Review: Dr Sleep

Shinning sequal

Today I am writing to you about Dr Sleep, which is the sequel to Stephen Kings 1977 novel The Shining. Dr Sleep was published in 2013 and one the 2013 Bram Stoker award for best novel.

Summary

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

The book opens with Danny being educated by Dick Hallorann, who is now a benevolent spirit, on how to control the ghosts from the now destroyed Overlook hotel who are pursuing him. Danny is taught to lock the ghosts in imaginary boxes in his mind, which is enough to protect him. We are also introduced to a cult, led by Rose the Hat, this cult effectively feed on people who have the shining ability is this extend their lives.

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Reviews - Books

Review: Island of Dr Moreau

Ever wanted to be an animal?

Today I am writing to you about the island of Dr Moreau, was written by HG Wells and published in 1896. This remains one of Well’s best-known books and is considered a science-fiction classic.

The novel is been adapted multiple times, in various mediums. There are several direct adaptations via film, as well as several films taking inspiration from it. Lets also not forget the Simpsons treehouse of horror parody. Several books claim inspiration from the Island of Dr Moreau such as Heart of a Dog, and perhaps the more recent and well-known Sherlock Holmes: The Army of Dr Moreau.

However today we will be looking at the original book.

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Reviews - Games

Review: Misao

Spooky school kids are spooky

Today I want to write to you about a plot-heavy RPG Maker game called Misao.

Misao is a survival horror and puzzle game developed by Sen and Miscreant’s Room released in May 2011. A remastered version was later released on Steam in October 2017.

Overall, my feelings towards this game are mixed. While I was playing it, I enjoyed it. It is mysterious and fun with effective jump scares and a gripping plot. There are also lots of scares that are not jump scares, it is creepy as hell in places, violent in others and tricky in some.

However, when I started writing this blog and got thinking about this game, I started to remember certain things about it that I was not a fan of.  There is a weakness in some of the characters and the game has a few moments that feel unnecessary and gratuitous, at least to me.

As I said above this is a plot-heavy game, it also has multiple endings and I will be discussing this below, as it is exceedingly difficult to talk about what makes this a fun and interesting horror title without discussing the plot fully. Because the epilogue is considered the ‘true’ or ‘good’ ending.

So, if you have not played the game through then this is your warning, stop here and avoid spoilers.

I also want to put a trigger warning here, this game involves sexual assault and rape of high school students, not to mention a lot of violence. 

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Reviews, Reviews - Films

Review: Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark

I’ve got a story to tell

I am a big fan of the old school special effects.

Do not get me wrong modern day special effects like CGI etc can be amazing when done well and either hilarious or uncanny valley when done poorly. I am not here to bash CGI I just want to gush for a moment about old school costumes, and puppetry etc.

These effects have a very warm place in my heart, probably because I was born in the mid 80’s and so spent a lot of my pre-teen years watching films like Dark Crystal, Legend, Gremlins and Labyrinth. Either way, I love the fact that these effects are ‘real’ as in the actors can see and respond to an actual ‘creature’ as opposed to people n green body suits covered in ping pong balls. They make eye contact; they physically touch the creature, and it shows in their performance.

It is for this reason that I became a fan of Guillermo del Toro, his version of Hellboy was amazing, Pan labyrinth was fantastic and his creatures in all his films are of such high quality it is like they were ‘real’.

So, when I saw he was attached to Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark I was thrilled. I could not wait to see what he did with this and I was not disappointed.

Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark was released in August 2019, directed by André Øvredal, and is based on the children’s book series of the same name.

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Reviews, Reviews - Books

Review: Salem’s Lot

Vampires in America

Today I am writing to discuss one of my all-time favourite King novels, it also happens to be one of his favourites as well. I am, of course, talking about Salem’s Lot.

King’s take on vampires was published in October 1975 by Doubleday and has since been made into an illustrated book, an audio book, a radio drama, and a film/ two-part television miniseries. There was a sequel film, Return to Salem’s Lot, the town was mentioned in the Castle Rock series and lastly, after the success of IT, the two-part miniseries has also been earmarked for a remake, though no release date has been announced, it only got its director in April 2020.

All that aside, this review will focus on the book, released in 1975. Spoilers ahead!

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Katie Recommends

Katie Recommends: Tales from the Gas Station

Today I am recommending a fantastic series.

What I want to discuss with you today started out as a blog and while the blog still exists and is updated often, it is now also three books, both written and audio, scenes have been animated on YouTube and various YouTube readers have told it.

One of my favourite readers, MrCreepypasta has put out lots of content around this great series, (he also recorded the audiobooks) so if you fall in love with it the way I did there’s lots to consume 😀

To get you started, here’s Season one!