I'll start this review by saying that rape/revenge films are not for everyone, and I'm personally pretty squeamish about rape scenes. Often times they come across as exploitative, even if the following revenge sequences are  generally cathartic. Often times, I find myself, if I'm watching these films at all, having to fast forward through the sexual assault.

Revenge, however, manages to sidestep a lot these problems by virtue of being written and directed by a woman, Coralie Fargeat. For instance, the film specifically side steps the exploitative nature of the rape scene by not making it explicit. Is it uncomfortable to watch? Hell yes. Is it exploitative? No. Because unlike many other films of its ilk, the rape isn't made to titillate; it isn't shot for the male gaze.

Does this at all cheapen the revenge aspect? Hell no. Revenge shows that an explicit rape scene is not needed for the revenge to be satisfying.

Special credit has to go to French actress, Matilda Ann…

Book Review: Fortnight of Fear by Graham Masterton

The stories in this particular collection are all prefaced by Masterton's descriptions of the locations in which they take place and of how those locations inspired him. The locations are important to the stories, and in many of them, the location is almost a character in and of itself. You often feel, reading the tales in this book, that the stories are dependent on their settings. Masterton could not have set a single one of his stories anywhere else, without drastically changing the tale.
Many of the stories in this volume share another common theme, however, and that is loneliness. Masterton's characters are frequently faced with isolation and despair. The protagonists in "Heart of Stone" and "Beijing Craps" are adrift in the world after the death of loved ones, while hard times have forced the heroes of "The Woman in the Wall" and "5a Bedford Row" into starting over in new towns where they don't know anyone, and they find themse…

The Witch Files

This week I watched two arguably feminist horror films, The Witch Files, now streaming on Netflix, and Revenge, an award winning French entry into the rape revenge subgenre. While both movies couldn't be further apart both tonally and in subject matter, they were both female focused horror films that refused to cater to the male gaze. So, for that, mad props to both of them. I'll review Revenge later, but right now, I'm here to discuss The Witch Files.

I checked this one out solely because I saw it featured Paget Brewster (whom I love), of Criminal Minds fame. I honestly wasn't expecting too much;  I knew next to nothing about The Witch Files going in, but I ended up pleasantly surprised.

The movie plays out like a PG-13 (or TV-14 actually) version of The Craft, which has long been one of my favorites. It revolves around 5 teen girls who form a coven and start casting spells which allow them to get everything they want. Unfortunately, their new gifts come with a price.

Minutes Past Midnight

Minutes Past Midnight is a collection of short films presented, in part, by Rue Morgue, a magazine this reviewer holds in esteem above all others. Naturally, I had to check it out. As with any anthology (book or film), some segments stand about above the others. There were, however, two segments that particularly stood out to me.

The first is director, James Moran's British romantic comedy, "Crazy for You," starring Arthur Darvill (Doctor Who's Rory) as a serial killer, driven to crime by the sight of polka dots thanks to a childhood tragedy, who falls in love with a charming young lady played by Hannah Tointon (The Inbetweeners, The Children) who, unfortunately, loves polka dots. This is a charming story, beautifully shot and featuring two incredibly likable leads. Moran also co-wrote one of my all time favorite horror movies, Severance, and I would love to see what he could do directing a feature.

My other favorite is the following short, Kevin McTurk's "T…

Book Review: The Blackstone Chronicles by John Saul

John Saul's novel, The Blackstone Chronicle, was originally published in serial form, in six parts, similar to Stephen King's The Green Mile, which apparently inspired Saul. While Saul's prose has never been as rich as his friend and mentor King's (whom Saul notes in his Afterword gave him advice and encouragement in writing this novel), Saul's writing is similarly fast paced and entertaining. He makes it hard to put a book down.
Since I've already spent a long time in Blackstone, reading it in its original serial form-spacing it out over a few weeks, I'm going to make this review brief and in list form. As much as I enjoyed the book, I'm ready to leave its world behind for a while.

Spoiler alert, so if you haven't read Blackstone Chronicles and are planning to, stop here. Unless you just like spoilers, in which case, continue on, weirdo. Here are the most notable points I'd like to make:

1. The first two books were probably my favorite. The cha…