“You don’t blame us for being here, do you? After all, we have no place to go. No home… Incidentally, what an excellent day for an exorcism…”
When Re“You don’t blame us for being here, do you? After all, we have no place to go. No home… Incidentally, what an excellent day for an exorcism…”
When Regan MacNeil, daughter of famous actress Chris MacNeil, becomes strangely ill, coming up with a reasonable explanation proves difficult. Chris’ original belief that this is caused by repressed anger over her divorce with Regan’s father because less likely as time progresses and Regan begins going through increasingly violent episodes and physical transformations as well. When modern medical treatments fail to provide any change in her daughter, Chris seeks out the help of a local priest by the name of Damien Karras. While Karras is also quick to disregard the notion that Regan could be possessed based on a personal crisis of faith, it becomes more and more clear that there’s nothing else it could possibly be. Blatty states that his idea for the novel came after reading an article which claims that a 14 year old boy was successfully exorcised of the devil.
It might be obvious to say that this novel features heavy religious discussions and of the never-ending battle between good and evil. Even though I expected it, I felt it was done in a very maladroit way. Many horror novels I’ve read, and many of the classics I’ve recently read, tend to focus more on the actual horror. The Exorcist, I felt was attempting to be more literary and highbrow than was necessarily called for as well as overly excessive in terms of time spent instructing the reader in religious knowledge. For me, an air of mystery will cause more fright versus being explained the reasoning behind things in minute detail.
The actual horror of this novel was a lot more subdued than I anticipated. While I knew random bits of pop culture trivia even though I hadn’t seen the movie beforehand, the supposedly horrific aspects of this story were far more gross than scary. Particularly the scene where she vomits green stuff or where she does… bad things with a crucifix. Sure, it’s meant to be horrifying that she’s doing these actions unwillingly, and that it’s terrible it’s happening to a girl so young but it didn’t evoke any terror for me. Still, this was a definite “must-read” on the list of horror-classics and I’ve successfully knocked it out. I should probably suck it up and watch the movie now. Knowing that her projectile green vomit was actually Andersen’s pea soup mixed with a little oatmeal will likely ease any potential terror....more
‘The people of the village began to gather in the square, between the post office and the bank, around ten o’clock.’
In a seemingly normal town, ever‘The people of the village began to gather in the square, between the post office and the bank, around ten o’clock.’
In a seemingly normal town, everyone gathers together to conduct the annual traditional lottery. What is the lottery exactly? Well, you don’t truly discover the magnitude of its horror until the final passage. A lottery is typically a good thing but in this small town its anything but. Certain things throughout this short story hint at what’s to come: the nervous energy of the people, the implication that the lottery serves a purpose regarding the future of the crops, and the piles of stones that the kids begin to gather.
What made this story the most eerie is the whole mystery behind the lottery. No one truly knows when it actually started, why it ever started, only that it is and must keep going for traditions sake. It’s mentioned that other towns have done away with the practice and the idea is immediately dismissed as folly. Just the concept of not doing the lottery, of doing away with tradition, is enough to frighten everyone not knowing the possible implications not doing it would cause.
This patriarchal society in the unnamed village have the men draw the slip of paper that ultimately decides whether their family is the selected recipient of the lottery. The only instance where this differs is when the man is unable to attend the lottery (such as the man named Dunbar that was home with a broken leg) or if an elder son is able to draw for his mother if she doesn’t have a husband. Once selected, each individual (even women) are then given their opportunity to select their own piece of paper. Published in 1948, Shirley Jackson’s short story is a telling criticism of the powerlessness that women faced, and unfortunately still face to this day. While the idea of the lottery is clearly exaggerated, the idea of the strength and fierceness of traditions and patriarchy is extremely realistic.
The Amityville Horror is said to be a work of non-fiction as it is the story of the Lutz family and the 28 days they spent in what was supposed to beThe Amityville Horror is said to be a work of non-fiction as it is the story of the Lutz family and the 28 days they spent in what was supposed to be their dream home. The house on 112 Ocean Avenue in Amityville, New York already had a bad name when the DeFeo family was murdered there by the oldest son, Ronald “Butch” DeFeo, Jr. in 1974. In his defense he claimed to have heard voices telling him to kill his family but he was instead diagnosed with antisocial personality disorder and sentenced to six consecutive life sentences. He remains in prison to this day. There was never anything mentioned about paranormal activity, just a horrifying mass murder. Whether the act of the murders is what caused the issues the Lutz’s experienced is entirely up for debate. When the Lutz’s moved into the house on Ocean Avenue in late 1975, their troubles began immediately. George Lutz constantly suffered from a chill and spent the majority of his time feeding the fire. Kathleen Lutz felt a presence in the kitchen which laid an innocuous hand on her shoulder only to feel that presence again later which squeezed the air out of her so much that she passed out. The two state that their emotions would often get the best of them for no apparent reason which led them both beating their children which had never happened before. But that was only the first few days of their stay.
This is the second read for my scary book month of 2015 and I’m beginning to think the fear part of my brain is broken. Or maybe this just wasn’t that scary? Either way, this is always on the list of classic horror novels and has always been one I’ve wanted to read. But the strange occurrences that happened in the house would have been more terrifying to have actually lived it, to have felt the wrongness of the house, and that’s simply something that couldn’t have been conveyed through the page. The odd things that were actually visible (the strange, tiny red room or the weird ghosty pig) weren’t actually terrifying. Even the green goop that ran down the walls failed to horrify but what did horrify me was when George actually stuck his finger in it and proceeded to taste it. Because that’s what normal people do. Taste random shit running down their walls. For fucks sake.
I did make the mistake of reading this in bed, in the middle of the night, only stopping at a part where a character woke in the middle of the night to find some ghosty child touching her foot trying to wake her up. Suffice it to say I felt little fingers touching my feet all night. Other than freaking myself out by being a dumb dumb and reading it at night, I didn’t find this terrifying. It would have helped, maybe, if Anson had eased up on his use of the exclamation points whenever something ominous happened in order to be taken more seriously. While I’m not completely sold on whether or not this is indeed factual, it was still an entertaining story that makes you wonder about the history of your home and what could have possibly taken place within its walls.
Next up, I’ll be watching the classic movie. I just did this with Psycho (the Hitchcock version not the one with Aragorn) and enjoyed the hell out of it. I may even have to watch the newer Amityville as well because 1. the trailer actually does look pretty damn terrifying and 2. other, various reasons. *shrugs*
While preparing for the upcoming Hallowe’en Party, thirteen-year-old Joyce Reynolds begins boasting about a murder she claims to have been a witness tWhile preparing for the upcoming Hallowe’en Party, thirteen-year-old Joyce Reynolds begins boasting about a murder she claims to have been a witness to many years ago. The reason she gives for not coming forward sooner was she didn’t realize it was an actual murder until recently. For the most part, no one took much notice of her ramblings but someone apparently did. At the Hallowe’en Party, Joyce was found drowned in the apple-bobbing tub. The immediate reasoning for her own death seems to be the death that she witnessed.
Tis the season for a good murder mystery and what better than a murder mystery which occurs at a Halloween Party? This was my train of thought going into this one but that thought quickly derailed. This is my second Agatha Christie book (my first being And Then There Were None — it pains my to rate a Christie book so low after that one) and my first foray into the Hercule Poirot series and even though I’ve been told that they all manage well as stand-alones, that you can jump right in at any point, Hallowe’en Party was clearly a poor starting point. I started reading this in print and was at first enjoying it but once Poirot began his investigation I kept wanting to put the book down in favor of more interesting things like laundry and vacuuming. I tried powering through but I failed when I began to think I was so out of it I was forgetting to turn the pages and was reading the same passages all over again because the many people he interviewed all had the same. exact. things to say about Joyce. Poirot’s investigation seemingly led no-where yet he was able to postulate exactly who the killer was with little to nothing to go on. Good for you, Poirot. I guess that’s why you’re the detective and I am not. It was all very wearisome though. I switched to listening to the audio after a bit so I could multi-task and have exciting times in laundry folding as well.
Poirot was quite a character but I haven’t given up completely on him; I do still anticipate reading the earlier installments (Yes, Dani, like Murder on the Orient Express). He was like a quirky, French version of Sherlock. I’m at least thankful that Sherlock isn’t weird about his facial hair as Poirot clearly is.
‘There was only one thing about his own appearance which really pleased Hercule Poirot, and that was the profusion of his moustaches, and the way they responded to grooming and treatment and trimming. They were magnificent. He knew of nobody else who had any moustache half as good.’
I’m not sure I’d call it “magnificent” but it’s certainly something.
For those of you that are looking for a perfect theme read for Halloween night, alas this isn’t one I’d recommend. Not only because it’s one of the least interesting mysteries I’ve read as of late but even though the murder takes place on Halloween and the rest of the book centers around that, the actual “Halloween” aspects of it last only a few short pages....more
“…a fellow is more afraid of the trouble he might have than he ever is of the trouble he’s already got. He’ll cling to trouble he’s used to before he“…a fellow is more afraid of the trouble he might have than he ever is of the trouble he’s already got. He’ll cling to trouble he’s used to before he’ll risk a change. Yes. A man will talk about how he’d like to escape from living folks. But it’s the dead folks that do him the damage. It’s the dead ones that lay quiet in one place and don’t try to hold him, that he can’t escape from.”
Light in August, set in Faulkner’s oft used Yoknapatawpha County, follows three separate yet connected storylines that focuses on race and violence in the deep South. The novel opens with a pregnant Lena Grove traveling the South on foot to find her baby’s father, a man she knows by the name of Lucas Burch but is actually named Joe Brown. She is led to a man named Byron Bunch who everyone thinks she must mean, since no one they know is named Lucas Burch. He becomes quickly obsessed with Lena, wishes to marry her, and subsequently keeps her from the baby’s father. The second storyline focuses on Joe Christmas, a troubled man who is uncertain about his birth and believes himself to be half-black. He works at a local lumber mill but only in an attempt to disguise his illegal liquor business where he makes most of his money. He becomes partners with a man named Joe Brown. The third and final story to tie everything together is Gail Hightower, a local ex-minister after he became involved in scandal that forever tarnished his name.
‘It is just dawn, daylight: that gray and lonely suspension filled with the peaceful and tentative waking of birds. The air, inbreathed, is like spring water. He breathes deep and slow, feeling with each breath himself diffuse in the neutral grayness, becoming one with loneliness and quiet that has never known fury or despair.’
The novel is richly written, exquisitely descriptive and oftentimes complex as it alternates being multiple individuals and also between their pasts and their present. Each separate story continues on its own path yet they are all skillyfully and slowly intertwining leaving the reader oblivious to the obvious connections until the pieces finally come together at the end. The histories of each person may seem of little consequence but it only seeks to show how ones past is what forms their future, and how it will forever haunt you. Faulkner succeeds in not only bringing to life the small town mentality, but of a Southern small town in the 1920s with all its judgmental prejudices. Light in August is a tragic tale but completely unforgettable due to its ending that won’t go easy on your nerves. This is my first Faulkner and while it certainly wasn’t an easy read, it won’t be my last....more