At the Mountains of Madness (book review)

At the Mountains of MadnessAt the Mountains of Madness by H.P. Lovecraft
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is perhaps the best example of Lovecraft in his more dry tones. If you are hoping for a first person perspective, down and close to the horror you won’t really find it here. This is the retellings of a crazed survivor, a prime example of Lovecraft’s tendency for that trope. More of an after action report then the actual tale as it unfolds.

Unlike a lot of his other work, this example of his writings does not contain a lot of his problematic views. Other stories are racists, sexist and xenophobic, however here none of that appeared evident.

The writing style is dry though. It takes a peculiar liking for this kind of work for other readers to appreciate it, but for me it had a lot of good building blocks. He had links to other stories in his mythos, and he definitely had a lot of details in the story itself, maybe too many for some people.

You can see though where he inspired people after him. This story could easily fit in the worlds of Stephen King, Clive Barker, and many newer horror authors.

If you like Lovecraft, or any of his inheritors (Clark Ashton Smith, Robert E Howard, Robert Bloch, and others like August Derleth) then this is something you want to read.

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Chance (Season 1)

Hugh Laurie is back, as another diagnostician. It may seem to be a repeat, but it isn’t and you will want to see it.

Mr. Laurie is back as a neuropsychiatrist who diagnoses people and sends them to specialists they need. That is where the similarity to House ends. It is about what happens when a patient comes into his life and turns it upside down.

Rather then being a narcissistic jerk (whom we all watched House for) he is a family man, shortly after a divorce with a teenage daughter. He accidentally gets involved in an underworld he doesn’t understand, but fortunately he has a friend named “D” (don’t call him Darius).

D steals the show for me though. I liked Hugh Laurie, but Ethan Suplee’s acting and just his character in general made me even more interested.

Sadly I can’t give any more details without spoilers, so all I can say is go see it.

Pros: Interesting from the first episode, great actors/actresses and the chemistry is worth seeing.

Cons: The trope of multiple personality (not Chance) and the fact that it takes forever for Chance to figure out how the underworld works.

Season 2 just came out, and I am going to go see it.

AHS: Hotel (Season 5)

Now AHS has finally hit its stride and is in that sweet spot of horror and drama.

Overall this is the best season so far that I have seen. The stories all wrap around a hotel, a countess, things that are similar to vampires, spirits and serial killers. The base idea is wrapped around a similar serial killer H.H. Holmes who owned a hotel that was sometimes called the Murder Castle in Chicago.

The real serial killer claimed at least 27 people were killed in various rooms when they checked into his hotel. Of course in traditional American Horror Story style the body count is upped by tenfold, using chutes to hide bodies, ghosts to kill guests and visits from other serial killers.

Even though the story focuses on a possible serial killer, my favorite character is Liz Taylor, played by Dennis O’hare. He as fantastic, and I found his story definitely interesting and touching.

My favorite character!

Lady |Gaga made her AHS debut here, and she did well, along with Kathy Bates and the returning cast. I really didn’t have anything negative to say about this season at all.

Pros: The show finds its groove, the cast are at their best and Lady Gaga does fairly well in my first exposure to her acting.

Cons: I wish they had focused on Liz more.

The show keeps putting out good content, it doesn’t feel like they have exhausted the theme of the show yet.

The Babysitter (2017)

Release Date: October 13, 2017

A fantastic comedic horror movie, once again showing how Netflix handily beats out the bigger movie companies.


The story is pretty straight forward, a boy just entering teen years who is picked on by bullies and who is afraid of everything.

Cole is surrounded by a lot of people including his parents who love him, but are distant. A close female friend that encourages and supports him. Then there is Bee, the babysitter who is attractive, smart and loves spending time with him. It is unfortunate that he is then surrounded by a satanic cult, and large tarantulas.

The movie is fast paced. Shortly after you learn to like Bee, you learn to hate her about as much as Cole accidentally learns that Bee leads a Satanic cult, intent on drinking blood, praying to Satan and killing Cole.

The Satanic Cult is priceless. I loved Max, the bad guy quarterback (played by Robbie Amell, first cousin of Stephen Amell who plays Arrow). John was also a great character, wanting sex, but screaming a lot when trouble happens. Unfortunately I wasn’t as impressed with the two other women in the cult, not because they were bad actresses but because of their roles.

I cannot express how much I loved Max being a murdering satanic cultist chasing Cole, who stops and shows Cole how to defend himself against bullies. I won’t say anymore, but that scene is the high point of the movie for me.

The movie is directed by McG, the same person that brought us Supernatural, and you can see his influence. The movie feels like something that could happen in the Supernatural world.

The good: Everything about this was good. I especially enjoyed the back and forth between Cole and Max.

The bad: That it was over in less than 90 minutes (actually that is probably good, they didn’t let it drag).

This just shows why I will almost always watch anything done by Netflix. Even with a few stinkers, Netflix usually supplies what I look for.

AHS: Freakshow (Season 4)

Now we are getting back into the wheelhouse of horror. Some scary things, some bizarre things, and some good acting by everyone means this is a definitely better season.

This story about a freak show run by Elsa Mars, a German woman who leads the group in Jupiter Florida in the 1950s.

The story is about the Freakshow itself, the new people they meet and the subsequent background stories, a murdering clown, a possible second clown, a summoned creature and references to two other seasons of American Horror Story.

The acting is very good, there are several main characters of people who are unique, and there is Michael Chiklis (from the Shield and the Commish). There is some scary parts, and a lot of trying to figure out where a person fits in.

My only part I didn’t like was Sarah Paulson’s role. She was an excellent actress, but trying to play both twins of a Siamese twin, just didn’t work for me. However, it wasn’t Ms. Paulson’s fault, she did well, I just couldn’t buy her character for some reason.

Pros: Even better then the first three seasons, the story is fairly unique, the characters are very entertaining and Jessica Lange can sing really well.

Cons: The Siamese Sister bit didn’t work for me.

I am looking forward to Season 5, where we get to meet Lady Gaga in a role.

AHS: Coven (Season 3)

We are back for more of a return to the style of original American Horror Story: Murder House (Season 1)

I really love the anthology setup for tv series like this. It allows a complete story to be told in a season, so there is no annoying cliff hangers that are never answered. It allows a good story to be told because there is a start, middle and end, and it is especially good because if you have an idea that doesn’t work for everyone as a story, then they can come back the next season and may find something they do like.

We have gotten away from the even vague suggestions of aliens and abduction in this season. Here we are in New Orleans and the story is about a power struggle in a witch coven, while there is a war with a voudon priestess and her support with a mixing of witch hunters involved.

Almost all of the cast is back, but they have added Kathy Bates and Angela Bassett. The acting has gone up several notches, even though there are some teen witch angst (but in a AHS style) and when you have Angela Bassett, Jessica Lange and Kathy Bates all in the same room the acting just soars.

Pros: The biggest pro is the changing stories between seasons, followed by a more supernatural/witch feeling in this.

Cons: Probably a little too much focus on teen witches, I understand why they did it but I am getting close to 50 and teen witch stories don’t do it for me.

I will definitely follow up with Season 4 “Freakshow”.

It (2017)

Absolutely worth seeing.

I am a bit biased, I have always liked Stephen King’s books, and his movies. Yes, even the horrible ones. I do love the original tv series with Tim Curry, but Bill Skarsgard is just as good, but in a more horrific way.



The first thing you have to know, this is only half the book. This is the kid portion of the story. They have already hired the writer and are starting the sequel which is supposed to be the adult story. They even ended the movie with a “chapter one” meaning they knew they were going to do it.

So let’s focus on the kids. They are all great, including the mouthy Finn from Stranger Things. The acting was great, the stories for each kid were interesting, and horrifying in their own ways (especially Henry and Beverly’s, yes even the bad kid Henry had an interesting and almost heart breaking childhood).

The effects were great, but they didn’t lean on them too much, a lot of darkness, a lot of charging attacks, but nothing so horribly CGI that it would jar. Although the greatest effect was Bill Skarsgard himself. The voices he could make, the looks he gave, especially the intensity, were the most horrifying thing in the movie.

The directing was great too. They cut the story down, made it lean by doing something I wasn’t sure about, only covering half the book. They also got rid of the group sex scene from the book, definitely made it less skeevy that way. All the decisions I saw made the movie better.

I rank it up there with Kubrick’s the Shining as one of my favorite King movies.

The good: Everything. The acting, directing and of course the source material.

The bad: I did feel like I was missing something, but that is because I have read the book and watched the mini-series and it felt strange to not have the adult half of the story. It was a good choice, and that bad is on me, but it was the one thing that made me hesitate.


Resident Evil 7: Biohazard

Youtube LP Playlist: Resident Evil 7: Biohazard Let’s Play Series
Systems: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Microsoft Windows

This is by far the best Resident Evil incarnation I have seen in over a decade.

I was doubtful about the game at first. The last two or three have been failures, and even before that they were disappointing except for the first one. However, the fact that it was first person intrigued me. That was the one thing about Resident Evil I didn’t like was that it was third person.

The story itself seemed interesting as well. In the swamps, in a family farm and no Umbrella representation that was evident in the trailer. All of these were true. It is a fresher take on things, a very enjoyable one at that.

The game itself is fun, the controls work well and the story is the bestI have seen. I think the story itself is better than even the original. It is creepy with lots of jump scares and slow build tensions. The use of the VHS player is also unexpected and a cool way to tell a larger version of the story.

I think my only issue in the game was by the end it had done what many games have (such as Outlast) it was less terrifying and more action based (still a bit scary). However, even with that I completely recommend this game.

Pros: Scary, a great story and the controls are pretty good.
Cons: The end of the game loses some of the horror aspect. Not too badly, but enough to be a little disappointing.

I will definitely be getting the next installment of the RE series.

AHS: Asylum (Season 2)

Not as good as season 1, but worth it if you can power through the first couple of episodes.

I don’t want to have anything too spoilerific, but the thing that hurts this season is the alien abduction subplot (and it is only a subplot and it isn’t too spoilery to mention it I promise). That is why I originally started watching this when Season 2 started years ago, but stopped after an episode. I don’t like to mix aliens and horror myself.

Instead of modern day setting with flashbacks, this season is set in the 1960s in an insane asylum (hence why they involved alien abduction at some point) with flash forwards to modern day. The timing is well paced and there are some very interesting leads. However, it was way too distracting for me with the insanity plot that I mostly endured this season.

The actors are great, almost everyone makes a comeback as a different character this season and they swapped up their roles of what they are doing. I really do like the anthology setup. There is less “horror” on a supernatural level here then cruelty and spite by those in charge (don’t worry though, it still exists) so this was a less scary story and more of a dark drama.

By the end I didn’t regret watching it. The cast acted well, the set was nice, but overall I am glad season 3 should go back to the normal “horror” story mode that this series should stick with.

Pros: The acting was great, and the storytelling in an anthology setting where each season is a different story is outstanding.

Cons: Whether or not there were alien abductions, I don’t like mixing that possibility with my horror.

The acting was good enough I will definitely follow up with Season 3.

AHS: Murder House (Season 1)

I have to admit it was better than I expected from an American television series.

Originally the show didn’t have a name for each season, and was known only as “American Horror Story” however the name has been updated to “Murder House” to distinguish it from the seasons that follow (each named differently).

I watched this show originally when it came out for several episodes. I remembered liking it, but I don’t remember why I stopped watching.

The story itself was pretty good, they layered on many stories in the house and intertwined them. Most of the story is in current day, with flashbacks, so in that sense it is a traditional horror story. The didn’t shrink back from the season finale like I was worried.

However, the best part I think is the way the series itself is set up. Each season is a different story, but uses a lot of the same actors in different roles. I am currently finishing season 2, a fully different story, most of the same actors and the whole idea of doing the show like this actually exceeds the content of the season itself.

Pros: There are enough different substories combined with enough good actors you should be able to find something interesting.

Cons: The Murder House story itself isn’t the most unique storyline, enjoyable but not unique.

It has me bought into the show enough I will continue with the next season.