31 Horror Movies for Halloween – THE SENTINEL

The first question I have is…Why haven’t I seen this before?

I thoroughly enjoyed THE SENTINEL so much so that I’m planning on watching it again.

It was pretty wild, and I’m surprised I haven’t heard about it more. I think it was ahead of its time.

Granted, I do think that a lot of the religious imagery may not work today, but some of the graphic scenes were totally ahead of its time. Come on, how awkward is it to stop in and introduce yourself to the first floor neighbors. Then, as one of the women leaves to get you coffee the other woman proceeds masterbating in front of you? Then, there’s the whole did your boyfriend kill his ex? And of course there is the creepy priest living in the top floor apartment.

31 Horror Movies for Halloween – HEREDITARY

I have a pretty extensive history with hating some horror movies (fine, many horror movies) on the first watch. If you haven’t figured this out yet, I’ve watched a lot of horror movies. I’ve been watching horror movies since I was 5. So, I know horror movie tropes. I can tell you when the jump scares are coming based on camera placement and focus. I have pretty much seen it all.

So when I went to see HEREDITARY in theaters I had an idea that there was a cult-like element to it.

After rewatching the film, I still have some issues with it, but I must say Toni Collette’s performance is not one of them. Toni Collette as a grieving mother is painful to watch, visceral. Her wails are primal. There is no doubt that her performance is superb, and probably one of the best acting I’ve seen in a horror film in recent memory.

For me, there’s a disconnect with some parts of the film, particularly with the role that Charlie and Peter play and how they’re both pivotal to the plot. As always, no spoilers.

One of my favorite series of dialogue happens early on in the first classroom scene with Peter. I feel like this bit of dialogue is essentially the entire theme of the movie:

Teacher: If we go by the rule of the hero is undone by his fatal flaw. What is Heracles flaw?

Girl in class seated in front of Peter: Arrogance

Teacher: Why

Girl in class seated in front of Peter: Because he literally refuses to look at all the signs that are being literally handed to him the entire play.

Teacher: OK. Interesting. So he thinks he has control. Let’s all remember, Sophocles wrote the ORACLE so that it was unconditional meaning that Heracles never had any choice, right? So does that make it more tragic or less tragic that if he has a choice.

Male student: Less

Teacher: Why? –

Male student: Because

Teacher: Care to weigh in Peter?

Peter: About which part?

Unseen female student: I think it’s more tragic because if it’s all just inevitable then that means that the characters never had hope. They never had hope because they’re all just like hopeless, they’re all like pawns in this horrible, hopeless machine.

Later on, we also have some foreshadowing with Charlie cutting off the head of the bird that crashed into her classroom window. Also, earlier on there’s foreshadowing when Charlie tells her mother that “Grandma wanted me to be a boy.”

Also, in that powerful therapy session with Annie, it concludes with the therapist asking Annie “What do you think you feel blamed for?”

She answers “I don’t know,” but we later learn what she is blamed for.

Finally, I missed a lot of detail when I saw the film in the theater, but a lot was answered for me when I was able to pause and read carefully the quotes in the book Anne found, a book titled INVOCATIONS.

In it, she turns to a marked page with an image of King Paimon (God of Mischief).

The highlighted quote in the book says:

“When successfully invoked, King Paimon will possess the most vulnerable host. Only when the ritual is complete will King Paimon be locked into his ordained host. Once locked in, a new ritual is required to unlock the possession.”

The underlined quote below then reads:

“King Paimon is a male, thus covetous of a male human body.”

This answered a lot for me, but I still don’t find this effective – female but needing male, who cares? Couldn’t King Paimon had been a woman? Wouldn’t that have been cool? But I guess we wouldn’t have had a movie otherwise? I don’t know. It just wasn’t effective for me.

I know a lot of this is hard to follow if you haven’t watched the movie. I don’t want to give any major spoilers. Overall, I did enjoy it a little more the second time around.


31 Horror Movies for Halloween – THE VVITCH

I’ve tried doing this before, and some years I can’t quite get through all 31 horror movies because life happens.

Still, I’m going to attempt my 31 Horror Movies for Halloween again.

I’m starting off the month with THE VVITCH. I’ve only seen it once before in the theater and I admit, I didn’t quite like it much when I first saw it. I think I walked into it with certain expectations.

Even when I saw it the first time, I was captivated by the image of Black Philip and the witches in the forest.

Now, on a rewatch I enjoyed it much more. Some time has passed since the movie first came out, and in watching it again I found it to be a much more intellectual film than I had originally thought.

The dialogue is also beautiful, for example:

Thomasin: Black Phillip, I conjure thee to speak to me. Speak as thou dost speak to Jonas and Mercy. Dost thou understand my English tongue? Answer me.
Black Phillip: What dost thou want?
Thomasin: What canst thou give?
Black Phillip: Wouldst thou like the taste of butter and pretty dress? Wouldst thou like to live deliciously?
Thomasin: Yes.
Black Phillip: Wouldst thou like to see the world?
Thomasin: What will you from me?
Black Phillip: Dost thou see a book before thee? Remove thy shift.
Thomasin: I cannot write my name.
Black Phillip: I will guide thy hand.

Just some things that stood out on a rewatch –

*The muted colors, visuals – these were compelling.

*The family was banished, but it was never really stated why.

*The dinner scene with the family where the father sits at the head of the table. It’s a scene rooted in Biblical imagery – down to the mention of silver (think Judas’ payment for turning in Jesus of Nazareth) when the mother asks where is her missing silver cup.

*The black rabbit who appears several times. A rabbit appears in children’s literature (the dark and creepy type of children’s literature) and leads children astray. It does so here as well.

*The two younger siblings are so unnerving, their voices, their stature. They are like devilish imps and I feel like the director had this intent.

*The beautiful, magical Thomasin. I was captivated by her innocence, and her insistence that she was not a witch, and she wasn’t…until…(no spoilers here).

*And of course Black Phillip


This is the “I got an agent” blog

This is the “I got an agent” blog! It is and it isn’t.

Yes, I now have an agent and I’m completely thrilled!

Now, I’ll tell you what this blog post isn’t. This blog isn’t the typical ‘stats’ type blog you often read from people who tell you about their querying adventure. You know those blog posts. You may have read dozens of them. You may have written one. They seem pretty standardized. They tell you about how the writer went through their querying process, how many queries they sent out, how that initial offer came in and counter offers and finally that perfect decision!

Look. Writing is hard. Querying is harder. So guess what? When you get an agent the hard work will not magically end. For some of us (most of us) the hard work is just beginning – edits, rewriting and more writing.

Here is what I want to say – I want to say thank you.

You know who you are.

You who have followed my horror writing career since it began, which is around the time I started my Master of Fine Arts at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Thank you to those of you who read my work during those times and helped me through my process.

Thank you to those of you that followed me when I started Burial Day Books (which will be resurrected in 2019). Thank you to those of you who read and bought LOTERIA, SANTA MUERTE, THE MISSING and POEMS OF MY NIGHT.

Thank you to those of you who came out to visit me at readings, at book fairs and comic cons to say hello and to tell me to keep pushing because you believed in me and my work.

Thank you to those of you who followed me and follow me on social media, and who chatted with me during my late night delirium writing sessions.

Thank you to those of you who could tell I was at home crying and desperate because I was so frustrated and felt like a failure. You text me, and you called me, and you sent me books, and you told me to keep pushing forward because you believed in me.

I know I can go on, but you know who you are, and I thank you.

I thank you all and I promise you I will work my ass off. I will lose sleep. I will skip functions. I will not binge watch Netflix (maybe a little?). I will swear to you that I will write until the story is perfect, and then write some more. I will tell good stories that you will want to read and I will make you proud of me, because you gave me a gift that I just have to repay – you believed in me.

And now, thank you tremendously to Metamorphosis Literary Agency for believing in me! Thank you to my agent Amy Brewer and Patty Carothers. I promise you I will work so hard for you.

The work isn’t over. The work is just beginning. Send me good thoughts friends. I need them.


Image: www.evildeadnews.com/2017/06/mia-channels-ash-in-unreleased-promo_24.html