As I mentioned when I wrote about Paperbacks From Hell and The Nest, my latest obsession is paperback horror from the 70s, 80s and 90s. After reading the former book and getting the reprint of the latter from the fantastic Valancourt Books, I made my way over to ThriftBooks armed with the list of titles I wanted to check out from PFH and ordered about a half dozen novels. Honestly, I couldn’t remember what most of them were about or what about the initial writing made me want to check them out, but I figured I could trust myself. With a stack of books featuring titles like The Glow, Heads and Obelisk, I found myself initially drawn to T.M. Wright’s 1984 book A Manhattan Ghost Story. It was a great choice, I must say!
I’m not sure about anyone else out there, but I’ve always found myself drawn to certain characters in comics and repelled by others based on nothing more than their designs. I’ve read very few Creeper comics, but can say that he’s absolutely one of my favorite characters based solely on design and aesthetics. As a kid coming up in comics fandom in the 90s, I saw a lot of darker themed characters that I did not want anything to do with. One of those characters was Venom. Back then, the large-tongued symbiote muscle man was the king of of the edgy miniseries and I was admittedly a bit nervous about his whole deal (which, as a die-hard DC fan, I only really knew about from looking at covers and reading Wizard). The great thing about being a human, though, is that we can grow past our early thoughts and evolve into new people who are ready, willing and able to read Venom comics (that’s what evolution’s all about, right?).
Do you ever keep hearing about an author so many times that reading their books just seems like a delightful inevitability. That was kind of the case with Grady Hendrix. I remember his early fiction books getting talked about on my favorite horror podcast, Shock Waves, and then he went on to appear on the show a few times (a bonus ep from May 2017 and episode 115 if you’re looking for specifics). Between those appearances and the time he showed up on Teen Creeps (episode 150), Hendrix quickly jumped way up on my radar of authors to keep an eye out for. Luckily, several of his books, including Horrorstor and Paperbacks From Hell soon showed up on the cheap digitally and I grabbed them both. I briefly wrote about the former in my 2019 year end list, but now it’s time to talk about Paperbacks…and what it’s lead to.
Okay, so I already talked about by favorite older horror movie experiences of last year, so now it’s time for the newbies! I rarely see horror films in the theater, but do try to keep up on the new hotness mainly by listening to Shock Waves and hearing what they’re enjoying on any number of streaming services. Between that, the library and my subscription to Netflix DVD (yup, I’m the one keeping them in business, apparently), I try to stay on top of the genre, but miss a lot. These are the ones I caught!
A few years back, my wife and I decided to get rid of cable. With that, we signed up for Hulu Live or whatever it’s called so we could keep watching Jeopardy and I could enjoy football and basketball. So, we’ve got that streaming service as well as Amazon Video and Netflix. And yet, we still find ourselves watching quite a bit of traditional television. These are the weekly shows we do our best to keep up with!
Let’s keep this Best Of 2019 thing going! So far, I’ve covered my favorite classic horror movie viewings of last year and now I’m on to books. I keep this rad super hero wall-mounted shelf in my office and stack up the physical books I’ve read throughout the year. As you can see in this photo, I also have a list next to it that I can put digital and library conquests on as well. It sure makes it simple to do a list like this!
As we near the end of 2019 — to which I offer a hale and hearty, “good riddance,” — I found myself looking back on my media experiences of the past year and realized I didn’t see many new films (or at least released-to-theaters flicks). To try and remedy that, I requested a movies from the library and had what turned out to be a strange and wildly imbalanced double feature of Ma and The Banana Splits Movie! Imma get into the former right now, but come on back soon for my take on the latter, as well as a review of Chromeskull: Laid To Rest 2!
I’ve never actually watched a season — or even an episode — of American Horror Story. It took me a while to finally get on the TV terror train and when I did, I’d heard not great things about the show’s ability to stick its landings. However, when I started seeing ads this past fall hyping the ninth season’s totally 80s feel, I just had to give it a look!
Another day, another pile of trades! This time around I’ve got a very cool haunted house story starring a longtime DC scare characters, a comic adaptation of a film I haven’t seen and a trip to Mega-City Two drawn by one of my favorite artists working in comics now!
Several months back one new podcast I’ve been listening to — How Did This Get Played — lead me to another new one: Teen Creeps! Hosts Kelly Nugent and Lindsay Katai spotlight young adult scare fair from the 70s, 80s and 90severy week, often with a guest. This instantly perked my ears because I actually had a similar idea for a podcast a while back. In fact, I may have even dabbled with calling it Won’t Somebody PLEASE Think Of The Children which I eventually turned into a not-so-reoccurring feature here on the ol’ blog.
I read a few Goosebumps in my youth, but was far more drawn to R.L. Stine’s Fear Street books, but even more so to Christopher Pike’s offerings. I can’t say how many I read or how far I got into the genre, but it’s been a lot of fun listening to Katai and Nugent explore that territory on the podcast. At some point in the back catalog — I’ve been going through every episode from the first one — someone mentioned a book called Secrets Of The Shopping Mall by Richard Peck, noting that it was about kids in a mall at night and something creepy living in there too. I immediately requested a copy from the library and read it in about three sittings after Thanksgiving!