Thanks to an email from one of my editors, I realized it was New Year’s Eve! Funny how that works out. These might be coming out a bit later than the norm, but I figured I would jump in on the whole “End of the Year” list thingy. First up, I’m going to cover my favorite horror viewing experiences of films that came out several years back!
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 long been a proponent of local libraries. I use my area’s system constantly, requesting books and trades from several counties away to expand my literary horizons. But, it’s also fun to actually go to the library itself and just see what they have! A few weeks ago, after my son’s dance class, we walked over to the nearby branch and I had a great time perusing the stacks while he hung out with one of his friends. I walked out of there with a great stack of books!
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!
As a kid in the 80s, I loved the Transformers. Like many of my compatriots, I could not get enough of giant robots or things that morphed making it both the perfect cartoon and toy line for me. I wasn’t a diehard fan (I only know the names of a few of the Autobots and Decepticons) but it was a big part of my youth. I even have a Transformers sleeping bag that my son now uses!
So, I was pretty excited to watch the Transformers film in 2007. And you know what? I dug it! This was before coming to understand how problematic and awful certain aspects of that production and its director were, so I found myself enthralled with this tale of giant robots fighting each other with surprisingly durable humans running around. It certainly helped that they used the few Transformers I can name from memory AND some of the sound effects from the cartoon! With the second film in the series, I found myself no longer having fun and stayed away, that is until watching Bumblebee with my wife!
Last year I decided that, even though I don’t mind buying books second hand, I’d like to get Stephen King’s latest as they come out. As it happened, he released not one, but two books in 2018, the incredibly creepy The Outsider and the fairy tale-esque Elevation. This year, The Institute came out and I was so excited to dive in, though it took me a while to get through it (what else is new?).
Ever since I picked up my first issue of Runaways, I’ve been a fan of Brian K. Vaughan‘s work. I didn’t know at the time that he’d already worked on some Batman comics that I’d enjoyed, but I appreciated the unique way that he handled teenage characters while also mixing in high stakes adventures and the drama that comes along with mixing those other elements.
He brings all of that to the table with Paper Girls, but enhanced by almost 15 more years of writing experience and the incredible art of Cliff Chiang. The duo came together to craft a 30 issue series that kicked off in 2015 and ended earlier this year resulting in not just my new favorite BKV comic, but one of my favorite comic runs around!
It’s been way too long since I wrote about comics here on the site, so let’s jump back in. Between library borrows, my existing To-Read boxes (roughly two long boxes at current count) and the recent discovery of a store that sells super cheap trades, I’ve got a lot to read. Let’s get into it!