Category Archives: Reviews
review by Kristi Petersen Schoonover
Robert Ballard’s 1985 discovery of the Titanic wreck promised answers to many questions about that horrific night in April of 1912. What it failed to remind us is that sometimes, when we get those answers, they may not be the ones we want.
This is the crux of Jeffrey Hatcher’s 1992 play Scotland Road—originally produced in Cincinnati and New York City—running now through mid-October in a solid production at Connecticut’s Theatreworks New Milford.
Set nearly a century after Titanic’s sinking, Scotland Road embarks when a woman in Edwardian-era clothing is discovered clinging on a North Atlantic iceberg—and the only word she can utter is Titanic. A wealthy skeptic and a doctor descend to determine her true origin, skirting their ethics in an attempt to gain their answers. To disclose more than that would be spoiling it.
The “ship of dreams” is the big draw here—she’s captivated the world since she sank—but Scotland Road isn’t exclusively for Titanic buffs. Part psychological drama, part mystery, part ghostly tale, this gripping Read the rest of this entry
The last few months, while full of joy and wonderful things, have also harbored a few emotional challenges in the wake of unexpected change.
I’ve always felt I’ve had choices. I can A, let things beat me and roll over and play dead until I recover; B, keep fighting; C, find a decent work around and keep moving; or D, a combination of B and C and take all of that pain and heartache and channel it into something worthwhile instead of whining about it.
First of all, yes, I have chosen A a few times in my life, so this isn’t a post about my fabulous strength and endurance. F—, sometimes, shit just beats me, and that’s okay. Recently, though, it’s been choice D, and there are days when the gumption’s running low. It’s always wonderful, then, to find a little something Read the rest of this entry
An incredible finish to an awesome week! I didn’t think my amazing week could get any better, but the Cemetery Dance reviewer mentioned my story “Nothing to See Here” in Generation X-ed and Read the rest of this entry
I grew up on a lake that was created by flooding abandoned towns, and so we had our share of urban legends about the lake and what lie beneath. When someone on Insta posted about the 2021 movie The Deep House (2021, 1 hour/25mins), I couldn’t resist.
This movie is French-made, but is in English, so no, you won’t be reading subtitles unless you have the CC on.
*MOSTLY SPOILER-FREE – ONLY REFERENCES ARE TO THINGS THAT CAN BE SEEN IN THE TRAILER*
This movie is definitely in my wheelhouse and has echoes of my short story, “Rightfully Mine,” which I wrote back in 2016 and was published in Sanitarium #49 here, in the same year (and although I promise a spoiler-free review, one of the spectral beings totally looks like the woman in my story, at least she does the way I pictured her in my head). I can’t recommend this enough—The Deep House gets high marks for Read the rest of this entry
I like to read nonfiction, and I’ll confess, there is much of it that isn’t an easy read, even if I’m riveted by the topic. Steve Olson’s Eruption: The Untold Story of Mount St. Helens, however, is an exception, and on the 42nd anniversary of that fateful 1980 day, I can’t recommend it highly enough.
Although I can’t exactly give a “spoiler-free” review (we all know what happened at Mount St. Helens), I will do my best.
What Olson really discusses here is the conglomeration of factors that led to the deaths of 57 people—who were, contrary to the way it was spun for the press, not in what was a dedicated danger zone (except for three, two of whom had permission and one who just refused to leave his lodge). Rendered in poetic language in several places, the narrative is Read the rest of this entry
I’m going to preface this by saying I’m not even close to knowing much about the late George Romero’s films, and in fact, I’m not even a fan of his work—mostly (I know, understand, and can appreciate its brilliance, and I think he was a genius. Zombies are just not my thing). He has, however, thanks to Night of the Living Dead, become synonymous with a specific brand of horror, so fan expectations are set.
I just watched George Romero’s gorgeously restored lost gem, 1975’s The Amusement Park, which has been available as a Shudder exclusive for a while now. In my opinion, this is one of the scariest films I’ve ever seen; if you enjoy the work my magazine, 34 Orchard, publishes, then you will definitely be into this—this is profound, visceral, disturbing, real-world, inevitable horror.
I will keep this all spoiler-free, Read the rest of this entry
—THIS POST IS MOSTLY SPOILER-FREE—
Horror stories coming out of India deserve a bigger spotlight; the stuff is viscerally terrifying in ways that make some of our Western classics seem tame. If you love a great scare and you’ve not read Indian horror? You’ve missed out.
Until now. Neil D’Silva’s short fiction collection, Right Behind You, is the place to start. Read the rest of this entry
I just finished reading Julie Buntin’s Marlena.
The novel tells the story of Cat and a dark bond she shared with her friend, Marlena, when they were high schoolers in Minnesota. As an adult living a swank life in New York City, Cat thinks she’s left it all behind—until one day, someone from their shared past asks to meet. As those unsettling months resurface, Cat learns that, thankfully, it really is true that you can’t go home again—but sometimes, just remembering is bad enough.
Oddly, the reason I found this book was because I was working on a short story, and I needed a novel that my main character could read that would contribute to my piece’s single effect. My plan was just to grab a title that’d make sense, but I popped open the Amazon preview and was sucked right in (I know this book has been listed for prizes and has also been named Book of the Year in several media outlets, but honestly, I don’t go by that. Suck me in and keep me there. That’s the only thing, for me, that counts).
Marlena flows Read the rest of this entry
Dark Discussions, the horror film discussions podcast, turned ten years old last month!
For our big episodes, we usually talk about a “tent pole” film, asking our listeners to vote for a title they’d like us to cover—this time around, it was 1986’s Aliens.
I came to the Alien franchise later in life, as I wasn’t allowed to watch scary movies when I was a kid (even though I did sneak in a few here and there at my grandmother’s house, because no one was paying attention). While I enjoyed Alien—which I saw in my twenties—I really liked this sequel better. Wonderful allusions, a solid story, a slight shade of a burgeoning romance, an oppressive atmosphere, a James Horner score, a really young Bill Paxton and a gorgeous rendering of an abandoned station—this one rung all my bells.
To listen to our discussion, visit here: https://www.darkdiscussions.com/podcasts/dark-discussions-podcast/dark-discussions-podcast-episode-479-10th-year-anniversary-aliens-1986/
Fan of alien films? Also on that page is a listing of all of the other Alien and extraterrestrial films we’ve covered thus far.
Cemetery Dance’s stellar review of the most recent NEHW anthology, Wicked Women, included a shout-out to my short story “Arbor Day.”
You can read the full review here: https://www.cemeterydance.com/extras/review-wicked-women/
If you’ve not picked up Wicked Women, you’re missing out! There’s fantastic fiction by 21 talented women, including Hillary Monahan and Jane Yolen, and Patricia Gomes’ poem “Tree Limbs Block the Road” was nominated for a Rhysling award by the Science Fiction & Fantasy Poetry Association. Now’s the time! You can get your copy here: https://bit.ly/WWArborDay