Monthly Archives: August 2021

Book Review: Twentieth Century Boys, Vol 16: Beyond the Looking Glass by Naoki Urasawa

Twentieth Century Boys, Vol 16: Beyond the Looking Glass     

Author: Naoki Urasawa

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date: August 16, 2011

Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/manga/paranormal/216 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

Fukube has always wanted to be a part of Kenji and his group, but has always been passed over and overlooked. In an attempt to get an in with them, he collects a great deal of manga. When Kenji’s new issue of Shonen Sunday turns up ruined, Fukube invites the guys over to his house to read his collection. Things seem to go well, but even so, he is devastated when they leave him to work on their secret clubhouse, and never invite him. Waiting for a time when the guys aren’t there, Fukube breaks into their clubhouse, where he is discovered by Sadakiyo, the creepy kid in the mask who has nothing to say. Finding Kenji’s Book of Prophecy, Fukube boasts that he can make better prophecies, and his are all going to come true. Fukube offers to be Sadakiyo’s friend, but on one condition. The other boy is not to call him by his given name at all… just call him his Friend.

The boys are all excited about the Expo in Osaka, Fukube boasting that he would be there all summer and would go to the Expo every day. But things don’t work out, and he not only can’t go, he doesn’t dare show himself around town, since that would mark him as being a liar. It’s a long hot summer for him, until he borrows Sadakiyo’s mask so he can get out of the house for a little bit. When Sadakiyo suggests they play at the haunted house on the hill, where no one will see them, Fukube gets an idea of how to frighten Kenji and the other boys.

Yamane approaches Fukube, trying to get back in his good graces, wondering if he is still rejected. The two boys run across a street vendor, who really has nothing to offer them that they are interested in. But they discuss Fukube’s idea of a man with a briefcase who travels around spreading a virus, to the shock of the salesman. It’s not until the strange kid bends one of his spoons, using just his mind, that the man becomes interested and gives the kid his card, telling him to look him up. And this man turns out to be none other than Manjome.

Meanwhile, in year 3 of the Friendship Era, Otcho is being hidden and taken care of by a young boy, whose sister quickly learns his secret. Funny thing, but everyone who owns a TV is ordered, by law, to turn the TV set off at the end of the broadcast day. When Otcho and the kids don’t do that, they hear a lady’s voice with an important message.

This volume differs from the others in that now, finally, we are inside the mind of Fukube, otherwise known as Friend, watching the development of the Friend persona. While it’s very easy to say that Kenji and the boys are at fault for being mean and not befriending him, I think it’s not that simple. There is something seriously not right about that boy, and when he lets his guard down, you can see glimpses of something evil. After all, how normal is it for someone to wish to destroy an entire world, and how egotistical to even think he can do so?

What I was excited about in the last volume hasn’t come to pass yet, but that’s because we shifted gears in this volume. I still believe it’s going to happen, so I’ll be patient. I can’t tell if we’re getting closer to the truth or not, but it seems that way. I’m waiting to see Kanna’s mother make her anticipated entrance. At least we know now she is one of the good guys, rather than the flake we assumed she was after dumping baby Kanna on Kenji’s doorstep. Another great volume, can’t wait for more.

Saturday is Horror Day #25 – Return of the Living Dead: Rave to the Grave, The Lighthouse

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

The Return of the Living Dead: Rave to the Grave

Just when you thought the zombies were a thing of the past…. Uncle Charles (Peter Coyote) is determined to make money from the cannisters of Trioxin he looted from the Army. He sells one to foreign agents, but they insist on a demonstration. To prove that this is the real deal, he injects a couple of dead bodies. Is anyone surprised when this goes horribly wrong? Little does anyone know that he has two more cannisters hidden away in his brother’s attic.


Charles has been raising his nephew Julian (John Keefe) since the death of their parents. Naturally Julian is devastated to be handed at note, while at school, telling him of the death of his uncle. Alone in his late parents’ house, he begins to tidy things up and comes across something weird in the attic. Looks like something was dragged, but to where? He enters a secret door only to discover two strange metal cannisters.

Julian calls his girlfriend Jenny (Jenny Mollen) and then they decide to consult with their nerd friend 

Cody (Cody Hardrict). Cody runs some tests and determines that the liquid inside the cannister has some properties very similar to ecstasy. Against Julian’s wishes, he produces large quantities of the stuff in order to make some money. Luckily for him, raves are popular, and Halloween is only a week away. Jenny’s brother, Jeremy (Cain Manoli) is throwing a huge rave. What better way to turn people on and make money? Unbeknownst to all of them, though, two Russian Interpol agents are on the case, Aldo (Claudiu Bleont) and Gino (Sorin Cocis). 

I am really glad that this is the last of this series, cause it’s really abysmal. I suspect they were going for a combination of humor and horror, but what they came up with was just cringe and suck. Some people might consider it so stupid it’s funny, but I’m not one of them. First off, these are the same characters from the last film and yet none of the kids remember the zombies, seemingly, and seem shocked at what they discover in the cannister. Also, what happened to Julian’s little brother Jake? Nowhere to be seen. 

In each film the zombies get worse and worse. But in this one, they are using the drug known as Z and producing zombies out of live people, which makes no sense. If zombies are dead people brought back to “life” – and I use the term loosely – then how can you take living people and create zombies?

The Interpol agents are ridiculous and cartoonish, but I suspect they are meant to double as comic relief. But I did some digging and I discovered that Interpol works with government agencies, but does not have its own agents. It’s purpose is intelligence, not enforcement. So that whole subplot sucks from the start. Not to mention the ridiculous shooting that goes on.

Another thing I disliked was that the filmmaker took every opportunity he could find – even if he had to create them – to show naked boobs. Like a college frat boy gone wild, as though he’s never seen them before (who knows, maybe he hasn’t).

This film isn’t funny and it isn’t scary, and I would not recommend it. I’m giving it a very shaky 1 Star just because someone might appreciate the stupidity.

The Lighthouse

Ephraim Winslow (Robert Pattinson) and Thomas Wake (Willem Dafoe) arrived together on a remote island to serve a four week maintenance shift. Wake is a veteran lightkeeper, while Winslow is new at the task, having previously been a lumberjack. He is to replace a former partner of Wake, who went mad.



The cantankerous Wake is quick to let Winslow know how it’s going to be, and he will be the one in charge, no matter what the manual says. And that includes keeping watch in the lamp. Winslow grumbles but there isn’t anything he can do about it. The older man is a harsh taskmaster and bullies his young assistant, forcing him to work harder and harder. Winslow is stewing, both about his treatment, and because of lack of access to the lamp, which bothers him no end.


Winslow can’t help but wonder what is happening up in the lamp, but Wake keeps it locked and Winslow can’t get to the key. A teetotaler when he arrived, Wake has him drinking more and more until they become regular drinking buddies. Winslow found a small figuring of a mermaid, and in his quieter moments, he masturbates to its image. One time he caught a glimpse inside the lamp, and oh what he saw….

Bothered by a sea gull, Winslow kills it, despite having been told by Wake that that is the worst thing a sailor can do. And sure enough, a rough wind begins to blow, bringing a terrible storm, and they are unable to get off the island when they’re supposed to because no ship can get close enough. It’s only a matter of time until truths come out, and true ugliness is revealed.


This is one unusual film. Directed by Robert Eggers, and written by Robert and Max Eggers, it is a deep look into the psyche of two men whom circumstances bring together, and whose very isolation threatens them both. The film is shot in black and white, which only enhances the eerie quality of the story. There is some damn fine photography here, so let me give a shout out to the director of photography, Jarin Blaschke.  And the film editor, Louise Ford. These are two very fine performances by Dafoe and Pattinson, for which I understand they received no recognition at all from the Oscars. Not surprising if you consider that those awards are so politically based it’s not funny, and an Oscar is basically meaningless anymore.

If you watch the film and have to look up what the ending means, don’t feel bad, I did too. But wait until it’s over, let it sink in for a moment, then read to your heart’s content. This is a very fine film, and I’ll give it a string 4.5 Stars.

Wednesday Briefs: August 25, 2021

Here is a list of all the authors flashing this week, along with a brief snippet from their latest free work. Click the link after the snippet to be taken to the complete story on the author’s home page.

An Unholy Alliance #13 (4.1) by Julie Lynn Hayes

Stay calm, stay calm.

I forced myself to quell the rapid beating of my heart. Such wild fluctuations would do me no good and could, in fact, be quite detrimental to my well-being. I kept telling myself I had no real reason to panic. Just because Tyrone said it, didn’t make it so. This could be a mere coincidence. A coincidence of the highest order, I had to admit, but nonetheless a possibility. Still, I had to be prepared for the worst.

Click here to read the entire Brief:

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Book Review: Bleach, Vol 40 by Tite Kubo

Bleach, Vol 40     

Author: Tite Kubo

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date: June 5, 2012

Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/Manga/Supernatural/192 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes


As Ichigo and Ulquiorra battle, they assess one another to see in what way their opponent has become more skillful since their last encounter. Orihime stands on the sidelines, helpless to do anything but offer her support to Ichigo, ready to heal him if necessary. Behind her back, though, others are plotting against her. Namely the two girls who were previously the object of Lord Aizen’s wrath for what they tried to do to her. They know Orihime is  no longer under his protection, so she is fair game. And they intend to get even for their imagined slights.

At that moment, Yammy arrives, eager to be part of the fight against Ichigo, although Ulquiorra has certainly not called for him and doesn’t want his help. Too bad for the girls that one chooses to be mouthy, since he obviously doesn’t like them to begin with. But luck is with them, thanks to the arrival of Uryu, but for how long? It’s getting to be a regular three ring circus there! And Uryu knows how to handle the big dummy… with a little help from Mayuri Kurotsuchi.

Turning back to Ulquiorra, Ichigo apologizes for the interruptions, saying “This is what you’ve been waiting to see” just as he goes Hollow. Ulquiorra reveals that Espada above quatra are forbidden to release beneath Las Noches’ canopy. But never fear, he knows how to remedy that. And so the fight continues. As usual, Ichigo never backs down, never considers the possibility of defeat, even though Ulquiorra insists, “I’m telling you – it’s futile!” Ichigo replies,” You thought I’d give up just because you’re stronger than me?” Uryu carries Orihime up to where the fight is taking place. Why is Ulquiorra dismayed to see her there? Is it possible he has a heart and in this heart he cares for Orihime?

This volume of Bleach is all about Ichigo and Ulquiorra, as if to make up for the lack of Ichigo in previous volumes. Not that I’m complaining about that, mind you, but in the end, Ichigo is the star of the show. Still, doesn’t hurt to let the others shine too. They’re all part of the story. But as the hero, we also know in our heart of hearts that Ichigo can’t fail, not even against Ulquiorra. So how bad will the defeat be for the powerful Espada? Only time will tell. But it’s obvious one of them must fall, and logically it can’t be Ichigo.

A riveting volume of Bleach, look forward to the next one!

Saturday is Horror Day #24 – The Return of the Living Dead: Necropolis, The Hole in the Ground, A Christmas Horror Story

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

Return of the Living Dead: Necropolis

Julian Garrison (John Keefe) and his brother Jake (Alexandru Geoana) are orphans, their parents having died in a car accident. The boys are being raised by their Uncle Charles (Peter Coyote), who doesn’t seem to know or care anything about kids. Charles works at Hybra Tech, a huge  conglomerate that does everything from making food to making chemicals, boasting the latest in cutting edge technology.


Julian hangs out with a group of kids, including his “best” friend Zeke Borden (Elvin Dandel), who insists that Julian has the hots for Zeke’s girlfriend, Katie (Jana Kramer), who also works at Hybra Tech, earning money for college. Zeke is something of a bully, who makes fun of Julian when he doesn’t want to take his motorbike up a ramp and jump it. Not surprising since he took a nasty spill last time he attempted the jump. Showing off, Zeke does the jump and it doesn’t turn out well. He ends up knocked out, so the kids call an ambulance.


The trouble starts when Julian goes to the hospital to check on Zeke, they tell him his friend died in the ambulance. Strange thing, when he calls Katie at work to tell her the bad news, she tells Julian that she just saw Zeke being brought to Hybra in an ambulance. So what is going on here?

Julian asks his uncle, who denies that Zeke is there. But Cody (Cory Hardrict) hacks into Hybra’s 

computers and finds that Zeke is indeed there. The teens decide to go into action to rescue Zeke.

Oh, did I mention here be zombies? Courtesy of the Army, of course, with the help of Uncle Charles.

So let me just say that every entry in the Return of the Living Dead series is weaker than the one before. Hard to believe, I know. I loved the first two, not to much the next two.

The plot is contrived and ridiculous. And we still don’t know why the hell the army keeps these zombies around. Are they thinking of recruiting future soldiers from the dead? Save on pay and food? If that’s the case, they better find a manual on zombie control, because they don’t have it. The acting isn’t particularly good, not even Peter Coyote (who has done better films). There is one scene where a teen cries over a death, and his crying sounded incredibly fake/forced.

The soundtrack wasn’t particularly memorable, being part of the school of let’s slap some sort of heavy metal onto this and call it done. Real teenagers would not be this stupid, either. I don’t recommend watching this. I even lost track of the action a couple times because I was bored. I’ll give this a very shaky 1.5 Stars.

The Hole in the Ground

Single mother Sarah (Seána Kerslake) moves her son Chris (James Quinn Markey) and herself to the Irish countryside, presumably to start over. Chris is something of an introvert, and frightened of spiders, but very close to his mother. On the way to their home, they have an unsettling encounter with their neighbor, Noreen (Kati Outinen). The older woman, who appears to be demented in some way, besides appearing out of nowhere and almost causing an accident insists that Chris is not Sarah’s son!

Exploring the land around their home, Sarah comes across an enormous sinkhole, and finds herself concerned for her son’s well-being. The old woman’s words continue to haunt her, which isn’t helped by the woman’s unexpected death. Suddenly, Sarah seems to see Chris differently, and she doesn’t like what she sees. Soon, she is doubting whether he is her son or not.


This is a very well-made psychological thriller, one which can make you look at your children differently and wonder. This is a real woman in a terrifying situation. You have to feel for her. What would you do if you began to think your child wasn’t really your child? Who could you confide in, when most people would think you were crazy for even suggesting such a thing. Director Lee Cronin has done a splendid job. Direction and cinematography are great, and so is the acting. 

Granted, by the end of the film, I still had some questions which went unanswered, such as why has no

one reported this sinkhole or warned her about it? Surely such a thing would need to be filled in or something, right? Still, those matters aside, it’s a riveting watch and well worth the view. I give this film a solid 4 Stars.

A Christmas Horror Story

This is an anthology film with four intertwined stories that all take plus on Christmas Eve… or Krampusnacht, if you will. Santa Claus faces down a group of zombie elves, a desperate family makes a last ditch appeal to a rich relative, teenagers film a documentary of the gruesome murders that occurred at their school a year ago, and a family in crisis tries to have a normal Christmas.


The common thread within these stories, other than the particular night, is the ongoing narrative by a disc jockey who is stuck working on Christmas Eve, played by William Shatner. His co-worker has left the building, after giving the dj a disparaging message, and hopefully leaves to cover the food drive at the mall. Dan (William Shatner) just keeps on going.


Taylor (Jeff Clarke) takes his wife and two children to visit his elderly Aunt Edda (Corinne Conley), in the hopes of being able to get some money from her. What his family doesn’t know is that she has no idea they’re coming… he’s basically waylaying her. Is it surprising that she is less than enthusiastic and can see right through him from the moment of his arrival?

Molly (Zoe De Grand Maison), Dylan (Shannon Kook), and Ben (Alex Ozerov) are filming a student documentary on the disturbing events that happened at their school. But when they find themselves locked into the school at night, things take a sinister turn. Is it possible that what killed the two students still lurks inside the building?

Scott (Adrian Holmes) was the first officer on the scene of the horrific killing, and the discovery has

taken a toll, not just on him, but on his family. In an effort to put a sense of normalcy back in their lives, he proposes they go together to chop down a Chrismtas tree. However, the land he intends to do that on is marked do not tresspass. His wife Kim (Oluniká Adeliyi) doesn’t like the idea, but puts up with it for the sake of their son Will (Orion John). The parents begin to panic when Will disappears into the forest. They find him unharmed inside of a huge hollow tree. But something isn’t quite right…

You don’t usually see Christmas and horror in the same film, but you see plenty of it here, and well done at that. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I was very happily surprised by what I saw. Each story is well told and well acted. We move from one to another, back and forth, as the tales unfold before our eyes. Each one is riveting and original, not your standard horror fare or Christmas either, an interesting and unique hybrid. There are plenty of scares here, lots of blood, and yet some laughter as well, albeit a mite unsettling. I bet you’ve never heard elves use the language some of these do!

William Shatner is the icing on the cake, the lone DJ who is just trying to get through the night and keep his audience entertained, while wondering where the hell his co-anchor has gotten to and why isn’t he doing what he’s supposed to. He’s very funny, and it’s always good to see him in anything.

The ending… well, I won’t give it away, I’ll just say I never saw that coming in a million years. This was a thoroughly enjoyable film, and I hope these guys make more like this. I’ll give this a strong 4.5 Stars.

Book Review: Twentieth Century Boys, Vol 15: Expo Hurray by Naoki Urasawa

Twentieth Century Boys, Vol 15: Expo Hurray     

Author: Naoki Urasawa

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date: June 21, 2011

Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/manga/paranormal/232 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes


Despite warnings advising against it, the Pope’s visit to Japan is moving forward as planned, including the opening ceremony of Expo 2015. Brother Luciano has returned to his home of Italy, after spending some time in Argentina, arriving too late to attend the funeral of his friend and mentor, Father Perrin. He finds the priest’s desk in the same disorganized disarray he remembered. Searching through the mess, he discovers a particular book with a receipt, which he tracks down to a bookseller of antiquities. However Brother Luciano knows this is not an old book and traces it to its forger. He is confused as to why Perrin would trouble with such a book, which is jumbled and confused, containing prophecies such as history will end in 2015. Brother Luciano realizes Father Perrin believed in this book, and did not believe they would ever see 2016 because history would end in 2015.He takes his concerns to his Cardinal, who tells him he is very wrong, and hints that he should return to Argentina. When Luciano returns to his room to find it stripped of everything, he knows what he has to do.

Back in Japan, Detective Chono goes to work, only to be given the task of interrogating someone who doesn’t speak Japanese. But Chono doesn’t speak Italian. How is he going to get through to him? And why does this man sound so urgent… maybe even desperate? Meanwhile, the virus is spreading at an alarming rate and cautionary travel measures are being taken.

Chono gets in touch with Kanna, takes the strange man to her, although she isn’t sure why, but they go to the church and the man confesses to the priest. The priest believes his story and tells Kanna and Chono that the plot to assassinate the Pope is still on. And there is worse… someone thought to be dead has been seen alive by multiple people, including Otcho and Yukiji. Friend alive? How? Now it’s more imperative than ever that Kanna remind the gangs of their promise to stand behind her and protect the Pope. They know the assassin is #13, but can they track him down and stop him before he carries out his mission? And is it possible that Friend has prophesied everything… including his own resurrection?

This volume is intense, so much going on, and omg, Friend alive? What’s up with that? Why? It can’t bode well for anyone. The virus is spreading, the Pope is due to die, can this get any worse? Especially if Friend gets back in the saddle again, what can stop him? I loved this book, and can’t wait for the next one. Especially as… dare I hope it… something I’ve wanted, longed for, and yearned for… is about to come true!

*crosses fingers*





Book Review: Monster, Perfect Edition, Vol 4 by Naoki Urasawa

Monster: The Perfect Edition, Vol 4   

Author: Naoki Urasawa

Publisher: Viz Media

American release date: April 21, 2015

Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/Manga/Horror/438 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes


A PI named Richard, who was thrown off the police force for shooting a kid, is in therapy to deal with that, as well as the addiction to alcohol that almost killed him and cost him his wife and his daughter. Even now, his daughter won’t see him, although he’s on a better footing with his ex. Richard asks his therapist, Dr. Reichwein, to look at a photo and see if he can tell anything about the man in the picture. Turns out, things are starting to work out for him and his daughter has agreed to see him the next day. When that doesn’t happen, though, he contemplates turning back to drink.

Neuman, who still hasn’t revealed his true identity to the billionaire Schuwald, has introduced Johan to him, and Johan has become indispensable. Neuman’s foster parents reveal that they wish to adopt him. Without giving them an answer, he calls his employer and says he is leaving his employ, but the old man wants him to read to him one last time. Richard, the PI, tries to report to Schuwald what he has learned, but the man is no longer interested and insists the matter is settled.

Dr. Reichwein remembers a former student of his who has done very well, Dr. Gillen. He’s recently read an interview Gillen did with a serial killer named Jürgens who claimed a “friend” ordered him to commit the murders. He also asks him about a former classmate of his who did well, a doctor named Tenma.

As Richard continues to investigate the people who surround Herr Schuwald, he is starting to uncover a disturbing pattern… plus he finds himself the object of some near-misses that could have hurt or killed him. He ends up at the home of Johan’s current adoptive parents, the Lieberts.

When Dr. Reichwein  receives some devastating news, as he tries to figure out what happened and he is almost killed! He chases down his would-be killer and confronts him, demanding to know who is paying him to do this. Later, his life is saved by Dr. Tenma, and meanwhile Dr. Gillen is visited by BKA Inspector Lunge. Nina Fortner is hot on Johan’s trail, while Johan is teaching children a terrible game, and Tenma lies in wait to rid the world of a monster…

Not as much of Tenma or Nina in this volume, but the other characters and their stories are definitely riveting. The PI who is trying to redeem himself for his daughter’s sake, the therapist who has ties with two former students, including Tenma, and who is determined to unravel the mystery he’s begun to see. The obsessed Lunge, whom I suspect no longer cares if Tenma is innocent or guilty, he’s just going to bring him down no matter what. I can’t help but compare the so-called “friend” of Jürgens, who forced him to kill, with the sinister Friend of Urasawa’s Twentieth Century Boys. Both Johan and Friend are definitely evil men. I really hope Tenma doesn’t go through with his plans.

Another great volume, can’t wait for the next one.

Wednesday Briefs: August 18, 2021

Here is a list of all the authors flashing this week, along with a brief snippet from their latest free work. Click the link after the snippet to be taken to the complete story on the author’s home page.

Ancalagon: Chapter Fifty-two by Cia Nordwell

Garjah’s bed was soft as a cloud, an unexpected luxury. I sank into it under his weight as he knelt between my thighs. When he tried to lift off me, I pulled him back down and locked my legs around his hips.  

“Stay,” I ordered. I rocked up, pressing our flesh together. I was leaking and the clear, sticky fluid smeared between our bellies.  

Garjah glanced down. His nostrils flared and he rumbled. He wormed one hand between us and joined our lengths, pressed his flexible shaft to mine.  

“Yeah,  just like that.” My toes curled in the satiny sheets.


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Saturday is Horror Day #23 – Krampus: The Christmas Devil, Krampus (2015)

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

Krampus: The Christmas Devil

As a child,  police officer Jeremy Duffin (A.J. Leslie) was abducted, dragged in a sack and tossed into a frozen lake from which he managed to escape. It’s thirty years later, and he still can’t forget. Not to mention, he is convinced that the perpetrator of that crime is still out there, and every ten years he repeats the cycle. What’s a cop gonna do?



Sure enough, it’s happening again, and Jeremy has to do something about it.  Christmas is almost upon them, and all children know that Santa wants them to be good. What they may not know is that the flip side of Santa, who deals with naughty children, is the Krampus. He’s got a list…. and he knows how to use it. Where does he get that list? From Santa Claus, of course, his brother!


As if this isn’t bad enough, a criminal that Jeremy put away, Brian Hatt (Bill Oberst Jr) has just been

released from prison after ten years, and of course he has revenge on his mind. Who wouldn’t, right? Which puts not only Jeremy but his wife and daughter at risk. Unbeknownst to Jeremy, his daughter Heather (Samantha Hoepfl) has also made the top of Krampus’ list! Which evil is he going to have to fight off first?

So, what can I say about this movie? I had high hopes for it which were quickly dashed. Right off the bat, the acting sucks. Big time. I’ve seen better acting from high school students. Granted, I’m sure they all tried, but they failed, rather miserably. The best acting I saw was from a minor character in the bar, and I forget his name. As bad as Jeremy is, the actress playing his wife was worse.

What else? Oh yes, the writing was horrible. Terrible script. And the fight scenes were badly choreographed and virtually non-existent. The action would always cut away so you wouldn’t really see anything and would cut back so you could view the end result. The blood looks like strawberry syrup, btw, and not the good stuff.

Krampus himself is not scary. Weird, sure. Creepy? Definitely. He is holed up in a cave or something, and keeps a child in a cage. He also has a half naked woman chained to the wall that he likes to… play with. Seriously? Wth? Why even bring that up? He’s a demon, right? I have no idea.

From the start, this movie is ridiculous and not the least bit scary. The scariest thing to me was wondering how this even got made, who wasted good money on making it. And why were there sequels? Guess I’ll find out when I watch the next one. It has to be better, right? One can hope. On that basis, I’ll give Krampus: The Christmas Devil 1 flimsy Star, and that is being generous. This isn’t a horror movie, it’s a horrible movie.

Krampus (2015)

Christmas is almost here, and it should be a time of great cheer! But young Max (Emjay Anthony) feels otherwise, since it means his horrible cousins and their parents are coming for the holiday.  Mom Sarah (Toni Collette) and dad Tom (Adam Scott) are trying to be good-natured about it, because they are family, after all. But some people are just hard to take. And as if to make matters worse, Sarah’s sister Linda (Allison Tolman) has brought along Aunt Dorothy (Conchata Ferrell). Can things get any worse?

Hell yes, it can.

It begins at dinner when Max’s cousins reveal that they’ve found Max’s letter to Santa Claus and proceed to read it in front of everyone, to Max’s mortification. Lots of personal stuff in it regarding his family and theirs, and of course the two girls don’t like what he’s said about them. A fight ensues, and ends with Max taking refuge in his room. He takes the offending letter and tears it up, then throws it out his window, where it scatters to the winds.


It begins with a power outage. Although technically it began with the arrival of some unexpected gifts on the porch. Sitting in the dark is not how anyone had envisioned their Christmas. Max’s sister Beth (Stefania LaVie Owen) is worried about her boyfriend, who lives nearby. Despite the weather, she gets permission to check on him, since he isn’t responding to her texts. What she finds is horrifying, and as she attempts to race home, to safety, she sees some very strange things.

Meanwhile, back at the house, everyone huddles together in the living room for warmth in front of the 

fireplace, attempting to sleep. But something strange is happening when a chain drops through the chimney, with a strange creature on it, which draws the attention of Max’s cousin Howie Jr (Maverick Flack). The other wake up just in time to see him being sucked up the chimney.

This version of the Krampus legend is as different from the first one as night and day. This one has a solid cast, good writing, good direction, and an interesting story. Darkly humorous, it doesn’t lag. I could easily identify with Max’s parents, doing their best to get through the holidays despite having douchey relatives in the house. Tom’s mother, whom they call Omi, is also there. She is Max’s anchor, and she is the only one with a clue about what’s happening.


The story is funny and also scary, it has a unique take on Christmas, and has all the elements of a good horror film. There are more sequels in this series and I intend to watch the ones I can find, except for the sequel to the first one. Same writer and cast, so I’m gonna just call it quits on that while I’m ahead, expecting nothing better. But I’ll keep you posted on the others. I am giving Krampus (2015) a solid 4 Stars.

Book Review: The Icepick Surgeon: Murder, Fraud, Sabotage, Piracy and Other Dastardly Deeds Perpetrated in the Name of Science by Sam Kean

The Icepick Surgeon: Murder, Fraud, Sabotage, Piracy, and Other Dastardly Deeds Perpetrated in the Name of Science

Author: Sam Kean

Publisher: Little, Brown and Company

American release date:  July 13, 2021

Format/Genre/Length: Hardback/History & Philosophy of Science/368 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

We’ve all heard of mad scientists, of course. Victor Frankenstein is surely the epitome of science gone wrong, although he had noble intentions. But he was a fictional character, that sort of thing doesn’t happen in real life because real scientists are good, intelligent human beings…

… until they’re not.

This book covers science gone wrong through the years, instances where people did things that make us cringe today, the tales extending even into modern times. Pirates/naturalists hand in hand with slavers, graverobbers who worked to further knowledge of human anatomy, horrible experimentation on poor animals, surgery gone wrong, and more…

These are stories you won’t believe until you read them. A couple of them I was already familiar with, such as David Reimer, and Burke and Hare. Others will amaze you, like the cruel psychology experiment that may have contributed to the rise of the Unabomber.

Sam Kean tells these stories in a fascinating way, and makes me want to know more. I will be reading more of his books, and highly recommend this one because enquiring minds want to know!