Review: Heart-Shaped Box – Joe Hill

joe hill heart shaped box

SYNOPSIS: Aging, self-absorbed rock star Judas Coyne has a thing for the macabre – his collection includes sketches from infamous serial killer John Wayne Gacy, a trepanned skull from the 16th century, a used hangman’s noose, Aleister Crowley’s childhood chessboard, etc. – so when his assistant tells him about a ghost for sale on an online auction site, he immediately puts in a bid and purchases it.

The black, heart-shaped box that Coyne receives in the mail not only contains the suit of a dead man but also his vengeance-obsessed spirit. The ghost, it turns out, is the stepfather of a young groupie who committed suicide after the 54-year-old Coyne callously used her up and threw her away. Now, determined to kill Coyne and anyone who aids him, the merciless ghost of Craddock McDermott begins his assault on the rocker’s sanity.

GRADE 7.5I am doing the synopsis thing because I really don’t want to have a spoiler out there, and anything that I say in a description just might do it. I would rather avoid it because really, this book is well worth the read. Another excellent read from Hill. Seeing as Heart-Shaped Box is his debut novel, it is extremely impressive. I was hooked from page one, and couldn’t put it down until I was done with it. I must admit that this one seems to have a lot of similarities with his father’s work. I don’t mean the story or the content so much as I am referring to the writing style. Heart-Shaped Box flows and it tells a great story, keeps you hooked from the off. I admit that I am officially a fan of Hill and his work. I absolutely adored Horns, so logically I decided to work through his other stuff, and it is rewarding. Jude presented an interesting character, that went from unlikable to someone I could understand, and on to someone who was actually not a bad person, but definitely in hiding, in his own shell. Georgia grew on me, too. Initially she is nothing worth writing home about, too bitchy, angry at the world, the whole shebang. The relationship that developed between them was bizarre – it started from being just sex and a little ridiculous, then blossoming into anger and love, and then moving on to something beautiful. I loved the concept of the nightroad, and Hill implemented this perfectly. There were scenes that ran chills through me because they were both creepy and executed perfectly (the best one being when Danny called Jude from the phone booth). It’s great for me, too, that music is referenced so much in this book. I love music, and being another book of his that references music so much, I take it that Hill, too, is passionate about it. The books flows wonderfully, and the plot moves along nicely, too. Nothing becomes too complicated, and Hill lets you in on the relevant information you need just before the mystery becomes frustrating, so he is very good at building and maintaining momentum. All I can say is that if you have never read Hill’s work before, or are interested, you really cannot go wrong with this.

Trick R’ Treat, Guest Review


I participated in Kieron’s Scarefest II over at What About The Twinkie. Head on over to check out my review for Trick ‘r Treat!

Originally posted on what about the twinkie?:

Trick ‘R Treat

You know, it took me years to get to this thing because I am not really an Anna Paquin fan (though I am thawing a little). A fellow blogger finally twisted my arm enough to at least just try it, and it pretty much instantly became an absolute favourite of mine! This is essential Halloween viewing for me every year, and I don’t think that there will be many horror fans that don’t like this one. Trick ‘r Treat is tremendously underrated, something that makes this an even better gem in my opinion, but undeniably one that deserves the praise it has garnered and to be shared.

trick t treak poster

“Samhain, also known as All Hallows’ Eve, also known as Halloween. Pre-dating Christianity, the Celtic holiday was celebrated on the one night between autumn and winter when the barrier between the living and the dead was thinnest, and often involved…

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JB & The Chop Do: Star Trek – Insurrection (1998)

jb and the chop present star trek banner

Well, hell. JB and I had a very dramatic, over long and weepy scheduling problem with this post,  so we’re having to post this on an irregular day and both of our OCDs are really acting up. I hope we can make it through this….. ARGH… Anyway – this is the Star Trek with F Murray Abraham and his plastic skin. It’s time for us to present the first ever Zuts True Story Factoid™®!!!

*The skin stretching presented in this movie was, in fact, Abraham’s real skin. At 146 years of age, he was the oldest man to ever star in a Science Fiction Movie, much to the delight of the Prop Department.*

And there you have The Truth!!! Let’s see what JB thought about this thing….

star trek insurrection poster

SYNOPSIS: When the crew of the Enterprise learn of a Federation conspiracy against the inhabitants of a unique planet, Captain Picard begins an open rebellion. – via IMDB

jb star trek

Well… it’s Wednesday, and here’s our latest entry .

gir eye twitch

Scheduling conflicts are a bitch. I think the Chop and I are going to need some counselling after this just to get back to a happy place, but anyways. We are not here to talk about our issues. We are here to talk about what we thought of Insurrection.

Well, Insurrection was disappointing overall. There were very few things that I liked about it, more that I just found boring, but hey! I got to get me Halloween nails ready during this! That makes me happy. :D

halloween nailss

To be very honest, this plot is so ludicrous is makes The Voyage Home whale plot look like some seriously in depth stuff. Basically, desperate to stop the skin stretching and plastic surgery, the Son’a decide to go to war to take over an amazing planet that will maintain their youth. No more stretchy sessions!

flesh stretching star trek insurrection

Anyway. obviously things would not go their way, and this result in Picard and his people staging a rebellion against the Son’a and the Federation that is backing them. Yada, yada, yada. Whatever…

Then Riker and Deanna were getting all cushy, out of nowhere (I suppose this is another relationship that needed to be seen from the show first), Data wanted to be a kid (always wanting to be something he isn’t), Worf had a seriously bad time with going back to hit puberty, Geordi got his eyes back (his reaction to his first sunrise was beautiful though) and Picard got in touch with his lustier and younger side again. Not only was he dancing, which made me laugh, I then found this gif. Perfection.

picard shake it so

The movie improved more toward the end of it, got a little more, erm… exciting, I guess? The pacing was crappy, the humour wasn’t grand, the plot was flimsy at best and I was not overjoyed with this one. I am actually going to strop trying to say something about this weak entry to the Star Trek franchise…

the chop

This movie is so fucking boring,… I’m going to try something new here….


Natasha’s Marvellous Mondays

marvel logo

Hey guys!

So Natasha over at Life of this City Girl is doing an awesome Marvel run, getting reviews from guests as well as watching a bunch of the Marvel movies herself to post on Mondays. Some of you have seen this and gotten involved, some of you haven’t. If you haven’t, you should totally get cracking on this, it’s been really fun! Goodness knows there are a million Marvel movies and we have all seen a bunch – a load we like, and a load that sucked. Either way, let’s each grab one of these  films and try and get a review for all of them!

You can read the rules here, but basically it boils down to a review!

(Mikey, Melissa, I really thought Howard the Duck would have been snatched up by one of you!! I mean really now?!)

Anyhow, here is a list of the movies. Drop her a mail at or comment here to let her know which film you would like to talk about! Much fun people, much fun, let’s do this! :)

Title: Year:
Captain America 1944
Howard the Duck 1986
The Punisher 1989
Captain America 1990
The Fantastic Four 1994
Blade 1998
X-Men 2000
Blade II 2002
Spider-Man 2002
Daredevil 2003
X2 2003
Hulk 2003
The Punisher 2004
Spider-Man 2 2004
Blade: Trinity 2004
Elektra 2005
Man-Thing 2005
Fantastic Four 2005
X-Men: The Last Stand 2006
Ghost Rider 2007
Spider-Man 3 2007
Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer 2007
Iron Man 2008
The Incredible Hulk 2008
Punisher: War Zone 2008
X-Men Origins: Wolverine 2009
Iron Man 2 2010
Thor 2011
X-Men: First Class 2011
Captain America: The First Avenger 2011
Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance 2012
Marvel’s The Avengers 2012
The Amazing Spider-Man 2012
Iron Man 3 2013
The Wolverine 2013
Thor: The Dark World 2013
Captain America: The Winter Soldier 2014
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 2014
X-Men: Days of Future Past 2014
Guardians of the Galaxy 2014

Sporadic Scene: Criminal Minds (Season 6×06) – Jack’s Halloween Costume

If you have a scene that you would like featured, drop me a mail at with a picture/gif/video of the scene and an explanation as to why (should you want to include it).

Question of the Month: Halloween


Hey everyone! Question of the Month time again, and Luke picked a great Halloween themed question! Head on over to check it out!

Originally posted on Oracle of Film:

And so it begins. Halloween here at the Oracle of Film. Tomorrow, we have my review of Paranormal Activity, joined up with [.REC] over at What About the Twinkie (depending on how well his organisational skills are – touch wood!) But let’s not get ahead of ourselves, because what would Halloween be without the scariest, creepiest people on the internet, combined into one article about horror movies. Forget Stalker Saturdays; we have just entered the domain of Stalker Sundays, people!

The question is as follows: What thing you would add to a horror movie to make it a perfect horror? This could be a phobia you want to see exploited. What movie monster would reduce you to a whimpering mess? It could be a director that hits the mark every time he attempts a horror movie. Or maybe it is a stock character that you think makes a horror movie…

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Review: In The Mouth Of Madness (1994)

in the mouth of madness poster

“A reality is just what we tell each other it is.”
– Linda Styles

SYNOPSIS: An insurance investigator begins discovering that the impact a horror writer’s books have on his fans is more than inspirational. – via IMDB

in the mouth of madness tear back the paperin the mouth of madness i am not insane.gif.crdownload

GRADE 8I absolutely love this movie, I am a big fan of it. The first time I saw it a few years ago, it just ticked all the boxes of things I love in a movie. It was just awesome, and it doesn’t get old after repeat viewings. This is one of those tremendous and beloved old horrors that I just can’t get enough of. I adored the concept of this film – that a writer and his work could drive the world cuckoo crazy and insane. It was all about the writing, the lack of faith, the investigation into a missing author, the gruesome discoveries that Trent makes along the way, and the way Styles is convinced that Cane’s work is real… there is just way too much to love here! The monsters were nasty and Cane was delusional, Sam Neill delivered a fantastic performance, and there was an abundance of creepy and weird going on at any given moment in the film. You never really get a handle on what is going on, and there is a dash of cheese to this,  but in t hat totally acceptable kind of way. I was hooked from the get-go, and my other half had a grand time with this, too, so I am not totally biased ;) Carpenter was the horror king, and gave us many grand films to watch over the years, and I will always enjoy that. I thoroughly enjoyed the effects and the camera work, and the score worked wonderfully with it all, too. I know I am gushing, but there was so much to like in this one. This Apocalypse Trilogy, though, was just one of those super special ones, and I can see myself watching these quite a few more times, though the final entry remains my favourite of the lot. Solid acting, some goofy events, some creepy moments, insane monsters, pretty amusing dialogue, and a journey that is just different, In The Mouth of Madness offers it all to its viewers. I feel that this is a seriously under-appreciated film, and wish that more people had seen it.


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