The World on Fire by Sheldon Woodbury – book review

world on fire - Sheldon Woodbury

The World on Fire – Sheldon Woodbury

The prison is called the Spook-house because all of the worst, most monstrous killers were housed there. The story follows The Angel of Death, Louis Sedah, who had a nasty killing spree that ended with him burning down a church. When they locked him up, that was just the beginning. He breaks out with a small army of death row baddies in order to set his big plan in motion. Along with these psychopathic killers he takes a reporter, David, hostage. What the FBI doesn’t know is that Louis has an even larger army of underground fringe mobs that are ready for a change and Louis is orchestrating a massive demonstration of their power.

This was a fast-paced horror thriller. Early in the book, every other chapter told the story of another inmate’s violent journey and how they received their nicknames before becoming escapees and part of The Angel of Death’s crew. This kept the story interesting. As the twisted team carry out their murderous designs, Agent Locke is on their tail. This is a large scale story with many characters and Mr. Woodbury managed it like a veteran author.

There were plenty of interesting ideas and devilishly good twists in the story with an impressive ending that I did not see coming. Louis Sedah is the ultimate evil nemesis, crafting and executing nasty destruction, leaving a fiery trail of death in his wake. It didn’t take me long to realize his last name was Hades, spelled backward. He creates hell on earth. Fans of The Following will love this. It takes a similar premise to its extreme ends.

The World on Fire  on Amazon

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parlor of horror book reviews

The Remake Scoreboard / Killers On The Loose

willard 2003

The Remake Scoreboard – Horror movie remakesthe good and bad list. Thumbs up or thumbs down and a few sentences why.
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Remakes: Killers On The Loose

Black Christmas (remake) (2006)
(original 1974)

The original film portrayed a creepy and suspenseful thriller that built to a nail biting climax. Likeable characters were harassed by an eerie voice on the phone and were dispatched, one by one, in the most extremely unpleasant methods imaginable. The new one is a closely scripted remake but fails to capture the atmosphere, intensity, and character likeability that make the original so good. About half way through the film I was completely disengaged from the story and just wished everyone would DIE already, because I was bored to tears!

When a Stranger Calls (remake) (2006)
(original 1979)

Aside from the ‘he’s in the house’ scene, this remake has a totally different script. The famous scene in the original, where the babysitter is on the phone with the killer while the police trace it – only to find that the call is coming from inside the very house – is still talked about as one of the great terror inducers in film history. However, if you remember the film in detail, aside from the opening and closing scenes (approx. 10 minutes of film time) the rest of the movie was a detective /homicide investigation movie, and a rather dull one. The remake has a babysitter in an elaborate home, being tormented by a killer, and all the events take place during the course of one night. It will never be famous in filmmaking history, but it is entertaining, nevertheless.

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My Bloody Valentine (remake – 2009)
(original 1981)

This remake is close enough to the original that no one should get riled over the new version. The fact is, the original, being a very good film, never gained the status of other films released during the same time period. Halloween, the iconic slasher film, stayed in the theaters for several years. Alien, The Shining, Friday the 13th, The Amityville Horror, and The Evil Dead were films released between ‘78 and ‘81. I tend to think that Valentine never got the credit it deserved because of all these great films. The miner, fully masked, with goggles and the light atop his head, coming at you with a pick-axe, is really a threatening horror image. The fact is, the remake is so similar to the original, it’s a toss up on which one to see. There is probably no need to own them both. Pick one and enjoy!

House of Wax (remake – 2005)
(original 1953)

This is like comparing apples and oranges. This new version has your all-star “in-crowd” actors and hot-shorts wearing ‘a-list’ actresses, prancing around and flirting with the camera until they are finally killed off. That’s not to say I don’t like it, because it has its shining moments. But consider the Vincent Price character, plotting and striking revenge upon the socialites and businessmen that ignored and never appreciated his works of art and you will see a stark difference. The 1953 version has a great story and plot – the remake has nice scenery.

Willard (remake – 2003)
(original 1972)

If you are familiar with the 1972 version you will remember a gentle Willard befriending some rats that his bed-ridden mother insisted be dispatched by whatever means possible. The film took quite long to develop and Willard’s anger and revenge was a brief flash, for which he seemed instantly remorseful. With Crispin Glover taking on the role as Willard, we have a much darker, brooding film with a gothic vibe and an instantly believable crossover of Willard from the meek outcast to the vicious psychotic king of the rats. You want to cheer for him but at the same time it disgusts you. This remake is definitely the stronger of the two films.

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Dean Koontz – What the Night Knows – book review

Dean Koontz – ‘What the Night Knows’
Bantam Books

This latest novel by the prolific Koontz is a classic page-turner of supernatural horror. In streamline fashion, Koontz delivers just what you need to progress quickly into and through the story. Many years ago, Koontz locked into a writing formula and although his novels never stray too far from his blockbuster-maker plots and techniques, they are nevertheless, enjoyable.

The brief; John Calvino had been a fourteen year old boy when his family was killed by brutal serial killer, Alton Blackwood. He only survived by killing the murderer in self defense. Many years later Calvino is a homicide detective with a family of his own. When he begins to investigate a new rash of ritual family slayings, Calvino is convinced that Blackwood has somehow managed to escape the clutches of death and that his own family is in grave danger.

The story is interspersed with readings from Alton Blackwood’s journal, which unveil an interesting back story, while helping to build the suspense in the present time. The book makes for some quick and intense reading in the first half but then gets sluggish as the story moves away from the Calvino family to other families threatened by the Blackwood entity. Eventually, it does come back to the Calvino’s story. The intensity is ratcheted up until it leads to a not-surprising yet epic finale, a battle of wills, and good vs. evil.