The Banshee Chapter (2013) – movie review

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The Banshee Chapter (2013)

There are some good ideas and concepts stirring in this film. Military and scientific studies by the government in the 1970s concerning a drug known as MK Ultra and the threshold and capacity for fear has left a residual energy. A young reporter attempting to recreate this drug and thebanshee chapter cover study, goes missing. His girl friend sets out to discover what he has uncovered and the reason for his disappearance. She watches the video tape of his drug experiment and discovers strange music and voices. Further investigation reveals this white noise is familiar to a local ham operator. It is a mysterious shortwave signal and transmission emanating from an uninhabited area of the desert. This leads her to an old drug-taking renegade, an abandoned test facility and a living test subject still entombed at the lab.

The problem is these aspects are scrambled, disconnected and never form into a cohesive story line. Every time the film begins to build momentum, it veers off in a different direction, deflating all the creepiness, tension, and atmosphere it had built. The scene in the desert with the short wave transmissions was creepy as hell. I wish they would have kept going from that point, but the girl turns her car around, goes back to civilization and has to start the momentum from scratch. The film is laced with some found footage scenes that could’ve had a unifying affect but the footage itself cuts to static so frequently, it becomes a distraction. The film had all the ingredients to make the perfect omelet. But in the end we are served nothing more than scrambled eggs with a bunch of uncooked ingredients on the side. It’s watchable and moderately enjoyable but it missed a great opportunity to be something truly frightening.

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Not a total waste but failed to fulfill its potent possibilities.

I give it 2.1 blackened eyes on the scale of screaming banshee, horror-haunting conspiracies!


What Price Gory – by Terry M. West – book review


What Price Gory
Terry M. West

This is a fantastic collection of short stories in the paranormal horror genre. West manages to steer clear of the usual horror tropes that plague the horror market and conjure new ideas and concepts. Most important, he creates real characters that live and breathe, not perfect, but likeable nevertheless. They are interesting people that you feel the need to follow into the dark pits of terror and see their journey to the end. I’ll recap a few of my favorite stories.

In Car Nex, Adam Campbell and some poker buddies are holed up in a barn as a dark and nasty supernatural beast rips apart their town. Adam is the only one with information about the beasts origin, and he has one hell of a confession for his neighbors. Next, Cecil and Bubba aren’t the brightest cards in the deck but they earn an honest… well, fairly honest living. They are hired as bodyguards for a ghost hunter, in an investigation of a house with a bad reputation. Read what happens in Cecil and Bubba Meet a Succubus. In Midnight Snack, follow Colin Winslow on a detour to avoid a traffic jam that leads him straight into a roadside truck stop from Hell – it’s a fantastically amusing story. And finally, What Price Gory is the price one has to pay for horror author glory and to reach the pinnacle of best-seller fame.

Also included is an excerpt/preview from the upcoming book, Cecil and Bubba meet the Thang. I had already taken a liking to these two characters in the short story. The excerpt just builds on that and I can’t wait to find out what happens next.

This is a top-notch collection of supernatural tales featuring authentic characters who are plunged into extraordinary circumstances. These are imaginative concepts in terror that bleed off the pages like gouged flesh and lead you to nightmare destinations. It’s not a gorefest, for those who are questioning the title; these are well-written character driven tales. I recommend it as an entertaining and enjoyable read for the horror fan.

Amazon Kindle Edition

Amazon Paperback Edition


The Deaths of Ian Stone (2007) – movie review

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The Deaths of Ian Stone (2007)

Ian Stone has a unique problem. Every time he seems to get comfortable with his life, he is killed, only to be thrust into another life in progress. He doesn’t remember any of this until the day a stranger tells him he should. When forced to examine his vague memories, he begins to recall the creatures that are causing these life fluxes. At first they appear as the deaths of ian stone dvdshadow figures, black masses with deliberate movement, but soon features take shape and he can see the demonic faces of the monsters. He also realizes that a particular woman is always in his life when he is replaced in this Groundhog day style film. Another woman, Medea, is also involved with Ian’s lives’ and can inflict the most detriment to him. Although I wasn’t impressed by this film originally – I liked it better on my recent viewing. The creatures, called Harvesters, aren’t completely scary but I did start rooting for Ian to get away from these things and save his love interest, Jenny. I liked the Harvesters’ design better during this viewing, perhaps because I am more used to CGI, and it is well done in this film. Before you scoff at the digital images know that the creature effects were done by Stan Winston and just enhanced with CG. That makes a big difference. Some of the film is a bit Matrix-like and it is never completely explained how Ian goes from one life to the next without starting over each time (it’s slipstream fiction but the film should have offered an explanation). However, if you accept the film at face value and don’t dig to deep for details, it is enjoyable creature horror. This film was part of the ‘Horror Fest – 2007 – 8 Films to Die For’ collection and is probably the best for that year (although I will admit I haven’t seen all of them).

Directed by Dario Piana
Starring: Mike Vogel, Christina Cole, Jaime Murray
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A horror film delivered with a serious tone, not perfect, but entertaining if you don’t get too hung up on the details.
I give it 2.5 on the demon creature scale of death’s doorway sentinels!

My writing in 2013 – an overview

Fun facts about my Fiction:

My favorite horror story I’ve written this year: Motel Impressions is a ghost story that takes place in a motel room. It is set in Long Beach NY and was sparked by a true story (of a murder, not ghosts) for which I built a fictional story around.

My favorite creature/monster that I created: The giant tentacled worm from The Gates of Lament is part Lovecraft and partly inspired by my post, Scariest Creatures of the Sea

My best opening line in a story: Upstanding Citizen The moment old lady Ambrose bent over to look in my basement window, I hit her in the back of the head with a hammer… (read more at the Carnage Conservatory)

My favorite character: Jason from The Suitcase is probably most like myself. This story takes place on Long Island and was written in 2011 when the state police were finding the remains of several female victims off of Ocean Parkway.

My favorite message/bigger meaning in a story: Holiday Icon demonstrates the hypocrisy of people during the Christmas holiday. Most of my stories have some alter/bigger meaning, moral or message. Some are more obvious than others.

The two demons in Lessons in Demonology are named after the two moons of Mars, Phobos and Deimos – Greek mythological words that translate to ‘fear’and ‘terror’

In The Gates of Lament, there are three blatant nods to 1970’s Americana in the names of the characters.

o little town of deathlehem cellar door II small web from beyond the grave Miseria's Chorale -  cover large

A list of published works for 2013:

(story title/place where published/date published)

Upstanding Citizenthe Carnage Conservatory (website) 2/6/13

The Suitcase From Beyond the Grave (anthology) 4/15/13

Lessons in DemonologyTwisted Dreams Magazine 6/1/13

PigShadow Masters: An Anthology From the Horror Zine – 6/23/13

X-Ray Specs SNM Horror Magazine (website) – 7/1/13

Maynard’s Secret SNM Horror Magazine (website) – 8/1/13

AwakeningTwisted Dreams Magazine – 10/1/13

BloodsuckersInfernal Ink Magazine – 10/1/13

Uninvited100 Doors To Madness (anthology) 10/12/13

The Memory ThiefDark Eclipse Magazine – 11/3/13

Motel ImpressionsMiseria’s Chorale (anthology) – 11/26/13

The Gates of LamentCellar Door II (anthology) – 12/06/13

Holiday Icon Oh, Little Town of Deathlehem (anthology) – 12/24/13

total: 13 for 2013 – more info on my Bio page
published stories in the horror fiction short-story market to date

Visit my Authors Page: Michael Thomas-Knight


I would like to thank the editors of all the publications for taking the time to work with my fiction and for seeing something original and provoking enough to accept them for publication. Look forward to working with you all in the coming year.

100 doors to madness Infernal Ink Oct 2013 Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000040_00067] dark eclipse #28


The Conjuring (2013) – movie review

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The Conjuring

In Harrisville, Rhode Island, a young couple with five children struggling to survive a weak economy got a great deal on a home and several acres of land. It was an opportunity they could not pass up. They would later regret it.

The Conjuring is the classic haunted house tale, a true story adapted for film under the direction of James Wan. It relays the harrowing events of the Perron family and what occurred in their country home during 1971. It also follows real-life paranormal investigators, Ed and Lorraine Warren, who throughout their lives have helped hundreds of families deal with supernatural occurrences.

The Conjuring delivers, jump scares, creepy scares, fun scares, and ‘think about it at 2: am’ scares – it has it all! The pacing was excellent, leaving time after each big scary scene for nervous laughter and regrouping before ramping up the tension again. There
were some intentionally funny parts, dark and oppressive atmosphere, and the kind of build-up needed for a supernatural film to be effective. At its climax the film escalated into a high-action fear-fest.

Some will say that aspects of the film could have been more in-depth. The investigation into the history of the land seemed truncated but nothing is worse during a ghost movie than watching the protagonist sit in a library looking at old newspapers on microfilm. The scene with the priest was equally short but the film is not about the priest, it is about the Warrens and the Perrons. So, while these scenes were obligatory they were kept to minimum length, which I think worked well for this film.

If you like supernatural horror, ghost stories, haunted house flicks, and a bit of spirit possession, you will likely enjoy this film. It is the most fun I have had with a haunted house film since Poltergeist.

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Recommended if you like:
Poltergeist, House, The Amityville Horror, Insidious, The Woman in Black, The Changeling,

Lorraine Warren was on set as a consultant, a testament to Wan’ s commitment in portraying the events as close to the real happenings as possible.

Lorraine even makes a Cameo appearance in the film during a lecture on supernatural occurrences.

***You can compare the movie with the real life happenings here: Reel Faces

**You can read about some of the Warren’s investigations here: The Warrens

**After many years of silence, the youngest Perron daughter penned a book, ‘House of Darkness House of Light’ in 2009 detailing the events that had taken place back in 1971. When asked why she waited all these years, she stated, “The world was not ready for a story like this back then.” Check out the book here: ‘House of Darkness House of Light’ 

In The Tall Grass – Stephen King and Joe Hill – Book Review

in-the-tall-grass - king - hillIn The Tall Grass
Stephen King and Joe Hill

This is a kindle short, a novella, by King and his son, Joe Hill. What I like most about this tale is, after a few pages of set up, the story is almost all in the here & now – no flashbacks, no back-stories.

A brother and sister, on a cross-country road-trip from NH to San Diego, take an unexpected detour. While traversing the open land and big sky of Kansas, they hear a cry for help. They pull off the road, into an abandoned church parking lot. They clearly hear the cries of a young boy from the field of tall reeds that stretch to the horizon. They enter the field to help find the boy and lead him to safety but soon find themselves lost. From inside the field, direction is incomprehensible, sound travels at different angles and positions seem to change, even when nobody is moving. As the hours fly by and hopes are dashed, young Cal is determined to save his pregnant sister and her unborn child. Cal soon discovers the lost boy holds the secret to their salvation.

This story is like a fuse. Once lit, it burns quickly and brightly until its end. I had trouble putting it down and often found myself walking around my house with the Kindle raised before my eyes, so as not to delay the story’s finale. It’s a great tale with a disturbing ending. It is a fun and enjoyable read for any fan of horror, even for those who don’t read much. I recommend it highly.
tall grass

Shadow Masters – new horror fiction book release

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000040_00067]

Bentley Little, Yvonne Navarro, Earl Hamner, Ronald Malfi, Melanie Tem, Elizabeth Massie… What do all these famous horror fiction authors have in common? They all have frightening stories in the new horror anthology book, SHADOW MASTERS.

Oh yeah, and I do too!

My short story ‘PIG’ has been published in:
Shadow Masters – An Anthology From The Horror ‘Zine
from Imajin Books.

Other authors include: Scott Nicholson, Simon Clark, Lisa Morton, JG Faherty, Christian Larsen, Cheryl Tardiff, Jeff Bennington and Jeani Rector. Jeani is the publisher of The Horror ‘Zine and pulled together this wonderful collection of horror fiction. She also has a wicked gem of a story in the anthology.

Includes a forward by Joe R. Lansdale

More about my short story, ‘PIG’ –  This tale involves a young woman who wakes in the dead of night to find a demon in a pig costume standing at her bedside. What this demon wants will lead Vickie on a frightening discovery of her own psyche. – Kindle Version – Paperback Version

The Horror ‘


Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000041_00009]

Release date: May 27th, 2013

More Horror Fiction by Michael Thomas-Knight

John Dies at the End – Movie Review (2012)

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John_Dies_At_The_End_posterJohn Dies at the End (2012)

It takes a lot for me to laugh at a modern comedy, but in the first 10 minutes of this film I was hysterical. Let me give you the run-down. A girl calls John who calls David (our main character) about a spirit in her home. David and John go to investigate, they discover the girl is actually the spirit, they shoot at her, a freezer opens up and an assortment of meat products assemble into Lady Gaga at the music awards, doorknobs turn to dicks, John calls a spiritual guru, Dr. Albert Marconi, on the cell phone, lets him talk to the evil demon personally – meat gets cooked!

From there it’s ‘down the rabbit hole” style chaos, and a comedic maze of a plot, that is somehow easy to follow. Some black drug from Planet-X causes David to see things that he shouldn’t be able to see and the tale escalates into a spiritual slugfest of good vs. evil. I can’t explain too much more because it would seem so ridiculous and you would probably disregard this film. You should watch this!

Directed by John Coscarelli (Phantasm) and written by David Wong, who shares the same name as the main character, it is filled with thought provoking existential questions, such as; Do you ever wonder why sometimes you see a single shoe alongside the road? And, What’s it like to go crazy? You just feel regular as the rest of the world goes crazy around you…

This is the funniest horror-comedy since Shawn of the Dead. It is a horror, subgenre: bizzaro, comedy, action, adventure movie, and a lot of fun to watch.

The Shrine (2010) – Movie review

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The Shrine (2010)

the-shrine-movie-poster-You know, I’ve read a couple of not-so-great reviews for this movie so was hesitant to watch it. But, as they say, one man’s garbage is another man’s gold, so here’s my review.

Carmen, a young reporter for a small newspaper, travels to a rural Polish village investigating the disappearance of an American hiker. Along with her underling, Sara, and boyfriend/photographer, Marcus, she encounters gruff townspeople who are hostile to outsiders and clergymen with strange dress and odd customs. Their somber expressions and suspicious looks sufficiently build the feeling of paranoia. The trio locate the smoky cloud hovering above the treetops as described in the final entry of the hiker’s journal. Moving towards the site they discover it is actually a dense fog in a permanent position in the woods. Entering the thick shroud will unleash a chain of events that bring them face to face with true evil.

The film starts out a bit slow and the acting somewhat stiff early on, but the actors seem to settle into their roles as the film The-Shrine-pic 2progresses. The plot, action, suspense and pacing just keep escalating as the movie continues. By the end I’m thinking to myself, this is a damn good horror flick. I was impressed with its plot twists and creepy climax. It is one of the better independent horror films I’ve seen in the past few years.

Marcus is played by Aaron Ashmore, who can now be seen in the FBI serial killer, crime drama, The Following on FOX. Composer, Ryan Shore received a Grammy Award for his score in this film. It was directed by Jon Knautz, (is that pronounced, Nuts? Awesome!) who also directed the comedy/horror, Jack Brooks: Monster Slayer. It is a Canadian film distributed through IFC Pictures. There’s not a lot of gore in the film, but there are some good suspenseful chase scenes as the reporters try desperately to escape the town. There are also some good creepy scenes, entertaining for fans of supernatural horror, movies about cults, and more traditional horror themes.

Grave Encounters (2011) – movie review

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kinopoisk.ruGrave Encounters (2011)

I remember when this first came out, I was somewhat under whelmed with found footage films and shaky handheld camera SOV flicks. I think, in the couple of years that have past, I have become more accepting of them and see them as another style of film making in the field of cinema. When they are done right, found-footage films can offer an immediacy and intimacy that makes them feel genuine. When they’re done wrong, they just seem like a mess and act as a crutch for not having a good script.

So, now that I got Netflix, (yes congrats are in order), I felt I could try out this movie and I wouldn’t mind shutting it off in a half-hour if it proved to be anything less than enjoyable. I wouldn’t feel like I had wasted my money. I must say, to my surprise, I enjoyed Grave Encounters quite a bit.

A team of ghost investigators enter an abandoned mental institution for a night of EVPs, EMFs, and ghost chasing. If any of you are familiar with, Ghost Hunters, Ghost Adventures, Paranormal State, and Most Haunted – shows that have been airing the last 10 years or so, you should know the routine. This one follows most closely to Ghost Adventures and the show host, Lance, even seems to get most of his cues and mannerisms from the real show host, Zakk Bagans.

grave-encounters pic 5The small crew journeys through the asylum with little results for their efforts. Lance even mentions that they should shoot some footage of the dark hallways just to get something spooky looking for the show. Just when they are about to pack it in, they begin to get some real signs of paranormal activity. From there the film successfully ramps up the suspense as the ghostly events escalate to a frightening level.

Without being a spoiler, let me just say there are a few things in this film that I have never seen done before and must commend the film makers for their original ideas and concepts. The scene with the tub and the scene where they finally break through the front door to leave were awesome. The only drawback would be, it takes a bit of time for the good scary stuff to develop. But if you have some patience, the film definitely pays off.  I would give this film a very high rating, close to Rec in my favorite found-footage film category. Great atmosphere, great haunted place feel, exceptional acting, jump scares, creepy tension, it has it all.

If you are accepting of the found-footage style and if you like haunted house/ghost stories – or if you’re a fan of the above mentioned ghost investigation programs, I would highly recommend Grave Encounters.