True crime

True Crime, debut novel by Samantha Kolesnik coming 2020

True Crime, debut novel by Samantha Kolesnik coming 2020

When I first saw Mama’s boy, I was blown away and wanted more from the short film. Her writing style was dark, disturbing, but as the audience, we can’t help but want more. Almost as if we’re looking through the peephole or rear window of an actual crime being committed. Samantha Kolesnik has made a name for herself as a writer and director. Samantha now has a debut novel coming out next year entitled. True Crime.

Grindhouse Press Announces January 15th, 2020 Release Date for TRUE CRIME, Debut Novel by Samantha Kolesnik

TRUE CRIME, the disturbing debut novel by Samantha Kolesnik, is forthcoming from Grindhouse Press on January 15th, 2020. “A debut with the power of a nuclear bomb. Ranks alongside Jack Ketchum’s The Girl Next Door and J. F. Gonzalez’s Survivor.” — Brian Keene, author of The Rising 

TRUE CRIME’s synopsis reads, “Suzy and her brother, Lim, live with their abusive mother in a town where the stars don’t shine at night. Once the abuse becomes too much to handle the two siblings embark on a sordid cross-country murder spree beginning with their mom. As the murder tally rises, Suzy’s mental state spirals into irredeemable madness.” Grindhouse Press is an independent press known for horror, dark fiction, transgressive fiction and extreme horror. It is owned by author C.V. Hunt (Ritualistic Human Sacrifice, Cockblock) and is an imprint of Atlatl Press which is owned by author Andersen Prunty (Fuckness, Sociopaths In Love). Grindhouse Press is home to works by authors such as Bryan Smith, Kristopher Triana, John Wayne Comunale, Matt Serafini, and more.

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The Act: Final Episode (Review)

The Act: Final Episode (Review)

Well, friends, the series has come to an end and it still leaves us with will there be a season 2? This episode ironically titled Free, has Gypsy convincing those around her (Mel, Lacey and her absent father) that she is innocent. With Dee Dee corrupting her from a young age, it is clear that you can tell that even though Gypsy knows right from wrong, she still has a mind like a child.

Gypsy starts to realize the harsh reality of how the world is especially without her mother, and being in prison is the worst way to find out how the world works. In her mind, as she is portrayed, she sees how tragic her situation is but does not grasp that this will not clear up and go back to normal. She is also learning that those she looked up to are now unsure if they can trust what she says. Take Lacey for instance. Gypsy is now relying on her friendship and hopes that she will visit her. Lacey is torn and wants answers, but it is unsure of what to do in this case, as she feels like she is to blame since she showed Gypsy the website to where Gypsy met Nick. Mel (Lacey’s mother) shows up for a visit which Gypsy was expecting to see Lacey. Mel along with the other neighbors was into Gypsy and Nick getting the death penalty. After talking to Gypsy, you can see that Mel is still trying to process if Dee Dee was abusing Gypsy, and if she could walk the whole time, then she should have walked away from the situation.

Gypsy’s lawyer is trying to prove that there was abuse and made up illnesses but will need to gain access to her medical records which only next of kin can obtain for her. She reaches out to her father for the records, and by her surprise, he visits her and explains that he tried being a part of her life. You can see the hurt in her eyes as she does not want to believe it because she wants to believe that everything her mother told her was correct. 

The kind of good news for Gypsy is that they are doing separate trials between her and Nick because she has a case with her medical records alone that will allow them to go into her home life and see how she lived under her mother’s care. Nick, realized that he is in this alone and will be serving a full-time sentence. 

 

This whole case leaves you torn; you are not sure which side to take and who deserved what, even if they were to it deserve something they cannot take matters into their own hands to end Dee Dee. There has been news circulating that there may be a season 2 which I believe may about Gypsy more, but there has not been any talk if it is going to start filming; hopefully, when news hits, we can update further if there is a follow-up season. For now, I want to hear your thoughts and opinions on how the show portrayed this tragic case.

Posted by Sarah Gregory in Categories, HORROR HISTORY, MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, SERIES REVIEWS, SLASHERS AND BAD HUMANS, STAFF PICKS, 0 comments
The Act: Episode 7 Review

The Act: Episode 7 Review

We are coming to an end with this series, and episode 7 titled Bonnie and Clyde put most of the re-enactment into perspective and will leave your heart in your stomach. 

We see the two “love birds” on the bus which left off from episode 6 on their way to Wisconsin where Nicholas lives. His annoyed and no filtered mother (Juliette LewisNatural Born Killers, Whip It) picks them up, and it is clear that Nick did not inform Gypsy that he told his mother she was staying in a homeless shelter and needed somewhere else to go until she gets back on her feet. When asked about her situation with her mother, you can tell Gypsy was starting to feel the guilt as she told her lies. 

Upon arriving at the house, Gypsy takes over the room like she’s Nick’s housewife and more like how her mother would take care of her.  She starts panicking and getting worried that no one will find her mother, but Nick has a plan. They decide to post a status on Facebook to let everyone know that something was going on with Dee Dee. Being subtle, they wrote, “ That bitch is dead.” With a stir of comments flooding, Gypsy is wondering what is taking so long, but she doesn’t have to wonder much longer, she never disabled her location on Facebook.

Gypsy’s neighbor and friend Lacey gets an unsettling feeling after seeing the status and heads over to Dee Dee’s house with her mother to make sure everything was okay. It didn’t take long for the cops to appear and for them to be on the search for Gypsy, her neighbors are worried since her wheelchair is left behind and they know how “sick” she is. 

Nick’s mother has some suspicions on Gypsy’s behavior, you can see it in her facial expressions, but she does nothing more than encouraging her to try to make amends with her mother. The more that gets brought up, the more it sends Gypsy into a panic leading for her and Nick to fight outside. A little while later, police lights can be seen through the window. Amid their fear, they hide in the closet together where Gypsy tells him that they will both tell the truth because they did nothing wrong and that everything will be okay. 

With Gypsy and Nick being in separate interrogation rooms, Nick is very open and honest and starts telling the truth that he was the one who stabbed Dee Dee; he would be diagnosed later on with being on the autism spectrum, also unclear if he has multiple personality disorder. Gypsy, on the other hand, denied all questions and it seemed that she was silently pointing her finger at Nicholas.  

What comes to a complete shock with how this episode ended, was when the whole world saw that Gypsy could walk at the start of her trial. It is like everything went silent and you can hear the gasps from everyone who had no idea that she has been living this lie her whole life.

This all comes to an end this Wednesday May 1st on Hulu. All episodes are still up for those of you that are not caught up yet. 

Posted by Sarah Gregory in REVIEWS, SERIES REVIEWS, SLASHERS AND BAD HUMANS, STAFF PICKS, THRILLER, 0 comments
The Act: Episode 6 Review

The Act: Episode 6 Review

Get ready for everything to go into full circle cause this episode titled A Whole New World will put a lot into perspective for you as I know it did for me. Dee Dee is not only portrayed as a controlling, obsessive woman, but we all grow to dislike her, except for this episode passionately. It puts into the light as to why she is the way she was. The event starts with hearing Dee Dee scream; you already know the killing has begun, and then it takes us back to 1991 where Dee Dee was giving birth to Gypsy, and her mother was present. Being a parent, in general, can be very tough but being a first-time parent is nerve-racking at first, and it’s clear that Dee Dee’s mother Emma (Margo Martindale) oversteps her daughter by taking control of taking care of Gypsy since day 1. 

It seems from day 1 of having Gypsy that Dee Dee has a strict schedule. She goes with what a doctor told her and sticks to it and doesn’t switch it up not even with a mother’s intuition or “mother’s know best” motto. She was deemed to be not capable of being a mother because her mother pointed out her flaws even to go as far as to let the cops take her away in front of Gypsy. (At least that was how it was in the episode, a source says Dee Dee was pulled over and arrested but was not in prison for six months). That’s right; the overprotective “perfect” Dee Dee was arrested for check fraud. Her mother could have helped her but stated that she needs to learn her lesson especially taking ownership as a mother.

Let’s jump back to Gypsy and Nick. They are seen at a motel and decide to pack up, so before they head off, they go to a restaurant where Gypsy is full of anxiety even taking medication that belongs to her now deceased mother. When the police show up, Gypsy panics even more.  There was a small interaction with the officers when her prescription falls off the table, and the one officer picks it up for her, also looking at the name and calling her Claudine (Dee Dee). After the interaction, they hurry from the restaurant to come up with a new back up plan on what and where to go next. 

Dee Dee is now back from prison and is trying to build a bond with Gypsy, but her mother is standing in the way of that. Emma falls ill, and it seems that Dee Dee is purposely not taking care of her for a reason. To get rid of a controlling aspect in her life (sound familiar?). And now we jump back to Bonnie and Clyde. You can see the wheels turning in Gypsy’s head like she knows how big of a mistake she made and that she doesn’t seem too involved with Nick anymore—romantically that is. Like she wishes she could take this back, her feeling free from her mother’s control isn’t what she thought it would be. 

We bounce from Bonnie and Clyde back to a young Dee Dee panicking when Gypsy falls off the trampoline, she’s already a nervous first-time mom primarily when her mother uses to override her and her parenting, so now it’s full throttle. Not letting Gypsy do normal kid activities, kids fall, and they get up, but with her constant panicking and being over worried, it was already a sign that something more would escalate eventually from this. This is how it comes to an end, it all goes full circle in this episode. 

I had constant anxiety, and my heart was outside my chest watching this series, anticipating on what is yet to come, even from closely following this case I still can’t fathom on what Gypsy endured during her whole childhood. So many questions to ask and so many unanswered.

Posted by Sarah Gregory in BRUTAL REALITY, HORROR HISTORY, HORROR NEWS, MONSTERS AND CREATURES, MOVIE REVIEWS, NEW RELEASES, REVIEWS, SERIES REVIEWS, SLASHERS AND BAD HUMANS, STAFF PICKS, THRILLER, WOMEN IN HORROR, 0 comments
The Act: Episode 5 Review

The Act: Episode 5 Review

We are getting closer and closer to the end of the series and in episode 5 titled “Plan B” things get very heated. We start this episode in 2015 with Gypsy engaging in cybersex with her “boyfriend” for two years, Nick. They create this fantasy where they escape into it, Nick having Gypsy call him ‘Victor ‘ his alter ego who saves Gypsy from her evil mother from all the bad she puts her through. Gypsy interrupts and comes up with a plan, she booked him a bus ticket and will convince her mother to get out of the house so the two can finally meet and that he can make a good impression on her mother. 

It skips to Nick working at his pizza job to start saving up so he can make this visit with Gypsy happen. It shows a quiet and shy Nick learning how to put the pizzas in the oven but dropping them every time. While his boss is patient with him, it seems that Nick lacks the confidence and gets frustrated inside to where he is seen standing outside in costume yelling for customers to visit the shop as if that’s the only simple task he can handle. 

It now pans to a very tired and sick Dee Dee who snaps at an anxious Gypsy who is over talking and begging her to go anywhere rather it be Disney or the zoo. Dee Dee apologizes for the outburst and settles to take Gypsy to the movies to see Cinderella. You can view all the anxiety in Gypsy; all she wants to do in her 20s is be free and have a relationship other than with her overbearing and over-controlling mother. With each argument and any put down that Dee Dee does to Gypsy, you can see it in Gypsy’s eyes, the exhaustion and her willing to do anything to get out of her mother’s wrath. During another video chat with Nick, she informs him to wear the nice shirt that she sent him and where to meet them along with how to make a perfect impression. 

The day is here, and with Gypsy knowing on who she will be finally seeing she wants to look her best. What her mother has in mind, dressing her adult daughter in a Cinderella dress and wig. As much as Gypsy refuses she still puts on the dress, in her mind she’ll look like a princess for her Prince Charming. Once arriving at the theater , Gypsy asks her mother if she can have a treat like sharing a soda to where Dee Dee snaps. As they pick their seats, Gypsy keeps looking her shoulder in anticipation and Dee Dee begins to notice how fidgety she is and even questions her about it. Nick enters and sits behind them, trying to start a polite conversation, however Dee Dee calls him out and moves Gypsy away causing Nick to walk out. Gypsy questions her mother asking why she has to talk to people that way and then excuses herself to the restroom in hopes of finding Nick. 

Once Gypsy heads to the restroom, Nick meets her there. Finally, the two can embrace, get to touch whom they fell in love with the last two years of talking. Taking longer than usual, Dee Dee gets restless and goes to search for her daughter, upon arrival to the locked door, she can hear soft moans and laughter inside. Feeling uncomfortable, Dee Dee heads back to the movie to which Gypsy arrives around the ending of it. Nick attempts again to hold the door for them and to start a conversation to where Dee Dee completely snaps. Both Nick’s and Gypsy’s facial expressions say it all. They grow cold.

With how Gypsy and Nick are beginning to execute their plan, it seems that Gypsy starts to reconsider, especially when Dee starts to apologize, you think the apology would be about her overreacting, but it’s more about how she didn’t give Gypsy a treat at the theater. Symbolism plays a big part at the end of the episode. Especially when it comes to the final scene with Gypsy going to the hunting store in the mall to purchase a knife; she even goes as far as to ask the guy behind the counter to what he would recommend. Red paint was dripping, red handle on the knife.. only leads to one thing — Dee Dee’s fate.  

Posted by Sarah Gregory in REVIEWS, SERIES REVIEWS, STAFF PICKS, 0 comments
The Act: Episode 4 Review—House Of Tortured Souls

The Act: Episode 4 Review—House Of Tortured Souls

This article contains Spoilers so if you have not seen this show yet; I suggest you start catching right up.  In this weeks episode titled Stay Inside, it starts in 2013, two years after the events from episode three. It shows a handsome man mowing the lawn and a curious Gypsy staring out the window. Dee Dee catches her daughter swooning over the man and whisks her away to bath her.

While bathing her 19-year-old daughter, you can see that Gypsy is very tired of being treated like a child. While bathing Gypsy is getting out of the tub to be dried off, she ends up getting her period. You can tell with her smirk that she showed no remorse as it is natural while Dee Dee is upset that she did not have the time it right and has to clean it up. 

After the morning events, Dee Dee goes to the doctors. It turns out that the real sick one in this situation is Dee Dee herself, who has type 2 diabetes and her doctors are very concerned with her high blood sugar which they try to control it with insulin. It seems that Dee Dee had some sick enjoyment in getting Gypsy to do her injections for her and to have her daughter take care of her health as a grown woman. Her deteriorating health still does not stop on how she belittles Gypsy.

Let us jump to the next part—- Gypsy’s “18th” birthday. Gypsy brought up about how she is finally happy that she knew her mom keeps changing the year she was born, her mom keeps sticking to her story and ends it quick by bringing out her present, two guinea pigs. To me, even though there is no age to own any pet, a guinea pig seems like what you would give a small child. As an 18/19-year-old girl, there are plenty of other wants. However, Gypsy being ever so sweet and excited over her new pets, she sneaks out on the porch with one of them where Lacey her neighbor spots her and visits her.

It is tough to shelter a young girl, especially a teenage girl who is hormones are going wild. Moreover, with Lacey befriending Gypsy and including her with typical teenage girl gossip, the main topic that came up that had Dee Dee boiling inside was: boys. Lacey introduced Gypsy to a Christian dating site, Gypsy’s face lit up like the 4th of July when she saw all types of boys looking for “love.” When a weak Dee Dee found out, she confronted Lacey, and in the midst of it she passed out in the road. 

With Dee Dee being sick and not properly caring for herself, she receives a phone call to talk to a Gypsy for her birthday. Dee Dee lies about it explaining Gypsy does not know about her birthday since she may not have many left with a procedure she will need soon. Dee Dee is trying to keep control over Gypsy, and with Gypsy being an adult with rights to decide unless proven otherwise… Dee Dee becomes manic as she realizes she may not be able to get away with this from everThe final scene takes us to the mall; Gypsy convinces a very ill Dee Dee to sit down to rest, in that process is where Gypsy takes herself to the store to buy herself a laptop. The laptop means one thing… internet dating. With Dee Dee not feeling well, she pages Gypsy over an intercom, and they go home. Gypsy creates an online dating account and soon meets Nicholas Godejohn (Calum WorthyDr. Dolittle 3) who helps Gypsy discover her dark sexual side and introduces her into BDSM. Gypsy takes a liking to him as he is charming and accepting of her. One night when Gypsy fell asleep, Dee Dee discovered the laptop and smashed it. Gypsy wakes up in a panic and fights with her mom; in that process, Dee Dee ties Gypsy up to the bed. The amount of verbal, physical, and emotional abuse that she endures will make your stomach turn. 

This show so far has been a wild ride. You feel for Gypsy the entire time, hoping someone out in public would catch on or get some sense that something is not right. Each episode is full of anxiety as you watch it and I cannot get enough. 

Posted by Sarah Gregory in HORROR HISTORY, HORROR NEWS, MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, SERIES REVIEWS, SLASHERS AND BAD HUMANS, STAFF PICKS, 0 comments
The Act: Episode 3 Review— House Of Tortured Souls

The Act: Episode 3 Review— House Of Tortured Souls

It’s Wednesday and that means one thing, a new episode of The Act airing on Hulu. The episode this week is called “Two Wolverines”, written by Robin Veith and directed by Adam Arkin, this episode takes a dressed up Dee Dee and Gypsy to a costume convention. Both Gypsy and her mother stumble across some charming men and it also strains their relationship even more, especially with all the lies Gypsy is told one more specifically would be her true age. 

Gypsy has a few secrets of her own in this episode. Let’s start off with arriving at the costume convention, Dee Dee let the lady know that Gypsy was 14 or 15, and since she was older than the age where you can get in for free, the lady sympathized with Gypsy and let her in for free as their little secret. Gypsy caught on to her mothers mistake of saying she was born in 1995 when she thought 1993. Dee Dee quickly dismisses Gypsy’s questioning and the pair head off where Gyspy is approached by a men dressed as Wolverine.

With how sheltered Gyspy is, it’s not surprising that she develops a crush on Mr. Suave who literally swoops her out of her chair. Thanks to Mr. Wolverine, Gyspy musked up courage in hopes of getting out of her mothers web of lies and creates a secret Facebook account without her mother’s knowledge along with buying a prepaid phone at the gas station. She even did the math to figure out she’s 19 years old, she also puts that in the note she wrote to her mother when she attempts to run away. Her mother is a controlling monster, who is doing everything in her power to control Gyspy more in fear that Gyspy will expose her to the world.

Only three episodes in so far and it’s just incredibly hard to watch. I have so many theories and questions as to how did anyone remotely close to this family allow it to get this far? It’s just baffling to me. So please, check this out on Hulu and catch up in time for the 4th episode which comes out Wednesday April 3rd. I would love to know everyone’s thoughts and theories. 

Posted by Sarah Gregory in REVIEWS, SERIES REVIEWS, STAFF PICKS, 0 comments
The Act (Hulu series) First 2 episode Review—House Of Tortured Souls

The Act (Hulu series) First 2 episode Review—House Of Tortured Souls

I am obsessed with true crime and as soon as I saw that The Act was being made into a series on Hulu, I was all ready to watch it in anticipation. The Act is a true crime anthology series that premiered on March 20th and focuses on the real life of Gyspy Rose Blanchard and the murder of her mother Dee Dee Blanchard

The 8 episode series was created by Michelle Dean and Nick Antosca. It stars Patricia Arquette (Medium, A Nightmare On Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors, Holes),  Joey King ( Ramona and Beezus, Slender Man), Chloë Sevigny ( Lizzie, American Horror Story, Zodiac), AnnaSophia Robb (Soul Surfer, Race to Witch Mountain, The Reaping), and Calum Worthy ( The Big Year, Bodied).

The first episode of the series focused around Gypsy (Joey King) and her mother Dee Dee (Patricia Arquette) who just moved into a new neighborhood and you can already tell how different they are. Gypsy is a young teenage girl in a wheelchair and has every illness you can imagine, well at least that’s what her mother has said and is telling everybody. They become acquainted with all their new neighbors, especially with Lacey (AnnaSophia Robb) and Mel (Chloë Sevigny). Lacey befriends Gypsy by giving her a makeover and you can tell that for once Gypsy felt “normal” and it’s hard to do with her overbearing and paranoid mother always at her side. At a get-together, neighbors can be nosy and pushy and you can see the nervousness and tension that Dee Dee has as she explains all of Gypsy’s illnesses and allergies. She spends every second of every day at Gypsy’s side and even within the first episode, you can see how it’s deteriorating Gypsy from the inside out as well as the neighbors starting to sense that something doesn’t seem right. 

The second episode focuses on Gyspy receiving the “Child Of The Year” award which makes Dee Dee feel like she’s mother of the year. Before the big award ceremony,  Gypsy has her teeth retracted which causes one doctor to be very skeptical about Gypsy’s condition. Every antic Dee Dee causes like refusing the removal of Gypsy’s feeding tube, sparks the doctor suspicion to where she calls CPS. Without giving more away from this episode, you can already see how intense and odd this case is. Makes you squirm and yell at your TV for the doctors to wake up and see that Gypsy is suffering in an abusive situation from her mothers doing

I highly recommend checking this series out. There are 2 episodes right now on Hulu and the 3rd episode airs on March 27th. Check out the trailer then make sure to tune in every Wednesday. 

Posted by Sarah Gregory in ANTHOLOGY, REVIEWS, SERIES REVIEWS, STAFF PICKS, 0 comments
The Town that Dreaded Sundown(2014)

The Town that Dreaded Sundown(2014)

 

The Town that Dreaded Sundown is kind of a complex review. To start, The Town that Dreaded Sundown (2014) is in fact a continuation,…but still a remake…or as stated in the film, a legacy. Allow me to try to explain.

The Town that Dreaded Sundown the original was released in 1976, directed by Charles B. Pierce and was based upon a true story that happened in a sleepy little town called Texarkan. The town sits 50%on the Texas border side, the other on the Arkansas side.

The pressed called him “The Phantom Killer,” and referred to his crimes as “The Texarkana Moonlight Murders.” News of the bizarre and horrific killings transfixed an entire nation on the small town of Texarkana, Texas in early 1946, and the case remains one of the most notorious unsolved crimes in U.S. history.

 

The Phantom Killer as he was called, stalked the prey of young adults , usually parked alone in secluded areas for a little off-road romance.

Well from 1976 to 2014, here we are. Directed by Alfonso Gomez-Rejon. The story starts off on the anniversary of the Phantom Killer at a local drive-inn movie theater where annually they show none other that the 1976 classic, The Town that Dreaded Sundown.

Scared from the movie our young couple decides to leave and , wouldn’t you guess it, they go off and park in a nice quite area where only serial killers wearing a burlap sack for a mask would be hanging around.

And so starts our killings. The young male is forced to the ground and viciously stabbed to death while the killer makes the girl stand by , but with her back turned and was told “Don’t You Turn Around!!”

I’m not one for spoilers , but our young hussy escapes, and now becomes the center of the movie as others in town are now brutally murdered. it is also at this point where you find yourself in a movie, of a movie. Hence the copycat killer as he now terrorizes this quiet little town.

The film flashes from old kill to new kill and vice versa. Meaning, if the in the first film the killer shoved a stick of dynamite in a nuns ass a lit it, we are now re-living that same technique with our 2014 killer as he will then do the same.

The film presents some pretty good kill scenes and a decent amount of blood thrown in. I will say that the kills are also fairly vicious, a lot of  emotion seemed to have been put into each attack, I liked that.I will give credit where credit is due,…this film hid no kills in the dark, or lack of lighting. I get so sick of watching movies and feel as if I’m missing half of the good stuff because of dark scenes.

The cast as mentioned really wasn’t bad, no Oscars being handed out, but surprisingly enough a decent performance given by actor Anthony Anderson (whose roles normally I cant stand), played lead investigator Lone Wolf Morales.

 

The Town that Dreaded Sundown is a fair horror film that does offer a chilling hunt, yet in kind of almost hip way. I usually give it my once a year watch then back to the shelf it goes. The idea that Gomez-Rejon wasnt bad at all, just needed a little Texas heat . I will admit , I absolutely love the poster for the film though.

Keep it Evil.

Posted by John Roisland in GORE OR EXTREME HORROR, HORROR HISTORY, MOVIE REVIEWS, PREQUELS AND SEQUELS, REMAKES AND REBOOTS, REVIEWS, SLASHERS AND BAD HUMANS, THRILLER, 0 comments
Horrifying Facts of Halloween Past

Horrifying Facts of Halloween Past

Halloween is a time where a lot of people allow themselves to feel secure, no matter what they are presented with, because tis the season to play out fantasies. For some, it’s time to throw off the cardigan and turn the most serious or mundane career outfits into a sexy view, like the naughty nurse, hot teacher, or insatiable housekeeper. For others, they get to celebrate the very things that make others take pause on any other day of the year. It could be as simple as wearing black lipstick or an incredible costume with complex zombie make up, which allows some of us to act outside our norm – or rather what we let everyone see – as our everyday norm.

Halloween also unleashes the inner beast that many of us hide the other 364 days of the week. Where you can be as hauntingly scary as you want, set up deliciously evil plans to scare the hell out of any and every one, and you get a free pass, because it’s HALLOWEEN!

Unfortunately, there have been times when the cover of Halloween has been a time for truly terrible things to happen. For those involved, or close to these terrible tragedies, Halloween has probably never been the same.

Check Your Candy!

In 1974, 8-year-old Timmy O’Bryan ate a pixie stick, and told his dad, Ronald, it tasted weird. Timmy was dead within the hour and trick or treating was cancelled for the surrounding areas in Pasadena, Texas. It turns out the pixie sticks were laced with cyanide, and luckily only 5 were given out. What makes this tale especially terrifying is that this was done by Timmy’s own father, who also gave one to his other son! Investigators later found out that Ronald O’Bryan had taken out insurance policies on his sons just a short time before the murder. He was executed by the state of Texas in 1984.

 

Don’t Eat My Candy

In 2011, 55-year-old Ledell Peoples lost his bag of Halloween candy. We are not sure if he was given the bag, bought it, or actually went trick or treating. However, we do know that he lost control of his tempter when accusing his friend Maria of taking the sweet treats. An argument ensued and escalated quickly, ending with Peoples stabbing Maria numerous times. Sadly, she later succumbed to her injuries and died. Ledell was arrested and charged with her murder.

Nothing Stops the Mailman

The morning after Halloween 2012, a busy mailman walked over a corpse decoration on the porch steps in order to deliver the mail. It was later discovered that what was thought to be an excellent decoration, was actually the deceased owner of the house, who died on his steps Halloween night.

The Decoration Looks So Real

In 2005, a Delaware woman lost her life to an apparent suicide. She hung herself from a tree that was alongside a popular road. Her body was suspended just 15 feet above the ground and was easy to see by passerby, who thought it was one of many Halloween decorations in the area. It wasn’t until after the morning rush hour had ended when state police identified that the hanging body was in fact a person and not a decoration. Local residents were shaken to learn that they had seen an actual body on their morning commute.

When You Get More Than You Paid For

An Oregon woman bought a graveyard kit at her local Kmart in 2012. Inside the kit she found a chilling note written by a Chinese factory worker that stated he and his co-workers were tortured and enslaved in a forced camp that made the kits and other toys. He also claimed he worked 15 hours a day with no pay or time off, and pleaded for the letter to be forwarded to the World Human Rights Organization. The woman did so, and the Chinese worker was freed months later, and the camp was exposed.

 

Holy Hell on Halloween

On Halloween night 1981, nuns in a Texas convent noticed a broken window in the community room and called authorities immediately. Police found the nude body of Sister Tadea Benz, who’d been stabbed, strangled, and raped. 9 days later, Johnny Frank Garrett, who happened to live across the street from the convent, was arrested for the brutal crime. Garrett was convicted and sentenced to death, which was carried out in 1992. His last words were “I’d like to thank my family for loving me and taking care of me. The rest of the world can kiss my ass.”

Searching for the Beast

David Stone was a well liked, successful stock market analyst, who lead a normal life, until a few days before Halloween in 1998. Stone was at a party where he got into an argument with another party guest, which turned violent, and he left the party. Friends say this behavior was completely out of character.

Witnesses say they saw Stone later that night, sitting next to his car on Highway 80, before heading into the desert on foot. A farmer saw him on his property and confronted him, noting that he was not dressed for the cold weather and although most of what Stone said was unintelligible, the farmer did hear him state he was ‘in search of the beast’. That was the last reported sighting of David Stone.

A search was formed, bloodhounds tracked Stone’s scent 13 miles north of his car, still parked on Highway 80, and the scent went cold from there. Searchers were puzzled by two pyramids formed by rocks and surrounded by a triangle with David’s Rolex watch lying next to one of them. Several miles further north they found a number pattern commonly used in stock analysis (David’s profession) etched into the soil. The last piece of strange evidence was a note found in his vehicle that read “They think the WORD is in the safe. Six knives in Rob’s room. Yous buys your tea and take your chances Halloween”. No other evidence or word from David was found again, until 2 hikers found his remains in the desert 4 years later in 1992. There was no evidence of foul play.

For the most part, Halloween is great fun. From sweet tots in adorable costumes, to your worst nightmare jumping out to scare you at a local haunt, it’s a great day and night of tricks and treats. This is the time of year to let your inner freak fly and just have fun, so get to it! The majority of people that are out there eliciting your screams of terror for haunting fun, are doing only that and nothing more. Just be sure to triple check the candy loot, stay aware of your surroundings, and enjoy the creativity of everyone on Halloween. After all, they don’t mean you any harm – or do they?

Posted by Andrea Lenora in BRUTAL REALITY, HALLOWEEN, 0 comments
The Official Albert Fish Tour

The Official Albert Fish Tour

Albert Fish was an American serial killer. He was a child rapist and a cannibal, boasting he had killed 100 children “one in every state”.  I’ll be taking a look at America’s only official Albert Fish tour and the man behind it, Michal Bajer. I first met Michal Bajer in my favourite and in my opinion the best group on Facebook The Holy Mountain: Dr. Caligari’s Cult Movie Utopia (join group here:  I was fascinated with his personal story and felt it was beautiful and important. I was also very curious to learn more about his tour. He agreed to give me the details of the tour and the reasons why he started it in a candid fashion.

 

        • HoTS: Thank you so much for agreeing to talk with me, I understand this interview will be somewhat personal in nature. Can you please tell us what the tour entails?
        • Michal: Of course! The tour entails 2 main stops: Wisteria Cottage in which Albert Fish committed his most infamous (though certainly not his most despicable crime) as well as his burial grounds at Flushing Cemetery. There are plans to expand to other areas in the NY area such as the former residence of the Budd’s, but this is permitting time allowance. During the tour, I tell the guests (since it is a long car ride) the detailed autobiography of Albert Fish, as well as allow them to view memorabilia related to Albert such as books, films, curio tidbits and actual case photographs from the time period.
        • HoTS: Why did you choose Albert Fish?
        • Michal:This is going to be a long answer, so please bear with me! My fascination, if you will, with Albert began in my earliest years. I was and am to this day a tremendous history buff. The less than savory aspects of history, especially American, intrigued and tantalized me to no end as I poured over countless stories of wicked men and women. It was a natural progression from the gunmen and outlaws of the West to the mobsters and gangsters of Chicago, to finally discover the world of serial killers. The first book I ever read on the matter was called “Serial Killer Encyclopedia” by Harold Schechter and it contained numerous criminal cases that I found both intriguing and tantalizing. However, the only case which piqued both my absolute revulsion and curiosity was that of Albert Fish. I thought at first it was an exercise in horror-writer one-upsmanship. Surely, no individual could have committed acts so vile and so close in my state? From there on, the ball eventually started rolling as I began to acquire more and more data on his life and deeds. No horror film, story or fictional piece of media ever, truly chilled me as much as his life did. Proving that life is the author of the most bizarre stories.
        • HoTS: How did you decide to start doing the tour?
        • Michal:This too has a tale. I grew up fascinated and an ardent reader of Weird NJ. Embarking on the road less traveled seemed to me almost a beckoning call, the proverbial moth to the flame if you will. Over time, I became interested in places that possessed an acute and uncanny history. I promised myself I would visit these places and if possible, spread the information and experience with others! Accumulating all this knowledge, while self fulfilling, isn’t nearly as gratifying as having the chance to share it with others. It took me a whole 6 months of planning, mapping out areas and fine tuning details to make sure it was, above all, an informative and dare I say educational experience. I looked at the way essentially people handled the Dahmer tour in Milwaukee and said “I want the complete opposite of that. Less theatrics, more history”. As of now, I charge nothing as it has mainly been what I consider a series of test runs. Next year, I plan to visit Wisconsin and hit up both Dahmer’s and Gein’s haunts. Then I will plan accordingly and charge. However, since this is a one man operation I have no intention of overcharging or fleecing the people who come. My intention is too make enough money to cover the costs of the current tour, and hopefully have a little left over that can go DIRECTLY into the very next one. This is a passion project, above all. My desire to share knowledge comes first, my capitalist ambitions come second, so I make a better tour guide and historian than businessman I’m afraid.
        • HoTS: How can people take the tour?
        • Michal:The beginning tours were personal invite only, but I am changing that very soon! A website will be open very soon and until then, it is best to contact me through my Facebook until I figure out exactly what social media I want to use in the future. I am a member of a few true crime groups on FB as well, so be on the lookout for posts from me in the meantime!
        • HoTS: At one point you were close to suicide, but you have stated that your love of extreme films and serial killer trivia saved your life. Can you share how?
        • Michal:It should come maybe as now small shock that I didn’t always have the most positive outlook on life and did attempt suicide a 2nd time over a year ago. A lot of personal turmoil was apparent in my life and I was very close to ending it all. Surprisingly, what offered me the most comfort and understanding was the film Melancholie Der Engel by Marian Dora, perhaps the only film that ever truly resonated with me and moved me to the nth degree. I owe Marian Dora a lot, and after I went voluntarily into therapy, I decided I needed to focus on a goal. Ironically enough, subjects dealing with death opened up a new avenue of life and inspiration for me.
        • Hots: Thank you again for your time, your story resonated with me he first time I heard it and I am excited to share it with others. Hopefully one day I’ll get to take the tour myself.
Posted by Candace Stone in ABNORMAL MUSINGS AND FREAKISH FACTS, ATTRACTIONS AND DESTINATIONS, BRUTAL REALITY, Categories, EXCLUSIVE, 0 comments
Peter Kurten: The Vampire of Dusseldorf

Peter Kurten: The Vampire of Dusseldorf

By Laura James


A 20 year-old girl named Maria takes a train from Cologne, Germany, to Dusseldorf in the Spring of 1930. She leaves the train station with her guard up; a fiend had been menacing the city for the past year, assaulting and murdering men, women, and children. He's even sent letters to the local paper with a map showing the location of the body of his latest victim, a five year-old girl. Maria tries not to think about the horrors of his crimes, as she has come to the city seeking work and needs to find a place to stay.

As she walks, she is brashly approached by a man asking her for directions somewhere and trying to lead her into a park. Panicked that this could be the maniac, she deflects his attention but he becomes argumentative. Just as quickly, another man intervenes. He is dressed respectably with neatly-combed hair. He sends the quarrelsome man off and asks Maria if she would like to come to his apartment for a drink and, charmed, she accepts.

He leads her down a street called Mettemannerstrasse, but pulls her into the woods and begins strangling her. The good Samaritan who came to her aid is "The Vampire of Dusseldorf."


The vampire's lust for violence came from a background as brutal as his crimes. Peter Kurten was born on May 26, 1883, in Cologne-Mulheim, Germany. He was the oldest of 13 children. His family was impoverished from his father spending his wages on booze, that they lived in a small apartment, with no escape from their father's physical or sexual abuse. He forced himself on his wife, beat her and their children, and was arrested in 1897 for attempting (or committing) incest with one of his daughters.

Peter's dark impulses manifested early. He is rumored to have caused (or at least aided in) the drowning of two playmates at the age of five. He lost his virginity at the age of 13 when he forced himself on a girl in the woods and almost strangled her to death. Sickeningly, women weren't the only recipients of his lust. He became apprentice to a dog-catcher when his family moved to Dusseldorf and engaged in bestiality with different kinds of animals, sometimes stabbing them and drinking their blood during the act. These were his first instances of vampirism and the start of his criminal history.

He was in and out of jail for burglary, assault, and arson. Watching the fires and imagining the harm and death they might cause was a form of sexual gratification for the pyromaniac. He hated the conditions of the prisons and the treatment he endured from the guards but that was never enough of a deterrent for his criminal activity. In 1913, he crept through the an open window at an inn owned by a man named Peter Klein. Kurten found Klein's 13 year-old daughter Christine and slit her throat. In his hurry to get away, Kurten dropped a handkerchief embroidered with his initials. The police who investigated the crime scene found it but, following the most obvious lead, focused on Peter Klein.

Even after eluding capture due to a stunning coincidence, Kurten was only linked to one other murder during that time. His impulses may have been calmed by marriage. He married in 1923, and neighbors and coworkers described him as quiet, timid, and responsible.

He didn't kill again until 1929, beginning his "year of terror."

In February of that year, he attacked a woman, but her distressed cries summoned people and Kurten fled. A few weeks later, he stabbed eight year-old Rosa Ohlinger to death with a pair of scissors and left her body around a construction site. He returned later that evening, soaked her body in kerosene, and set it ablaze, masturbating while he watched the fire.

Several weeks after that, a man named Rudolf Scheer drunkenly bumped into Kurten while on the way home from a beer hall. This so enraged Kurten that he stabbed Scheer with scissors and drank the blood that flowed from his wounds.

That August, he had sex with a domestic servant named Maria Hahn, stabbed her to death, and further satisfied himself by drinking her blood. Towards the end of the month, he encountered two young girls, 13 year-old Luise and five year-old Gertrude, on their way home from a fair. He lured them into a meadow, strangling and stabbing the older girl and slitting the younger one's throat.

In September, he attempted to murder another servant and succeeded in murdering other women, one that month and one in October, by beating them to death.

He committed what would be his final murder in November when he stabbed five year-old Gertrud Albermann to death with a pair of scissors.

Kurten greatly admired London's Jack the Ripper, researching the case and even sending a taunting letter to the German newspaper, Freedom. In his letter, he revealed the location of the bodies of Gertrud Albermann and Maria Hahn.

In May of the following year, he found a girl named Maria Budlies fighting with a man who approached her after she got off a train from Cologne. Kurten diffused the situation and offered to take her to his apartment. Instead, he tried to strangle her in the woods around his apartment but, inexplicably, stopped. Perhaps he was worried about the other man being able to identify him after seeing him walk away with Maria. He asked her if she would remember how to get to his place and she said she would not.

Maria didn't go to the police about the incident but did write about it to a friend a few days later. There was a mistake in the address so a clerk at the post office opened the envelope to see if she could figure out where it was supposed to be sent. The clerk read the contents of the letter and turned it over to police. The police went to Maria, and she led them to Peter Kurten's home.

He saw the police and was able to avoid them at the time but knew they were closing in on him. Kurten confessed everything to his wife, and the next day she turned him in to the police.

Peter Kurten plead insanity. He revealed fantasies of poisoning, injuring, or killing large crowds of people at once. He even claimed that his victims, mostly children or those subservient to him, were his revenge on society for the treatment he endured in prison. He did, however, express concern for one person: his wife. He said he hoped she would be taken care of with him gone and, at one point, claimed he was innocent of all charges and said he only admitted to the murders so his wife could collect the reward money.

His plea was rejected, and Peter Kurten was found guilty of nine counts of murder. His morbid lust followed him to the very end; he expressed excitement at the prospect of beheading and inquired if he would be conscious long enough to hear the blood gushing from his body.

Peter Kurten was executed on July 2, 1931.

Posted by Alan Smithee in BRUTAL REALITY, 0 comments
MOVIE REVIEW: House of Manson (2014)

MOVIE REVIEW: House of Manson (2014)

By Dixielord

The story of Charlie Manson and America's most dysfunctional family is one with which most of America is familiar. With documentaries, pseudo documentaries, feature films, and interviews, it is well trod subject matter. For me, the gold standard has always been the 1976 television film Helter Skelter. Likewise every Charlie since then, even the real Charlie Manson, is measured against the performance of Steve Railsback. Now we have a new movie dealing with the Manson family and the Tate-Labianca murders. Brandon Slagle's House of Manson goes back to the beginning, and chronicles Manson's rise from rock star wannabe to murderer.

House of Manson poster
Photo credit Micro Bay Features and House of Manson

House of Manson, told mostly in flashbacks, introduces us to Charlie (Ryan Kiser) in jail awaiting trial for the Tate-Labianca murders. Under questioning from his lawyers, we see what lead him to this point. Kiser is one of the best things about House of Manson. He plays Charlie as a charismatic, likable young drifter. Yet we see touches, glimmers of his anger and insanity slip through every now and then. It's a different, more mellow Manson than the one familiar to us, but it makes it easier to believe he could become a leader - a leader that people would commit murder to please. He's far from the hectic, erratic real life Manson we have come to know from interviews and TV specials.

Because it deals with the early days long before the murders, the first part of the film moves at a slow pace, but it never gets boring. Kiser's charm and smile draws you in just like Manson drew in his followers in the late 60s. The slow pacing is a deadly trap, though, because when we get to the murders, it gets brutal really fast.

Things do get mean in House of Manson
Photo credit House of Manson

Slagle manages to make the murders brutal and horrific while limiting what we actually see. It's not a gory, graphic blood-fest, and it's more effective because of that. It's not easy to watch the murders, especially the stabbing death of pregnant Sharon Tate (Suzi Lorraine). For those who think gore is disturbing, watch the frenetic stabbing death of Tate as she begs for her life. This is disturbing - all the more so because it happened. The murders play out very close to the actual events, as told by witnesses, and crime reports.

This could have easily been a exploitative, gratuitous look at the Manson crimes. Kudos to Slagle for holding back, for taking a less sleazy, more serious look at Manson's life and crimes. The lack of gore will possibly be a turn off to horror fans, but it shouldn't. Some may even argue that House of Manson isn't a horror film. I disagree. The story of Charlie Manson is a horror story. It's no less a horror film than Silence of the Lambs just because it's not fiction. Kiser's performance and Slagle's direction make it all the more horrific because it feels real. This Manson could be someone we all know. He could be real. He could be our friend. That's scary.

House of Manson is directed by Brandon Slagle, and along with Kiser and Lorraine, stars Tristan Risk as Abigail Folger, Reid Warner as Tex Watson, Erin Marie Hogan as Linda Kasabian, and Devanny Pinn as Susan Atkins. House of Manson is available on Video on Demand now.

Posted by Allen Alberson in MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments

MOVIE REVIEW: My Name Is ‘A’ by Anonymous (2012)

By Travis Love

My_Name_Is_A_By_Anonymous

Directed by Shane Ryan and released through Wild Eye Releasing, My Name is A by Anonymous is a film adaptation of the real-life events of thrill killer Alyssa Bustamante. For those not familiar with the case, Alyssa Bustamante was convicted for murdering her 9-year-old neighbor in 2009 – strangling, stabbing, and slitting her throat before burying her body in a shallow grave in the nearby woods. The background story is every bit as engrossing and disturbing as the film portraying it.

The film takes a less than straight ahead approach at telling the events that unfold, instead of focusing on one single facet of the story, the story is broken up and told through four individuals who represent Alyssa or parts of her personality (The Performer, The Angst, and The Sidekick). The scenes tend to skip between characters which makes it feel hard to get a grasp of the story at times, but knowing the metal instability of Bustamante it actually helps to place the viewer into her distraught and chaotic state of mind. Certain parts delve into the dark and depressing aspect of who Alyssa is while other parts (mainly The Performer) shows a need to be accepted and admired by others.

Imagery such as the Alyssa character sitting in a bathtub and slowly dragging a knife against her skin, leaving mark after bloody mark, opens a window for the viewer to peer into the twisted mindscape Bustamante was in. Moments where the father is seen in a molesting light as Alyssa screams in the background “Don’t touch me!! Leave me alone!” only help to solidify the downward spiral leading towards the upcoming events. The inevitable end is simply executed, no frills just the cold hard reality of what took place when Alyssa took Elizabeth Olten’s life as the manifestations each takes their turn at inflicting pain on their victim.

This film is a bleak, unconventional look into events that are unbelievably eerie and gut-wrenching. Watching someone’s mental stability and balance decay, knowing the severity of the real-life events that it lead to, makes this morally uncomfortable to watch. But with the style in which it is executed, it’s well worth watching to see things from the perspective of Alyssa Bustamante.

Rating: 6/10

Posted by Alan Smithee in MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments
DOC REVIEW: I Am No One (2013)

DOC REVIEW: I Am No One (2013)

By Travis Love

I AM NO ONE
Tonight's film is none other than JABB Pictures' I Am No One. This 2013 release was written and directed by Jason Hoover. The film is shot entirely documentary style in Chicago Illinois and follows the everyday life of Charles Lake, a man obsessed with gambling scratch offs and a gnawing need to engage in murderous endeavors by night.

The beginning narration sets the tone for the film, the short tale of how the Documentarian came to meet Charles Lake. With that tiny snippet of discussion that took place before filming, "If you think that's scary, you should follow me around for a while", you get that twinge of foreboding wash over you and the dark downward spiral of a journey begins.

During the film, you are witness to multiple series of interviews between the filmmaker and Charles Lake. The interviews are casual, relaxed, and normal. The subject matter of these interviews, however, finds Charles reminiscing over his past endeavors as far back as childhood. Morbid tales ranging from almost beating his childhood baseball team catcher to death with a baseball bat to murdering a middle school child 3 to 4 years prior to the interview. Morbid moments like this engross you in the story that much more.

During the journey, things quickly spiral out of control as you go from watching Charles disassemble random Barbie dolls to the first recorded confrontation of him engaging his victim. I don't want to spoil this scene. so let's just say the brutal moment that occurs is vicious and merciless - to say the least. When the filmmaker tries to capture the aftermath on film, things become immediately hostile and without warning the flood gates are opened as the filmmaker realizes that he's plunged into a darkness that is both terrifying and gruesome.

While I won't ruin the ending scene because it's best left to first time viewers to see with virgin eyes, I will say that the tension in the end scene is so thick that it makes you feel almost claustrophobic. This isn't a gore soaked film, but what it is, though, is a film that proves that you don't need buckets of blood if your story writing is this enthralling and immerses you in it completely.

7/10 for this amazing JABB Pictures feature.

Posted by Alan Smithee in DOCUMENTARY REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments