A Horrorfest Hitch

Happy Halloween jack-o-lantern

So I hope you all had a great Halloween. Mine was pretty good, and I had an awesome costume. I was a ghostbuster, and designed a suit and proton pack; making it as close to the film as possible, but using a name patch with my own last name. In fact, I plan on wearing it every Friday the 13th. Awesome right?

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So I’m sure you all have been wondering, what was going on with Horrorfest? I missed days, posted unedited pieces, and only completed 28/31 posts. Well, October was really full. I had two weddings; both of my cats were injured within two days of each other and I had to take them to the vet for stitches, having to monitor them, administer medicine twice a day, and change their box constantly; worked my usual jobs; went to the Back to the Future trilogy at my local cinema; and I had a graduation for one of my works, and more.

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And that’s just the tip of it. I also had some family issues that came up, causing me less time to work on this.

So I am sorry for the delays and unfinished work, next year I promise it won’t be like that. Next year will mark my fifth Horrorfest, and I’m planning to go all out for it.

So as there are only three posts that weren’t done, I am going to finish writing and posting them. After I do so I will update this post with those completed works. So let’s go to our Horrorfest  wrap-up!

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So this year I reviewed 23 films, 4 TV episodes, and had 2 editorials.

So one thing I noticed about this year was that my first Horrorfest the first film I reviewed was made in 1962, in the second Horrorfest the first film I reviewed was made in 1954, in the third Horrorfest the first film I reviewed was made in 1941, and this year’s first post was made in 1931. 1960s, 1950s, 1940s, and 1930s. I did that all without realizing it. Pretty cool, huh?

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So this year I ended up with quite a few themes. The first being mad scientists; this occuring in Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, along with Avengers: Age of Ultron.

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Classic literature once again proved to be a prime place to find film adaptations perfect for Horrorfest. This year we had Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, A Study in Scarlet, and The Brothers’ Grimm Fairy Tales.

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Aliens were also a big theme this year. There was Attack of the 50 Foot Woman, Alien vs. Predator, Twilight Zone episode, The Iron Giant, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, and Total Recall.

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I also thought that doing three Alfred Hitchcock films was something I should continue. This year I reviewed Jamaica Inn, The 39 Steps; and after talking about it for three years, I finally reviewed Psycho. 

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This year I decided that every Friday would be a TV show review: choosing episodes from The Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew Mysteries, The Twilight Zone, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and Midsomer Murders.

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I also had the theme of boyfriends/husbands/wives who are more than what they seem. These were Dangerous Crossing, The Screaming Skull, the Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode, Rosemary’s Baby, Gaslight, The Stepford Wives, and Total Recall.

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We also had quite a few robots. The Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode, The Iron Giant, Avengers: Age of Ultron, and The Stepford Wives.

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Witches made a comeback; in Rosemary’s Baby and the Midsomer Murders episode.

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And after reading every year how I really, really, really wanted to do a famous Vincent Price thriller/horror/mystery; well guys you don’t have to hear me whine anymore, I finally did it with The Bat. Yay!!

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So for those who have missed it, here is everything in Horrorfest IV:

You Cannot Conquer It. It Has Conquered You!: Dr Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1931)

And Then There Was Two: A Study in Scarlet (1933)

What Are the 39 Steps?: The 39 Steps (1935)

That Place…There’s Queer Things Go On There: Jamaica Inn (1939)

There Are Thirteen Chairs at the Table…And That’s Unlucky: Mystery of the 13th Guest (1943)

Because I Am Mad I Hate You. Because I Am Mad I Have Betrayed You: Gaslight (1944)

I Do Think You Are Confused, Mrs. Bowman: Dangerous Crossing (1953)

They’re Already Here! You’re Next!: Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956)

It’s Mrs. Archer. She’s On a Rampage!: Attack of the 50 Foot Woman (1958)

She Cries in the Night: The Screaming Skull (1958)

A Man Without a Face: The Bat (1959)

We All Go a Little Mad Sometimes: Psycho (1960)

Will the Real Martian Please Stand Up?: The Twilight Zone (1961)

What Have You Done to Him?: Rosemary’s Baby  (1968)

There’ll Be Somebody With My Name…But She Won’t Be Me!: The Stepford Wives (1975)

A Haunting We Will Go: The Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew Mysteries (1977)

Someone Has Erased His Memory: Total Recall (1990)

I’m the Chosen One. And I Choose to Be Shopping: Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1992)

A Giant Metal Man: The Iron Giant (1995)

Gypsy Justice: Thinner (1996)

She’s Been Totally Different…Like Stepford: Ted, Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997)

A Modern Mummy: Under Wraps (1997)

The Enemy of My Enemy is My Friend: Alien Vs. Predator (2004)

The Story, We’re Living It. It’s Alive: The Brothers Grimm (2005)

He is Coming: The Visitation (2006)

A Book Considered Too Dangerous to Keep: The Magician’s Nephew, Midsomer Murders (2008)

Psycho Strangers: The Girl He Met Online (2014)

We’re Mad Scientists. We’re Monsters: Avengers, Age of Ultron (2015)

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Haunted Harmonies of Halloween: Top 5 Songs to Play On Halloween

A Book Considered Too Dangerous to Keep: The Magician’s Nephew, Midsomer Murders (2008)

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He lists some well-known Medieval texts. Then the page is torn. The next page is missing. He saw a man burned at the stake, along with a book…a book considered too dangerous to keep. 

So this year it has been hard selecting TV episodes. I had quite a few I was going to cover, trying to decided between Grimm and Supernatural, but then I thought I have already choosen an episoide from both those TV shows. It is time to select one from a show I haven’t covered yet. So I settled on Midsomer Murders.

Midsomer Murders is a Britsh TV series based off a book series of the same name. How their Department of Criminal Investigations (DCI) teams works is that they have a county in which they travel all over investigating, similar to the Sheriff’s department. Tom Barnaby (John Nettles) is head of the Midsomer unit and is extremely intelligent and excellent at his job. The series is still ongoing, but I stopped watching after Tom Barnaby retired.

How each episode works is someone is murdered, of course. Tom and his assistant, (in this episode Tom has currently been working with his third assistant, Ben Jones, and who I think is the best of the bunch) and they go around meeting different people and we are told their back stories. Typically more than one person dies, with Barnaby & Jones figuring out who the killer is, connecting every dot, and solving the crime.

So Halloween night is approaching. Everyone is getting ready, including a coven of witches who are currently bringing another woman into the fold.

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As part of the ceremony, people around the woman entering hold an knife, arrow, axe, and sword. They also call up demons to their Temple of Thoth.

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The next day, the coven leader, Ernest Balliol is watching an interview of Aloysius Wilmington on his new book. Back in the ’70s, Aloysius was a leader of The Temple of Thoth and claimed to have The Book of Thoth. He lead a huge group of witches and warlocks. However, in his new book he claims everything was a lie. He took a bunch of different ancient religions, cut and paste them, and combined it with drugs, sex & rock ‘n roll.

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He also goes on to call everyone who has ever followed him to be a gullible and stupid idiot.

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Ernest is incensed, telling his wife Estelle he will never be able to get over what Aloysius says,at least not until he is dead.

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Meanwhile, someone has taken poison off of poison dart frogs, broken into the community hall and tampered with a magic box. Who would do this and why?

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Aloysius’ nephew Simon, has been working in the library on Aloysius’ estate. Everything will eventually go to him, so he is in charge of deciding which books need to be fixed and which need to be rid of. There are all kinds of books from Wilmingtons through the ages, along with strange ones that Aloysius bought in his youth.

What Aloysius doesn’t know, is that Simon is looking for the famed Book of Thoth.

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He needs it to pay back a debt to Hugo Cartwright. Simon used to work for Hugo’s antique bookshop, but stole money to feed his drug habit. Now he is clean, but Hugo is blackmailing him to steal books from his uncle for him to sell, telling him the only way to make his tab clear, is if he can find the book.

And he’s not the only one who wants it. Ernest also is after the book desiring it to make him more powerful, so he has his daughter Isolde romance Simon, and convince him to hand it over. She too wants the book, but for a different reason. She wants to use it for her mentally unstable mother, who is convinced that she is possessed by demons. So far, Simon has yet to find it, but the pressure is definitely on.

The next day, Ernest decides to confront Aloysius  about what he said on TV. Aloysius  continues stating that Ernest is an idiot.

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And Ernest becomes so angry he charges at Aloysius’ car, breaking the open door.

Meanwhile, it turns out that the girl who was just brought in the coven is Christine, the caretaker of Isolde and her brother Tristan’s mother Rosemary. As I have said before Rosemary is completely mad, believing that she is possessed with demons. She went through the coven ceremony over thirty years ago and it completely took her over the edge, haunting her. Christine only “joined” the coven so she could see what the ceremony was like, and better understand what ails Rosemary.

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Christine is in love with Tristan, but he only focuses on his mother and job as a lawyer.

That day is the day for the magic show, the one the Midsomer Magic Circle puts on every year. The members are Aloysius, Hugo, Jean Wildacre, Anton Thorneycraft, and Felicity Brand. They are doing a wonderful job when it is time for the assistant to go into the Cabinet of Death!.

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While Aloysius is getting everything set up, Jean tells Hugo she knows what he and Simon are doing. He tells her to watch out, poking her big nose in everything will get her into trouble one day.

Jean goes in, and they close the cabinet. When Aloysius goes to open it up, he finds her dead.

Tom and Ben are on the case.

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They investigate and discover that the blades have been tampered with. Instead of retreating back, someone stuffed them with wood so they would stay out, killing Jean. But that wouldn’t have been enough to kill her, so they run a tox screen and discover she was killed from the poison of the poison dart frogs.

They also find the hilt of a knife in the cabinet.

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No one knows why someone would murder Jean, everyone seems to love her. When they question about the cabinet, everyone tells them they performed it three times, and nothing went wrong.

Tom goes to Aloysius and ask him abut the knife hilt they found. He tells them it is a ceremonial knife. He gives Barnaby a book, detailing the other objects used: an arrow, sword, and axe.

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Meanwhile, Ben has been questioning the rest of the Magic Circle, and discovered that Anton and Felicity did not go to the bar with the others after rehearsal, like they told him they did. When they put a little pressure on them, it turns out that the two love Gilbert and Sullivan, meeting secretly (as Anton’s wife would be very upset) to sing show tunes together.

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They aren’t murderers.

The next day, Isolde is doing inventory when she notices certain ceremonial things are missing. Her father tells her not to worry and sends her after Simon, to put some pressure on him to get that book.

Meanwhile, while Aloysius is at church, Hugo decides to head to the Wilmington estate and threaten Simon. Simon wants to stop everything, but Hugo tells him that not only will he reveal everything to Aloysius, but also tell the police that he had motive to kill Jean.

Hugo storms out and doesn’t realize he is being watched by Isolde. That night he receives three ceremonial arrows. He’s next!

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The next day, Tom and Ben head over to the magic shop. Ernest doesn’t want to give them any records, stating he is a priest and they should be confidential. He calls Tristian who tells him he has to comply, giving the records needed and showing them to be little help. The only orders for the knife have been online, and no place near Midsomer, a dead end.

Simon has urgently been searching when he’s found a manuscript. It isn’t the book, but may lead to it.

Simon Wilmington: The writer was a monk, working for the Inquisition in the 16th century. Hw was in charge of books that the Catholic Church had prohibited. 

Isolde Balliol: Books about magic?

Simon Wilmington: He lists some Medieval texts. Then the page is torn. The next page is missing. He saw a man burned at the stake, along with a book, before he wrote this. A book considered too dangerous to keep. 

Later Isolde goes to see Hugo, and warns him to stay far away from the book.

Tom has been reading book Aloysius gave him, and sees that Aloysius spent time in South America, living with the Native Americans and learning their ways of capturing the poison dart frogs. Could he be the murderer?

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That night Hugo is walking home after drinking in the pub. He trips in the alley, falling on glass and bleeding.

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They find Hugo’s body, same poison as Jean.

Meanwhile, Simon finds a book in which the pages feel strange. When he opens up the page, he finds three pages hidden inside. They are pieces of the New Testament William Tyndale printed.

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What a find! Aloysius is pleased, but Isolde most certainly won’t be.

That night, Aloysius is thinking about everything that has happened, with the murders and ceremonial items left behind. He figures out that it is involving the ritual that he made up, the initiation one.

Aloysius Wilmington: It was one of those daft Temple of Thoth ceremonies that I’d invented. Part of the initiation ritual. North is the knife, South is the arrow, West is the axe, and East was the sword.

It turns out that they were all there the night Mrs. Balliol was initiated. Jean had the knife and Hugo the arrow. He has more, so Tom plans to go over to his place the next day. Too bad the killer has something else in mind.

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Yes, that night Aloysius  hears a noise outside. Thinking it is Simon, he goes out, spots an axe on the ground and is murdered.

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Tom and Ben go there and find his notes, trying to piece it together.

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Jean was north and had the knife during the ritual, that is why there was a knife found at the scene. Hugo was south which was the arrow, West was the axe and where Aloysius was. E must me Mrs. Balloil, but why was she out of the circle? And who is “R”?

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They question Simon and he reveals the book stealing. He tells them he never killed anyone and about the new book he found.

Anton goes to Tom and reveals that he saw someone the night Hugo was murdered. He saw Isolde there. Did she kill him? She did threaten him.

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They try to find her, but she is not home. They hurry to see Simon.

Isolde has confronted Simon. She is yelling at him for keeping the book from her. She slept with someone she doesn’t even like for nothing. Simon yells at her that the book doesn’t exist. He shows her the Tyndale manuscript and she becomes enraged that all her work and killing Hugo was over a BIBLE! She throws it in the fire. Simon tries to get it, but Isolde grabs the fireplace poker and starts beating him, she is arrested by Ben and Tom just in time.

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Back at Tristian’s. His mother is being taken away, to be locked up once more. He is very upset, nothing Christine can say or do will make him feel better.

Tom and Ben have started to question Isolde.

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She claims to have used magic to kill Hugo, but did nothing to the others. Ben goes to the house to check her room, making her father Ernest angry as he goes for Tristan’s help. There Ben finds nothing, but a picture of her and a poison dart frog. He brings it back and they find out that on her trip to South America, Tristan accompanied her. She also reveals that Estelle is her step-mother and she was after the book to heal her mother, Rosemary.

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So that means Rosemary is “R”, then who is E? Isolde tells them her father Ernest. And if Isolde isn’t killing them, that leaves only one other to avenge their mother…Tristan. And where did Ernest go, the last one needed to be killed? To see Tristan.

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They rush over to try and save him.

Ernest has gone to see Tristan who has knocked him out with a shovel. He tied him up and placed him in the backyard, cutting shallow cuts for the frogs to stick their poison in. Before he can do it, in comes Ben and Tom, Ben knocking him down; and accidentally into the frog’s glass cages. Tristian is killed by the very thing he has been using for justice.

The next night is Halloween, and Ernest has seen how Thoth has torn apart his family, turning his back on the coven and leaving.

Tom and Joyce are throwing the party, Tom trying to have a happy Halloween amid all this craziness.

Happy Halloween jack-o-lantern

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To start Horrorfest IV from the beginning, go to You Cannot Conquer It. It Has Conquered You!: Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1931)

For the previous post, go to There’ll Be Somebody With My Name…But She Won’t Be Me!: The Stepford Wives (1975)

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For more on Midsomer Murders, go to Please Excuse My Dear Fan Lady

For more on witches, go to What Have You Done to Him?: Rosemary’s Baby (1968)

For more mysteries, go to There are Thirteen Chairs at the Table…And That’s Unlucky: Mystery of the 13th Guest (1943)

For more books turned into TV series, go to A Haunting We Will Go: The Hardy Boy and Nancy Drew Mysteries (1977)

Please Excuse My Dear Fan Lady

LifeofaFangirl

Yep another Fangirl post, chock full of all the things I love. Be sure to check out a few of these as they are awesome and you are sure to enjoy them almost as much as me.

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Eureka

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Eureka is a show that is The Twilight Zone merged with Twin Peaks. Now I know most of you are probably scratching your heads at those references, but I will be talking about them later in a future post.

I remember when SciFi, or SyFy as it is now called, first brought this show on TV. I thought it was an interesting idea and happy that they set it in Northern California as people always forget that there is a lot more in California than just San Francisco, Los Angeles, and San Diego. I wasn’t into it, but my sister would watch it. It wasn’t until Amazon put it up on Prime that I started watching it and getting into the series.

So U.S. Marshal, Jack Carter, is bringing his daughter home to Los Angeles from who knows where she had run away to. It is late and raining and the two get lost, crashing the car. They walk into the nearby town of Eureka, Oregon (I don’t know why they didn’t just use Eureka, California). With their car messed up, they have to stay in the town a few days and discover that it isn’t any regular area. It is a town full of scientists, giving them a place where they can work and create in privacy. Nearby is the company Global Dynamics that employees most of the scientists, contracting to the military. While they are there, one of the townspeople are creating a time machine that causes a huge rift in time and almost destroys the town. Jack Carter is able to come up with a plan to help over come it, and due to his efforts is promoted from U.S. Marshal to Sheriff of Eureka.

What I like about Eureka is that the Sheriff is very smart but also very much a regular guy. This makes him extremely relatable and also allows him to solve the hard cases, with help, in that he has a different way of viewing things than anyone else. Each episode revolves around a crisis involving an invention, along with giving us clues to a mystery that runs the whole season. It is a very fun and good show and I highly recommend it to anyone into science and mysteries.

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Make It or Break It

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I started watching this show because I loved the film Stick It and had wished, too late, to be a gymnast. If I could go back in time I think I would try it, whether or not I would compete and try for the Olympics. Anyways, this show is about four girls trying to achieve the dream of Olympic gold, while at the same time dealing with family, friends, and regular teenage girl stuff.

First we have Kaylie Cruz (Josie Loren), who is rich as both her parents used to be famous and are rich. She is secretly dating fellow gymnast Carter, which has to be a secret as dating is not allowed in the gym or by her parents. Carter ends up sleeping with Kaylie’s best friend Lauren, as Kaylie wouldn’t sleep with him. Most of the first season is Carter trying to keep it a secret, Lauren trying to win him, and Kaylie being oblivious. When she finds out she is pissed, but eventually forgives Lauren. Kaylie goes on to win the National Chap and has a better chance at getting the gold. Afterwards, Kaylie feels a lot of pressure as everyone had expected Payson to win, and feel as if Kaylie didn’t deserve her title as Payson was out with a back injury. She constantly feels as if she has to defend herself and her talents. The gym brings on Austin Tucker (Zane Holtz), who I really liked, but Kaylie dislikes. Kaylie also becomes anorexic as the pressures from the gym, her father and mother, her parent’s divorce, and a need to be in control. Now a lot of people made fun of this as abcfamily was trying too hard or something, but I thought this was done very realistically and well in regarding what it is like to be anorexic and how other issues can compound into it. Austin sees what is going on and helps her come to terms with it and seek help. While Kaylie is recuperating, she starts singing and hanging out with Damon. She eventually is ready for worlds, bringing in the gold. The third season sees Kaylie on the team in London, getting ready for the gold and Austin’s girlfriend.

Payson Keeler (Ayla Kell) is from a middle class family that is always struggling to get the money to support their daughter’s dream. Payson is extremely focused on her goals, being the best of all the girls on the team. In the first season Lauren‘s father blackmails their coach, getting rid of him. Sasha Belov is brought in, and Payson is ecstatic as he is one of her idols. When they hear of a party in the area, Payson does not want to go, but ends up coming too as she wants to make sure the other girls stay out of trouble. She has some back problems, but conceals it from everyone. She ends up damaging herself and loses her chance at worlds and messes up her back completely. In the second season she starts a relationship with Nicky Russo, played by Cody Longo. This didn’t go far as he ended up leaving the series. I was sad about this as I LOVED him. I was also sad as every guy Payson started to get with, ended up disappearing shortly after they proclaimed their feelings. Payson was the best as she worked through her trauma and disappointment to try other things, and was brave enough to try an experimental project, restoring her. When she comes back, her body isn’t exactly the same and she finds herself not being able to do the same things, changing to be one on grace. She gets involved with Max, Austin’s friend, and they start dating, but then he left to be the lead guy on Revenge. She goes on making it to London, and meeting a guy there.

Lauren Tanner (Cassie Scerbo) is the rich, spoiled, princess as she is the apple of her dad’s eye and used to getting anything she wants. She wants Carter, and his constant denying her for Kaylie makes her incredibly angry and want him more. Kaylie finds out and is angry, but the two work through their issues and become friends again. A new guy, Max, comes into the gym and is into Payson, but Lauren wants him and bad. She constantly tries to seduce him, not always getting the responses she desires. On one of their dates she gets in a car accident, she’s okay but Max is out of the competition. She eventually focuses on her gymnastics and sees herself setting off for London.

Emily Kmetko (Chelsea Hobbes) is a girl from the wrong side of the tracks. She has a single mother who does nails, and later works as a waitress at a strip club to make ends meet. She also has a younger brother in a wheelchair. She has been trying for years to get into a gym, and eventually scores a scholarship. She faces the most issues out of the girls as she has money she is trying to earn to stay afloat, trying to take care of her brother, and trying to befriend girls who have been friends for years and hate her. Eventually, they all become friends, but it takes quite a while. She meets this guy, Razor at work and kind of likes him; but when he goes out of town, his best friend Damon fills in for him. Damon was the best character, and when the series got weird and too silly, he was the anchor I loved, the reason I watched.

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Yep, he was awesome. He was always there for her, he helped her practice, he got her family to Nationals, he brought Radiohead, when she wanted to wait to have sex he was all for it, when she decided she wanted to be with him and ended up pregnant (the actress was pregnant in real life) he went after to her to help raise the baby. He was awesome and hot…and I love him. 🙂

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Michael Crichton

History

For me the love of this author began with one book Jurassic Park. You see I have always loved the series, it is one of my all-time favorites, (and you can read a review here). After one of my constant viewings, my mother mentioned it was based on the novel. I decided to start reading his book, buying every one I would find in a book sale. I still have one to go, The Andromeda Strain, but besides that I have read everything he has ever written. I love all his writings as the characters are great, the plot always suspenseful, and I love the melding of science-fiction and technology with horror, history, etc. Almost every book has been turned into a film, but sadly I have yet to view how they all were done. Each one is amazing and I recommend them all.

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Jurassic Park

Jurassic Park- In this book, a genetic company has decided to try to bring back dinosaurs. By using frog DNA to fill in the gaps, they have created new versions of the creatures. John Hammond, the head of the company, has asked a group of people to visit and review his island. Ready to review is paleontologist Dr. Alan Grant; paleobotanist, Dr. Ellie Slatter; Ian Malcolm; and Hammond’s two grandchildren. Of course, “life can find a way”, and these creatures do what they want to; causing havoc on the island. This has quite a few differences then the film, with the dinosaurs escaping the island; a pterodactyl fight, more deaths of the group, and no relationship between Dr. Grant and Dr. Slatter. However, I think both are done very well and could watch the movie or read the book again and again.

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The Lost World- Now when I first watched the movie, I thought it was okay and denoted it as my least fav in the series. However, after I read the book,  I had to agree that the movie was better. This book was okay, it moves much slower than the original and doesn’t have as many lovable characters. In this book, Hammond reveals that there is a second island of creatures that survived from the previous book. He sends in Malcolm with a crew of people, and two stowaway kids. This isn’t a horrible book, but just pales in comparison to the original.

Timeline- This is one of my mother’s absolute favorite books, and she would constantly talk about how great it was. I decided that this would be the next book that I would read of Crichton, and it was AMAZING! I love this book so much. We have group of graduate students and archeologists, all working in Medieval history. One is focused on architecture, one on technology, one on fighting, etc. They find an amazing discovery, and are immediately swept off to a secret organization that has produced a technology allowing traveling through time, right back to medieval times. The group goes to find a friend sent before, and find that living history is fun, but also incredibly dangerous. The film was also really good, starring Paul Walker and Gerard Butler, the only thing I disliked about it was that in the book each person encountered what they were studying, helping them further their research. In the movie they cut that out, sadly.

Airframe- Just an ordinary day and an ordinary flight from Hong Kong to Denver. That all changes when it crashes with a hundred injured and three killed. What happened to the flight? It’s up to investigators to discover who was at fault; the plane, the airport, or the pilot?

A Case of Need- This was Crichton’s first novel and utilizes his medical training. The book is set in a Boston Medical Center, where a patient receiving surgery is killed. Is it just an accident or murder?

Congo- Deep in the Congo, near the ancient city of Zinj, eight American geologists are brutally and mysteriously murdered. Karen Ross, the project supervisor back in America, watches video feed of the massacre. In San Francisco, primatologist Peter Elliot has been able to teach a gorilla named Amy over 600 signs, finger painting, etc. Lately, Amy has been acting strangely and painting horrible things, that Peter thinks maybe it is time to take her home. A map from the 17th century supposedly leading to Zinj matches up with Amy’s finger paintings exactly. When all three parties intersect, a strange expedition sets out to discover what holds Zinj. This was made into a less than stellar film, of which I will review in Horrorfest IV.

Disclosure- This is an interesting book, although it doesn’t seem like it in the beginning. Thomas Sander has had a bad day. He is passed over for a promotion by an old flame, and his new tech is having some glitches. When his boss asks him over for drinks, she immediately comes on to him. He refuses, and leaves. The next day she is charging him with sexual harassment and Sanders is fired. Luckily for Sanders, he accidentally recorded what happened and tries to turn the case around and sue his boss. But Sanders start wondering, why would his boss do that? Was she so upset that he turned her down? Or is there more to this case then meets the eye?

Eaters of the Dead- This is a retelling of Beowulf told from the point of an Arab courtier, who finds himself unwilling dragged along a quest to destroy the monster, Grendal. This too was turned into a film I have yet to watch, but starring Antonio Banderas.

Five Patients- This is a non-fiction volume that tells of Crichton’s experiences as an intern at the Massachusetts General Hospital.

The Great Train Robbery- This is another novel that I love. Based on the historical event, Crichton once again is able to meld the account with amazing characters. In this, the charming and persuasive Edward Pierce easily moves through society in Victorian London, all the while plotting the crime of the century…The Great Train Robbery.

Prey- This one of my all-time favorite books. The way Crichton writes it, it is so haunting and amazing. I don’t want to give too much away as you REALLY should read it.

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Jack Forman lost his job and took on being the one taking care of his daughter and the home. His wife works at Xymos Corporation and has been acting weird. Other things start to seem strange, but Jack thinks it is nothing but his imagination. When his wife hires him on, he discovers that the mirco-bots that Xymos produces are not as benign as he was told. In fact, there is much more horrifying things happening than Forman could ever imagine.

Rising Sun-During the grand opening celebration of the new American headquarters of a Japanese company, the dead body of a beautiful woman is found. The investigation begins, and immediately becomes a headlong chase through a twisting maze of industrial intrigue and a violent business battle that takes no prisoners. This two was turned into a film I have yet to view.

Sphere- This book always makes me think of the film Forbidden Planet. In this a spaceship on the floor of the ocean is discovered. Scientists prepare an expedition and head down to the ship, discovering a ship over 300 years old and holding a power much stronger than any could imagine. This power gives them increased abilities and paranoia. One scientists starts using his power to attack the ship and people, but which one? I really, really loved the book and couldn’t stop reading it the first time I had it. They turned this also into a film, of which I have had problems getting my hands on it. When I do see it, you can bet it will be a part of a future Horrorfest.

State of Fear- In this book Crichton spins a tale of political conspiracy. As eco-terrorists and global warming are the biggest issues ands causing all kinds of destruction, one investigator starts wondering if whether this is just a smokescreen for something far more sinister.

The Terminal Man- Harry Benson suffers from horrible seizures that cause violent outbursts. He is experimented on and has electrodes placed deep in his brain’s pleasure centers, effectively short-circuiting Harry’s seizures with pulses of bliss. The surgery is successful, but while Benson is in recovery, he escapes and his violent impulses have grown; leaving a horror in his wake.

Travels- An account of Michael Crichton’s travels abroad and all over the world.

Next- This is his last complete novel and is an amazing story. In a world where we focus on our genes, what diseases we might carry, taking apart our genome; Crichton speaks on how such technology can get out of hand. A man going in for tests ends up having his blood and genes patented and in a sense sells his children into slavery of a company. A man who wins custody from his wife on the basis of her high possibility of becoming afflicted with deadly diseases; and an ape human born of gene splicing.

Pirate Latitudes- This was Crichton’s last book, but was unfinished. It was a “complete” manuscript, but was missing the special Crichton charm that each story has. Jamaica in 1665 is the home of people willing to go after gold and riches of the Spanish and Portuguese. If caught they are pirates, if they make it out with the wealth then England gets a cut and everyone is happy. Captain Edward Hunter is one such type and decides to go after the dangerous island of El Trinidad. A crazy scheme that will have enormous bounty if it succeeds, or incredible death if it fails; leads Captain Hunter and his team on a a swashbuckling adventure.

For more on Michael Crichton, go to Just Follow the Screams: The Lost World (1997)

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The Mentalist

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So I started watching this show on accident. The episode “Red Handed” came on after something else I was watching. In the episode “Red Handed” the CBI (California Bureau of Investigations) team discovers a right hand straddling the California and Nevada state lines. After measuring it, they discover that it is inside the California boundary, and therefore the CBI’s responsibility. After that I was hooked. I caught up on the previous episodes and became a big fan.

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So the series is about Patrick Jane, played by the incredibly handsome Simon Baker, who is a “psychic” consultant to the CBI.

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Patrick Jane has such style. He only drinks tea, he has an Aston Martin, and always dresses amazingly sharp. Anyways, Patrick Jane isn’t really a psychic. He is extremely intelligent and observant, a sort of kind, sweet, and charming Sherlock Holmes. He never went to school, but was raised by his swindler father who touted him a psychic in his carnival show. He married a woman from a similar background and the tweo had a daughter, Charlotte. He went on to make millions off his “psychic ability”. It gained the attention of Red John, a serial killer, who murders his wife and child. This brings Jane to consulting with CBI as he does it from his guilt and in order to get a view of the official files. Red John becomes Jane’s Moriarity as in each season Jane continuously searches for him.

The team is lead by Teresa Lisbon (Robin Tunney), who is a no-nonsense cop. She is the perfect foil for Jane as Lisbon is tough and serious; while Jane is comedic and more fanciful. They have a platonic relationship, but like Bones and other cop shows there is something simmering under the surface.

Then we have Kimball Cho, who second to Jane is my favorite character. Cho is always reserved and speaks in a monotone.

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But he is very intense as well. He is honest, straightfoward, observant, and altogeether awesome. We later find out that there is a lot more to him than meets the eye. He used to be a baseball player, gang member, and Special Forces.

Then we have Wayne Rigsby who is absolutely adorable, sweet, and charming. He was raised by a dad in motorcycle gangs and coming in and out of prison. He’s more relaxed than Cho, but more serious than Jane. He is also in love with fellow team member Grace Van Pelt. Grace Van Pelt is tough, but sweeter than Lisbon. She has a famous father, and tries to live up to his name. She is always focused on the job, but Rigsby constant infatuation starts her thinking of maybe more with him.

I used to watch this every Thursday without fail, but school got in the way and I am way behind in desperate need of catching up. The show just ended this last February, which saddens me as it was an awesome piece of TV.

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Midsomer Murders

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So I love the library.

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When I was in college I would spend hours in the library; working, reading, watching movies or TV shows. The library had a great selection of movies and TV shows that I really utilized. But that library wasn’t enough for me. I also went to the city library for books and films. Every time I went there I would see the DVDs for the show Midsomer Murders and wanted to check them out, but never felt I had the time. This summer as I would write my blog posts on my computer, I would also watch movies and TV shows on my phone. Or at least try to as I had a little screen. One day Midsomer Murders popped up in related videos and I was estatic watching them. Now youtube doesn’t have every episode and I watched them out of order, but I really, really enjoyed the show. When I got another free month on Netflix I started rewatching the episodes and loved it all over again!

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This series is based off a book series and set in England. How their Department of Criminal Investigations (DCI) teams works is that they have a county in which they travel all over investigating, sort of like the Sheriff’s department. Tom Barnaby (John Nettles) is head of the Midsomer unit and is extremely intelligent and excellent at his job. Unfortunately for his wife, a murder tends to occur whenever she wants to do something, causing Barnaby to miss it. He also has a daughter,  Gillie, who is in college and studying to be an actress. He starts out with his assistant being Sgt. Gavin Troy, who I didn’t like as he wasn’t that bright, and same for his second assistant Sgt. Dan Scott. I really liked his third assistant Ben Jones, because he was very smart and actually helped solve the mysteries. The series is ongoing, but I don’t really like the newer episodes as Tom Barnaby retired and his nephew, John Barnaby, took over. He was good, but Tom was way better. Tom had a way of gathering information that made you not realize how intelligent he was until the end when he is the only one who has put the whole picture together. The mysteries were amazing, and often times really puzzling. The only thing that I kept questioning was, how do these small country towns survive with so many deaths? I highly recommend this for any mystery fan.

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Murder She WroteMurderSheWrote

I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this show. I grew up watching it and wish they had still played it on TV as I got older as I truly love this show.

Angela Lansbury plays J.B. Fletcher, former high school teacher and now famous mystery author. Every episode Jessica (the J in J.B.) will be minding her own business working on something or visiting a friend and get caught up in a mystery. Usually she can either get someone to share info with her, or is able to have some kind of insight that solves the case. If you love mysteries, then this is a show for you!

For more Murder She Wrote, go to At the End of the Rainbow: 17 More Irish Heros

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w:outFandoms

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For the previous fangirl post, go to A FANtastic Voyage

Stay tuned for part 11

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