‘Mom and Dad’ Review: A thrillingly violent black comedy


I’ll be honest, I fired up my VOD copy of Mom & Dad with some pretty high expectations. You tell me parents run around trying to kill kids, and Nicolas Cage is one of the adults losing their mind, and I’m obviously TOTALLY IN, regardless of any reviews or scrutiny that may have spread. But lemme tell ya, this one met my expectations and had me either laughing or wincing the whole way through.

THE DEETSUnexplained hysteria affects parents everywhere, leaving them compelled to kill their own children. Our focus is a father (Nicolas Cage) and mother (Selma Blair) stuck in their dreary everyday lives dripping with disapppointment, and how they’re affected. They got a teenage brat and a smaller brat, and the brats must survive the relentless attack from their parents.

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THE SALE: Let this be a warning (or, for people like me, a selling point!) to you; you are going to watch a lot of parents kill a lot of kids, and even some beings not even old enough to be kids (one of the best scenes takes place in a hospital). The whole movie moves as quickly as the hysteria, a sweeping rollercoaster that only slows down for some choice performances from the cast.

One of the big highlights is of course Mr. Nicolas Cage himself, in a montage/monologue set=up in which he builds (then destroys) a pool table, losing his mind in real time as punk music plays in the background. It. Is. Awesome.

And this part will only make sense once you watch the film but when the doorbell rings, the movie only gets even better.

MORE PERKS: 1. Lance Henriksen. 2. The build-up before the actual killing starts is extremely tense and very well-done. 3. This baby ain’t brainless, it’s well-crafted with some thoughtful commentary on the relationship between parents and children and how family affects our lives/goals/desires/etc.

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WHERE YOU CAN FIND IT: The movie is currently available on Google Play & Youtube for the price of $3.99.

Don’t hesitate! This is a real gem of a film, and Nicolas Cage films deserve eyes and praise! (well, at least this one does.)

IMDB link





5 Good Reasons for a Blair Witch Project TV Series


Let me start this one off by saying this; The Blair Witch Project (very first one, way back in the day) is one of my favorite horror films of all time. Never mind the fact that they did some of the best guerrilla marketing and actually had people believing that craziness was real, but it was low-key, subtle, filled with tension, and it’s got an explosive climax, and it does all this without giving its “supernatural” entity away.

That sort of guarded storytelling allowed for plenty of more room to fill up the world in which these campers got themselves lost in the mysterious woods in Maryland. I’m gonna skip right over The Blair Witch 2: Book of Shadows because, well, I think we all know why. The 2016 rebirth, titled simply Blair Witch, was a breath of fresh air to this franchise, reinvigorating plenty of the interesting things the original had, although much more in-your-face and extreme than its predecessors.

How do you capitalize on the newfound success? A TV show, duh.


It was reported by Deadline that Lionsgate is planning to hone in on that millennial streaming craze, and their new Studio L division is getting to work on plenty of upcoming shows. One of those shows, now confirmed, is going to be some sort of adaption of The Blair Witch.

Exact details may be a bit scarce at the moment, but it’s never too early to speculate! Let’s explore some of the super cool things they can do with this television series.

  1. There’s plenty of exploration to be done in the woods and the general mythology of the Blair Witch
    • The first film was pretty damn obscure when it came to what was really going on in those woods. It was more about the allure of the mystery. In the 2016 film, there was a lot more showing happening, plenty of visuals, but it still kept general details pretty vague, and I think we can all agree we still have no idea what the hell is going on in that forest in Maryland.
  2. Horror television is TOP NOTCH right now
    • Let’s face it horror fans, now is definitely the time to capitalize with some quality horror television. The Exorcist series kicks ass, Channel Zero kicks ass, Walking Dead, Stranger Things, Ash vs. Evil Dead, and plenty of upcoming goodness like Castle Rock coming our way this year. We’re enjoying a prime time for horror television, and what better way to add to it than with some Blair Witch action?
  3. You can still pack a major, gory (swear-filled) punch on the right network/service
    • My biggest worry whenever I’d hear about a horror series getting adapted to TV was how much they’d be allowed to actually do on the show. Before our current modern time, a lot of the stuff would get watered down, but with all the options of streaming today, and even some networks like NBC and FX pushing envelopes (I put NBC up there because Hannibal was major effed up, yall). They can provide all the fear-laden swearing they want, and if they want to follow 2016’s Blair Witch footsteps and give us plenty of tasty morsels of gore and destruction, they can do that without holding back.
  4. TV show should help them get out of the found footage format
    • Ok, not everyone will agree with this one most likely, as I’m sure some people are huge fans of found footage. I can also admit myself that I’ve seen PLENTY of quality found footage stuff, but now three films into the franchise, I feel it’s time to break away from that style. I know Book of Shadows only briefly used it, but again, I’m doing what everyone else is doing and pretty much ignoring that sequel. Continuing to use the same style (in my opinion) can leave a series pretty stale….cough…PARANORMAL ACTIVITY…cough. Now, for all I know, it’s going to be an entire series based on found footage, but I’m hoping they go for a more narrative, storied approach.
  5. You can do a whole lot without pissing off fanboys
    • Now, if the series ends up being trash, that will be sure to be a disappointment. But in the actual context of the franchise’s story, there’s still SO much they’ve left vague; essentially, you’ve got a mysterious forest where strange and unexplained things occur, and there’s a psycho creepy witch and a creepy white creature with long limbs. I’m speaking very generally of course, but again, it’s not like there’s a bunch of novels out there about it that have been well-read that people are just waiting to jump on an adaptation, and the movies haven’t been descriptive enough to give us a full, clear vision.


I shall continue to discuss the possible Blair Witch series as more details come, but needless to say, the mere prospect is a very exciting one. Have any thoughts on the upcoming series? Feel free to comment and share!


Apparition Lit. Issue #1: A Haunting Debut


Creating and managing a literary zine is no easy task, especially in the independent publishing world. I’ve seen plenty of them come around, make a bit of a splash, and plenty of them go months later. It’s no easy to feat to maintain a readership, get good stories and pay the writers what you feel they should be paid all while keeping the ship afloat.

With all that being said, as members of the wonderful horror community, we should do all we can to help spread the word when we read a really good project that deserves to stick around.

The first issue of the Apparition Literary Magazine is a very strong debut, evoking tales of the hauntingly beautiful (and quite somber) variety. There are no misses in this collection; they are all well-written tales with strong voices and effective tales.

It appears they’ll be going with a theme each month, and it’s apt with a magazine name like this that the theme for their first issue was….Apparition.

Enchanted spirits, haunted souls, empty vessels of those left behind, plenty of that melancholy good stuff stories of apparitions bring. I think the collection of stories does a wonderful job of complementing each other, all having their own strengths while still keeping not only with the general theme but a strong sense of tone (kudos to the editor for that).

Here’s a few of my favorites from the collection:

  • A Promise by Jennifer Hudak
    • It’s like short fiction with a mixture of stream-of-consciousness, an almost poetic like voice, it makes for a surreal experience of a mom’s trouble with letting go
  • The Jade Woman by Garrett Davis
    • A slow-building swashbuckler with men doing what they can to survive, while all the while the Jade woman follows…I was especially impressed with the expert characterizations as well as the world-building, as even by the end it’s a relatively short story but I felt a whole world created from the pages.
  • 2611 by Cat Rambo
    • A woman in grief finds her parking space might be able to help rediscover a loved one. An intriguing story tinged with hope with a terrific little twist ending.

To go along with the stories, there’s also an artist interview with freelance illustrator Kim Sokol. Having already checked out her website, she’s putting out some really cool art that deserves eyes on it ASAP. You can check out her online portfolio at kimsokol.com

There’s also a strong essay from Clarke Doty, a hospice nurse, about the weary life of caring for those on their journey to the afterlife that is very sweet and touching.

Toss in some strong poetry choices and you have the first issue of Apparition Lit!

If ghosts n’ ghoulies are your thing, then don’t hesitate and purchase the first issue here.






February VOD Choices for Horror Fans

Another month brings about another surge of VOD titles coming to all your favorite streaming services. If you’re like me, you’re looking for the goriest, nastiest, creepiest offerings the month has to offer. There’s always some really solid bite-sized offerings from budding talents, and I’m all about spreading the news, so thus begins the VOD calendar.

Beginning with this glorious month of February, I’ll be sharing what titles are getting streamed in this household ASAP. As always, horror rules apply. (As this post is happening on the 7th, a few of these are already out. If they happen to be tons o’ fun, you’ll hear about it here!)

Victor Crowley poster

Victory Crowley (February 6th, 2018)

Director Adam Green and horror icon Kane Hodder return for the fourth installment in the HATCHET franchise. It’s been a fun n’ wild franchise thus far, and the trailer for this one actually looks a lot fun. It was just recently released so I’ll hopefully be getting to it soon. 

Keep Watching - poster

Keep Watching (February 6th)

The “cat-and-mouse”/”predator vs. prey” on a small scale (office building, house, etc.) has been of my favorite sub-genres, and it’s been making quite a splash in horror these days. Two perfect examples are Don’t Breathe and Netflix’s HushKeep Watching gives that sort of impression, as a family gets trapped in their home and forced to play a deadly game while under mysterious surveillance. Plus, Bella Thorne’s real pretty. 

Still-Born Poster

Still/Born (February 9th)

A new mother gives birth to twins, one of them being stillborn. While taking care of her remaining child, the mother becomes convinced a supernatural being is trying to take her remaining son. Is she just a crazy pants or is there something demonic at play? The trailer for this one actually gave me some legit chills and features solid jump scares. Doesn’t always mean anything when there’s still 90-some more minutes of screen-time to fill, but it at least gets the interest rolling. 

Hellraiser-Judgement poster

 Hellraiser: Judgement (February 13th)

I shall continue to be a slave to this franchise, if for nothing else to see what the hell they’re doing to the character this time around. This one looks….uhm, interesting. But hey, Heather Langenkamp! 

Housemaid DVD poster

The Housemaid (February 16th)

If you’re into those dark, haunting Korean horror flicks, then lend your eyes (and eventually your wallets) to The HousemaidAn orphaned Vietnamese girl is hired as a housemaid (set in 1950’s French Indochina) and falls for the French landowner. This wakes up the ghost of his dead wife, and hell hath no fury like a (dead) woman scorned, am I right?

Looking Glass

Looking Glass (February 16th)

If you’re anything like me, a new silly-looking thriller featuring Nicolas Cage brings a little smile to your face. No one chews the scenery and loses his mind quite like the Cage-master. In Looking Glass, he plays the husband of a couple that buy a motel in the desert, and their search for a new beginning is interrupted by the discovery of a two-way mirror and a gruesome murder. Let’s just hope Cage turns it up to 11 early AND often. 


Mom and Dad (February 20th)

Yup, that’s right, two new glorious Nic Cage-fronted flicks in one week, what a treat! And listen to this; a teenage girl and her little brother must survive their parents trying to kill them due to a mass and unexplained hysteria. All early statements about this one seem to suggest it’s pretty bonkers, and you throw in some Selma Blair and the great Lance Henriksen, and I’m all in. 


That wraps up this month of February! As I catch these titles, if they’re worthy of approval for The Devil’s Library, then you’ll be hearing from me shortly.

Black Mirror Season 4: Ranking the Episodes

Black Mirror - Title Screen

As usual, I am probably one of the last to finish a season of a popular Netflix show, my days of fervent binge-watching long behind me. Still, having recently finished the fourth season of Black Mirror, which is in my opinion one of the more unique and creative offerings the streaming service has to offer, I wanted to share my rankings of the episodes.

Needless to say, I thought the season as a whole was a very interesting affair, full of bits and pieces that offer a startling prospect of the future, and some really good performances by a variety of actors and actresses. There were a few bits here and there that didn’t connect with me or I didn’t care for, but all in all, pretty good. I wouldn’t say it’s one of the best seasons Black Mirror has had but there were some definite highlights and technological advancement wonders to behold.

Without further adieu, my rankings of the episodes in the fourth season, starting with my least favorite of the bunch:

Black Mirror S04E03 - Crocodile

6. “Crocodile”

There were a few moments in this one (and perhaps a few where you could argue they tried to lay on the melodrama REAL thick), but ultimately I felt it was just a bit dull, and you pretty much knew where it was going, except for some bits at the end they throw in for a surprise. The actress gave a good performance here but the story was weighted and moved at too slow of a pace for me to really get into it. 

Black Mirror S04E04 - Hang the DJ

5. “Hang the DJ”

I was on the fence about this one, stuck between almost liking it but a lot like the episode above, it just wasn’t providing me with much in the in-between to keep me interested. The chemistry between the couple is strong and they’re easy to root for, and it’s an interesting concept, but I found it generally predictable and sluggish in Act Two, waiting for a hint of anything dark and sinister forthcoming. I’ll give the ending props though, I thought it was a great ending to the story, a good emotional pay-off.

Black MIrror S04E02 - Arkangel

4. “Arkangel”

Alrighty, we’re starting to get more positive here. Firstly, absolutely loved the tech in this episode, thought it was a great concept and I was generally intrigued to watch the progression of the mother’s obsession and how it would lead to the destruction of her relationship with her daughter. I would say perhaps the third act was a bit heavy-handed, but it was a very interesting episode with terrific performances all-around. 

Black Mirror S04E06 - Black Museum

3. “Black Museum”

It took awhile to see where this one was headed, but it was fascinating the whole way through. There’s strands of other stories throughout, all quite intriguing in their own right, and they’re eventually blended into the main focus, which becomes a pretty dark and harrowing tales with one of my favorite reveals when we find what the owner has been keeping in a cell…and what’s been done to the poor thing.

Black MIrror S04E02 - Arkangel

2. “Metalhead”

Loved this episode. A pretty simple concept in general, which isn’t your usual Black Mirror-fare, but it was a smart and exhilarating thrill ride featuring one woman’s fight for survival against some sort of robo-dog creature. This robot can run as fast as cars, seems to be constructed from some extremely strong metal, and if it gets close enough, it’s gonna blow your freakin’ head off. Simple storytelling with expert production and execution.

Black Mirror S04E01 - USS Callister

1. “USS Callister”

Much like the infamous first episode of the series, this one left me with my jaw dropped with some really, dark stuff. I won’t get into any spoilers about reveals bordering on pure human evil, but let’s just say this is not one space ship you would want to be a member of. Jesse Plemons is wonderful as the nerdy, awkward geek in the outside world, and the Captain Kirk rip-off in the online world. Last ten to fifteen minutes are absolutely intense. Best episode of the season.


Feel free to share your own thoughts and favorites in the comments!



Recommended Reading: Bones Are Made to Be Broken



Sometimes the thing that truly terrifies us is the inner workings of our own mind. Our thoughts and motivations, how they’ve been corrupted us and those around us, or vice versa. Bones Are Made to Be Broken is a short story collection full of characters who are their own worst enemy, and author Paul Michael Anderson uses the fuel of these jaded souls for the horror unfolding on the pages.

Bones Are Made to Be Broken is a hefty short story collection (about 440 pages in print), released by Dark Regions Press on October 18th, 2016. It’s comprised of horror and sci-fi tales, and the author’s introduction paints a pretty distinct picture of the journey;

“The rage, despair, anticipation, hope. They are mine—mined from some instance or circumstance, thrown through my mental blender and sprinkled over the plot of some story, or imbued within some character’s response to a situation. These aren’t my scars, but they could be.”

Each story has a dialogue of what’s happening in the story, and then another dialogue that’s happening inside the mind of a character. Anderson proves extremely adept with this technique, threading the two conversations together and knowing when to intertwine them.

Anderson’s prose is strong, and there are some really inventive descriptions throughout the book I hadn’t come across before. I found the collection mostly varied for me between good to great, with just one or two stories that I couldn’t really get into. There’s also a nice variety of settings and conflicts throughout Bones while still strongly representing the core values expressed in the introduction I mentioned above.

Here’s a little summary of the stories in this collection:

    • The first entry, and possibly my favorite (I’m a sucker for grim vampire tales). A tired woman’s existence is bound to a vampire prone to…”letting loose.” They meet their match in a cop with a religious medallion of unknown power who wants to avenge his brother. Anderson’s descriptive gore in this deranged tale was absolutely terrific.
    • A man’s best friend is haunted by the deaths of his fellow soldiers back in the war. What he first suspects is the projection of his friend’s guilt for surviving turns into…something else, and something possibly sinister.
    • Saw or Black Mirror-type set-up; guy wakes up with no recent memory, has a card that reads “KILL THEM ALL AND SURVIVE.” Hi-jinx ensue. I found the writing to be very good but I did think the ending was a bit flat.
    • A post-apocalyptic sci-fi tale of a team that faces unknown terrors of the beyond. A very good example of show/don’t tell world-building, effortlessly building the setting during the action. Good stuff.
    • Limitless on meth; Jake meets “The Doorway Man” at a party and receives a gel tab that is said to open “doorways.” After taking the tab, he becomes more efficient than ever, before the tab loses its luster. Jake’s life becomes consumed by The Doorway Man, and he sprawls his way into madness.
    • Evelyn has always had a chunk of rainbow glass on her heart, but with each relationship that comes to an end, a bit of color is drained from the glass. This is the story of how Evie’s rainbow glass loses all of its color, and what happens when the chunk on her heart is nothing but black.
    • Twilight-Zone styled vibe here; a Hollywood screenwriter has his life stripped away as the past finally catches up with him, and forces him to deal with the realities of life and see through the bullshit he has become so accustomed to with his lifestyle.
    • A cruise’s food supply is sabotaged, leading those who eat it to go into a wild and violent frenzy. A story carried strongly by its inept MC and his inner dialogue, probably my favorite MC in the collection.
    • Ben’s younger brother Jude is a punching bag, misused and abused by their father and really anyone who comes across his naive, happy-go-lucky path. Ben does what he can to protect his brother who doesn’t know any better, can’t understand what’s happening to him, but what about the day that Jude can’t be saved?
    • A woman overly worked and stressed, depressed about the lack of happiness in her life and a recent failed romance, finds a way to see into other worlds and a different existence she might have. I must admit this one was my least favorite of the collection, just couldn’t really get into the premise and found it to be generally underwhelming.
    • A memory coordinator struggles with his new position, finding society has become skewed that victims aren’t being properly “remembered,” wanting to sacrifice as much as he can to let these people know they have not been forgotten.
    • Perhaps the most out-there tale of the collection, is it man vs. technology, man vs. himself, or man vs…something else? Hard to know because Alan’s having quite the breakdown…
    • The flagship story of the collection, a grim and haunting novella that works the slow burn. A struggling single-mother who self-harms becomes wrapped up in group meetings that center themselves on embracing and accepting the pain of the past. Just when she thinks she’s getting better, strange happenings and a custody lawsuit bring everything crashing down. A very nice summation of the author’s mantra here, and one of the real highlights of the book.
    • Perhaps the second “feature” story behind the title tale, as I believe this one is relatively close to novella status. Cassie lost her baby and things with Danny and her life in general have gone downhill. When her and Danny experience visions of a life where they still have their child, these visions bleeding into their own life, the built-up tension and pain is forced to a very dramatic head.

Overall, I definitely recommend Bones Are Made to Be Broken to anyone who enjoys psychological horror and sci-fi. It’s that kind of setting and atmosphere over shock n’ awe, and of course, if you’re not a fan of inner thoughts/dialogue, then this probably isn’t for you.

Bones Are Made to Be Broken is a versatile collection of horror and terrors of the mind, and Paul Michael Anderson shows a mastery of the concepts that require one to pull it off. He’s definitely made it to my watch-list for future stories.

You can follow the link to below to purchase a copy of Bones Are Made to Be Broken: