My New Year’s Resolution for 2022 was the same one I had for 2021 – Read more books! You see, despite having a small library in my apartment, I’d been neglecting them in favor of zoning out in front of the TV. On the rare occasions I cracked one open, I’d find myself dozing after just a few pages. Clearly, my frenetic job coupled with social media had zapped my attention span and it was high time I did something about it. So, this time last year, I signed on on Goodreads and challenged myself to read twenty-five books in 2021. Spoiler alert: I didn’t succeed. The official number of books I completed was eighteen garnering me 72% on Goodreads. But hey, that’s still passing, right? Not surprisingly, most of them were horror or thriller stories and the ones I’ll be focusing on today.
Last month, Prophecy (1979) finally made its way to Blu-ray thanks to the good people at SHOUT/Scream Factory in honor of the film’s 40th Anniversary. Despite my already owning a copy on DVD, I anxiously ordered a copy – mostly for the “extras.” I’ve talked about my love for this film before and, despite it being chided by critics (it currently sits at 27% on Rotten Tomatoes) I think it’s a solid monster movie with a great cast and an old school effects. During one of my vintage horror paperback hunts, I managed to find a copy of the film’s novelization. Since both the book and the screenplay were written by David Seltzer (author of “The Omen”) I didn’t expect there to be much deviation between the two stories. Considering how many times I’ve seen the movie, however, I was eager to learn any further insights the book may bring. But before I get things rolling, I do have to warn anyone who hasn’t seen the movie or book (or read my previous “Book vs Movie” post on The FOG) this blog is loaded with SPOILERS.
I mentioned in my Christmas post a new book called Paperbacks from Hell by Grady Hendrix and how it inspired me to start reading and collecting horror novels from my teen years. I also sited one of my favorite authors from that era, William W. Johnstone, and how his book, The Uninvited (1982) was my first bookstore find once I got started. After reading it, I debated writing a review and recapping the book since I figured it’d be hard for readers to track down themselves and, in some cases, rather pricey. There’s also a great blog called Too Much Horror Fiction by Will Errickson that’s been covering these books for over a decade. Errickson even assisted Hendrix with his book which proves he’s an authority; something, admittedly, I’m not. I’ve come to be a fan of his site myself and it prompted me to track down Ray Russell’s Incubus (1976) which was a lot more entertaining than the ‘80s film it was adapted from. What eventually convinced me to move forward with discussing them here was learning that The Uninvited and many other old “classics” are readily available to modern readers via Kindle. So for those looking for a quick and cheap read, or possibly scoping out the original like I did, I’ll go ahead and discuss. That being said, William W. Johnstone (1938-2004) is as good a place to start as any.
Would you believe something as simple as a friend’s Christmas list could help sweep away the holiday blues? It did for me, though not in a syrupy Hallmark Channel sort of way, but rather with a nostalgic boost of horror that was like reconnecting with an old pal; one you never should have lost touch with in the first place. It all started a few weeks back while doing some online shopping. I was looking over the other Terror Dave’s Amazon “Wish list” hoping to fill in a few gaps when one of his requests seized my attention. It was a new book (written about older ones) titled “Paperbacks from Hell” and written by Grady Hendrix. The adventure that followed would not only melt this Winter Warlock’s heart but likely impact his coming year as well. Before I explain, I’d like to clarify this is NOT a book review. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a phenomenal book; loaded with enough illustrations to merit your coffee table and absolutely worth buying. However, in keeping with the spirit of season, I’d rather spotlight its Sin-spirational subject matter instead.