Rated PG-13. Directed by James Watkins. Starring: Daniel Radcliffe, Ciaran Hinds, Misha Handley, Jessica Raine, and Alisa Khazanova.
London-based lawyer and widower, Arthur Kipps (Daniel Radcliffe) is sent to a small, isolated village in the English countryside to orchestrate the sale of Eel Marsh House and go through the papers of its deceased owner Alice Drablow. Arthurs’ job is on the line. If he fails to complete this job, he will be sacked. Kipps leaves behind his four-year-old son, Joseph, (Misha Handley) with the nanny (Jessica Raine) and they plan to meet at Eel Marsh House three days later. Kipps’ arrival is anything but welcoming. Numerous people beg, warn, and even threaten him about going to the property, but the lawyer is determined. He’s barely in town a day when the deaths begin. The locals blame The Woman In Black, believed to be the now dead Alice Drablow, who somehow enthralls the children into self-destructive behavior. The people of the village take great lengths to protect their children, but their efforts are repeatedly thwarted.
While going through the papers, Arthur begins to unravel the story behind The Woman In Black and the revenge she’s sworn to extract for all time and why. Arthur comes to believe he has found the answer to stopping the hauntings and the horrific deaths. With his son on the way, Kipps frantically employs the help of wealthy land owner, Samuel Daily (Ciaran Hinds), and together they put Arthur’s theory into practice. Will it work or will Alice’s hatred and the curse remain intact forever?
Based on the 1983 Susan Hill novel of the same name, The Woman In Black was produced, in part, by Hammer Films, the same company that brought you Christopher Lee as Dracula back in the last 1960s and early 1970s. If you’re familiar with Hammer Films, as I am, you’ll definitely see the similarities in colors, filming angles, and textures. It’s very atmospheric, but not quite as dark as I’d hoped. There are plenty of creepy moments, sudden startles, along with a slow build-up of tension as Kipps gets closer and closer to the truth and the pure, insatiable evil that is The Woman In Black. The ending was amazing and I didn’t see that coming at all. Well done! What a twist.
Although I really enjoyed the film and do recommend it, for me it wasn’t quite as creepy and mysterious as I would have liked it to be. Perhaps more scenes done at night, or having Kipps wander the house and grounds a bit more, seeking out the woman would have helped. The suspense and psychological tension could have been more deeply done were the film rated for an older audience. The PG-13 rating toned down what could have an even more awesome adaption of the novel.
All in all, though, well done and an excellent film for budding horror film neophytes. Had I seen this as a teenager, I probably would have ranted and raved a whole lot more about it. Well worth the watch if you’re of a certain age.
Jaded old woman that I may be, I still give The Woman In Black 4 out of 5 stars.
Book Review: “Island of the Forbidden” by Hunter Shea
Step by frosty step, Hunter Shea welcomes you to Ormsby Island. I hope he told you to bring a warm coat, for you see, despite this being summer in South Carolina, you’re going to need it here on the island. Oh, it has nothing to do with the weather. No. This type of cold radiates from the very soil of the place where three generations of unspeakable acts ended in the mass murder of hundreds of innocent children. The residents of nearby Charleston have tried to forget, but the children who suffered haven’t and they are not about to let anyone else forget who dares step foot on their personal, little island Hell.
Seasoned paranormal investigators, Jessica Backman and Eddie Home, are lured in by the island’s new owners, Tobe and Daphne Harper. They just want the place to be made safe for their own children, Alice and Jason. The bait works and by the time Jess and Eddie realize they are being used, it’s too late. The hook is too deeply embedded to be removed without causing everyone involved a great deal of pain and suffering.
There’s no way to escape Ormsby Island now. The ghost children have seen to that. They mean to have revenge on those that put them here and to bring to light what really happened all those years ago, so don’t even try to get away. It’s up to Jessica and Eddie to figure out the secret and put this place to rest. But it looks like even they, with all their experience and psychic abilities, may have met their match on the “Island of the Forbidden”.
Hunter Shea does a superb job of reeling in his readers, one child-sized step at a time. Each secret is revealed with perfect timing. As with any good haunted attraction, you think you’re looking in the right direction when suddenly it lurches out at you from a completely different angle. This was my first Shea book and I’m quite certain I’ll be seeking out more of his work in the very near future.
Enter to win one of five Hunter Shea books being given away! Two signed copies of Montauk Monster, one signed copy of Sinister Entity, and two e-books of choice of his titles are up for grabs! One book to each winner, given in order of random drawing. Enter to win at the Rafflecopter link. Must use valid email that winners can be contacted by. Print books are U.S. residents only. Contest ends Feb. 28, 2015. Any questions, contact Erin Al-Mehairi, Publicist, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Barnes and Noble:
Raves for Hunter Shea:
Forest of Shadows
“A frightening, gripping story that left me too frightened to sleep with the lights off. This novel scared the hell out of me and it is definitely a creepy ghost story I won’t soon forget.” –Night Owl Reviews
“This is the real deal. The fear is palpable. Horror novels don’t get much better than this.” –Literal Remains
“. . .Culminates in a climactic showdown between human and spirit that keeps you glued to the pages!” –Horror Novel Reviews
“Hunter Shea has crafted another knockout. At turns epic and intimate, both savage and
elegant. . .a harrowing, blood-soaked nightmare.” –Jonathan Janz, author of The Sorrows
Swamp Monster Massacre
“If you’re craving an old-school creature-feature that has excessive gore. . .B-horror movie fans rejoice, Hunter Shea is here to bring you the ultimate tale of terror!” –Horror Novel Reviews
Hunter Shea, Biography
Hunter Shea is the author of paranormal and horror novels Forest of Shadows, Swamp Monster Massacre, Evil Eternal, Sinister Entity, HellHole and Island of the Forbidden, which are all published by Samhain Horror.
The June 3, 2014 release of his horrifying thriller Montauk Monster was published by Kensington/Pinnacle. His second Kensington novel, Tortures of the Damned, will be published later this year.
He has also written a short story to be read prior to Sinister Entity, called The Graveyard Speaks (it’s free, go download!), and a book of stories called Asylum Scrawls. His work has appeared in numerous magazines, including Dark Moon Digest, Morpheus Tales, and the upcoming anthology, Shocklines: Fresh Voices in Terror. His obsession with all things horrific has led him to real life exploration of the paranormal, interviews with exorcists, and other things that would keep most people awake with the lights on.
He is also half of the two men show, Monster Men, which is a video podcast that takes a fun look at the world of horror. You can read about his latest travails and communicate with him at www.huntershea.com, on Twitter @HunterShea1, Facebook fan page at Hunter Shea or the Monster Men 13 channel on YouTube.
I get a fair amount of people asking what I’m working on who are simply not satisfied with my generic reply, “A ghost story.” So, for those who need more gory details, I wrote up this little blurb to whet your appetite. If you like what you see, add me to your prayer/positive vibe list that my efforts to find an agent and/or publisher will soon pay off.
No Rest For The Wicked © 2015 – Pamela Morris
A double murder and suicide may have ended the horrors taking place at Greenbrier Planation in 1882, but they were only the beginning of the story when it comes to finding out why they happened at all.
Lucretia, a jealous wife hell bent on revenge, Sadie, a powerless domestic who once feared for her life, and Beauregard, a doctor and the master of the house who puts more faith in the teaching of de Sade than the Bible, all battle for control over who stays and who goes as the outside world tries time and time again to restore the old house to its glory days.
When Eric and Grace McLaughlin purchase Greenbrier, their dreams are just as big as those who have tried to tame the place before them. But, Lucy, Sadie, and Beau have other ideas for these newcomers and it would appear that the sadistic physician has learned a thing or two over the years and is putting his new skills to work. Eric soon becomes the unwilling pawn of Beau’s unsavory desires and rapidly growing power, forcing Grace to take on roles she never imagined.
Enter WhiSPeR, The Winchester Society of Paranormal Research. Could the solution lie within the humble ranks of this group of amateur ghost hunters? It seems unlikely, but the crew is eager to try. Is there any force or any mind powerful enough to put to rest the wickedness that demands complete control, not just over Greenbrier Plantation, but the very body and soul of Eric McLaughlin.
What with all the hoopla going on about The Conjuring, (which I have yet to see, btw) and the myriad of ghost hunting shows out there, I figured it was time I shared my own ghostly experiences. It truly makes no difference to me whether others believe in this sort of thing or not. My boyfriend is a total non-believer and I still love him regardless.
The earliest true ghost story I was told came to me from my maternal grandmother, Angeline. She was visiting friends for the weekend and had been given the spare room to sleep in. This room was used by anyone who came to visit them, including numerous grandchildren. On her first night there, she was preparing for bed. As was her habit, she always read a bit before turning off the light for the night. She was doing just that when the door opened and a little girl entered the room already dressed in a simple, white nightgown. The child smiled at my grandmother and asked if she could sleep with her because there wasn’t any other place to sleep. Angeline, of course, didn’t hesitate to let the child hop into the big bed with her which the little girl did and wished her a good night. Gram finished her chapter shortly after, turned off the light and went to sleep herself. By the time morning came about, the child had already gotten up and left the room. Gram got herself up, dressed and headed out to the kitchen where coffee was brewing and breakfast was already starting to be made. As she got her coffee, she asked her friends which grandchild had come to visit. They shook their heads and denied that there were any grandchildren there at all for the weekend. Gram told them about her little night visitor. It was then that they both smiled and said, “Oh, that’s our ghost. She shows up sometimes.” Prior to this, they had never mentioned this presence to my grandmother.
My earliest personal experience I’d have to put around the age of 11-12. At the time my best friend, N., was living in a very large, very old house. Keep in mind the house had two staircases. There were the front stairs with a fancy carved, curved banister – lushly carpeted at the front of the house. At the top was her brother’s room, to the right was her parent’s room and her room was located through a doorway at the start of a long hallway. At the opposite end of this hallway, that was lined with doors, was the bathroom. There were at least three more bedrooms they didn’t used up there. Beyond the bathroom was the second staircase that lead to the back of the house and the kitchen.
As we sat up in her room talking and playing records we heard someone come running down the hall, knock on her bedroom door then run back down the hall. N. had an older brother and this sort of activity would be right up his alley so we didn’t really pay much attention. It happened again a few minutes later. The sounds were very clear and we both heard them. The second time she told him in true little sister fashion to “Knock it off!” as she pulled the door open. Of course, there was no one there but clearly he’d made his way down the front stairs quickly. N. closed the door and we went back to whatever we were doing but kept our ears open, determined to catch her brother in the act. Running footsteps, KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK… N. yanked the door open. The hallway was empty.
We went downstairs to where her parents and brother were sitting watching TV. N. said, “Mom, tell B. to stop coming upstairs and knocking on my door!” Her brother, who was sprawled on the sofa looked up, kinda confused, “Huh?” Her mother said, “He’s been sitting here watching TV with us for at least an hour.” N. and I looked at each other with surprise and retreated back upstairs to her room. The sounds did not happen again that night.
Many years later when I was newly married, my husband and I were searching for a house to buy for our new family. We wanted something old, with character and maybe a little bit out in the countryside. During our search we found a lovely house and prior to contacting the realtor we were having a look around the outside of the place. It needed work but it looked big enough and the location suited us. It was early Autumn and leaves were already changing and falling to the ground. The front yard was scattered with them and as you walked they made that lovely sound of rustling. I was on one end of the house, towards the front. My husband, R. was on the other side towards the back. As I stood looking up at the eaves and determining that a paint job would be in order, I heard the leaves moving as of someone coming back around to where I was standing. Assuming it was R. I didn’t pay too much attention. Movement caught my eye and I looked down to see a youngish woman in a white dress that dated around the turn of the century round the corner of the house. She had brown hair that was loosely pulled up into a ‘Gibson girl’ style. I looked right at her and she at me. Then she was gone. No fading away just suddenly not there. Startled and excited, but not scared, I went in search of R. and told him what had just happened. Though we did not go on to purchase this particular house, we did find one more in town and where I still live, that is also haunted.
We bought the place in January 1995 and the haunted stories are too numerous to get into here in any great detail. Our first indication was within weeks of moving in when the back kitchen door opened several time on its own until R. said, “Okay, we know you’re here and you are welcome to stay, just stop opening this door and waking us up.” It never happened again. The porch light turned on and off on its own a lot at first. The television did the same. Kids toys have rolled out of rooms in which there were no kids (or anyone for that matter) playing with them. Footsteps have been heard going up the stairs or walking across the dining room. I’ve heard the front door open and close thinking my son was coming home from work only to go say hello and find no one there. I’ve heard footsteps come up the stairs and a bedroom door close as if one of my kids had arrived home only to find myself still alone. We attribute all of this to a man named Hermann who – by his own daughter’s telling – died in the bedroom upstairs that we designated as the guest room. Over the past years, I’ve grown rather fond of Hermann’s visits. He’s never done any harm to anyone and as far as I’m concerned he can visit whenever he likes.
So, now you know why I’m A Believer. Other things have happened in other places. Not always pleasant things but each one has only solidified my belief that Spirit can and does return to this world and that we can interact with it.
Last year was an incredibly active year for me as far as writing poetry is concerned. Oh, I jotted down a wee bit of fiction here and there but poetry was off the chart. With poetry I am able to convey more intense emotions and the whole business of falling in love swept me away. It was also about getting over the crap in the past that I still struggle with now and then. The stories and poems I write often help me get through those struggles in a safe and legal way. What with all these new gun debates, rules and regulations, I get the feeling society might frown a wee bit on me shooting someone that has done me wrong. And besides, I really am a peaceful person.
However, I can have one of my characters kidnap, tortures, shoot, stab, dismember or what have you another character who might – kinda sorta – resemble either physically or personality-wise folks I’ve developed a certain dislike for, shall we say? On the other hand, there are also characters based on the people in my life I am very fond of. Thank God there are more of those than the other.
The aspect of all this that surprises me the most are the characters that appear like a ghost out of thin air. How they approach me varies. One may give me its name first. Another might tell me what it looks like. Others are more emotional. There was one who told me its occupation long before it ever had any of the other things. The real tough ones are those that don’t let me know much of anything about themselves and just leap at me with a story to tell. If I’m lucky I’ll at least have a first initial to work with. It’s a little like ghost hunting.
In the past couple weeks a new character has started to get brave enough to present herself to me. She was actually introduced to me by my boyfriend while I was visiting him out in Texas. In passing he mentioned that the name “Liberty Hill” would be great for a character in a book. It’s the name of a very small, central Texas town we passed through on one of our jaunts. I agreed and didn’t give it too much thought after; back burner stuff. I already had two novels in progress and didn’t really want to put any energy into thinking about who this Liberty woman might be. Recently, Liberty has had other ideas about that.
I bumped into her in a book store about six days ago. I think she did it on purpose. At any rate, we’d not been in the place five minutes before this phrase flashed before me – as if I was looking at a book title. Liberty was quick to inform me that that’s the title I needed to use when telling her story. As I always carry a small note pad and pen with me, I immediately got both out and wrote the title down. It was rather hard to concentrate on browsing after that. My first thought about the title was that it wasn’t very good for a murder-mystery.
Come to find out, Liberty’s story isn’t a murder mystery. It’s a ghost story. I was only told that yesterday.
I don’t think I’ll be writing much poetry this year. Liberty & Choice, Nell & Lydia, Clint & Bea and Grace & Eric all have other ideas about how I should be spending my time in 2013. Each one is going to nag at me ruthlessly like the ghosts that some of them are, until I tell the world about them and put them to rest – hopefully between the covers of a published novel.