Book Review: Wolfe’s Book Encourages Women To Sparkle


Cover photograph by Kate Moore. Cover design by Edward A. Crawford.


#Sponsored by Faithwords


Sometimes when I get emails from book publishers asking me if I’d be interested in some books to review, the list of books they offer may not seem to suit me , but the title brings something that I feel readers may enjoy. Kristen Dalton Wolfe’s The Sparkle Effect (Faithwords, 2018) is such a book.

I have never heard of Dalton Wolfe before this review, but the synopsis about a former Miss USA writing a Christian style book caught my eye, along with the title. What possibly could a former beauty pageant winner’s book geared to women have anything to do a male like me?

Surprisingly, I learned more than I thought in her writings.

Keep in mind, the book is geared towards young women (or women in general) and is designed as a devotional style writing, where the reader could read chapter a day (or several). The chapters has its commentary by the writer, along with a prayer and a Bible verses at the end for more insight on each topic she discusses. The main purpose of the book is to sparkle like God created humans to do, by using Dalton Wolfe’s life experiences as a background to encourage the reader to reach their potential.

The Sparkle Effect covers topics such as following your God-given dreams, know what your “style” is as a person (not just in fashion, but inwardly), making a goal list, and how a person’s speech and actions should reflect who they are in God’s plans for them.

Although there are many stories about Dalton Wolfe’s life in her journey of becoming a Miss USA winner, the book is full of references from the Bible, Disney characters, and other role models throughout her life, which is almost a guidebook similar to The Princess Diaries. One will not feel judged if they did not have dreams of beauty pageants or the national spotlight to enjoy this devotional.

Dalton Wolfe’s writing , and the layout of this book, is similar to another Christian writer (and artist) who I enjoyed reading in the 2000s, Rebecca St. James. Once again, just because I am a male, I took away several good thoughts from books by James, which one can do as well from Dalton Wolfe. Both James and Dalton Wolfe have an influence that can be achieved for women in the church (especially late teens and women in the 20s-30s), that can have a positive impact in society as a whole, not just in a church setting.

The positive outlook and encouragement that The Sparkle Effect provides is contagious and inspiring for women, not just those that have dreams in the fashion world. Dalton Wolfe’s writing is simple, honest, and exciting at the same time.



This review copy was sent courtesy of Faith Words books, a division of Hachette Book Group Inc.


The Sparkle Effect by Kristen Dalton Wolfe ( 2018, Faithwords ) ISBN: 978-1-5460-3176-5 (Paperback) , 978-1-5460-2717-1 (ebook) can be ordered at: .


For information about the author, visit: or at: and Twitter at @KristenJDalton


The Overall


Language: None

Geared For: Female Readers (especially Teens and Young Adults)

For Fans of: Devotionals, Bible Studies, Christian Living, Women Studies.


Book Review: Stone Writes About Angels Among Us





Jacket design by Bruce Gore/Gore Studios, Inc.

# Sponsored by FaithWords


Most people think of angels during the Christmas season, either in the gift shops or in holiday movies such as It’s A Wonderful Life, where Jimmy Stewart encounters the angel Clarence. Angels are seen hanging in the lobbies of churches and all throughout the television screens (usually on the Hallmark Channel) during this time.

Perry Stone’s book, This Season of Angels: Angelic Assignments During This Prophetic Season (FaithWords, 2018), takes a look at what angels are, their role, and their powers according to the Biblical texts.

The word season is defined as a “set moment in time” in the book, and uses this concept to take the reader through the different types of angels, what each purpose is for them, and also tries to answers the limitations of the power of angels. The back of the book features something that could be considered a “question and answer” segment in the Appendix section , where Perry tries to explain some of the myths about angels that may be construed throughout people’s lives. Perry also uses personal experiences, including stories from his father’s life, with their encounters of angels.

Stone writes how some of the angel’s roles are to bring warnings, use prophecy, and bring blessings to people, using stories from the Bible to show the roles , and the limitations that they have in spiritual realm.

The first part of the book started off confusing, where this reader seemed to be bombarded with information, wondering if the book was over my head (and I have spent many years in churches and reading the Bible), but once the first few chapters settle down, the book ends up explaining itself nicely, without tons of Bible verses that confuses people when some Christian writers release books. The writer explains his topic, while using the Bible and some Greek definitions to help the reader. Some Biblical books go overboard with the verses, along with in-depth Greek and Hebrew history, but Perry’s use of these definitions are just the right amount (there are parts where he writes that he will not bog down the reader with twenty more verses on the subject).

Overall, the book is an interesting read, and those that like the subject of angels will enjoy the book. The chapters are mostly short, and if you can get through the first chapter or so, the flow comes together (maybe it was just the day that I started reading it that made it confusing, which happens as well). The personal experiences from Perry through friends and family members add a nice touch to the reading, and is not just all Bible verses. Even if you are not a fan of Biblical preachers, this book is still a nice text to read for those that want to discover spiritual entities.


This review copy was sent courtesy of FaithWords books, a division of the Hachette Book Group, INC.


            This Season of Angels: Angelic Assignments During This Prophetic Season by Perry Stone (2018, FaithWords) ISBN: 978-1-5460-3530-5 (Hardcover), 978-1-5460-3529-9 (ebook) can be ordered at


For information about the author, go to:


The Overall:

Pages: 224

Language: None

Ages: 16 and up (depending on level of knowledge of the Bible)

Geared for: Christian Living, Spiritual, Supernatural, Religion


Book Review: Kiss Member’s Look at Club May Surprise Readers


I have not been shy about my respect for Gene Simmons. I grew up a Kiss fan (especially my love of the 1980s lineup with drummer Eric Carr), and have seen them live 3 times with the original members. Simmons has branded himself a successful businessman, writer, and musician. I compare him to the Tom Brady of the music world, where many criticize him for being a success, watch his every move, yet buy his products.

Gene’s new book, 27: The Legend & Mythology of the 27 Club (powerHouse/Simmons books, 2018), covers his take on some of the artists who died at the age of 27.

Simmons, along with help from his son Nick, take the reader through brief summaries of the artists covered, their successes, and how they died at the young age, putting them in a glamorized “club” among fans. Simmons then takes a look at why these artists died at the age that they did, whether it being alcohol and drugs, along with the mental aspect of the deaths, which may have been overlooked at the time (either due to lack of knowledge, or by ignoring signs).

Even non-Kiss fans know how outspoken Gene has been on topics like drugs, booze, and mental issues, including stating his opinions on the deaths of rockers like Kurt Cobain in the past. However, readers would be surprised by his take on these issues now. As stated in the Introduction section, Simmons states that although he believes these artists should not be glamorized for their drugs and deaths, which is considered a badge of honor among rock stars, he withholds judging the people. Gene still maintains his views on drugs and alcohol , and admits to having a more sensitive look once he studied their lives in more detail.

Each chapter deals with a separate musician or artist, such as Robert Johnson, Brian Jones, Jimi Hendrix, and Amy Whinehouse. There is a brief history of each artist, along with some quotes by the artists or those that knew them, along with interview snippets thrown in.

Even though the topic is a serious one, there are some entertaining stories put in throughout the book, such as the time Gene thought he was talking on the phone to Kurt Cobain to get his band Nirvana to play on the Kiss tribute album, to an interesting interview at the end of the book by Nick, who discusses the topic with Dr. James Fallon, Professor of Anatomy and Neurobiology.

27 is an easy to read book, with short chapters, filled with some great information on what may have been going through the minds of these artists, including their childhood growing up. The two major things that intrigued me about the book was the interview with Dr. Fallon and his take on the so called “club,” and Gene’s discussion on the topics , which shows his maturity in showing the respect of the artist’s skills, and not just the tragic life they led.

An ironic part of the book is how Gene uses information from biographies and magazines to help his research. One of sources he uses several times are interviews from Rolling Stone Magazine. I found this take somewhat entertaining because Simmons has always bashed that magazine for their lack of acknowledging the success and talents of Kiss (personally, I side with Simmons’ past views on the magazine as a whole). Maybe I am reading too much into this part (maybe it’s the only interviews he could find by the artists on the subject), but it was just something that popped into my head when I read the footnote sources.

27 is an entertaining and thought-provoking book that may show why some of these artists ended up dying at the same age, but still shows the respect of the talents these musicians and artists. Do not let the past views of Gene Simmons prevent you from getting this book, because you may be surprised at what these pages hold. Simmons still does not condone the lifestyles of the artists, but does show he is wiser on the topic of mental issues and substance abuse.


This review copy was sent courtesy of Powerhouse/Simmons books


27: The Legend & Mythology Of The 27 Club by Gene Simmons (powerHouse/Simmons books, 2018 ISBN: 978-1-57687-886-6) can be found at bookstores and at

For information about Gene Simmons, go to:


The Overall

Pages: 261

Language: Moderate (Artists interviews uses some language)

Geared For: 13 and Up

For fans of: Music biographies, Music History, Psychology,  Gene Simmons



Book Review: Author Wants More Weirdos In The Church

                                                                                                                                                      #sponsored by Faith Words


C.J. Casciotta ‘s new book is full of weirdness.

This is not an insult, because his book Get Weird: Discovering the Surprising Secret to Making a Difference (Faithwords, 2018) encourages people to get in touch with the things that makes them considered weird in society and embrace it.

Casciotta describes how as a young child, the things that made people unique and “weird” define them until one day people suppressed these actions, and lose touch of what made them unique; things like coloring outside of the lines , and having structure throughout everyday life to the point that when someone was different, they were made fun of until they hid the things that made them different.

Get Weird has many humorous illustrations throughout, including the writer’s references to Willie Wonka, Charlie Brown, Jim Henson, and Walt Disney. Casciotta compares why he no longer likes the “Rudolph The Red Nose Reindeer” TV show, and how Fred Rogers influenced him to accept the weirdness in himself.

The author discusses how being weird can start a movement, from communities and churches. He states by looking at Jesus Christ’s teachings to his disciples (all who were considered outcasts in society of the time), and the use of the Parable of The Lost Sheep, it shows how each person’s uniqueness can be used in society.

Casciotta’s humor throughout the book, along with the chapter titles, reminds me of the writing of musician David Crowder, where Crowder once wrote a chapter in a book about finding God in a Chick-fil-A sandwich (this was before Tim Hawkins’s famous song about the place). Casciotta tells stories of people he met in his life, such as a woodworker ex-sniper named Charlie, to his own train jumping experience, to drive home his points in the midst of the humor to tie his ideas together.

The book has three major parts: the first part of the book encourages people to embrace what makes them unique by not being ashamed of their “weirdness,” the second part discusses “What To Make of Your Weirdness,” and finally “How Your Weirdness Will Change Us.”

Although the overall theme is nice, where the writer encourages people to be different and embrace others who are not like them (one story involves a pastor struggling to decide if a woman is fit for church service due to her tattoos). The second half of the book encourages people to do things like speak up, step out of the norm, and challenge people and things to create a movement. While these are all creative in a way, there is also a time when order is needed (even in the church) and being a radical all the time leads to consequences in my opinion.

The author uses quotes and actions from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Jim Henson, and Walt Disney to show how they paved their own paths when people thought they were weird. Jim Henson had to go to England to make his shows, because he was turned down in the United States by every television company. Using his life as comparison is different than, say a person challenging the local pastor on a dress code in the church or fighting the church leaders on things that go against Biblical principals. The writer does not encourage anarchy, but the Bible does talk about respecting and following church and local leaders and their rule. The book kind of gets lost in creating a movement that consequences are not discussed much.

This is a nice, easy to read book, with mainly short chapters. The author has a great sense of humor and nice Pop Culture references (his discussion on why albums are better than downloaded music and CDs is entertaining, which I agree with his logic). There are a few Bible verses in the book, but not much, and some references to Jesus, but it overall is not a normal religious book. The book entails more of embracing weirdness and using it to start a movement.

Just because my personal opinion at times varies with the book, the overall theme and entertainment of the writing makes it an pleasurable read. It has plenty of humor throughout , while stating the message the author is trying to achieve. Just because I don’t always agree with the writer does not mean that the book is not bringing out some nice, thoughtful ideas that need looked at. Maybe that is one of the things that makes me weird.


This review copy was sent courtesy of Faith Words, an imprint of Hachette Book Group

Get Weird: Discovering the Surprising Secret to Making a Difference by CJ Casciotta (Faithwords, 2018) ISBN: 978-1-5460-3191-8 (paperback) , 978-1-54600-3190-1 (ebook) can be found at


For information about the author, go to .


The Overall

Pages: 217

Language: None

Ages: 13 and up.

For fans of: Christian Living, religion, humor.

Book Review: Drummer Recalls Time in The Jeff Healey Band

Cover Design: Troy Cunningham. Cover Photograph: Barrie Wentzell


The Best Seat In The House: My Life in The Jeff Healey Band by Tom Stephen, with Keith Greenberg (ECW Press, 2018), is an inside look at one of the best guitar players in rock music, told by his drummer and one time manager (If Greenberg’s name looks familiar, it is because he helped write wrestlers Ric Flair, Freddy Blassie, and Superstar Billy Graham’s books).

I first heard of the Jeff Healey Band, like many here in the U.S., when his single “Angel Eyes” hit the Top Ten Singles Chart in 1989. Later, while playing drums in a blues/rock band, we played Healey’s version of “Stuck in The Middle with You” by Stealers Wheel off of the band’s 1995 album “Cover to Cover” (It is still my favorite version of the song).

The book is told by Stephen, who starts off telling about his life, how he went to graduate school, only to end up playing drums and becoming the manager of the band led by the blind guitar player Healey. The book details what seemed to be a chip on the shoulder of Healey from the first day meeting Stephen and throughout their time in the Jeff Healey Band, along with this attitude when Healey would snub famous musicians like Bob Dylan, The Rolling Stones, George Harrison, and Mark Knopfler of Dire Straits. Healey also takes his frustrations out on Stephen and the record companies throughout the years, which Stephen describes.

There are some great stories in the book, which at times is humorous as well as entertaining, like the time the band hung out with ZZTop when they were touring together, Healey driving various vehicles (like golf carts, tour buses, and cars), and how he fell asleep during a meeting with the legendary Clive Davis of Arista Records. There is also a story about the band’s interaction with wrestler Terry Funk during the shooting of the 1989 Patrick Swayze film “Roadhouse,” which the band was cast in the film. Stephen states that Funk could party harder than all the crew, but would ask Healey to answer to phone when a certain person called for Funk (No Spoilers here). There is another great story during the shooting that shows how Healey ended up getting more lines than originally intended, the first time the band met Swayze on set, and the time they almost quit the film.

There are tales about meeting Alice Cooper, Bill Clinton (as governor and when he became president), Tom Jones, and stories on the road with drugs, girls, and parties with drinking contests.

The Best Seat in The House also has an underlining theme of three men who were not only band members, but stuck up for each other as brothers, even though it cost them big tours and deals that could have made the band even bigger. As the manager at the time, Stephen’s honesty comes through, where he admits mistakes made as manager, and how his attitude caused friction with labels, management, and even the other band members. Stephen even lets others who were around the band at the time state their opinions, including their thoughts on Stephen himself, which makes the book an honest account, without the author and writer editing the fact that many that did not care for him or the way he managed the band.

Most drummers do not get a chance to write their story about the bands they were in, although it seems to be changing in music biographies in the past few years (the Bobby Rock book on Vinnie Vincent-which has been reviewed here in the archives is one example), but the fact that Stephen was also the manager of the band, there is another insight to his story, besides just showing up for the gigs.

The end of the book is touching, where Stephen writes about why the band broke up, Healey’s views towards him, and how Stephen reacted to Healey’s death in 2008. Stephen’s story is not all rainbows being in the spotlight touring around the world, which is one of the enjoyable aspects to the book. The honesty and ending to the band is what makes the book a wonderful read, especially for musicians to learn about the inside workings of the music industry.

Even if you are not too familiar with the Jeff Healey Band, this book is one that music lovers would still enjoy; filled with humorous road stories, management problems, and the admittance of mistakes and problems that ended the band’s run and friendship, all told in a grateful, and honest recollection.


This review copy was sent courtesy of ECW Press, via their Shelf Monkey                       Giveaway.


The Best Seat In The House: My Life In The Jeff Healey Band by Tom Stephens with Keith Elliot Greenberg (ECW Press, 2018 ISBN: 978-1-77041-8) , along with other ECW Titles, are available at:


For information on Keith Elliot Greenberg , go to:


The Overall:

Pages: 240

Language: Moderate

Geared For: 16 and Up

For fans of: Music, Biographies.

Book Review: You Can’t Escape Houdini’s Charm

#Sponsored by Jimmy Patterson Books


When an author writes books in series, it is hard to keep the original concept going where the audience is engaged in every book. Usually the second book gets boggled down with a weak plot or characters that end up being annoying to the point where the reader loses interest in the rest of the series. This is not the case with writer Kerri Maniscalco’s series dealing with her main character Audrey Rose Wadsworth.

The latest in the series, Escaping From Houdini (Jimmy Patterson Books,2018) takes place right after the events of the last book, Hunting Prince Dracula. The main character, Audrey Rose, along with her companions (her uncle, and her partner in crime Thomas Cresswell) are on a cruise named the RMS Etruria, that is heading to New York, along with the entertainers of the Moonlight Carnival which performs every night for the wealthy vacationers. After each performance, a murder occurs, which the main characters have to once again use their skills to determine what is going on before they end up on the docks in New York. Each of the characters in the carnival have a mysterious background, along with most of them wearing masks the whole time, including the ringmaster, named Mephistopheles.

The performers of the carnival not only have a skill, but they also have a nickname based on tarot cards; for instance, the girl who swallows fire, named Anishaa, is also known as “The Ace of Wands,” the knife thrower Jian is known as the “Knight of Swords,” and a young magician named Harry Houdini is called “the King of Cuffs.”

Just like the other books in the series, Maniscalco combines horror and mystery with science and forensics in the late 1880s. Her two main characters, Audrey and Thomas continue their comedic bantering from the previous books with more depth during each page (I won’t give spoilers, but if you read the last book, you’ll understand what this means). This book is more mystery based, than the past two, which dealt with a horror theme, and since Houdini is one of the main characters, magic, illusions, and things that are not seen by the naked eye, is constant throughout the tale.

The character of Mephistopheles is a great addition to the story, a person who is mysterious in wearing his mask at all times, with a hidden past, along with a comedic wit to him that entertains the reader with his reactions to Thomas, and Audrey Rose. He has the presence of someone like The Phantom of the Opera, but instead of the theater, he is on a cruise. The reader does not know what side of the fence this character is on, who is trying to keep his audiences entertained and keep his performers making money for a living, all the while not revealing his hand on what he does or does not know about the events that happen throughout the cruise.

Escaping From Houdini is yet another entertaining ride by Maniscalco and her series. The book is not only for fans of Young Adult books, but also for those that want a good mystery tale that keeps the reader turning each page (at over 400 pages, the book does not skip or rush through any excitement or character development). The last few chapters even shocked this reader, which is kind of hard to do.

It was announced on her Twitter account, that Maniscalco finalized a deal to do one more final book in the series. If you have not read the other two books in the series, it may be helpful to read them before journeying into this third book, although each tale is separate, it all runs together in a short timeline, with several references to the other books that the reader may not comprehend if they did not read the first part of the series. Nonetheless, “Escaping From Houdini” has enough tricks and illusions in the book to keep any reader on the edge of their seat.



The Advanced Reading Copy was sent courtesy of Jimmy Patterson Books,

Little, Brown and Company, and Hatchette Books.


Escaping From Houdini by Kerri Maniscalco (Jimmy Patterson/Little Brown and Company , 2018 ISBN: 978-0-316-55170-0 hardback, Ebook: 978-0-316-55169-4, audiobook(CD): 978-1-4789-9597-5, and download: 978-1-4789-9598-2) is available at


For information about the author, go to :


Escaping From Houdini


Pages: 413 (ARC copy)

Language: None

Ages: 13 and up

For fans of: Young Adult mysteries, historical fiction.

Halloween 2018 Part Boo (I Mean Part 2)


Every year for my Halloween post, I usually list several horror films that I have seen over the year that needs attention. Most of them are movies that either flew under the radar, or are the classic older films that many have forgotten about. This year I decided to do something different, and I hope, entertaining. The past year I have been able to review many books and have contact with many authors and publishers, and have had the pleasure of emailing several of the writers on a normal basis. I thought that I would survey several people and ask them what films should they suggest you watch during Halloween. Keep in mind, I did not ask them to list their opinion of the greatest of all time, just what films they would suggest to be good to watch, along with choosing any category-they could list all vampire films, all slasher films; just whatever they wanted. Since I received several great responses, I decide to put it in two parts. Here is Part 2 of my Halloween special.


I am excited that Mike Perry agreed to submit to this year’s page. I am a fan of his webpage and Facebook page, called Mike’s Take On the Movies. He covers his love of film, including showing photos of his massive collection of movies and posters, not just horror films, but all films (Go to his site to see his movie room!). His page also informs people of films that some may never heard of, especially me, but he also shares a liking to one of my favorites in the past few years “Horror Express”. He decided to theme his choices with pairing actors Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee. Here is what he wrote:

       As Halloween approaches it seems everyone has a list of horrors to see and there’s usually very little that interests me when it comes to seeing the ones splashed about it newspapers or movie magazines you pick up in the lobby of the theater you’re attending. Why you ask? It’s simple. They generally cater to the masses. People who have no idea that movies existed prior to the current decade. I might be a bit harsh with that statement but go ahead and randomly ask a 20 year old at the office who Vincent Price is.


To be fair, some of these lists might have Rosemary’s Baby on it or maybe Robert Wise’s The Haunting and of course The Exorcist, but for the most part they are films of a more recent vintage. Which brings us to my pick for the top five Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing duets. I’m not going to get critical on these but rather base it on the ones I enjoy the most. If we were going to base it on critical praise then I would suggest the top two would be 1948’s Hamlet and 1952’s Moulin Rouge. Yes for the uninitiated, the legendary icons of horror cinema were attached to both the Oliver and the Huston films. Lee to a lesser degree than Cushing.


Now on to my five faves though I’ll admit I hate narrowing the field to just five and before I start I am listing these in order of their release dates as opposed to a favorite on down.

The Horror of Dracula   (1958)

Is there really any doubt? This one is the best that Hammer has to offer in my mind and made Lee an international star. Not only is Lee the best of all Draculas’ but Cushing is by far the screen’s greatest Van Helsing. A Coles Notes version of Stoker’s story but it’s a classic that gets better with age and tops many historian’s list of the best horror film ever made period. Saw it as a kid on late night TV and rarely does a year go by I don’t give it another look. Great score from James Bernard adds to the thrills.


The Hound of the Baskervilles   (1959)

Cushing as Holmes is really an extension of the physicality and the energy he brought to the Van Helsing role. He’s perfectly suited to the Sherlock character and I’ve always mourned the fact that the studio never continued the series with Peter taking the lead joined again by Andre Morell who made an excellent Dr. Watson. Joining in the fun is Lee as Sir Henry Baskerville. marked for death it’s up to Dear Peter to save him not only from the Hound but also who is behind the beast and controls who it kills. Like Dracula, this is another effort from the great Terence Fischer.


The Mummy   (1959)

Again it’s Terence Fisher breathing new life into the Universal Monsters of old. Who better than Peter to play the archaeologist and Chris to take on the role of Kharis. The two are pitted against each other when Peter unlocks the tomb of the Princess Ananka. The color photography is a welcome addition to the tale when we compare this film to the Chaney films of the 40’s. Lee’s powerful performance as Kharis is not to be overlooked and his size is most intimidating as is his speed that must have been a surprise to those in ’59 accustomed to the slow walk of Chaney. Don’t get me wrong, I love Lon’s film’s as well. Once again Peter delivers a wonderful performance and as usual is playing with props throughout. Hence the nickname Props Peter.

Horror Express   (1972)

What really makes this fantastical plot of Sci-Fi and Horror work is that Lee and Cushing begin as adversaries yet must team up to battle a demon from outer space on board a snowbound train. The fact that they appear on screen together for the majority of the film gives fans a chance to see them interact throughout. Not something we’re used to seeing. No one plays arrogant on screen like Lee did and Peter’s man of science is hoping to get a look at what Lee has found in the ice and is transporting aboard the train. It’s a bloody affair and Telly Savalas only adds to the fun chewing up the scenery as only he can. Best scene in the film is when Lee and Cushing are mentioned as possible hosts to the alien being. Accused of being a monster, offended Peter states defiantly, “Monsters? We’re British.”


Dracula A.D.   (1972)

For years I believe this film was trashed but time has a way of changing opinions and as the years have gone by it’s finally found an audience who appreciate it for it’s campy fun, Cushing’s return to the series as Van Helsing and Lee’s vampire looking more menacing here than in perhaps any other film that he essayed the role. Stephanie Beacham and Caroline Munro appearing has to be considered a major plus as well. Not only do we get one battle to the death between the two titans of horror but TWO. The film is bookended between their first battle in 1872 and their final one 100 years later. Cushing carries the film and Lee’s Dracula remains in a Gothic setting where the blood flows freely. Very under appreciated but thankfully time has I believe begun to change that opinion.


The list called for just five titles so left by the wayside are a pair that I love to revisit but decisions had to be made. From Amicus, The House That Dripped Blood which is more of an ensemble piece with the two never sharing the screen together and Hammer’s The Gorgon. A film I revisit often thanks to my two sons enjoying the film as much as I do.

I’m sure I’ve ticked off someone by omitting their favorite choice but surely Scream and Scream Again or Arabian Adventure are not the reasons why.



I contacted writer S.L. Baron, who writes vampire books, and likes horror style writings, as well as movies. S.L. Baron isn’t a full-time writer but keeps wishing she could quit her day job. She’s been scribbling down stories since she was a small child, and she’s glad the evidence of those stories no longer exists. After reading Anne Rice’s Interview With The Vampire, she found her Muse. She’s been obsessed with vampires and other types of immortals ever since. When she’s not writing about her own Children of the Night, she reads all she can get her hands on about these and other supernatural creatures.


S.L. grew up near the shore in the New Jersey Pinelands but lives in West Virginia. She graduated from West Virginia University with a Bachelor of Arts in psychology. Keeping her company is her partner in crime, Tim.


Her picks are the following:


1.What We Do In The Shadows (2014)

I’m going to start out with a goofy one here. I love and write about vampires, but I can’t pass up a movie that takes a swing at them either. What We Do In The Shadows is a mockumentary following the exploits of a group of vampires— Viago, Vladislav, Deacon, and Petyr—who share a house in a suburb of Wellington, New Zealand. A crucifix-wearing film crew follows the vampires as they try to adapt to life in the 21st century. We get to see how the vampires cope with day-to-day life and past relationships, which, as an immortal, could get pretty complicated.

I love how this movie took supernatural/paranormal creatures and incorporated them into the mundane world…because, honestly, who hasn’t wondered how an 8,000 year-old would react to cellphones?

2.Let Me In (2010)


Let Me In is an American-British remake of the Swedish film Let The Right One In from 2008. It follows the story of Owen, a bullied twelve-year-old boy, and Abby, the young girl who moves in next door to him. The two become close friends and communicate through Morse code on the walls of their apartments, but Abby has a dark secret: She’s a vampire. Abby becomes the only one he trusts enough to confide in about his treatment at school, and she encourages him to retaliate and vows to protect him. After finally revealing her true nature to Owen, she tearfully leaves town. But, despite her departure, she returns to save Owen from the bullies who finally go far enough to try to kill him.

The idea of child vampires intrigues me! How would they mature and behave being locked in such a youthful body? I think Let Me In explores the idea quite well.


3.The Exorcism of Emily Rose (2005)

When nineteen-year-old Emily Rose dies of malnutrition and self-inflicted wounds following an attempted exorcism, the Catholic priest who performed the rite, Father Richard Moore, is arrested and put on trial. Though the diocese wants Father Moore to plead guilty, he refuses, instead hoping his lawyer, Erin Brunner, will let him tell the truth behind Emily’s death. The story of Emily’s possession and failed exorcism are told through flashbacks and evidence presented by witnesses at the trial. Though Brunner doesn’t believe demonic possession is possible, she begins to experience terrifying supernatural phenomena at her home, making her question her own beliefs and begin to see that the priest is telling the truth, a truth she will risk her job to prove in court.

There are a few things about this movie that appeal to me. The first is exorcism. I was raised a Roman Catholic, but exorcisms are one of those taboo subjects never discussed in our studies. I think that gives it a certain mystery that makes me want to delve deeper into it. The next thing that draws me to this movie is that it’s based off the exorcism of Annaliese Michel, which took place in Germany, 1976. The thought that a real person experienced what Emily Rose did is a chilling one. Finally, the thought of losing control over one’s self to demonic forces is a psychologically disturbing, making it a great horror movie to me.


4.A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night (2014)

While Arash, a young Iranian man, works hard to take care of himself and his heroin-addicted father, a mysterious, young woman clad in a chador roams the streets, skateboarding and bedeviling the less desirable residents of Bad City. One of these undesirables happens to be Arash’s father’s drug dealer who learns too late that the young woman is a vampire and he her meal. As the vampire leaves the the dealer’s apartment, she passes Arash who has come to pay money his father owes. Seeing the dealer dead, Arash takes his stash of drugs, hoping to earn some money to make his living situation better. At a costume party, he attempts to sell ecstasy pills. A young wealthy woman he had worked for convinces him to take a pill, and, as he wanders the streets alone and high, he encounters the vampire. The vampire takes Arash to her apartment, but resists the urge to feed from him. Arash becomes infatuated with the woman, but she isn’t the innocent he imagines.

I think what I love most about this movie is the idea of a female vampire in a Middle Eastern country. Almost every country and culture has a vampire myth of their own, but we don’t often see movies explore how they would behave in areas outside of Europe and North America. This movie does just that with a brilliant dose of dark humor, horror, and romance.


5.Zombie Strippers (2008)

Bear with me on this one. Zombie Strippers is campy, raunchy, and full of nudity, so it’s not for everyone out there. Despite all that, it’s also a political satire that takes a stab at George W. Bush’s presidency, which I won’t give away here. In it, a Marine, Byrdflough, who is a member of the “Z” Squad tasked with destroying test subjects in a failed government experiment to bring back the dead, gets bitten by a zombie. Upon waking as a one, he finds his way to a strip club and attacks the club’s star dancer, Kat. When the owner, Ian Essko—played by none other than Robert Englund of Nightmare on Elm Street fame—sees how much money his undead dancer is raking in, he encourages others to get bitten. Essko tries to keep the zombies in cages, but when they break free, the remaining humans in the club must fight to survive.


LIke I said, this one isn’t for everyone! I, however, am not one of those people. I couldn’t stop watching, but I was an exotic dancer and I have a twisted sense of humor (possibly from said job). I enjoyed how well the writers portrayed the rivalries that develop between dancers and how greedy the owner is to let his employees get infected for profit. This is an utterly ridiculous movie, but one I can watch over and over.



I thought a Halloween poll would be fun this year as well. Here are the final results, from those that voted via Facebook, Twitter, and those I asked in person. Some of the tallies were very interesting.


Halloween Poll Results:

Best Horror Actor of all Time

  1. Vincent Price   90% 2. Bela Lugosi 10% 3. Boris Karloff 0% 4. Peter Cushing 0%
  2. Christopher Lee 0%

Best Horror Villain:

  1. 1. Michael Myers   45.45% Frankenstein Monster 18.18% 3. Dracula 27.27%  
  2. Freddy Kruger 9.09% 5. Leatherface 0%

Best Series:

  1. 1. Friday The 13th 30%   2. Halloween 30% Nightmare on Elm Street 20%    
  2. Saw 10%     Texas Chainsaw Massacre 0%

Most Classic Film:

  1. 1. Frankenstein 28.57%   2. The Wolfman 28.57% Psycho 14.28%   4. The Shining 14.28%       5. The Exorcist 14.28%     Bride of Frankenstien 0%   Halloween 0%



As for me, I chose to theme films that are seem bad, whether from the effects some other odd aspect, but are actually good films that I enjoying watching. In no order, here are a few choices:


  1. Suck (2009).

            This is a black comedy/Canadian Indy about a rock band that hasn’t made it big in Canada. While touring, the female bass player (Mad Men’s Jessica Paré) gets turned into a vampire, and needs to feed. The music is pretty bad, but the jokes are funny (especially if you were ever a musician). It has appearances by Rush’s Alex Lifeson, Iggy Pop, Henry Rollins, Malcolm McDowell, and Alice Cooper.


  1. Kiss Meets The Phantom of The Park (1978)

            I remember anxiously awaiting this TV movie to be shown as a kid like many Kiss fans at the time. After seeing it, we wondered “what did I just see?” What better way to captialize the band in a movie, like The Beatles did, than have Hannah-Barbara produce the film? Even though some Kiss fans (and band members) hate the film, it is a guilty pleasure film, which debut on October 28, 1978. The cartoonish effects, bad stunt men, and cheesy one -liners makes this film a cult favorite. If you really want to get an extra feel to the film, listen to Chris Jericho’s podcast episode from July 2018, where he and his friends decided to watch it.

  1. The Strangers:Prey At Night (2018)

            I never saw the first Strangers movie, but I thought the cover looked cool when I got it at my local library. The plot is a simple slasher film, where a vacation at a mobile home park goes wrong for the family visiting, when three masked people start attacking. Even though the theme has been worn out, this was enjoyable, especially with the placing of the music in the film with 1980s hits by Air Supply and Bonnie Tyler. If you liked the placing of the music in Marvel’s Deadpool movies, this is very similar, and becomes more humorous than scary. When’s the last time you laughed during a slasher film?


  1. The Gorgon (1964)

            Mentioned earlier by Mike’s picks, this Hammer film is one I watch several times a year , not just for Halloween. The Christopher Lee/Peter Cushing film is a what films used to be about; a plotline, suspense, and a climax. No CG effects, just some rubber type masks, but it still is a great film. Although many film fans discovered the myth of the Gorgon through 1981’s Clash of The Titans, this older film builds up the story of the creature turning people into stone when looking at them. This is a horror film that can be watched as a family film (about age 7 I’d say) without much gore and adult themes like most films are about today. This film is not mentioned enough when Hammer films are discussed.

  1. The Wasp Woman (1959)

            Also known as The Bee Girl or Insect Woman, this Roger Corman film stars Susan Cabot who runs a cosmetic company and is trying to keep the company relevant, although she is aging as the spokesperson. She meets a fired scientist who can extract enzymes from bees to keep her young. However, there are side effects to the experiments. Corman was known for his Edgar Allan Poe movies with Vincent Price, but this one is like The Gorgon, where it is not long in length (73 minutes), and although today’s fans may laugh at the effects without CG, it is a good family horror film.


A few other films that I recommend this season is 2018’s Winchester (if you like suspense/supernatural themes instead of action horror) and Insidious: The Last Key, and the 1970 Spanish film The Wolfman vs The Vampire Woman. Of course, you can always serach the archives here for my past Halloween picks too (just type in “Horror Films” or “Halloween” in the serach engine, or scroll down the “Archives” link to the past year’s October month.)

Thank you to all the contributors for Parts 1&2, and those that voted in the poll as well!

Happy Watching!


Mike Perry’s pages can be found at:

and https://


You can find S.L. Baron’s books on Amazon, and at facebook:



Halloween 2018 Part One

Every year for my Halloween post, I list several horror films that I have seen over the year that needs attention. Most of them are movies that either flew under the radar, or are the classic older films that many have forgotten about. This year I decided to do something different, and I hope, entertaining. The past year I have been able to review many books and have contact with many authors and publishers, including having the pleasure of emailing several of the writers on a normal basis. I thought that I would survey several people and ask them what films they suggest you watch during Halloween. Keep in mind, I did not ask them to list their opinion of the greatest of all time, just what films they would suggest to be good to watch, along with choosing any category-they could list all vampire films, all slasher films; whatever they wanted. Here are some of the responses I received. This is the first of two parts.

One of the first people I contacted is an author who has been featured on this page several times. Gary A. Smith gave me a great Q&A after reviewing his book “Vampire Films of the 1970s” (both you can find in the archives section). He has been a contributor to the magazine Little Shoppe of Horrors from 1980 -2013, and has written several books about various aspects of films. Smith and I started emailing each other frequently discussing the films we have seen in the past months. Smith, like me, makes it a habit to watch at least one horror film a night in October leading up to Halloween. Here are his picks when I asked him:


     Every year I watch a horror movie a day during October. My one rule is no science fiction, just horror. Here are a handful of movies that I seem to include every year for a variety of reasons.

1.) Halloween– I know, what could be more cliche but the original is, in my opinion, one of the best and most frightening horror movies ever made. It’s simple. It’s scary. And it has seldom been equaled. 

2.) Carrie– This movie holds a special place for me as I first saw it at a Halloween midnight sneak preview before it was officially released. As the remakes prove, you can’t top Brian DePalma’s brilliant direction. And that final scene! Wow!

1943’s Universal film “Frankenstein Meets The Wolfman” featured Lon Chaney and Bela Lugosi.

3.) Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man– More than anything else, Halloween means the original Universal monsters to me. In this film you get two of the best. It’s hard to pick just one Universal horror during Halloween but this one always is on the top of my list. 

4.) Brides of Dracula– What’s Halloween without Hammer? My favorite of all the Hammer Horrors is this film. Not your run of the mill vampire movie by any means. Tops in every department…acting, direction, story, sets, costumes. This one has it all. 

5.) Ghost Story– Sure, it’s not a patch on the original Peter Straub novel with it’s shape-shifting spirits, but don’t let that stop you from watching. This is a genuinely creepy film with the wonderful Alice Krige as a ghost bent on revenge. 



Who better knows what’s good for Halloween than horror hosts? I contacted the hosts of The Mummy and The Monkey‘s Janet Decay and Grimm Gorri from Cleveland, Ohio, and they picked these films:


Janet Decay’s Halloween Flicks:

Halloween 3 Season Of The Witch ( seems fitting) it has nothing to do with Michael Myers, but it gives you those Halloween “feels”

Hocus Pocus, a great 1990s family friendly Halloween movie about the Witches of Salem.

 Dracula, Starring Bela Lugosi. Classics never go out of style, and Bela was a dashing Drac. 

Trick R Treat, a more modern horror film with a nostalgic Halloween feel, that’s on the gory side. Make sure you leave Sam some candy.

The Great Pumpkin. Because, I have this stuck in my skull for all eternity. 

A family classic for youngsters and young at heart. 

Janet also stated that:

“3 things I learned to never discuss, religion, politics, and The Great Pumpkin” 

Horror hosts Grim Gorri and Janet Decay of “The Mummy and The Monkey.”

Grim Gorri responded by stating:

What’s buzzin’, cousins?! Grimm Gorri, here, wishing everybody a Happy Halloween! There are too many great scary movies that would make for good watching on Halloween, but my top five are a great start! I chose 5 newer flicks that I found refreshingly frighteningly fun! 

  1. Trick r Treat
  2. Get Out
  3. Cabin in the Woods
  4. The Orphanage
  5. Drag Me To Hell


Eric Walker is a fan of not just horror films (and movies in general), but also runs a comic book store in Columbiana, Ohio, called Watchtower Heroes Comics LLC.   He has attended several comic conventions for his business (where horror celebs and comic icons are usually present). His favorite Halloween films to watch features comedy, family, and slashing:

Lon Chaney in 1941’s Universal film”The Wolf Man.”

       1.Young Frankenstein: This movie is by far my favorite movie to watch around Halloween. The nostalgia mixed with timeless comedy make this a “must-watch” every year

            2. Disney Halloween: This is just good old fashion family fun. The combination of the talking mirror, timeless characters, and catchy music are what truly make this a favorite.

            3. The Wolf Man: All of the classic Universal Monster movies are absolutely masterful. This movie, along with Frankenstein have that little extra bit of terror that put them above the rest.

            4. Frankenstein: See #3

            5. Friday the 13th Part 3: This movie serves up the usual dose of teenage angst and graphic murder scenes. This also marks the beginning of Jason’s trademark hockey mask.


Thanks to all the contributors that helped me.

For information on The Mummy and The Monkey Show at or

For comics and collectibles, visit , the facebook page at, or stop in the Columbiana, Ohio store at 6 S. Main St, Columbiana, OH 44408

You can find Gary A. Smith’s books at,, and at




Book Review: A Lively Look at the Death of 1980s Wrestling.

Cover design : David A. Gee


Tim Hornbaker’s “Death Of The Territories: Expansion, Betrayal, and the War that Changed Pro Wrestling Forever” (ECW Press, 2018) is a historical lesson covering how the end of the wrestling territories came to be and the reasons for the demise.

Before the WWF took over wrestling in the 1980s, there were many different territories where wrestlers could go and , in some cases, get quality television exposure. If a wrestler’s appeal with the audience was wearing thin, they could go to a territory and either revamp their characters, or learn more skills before returning months or years later.

Some of the many states that had their own territories included Memphis, Texas, Florida, the Carolinas, California, and St. Louis, which were all run by different promoters. Many of them bonded together as part of the National Wrestling Alliance (NWA), until divisions started when Vince McMahon Jr. bought his father’s company and started invading the territories for their stars.

Hornbaker’s book covers many of the different promoters like Bill Watts, Joe Blanchard, Leory McGuirk, Jim Barnett , and Verne Gagne. Other promoters covered in his history include The Poffos, The Sheik (Ed Farhat), Ann Gunkle , Don Owen, and the Fullers.

The book covers how each of the special territories ran their local television productions. Some of the main television programs were WCCW (from Texas) and the AWA (Minnesota) on ESPN, Jim Crockett Promotions and Georgia Championship Wrestling on WTBS, and the WWF’s syndicated programs, which started invading the other television stations with better deals for the advertisers by giving them bigger star names, which became a main reason the other leagues folded.

One of the interesting parts of the book is when the author details how some companies would try and enter the other’s area, and with the help of researched attendance numbers, show that some of the fans in certain areas of the United States did not accept the WWF when they ran shows. Memphis was one state that held better television and attendance numbers for their own stars, like Jerry Lawler, as opposed to lower numbers when the WWF tried to come into the area. There were areas where the WWF ran shows that barely drew at the time, as opposed to the myth that every state wanted the WWF in its town.

The story of Vince McMahon Jr’s rise to the wrestling empire by using business techniques such as banning other photographers from his ringside area, to his use of pay per view to help the product, and grabbing stars from other areas are all covered here, including when he aired WWF programming on WTBS. Georgia Championship Wrestling’s booker Ole Anderson’s counter to this time is also interesting, as well as how the other promoters and bookers handled the WWF invading their areas.

I was also intrigued when Hornbaker writes in 1983, McMahon Jr. took over the Ohio region with his show being on Channel 23 in Akron (one of the channels I watched WWF on when I started fully watching in 1986), and also held shows in East Liverpool and Struthers, Ohio (both not far from where I live). It was nice to see my local area covered in the book (mostly the WWF was big in Warren and Youngstown when I started watching and attending, although an occasional Struthers show would be held).

The book covers the rise of Jim Crockett Jr.’s taking over the Carolinas, which became so popular that most of the fans called his league the NWA, although there were many other members of the NWA, until Ted Turner bought out Crockett and renamed it WCW (World Championship Wrestling) to avoid confusion with the other NWA territories that were still running shows.

The history of the territories would not be complete without covering the AWA, Memphis, and World Class mergers in trying to keep their leagues afloat, with the WCW and WWF being the big two leagues. The AWA at one time was considered one of the big three leagues, but with Verne Gagne losing steam, the idea to try and co-promote was attempted.

Hornbaker’s writing is entertaining without having a bunch of dates confusing and boring the reader, and his research is wonderfully detailed, so those that want to know the historical dates won’t be disappointed either. He covers the events in readable chapters without bogging down the reader that they are reading a textbook. There is so much information on the topic, he could have easily have made it 300 pages long, but Hornbaker keeps it at a pleasant 241 pages of text (not counting the pages of book notes). The author also doesn’t become one of the “I hate the WWF for taking over” people, nor does join the argument that “All things WWF is great” either. He writes a nice non- judgmental book where the numbers and the research makes the readers decide for themselves.

Being a lover of the territory days (I am in the minority apparently who loved the AWA years after 1983 when they lost many stars like Hulk Hogan, Jesse Ventura, and Bobby Heenan- the Bockwinkle/Hennig matches are still some of the most underrated matches ever). This book is a must read for those who want to re-live the days, along with learning information that you may not have known (I for one did not know that Gagne once tried to negotiate a deal to sell out to McMahon Jr, long before he folded the league). “Death of The Territories” is a book that needs to be on every wrestling historian and fans’ book shelf.


This review copy was given courtesy of ECW Press.


“Death of The Territories” by Tim Hornbaker (ECW Press, 2018) IBSN: 978-1-77041-384-9 (softcover), 978-1-77305-232-8 (ePub) , 978-1-77305-233-5 (PDF) can be found at


For information on the author, go to twitter@TimHornbaker.


Book Review: Heavy Duty is A Mighty Tale

Looking for a wonderful rock and roll memoir? Look for “Heavy Duty: Days And Nights In Judas Priest” (Da Capo Press, 2018) by ex- Judas Priest guitar player K.K. Downing and writer Mark Eglinton. This book tells the rags to riches story of how Downing formed the legendary band, and helped lead the band to heavy metal immortality.

“Heavy Duty” starts by detailing Downing’s childhood with a father, who had what is now called OCD, along with being a hypochondriac. His father refused to let his children near other kids, due to the fear of them catching some illness. His father would also make the children help out in his gambling addiction by having them pick up paper receipts on the street (thrown away by people leaving shoe stores) to prove to the government he bought shoes for his children with government assisted money, while spending the money on racing bets.

Downing describes his early musical influences with bands like The Troggs, The Rolling Stones, Them , and Jimi Hendrix. Hendrix became his early idol, after seeing him in concert several times, which lead him to buy his first guitar. After quitting school at age 15, Downing worked at a hotel while attending many concerts, which created a deeper love for music, and also got him his stage nickname.

The book takes the reader through the early years of Downing’s guitar playing in many bands, ending up auditioning for the band called Judas Priest, who he auditioned for. The singer left Priest, and joined up with Downing and bass player Ian Hill, bringing the band name with him, which started the groundwork for the iconic band.

“Heavy Duty” is full of great rock and roll stories, from how Judas Priest working their way through the music industry, to stories of being the opening act for many bands, along with their treatment by the headliner acts like Iron Maiden, Alice Cooper, and Foreigner . The book covers the several lineup changes of drummers, to the behind the scenes recordings of the legendary albums of the band.

There are many great aspects of the book, including Downing describing rejected names for album titles, the decisions of the cover art work (which defines the band to this day -during the times where artwork was key to the overall product of selling records), and his views on his strained relationship with the second guitar player in the band, Glenn Tipton. The book goes into the famous court case where the band was charged with the deaths and injuries of two teens , to the band having to deal with singer Rob Halford leaving (and coming back to) the band, and the band’s short tenure with replacement singer Tim “Ripper” Owens.

Another entertaining part of the book was how the band was approached to submit a song for an unknown movie called “Top Gun,” and the results which shaped the band’s views on giving songs to soundtracks in the future. The recording of the band’s famous album “British Steel” is also a great read, from how the groundwork for the song “Living After Midnight” was created, the original cover that was proposed, interactions with some of history of The Beatles in the building where it was recorded, to the use of cutlery on the record.

The best thing about this book is the heart filled honesty Downing and Eglinton add to the book. Downing’s book is not a bash-fest, but he states his views honestly, and still shows respect for the band members. Even though he had strained relationships with band members, he still acknowledges that the members were all a part of the whole in the early development of the band, along with his admittance to making mistakes in the career path of the band. When discussing reasons for departing the band in 2011, along with opinions of the band’s nomination of The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, to his thoughts of the band now, the writers show a man that worked hard to get where he was in one of the greatest metal bands , along with a grateful attitude. Downing and Eglinton describe a man who lived out his dreams of a musician.

Although there are some stories about the rock and roll lifestyle, this book is not a graphic detailed book (like some rock memoirs that are filled with stories of groupies and drugs). “Heavy Duty” is a book about a young boy who had struggles in his childhood, and overcame them for the love of music and to be on top of the world.

This book is for the die hard fans of the band, along with those that casually know the band’s work (I own 6 of the band’s CDs, and did not know how many drummers the band went through). If you like reading rock memoirs, or tales of overcoming obstacles to conquer the world, this is the book to read.


The Advanced Reading Copy was given courtesy by Da Capo Press


“Heavy Duty Days And Nights In Judas Priest” by K.K. Downing with Mark Eglinton (Da Capo Press, 2018 ISBN: 9780306903311 -Hardcover, 9780306903298- eBook) can be found at


For information about K.K. Downing, visit:

For information on Mark Eglinton,  go to his twitter @MarkEglinton