Tag Archives: Mystery

8 Great Horror Movies for Writers, about Writers

I’m a woman deep in love with the horror genre—the films, the books, the art, the freaky mechanized sculptures crawling across the floor. For this Halloween, here are a few great horror movies (in no particular order) that star some unfortunate, powerful, tragic, bloodied-up writers.

  1. Hush (2016)

This movie is amazing. It takes a very classic, often problematic premise—lone woman in the woods, no cell service, a mysterious masked attacker—and makes it new again.

2. The Dark Half (1993)

A classic Stephen King story, classic movie, Timothy Hutton, yes, yes, yes. This one might not be “scary,” but it’s a horror film through-and-through, and a great watch for anyone looking to be thoroughly creeped out.

3. Secret Window (2004)

Another Stephen King story, this is one of my favorite film adaptations of his work. Writers haunted by their work … and more.

4. TWIXT (2011)

Francis Ford Coppola, Val Kilmer, Bruce Dern, Elle Fanning, Tom Waits, the ghost of Edgar Allan Poe for some reason … What more can I say? This is a (sort of?) comedy, (sort of?) horror movie, (sort of?) tragedy. Whatever it is, it’s awesome. An eerie surreal romp through some dark, dark woods.

5. Deathtrap (1982)

This movie may not be a “horror” movie per say, but it does have a good deal of murder, backstabbing, and writerly wickedness (not to mention some handsome young Michael Caine and Christopher Reeve).

6. A few other of Stephen King’s…Misery, Salem’s Lot, & The Shining (NOT the Kubrick version)

Because Stephen King is, first of all, amazing, and second of all, constantly writing about writers (I’m not complaining), I’ve decided to just throw in a good word for a bunch of his other adaptations. I’ll make a special note though about The Shining—forget Kubrick’s nonsense. Want an actually frightening film? Give the 1997 version a spin. It’s long—like, multiple disks long—but it’s absolutely worth it.

7. Sunset Blvd (1950)

There are few horror movies more classic or more unsettling than Billy Wilder’s Sunset Blvd, a movie about actors, a movie about screenwriters, a movie about artists (aka wild-eyed, lonely, self-absorbed, control freaks).

8. Capote (2005)

An eerily beautiful, deeply unsettling look at Truman Capote’s work in writing and researching his genre-bending creative nonfiction book In Cold Blood.

 

Happy Binge Watching!

Young Adult Mysteries – A Book Review: Ryan Casey’s “What We Saw”

              Detectives

As a girl, I was captivated by mysteries and detectives though I was always more apt to play a chef, an animal, or a hobo myself. I grew up watching Jessica Fletcher solve crimes while she wrote wildly successful mysteries and learning the stories of Agatha Christie’s Poirot and Miss Marple. Thus, for me, despite all the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drews’s on our bookshelves, I always associated murder and crime solving with adults, maturity, and even retirement.

Ryan Casey’s recent novel What We Saw, however, works to combine the darkness of criminality with the immaturity and imagination of children looking to simply make the most of a free summer while navigating the budding competitiveness of their first love triangle. The story is narrated by the precocious Liam O’Donnell, a character whose voice – surprisingly smooth in its consistent growth, especially for a debuting author – is redolent of some of the most enduring heroes as he battles fears, discovers his own bravery, and demonstrates great ingenuity. He and his cousin Adam band together as a pair of impromptu detectives, solving every mystery they can dig up. However, what they end up stumbling upon has them both questioning just how dedicated they may be to a profession that demands their innocence as well as their ability to trust those closest to them.

Casey’s work is that of a new author with polishing still to develop, but much of the writing shows promise. While many moments showcase Casey’s keen ear and eye for description – “Gran grabbed his ear where he’d taken his piercing out and shook him, like she was trying to get apples to drop from a tree.” – as a reader it is hard to ignore when certain major players too cleanly fit into the shoes of archetypes (whether it be the fool, the helper, the villain, or the red herring); this model can make for a quick and useful story set-up in the beginning but can also give the game away before the author intends. Nevertheless, Casey’s debut young adult novel makes for a clean and leisurely read.

Check out What We Saw now on Amazon – it’s getting impressive reviews. Also check out Ryan Casey’s blog: Writing for Readers, Blogging for Writers., it’s full of useful advice for independent and new authors on everything from writing to marketing.