Monday, March 25, 2019

Best Ghost Movies, Bird Box and Love-Death-Robots Reviews, Monday’s Music, DIY MFA, and Ninja-IWSG News

Haunting a Cinema Near You…the Best Ghost Movies of All Time by JH Moncrieff

As someone who’s written a series about—you guessed it—ghosts, it should come as no surprise that Alex asked me to write about ghostly movies. Here are my highly subjective picks for the all-time top five.

5. The Awakening. In this little-known British flick, a published author with a reputation for exposing supernatural hoaxes is summoned to a boarding school that’s haunted by a murderous ghost.

4. The Changeling. After the death of his wife and daughter, a troubled composer moves to Seattle and rents a Victorian mansion. He quickly realizes he isn’t alone. What begins as playful turns sinister as the composer discovers his home’s unwelcome tenant is a bloodthirsty ghost bent on revenge.

3. The Woman in Black. Another tale of revenge, The Woman in Black revolves around grieving lawyer Arthur Kipps, who’s barely holding it together after his wife’s death. His boss gives him one last chance to save his job—travel to Eel Marsh House to settle a deceased client’s estate. Determined to succeed, Kipps ignores the townspeople’s warnings, only to find himself face-to-face with an emaciated woman in black. She isn’t an ordinary ghost, as he soon learns—every time someone catches a glimpse of her, a tragedy befalls the community’s children.

2. The Others. Nothing is what it seems in this atmospheric ghost story. When her soldier husband abandons her, Grace Stewart hires three servants who claim to have worked at the house before. Strange occurrences in the home increase with their arrival. But is the house haunted, or is Grace going mad? The truth is more terrible than you can imagine.

1. The Sixth Sense. (Aka the best ghost movie ever made.) After he fails one of his young clients, child psychologist Malcolm Crowe tackles his biggest challenge yet—a disturbed young boy who’s concealing an unspeakable, heartbreaking secret.

What’s your favorite ghost story?

J.H. Moncrieff’s new release, Forest of Ghosts, was inspired by her real-life experiences in Romania, including Hoia Baciu, the world’s most haunted forest.
Jackson Stone is sick of ghosts. With his love life in shambles, he heads to Romania for a horror writers’ retreat, hoping it will be a break from the supernatural and breathing space from his relationship with medium Kate Carlsson.
But as his fellow writers begin disappearing or losing their minds, he realizes he needs Kate’s help.
When Jackson loses his own memory, Kate’s love is the only thing that can bring him back. But she’s falling for the man responsible for the evil in Romania. A man who claims to be her soul mate. Will this master of wraiths forever break Kate’s bond with Jackson?
Available now!
J.H. loves to hear from readers. To get free ebooks and a new spooky story every week, check out her Hidden Library.
Connect with J.H.: Website / Twitter / Facebook

Movie/Show Reviews

Bird Box
Unseen invaders cause people who do see them to go insane and/or commit suicide. The movie opens with the final fourth of the story – Sandra Bullock and the two kids, blindfolded and in a boat on the river. It then alternates between the river and several years prior during the invasion when a pregnant Bullock sheltered with others in a house.
The movie is well acted and solid. However, two things hurt the film.
First, it’s basically the movie The Happening (although a thousand times better!) with a slice of A Quiet Place thrown in. We’ve seen it all before.
Second, there were no surprises. The story played out exactly as I thought it would.
If you’ve not seen the other two films, or you just want a decent NetFlix movie, then it’s certainly worth a watch.

Love Death and Robots
This is an adult animated anthology series on NetFlix, with each episode being 10-17 minutes long. There is a ton of language, violence and gore, and nudity. (If you want to call that ‘adult’ – not necessarily what I need in an animated film/show to enjoy it.) The common factor between each one is in the title, although I don’t recall much love…
Some of the episodes work, some don’t. A couple feature excessive gore and nudity/sexual scenes. (If it weren’t animated, it would be way beyond R rated.)
The animation is always intriguing though, as each one has its own style. Basically, if the movie Heavy Metal were made today, it would look a lot like this.
There have been some standouts. Three Robots was funny, Good Hunting had a unique story and great cell animation, Suits was a great story, and both Shape Shifters and Lucky 13 featured incredibly realistic animation. (Still not perfect with the faces, but oh-so-close!) And The Secret War was beyond amazing with its realistic animation, especially the snow.
If you can handle the “adult’ – and there are a couple you might want to skip – it’s worth a watch for fans of animation.

Monday’s Music Moves Me

Hosted by Xmas Dolly

This week is a freebie, so I’m jumping in!

I’m featuring Evergrey’s Weightless, taken from their new album, The Atlantic.



Ninja News

The IWSG Goodreads Book Club is hosting a giveaway.
Eligibility: This giveaway is open to members of the Insecure Writer's Support Group Book Club on Goodreads
Prize Given to Winner: Hardcover Copy of The First Five Pages: A Writer's Guide to Staying Out of the Rejection Pile by Noah Lukeman
Giveaway Ends: April 8, 2019 12:00am Eastern Standard Time
Enter to win HERE

We’re about a month away from the release of the next IWSG anthology – Masquerade: Oddly Suited!
 
Visit the IWSG site for details and pre-order links.

And we just might have some news about the next IWSG Anthology Contest very soon…



New Releases: 

The Heart of Things by Joy Campbell
Book 2 in the In Medias Res series
Find it on Amazon

Luck of the Billionaire by Donna K. Weaver
Kayn never imagines a murder could lead him to love.
Find it on Amazon




DIY MFA

We are partnering with DIY MFA this spring to bring you a great program for writers.

Before we announce details, we’ll be sharing several of their learning podcasts.

The next one is - Episode 236: Writing Without Rules (or Pants) — Interview with Jeff Somers.

Check it out and be watching next month for details about the program.


What do you think are the best ghost movies ever? Have you seen Bird Box? Watched any of Love Death and Robots? What music is moving you? Want to win a free book? And are you ready to read Masquerade: Oddly Suited?

See you April 3 for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group!

77 comments:

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

The Sixth Sense is my favorite ghost story, too. :) I loved the twist in it. I haven't heard of many of the others and will enjoy checking those out!

The book version of Bird Box was better and worth a read!

nashvillecats2 said...

Hi Alex, loved the read about the ghosts. Always something here for everyone. Good selection of reviews.
Enjoy the week.

Yvonne,

Shady Del Knight said...

Hi, Alex!

I have already seen Bird Box and enjoyed it, but I think Sarah Paulson is becoming overexposed. She appears in just about everything I have watched these last few years. Aussie actress Danielle Macdonald is also the star of another good Netflix movie, Dumplin', which I highly recommend. Curiosity got the best of me and I just watched the trailer for Love Death and Robots. I think I'll check out that anthology.

I enjoyed "Weightless" by Evergrey. If they cranked up the harsh a little, they'd make a fan of me.

Have a great week, good buddy Alex!

bookworm said...

Everygrey - new to me, and I will have to check with my son, who is into metal. I like it because it wasn't as harsh as some grups I have heard recently. Alana ramblinwitham.blogspot.com

Sandra Almazan said...

The book giveaway sounds great!

Mason Canyon said...

Great ghost stories, J.H. and congrats on your new release. I've heard people trying dangerous things while blindfolded because of the movie, not so sure about that. Congrats to everyone else with new releases. Have a great week, Alex.

Joanne said...

The Sixth Sense is memorable - so original at the time. And hey - I like the movie Ghost - no, not scary, but Patrick Swayze haunting Whoopie to get answers to his murder....awesome.
Have a good week!

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

Now I want to watch The Sixth Sense again . . . . :)

Bird Box on Netflix was good but the book was excellent.

Natalie Aguirre said...

Since I didn't watch those other movies, maybe I'll like Bird Box. It's on my Netflix list. And the book sounds good too.

Cathy Kennedy said...

Alex,

It's nice having you on the dance floor with the 4M gang. Thanks for the introduction of this song. It's not my genre of choice but it wasn't too hard on the ears (actually it kinda grew on me a bit as the song played through) and I certainly appreciated the exposure. Have a boogietastic week.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Elizabeth, The Others has a similar twist and is really good.

Shady, they can crank it! But otherwise they are very melodic. Love Death and Robots is interesting, but be warned on the content.

Bookworm, hopefully he's heard of them.

Mason, there are always stupid people.

Madeline, the book is always better.

Cathy, they are very melodic.

Stacy McKitrick said...

I love Sixth Sense. But I also love Ghost.

Carrie-Anne said...

As much as I enjoy reading and watching ghost/haunting stories, I'd be freaked out if that happened to me in real life. I think many of us enjoy ghost stories for the same reason we enjoy Halloween—it awakens a primal fear in us, something that was unable to be bred out of us over countless generations of civilization, reminding us that deep down we're not much different than our prehistoric ancestors.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

The Changeling gives me goosebumps every time I watch it.

Andrew Leon said...

I didn't realize the robot thing was animated. Scalzi's been posting about it for a while, but I haven't read any of the posts or looked into the show beyond seeing that it's there.

Patricia Stoltey said...

I'm not into scary movies much, so when I think of a great ghost story, I think of the play and movie, Blithe Spirit, by Noel Coward. It's so much fun!

Lisa said...

I want to see Sixth Sense again. It was brilliant. I've seen most of Bird Box, and will finish it. Not sure how I feel about it yet. I don't do horror as a general rule, so probably won't see the other films mentioned, though A Woman in Black and The others sound interesting...
I made note of the episodes you though worth seeing on LDR... Thanks J.H.! See you both on Wed, April 3rd!

Truedessa said...

Hi Alex

Ghost is my favorite by far. That scene with the clay pottery wheel is forever embedded in my brain.

I watched it not too long ago!

Well, the paranormal to me is always fascinating and real.

I hope you have a great week.

Al Penwasser said...

My favorite ghost movie is "Ghost Story."
Although, "The Sixth Sense"? Geez a lou, that was a corker!

Allstarme79 said...

I dig that band; never heard of them but they sound great.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Carrie-Anne, I don't want it happening in real life either.

Al, now that is a funny description of it!

Francis Lee said...

Looking forward to some Love Death and Robots!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Alex - good luck to JH ... while I might have seen Woman in Black - I'm fairly certain the others haven't hit my eyes - not really into ghost movies - except gentle ones ... quite keen on A Christmas Carol. I'm not as you might imagine really into Metal ... I listened briefly! Cheers Hilary

J E Oneil said...

I couldn't compare The Happening to Bird Box. It's like comparing Nestle chocolate to a fine Belgian truffle. Two totally different experiences.

Birgit said...

I will pass on that animated show...not to my liking. Now as for movies-I love your list! I had no idea about the Sixth Sense until the very end so that floored me. The Woman in Black is also quite scary and so is The others especially when the kids take the leaves away and see the 3 walking towards them...eeek!!! I will have to add to the list....Burnt Offerings starring Oliver Reed and Bette Davis, The Haunting-the original not the crappy remake-the door moving freaked me out. One of the scariest-The Turn of the Screw starring Deborah Kerr...That gives me the frights just thinking about it.

Mary Kirkland said...

I've never heard of Evergrey but they're pretty good.

Rhonda Albom said...

Being an adult who still gets nightmares, I avoid "ghost" movies, or so I thought. I associated them with horror and fright. However, I loved the 6th Sense and never thought of it in the way I think of "ghost" movies, so maybe it's time to broaden my movie going.

Mary Montague Sikes said...

We loved the Sixth Sense--one of my all time favorite movies.

Susan Kane said...

I loved The Other and Sixth Sense. Both brought me an ending I did not expect.

Winchester is good

Basically, I don't watch scary movies. It is the evil that pervades them.

Patricia Lynne aka Patricia Josephine said...

I don't watch many ghost movies. Since they're usually horror and I'm a horror wuss then I avoid them.

Rawknrobyn.blogspot.com said...

Ghost is the only ghost movie I've seen, and it's my favorite.
Have a great week, Alex.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

JE, one sucked and one was okay.

Birgit, the remake of The Haunting was awful. Just special effects and that was it.

Mary, glad you enjoyed them.

Susan, I don't watch ones that involve torture porn or the occult.

Roland D. Yeomans said...

The Sixth Sense was a mind-blower of a ghost movie when it first came out. I enjoyed, though saddened, by The Others. I still say that The Haunting of Hill House was the best horror story ever put on film. :-)

Liz A. said...

I need someone to just tell me what happens in Bird Box. I won't see it. I don't do scary. But I'm so curious.

I've seen The Others and The Sixth Sense, but not the other movies. My mother ruined Sixth Sense for me, and that was quite the feat as we were both seeing it for the first time when she did.

Botanist said...

I haven't got all the way through the interview with Jeff Somers yet, but there's some pretty solid debunking of familiar advice that's achieved an unhealthy tablet-of-stone status.

Tonja Drecker said...

The Sixth Sense was one of my favorite ghost movies...followed by Casper. Can't wait to read the anthology!

Fundy Blue said...

Hi, Alex and J.H.! My favorite ghost movies are "Ghost" and "The Sixth Sense." I have my copy of the IWSG anthology preordered, and I can't wait to read it. Congratulations to the authors on their new releases.

Pat Hatt said...

Yeah, The Sixth Sense sure is tops indeed. Never watched Bird Box yet, good to know I'm not missing much. Sadly, I've wasted my life watching The Happening though, ugg.

Robert Bennett said...

I feel like Bird Box got shit on a lot more than it actually deserved, but I do agree with the faults you stated. A little more unpredictability would have been nice.

J.H. Moncrieff said...

Thanks so much for letting me haunt your blog, Alex! Much appreciated.

I'm glad to see so many others love The Sixth Sense. I did enjoy Ghost as well, though I wouldn't call it a spooky movie. To me, it's more of a romance, and sadly, the special effects have not aged well, though the performances have.

I'm hoping to see Bird Box at some point. I love the book.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Roland, the original was good.

Liz, sorry!

Louise, that's awesome!

Pat, that's two hours you will never get back...

Robert, it wasn't bad, just not original.

JH, you're welcome!

Sherry Ellis said...

Forest of Ghosts sounds like a terrific ghost story. And that it's inspired by her own true experiences makes it even more intriguing!

Spacer Guy said...

I've seen my fair share of Netflix epics, Motley Crue being the last and that was one movie, not sure it did them justice but heck they were manics.

Sandra said...

J. H., Forrest sounds really good. Wishing you much success.
Alex, have a pleasant, productive week.

mail4rosey said...

I haven't watched Bird Box but it seems like most everyone else has seen it. I don't watch many ghost stories. I saw 'Ghost.' I did see 'The Sixth Sense.' That one was really good.

Dianne K. Salerni said...

I loved The Bird Box, in spite of terrible reviews. My teenage daughter recommended it to me, and this (rare) commendation moved me to watch it when I had previously been urged to ignore it by online reviewers.

Love, Death, and Robots - not impressed by the few I've seen.

I loved THE OTHERS and I really think I need to re-watch that one soon.

Nilanjana Bose said...

I really liked The Sixth Sense. My TBR is spiralling out of control, but I do want to add the new antho to it at some point.

Elizabeth Seckman said...

I think I've seen all of those horror movies. We watch a lot of horror.

I need to listen to this DIY MFA...the others were pretty awesome.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Spacer Guy, we watched that the other night! They were insane.

The Cynical Sailor said...

Some new movies to add to my very long list of things to watch :-) Loves Forest of Ghosts - congrats to J.H. on her release!

mshatch said...

I agree that The Sixth Sense was one of the best Ghost stories ever. I didn't see it coming. Have not seen Bird Box and probably won't. I am watching The Good Place which is pretty darn funny :)

LD Masterson said...

I loved Sixth Sense (did NOT see it coming), but my favorite ghost stories tend to be of a lighter vein... Blythe Spirit, The Ghost of Mrs. Muir, Kiss Me Goodbye, Topper, etc. Oh, and Field of Dreams.

Sandra said...

I'm not familiar with Bird Box. I don't think Love, Death and Robots is my cup of tea or coffee:)

Mary Aalgaard said...

Great ghost story picks! I need to see a few of them. The Woman in Black is also a play, which I saw locally, and found it fascinating.

Donna K. Weaver said...

Thanks for the shout out!

We finally saw Captain Marvel and really enjoyed it. After your recommendation, I didn't have any doubts that I would.

Fave ghost story: The Sixth Sense. That was so clever and such a twist at the end.

Murees Dupè said...

I didn't think Bird Box was bad, as others had said. It was enjoyable. And my cousin visited Romania and told me of a forest the locals stay far away from, and don't like talking about. I thought it was interesting, but I would probably not go near it either.

Steven Arellano Rose Jr. said...

It's hard to say what my favourite ghost story movie is because there's a lot of good ones out there but I can tell you that The Changeling is one of my favourites. The filmography the ambience and the mystery of it was done really good. It's one I'll have to purchase on DVD. I do have to admit that Sixth Sense was one of my least favourites. It had a lot of good points in it such as the blue/grey hue style of the scenes that made it ethereal. But the biggest problem I had with it was that the movie depended on the ironic ending to much which is a problem for me with many of Shayamalan's movies. Now The Others I liked. The haunted house setting was done really well in that one.

dolorah said...

The Others and Sixth Sense are two of my favorites. But of course, how can you beat GHOST; Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

LD, I guess Field of Dreams does qualify as a ghost story.

Donna, you're welcome! And glad you enjoyed Captain Marvel.

Steven, and then he completely wore out that twist ending...

Sandra said...

Nice giveaway by the book club.

Roland Clarke said...

The Others tops my list but closely followed by The Sixth Sense. I've got DVDs of both so can watch both when I want.

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

I didn't realize how many ghost movies I've watched until I read this post and started thinking about it. I like a wide range of them, too. Like "The Ghost and Mrs. Muir", "Poltergeist", and "Ghost." (I'm sure there are lots more of them, too...)

An "adult" animated movie, huh? Reminds me of an adult cartoon I saw in the theater many years ago. It was French, I think, and the "lead" was a cat who looked similar to our Felix the cat, and his name was similar, too. It was quite a shocker! Funny as all get-out, though.

DMS said...

I have watched The Others many times and also have watched The Sixth Sense. Don't think I have seen the others though. Thanks for the list!

I have heard a lot about Bird Box, but haven't seen it. There were certainly a lot of memes going around about it a while back!

Have a great weekend.
~Jess

XmasDolly said...

I'm sorry I'm late with my comment, but talk about appointments up the.... and being pooped afterwards. My friend you signed in, which is awesome that's how I knew you joined us I'm stopping by everyone else now too.. well, I have been little by little. ANYWAY......... I THANK YOU for the introduction to this song you posted. How interesting and I had my husband listen to it too. We're not into this type of music, but my husband had retired from the music business for a while because he was taken care of me, but he's practicing again to get back into the swing & possibly a band again. Although this isn't quite his type of music he says he loved the guitar portion of it. They were really awesome & some of the riffs were fan-freakin-tastic as he said!!! hehehe~ Thank you so very much for joining us, and I just have one question for you my friend... Do you believe in ghosts??? For my home is haunted and I know that for a fact.

Cynthia Heart Books said...

I liked The Sixth Sense.

Lately, I've been playing theme songs from movies while I write.

Damyanti said...

Congratulations to J H Moncrieff!

I always read your posts for the news, Alex--love that you collect all the news from blogiverse, reviews, tidbits and put it up in one condensed post to read:)

Jennifer Lane said...

I loved The Changeling! Saw it as a child and it scared the crap out of me. Of course The Sixth Sense is amazing, too.

I am one of the only people I know who doesn't have Netflix. Must correct that soon!

Mark Koopmans said...

The only ghost movie I'd heard of was The Sixth Sense! (Proof I'm too much of a chicken to watch scary movies!)

Thought Birdbox was good, but yeah, now that you mention it, I missed The Surprise.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Susan, not familiar with that one.

Jess, I missed those.

Marie, be great if he got back into a band again. And I used to not believe in ghosts, but I know there are things that can't be explained. My wife's childhood home was also haunted.

Jemi Fraser said...

I'm a wimp and can't watch anything scary - I still have nightmares based on Stephen King books I read way back in high school!! :)
Lots of good news today for many of my friends - congrats to all!

Arlee Bird said...

I still like Poltergeist a lot--great movie about ghosts and hauntings.


Arlee Bird
Tossing It Out

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

Not a ghost movie fan so I don't really have a favorite. I didn't watch Bird Box and probably won't. I thought it looked similar to The Happening. Can't wait to read the next anthology.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Lee, the original is a classic.

Trisha said...

I will never forget seeing The Sixth Sense in cinemas - of course you can only see it for the first time once, and every subsequent viewing will never be the same. But it was groundbreaking, stunning, and had a few significant twists and turns that made it brilliant and unforgettable. I was also so impressed with Bruce Willis in this role - not his usual type of gig, but he showed that he can do different types of roles very well.

Pat Garcia said...

Hi,
I'm happy to see the time changes in the Anthology submissions.
I also almost always discover writers in our group that I haven't read. Just discovered Donna has a new book out, and I look forward to reading it.
All the best.
Shalom aleichem,
Pat G @ EverythingMustChange

Liz Fichera said...

Hands down favorite ghost story is THE HAUNTING (1963). It still creeps me out.

Magic Love Crow said...

I love the Sixth Sense too! Congrats J.H.! Thanks for the reviews! Congrats to everyone on their releases! Take Care Alex!