Wednesday, October 5, 2022

Insecure Writer’s Support Group, Family Ghost Movies, and October Movie Preview

It’s time for another group posting of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group! Time to release our fears to the world – or offer encouragement to those who are feeling neurotic. If you’d like to join us, click on the tab above and sign up. We post the first Wednesday of every month. I encourage everyone to visit at least a dozen new blogs and leave a comment. Your words might be the encouragement someone needs.

The awesome co-hosts for the October 5 posting of the IWSG are Tonja Drecker, Victoria Marie Lees, Mary Aalgaard, and Sandra Cox!

First thing – we need co-hosts for the next three months! If you can co-host November 2, December 7, or January 4, please leave a comment or send me an email. (Natalie, I have you down for December.) Thanks!

October 5 question - What do you consider the best characteristics of your favorite genre?

Ability to do anything and go anywhere. Science fiction gives authors the chance to explore new places, new races, new technology, and yet still use real life situations to tell the tale. And most science fiction shows that we are still thriving, still hopeful. I like that a lot.

The IWSG Goodreads Book Club selections for October are:

Sign of the Green Dragon by C Lee McKenzie

Business for Authors by Joanna Penn

Top 10 Family Ghost Movies by H. R. Sinclair

I love a good spooky story. When ghosts are involved, I’m hooked. Below are my top ten favorite ghost stories to watch with the family. I listed the years for the films as some have remakes, and I don’t think they were done as well. Most of these are comedies, and with kids that’s usually a good idea.

Blackbeard's Ghost (1968) G, comedy, old-fashioned Disney fun
Blackbeard’s ghost walks the earth until he can do one good deed.

The Canterville Ghost
(1944) NR, comedy, sweet and charming
Sir Simon de Canterville’s ghost is doomed until a descendant performs an act of courage on his behalf.

The Time of Their Lives (1946) NR, comedy, Abbott & Costello
Two ghosts from the Revolutionary War haunt a house until they can clear their names of treason.

Topper (1937) NR, comedy, fun with Cary Grant
A fun-loving dead couple is determined to loosen up their living friend.

Ghost Town (2008) PG-13, comedy, romance, moving
A crabby dentist gains the ability to see dead people, and they annoy him.

R.I.P.D. (2013) PG-13, comedy, action/adventure, plain fun
A recently slain cop joins the undead police force and tries to find the man who murdered him.

Child of Glass (1978) NR, mystery, charming
A boy must help a ghost solve a riddle to release her from a doomed afterlife on earth.

Lady in White
(1988) PG-13, horror, scary, haunting
A boy befriends a ghost and attempts to discover who murdered her before he becomes the latest victim.

Odd Thomas (2013) PG-13, horror, entertaining
A clairvoyant cook, his sweetheart, and the town sheriff try to prevent an otherworldly catastrophe from coming.

The Ghost and Mrs. Muir (1947) NR, romance, sweet
A woman becomes friends with the ghost of a sea captain who's been haunting her house, then agrees to write his salty life story.

My own ghost story for children is out now!

Oscar, the Apprehensive Apparition
Chapter book for ages 5-8
Oscar the ghost dwells happily in his cozy cottage, where he hides from creatures that lurk in the dark. After a mysterious message arrives, he must find the courage to go out and discover what's waiting for him. Will he be brave enough or will the monsters send him rushing back home?

Amazon, iTunes, Nook, and MORE Want to know more about H. R.? Visit her website.

October Movie Preview

Here are the theatrical releases for October. Descriptions courtesy of the IMDB. Snark provided by me.

7 –

Set in the '30s, it follows three friends who witness a murder, become suspects themselves, and uncover one of the most outrageous plots in American history.
Director - David O. Russell
Stars - Christian Bale, Margot Robbie, John David Washington
Bale has become a chameleon - you can't find him in a good movie anywhere.

14 –

Halloween Ends
The saga of Michael Myers and Laurie Strode comes to a spine-chilling climax in this final installment of the franchise.
Director - David Gordon Green
Stars - Jamie Lee Curtis, Kyle Richards, Will Patton
For the love of Pete! Shove him in a wood chipper, collect the pieces, and shoot them into space. We’re done!

21 –

Black Adam
Nearly 5,000 years after he was bestowed with the almighty powers of the Egyptian gods-and imprisoned just as quickly-Black Adam (Johnson) is freed from his earthly tomb, ready to unleash his unique form of justice on the modern world.
Director - Jaume Collet-Serra
Stars - Viola Davis, Dwayne Johnson, Sarah Shahiv
I got four words for you - Justice Society of America! Too cool to see them in this film.

What’s the best part of your genre? What are your favorite family ghost films? Picking up Oscar? What movies strike your interest this month?
And can you co-host in the next three months?
See you for the November IWSG!


Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Alex - all good ghost stories ... and all the best to Holly with her 'Oscar' - the cover is enticing. A murder mystery can call me in when I sit and read a novel ... cheers and all the best to all IWSGers - Hilary

Elephant's Child said...

I am a greedy reader and read from most genres except horror.
Love that your chosen genre still speaks so loudly to you. And many others.

Shady Del Knight said...

Hi, Alex!

The best part about my favorite genre, horror, is that you can put the book down or turn off the monitor, make it go away and give thanks for your normal daily life. I haven't seen any of the ghost films on your list. However, as a young boy, I watched the Topper TV series. I can't believe Halloween Ends is really the final installment of the series. I predict Halloween: The Next Generation or Halloween: Can't Keep a Bad Man Down. Watch out for the new horror film icons on the block: swamp demon Victor Crowley of the Hatchet series and ruthless slasher Art the Clown, star of All Hallows' Eve, Terrifier and T-2, the latter to be released on streaming platforms next month.

Enjoy the rest of your week, good buddy Alex!

Liza said...

Not a horror woman. Can't read it or watch it or I don't sleep. That said, I'm ok for charming ghost stories, like The Ghost and Mrs. Muir.

T. Powell Coltrin said...

As always thanks for your thoughts on movies!

Your books are awesome and after reading them, I can see where it's your favorite genre.

If you want my help for January on the IWSG, I'll be happy to participate.


Lynn La Vita said...

Hi Alex,
Now I better understand why Science Fiction is so popular. I enjoy the chance to explore new places, too.

For some reason, I overlooked the real life situations woven into the weird plots, new technology, beings with exceptional talents, and some characters that would scare the living daylights out of me if I saw them on the street.

With Halloween around the corner, here in Mexico, we celebrate Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead). A joyous celebration of the continuity of life and death.

Lynn La Vita @

A Hundred Quills said...

Hi Alex. I wish I could wrap my head around sci-fi or horror but somehow they just don't work for me. Though I agree, the ability to build a new world and be hopeful about life makes it compelling.

Natalie Aguirre said...

I used to watch The Ghost and Mrs. Muir tv series as a kid. I really want to see Amsterdam. I can co-host in January as well as December if you need me to.

Jennifer Lane said...

Hope for the future--I never thought about that advantage of sci fi before!

Cathrina Constantine said...

I love a good ghost story and movie!

Alex, I'm available to cohost whenever you need me.

Jemi Fraser said...

Yay for Holly & Oscar!
I love that about science fiction too - another of my fave genres!

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Holly picked some old movies. I don't think I've seen any of them.

I love almost anything Dwayne Johnson is in.

PT Dilloway said...

I have not seen any of those ghost movies. Some of them remind me of that Ghosts show on CBS/Paramount+ that didn't really impress me much.

I'd probably see Amsterdam and Black Adam at some point, but I can easily wait until they're on streaming somewhere. Black Adam I'm sure will be on HBO Max but I don't have it so maybe I'd have to Redbox it. said...

Hmmm, you love fantasy when there are ghosts involved, great, same as me. And I am happiness when there is plenty of humour, Alex. About to set out on adventure, writing that sort of book for adulte this time!

Nancy Gideon said...

My son and I are Halloweenaholics when it comes to movies. We start Oct 1 and watch one every day - his horror (not my fav if a slasher is involved!) and mine scary but not dismembering. The hard part is finding things we don't already own or have watched a dozen times . . . or doesn't chase screaming too stupid to live women around with various sharp things. ODD THOMAS is my absolute favorite (both on screen and between pages)!!

H. R. Sinclair said...

Thank you for hosting me, Alex!

It's true, I'm a sucker for the older movies.

I like my genre (contemporary fantasy) for most of the same reasons. I can build and create in real life.

I'm looking forward to Black Adam.

Loni Townsend said...

Grats to Holly, though admittedly, I don't think I've seen any of her recommended movies. >_<

My son and I are looking forward to watching Black Adam. It might even be one we go watch in the theater!

diedre Knight said...

Howdy, Captain!

Haven't seen any of the movies reviewed this time. "Shove him in a wood chipper..." hee hee! I agree.

"Oscar" sounds delightful! Loved the entire Odd Thomas series, just haven't seen any movies. All of the Halloween film suggestions sound terrific ;-)

Happy to help in November!

Joanne said...

The list of family friendly ghost movies brought back good memories. Holly's new book sounds like perfect Halloween fun. As for theater movies - I truly give up and that's sad. Then again, it gives more time to read. Happy Fall! Hope you are drying out from crazy weather.

Victoria Marie Lees said...

Okay, Alex, so I'm old-fashioned. I like Abbott and Costello's Hold That Ghost movie best. I watch it on Halloween.

Thanks for all you do, sir, to assist writers. All best to you!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Shady, I doubt it's the end of Halloween movies as well.

Teresa, thanks!

Lynn, enjoy Day of the Dead!

Natalie, thanks!

Cathrina, thanks!

Lost, go for it!

Nancy, I'm not into slasher flicks or torture porn.

Holly, you're welcome!

Loni, go for it!

Debs, thanks! I'll send you an email soon about it.

Mary Aalgaard said...

All those ghost movie suggestions look great. I love old movies, too. I like books by Wendy Webb, a MN author. She sets her books on the shores of Lake Superior. Hauntingly intriguing. As far as movies, well, Ghost is a classic with Swayze and Moore!

Joylene Nowell Butler said...

Great question this month. Bravo to whoever thought of it. Alex, I'm available December and January. Not sure where I'll be in November.

Nick Wilford said...

Your answer shows we're on the same page. Good sci-fi gives us ordinary people in extraordinary situations. And then we see how they cope.

Congrats to H.R. - her book looks so cute. Hmm, and I thought they ended the Halloween saga a few times already!

Nancy Gideon said...

Alex, I could co-host on any one of those months. Let me know . . .

Rachna Chhabria said...

Hi Alex, I agree with you that science fiction gives us authors the chance to explore new places, new races, new technology, and yet still use real life situations to tell the tale. I too believe in that. I do that for my fantasy :)

Michael Offutt, Phantom Reader said...

Halloween Ends just means that they will be rebooting again soon. I like the woodchipper idea. I don't understand why some franchises can just go on forever, but I guess they keep making money. I never thought (for one) that there'd be a Chucky television series either. That shows you how much I misunderstand horror.

Damyanti Biswas said...

Wonderful recommendations, Alex. Love the cover of Oscar.

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

I like what you said about science fiction being "hopeful." Something we can all use these days!

Arlee Bird said...

I've always leaned toward sci-fi for the reasons you mention. Not so much these days, but if I were to write fiction then that would probably be a direction that I'd be inclined to go.

I don't think it's just Christian Bale. Hard to find any actor in a good movie (at least that I like) these days. Too much messaging in movies these days and not enough good stories. New movies don't really get me all that enthused these days and when I see one I'm often disappointed.

Arlee Bird
Tossing It Out

Carol Kilgore said...

Congrats to H.R. Sinclair on her new release! I love fun ghost stories. Can't answer this month's question because I don't have just one favorite genre.

Liz A. said...

I've seen a few of those ghost movies. I think one that kind of fits is The Frighteners. Although, it's more for older kids as some of the themes are a bit dark for youngers (surprisingly as the tone is very light).

Sandra Cox said...

Black Adam sounds like a fantasy/sci-fi Reacher;)
I think Sci Fi writing would be so exhilarating because of what you mentioned, building your own worlds, races, etc. AND I've enjoyed your world building:)
Wishing you much success with Oscar, H.R. Cute name for a little ghost:)

J E Oneil said...

I can't believe I'm saying this about a DC movie, but I actually want to go see Black Adam.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Joylene, thanks!

Nick, they did...

Nancy, thanks! Really need someone in November.

Michael, I have no idea why there's a Chucky series!

Lee, it's getting harder to avoid those message movies...

Liz, you mean the R-rated one with Michael J. Fox? Great movie but definitely not for kids!

Sandra, thanks!

Birgit said...

The Spirit is Willing is another great family ghost movie starring Sid Caesar. I'm so glad you have Topper here ( the sequel is good too) and The Ghost and Mrs Muir..a classic film. I'm so glad you mention the Lady in White which is an excellent film. I would also pick some truly eerie films. Like The Innocents or called Turn of the Screw starring Deborah Kerr as a governess to 2 kids who seem to be linked to the ghosts that still hasn't the place. The Haunting-1963 about a group of people who spend a weekend at this home that is haunted. The Others about a woman with 2 kids who are allergic to the sun but there is more going on. And the one with Daniel Radcliffe- the woman in Black. I thi k that's what it is called. Not the best for the kids but they are still great.
The sqeet lite ghost story sounds perfect for kids.
I do want to see Amsterdam which looks quite funny

Tonja Drecker said...

I hadn't thought of the 'still thriving and still hopeful' part, but that is exactly it.

Olga Godim said...

Your description of speculative fiction is pitch perfect. I'm 100 percent behind you on this.

Elizabeth Mueller said...

For a moment there I thought you'd said that your own ghost story was out--I was like, whoa, Alex, that's a huge genre shift for you! Haha! It took me a while to figure you're posting for someone. :P

Erika Beebe said...

I love Odd Thomas! My favorite part of my genre is the magic sprinkled on life.

Sarah Foster said...

Hubby and I will definitely catch Halloween Ends. He has his doubts if it will end for good, though.
I can co-host any month!

Jenni said...

Great points about sci fi--especially the part about knowing we're doing okay in the future. :)
Love these family ghost movie recs. I'm always looking for something fun to watch on Halloween, and we don't do scary.

Douglas Thomas Greening said...

Science fiction certainly does leave the door open for just about anything to happen anywhere. And is not restrictive in terms of drama, comedy, or romance for that matter. Anything goes.

I'd be open to helping out in November or December if there is anything I can do to contribute to IWSG. said...

Hi Alex! I can co-host in January.

Debbie Johansson said...

I love, love, love ghost stories! The Ghost and Mrs. Muir is one of my favourite films, and it's one that I watch regularly. I'm also a sucker for older films. :-)

Karen Baldwin said...

Dwayne Johnson, Egypt gods...I'm in.

G. B. Miller said...

I'm not a horror buff of any kind, but deep down, I have a nagging suspicion that they'll try to squeeze one more Halloween movie out of the franchise. Call me cynical, but Hollywood seems to be lacking a good imagination these days.

My favorite genre(s) to read are Historical fiction and Non-fiction. My favorite genre to write in is Fantasy. Fantasy allows you to blend/bend the lines between the real world and the fantasy world to infinity and beyond, making the fantastic appear real, ordinary (think of the old t.v. series "Alien Nation") and acceptable.

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

Ha ha ha! Your snarky comments on the movies gave me a much needed chuckle. Thanks, Alex. :)

Diane Burton said...

Hope is my best takeaway from science fiction. A future.

Love the list of friendly spooky movies. I don't do horror. :) Hope you have a great month.

Meka James said...

The world building in genres like Scifi and fantasy is amazing. The imagination it takes to build entire universes from scratch fascinates me for sure.

Steven Arellano Rose Jr. said...

That's one of the other things I like about science fiction: exploring other worlds yet it's still rooted in reality and so is generally plausible. My favourite family ghost stories/movies are Catch That Ghost with Abbott and Costello, Don Knotts' The Ghost and Mr. Chicken and Disney's Watcher In the Woods.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Birgit, The Others was a really good film.

Olga, thanks!

Sarah, thanks!

Douglas, that would be awesome! I'll email you.

Kim, you rock.

Madeline, I am here to amuse!

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

Odd Thomas is one of my favorite. I will give Black Adam a chance. Yes to Science Fiction.

Sherry Ellis said...

I remember the Ghost and Mrs. Muir. That was a cute movie!

Being able to go anywhere is definitely a big perk for sci-fi!

Sorry, I can't co-host. Life is too busy. If it ever changes, I will let you know. Hope you find some people!

Jemima Pett said...

Ah, my least favourite month of the year... although I might make an exception and read your ghost story :)

I'm up for co-hosting any of those dates, and most other times, so let me know any time you need an extra keyboard on the job.


Fundy Blue said...

I'm finally making the rounds, Alex! I'm sorry, but I can't cohost during the next three months. I hope you find the people you need.

Tyrean Martinson said...

Congratulations to Holly!!!

Mary Kirkland said...

Congrats to H.R. Sinclair.

Susan Kane said...

Have seen so many of these gems! Great actors. RIPD is a favorite, Jeff Bridges with Ryan Reynolds are crazy fun. The Canterville Ghost, Robert Young and Charles Laughton, I love movies from other eras.

Melissa said...

Congrats to Holly!
Sorry to be bringing up the rear, but I made it. :)

Janet Alcorn said...

I cracked up at your comment about the latest Halloween movie. I think we need to shove Jason in that same wood chipper. Time for some new slasher movie characters, folks.

Toi Thomas said...

I love what you love about science fiction.
Oscar looks cute.
Amsterdam seems interesting, not good or bad. I may check it out.
I do want to see Black Adman, perhaps on my birthday.

Truedessa said...

I am a fan of Johnson so I am sure I will enjoy the movie. You did a fantastic job creating new worlds in your series. I wish someone would pick it up and make it into a movie or TV series.

I am not into scary Halloween movies but, a bit of paranormal is always intriguing.

DMS said...

I like that anything is possible in the fantasy genre. Makes it exciting.

I have not seen any of the Halloween movies- but plan to check some of them out now that I know about them. :)

Oscar looks fabulous!

Nilanjana Bose said...

I don't know my favourite genre. I'll have to have a good, long think about that one. What I do know though is that the blog world has expanded my horizons in such unexpected directions and led to explorations of genres/books I never would have thought to pick up on my own. Same for films. So...thank you!

Donna K. Weaver said...

I love The Canterville Ghost! I own the book and almost every film version. lol

Al Penwasser said...

I'll bet "Black Adam" is a good movie. When I saw the trailer...Hawkman???? How frikkin' cool is that?

Sandra Cox said...

Hey Alex, If you need me to co-host just let me know.

Sandra Cox said...

Hey Alex, If you need me to co-host, just let me know. said...

Oscar's a cutie. I hope he perseveres.

May you be enjoying October, Alex.

Ronel Janse van Vuuren said...

"And most science fiction shows that we are still thriving, still hopeful." Love that!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Sherry, I think we are good!

Jemima, January would be good!

Janet, exactly!

Sandra, thanks - January?

Carrie-Anne said...

Oscar sounds like an adorable book! Though I love traditional horror films and stories, I also enjoy horror-comedy and horror creatures meant to be cute and child-friendly.

Sandra Cox said...

Have a creative day, Alex.

Cherie Colyer said...

My favorite part of fantasy/paranormal is that anything can happy.

Ash said...

Those ghost movies look so cute! I haven't seen any of them. I can't wait for Halloween Ends! I'm a HUGE horror buff.

Ash @ Essentially Ash

Lynda R Young as Elle Cardy said...

I do like that about scifi too.
I literally laughed out loud over your comment about Bale.

mail4rosey said...

It always seems like you love what you do for a living. That is a gift. :) Oscar sounds like a cute story for the kids. I think all of my grandbabies would enjoy it.

Computer Tutor said...

What a Halloween collection! I guess there are no cozy horror movies. Sigh.

Sandra Cox said...

More good Book Club Selections.
YOU have a great one.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Lynda, here to amuse!

Rosey, I try!

Sandra, you as well!

Susan Kane said...

We are SyFy nerds. If the movie is based on the evil entity, I reject it.

Christine Rains said...

The best part of urban fantasy is peeling back the humdrum normal everyday world we see and making it something magical. Oscar is a fabulous book! I've been hearing really good things about Black Adam, but I won't even look at Halloween Ends.

Sandra Cox said...

Have a spooktacular weekend.

SpacerGuy said...

Yes I am a Science Fiction fan - Comedies for kids is a great idea.

I remember the first time Exorcist was on TV 40 years ago and I was in my cousins farm house on their 500 acre ranch. It was like someones birthday. Then the movie came on. We were all seated and messing around like kids do. "Hey get him!" "Aghh"

Then uncle Joe came in and ruined everything. The room fell silent. One by one the room of 20 kids dwindled until it was only me left with cranky Uncle Joe. When it got to the "horror" in exorcist uncle Joe was outraged. He got up cussing and yanked the TV plug out!!!! said...

Happy Halloween, Alex!

Sandra Cox said...

Did you see Black Adam?