Horror Podcasts Pt. 1

Just in time for Halloween I’ve decided to drop a few of my favorite horror themed podcasts for scary stories to keep the scares flowing!

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Knifepoint Horror

https://knifepointhorror.libsyn.com/

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The Drabblecast

https://www.drabblecast.org/

We are a weekly audio fiction podcast featuring short and flash fictions from a variety authors. Our singular focus is off-beat, funny, eclecticism in science fiction, fantasy, and horror.

The Drabblecast ran its first episode in February of 2007. In the early days, Norm and college friends and then editors Kendall Marchman and Luke Coddington wrote most of the episodes. But soon a listenership grew, and the Drabblecast began publishing stories contributed by its fans. Later, professional authors got involved. Names like Tim PrattMike ResnickBen H. Winters, and Mur Lafferty have appeared on the podcast.

The Drabblecast is the winner of the 2010, 2011 and 2012 Parsec Awards for Best Speculative Fiction Audio Magazine.”

Drabblecast has amazing production and Norm is one of the best hosts I’ve ever heard.  Stories are typically user submitted and the team chooses which one to produce.  Drabblecast is returning from a long hiatus, bringing its first new story to life on Halloween.

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Lets Not Meet

http://www.letsnotmeetpodcast.com/

“Let’s Not Meet is a true horror podcast. These are stories of real encounters with creeps, murderers and psychos. Told in the form of a campfire narrative, Let’s Not Meet sets out to prove that real monsters are not that of fiction novels or horror films. The real monsters are the humans that walk among us every day of our lives.
The tales told in this podcast are from the Let’s Not Meet forum of reddit.com. Join Andrew Tate every Sunday for new episodes.”
I love Let’s Not Meet for the simple fact that the stories are real.  The  reality of the storeis adds an extra level of creepiness to it knowing that people exist like this in the world and you’re one unlucky instance away from running into them and having your own story to tell.
-Andre
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Mandy Review

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Mandy is a 2018 action/horror film starring Nic Cage and Andrea Riseborough.  Nic Cage is Red, a logger living in the wilderness with Riseborough who plays Mandy.  They live a good life until one day Mandy catches the eye of a psychotic cult leader, setting in motion a gruesome revenge story as Red rampages through the cult.

Spoilers

The acting in Mandy is excellent.  There are no cheesy or over the top performances in this one.  My favorite performances are those of Cage and Roache, who plays the cult leader Jeremiah Sand.  Cage delivers a solid performance as he portrays a broken man consumed by a hunger for revenge as he slaughters hellish demon bikers and crazed cult members to avenge his wife Mandy.  There was one scene that takes place in a bathroom that can best be summed up as “classic cage.”  Roache on the opposite end portrays Sand as a manipulative, psychotic fanatic who I’m pretty sure is on LSD the entire time.  He manages to control everyone under him through intense psychological manipulation to the point where they would die for him or sacrifice each other at his will.  He’s also a failed musician who doesn’t take too kindly to criticism, hence his reaction to Mandy laughing when he plays his music as he tries to impress her.

The presentation of the movie is excellent.  Sound is slowed down, distorted and manipulated to help lend to the sinister feel of the person speaking or the events taking place.  For some characters their speech comes off as though they were underwater or as if it were coming from all around you.  The cinematography of this movie is amazing.  Scenes look like something painted by a skilled artist.  The use of color and combined with blackness in certain scenes gives more of a feel for whats going on rather than the actual spoken lines.  The movie also uses good-looking psychedelic animation when showing what a character is dreaming about.  This movie is all over the place artistically but in a good way.

The story is a fairly predictable revenge movie.  Red violently carves his way though all obstacles to get revenge on the man responsible for Mandys death.  There were a couple of more unique parts to the story though.  For instance, the biker gang that kidnapped them for the Sand.  They were supposed to be demons I guess.  They looked like cenobites from Hellraiser and I wish there had been a bit more focus on them as they were pretty interesting.  The movie also had an amazing fight scene with two guys battling it out with chainsaws of all things.  Also towards the end we see imagery indicating that the events occurring aren’t taking place on earth.  Perhaps Red died or he’s hallucinating everything taking place, we did see him use LSD earlier in the movie.

Overall Mandy is a great movie, for certain people.  Its one of those rare really artsy horror films that’s an homage to eighties b-movies.  The story is a predictable revenge flick, there’s nothing surprising about it but the way its told is what makes it special.  The unoriginal story is more than made up for by excellent production and great acting.  Mandy is one of the best horror movies released this year and it’s definitely worth a watch.

9/10

-Andre

The Strangers: Prey at Night Review

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The Strangers: Prey at Night is the 2018 sequel to the original The Strangers movie released in 2008.  This time out, the trio of masked killers sets their targets on a family of four in an isolated trailer park.  What ensues is a long night of terror and bloody murder, because “why not?” The Strangers: Prey at Night takes everything that was good about the original movie and throws it out.  This time out, the movie has everyone doing the absolute dumbest things possible in order to get themselves killed and the killers are elevated to be essentially a supernatural presence at times before they’re eventually dumbed down as well.

SPOILERS

Multiple times during this movie I found myself asking “why would anyone do that?”  Where do I even begin?  The family travels to a remote trailer park owned by their aunt and uncle who we see brutally murdered in the opening scenes of the movie.  The strangers remain after killing the couple as they hear a voicemail letting them know that they’ll have new victims arriving.  So the family shows up and doesn’t find uncle or aunt anywhere, just a note saying to take your room and they’ll see them the next day.  At dinner someone makes a comment that upsets the teenage daughter, who promptly leaves the trailer to go off alone into the night to sulk, mom and dad send her older brother to go and retrieve her.  The two kids end up discovering their aunt and uncles corpses and rush back to their parents to let them know what happened.  Instead of calling the police right there, the father, asking “is this some sort of joke?” has the son lead him to the bodies to verify.  I guess this is a family that likes to joke about finding the murdered corpses of their family members often?

With mom and daughter alone back at the trailer one of the masked killers sets after them armed with a knife.  There’s one moment where shes standing in the kitchen facing both of them and the two women stand there and stare at her, like hit her with a chair or something.  The killer chases the two women who lock themselves in the bathroom where the mother helps her daughter escape through the hatch in the ceiling to her safety.  While the daughter is safe on the roof reaching down for her mother the killer is breaking through the door.  Mom makes no attempt to try and climb out with her daughter.  The killer gets through the door and enters the bathroom, embracing the mom in a hug from the back before she stabs and kills her.  Mom never even turned to face the killer for some reason, she essentially accepted death as soon as her daughter got out, does she not have survival instincts?

The dad and son after verifying that it wasn’t a prank head back to the trailer and find mom dead and daughter missing.  What do they do now?  Obviously hop in the car and drive around the area really fast yelling the daughters name out of the window.  They crash and dad is pinned in the wreckage while son escapes with a loaded gun to find his sister.  The sister is being chased by the male killer through a woods area where she hides from him among a series of large cement tubes.  In the tube shes in, one out of a lot of other tubes, another of the masked killers jumps out from the dark to scare her.  Was this killer hiding in that tube all night waiting for that moment?  Did they plan to guide her to that exact tube for that scare?  I imagine the killers were using walkies and great effort to coordinate this and I find it hilarious.

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Sister escapes and runs into brother as they’re chased by a killer.  Brother remembers that he has a loaded gun on him and aims it at the killer, the same one that killed his mom mind you, before turning and running away for some reason.  They end up abandoning it later of course, and he ends up separated from his sister.  While running the sister ends up on a road where a cop happens to arrive to help her.  They’re in the middle of the road and there’s really no cover for anyone to sneak up on them, yet the cop ends up getting killed as hes speaking to the girl because I guess the killer was invisible when she walked right up behind him.  Why are cops always useless in horror movies?  After this the roles essentially switch and the killers become as dumb as possible for some reason.

Sister grabs the shotgun from the cops car and runs off into the woods pursued by the killer.  The killer chasing armed with a knife while the girl still has the shotgun.  At some point the daughter realizes this and shoots her pursuer mid mass before finishing her off with another shot.  She was already dying but sure, waste your last bullet.  Back with the brother, hes being pursued though a store when he grabs a golf club to defend himself.  Eventually hes confronted by another killer armed with just a knife again, and they have a stare off before he realizes he has the upper hand.  He manages to kill this stranger as well before hes attacked and injured by the last remaining stranger who leaves him for dead.

 

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This is where things get really ridiculous.  The sister heads back to the police car in an attempt to escape when the remaining killer rams into her with his indestructible truck.  He rams her several times, rendering the officers SUV useless except his last ram left him stuck to the SUV unable to move.  The daughter notices that his truck is leaking gas heavily and throws her lighter into it causing the truck to explode.  She hobbles away, seemingly safe before, surprise the killer survived his truck exploding! No really, he survived.  Not only did he survive, the truck is still fully operational whilst on fire.  The killer pursues her before cornering her and attempting to finish her off with his ax instead of just running her over.  He keels over and its revealed that he was impaled by a shard of glass.  The explosion was just a minor annoyance, its the glass that did him in. The daughter is rescued by a passing family but the movie has one last jump scare as the badly scarred stranger makes one last attempt at her life before he collapses dead in the street.

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The Strangers: Prey at Night was dumb.  It takes a believable premise like the first film and trashes it.  The killers went from being unsettling and spooky to hokey caricatures of themselves.  The acting was average but the bad writing drags everything down.  The protagonists aren’t likable, they have no development, they aren’t even memorable.  This film really isn’t worth watching unless you intend to laugh at the absurd moments in it.  The soundtrack was good though.

3/10

-Andre

The Thing (1982)

 

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Spoilers

In 1982 at the remote US Outpost 31 in Antarctica, twelve men stationed at the base are suddenly accosted by two men in a helicopter from a nearby Norwegian base.  The two Norwegian men attempt to shoot a dog as they chase it over the frozen valley towards the American camp.  In the ensuing confusion, the two men are killed, leaving the American team puzzled and in need of answers.  They fly to the Norwegian base and discover a massacre, everyone’s either dead or missing, the base is on fire, and they find the remains of a strange creature burned outside.  What follows is a tale of gripping paranoia and cosmic horror that’s sure to entertain.

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They don’t make horror like this anymore.  For starters the tone, its dark and hopeless.  These men are trapped, there is no help coming for them no matter how much they radio for it.  Outside they’ve got temperatures hitting in excess of fifty below.  While inside they have primal fear driven by a creature they can barely comprehend.  A creature that hides within the bodies of their friends, men they’ve known for years.  This causes intense paranoia and mistrust, making the men as much of a danger to each other as the thing is to them.  The thing knows this, and uses this to its advantage as it tries to keep suspicion off of itself, pushing the humans to suspect each other instead.Garry_assures_the_men_of_his_innocence_-_The_Thing_(1982)

This dark and hopeless tone is amplified by the use of music.  From the beginning of the opening scene you’re hit with this powerful haunting score with a thumping bass note that sounds almost like a human heartbeat, perhaps foreshadowing whats to come.  There isn’t a lot of music used in the movie, but when it is used it helps to enhance the tension present.

One of my favorite things about his movie is the practical effects used.  There’s nothing CGI, everything was built ranging from puppetry to stop motion.  The creature designs are amazing.  Take the Norris-Thing for instance, this guy was assimilated by the thing and has a heart attack.  One of the doctors in the group attempts to revive him using a defibrillator.  The thing, unfamiliar with the concept of a defibrillator perceives the shock as an attack and fights back, by opening up Norris’s chest revealing a large mouth that rips off the doctors arms.  This is just one of many amazing designs used by the production to create this story. Vlcsnap-2011-12-30-07h27m52s226

The characterization is another standout for this movie.  Whereas with horror movies of the modern era, you wind up with cheap jump scares, writing that makes no sense, or characters that make stupid decisions just to move the plot.  With The Thing there’s really one jump scare, in the aforementioned part about Norris and his chest mouth.  The characters are pretty smart in this.  They try hard to do everything they can to survive the situation they’re placed in.  There’s only one instance where you could claim that  someone did something dumb and that’s when this guy runs off into the night after someone that he suspects is the thing.  This goes completely against character for this individual as earlier on he was in a position where he had multiple armed men with him yet he refused to confront what he suspected was the thing behind a closed door, wanting to let it freeze to death instead.  The sudden change in character or “stupidity” can be explained by the common fan speculation that the guy didn’t care about running off alone because he was actually the thing by that point.

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The Thing is a timeless movie that only gets better with age.  It is a film that was panned by critics during its initial release, but in the years following has gained the respect that it deserves.  I consider this movie to be the greatest horror movie of all time.  It has everything I want in a horror movie, from the great monster, the effects, the characters and the setting.

10/10

-Andre

Top New Artist of 2017

Here are Billboards year end charts:

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  1. Lil Uzi Vert

 

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2. Khalid

 

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3. Niall Horan

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4. Kodak Black

 

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5. 21 Savage

 

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6. James Arthur

 

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7. Cardi B

 

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8. XXXTentacion

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9. Harry Styles

 

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10. Brett Young

Check out our catalog at http://fountaindale.org or give us a call at 630-759-2102 and see what albums of these artist albums are available or place a hold.

-DR

Step by Step How to on LP to CD Transfer

Growing up for many of us, our first type of exposure to music came either via the radio or from our own or our parent’s record player!!  For a long time there seemed to be a slow decline of LPs as cassettes, CDs, and, eventually, MP3s become more predominate.  It looked like the death of vinyl was imminent.    However, in the mid 2000’s something incredible happened…vinyl was coming back in a BIG way and has seen no slow down or stopping since!  There are many reasons attributed to this but the one that seems to be unanimous among the young and young-at-heart is the SOUND.  Vinyl just has a richness that MP3 and CDs lack.  With that, newbies started purchasing them while other people started dusting off their old collections and/or parent’s collections and started giving them a spin.  However, as it was now as it was then, vinyl is not the most mobile of mediums BUT with today’s technology converting vinyl has never been easier!!  Fountaindale’s own Studio 300 has the means and way for anyone to convert your vinyl to CD to be able to listen to that vinyl quality and vinyl sound…in your car!  Below are the steps needed and necessary to navigate this:

 

1.  Insert blank CD-R or CD-RW into CD recorder.  Then place album on turntable.

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2.  Turn the turntable on, choose 33 rpm, and hit start.

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3.  Press record on the CD recorder. Then drop the needle on the album.

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4.  Press play to start the recording process. The recorder will automatically separate the tracks when it detects a pause.  When the first side of the album is done recording, press the pause button on the recorder.

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5.  Turn the album over and drop the needle. Hit the pause button to continue the recording process.


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6.  When the second side is recorded, press stop, then press finalize. When it asks FINALIZE OK?, push ENTER on the MULTI DIAL knob.

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7.  Once finalized you’ll be able to listen to the disc on any CD player.

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With that you are all set and ready to go, go, go!!

-Brian S

What I’m Diggin…

What I’m Diggin is a quick portion of the XmeetsY blog that just lets our readers know what I am into for that week and what we have to offer at the library on that specific topic. I recently picked up “The Rescuers Down Under” on Blu-Ray. Although I am probably to old for Disney movies, this was one of my favorites as a kid and still is. I bring that up to lead into what I am diggin this week. There is a particular song in “The Rescuers Down Under” that I liked as a kid. I actually forgot about it until recently when I  re-watched the movie on Blu-Ray. There is a part of the movie where Wilbur the albatross is dancing to a song in an airplane hanger, the bird has some moves. Let me clear something up really quick for those of you who might not be familiar with the movie. Wilbur is an albatross who is given the task of flying two RAS agents, who are mice, to Australia to help a young boy who has been kid napped. Wilbur is voiced by the late and great John Candy, which makes the scene so much better. I put the video below so you can first see Wilbur singing the song, it’s pretty funny.

 

The song that he is singing in the first one minute of the clip is called “Black Slacks” and is sung by the late 1950s band Joe Bennett and The Sparkletones. That song is what I’ve been diggin, I’ve recently re-discovered a love for Rockabilly music. I did a little searching and found out that the library actually has a CD with that particular song on it, its on a greatest hits album mixed with a few other well known Rockabilly musicians.   That particular CD can be found in our library’s catalog here.  There’s so many different Rockabilly bands out there. Here’s a few to start out with that I found that we have at our library: Rockabilly Riot, Brian Setzer Orchestra, Elvis Presley and the Original Rock ‘n’ Roll Kings, and Stray Cats.

-J-