Tag: horror

Book Review: The Turn of the Screw (Henry James).

The Turn of the Screw

-Henry James.


The Turn of the Screw by Henry James is a novella. The story is about a young lady who gets an opportunity to work as a governess at a beautiful but mysterious estate. This book has gothic, horror, and mystery elements to the story. It is slightly difficult to explain the story because of the way it is structured but I’ll try to cover major points.

The story begins at a party held on Christmas Eve where one of the attendees Douglas says he has access to a governess’s account of a ghost story when she worked for a wealthy family. He starts reading the written account of the governess and at that point the narration of the story shifts to the governess’s point of view. The Governess who is also the narrator remains unnamed throughout the story. She is responsible for the well mannered young girl Flora and a 10-year old boy Miles at their uncle’s estate the Bly. The uncle is their guardian. Miles has been suspended from his school due to his troublesome behavior just days prior to the governess arrival.

One day while taking a walk, the governess notices a man looking at her from one of the towers. She spots him staring at her again through the window the next time and that is when she enquires about him. Mrs. Grose works at the Bly and becomes kind of like a confidant for the governess. The governess tells Mrs. Grose about the strange man looking at her twice. Mrs. Grose tells her about the previous governess Miss Jessel and her relationship with Peter Quint a valet both of whom are now deceased. She also finds out that Miles and Quint shared a good bond but Miles tried to lie about his relationship with Peter to Mrs. Grose. Miles’s behavior is slightly creepy at times which made you think he is up to something.

The governess sees a stranger, a woman by the lake when she is there with Flora. She believes that Miss Jessel and Peter Quint are a threat to the kids. Once Flora goes out of the house alone and she is seen talking to Miss Jessel near the lake by the governess but Flora claims to have not seen Miss Jessel at all; Flora falls ill after that is taken to London to her uncle’s place. The governess is suspicious that Miles distracted her by playing the piano so that Flora could leave. Quint is seen outside the window by the governess and she tries to protect Miles from it but then his heart stops.

The horror element is the main theme of the story. The possibility of the supernatural is left up to the readers I felt. No one sees the ghosts except the governess or at least doesn’t admit to it, so it depends on the reader to choose whether to believe her or not. The atmosphere of the story has an air of mystery and eeriness which reminded me of the gothic tradition. The governess finds the Bly and children extremely beautiful to look at but as the story progresses you can tell that the exterior doesn’t match what is going on inside. There is a lot of secretive behavior by the characters. The lying and concealing of relationships is something that happens regularly in the book. The need to repress information for whatever reasons leads to a lack of open communication which causes more problems than it solves.

The way the story ends is surprising and sad. I did not predict that the story will end abruptly in such a way. It came out of nowhere. The plot itself is interesting, starts as a haunted house type of a story but changes along the way. The story feels a little dragged in some places but when it picks up pace, it goes up a notch. Overall, I liked reading this book. It has a lot of elements to it that keep you invested in the story.

*Get a copy by clicking on the book cover above.

Book Review: It (Stephen King).

It

-Stephen King.

In a rare instance for me, I saw the movies based on this book before actually reading it. I don’t usually go for horror stories because I am easily scared but I really enjoyed watching the movies and decided to read this book.


IT is set in 1950’s as well as the 1980’s with a gap of 27 years in between in a town called Derry, Maine. It is not an exact division like part 1 and 2 but the book moves from past to the present throughout its narration. The story begins with the murder of a six-year-old Georgie Denbrough who is the brother of Bill Denbrough, one of the seven protagonists. Georgie is chasing his paper boat in the rain when a he sees a clown in the sewer who rips his arm off. The story then takes a leap of one year towards the beginning of summer. The protagonists Bill, Richie, Eddie, Stan, Ben, Beverly and Mike each get their own view points as the story begins in the present.

The murder descriptions are horrific. The deaths of Adrian and Georgie are described in such a vivid way that it made me cringe. The protagonists as kids are bullied by Henry Bowers and his friends; Henry constantly terrorizes the seven kids and I hated his character. Pennywise, the killer clown has such a hold on Derry and he exaggerates the tendencies already present in Henry, he doesn’t create his cruel behavior which makes Henry’s character despicable.

The book starts off strong and in a gruesome manner. The narration is from the third person point of view which fleshes out a complete picture of the character’s personality. All of the seven protagonists have aspects to their characters I feel are relatable which makes the reader invest in the characters emotionally. The past timeline of Bill’s story is hard to read at times because of the descriptions of how difficult it has been for him and his parents after the death of his brother which makes his obsession about finding Pennywise justified in a way.

The book is more than a 1000 pages in length and it does feel stretched at times when not much is happening in terms of advancing the story. Pennywise, is completely creepy and instilled a new fear of clowns in me. The friendship between the seven characters especially as kids is a highlight of the story and adds an element of nostalgia of those innocent childhood days and bonds. The friendship translates well to their adult selves too.The scene with the kids where they are lost in the sewers and can’t find a way out was difficult to fathom, I actually didn’t get it completely. I read through that particular part rather quickly because it bothered me.

The book explores the darkness and violence to the full extent befitting the horror genre. Watching the movies didn’t spoil this book for me at all; there were so many aspects in the book which were not in the movie.  As I said before the length and that one scene which I was unaware of in the beginning I enjoyed reading this book. The world Stephen King has created in the book is intriguing, scary and nostalgic.  IT was a terrifying and an exciting read.

*Get a copy by clicking on the book cover above.

Best Movies of 2018 (So far)

Best Movies of 2018 (So far)
1) A Quiet Place

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A horror film with elements of science fiction, A Quiet Place is completely different to what I expected. It is not a typical repetitive horror flick. It’s set in a world where sightless alien monsters hunt people by using their super hearing. The story revolves around the Abbott family. The story has limited dialogues given its plot and most of the conversations are in sign language. It is an intriguing and terrifying movie and its definitely one of the best movies of the year.

2) Raazi

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A Hindi spy thriller, Raazi is based on a true story of a young girl set in the 1970’s in India and Pakistan. The movie keeps you on the edge with its pace and compelling narrative. The cast is perfect for their respective roles and every character is real and empathetic in a way. This movie is one of the few instances where I saw the movie before reading the book. I really liked this movie for its plot and characters. It is one of my favorite movies.

3) Avengers Infinity War

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I had to add this one. As a Marvel Cinematic Universe fan, this movie was much anticipated and it totally lived up to its hype. I loved every second of the movie; it was a culmination of ten years of worth of story and character building. Seeing some of my favorite superheroes interacting with each other for the first time made me very happy. The pace of the film was really good and stakes so much bigger. That ending broke my heart and now I have to wait a year to find out what happens next. Now, its one of my favorite movies.

4) Love, Simon

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A teen romantic comedy and drama film; Love, Simon is such a good movie. It is often just marketed as a gay romantic comedy but its so much more than that. The characters are fresh and you can relate to them, sympathize with them. Its funny yet at times it touching. The characters are charming and have a depth to them especially Simon’s portrayal by Nick Robinson is amazing. It’s a nice film and is different than a typical teen romance story.

5) Thoroughbreds

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One of the best psychological suspense thrillers I have seen recently. Thoroughbreds is an odd combination odd darkness and humor. Amanda is a wealthy teenager with some problems who is friends with Lily; they both bond over their hatred of Lily’s cruel step-father. The whole movie revolves around the girls plan to kill the step-father. It’s a gripping tale and says a lot about human psychology.

6) You were never really here

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You were never really here is a crime drama film based on a book by the same name. It’s a story about Joe who uses violent methods to rescue girls from trafficking. Joe suffers from PTSD and is tired of fighting yet it’s the story of his redemption. Its movie is an overwhelming and compelling ride. It’s brutal, sad yet enigmatic especially the ending. It’s a completely different kind of experience. This movie is a must-see for cinema lovers.

This list is based only on the movies I have had a chance to see this year. These are one ones I really loved. I am sure there are many more movies to add to this list which are just as amazing that I haven’t seen yet.