BURNT OFFERINGS by Robert Marasco

PUBLISHER: Delacorte Press, 1973
GENRE: Contemporary Suspense/Horror
SETTING: New York, USA
WIKI: link
PURCHASE: link
MY GRADE: D

FROM PUBLISHER: Ben and Marian Rolfe are desperate to escape a stifling summer in their tiny Brooklyn apartment, so when they get the chance to rent a mansion in upstate New York for the entire season for only $900, it's an offer that's too good to refuse. There's only one catch: behind a strange and intricately carved door in a distant wing of the house lives elderly Mrs. Allardyce, and the Rolfes will be responsible for preparing her meals.

But Mrs. Allardyce never seems to emerge from her room, and it soon becomes clear that something weird and terrifying is happening in the house. As the suspense builds towards a revelation of what really lies behind that locked door, the Rolfes will discover that their cheap vacation rental comes at a terrible cost. 


MY THOUGHTS: Slow, boring, and not very suspenseful. It should have been a novella instead. I was barely anxious to see what happened at the end. The ending wasn't anything like I expected.  Characters were totally underdeveloped, all of 'em. I cannot understand the 'burnt' part of the title. What was burnt?!

The film wasn't that great either but was a little better than the novel. And the best part was the creepy-ass hearse driver who kept showing up.

FILM VS. BOOK SPOILERS

In the book Marian had dark blonde hair but in the film it was dark brown.

In the book her hair turned totally white but in the film her hair just had some gray streaks in it that I barely noticed.

The son, David, was eight years old in the book but twelve in the film.

In the book, Marian calls the doctor after Aunt Elizabeth is found in bed, hurt. In the film Marian only pretends to call the doctor.

In the book, David drowns in the swimming pool. In the film, his mother saves him.

In the book, while David's drowning, his father tries to save him but can barely move. Blood runs out of his eyes and he falls onto the pavement and dies. In the book Ben dies when he's thrown out of a window. David dies when a chimney falls on him.

In the book, Marian gets into the locked room where the elder Mrs. Allardyce is. She's "hideously old, leaning forward in a great chair, with her eyes blazing out at Marian." She then dissolves, leaving the chair empty for Marian to take her place. In the film we never see Mrs. Allardyce. Ben goes back into the house to look for Marian and finds her in the room, sitting in the chair previously occupied by Mrs. Allardyce and looking possessed.

You can read someone's review of the book here and here.



THE LAST VICTIM: A TRUE-LIFE JOURNEY INTO THE MIND OF THE SERIAL KILLER by Jason Moss

PUBLISHER: Warner, 1999
GENRE: Nonfiction/Memoir/True Crime
WIKI: link
PURCHASE: link
MY GRADE: A

FROM PUBLISHER: Eighteen-year-old Jason Moss was used to playing roles. As a boy, he perfected the art of fitting in with different crowds but never having one of his own. Then, partly to satisfy a college assignment, he turned to a new crowd: men who'd blazed their way into the American consciousness and now languished in prison. Men named Dahmer, Manson and Gacy.

Posing as an ideal friend - or perfect victim - Jason wrote letters to the infamous killers. While Moss corresponded with Charles Manson and Jeffrey Dahmer, none was more fascinating than the 'killer clown', John Wayne Gacy. Obsessed with his new pen pal. Gacy's letters became weekly phone calls and eventually, an invitation to his prison - a showdown Jason tells in nightmarish detail. With Gacy the clear master of his prison domain, the eighteen year-old was forced to look into the abyss and consider that he might become Gacy's last victim.

As Jason slips further and further into the underworld of Death Row convicts, his everyday world spins around him, becoming more and more surreal. Impossible to put down and brutally honest, The Last Victim stunningly mirrors our society's fascination with the most violent and depraved among us.



SUMMARY: Beginning in late 1993 through mid-1994, Jason, aged 18 and 19 at the time (born 2/1975) wrote to four serial killers: John Wayne Gacy, Charles Manson, Jeffrey Dahmer, and Richard Ramirez. You can see a photo of him with John here.

Dahmer- He got several replies from Jeffrey. Jeffrey asked him for a shirtless photo of him once and said he was interested in a 'serious relationship' with him.

Ramirez- Jason pretended to be into Satanism. Richard wanted Jason to send him hardcore 'Asian bondage magazines'.

Manson- Jason communicated with him briefly but stopped because he made no sense most of the time. Some of Charles' replies were written on the backs of letters he'd received from others.

Gacy- Jason thought it would be best to try and identify with John so he thought he'd act 'sexually confused' when writing to him. He also pretended to have been molested and have a bully for a father. John wanted Jason to start an incestuous relationship with his younger brother Jarrod, so Jason faked one. In one of his letters to Jason he told him his penis was 7" long and had a 'mushroom head' and said it was the perfect size. John talked about masturbation a lot in his letters.

John somehow paid to fly Jason to Illinois to visit him for three days and paid for his hotel. It was arranged by some guy (nephew?). When Jason went to the prison to visit him, he was taken into a room with a handcuffed (in front) John. No guards were around and the security camera was pointed away from them. John tried to kiss Jason, then masturbated and tried to have sex with him. He gave him a pair of bikini underwear and asked him to wear them the next day, but he didn't wear them. The next day when he visited John, John told him he was going to rape him and 'piss' on his face while Jason lays on the floor. He tried to get him to lean over a chair so he could have sex with him. That whole experience made him cry right in front of John. He didn't go back the next day for visit number 3.

Jason had a normal/average childhood. His mother worked in a casino, his father at a department store. He argued a lot with his mother and said she was controlling. It bothered him that they had true crime in common. She'd monitor his activities and wouldn't let him or his brother watch violence on television yet left graphic true crime books laying around. Said his parents were 'volatile and unpredictable' but didn't give examples of it.

The co-author said Jason was 'haunted'.

In college Jason was a straight-A student, chief justice of the student government, and president of the psychology honors society.

MY THOUGHTS: The book kept a steady pace and was never boring to me. I don't see Jason as having an ego or being a 'brat' like some reviewers have said. In fact, I don't understand any of the negative reviews, negative meaning less than four stars. Knowing that he killed himself in 2006 I went into this book being more interested in him than the killers.

You can read more about Jason at Find A Grave and Wikipedia.

American television shows that promoted this book:
20/20
Hard Copy
Extra
Leeza





TO MY DEAR CIVILIANS, WITH LOVE by Rebecca Lord and Brian Whitney

PUBLISHER: BearManor Media, 4/2016
GENRE: Nonfiction/Memoir
FILMOGRAPHY: link
WIKI: link
PURCHASE: link
MY GRADE: B

FROM PUBLISHER: Now you're in for it! Join world famous film star Rebecca Lord as she takes you into the strange and hilarious world of adult films. Rebecca started in the business when she was a very young woman in France, but soon became well known in the industry and moved to America to further her career. While in the U.S., she became a huge star, and made a lot of friendships with some famous stars on the way, before returning to Europe where she continues to direct movies. This book is full of amazing, sexy and too-funny stories that will have you laughing out loud!

Rebecca Lord is a world famous adult film star and a member of the AVN Hall of Fame. Brian Whitney is the author or co-author of 7 books, including an autobiography of Porsche Lynn and the novel Raping the Gods.



MY THOUGHTS: This could have been better. She didn't give any background on herself at all other than she went to Catholic school and got into porn when she was 20. No mention of her parents or siblings, other than to say her niece became an orphan. I don't feel as if I got to know her at all. She didn't even say what she likes to do in her spare time. She seems funny and likeable and doesn't take herself too seriously. She's been married to the same man since her early 20's, and she's 44 now. She did say she likes to keep some things private so I guess that's why there's not much about her pre-porn life in here.

Her memoir was all about her life in the porn industry, first as an actor, then as director/producer. When she came here she didn't speak a word of English. An interesting little bit is she helped teach herself English by watching television, including the O.J. Simpson trial, with closed captioning turned on so she could see the written word.

I wanted something deeper in this memoir. This was a little too lighthearted.

I reviewed an adult film she was in here.

I received this from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.





NAKED AMBITION ADULT DVD, 1995

STUDIO: VCA, 1995
WATCH IT: link
CAST: link
MY GRADE: B


NO CONDOMS WERE USED

SCENE 1: Tera Heart is a secretary at a fictitious porn production company called VPA. She's sitting behind a desk. Steven's a director who's there for an interview. He leaves and she begins masturbating with a vibrator through her underwear while wearing a dress. She's talking to Nick East while she does it. He's another employee of the company. She pulls his pants down and sits on the desk. She then kneels down and blows him. She strips and sits on top of him, reverse cowgirl, while he's laying on the desk, then lays on her back, rubbing her clit. Then anal on all fours with nothing for lube except saliva. She continues to rub her clit. He pulls out and comes on her ass. She rubs it around.

Tera has breast implants and bald labia.

SCENE 2: Steven St. Croix goes into an office to see Porsche Lynn, who's head of the company. She's tells him they make classy adult films. She puts in a videotape one of their productions. Vanessa Chase is sitting on a mattress in a warehouse-type place and is wearing a chicken head mask. Two men, Tom Byron and Colt Steel, are standing on either side of her. They slide the cups of her bikini top aside and remove her mask. She's on her back, Tom between her legs, eating her while she blows Colt, who's standing to her left. Tom fingers her ass while she rubs her clit. She's on all fours blowing Tom, who's in front of her, while Colt fucks her from behind. Her black skirt is around her waist. She's on top of Tom. Colt stands in front of her so she can blow him. Colt gets behind her and fucks her ass while Tom's in her pussy, double penetration. They both come on her chest.

Vanessa has bald labia and small breasts.

SCENE 3: Porsche calls in Dave Hardman and Kirsty Waay, both are employees. She has Kirsty lean over the desk and has Dave lick her ass as Porsche leans back on the desk beside her, watching and taking her own clothes off. She kisses and rubs Kirsty's breasts through her clothes then turns around so Dave can lick her through her underwear. She has Kirsty lay back and has Dave lick up her stocking-clad leg until he gets to her crotch. He pulls the crotch aside and eats her. We get the closest close-up you've ever seen. Porsche pulls the crotch of her underwear aside and masturbates. She has him pull her underwear down while Kirsty licks her nipples. Porsche sits back on desk, legs spread wide, Kirsty rubbing her clit.

She makes Dave sit in a chair in front of them and masturbate. She kneels in front of Dave and blows him. He unbuttons his shirt. Kirsty licks his nipples. He pulls his shirt off and Porsche pulls his pants off. Kirsty kneels in front of him and blows him. Porsche straddles his face so he can eat her. She backs up and sits on his dick, Kirsty guiding it in and licking his balls. Kirsty pulls her own shirt down and stand in front of Porsche so she can lick her nipples. Porsche kneels on the desk with right leg up so Dave can fuck her. Kirsty sits in chair in front of them and masturbates. Dave kneels in front of Kirsty and fucks her in the chair. He comes on her chest.

Porsche's crotch is bald and she has small breasts. Her left nipple is pierced. She has red hair in this. Kirsty's almost flat-chested and her crotch is completely bald.

SCENE 4: Peter North goes into a room with another man, talking about Peter's upcoming scene with Juli Ashton. Peter and Juli are on the bed kissing. Jon, the director, is watching. Peter lays back and Juli blows him. Jonathan Morgan's directing them. Jon has Juli get on all fours, Peter behind her, eating her while she blows Jon, who's in front of her. She turns around so she can blow Peter while Juli lays on her back and Jon fucks her and comes on her face. He has Peter go over to her to fuck her, so they do, him behind her on their right sides. Peter pulls out and comes on her chest.

Juli has huge breast implants and bald labia.

SCENE 5: Juli and Steven are in a room together. She offers to give him a massage, then strips. He lays back and she blows him, then gets on top, then on their sides, him behind her, then he's on top. He comes on her stomach.

SCENE 6: Steven's directing his first porn scene ever with Rebecca Lord, Juli, and Roxanne Hall. It's a faux beach scene, them sitting in sand, Rebecca lounging in chair. Juli and Roxanne eat Rebecca. Rebecca uses a huge dildo on herself while Roxanne rubs Rebecca's clit. Juli lays back while Rebecca eats her.

Roxanne's from England and has small breasts and bald labia. Rebecca's from France and has very small breasts and short public hair everywhere.

SCENE 7: Jon breaks that scene up and has Juli leave. He lays back in the lounge chair and Rebecca and Roxanne blow him. Rebecca straddles his face while Roxanne continues to blow him. Roxanne gets on him, reverse cowgirl. Roxanne lays in chair upside down, Rebecca lays on top, eating her while Jon fucks her from behind. He sits in a chair, jerks off, then Rebecca jerks him until he comes on her hand. Roxanne licks it off Rebecca's hand.

SCENE 8: Porsche reprimands Steven from doing something wrong. He leaves, Rebecca goes in to see her to discuss renewing her contract. Porsche has Rebecca sit on her desk so she can 'eat' her 'for lunch'. Porsche unsnaps the crotch of Rebecca's underwear and eats her, the she rubs her clit while Porsche licks her shoes, then eats her some more. Rebecca takes her top off while standing and Porsche's rubbing Rebecca's clit. Porsche sits on desk, leans back, holds her leg up while Rebecca's on her knees eating and fingering her. Rebecca kneels in chair, left leg up on chair arm while Porsche eats her from behind.

SCENE 9: Steven is sitting on a bed with his girlfriend, J.R. Carrington. She stopped by the set to surprise him. She's laying on bed, pulls the top of her dress down and Steven's eating her. He lays beside her, takes is pants off and she blows him. She gets on top, then doggie style, then on her back. He comes on her chest. She sucks him some more.

J.R. has huge breast implants and bald labia.


MY THOUGHTS: This was your good, basic porn. It must have never been put onto VHS or DVD because I can't find the box cover. Luckily only three of the women had implants. Like with a lot of porn, some of the scenes should have been much longer. It doesn't make sense to me to film porn but make certain scenes too brief. I feel like you've wasted footage.




FATAL ATTRACTION by H.B. Gilmour, Book vs. Film

PUBLISHER: Signet, 4/1988
GENRE: Fiction/Contemporary Thriller
SETTING: New York, USA
PURCHASE: link
MY GRADE: B

FROM PUBLISHER: Dan Gallagher is a happy man. He is a rising young lawyer, with a loving wife, and an adorable daughter. Just one tiny thing is missing. Excitement.

In steps Alex Forrest. She is bright, gorgeous, sexy, and she takes Dan on an unbelievable one-night fling with no strings attached.

That's what she says. That's what he believes. But the truth turns out to be different Because Alex is playing for keeps-and she'll do anything to make Dan hers. Anything.

Bestseller based on screenplay by James Dearden and made into a blockbuster movie starring Michael Douglas & Glenn Close.



MY THOUGHTS: The novel was written by Harriet B. Gilmour and was published seven months after the film came out and is pretty much the same as the film with a lot of the exact dialogue. I was hoping the novel would be different in some way, or have the alternate ending, which was actually the original one and first of the two to be filmed, and the one the film didn't use, but the book used the same as the film. The original ending is the more believable of the two but was more boring for a thriller.

The storyline and two main characters are severely underdeveloped and needed to be fleshed out a lot more. The novel is at least 100 pages too short (it's only 222 pages). We need to know all there is to know about Alex's background, what she's ever been diagnosed with, and if she has a history of obsessing over men but we learned nothing at all about her, which is a shame. I think that was done on purpose so that we wouldn't have any sympathy for her.

The ending used just isn't plausible to me. It just wouldn't go down like that in real life. Dan's wife Beth being angry for just a moment about the affair and threating to kill Alex makes no sense to me. In real life a person would be really upset and especially so at the person who cheated on them...not the stranger they cheated with. Instead we get a weak character in Beth who's angry at the wrong person.

I think Glenn Close did a decent job of portraying a mentally unstable person. She showed agitation when she was upset and especially so when she yelled 'get out!' and kicked Michael off the bed

The plot has slight similarities to the opera Madame Butterfly that Alex loves, which I'd never heard about before this.

BOOK VS. FILM:

There's a scene in the film where Dan tells Alex that he can't see her again, then Alex kicks him in his lower back, pushing him off the bed, then she slits her wrists before he leaves (the look on Dan's face is priceless when he notices it). He bandages them up, then asks Alex why she's so unhappy. She says, 'I'm so lonely' in reply. He doesn't ask her that in the film.

There's a scene in the film where Dan breaks into Alex's and snoops around after she tells him she's pregnant. He opens her medicine cabinet and we see several prescription bottles. In the book he writes down the names of the prescriptions and has a friend look into what they're for (they're uppers, downers, et cetera), but doesn't do that in the film.

In the book when Dan's driving home from work with the rabbit, he thinks he sees Alex following two cars behind him in the next lane. In the film he doesn't see her following.

Right after that near the end of the book when Dan brings home the rabbit at night, he thinks he sees Alex watching through the window. She feels sick and gags watching the happy scene and runs off. Sometime after that when Dan's in the yard he sees some tissue where he thought he'd seen Alex, presumably where she wiped her mouth off or something after vomiting. In the film Dan doesn't see her watching nor does he find used tissue in the yard.

It's said in the book that Ellen tells them that Alex said 'nasty' things about her mother when she was at the amusement park with her but that comment's left out of the film.

The book also describes Alex as having pale green eyes and being pale yet tan.

The film was based on James Dearden's cowritten 1980 British short film called Diversion, which you can watch here. Unlike in Fatal Attraction, it's the male, Guy, who instigates the affair, not Erica. Erica's more immature and jealous than Alex, which seems more realistic.




THE FIREWORKS WOMAN (1975) ADULT FILM, directed by Wes Craven

STUDIO: VCA, 7/1975
WATCH: link
CAST: link
MY GRADE: B

SYNOPSIS: Angela and Peter are siblings and have loved each other since they were kids. They are both physically attracted to each other but Peter is studying to become a priest. She finally gets in bed with him and after that Peter start to have second thoughts on his plans for the future.


I learned of this film from this article on Blumhouse.com. The one I watched was five minutes shorter (73 min.) than stated (78 min.). It's nothing special; just typical 70's porn. Wes is in this with hardly any dialogue and no sex scenes. He's in every photo below except the last two.

SUMMARY: Men and women are frolicking around outside, naked, while fireworks are going off on Independence Day. Wes Craven is there, fully dressed. I think he's the one setting them off.

Angela is sleeping. We hear her internal dialogue and she says she wants to see her brother Peter, who's away at seminary school. She hasn't seen him in four years. She reminisces back four years ago when they were at the beach together. It starts raining so they go inside somewhere, not sure what building they're in, and have sex with each other for the first time. She's on top, then blows him, then he's on top, then pulls out and comes on her stomach.

Back to present day, she goes to see him at church, where he's now a priest. She tells him she's now a maid for Elizabeth Walters. She, Elizabeth, and some man go walking around the property She has a flashback of having sex with Peter and he'd smacked her and told her she'd forced herself on him. She gets reprimanded for bringing the wrong grapes and the man calls her 'stupid'. He takes scissors and cuts her dress off her. They go inside and make her take her robe off. Elizabeth fingers her. She makes Angela kneel then whips her with cat o' nine tales, though she's not actually being whipped. While kneeling she's told to lay back on the floor, Elizabeth straddles her face and eats her. The man fucks her with the very slender handle of a different whip while he rubs her clit. He sits in a chair, Angela squats in front of him and blows him while Elizabeth is laying underneath her, eating her and fingering herself. It's made to seem like he came but there was no evidence of it.

That same man is at confession, talking to Peter, and he somehow knows that he's the same Peter Angela spoke of. The man leaves, Peter calls out the name Angela several times and coincidentally Angela's there to see him. She pleads with him to leave the priesthood but he won't.

Angela's by herself in a sailboat, dreaming she's blowing Peter and he comes on her face, her continuing to blow him as come drips off her chin. She's been sailing for three days and falls overboard. A couple in a nearby boat help pull her out of the water and into their boat. They're now at the couple's place, outside in a barn. The couple fuck, missionary position, and Angela walks over to them but doesn't participate. They're dressed at a picnic table with Wes Craven, who's feeding them. WTF? The three are back in the barn. The brunette woman (Helen) is blowing the guy, then Angela joins in, barely. The brunette continues to blow him until he comes. She rubs it on her face and continues to suck his head.

Angela's at the doctor's office on the table, shirtless, asking him what's wrong with her and he tells her she's normal. She's now on a dock being mauled by some man, a fisherman, I guess, who's there with another man (Lefty). Lefty hits him in the face with a fish and knocks him down. He forces Angela into a room (on a boat?), throws her on the bed, rips her underwear off (last picture below), then rapes her. Afterward he calls her a 'fuckin' cunt'.

She's at home daydreaming about being with Peter and they're having sex missionary position. She seems to be losing her mind and is spinning around while wearing a white gown. She's having a flashback of being raped and is screaming. She runs out of the room, takes her gown and underwear off and showers. She's naked, sitting on the floor underneath a double window, fantasizing that Peter's there. They kiss, she masturbates and he's no longer there. She's still thinking about him while she fingers herself with three, then four fingers. She turns over on to her stomach and is raised up a bit on her knees, fantasizing about the having anal sex with Peter. He pulls out and comes on her back. She tells herself she wants to forget about him. She goes to see him the next day and tells him she loves him.

Peter's at home and whips his back with his belt, which he's just taken off. Angela's leaning on a fence and Wes Craven shows up beside her. She asks him who he is and he says 'no one special'.

Angela has an orgy at her house. At the end, Peter shows up and takes her away. He writes a letter to someone at the church telling him that he's going away with Angela and that's how it ends.


HOT PROWL by Jack Gray

PUBLISHER: Freeway Books, 8/2013
GENRE: Nonfiction/True Crime
PURCHASE: link
WIKI BIO: link
MY GRADE: B+

FROM PUBLISHER: Between 1976 and 1979, a prolific serial rapist prowled northern California's leafy neighborhoods and affluent suburbs in the dead of night. When the rapist found a home to his liking, he would break in, confront the residents at gunpoint, then rape the female while her male partner lay bound and helpless nearby.

In 2001, a forensic scientist with the Orange County Sheriff's Department linked the rapist's DNA to ten murders which occurred in southern California during the 1980s. Detectives dubbed this offender the East Area Rapist-Original Night Stalker (EAR-ONS), but despite unprecedented investigative efforts, his identity remains a mystery. Drawing on years of academic research, Hot Prowl offers a comprehensive analysis of the EAR-ONS's life and crimes.


MY THOUGHTS: This self-published book was written by a man who's rumored to be a private investigator in California. He's got a master's degree in criminal justice from Boston University and said he's a local of southern California. I feel he's well-spoken and very intelligent.

He clearly did a lot of research but didn't talk to anyone in law enforcement. He divided the EARONS's crimes into six phases and divided each of those into categories; dates and times, location, m.o., signature, evidence, victimology, offender descriptions, and conclusions. I found that to be helpful.

I wish he'd have talked more about the Vasalia Ransaker (VR) and had listed all of his one hundred-plus crimes. I love a list and like when information's laid out/listed right in front of me. Something of note is a librarian he was talking to about old articles about the VR in 2012 told him that a couple of months before, some detectives had been inquiring about articles on the VR too.

The last chapter is both very good and bad. In it he gave his theories on the EARONS's childhood (which was done too in a previous chapter that I enjoyed) and what he must have been like precrime spree. Then he gave fictitious dialogue between the EARONS and his victims while describing some of the murders. That was totally unnecessary, puzzling, and I just can't figure out why he'd add fiction to a nonfiction book.

Something he said that I agree with is he feels there should be a law enforcement-supported website filled with accurate information on this case and accurate composite sketches. 

A personal complaint I have about the author is when describing the female victims they're always called 'attractive' regardless of morals yet he calls women in bars 'slutty' and 'floozies'.

Author's theories on the EARONS in his youth:

-Was born between 1947-1952
-Is from California or a neighboring state
-Likely from broken, middle-class home
-Physically and psychologically abused
-Possibly was a bedwetter
-Possibly chronic liar and fire-starter and animal abuser
-Displayed inappropriate sexual conduct
-Possible shoplifter and burglar
-Learned to keep his dark side hidden so as not to get in trouble at home
-Would have seemed normal to others as teen
-Above-average IQ and underachiever
-Class clown who liked the attention
-May have been arrested for breaking and entering or peeping and was put on probation and later, spent time in the California Youth Authority (YA)
-Was a fan of detective magazines, porn, and police television shows in his youth
-Was artistic
-Possibly suffered a head injury in his youth, as many violent criminals have
-May have served in Vietnam
-Started out as a peeping Tom
-Was possibly sexually assaulted while locked up and learned advanced burglary skills
-May have gone into military, possibly in Vietnam, or college
-By 1976 had no job but had source of income, possibly from military pension
-When moved to southern CA in 1979 it may have been because of a new job after college or because of military transfer

You can read all about The Original Night Stalker on Wikipedia.

Big thanks to Jason for sending this to me.