SCARY STORIES TREASURY: THREE BOOKS TO CHILL YOUR BONES (Scary Stories #1-3) by Alvin Schwartz, illustrated by Stephen Gammell

PUBLISHER: HarperCollins, 6/1985
GENRE: Fiction/Children's Literature/Horror
MY GRADE: B

FROM PUBLISHER: Schwartz's three best-selling collections of scary folklore- Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, More Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, and Scary Stories 3, are made available in one book, each one in its complete form.



New artwork was given to these books for the 30th anniversary in 2011. You can see some comparisons here. If you want original versions avoid any with a publication date of 2011.
The July 2017 box set does contain the original artwork. Purchase here. The ISBN is 9780062682895.

If you want a hardcover version that includes all three stories with original artwork, it's here, here, here, and here.

An out of print paperback set containing three separate books of all three in the series can be bought here.

The face on the cover is from the story The Haunted House, from Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark.

MY THOUGHTS: The stories were alright considering they were meant for fifth graders. Some are only one page long, some are two, and a few are a little longer. Some sort of end abruptly and leave you asking, "Where's the rest of the story?!" and some just really aren't scary and some seem really pointless.

There's a story from Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark called The Babysitter and it's cleary a ripoff of the first 20 minutes of the 1979 film When A Stranger Calls.

There are only four stories that I really like: Cold as Clay. From Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark. I can't sing the praises of this one enough.

The White Satin Evening Gown From Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark. Perhaps one of the most unusual ways to die.

Cemetery Soup From More Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark. Downright disgusting and cringe-worthy.

Harold From Scary Stories 3. Harold's a loveable scarecrow. He's a bad mofo and he knows it.

Just Delicious My eyes widened when I read a certain line and realized what she was about to do to make up for the piece of food she'd eaten.

Below are some of my favorite images from specific stories though none of the stories are favorites.

The Dead Hand
Sam's New Pet
Is Something Wrong?
You May Be The Next
The Bride

Here's an interesting article on the books, 14 Terrifying Facts.

I couldn't find an image online of the gobin thingie below so I posted my own photo of it. I sure like it. It's from page 105 of the bibliograpy section of Scary Stories 3.



CASE FILES OF THE EAST AREA RAPIST/GOLDEN STATE KILLER by Kat Winters with Keith Komos

PUBLISHER: CCW, 9/2017
GENRE: Nonfiction/True Crime
SETTING: California, USA, 1970's-1980's
PURCHASE: link
MY GRADE: A

FROM PUBLISHER: He’s the most prolific, enigmatic, and dangerous offender the State of California has ever known... yet he remains unidentified and unpunished to this day. With over one hundred burglaries, fifty rapes, and possibly a dozen murders, the “East Area Rapist” / “Golden State Killer” / "Original Night Stalker" was truly one of history’s most vile and heinous criminals. He seemed to appear out of nowhere in the mid-1970s near Sacramento, California, where he began a series of rapes and murders that left police baffled and communities on-edge. He couldn’t be tracked, he couldn’t be found, and he couldn’t be stopped. Over a ten-year period, towns like Modesto, Davis, Concord, San Ramon, San Jose, Danville, Fremont, Walnut Creek, Goleta, Ventura, Dana Point, Irvine, and the neighborhoods of Sacramento were all violated by this monster. He left behind thousands of clues spread throughout over a dozen jurisdictions but still somehow outmaneuvered efforts to capture him at every turn. This book culls together information from every source possible to present a comprehensive rundown of each and every attack. Evidence is explained, myths are debunked, and viable leads are presented.

Other cases which might be related like the Visalia Ransacker, the Ripon Court shooting, the Maggiore murders, and the Eva Davidson Taylor murder are explored. Never before has such a detailed and thorough chronological volume been published about this case. Going over the nuances and evidence with such granularity is a worthwhile exercise. This case is solvable, and the offender is probably still alive. The clues to his identity are in here. Because, as they say… The Devil is in the details.


MY THOUGHTS: I've read the previous books on this criminal, who's also know as the EAR/ONS, and because of how well the crimes are detailed, this one's my favorite of the lot.

Such incredible detail was given to each and every rape, including a lot of pre- and post-attack information that was previously unknown publicly. The author couldn't have done a better job.

At times the book had an amateurish quality to it because there was such a large amount of typos and terminology like saying something was 'totally weird', something's 'sketchy', a male victim being 'a big muscular dude', the criminal 'got off' on psychologically torturing this victims, and something being 'creepy', just to give a few examples. There was overuse of words and phrases like 'though' and 'keep your eyes peeled' and I feel things were in quotation marks and too many things were in parenthesis that shouldn't have been. This self-published book definitely needs to be cleaned up by a professional editor. I didn't like the author giving her own speculation or spending time pointlessly analyzing certain phrases the EARONS would use, like 'gimme a good drop'.

Near the end of the book is a helpful section called EAR/GSK Communications. All contact the EARONS made with either victims', police, and others is listed chronologically. There's also a section after that that's dedicated to the break-ins of the Vasalia Ransaker, a man who some believe may be the EARONS, and that too is in chronological order. Another helpful section is last in the book and it's frequently asked questions about the case, including information about paint chips found at a few crime scenes and why the FBI hasn't taken advantage of technology that can render a lifelike image of the EARONS.

A tidbit I learned was that in the early 1990's, years after his last known crime, there were some EAR-like burglaries in Irvine that are being looked into.

Being interested in this case since early 2001 and liking a lot of detail to be given for any crime, I appreciate the hard work and time that went into writing this. It couldn't have been fun.

Other books on the East Area Rapist/Original Night Stalker:

Sudden Terror
Hunting a Psychopath
Hot Prowl
Frozen in Fear (written by an EAR victim)
Murder on His Mind Serial Killer
I'll Be Gone in the Dark

FYI-  The author has proven herself to be immature and disrespectful and likes to play the victim. She's publicly called someone who gave her book a 1-star review on Amazon a 'troll'. She's also released a video to publically shame someone who doesn't like her and she's also posted screenshots of said person's Youtube channel on multiple forums to rally people on her side.

A big thank you to Jason for sending this to me.




CHAIN SAW CONFIDENTIAL: How We Made the World's Most Notorious Horror Movie by Gunnar Hansen

PUBLISHER: Chronicle Books, 9/2013
GENRE: Nonfiction/Memoir
AUTHOR SITE: link
PURCHASE: link
MY GRADE: A-

FROM PUBLISHER: When The Texas Chain Saw Massacre first hit movie screens in 1974 it was both reviled and championed. To critics, it was either "a degrading, senseless misuse of film and time" or "an intelligent, absorbing and deeply disturbing horror film." However it was an immediate hit with audiences. Banned and celebrated, showcased at the Cannes film festival and included in the New York MoMA's collection, it has now come to be recognized widely as one of the greatest horror movies of all time.

A six-foot-four poet fresh out of grad school with limited acting experience, Gunnar Hansen played the masked, chain-saw-wielding Leatherface. His terrifying portrayal and the inventive work of the cast and crew would give the film the authentic power of nightmare, even while the gritty, grueling, and often dangerous independent production would test everyone involved, and lay the foundations for myths surrounding the film that endure even today.

Critically-acclaimed author Hansen here tells the real story of the making of the film, its release, and reception, offering unknown behind-the-scenes details, a harrowingly entertaining account of the adventures of low-budget filmmaking, illuminating insights on the film's enduring and influential place in the horror genre and our culture, and a thoughtful meditation on why we love to be scared in the first place.


MY THOUGHTS: The title says it all. The author, Gunnar, who played 'Leatherface' discusses what it was like filming this over the course of eight weeks in the awful Texas heat in 1973 and getting screwed out of their money. He originally only got $800 for the role.

Most interesting to me was that the story was 'rooted' in Hansel and Gretel (who doesn't love that story?) and that Leatherface's mask and home 'furnishings' were inspired by American murderer Ed Gein, which I already knew, having seen shows on Ed and having read a book about him years ago. FYI- Ed also made leggings and a 'mammary vest' from real humans. He killed two women and robbed graves to get other female body parts. It would have been real cool for Leatherface to have worn a vest like that. Gunnar said that during filming of the final scene when Sally (Marilyn Burns) gets away, he was stepping up into the back of the truck, his foot got caught and the truck driver pulled off, dragging Gunnar. That was a true accident so they refilmed it but I think they should have left that in. Maybe have Sally try to untangle his foot or something. But this was low budget and there wasn't time or money for that.

Gunnar mistakenly said that Ed robbed his own mother's grave (page 92) and put the bones back in her bed. Wrong. He did no such thing. He loved his mother and closed her room off. It was the only clean place in the house.

Some interesting tidbits are: that the opening scene was to be of a dead dog's eye, which they filmed, but they decided against using a domesticated animal. They decided against using a dead horse too. Most of the bones in the film were found in pastures. Some of the dialogue was improvised. Paul, the awful actor who played wheelchair-bound Franklin (I can't stand his character!), wasn't as horrible in real life as he'd lead everyone to believe. During the course of filming none of the actors were allowed to wash their clothes, ever, for fear of colors fading or something else happening to them at the cleaners, since no one had a duplicate set.

Though the book is fairly short I got a bit bored with the day to day goings on at the shoot. There are 16 pages of black and white photos from the set in the book, which is nice.

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


THE BAD SEED by William March


PUBLISHER: Rinehart & Company, 4/1954
GENRE: Fiction/Psychological thriller
SETTING: New York, USA
WIKI: link
PURCHASE: link
MY GRADE: A-

FROM PUBLISHER: This is the incredible story of Rhoda Penmark, a charming and delightful eight-year-old. There is only one thing disturbing about Rhoda. She has developed an extraordinary moral code - and would think nothing of killing you if you had something she wanted...


MY THOUGHTS:
I really enjoyed this. Rhoda has brown hair, light brown eyes, and a gap between her front teeth. She's got no conscience to speak of and will do what she feels she has to to get what she wants. I wish she had been more discrete at at times with her evil deeds but then I have to remember she's only eight years old. She's got everyone fooled into thinking she's your average well-behaved good school student who does no wrong.

There were a few long scenes where Rhoda's mother Christine explored her own background. I felt it dragged the story down a bit and thought it was unnecessary to the plot line. The story was interesting enough without adding that over the top nonsense. The could have left that stuff out and they would have had time to investigate a child's death, since he had oddly shaped bruises on himself.

What I like about Christine is that she knows what her daughter's done, she's knows it's wrong, and is very conflicted about what to do. Does she tell the police and her husband all she knows or does she keep Rhoda's secrets? At times she's in a bit of denial but she's always able to see the truth. She'd write her husband letters telling him all that's going on and tells him about her suspicions about Rhoda but she never mails the letters.

Leroy, the maintenance man, was one annoying character. What adult taunts a child repeatedly like that? He got what he had coming. I feel like his character is supposed to be black though it's never said that he is. An Amazon reviewer has said the same thing.

Another slightly annoying character was their neighbor, Monica Breedlove, who never seemed to stop talking. There were also three Fern sisters who ran the school Rhoda went to. It just wasn't necessary to have all three characters when one would have sufficed.

The ending was good and bad at the same time. I never would have expected what happened to have happened. Christine took drastic measures to keep Rhoda's secret. I'm not surprised that it was left open for a sequel, one I'd have loved to have read but the author died from a second heart attack shortly after the book was published so a sequel wasn't to be.

Excellent article on the novel here.

1956 FILM-  In the book, Christine's father died in WWII but he's alive and comes to visit her in the film.

In the book, Rhoda and family used to live in Baltimore, Maryland but in the film they changed it to Wichita, Kansas.

Rhoda has brown hair and brown eyes in the novel. In the film she's got blonde hair and blue eyes. One of the later book covers has her with blonde hair too.

Almost everyone played their part well, especially Nancy Kelly, who played Rhoda's mother, Christine. Patty McCormack, the girl who played Rhoda, was eleven years old at the time and was way too mature to play the part of an eight year old and didn't even look like an eight year old, despite the braids. I don't think she played the part well because she seemed to be overacting  most of the time. There was a scene where her mother was questioning her about someone's death and Rhoda got really angry and that was the first time she seemed genuine.

There's a scene in the book where Christine sees Rhoda take some matches from inside the house. In the film not only does Christine see her take them, she asks her what she's going to do with them.

Christine never wrote letters to her husband in the film like she did in the novel.

It was left out of the film completely the part where Rhoda killed a dog when she was seven years old when they lived in Baltimore over a year before.

The film used a lot of the exact dialogue from the book.

In the book Rhoda was given a fluid-filled pendant with opals in it when an old neighbor died and left it to her. In the film they changed it to a crystal ball with a fish in it that resembled a snow globe.

We didn't get to hear Christine's thought process when deciding on what to do with the situation with Rhoda at the very end of film, though it had a similar ending as the novel. Instead, after Rhoda went to bed her mother stood over her telling her what was about to happen.

I absolutely love the part near the end where Kenneth is reading Rhoda a story in bed and Rhoda tells him that Monica Breedlove is going to leave her lovebird to Rhoda when she dies and her father says that Monica's not going to die anytime soon. That's not in the book.

The very end of the film is completely different and better than that of the novel and blows it out of the water, it's so good.

This is what the end of the film says, "You have just seen a motion picture which dares to be startlingly different. May we ask that you do not divulge the unusual climax of the story. Thank you."

1985 FILM- The book was made into an NBC made-for-television film. It's 100 minutes long. I haven't seen it but have heard it's no good. They say Patty McCormick was offered the role of Monica Breedlove but after reading the script, she turned it down.

There's an unofficial low budget 1995 sequel to this called Mommy.






THE MANSE by Lisa W. Cantrell

PUBLISHER: Tor, 11/1987
GENRE: Fiction/Contemporary Horror
SETTING: North Carolina, USA
SERIES: The Manse, #1
PURCHASE: link
MY GRADE: D

FROM PUBLISHER: Each Halloween, the Manse becomes a House of Horrors. Vampires, werewolves, ghouls and ghosts - not to mention Frankenstein's monster - stalk the premises. Bats and spiders drop upon the unwary. At every turn a new fright awaits - all in fun, of course.

But the Manse's history of horror is ancient and terrible - more awful than the innocent Trick-or-Treaters can imagine. For twelve years it has been biding its time, feeding on the fear its unsuspecting visitors so willingly offered...

Until tonight. Tonight is the Thirteenth Annual House of Horrors. It will be the last. Tonight, at the Witching Hour, all Hell will break loose.



MY THOUGHTS: Graded D for dull. The cover sucked me in. I was fooled by a pumpkin. Twin sisters own the Manse and one of them is evil. Something she did decades ago has caused the Manse to become haunted. I guess because the number thirteen is considered an unlucky number to some is why the author chose the thirteenth year of the Manse being in operation as a haunted house for things to go haywire.

We got no backstory on any of the main characters except a little towards the end on Elizabeth but for some reason got some on one of the many extra secondary characters. There were too many characters in this book (PoJo, Davy, Randy, Frank, Ted, Vince, Buddy, Elizabeth, Florence, Dood, Samantha, Zack, Pearl, Peter) and not one of them was interesting in any way. Out of all the main characters we only got the age of one, and that was Elizabeth. I have no clue of the age range of the others. Nothing about them made me think they were younger, like in their twenties, so maybe they're in their thirties, who knows?

There were three 'scary' incidents that happened inside the Manse before all hell broke loose at the end, two of which involved secondary characters, but because I didn't care a thing about those characters, I just wasn't interested. And I'm tired of main characters always surviving bad stuff in books and film.

SPOILERS: There were a few interesting scary scenes. A little boy named Davy was spooked at the Manse so he went outside to escape it and saw a fountain statue come to life. Her face was made up of hundreds of yellow eyes that turned into one huge eye. She pivoted around with swollen cheeks and water sprayed out of them towards Davy. Another scene near the end, on Halloween, there was a maze of mirrors in the Manse that began to suck children into it. One creature was trapped in the mirror and its eye exploded and a 'puss-like fluid' splattered onto it.

The story was just longer than it needed to be with boring characters and boring dialogue.

There's a sequel to this called Torments.





BAD RONALD by John Holbrook Vance, NOVEL VS. FILMS

PUBLISHER: Ballantine, 9/1973
GENRE: Contemporary Suspense
SETTING: California, USA
TIMESPAN: a little over a year(?)
TRAILER: link
FILM WIKI: link
PURCHASE: link, link
DVD: link
MY GRADE: B+

FROM PUBLISHER: Up to his seventeenth year no one regarded Ronald as anything but a rather large, overfed youth, probably best ignored. Perhaps that was the trouble--no one really took a good look at Ronald. Except for his devoted mother, who saw only the son she wanted to see. Who, then, is Ronald? Ronald is that faceless unknown who waits - to take, to grab what he needs, to become the ultimate invader.



NOVEL SUMMARY

Ronald Arden Wilby lives with his divorced mother, Elaine, in a two story, four bedroom, two bathroom house at 572 Orchard Street in the Oakmead area (p. 10) of California. She works at Central Valley Hardware. His father is Armand. They divorced ten years ago and she got the house in the settlement. Ronald's described by his mother as being slightly overweight, nice-looking, and gets better than average grades at school. He has dark hair, 'heavy hips, shoulders perhaps a trifle too narrow, long legs and arms', a long straight nose and full lips. He feels he's 'superior to the ordinary person' and is more 'intelligent'. He's about to turn seventeen in less than a week. He likes a girl named Laurel Hansen. He fantasizes about receiving her 'underpants' for his birthday.

On his birthday, a Saturday in August, he walks to Laurel's house. She's in the pool with a few friends and they pretty much ignore him so he walks home. That's when eleven-year old green-eyed blonde Carol Mathews runs into him on her bike. As she's falling off her bike he catches her and kisses her and gropes under her skirt. He drags her onto the property at Hastings Estate. She's screaming so he covers her mouth with his hand and she bite him. He smacks her, then rapes her underneath a tree, telling her to 'relax' and tells her 'This is going to be fun. Really it is'. She can hear her mother calling for her, she's trying to yell and won't promise Ronald not to tell anyone what he's done, so he strangles her. He got a shovel out of the shed and buried her. He saw Carol's father Donald stop in the road when he found her bike lying there. He put it into the back of his station wagon and left.

Ronald realized he'd left his new birthday jacket behind while he was burying Carol so he went back to get it though it was dark. Police were there searching around since Carol never returned home and that's the area her father found her bike. He returned home without his jacket and confessed to his mother. He lied and told her that Carol wanted him to 'do it' with her and when he wouldn't give her money afterward like she wanted, he accidentally killed her. His mom was upset and asked how he could do such a thing. She couldn't figure out what to do with Ronald. He asked if he should go to the police. She wants to hide him somewhere until she could save enough money for them to flee. She has aspirations of him becoming a doctor. They work until four in the morning to transform the main floor bathroom into a secret room for Ronald to live in. They call it his 'lair'. It's underneath the staircase and you can't tell it's there now. They hang a picture where the bathroom door once was. In the kitchen pantry wall, below the shelves, they cut open the bottom and make a secret door that leads into the bathroom. That's how Ronald will come and go, on his hands and knees, from the bathroom into the house and how his mother will deliver his food and other things to him.

The next day, two officers come looking for him and said they have 'several items of evidence' suggesting he may be involved in Carol's murder. The items are his jacket, which has blood on the hem, and shoes from his house look like they could have made the footprints that were in the mud at the crime scene. They also found the fake note that she had Ronald write and leave in his room, stating that he'd done something bad and had run away. They showed up again six weeks later just to check and see if she'd heard from Ronald.

Christmas has passed and Ronald's still in hiding. He kills time by exercising with cheap equipment his mother's bought him, and writing a fantasy novel about a land called Atranta. He thinks about how he's not sorry for what he did to Carol and said it was 'such wonderful fun'. His hatred for Laurel grows by the day and he blames her for what happened to Carol.

His mother has surgery for her gall bladder and he's left alone for eight days. While she's gone he gathers some tools and makes a trapdoor in the bathroom that opens up into the crawl space, giving him access to the outside. Sometime after she's back home she goes back to the hospital and dies there from complications from her previous surgery. Ronald learns of it by hearing a relative inside the house with a real estate agent. Ronald makes two peepholes in the wall so he can see into the house.

Ben and Marcia Wood buy the house. Ben is an Army veteran and works for the phone company. They have three daughters- 13-year-old Barbara, blonde, 16-year-old Althea, blonde-brown hair, and 17-year-old Ellen, who's got brown-gold hair and gray eyes. He's angry at the girls because school is about to start and they get to go have fun. He says they must suffer as he's suffered and jokes about getting them pregnant.

Marcia notices that food goes missing sometimes, like deviled eggs and pie. She doesn't know it's Ronald sneaking into the kitchen late at night to scavenge.

One day when everyone's gone, he snoops in Ellen's room and 'inspects her underwear'. He opens her perfume and accidentally spills some. She notices it later and accuses the youngest, Barbara, of doing it. Another day he snoops in Althea's room and finds her diary. He tries to open it with an opened up paperclip but the tip breaks off inside the lock. Later Barbara's suspected of doing it.

Ronald takes a liking to Barbara. He thinks she's 'adorable' and 'desirable'. He both loves and detests her and thinks she's a 'sexy little scamp'. He fantasizes about raping her one day when she gets home from school. She's in middle school/junior high and gets home before her sisters. One day he crawls out of his lair and waits for Barbara. She's in the kitchen and when she turns around, Ronald's there in the doorway. He grabs her, she struggles, and he punches her and forces her to crawl though the secret door into his lair. He gives her a pen and paper and makes her write a fake note saying she's run away to be with 'hippies'. He forces her onto his cot and for struggling, he punches her on each side of her face. He strips her down, ties her ankles to the cot and ties her hands together and gags her. He makes a noose for her neck. One end is tied to something on the wall and he holds the other end. Her sisters come home, then her parents. They call the police because she's missing. He rapes her multiple times later on after her family's gone to bed. Ronald calls it 'lovemaking'.

The middle daughter, Althea, goes missing. Ellen, the oldest daughter, comes home. Her boyfriend Duane is with her. He's the brother of Carol, the dead girl, and is one or two years older than Ronald. They find a fake note that was written by Althea saying that Barbara called her and that she's going to go see her. Though it's Althea's handwriting, it's disguised so Ellen knows something's up. She thinks Ronald has kidnapped both of them since he's on the loose.

Ronald has Althea in his lair. It wasn't told how he got her into it, just that she was home alone when it happened. He told her Barbara had been there but left when she got bored. He raped Althea multiple times and kept the noose around her neck too. She pretended to be sick. She went over to the toilet to pretend to throw up and took the toilet lid off and hit Ronald with it somewhere on his face or head. Blood was everywhere. He kills her but it isn't said how.

Duane comes up with a plan. He tells Ellen to sprinkle flour all over the kitchen floor when she goes to bed so they can see if there are any footprints on it the next morning. Sure enough there's prints that lead out of the pantry over to the refrigerator and back. Duane spotted the secret door in the pantry, figured out somehow that there was a hidden bathroom that Ronald lives in, and went snooping around in the crawl space. He found the trapdoor and bags of Ronald's garbage. He also found the graves of Barbara and Althea. They went inside and told her parents about their findings.

The mother dipped a paper towel in gasoline, lit it and threw it into the secret room. Ronald burst through the wall, on fire, and ran out of the house. He ended up down the street at Laurel's house, in her closet. Her mother heard something and opened the closet door. Ronald ran out of the room and ran though the glass patio door. Laurel's father chased him though the yard and punched Ronald in the head. He fell into the pool and stayed there until the police took him away.

Ellen and Duane are driving past the house. The family has since moved out of it and they're watching a new family with three young children move in.

NOVEL VS. FILMS


This was a made-for-tv movie that premiered on ABC on October 23, 1974 in the USA. Ronald's much more disturbed in the novel. In the novel he rapes and kills three young girls while in the film he doesn't rape anyone and accidentally kills one. Film credits spell Carol and Duane's last name 'Matthews' instead of 'Mathews'.

In the film after he accidentally knocks Carol down as she's riding by, she's verbally abusive, telling him he's all dressed up to impress 'Laurie' and that he and his mother are 'weird'. He knocks her bike down (that'll teach her!), tells her to apologize, she won't so he grabs her, she slaps him, he lifts her up by her head and throws her back. She hits her head on a cinder block and dies (first photo below). He's remorseful and repeatedly tells her he's sorry. He confesses to his mother. While talking about what to do with him, she rubs his head like a dog while he chews on an apple (second photo).


In the novel Ronald leaves his jacket at the estate where he buried Carol. In the film the police find Ronald's jacket in his closet with a huge swatch torn off. They tell her it may match the swatch left at the crime scene (photo 1). She knocks on the wall of the secret door to let him know the police are gone (photo 2).


In the novel and film there's a nosey neighbor named Mrs. Schumacher. In the film she's always looking in the Wilby's windows like a peeping Tom but she doesn't do that in the book.
In the film, one day while the new family's at school and work, Ronald goes into the kitchen and sees Mrs. Schumacher watching him through the window. He walks towards her, she has a heart attack, falls down the stairs and dies. Ronald doesn't want to get blamed for her death so he goes outside and buries her in the crawlspace.


In the film Ronald doesn't spill Barbara's perfume but he did try to break into Althea's diary.


In the film he doesn't assault Barbara in the kitchen. He attacks in her bedroom. He also put up a piece of his artwork on her wall. Barbara runs out of the house to Mrs. Schumacher's next door and Ronald runs inside though a different door. This part is more exciting that what's in the novel since it has Ronald outside of the house for the first time since he killed Carol months before.


He sneaks up behind Duane Mathews with a long figurine-type thing off the shelf, hits him with it then puts him in his lair, gagged and bound.


Althea sees light coming through one of the peepholes Ronald made, then she sees him put his eye up to it and screams like a banshee. Then Ronald comes bursting through the wall (instead of a glass door like in the novel), runs outside, falls down a few steps and is caught by the police.



THE NOVEL: I really like the idea of a hidden room in someone's house. He could only hear through the walls then had the idea to drill peepholes so he could actually see the occupants. He knew everything that was going on, pretty much.

People in their reviews describe Ronald as lonely and strange but we only met him a week before the first murder and I didn't see any of that. Nothing about him leading up to the first murder made me think he was odd or different. He seems pretty passive and easygoing and a definite mamma's boy. She dictates his future and tells him he's going to be a doctor and he goes along with it without expressing an opinion.

I don't like that Ellen and Duane figured out that Ronald kidnapped both sisters or understand how they come to that conclusion. No one had seen or heard from Ronald since Carol was murdered many months before yet they knew he was behind the disappearances? And Duane figuring out there was a hidden room is one thing but to know it was built around bathroom? Nope.

The ending was silly and could have been so much better. I really wish Ronald had gotten away with his dirty deeds but it wasn't to be. He could have gone on to anonymously terrorize the neighborhood and there could have been a sequel or three. The ending of both films were better than that of the novel.

None of the rapes are detailed at all.

THE FILM: The only way the film was better than the novel was the ending, with Ronald crashing through the wall and running outside. It's more believable than that of the novel. I don't understand why he didn't just escape through the trapdoor in the lair, down into the crawlspace, then outside to freedom when he saw Althea staring back at him though the peephole.

Also in the film the girl he likes, Laurie Matthews (Laurel Hansen in the book), is the older sister of Carol, the little girl he kills. In the novel they aren't related.

Actress Lisa Eilbacher played oldest daughter Ellen. I know and like her in the so-bad-it's-good Charles Bronson film Ten to Midnight.

You can watch Bad Ronald here, part 2.

Méchant garçon-

There's a French version from 1992 called Méchant garçon and you can watch it here. I don't speak French and have no idea what's being said but I watched it anyway. It wasn't good. It's boring for the most part and not suspenseful. Ronald was played by an actor named Joachim Lombard.

The film's in French until the new British family move into the house, then the rest of the film has French subtitles. It opens with a black screen with white credits rolling. During that we hear a female screaming and struggling with someone. Next, Ronald's at home talking to his mother, likely confessing something. Soon after that Ronald's in bed crying, remembering what he'd done. He was at the beach one night or early morning and it looks like he attempted to rape a girl. She has long curly brownish-red hair. She got away, fell and hit her head on a rock and died.

There are only two daughters, Mary and Stephanie, husband and wife, and the husband's French assistant, Christine. Christine is kidnapped and raped at least once and there's nudity. Stephanie is kidnapped and taken into the lair too while Christine's there but I don't think she's raped. They chose to have Ronald rape the adult instead.

Unlike in the book and US television version, Ronald escapes the house after his mother dies. He flees to a dock and tries to steal a boat but it wouldn't start, so he goes back home.

The only other interesting part was at the very end after Ronald fled the house after the mother sees him in the kitchen and slings a pot of hot water in his face. The next scene was of the camera moving slowly down the hallway of a hospital. Ronald narrated the scene. They show him in a hospital bed with much shorter hair and ointment on his burned face as he looks into the camera. I guess he was telling us what happened after he fled, or what he was thinking by committing those crimes. That epilogue of sorts wasn't in the book or US film version and I liked that we (meaning those who speak French) got some knowledge of what happened to him afterward.



Book and movie reviews for Bad Ronald by other people can be found at:

Bleeding Skull, Cheese Magnet, Coming Soon, Culture Shock, Detours, Discard Treasures (the best review that I've read on this novel), DVD Panache, Final Girl, Fright, Jerry's House of Everything, Made For TV Mayhem, Movies, Nostalgia Central, Reflections, Scared Shiftless, Stomp Tokyo, Wopsploitation.

These are my own screenshots except for the two DVD cover photos, which I got separately online.

Bad Ronald is included in a trilogy of John's novels titled Dangerous Ways from 2011.

A big thank you to Jason for giving this book to me.





ABBA THE SCRAPBOOK by Jean-Marie Potiez

PUBLISHER: Plexus, 9/2009 and 2012
GENRE: Nonfiction/Biography/Music
BOOK SITE: link
PURCHASE: link, link
MY GRADE: A

FROM PUBLISHER: More than 30 years after their stunning victory at the Eurovision Song Contest with "Waterloo" in 1974, ABBA’s popularity remains undimmed. From disco classics like "Dancing Queen" and "Mamma Mia" to ballads like "The Winner Takes It All," the group’s musical legacy endures, thanks in part to covers by artists ranging from U2 to Madonna.

ABBA: The Scrapbook gives a complete history of one of the best-loved pop groups of all time: the early days in Sweden, relationships within the band, their triumph at Eurovision, the group’s outrageous 1970s fashions, the making of ABBA: The Movie, the eventual break-up, and their continuing influence on pop music. The book also covers the hugely successful stage musical Mamma Mia! and its upcoming film adaptation. Fully illustrated throughout with rare photos of the band and memorabilia, ABBA: The Scrapbook charts the amazing story of how an obscure Swedish quartet conquered the world.



MY THOUGHTS
: This is a heavy oversized paperback, 2.8lbs. It's in full color. It's filled with countless photos that I've never seen before, as well as some information I don't recall ever knowing, like a pre-ABBA Frida going to college to study fashion. It goes in chronological order- pre-ABBA, during, and after ABBA. Only a little bit of information is given for most of the photos. This doesn't read like a biography and it's not supposed to and this would likely only appeal to a big fan, like myself, who's been a fan of theirs for twenty-two years. I love the book and have nothing negative to say about it.





The 1973 photo below is odd and unique because they're kissing the wrong partner.



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.