Just Like Home by Sarah Gailey was on my TBR list for a while. Childhood abuse and a haunted house? Count me in! (I'm s sicko like th...


Just Like Home by Sarah Gailey was on my TBR list for a while. Childhood abuse and a haunted house? Count me in! (I'm s sicko like that.) This book has taken me a few days to process. It shows you that monsters come in many forms, but overall it's a love story. Yes, you heard that right. Let me explain...

It follows Vera, the daughter of a dead serial killer. She has a troubled relationship with her dying mother, but comes back to her childhood home to care for her. The story is a slow burn that's told by jumping back and forth between present day and when she discovers her dad was a killer. It's a bit coming of age story, combined with drama, and the supernatural.

Without giving too much away, it's well written, although a bit repetitive at points. The toxic mother daughter relationship is accurate. (Ask me how I know?) It sets an overall mood of being claustrophobic, stifling, and repressive. About the last 1/4 of the book it picks up and because it's so abstract, it's absurd....and this is the part I love. You come to find out that Vera and the house have always loved each other. That said, there are so many plot holes and loose ends...spoilers below...sort of...

What did happen to her father's journal? Did her mother always know about the monster in the house? Did Vera have the grease in her? Was Vera really naive at 13 to think there was grease in people and not blood because her father said so? Was there also sexual abuse? Did her father leave the peep hole for her to learn from? Did her father manifest the house monster when her built it? Is the monster her father? Why was the mother so emotionally abusive to Vera? Was it only caused by jealousy? Does Vera have a sexual attraction to the artist? So Vera tried to unlearn about the grease inside people, but never seeks help to understand what it meant? She loved her father so much, but never wanted to repair their relationship by visiting him in jail or reading his messages? Was the house leaving pieces of his journal around? Why does her mother want her father to kill, where does that come from? How did the blanket get into the shed? 

It was an interesting story. Amazing? Nah, but interesting.

Andrea and I are back at it! We went to see the Cat Video Fest for 2023 at the North Park Theater . Don't know what the Cat Video Fest ...

Andrea and I are back at it! We went to see the Cat Video Fest for 2023 at the North Park Theater. Don't know what the Cat Video Fest is? It's a compilation of viral cat videos, tik toks, and gifs from the past few years all in one place! If you like cats it's def worth seeing, and as a bonus a percentage of the proceeds goes towards local animal shelters and animal welfare organizations!

I like that you can submit pictures and videos to the North Park of your cat, and they will show them before the movie. I submitted a pic of my little Ginger. She had the whole big screen to herself! I didn't have time to pull out my phone to take a picture, but this was the one I sent in. The time she had a blep.

Cat Video Fest 2023 was divided up, as before, with CATegories like "Drama", "Action", "Documentary", and "Musical". Some of the highlights for me included the movie opening with songs from the Cats soundtrack (I love musicals), there's a Shining reference, you see the life of Fred the boat cat, Cat Man Chris the owner of Marmalade, Simon's Cat with the cutest cartoons, Cute Aggression metal song (which I just learned about and LOVE!), and the catchy Hold On to My Fur song from thekiffness. Not to mention, there are clips of kitties sleeping on books, wearing raincoats, the first ever cat video, and lots of one-brain-cell orange kitties! It's delightful.

The compilation was slightly different from last year. There were more musical clips and the clips seemed longer. They feature hirokisan79 and his piano cat duets more than once. I wish they sold the soundtrack to Cat Video Fest 2023! 

You can read about the other years I attended too 2019, 2020, 2022.

After getting our cat fix, we were hungry, so we went down the street to The Merry Shelley. I'm embarrassed to say, it took me way too long to blog about The Merry Shelley, a local goth hang out. It's a small bar that has it all, spooky decor, goth music, fun events, good drinks, food, and... books. Yes, books! It's a little free library too! We popped over, I donated some books, and picked up some that were on my tbr list from eons ago.

This particular night, there were tarot card readings being done by Liz from Divination Station. She's a sweetheart, and manages Rising Goddess a local metaphysical shop that I recommend, not only because they have a "house cat" named Trixie, but because it's a great store with good vibes. Naturally, Andrea and I had to get our readings done. 

Trixie & her blep. (Pic taken from the Rising Goddess Facebook page.)

During the course of our evening we saw old friends, and made some new ones. I don't get out much because I work a lot, but when I do, I like it to be a quality night like this! A night of cats & bats!

I reviewed Cronenberg' s original Rabid a few years back, you can read about my thoughts here . The story is solid and original, and I ...

I reviewed Cronenberg's original Rabid a few years back, you can read about my thoughts here. The story is solid and original, and I could see where he was going with it... the Soska Sisters saw the potential too, and made it even better in their 2019 remake! It's nice that they kept it directed by Canadians.

Side note: remakes don't really excite me, but this one was intriguing. I'm always interested to see a woman's perspective. There were a lot of boobs in the 1977 one, and it did nothing for me.

***Spoilers Ahead***

The plot somewhat follows the old one, Rose gets into a motorcycle accident and has experimental reconstructive surgery that causes her to crave blood. The gore is excellent, and her story line is fleshed out in the new movie. (See what I did there?) Rose is a lowly fashion designer that works for a design house where she is publicly ridiculed and ignored. She has one model friend, Chelsea, that looks like Krysten Ritter. This movie peels back the curtain of how design houses work. It gives off In Fabric vibes too. Quick background, Rose is a vegetarian and has scarring on her face from a car accident when she was a child that killed her parents. (So very Disney. Heaven forbid she's not an orphan!)

Krysten Ritter is that you?

The story moves quick, and she gets hood winked into attending a nightclub party by a friendly male co-worker named Brad. He truly seems sincere and likes her. Rose finds out that Chelsea asked him to ask her to go, and she leaves upset, getting into the motorcycle accident.

All the horrible things about an accident happen if you work in the modeling industry. Part of her face is ripped off and her jaw is wired shut, so she can't talk, her intestines are punctured, and her face is pretty gnarly. Chelsea takes Rose in once she's released, since this cost her the design job. She finds an experimental treatment facility that ~ if she qualifies ~ will take care of her reconstructive surgery for free. (Brings up the idea of the problems with healthcare and how it should be accessible to all regardless if you can afford it or not.) Surprise, she qualifies!

Frankenstein face.

They graft a gooey clear jello looking piece of prosthesis to her face that bonds to her skin and makes her look like a model (she kind of already looked like a model before the accident), but now she's a supermodel. It clears up her childhood car accident scars and eyesight. The only problem is that she has to take medication that can cause "hallucinations", and she has to drink "protein" when she can't stomach anything else. Calls into question, what are you willing to do to be beautiful? And the doctor claims they are hallucinations, but are they?

Don't get me wrong, the red is striking, religious vestment style, but how do they see where the blood is when doing surgery? Isn't that why doctors wear white or green? Bonus: I bet they are easy to clean!

Now that Rose is a gorgeous party girl, she gets noticed by her old design house. Pretty people are rewarded. She gets her design job back, and then some. The difficulty is that she can't tell what's a hallucination or not, and she spreads her illness to others by sharing drink glasses etc. It transmits through saliva and blood. I like how they highlighted this is the movie, so the viewer can catch how it spreads. She creates dead people and zombies in her wake. Hospitals think it’s a contagion and kill the infected. Feels a little COVID-y. There's a slow motion nurse scene that looks like Silent Hill ~ the music video ~ and it's great.

She feels like a monster, and tells the doctor what's happening, and he's not listening to her. We've all been there, huh, ladies? Instead of getting annoyed at the doctor, check out the wonderful, surreal artwork on the walls in his office!

Painting behind the doctor of a person without a face. Turning a "blind-eye" ~ if you will ~ to what's happening at this facility or giving off the feeling that Rose one of the many faceless victims to his whims.

Rose gets contained in the treatment facility, along with her friend Brad, who's been in on what's happening to her. But it doesn't feel malicious, he cares about her and was just told to keep an eye on her. It's a body horror ending that will remind you of The Thing, and Society, combined with a little Slither. Reminder: don't just stab, but ALWAYS chop off the head. It ends on a stark, depressing note, but did you expect anything else from the makers of American Mary

"Being human is limited, Rose is so much more." The actress that plays Rose conveys all the concerns you would have in this situation. This is the perfect homage with respect to the original, and you won't be disappointed there's still an armpit dick and lots of red doctors uniforms. Highly recommend. I give it 4.5 protein shakes out of 5.

Here's the trailer


Even though I am catless (don't get me started, I'm really depressed about it, and just want Ginger and Vicktor back ~ no other ca...

Even though I am catless (don't get me started, I'm really depressed about it, and just want Ginger and Vicktor back ~ no other cats...yet) I belong to a bunch of cat groups on Facebook. One of the common questions people ask is about FIV+ cats, aka cats that are positive for Feline Immunodeficiency Virus. 

FIV+ affects the cat's immune system, and may be dormant for many years. It may make the cat susceptible to other infections, but as long as they are taken care of by their owner, the vet visits are the same as any other cats. They can live long happy and healthy lives. It's only transmitted to other cats through a bite, not shared grooming or sharing bowls. So logically, keep your FIV+ cat indoors.

FIV+ cats aren't as troubled and deathly sick as people seem to think they are. When we had Hans, he was FIV+. As far as I know, he didn't pass it to Vicktor or Ginger. 

Our Christmas card 2007. Hans, Ginger, & Vicktor. As you can see, Hans was a handsome fellow.

So please don't let a cat being FIV+ deter you from adopting them.

Click here for a good website on FIV+. 

  The Oddities and Curiosities Expo  came back to Buffalo, this year for two days , and again I dragged Jodee Bowie with me.   (You can rea...

 The Oddities and Curiosities Expo came back to Buffalo, this year for two days, and again I dragged Jodee Bowie with me. (You can read about my experience last year here.)

This year it seemed like there were fewer booths compared to last year, and fewer attendees, but that could be because it was broken into two days instead of just one. I went on Sunday. There was a ton of taxidermy and wet specimens ~ if you're into that sort of thing. I mainly went looking for "Evil Eye" jewelry. After reading The Evil Eye: The History, Mystery, and Magic of the Quiet Curse by Pagliarulo, I've become obsessed. (You can read my full review of the book in the upcoming Auxiliary Magazine issue for Fall/ Winter 2023.) 

I'm surprised they didn't have much in the way of Evil Eyes, but I did find a necklace I fell in love with! This is from Misty Bondy, who I remember being at the Oddities show last year, but her booth was so crowded I think I just walked on by. I'm so glad I stopped. She not only designs her jewelry, but makes original art work too! 

I had to visit Smell of Fear candles. She's a local gal that has worked with Grady Hendrix (he wrote a few books that I have reviewed) and she's also a customer at my shop Cats Like Us! I picked up this candle because I love the smell of old lady....I mean lavender. 

Next, I stumbled into the booth of lynne&lucille where I couldn't resist the simplicity of these modern looking earrings made from autopsy needles. She has jewelry made from bones and drum cymbals too. Even cool skull choker necklaces.  A truly unique addition to the Oddities show!

I was excited to see that Morose & Macabre were back! They have some of my favorite loose tea, so I grabbed more of the Amityville, and I liked the smell of Widow Black (even though I'm still trying to quit caffeine.)

Overall, it was a good show again and I saw a bunch of friends. Here's a picture that someone took for Jodee and I. I'm wearing these wonderfully comfortable swishy cargo/ harem pants that everyone hates except me. lol. And it's super off kilter, just like we are. 

Thanks again for reading!

Carnivals and amusement parks have always fascinated me, and it's because of their duality . A carnival during the day is bright and ch...

Carnivals and amusement parks have always fascinated me, and it's because of their duality. A carnival during the day is bright and cheerful, filled with kids, but at night it's lit up for the adults, and can often be dark and seedy with beer tents, and in the olden days - "cooch shows". Freaks, geeks, and fortune tellers were just a small part of the sordid goings-on. I've watched Carnivale, Freaks, Nightmare Alley, and read Geek Love by Katherine Dunn (btw it is super f*cked up. It's one of the few books I own, AND have read at least twice. What can I say? I like f'ed up stories.)

There are giant amusement park rides filled with life - people, sights, sounds, and smells in their heyday, compared to empty amusement parks left to rot. i.e. one of the many is Chernobyl's Pripyat Amusement Park. I can watch urban explorer footage and pictures of abandoned amusement parks for hours. 

I've been to Cedar Point, Six Flags, the Erie County Fair, Universal Studios, but the king is Walt Disney World. It's a place created to be "the happiest place on earth" and it truly is a world in itself, with a huge amount of staff scrambling to make every visitor's experience perfect. They work in underground tunnels, running everything as smoothly as possible, like the "haves" above ground and "have-nots" below. This brings me to my book review of The Getaway by Lamar Giles. He's known for kids and young adult books but has written some thrillers too, and I'd categorize The Getaway under horror.

***Mostly spoiler free review***

It's the story of a place in the not too distant future similar to Disney called Karloff Country. Although it's even more excessive with its own energy grid, food production, and community. It's located in Virginia, since global warming has destroyed the coastlines. The book follows four high school students that live on the premises. Their lifestyle feels safe for a few years until it's not. Outside the walls of their sheltered commune, are food shortages causing riots, capital uprisings and more. Karloff Country goes into lockdown. The elite trustees are the ones trying to make Karloff their perfect refuge to hide from the chaos in the outside world. They move in to their mansions on the grounds, furthering the great divide of the rich people with abundance, and those living without food outside. The creator of the amusement park wanted the apocalypse to happen, so he could start fresh and make everything "better" only it devolves into chaos and spins out of control.

I couldn't put this book down. Just when you think the most horrific thing happens, there's more! It's written perfectly with short chapters, and some are titled after the characters indicating that they are the voice of those chapters to give you a well-rounded and clear perspective of the narrative. The characters are relatable and likeable. Giles writes black teenagers with expertise. Between chapters are snippets of marketing and ads for Karloff Country to give the story context and history. This book is timely, jarring, and there's even a reference to The Lost Boys, how could I not love this book? 

If you like Jordan Peele and his movie Get Out, you'll like this. It has a similar vibe and I can't recommend it enough.

Our Share of Night by Mariana Enriquez has mixed reviews, but I recommend it. It's a true gory horror novel, and covers a lot of gr...

Our Share of Night by Mariana Enriquez has mixed reviews, but I recommend it. It's a true gory horror novel, and covers a lot of ground while weaving together an epic story that spans generations. It's about a family that's part of a maniacal, sadistic supernatural order in Argentina in the 1960s through 1990s. Members want to reform the hierarchy of the cult and make it less abusive. The cult part of the story is almost a backdrop to the characters because the members are still trying to learn about what the dark god they worship wants, and how to get it to grant eternal life. 

The political aspect can't be ignored, or the social divide. The rich cult members are the embodiment of evil. There are elements of folk horror, haunted houses, human sacrifices, ghosts, but also harsh disturbing real things that people do to maintain power. Trigger warning there's rape and suicide mentioned, amputations, and A LOT of child abuse.

I wasn't sure how this book would read since it was translated, but you can't even tell! It's a thick book at almost 600pgs but the sections are short, and each chapter is the voice of a different character, which I love. You can see how they start out and why they develop into who they become. 

p.s. I miss all of you, I just haven't had time to blog, but this book had to be shared! My business takes a lot out of me. Thank you for understanding, and you can always follow my fb page, where I post stupid memes. lol. Fluffy the Vampire Slayer

 I was recommended Mary: An Awakening of Terror by Nat Cassidy because I loved Bunny . I can say it does not disappoint! Deeper review bel...

 I was recommended Mary: An Awakening of Terror by Nat Cassidy because I loved Bunny. I can say it does not disappoint! Deeper review below without spoilers...

Good books tend to cover themes relevant to society, and Mary is a true horror in every sense. It covers menopause..dun. dun. dun. No really, it's about a woman named Mary who is quiet, keeps to herself, has forgotten much of her childhood, and is experiencing the symptoms of menopause...mixed with other strange signs. So if you have ever been to a doctor, and they brush off your concerns as just part of menopause, you know the rage Mary feels. She's ignored and dismissed, but is she really? Maybe I just really connect with this book because I can relate. 

BUT that's not all! There is a trigger warning at the beginning of the book written by Cassidy to let us know what we are in for. There's a little something for everyone... animal mutilation, implied sexual abuse, verbal abuse, mental illness, misogyny, bullying, reincarnation, ghosts, a cult, and lots and lots of blood. I should mention that this book was written by a man. I know! Furthermore, I was shocked! He wrote an Afterword explaining why he wrote it, and I'm glad he created Mary. I finally feel acknowledged as an older woman. (Yes, I'm old, believe it or not.) It's his debut novel and was voted one of the best horror books of 2022. There's a movie in development too.

Mary's internal dialog is intense, realistic, funny, and a bit American Psycho. There's some Wicker Man vibes too. I loved it, and it's easily one of my favorite books now. Each chapter ends with an "Oh shit!" moment, and will have you going through a roller coaster of emotions, or ....maybe that's just my menopause talking. HIGHLY RECOMMEND!

I'm one of the few people that still gets the DVDs from my Netflix subscription. (We have a VHS player too.) "Why?" You ask? ...

I'm one of the few people that still gets the DVDs from my Netflix subscription. (We have a VHS player too.) "Why?" You ask? Because they offer different movies than the ones that are streaming, like the Fulci gem The Black Cat from 1981, not to be confused with the more well known The Black Cat from 1934 with Karloff and Lugosi, or The Black Cat from 1966, or all the movies named The Black Cat from 1941, 1968, 1989, 1991. Many are loosely based on the Poe story we know and love. While the 1981 version is not a "good" movie, I will say it's an amazing CAT-centric movie!

*spoilers ahead*

We get the point of view camera angle from the level of a cat, and he seems to be everywhere that people are ending up dead. The cat belong to Mr. Miles, an eccentric man that records spirits of the recently deceased. He has a wonderful old mansion house too! Lots of woodwork, giant staircases, candelabras...you get the idea. In the beginning, we are led to believe that cat is being forced to kill people as an act of revenge, but with the help of an American photographer, we learn that there's more to it. Both the cat and Miles are “bound by hatred” and by the end of the film the cat is the more powerful one, controlling Miles to kill!

I'll admit, not much happens in the movie, but it's a remarkable watch because they use a real black cat throughout. At only one point when the cat attacks can you tell it's a fake cat. It's rather impressive. I'm sure there was more than one cat actor used in the movie, and I loved all the close-ups of the cats and the purring sounds. There's also no dialog for about the first 15 minutes, which is fine as long as I'm watching a cat.

There wasn't just close-ups of the cats, but the eyes of the actors too....a little too much close-up. The lighting was interesting and at one point there were floating glowing eyes. The eyes have it! The town they are in looks quaint, sometimes overly foggy. The acting is ok, and there's your typical boobs, and several awkward make out sessions from the 1980s horror movie genre. (That's saying a lot since the movie's run time is only 1hr 32min.) The soundtrack has a folk horror sound that sets the tone.

Some special effects are well executed (see what I did there?), a highlight is the scene where a woman catches fire and her face melts. Some effects are not so great, like the scene with the fake bats, or bright white skeletons covered in cobwebs.

*trigger warnings*

Miles does try to kill the cat a couple of times, when he feels the cat is getting stronger than him. He tries to kill it by hanging it. While they never show it, they do show it in shadow, and the cat ends up living. (Yay, evil kitty!)  Another time he tries to poison and bury it alive, it's mentioned but not shown.

The first awkward make out session shows a young couple, and it gets a little rape-y, when she says no, and he tries to convince her to have sex. Not cool.

As a whole I give it a 1.5 out of 5 drinks at the pub (yes, yes, I know Fulci has a cult following, but I'm not in that cult), but I give it a 6 out of 5 for use of real cats!

Here's the trailer...