Saturday, October 31

Guest Post: How Home Invasion Films Could Change with Today's Technology

I would all like you to give another warm welcome to my guest here at CRR's! And also HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Maria is a writer interested in comic books, cycling, and horror films. Her hobbies include cooking, doodling, and finding local shops around the city. She currently lives in Chicago with her two pet turtles, Franklin and Roy. You can follow her on Twitter @MariaRamos1889.

How Home Invasion Films Could Change with Today’s Technology

Films that were made in the past were great in their own time, but that’s all these films have come to be - things of the past. Can you imagine how different these classics from the 90s and beyond would be in today’s world? In the day and age of WiFi and a plethora of advanced technology at our fingertips, several of these overused movie tropes from the past would not make any sense. Many can’t go a full twenty-four hours without their cell phone, and the fact that villains would have to devise plans to combat all such technology in order to fulfill their evil deeds, leaves us with a number of plots that just wouldn’t fly in today’s tech-savvy world.


Take Scream, for example. Released in the mid 90s, this slasher classic was the first of its kind featuring characters who were aware of real world horror films. The entire premise of the film revolves around victims receiving mysterious threats from an unknown caller who then appears in a ghost mask and kills whoever was on the line. Of course, caller ID wasn't really a thing back then and many teens get brutally murdered over the course of the film.

It’s clear this movie would need significant rewrites in order for it to work in today's world. First of all, the killer uses a phone to torment his victims before he kills them. We now have caller ID built into just about every telecommunications device, and thanks to advanced GPS tracking capabilities, the killer's location would have been discovered almost immediately. Unfortunately, we’ve advanced to the point where there are now caller ID spoofing apps, and technology to outsmart these apps; but either way this technology would render the original Ghostface villains tactics obsolete.

Home Alone

Home Alone, another 90s classic, would also be completely different today. Following a power outage and all the alarms being turned off, the McCallister family scrambles to get to the airport in time for their flight to Paris and the parents don’t realize until it’s too late that they have left their 8 year old son Kevin behind. Of course, there’s no way to check up on him and all the direct flights back home are booked. Needless to say, this movie would’ve never happened today.

The McCallister family is generally well off and have a pretty nice house. It’s probably safe to assume all of their kids would have an iPhone, and with today’s WiFi capabilities it wouldn’t have been overly difficult to reach Kevin on the phone, through text message, or some app. Still, the McCallister's were loaded, and they wouldn’t have left their mansion unprotected meaning it would have been armed with the best home security system that money can buy which would’ve allowed Kevin’s parents to check up on him via online video and alerted the authorities to any intrusions. The two criminals who tormented young Kevin in more than one film would have been arrested immediately.

The Ring

The Ring, the first American remake of a Japanese horror classic, features viewers of a videotape inexplicably dying seven days after watching it. The plotline is a bit strange with the tape being haunted by an evil entity known as Samara who literally crawls out of the television and scares the person to death. A horrifying film at the time of its release, the movie still holds up to this day and many regard it as a classic. But VHS tapes are long gone, and now even DVD’s are on their way out with all these new streaming services constantly popping up. However, could she perform such a feat on a DVD or Blu-ray disc? It’s possible, The Ring could still work because Samara is technically a spirit, so even our current technology might not be able to stop her.

Funny Games

Funny Games was a sick and mentally disturbing game of a foreign film that was released in 1997, with an American remake in 2007. The film features a family of three that goes on a vacation to the countryside where two evil young men take the family hostage and force them to perform a number of sadistic “games”. While malfunctioning phones are shown in the film, many people have security systems in their vacation homes these days and even if the victims had knowingly allowed their visitors into the house, they still could have used the system to alert authorities. It’s also safe to say there would be more than one cell phone and surely some sort of tablet or computer lying around. Funny Games would have had a much different ending with our new device consumed lifestyles.


Movies are like a time capsule. The technology that's available at the time of a film's production cannot be changed. If you stop and think about it, today's movies wouldn't work ten years from now either. That's why it's important for us to appreciate the classic films for what they are. Writers today have to think about technology when writing a film set in modern times. Home invasion films are much harder to pull off in today's technologically sound world, of course we just have to be ahead of the times as so perfectly demonstrated in The Purge. While the technology references may become outdated and new systems more difficult to overrun, the home invasion trope will continue to entertain as long as it’s a possibility lurking right outside your door.

Thursday, October 29

Movie Review: Dark Skies (2013)

Length: 1 hr & 37 Mins
Released: 2013
Genre: Mystery & horror
Rating: PG-13
Where I Got It: On Netflix


As husband and wife Daniel and Lacey Barret witness an escalating series of disturbing events involving their family, their safe and peaceful home quickly unravels. When it becomes clear that the Barret family is being targeted by an unimaginably terrifying and deadly force, Daniel and Lacey take matters in their own hands to solve the mystery of what is after their family. 


Boyfriend and I watched this a while back. We were looking through movies the other day and looked at this and said, “huh…maybe we should watch this. This looks good.” After about 15 mins I realized that we had watched this before. So…what does this say? It was kinda sort forgettable. After re-watching it, I realized it was good, but yes…forgettable.

It was indeed creepy. At first they hint that it is ghostly, but soon it’s revealed to be aliens cause havoc. Aliens scare me, especially if they are creepy a-holes who are kidnapping people/kids for no real reason. There was never a reason specified here.

The acting was decent. The family stereotypical in many ways, so I rolled my eyes a lot with the family. Especially with the two boys. Seen this family dynamic a million times in horror movies. WHY DOES EVERYONE IGNORE THE SIGNS!? REALLY? REALLY? That is “normal”? Not strange at all…especially with the security alarms blaring even though the doors and windows are securely locked and nothing seems to be touched. Whatever…live in your delusion I guess. Why is this family dynamic always the same? Shake it up! Gah. Especially the dad’s reaction to the paranormal things going on. I get it…manly pride and all, but honestly? Good lord.

I guessed the ending, but it surprised me that I was right. There were some foreshadows, but I didn’t except them to do what they did. I’m glad, but I am surprised. It did end as a cliff-hanger, which annoyed me. Are they making a second film? I sure hope not. What more can they really do? I hope the rumors are that…rumors. If a second one does come out I doubt I will watch it….but Boyfriend did like it a lot….so we’ll see.

In the end, this was okay. It did give me the creeps and it was an interesting take on the whole Alien a-holes who like to kidnap people. I wish the stereotypical family dynamics were not there and it was something different. The acting was decent as I mentioned. Again, this was kinda forgettable. I liked the ending and I hope they it as is. No need for a second film. I recommend this for those bored and looking for an okay horror film that will give some goosebumps and a couple jumps. Out of five stars, I stamp this with 3. 

Re-watch?: Meh. If someone else wanted too, I wouldn't mind.

Tuesday, October 27

Blodeuedd Reviews: What Happens Under the Mistletoe

Stunned by the heat of an unexpected kiss on a cold winter’s eve, two strangers from vastly different worlds turn hotheaded principles into burning passion in Sabrina Jeffries’s delightful yuletide story, The Heiress and the Hothead. In the snowy Scottish countryside, Karen Hawkins’s rakish duke has an unforgettable holiday encounter in Twelve Kisses when the alluring lady he surprises under the mistletoe is not who he expected, but a long-lost love with a score to settle. In By Any Other Name, Edinburgh is aglitter for Christmastime as Candace Camp sends a curious gentleman in hot pursuit of an intriguing lady in disguise—one who refuses to reveal her true identity, though she fears he has already stolen her heart with his kiss. In Sweet Ruin, will the festive spirit of the season sweep Meredith Duran’s feisty heroine beneath the mistletoe—and back into the arms of the dashing rogue whose carelessness soiled her reputation and sent her into exile in London?

My thoughts:
The heiress and the hothead by Sabrina Jeffries
Lord Stephen writes angry news articles about mills. Amanda owns mills. The whole mill thing was not exactly romantic (only North and South can do that.) But they will dance around each other and fall in love.
But that smexy scene, seriously. No, not then and there. Ugh.

Twelve kisses to midnight by Karen Hawkins
I have a problem. I forget short stories SO FAST. Luckily I had written lovers trapped by snow cos I can hardly remembering that the story ended. Just general feelings now by those words.
So yes former lovers meet, are trapped, and realises they still like each other. I'd read more of her books.

By any other name by Candance Camp
A woman in disguise is trying to help her brother. And a man finds her fascinating and tries to find out more about her. And that is the story, he searches, he finds, he searches, he finds

Sweetest regret by Meredith Duran
I liked this one. A couple that used to be in love meet again. They are angry. Something went wrong. Everything happens during a house party. Def the best of the novellas in this anthology. A nice holiday feeling too.

An anthology where I actually liked all the stories ;) Yes that does not happen a lot. But to be fair there were only 4, and I do like holiday novellas so that helped. They were cute and nice stories.

Kindle Edition, 352 pages
Expected publication: October 27th 2015 by Pocket Books
Sinful Suitors #1.5
Historical romance


Sunday, October 25

Book Review: Steering to Freedom by Patrick Gabridge

Author: Patrick Gabridge
Title: Steering to Freedom
Genre: Historical Fiction
Pages: ebook
First Published: May 2015
Where I Got It: On my shelf (Given to me by the author/publisher for my honest and unbiased opinion)

A troubled country, a courageous heart, and the struggle for freedom. 

In May 1862, Robert Smalls, a slave and ship’s pilot in Charleston, South Carolina, crafts a daring plan to steal the steamship Planter and deliver it, along with, the crew and their families to the Union blockade. After risking his life to escape slavery, Robert faces an even more difficult challenge: convincing Abraham Lincoln to enlist black troops. Based on a true story, Steering to Freedom tells the powerful and inspirational story of a young man who becomes the first black captain of a US military ship, while struggling to navigate a path to freedom for himself, his family, and his people. 

I was not aware that this was based off a true story while I was reading this. I guess I stink at reading summaries lately, because this is the third book that has thrown me a loop. Not a bad thing, but I'm getting lazy with the summaries, I just glance at it and start it.


This was good. It was a nice story and I had never heard of Robert Smalls before, but I have limited experience with the water battles with the American Civil War, most of my reading and knowledge relates to the land war, so it was a nice change to this genre. The author did an excellent job with not only bringing the world to life, but the characters to life as well. I felt so bad for Robert, but he was so brave. Kuddos to him for not only stealing a Confederate ship and freeing himself, his family, and others, but for enlisting as the first black captain of a US military ship as well.

There were a few dry spots, but the majority of the time I could barely put down my kindle. Its so hard to write this review, because there is so much I want to say, but I worry about spoilers. Of course I looked up the real story and the man was amazing. I am surprised I had never heard of him in the past.

The ending was good. Since I had no knowledge of the real story, it took me by surprise and I actually really liked it.

In the end, I really liked it. It was good. I recommend it for those that like historical fiction based on truth. I would love to see this turned into a movie or TV show. :D Out of five stars, I stamp this 4 stars. 

Saturday, October 24

Book Review: The Reader by Bernhard Schlink

Author: Bernhard Schlink
Title: The Reader
Genre: Historical Fiction & Classic
Pages: ebook
First Published: 1995
Where I Got It: Borrowed from friend

Hailed for its coiled eroticism and the moral claims it makes upon the reader, this mesmerizing novel is a story of love and secrets, horror and compassion, unfolding against the haunted landscape of postwar Germany.When he falls ill on his way home from school, fifteen-year-old Michael Berg is rescued by Hanna, a woman twice his age. In time she becomes his lover—then she inexplicably disappears. When Michael next sees her, he is a young law student, and she is on trial for a hideous crime. As he watches her refuse to defend her innocence, Michael gradually realizes that Hanna may be guarding a secret she considers more shameful than murder.

This was this month's book club choice, but I've always been curious, but never gave it a go. I regret not reading this in the past. For this review, we'll divide and conquer. 

The Good
-I could hardly put it down after the honeymoon stage between Michael and Hanna. I had to know what would happen next.

-Hanna intrigued me...I wanted to understand. Yes, it was creepy that she was sleeping around the 15 year-old. Also, I felt bad about her one secret which, to her, is more shameful then being a Nazi guard in the past. 

-This book made me feel and it's that not common to have a book make me feel as much as this one.

- There was one part at court that was so intense and Hanna made an excellent question to ask the judge and everyone there.

-I had a love hate-relationship with the ending. It was good, realistic, and it broke my heart a little bit.

The Bad and the Ugly
- Michael's decision to not let the court know Hanna's big secret. I understand how ashamed she was, but Michael could had subtly hinted to the judge or defense lawyer. It was such crap that she got the worse, because all the guards were equally as at fault as Hanna.

-It was kinda creepy Hanna being in her 30s and hooking up with someone younger then her son. >__<

-The beginning was slow until Hanna and Michael began hooking up. 

-The ending. Again, it was a love-hated relationship. Uuuuugggghhhhhhhhh - the feels.

Overall, this was a good read. I was very involved in the story and characters. It made me feel many emotions and that is always a plus! The beginning was a wee bit slow, but it picked up and I could hardly put it down. And then there was the ending.....loved it, but also hated it. I highly recommend this if someone is looking for an interesting and quick classic read. It's an interesting look at Germany post Nazism and an odd love story that had a touch of realism. In the end, I stamp this with....5 stars.

Sunday, October 18

Joint Review: The Forsaken by Lisa Stasse

This month Blodeuedd and I will be reading "The Forsaken" by Lisa Stasse.

Author: Lisa Stasse
Title: The Forsaken (Forsaken #1)
Genre: Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Dystopia, Action/Adventure, & Romance
Pages: 432
First Published: July 2012
Where I Got It: Borrowed from library

Alenna Shawcross is a sixteen-year-old orphan growing up in a police state formed from the ashes of Canada, the US and Mexico after a global economic meltdown. 

But when she unexpectedly fails ‘the test’ - a government initiative which supposedly identifies teens destined to be criminals - she wakes up alone on a remote island reserved for the criminally insane. 

Terrified and confused, she soon encounters a group of other teen survivors battling to stay alive, including Liam, a boy who will become her love... and her lifeline. Soon Alenna makes the terrifying discovery that there’s more to the island (and her past) than she could ever have guessed... But who can she trust? And can she ever escape? 

C: *waves* Hi!

B: Oh there you are! Let’s get started then.

C: So, what did you think?

B: It did have potential, despite the storylines being stolen from other books. I just felt that it fell apart on the actual writing. It was written by a 14 year old, well felt like that. Sorry kids!

C: Agreed. It had great potential and I actually really did like it. I get it’s YA, but why did it have feel and so overly YA?

B: So YA! The only thing missing was a love triangle. Instead we have the girl who is unnoticed and suddenly everyone likes her. She falls for a boy super fast, and the book was all about dialogue, and silly dramas! Omg people are trying to kill you. Get your lives in order!!

C: I know! Dating or making out with the village hottie would be last one my mind if I was thrown on Island in the middle of war between two “tribes”. ESPECIALLY with the Drones running around. They were INSANE?!  And if you think about it...there was a mini triangle. The friend, Gadya had dated Liam before the main girl got on the Island. I liked Gadya at first, but then I realized she was such a drama Queen.

B: I did not see that as a triangle, a triangle in my head would have been David. Yikes girl, what was with this obsession with David?! Oh and speaking of hotties and the island. The whole you can kiss but not more. HA! They are teenagers, like they would stop there, war and all. It felt so perfect. The whole village was so super sweet and perfect.

C: was oddly hoping that the main girl would end up with David. But yeah she obsessed with him! I mean...yeah...he was the first one she saw and he helped her, but good lord. I wish that they had not been teenagers. I wish they all had been early 20s. Also….there was a plot-hole that has been eating away at me...HOW IN THE WORLD DID 16-18 years old know how to make truth serum, tan boar hides, and so forth?! They come from a world where they would never had learned such “uncivilized”/survival things like that.

B: True. They would not even have been able to get a fire started. To know what to eat. Those kids would die without even being at war. I would have died. Though the hide, don’t they use pee? But hey to even skin that animal...yeah. I’d be dead, probably from thirst since that kills first. But I guess these were super smart special kids. HA!

C: LOL! But yeah...I would survive until I had to kill something or I’d die from eating bad berries. 0_0

B: Dehydration from shitting yourself to death. That is what they all would die from.

C: Yup. Speaking of death...there was a hell of lot of it in this one! This is the one thing that made it a little less much murdering and suffering!

B: Until the deaths the writing was even MG. But yup, a lot died. And the enemy camp, horrid. I just wish she would have, gods how to put it, made it even darker. If that was life it would be even darker. You have already killed a lot so make it as dark as YA can handle. But wasn’t the heroine lucky since she only had to be there like 2 weeks before they decided to see if anything can be done. Or is that a spoiler?

C: Not really a spoiler, because the whole premise is escaping of that island. ;) I agree...I wish it was darker especially with those psychos. spoilers….what did you think/feel about the reveal of The Monk - the leader of the drones?

B: I was actually expecting someone else, hint hint. But I liked it, I just did not find it very plausible…

C: Honestly, so was I. I liked it...but...ugh I can’t think of a way without giving away spoilers - I just wanted more explanation from The Monk. It seemed like a stretch that it was who it was, but it did totally surprise me.

B: I was surprised too. I was not surprised about how their trying to escape went. Whatever, people had been trying for years. And, well then I was surprised again and wanted more answers

C: Yeah, it was no surprise how the escape plan would end up. SMH. Did they really think it would that easy?

B: Also without spoiling, the revelation, I felt that was weird. That much is not needed for what is needed if you catch my meaning.

C: Oh yeah...I felt it was over -the-top in a way. But I guess it was a way to make us (readers) hate the evil government even more.

B: It only made me question the productivity of the government and oh..well they can’t be so smart since it is said in the beginning that they made smart people disappear. Well that explains a lot ;)

C: hahaha true. It shouldn’t be too hard to overthrow them. xD There are like 2 more books out there and it probably deals with that.

B: I did think the book was good at first, then I realized it was only ok. Why? Cos I am not gonna read more. Instead I read reviews of book 3 and feel happy about that. I am done ;)

C: The beginning was meh for me and it did get better. It was still okay overall. However, I am content with just reading this one; I pretty much can guess what is going to happen next. I am curious, though, how they are going to save everyone that was left behind…

B: Oh I am sure it will be easy. Not like in the real world. Oh, right, I do not really recommend this book. There are better kids stuck on an island, or kids killing each other books out there. Better dystopia books too.

C: I only recommend it to those looking for a quick read. It was quick and entertaining to a point, but yes, there are WAY better dystopia books out there.

B: The end?

C: The end!!! Your turn hehe

B: Hmmmmmmm ;)

**Carole's Conclusion**
In the end, this was okay. It got a little bit better after the first few chapters. There were some questionable things that popped up that bugged me throughout the story. I loved the twist on who the big baddie was - seemed not possible, but it certainly added a twist to the story. I prolly won't read the next books, because they seem predictable now. I do recommend this to those that need a quick fix of dystopia-ness. It's a YA and a quick read. This shall be stamped with 3 stars. 

Saturday, October 17

Movie Review: Stonehearst Asylum (2014)

Length: 1 hr & 52 mins
Released: 2014
Genre: Mystery
Rating: PG-13
Where I Got It: On Netflix


When young doctor Edward Newgate arrives at Stonehearst Asylum in search of an apprenticeship, he is warmly welcomed by superintendent Dr. Lamb and a mesmerizing woman by the name of Eliza Graves. Edward is intrigued by Lamb's modern methods of treating the insane until a series of unusual events leads him to make a horrifying discovery, exposing Lamb's utopia and pushing Edward to the limits of his conscience. Inspired by a short story from Edgar Allan Poe, Stonehearst Asylum is a tale in which nobody is who or what they appear to be.


This was a random find on Netflix. I really had no idea this was based off of Mr Poe's short story (I hadn't read this one in particular until after the film). The creators did an excellent job with capturing the essence of Mr Poe's writing in the story. I think the man would be proud of this film.

The short story is extremely short, so they had to do some vamping to the story to make it longer and more interesting. Of course, a love interest was added. HOWEVER, I feel it only added to the story. What?! I know - even I am confused by that sentence. But it worked. At first I was meh about the odd love Newgate had for the crazy lady *cough* I mean Lady Eliza. I didn't get his immediate attachment, buuuuut the ending made it make sense. I approved of the love match at the end.

I am glad, though, that Lady Eliza didn't fall in love until near the end. The lady was traumatized by her abusive husband! Heck, she bit the husband's ear off and stabbed him in the eye! Kuddos to her by the way, but since that marriage she can't handle when men (or even some women) touch her until she feels comfortable with that person. It's actually quite sad. 

I had no idea what was going to happen in this movie, because I didn't read the summary or the short story. I had no idea what had occurred. I will have to say...I'm kind of on Lamb's side. Back then the methods to take care of the clinically insane was horrible and disgusting.  It was inhuman. 

Oooooh! The ending. Certainly amazing. I loved it. I had a sneaking suspicion, buuuuuut I wasn't certain and I didn't think the last minute twist would actually happen. 

This was a random find and I'm glad Boyfriend made me watch this. I honestly liked the movie version better over the short story. Surprised? I certainly am. This was a fun Halloween movie to watch and I highly recommend it to those that like some dark in their life. It isn't horror or scary, just dark and full of mysteries. Out of five stars, I stamp this with 5 stars.  

Re-watch?: Sure will.

Tuesday, October 13

Book Reviews: The System of Dr Tarr and Professor Fether & The Fall of the House of User

Author: Edgar Allan Poe
Title: The System of Doctor Tarr and Professor Fether
Genre: Short Story, Classic, Horror, Comedy, & Mystery
Pages: 36
First Published: 1844
Where I Got It: My shelf (Part of my complete collection of Edgar Allan Poe's works - given to me for Xmas)

The story follows an unnamed narrator who visits a mental institution in southern France (more accurately, a "Maison de Santé") known for a revolutionary new method of treating mental illnesses called the "system of soothing". A companion with whom he is travelling knows Monsieur Maillard, the originator of the system, and makes introductions before leaving the narrator. The narrator is shocked to learn that the "system of soothing" has recently been abandoned. He questions this, as he has heard of its success and popularity, but Maillard tells him to "believe nothing you hear, and only one half that you see".

I'll admit...I watched the movie rendition of this short story. However, I didn't know it was based off Mr Poe's story (the title is NOT the same at all). What can you do you know?
This one was super, super short. I wish it was longer. There was so much more that could have been added. However, I must admit...the last page leaves so much to interpretation. Anything could have been assumed. Normally, I'm not a fan of open-ended stories, but this was pretty good and I liked it. 

Mmmm, not much else to say.

It was a nice quick read. I hate to admit it, because I'm a huge Poe fan, but I think I liked the movie better, which I'll be reviewing it soon (maybe this week - not sure yet). 
I do recommend this to those that like Mr. Poe, not my favorite, but I love the premise of it. It was good. Out of five, I stamp this with 3 stars. 

Author: Edgar Allan Poe
Title: The Fall of the House of Usher
Genre: Short Story, Classics, Horror, & Mystery
Pages: 36
First Published: 1839
Where I Got It: My shelf (Part of my complete collection of Edgar Allan Poe's works - given to me for Xmas)

The Fall of the House of Usher" recounts the terrible events that befall the last remaining members of the once-illustrious Usher clan before it is -- quite literally -- rent asunder.

This is my 2nd read through of the short story! This is one of my favorites of Mr Poe. It is an utterly brilliant story. Super dark and perfect for Halloween time. Honestly, this one scares me a little bit, because it would totally be my luck to be buried alive. >___< 

This is quite dark, but it is a good dark. I honestly would love to see a rendition of this story brought to life. 

Everything I think of the title I oddly think of Usher, the musician, and his song that showcases him burning down a bed, house, and some poor palm trees. haha. I think Mr Poe had a vision of the music video. haha

Sorry for the randomness of my brain.

Normally, I root for the short story to be longer, but this was the perfect length. Any longer would have been a bore. I highly recommend this to those who like Mr Poe or looking for a little goosebumps this Halloween month! I stamp this with 5 stars of course.