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Movie Review of Stephen King’s “Doctor Sleep”

Movie Review of Stephen King's Doctor Sleep

Movie Review of Stephen King’s Doctor Sleep, written by Horror Author, A.R. Braun.

This is my new favorite movie, based on the Stephen King novel. Now that you know I’m biased, I’ll explain why this film is so great: It’s a Kubrick sequel. It could’ve been called The Shining 2.

How can it be Kubrick when the man is dead?

Movie Review of Doctor Sleep by Stephen King

It’s directed similar to how the master did it, a brilliant job by Mike Flanagan. No croquet mallets, no hedge animals—though I love the hedge animals—and the Overlook hasn’t burned down. I’m saying it’s not true to the book. But when you’re Kubrick, or Kubrick-like, your genius can get away with anything.

Oh yeah, the plot. In 1980, little Danny Torrance (Roger Dale Floyd) lives with his mother—You remember Wendy, played by the actress who portrayed Olive Oil, now played by Alex Eddie—and after the trauma and utter devastation they suffered at the Overlook Hotel—you know, that nasty bit of business of Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson) trying to ax his family to death—Danny, shining like the sun, finds comfort in the ghost of Dick Hallorann (Carl Lumbly). The ghosts from the Overlook still haunt Danny, but Dick teaches him how to bind the hungry spirits from the hotel by locking them in imaginary boxes.

Review by Horror Writer, A.R. Braun. Check out his Dark Fiction masterpiece, “Grimoire,” here.

Enter 2011. Danny now goes by Dan, and is an alcoholic, just like his father. Following a pathetic display of desperation with his one-night stand and her baby—his rock bottom—Dan decides to, on a whim, take a bus to a small New Hampshire town, where he meets the man that’ll change his life: Billy Freeman (Cliff Curtis), a dry alcie who sees a lot of himself in Dan and gives him a job running a kiddie train, plus taking him to AA meetings and setting him up with an apartment. Dr. John (Bruce Greenwood), who runs the AA meetings, gets Dan a job as an orderly in a nursing home, and Dan follows the white cat who instinctually goes to the room of whoever’s going to die, every time. Then Dan calms those afraid of death so they can let go, a.k.a. “Dr. Sleep.”

Movie Review of Stephen King’s Doctor Sleep

But a group, unbeknownst to Dan, is murdering children.

We meet Abra, (Kyliegh Curran)—she’s magic, like cadabra—a schoolgirl whose Shining is off the charts. She telepathically contacts Dan for help, knowing a group of adults has killed a little boy, then shows up in his town, where Dan refuses to help because of her age.

Enter the ultimate villain, Rose the Hat (Rebecca Ferguson). She leads her merry band of psychic vampires, who live like gypsies and kill kids, then eat their Shining so they can live way longer than most people, if you want to call them people. “Eat well, live long,” says Rose. They aren’t immortal, however.

And now Rose has picked up on Abra with her psychic antenna—the strongest Shiner ever—and the group goes after her.

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Movie Review of Stephen King’s Doctor Sleep

Dan brings Billy on a road trip and finds the little boys’ corpse, which confirms that Abra was right. Dan changes his mind about helping her when he finds that the vamps want her, and agrees to help Abra. He picks her up after he and Billy kill all of the group but Rose. Yet Rose drank all the remaining stored Shining’s, and is so powerful, that, to have a chance, Dan has to take Abra to the Overlook Hotel—now closed down after that mess with Jack—and wake it up so he can unlock the boxes he’s storing the ghosts in so they’ll come after Rose and devour her, for they’re starving for Shining.

Will Rose defeat Dan and eat Abra alive? Or will she kill both of them? Will she add Abra to her next group? Or will Dan and Abra defeat her?

It’s important to note that, now that Stephenie Meyer has ruined Vampires with the Twlight saga, Stephen King (and his son, Joe Hill), are writing about psychic vampires. Brilliant!

Don’t miss this one!

Review by Horror Writer, A.R. Braun. Check out his Dark Fiction masterpiece, “Grimoire,” here.

More Reviews by A.R. Braun Below… if you dare.

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Midsommar Movie Review by A. R. Braun

The Following Midsommar movie review was written by dark fiction author, A.R. Braun, to be released on the Ritual Blog for Mind on Fire Books.

I put off watching this film because it seemed artsy-fartsy. Don’t make that mistake. Ari Aster’s second horror movie after Hereditary WILL freak you out. If you’ve seen Hereditary, then you know the kind of scares to expect.

Dani (Florence Pugh), a psychiatry major, mourns—traumatized—after her mentally ill sister kills herself AND her parents with carbon monoxide.

Scene from Midsommar Film. For review on Mind on Fire Books

Her boyfriend, Christian (Jack Reynor)—a cultural anthropology student—holds her tight and helps her grieve, but also wants to dump her because she’s never in the mood. This is an attitude that’s written in stone by his buddies, Mark (Will Poulter) and Josh (William Jackson Harper), who simply don’t like her, except for . . .

. . . Pelle (Vilhelm Blomgren), their Swedish friend, who, it turns out, has invited the boys to Midsommar, a celebration at Pelle’s ancestral commune, the Hårga, in Sweden. The celebration occurs only once every 90 years, and anthropology student Josh desires to write this thesis on it. Dani inadvertently invites herself to Midsommar, then is more than touched when Pelle expresses his sincere condolences about what happened to her family, making her run to the bathroom to weep. In fact, Pelle wins her over, telling her, if it wasn’t for his non-biological new family in Sweden, he wouldn’t know what he’d do (not verbatim).

But the foursome couldn’t fathom what they’re in for.

The group takes a plane to Sweden and drives, then walks to the commune, where they meet Simon and Connie (Archie Madekwe and Ellora Torchia), a British couple from London who were invited by Pelle’s communal brother, Ingemar. Simon offers the group ‘shrooms, and Dani has hallucinations of Terri, her sister, while under the drug’s influence. Mark, however, freaks out, unable to take the trip, telling the others to lay down like him.

Enter what Algernon Blackwood would’ve called a “series of shocks,” or “grotesqueries.”

At the twisted tradition of ättestupa the group learns that the cult kills themselves at seventy-two years of age. This scene is brutality realized.

Things amp-up from there, where a redhead sets her sights on Dani’s boyfriend, and puts—gulp—her pubes in his meal. If you like the band, HammerFall, you’ll love what happens to Josh when he sneaks into the holiest of holies to snap a picture of their sacred book, after being forbidden to do so.

Scene from Midsommar Film. Movie Review by A.R. Braun

The human sacrifices have begun . . . of the Americans . . . and Pelle tells Dani his family is her family (not verbatim). When Dani catches her boyfriend screwing the redhead, she falls apart . . . but the Swedish females fall apart WITH her. (See, her new fam-il-y.)

By the end, she’ll warm-up to it, in a hideous way.

This film and Hereditary are at the top of my Blu-ray rack, and with good reason. Ari Aster is one of the few American writer/directors making genuinely shocking horror movies right now. Don’t miss either of them! And if you do, it’s your own fault.

About the Reviewer
A.R. Braun on Mind on Fire Books

Review by Horror Writer, A.R. Braun. Check out his latest short story, “Little Ghoul,” here.

Mad Men

  • Mad Men is a collection of three disturbing horror shorts from authors living in the Midwest. The themes explored in this collection range from man versus self, man versus man, and man versus creature. [caption id="attachment_4742" align="alignleft" width="188"]Mad Men eBook Mad Men eBook at Mind on Fire Books[/caption] Mad Men begins with Matt’s tale, a thought-provoking thriller which causes the reader to question his reality and what he fears within himself. The second tale explores the grotesque juxtaposed with beautiful nature, where the ending unfolds into a horrific dream, waking in even more terrible pain. The third tale is by seasoned horror writer, A.R. Braun – and his diabolical creatures never disappoint!  A.R. Braun’s goal is to be on the banned book list; we think this tale may just be evil enough to be considered. A must read before it does get banned! Mainstream Horror Shorts don’t always satisfy us in the way they should. They don’t open conversations about what it is that we fear or why we fear such things, they focus mainly on pop culture and gore. The writers in the Mad Men anthology understand the need for literate horror, opening discussions of man’s psyche. When these writers set out to tell a story, they are less interested in conveying fear and more interested in wonder, the sublime, and the infinite strangeness that drives all man and woman. Highly recommended for tweens, teens, and adults. The Mad Men anthology published by Mind on Fire Books. Written by Willy Martinez, A.R. Braun and Matt Lavitt. No part of this book shall be copied without permission from the publisher.

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Faceless – 100 Word Short Story

She had always wanted to be beautiful. She had read about the power of love and beauty in the nefarious dead-fairy tales of the underworld. This could never be her.

Yet, she never gave up. She read voraciously about the fiction of the nether world histories. Summoning a Djin from a rescued incantation, she used it to plan her return to the world of the living. The first step was to convert her vaporous body into something tangible.

Next, for her to be beautiful and with a face, she would need to devour a heavenly soul.

Artwork is by mrs_white_photoart on Instagram and titled “Caught in Your World.”

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Literary Horror Birthday – 9 July – Thomas Ligotti

Happy Birthday, Thomas Ligotti, born 9 July 1953.

Five Quotes

Happy Birthday Horror writer Thomas Ligotti from Mind on Fire Books.
  1. To my mind, a well-developed sense of humour is the surest indication of a person’s humanity, no matter how black and bitter that humour may be.
  2. I’m completely indifferent to what genre I read provided that I feel sympathy with how a writer perceives being alive in the world.
  3. Best-selling horror fiction is indeed necessarily conservative because it must entertain a large number of readers. It’s like network television. I’m your local cable access station.
  4. We live in a permanent state of bad faith, a mutual representation of ourselves to one another for the sake of remaining sane and following our biological imperative to continue as a species.
  5. When I first read Lovecraft around 1971, and even more so when I began to read about his life, I immediately knew that I wanted to write horror stories.

Thomas Ligotti is a contemporary American horror author and reclusive literary cult figure. His books include Teatro Grottesco,  Noctuary, and The Nightmare Factory.

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American Supernatural Quote

The treatment of the supernatural has been a liberating force in American Literature, often enabling writers to explore subjects they could not have addressed in any other way” – Lori Jirousek 

Who are your top three favorite supernatural artists? They could be writers, directors, painters, etc…

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Monster Monday or Monday Motivation?

The week has just begun, get out there and terrorize that village… err, attack that work project with the tenacity of a laboratory engineered superhuman.

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Henry James – Of Course I Was Under the Spell

“Of course I was under the spell, and the wonderful part is that, even at the time, I perfectly knew I was. But I gave myself up to it; it was an antidote to any pain, and I had more pains than one.” —THE TURN OF THE SCREW by Henry James, born on this day, April 15, 1843.

American novelist and, as a naturalized English citizen from 1915, a great figure in the transatlantic culture. His fundamental theme was the innocence and exuberance of the New World in clash with the corruption and wisdom of the Old, as illustrated in such works as Daisy Miller (1879), The Portrait of a Lady (1881), The Bostonians (1886), and The Ambassadors (1903).

Although his work did not gain much recognition during his lifetime, Henry James now has a standing amongst the most significant writers of the nineteenth century realism. The Portrait of a Lady and Daisy Miller are his most widely read and best known works. Henry’s critique, short stories and novels are heavily influenced by European history and culture. His interest in Europe’s upper class and their formal traditions is evident in his writing. Henry’s engaging stories of Americans exploring the prim and proper lifestyle of the Europeans have gained him immense popularity. James has to his credit 22 novels, more than a hundred short stories, autobiographical works, several plays and critical essays.

Photo of Henry James, Horror writer. Used for mind on fire books.