Sunday Lowdown #194 🎃


It’s been a wonky week thanks to fall break. Most colleges have a Mon-Fri fall break, with a weekend on each end, of course. We got off Friday, Monday, Tuesday. I never have Tue/Thurs classes, so I stole one extra day. As soon as we got back from Stink Bug Cabin, we had one lazy Sunday (why didn’t we do laundry??) and then Nick was back to work on Monday. Long before I woke up Tuesday morning, he was gone for a conference in one of the Carolinas. I can’t keep them straight.

I have a hunch or two, but I confess being home alone for over three days is much spookier in a house than an apartment. In the apartment, we were on the second floor and there was a neighbor across the hall. In the house, I kept wondering if the doors were locked, if the many windows were locked, why did I keep forgetting to shut the garage door, who turned on the front porch lights if it wasn’t me or Nick, why is there a political sign in my yard that I didn’t put there, etc. Then there’s the vast dark field behind me and garage-sale Kim’s story of a guy trying to break into her house twenty years ago. But, I survived. I didn’t see Nick again until Friday morning.

On Thursday I met with my interpreting mentor and described some projects I’m working on for school, one being interpreting a song. After getting some advice for how to approach the assignment, I mentioned casually all my assignments are due October 30th. To which my mentor replied, “Oh, next week?” The song is just one of many things due, and my brain instantly went into panic mode. I’ve been trying to get small assignments out of the way so my homework schedule looks less busy, hoping that will help.


  • October 15 — Killer Klowns from Outer Space (1988). American. First time I’ve ever watched it. Why has anyone who’s ever met me and cares about me recommended this movie to me??
  • October 17 — Grave Encounters (2011). Canadian. I kept checking to make sure no ghosts were going to left my hair during the film’s duration. The CGI and really seeing the ghosts threw me off. Loved the time/space confusion.
  • October 18 — Pumpkinhead (1988). American folk horror! I really focused on the lighting and how it emphasizes the set design and hides the creature so it doesn’t look cheesy. The whole film is a series of morality decision points, but because the creature doesn’t care about religion your decisions are on you.
  • October 21 — Hell House, LLC II (2018). I was so worried this would suck because I loved the first one, that slow build up to realizing inanimate things are moving, etc. Part 2 got right to the spooky stuff thanks to the set up of the first film, and I was sleeping with one eye open, gripping my pillow tight. The scares are not loud noises, and there’s no CGI silliness.


Reviewing Black Ambrosia by Elizabeth Engstrom felt like a fruitless endeavor because I could think of no one I would recommend it to even though it’s not bad, nor anyone who would be curious enough to consider the book then seek a review. However, I do think Engstrom is a unique voice in the horror community and has successful work out there that isn’t as challenging as Black Ambrosia. So, maybe it was a posterity review?


Another older horror novel is coming next week: The Auctioneer by Joan Samson. While I felt a lack of control and utter dread the entire novel, in the end I was surprised it is considered horror. Then again, you feel dread long enough, and I suppose that builds an element of horror in your heart. This novel was recommended by Grady Hendrix in his book Paperbacks from Hell, a collection that looks at the horror boom of the 70’s and 80’s.

Also, sigh of relief for many of you, this is the last horror book for October on Grab the Lapels!


Owned Books on TBR at Beginning of Year: 202
Owned Books on TBR Last Week: 195
Owned Books on TBR Today: 193



  1. Posterity review! Love it.

    As for house versus apartment, all I can say is, don’t watch horror movies! Seriously though, I can understand. I’ve always lived in houses though not ones quite so rural as yours. Trick is to put the tv or a radio on so you are not aware of anything else!


  2. While apartment buildings might be haunted, you are never alone, but a haunted house? Plus, you never hear about apartment buildings in themselves being evil, but house, yeah, all the time 🙂

    Do you read McSweeney’s? Have I asked you this before? Anyway, I saw this today and thought of you:

    Good luck with all your class assignments!


  3. Oh that house thing! Mind you, when I was staying in my husband’s flat in London when we’d bought this house and he was living up here, there were so many noises that I had attributed to the cat before the cat moved as well!


  4. Being by yourself in a house is 100% scarier than an apartment! Back when Ozzy was around and Rob would leave for a night, he would essentially go on extra guard duty and growl at every unknown sound. Makes the hair on your arms raise right up. I was always thankful that he sounded like Satan when unknown people would knock at the door (or me when I locked myself out on accident). The current two will definitely raise the alarm so we would know if someone was trying to force their way in. Samus sounds like a screeching banshee and Ridley has a moderate (not deep) bark that may or may not intimidate.
    I wish I had been able to plug more horror in before the holiday. I might get to squeeze a comic in at least this week. Being down to one class is pretty awesome.


  5. 100% house more scarier alone than an apartment. More ways to get in! (I also used to live by myself before marriage in a second floor apartment.)

    Ha ha, yes I may sigh with relief just a tiny bit, but also, I read about horror books on NO OTHER BLOG I FOLLOW, so that is pretty cool, Melanie! You are unique! I love that. Keep rockin’ with your bad self.


  6. Ok, I did sigh with relief back there, but we all have to review stuff that turns us on, not just the same stuff everyone is doing. You’ll be pleased to know the daughter with whom I am staying, Psyche, has bloody horror on non-stop. I think the current series is Supernatural, but I only see it when I have to go from the patio to the kitchen.


    • I distinctly recall last year you asking how long the bloody horror would go on, probably the length of October. It was quite funny. I chose a variety of books that challenge the definition of horror, and I think you would enjoy some of these books. Also, side note, the horror podcast I listen to has brought up Picnic at Hanging Rock several times as a horror movie. So, maybe that lends some perspective on what people consider horror. I do think you would enjoy The Auctioneer because it has so much to consider, and it ties in to your political background as an independent thinker.


  7. It’s been a while since I lived in an apartment but you’re right, it’s spookier to be in a house alone. Even if you don’t know your neighbours, at least in an apartment building they are still there. And you have a lot of uninhabited space around you, right? That would definitely creep me out.

    Hope you’re able to get all your things done by the 30th with minimal stress!


  8. Ha, I will sigh in relief a little bit at return to non-horror, but I am glad you’ve had the chance to read so many books in your genre! We all have to review the stuff we enjoy, after all.


    • I’ve been listening to a horror podcast all fall, and surprisingly, they keep bringing up Picnic at Hanging Rock as a horror movie. I know you read and enjoyed the book, which got me thinking if there are quite a few of you out there who would enjoy horror if it’s the right kind. It really, really varies. For instance, I think you would like The Auctioneer. There’s no gore or torture or anything like that. It’s just wound up tight like an over-tuned violin!


  9. So I watched pumpkinhead years ago, before I had kids. I forced Aaron to watch it with me on Halloween night while we handed out candy to trick or treaters – I just re-watched the trailer to remind myself. Dang that old lady was scary!


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