For today’s installment of my 31 days of Halloween I made a top 5 list of my personal choices for film, book, etc. These are stories that not only have entertained me, but inspired me to continuously try exceeding what I did and topping each previous book I write. I tried to keep them as Halloween related as possible, and even though some aren’t horror, they fall into the thriller category and have spooky elements. What are your personal choices? Feel free to comment below.
TOP 5 NOVELS: The “Area 51” series by Bob Mayer (writing as Robert Doherty), Dan Brown’s “Robert Langdon” series, Thomas Harris’ “Hannibal Lecter” series, The “Atlantis” series by Bob Mayer (writing as Greg Donegan), Dean Koontz’ “Frankenstein” series (please don’t watch the movie because it’s terrible the books are great though. *Bonus All novels in the FLESH AND LEFTOVERS SAGA by Rick Pipito (had to add them, sorry.) 😛
TOP 5 TV SHOWS: Once Upon a Time, Arrow & The Flash (I put these as one because they crossover and exist in the same universe), 24, Law And Order SVU, Hannibal
TOP 5 GAMES: The “Tomb Raider” series, The “Resident Evil” Series, “Silent Hill”, “HeroQuest” (This is a board game I had growing up, and I just remember how awesome it was. I recently found it in my parents’ attic), The “Doom” series.
TOP 5 SONGS: Dragula by Rob Zombie, Monster Mash by Bobby Pickett, Ghostbusters by Ray Parker Jr, Don’t Fear The Reaper by Blue Oyster Cult (because everyone needs more cowbell), Mz. Hyde by Halestorm
TOP 5 MOVIES: Ghostbusters 1 & 2, The Goonies, Monster Squad, Van Helsing (Kate Beckinsale, Huge Jack Man, and monsters? I don’t care if its cheesy. It’s awesome), The Brendan Frasier Mummy Movies.
BONUS—-TOP 10 COMIC BOOK Movie List (in numbered order):
1) Captain America: The Winter Soldier
2) X-Men Days Of Future Past
5) Captain America: The First Avenger
6) Guardians Of The Galaxy
7) Man Of Steel
8) Spiderman 2
9) Thor The Dark World
10) Batman 1989
*This list is current as of 10/29/14 of course. It will most likely change, but it is the order I believe works. I wanted to put both Punisher movies in there as well just for pure fun, but they didn’t make the cut.
This review will be brief, but I finally had a chance to read Thomas Harris’ Hannibal Lecter series. I’ve been a fan of the movies for years, and of course watching the TV show Hannibal made me want to see how much was done according to the novels. I chose this because the character in focus here is in my opinion one of the greatest villains ever created in fiction. Here’s my brief thought on each book…
Hannibal Rising: This was the last one written in the series, but the first chronologically. To me, I feel that Harris just rushed this one. Yes, the background story and origin for why Hannibal is the way he is, feels complete… but there are points in the reading that had me going “wait, what the hell just happened?” It was like some details were skipped and you wonder how the characters got where they were or what was happening just before. As an overall story, I enjoyed it very much, but I’d never recommend the book… instead, I’d say to see the movie, because the film takes the best parts of it all and brings it to life. Continuity error found as well… in the 3 books after this, it is a noted point that Hannibal has 6 fingers on one hand. In Hannibal Rising I don’t recall this being mentioned once.
Red Dragon: Hannibal Lecter plays a small role in this book. The movie version gave him a slightly larger role, but the book is actually better. These events take place when Lecter is already captured and institutionalized. He helps Special Agent Will Graham and the FBI to take down a serial killer named Francis Dolarhyde (aka the “Tooth Fairy”). Lecter also warns Dolarhyde that they are onto him, so Hannibal plays both sides. We are given hints at the past (which the tv series Hannibal really brings to life in detail), but we are also left at the end with a severely disfigured Will Graham. In fact, the book ending was far superior to the movie ending, which the film captured well the book until this point. I actually dislike the movie and prefer what was done in the book over this. Of the four novels I’d place this book on an even field with Silence Of the Lambs.
The Silence Of The Lambs: The movie is really what sparked interest in this series, and it almost is dead on with what is in the book. In other words, if you’ve seen the movie, you really don’t have to read the novel because other than the 6 finger issue on Hannibal’s hand, there is not much different. This is an amazing psychological thriller that makes you almost cheer for the man who helps Clarice Starling to track down Jame Gum (aka Buffalo Bill). I must say too that Buffalo Bill and The Tooth Fairy from the prior book, are more disturbing to me than Hannibal the Cannibal. They are just mentally disturbed people while Hannibal is a clear thinking intelligent psychopath.
Hannibal: I’ll first say this. The MAIN reason I read these books other than what I mentioned above was because It all ends here, and after watching the movies I was downright angry. I have been hoping for a movie sequel to Hannibal for years but we wont probably ever get it. I hated the ending to that movie because we never get to see what happens to Hannibal Lecter. I hoped that the book would shed some light upon this. Now overall, this was my favorite book… until the end. You know that scene in the movie where Hannibal is feeding Ray Liotta’s character his own brain? It’s in here, BUT from this scene on the book differs immensely. I actually don’t know what is worse… the movie ending or the book ending. In the book, Clarice falls for Hannibal, and ends up “dining” with him willingly. Even with the two of them “riding off into the sunset” so to speak, I’m still left with a WTF feeling. What happened to them? Another story could be done here, and it should be. If we are going to get Hannibal Rising to originate his beginnings, then why not have closure? It’s almost like a tv series that you get bought into and then they cancel it with no real ending. Sigh. Plus, even though it is hinted at, I really want to know what happened to Doctor Chilton.
As a whole series I’d rate it at a high 7 out of 10 sCrypt coffins. Individually they stand strong, but work better together. I just wish that a followup would close it all out. What do you think? Have you read these novels? If not, what did you think of the movies/tv series? Feel free to comment.
Here’s a brief review of the second season of the hit series Hannibal, based on the novels and character by Thomas Harris. I’ll keep the spoilers to a minimum, but to avoid any spoilery, you may want to scroll down to the last paragraph for my rating. Here we go.
Hannibal Lecter shows his true colors in this season, and what a season it was. My mind was blown on multiple levels. To say the word “MindF&$(” would be an understatement. Season 1 was a lot of fun to watch, but this really established a lot from the novels. There were slight nods and deviations, and overall just disturbing and fun visuals.
My complaint is two-fold. Doctor Chilton dying wasn’t a good point for me. I thought he’d be there to have the show continue into the Silence of The Lambs territory eventually. His character will now have to be replaced, and this strayed far from the book. My second complaint is that there were times when things seemed too easy. Like how did Will know that Hannibal sent the one guy to kill him? There were times when the solving of the crimes and adding pieces together were just too simple.
It was often a stretch to believe that the characters were that intuitive.
On a good note, as Hannibal brought a complete mental psychosis to the plate (pun intended), Will Graham did an equal job. There were times when I almost believed that Will WAS going to become like Hannibal. If they did make him that way, I’d have been upset because that would also stray too far from the source material. I like how they had the origin of Mason Verger too. The man was as creepy as the creepiest person in the show, and he got what he deserved.
Everything that happened in this season properly set up the events from the novel “Red Dragon.” We are left with Will and Jack dying, and Hannibal escaped. Obviously Will or Jack (if not both) will survive the encounter, but what about that post credits teaser at the end? Hannibal’s own psychiatrist, Dr. Du Maurier, is his accomplice. This shocked me more than Abigail still being alive.
We now have an entirely new setting and fresh start for season 3, and my pallate can not wait. The best part about watching this show, perhaps more than the show itself is that when I’m watching it with my wife, who is a well known foodie personality, she is watching the dining scenes and saying how disturbing it is, but how Hannibal knows how to plate a meal. She of course doesn’t cook humans, but her eye for plating a dish is part of her specialty, so she can point out to me how wonderful the visuals look (despite the horrid nature of them).
All in all, I hope this series continues and goes through all of the books. I understand we will get more back story to Hannibal in season 3 as they touch on events from “Hannibal Rising” while delving deep into the “Red Dragon” mythos. I’ll rate the season with 8 out of 10 sCrypt coffins. It would have been higher if not for my two complaints, but overall, this was a wild ride and I can’t wait for more. Now to fill the season void by going back and rereading the 4 novels. What were your thoughts? Did you enjoy it? Did I miss anything? Add your comments below. Bon Appetit~
I typically only concentrate on comic book related material on this site, but since sCrypt Comics is involved in creating HORROR graphic novels, I had to make an exception here. Hannibal the TV series is a delightful dish for any fan of the Hannibal Lecter movies/books. So far on screen, we have seen “Hannibal Rising,” “Red Dragon,” “Silence of THe Lambs,” and “Hannibal”, in chronological order.
This takes place between Hannibal Rising and Red Dragon, and though I don’t believe this is part of the movie continuity, it so far has not interfered. I hope it remains that way, but I don’t really care as long as it keeps my interest in the way that it has.
We are only three episodes in, and I’m captivated. I admit however that at first I was a skeptic. The series premiere’s first 20 minutes confused the hell out of me, but I finally understood what was going on. Special Agent Will Graham (portrayed by British actor Hugh Dancy) empathizes with the killers he is trying to take down. He is a recluse of sorts, and is placed into the psychological evaluation of Doctor Hannibal Lecter. Lecter (portrayed by Madds Mikkelsen) is secretely a cannibalistic killer, hired for his psychological expertise by Head of the FBI, Jack Crawford (Lawrence Fishburne).
I don’t want to give away too much because it is too early on, but if you are a fan at all of any of the above movies or the novels, then I highly recommend giving this a chance. It is a visually stunning work of art, that is not handled like other cop dramas. Instead of a killer of the week, it looks like we are going to get episodes dealing with the ramifications of what each killer has done. We get to see an inside look at how things work inside the character’s minds, and we get disturbing imagery that makes you cringe. Mikkelsen, Fishburne and Dancy do wonders portraying the characters.
If you thought that noone could ever replace Anthony Hopkins as a disturbing killer, then you were wrong. This captures the best elements of Silence of the Lambs, and looks to be a very promising series. I give it an 8 out of 10 so far. Chime in with your thoughts.