Musings in the Dark: 2022


Halloween Ends: My $0.02

Halloween is my favorite holiday and my favorite horror movie series. I’ve been a fan of The Shape since I was old enough to understand what it was. I’ve seen all the movies multiple times (even the ones I hate I’ve seen more than once), and I consider Michael Myers bae, but that’s a whole other conversation for another day. 

I’ve seen Halloween Ends three times. Normally, I do a short review of the movie and post it on my Facebook page for my friends. But I wasn’t able to do that because I have so many feelings regarding this movie. I loved 2018, and was okay with Halloween Kills. I knew going in to keep my expectations within a particular range, and even with that caveat, I was sorely disappointed.

Let me say this: Halloween ended. It fucking ENDED. There is no disputing that. Michael can’t come back from THAT. And let me say this: Somebody will reboot the series in five years, and I will be in the theater when that happens. 

Having said all that, spoiler alert.

Horror 201: Content Creators--Chilling Tales For Dark Nights

My dear friend Noob, who is a fellow horror head, passed that love onto her daughter, whom I will call Zip. I was eagerly sharing with her about finding Mortis Media and how much I enjoyed it. Zip countered with Chilling Tales for Dark Nights, and if you’ve read any of the later chapters in “Switchblade Romance,” then you know that I am a card-carrying stan of the channel. With CTfDN, I hit the scary story motherlode. What makes it different from Mortis Media is that they have different narrators. I quickly became a fan of Jason Hill and Otis Jiry. Both channels are awesome, but CTfDN edges out MM due to the various and multiple narrators. Worth checking out, for real.


Horror 201: Content Creators--Mortis Media

One time, I found a Boris Karloff story anthology online one night called Tales of the Frightened. I listened to it every single night as it helped me fall asleep. One night, after about two months of the same old same old, my YT algorithm spit out something called "10 Scary Tales in the Snow," or something to that effect. I clicked on and discovered Mortis Media. Mortis Media has hundreds of scary stories (short and long) that range from A to Z in terms of themes and I was in heaven. The narrator—Mortis I assume his name is—has a very soothing voice and never fails to put me to sleep. Definitely look into Mortis Media out if you’re into scary stories to help you sleep or anything else.


Horror 201: Content Creators--CZsWorld

I don’t even recall when or how I stumbled upon CZsWorld. My man CZ does horror movie character histories and they’re really good. He also has a series called “Things You Missed…” which goes into detail about the little details hidden in horror movies that only real fans of the genre and series can truly appreciate. The horror histories are great from the perspective of a horror movie lover and that of an author. I love the depth that CZ goes into with his character analyses. In addition to other things such as hosting creepypastas and doing “Dead Talks” on his channel, CZ also creates horror short films of his own. He’s a fascinating creator and lover of horror, so he’s alright with me. Check him out.


Horror 201: Content Creators--Cody Leach

I found Cody Leach’s channel around the same time I found Dr. Wolfula. Cody is a horror head and the bulk of his content is horror-focused. He gives thoughtful and complete reviews of his favorite horror films, and he is a stalwart fan of Michael Myers and anything Halloween-related. I’ve only been following Cody for a year, but I really like his content; especially his rankings of all things Halloween and his love for other horror franchises. Check him out if you like detailed movie reviews and cinematic rankings.


Horror 201: Content Creators--Decker Shado

Randomly found Decker’s channel six or seven years ago. Like Off The Shelf Reviews, Decker reviews movies of all genres, but it is his horror reviews that keep me tuning in. He reviews good horror flicks as well as trash horror flicks. Decker calls himself “The Internet Personality With the Best Hair,” and it’s applicable because he has long, curly locks. He’s funny as hell; I’ve found myself cracking up many times watching his channel.

Decker frames his horror series reviews under the title “The Summer Of (insert horror franchise here),” and spends late spring and summer binging and discussing all of the movies in a given franchise. Decker is very entertaining and worth checking out. His “Summer of Halloween” & “Summer of Freddy vs Jason” reviews are laugh out loud hilarious.


Horror 201: Content Creators--Off the Shelf Reviews

I’ve been following these guys for a few years now. Iain and Gary are buddies who like to review movies. For the record, they review movies in most genres, but they are definitely horror lovers and that is evident when they review those movies. Just listen to them talk about John Carpenter's body of work and their extensive review of the Halloween series. It feels like you’re sitting down and chatting with old friends who like the same movies you do. Love Iain and Gary.


Horror 201: Content Creators--WhatCulture Horror

I found WhatCulture not too long after I found WatchMojo. At first, their content was all-inclusive, but as more videos were being made, they had to split the main channel into spin-offs that focused on whatever the category was. Therefore WhatCulture Horror was born. Most of the segments were analyzed by Ash Millman, who quickly became a favorite—and not just for me. She has a cool voice and I find it soothing listening to her speak.

While I appreciate WhatCulture Horror’s content, it does get repetitive. I mean, how many times can you make the same or similar list? Yet they manage to do so, but I still watch because I enjoy the show.


Horror 201: Content Creators--The Horror Geek

Around the same time I found Dr. Wolfula, I also found The Horror Geek. Mike Bracken, aka The Horror Geek, focuses on gory horror movies he calls "Sick Flicks" and awards Barf Bag ratings (from 0 - 5) based on how gory the movie in question is. What I like about THG is that he reviews lesser-known cheesebucket horror movies that only real lovers of the genre would know about, and his movie reviews are filled with puns and are subtly hilarious. “Do you kids even remember (insert reference here)? Christ, I’m OLD!” hits different when you’re my age and you know exactly what he’s talking about. And I don’t think I’m old at all, but I digress.

Because THG has a vast knowledge of old school horror cheddar, I’ve found myself looking for movies that I haven’t seen yet. Sometimes I am lucky enough to find them online, but it doesn’t happen often. Regardless, THG’s reviews are satisfactory and enjoyable. Check him out.


Horror 201: Content Creators--Dr. Wolfula

So last year around Halloween, I was looking for commentary on Halloween Kills and stumbled across Dr. Wolfula. I am not sure if the good Doc identifies as male, female or non-binary, as s/he wears a wolf costume and speaks in a fairly high-pitched voice. Dr. Wolfula is a horror aficionado (obvs) and s/he does a series every year that s/he calls "Ahhhctober!" I watched the reviews on all the Halloween movies, the Friday the 13th movies, and the commentaries on Tales From the Crypt and became an instant fan. You will too, so go check her/him out.


Horror 201: Content Creators-Dead Meat

Dead Meat is a YouTube channel solely dedicated to horror.  The channel, the brainchild of James A. Janisse, features podcasts with James and his wife Chelsea, but the bread and butter of Dead Meat is the Kill Count. The Kill Count is a series where James reviews horror movies–past and present–and counts the number of kills within said movie. This is how I got hip to Dead Meat, sometime in 2018. I looooove the Kill Count.

James is a true student and lover of horror; you can tell in his enthusiastic reviews.  He does not focus on any particular subgenre; he’s all-inclusive and honest. I have spent hours and hours watching Kill Counts as they are thoroughly enjoyable. Recently, James began doing horror podcasts with his wife and they’re usually good and informative.

If you’re a lover of horror movies and want a different take on a review, check out Dead Meat.


This Year's Horror Celebration

Hey Dilettantes!

This has been a busy time for me. I had to have oral surgery a couple of weeks ago to remove an infection under one of my molars. I'm still lost as to how that could have happened, but I'm definitely feeling much better now.

It's October and you know what that means. I had this year's topic selected after I completed last year's celebration. I knew how I wanted to present the information and was excited about it. Unfortunately for me, I've been suffering from massive writer's block for the better part of a year. I can barely write a single word, which is one of the reasons I haven't been blogging much. Entropy, my current project, is languishing in my Google Docs, waiting for me to write something other than the words "Chapter 1."  

The writer's block has also affected this year's Halloween celebration. I'm simply not inspired to write on the topic I chose--at least not this year. And because I can't, I'm not going to force the issue. What I think I'll focus on instead--and what may work best for my current state of mind--is posting random entries, similar to what I did for Horror 101.  

I can tell you that some of the posts will focus on certain YouTube content creators that I've been following for several years and don't think I've ever mentioned here in the Dark. But that's about all I can say. I do hope to meet my self-imposed count of 10 posts, but we will see what happens.

Happy Halloween, Dark Dilettantes! I hope you enjoy whatever it is I'm about to post. And here's hoping it helps my writer's block.



 Hey Dilettantes!

Sorry I've been MIA since March. I got extremely busy at my job and when I went home in June, I found myself having to deal with some medical issues (one of which I am still dealing with). I've got some things going on, including work on my next novel.  I'll talk more about that later.

Just wanted to send you guys a heads up and a greeting!  I hope that all is going well with y'all.


Never Again

I fondly recall this episode being advertised as, “Tonight, we see a different side of Scully.”

The episode (S4E13) opens with a newly-divorced man, Ed Jerse, getting a tattoo of a pinup girl with the phrase “Never Again” underneath. The pinup girl’s lips are painted a vivacious red. The next day, Ed hears a woman’s voice (Jodie Foster’s) call him “loser” and he has a violent confrontation with a female colleague, who claims not to have said anything to him. Ed is eventually fired, and while on the phone with his superior, he hears the voice again. He thinks–for some unexplained reason–that the voice is coming from his downstairs neighbor and he goes downstairs, murders her, and throws her body into the furnace. 


Leonard Betts

Leonard Betts (S4E12) is a paramedic with an awesome secret. While out on a call, Leonard’s ambulance gets hit by a truck and he is decapitated. Scully & Mulder visit the morgue and see Betts’ head. Scully tries to do an autopsy while Mulder goes to visit Betts’ apartment, but there is nothing there and no one at home–at least as far as Mulder is able to see. The bathtub is full of Betadine solution and after Mulder leaves, Leonard emerges from the solution, having re-grown his head.



This episode (S4E6) opens in a hospital operating room where a patient is undergoing liposuction. Suddenly, the doctor begins stabbing the patient with the suction tube, removing so much fat that the patient died on the table. The doctor, Dr. Lloyd, claimed to be possessed during the surgery.  Scully, of course, isn’t buying his defense. Shortly after this, another doctor at the same clinic kills a patient by severing her spine with a laser. He claims to have no memory of doing this. 



Sorry for the delay, Dark Dilettantes. I’ve been on vacation and immersed myself in watching The Wire, one of the greatest TV shows of all time.  An analysis of said show may come sometime in the future. But anyway, back to the current topic.

Anyone who ever watched The X-Files knows about this controversial episode (S4E2). It was the first X-Files ep to receive a TV-MA rating due to the content and only aired once on the network. It was a definite first for the series. Mulder & Scully are dispatched to a small town after the deformed body of a dead baby is found.  The baby is found on the property of the Peacock family. The sheriff, Andy Taylor, tells them all about the family and how/why they’re isolated from the rest of the town.


Die Hand Die Verletzt

This episode (S2E14) has Mulder & Scully go to Milford Haven, New Hampshire to investigate the mutilated body of a teenager found in the forest. Locals told the agents that there were kids in the forest attempting to summon demonic forces. At the same time the agents arrived, a substitute teacher by the name of Mrs. Paddock appears on the scene. Strange things begin to happen; the coolest of which are frogs falling from the sky and water swirling opposite the Coriolis force.  

A small group of faculty members at the local high school turn out to be devil worshippers. It appears that they’ve gotten distracted and lazy in their worship, and they believe that the murder and strange happenings in their town are due to their lapsed faith. They realize that to appease Satan, they have to make some sort of sacrifice.


The Host

This episode (S2E2) introduces us to the “Flukeman.” Mulder is assigned to investigate a case where a half-eaten body was found in the sewers. Mulder is annoyed that the X-Files have been shut down, and brings that attitude to the current case. He convinces Scully–now working at Quantico–to perform an autopsy on the body. Scully discovers a fluke worm in the man’s liver.  


Darkness Falls

This episode (S1E20) finds Scully & Mulder in a forest in Washington. A group of loggers have disappeared, reminiscent of a previous disappearance in that same spot in 1934. This makes it an X-File, and of course Mulder’s all over it. While investigating in the forest, the agents, a U.S. Forest Service agent, and the logging company security chief, come across a felled old growth tree–a tree that should not have been cut down. Embedded in the tree’s growth rings is a dark green substance. It turns out that the green substance is a swarm of insects that attack at night and encase their victims in spider-like webs. 



“Ice”(S1E8) gives off definite The Thing vibes. Mulder & Scully are sent to a research center in a remote part of Alaska, along with some scientists. They are there to investigate the deaths of the research facility staff. The staff, a team of geophysicists, were drilling ice cores and researching the samples. The team soon learns that there is some sort of violent parasite that infected the staff and likely led to the mass murder & suicides. Mulder thinks that the parasite is alien and wants it kept alive to study it, but Scully ain’t hearing any of that shit. While investigating, Scully learns that two worms in the same host will kill each other.



“Squeeze” (S1E3) introduces us to Eugene Victor Tooms, a strange little creepazoid played to the hilt by Doug Hutchinson. Tooms is a mutant who has the ability to stretch and elongate his body.  He uses this ability to break into victims’ homes in order to consume their livers. The episode begins with Tooms stalking a businessman, eventually entering his office via the ventilation system and murdering him. The case baffles the FBI Agent assigned to the case. Fox Mulder recognizes similarities between the instant case and X-File cases from 1963 and 1933, and warns the agent in charge that there will be two more murders. But no one takes Mulder seriously and another person dies.


My X-Files Tribute

Hey Dilettantes!  Welcome to my second annual science fiction celebration!  This year, I will pay homage to one of my favorite shows of all time, Chris Carter’s magnum opus, The X-Files.  I got hip to it in college and it got my full attention. Back then, the show aired on Friday nights at 9:00 p.m., on Fox. The X-Files was such a cool show and it appealed to me in ways most shows didn’t. You might say that it helped shape the way I think about certain things. Either way, I was a die-hard X-Phile. The episodes were just so…weird.

The first ep I recall watching was S1E14’s “GenderBender,” which was about a series of homicides committed by a being who could switch between female and male forms. I was hanging out in a friend’s room and asked her roommate what she was watching and she told me. I recall Mulder’s last words to Scully for that episode: “…they have no earthly means of transportation!”

I started watching the following Friday and it did not take long for me to get hooked. I was all in with Mulder & Scully, and eventually I got my hands on the episodes I missed and watched them as soon as I could. And eventually, I bought the entire series (well, the first 9 seasons) on DVD.  I still have my collector cards that came with the purchase. This show (the first run, at least) was legendary.

So I’m going to spend the month of March 2022 celebrating my most favorite episodes of The X-Files.  Join me, if you will…

Also, spoiler alert!


Devil's Siren

I am pleased to announce the publication of the long-awaited novel Devil's Siren. It took what amounted to ten years between the time of conception and final publication. It's got a brand-new cover, created by the super-talented DNogitsune, and I am immensely pleased with how well it turned out.

Ravana Davide is a businesswoman notorious for being an ice queen.  Her life—replete with fast cars, fabulous clothes, and oceanfront property—is a lonely one. After a particularly cold business transaction, Ravana learns that she isn’t alone and never has been. She’s been guarded and protected by Nazar, a powerful demon who is now ready to claim her as his bride. Ravana is hesitant, but Nazar convinces her of the life she could have…especially now that Corson, Nazar’s ancient rival, is in the mix with plans to claim her as well. But Ravana isn’t so keen to leave her fate in the clutches of demons.

Get your copy here for $3.99. Thank you, Dilettantes, for all of your support.


2021 Year End Wrap Up

2021 was fairly uneventful, compared to 2020.  We’re still dead-ass in a pandemic and Covid’s had two evolutions since then: the Delta Variant and the Omicron Variant.  Fortunately (at least I hope), I got vaccinated last summer before returning to Dakar.  As I said in my previous year end wrap-up, Covid has put the kibosh on my international travels. I had plans to go to Morocco and Portugal, but the whole mess of taking Covid tests before traveling for short trips wasn’t worth it to me.