All posts by Marie Sexton

Song of Oestend in AUDIO!!

I am thrilled to announce that Song of Oestend is finally available in audio, narrated by the fabulous John Solo. I love this series so much. It combines everything I love: gay romance, opposites attract, friends to lovers, hot cowboys, a twist of paranormal, and a bit of BDSM. I’ve wished for years that I could get it out in audio, and I’m thrilled to finally be able to make that happen. (Book 2 is currently in production.)

Find it here:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08SQDB8WH/

https://www.audible.com/pd/B08SQ2WYV1

And if you’ve never tried audio before, please consider using this link to give Song of Oestend a try.

FREE LGBTQ+ Stories

There are currently two BookFunnel promotions featuring LGBTQ+ stories that can be downloaded FREE or in exchange for your email address. There is some overlap between them, but it’s still a lot of stories from a some great authors. One giveaway focuses specifically on romance, while the other includes a broader range of fiction (but still lots of romance as well). Find them here:

This one includes The Well.
And this one includes Cinder and Damned If You Do.

Both giveaways run through the end of the year. Happy Reading!

Song of Oestend is FREE on Amazon

Song of Oestend will be FREE on Amazon today and tomorrow (November 28-29). It will also be out in audio any day now (just waiting on Audible to approve the listing). You can find it here.

I have several book freebies and discounts scheduled over the next few weeks. A few will be on Amazon exclusively. A few will be available on other platforms. Some will be through Book Funnel. I’ll try to remember to post them all here on my blog, but I can’t make any promises. 😜 The absolute best way to stay up-to-date on all of them is by joining my Facebook group, which you can find here.

Two Quick Promotions

Need something new to read? I have two quick promotions to share with you. These are all for LGBT+ romances.

First, check out this list of contemporary and historical LBGT+ romance, which features a lot of names you’ll probably recognize.

Second, check out this list. These are all stories that can be downloaded FREE or in exchange for your email address. (This one includes my novella, Blind Space.)

Happy Reading!!

Favorite Horror (Part 3 of 3)

Hello, and welcome back for the conclusion of my favorite horror movies of all time! This one’s pretty long, so I’ll jump right in

My all-time favorites:

Three of these four make the list not just because the first movie is good, but because the franchise has held up over time. These are movies I own and watch regardless of whether it’s October or not.

The Crazies (2010)

This is the only one-shot film on my “favorites” list (as opposed to a series), but man, it’s good.

This “turned up to 11” twist on Outbreak stars Timothy Olyphant as a small-town sheriff, and it’s like watching Raylan Givens take on a town full of zombies. (No, they’re not technically zombies, but the overall effect is similar.) Much like Hush (which I talked about in Part 2), the thing that makes The Crazies so good is that the characters aren’t idiots. They’re smart people trying to find their way out of a truly scary situation where the government and military hold all the cards. My daughter and I just watched this movie again yesterday, and one line caught our attention: “What would you have preferred, a global pandemic?”

Final Destination (2000)

Yeah, here’s where I go cheesy. I said back in my first post that I like my horror to be fun, and this series delivers in spades. Trying to anticipate just how each gruesome death will occur is half the fun.

The fourth movie (confusingly titled The Final Destination, with “the” in itty-bitty print) is the worst of the lot by far, but movies I and V more than make up for it. (Quite honestly, the last movie in the series might be the best.)

Scream (1996)

Was Wes Craven brilliant or what? Right when it seemed like horror had become little more than a collection of bad tropes with nothing new to offer, Craven turned the tables by giving us characters who knew those tropes and mocked them right along with us. It’s all silly and overly gory, but these are movies where the dialogue counts for something (if only to show us just how self-aware the movie really is).

And finally, the absolute best of the best:

Halloween

Here’s what this franchise has going for it that Friday the 13th doesn’t: quality over quantity. There are nine Halloween movies (eleven if you count the Rob Zombie reboots), and in my opinion, only one of them is unwatchable. I’m not saying they’re all great, mind you, but most are perfectly good “what to watch in October” fodder. So, let’s count them down.

Halloween (1978):

The movie that started them all and helped set the tone for an entire generation of horror. It’s even more impressive when you know the backstory. The original film was shot in only twenty-one days on a budget of $300,000 (a shoestring budget, even by 1978 standards).

No Merchandising. Editorial Use Only. No Book Cover Usage. Mandatory Credit: Photo by Moviestore/REX/Shutterstock (1596336a) Halloween, Jamie Lee Curtis Film and Television

If you’re a fan at all (and even if you aren’t), you should check out Halloween: The Inside Story, a great made-for-TV documentary on the making of a classic. They say necessity is the mother of invention, and it definitely proved true on the set of this movie.

Halloween II (1981):

If you can get over the fact that the only people working in this entire hospital are a couple of hot nurses, this isn’t a bad ride, although not one of my favorites of the franchise.

Halloween 3: Season of the Witch (1982)

What moron decided to make a sequel that has nothing at all to do with the first two movies in the series? Recently, horror purists have decided this was a great film that only gets hate because it doesn’t have Michael Myers. Give me a break. People hate this movie because it makes no sense! It’s about Halloween masks that make people follow subliminal messages broadcast in TV commercials. Okay, sounds interesting. But then there are witches, and evil doctors, and killer robots. What the actual fuck, people? It’s like they were picking their next plot point by throwing darts at Joss Whedon’s dry erase board.

The board from Cabin in the Woods, and also the playbook for Halloween III.

Just delete this movie from the franchise’s history, please.

Halloween IV: The Return of Michael Myers (1988) and Halloween V: The Revenge of Michael Myers (1989)

These are the ones with the little girl, played by Danielle Harris, who frankly was a damned good actress, given how young she must have been. If you can get past Tina’s over-acting in Revenge, then pop some popcorn and get ready for some good old-fashioned horror movie fun.

Halloween VI: The Curse of Michael Myers (1995)

This one’s weird – something about a Michael Myers-worshipping cult and ancient Druid curses and a mystery baby? Uh… okay. The worst of the series for sure, second only to that thing with the killer robots, but Paul Rudd as a grown-up Tommy Doyle makes it watchable.

Halloween H20 (1998)

And here’s where it gets good again. The story I read somewhere (but have no idea as to its veracity) is that Jamie Lee Curtis was sick of the whole franchise and bought the rights specifically so she could make this movie and kill Michael for good. (And her mother, the original scream queen from the shower scene in Psycho, also makes a cameo.)

Editorial use only. No book cover usage. Mandatory Credit: Photo by Nicola Goode/Dimension/Kobal/REX/Shutterstock (5882086p) Josh Hartnet, Jamie Lee Curtis Halloween H20 – 1998 Director: Steve Miner Dimension Films USA Scene Still Halloween: Vingt ans après

If you ask me, this film really works. Laurie Strode returns as the heroine, although she’s changed her name and moved away in order to distance herself from the horror she lived through. I sympathize with her son, played by Josh Hartnett, as he tries to balance being a normal teen against the demands of his haunted, alcoholic mother. And if LL Cool J reading smut to his girlfriend over the phone doesn’t make you laugh, I can’t help you.

Halloween: Resurrection (2002)

Poor Jamie Lee Curtis went to all that trouble to get rid of Michael, but of course those lawyers at the studio found a loophole and went ahead with another movie. In this version, Busta Rhymes is a TV producer, livestreaming a reality TV show from the original Myers house. A lot of people hate this one, but I’m not one of them. Just make sure you’re on your second or third glass of wine before you hit “play.”

The Rob Zombie versions (2007 and 2009)

I’m going to be honest here: I like Rob Zombie’s music, but not his movies. Rob Zombie made his reboots modern in that he made them dark and angsty. Which is sooooo 21st century. But personally, I prefer the original. I don’t consider these to be canon. (And despite what we’re told in the latest movie, H20 will always be canon to me.)

Halloween (2018)

Although I think they could have made this without negating H20, I was super excited for this movie and saw it almost as soon as it was released. I think they wanted to balance the demands of the original audience (people like me) against a new, Saw-driven market that demands darker, more disturbing horror.

Mostly, I think they succeeded, but I won’t know exactly how I feel about it for another couple of years. There are supposed to be two more installments as well, directed and produced by the same people. One thing I can pretty much guarantee: I’ll be shelling out money to see them both in theaters. And I fully expect them to become regular October viewing at some point in the future.

Conclusion

So there it is — my list of my all-time favorite horror movies. Which ones do you think I got right? Whether you agree or not, I hope you have a fabulous Halloween!

Favorite Horror (Part 2 of 3)

Welcome back for part two of my three-part series on my favorite horror movies of all time! Today, we jump into the fun stuff. I have a lot of fun films to talk about, so let’s jump right in.

They’re good, but are they horror?

The quintessential defining question of horror has to be “is it scary?” These movies are all billed as horror and often found on “best of” lists. They’re movies I love and watch any time I have the chance. I’d even call them favorites! But I just don’t think they’re scary.

Jaws (1975)

Here’s the thing: I live in Colorado. The nearest ocean is more than a thousand miles away. Besides, I already think the ocean is the scariest fucking thing in the world, and not because of sharks. Is this one of the greatest movies ever? Absolutely! Can I quote every line? That’s some bad hat, Harry. But is it scary? Not for this land-locked movie-goer. Besides, all you need is a bigger boat.

Alien (1979)

Just like I’m too far away from the ocean to be scared of sharks, I’m too far away from space to worry about xenomorph. (Although in Alien Vs Predator: Requiem, they come to Colorado, so maybe it’s time to reassess.)

Ripley is the ultimate Final Girl — absolutely badass and smarter than everybody around her. And for the record, I love Aliens even more than the original, but that’s a full-on genre jump from horror to action/adventure. Either way: not scary.

The Thing (1982)

This movie is basically Snake Plissken in the Arctic and let’s face it, Kurt Russel is the fucking bomb.

But no matter how hot Snake/MacReady may be, the supercheese-tastic special effects of the ‘80s make it a bit too goofy to be truly scary. (And for what it’s worth, I fully enjoyed the 2011 adaptation. As viewers, we didn’t know whether to expect a reboot or a sequel. The last scene in the movie proves it’s neither, and I’m 100% on board.)

Super 8 (2011)

Does this count as horror? I just found it on a “best of horror” list, so I guess maybe? I don’t consider it scary, but I do think it’s one of the most subtly brilliant movies I’ve seen in ages. It’s like Stand By Me meets It in an authentic-feeling period piece about the ‘80s, long before Stranger Things made the decade cool again.

So now that I’ve talked all about movies I didn’t like (in part 1), and movies I liked but I don’t consider “horror,” maybe it’s time for me to get serious and tell you about some of my true favorite horror movies.

Honorable Mentions

I hesitate to call these “favorites” (largely because in many cases, I haven’t watched them a second time), and yet they’re so darn clever that I can’t not mention them.

The Changeling (1980)

Nobody has seen this movie, and what a shame that is. I haven’t seen it in years either. It’s never on TV, and it’s impossible to find in the sale bins at Target or 2nd & Charles. This is the penultimate haunted house flick, and I dare you to watch it alone after dark. It’s scary AF without a bit of gore, and unlike a lot of horror, it doesn’t end on a down-note.

Hush (2016)

One of the complaints often lodged against horror (usually by people who don’t actually watch it) is that the characters are all stupid and make bad choices. This may be true in a lot of bad horror films. But I would argue that the best and scariest horror movies have exactly the opposite – intelligent characters who, despite making all the best choices, still find themselves in mortal peril. Hush is a perfect example. The main character is plenty smart, but she’s trapped alone inside her house with a killer right outside. She’s also deaf, which gives the movie a whole new level of scariness.

Hush is the best kind of tense, psychological horror. It’s a Netflix exclusive, and like most of Mike Flanagan‘s work, it’s definitely worth watching.

Train to Busan (2016)

Don’t be scared away by the subtitles. This Korean film is not your typical zombie movie, largely because it has heart. You will truly care about these characters by the end. Probably the one and only horror movie that nearly made me cry.

I hear they’re making an American adaptation. (They’ll probably ruin it, but I’ll hope for the best.) There’s also a Korean sequel which I haven’t seen yet, but it looks quite different from the original.

The Babysitter (2017)

Like Hush, this is a Netflix exclusive. I wasn’t sure what to expect going in, but holy crap, what a ride! This movie is over-the-top gory and super funny. If nothing else, watch it for Samara Weaving and Robbie Amell, who are both smokin’ hot. But don’t be surprised when you’re laughing out loud over geysers of blood.

The Blair Witch Project (1999) and Cloverfield (2008)

I’m listing these two together because these movies both changed the horror industry. To some extent, they changed the entire way movies are marketed. Those who are too young might not realize how insane the idea of “found footage” was when Blair Witch first came out. When the movie premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, its promotional marketing campaign listed the actors as either “missing” or “deceased”. Missing person fliers were printed. Rumors dropped in internet chat rooms and a website that looked all too real made it impossible to know what was fact and what was fiction. Were we really watching the final moments of these kids’ lives? We honestly didn’t know! It was my generation’s version of War of the Worlds.

In hindsight, the entire thing was absolutely brilliant. Some say it was the greatest marketing scheme ever. Ten years later, the makers of the Cloverfield franchise took it to a whole new level with their Alternate Reality Game. They’ve raised the bar for anybody in the horror genre.

And yeah, the movies were fun too.

Conclusion

That’s it for today! Be sure you check back for part 3 of my Favorite Horror Movies series. And in the meantime, tell me what you think of my picks.