Aspiring Writers: Things to keep in mind in 2019. 

Aspiring Writers: Things to keep in mind in 2019. 

By Rob Watts
Happy New Year! May 2019 bring you all the wonderful things you deserve; may all your hard work and dedication pay off in dividends, and may the new year lead you to a path of success in whatever it is you do, or aspire to do. As I attempt to keep this post short and sweet—and to the point, I’d like to highlight a few topics that I believe writers, especially new writers, should consider and keep in mind as we head into a new calendar year. 

  1. Get off the computer and get yourself in front of people—lots of people. Now’s the time to search for valuable networking events in your region (author events AND non-author related events) and mark your calendars. RSVP/sign up, and attend them. Whether it’s a booksigning, author reading, lectures by industry professionals, etc…..get out to them. These are the best venues to meet both fellow aspiring writers, and influencers in the field. Don’t limit these visits to simply author related events. What’s your second passion besides writing? Is it cooking? Is it Interior Design? Is it live music? Whatever it is, actively and enthusiastically seek out related gatherings and networking events. Don’t simply limit yourself to writing-related socials. Obviously you want to go to as many author events as you can; you want to absorb as much information in this field as you possibly can, but it never hurts to make friends and networking connections elsewhere. I’ll give you an example based on my own personal experience. I once attended a Boston area musician gathering at Bridge Recording Studio (formerly Fort Appace Studios) and I met and spoke with someone who was interested in a book project I had been working on. Through our conversation, and eventual friendship, I was put in contact with this person’s friend in Los Angeles who was interested in me contributing to a film project that was in development (still pending.) So there you go. You just never know who you’ll meet out there in the world. There are opportunities around every corner, you just have to meet them half-way. 
  2. Use social media sparingly. Obviously social media is a great and invaluable tool—I certainly use it to my benefit and it’s a terrific tool to network, keep up with friends and family and of course meet fellow writers. While it’s good to make new friends and industry connections online, don’t get so lost in cyberspace that you lose valuable time and deprive yourself of writing time. As a writer myself, I know how valuable creative time can be, and we are afforded only so much on any given day. The more time you waste online is less time you have to accomplish your goal of completing that novel—or whatever project you have at hand. 
  3. Take publishing advice from “experts” with a grain of salt. Beware of Twitter and Facebook users who seem to always have advice on what you NEED to do to reach your publishing goals. I’m not talking about bloggers who dedicate themselves and their days to sharing useful and credible resources for writers to benefit—-there are many great folks to do this and do it very well. I’m talking about the ones who do nothing but post advice, tell you what you should and shouldn’t do, yet they have no credentials in the field to speak of, and they are ultimately doing you more harm than good. Due dilligence—-question the validity of these people, and ask yourself what are they looking to gain from you following them and following their advice. Do they have some actual credible publishing experience to speak of? Do they have an impressive track record that can be found on their website? Do they even have a website or do they simply sit on Twitter all day and pretend to be someone who has actual publishing insight simply to gain an audience? Beware of posers—seek out professionals and credible influencers. 
  4. Contrary to what you might’ve been told, credible agents and publishers DO NOT CARE about the number of Twitter or Facebook followers you have. Stop wasting your time padding your following count—again, this is time you’re depriving yourself of creating great written work. You don’t need to have 1000, 5000, 15,000 followers, so on and so forth. This does absolutely nothing to increase your chances of being signed with an agent who will lead you to a publishing deal (and most publishing deals are NOT as impressive as you may think.) The only publishing outfits who blink at the size of your social media following are small publishers who rely on the author to do absolutely everything to promote their book. You need to keep this in mind; with all the noise per millisecond on your Twitter and Facebook feed, your chances of engaging with a potential BUYER of your book is 1 out of every 100 followers. High social media followers don’t sell books; the well-funded publishing machine does. Placement on the NYT Bestseller List (paid for by publishers), interviews in magazines and on television (also paid for by publishers), advertisement campaigns, etc…this is what sells books. This is an investment on the publisher’s part, and regardless of what you’ve been told, or what you might think, literary agents and publishers are still seeking out high-quality work from authors—not just so-so dribble. They aren’t investing tons of money on an author due to their social media following, they’re dumping that money down on the quality of writing from a particular author. Keep this last bit of info in mind; if Twitter following were the only factor, then great writers such as NYT Bestselling Authors, Tracy Hickman (6241 followers), Ruta Sepetys (13,000 followers), Heidi Pitlor (2670 followers), Rachel Kadish (724 followers) wouldn’t have Bestselling novels published by large publishing houses. Remember the old saying, quality over quantity. 

A happy and prosperous new year to you all!!! 

New Anthology Release: My novella, Clinton Road appears in Three A.M. Wake-Up Call.

Three A.M. Wake-Up Call: The Terror Project Volume 3 (Books & Boos Press – June 2018)

Clinton Road by Rob Watts

Available Here

Synopsis: When Melissa’s marriage comes to a grinding halt, she moves from Manhattan to a remote cabin in New Jersey along Clinton Road, the most haunted road in America. Desperate to escape the memories of her soon-to-be ex-husband and anxious to reinvent herself as a self-sufficient woman, Melissa ignores the warnings of the notoriously evil road and forges ahead with her new life plans. Little by little, however, the surrounding folks and menacing elements seem to break her upbeat spirit, and little by little, the road robs her of her sanity. Will Melissa overcome the obstacles put before her, or will she fall victim to the menacing depths of Clinton Road? 

Press Release From Books & Boos Press: 

Books & Boos Press is pleased to reveal the cover for our upcoming release, Three A.M. Wake-Up Call. The third and final installment in the Terror Project series, the collection features three novellas: “Chew Toys” by Nick Cato, “Clinton Road” by Rob Watts, and “Roons” by David Daniel. 
The cover was created by artist A.L. Cortez, who designed the covers for Triplicity and Three on a Match, the other two books in the series. “I wanted each book to share elements that tied them together—the recurring central figure, whom I’ve come to think of as a ‘terror muse’—and repeating illustrations forming a pattern in the background. But I also strived to make each cover uniquely its own.”
The stories in Three A.M. Wake-Up Call bring the series to an end by returning to more traditional, haunting horror. Cato’s “Chew Toys” answers the question, What if Son of Sam killer David Berkowitz wasn’t lying about his neighbor’s dog ordering him to kill? with entertainingly gruesome glee. Watts’s “Clinton Road” follows the path of a woman struggling with the disintegration of her marriage who takes up residence on a road steeped in urban legend and rumored paranormal activity. The collection ends with Daniel’s “Roons,” in which a man in his middle years returns home to find a haunting mystery that has waited decades to be unearthed.

Book Signing: April 15 | Red Hook Brewery | Portsmouth, NH

Author’s by the Sea | Book Signing Event | Red Hood Brewery | Portsmouth, NH | 2-6pm

Author’s in attendance and additional info | New England Author Expo

Book Signing 101: Available Here

This Sunday, from 2-6pm, I’ll be signing copies of my latest book, the author’s self-help guide, Book Signing 101, in Portsmouth, New Hampshire at The Red Hook Brewery. I’ll be on hand to sign books, discuss the direct marketing process of book selling, so on and so forth. I’ll also have signed copies of Charms (2017) and The Crooked Roads through Cedar Grove (2015.) 

Several talented local authors will be in attendance at the event, including Katherine Silva, Stephen Lomer, Satin Russell, Scott Goudsward, Susan Catalano and many, many more. Free to the public. Hope to see you there! 


Book Signing 101: An Author’s Guide | Second Edition

Book Signing 101: An Author’s Guide | Second Edition by Rob Watts | Jan. 2018 | Ocean View Press

Are you an author? Do you have a new book that you’re looking to promote to potential new fans? Have you considered venturing out into the book signing circuit? Maybe you’ve thought about it for a while but haven’t been sure how to go about it. Perhaps you’re reluctant because you don’t know what to expect. Book Signing 101: An Author’s Guide gives you a simple and straightforward breakdown of everything involved in book signing events, from where to hold your event, what to have with you, what to avoid, how to save money, how to carry yourself like a professional author and much more.

Originally published as a digital-only release in January 2017, Book Signing 101: An Author’s Guide is now available in print (and digital format) with updated chapters and additional material which will provide essential advice to writers, self-published authors, marketing professionals, and anyone with an interest in the writing world. 

Read Sample Chapter 7: How Much Money Should I Spend on Book Signing Events. 

Book Signing 101: An Author’s Guide | Second Edition will be available January 2018. Check for release info. 

John Carpenter | Live at Royale Boston

John Carpenter | Live at Royale Boston | Anthology Tour

November 15, 2017 | Review & Photos by Rob Watts

What can I say about Director, Writer, Producer, Composer, John Carpenter, that hasn’t already been said? The man is one of the greatest Filmmakers of our time and in his over forty years of filmmaking, he’s managed to entertain the masses with classic films such as They Live, Halloween, The Thing, The Fog, Escape from New York and Christine, just to name a few. In addition to filmmaking, Carpenter has a knack (and yearning) for scoring his own films; everyone knows the haunting theme song from Halloween—it’s embedded in our heads, but many of Carpenter’s hardcore fans appreciate just about every film soundtrack he’s produced. Most notably The Fog, Assault on Precinct 13, Halloween 3, Escape from New York and Prince of Darkness. These particular soundtracks are synth heavy and lend very well to his imagery on screen. Which perhaps makes sense that Carpenter has decided to take his music bank on the road, performing with a live stellar lineup of musicians as clips of his accompanying films play behind them on stage. I can’t think of any other director who could pull this off with such panache while commanding near-capacity crowds every night on tour. 

Opening with Escape from New York, fans were treated to the classic theme as imagery from the film blasted its way on screen. This was followed by Assault on Precint 13 and The Fog—at which point, a fog machine threw fog about the stage as the performers played on. Of course the classics were pulled out, including Halloween and Big Trouble in Little China, but one of the highlights and crowd favorites was the theme to the classic cult film, They Live. Carpenter and his band mates donned black sunglasses during the song, referencing the key element to the film. The finale was the theme to the classic film, Christine, which had just recently received the re-issue treatment on special edition vinyl. The Thing has fans cheering and perhaps and out of place addition was the beautifully composed theme to Starman, which was originally performed by Jack Nitzsche for the film. 

It’s great to see a man nearly 70 years old in age, after all the accolades and rewards from filmmaking, taking the leap into live performance after all these years, bringing his classic movie themes that fans have loved over so many years, out on the road with a solid lineup of musicians—including himself. Hopefully he’ll continue this for the next few years; people deserve to enjoy as much of his work as possible—be it, film, comic books, soundtrack music or live performances. 


Halloween Film Series: 10 Films, Worst to Best! 


Halloween Film Series: 10 Films, Worst to Best

By Rob Watts   @RobWattsOnline

It’s just my opinion, but being a life-long fan of the classic film series—John Carpenter’s Halloween (1978) was my first ever viewing of a horror film at a young age, I’ve developed a love/hate relationship with many of the sequels that have followed over the years. With very few exceptions, I actually despise movie sequels with a passion—particularly horror film sequels. They are money grabs in my opinion, and unlike films such as The Godfather, Rocky (Part 2), Star Wars (the original trilogy) and a small handful of others, there is very little need for continuations of a film, other than the obvious desire to cash in on movie goers’ willingness to sit through crappy third-rate reproductions of great films that’ve preceded them. The horror genre is notorious for this practice. I mean, seriously, how many Saw and Paranormal Activity follow-ups did we need? I’ll say the same about the Holloween film franchise. At some point during the run of this film series, it took a sad and desperate turn—snowballing to a point of no return; or did it? Again, this is just my opinion on the matter, but let’s see if you agree. Feel free to comment or Tweet me your thoughts. 

Worst to Best

10- Halloween: Resurrection (2002)

Busta Rhymes, Tyra Banks and a slathering of nameless, crappy actors (including one of the actors from American Pie) make this a terrible film from the get-go. If you need more reasons, how about the beaten to death found-footage style of camera work, the cringe-worthy dialogue, the embarrassing “acting” and the overal poor storyline? Directed by Rick Rosenthal—director of Halloween 2, was brought back to the franchise fold in hopes of giving the series a back-to-basics treatment, but instead he managed to deliver one of the biggest turds in movie history; not just horror movie history. Oh by the way, Jamie Lee Curtis appears in this movie during the first act. The trailer led fans to believe that Curtis had a much more prominent role in this film, but of course, the trick—not treat, was on us. 

9- Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers (1989)

This was considered to be the absolute worst (not just by me) in the series, at least until Halloween Resurrection came about. It’s a tight race, however, because this film is just God awful and in all honesty, an insult to fans of the series and to John Carpenter himself. It is apparent that this film’s script was written over the course of a weekend and that the casting director was clearly on drugs. Rushed into production and released just one year after the previous film, Halloween 5 is a shitty mess. It’s a continuation of Part 4, however, this movie bares very little resemblance to everything we loved about part 4—the charm, the ambiance, the style, the acting, the subtlety (much like the original), and it just gets worse and worse as the film goes on. (Spoilers ahead) – If you felt ripped off by the plot of 1982s Halloween 3 by virtue of the fact that it wasn’t a Michael Myers film, then you should have been undeniably disgusted by the plot line of Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers. First of all, at the end of Halloween 4, the film series threw a considerable twist our way by killing off (once again) the masked villain and revealing young Jamie Lloyd (Michael’s niece—see my take on Part 4 below) to be the new killer, due to the fact that her evil uncle’s curse had now been passed on to the adorable little 11 year old. Well, after much anticipation among eagerly awaiting fans—anxious to find out how the series was going to play this storyline out, we had come to find out that the Filmmakers basically threw this plot point away like a greasy McDonalds sandwich wrapper. Michael’s niece was not to be the new killer; instead, they brought him back in the most ridiculous way and threw his niece in a hospital bed (much like Laurie Strode in Halloween 2) throughout, almost, the entire film and gave her very little dialogue (again, much like Laurie Strode in Halloween 2—which I disliked about that film btw.) Summing the rest of this mess up in short-order, many of the things I found fault with was the fact that they killed off Jamie’s older step-sister, Rachel, in the first act of the film—why would we want her around—she was only one of the most likable characters in the previous film. She was replaced by the most irritating cast of characters (and actors), among them, the character of Tina, the most ANNOYING character thus far in the series franchise and universally hated within the Halloween Film Series fanbase. What else? Well, how about the Myers house? It looks NOTHING like the home used in the original film. This house looked like something out of a Dracula film or Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho. It was simply ridiculous. The character of Dr. Loomis had now become a parody of himself—just crazed, delivering the same tired lines—it had just become very sad for me. The overall style of the film was campy and clearly, Swiss director Dominique Othenin-Girard had zero clue about the established fanbase of this series. I don’t know who he thought he was aiming this film at, but it wasn’t the true devotees, that’s for certain. We mustn’t leave out the fans of The Omen film series. They are still up in arms over his directorial duties of The Omen IV: The Awakening. 

8- Halloween : The Curse of Michael Myers (1995)

Not quite as bad as its predecessor but still a terrible film in my opinion. Produced for the first time by a major studio, Miramax / Dimension Films, this film proves the all-too-well-known-fact that there truly can be too many cooks in the kitchen. With all the re-writes, re-shoots, re-castings—it’s amazing that this film even got made, and perhaps that should have been this movie’s ultimate fate. Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers (AKA Halloween 6) reveals that Michael Myers is part of an evil, secret cult known as the curse of Thorn. Ugh! This apparently is where he gets his evil superpowers from. Remember the man in black with the odd symbol tattooed on his writs in Part 5? Well, this storyline reveals what that hokey mystery was all about in that film. The problem was, the Filmmakers in part 5 had no clue what any of that meant; they just went ahead and through some mystery man in the film with absolutely no idea where the storyline was going to go or who the character was. Great filmmaking! Okay, I’ll dispense with any further criticism about Halloween 5. I’ll save it for this pathetic excuse for a film. So, we learn that Michael is part of a cult and his niece, Jamie (who they replaced with a new actress—enough said) is pregnant (who the father is is left ambiguous—Michael perhaps? Eww…) and is introduced in the film on a delivery table as she gives birth to a baby boy; a baby boy who I guess was intended to eventually follow in the footsteps of Michael Myers—how awesome. Not! Everything that follows is just crap. A new family (Laurie Strode’s and Jamie Lloyd’s relatives) now live in the Myers house (which seemed to have shrunk in size since the last film—oh gheeed!) and the father, a discount John Goodman character, is basically a miserable jerk and is a POS to his family. We knew exactly who we wanted killed off by Michael immediately. The mom was played by the mom in Better Off Dead (“it’s got raisins in it”) and the daughter was played by Maryanne Hagan; probably the most likable character in this film. Rounding out the rest of the cast is the always creepy Paul Rudd; this was his debut film role and his character of Tommy Doyle (yes, the little boy from the original) is highly ridiculous and just as creepy as Rudd in real life—perhaps creepier. We have a grunge loving, flannel wearing college student, a creepy as hell little boy, a cartoonish shock jock and of course, Donald Pleasence, returning for one last hurrah as Dr. Loomis. Pleasence was very ill at the time of filming and this clearly shows throughout the movie. Though, through no fault of his own, his character was greatly diminished in his final film before his death just prior to this film’s release. The deaths are gratuitous, the pacing is awful, the acting is terrible—it’s just all over the place. It’s no shock that the producers of the film series shied away from this particular storyline (starting with part 4) and took it in another direction. I do, however, applaud screenwriter, Daniel Farrands’ efforts in continuing the stupid storyline laid out in Part 5. I mean, how much could be done with that pile of garbage left at your doorstep. Farrands at least tried to bring it back to familiar territory; somewhat, because in the end, the geniuses at Miramax and Dimension demanded more gore, more needless action sequences and apparently the insertion of “And Fools Shine On” by the band Brother Cane. The original cut of this film, known as “The Producers Cut” has been long circulated on bootleg copies for years until recently, when it saw a proper release on DVD in 2014 as it was included in the Halloween: The Complete Collection Box Set. This version is a watchable version of the film and shows the scope of where the screenwriter intended the film to go. Of course, the film that’s released in theaters is the film that counts. If only they went with this version instead. 

7- Halloween H2O (1998)

20 years later, we had the return of Jamie Lee Curtis once again portraying the character of Laurie Strode (although she’s hiding and living under an assumed name) and I will say, although this isn’t one of my favorites, it is a watchable entry in the series. It’s paced well, establishes the plot in short-order and the actor (Chris Durand) who portrays the character of Michael Myers is, in my honest opinion, the best since Nick Castle’s portrayal in the original film. He brings an ominous and menacing tone to Myers that hasn’t been duplicated since. There are some drawbacks, however—the cast for starters. Aside from Curtis’ return, I didn’t appreciate the teen stars dujour being pushed down my throat; Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Michelle Williams, Josh Hartnett—they all may or may not be fine actors today, but at the time of this film, their inclusion was very force-fed and contrived. L.L. Cool J—a fine actor and tremendous musician, seemed like stunt casting to me. Although his character was likeable and had added comic relief, it had become obvious that this sort of casting was to become an annoying trend. Maybe they should have cast Busta Rhymes instead—oh wait, that’s right, they did in the following installment. Even though I felt as though I was watching a bad Dawson’s Creek episode at times—the teens had to work out their rich white people problems—I did enjoy Jamie Lee’s performance and there were some thrilling action scenes at times. At 81 minutes, there is hardly any fat on this film. It moves right along. It was a box office success and it pretty much guaranteed that a sequel would be soon on the way. Sadly, that sequel was Halloween: Ressurection. 

6- Rob Zombie’s Halloween (2007)

If there ever was a film that DID NOT need to be remade, it’s John Carpenter’s Halloween. Unfortunately, the film series had taken far too many turns into back alley’s and another generic sequel was sure to bury this franchise once and for all. With that in mind, it’s understandable why the powers to be decided upon a remake rather than a pointless continuation. I was up in arms when I heard that it was being remade; I was a bit relieved when I learned that musician/filmmaker Rob Zombie would be at the helm. After all, Zombie, while not the best filmmaker (The Devil’s Rejects was great, though), he does possess the elements of everything horror fans love and he has often cited the original Halloween as one of his favorite horror films, so how badly could he botch it up? Well, let’s see. The opening 10 minutes of dialogue (when I say dialogue, I mean screaming) is simply stressful and unnecessary. It’s revealed that young Michael Myers comes from a family comprised of white trash. A stripper mom (of course played by Zombie’s wife, Sherry Moon-Zombie), an out of work father (actually, I think it was just his mom’s boyfriend) and a slutty older sister. The entire set up is just depressing. I didn’t particularly care for Michael Myers origin story—it’s not knowing about the killer that makes it more intense and scary. Regardless, we were given a gratuitously violent backstory tied together with a remake of the original movie, following Laurie Strode and her annoying friends. Malcolm McDowell’s portrayal of Dr. Loomis was well done as was the performance of Laurie Strode (Scout Taylor-Compton) but the stunt casting of Dee Wallace (she’s become the female Tony Todd in my opinion) and Danielle Harris—returning to the series, but now as Laurie’s best friend,  Annie, was particularly hard to swallow. And nothing against Harris, but it was clearly a sympathy casting as a way of repaying Harris for screwing her out of her role in part 6 (actually, I’d say they did her a favor in that regard.) Visually, Zombie nails his films. They look great. The storyline and much of the over acting in this movie was off-putting. I do like this movie, but it’s not something I’d reach for very often. 

5- Rob Zombie’s Halloween 2 (2009)

I know you’re scratching your head asking yourself why I’d place Rob Zombie’s follow-up higher on the list. Well, even though it just squeaks ahead of his first film, there were things I found better about this film than his first film. For starters, I knew going in that Zombie’s portrayal of Haddonfield was that of trashy degenerates. This is confirmed in the opening scene with the ambulance drivers. I was prepared for this. While I could live without the overused ghostly images of a white horse and once again, Sherry Moon-Zombie, I found that the storyline was much improved. Where Zombie was confined to remaking the original the first time around, he had room to stretch his wings a bit more this time and tell more of a standalone story. It might not be the best storyline, but it’s original nonetheless and really takes the series into a more ominous and darker territory. Scout Taylor-Compton’s portrayal of a now crazed and disturbed Laurie Strode was terrific (but she did come off obnoxious at times) and I found Danielle Harris’s performance in this film so much better than the previous. Lots of fans complain about Dr. Loomis being a total jackass in this movie, but I find this to be a highlight. Malcolm McDowell is very entertaining as a formerly compassionate child psychiatrist, now a fame-hungry, book promoting celebrity. We all know this is exactly how it would happen in real life. Oprah Winfrey would give him a daily show of his own for Christ sake. All in all, I do enjoy this film. And although I can’t count films other than the theatrical version, I highly recommend the extended directors cut. It’s so much better and it closes any storyline gaps that the theatrical release left open. 

4- Halloween 2 (1981)

Most fans site this as the next best film in the Halloween film series, usually because it still has John Carpenter and Debra Hill ‘s involvement and because the action picks up immediately after the original film. Those reasons have never really cut it for me. First of all, I hate that Halloween had a sequel featuring Michael Myers at all. I don’t need things explained to me and I don’t possess the need for more, more, more when in-fact, the original film was as satisfying as a horror film could get—even by today’s standards. But—understandable, it’s not up to me; these are just my feelings and I won’t complain—much. I’ll start off with what I disliked about this movie. The continuity errors for one; the first film clearly shows SIX gunshots being fired at Michael Myers at the hand of Dr. Loomis. In the opening flashback scene, he’s now shot SEVEN times, yet, all throught this film, Loomis keeps screaming that he shot him six times and he’s still on the loose. Speaking of Loomis, his dialogue was basically recycled from the last film and his character really offered nothing in the end. He just delivers a series of speeches, including a classroom scene where he continuously mispronounces ‘Samhain.’ It’s pronounced Sowin / SOW-in. And Yay, Jamie Lee Curtis came back to reprise her role as Laurie Strode; unfortunately, she is filmed in a hospital bed nearly the entirety of the film armed with a terrible wig and very little dialogue. The setting is in a nearly empty hospital (where are all the other patients?) and the new cast is, umm, okay. Nothing about them is very memorable but they aren’t bad either; not as bad as future sequels would offer. The kills are much more graphic and some are very unnecessary. It’s overly gratuitous at times. The music has changed, but not for the better. It’s far more gothic sounding than the first film and it lacks the understated elegance that the original offered. The only action worth bragging about is during the final 20 min of the film, where Laurie tries to outrun Myers. 

3- Halloween 4 (1988)

I really enjoyed this entry in the Halloween series. Although it’s not without its flaws, it’s a terrific attempt at capturing the original spirit of the original. Taking the Michael Myers storyline back after the ill-fated attempt to move the series into a string of one-off Halloween themed films on a yearly basis, starting with Halloween 3: The Season of the. Witch (Which I was all for by the way), we find our serial killer lying comatose in a mental institution for the last decade, while Dr. Loomis (who we all assumed was dead after the ending of part 2) is left badly burned and scarred and still rocking his beige trench coat and waving his gun around while trailing Michael back to Haddonfield. While Michael and his mask look rather goofy and un-menacing, the storyline itself was pretty well thought out. Laurie Strode is now dead (at least as far as this film is concerned) and now her daughter Jamie Lloyd (Danielle Harris) is the object of Michaels psychotic affection. Rounded out by a likable and decent cast, including Ellie Cornell, Kathleen Kinmont and Sasha Jenson, this return to the original concept was on the right track—until they poisoned the franchise with part 5 only a year later—undoing everything that was fresh and distinctive about this film. This was the last good film in the series and if you’ve never watched any of the films and are considering giving them a try, watch the first four and stop there. This is a good film to end your run. 

2- Halloween 3 (1982)

I know, I know…it’s not a real “Halloween” movie, it doesn’t have Michael Myers, it’s crap, bla bla bla—I don’t care, it’s a great movie and I’m standing by it as one of my favorites. Let me explain my reasoning; as far as I’m concerned, the original Halloween is a perfect stand-alone horror film—it didn’t need a sequel—the killer was shot, fell off a second story balcony, was believed to be dead, until it was revealed that he got up and walked away. That’s how the movie ended, it was incredible, theater of the mind came into play and we were all left imagining our own version of how the killer lived, where he might have gone, would he kill again—I don’t need continuations or half-assed concocted back stories spelling things out for me that quite frankly, I’m not looking for. As far as I’m concerned, the rest of the films and their attempts at bigger and more shocking story lines, simply don’t exist. So—although part 3 is non-related to the Michael Myers world, I think it’s a very good attempt to make a fresh start in what was to become a batch of one-off Halloween films released every year. That obviously never happened, although imagine if you will; Halloween 4: Prince of Darkness, Halloween 5: They Live, etc.. It might have happened that way if part 3 had made a greater impact at the box office. While I won’t summize the film, what I loved about it was the filming locations—they were simplistic much like the original film and offered up the same type of eerie vibe. It had a likable (sometimes laughable) cast of characters and although the storyline was very simple, it was effectively creepy. Let’s not forget the film’s score; probably some of the best work John Carpenter has ever done. Remove the annoying Halloween Mask jingle, and you have a perfect soundtrack! 

1- Halloween (1978)

Hands down—never mind in the Halloween franchise, but in the rhelm of the horror film world—one of the absolute greatest horror films to ever be made. For a film that was made on practically a whim, with a minuscule budget, with much of an unknown cast, during a time when horror movies were considered passé, by a virtually unknown director, John Carpenter’s Halloween was a happy accident and lives on as one of the most creative, well-directed, memorably acted and perfectly scored horror films ever made. From the pan and glide POV filming techniques, to the this could happen anywhere filming locations, to the well-placed (yet modest) jump-scares, the tension building, the likable characters, the dialog and of course the spine tingling, suspense inducing film score, you simply can’t find a better recipe for a scarier horror film. Many films have tried over the years but have never truly captured the essence and uniqueness  that made the original Halloween great—not even close! 

Thanks for reading. Do you enjoy reading scary stories? My latest book, CHARMS: Four Stories of Female Revenge is available now! 

Charms: Four Stories of Female Revenge | Now Available in Print & Digital

Charms: Four Stories of Female Revenge by Rob Watts

Originally set for release on October 27th, Charms has been released slightly earlier, giving you a chance to enjoy some suspenseful reading in time for Halloween. Charms: Four Stories of Female Revenge, is available wherever books are sold. Available in print and digital, you can get your copy here

Synopsis: In this seductive and chillingly vengeful collection of short fiction, Rob Watts, award-winning author of Americana, depicts four morally bankrupt men and the scathing and contemptuous women who take out their revenge in the most outrageous methods. Their terrifying descent into madness and their lust for revenge makes for a truly mesmerizing thrill-ride. 

Recently Separated – An online match gone wrong. From their first date, there’s an instant attraction between Jerry and Ruby. They seem like a match made in heaven, until Jerry gets caught in a lie and sends Ruby into a psychotic rage.
Carman – A late-night drive turns troublesome when Bill decides to pick up a seemingly harmless young girl stranded on a deserted country road. When his passenger informs him of her sinister intentions, Bill must make a quick decision that will save his marriage or cost hime everything.
Nantasket Beach – Jenna and Pete have a happy marriage, a successful business and a beautiful beach house. Secrets, however, tear it all down and their cheerful and sunny lifestyle quickly turns into a dark and depressing mess. 
Americana – Dennis, a down on his luck short-order cook, encounters a stunning young female who immediately adds excitement to his mundane daily life, but their growing romance opens up old wounds for Dennis. While his new girlfriend seems too good to be true, he eventually discovers that she has ominous intentions.