Lenni Reviews: “Sensor” by Junji Ito

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*This book was given to me in exchange for an honest review.

Kyoko Byakuya comes across a strange village almost as if it was calling to her. The Kiyokami village is covered in what they call heavenly hair or Amagami; which seems to have mystical properties. Made from volcanic glass, these hairs allow the villagers a type of cosmic sight but also herald dark and terrible events.

This was… Strange. Usually, I’m on board with Ito’s signature weirdness – which this is chock full of – but something about this story feels unfocused and incomplete. This is one of the first offerings from this author that I will say I would pass on it if you’re not a huge fan of the creator. It’s ok but nowhere near other Ito works I’ve read. 3 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “Something is Killing the Children” Vol. 1, by James Tynion IV, Werther Dell’Edera & Miguel Muerto

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In Archer’s Peak children are going missing; never to be seen again. One boy who escaped tells tales of horrible monsters living in the shadows. A mysterious woman covered in blood seems to know these creatures and is prepared to do battle with them despite the adults believing the children are lying.

The main character, Erica Slaughter, could easily slip into the mysterious tough gal stereotype but she’s got enough personality to set her apart – even if her name is a little on the nose. This is a gory, action packed story with all the great trappings a series like this needs: badass hunter, evil creatures, and a shadow organization lurking about with their own agenda. This was cool to read and I look forward to the next one. 4.7 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “Ice Cream Man Volume 5: Other Confections” by W. Maxwell Prince, Martín Morazzo & Chris O’Halloran

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This volume dips it’s toes into a range of stories from a parody of superheroes, how to be a ghost, and features the Ice Cream Man reading a bedtime story to children.

The series is still suitably creepy and twisted but where previously we were getting hints of what the Ice Cream Man is, that just stops in favor of these short scary stories. I was excited for that reveal but I suppose keeping us in the dark is part of the suspense and fear. I still would like more of a follow through instead of just continuing with the short story format. 3.7 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “Plunge” by Joe Hill & Stuart Immonen

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In 1983, The Derleth vanished near the Arctic Circle. Decades later it sends out a distress call and the Carpenter brothers – along with their salvage crew – are hired to find it.

While this is a cool little story, there are a bunch of references that will go right over your head if you haven’t seen The Thing or read a bunch of Stephen King’s prior work. For example, the director Carpenter being the name of the brothers and one of the crew being named Gage; the kid from Pet Sematary. I got a chuckle out of it but I’m a huge King fan.

Other than that, this is an entertaining journey into some Lovecraftian horrors that is paced too fast to get involved in. Shoutout to the artist because these creatures are horrid nightmare fuel. Worthwhile if you’re looking for a quick horror read. 3.7 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “Mieruko-chan” Vol 1, by Tomoki Izumi

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High schooler Mieruko is cursed with seeing horrible, twisted spirits all around her; but no one else can. She just does her best to ignore them while also protecting her best friend from these things.

This manga is cute but oddly fanservicey with all the up skirt and cleavage shots. It’s really sweet how Mieruko just want to protect the people she cares about as best she can without revealing she can see ghosts. I won’t spoil it but there’s a story about a kitty that sold me on this series. All the stories are quick one shots so I’m wondering how this will progress and if there will be an overarching story line. 4 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “Lovesickness” a Junji Ito Story Collection

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*This book was given to me in exchange for an honest review.

The collection of horror stories really shows Ito’s range as to what he can make horrible. I think my favorite is “The Mansion of Phantom Pain” but the entire saga of the cover character “Beautiful Boy and the Crossroads” is good, too. Super gory in this case, so be aware of that if gore is not your thing.

This is a solid offering with another funny story at the end featuring a fake poop. The volume leaves you with a laugh if you need to recover from the rest of the stories. 5 out of 5.

 

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Finally Watched It: Lovecraft Country (2020)

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I went back and forth about doing an episode by episode breakdown of this series. If you’d like that let me know (like I did WAAAAY back with Battle Royale) but this is my impression based on the first two episodes. That I’ve watched a few times just to catch as much as I could.

First of all I want to rub it ALL THE WAY in that this series is filled with Black and Brown people while Lovecraft himself was a racist. As a horror fan, enjoying Lovecraft became difficult when, ya know… He wouldn’t see me as an actual human. I get a little thrill out of things that piss off racists. It’s my fetish. Don’t judge me.

I have fuzzy memories of an uncle of mine either talking about or owning a copy of ‘The Negro Motorist Green Book.‘ I know Ma told me about it in a really roundabout way that was indicative of a lot of Black families that wanted to keep certain things unspoken for the young ones. (Boy do I have stories about the AIDS epidemic and Army recruiters at my high school…)

I can just feel the love in this. The writing is perfect. I can literally see stories told to me by my grandmother and her siblings come to life among a horror story that keeps me engaged. It’s really cool and I am so glad this is a thing that’s happening. It’s filling a horror hole in my heart that felt cheated by what’s been coming out of American Horror Story these days (it’s OKAY, just not blowing me away like the first season).

And yes… My literary geek ass has added as many of the books I saw in the series on my TBR list… Because clearly, it’s too short.

“Don’t let them make you question yourself. That’s how they win. They want to make us crazy, terrorize us, make us scared.” Man, if that isn’t the path of the oppressor/abuser. Fantastic.

And I shall leave my assessment of these first two episodes with this… 

Spoilers… 

Fuck that. Justice for Uncle George.

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Lenni Reviews: “Elfen Lied Omnibus” Volume 4 by Lynn Okamoto

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In the final volume, Lucy makes her final stand against the organization hunting her and putting her friends in danger.

Well, everything just goes completely sideways in this volume. It’s not the ending I expected but it seemed fittingly bombastic and touching. I feel it was well worth my time getting through four huge books. The plot got fleshed out with the Diclonii vs Humans and Lucy wanting a normal life. But of course, if you are familiar at all with this series’ reputation, you may want to avoid it due to the high body count, nudity, and gore. 4 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “The Scarlet Gospels”(Hellraiser #2) by Clive Barker

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After reading Hellbound Heart, I made sure to get my hands on the sequel. This stars Detective Harry D’Amour, who has devoted himself to the supernatural after an encounter that killed his partner. As Pinhead makes some major moves leaving a trail of death, Harry and other mystically inclined friends move to stop him.

Okay… I kinda liked this book. It functions really well on it’s own. My problem with it is that it’s a sequel to a book that barely featured Pinhead. I’m left with a feeling that the movie’s popularity impacted this story; because the main Cenobite in the first was female and there’s hardly a mention of her here. 

In viewing this book as a better sequel to the movies (anything after Hellraiser 2 is not worth watching, in my opinion), it’s a worthy addition to the universe. It’s really dark, the stakes are high, and it’s just brutal – as to be expected of anything Hellraiser.  It was just strange reading these back to back and not feeling the connection from one to the next. I liked it but this is clearly riding on Pinhead’s popularity. 3.4 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “The Hellbound Heart” by Clive Barker

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Once I hear some media I enjoy is based on a book, I almost always add it to my To Be Read list. This book pretty much follows the movie, Frank is bored with life and seeking ultimate pleasure so he uses the puzzle box to summon the Cenobites. What’s different is Pinhead isn’t the “lead” cenobite. The book has a female as the leader.

But I’m glad I read it. It was cool to see the origins of such iconic characters. Despite already knowing the story beats because I’ve seen the movies a bajillion times, I found the book riveting and I can’t wait to read the next one.  4.7 out of 5.

 

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