Monthly Archives: February 2020

Harley Quinn (Movie Review)


Movie Review by
Michael McCarty (one horror and science fiction published author)

Spoiler Alert:
I am a spoiled movie reviewer who might give some of the plot away … sorry

(the movie poster)


has flew the coop

(waits for applause and laughter)

I am here all week.

Don’t forget to tip your wait and bar staff.

You want more?

Okay …

Let’s go to the back story ….

Back in 2016 DC comics made a comic book film of SUICIDE SQUAD and it made over $300 million dollars. The movie starred Will Smith … but The Joker (played brilliantly by Jared Leto) and his crazy girlfriend Harley Quinn (played even more brilliantly by Margot Robbie) often stole the spotlight and thunder from Will Smith. When Harley Quinn purrs “pudding” to her Joker lover it was magic.

4 years later … Harley Quinn steps out with this solo movie which has the worst title of any DC film:


but we have to go to another back story yet again:

In 2019 … there was another brilliant DC movie out called JOKER with Joaquin Phoenix. The movie is a runaway hit with Joaquin Phoenix and he wins an Academy Award for Best Actor (which was well deserved).

So yet another back story … the movie reviewer:

I am a big fan of the BATMAN universe, even the JOKER universe … and some of the DC comics and movies. So when I stepped into the movie theater … my bar was high and the film doesn’t reach those expectations.

Instead it goes back to an old 2002 TV series titled BIRDS OF PREY (did anyone even see this?) and of course the comics.

When things are heating up in the DC universe, The Joker Universe … The Batman universe …

Cosplay as Harley Quin and horror author Michael McCarty

Does this movie team Harley Quinn and The Joker up again?

We get a Harley Quinn solo movie, which is fine. But writer Christina Hodson and director Cathy Yan are wandering lost in this DC film universe …

We begin the movie with Harley’s animated back story, which is cute.
And she is “Joker” free after a break up.

Now I am going to get a little whining movie reviewer here … we don’t know why or how the break up took place.

And if you or any of your friends or relatives broke up … you know they will talk and talk about their ex for long durations.

In this film… they break up … next (which could have been a movie in itself).

The high points of the film:

Margot Robbie is of course awesome again. And having Rosie Perez as a drunk cop on her ass is also great.

And a great soundtrack. The music songs and scores are incredible.

The so-so points of the film:

Birds of Prey aren’t very interesting: Helena Bertinelli (in the 2002 TV series she was known as Helena Kyle), The Huntress aka “Cross-Bow Killer” (played by Mary Elizabeth Winsted) which doesn’t do much. She go a good shot, but misses her cue when the camera focuses on her.

We also have Dinah Lance … the Black Canary a singer and driver (Jurne Smollet-Bell) for Roman Sionis (Ewan McGregor) – both are only so-so. Smollet-Bell is okay but McGregor just isn’t that good of a lead villain (although he did a great job in the FARGO TV series).

The low points of the film:
Action sequences which aren’t that exciting and Ella Jay Basco as Cassandra Cain. Kids in comic movies really don’t play that well, look at the DICK TRACY movie a few years ago, the kid was the weakest link. I think the writer and director were thinking that having a pickpocket youngster would appeal to the KICK-ASS crowd. It just doesn’t.

Overall, I’d give the movie 3 stars out of 5 and the reason is this:

Harley Quinn is quirky, but she needed to be more a little bit more (which she is in the comic books) and insane (ditto) and even a little more sexy … but instead … we get a middle of the road lead character and plot.

The movie had the potential to be a violent and dark TANK GIRL … instead it just tanks out. And Thank God, the movie didn’t turn into the female GHOSTBUSTERS … that would be unforgivable.

I know, you will say .. hey, this is a comic book why are you looking for plot.
It is still a movie and it should deliver more.

I really do like Robbie and Perez … and the violent and dark humor. Just wish the film gave about 10% more for a 100% better film.

Overall … I think, we the audience were looking for a kiss, even a French Kiss, but instead got only a handshake on this date.

That is my two cents and you can keep the change.

(waits for applause and laughter)

I am here all week.

Don’t forget to tip your wait and bar staff.

(Okay … I am repeating myself).

The best thing that could happen from this movie and the recent JOKER is my Hollywood Prediction:


But you never know. Instead of giving us SUICIDE SQUAD 2, we ended up with a HARLEY QUINN film…

Let the hate mail begin ….

but before that:

I talked about DICK TRACY movie … I interviewed Max Collins, who wrote the comic strip in the 1970s and 1980s… here is the link to the interview:

If you like this blog or my other blogs … please consider buying my mega book of interviews called MODERN MYTHMAKERS. The ebook is only .99 cents … not even a dollar folks:

35 Interviews with Horror & Science Fiction Writers & Filmmakers
by Michael McCarty

The ebook is only .99 cents!!!


And it includes in-depth interviews with Elvira, John Carpenter, Adrienne Barbeau, Ray Bradbury, Ramsey Campbell, Dan Curtis, Neil Gaiman, Mick Garris; Laurell K. Hamilton, Jack Ketchum, Dean Koontz, Graham Masterton, Joe McKinney​, H.G. Lewis, Linnea Quigley, John Saul, Peter Straub, The Night of the Living Dead crew, Richard Matheson and more


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Winter Horrorland (Book Review)

by Jody R. LaGreca

$2.99 Kindle
$13.99 Trade paperback

Book Review by Michael McCarty

(Author photo of Jody R. LaGreca)

Winter and horror go so well together: the freezing temperatures, the dark nights, the snow and ice and isolation. Horror authors and filmmakers have been combining the two for years and the results have been some of my favorite spooky tales including:

THE SHINING by Stephen King (book and movie), a family snowed in as madness falls…

GHOST STORY by Peter Straub (book and movie), the ghost of the past haunts still haunting today…

and such novels as THE WINTER PEOPLE by Jennifer McMahon (and I think it was turned into a movie too) THE WOLVES OF MIDWINTER by Anne Rice

I could go on and on ….

But we are here to talk about Jody R. LaGreca’s WINTER HORRORLAND. In this book, we have the dead of winter, we have horrors and we have isolation and chills (from the weather and this well written tale).

Christine Handler has escaped from an abusive relationship with her ex and remarried a much older Richard Handler and the two lovebirds are living in rural Pennsylvania in a farmhouse.

Just as Christine has escaped from an abusive relationship, so has her husband Richard, his mother was wicked and cruel to him.

The novel begins with Christine being very pregnant and Richard’s mother unexpectedly moves in with the couple after she is released from the mental hospital.

Claire Handler is a demanding and cranky old lady, who I could easily see being played by Joan Crawford, when she was doing such movies as “Whatever Happened To Baby Jane,” “Straight-Jacket” and “Berserk” period.

The snow sets in.

And then the terror begins.

There are a lot of nastiness which is so fun to discover, I really don’t want to give any of it away … except one. .. I love the two-headed mouse that appears in the book.

Jody R. LaGreca is an incredible writer. She is highly imaginative and has a great writing style. She pours herself into every book she does and WINTER HORRORLAND is no exception and is highly recommended.

Kindle and paperback.

Jody is no stranger to the horror field … check out her BLOODLESS series she co-written:

(Jody R. LaGreca during warmer days)


and her other solo book FOREVER IN VEIN

If you like zombies … you might want to check her collaborative zombie e-story

Here is a link to the blog:

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Book Review: The Association by Bentley Little


by Bentley Little
Original: ISBN: 0-451-20412-3

Paperback: $16.00
Kindle: $4.99

Bentley Little is building a reputation for creating classy, sophisticated horror. Throughout his career, the former Arizona, now California writer has used horror to explore more serious ideas, not merely to scare — but to rise frightening fiction to the next level.
Bentley began with a bang: His debut Bram Stoker winning THE REVELATION, was an eccentric mix of religion, horror and mutant babies. That was followed by THE MAILMAN which delivered colorful prose about small town living and our
dependency on the US mail.

THE SUMMONING, his grand vampire tale, dwelled us into the world of the Chinese vampires; where Christian symbols such as the cross and holy water were rendered useless against the undead — because they weren’t Christians.
UNIVERSITY, his ground-breaking novel, explored the myths about colleges being a safe place to spend four or five years of your life. Behind the ivy gates of University of Brea is a lot of prejudices, racial tensions, rape and violence — which manifests itself into an evil entity.
Then came his surreal tour de force THE IGNORED, which tapped into modern fears perfectly: an anonymous individual living in an anonymous world — who becomes completely ignored.
Bentley tackled the retail world with THE STORE, a spooky spectacular novel about a superstore. Plenty of shocks and spine-tingling thrills as the town of Juniper, Arizona, battles a cancerous outlet center whole vileness is spreading
throughout the community.
That was followed by THE TOWN, as a social spooky novel about the Tomasovs moving back to their home town to only to be bombarded by cultural hatred and myths from their past coming to life.
Bentley got some great promotion for his next novel THE WALKING, a dead men walking zombie story that had a full page ad in USA TODAY and blurbs by Stephen King and Dean Koontz.

But we are here for:
THE ASSOCIATION, like Bentley’s previous novels, he mixes savage social satire and horror together for a tasty novel. The target of terror is a gated communities, upscale developments that are homeowner associations run with an
iron fist.
Horror writer Barry Welch and his accountant wife Maureen tired of the hustle and bustle of California decide to move to a more upscale and suburban setting of Bonita Vista, Utah.
Unfortunately the dreamy rural Bonita Vista is a gated community and the residents are require to join the homeowners association.
THE ASSOCIATION is only a slightly exaggerated version of the problems Bentley had in real life with the homeowners association in Arizona. That realism and frustration keeps the story real — frighteningly real. A hodgepodge of happenings in this book: Big Brother paranoia, back-stabbing neighbors, poisoned pets, racist
and small-minded townies and “Codes, Covenants and Regulations” that not only set for an example of community standards but dictate lifestyles. It really comes down to a scary underlying theme: the Third Reich in your own backyard.
THE ASSOCIATION hits the mark with both creepy social commentary and chills. A little less supernatural then most of his novels, this book still has plenty of super-charged thrills that will keep you thinking long after you put it down.

Here is a link to my review to Bentley Little’s THE RESORT:

I did a great interview with Bentley Little in my book MODERN MYTHMAKERS: 35 Interviews with Horror & Science Fiction Writers and Filmmakers.
And right now the ebook is only .99 cents (less than a buck, folks)!

Here is my shameless plug of MODERN MYTHMAKERS. Please read on:

… please check out Modern Mythmakers. The ebook right now is only .99 cents.

Modern Mythmakers is a collection of 35 interviews from horror and science fiction’s most influential writers and filmmakers, including…
•Ray Bradbury
•Dean Koontz
•Richard Matheson
•John Carpenter
•John Saul
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•Joe McKinney
•William F. Nolan
•Peter Straub
•The Night of the Living Dead crew (including John Russo, Kyra Schon and Russ Streiner)
•Whitley Strieber
•and of course, Bentley Little

…and many more.

•Science fiction & fantasy interviews
•Horror legends
•Films and Television
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