Monthly Archives: July 2021

The Conjuring 3: The Devil Made Me Do It (Movie Review)

By Michael McCarty

CON3-01295r Film Name: THE CONJURING: THE DEVIL MADE ME DO IT Copyright: © 2021 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. All Rights Reserved. Photo Credit: Ben Rothstein Caption: (L-r) VERA FARMIGA as Lorraine Warren and PATRICK WILSON as Ed Warren in New Line Cinema’s horror film “THE CONJURING: THE DEVIL MADE ME DO IT,” a Warner Bros. Pictures release.

The Conjuring 3: The Devil Made Me Do It. This is the eight film in The Conjuring series/universe and I’d say of all those films I’d rank it in the top 3 (the first of course, The Conjuring, followed by the first Annabelle and at number three – The Conjuring 3).

The series has plenty of good jolts along the way: demonic possession, spooky nun apparitions and the haunted Annabelle doll.

More about the series go to this link:

Unfortunately, I feel, the core story, of Ed and Lorraine Warren was starting to become unfocused and shoved to the back.

I am happy to report that The Conjuring 3, like The Conjuring 1, brings the Warrens back into the forefront of the picture. In this movie, Ed (played by Patrick Wilson) and his wife Loraine (Vera Farmiga) take on one of the most sensational cases of their long career when a young murder suspect claim a demonic possession for their defense.

The film begins in 1981 when the Warrens are called to document the exorcism of 8-year-old David Glatzel, attended by his family, his sister Debbie, her boyfriend Arne Johnson, and a priest in the Connecticut town of Brookfield. During the exorcism, which was one of the paranormal couples toughest ones, Arne invites the demon to enter his body instead of David’s. Ed witnesses the demon transport itself from David’s body to Arne’s whilst he suffers from a heart attack, and is taken to a hospital.

I am very familiar with the Warrens case and the Arne Johnson murder trial. When you co-write such books as GHOSTLY TALES OF ROUTE 66, CONVERSATIONS WITH KRESKIN, GHOSTLY OF THE QUAD CITIES and EERIE QUAD CITIES … you’d suspect I’d be.

I don’t want any spoilers here or anything, because part of the fun, is the not knowing what will happen next and the thrills that follow.

I will say only one thing, when Lorraine was crawling around the crawlspace under the house (which I did plenty of times, when I worked pest control for three years) and she saw all those rats underneath, I was thinking the family needs an exterminator almost as much as they needed an exorcism.

Great cast with Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmigo. Great direction from Michael Chaves … and a great script and story from David Leslie Johnson and James Won.

My rating, **** 1/2 out of *****

If you like this movie review …

check out my book ESOTERIA-LAND … which features movie reviews, music reviews, book reviews, interviews, essays and more

and the ebook is only .99 cents

ESOTERIA-LAND by Michael McCarty Ebook is only .99 cents


Interviews with Justin Hayward of The Moody Blues, Tommy Chong of Cheech & Chong, Terry Pratchett, Mojo Nixon, Bobcat Goldthwait, Famous Monsters editor Forry Ackerman, Buddy Holly’s drummer, book and movie reviews, a review of a live Jerry Seinfeld concert and a tribute to horror writer Dean Koontz by his peers and many more… Introduction By Linnea Quigley Afterword By The Amazing Kreskin

Also check out:

GHOSTS OF THE QUAD CITIES co-written by Michael McCarty.

Available in Kindle, trade paperback and hardcover.
Kindle & Trade Paperback:

Divided by state lines and the Mississippi River, the Quad Cities share a common haunted heritage. If anything, the seam that runs through the region is especially rife with spirits, from the Black Angel of Moline’s Riverside Cemetery to the spectral Confederate POWs of Arsenal Island. Of course, the city centers have their own illustrious supernatural residents – the Hanging Ghost occupies Davenport’s City Hall, while the Phantom Washwoman wanders Bettendorf’s Central Avenue. At Igor’s Bistro in Rock Island, every day is Halloween. Discover the paranormal places and events as Michael McCarty hunts down the haunted lore of this vibrant Midwestern community.


by Michael McCarty & John Brassard Jr.

Introduction by The Amazing Kreskin

Afterword by Rick Lopez of Igor’s Bistro

Like the mighty Mississippi River that cleaves the Quad Cities, the region’s history can trap the unwary in some unexpected eddies. Peer through the fog of the past to catch a glimpse of the Tinsmith Ghost of Rock Island or the river serpent with a price on its head. Get the back story on the Banshee of Brady Street, read the 1869 report on a Bigfoot sighting near East Davenport and run the numbers on local UFO activity. From phantom footsteps in the Renwick Mansion to a mausoleum heist in Chippiannock Cemetery, Michael McCarty and John Brassard Jr. trace a path through the shadowy heritage of the Quad Cities.

Barnes & Noble:


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Mike & Cindy’s Date Night For Weirdos (Summer Movies)

By Michael McCarty & Cindy McCarty

Mike: Let’s have fun, fun, fun, in the sun, sun, sun …

Cindy: Until your mother takes your T-Bird away?

Mike: Sure. But have plenty of sun block so you don’t burn your buns.

Cindy: We are here to talk about summer movies. A summertime tradition like BBQs, swimming and reading a good book.

Mike: And be sure to check out Michael McCarty’s book (plug plug)…. now off to the movies…..

“It’s a 106 miles to Chicago, we got a full tank of gas, half a pack of cigarettes, it’s dark … and we’re wearing sunglasses” The Blues Brothers

Mike & Cindy:

We are on a mission from God … to tell you about some sizzling summer flicks. Now, here at the Mike & Cindy’s date night for weirdos site … we could go on and on and on about scary movies or low budget sci fi films … (and we will mention one) …. but it is summer … and we are on vacation from the thrillers for now … here are the rest of the movies.

Like we said before … we are on a mission from God and that can only mean one thing:


Starring John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd and some of the best blues performers this side of Chicago including: James Brown, Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin, John Lee Hooker and plenty of car chases and side splitting humor too … all under 133 minutes.


Keep your eyes open for a cameo by Joe Walsh of The Eagles as the first prisoner to jump on the table during the song “Jailhouse Rock” and Steven Spielberg in the Cook County Accessor’s Office


Take me out to the ball game, take me out to the crowd, buy me some peanuts and Crackerjack (not Crackerjacks like most people sing)…

This is no minor league film about baseball … we are in the majors here. Great performances by Charlie Sheen (Wild Thing) a loose cannon pitcher and other teammates including Corbin Bernsen, Wesley Snipes and Tom Berenger.

This baseball comedy hits it out of the ballpark

Keep your eyes open for real life sports announcer Bob Uecker who appeared in all three Major League movies ….


What is summer without summer camp or summer camp movies. Remember Meatballs? (Forget Meatballs 2). Remember Friday The 13th and Sleepaway Camp … oh, I forgot, we werent’ going to make it scary this time. So try to forget Meatballs 2.

Like most summer camps, this comedy has teenage romances, high jinx adventures and even a car crash (yeah, most summer movies have car chases).

The cast were relative unknowns who aren’t so unknown now including David Hyde Pierce, Paul Rudd, Janeane Garofalo,

and Saturday Night Live‘s Molly Shannon and Amy Poehler.

Summer doesn’t get any better than this.

Keep an eye out for Bradley Cooper before his Hangover days.


Imagine a movie with a cast that includes a very unknown actress named Demi Moore with the boy next door John Cusack … Police Academy‘s Bobcat Goldthwait (who was also interviewed in ESTOERIA-LAND … see link at the bottom of the page), Animal House‘s meanie Mark Metcalf, Second City TV‘s Joe Flaherty all together in a small New England town as surreal as this sounds, it works.

Keep an eye out for “Booger” Curtis Armstrong from Revenge of the Nerds and Risky Business.

JAWS (1975)

Jaws is not only the perfect summer movie, it is just the perfect thriller. Before this, Steven Spielberg had directed Richard Matheson’s Duel as a TV movie, followed by his motion picture debut of Sugarland Express … but those two were the warm up act for Jaws.

Also perfectly paced … this movie flies by in 124 minutes, but seems like only a 90 minute film.

The stellar cast includes Oscar winner Richard Dreyfus, Robert Shaw and Roy Scheider (who also appeared in Jaws 2) and Lorraine Gary (who also appeared in Jaws 2 and Jaws 4: The Revenge).

Has had people watching for shark fins every summer since.

Keep an eye out for author Peter Benchley (who wrote the novel and screenplay of Jaws) as a reporter on the beach.

If you like this movie review blog…

check out my book ESOTERIA-LAND … which features movie reviews, music reviews, book reviews, interviews, essays and more

and the ebook is only .99 cents

ESOTERIA-LAND by Michael McCarty Ebook is only .99 cents


Interviews with Justin Hayward of The Moody Blues, Tommy Chong of Cheech & Chong, Terry Pratchett, Mojo Nixon, Bobcat Goldthwait, Famous Monsters editor Forry Ackerman, Buddy Holly’s drummer, book and movie reviews, a review of a live Jerry Seinfeld concert and a tribute to horror writer Dean Koontz by his peers and many more… Introduction By Linnea Quigley Afterword By The Amazing Kreskin

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The Blues Ain’t Nothin’: Interview with Tina Jens

The Blues Ain’t Nothin’: Tina Jens, Horror Writer: Interview by Michael McCarty from my book ESOTERIA-LAND

I did this interview with Tina Jens when her first book was published, so it was many moons ago. Tina is such a gifted writer and such an important part of the Chicago horror writing scene, I’d thought I’d run it again on my blog … because summer is just a perfect time for the blues.

So please support Tina’s work…

The interview originally appeared in ESOTERIA-LAND .. the ebook is only .99 cents and the link for that book is on the bottom of this interview….

      Writer, producer, editor, performer, and college instructor, Tina L. Jens is a multi-talented lady. This Chicago writer has been nominated three times for a Bram Stoker Award, once for the International Horror Guild Award, and was the winner of the National Federation of Press Women’s Award for Best Novel of the Year. She’s the author of more than eighty published stories and the editor/publisher of twenty-four anthologies. She produced Twilight Tales, a weekly reading series, for fourteen years. Her debut novel The Blues Ain’t Nothin’ was published by Design Image Group and is a great ghost story set in a Chicago bar.

      Born in Iowa, Tina now lives in Chicago with her husband Barry, along with Boo, a guinea pig who has gained notoriety on her Live Journal blog, and Nemo, a red-clawed miniature crab.

The Blues Ain’t Nothin’ was composed from several short stories written over several years. Was it difficult to connect all these stories together and keep the continuity tight in one episodic novel?

TINA JENS: By the time I was halfway through writing the first story, back in 1992, I already knew I wanted to do a lot more with these characters. The back-story and world building was already slipping into place. So, from the time I wrote the first piece, I started building a timeline and chronology, detailing not only the major life events of the characters, but also cultural references used in the stories. Everything from births and deaths to when Buddy Guy celebrated his fiftieth birthday, the season South Park first aired, and the year Valerie Wellington recorded her first album.

      When I went to put the book together, I did some minor rewriting to help the sections flow together and I noticed there was one major gap in the story arc. The book is ultimately the coming-of-age story of Mustang Sally. She’s a precocious 10-year-old when we first meet her, but by the time novel ends, she’s a seasoned and jaded club owner. I’d told some of the stories along the way but never the one where the transfer of power happens from mother to daughter. I’d laid the groundwork for it years earlier, when I’d written a one-liner about how Miss Sarah had run off with a traveling vacuum cleaner salesman. I wrote the episode “Miss Sarah Leaves the Blues Behind” especially for the book. It became the major turning point for every character.

There’s a place in Chicago called the Red Lion Pub. It has the reputation of being haunted. Was the Lonesome Blues Pub based on this famous ghostly bar?

JENS: The Red Lion was the home of Twilight Tales and I’ve written a ghost story or two set there. Our beloved Lion is currently closed, with plans to tear down the entire building and rebuild from the basement up. The group currently meets at a place with an inspiring name for horror and fantasy writers: the Mystic Celt.

      The Red Lion inspired us all, but it wasn’t the inspiration for the Lonesome Blues Pub. That distinction goes to B.L.U.E.S. on Halsted, one of the oldest blues clubs in Chicago. About the only thing I changed was the name. A lot of the staffers and musicians who work there appear in the book, and the layout of the real and fictional clubs, as well as the location, are exactly the same. B.L.U.E.S. was never reputed to be haunted, but there are a lot of great ghost stories in blues music, and since the book came out, I’ve heard Rob Hecko, the owner, spinning a few ghostly tales of his own.

You wrote about several real-life blues musicians in the book. Have any of them given you feedback yet?

JENS: Most of the musicians I wrote about have already passed away, so regrettably I’ll never know what they thought. But many of the local musicians and club regulars have thanked me for capturing their world. Fame is fleeting: some of the best blues musicians in the world work in Chicago, but many never build a name outside the city. A lot of local musicians have thanked me for preserving the memories of some of the local, but little-known, legends.

      I owe a debt of gratitude to a number of musicians who helped make The Blues Ain’t Nothin’ a better book. Liz Mandeville, Chicago’s only red-headed blues diva, spent a lot of time talking candidly with me about what it’s like to be a white woman in the blues and what it takes to be a bandleader. Her personal memories of some of the performers are included in the book.

      Mark Skyer and I have been talking for nearly twenty years about the Chicago blues scene, blues history and the realities of the road. He’s a marvelous guitar player, but I’ve only seen him perform once. He doesn’t play Chicago because the pay is so low for blues musicians in the city. The blues genre is an even smaller market than horror. He also read the book manuscript and offered invaluable comments on instruments, the biz, and blues community attitudes. His comments made the manuscript much more authentic.

Is there a sequel in the works or are you planning to write a different novel?

JENS: I’ve started a sequel and a couple of prequel stories that explore Beale Street in Memphis when it was a rough-and-tumble town apt to believe in voodoo and likely to see a nightly knife fight in the blues clubs. I’m currently finishing up a novel that’s a supernatural spy thriller – sort of a Nostradamus meets James Bond kind of book – that I’ve been working on for years, and I’ve got a New Orleans voodoo novel that’s simmering on the back burner. I’ve also got a couple ideas for chick adventure novels that could become a mystery series. The only thing I know for sure is, the blues sequel is next up.

Peter Straub wrote a blurb for The Blues Ain’t Nothin’ and the book was nominated for multiple awards. Did you expect such recognition for your first published novel?

JENS: You always hope for recognition – we all crave a little fame – but I never imagined that my first novel would get that sort of acclaim. I just hope my future novels get half as much attention!

So far, you’ve edited twenty-four anthologies and fiction collections for Twilight Tales ( As an editor and writer, do you feel guidelines are becoming too restrictive?

JENS: Themed books are much easier to work on. As a writer, I love them, because they kick-start me in a general direction, and I can let my creativity go wild from there. As an editor, it’s much easier to structure the flow of a book when there’s a common theme. But as a reader, I’m not always happy with themed anthologies. I enjoy reading a couple of stories about mean old witches with pointy hats and warts on their nose, but I don’t want to read fifteen stories about scary hags. As a writer and editor, I try to stray as far away from the traditional tropes as I can.

You were president and CEO of Twilight Tales – a weekly reading series, small press, listserv, webzine and general support group that offered frequent author development seminars and actively participated in many horror and fantasy conventions – for fourteen years. How did that get started?

JENS: I started Twilight Tales fifteen years ago, mostly because I love live readings, but also because my husband is a news producer for the local ABC station and I hated being alone on the long Monday nights he had to work during football season.

      I retired from actively managing the great multi-tentacled beast that Twilight Tales had become almost a year ago. I still attend the shows – especially the open mics – and I’m still on the board of directors, but I try to stay out of day-to-day operations. There’s a great team of volunteers who have taken over those duties. They’re doing a terrific job!

      It continues as a multi-genre show, though it has always skewed heavily toward horror and fantasy. It still provides solid networking and educational opportunities, bringing new authors together with seasoned professionals.

You’re awfully young to have retired. What’s next on your horizon?

JENS: Twilight Tales had become a full-time (forty hours-plus) volunteer job. My main reason for retiring was to have more time to write. I got so busy doing organizational management, book editing, book promotions, sales and author seminars, my own writing pretty much got shoved to the side, except for the occasional short story. When I turned forty, I looked in the mirror and asked myself, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” The answer was novelist, not org president.
      I’ve also taken on a one-course, one-semester-a-year teaching gig at Columbia College Chicago, teaching fantasy writing. I’m talking with them about teaching an additional course in the winter semester. And just last week, I agreed to book a few bands and help promote a little lakeside bistro that has become my daily writing space this summer. I tend to throw myself full throttle at projects.

      I’m hoping by the time I’m sixty, I’ll learn how to moderate how much time and energy I give to non-writing projects. Despite my new part-time occupations, I’m still getting a lot more writing done than in the old days.

What is the Chicago horror scene like right now?

JENS: All the fiction communities in Chicago are thriving. Twilight Tales brings folks together from the horror, science-fiction, fantasy, mystery, true crime, romance, western, humor, mainstream and literary communities. That’s a tremendous gift that lets us share ideas across genres. A mystery novelist will read, and a couple months later, at the open mic, there’ll be a new crop of mysteries from writers who traditionally work in horror or science-fiction. The local interplay among the genres encourages everyone to think outside the traditional boundaries.


Last words?


JENS: Blues music and horror fiction have an unholy alliance. They’re both filled with ghosts and demons and voodoo. They’re both filled with tragedy, tears, and fear. The characters are mythic figures who died gruesome, lonesome deaths, who are willing to try anything, even going so far as buying the gypsy woman’s mojo hand to recapture lost love.             A lot of blues songs are just horror stories set to music. That’s why The Blues Ain’t Nothin’ was so easy to write and why I’ve always got several story ideas percolating about that haunted

ESOTERIA-LAND by Michael McCarty Ebook is only .99 cents (Nonfiction) Interviews with Justin Hayward of The Moody Blues, Tommy Chong of Cheech & Chong, Terry Pratchett, Mojo Nixon, Bobcat Goldthwait, Famous Monsters editor Forry Ackerman, Buddy Holly’s drummer and many more… Introduction By Linnea Quigley Afterword By The Amazing Kreskin


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