Macabre & Mysterious Media: Wintersong, The Dark Servant, NOS4A2, and movies on Netflix.


If an item is posted in the “NOW” section, I have seen (or in some way experienced) it, and am actively recommending it. NOW items are immediately available to you if you have access to the same basic services I do.


For my dad.



I’ve been waiting and watching for a number of movies that have technically been released, but that are not coming to a theater anywhere near me. I think the problem lies in all the damn film festivals we have these days. And maybe I have to take some responsibility, because I’m not as interested in the popular blockbusters as I am in cool, creepy, quirky stuff. Sigh. FYI: I’ve decided to start taking advantage of some of the features available at IMDb, including the watch list. Apparently I have the option to make that public so here’s my address over there:

I am annoyed with theaters right now, so, for this installment of M&M Media, I’ve concentrated on other things.



book cover matt manochio the-dark-servant

Last week I mentioned the debut novel, The Dark Servant, by Matt Manochio. I didn’t give you much detail, so I thought I’d share the blurb today:

It has tormented European children for centuries. Now America faces its wrath. Unsuspecting kids vanish as a blizzard crushes New Jersey. All that remains are signs of destruction-and bloody hoof prints stomped in the snow. Seventeen-year-old Billy Schweitzer awakes on December 5 feeling depressed. Already feuding with his police chief father and golden boy older brother, Billy’s devastated when his dream girl rejects him. When an unrelenting creature infiltrates his town, endangering his family and friends, Billy must overcome his own demons to understand why supposedly innocent high school students have been snatched, and how to rescue them from a famous saint’s ruthless companion-that cannot be stopped.

Since then, I’ve been trying to find more intriguing horror books set in or around Christmastime. There are not many.  In fact, it wasn’t until I read a well-timed review of NOS4A2 that I remembered that Joe Hill has given us a great Christmas book. Read the review from Emily Einolander of Craft Fear that saved me: Hop in the Wraith and Let’s Go to Christmasland.


I have been in love with Joe Hill’s work since I read Heart Shaped Box (without knowing ahead of time that he was Stephen King’s son.) I can’t resist a guy who can write this:

“The problem with that plan was she liked guys better than girls, and she liked Lou better than most guys; he smelled good and he moved slow and he was roughly as difficult to anger as a character from the Hundred Acre Wood. ” –Joe Hill, NOS4A2

King himself touched on Christmas in Different Seasons, in the novella The Breathing Method. Then, of course, there’s all the wintry goodness of The Shining.




I had completely forgotten about seeing this until I ran across it today while browsing Netflix. This belongs on two of my existing best-13 lists, and on one I’m still compiling. If I’m remembering right, it’s also a beautiful movie. Heads-up: it’s far more of a psychological thriller than a ghost story.

Stars:  Daniel Craig, Rachel Weisz, Naomi Watts
Available on Netflix streaming.


You’ve probably seen it, of course, but if you haven’t this is a really gorgeous film. It has it’s flaws, but its dark opulence and sensuality is refreshing in this season of unrelenting chipperness.

Rated: R
Stars: Gary Oldman, Winona Ryder, Anthony Hopkins
Available now on Netflix streaming.


EDIT: I watched this Monday night, after posting it to & LATER in this post. Thus, I moved it up to the NOW section.

I’m wondering if this a gem we missed.  Yes, it is a bit of a gem, though a small one, and not very shiny. I was distracted during the first half and I think it was slow and a bit disjointed. It does pick up. Cage’s performance is really quite understated, and his character feels real. The story itself — which is based on the crimes of Alaskan serial killer, Robert Hansen — is compelling. The approach is unusual in that the Alaska Trooper Jack Holcombe knows early on who the killer is but can’t get enough evidence together to get a warrant. It’s frustrating, but I suspect it’s truer to life than most procedurals.

An Alaska State Trooper partners with a young woman who escaped the clutches of serial killer Robert Hansen to bring the murderer to justice. Based on actual events.

Rated: R
Stars: Nicholas Cage, John Cusack, Dean Norris, & Vanessa Hudgens
Available now on Netflix streaming.


If an item is posted in the “& LATER” section, it may mean that it has not yet been released, but it may also mean that it’s been around for a while, but is new to me. In any case, I haven’t seen the following yet, but my interest has been piqued. 


Has anyone seen this? I want to be clear that is a fictional story, done in the found-footage style, about documentary filmmakers taking on a New World Order type conspiracy. I am interested.

Rated: R
Available now on Netflix streaming.

IDA (2013)

This is an outlier but I am intrigued. There’s nothing remotely supernatural about it, but there’s just something about the atmosphere that is compelling to me.

Anna, a young novitiate nun in 1960s Poland, is on the verge of taking her vows when she discovers a dark family secret dating back to the years of the Nazi occupation.

Language: Polish with subtitles.
Rated: PG13
Available now on Netflix streaming.


In the spirit of American Horror Story: Freakshow

Documentary; 95 minutes.
Available now on Netflix streaming.


I kept meaning to catch an episode of this series but never got around to it. Now the six episodes of the first season are available on Netflix streaming. Reviewers seem to love it or hate it … in particular the overwrought narration. I’m still going to give it a go, because I think abandoned places are beautiful and oh so creepy.

Documentary series; 48 minutes per episode.
Available now on Netflix streaming.


May of us are going to have extra time off this month so an installment or two of MST3000 might be just the ticket.

Here are some titles available right now on Netflix streaming:

Click the episode title to go to its Netflix listing.



BTW, did you know that you can use Redbox in much the same way you used to use a brick and mortar video store? If you create an account online, you can view the current contents of all nearby kiosks, reserve titles, then go pick up your movie(s) at you convenience. Start here:

Redbox Reservations


17 Comments on “Macabre & Mysterious Media: Wintersong, The Dark Servant, NOS4A2, and movies on Netflix.”

  1. I agree with you about Dracula but every time I mention it I get bombarded with comments from Keanu Reeves hater, Wynona haters and fans of Bela’s Dracula that don’t think the film should have been remade. I happen to think the film is a visual matserpeice, every frame of the film is like a work of art!

    • scoobyclue says:

      i have to be honest I really hate this version of Dracula, but I have a hard time understanding why people get on Keanu … hoe can anyone hate him? He’ll always be Ted “Theodore” Logan to me – how can you not love him?

    • I enjoyed reading the conversation between you and Scooby 🙂

      I just got done watching the 3 seasons of Showtime’s The Borgias. (It’s streaming on Netflix.) There’s something similar to Bram Stoker’s Dracula in the sensibility. In The Borgias, they seem to like to create shots that look like they could be a Renaissance painting. It’s really lovely. (Also it has over-the-top — in a good way — story lines.)

  2. craft fear says:

    Thanks for the recommendation for “Dream House”. I keep getting it as a suggestion on Netflix streaming but I’ve started mistrusting their horror picks lately and love the extra thumbs-up.

    Also “The Frozen Ground” is ok. I’d recommend it for a low-key watch when you want to expend some emotional energy but not a ton. Very police-procedural but the true story is one of the craziest out there.

  3. craft fear says:

    Also thanks for linking to my review 😉

  4. I don’t want to click on your NOS4A2 review because I’m only 65% finished, but I too have become a big Joe Hill fan and actually think his writing is better than his dad’s. This one is my favorite so far.

    • I think Hill’s writing is better at connecting with our generation. His nostalgic bits are the same as ours, rather than the 50s-60s. That said, I do find some real gems in his writing and I think he’s still got an editor that will actually edit.

      I just finished listening to King’s new The Revival. Very slow. Very much a meditation on age and mortality. (But then, so was Doctor Sleep.) This last one, though, feels like it needed a strong-willed editor to tighten things up.

      I’ll read King forever, because I’m fascinated with his style as it changes over the years of his career. I wouldn’t recommend his newer stuff to folks who aren’t already bonded with him though.

  5. I didn’t know Joe Hill was King’s son. I’ll have to check him out. I did see IDA and found it fascinating.

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