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Retro Movie Review: The African Queen (TCM’s Big Screen Classics – Fathom Events)
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As long as I could remember, my mother would put on her hilarious mock-British accent and call everyone “Mr. Allnut” whenever she wanted us to do anything around the house. I got a chance to take my mom to see Mr. Allnut on the big screen for the first time, as The African Queen was in theaters this weekend for its 70th Anniversary as part of TCM’s Big Screen Classics series through Fathom Events.

The 1951 classic stars Humphrey Bogart in his lone Oscar-winning role as steamboat captain Charlie Allnut in German East Africa helping missionary Rose Sayer, the 12-time Oscar nominee/4-time winner Katharine Hepburn down the Ulanga River. Directed by the great John Huston, the film is a part of the National Film Registry.

Check out my video review of the film here below.

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Video: Harry Potter New York Store VR Experience Preview
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Harry Potter is one of the top intellectual properties in the world. J.K Rowling’s acclaimed book series about a young wizard has sold over 500 million copies, with 8 movies generating $1.2 billion. In early June 2021, Harry Potter landed in the Big Apple, at 935 Broadway right across the street from the Flatiron Building. The new store boasts the largest assembly of Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts merchandise under one roof and now offers two incredible virtual reality experiences opening this week! I admit that I am a huge Potter geek, so this was extra special for me. Check out my report below, along with the video I shot in the Harry Potter New York store.

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Book Review: The Ultimate Evil: The Search For The Sons Of Sam
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The Ultimate Evil
The Search for the Sons of Sam
Paperback | Kindle Edition | Audiobook
By Maury Terry
Publisher: Quirk Books
Release Date: April 20, 2021

Beginning in July of 1976, “Son of Sam” struck fear in the citizens of New York City for a year, as the serial killer eluded police while killing 6 and wounding 10 during 8 separate shooting sprees. So when the NYPD arrested David Berkowitz for these crimes in July of 1977, New Yorkers finally felt safe. The killer who terrorized a major city was at last captured and was subsequently sentenced to life in prison 6 times over. He’d never be able to harm anyone ever again.

But was Berkowitz acting alone? Journalist Maury Terry was determined to find out and spent a decade conducting an exhaustive investigation of this infamous case in an effort to uncover whether these seemingly indiscriminate murders were cult-related and if the killer had an accomplice. The result was 1987’s The Ultimate Evil, now back in print from Quirk Books with a new introduction by Joshua Zeman, the producer of The Sons of Sam, the recent Netflix documentary series based on Terry’s 500-page true crime book.

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Book Review: Dungeons & Dragons: Van Richten’s Guide To Ravenloft
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Dungeons & Dragons: Van Richten’s Guide To Ravenloft
Hardcover
D&D Accessory
Wizards Of The Coast
Release Date: May 18, 2021

I have been a fan and participant in the dreadful misty lands of Ravenloft for over three decades and I can attest that in that time, adventures there have gotten both more terrifying as well as more exciting. As more and more additions are made to these miniature spots of shadow and dread, the supernatural planes become more tangible all the while still being ethereal in nature, such is the Plane of Shadows which, rumor has it, holds these horrible places. Take this book, Van Richten’s Guide To Ravenloft, for instance. It delves deeper into the Dark Powers that permeate these lands than anything ever has before. And although it holds a title that speaks to Strahd’s Ravenloft, there is so much more here. And better yet, information on how to not only explore these demi-planes, but also how to create your own. Read on brave adventurer, for the information and warnings you receive from Wizards Of The Coast might just save your life!

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Book Review: Whisper Down The Lane by Clay McLeod Chapman
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Whisper Down The Lane
Hardcover | Kindle Edition | Audiobook
By Clay McLeod Chapman
Publisher: Quirk Books
Release Date: April 6, 2021

Richard is an art teacher at an upscale elementary school in Virginia, where his new wife, Tamara, also teaches, and her son, Elijah, attends. He’s got a great job, is lucky in love, and now his 5-year-old stepson wants Richard to adopt him. Things couldn’t be better for the beloved teacher, until disturbing reminders of his long-buried childhood trauma begin to surface, threatening to destroy his newfound happiness and possibly even his mind.

In Whisper Down The Lane, author Clay McLeod Chapman toggles between Richard’s current life and flashbacks of his life-altering experience as a 5-year-old at the center of the “Satanic Panic,” the 1980s conspiracy theory that children were being abused in satanic rituals which triggered widespread panic and wild accusations all over the United States. We see from Richard’s perspective what he was thinking as a child and how he overcame what happened, earnestly reinventing himself into a mild-mannered educator and father figure. But there’s also interview transcripts from the 1980s of the boy giving coerced and leading testimony to his psychotherapist, the result of which caused the downfall of many around him and the end to life as he knew it.

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