Halloween 2K17: A Review of “Demonic” (2015)

Despite being deep in the heart of Louisiana, not one person in the cast sports even the slightest hint of a southern accent. No better way to start off this review than with such an observation. I’m surprised James Wan attached his name to this project. While only a producer, one would think that the mind behind the terrifying Conjuring series would have ensured that a movie entitled Demonic would have been a bit more gripping. To cut to the chase, what we have is one in a long line of “ghost hunter” movies: Team finds a haunted house where a murder happened. Team enters house. Things goes wrong. Team members die one by one. It’s the same, tired theme we see rehashed over and over again in the horror genre. If there is one more used than this, it would be demons, and this film manages to use them both in one shot.

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Halloween 2K17: Horror Movie Screenings at the Strauss Mansion Museum

Is there a better place to watch a horror movie than a haunted Victorian mansion? We found out the answer to that last year when we, the Atlantic Highlands Historical Society, hosted three film screenings during the month of October. This year, we are doing three more—two of the same, and a new one fitting for the date we are showing it on.

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One Million Visitors

It was this now-seven-year-old blog’s greatest achievement, and I missed it! Some time in June (which was a crazy, hectic month for various reasons you’ve read about), Reel to Real passed 1,000,000 visitors. I remember in the spring realizing it was coming up, but forgot all about it. Since I started my food blog last fall, I have not been as active here. But this place is not forgotten. I check the stats daily, and am always surprised to see some posts skyrocket on reads for no apparent reason. Since it’s October, the Halloween 2K17 posts will soon be coming fast and furiously. and I am happy to report that my Paranormal File articles are still doing quite a number.

Halloween 2K17: Buy a Haunted Doll, Help Hurricane Irma Relief

Okay, so let’s kick off Halloween 2K17 by dipping our hands into the bizarre: a “haunted doll” is for sale on one of Facebook’s many online yard sales. This one is located in Central New Jersey. I must admit, this is definitely a first. Both as a frequent browser in the group and eight years as a paranormal investigator, I’ve never seen such an item for sale in this manner. The seller is asking $500 for a creepy looking doll which just happens to give off high EMF levels.  Continue reading “Halloween 2K17: Buy a Haunted Doll, Help Hurricane Irma Relief”

“Halloween 2K” Column to Return This September

For the third straight year, I will be bringing back a month-plus of horror movie reviews, paranormal investigating adventures, and general creepy stories for an annual Halloween column. This year, of course, will be “Halloween 2K17”. I’ll be taking a bit of a break later this month from my other blog, Eating New Jersey, to focus on this. October is my favorite month out of the year. My readers probably know of my work at the haunted Strauss Mansion Museum and how much fun we have every October. For more information about that “other” part of my life, please see my Paranormal File as well as my web-series I host with friends, Ghosts on the Coast.

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The Hockey League That Has Been a Part of My Life for So Long is Coming to an End

In late 2010, planning was underway for a street hockey league which would be played at Mother Teresa Regional School in Atlantic Highlands. I was asked to be one of the founding coaches by Ann Margret and Vinny Duminski, whom I had met at Holy Family School in Union Beach back in 2007. There was a league there too, sponsored by the New Jersey Devils and their “Street Devils” program, and following the closing of that school in 2009, people split up and went their own ways. The Duminski’s waited a couple of years and then decided it was something that should continue. They were going to run the leagues themselves, which as you will see, was easier said than done.

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No One Pays Attention to History…Until It’s Too Late


The other day, I concluded the first of a four-part lecture series on the American Civil War for Brookdale. We started with the causes of the war and ended right at the start of the Peninsula Campaign. When it was over, a few participants came up to me to chat. Mainly a greeting, maybe saying they enjoyed it, or shared a trip they took to a battlefield. But the last person waited until everyone was gone. She said she had a question. “I didn’t want to ask this earlier because you know how people get, but do you see any similarities between now and right before the Civil War began?” My short answer was yes. She was no doubt referring to a few slides I had covering the antebellum years of our history, regarding differences in society. We seem to forget that the lines were not just drawn between pro and anti slavery, but the differences in lifestyles and views aside from that were just too great. Part of me wanted to relate it to now, but it was the first class and, well, you know how people get.

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In Case You Noticed a New Alien Show on Destination America…


I have a love-hate relationship with alien/UFO shows on television. Some are credible and leave you pondering what is actually out there. Others make you want to grab a tin-foil helmet and lock yourself in the closet whilst sucking your thumb in a fetal position. Some of the old History Channel stuff was pretty good, such as UFO Files. Destination America even boasts Unsealed: Alien Files which can be a bit crazy but is actually entertaining. The show is only a half hour, so it’s over before you want to want to board the spaceship to Sinmorfitellia.

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A Note on the Passing of William Peter Blatty


Every writer has an author who inspired them at a young age. For me, that person was William Peter Blatty. I’m not prolific by any means. I’ve written one book, have about a dozen manuscripts I started but never finished over the years, and a few more ideas I would like to see published at some point in my life before I kick the bucket. I always loved writing, but I never wanted to sit down and write a work of fiction until I read The Exorcist when I was 17 and a senior in high school.

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“Don’t Go in the House” is out on Blu-Ray


As detailed earlier in the year, Don’t Go in the House is officially out on Blu-Ray via Scorpion Releasing. Things have been very cryptic lately with no news coming for months. Then Scorpion made a few posts on their Facebook page last week and voila, we have a release. Yesterday, December 5th is the official date. They are being kind enough to send me a free copy as well as one to keep on hand at the Strauss Mansion Museum, its filming location. We actually screened the film this past October and the event sold out. Like so sold out that we had people sitting on the floor and standing on the staircase in the foyer to catch a glimpse.

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