REAL HORROR: The Road Virus: Reading Is Infectious


Good morning Boils and Ghouls. I have a special treat for you today that does not deal in horror movies, but rather horror books. Reading horror has always been a medium in the genre that I took a while to get into, but as soon as I met friends like Stephen King or R.L. Stine, horror took a new turn in my life: it became almost educational. After a crazy work week involving staying slightly later than being scheduled and finishing my application to school; [September 2017] I received an email from a fellow reader about something that he and his friend are doing. It is something I had never heard of and I am definitely backing soon as I get paid next week.

Introducing The Road Virus: a mobile [fringe] bookstore with a specialty in horror. [now you’re talking!] Meet Em and Sade, two best friends who love books. It makes sense, as the two spent their childhood[s] in bookstores and libraries. With Sade being an author, and Em being a former librarian, the two set out on a course – a lifelong dream to own their very own bookstore[s]. However, due to their location, it became almost too difficult to do from scratch; especially for two people. So they came up with an idea: buy an ex-bookmobile and convert it into a full time living space and bookstore, which would in effect get rid of the need for pricey rent of space. The chance to combine the ideas of running their own bookstore as well as living in a self-sustainable manner is exceptional, and a really fantastic way of looking at things. Focusing on mainly horror, the duo also carry other genres such as sci-fi, fantasy, crime/thrillers, true crime, queer studies/lit, and more.There is, however, a catch. [isn’t there always?]


The simple fact is that owning such a vehicle [bookmobile] is no cheap task: in their KickstarterSade and Em explain that they put a lot of money into their [lifelong] project, and I don’t mean just buying the bookmobile itself; we are talking about vehicle fixes, as well as stocking up on books themselves. [because they are bound to sell out fast!] They know exactly what they are planning, as well as having the massive drive – no pun intended, but doing something like this is no easy task. The biggest risk is a single point of failure; their home, business, and vehicle will all be in one place. Because of this, we fully intend on sharpening our personal mechanical and general home-repair skills. Not to mention that one of, if not the biggest challenges facing independent bookstores these days, is the constant growth of online stores like Amazon which has books are available almost immediately; not to mention they are shipped right to you at home!

So here’s my request: help out The Road Virus. I am not asking you to donate your life savings or even $100, but even just ten dollars [or anything you can offer] is plenty. The two involved, Sade and Em, are great people who deserve everything that they have planned. It is a great idea that needs to recognized, it will be an adventure that is for sure, but they understand the risks involved. Again, I will be helping them out as soon as I get paid [next Friday] and if you could help out as well, I – as well as The Road Virus – would be eternally grateful. Be sure to check out their Kickstarter as well as their Website for more information on the project. And if you are reading this Sade and Em, keep fighting the good fight – there is not enough of us horror/sci-fi fans who appreciate good literature. Thank you for everything you are doing/continue to do.

Be sure to also go and follow me over on my Facebook page! [we’re at over 170+ likes – let’s get to 200!] By clicking that “like” button, you’ll see every post from warrenisweird the very moment it’s been “gone live” online; and I also share links to articles and pictures/videos that will not be featured here on the blog. So go follow over there too!

Every “like” helps me a ton, giving me the ability to write more posts for you to read, so be sure to tell the horror enthusiast in your life to do the same, and share The Facebook Page with your family and friends! I’ve also been writing way more reviews on my Letterboxd account, this is because I’m trying to review every single movie I watch  – with each review [usually] posted the very next day after viewing! Are you interested yet? Check me out over there and click that “follow” button! I’m just bound to follow you back because I like reading other people’s thoughts on film, as well as writing reviews myself!


[this is pretty relevant actually!]


Real Horror: The Art of Tsantsa [Shrunken Heads]


What a week! From working every few days to calling many different places for the Internship I need to secure in January, I’ve had a very busy few days. This, of course, would explain my absence on the blog. As I said in the post before, I will be posting, but it won’t be as frequent – and with a job opportunity that might happen tomorrow, I have the possibility at full time employment before the Internship. So you can understand my frustration and extreme workload as of late. But you aren’t here to listen to me whine, you’re probably here because of that Facebook post last night. You know – the one that had a picture of a shrunken head!

Let’s get right to the gritty bone of it: If you are reading this, expecting this post to be an instruction manual on the ancient practice of head shrinking, or “Tsantsa” – the making of an actual shrunken head – then you have come to the right place! This post is going to look into the process by which severed human heads are “shrunk” to roughly the size of an apple, and the reasoning behind this process. As you could probably expect, it’s also possible that this post could be considered to be NSFW, as it is based on actual head shrinking so please; be advised of this ahead of time! Otherwise if you’re still here, let’s talk about some shrunken heads.


Although many would follow this “exercise”, the main tribe known to practice head shrinking are the Jivaroan tribes – found in forests of Ecuador and the Peruvian Amazon. These Jivaro Natives were brought to the attention of the world because of their unusual custom of shrinking the heads of their enemies, but also because of them being one of the very few societies to have revolted against the Spanish Empire. There are various dialects in the Jivaroan tribes such as  – the AShuar, Aguaruna, Huambisa, and the most famous of them, the Shur; which will be the group we’re looking at today. These natives were highly superstitious and even impulsive, which would often lead to wars between themselves. The Shamans and medicine men would normally fall victim to attack, usually due to being accused of sorcery and/or black arts. Be aware that, at the time, these people did not have any concept of natural death and saw each [and every] death as having had a supernatural cause and therefore, the individual needed to be avenged. Scarily, at the ripe age of six, young Jivaro males were taught to hate neighboring peoples/tribes, and that the death of an opponent had meant reward in blessings, long life, riches and ultimately: the death of one’s enemies.

Even though it varies, the original reason behind the practice was a religious one; the tribes often believed that by shrinking the head of their enemy, they could “harness” that person’s soul and make it do their bidding. It was also a way to stop the soul from returning to our world in order to hurt the living and avenge his or her death. It is important to note that The Shuar tribe believed in 3 fundamental spirits:

Arutam – A vision or power that protects a person from a violent death.
Muisak  – A vengeful spirit who comes into being when a person carrying an Arutam spirit is murdered.
Wakani – Innate to humans and is a guardian spirit.

In order to stop a Muisak from using its evil powers, the head of a victim is [quite literally, as seen in pictures] shrunk and the mouth and eyes are sewn together as a way to paralyze the spirit. This method prevents that person’s soul from leaving the head and take revenge upon the murderer. This would also help to stop the victim’s soul from entering the afterlife and harming the murderer’s dead ancestors along the way.


Now for the main event of this post: the process of shrinking the head. It wasn’t a complicated process per say, but a lengthy one. Taking up to 14 steps, it starts with the actual decapitation and ends with making them “wearable” pieces. Let’s break it down, step by step:

01 – After an attack on an enemy the members of the Shur tribe would kill their victims and quickly decapitated them with a machete. On a rare occasion, the captured enemy would still be alive while the head was removed.

02 – The head is removed below the neck and a piece of skin from the chest and back is also taken off with it. The entire process is meticulously carried out in order to preserve the original likeness of the victim.

03 – A slit is made up through the nape of the neck and up the back of the head, the warrior now peels the skin and hair very carefully off the skull. The victim’s skull is discarded by the warrior and left by the river as an offering the anaconda or “Pani”.

04 – The eyes are sewn shut with a natural fiber, the lips are also sewn together but these are later skewered shut with little wooden pegs. The pegs are then later removed after the boiling process.

05 – The head skin is then transferred to the cooking jars and cooked for around 90 minutes; any longer and the hair falls out so it is important to remove before this time.

06 – The skin takes on a dark color, becomes rubbery and is about a quarter of its original size.

07 – The skin is then turned inside out and any flesh that is still sticking to the inside is scraped off.

08 – The skin is then turned right side out and the slit at the back of the head is sewn up.

09 – Stones from the fire are then placed through the neck of the skin and rolled around to stop them from burning the inside. This makes the skin shrink even further, and when the point comes that the neck becomes the same size as some of the smaller stones, they are removed.

10 – Hot sand is then poured into the head through the neck. This gets into all the smaller areas in order to shrink the skin even further and shape the detail in the heads features.

11 – Any excess hair is burnt off and the skin hung above the fire the harden and turn to black.

12 – Then three “Chonta palm pins” are put through the lips and they are sewn together with a natural fiber.

13 – The whole process from start to finish takes around 1 week, usually with the warriors working on them on their way back to the village.

14 – Before the warriors enter the village for the Tsantsa celebration, they make a hole in the top of the head so that it can be hung around the neck.

As proven by this list, it wasn’t a pretty process. As expected, it’d be a dirty, and complicated situation that took great care. Although their reasoning wasn’t exactly sound – such as teaching young tribe members to hate others at an early age – it’s still something that is interesting to think about. If the list above is too long for you to read, you can also watch a video recreation of the process.


So now I turn to You. What are Your thoughts on Tsantsa – or head shrinking? Is it an interesting concept, or is it something that should be considered “dark magic” and shunned away from? Let me know your thoughts in the comments! If you find yourself to enjoy what I do on here, then please take a minute and follow me over on my Facebook page [it’s at over 145+ likes – only a few more and we’ll have reached over 150!] By clicking that “like” button, you’ll see every post from warrenisweird the very moment it’s been posted online; and I also share links to articles and pictures/videos that will not be featured here on the blog. Every “like” helps me a ton, giving me the ability to write more posts for you to read, so be sure to tell the horror enthusiast in your life to do the same, and share The Facebook Page with your family and friends! I’ve also been writing way more reviews on my Letterboxd account, I’m trying to review every movie I watch, [both new and older] with my most recent reviews including newer films such as  Deadpool and The Revenant!



You’re In For A Scare: R.L Stine’s GOOSEBUMPS books [1992 – 1997]

0eqj1us2Contrary to what many people believe, I used to be a big reader when I was a kid.. I’d mainly read comic books, and Harry Potter. Naturally, this usually made me super excited for the “book fair” that came to my elementary school every year, especially as newer volumes came out. But, if there was one thing that always caught my attention [even if it did scare me at the time..] at these “fairs”, it was the Goosebumps books. These books always had covers that would make me feel interested, but I’d shy away – those were the ‘scary’ books. But one day, I got interested enough to pick one up and read it; that book was “Go Eat Worms!

It was eerie and it was actually fairly scary; at least as far as kid’s horror went at the time. But more than anything: I couldn’t put it down.. Slowly but surely, I started reading [and trying to collect] the rest of the series, each one being better than the one before it! After learning that there was a total of 62 books, [check out the titles and plots for each and every one of them here!] I had started a good collection of them, until I lost them all in a move to another town/city – BUT. This, of course, led me to watching the TV Show that was based on the books. Sure, it’s cheesy as hell now, but back then; it was one of the scarier shows I would have ever laid my eyes on. Even if it did scare me, I kept watching; testing myself to see just how far I could watch without getting scared. It slowly became one of my favorite shows, which I will still watch today, purely out of nostalgic reasons.

Now, the reason behind this post isn’t so much because I’ve been feeling nostalgic [okay, that’s part of the reason..] but because I’ve actually begun to start collecting them [again] now-a-days: 15 years later! I’ve been checking out everywhere from Kijiji, to Value Village [where I picked up a handful of them the other day!] and considering many of them have become ‘out of print’ – unless you count the re-prints, I’m glad to know these secondhand stores exist to help out. For those curious, I now have 18 of the original series of Goosebumps, which I plan on collecting the remaining 44 books; it’s just a matter of when and if I can find them.

Also, because I fully expect someone to ask: I will be listing the books I do have below, in numerical order [at least, as best as I can; since there is gaps between some numbers!] I’m just so glad that I can relive this part of my childhood, one book at a time. Be sure to click on the book’s title to see the cover art!

[note: these are NOT the ones that I own, I may own SOME of these ones above but this ISN’T my photo!]


[#2] Stay Out Of The Basement!

[#3] Monster Blood

[#7] Night Of The Living Dummy

[#8] The Girl Who Cried Monster

[#11] The Haunted Mask

[#15] You Can’t Scare Me!

[#16] One Day At Horrorland

[#17] Why I’m Afraid Of Bees

[#20] The Scarecrow Walks At Midnight

[#22] Ghost Beach

[#28] The Cuckoo Clock Of Doom

[#30] It Came From Beneath The Sink!

[#32] The Barking Ghost

[#34] Revenge Of The Garden Gnomes

[#36] The Haunted Mask II

[#39] How I Got My Shrunken Head

[#42] Egg Monsters From Mars

[#50] Calling All Creeps!

As you can tell, I’m missing quite a few: 44 to be exact, but you know what? For what it’s worth, I think I have quite the collection for someone who just started re-collecting a series of books. Even if these books did scare me once upon a time, I’m glad to know that they’re still around, even if they are becoming increasingly difficult to find..

So now I turn to you. Did you ever read Goosebumps? Did you have a favorite out of them all? Why was it your favorite? Let me know in a comment or two! I want to know if I’m the only one who used to love getting scared by something so terribly cheesy.

Also, if you found yourself to enjoy this article, please take a minute and follow me over on my Facebook page [it’s at over 100+ likes – only 15 more and we’ll have reached 130!] By clicking that “like” button, you’ll see every post from warrenisweird the very moment it’s been posted online; as well as links to articles and pictures/videos that will not be featured here on the blog. Every “like” helps me a ton, giving me the ability to write more posts for you to read, so be sure to tell the horror enthusiast in your life to do the same, and share The Facebook Page with your family and friends!



If horror was written by R.L. Stine

One of the fortunate things about growing up in the early 90s is that I regularly watched two horror-themed TV shows that were aimed at younger audiences:Are You Afraid Of The Dark? and the one I tended to watch more, because it was less scary, Goosebumps! Back then, I was a lot easier to scare than I am today, and even though the show hasn’t entirely aged well; I still get those nostalgic feelings whenever I come across the show’s episodes on Netflix. [both shows are even Canada-based!] Surprisingly, even though being directed at kids,Goosebumps gained a very strict censorship when it reached the UK, [over content being considered too “gross” or scary to be shown to young or sensitive viewers] which resulted in many of the early episodes being banned [such as “Night Of The Living Dummy II”, “Night Of The Living Dummy III”, “Bride Of The Living Dummy”, and “The Haunted Mask”] or if they were aired, they were given extremely heavy edits, mainly to the twist endings. Not to mention that the episode titled “The Werewolf Of Fever Swamp” is the onlyGoosebumps episode to receive a 12+ rating by the BBFC. [the British Board Of Film Censorship]

Enough about the censorship though, today we’re going to talk about something involving Goosebumps that I’ve been meaning to write about, and not just because there’s a new movie coming out based on the show [which, in turn, is based on the books] but because of a nifty little Tumblr blog known only as If It Were Stine. Seriously. The idea behind the blog is simple: pick a horror film, PhotoShop the hell out of it, and turn it into a Goosebumps book. The original author of If It Were Stine, Jude, even went so far as to write the back blurbs for the horror based books! Unfortunately, the site has since ended it’s run after only a year – but there is more then enough content to keep you satisfied, some movies even have more then one ‘book’, based on requests, etc! [there’s even a few video game based “books” such as Bioshock]

From classic films such as A Nightmare On Elm Street to even films like Re-Animator, If It Were Stine did a lot of films, and the back blurbs are brilliant: enough to even have the same readability to feel like R.L. Stine could have wrote them himself! Below, I’m going to share just some of my favorites from the Tumblr page, be sure to check out If It Were Stine‘s official page – even if it isn’t producing new content any more! [which is really unfortunate for fans of the page like myself]


*click here to read the back!

Let The Right One In

*click here to read the back!

The Thing

*click here to read the back!

Of course, that’s just three of the 25+ movies that the blog has, and that’s not even including the video game based ones! If you’re curious what other movies the site has, why not go over and take a look – Or because it’s easier – just click here for an alphabetical archive list! I’m not sure about you, but now that I’m older – and I don’t scare as easily – I’d love to read these; however, I feel that if they were written in the style of the original books, they wouldn’t be as scary as the movies can be, mainly since they were usually pun-filled, child-friendly fears [I still hate that damn Slappy dummy though, I don’t care who says otherwise: that ‘child friendly” toy scares the fuck out of me!]

If they aren’t on the blog, what are some other horror movies you’d like to see turned into Goosebumps books? I find myself liking the idea of a book based on Splice [though that’s unlikely] or even ParaNorman, [that’s a little more child friendly] just to see what the back would be written like.

THANKS FOR READING and REMEMBER when reading Goosebumps,