Author Archive

The Music of Venus De Vilo

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , , , on September 15, 2014 by David Watson

10168206_537520239700478_8594236322709315030_nI don’t consider myself to be a big music person but every once in a while I come across a musician that grabs my attention. Venus De Vilo is an artist that grabbed my attention. Venus is a rare bread, it’s not often that you find music that combines horror and comedy and can easily fits into genres such as goth rock, metal, acoustic rock and punk rock,  but her music does just that.

Venus De Vilo was described as the love child of Marilyn Manson and Amanda Palmer by the Goth Alternative magazine The Bite. She has also been described as The Voice Of Horror and Queen Of The Pumpkin Patch. She lives in Dublin Ireland and performs ghoulish themed weird concerts in metal bars, rock bars, and in cabaret and burlesque shows.

Venus’s first EP was released on Halloween 2012 and called Edgar Allen Ho. It included songs such as The Heartless Horseman and Miss Frankenstein and was well received by fans of horror and dark music. Her next release was Til Death Do Us Part in 2013.This one had a good mix of hard rocking songs that you could dance to and acoustic versions of the same songs with creepy lyrics to boot.

Venus De Vilo’s latest EP came out earlier this year and is called Handle With Scare. When I first heard this EP it put a huge smile on my face. I enjoy music that has a rawness to it but also has a passion to it and its obvious Venus De Vilo puts a lot of passion into her work. Handle With Scare has a psychobilly sound to it with a great acoustic guitar work and awesome lyrics. Listening to it, I thought that the lyrics must have been hard to record. Venus has a great voice and easily hits high notes and can sing in a low voice as well. All three of Venus De Vilo’s EPs are available on Sound Cloud and are well worth your time. My thoughts on each track on Handle With Scare are listed below:

1. I’ve Got 99 Zombies And A Witch Ain’t One: Good 5RiTGq29_400x400acoustic guitar work, The music is heavy with no electric guitars and some great vocal work.

2. Absinthe Makes The Heart Grow Fonder: This one sounds like it would be hard to sing live but I’m sure Venus can pull it off. I have to describe this as a love song with a bizarre twist.

3. BubbleGlum! Venus shows she has a great sense of humor in this song. I love the lyric “Misery loves bubbleglum.”

4. Dead! Dead! Dead! Great vocal work in this song and the music made me thing a little of mariachi surf music if that makes sense. I can see this as a good dance song.

5. The Dead Don’t Dance. This is a slower song with great singing.I love the harmonies in it.

6. Personal Satan. I think this is the best one on Handle With Scare. I love the clapping in the song, this would be a great live track.

In the future Venus De Vilo plans on releasing a full length album, a book of poetry called Creepy Like Sunday Mourning and she also has a comic out based on Edgar Allen Poe’s The Raven. To find out more about her check out these links:

https://www.facebook.com/VenusDeViloSongsFromTheStalkersPointOfView

https://soundcloud.com/venus-devilo

https://twitter.com/VenusDeVilo

https://venusdevilo.bandcamp.com/

 

Cheap Reads

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , , on September 11, 2014 by David Watson

18591386Byron has just moved to the small town of Parkton from the big city and its like entering a new world. Parkton is a place filled with dark secrets and strange people. At the heart of it all is an old house on Jacob Street. For the most part people don’t like to talk about the house, when Byron asks about it in the library he gets yelled at and people seem to avoid the area all together. The only ones that have an interest in the house are two boys at Byron’s school named Lain and Hammish. They seem to have an unhealthy interest in monsters and they want to take Byron to find the monsters that live at 809 Jacob Street.

Byron is not sure he believes in monsters but something weird is going on in Parkton. One of its residents is Joey Blue, an alcoholic blues singer who is homeless and sees ghosts. Joey gets a shock one night when an old friend comes to him for help and he finds that the only way he can help him is by entering the house at 809 Jacob Street. Something sinister lives in that house and it is calling to Joey and Byron and when they enter the house they may never return.

809 Jacob Street by Marty Young is an atmospheric haunted house story that is like a painting put to words. Everything in this story is described in vivid detail from the ghosts in Parkton, the house on Jacob Street and the character’s emotions about what was going on. There is not a lot of action in this story but it makes up for it by giving you vivid descriptions on a town haunted by ghosts and monsters.

The characters in 809 Jacob Street were a mixed bag for me. I liked how Byron and his friends are doing what normal kids do by being curious about the haunted house that no one wants to talk about.  Then its made obvious how their interest is not as normal as it appears. The other kids in school seem to avoid Hammish and Lain and Byron realizes that no one in this town acts like they did in his old hometown. Lain and Hammish are not normal kids and everyone seems to know it. I liked how Byron is given a choice on whether to go along with the monster hunters or be accepted by the other kids. I also liked the dynamic of the group and how Lain’s agenda is revealed.

The other main character in the book is Joey. I didn’t like Joey’s character and didn’t quite understand his role in the book. I found myself not liking him and it bothered me that he talked about how he loved his wife and daughter but he also talks about how he abandoned them and never went back. I didn’t see Joey as a sympathetic character and didn’t care about what happened to him. His role until the very end confused me but I did like the payoff and his involvement in the end of  the book. 809 Jacob Street is a great haunted house story, It’s very visual and I can see it making a good spooky movie.

22351700The next book I want to mention is Sailors Take Warning by Malcolm Torres   When alarms go off aboard the USS Nimitz, first responder Kate Conrad runs to the scene of accidents and injuries. But after 93 days at sea, Kate is suspicious about strange activities in the ship’s morgue, so she conducts her own gossipy investigation. Captain Fox, obsessed with the success of the ship’s experimental cloaking system, delegates authority over the crew to his executive officer, Captain Brandt. And Brandt, of course, is a psychopath who coerces the ship’s medical officer to cover up the problems in the morgue. As the ship approaches the equator, where the crew will hold an ancient hazing ritual, Kate Conrad confronts her superiors with proof of the horrifying activities taking place in the morgue. But they provide no help, so Kate takes drastic action on her own.

13097934The last book I want to mention is by Christine Sutton called All the Little Children is a novella that will leave you on the edge of your seat. Ben and Cara Barlow move into a beautiful Connecticut Victorian home to start the next phase of their lives together. They are thrilled with the home’s beauty, location and price, so they move in right away. When strange things start to happen to Cara, Ben tries his hardest to be supportive. They call in a team of paranormal investigators, and the home’s grisly history, and occupants, past and present, engage in a battle to the death. Will Ben and Cara reclaim their dream house, or will the evil within those walls take everything, including their souls? A short novella at approximately 20,000 words.

Dark Blossom

Posted in News with tags , , , , , on September 4, 2014 by David Watson

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The year is 907 A.D. The Tang Dynasty is ending and life is hard in China. Ava cares nothing for China, at a young age she was kidnapped and sold to a brothel as a sex slave. She hopes to save her children and escape the brothel. Things don’t go as planned and she is left with little hope.

With things at their worst, Ava gets a visit from Jigong, the beggar god. Jigong needs her help to save China. Ava agrees to help but now she is breaking one of Heaven’s most sacred laws in conspiring with a god. She is a fugitive to Heaven and China even though she is trying to save them both. To make matters worse The most feared deity of them all, Zhong Kui the hunter god is stalking her.

The real horror in Dark Blossom by Vincent Stoia didn’t come from the demons and ghosts that are in China. The true horror was watching Ava deal with the day-to-day real life horrors. Some of the people in this story that she deals with were far more scary than any supernatural being.

Dark Blossom has its human and supernatural monsters. The people such as Liu the main villain  and Shadow show they have a much greater capacity for evil than anything in the underworld. In my favorite part of the book a vengeful demon comes into the Brothel where Ava lives and we get to hear what the demon thinks. The demon can sense the evil in the brothel and wishes to leave. Shadow who runs the brothel doesn’t see herself as evil but the demon does. You could take the demons and ancient gods out of this book and still have an effective horror novel.

Another thing that I enjoyed in this book was how the supernatural and the real world were connected. All of the demons in Dark Blossom were once human and it was something tragic that happened to them that made them what they are. One girl becomes a demon because her baby was killed and she cursed the village and came back as a demon. Its hard not to feel sympathy for the evil spirits in this book. In the beginning we here Zhong Kui’s story, he was wronged by the Chinese government and went crazy killing people in the Imperial palace. He comes back as a demon hunter who walks the earth to slay other demons and spirits that have escaped  the underworld. Despite the fact that he is a demon he still cares for humans. As he walks the streets of a village and sees how poor the people are he wonders why the government wont help but he is doomed to protect the empire. When he hears that his new mission is to hunt and destroy Ava, he feels bad for what he must do.

Ava is an excellent character, in a time when women weren’t supposed to be strong, she is tough, caring and intelligent.  Life was always tough or Ava but she still manages to do the right thing and doesn’t lose hope even though there is a voice in the back of her head telling her life will never get better. Two scenes that I loved in this book was when Ava grabs a sword and goes after the much bigger Liu and when she is in the underworld and questions the gods. Real life is scarier than anything supernatural and Ava has to deal with it all. Dark Blossom brings Ancient China and Chinese mythology to life in one great horror novel that shouldn’t be missed.

Cheap Reads

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , on August 28, 2014 by David Watson

23009298The first book I want to talk about is Heroin In The Magic Now by Terry M. West. In the introduction to this book Terry says how the main character’s pain is based on reality and he tells the story of how he got into the horror genre. In order to get into the business he helped make soft core porn to raise money to make horror films. This lead him into a world of sex, drugs and emotional pain which is what this book is based on.

Heroin in the Magic Now follows a pornographer named Gary Hack, who has found himself  making disturbing monster porn videos for his depraved clients. People ask him to do things he can’t live with and the only escape that Gary has is through heroin. The problem is his escape is taking over his life and leading to a darker reality.

Gary is a complicated man, he is self medicated and numb to the fact that vampires, zombies and werewolves are now part of our every day lives. In the beginning he is working on a porn movie called Dracula’s Exotic Guest. He hates what he does and himself for doing it, but he is good at it and still dreams for a better life.

Gary is a brilliant artist but his career didn’t go where he wanted and now he is stuck making monster porn and working with difficult people. Gary handles his problems well enough, such as a leading actress telling him he is the worst director ever and wanting more money. Gary looses a little more of his soul every day, his wife has already divorced him, his daughter wants nothing to do with him and he just got another directing job hes not proud of as head of production for a zombie gang bang movie.

22745882I loved the character of Gary in this book, he is a lost soul and you cant help but root for him despite the bad things he has done. Gary is a man who never meant to hurt anyone, he just did some things that he wasn’t proud of to fulfill his dreams.   Heroin In The Magic Now has a good mix of horror and comedy. I loved the concept behind this book and it was a fresh look at a world where monsters do exist, but some of the worst monsters are the ones within.  My favorite scene in the book was towards the end where the street vendor who sold Gary a gris-gris bag for protection against the supernatural sells Gary another, saying that each time he has to buy a new one he was going to charge Gary more. If you read the story you will understand but I think Terry was making a point that each time Gary screwed up it was going to be harder for him to get his soul back.  Terry M. West knows what makes a good horror story and he knows how to make monsters scary and funny.

Next up is The Clinic by Matthew Weber. Patricia Tyler’s son, Alex, has made the Tyler families lives a living hell. He argues constantly, has destroyed property, bullies family members and classmates, and he is a pyromaniac and sexual deviant.  Patricia doesn’t know what to do so she turns to the clinic for help and the reader learns what happens in the future when children misbehave.

22697923This is the kind of story that you would see on The Twilight Zone,  except its scarier than anything the classic TV series has to offer. I can’t talk to much about this short story because I don’t want to give it away but I will say that the concept is terrifying. One scene that scared me was when Alex tried to get to his sister late at night. I also thought that it was interesting to see who was on the bus at the end of the story. Where I would agree that Alex deserved to be there, some of the others didn’t. This is a well written story and a chilling read. The story is meant to preview an upcoming anthology by Matthew Weber .  If The Clinic is any indication of the quality of the other stories in the book then I would be really excited to see what Matthew Weber has coming out next.

The last book I want to mention is a short story by Terry M. West called The Giving Of Things Cold And Cursed. The year is 1925 and Baker Johnson has just inherited his uncle’s home. His Uncle was an odd man who kept a room full of cursed objects. Baker and his uncle are not like other people, they study the supernatural, collect strange objects and try to prove if spiritualists are charlatans or not.

Even though this is a short story I got the impression that Terry did his homework. The character of Baker made me think of Houdini who also was into proving spiritualists weren’t what they said they were. In 1925 spiritualists were common place and preyed on people who had lost someone. I enjoyed hearing about how the objects taken from the room effected the people’s lives that took them. In particular I liked how the man who wrote humourous poetry started writing dark poetry like Poe when he got a cursed object. This is a well told horror story that reminded me of something you would see on the show Tales From The Darkside.

 

 

Necropolis

Posted in News with tags , , , , on August 21, 2014 by David Watson

21898627Dyson Devereux is not your average person, he doesn’t like slow sad love songs from artists like Celine Dion and he hates reality shows like the X Factor. He lives in England and he works in the burials and cemeteries department for his local council. To say that Dyson doesn’t relate to people would be an understatement. He forgets people’s names, he doesn’t show any emotion when his co-worker Dorthy dies and in the beginning of the book when he is at her funeral he thinks how glorious his funeral will be and about the promotion he will get now that Dorthy is dead.

What he lacks in empathy he makes up for in intelligence and attention to detail. Dyson sees himself as the smartest person where he works and he thinks Dorthy’s death will lead him to bigger and better things. Dyson knows a lot about death but it doesn’t necessarily get him anywhere when it comes to higher pay. That’s ok though, because he just found out that a war criminal may be working under a fake name in the cemetery and there is a big reward for his capture. Dyson’s skills may not help him on the job  but it will get him that reward money.

The first thing I thought when I started Necropolis by Guy Portman was: “Hey it’s Dexter, he must have moved to Great Britain and started working as a funeral director. In reality the only similarities between Dexter and Dyson is that they are both sociopaths trying to fit into society when they don’t relate to people. The story to Necropolis isn’t why you should read this book. What really makes this book good is Dyson himself.Dyson has a different view on society than most people have and its told entirely from his point of view. One thing I kept wondering about him was if he cares about the people that he interacts with?

Dyson has a girlfriend named Eve who has a drug problem, at one point he says he doesn’t love her but he says he does tolerate her. That being said he takes it upon himself to pay off her drug debts and get revenge on the dealer that has threatened her. Because he does that you think maybe he does care but then he gets embarrassed when she gets emotional and he has other women on the side. Another point in the story after a drug fueled threesome he asks himself if this is love which proves that he doesn’t know what love is and he even admits he has never felt it.

Necropolis shows you what goes on in the mind of a sociopath from what made him to how he lives his day-to-day life.  Death does not bother Dyson, its his business and the other funeral workers aren’t bothered by it either.  I found myself wondering if all people who work in funeral parlors are like this since all the characters shown in the story come across as uncaring. One point where they were preparing a body for a funeral made me almost stop reading. There were times that I felt that Dyson was the normal one among his coworkers. Necropolis is a different type of book and a dark twisted comedy that is not for the squeamish.

 

Plague: Aftermath

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 7, 2014 by David Watson

smallcoverplagueaftermathBefore you read our review of Jeremiah Donaldson’s Plague: Aftermath I want to mention that we have two paperback copies of this book to give away. Be one of the first two people to email us at horroraddicts@gmail.com and we will mail you a copy.

Plague: Aftermath is a horror anthology edited by Jeremiah Donaldson that looks at society after an airborne Ebola virus  ravishes mankind. This collection can also be considered a sequel to Jeremiah’s first novel called Plague. While his first book looked at how the virus started and spread,  Aftermath looks at what happens next. There are six stories in this book by five different authors that show you how desperate people can get when death is everywhere and just breathing can lead to a painful death

The first story in Plague: Aftermath is Anie and Dozer by S.S.  White, this one follows a man named Anie who is heading up into the mountains with his dog Dozer to escape the plague that is running wild through America. He is waiting on a friend he met online at a campground before he goes, but slowly he begins to realize that his friend might not make it. This story is more about psychological horror and is different from the other stories in this book. Though Anie doesn’t see himself as a social creature you still hear first hand how he worries about the people he sees on the way to the mountain and worries about having food for his dog along with the arrival of his friend. Anie and Dozer looks at how loosing everyone around you might affect you, even in the worst of circumstances people need people and this story looks at the horror of being alone.

The next story is called The Tomb by Matthew Wilson. This story follows a girl named Sam who is trapped in a house with her father who is infected by Ebola. The townspeople are outside planning on burning down the house with Sam in it, Sam doesn’t believe she is infected but she may not be able to escape the angry mob outside. The Tomb had some great suspense and shows how people can turn on people in a time of crisis.

The third one is Our Time To Go by Lindsey Shir-McDermott-Pour and looks at a doctor and nurse who leave the hospital they are working at and go on the run. The two have lost hope that a cure can be found and feel that it should be everyone for themselves. The main idea in the story is of loosing hope and what happens after you abandon everything. A good point is made here on keeping hope and being there for the ones you love.

The 4th story is Dear Miss Christie  by S.S. White and is a letter written by a girl named Sara who is looking at her bleak situation but still hoping that things will get better. This one reminded me of some of the letters that you hear about from people who have lived through a disaster. You can feel this woman’s fear in her letter and also see how she is a caring person as she describes the woman she is writing to.

Next up is Going To School by Ginny Bowman about a boy named Toby whose mother is trying desperately to make everything seem normal when nothing is normal anymore.  All Of A Heap by Jenner Michaud is next and deals with the same theme . Both stories look at a character who has lost someone and how they have to carry on even though they feel their world has ended. These were both heart wrenching stories that explore how we deal with loss and change.

The last story takes a 90 degree turn from the others, it’s an action packed tale called John’s Story by the editor of Plague Aftermath, Jeremiah Donaldson. This one looks at a soldier who has the task of taking down a religious cult, I liked the idea here and think it could make a great novel. All the stories here are well written and take a scary look at the human condition when things are at their worse and don’t have much to live for. This is a timely and chilling anthology due to the outbreaks of Ebola that have been talked about in the news lately and its is an anthology that you won’t want to miss.

To find out more on Plague Aftermath check out Jeremiah Donaldson’s website:

www.ephiroll.com/storiesandbooks.html

 

Flash Fiction Friday: David Watson

Posted in News with tags , , , , on August 1, 2014 by David Watson

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Photo by Amber Williams

 

Esmeralda The Great Once Lived Here
by David Watson
 

This is the end. She saw it coming but no one believed her, they never did. She lived at the amusement park for seven years and was always happy there. Her name was Esmeralda The Great and she told fortunes but no one believed them. They thought it was just for fun but Esmeralda told the truth. She knew what the future held and could tell you what you should do.

No one believed in her abilities, no one except Xander the magician who owned the small amusement park on the ocean. He saw the truth in Lita and renamed her Esmeralda and gave Lita her first real job. Esmeralda loved her work, everyone who came to the amusement park was always nice and she had many friends. People listened to her tell what the future held for them, but they dismissed it as cheap fun.

A few months ago her readings changed, she saw no future for anyone. She saw hair covered creatures with fangs ripping people to shreds and feasting on their body parts. She heard the screams but there was nothing she could do. She told people what she saw but they all laughed. Even Xander said she was working too hard and needed a vacation.

She started to believe them, but one night death came to her amusement park on the ocean. Their eyes were blood-red, they smelled like rotting flesh and they were so fast no one knew what hit them. There were so many, no one at the amusement park could escape, except Esmeralda. She fled to an old underground bomb shelter in the park and stayed there for days or maybe months.

She didn’t want to leave the shelter but she was lonely and out of food, she really had no choice. The amusement park is a different place now. Its quiet and the weeds are getting long. There is dried blood on the pavement and a horrible smell still hangs in the air. This is no happy place anymore, it’s a place of death and now its time for Esmeralda to move on.

The streets are quiet but Esmeralda knows there are still people out there. She can feel them and they’re in danger. She will find a way to help and restore her happy home. Once she finds out what happened she will rebuild and her amusement park on the ocean will live again.  

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David Watson is a staff writer at horroraddicts.net and plans on continuing the story of Esmeralda in a book he is working on called The Saturday Night Monster Club. You can also find him at theallnightlibrary.wordpress.com

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