Archive for the News Category

WWW Challenge Story #4: What Happens In Vegas

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , on July 2, 2014 by Horror Addicts Guest

What Happens In Vegas by Lindsey Goddard
Beast: Rabbit
Location: Magic Act in Vegas
Blessing: Mirrors
Curse: Jealous Magician gone MAD!!!

 

*~*Judging panel has not altered/edited this text.*~*
*~*Text is posted as sent by the author.*~*

What Happens In Vegas

Lindsey Beth Goddard

Vivica tapped her six inch stilettos on the floor and waited for her cue to enter stage left. Her chest heaved in her sequin push-up top, and she fanned herself with both hands. Calm down, she thought, before your eyeliner runs and you turn into the world’s sexiest raccoon.

 

Stage fright was something Vivica had never experienced. She always said her nerves were stronger than steel; they were titanium. But you shouldn’t have done it. It’s a dirty trick, and it’s going to blow up in your face.

 

She watched Harvey on stage as a Burmese python slithered up the sleeve of his tux. It reappeared, center stage, in a cloud of confetti and smoke, and the crowd cheered. Vivica frowned as Harvey’s words from last night replayed in her mind. She remembered the way he had scowled at her, had moved so close to her face that she could feel his drunken body heat. “If I catch you flirting with another man again,” he had hissed through fetid whiskey breath, “I’ll feed that goddamn rabbit of yours to the snake.”

 

He smiled on stage. He turned to the crowd with a dramatic sweep of his arms. “For the next bit of madness, I’ll need some assistance,” he bellowed. “She’s hypnotic. She’s erotic. She’s not afraid of the blade! Please welcome… Ms. Vivica.”

 

Vivica entered the spotlight with a seductive swagger. She stepped over to a large wooden structure. It was circular, painted red and white like a huge target. She pressed her back against the wood. Harvey tightened her restraints.

 

He stepped back, took aim, and within seconds knives whizzed through the air, stabbing an outline of her body in the wood. Thunk, thunk, thunk, thunk. A blade struck the board mere inches from her face. She gritted her teeth. I’m getting too old for this.

 

The show dragged on and on, until finally the moment arrived. The hat trick. Harvey loved his tired old hat trick. “An homage to the ancestors of magic”, he called it.

 

There was a secret compartment in the table below his hat. That’s where Abra Cadabra was supposed to be waiting. Sweet, fluffy little Abra Cadabra, the bunny Harvey had threatened to kill just one night before. Vivica smirked.

 

He plunged his hand into the hat and felt around for the rabbit. He froze. A look somewhere between pain and horror crossed his features. His eyes grew wide, and he let out a scream so loud that it made Vivica cringe. He writhed and tried to pull away, but something yanked his arm deeper.

 

Vivica knew the rabbit would bite. That was the whole point of the prank—to startle Harvey, to deliver a blow to his pride in front of a huge audience. But this? Something wasn’t right. Harvey was in too much pain.

 

He freed his hand from the hole, and the fat, hideous rabbit dangled there, its yellow teeth buried deep between his knuckles. Blood and foamy saliva moistened its face. The hat was stuck between Harvey’s elbow and the frothing little beast. It made it difficult for him to get a good view of his predator.

 

But Vivica could see it. She gulped. What exactly was she seeing?

 

Triple the size of Abra, this rabbit’s beady red eyes were slanted, its hackles raised. Its sharp claws sliced the air. Harvey gripped its plump body with his free hand and attempted to squeeze the life out of the critter as it mangled his knuckles, whipping its mangy head back and forth.

 

It opened its bloody maw and chomped down, severing fingers. Blood squirted from the amputated digits. The theater filled with screams. It spat the fingers out and lunged forward, ripping into Harvey’s arm. Tears of pain welled in his eyes. Blood coated his shirt.

 

He reared back and flung the rabbit to the floor. It growled, exposing a mouth full of fangs. It hopped over to him and used its claws to scurry up the fabric of his pants. He tried desperately to kick it off, doing a one-legged dance with his mutilated hand tucked under his armpit. It scrambled across his chest. Its face hovered just over the pulse at his jugular.

 

Vivica ran to him. A scream of agony echoed through the sound system from a nearby microphone as the creature tore into his neck. He fell to his knees, ripping the little monster from his throat with both hands as crimson gore soaked its fur. Harvey’s fingers went limp and he dropped it.

 

Vivica’s shadow fell over the rabbit. It glared at her, yellow teeth bared. She lifted a slender leg and stomped down with all her might, driving the thin metal of her stiletto heel through the top of the rabbit’s skull with a wet crunch. The rabbit’s paws twitched as she removed the metallic heel from its brain. With one last feeble kick, it stopped moving.

 

She dropped to the floor beside Harvey. Blood spilled from his neck. It soaked her knees and pooled around them as memories of last night washed over her. The strange man’s words… “I have the perfect rabbit for you,” he had said. His eyes shined like obsidian in the dim track lighting of the hotel bar. “An extremely rare breed. One that will teach old Harvey a lesson.”

 

“I’m sorry. I’m not following. W-what do you mean?”

 

His teeth seemed too large when he smiled. “He deserves a little payback, don’t you think?”

 

“For… for what?”

 

“For what? Why, for threatening to feed your pet rabbit to his snake. And in public. I imagine he’s even worse when you two are alone.”

 

She had nodded. He’d certainly hit the nail on the head there. She felt odd opening up to a stranger this way, but she nodded all the same.

 

Harvey had embarrassed her, that was true. This was a business meeting, nothing more. The man she sat with at the lobby bar was a dealer of rare animals. Vivica had been hoping to retire Abra Cadabra and introduce a more exotic rabbit to the act.

 

But Harvey had come through the hotel and spotted them at the bar together. He’d made a scene, made accusations. As if she were the unfaithful one! Ha! She knew about Harvey’s indiscretions in the matters of monogamy. Still, he always found a way to point the finger at her.

 

“I’ve got a rabbit that is very different from the rest.” He flashed that peculiar smile again, all tooth and no lip. “She’s a biter. Positively vicious.You won’t need to handle her, of course. I’ll take care of everything.” He winked. “Just imagine, if you will, the great and powerful Harvey, humiliated by a rabbit!”

 

Why had she agreed to such a reckless prank? The memory pained her now.

 

The spotlights dimmed as crew members trickled out from backstage. The audience fell silent.  Harvey’s body convulsed against the floor. His eyes rolled back in his head.

 

The color drained from Harvey’s face, and his movements slowed to a stop. One last, shaky breath left his lungs. And then, Harvey started to change…

 

Thick fur sprouted from his skin. It covered his neck, his cheeks, his nose—every part of him. His missing fingers grew back. Then all ten digits fused together into a disturbing human-like paw. Curved claws grew from the tips. His ears grew, too, rising up from his head, and he rolled to the side, coughing, sprinkling the floor with human teeth. Saliva glistened on his freshly grown fangs.

 

She scrambled back and rose to her feet just as Harvey sprang to his. Well, it was really more of a hop than anything. He tracked her with his beady red eyes. His still-human lips curled into a sneer beneath thick fur, and she could see the sharp points of his teeth.

 

She removed her high heels and prepared to run. He lunged at her, but she managed to sidestep him and bolt in the other direction.

 

Her bare feet slid in a river of blood. Blood from when Harvey had died. Time seemed to slow down as she fell, and all she could think was: He did die. I saw it with my own eyes. He did. The Harvey I know is long gone.

 

She hit the ground, flipped over, saw him closing in.

 

Beside her was a table with a mirror affixed to the front. On any other night, the mirror was just another prop used for an optical illusion. But tonight, it was a godsend.

 

She tightened her grip on the stiletto shoe in her hand and smashed the metal heel into the glass—once, twice, three times. It shattered. She selected a long, jagged piece, squeezing it so hard that it sliced into her palm. Blood trickled down her wrist as he fell onto her, straddled her, opened his mouth wide, ready to rip her throat out.

 

She stabbed the piece of glass into the side of his head directly below his giant ears. It sliced into his temple. Blood rained down on her face. The glass maimed her hand, but she kept on pushing, driving the shard deeper and deeper into his head, until his clawed paws loosened their grip and Harvey’s mutated body slumped to the side.

 

She crawled away from the monster that had once been Harvey. Trembling and hysterical, she cried on stage before an audience of horrified faces. And in that sea of faces, for the briefest of moments, she could swear she glimpsed a familiar one. His eyes so dark they glimmered black. A toothy grin, too big for his head. She was certain he’d been there… smiling.

 ************************
To vote for this story in the 2014 Wicked Women’s Writing Challenge, send an e-mail to horroraddicts@gmail.com
Voting ends: July 28th, 2014

WWW Challenge Story #3: The Gray Girl

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , on July 1, 2014 by Horror Addicts Guest

The Gray Girl by Stephanie Lenz
Beast: Goat
Location: Mardi Gras
Blessing: Gris-gris
Curse: Your cocktail has been spiked with a voodoo potion!

*~*Judging panel has not altered/edited this text.*~*
*~*Text is posted as sent by the author.*~*

“The Gray Girl”

Stephanie Lenz

 Mardi Gras, 1981

Since her mother’s disappearance, Maia had been drawn to the old St Louis cemetery. Mardi Gras made people careless so she had hope. Locked again but at its base, just inside the gate, she found a palm-sized rag doll. It smelled of lavender and she hugged it to her face. Attached to its dress was a note with words Maia couldn’t read.

Inside, a yellowish curtain of light seemed to cut the cemetery in half. A woman walking through the graveyard caught Maia’s eye. Not a ghost. Maia couldn’t see ghosts. Just people and their colors. She was as real as Maia herself and she glowed faint violet. The woman smiled, took three steps, and disappeared into the light.

In the morning, Maia found a woman sweeping beads, paper, and broken glass into Bourbon Street. She held up the doll and asked for help. The woman fingered the note, then wrapped an arm around the child and invited her inside. She made Maia a sweet cherry-almond drink that drew the damp from her bones, then made a telephone call that began, “Queen, I have a kid for you.” She smiled and draped cheap purple beads around Maia’s neck, adding, “Hold tight to that gris-gris, girl.”

“Gray girl?” Maia pulled at a goat’s hair poking through the fabric.

August 2005

The child had been curled in the corner of Queen Clémence’s shop since Giles had brought her the day before. No magic, real or imagined, could get her to speak, move, or take a sip of water.

“I can’t leave the Quarter,” Maia said, sipping a beer and leaning on the register counter, her bronzed arms glistening with sweat and work.

“Maia, it’s mandatory this time.”

“And the police,” she replied, pointing at his badge, “are trying to turn me into a babysitter. That is not what I do.”

He leaned forward. “I know what you do. That’s why I brought her here.”

Maia looked down toward the girl, barefoot with the dampness of the Ninth Ward still up to the knees of her pants. “What color was that man? The policeman who just left. Not his skin. His other color.”

The little girl allowed her eyes to meet Maia’s. “Purple.”

“I thought he was more of a pinkish-purple.”

The child unfolded and curled her legs alongside her body like a mermaid’s tail.

“He told me your name is Espie.”

“You’re purple too.”

Maia held up a finger, then opened the purse with the strap that she wore across her chest. Removing the doll, she asked, “Do you know what this is?”

The little girl’s eyes opened wide. “My dolls are all at home. Under the water. With my grandmamma.”

“Have you ever made a gris-gris?”

“Grandmamma says voodoo comes from the devil.”

Maia offered her hand as Espie stood. “Did she show you how to keep him away?”

Mardi Gras, 2014

“Goat Herder, wasn’t it?”

“You remembered.” She accepted the cocktail Hunt delivered to her, jostled by tourists spilling beer on her emerald green Tulane t-shirt.

He watched as she drank. “My, my, Maia. We never thought we’d get you.”

The potion he’d mixed into her cocktail rushed under Maia’s skin. Her protections, her memories, her training, as impossible to grasp as handfuls of water. His aura dissolved from pink to dusty orange.

She spotted this year’s kid on the other side of the club, his gris-gris bag knotted through a belt loop, as he sipped beer from a plastic gold cup. He’d gone from red to purple, the strongest aura Maia could sense. Hunt couldn’t see him. She’d done her job.

“Clémence’s hand-raised kid. Savior of the goats without horns.” Hunt ran his hands over her shivering flesh. He kissed her neck and whispered. “I’ll drain your mind before I’ll drain your blood. The meat,” he said with a squeeze, “is least of what I want. I might spare your precious Quarter for the year if you give yourself – all of yourself – to me, ma biche.”

As he spoke, Maia’s fingers searched her purse for her own red satin bag filled with herbs, cemetery dirt, and goat hair. She found it. He couldn’t see her or feel her but it was only temporary magic, a few minutes at best. She ran toward Basin Street, darting through the crowds to St. Louis #1.

As the night’s last tour group filtered past, carelessly dropping bits of stolen brick, Maia slipped through the gates, clutching the gris-gris with both hands over her pounding heart. The darkness rose like water.

“Voilà,” Hunt’s voice echoed off the marble and brick. “Maia Gray, Protector of Goats.”

Maia positioned herself carefully. The old border of the Vieux Carré ran right through St. Louis #1, soft, yellow, and pulsing. She took a step backward. The other colors of her world faded into gray.

Hunt picked plaster from a whitewashed tomb. “I have a lot to repay you for. Twenty-five years of hornless goats we didn’t get, plus that kid you kept as a souvenir from the Feast of Katrina. We’re hungry and we’re inviting you to the table, ma biche.”

Another step backward. Her dark curls lifted in a low breeze.

He recognized what she was doing. “You made a vow, Protector. You can’t leave The Quarter.”

“You’re right. I’ll never leave it.”

“You knew. You knew what I was gonna do, didn’t you? How long have you known?”

“All eight years.”

He nodded. “You drank it of your own free will. You know who I am, what I want. There’s nothing to save you from me now. Nothing to save the Quarter. Nothing to save your precious ‘kids.’ Let me feast on your fear, Maia.”

She dropped the gris-gris.

His eyes followed it, then fell on her face. His expression changed. The shadows around him swirled and rose like smoke. “No fear. How are you unafraid? For yourself. For the Quart… Another Protector? Th-that’s impossible! Tell me!”

Au revoir.”

His scream caught in his throat as Maia took her final step backward and disappeared.

Hunt de Chèvre had promised he would deliver The Protector, that they would finally devour her – body and soul. Instead, they would starve. He waved a hand in front of the cemetery gates to open them. He didn’t see the orange sparks that flew from his hand.

The young woman sitting cross-legged on a low tomb did see. She’d always seen the colors. Grandmamma had told her it was a curse. Miss Maia showed her it was a blessing. Maia had also taught that those with this blessing were called by the Quarter to protect the innocent. Otherwise they – prey and Protector alike – would become “hornless goats,” sacrificed and consumed by de Chèvre and his followers. The final lesson had been how to dissolve into the Quarter if, by time or by trickery, your powers grew too weak to protect anyone, including yourself.

She carried two gris-gris in her bag: the one she’d made with Maia and the one Maia had given her. The Gray Girl, she’d called it.

Esperanza slid along Bourbon Street like sap over bark. She hooked a finger through a set of discarded purple throw beads, looped the beads around her neck, and let the Quarter lead its Protector into its heart.

************************
To vote for this story in the 2014 Wicked Women’s Writing Challenge, send an e-mail to horroraddicts@gmail.com
Voting ends: July 28th, 2014

WWW Challenge Story #2: An Appetite for Trouble

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , on June 30, 2014 by Horror Addicts Guest

An Appetite For Trouble by Chantal Boudreau
Beast: Monkey
Location: A Jungle Temple
Blessing: Candy Bar
Curse: Cannibals!

*~*Judging panel has not altered/edited this text.*~*
*~*Text is posted as sent by the author.*~*

An Appetite for Trouble

                When Doctor Toyin Katabe, professor of anthropology, had been preparing for a journey to examine a potential find in the jungles of East Africa, the association awarding her the research funding had insisted she not go alone.  It didn’t matter that she had originally come from that area and was familiar with the language and customs there.  It also didn’t matter that she had been studying ancient cannibalistic civilizations since completing her masters three decades before.  Despite the fact that she was perfectly healthy, far fitter than the average woman her age and stronger too, they had insisted she take a graduate student along with her, and preferably one who was both young and male.

While not surprised that the old-fashioned, old-money codgers who chaired the association had placed such foolish demands upon her, Doctor Katabe had still been insulted.  She had always been perfectly capable of taking care of herself while on these outings.  Extinct ancient tribes hardly posed a threat to the living.  Insects were a much bigger danger, so unless a grad student was intending to follow her around with a giant flyswatter, she didn’t need him for protection.

Besides, Toyin knew her away around a jungle and had a talent with handling wild animals.  She even owned a trained monkey, Bobo, as a pet.  More than a pet really – she considered Bobo a service animal because he could do things for her she couldn’t manage for herself.  He could scale heights or squeeze into tight spots to retrieve things for her, and he had a few other special tricks he could perform with the right incentive.  As far as she was concerned, he was better than any graduate student playing assistant.  And while she might welcome human companionship while searching for evidence of Neolithic cannibals in Europe or South America, she preferred to visit her home turf alone.

At least, this is how she had felt initially, before it had turned out that the extinct ancient tribe of cannibals hadn’t been quite so extinct after all.  Doctor Katabe and her six-foot-two twenty-something chaperone, Derek, had been searching through the aged evidence of ritualistic cannibalism – cannibalism similar to that of the Mangbetu tribe that had brought them to the Congo Basin in the first place – when they were ambushed.  The swarm of mostly-naked jungle natives that surrounded and seized them had painted faces and wore jewellery made from carved pieces of cranial bones.   It reminded Toyin of a scene out of an old adventure serial.

Derek had tried to fight but was quickly overcome.  Toyin had known better.  She would wait until the odds lay more in her favour.  That way, unlike Derek, she was conscious when they bound her arms.  She could bunch her muscles as much as possible to allow some slack when she relaxed them later.  It might provide her with the opportunity to escape when they were paying less attention.

Along with being taken by surprise and frightened by the cannibals aggressive swarming, Doctor Katabe also suffered the disappointment of watching Bobo scramble screaming into the jungle.  His loss was more grievous than watching Derek succumb to a well-placed blow to the head.  She had never counted on any real help from the grad student anyway.  He was there merely as a watchdog for the privileged old men who had funded her trip to prove to their cronies they supported education and the exploration of different cultures, like good gentleman should.  Bobo, on the other hand, was her right arm.  Without him, her chances of escape dropped to almost zero.

Now, captured and held in their secluded village, Doctor Katabe had to admit that taking Derek along had been worth it after all.  The cannibals had taken one look at his youthful form and brawn and decided to eat the grad student first.  In their place, Toyin likely would have made the same choice.  One look at her silvering hair, lean muscle and wrinkling dark skin, and she would have assumed such a person would make for a tough and stringy meal, like chewing old leather.

She had been forced to watch as Derek had begged for his life, the young man in tears as they had prepared him for decapitation with a well-balanced blade that resembled the Ngombe cult weapons.  Toyin didn’t see the point to grovelling.  If she ended up at a place past any hope of escape, she would accept her fate with dignity.  Why get upset when death was inevitable?

But she wasn’t there yet – she still had hope despite watching blood gush from the place where Derek’s severed head had once rested and his brawny form twitch in its death throes.  She had time too, the lost tribe still full after cooking and devouring her grad student.  She only prayed Bobo would make an appearance before it was her turn.  If he did, she might not end up serving as the second course.

Doctor Katabe was depending on Bobo to follow the tasty trail she had left him while on route to the secluded tribal village.  Knowing Bobo’s affinity for sweets, the anthropologist had secured a small bag of stuffed figs from a vendor outside her hotel, which she kept in her pocket as rewards for the monkey.  She also had a chocolate bar secured in her shirt flap, but that needed to be saved for emergencies only.  With her hands only loosely bound in front of her, she had managed to ease the figs one by one out of her pocket and drop them along the way.  As long as Bobo’s appetite for treats drove him forward, he would reach her eventually. Toyin was relying on that.

In the meantime, she had been worrying at the ties that bound her wrists and she was close to the point where she would be able to free her hand to use as she pleased.  She would need that free hand when Bobo arrived, in order to reach the chocolate bar in her possession.  Her fate would be decided in that one moment: would she be liberated or would she be lunch?  She certainly was aiming for the former rather than the latter.

Toyin had been pretending to sleep on the mat they had laid out for her, still struggling with her bonds, when she heard the first delightful signs of that Bobo had arrived, making curious little noises from the shelter of the trees.  His arrival happily coincided with the somewhat painful removal of one hand from the ties.  She smiled inwardly.  The cannibals had no idea she was about unleash her worst weapon upon them.

Unbeknownst to the cannibals, the anthropologist truly had trained her monkey to protect her with the right prompts and the right incentives.  Fortunately for Doctor Katabe, Bobo would do anything for chocolate, including attacking people upon her command.

“Chocolate, Bobo – chocolate,” she whispered, sliding the candy bar from her shirt flap.  It was squishy, melted from the heat, but the monkey wouldn’t care.  Toyin tore the oozy packaging in two, passing one to Bobo who had emerged from the shadows of the trees with his mistress’s tempting summons.  She returned the other half to its original location.  “You know what you need to do for the rest of it,” she told Bobo as he sucked the last of the brown, sugary sludge from his half of the wrapper.

The next few seconds that followed were pure chaos, when Bobo’s shrill shrieks attracted the cannibals.  Once they came into view, he set upon them as if rabid, leaping upon heads, scratching at faces and biting at ears, gouging at eyes and clawing at scalps.  Multiple attempts were made to grab at him, but he was more agile than those who sought to snatch him up. Soon cries of agony and blood from the rending of flesh added to the pandemonium.  Toyin took the opportunity to free her ankles from their ties, while her captors were fully distracted by Bobo’s rampage.  After a few hearty rubs to restore some feeling to her numb legs and feet, she lurched away from her mat and sprinted off into the jungle.

Her flight was hurried and haphazard, trying to put as much distance between her and the cannibal village before they noticed she was gone.  The adrenaline generated by the memory of what had happened to Derek kept her running long after she normally would have succumbed to fatigue.  When she finally did slide to a shaky stop, she had to count herself lucky for not tripping on some root or stone in her path, or impaling herself on some unfortunately-placed tree branch.  She could no longer hear Bobo’s enraged hoots or the cannibals’ shouts of distress.  Either they had managed to subdue him, drive him off, or Toyin had succeeded in running far enough that they were all now out of earshot.

She hoped Bobo had survived unscathed and had made his own escape.  If so, she would definitely see him again.  He would most certainly track her by scent, demanding the remains of his prize once he had found her.  Doctor Katabe, in the meantime, would rest as best she could until morning, when she would reorient herself using the rising sun and make her way back to base camp and then the hotel.  She had gathered more than enough data by that point to consider her venture into the Congo Basin a successful one.

Toyin realized, as she settled down into the greenery to relax under the moonlight, that her stomach was grumbling.  She hadn’t eaten in over a day, the cannibals having only provided her with water to drink.  For the briefest moment she contemplated devouring the second half of the gooey chocolate bar resting securely in her shirt flap.  She reminded herself that it would be far better not to, despite the temptation.  The melted candy would only dampen her hunger temporarily.  After the crash from the sugar high, she would feel far worse.

And then there was Bobo. If and when he returned to her, she could only imagine how he would react to the fact that she had robbed him of the other promised half of his reward.  His response to her would likely be more violent than his attack upon the cannibals.  Toyin didn’t want to risk that, not when her monkey had such an appetite for trouble.

With that in mind, she left the chocolate bar where it was. She’d rather not invite that kind of pain.

Closing her eyes, with the vague chance of sleep, Doctor Katabe prayed that no other denizens in the area would also decide she looked and smelled like lunch.  She had had enough of playing potential snack for a lifetime.

****************

To vote for this story in the 2014 Wicked Women’s Writing Challenge, send an e-mail to horroraddicts@gmail.com
Voting ends: July 28th, 2014

 

WWW Challenge Story #1: Photo Finish

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , on June 29, 2014 by Horror Addicts Guest

Photo Finish by D.M. Slate
Beast: Dragon
Location: A Japanese Night Club
Blessing: Hairspray
Curse: Hallucinations

*~*Judging panel has not altered/edited this text.*~*
*~*Text is posted as sent by the author.*~*

 

Photo Finish

By D.M. Slate

Liza steps out of the cab, closing the door behind her.  She shields her eyes from the sun, looking up at the sky scrapers that line both sides of the busy street.  The over-cluttering of Japan’s rich, vibrant colored signs makes her smile.

Tossing her silky blonde locks over her shoulder, Liza straightens her shirt and heads for the front doors.  Her photo shoot today is on the top floor – at the White Serpent night club.  She enters the elevator, taking a deep breath as it begins to move.  Today is Liza’s first time working with Chuu, the photographer, and her stomach jitters with nervousness.  Being a petite blonde American has made modeling work easy to find in Japan, but learning the language has been a much harder task.

The elevator comes to a stop, and as the doors open Liza’s breathe catches in her throat.  The White Serpent’s décor is stunning.  Glowing chandeliers of red, blue and purple dangle from the ceiling, accenting the sleek white chairs, booths and couches that line the hard-wood floor.  A massive sculpture of a white dragon slithers around the chandeliers from one corner of the night club to the other.  To the south, a wall of windows provides a penthouse view of the bustling city below.

A man steps out from behind the bar and the movement catches her eye.  She hadn’t seen him standing there, silently observing her.  She smiles, raising a hand in a typical American greeting, before catching herself in mid-motion.  Pulling the hand down, she gives a proper bow, instead.

Chuu approaches, speaking a mouthful of words that Liza can’t decipher.  She’s taken aback by his appearance.  Dressed in noting but black, his tall slender form seems to float across the floor toward her.  His goth-like attire is complete with a sliver-link chain that hangs around his neck, and a head full of spikey black hair.  When he comes to a stop next to her, Liza notices the eye liner that accentuates his almond shaped eyes.

Agitated with her lack of verbal response, he sneers at her.  She rattles off the only greeting she knows in Japanese, which does little to win Chuu’s approval.  He spins on the heel of his boot, walking away.  Liza timidly scurries after him.  The photographer retrieves an outfit off of the bar and hands it to her, pointing her in the direction of the women’s restroom.

Once inside the bathroom, Liza lets out a deep breath, trying to calm herself.  Scoffing at the clothes, Liza shakes her head as she changes into the skimpy pleather outfit.  A cross between animee design and sexy-school girl attire – the mid-drift top, short skirt and knee-high socks seem to be essential items in most of her Japanese shoots.  And today, a pair of six-inch spiked heels completes the outlandish outfit.

Liza gives the shoes a trial run in the bathroom, terrified to trip and fall in front of Chuu.  Satisfied that she’s stable enough on them, she stuffs her clothes down into her massive purse and slings the bag over her shoulder.  Taking one last glance in the mirror, Liza digs down into the purse retrieving a bottle of hairspray.  Giving her hair a final spritz, she drops the bottle back into her bag and exits the restroom.

The club has taken on a new life and her eyes sparkle with wonderment.  Fog machines pump thick plumes of smoke out from the ceiling, filling the room in cloud of white.  A fan blows lightly against a wall of various colored silks, and the materials dances in the breeze.

The lighting equipment for the photo shoot is set up next to the silk wall, so Liza saunters in that direction, looking around for Chuu.

She gasps in surprise when he steps out from behind a pillar wearing a red dragon mask.  Covering his entire head, the large dragon-shaped mask seems unproportionate to his thin body, and Liza wonders how he’s able to bear its weight.  Seemingly unaffected by the mask, Chuu points toward the couch by the silk wall.  Liza approaches it, leaning lightly on the arm of the couch in one of her typical model poses.  Chuu begins to snap photos, holding the camera up to the eye piece of the dragon mask.  The lamps pop with a flash of light with each photo that is taken.

Ignoring the strangeness of the situation, Liza concentrates on posing for the photos.  Feeling light-headed and dizzy, she leans her full weight onto the couch.  The camera continues to click, and the lights continue to flash brightly before her eyes.  The bulbs seem to stay illuminated longer now, and Liza finds herself staring at the lamps, drawn to them.  Her mind is wandering, and before long, she forgets why she’s even at the nightclub.  Looking down at clothing her mind spins in confusion.

With each inhale of the drugged fog, Liza slips further and further from consciousness.  Chuu places the camera on a tripod, setting it on auto-click.  He disappears into the cloud of smoke and the camera continues snap photos.  By the time he returns, Liza has slumped to a seated position on the couch, staring blankly ahead in a drugged stupor.

Her eyes follow the movement of his large butterfly blades as he swings them from side to side.  The twelve inch knives are curved – slender at the bottom, wide at the end – and he holds one in each hand.  Fog dissipates and swirls around his crimson dragon mask as he slices the daggers through the air.  Liza’s transfixed, unable to look away.  With each swing of the blades her eyes hallucinate.  Tracers following the curving arches of the knives transform into fluttering wings on the sides of this red dragon beast.

Liza’s brain never processes danger, until the first slice tears through her flesh.  The razor-thin dagger bites into her pale white skin, gouging a deep cut into her thigh.  Blood sprays through the air, and the butterfly blades continue to swing.

Scrambling away from the monster, screaming, Liza sprints toward the elevator.  The spike of her heel tilts to the side, twisting her fragile ankle.  She crumbles to the floor, crawling on her hands and knees, trying to escape.  Another swing of the knife slices her lower back, sending her flailing to the floor.  Liza’s hand snags the strap of her purse, and her fingers clamp down around it.  She pulls the bag toward her, reaching for her phone.

The fatal slash of the blade penetrates the back of Liza’s neck, severing her spinal cord.  Gasping for breath, her brain slowly begins to misfire.

Chuu reaches down grabbing Liza by her feet, pulling her body back across the floor.  Reaching the couch, her rolls her onto her back, looking down into her dying eyes.  Picking her slender body up with ease, Chuu places her on the couch, in a sitting position.  Blood pours from the back of her neck, cascading over her shoulders and trickling down the front of her body.

The red dragon yanks the purse from Liza’s death-grip, not wanting it to tarnish his perfect photo shoot.  The camera continues to snap on auto, click, click, click. Chuu marvels at the perfection of the scene he’s created.

He tosses Liza’s purse carelessly aside.  The hairspray bottle rolls slowly out of the bag into the fog, but Chuu doesn’t notice.  Brandishing a blade in each hand, he swings the butterfly knives again, triumphantly.

Side-stepping out of the camera’s frame, Chuu’s foot lands awkwardly on the hairspray bottle.  Thrown off balance, his arms flail through the air as he trips, and falls.  The razor-sharp blade pierces the soft flesh of his lower back, skewering his internal organs, before exiting his stomach.

Impaled on his own blade, Chuu struggles to breath.  The mask falls from his head and his wide, dying eyes stare up into the fog.  Blood trickles from the corner of his mouth with every laborious exhale.

All the while the camera continues to snap on auto, click, click, click to capture the glorious photo finish.

************************
To vote for this story in the 2014 Wicked Women’s Writing Challenge, send an e-mail to horroraddicts@gmail.com
Voting ends: July 28th, 2014

HorrorAddicts.net #102, Wicked Women Writers Challenge

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , , , on June 27, 2014 by Emerian Rich

Horror Addicts Episode# 102
Intro Music by: Cancer Killing Gemini
Co-Hosted by Rhonda Carpenter & Killion Slade
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123 days till Halloween!

wicked women writers challenge
tonia brown, mary go when, d.m. slate, photo finish, lindsey goddard, what happens in vegas, stephanie lenz, the grey girl, chantal boudreau, an appetite for trouble

To vote, send an email to horroraddicts@gmail.com

Subject line: WWW

Tell us who you think wrote the best story and why.

One lucky winner will win the HorrorAddicts.net PRIZE PACK!

 

http://traffic.libsyn.com/horroraddicts/HorrorAddicts102.mp3

Find all articles and interviews at: http://www.horroraddicts.net

Write in re: ideas, questions, opinions, horror cartoons, favorite movies, etc…

horroraddicts@gmail.com

————————

h o s t e s s

Emerian Rich

s t a f f

David Watson, Dan Shaurette, Marc Vale, KBatz, Mimielle, Dawn Wood

Want to be a part of the HA staff? Email horroraddicts@gmail.com

Wicked Women Writers Challenge 2014

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , on June 27, 2014 by Emerian Rich

www9801202014 Wicked Women Writer Challenge – 

Welcome to the 6th annual Wicked Women Writers Challenge
Hosted by HorrorAddicts.net

The audio for these stories will post by Saturday June 28th. The text versions will run June 29th-July 3rd. Subscribe to this blog so we can alert you with they post.

Beauty and

the Beast

WWW2014promo

Premise: There is something both fearsome and attractive in a wild thing, be it man or beast. From creature legends told around ancient campfires, to modern tales of King Kong and cryptozoology, critters have always captured our darkest imagination. Five finalists have created stories based on this premise and with challenges that were randomly selected. Each challenger received: 1. Location 2. Blessing – Helpful Item 3. Curse – An untimely disability 4. Beast

Your task as a listener is to listen to each story (or read it on the blog) and then vote for who you think is the Most Wicked for 2014 by sending an email to: HorrorAddicts@gmail.com

In your email please include the challenger’s name or story tile and why you liked it best. One lucky voter will win a  HorrorAddicts.net prize pack!

Challengers

DM Slate

Photo Finish by D.M. Slate
Beast: Dragon
Location: A Japanese Night Club
Blessing: Hairspray
Curse: Hallucinations

Danyelle (aka D.M. Slate) resides in Colorado. She attended college at the University of Northern Colorado and completed a business degree, and now works as a financial analyst. She’s married to her high school sweet-heart, and together they have a young daughter and son. To find out more, go to http://www.dm-slate.com

ChantalAn Appetite For Trouble by Chantal Boudreau
Beast: Monkey
Location: A Jungle Temple
Blessing: Candy Bar
Curse: Cannibals!

Chantal Boudreau is an accountant by day and an author/illustrator during evenings and weekends, who lives by the ocean in beautiful Nova Scotia, Canada with her husband and two children. In addition to being a CMA-MBA, she has a BA with a major in English from Dalhousie University. A member of the Horror Writers Association, she writes and illustrates horror, dark fantasy and fantasy and has had several of her stories published in a variety of horror anthologies, online journals and magazines. Fervor, her debut novel, a dystopian science fantasy tale, was released in March of 2011 by May December Publications, followed by its sequels, Elevation, Transcendence and Providence. Magic University, the first in her fantasy series, Masters & Renegades, made its appearance in September 2011 followed by Casualties of War in 2012 and Prisoners of Fate, in 2013. Find out more at: http://chantellyb.wordpress.com

stephanieThe Grey Girl by Stephanie Lenz
Beast: Goat
Location: Mardi Gras
Blessing: Gris-gris
Curse: Your cocktail has been spiked with a voodoo potion!

Stephanie Lenz writes mainstream and genre fiction in western Pennsylvania, where she lives with her husband, daughter, son, cat, and two dogs. She has a degree in creative writing from Florida State and edits Toasted Cheese, where she created and co-judges the annual “Dead of Winter” horror contest. Some of her southern gothic fiction has appeared in Quantum Muse, The Journal of the Blue Planet, and the anthology Harlan County Horrors. Find out more at: piggyhawk.net

LindseyGoddardWhat Happens In Vegas by Lindsey Goddard
Beast: Rabbit
Location: Magic Act in Vegas
Blessing: Mirrors
Curse: Jealous Magician gone MAD!!!

Lindsey Beth Goddard’s stories have appeared in anthologies such as Mistresses Of The Macabre, Fresh Fear: Contemporary Horror, Axes Of Evil, and Bleed. She lives in the suburbs of St. Louis, MO. When she’s not writing, she enjoys interviewing fellow authors, playing with her children, and plotting ways to take over the world. www.lindseybethgoddard.com

ToniaBrownMerry Go When by Tonia Brown
Beast: Horse… (Any equine incarnation)
Location: Kentucky
Blessing: Time Displacement Device
Curse: Chrononaut’s Ague

Tonia Brown is a Southern author with a penchant for Victorian dead things. She writes in many genres from horror to humor to erotica to steampunk. When not writing she raises unicorns and fights crime with her husband under the code names Dr. Weird and his sexy sidekick Butternut. To find out more, go to: http://thebackseatwriter.blogspot.com/

Good Luck

Ladies!

Cheap Reads

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , , , on June 26, 2014 by David Watson

20622453Are you obsessed with horror? Do you think you know more about horror movies than all your friends? Do you want to see how much you really know about horror. The ultimate horror trivia book is here horror fans. 666 Hair-Raising Horror Movie Trivia Questions by James Newman is the book you need to test your knowledge on your favorite genre. This book is a lot of fun and will stump the most hard core horror fanatic.

666 Hair-Raising Horror Movie Trivia Questions is set up into 7 sections including Vampires, Zombies, Werewolves,  Murderers and Maniacs, Ghosts and Demons, It Came From Beyond and Miscellaneous Mayhem. These 666 questions are for the hard core horror fan only,  even with giving multiple choice answers I still had a hard time getting the answers right.

In the intro of the book James Newman talks about how he has always been obsessed with horror. He writes horror, he wears horror movie T-shirts and is constantly watching horror films. He also goes on to say how he got into horror and points out that he is still a normal guy with a normal family. He may be a normal guy but he is also a walking horror encyclopedia. One thing I got out of this book was that I have a lot to learn about horror and I need to watch more horror movies. He has different categories that he puts you in depending on how many you got right and I unfortunately landed in the In a Horror Film You Would Be The Last To Die Category. I’m ashamed and will have to start watching more horror and then read this book again to redeem myself. If you ever wondered how good your knowledge of horror trivia is then you need to get this book  but watch a lot of horror movies first.

Another book I want to mention that I bought but haven’t started 15698108reading yet is: Night Of The Scream Queen by Michael McCarty and Linnea Quigley.  Scream Queen Desiree Starr is tired of starring in one low budget horror movie after another, each passing film, her wardrobe becomes skimpier and skimpier. Private Martin Riley, a simple solider from Iowa is recruited for “Operation Reptilian”, a dangerous experiment where he is suppose to become a “Solider of the Future”–but he becomes something else entirely different. Dr. Morrie Madden, a military “mad scientist” who has played God one too many times. Aging British actor Blake Smith, once a leading man in horror films, but that was before his face started to deteriorate and now has to wear masks in public. All their lives become intersected and a hell breaks loose in the Devil Bayou swamplands.

18046495The last book I want to talk about is by Mark McLaughlin: Welcome to the Best Little Witch-House in Arkham! In this midnight den of dread and doom, you will find twenty-five rooms, each with a story of its own to tell. Here you will enjoy a delectable variety of otherworldly nightmares and blasphemies … enough to satisfy even your most eldritch desires.

Here you will find evil pop-stars longing to devour their fans. You will meet a sophisticated secret agent in search of supernatural super-villains.
 You will learn the vile secrets of Kugappa, the writhing octopus-god, and Ghattambah, a grotesque insect deity whose soul dwells beyond time.
     
 You will smell the unhallowed stench of the Odour out of the Terrible Old Man. You will drink the creamy Milk of Time, an unholy substance which flows through the depths of a forbidden house of horrors known as Der Fleischbrunnen. You will even travel through deep space to a futuristic restaurant for alien connoisseurs, where you will sink your teeth into the monstrous specialty of the house.
You will find all of these horrors, and so much more … in the Best Little Witch-House in Arkham

Press Release: Monster Magic Magazine

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , on June 25, 2014 by Horror Addicts Guest

20140601230838-Monster_Magic_October_Edition__social_share_size_Monster Magic Magazine 1st official online edition is set for June 30, 2014. The October edition will be released both online and in print! Monster Magic Magazine is a monthly magazine that captures the fun,exciting and sometimes creepy world of fantasy and horror. The magazine will include upcoming events such as conventions, contests, haunted houses and much more! In addition, there are interviews and bios on the people who make all this possible. Monster Magic Magazine gives an inside look at the work, preparation and art behind the scenes of the fantasy and horror industry. This magazine will also create exposure for new Indy projects that otherwise may go unseen. The founder believes that everyone needs to have the chance to have their projects viewed and this is a great platform for people to discover new talent. The founder believes this magazine will be successful because there are very few magazines on these subjects, none that cover this much material, and it has huge fan base! The magazine will contain ad space pertaining to businesses that deal in both fantasy and horror. Monster Magic Magazine will feature special fx, films, books, and games that we all love and the people who create them! For more information go to: www.monstermagicmagazine.com

Nosferatu: The Vampyre 1979

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , on June 24, 2014 by Horror Addicts Guest

NOSFERATU THE VAMPYRE. 1979. DIRECTED BY WERNER HERZOG AND STARRING KLAUS KINSKI, ISABELLE ADJANI AND BRUNO GANZ.

by Sandra Harris

MCDNOPH FE005

This film doesn’t have a silent psychopath in a mask stalking half-dressed women and unsuspecting men with his butcher knife. It doesn’t have a Mother-fixated madman stabbing people to death in the shower, and neither does it have a well-spoken maniac who likes to eat people’s internal organs with some fava beans and a nice Chianti. In this sense, maybe, it’s not what some people automatically think of when they think of horror movies. What the film does have, however, is a lead character of such subtlety, cruelty and even human-like frailty that he surely deserves his standing as one of the creepiest and most notable horror icons of all time: Nosferatu The Vampyre.

 

The film was written, produced and directed by Werner Herzog, a German film-maker who made his first movie in 1961 at the age of nineteen and who now has more than sixty feature and documentary films to his name. It is one of five he made with German actor Klaus Kinski, with whom he enjoyed a well-documented relationship that was both productive and wildly tempestuous, given the intensely passionate nature of each of the protagonists. When people think of Nosferatu, their minds frequently conjure up an image of Max Shreck who played him so brilliantly in the silent production of nearly a century ago, and fair play to old Maxie, he did a cracking job but for me, Kinski is Nosferatu. He is the bald-headed, sunken-eyed, strangely melancholy creature of the night who resides in his crumbling castle in the Carpathian mountains and feeds off the blood of any humans unfortunate enough to cross his path.

 

The film begins with Jonathan Harker being told by his employer, the decidedly odd Mr. Renfield, that he must cross the Carpathian mountains to bring legal papers to the rich and reclusive Count Dracula who has decided to buy a house in their area, the pretty and picturesque town of Wismar. Jonathan’s wife, Lucy, played by the beautiful Isabelle Adjani, begs him not to go as she has had premonitions of the most profound evil but Jonathan disregards her fears and sets off blithely on his journey. The film is worth watching solely for the shots of the countryside through which he passes on his way to Count Dracula’s castle and also for the superb musical score by German electronic band Popol Vuh. As Jonathan nears the castle, he is warned by the locals to turn back and go home before he loses his soul but he has come too far to turn back now. Disquieted and edgy, he continues on his way. The music reaches a crescendo as he finally enters the courtyard of Count Dracula, then it fades away as the giant castle doors creak open to reveal… Nosferatu himself, standing at the top of the steps with a smile of quiet welcome on his colourless face.

 

For Jonathan, events take on a surreal appearance from this point onwards. Nosferatu begins to feed on his blood from the first night of his arrival. While poor Lucy frets and works herself up into a right old state about her absent spouse back in Wismar, Jonathan is trapped in Nosferatu’s castle of mould-stained, whitewashed walls and silent, dusty rooms, powerless to prevent the vampire from feasting on him nightly and gradually sapping his strength and will. There are some moments of genuine heartstopping horror in this part of the film, which incidentally is my favourite part. I dare the viewer not to jump when Nosferatu appears soundlessly in Jonathan’s bedroom in the dead of night, his claws expanding as he moves in for the kill, or when Jonathan pushes back the slab of rock in the dungeon to reveal a sleeping Nosferatu, claws folded and sightless eyes wide open, staring at nothing.

 

The latter half of the film sees Nosferatu travelling to Wismar by sea with his black coffins and the plague of rats. The scene where the ship of death sails silently up the canals of Wismar while the unwitting inhabitants of the town slumber peacefully in their beds sends a shiver down my spine every time I see it. In no time at all the town is overrun with rats and the plague. Mr. Renfield, who is revealed to be Count Dracula’s loyal servant, is beside himself with happiness at the arrival in the town of the ‘Master.’ These are trying times indeed for Lucy Harker, however. Jonathan has found his way home but he no longer recognises her and sits in his chair all day giggling and chattering nonsense, his mind and body destroyed by Dracula. The love-starved and lonely Nosferatu comes to Lucy in her bedroom and begs her to be his concubine and companion down through the centuries to come, but Lucy holds fast to her love for Jonathan and sends the Count away empty-handed.

 

Now we come to the climax of this gorgeously-shot film. The town of Wismar has been devastated by Nosferatu and his plague of rats. The scene where some of the townspeople gather for a grotesque parody of a ‘last supper’ in the town square while the rats climb all over them is a chilling one indeed. Lucy tries to tell the town physician, Dr. Van Helsing, that Nosferatu is the reason for all the death and destruction but the good doctor is a man of science and refuses to believe in the existence of such supernatural creatures as vampires. (Unlike in most other versions of the film!) When Lucy’s closest friend, Mina, is murdered by the Count, Lucy does the only thing left to her to do. She offers herself to Nosferatu, in the hope that she can keep him occupied throughout the night and make him ‘forget the cry of the cock’ in the morning, thereby causing him to be killed by the first rays of the morning sun.

 

The scene where Nosferatu comes to Lucy in her bedroom and finally feeds on her is erotic in the extreme. Lucy is dressed all in white, her bedclothes are white and flowers in shades of pastel sit on the night-stand. The Vampyre gently pulls back her clothing to look at her body, then rests his claw on one full rounded breast as he lowers his head to her neck and begins to softly suck. They remain locked together in a beautiful and moving sexual congress all night, and when the first rays of the sun begin to filter into Lucy’s bedroom the following morning, she pulls Nosferatu back down to her once more. The besotted Vampyre thus ‘forgets the cry of the cock’ and dies. Lucy listens to his death agonies with a smile on her face and then, knowing that she has saved the town of Wismar from the horror of Count Dracula, she closes her eyes and dies.

 

There’s a great little twist at the end which I won’t tell you about here. You’ll just have to go and watch the film for yourself, which I hope you will anyway. Personally speaking, if I had to choose only one film to watch for the rest of my life, it would be this one. I want to be buried with it. In the absence of Nosferatu coming to me in person in my flower-strewn bedroom and bending his head to my newly-washed neck, then I want to be buried clutching my copy of the film, the coffin lid closing for all eternity on the sight of my fingers laced around his deathly-white face on the front of the DVD box. And when you watch this film, I promise you that you will too.

 

sandra 1fixedSandra Harris is a Dublin-based performance poet, novelist, film blogger and short story writer. She has given more than 200 performances of her comedy sex-and-relationship poems in different venues around Dublin, including The Irish Writers’ Centre, The International Bar, Toners’ Pub (Ireland’s Most Literary Pub), the Ha’penny Inn and The Strokestown Poetry Festival. Her articles, short stories and poems have appeared in The Metro-Herald newspaper, Ireland’s Big Issue magazine, The Irish Daily Star, The Irish Daily Sun and The Boyne Berries literary journal. She is addicted to buying books and will swap you anything you like for Hammer Horror or JAWS memorabilia, and would be a great person to chat to about the differences between the Director’s Cut and the Theatrical Cut of The Wicker Man.

http://sandrafirstruleoffilmclubharris.wordpress.com/

https://www.facebook.com/SandraHarrisPureFilthPoetry

Mimielle’s Monday a la Mode: Fashionable Women in Horror Movies

Posted in News with tags , , , on June 23, 2014 by Mimielle

From the more exotic and gore-inspired to the toast of their time, here is a Lookbook of a few of my favorite fashionistas and a few unknowns that have graced the screen in horror films. Can you name them all and their films?

female-cenobite_sister-cilice-2-5_2

Angelique1

023-bride-of-frankenstein-theredlist

Psycho_(1960)

monica-dracula

Lucy_Westenra_(Bram_Stoker's_Dracula)_001

the bride

the birds

Annex - Hepburn, Audrey (Wait Until Dark)_02

FLASH FICTION FRIDAY: Matthew J. Barbour

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , on June 20, 2014 by Emerian Rich

A RHYME OF MONSTERS

By Matthew J. Barbour

 

A is for the Alp, demon of the night.

B is for the Boggart, who kills you with his fright.

 

C is for the Centaur, a hybrid of man and horse.

D is for the Dvergar, whose origin is Norse.

 

E is for the Erlking, spirit which brings you death.

F is for the Funayurei, who never breathes a breath.

 

G is for the Golem, built of clay and prayers.

H is for the Hydra, who claws and bites and tears.

 

I is for the Ifrit, genie cloaked in fire.

J is for the Jengu, who swims down in the mire.

 

K is for the Kraken, scourge of the waves.

L is for the Lamia, who feasts on little babes.

 

M is for the Minotaur, alone down in his maze.

N is for the Naga, who will charm you with her gaze.

 

O is for the Orobas, horse-headed devil of old.

P is for the Phoenix, whose plumage is so bold.

 

Q is for the Quareen, jinn of great despair.

R is for the Rarog, who whirlwinds in the air.

 

S is for the Selkie, which changes into a seal.

T is for the Troll, who will eat you as his meal.

 

U is for the Uwan, that yells and screams and shouts.

V is for the Vodyanoi, who sits in the river and pouts.

 

W is for the Warg, hiding behind your shed.

X is for the Xian Tian, who doesn’t have a head.

 

Y is for the Yeti, standing atop mountains high.

Z is for the Ziz, who soars up in the sky.

 

My mom says monsters don’t exist, she tells me this, I swear.

But just in case this rhyme is true, know their names, take heed, beware!

 

About the Author:

Matthew J. Barbour is a speculative fiction author living with his wife and three children in Bernalillo, New Mexico. When he is not writing fiction, Mr. Barbour manages Jemez Historic Site and contributes to a number of regional newspapers, including the Red Rocks Reporter and the Sandoval Signpost. 

 

Press Release: Characula releases Headstone

Posted in News with tags , , , , , on June 18, 2014 by Horror Addicts Guest

 Characula has just released her new single ‘Headstone’ from her Upcoming EP

6a29600b8eda046fb9b70fcd1927c0af_spz0Hailing from Southern California, Characula is a unique artist the likes of which you won’t have seen before. A character who is part sci-fi, part horror and all glamour, Characula revels in the macabre world of B-movie monsters.

With rock songs spinning tales of erotic meetings with strange beings, sucking souls from unsuspecting men and chomping down on large spiders, the closest comparison is possibly with the darkest corners of the Rocky Horror Picture Show – only more twisted.
You can hear her sultry new rock single, ‘Headstone’, here: https://soundcloud.com/characula/headstone

Uber-eccentric and a progenitor of sizzling sci-fi seduction, Characula is the alter-ego of singer-songwriter Cheri Anaclerio, who is looking to make the rock-horror character into an edgy, memorable reflection of her own spiralling imagination.

It’s a truly unique musical project, produced by renowned rock specialist Dito Godwin (No Doubt, Great White, KISS, Motley Crue). With an album on the way, you will also be able to catch Characula on a UK stage near you soon.

IF you haven’t seen it already, you can watch the video for her ‘Mummy Dance’ track here:
Find out more about Characula:
http://www.characula.com/
https://www.facebook.com/Characula
https://twitter.com/characula
http://www.youtube.com/user/characula

Kbatz: 20 Feminine Horror Films

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , on June 17, 2014 by kbattz

20 Random Lady Horror Treats!

By Kristin Battestella

In the mood for some scary chick flicks? Here’s a sampling of new and old lady vamps, witches, ghosts, werewolves, killers, and more macabre with a slightly – heck who are we kidding – outright feminine spins!

The Awakening – I’m glad this 2011 ghost tale remains period and utilizes plenty of post-war traumas along with fun spiritualism and early ghost hunting gadgets, and a great, spooky English house turned boarding school keeps the paranormal pace going, too. Although some of the said supernatural equipment and unnecessary character clichés are a touch too modern, the fractured Dominic West (The Wire), perfectly nuanced Imelda Staunton (Harry Potter), needs no one Rebecca Hall (Vicky Cristina Barcelona), and innocent Isaac Hampstead Wright (Game of Thrones) keep the audience interested even when the back story gets confusing towards the finale. Are these ghosts, personal demons and memories, or something more? There may not be enough scares here for a hardcore horror fan – and wise viewers may see through the bump in the night clichés and saucy innuendo thanks to similar ghost films. However, this mood and atmosphere does what it sets out to do and fits the pain, loneliness, and isolation perfectly. Those period designs, cars, clothing, creepy dollhouses, even the way they hold their cigarettes keep the dramatic before scary scenes classy. Despite some brief nudity and a few twists, there are no contemporary cheap thrills here, and the mystery is intriguing enough to keep the viewer invested for the full 100 minutes.

Burn Witch Burn – A creepy, blank screen opening narration sends this 1962 British thriller a-simmering beneath the campus innocence, great cars, ivy covered cottages, and seemingly fine period drama – but that’s before the sudden spider souvenirs hidden in the bedroom drawer! Not so nice and magical wife Janet Blair (My Sister Eileen) has all sorts of Craft curios amid the great set dressings, cigarettes, period style, and black cats. It’s a lighter take then most witchy pictures, but the secret practices are no less creepy thanks to sinister suspense music and scary discoveries. The well framed, black and white prospective photography, mirror uses, and shadow schemes parallel the fractured, marital debates, too. Peter Wyngarde (Jason King) is a disbeliever relying on logic, education, and intelligence versus the implausibility of positive charms and evil hexes. Screenwriters George Baxt (Circus of Horrors), Charles Beaumont, and Richard Matheson (The Twilight Zone) add scandalous student/teacher allegations to this breaking Cleaver surface and send the fears and desperation boiling over as spells go awry. The car chases and titular fires mount, but the original Night of the Eagle name matches perfectly as well. Thunder, wind, eerie tape recordings, even the old-fashioned abrupt ringing of a telephone puts one on edge here, and the pace come to a pinnacle to finish this excellent, deadly thriller.

 Byzantium – Gemma Arterton (Quantum of Solace) and Saiorse Ronan (The Lovely Bones) anchor this 2013 vampire spin from director Neil Jordan (Interview with a Vampire) co-starring Jonny Lee Miller (Hackers), Maria Doyle Kennedy (The Tudors), and Caleb Landry Jones (X-Men: First Class). The cinematography from Sean Bobbitt (Hunger) is intriguing, and a golden, antique patina contrasts the bitter daylight, nightclubs, boarded windows, and harsh concrete. Ironic uses of Etta James standards and melancholy piano music add to the slight sense of abstract– the contemporary still has a feeling of the past in old décor, fedoras, and aged computers. Nostalgic paper, pens, and handwriting or scandalous red lights and saucy lingerie establish the ladies’ personalities better than the in medias res mellow narration, which takes too long for viewers who didn’t know this movie would be about vampires. Fortunately, Arterton is sexy yet deadly and nude yet refined – she’s a killer in every sense of the word but bizarrely maternal, loving, and considerate. Although Ronan’s depressing, woe is me burdens are a bit much, her somber, hypnotic blue eyes are classy and bittersweet. Her flashbacks provide interesting snippets of period piece macabre; the past wasn’t glamorous but dirty, grimy, and violent thanks to Miller. Clearly, the emo Eleanor just wants attention, and those ready to die recognize her for what she is. Aren’t there better ways to go about your hidden existence until disbelieving authorities, prodding schools, and teen angst disrupt it? Each vampire seems trapped in easy, cliché mindsets from centuries ago – nobody can learn anything or mature in 200 years? The fine but disorienting flashback within flashback and non-linear two hours make the audience wonder why writer Moira Buffini (adapter of the 2011 Jane Eyre, where the flashback pacing worked wonderfully) didn’t put the storytelling in order or tighten the slightly long and uneven vampire mythos instead of calling attention to the hip framework. Brief shots of the seemingly aware police in pursuit go unexplained until the finale, and perhaps the plot should have been all period or totally present. Thankfully, the brooding feminine spin, artsy blood and gore, and a unique vampire creation and organization combine alongside the subtle but expected sharp nails, wrist bites, and jokes about fangs or daylight. These ladies dab the blood from their lips, quietly wait for the invitation to enter, get tempted by the sight of blood and injury, take the lives of the ill or elderly – and they watch Hammer movies! This isn’t scary, and the assorted accents and Brit-ness may bother some. However, this isn’t a sparkly teeny bopper love triangle either. The viewer doesn’t always know what happens next in the intense finish, and this tale makes for a surprising, worthy piece of vampire storytelling.

 

Daughters of Darkness – This 1971 Elizabeth Bathory suave and swanky Euro bend starring John Karlen (Willie from Dark Shadows getting it on!) and Delphine Seyrig (The Day of the Jackal) gets right to the saucy, up close, wet, near soft core action and full frontal nudity. Aristocratic family secrets, deceptions, kinky newlyweds, and suggested lesbian jealousies add to the traditional vampire staples – from unexplained perpetual youth, lookalike ancestors, and a reflection-less countess with a beautiful, mysteriously bound ward to straight razor cuts on the neck, fear of running water, and no trace of blood at the scene of the crime. Toss in meddling, aged bellhops, astute old cops, the local morbid curiosity, and a bevy of babes – namely Danielle Oulette and Andrea Rau – and the murders, violence, and homoerotic twists are complete. The cars are seriously cool, too, as are the symbolic fashions, flashy frocks, and colorful velvet décor. The perfect Ostend Hotel and other European locales more than make up for the tacky but sassy and fitting music, and the nice mix of accents on the English dialogue adds more foreign flair to kinky descriptions of medieval torture – nipple pinchers, hot tongs, and all that. Red lighting and blue tinted photography add to the creepy jump scares and frights, but this isn’t horror per se, rather something more voluptuous in mood. It’s a little dark and tough to see at the end and confuses some of its own vampire lore but stick with the uncut 100-minute DVD version with the added features and commentaries if you’re in the mood for then-updated, now period gothic vamps with a feminine twist. Remember, the key to beauty is “A very strict diet and lots of sleep.”

 

Dr. Jekyll and Sister Hyde – This 1971 Robert Louis Stevenson meets Jack the Ripper mash up from Hammer has psychedelic DVD menus, nice Victorian interiors, and pleasant period scoring, yet it feels like it should be more stylish than it is thanks to cheap costumes and shabby London streets. Though the fog is moody and this side of town was supposed to be seedy, we don’t really see the Ripper Murders, and tossed in Burke and Hare grave robbing and Whitechapel investigations further muddle the narration and confuse the timeline. Ralph Bates (Lust for a Vampire) is slow to start – it takes half the film for the decidedly out of place and sixties looking Martine Beswick (One Million Years B.C.) to do anything, too – and this lack of Hammer stars dampens the fun. The studio’s later day decline perhaps stems from the absence of second generation star power; Oliver Reed or Michael Gough and Bates were groomed, but no other team stood out to replace Lee and Cushing. Such B styled, stale stock design hampers the unfulfilled potential from writer Brian Clemens (The Avengers). Director Roy Ward Baker (Quartermass and the Pit) mixes pieces of The Lodger with Frankenstein bodies but this detracts from any personal, interior examinations. The audience has no reason to care about nosy neighbors – not only would I move if they kept walking in on my secret experiments, but they never notice the Clark Kent/Superman happenings. Dialogue hints on the doing bad to do good quest for science are interesting but too brief, and if one seeks immortality by killing hookers for their female hormones, there should be more sex, nudity, and violence. Fun transformations and filming trickeries develop this crazy premise, but things fizzle under too many external happenings. Where are the moral explanations or psychology of the sex change? Is Jekyll gay or harboring cross dressing or transsexual feelings? Subtle uses of the word “queer” in both definitions may or may not suggest more. The blurred line between the good and evil of the identities is well done, but the pacing meanders. Sexuality and bodily consequences on both sides are not fully explored, and this 97 minutes just doesn’t feel as depraved as we might expect. Yes, there are certainly plot holes, misdirection, flawed execution, and an absence of Hammer flair. However, this is nonetheless entertaining just for the battle of the sexes novelty and the all encompassing, ambitious Victorian macabre.

 

Drag Me to Hell – Sam and Ivan Raimi (Evil Dead, Army of Darkness) present this 2009 tale of curses and consequences starring Alison Lohman (White Oleander) as the likeable and realistic Christine. She’s trying to change her accent, forget her ‘porker’ past and family issues, and keeps doubting or compromising herself, yet she’s also trying to pin her problems on someone else. Lohman carries the increasing paranoia nicely with honest pace and progression as her true colors come forth amid the good jump moments and the not so gruesome that it’s overdone gore and grossness. Justin Long (The Apple Guy), however, is annoying and simply not believable as a college professor; his Freud versus paranormal debates and supposed love for Christine are unconvincing. Reggie Lee (Prison Break) and David Paymer (Mr. Saturday Night) are jerks, too, but their antagonism helps the plot along against the stereotypical gypsy curses as Lorna Raver (The Young and the Restless) makes for a very creepy, gross old lady thanks to that weird eye and a variety of vomit, bugs, and won’t say die dead body encounters. But if she can do all this summoning evil goat demons, why couldn’t she just pay her loan? Although it’s okay to laugh in some scenes – and props for bemusing stapler uses – there is a bit too much sunshine, modern trappings, and a decidedly CGI feeling. This isn’t quite as dirty or desperate as it should be, and we know what’s going to happen the whole time – even the title and poster reveal the predictable twist untwist endings. Fortunately, most of the scares and suspense are well done what you don’t see shadows and wind effects, and the Spanish spins and multi language mythos add flavor along with Dileep Rao’s (Avatar) unique take on the usually clichéd psychic. There are subtle Evil Dead references, of course, but one can certainly laugh or be scared by this entertaining little flick – eyeball in the cake at the dinner party and all.

 

Ginger Snaps – This quality Canadian horror drama will be too teen girl angst for some adult male audiences; it’s not for animal lovers and today, such teen sex, drug uses, school violence, juvenile morbidity, and obsessions with death would land sisters Katharine Isabelle (American Mary) and Emily Perkins (Hiccups) in serious hot water. Director John Fawcett (The Dark) and co-writer Karen Walton’s (Orphan Black) puberty is horror theme, however, was new during the Y2K era and this Red Riding Hood equals Big Bad Wolf combination fits the solid coming of age progression and lycanthrope twists. Unlike recent in your face horror clichés, there’s sexy here without cheap nudity, the handsome blood and gore isn’t too gory, and the non-CGI wolf get ups are well done. The sharp editing isn’t hectic or seizure inducing, and the likeable, witty, sardonic characters are given full room to blossom or wax irony– the go to expert on wolfs bane is the town’s resident pot dealer! The audience doesn’t know how far the scares and suspense will escalate or if this sisterly core can survive the wolfy puberty. Unfortunately, there is a big, slightly unsatisfying problem with the typical house under construction chase finale and all the potentially worthy plot lines and red herrings left hanging in its wake. How much did quirky mom Mimi Rogers (Someone to Watch Over Me) really know? She’s giddy on periods and womanhood and just happens to buy the deadly poison needed at a craft store – seriously? Deleted scenes and extended DVD editions once again rear their head here, but none of that answers one very critical question: Who’s the original dang wolf? Yes, this lovely werewolf build up and fine feminine sisterhood feels imbalanced in the end, however this is a great, morbid teen thriller for budding macabre young ladies.

 

The Innkeepers – A lovely, historic atmosphere and setting accent the brooding suspense of this 2011 thinking person’s haunted hotel tale starring Sarah Paxton (Darcy’s Wild Life) and Kelly McGillis (Top Gun). The situational scares, ghost investigations, touches of quirky humor, and genuine conversations feel much more realistic than those so-called reality ghost shows. The subtle fears, whiff of gore, and shock scares are quality, but the what you don’t see whispers, overnight isolation, unknown paranormal activity, and psychic reactions are better. The simple lack of a camera and reliance on EVP gear for the onscreen investigation forces the audience to pay attention. While some modern viewers may dislike the slow burn pace or find the unambitious characters annoying, the lack of easy explanations and typical boobalicious scream queens is refreshingly honest. We need to see the personal normalcy so we know when the scares push people to the extreme. Yes, people don’t listen, let the paranormal go to their head, and go into the forewarned basement – but people close to death also see things differently. Granted, writer, director, and editor Ti West (The House of the Devil) wears too many hats and should have someone else sit back objectively and say, “Clarify this.” Perhaps there’s nothing fancy here – just a straightforward curiosity killed the cat self-fulfilling prophecy. However, today’s increasingly too in your face fancy horror films are becoming a problem, and this well-done little picture is more than worth a look.

 

Lady Frankenstein – I’m not normally a fan of classic film star Joseph Cotton (Citizen Kane), but his blend of grave robbing, unethical desperation, and father/daughter compassion is perfect for this 1971 Italian twist on the Shelley theme. “Man’s will be done,” Cotton says, but it is Rosalba Neri (99 Women) doing the titular monstrous mayhem, evil deeds, and uniquely saucy spins instead of just being the cliché horror victim or resurrected bride. Ethical debates about money, man, and God accentuate dialogue of radical Victorian science and a woman’s place in the medical profession. The gothic mood, snow, and firelight work wonderfully with the cool mad scientist laboratory – complete with clockworks, bubbling Rube Goldbergs, and perfectly timed thunder and lightning of course. Ugly blood, surgeries, and reanimated monsters smartly contrast the feminine wiles; the progression of the experiments and escalation of the monstrosities are well paced, too. Though the sound is poor and I would have liked more of Mickey Hargitay (Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter?) as the deducing inspector on the crimes, this is a good looking, well done film. Unfortunately, there are various editions in need of a proper restoration – including an edited 85 minute print in the public domain and a longer 90 minute plus Shout Factory release splicing together several foreign versions. Perhaps this isn’t as depraved as we might expect nowadays and a little too quick toward the finale, but this macabre period delight is worth the pursuit.

 

Let’s Scare Jessica to Death – This hour and a half from 1971 doesn’t feel PG-13 thanks to askew camera angles, bent up-close shots, bizarre suggestion, tension, and innuendo. The simple tunes and steady beats make for a quiet, eerie orchestration – toss in a Hearst, fall leaves, grave rubbings, female apparitions, empty rocking chairs on abandoned porches, hippie vagrants, and séances and the mood is set! The narration, however, is a little dry. The immediate unreliability and suspect nature is fine – she was “away” veiled mental institution talk and all that – but the inner monologue feels redundant thanks to the sleepy inlet setting and already established atmosphere. Early 70s stylings and more historical decor and accessories accentuate the fear and isolation far better, even if the brief yuppie sing-along is dated. Zohra Lampert (Splendor in the Grass) is a little annoying and flaky as our titular would be victim to start, but her fears become a worthwhile anchor as the proverbial plot thickens and the jump scares increase thanks to freaky townsfolk, evil history, and morbid antiques. No one wants to say things like crazy, supernatural, ghosts, or vampire, which makes for some confusion or deduction that today’s spoon fed audiences might not be used to doing. Granted, the title is also misleading; the scares here may seem like all the obvious, cliché staples, too. Thankfully, the lack of nudity, little blood, and disturbing water scares make for a very effective, well-paced, thinking person’s serious horror picture.

 

Lights Out– I like short films and wish they got more mainstream attention and recognition, but I don’t think I’ve ever reviewed something this short at under three minutes. I can talk longer than this is! However, director David F. Sandburg’s (Earth Savers, Ladyboy) winner of the Bloody Cuts Horror Challenge 2013 starring Lotta Losten got me. Not many purportedly scary films these days can capture this unseen suspense, the increasing infringement of the unknown in the sanctity of the home, bedroom, and childhood under the covers safety. How can you flight or fight when fear is coming to you? Sure, jaded viewers may balk at the lack of dialogue or motivations. Why not call a friend in the night? Leave? Lock the door? Scream! Perhaps the end isn’t as fulfilling as the initial shocks that either glue you in for the topper or make you drop your precious mobile viewing device, either. The lighting, shadows, and design, however, are top notch, and we’ve all been there – thought we saw something in the dark or retreated at the paranormal possibility. This relatable hook and scares totally works. If bigger industry names or Hollywood studios don’t notice Sandburg and this smartly simplistic viral sensation, they should certainly take note at the taut tension and straightforward filmmaking. Is it easy to keep up this intensity at this short a sample? Sure. Was the minimal design required by the competition and an indie shoestring budget? Probably. But is this how modern horror should be done instead of all the in your face 3D mayhem, fluff, trite, and obnoxiousness? Yes. View if you dare on Sandburg’s page here: http://vimeo.com/82920243.

 

Mama – Jessica Chastain (Zero Dark Thirty) and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Game of Thrones) lead this 2013 scary fairy tale from producer Guillermo Del Toro (Pan’s Labyrinth), director Andres Muschietti and co writers Barbara Muschietti (from their original Mama short film) and Neil Cross (Luther). Dangerous snowy roads, car action, and police radio immediately establish the isolated cabin and wooded perils for these adorable little girls and their innocent statements. Firelight only scenes, dark surroundings, and creepy noises accent the almost livable but messy designs and wild child state of mind. Eerie observation rooms, case study reports, medical analysis, and research montages anchor the scary amid a reality of courtrooms, technology, and red tape. Some of the brighter colors do seem too pretty or oversaturated; however, pleasing shadows, reflections, and flicking lights keep the spooky subtle. Megan Charpentier (Resident Evil: Retribution) and Isabelle Nelisse (Whitewash) create an excellent mix of sympathy and disturbing – their child artwork, whispers, and games are both cute and eerie along with moth symbolisms and leaf motifs. Although she has stunning eyes and cheekbones, Chastain doesn’t quite fit her character’s short, dark hair and punk style. Her attitude and problem with kids feels fake or without cause, and she’s more worried about her own safety then helping these girls. Her Annabel is more like a stunted teen babysitter, complains this isn’t her job, and what bass we hear from her isn’t that good. Psychiatrist Daniel Kash (Hannibal) is right when he tells her to grow up, but he also foolishly doesn’t share all his case findings. Is this film about a doctor and a woman trying to help in this unique child tale or is it about scaring the obligatory but rocker babe? Realizations come too easy, the rules of the scares change, the motivation or abilities of the entity become purely opportune, convenient file folders and information are stolen without consequences, and research ladies who claim to not know anything sure do drop a load of exposition. The bump in the night scares or jump moments are typical don’t look in the closet, haunted house hijinks, and the extra boom chords and flashes of light are unnecessary, for the audience only ploys when the troubling video sessions with the girls or seeing and hearing their reactions suffice. The CGI also looks iffy and dark, and though fittingly eerie, askew and distorted coma visions and dreamy flashbacks look cartoonish. Most of all, however, I’m disappointed that the rental blu-ray is full of previews and shows the menus and features before blocking them with “This disc is intended for rental purposes and only includes the feature film.” Hmph. There is a nice pace, mood, and atmosphere here, but the lack of answers, plot holes, and thinly drawn characters will be too much for some viewers to ignore. I mean, not only do the psychology and relationship possibilities fall prey to womanly doing right by the spirit sacrifices, but explanations to the authorities are never considered and what happened to the &^$#% dog? Longtime horror viewers won’t be fooled by the surprising moments and twists here, but fortunately, there is enough child likability and ghostly traditional style for a disturbing watch or two.

 

The Resident – I didn’t like the last Hillary Swank horror attempt The Reaping – actually I dislike any time she goes off her Oscar winning type coughP.S. I Love Youcough. Thankfully, she’s solid as a strong but socially awkward and somewhat man needy doctor in an ominous apartment for this 2011 nuHammer thriller. Likewise, Jeffrey Dean Morgan (Grey’s Anatomy) is effective, even if it’s obvious he’s the too good to be true handyman in a horror movie. At the standard 90 minutes, precious time is wasted with cool opening credits – not usually a good sign for a recent horror film – and the story is slow to get going and ultimately quite predictable. The cheating boyfriend explanation for her moving comes a little too late and the color gradient looks over processed, but the hospital blood and gore are well done. Of course, Christopher Lee has a great introduction. He looks like a perfectly respectable grandfather, yet there’s something just a bit creepy old man about him, and I love it! Although the casting and plot could have easily gone the college bimbo route and it sets up some naughty, eerie hi jinks, the brief Swank nudity and up close lingerie shots are surprising. Fortunately, smart shadows, lighting, reflections, and some unique camera angles add to the suspense. The frenetic flashback answers a lot of questions and ups the stalker vibe, too. Yes, it turns this film from a seemingly haunted house bump in the night horror tale to a nasty if somewhat typical real world thriller, and there isn’t a lot of mood, atmosphere, or truly spooky feelings as a result. Though pleasant, the New York contemporary city vibes and final reliance on plot holes, tools, hardware horror, and chases hamper the “it could happen to you” fears. It’s a bit misguided and could have been more, but the cast is likeable and some quality character twists win out.

 

The Sentinel – A big name cast and lots of familiar faces- including Chris Sarandon, Eli Wallach, Jerry Orbach, Beverly D’Angelo, Burgess Meredith, Jeff Goldblum, Christopher Walken, John Carradine, Ava Gardner, Arthur Kennedy, and hey look its Tom Berenger and Nana Visitor- appear in this 1977 pseudo satanic thriller. Although I’ve never heard of model turned actress Cristina Raines and her undefined training is apparent in some scenes, her confused woman is very likeable and holds the picture together as the unexplained events, bizarre dreams, suspect mental issues, and suicidal baggage intensify. Complex blends of religious iconography, nighttime scares, and plenty of twists and twisted-ness create some fine subterfuge. The fantastic NYC locations mix wonderfully with a suspiciously unsuspicious Old World look and feel, too. Yes, some scenes are silly and there might be some iffy plot holes. However, toss in some kinky, nudity, and devilish debauchery with the evil plots and the demented atmosphere here remains entertaining throughout.

 

Sleepaway Camp – The woefully laughable acting in this 1983 coming of age slasher is so bad it’s good, and intentional or not, the nostalgic delights keep on coming – from short shorts and cropped shirts, homoerotic innuendos, and camp abuses to twisted point of view killings, foul-mouthed humor, and the expected youth shenanigans. Yes, there may be too little blood and gore. Without subtitles, it’s often tough to tell who is who amid the capture the flag competitions and mean girls bitchiness beyond the bad acted front and center folks. A sharper script would have clarified the back-story and not left the plot hanging on the twists and kickers, too – for the history, trauma, and catalysts will definitely be at best confusing or at worst unexplained to modern, spoon-fed viewers. Franchise creator Robert Hiltzik perhaps wears too many hats in directing a serious slice and dice picture mixed with near parody humor writing, and potential statements on mind, body, society, and possibly homophobia are hampered by the quick but no less shocking finale. Which of the traumas actually puts the killer over the top? The severity and escalation scale of the crimes is also uneven – a potential molester is badly burned while a water bomb thrower is stung to death. Fortunately, the bad scene chewing keeps these sexual topics, dirty old men implications, nasty cooks, and unseen suggestions surprisingly light. We don’t blame the killer for doing in this lot, and it is fun to spot the clues and avoid the red herrings in solving the murder mystery. Both wise audiences and retro fans can enjoy the thinking person’s movie potential and bemusing eighties shockers here.

 

Spider Baby – Talk about an awkward dinner table! Lon Chaney Jr. sings the catchy little song matching the opening cartoon titles of this bizarre 1964 family cannibalism tale written and directed by Jack Hill (Coffy, Foxy Brown). Though the introduction seems slow to start – we only have 80 minutes and it takes too long for all the players to arrive on the scene – the ominous drive to the decrepit Victorian house, crazy knife killings, and cut off ears establish the twistedness. Quirky beatnik music, mellow pace, and low quality black and white photography belie the increasing suspense as those incoming ruthless cousins explore the house at their own peril. Our older, aged Creighton with the sweet Hearst seems like a reasonable, loyal caregiver yet he’s harboring a trio of seriously demented killers. The titular Jill Banner (The President’s Analyst) and her sister Beverly Washburn (Old Yeller) would seem to live quietly in peace – so long as no kids hop their fence or mailmen knock on their door that is. Internal references to classic horror film clichés and The Wolf Man add to this witty whiff of comedy, but veiled statements about trying not to be bad, being unable to help one’s behavior, or possibly not knowing any better perfectly contrast the humor and the ironic, supposedly normal but snotty and infiltrating rival family branch. Society vilifies the sick or ill it can’t understand, and the contorted and creepy to see yet innocent and tragic Sid Haig (House of 1,000 Corpses) initially has our sympathies. Of course, when the disturbia turns kinky, we know why these people remain under lock and key. Along with the scandalous inbreeding, cannibalism, family murder, black garter belts, and intriguing commentaries, the not for the feline faint of heart scene, eerie dumbwaiter uses, crawling spiders, and the general dementedness of seeing older people act like evil kids sets the bar for future macabre domestic horror pictures.

 

Triangle Black Death director Christopher Smith creates a great mind bending and smartly head-scratching ride in this watery 2009 Bermuda triangle thriller. There are a few scares, but the within within storytelling and multi level camera work develop more of a thinking viewer’s Twilight Zone heavy before full on gore or modern slasher horror. A decrepit and sinister ship, carefully placed mirrors, dual appearances and deceptions, and altered audience perceptions layer the plotting and paths for desperate mother Melissa George (Turistas). Though it boy Liam Hemsworth (The Hunger Games) is iffy, his role is relatively small. Hefty concepts, time twists, and intelligent debate outshine any small scale productions here, too. I’d like to say more, but I don’t want to spoil anything!

 

Vampyres – Late Spanish director Jose Ramon Larraz (Symptoms) gets right to the unabashedly naked lesbian soft-core action and slobbery kisses for this 1974 blood and spicy. Despite our contemporary love of sex sex sex, one might initially groan at this potentially unnecessary boobs before violence – yet the kitschy mood and sensuous gothic tone works with the blended British seventies style and Old World, cluttered Victorian creepy. Outside of some great cars and sparse electricity, the viewer may not know when this takes place, and the Oakley Court estate and churchyards are perfectly isolated eerie. Couple Sally Falkner (Doctor Who) and Brian Deacon (The Feathered Serpent) give the audience a likeable believer and a relatable skeptic to set up scares and shocks while Murray Brown (Dan Curtis’ Dracula) learns the dangers of picking up beautiful hitchhikers in dark capes Marianne Morris (Lovebox) and Anulka Dziubinska (Lisztomania). Though the foul afoot is certainly suspected, the simmering, alluring build doesn’t reveal the juicy all at once. Sure, some plot points don’t make much sense – sharper editing or script clarifications would have helped – and the seventies sex and kinky lingerie strip teases can be laughable, I grant you. However, the strong titillation provides comfort, rough, or bemusement ahead of the bloody kickers. The predatory approach is traditional but there are no fangs and quick, demented, near cannibalistic feminine twists keep the pace unconventional. Viewers who prefer their gore, language, and sex fast and furious may find the action slow or the plot lame, but the meant to be hazy and dreamy mood belies an intense finish. Although the volume and sound are soft, the new blu-ray release has commentaries, interviews, and by golly makes this movie look brand spanking new.

 

What’s the Matter with Helen? – Debbie Reynolds – America’s fifties sweetheart, the mother of Princess Leia – in a scary movie? Oh yes! I’m not exactly a Shelly Winters (A Place in the Sun) fan, for she always seems so frumpy and annoying. However, that stuffy works for writer Henry Farrell (Hush Hush Sweet Charlotte, Whatever Happened to Baby Jane) and director Curtis Harrington (Games) here. We know it is wrong, and these broads aren’t exactly kosher, yet there’s something about watching old ladies get terrorized onscreen. The diverging juxtapositions of the toe tapping, Hollywood star struck Reynolds and increasingly reclusive, paranoid Winters is quite genius. Simple delights such as early newsreels, radio broadcasts, and early prank phone calls add an extra accent to gruesome crime scene photos, great Depression era cars, and stunning styles to enchant any fashionista. Sweet jazzy tunes like “Goody Goody” are surprisingly perfect for a horror picture; recitals and almost musical sequences further pull the viewers out of the expected scary genre comfort zone, too. Although “Oh, You Nasty Man” performed by a little girl is just a bit too creepy. It’s funny to see vintage crazy stage moms- dolling them up in great hats and frocks doesn’t change their stripes! The photography is a rich, classic, almost antique or patina palette of colors, and the Depression period really makes this 1971 picture stand out. Today’s teen slashers-fed audiences don’t expect to see sophisticated scares in this time or place, and it adds to the unsettling feelings onscreen. Classic audiences, fans of the period, or those just looking for a unique, subliminally scary picture will be entertained here.

 

Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? – We can’t imagine anyone but Bette Davis and Joan Crawford in a sibling rivalry this extreme! The two Oscar winners (Jezebel and Mildred Pierce, respectively) finally clash onscreen in this 1962 adaptation from director Robert Aldrich (Hush Hush Sweet Charlotte). The introductory rise thru the show business eras, fun vaudeville tunes, vintage film reels, swift editing, period clothing, cool cars, and plenty of suspense all cap off the warped drama and black and white demented nostalgia. De Vol’s (Pillow Talk) over the top yet on form and fitting music adds to the fun weirdness of seeing the slovenly done up Davis. Perhaps we tend to think of her as so nice and grandmotherly today- unlike Crawford. Thanks to the likes of Mommie Dearest, it’s a little ironic to see her as Ms. Sympathy. And yet…both ladies put our expectations on end, and it’s a tough call on whose is the better performance. Although the shock moments are probably well known now, the audience wonders how far off the deep end the wonderfully cruel and simplistic scares will go. There’s great, bemusing trepidation in the little things we take for granted in the 21st century- getting a letter to a neighbor, not knowing what’s for dinner, leaving the phone off the hook. Minds, mirrors, twisted selves- the unraveling of this relationship train wreck is quite horrific- or at the very least criminal! Where is the desperation greatest? Who’s more deserving of their internal hostage via the wheelchair or the childlike mind? This staple is perfect for classic film fans, fans of the cast, and anyone looking for a sophisticated feminine horror spin.

 

HorrorAddicts.net 101, Ann Wilkes

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 14, 2014 by Emerian Rich

Horror Addicts Episode# 101

Horror Hostess: Emerian Rich

Intro Music by: Cancer Killing Gemini

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138 days till Halloween!

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13 Questions with Ann Wilkes

Posted in News with tags , , , , on June 13, 2014 by Sapphire Neal

13 questions

Hello Horror Addicts, please join me in welcoming our featured author for episode 101, Ann Wilkes.

When asked how she felt about being on the show Ann replied, “I’m thrilled, naturally. Emerian has a top-notch site. It’s an honor.”

She has submitted to HA twice a flash fiction piece, as well as her audio story for the podcast. “My stories often have a sociological or even first contact bent to them. I have a hard time getting really hard with my science, though, going more for drama and humor. My stories are always character driven.”

Ann’s work is available in both in print and electronic format. “I have stories in anthologies that are available electronically, as well as archived flash fiction in various places, such as Every Day Fiction.”

As “a journalist, copywriter and entrepreneur by day and a dance teacher and dancer by night,” it’s surprising that she has any free time to write her stories. I also wondered how her “day job” played a part in her writing.

“Only as far as time commitments. Until you’ve “landed,” you can’t sit down and write a story to pay the bills. The stories come wilkes_annwhen they come and money follows when it follows. It’s not a guaranteed paycheck, so it’s hard for me to make myself write new stories, when writing ad copy or working on the dance site will give me more instant renumeration. Those are the ugly facts about the writing life I’m afraid.”

I was curious as always to see what had initially dragged Ann into the horror fandom. “The fast-paced action and the psychological thrillers. The creepy ones that you chew on for days and the adrenaline rush of the chase scenes.” Ann finds herself drawn werewolves and claims them to be her favorite horror monster. “They can be normal for the most part, but can’t let anyone get too close to them and discover their true nature. They are like Jekyll and Hyde, only they have a set schedule for their alter egos. But then they have to deal with the aftermath of their rampages. And the guilt. They’re both tormented and tormenter. They are driven by intelligence only until the moon is full, when they act only on animal instinct.”

Did you know that Ann often has dreams in which she is escapes the bogey man? “They are scary, yet empowering, because I always get away.” Another little known fact about Ann, is that she is “distantly related to the famous train/bank robbers, the Younger Brothers, who rode with Jesse James.” She also wanted to note that “it was the Younger Brothers gang, not the Jesse James gang.”

For the future, Ann has a couple of projects in mind and in the works. “I would like to create a collection of speculative fiction stories all relating to or about elephants and partner with an elephant sanctuary to market it as a fundraiser for the sanctuary and get a wider audience for the stories.”

“I’m shopping a few stories around that I have high hopes for. In one, In my psychological thriller set in space, I invented a sport.

“In another, there are monsters from the future, which are transported to our present instead of our past, as punishment for political crimes. The damage that ensues, with these huge rhinoceros-like creatures landing in a small Pacific Northwest town, is devastating compared to what would have happened if they were warped back to the dino-age as planned. It’s important to note that they arrive extremely hungry.

“Another involves a water world where the humans’ hosts are dying. They live on leviathans in a symbiotic relationship. There are symbiotes in the monster story, too. I guess I was going through a phase.”

For more information about Ann Wilkes, visit her website: annwilkes.com. “There’s nothing new about my website. All my energy has been going into a new venture that is rather off-topic. I just launched Sonoma County Dance Beat (socodancebeat.com) at the end of March.”

 

Camp 417

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , , on June 12, 2014 by David Watson

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Austria in 1945. The war is coming to an end, the allied forces are winning the war and the Nazis have their backs against the wall. Hitler is not worried because he has a team of scientists that have been working on a project that will change everything and let the Nazi’s win the war. Scientists are taking live people and turning them into flesh-eating creatures.

These creatures will destroy everything in their path. They are drawn by loud sounds and are only effected by sunlight. The problem is: Can they be controlled? Will they only kill the allies or will they eat every living thing they see and destroy humanity. It all started at Camp 417: Where the dead live.

Camp 417 by Finnean Nilsen Projects has its moments. It has a lot of action. plenty of scary imagery, good battle scenes and 1945 Austria is described in vivid detail. My only problem with Camp 417 was that there were so many different characters and different minor story-lines that at times I was confused as to who was doing what. Also a lot of characters had their own sub plots going on, but it was hard to keep track of them all  and there was too much going on at the same time.

Camp 417 is an ambitious novel.  I loved the concept of an alternative view of history and I liked the idea of Adolf Hitler being involved in the story. This book is a prequel to a series called Outpost. This book was written by two brothers through the website Webook.com which is a social networking site that allows readers to comment as each chapter of the story is completed.

While reading Camp 417 I felt like I was reading a comic book without pictures. That being said, the action is all described in vivid detail and I got the impression that the authors really did their research on the history of World War 2. One item that I thought was a nice touch was that the zombies are never called zombies in the book. The living dead were not refereed to as zombies until after Night Of The Living Dead in 1968. In Camp 417 they are referred to as pale snakes and sondies. One great scene in this book was when a bunch of pale face men in prison uniforms come out of the woods and attack a group of unsuspecting soldiers. At this point the novel goes from a military action adventure to a blood drenched horror story.

What I liked most about this book was when the soldiers discover the lab where the zombies are being created and the dialogue between the characters in the camp when they are debating if the allies would do the same thing. My favorite character was the Great Assanti because he was so different from anyone else in the story. I also loved how much action there was. Camp 417 has car chases, air battles, gun fights, tanks smashing zombies and gruesome death scenes. This would make one exciting movie and is a must read if you love zombie fiction.

Morbid Meals – Ris de veau à la crème

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , on June 11, 2014 by Dan Shaurette
Imagine if you will, that you are a foodie with macabre tendencies. You collect odd cookbooks from strange authors and chefs. One day, as you aimlessly peruse the used books at the local thrift shop, you spy the spine of a book that catches your eye. Did that one say Vincent Price?You go back, and propped up between completely unrelated and unremarkable books is a cookbook. A fine vintage cookbook written by Mary and Vincent Price. Yes, THAT Vincent Price! What would you do?

I’ll tell you what I did. I grabbed it up, without looking at the price (it was extremely affordable), without looking at the recipes (who cares, it was by Vincent Bloody Price!) and bolted to the register, cash in hand.

Take. My. Money!

That was how this gorgeous cookbook, A Treasury of Great Recipes by Mary and Vincent Price (1978 Printing), came into my possession.

EXAMINATION
So, what exactly is in this cookbook? Probably not what you might expect, especially if you think it would have a bunch of campy, horror b-movie inspired recipes.

Rather, it has exactly what the title suggests: great gourmet recipes. In this case, from great restaurants from around the world. You see, Mary and Vincent were foodies themselves and thanks to his fame and fortune, they traveled a lot and enjoyed many world-class gourmet restaurants. They befriended many of the owners and chefs and collected recipes from those restaurants. They tried many of the recipes themselves, and their favorites are published in this aptly named Treasury. So not only is this a fine collection of vintage haute cuisine from the best and most famous restaurants around the world — but you also get quaint anecdotes and cooking advice from — yes, yes — Vincent Freaking Price!

Even still, it’s not like I’m going to pick just any recipe from this cookbook. I mean, I could go the campy route and share their favorite Bloody Mary recipe (p. 416). No, instead, I decided now was the perfect opportunity to explore a gourmet “quinto quarto” meal. It was not hard to find one, either.

I chose a French recipe called “Ris de veau à la crème”, which means “veal sweetbreads in cream”. This classic gourmet French recipe came from The Red Carpet restaurant in Chicago.

For those unfamiliar with the term, sweetbreads are definitely not bread nor are they very sweet. Sweetbreads are an organ meat, specifically the thymus and pancreas glands of an animal. The rounder pancreas gland, or “noix” in French cuisine, near the heart or stomach has a more delicate flavor and smoother texture than the tubular thymus throat gland, called the “gorge“. Other forms of offal, like the tongue, sometimes also get lumped in as sweetbreads, but they aren’t the same.

As the recipe calls for veal sweetbreads, this right off the bat requires a gourmet butcher. Some stores might carry lamb (ris d’agneau) instead. You might find pork or beef, but unlike kidneys, if you are going to eat glands, why not go for the best? If you can find them.

ANALYSIS
Serves: 6
Preparation time: about 8 hours to overnight
Cooking time: 25 minutes

Ingredients
3 pairs fresh sweetbreads (about 3 pounds)
Ice water
4 cups water
1 tsp salt
1 Tbsp lemon juice
flour to dredge (about 1 cup)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper, fresh ground
1/4 lb bacon (4 oz), chopped
2 Tbsp chopped onion
1/2 cup sliced mushrooms
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 cups cream
1 Tbsp minced parsley

Apparatus
Large bowl
Saucepan
Cutting board
Sharp knife
Two baking sheets or casserole pans
Saute pan or skillet
Optional – plastic wrap and paper towels

Method
Prepare the Sweetbreads

  1. Wash your sweetbreads in cold water and place into a large bowl. To the bowl, add ice and water. This is to leach out any excess blood in the sweetbreads. You’ll need to keep them in clean ice water for about 2-3 hours, changing the water several times.
  2. Into a saucepan, pour the 4 cups of water, lemon juice, and salt. Add the chilled sweetbreads and simmer for 5 minutes to blanch them. While this simmers, prepare another bowl of ice water. (You can of course use the same bowl from before, but wash it well and add fresh ice water.)
  3. After the five minutes, move the sweetbreads straight into the ice bath. This stops the cooking process immediately. They don’t need more than a minute to shock them. Transfer them all to a clean cutting surface.
  4. After the blanch and shock, the membrane around the sweetbreads becomes easier to remove. Using a very sharp knife, take the thicker parts off. You will want the nodules underneath to stay together as well as possible.
  5. On a chilled baking sheet lay down a sheet of plastic wrap and a paper towel on top of that. Lay out the sweetbreads. Cover these with another paper towel and plastic wrap.
  6. On top of this, place a casserole pan full of more ice water. (More ice than water this time.) This provides a weight to flatten out sweetbreads, squeezing out most of the remaining water and firming them up. If you don’t have a casserole pan, you can place another baking sheet on top and add some weights. If you have a bag of ice to lay on top, that could work.
  7. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours. As long as these stay cold, you could let these press overnight.

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Cook the Sweetbreads
  1. Dredge the sweetbreads in flour with salt, and pepper. If you use a closable container or a bag and shake them, you’ll get a nice light dusting and you won’t have messy hands.
  2. In a  sauté pan or large skillet add the chopped bacon. Over low heat, cook the bacon, rendering the fat without cooking the bacon too much.
  3. Add the onions and mushrooms and  sauté until they are soft.
  4. Add the sweetbreads and sauté for 2 minutes on each side, until browned.
  5. Remove everything to a plate and set aside.

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Make the Sauce
  1. Deglaze the saute pan with the white wine, then add the cream and stir to combine.
  2. Return the sweetbreads and mixture to the pan and cook over low heat for 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

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Presentation
  1. Serve on a platter, pouring the extra sauce on top of the sweetbreads. Garnish with the parsley.

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DISSECTION
I had to buy beef (not veal) sweetbreads, and they were $3.19/lb at my local gourmet grocery store. Other stores I frequent told me that they just don’t bother with them.
 
The rounder pancreas gland, or “noix” in French cuisine, near the heart or stomach has a more delicate flavor and smoother texture than the tubular thymus throat gland, called the “gorge“. The one-pound packages of sweetbreads I bought came with two noix and no gorge. This saved me the trouble of cutting through even more membrane to separate them.Do make sure when you buy them that they’re still pale-to-white, fleshy and firm. Cook them within 24 hours — do not freeze them. I learned this lesson the hard, chewy way.
 
This procedure uses a LOT of ice water, so make sure you have plenty of ice on hand. Also, chopping raw bacon is hard, or rather I should say, greasy and thick. I had to use my wife’s super-sharp knives from her culinary school to even give it a go. So, I’d recommend freezing the bacon first. Or, if you give up, cook the bacon and then crumble it afterward. I won’t tell anybody. Also, FYI, chopped raw bacon actually looks worse than the sweetbreads. Seriously.I used an inexpensive bottle of California Sauvignon Blanc for this. I’m not Julia Child, you know. I do enjoy “a liitle wine for the sauce, a little wine for the chef.” You didn’t think I was going to cook this sober, did you?
 
Here’s a tip that you can use no matter what you dredge for a breading: use a closeable container or a bag. Even with a wet dredge. Your hands will thank you. 
 
POST-MORTEM

This was my first time cooking sweetbreads. I thought they tasted like a mild beef, however, the meat was not very tender. The dish was very much like eating a chewy, lightly-breaded country-fried steak in gravy.
 
I think erred on the long side of blanching, pressing, and cooking. I have updated the recipe above accordingly and I think this works better. I also made the mistake of freezing my sweetbreads as I know they are very perishable and I did not have a chance to cook them right away. Some research has confirmed this is a very bad thing. Buy, prepare, and cook within 24 hours seems to be the consensus.
 
Truth be told, the bacon and mushrooms were key to this dish. The bacon added a friendly, familiar flavor (but did not overpower it) and the mushrooms provided texture that complimented the sweetbreads nicely.
 
The good news is that I enjoyed the dish, and even my 20-something stepson liked it (though he added a lot of hot sauce as he is want to do for just about everything.) I would definitely cook this again, or try another simpler sweetbreads dish. (I have another sweetbreads recipe slated for episode #106!) This one was very labor and patience intensive.

Kbatz: Vincent Price the Maestro!

Posted in News with tags , , , , on June 10, 2014 by kbattz

 

Vincent Price, That Horror Maestro!

By Kristin Battestella

 

Who doesn’t love Vincent Price, honestly?  Here’s a quick list to begin your infatuation.

 

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The Fly – VP supports his brother David Hedison (Live and Let Die) and sister in law Patricia Owens (Seven Women from Hell) as the subdued straight man to the sweet, 1958 colorful, high tech, mad scientist lab hysterics here.  Though the French angles are limited to a few names and words; other fine touches like buzzing in the scoring, mid century décor, and debates over science versus religion, the sacredness of life over human intelligence, and the horrors of meddling with it all keep this version fresh. Early talk of teleportation and transporting food ideas and how they could solve world’s problems still say a lot, along with the fun and dang decent-if loud- special effects.  I never knew there was so much suspense in catching a little fly!  Even if modern audiences may find this film tame or hokey now in comparison to Croneberg’s remake or other contemporary science fiction horror, there’s a great build up of hidden what you don’t see to the insect reveal- and the fly work still looks good.  Distorted bugview camerawork and tiny shockers just do wonders:  ‘Help me! Help me!’

 

House on Haunted Hill – Master of horror Vincent Price stars as Frederick Loren- a bored millionaire throwing a party for his young, jealous, and greedy wife Annabelle (Carol Omhart)- complete with a haunted house, plenty of scotch, and revolvers in mini coffins as favors. Five financially challenged guests must spend the night locked in the haunted house, and those who survive until morning will walk away with $10,000. While that’s hardly a lot of money today, and other aspects of the film have not stood the test of time, Vincent Price is near perfection. The husky voiced veteran proves his worth here. The multifaceted actor chews up Loren and thoroughly enjoys the cheeky interplay and reminiscing about poison. With a cast of other now relative unknowns, director William Castle succeeds in reaching his audience. These guests are indeed regular, desperate people who need to endure this house for money – average Joes like you and me. Although it is firmly placed in its fifties mentality, Castle and writer Robb White touch a greedy, timeless concept – what would you do for $10,000?

 

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The Tingler – Director William Castle bemusingly warns the audience of his latest theatrics of the day to open this 1959 parasite horror funfest and assures us it is okay to scream! Yes, the attempt at sexy film noir stylings for Patricia Cutts (I Was a Male War Bride) is hokey, but Judith Evelyn’s (Giant) mute and silent scares do wonders along with great uses of color- yes color- in a black and white film. The blurred lines between the onscreen silent movie house and the then theater experience are also kitschy good, with Big V almost playing a film within a film event when the screen goes black.  In fact, with the right set up and approach, this tactic could still work in the cinema today- and be far better than all the headache inducing 3D. Price, of course, is just a little too nonchalant about doing an autopsy isn’t he?  It’s so creepy the way he investigates fear from the mind and shock on the body as if it were no big deal to experiment at the expense of others.  Certainly, the idea of a tingly worm on our spines festering on our fears is totally preposterous- but Price sells it and the camp of it all wonderfully.  Really, when a film uses LSD as part of the plot, we can’t be expected to take the science too seriously.

 

The Comedy of Terrors – This 1964 blend of humor and creepy reunites Big V with Boris Karloff and Peter Lorre (The Raven) and Basil Rathbone and Joyce Jameson (Tales of Terror) – and oh, can Price feign that sympathy as a stressed and struggling undertaker!  Lorre is wonderful as OMP’s little assistant Gillie- the pair is almost vaudeville in their interrupted wrong doings and ironic conversations.  It’s great to see everyone- usually so serious and refined- having a good time. Yes, it’s campy and over the top- but the cast makes the humor amid the horror acceptable.  We like to see them poke fun at themselves- Lorre bothering to open a cut out door to make his exit or Rathbone’s crazy and wonderfully windblown quoting of Macbeth amid his mistaken bouts of catalepsy! Writer Richard Matheson (Legend of Hell House) keeps the wit on form for the performances, and the smartly timed funerary gags and physical comedy work perfectly with director Jacques Tourneur’s (Cat People) use of high speed film, distorted organ music, and Jameson’s fun off key opera.  There’s a sense of Victorian carnival and flair amid the darker tone and open, stage-like atmosphere. Obviously, this set up is not meant to be super scary and some audiences may not like the toe toward slapstick, but there are some juicy and fearful pursuits in the final act. All the spooky of similar films is here along with some self-awareness and solid entertainment. Karloff’s clueless old man is worth the price (hee, no pun intended!) of admission alone.

 

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The Last Man on Earth – A wonderfully subtle and largely solitary performance by Vincent Price anchors this 1964 debut adaption of Richard Matheson’s novel I am Legend. The voiceovers and somewhat comical undead might be tough for some, but the focus on melancholy and slowly degenerating delivery works with the post-apocalyptic depression and isolation. Of course, the plot isn’t all silent and alone- flashbacks detailing the genesis of the vampire-like pestilence and the subsequent collapse of family break up the despair nicely.  Unlike the bigger scope and action of Will Smith’s recent I am Legend or the seventies garish of Charlton Heston’s Omega Man- both good in their own right- the time here is better spent on the intimate and personal in examination of self and society.  The simplest need for companionship, the arrogance of man, humanity’s stupid short sightedness- really, I don’t know why Matheson was displeased with the final result here.

 

The Abominable Dr. Phibes – Vincent Price venges on with Joseph Cotton (Shadow of a Doubt) in this 1971 cult classic of bizarre visuals, weird music, and mod yet deco design. Perhaps not everyone will like the pseudo psychedelic and dialogue-less 10 minute opening, but the Biblically inspired revenge is oh so sweet and dare I say it dang crafty! Bumbling Brit Inspector Peter Jeffrey (Anne of A Thousand Days) is a little stereotypical and I’m not sure about Cotton’s accent, but Price himself doesn’t even speak until a half hour into the movie-sort of.  His silent and obsessive plan, wild looking eyes, and methodically orchestrated kills perfectly exemplify that faint line between mad man and genius.  Beautiful and angelic but deadly Virginia North (On Her Majesty’s Secret Service) is also delightfully disturbing as Phibes’ assistant Vulnavia.  The intelligent-if witty and campy- performances and script unfold layer by layer for a fun and memorable conclusion to a film quite unlike any other.  Take in the sequel Dr. Phibes Rises Again for more.

 

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Kbatz: Christopher Lee Delights!

Posted in News with tags , , , , , on June 9, 2014 by kbattz

Christopher DeLEEful Films!

By Kristin Battestella

 

How does one choose the best or most beloved pictures from Sir Christopher Lee’s extensive film repertoire?  Short answer: you can’t. Long answer: I’m going to try a batch of my horror favorites here!

 

Horror of Dracula – Well, well. Director Terence Fisher is here again for the one that started it all!  Even with little dialogue, Lee is tall and imposing, his stature and glare deadly and delightful.  Appearing a half hour into the film, top billed Peter Cushing as Van Helsing is also simply badass. There are unique changes to the tale from Hammer writer Jimmy Sangster (Horror of Frankenstein) of course, with library scholar Harker engaged to Lucy and more character switcharoos. Dracula is also decidedly styled as an English gentleman yet the story never leaves Central Europe.  This also doesn’t look 1958 as we expect from the Leave It to Beaver types.  Yes, it’s bright and colorfully filmed in the style of the time, but this Dracula is dark, gothic, and feels earnest, passionate, deadly.  There’s something so nasty about the way Lucy opens the door, removes her cross, lays out, and unbuttons the nightgown!  All the staples- stakes, garlic, candles, coffins- are here; everything we expect a proper vampire tale to be twists together with great deception and scares.  Hot damn!

 

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Horror Hotel – This 1960 low budget scary also called The City of the Dead opens with a 1692 good and wicked burning at the stake and it only gets freakier from there.  Yes, it looks a little poor in quality, is too dark sometimes, and the hep cat guys are a dime a dozen.  The fog and flickering firelight, however, add heaps of disturbia, and we just know this sinister- er sleepy hamlet isn’t what it seems. Investigating ingénue Venetia Stevenson (Island of Lost Women) is a sunny and fun fish out of water we can get behind as she blindly plunges deeper into the Massachusetts bizarre.  Sir Christopher is of course smashing as a deathly serious but young and oh so suave professor who knows his witchcraft history too well. Even in the seemingly forgotten 80 minutes here, his contribution is essential, his performance quintessential.  Toss in a swanky score and you have all the brewing ingredients needed for future Amicus Productions’ horror gems. Who knew?

 

Dracula: Prince of Darkness –  This Terence Fisher helmed 1966 sequel opens with a revisit to his Horror of Dracula and adds fun Victorian via sixties ladies, freaky servant Philip Latham (The Pallisers), action monk Andrew Kier (Cleopatra), candlelit ambiance, and sweet velvet décor.  There’s actually a touch of the novel as well, with hints of Renfield and visiting English twists- except our Carpathian guests are two couples this time around. Barbara Shelley (also of The Gorgon) makes a great scaredy cat who would be annoying except that we know somebody should take heed in a vampire picture! Besides, it’s always the good girls like Suzan Farmer (Die, Monster, Die!) who go so bad for Dracula! Even though we know a resurrection ritual is coming, it’s still bloody impressive- literally and figuratively. There’s a great sense of foreboding fear with scary music as Lee silently hypnotizes and takes the dames as he wills in what seems like less than 10 minutes! I know he did some of these films under protest and had conflicts over the dialogue, but Dracula need not speak to be badass either. OMC’s great strength, overbearing physicality, and evil red eyes more than fit the terror bill.  It’s actually fitting that there are no wither tos and why fors- just a silent, powerful, unstoppable menace. We don’t have outright nudity or such for this round, but the vamp approach and violation works.

 

Dracula Has Risen from the Grave – A sweet, bloody, almost Bond-esque introduction and a fun opening shocker lead off the revenge plotting, suspenseful carriage chases, surprising character development, saucy bedroom scenes, religious twists, and rooftop pursuits in this 1968 sequel. Whew! It’s quite intriguing to for once see what would possibly happen after Bram, as we instead focus on Monsieur Rupert Davies (Maigret), priest Ewan Hopper (Julius Caesar), and the terrified village folk who all still live in the shadow of Big C.  We actually see more of Lee as Dracula earlier on in the film, and this time he even speaks!  Well, it’s only about dozen lines and we still don’t really have enough of the eponymous villain, but Sir Christopher has more to do here. Dracula is quite sensual and kinky; all these necks and bosoms just thrust right at him!  Though filmed well, the production values seem a step down from the usual Hammer high style, and the women seem a little too sixties designed instead of the late Victorian onscreen. Young Barry Andrews (Blood on Satan’s Claw) is also too hepcat annoying, as is bad girl Barbara Ewing (Torture Garden) to start- but we know Dracula will educate her- a bite, a beat down, a catfight! Yes, the titular revival is a little preposterous, but its also pretty creative- even if the vampire rules, times, and places established in the first two films are fudged up. The horror sound effects are great, along with impressively eerie green glow effects and colored lens tricks. It does indeed look like death here!

 

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The Devil’s Bride – Frequent Hammer director Terrence Fisher (Dracula: Prince of Darkness) helms this elusive 1968 satanic fest in which Christopher Lee is the good guy. Whoa.  Let’s just take in that power of performance right there.  One of his personal film favorites, Lee ups the ante- using all his coy, charisma, and stature for the occult heroics and parental considerations here.  He looks damn classy, and Charles Gray (Diamonds Are Forever) is dynamite as well. Two Bond villains for the price of one- that has to be worth a look!  Leon Greene (A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum) as Big C’s sidekick starts out as a little stereotypical chum chum disbelieving cheerio, but he takes up the cause wonderfully- though I don’t really understand why an English guy was dubbed for an English movie? The thirties via sixties style is also suave: sweet roadsters and English country car chases, cool suits, and great frocks all around.  Sigh, candlestick phones!  We have genuine frights, smart mystery, and fun cloak and dagger action along with great color and decent, scary effects.  If the eyes are the window to the soul indeed…shudder.  Though I’m not sure of the actual details, the rituals are realistic and the occult material is intelligently handled for a dang good time. Now if only the DVD- also titled The Devil Rides Out – wasn’t so damn tough to find!

 

Taste the Blood of Dracula (1970)– Well, in this Hammer’s fifth Dracula themed film, Big C has a sweet intro tying into his previous entry, 1968’s Dracula Has Risen from the Grave.  The occult circumstances leading to Dracula’s resurrection here are also lovely horror treats- creepy organ music, lightning crackles, and bright red oh so delightfully fake blood!  Even if Lee only has about a dozen mostly one-word lines, he’s still enchanting, suave, and lays on the kinky with Linda Hayden (Blood on Satan’s Claw) and Isla Blair (Battle of Britain). What can I say; he knows how to dominate a picture! While this outing suffers a little bit from lack of other stars- it’s tough to enjoy all these Brit blokes who all seem the same- the Victorian flavor, gore, and underlying cheeky are just right. So what if the cult rituals in the titular quest are over the top. You can read into all the blood, life, and naughty symbolism if you want, but Taste is also a lot of fun; everything we expect in a good old midnight movie.  I do grant that the plastic gardens are hokey, but I like that something special and stage-like intimacy where nothing but a good cape, red eyes, and pimpin’ fangs are needed.

 

Scars of Dracula – Roy Ward Baker (The Vampire Lovers) takes the helm for this 1970 entry in the Hammer series once again starring Christopher Lee as the eponymous count. The plot kind of sort of picks up from Taste the Blood of Dracula with the pre-requisite resurrection in the first few moments and sets the mood with booming orchestration, outdoor scenery, wild carriages, and cool castle interiors accented by red décor and bloody, pecked, and stabbed victims. Yes, the period design is cheap and the plot standard – a young village girl is attacked, angry townsfolk and the clergyman head off for Dracula’s known lair, one person doesn’t heed said village’s advice, a couple pursues him to the castle… The tale starts several times and takes too long with seemingly random players before the vamp action, and most of this set up could have been abandoned for an in medias res cold open. Expected series inconsistencies and a plodding lack of panache detract from the Stoker touches, but Lee looks good, mixing both violent and torturous intensity with suave and delicate mannerisms.  From casual dining and conversations to a seductive vampire bride and slightly hokey bat control, Lee has much more to do with these developments, and it’s wonderfully creepy. Likewise, Patrick Troughton (Doctor Who) is a seedy, hairy, hatchet wielding, and conflicted henchman. Though the nudity and bed hopping are a little more risqué, there could have been more and subtitles would clarify a lot! Yes, it’s somewhat typical with nothing new on the vampire theme, but Lee’s presence anchors the spooky iconography here.

 

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Dracula A.D. 1972 Numero 7 brings Dracula back once again-and this time, the titular year is where all the juice happens with Stephanie Beacham (The Colbys) and Caroline Munro (The Spy Who Loved Me).  The swanky scoring is a lot of fun, but director Alan Gibson (also of the follow up Satanic Rites of Dracula) wastes time on dated onscreen band performances. We don’t need lengthy 1972 establishing, and the now retro styles would have look cool old school if they weren’t so dang garish. We poke fun at the psychedelic, sure, but imagine how ugly current slasher horror films brimming with kids in the latest fashions are going to look in 40 years! The annoying hepcats wannabes here make things too bad English; Scream and Scream Again does the formula just a little bit better. Thankfully, Peter Cushing’s return as Grandpa Van Helsing is classier and action pimpin’ then all of the little boys put together! Of course, things kick up when Lee is resurrected and Cushing takes up the fight, but who knew Dracula was down with the swirl?  Pity he is only in a reluctant handful of scenes with another dozen obligatory lines.

 

The Satanic Rites of Dracula – This direct sequel and number eight in the Hammer Dracula cannon sticks to the contemporary designs from its 1972 predecessor with more faux Bondian opening titles, breasts, and bad zooms. Though the sets and scenery are a little bland, drab, and not as colorful as the previous outing, the blood, kinky vampire brides, and disturbing rituals get all the horror across just fine. It’s also neat to see tapes, slides, and old style investigations instead of high tech CSI.  The modern spy angle and same old Scotland Yard inspectors are, however, a little ho-hum in overtaking the expected vampness. Van Helsing’s credentials change to fit the themes here, but PC is still sweet- slapping people around to get his answers and taking long contemplative drags on his cigarette.  Big C commands a lot of attention with his strong, distinctive voice and speech, yet his silent and brutal sweeping in and conquering works in his handful of scenes here. There’s something so sensual about not always seeing the actual taking bite, just the fear before and the deadly euphoria after.  Yes, perhaps the ‘spies saving England from vampires’ plot might not always work, but the latent lesbian vampire action and orgasmic stakings go a long way for old school male audiences.

 

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To the Devil a Daughter – Though it may look old, this 1976 satanic thriller boasts a great cast- including reluctant occult expert Richard Widmark (Cheyenne Autumn), juicy dame Honor Blackman (Goldfinger), unaware but not so young and innocent would be nun Nastassja Kinski (Cat People), and fearing for the err of his ways Denholm Elliot (Raiders of the Lost Ark).  Now then, let’s top all that off with a downright frightening Big C, too!  This one is very bizarre to start; the rituals are totally kinky, and the intentions are absolutely disturbing.  Lee’s Father Michael is even scarier than his Dracula- perhaps because he is a real soulless man of flesh with such a wicked, wicked agenda.  Yes, the ending is a little flat- resorting to abstract demon talk and psychedelic colors after all that great intelligence and paranoia.  But it’s damn good in getting there, and I’m not sure why there’s so little fanfare about this one.  I really liked it!

Dawn’s Dark Music Corner: Murder Weapons

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , , on June 8, 2014 by elektronikadance

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meganphotojessecoreyThe sound of Murder Weapons has been described as Shock-Rock Horror Industrial.Samples from actual trials of serial killers, horror flicks and other auditory terrors are amply delivered by this quintet, punctuating the tracks with bloody CHEESE. Live shows feature a “SPLASH ZONE” of blood and various body parts. Audiences have become accustomed this Murder Therapy, featuring gory visuals, simulated murders and blood splattered cage dancers. Amidst the scene of chaos, gore and murder the band churns out a barrage of guitar driven, hard hitting, rhythmic, aggressive, electronic industrial audio terror for your delight!

Murder Weapons began in 2012 when founder Jesse RazOrr begun writing music based on a fascination with serial killers, horror films, and the finer things in life. Not surprisingly, the music was dark and aggressive. Jesse began forming the band with keyboardist, Luke Guillotine , drummer Lynn Shank and guitarist, Gorey Clawhammer. All that was needed was a vocalist. In summer of 2012, Murder Weapons was offered the opportunity to open for a national act in Seattle. Seattle rock-electronic vocalist, Dawn WoodKill, joined the Family and rehearsal commenced. By December, Murder Weapons was opening for major Industrial acts such as My Life with the Thrill Kill Kult, Angel Spit, Angels on Acid, Psyclon 9, Charlie Drown and Hanzel und Gretyl, as well as co-headlining Seattle’s Mechafest later that year. Currently, Murder Weapons is working on new material as well as a studio album and is obliterating the Northwest regularly. The next live show in Seattle will feature Murder Weapons, once again, opening for My Life with the Thrill Kill Kult.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/murd3rweapon5

Twitter: @murderweapons

Reverb Nation: http://www.reverbnation.com/murderweapons

YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/MurderWeapons

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Kbatz: A Peter Cushing Passion!

Posted in News with tags , , , , , on June 7, 2014 by kbattz

Respect Horror Pimp Peter Cushing!

By Kristin Battestella

 

Along with Christopher Lee, this unassuming and charming little man stood tall for Hammer Films and took on many memorable characters even before he blessed us as Grand Moff Tarkin in Star Wars. Bow!

 

The Curse of Frankenstein (1957) Director Terence Fisher (Sword of Sherwood Forest, not to mention 4 Frankenstein sequels) puts the Hammer spin on this Mary Shelley classic with more frame and focus on Peter Cushing’s mad scientist Baron Victor von Frankenstein than his monster creation Christopher Lee.  Robert Urquhart (Knights of the Round Table) is delightful as the tragic voice of reason, and Hazel Court (The Masque of the Red Death) adds the proper feminine screams, too.  Although the colorful Victorian style is typical and the old time science is downright phooey, the creepy tone, kinky undercurrent, and sinister plots build wonderfully. Even knowing how this tale plays out, there are still plenty of scares, suspense, and unethical monstrosities to be had here.

 

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The Revenge of Frankenstein – Finally, finally I’ve got my hands on this 1958 Hammer sequel!  Now called ‘Victor Stein of the Switzerland branch’, Peter Cushing (I see your lack of Sir Christopher and raise you a Grand Moff Tarkin!) is once again delightfully ruthless in his delivery and actions- and looking fine while at it, too. A 19th century doctor with ladies packing into his waiting room, hmm… He seems so reformed to start, helping the poor and suffering patients- but we should know better! Cushing’s wicked suave villainy trumps all the inconsistencies in this series.  Despite director Terence Fisher’s (helmer of all except Evil of Frankenstein) best efforts, at this point, I don’t even think it matters what order you watch Hammer’s Frankenstein films. Fortunately, the stylized gore and expected Victorian flavor make up for any errors- even if the tone is more English than Continental.  The laboratory is sweet, and the bodily transformation for the hunchbacked Karl (Oscar Quintak and Michael Gwynn) tells a lovely story. Frankenstein’s just misguided, isn’t he? This new body is a good thing, right? Unfortunately, the extremes for science are just too murderous for the brain to handle, and the scares, shocks, and freaky deformities are perfection.

 

The Hound of Baskervilles – A solid and demented colonial prologue opens this 1959 Sherlock Holmes treat in the expected Hammer Horror style, and oft director Terrence Fisher keeps the suspense and thrilling moments going. Our dynamite duo has some sweet indoor and outdoor photography and lush Victorian looks to play with, too.  Peter Cushing is speedy and witty as Holmes, with an extra suave pose and flair to his actions, and boy Christopher Lee looks so young and smashing!  He fits perfectly as the snotty heir presumptive and should have been a traditional romantic lead far more often. Andre Morell (Ben-Hur) is also quite the fun, capable sidekick as Watson, and likewise Francis de Wolff (Scrooge) as Mortimer keeps the plot chewed and juicy. This is a fast-paced hour and a half with a smartly timed and unraveling puzzle. I definitely wish Hammer would have continued a Sherlock series as planned. If the Doyle arena weren’t so crowded today, I’d love nuHammer to try its hand. I suppose each generation wants to put its stamp on the detective, and perhaps not all fans of the newfangled Holmes approaches will enjoy the dry wit, British humor (should I say humour?) or possibly stuffy style here. Cinematic tricks, visual cues, and action twists are added to the tale, sure. However, all the traditional magic here exceeds an old-fashioned audience’s expectations.  Longtime fans of the cast, Holmes, and Hammer designs will certainly delight.

 

The Brides of Dracula – Peter Cushing returns- without the titular Big D- for this 1960 Hammer sequel directed by Terence Fisher (also of the precursor Horror of Dracula).  Here the once again young, suave, taking names and staking dames Van Helsing puts the cross to Yvonne Monlaur (Circus of Horrors), Martita Hunt (Great Expectations, Anastasia) and Andree Melly (The Belles of St. Trinian’s).  Though the Hammer sets are a little familiar, naturally; the scary sound effects, Goth Victorian dressings, lots of candles, and plenty of red velvet work toward a great, old fashioned, classy atmosphere. This chick spin on Bram Stoker’s plotting is unique, juicy, and dangerous-all these sexy women with secrets, screams, and fangy hysteria!  This probably wasn’t the first of the Hammer Dracula series that I saw growing up, but it’s the one that sticks in my mind best- mostly because of a sweet climatic finale.  Granted the inconsistencies are iffy, but that windmill of danger, doom, and retribution is classic awesome.

 

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The Evil of Frankenstein – Baron Frankenstein is back!  Once again solo, Cushing handles this 1964 third film in the mad scientist focused Hammer set with gravitas and complexity.   Not so innocent assistant Sandor Eles (Countess Dracula), Kiwi Kingston (Hysteria) as the more traditionally styled monster, and creepy hypnotist Peter Woodworthpe (Inspector Morse) do drag a few scenes down.  However, there’s great spooky and demented music, delicate Victorian accents, cobwebbed castles, and all kinds of cool evil laboratory Rube Goldbergs to keep things pretty and entertaining.  Yes, longtime horror studies may notice the flashbacks and continuity here doesn’t always make sense.  Big whoop.  Other than a few inconsistencies and some screen or matte work, there’s actually very little to woefully date this movie- unlike modern effects laden films that rush for the now and get passé within five years.  Director Freddie Francis (Dr. Terror’s House of Horrors) keeps things in the ‘made to look old’ classy vein, with plenty of tragedy, smarts, and some fun horror hysterics, too.  Frankenstein uses an oil lamp as a weapon, beat that!

 

Frankenstein Created Woman – Pimp Cushing returns to his titular villainy for this 1967 sequel of sorts co-starring Susan Denberg (recognizable from the original Star Trek’s ‘”Mudd’s Women”) as his conflicted but deadly creation. The resurrection of the slightly more tender Baron thanks to his henchman Thorley Walters (The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes’ Smarter Brother) and Robert Morris (Quartermass and the Pit) is almost mythical, as is the suggestion of his work delving towards black magic or sorcery in the quest for higher understanding.  The philosophical concepts, cruelty, legal injustice, and soulful debates add dimension and horror depths. What happens to love, innocence, and inner beauty when a tormented soul is given a pretty new body? The Victorian stock and demented laboratory look great in establishing the radical and unethical experimentations, too.  In addition to great guillotine suggestions and smart uses of red wine symbolism and color, there’s some sweet murder and suspense brought forth by the almost ghostly crossover vengeance.  While some may find the plot too abstract or even goofy, the big scary questions that come with science going to far work beautifully with the period creepy. Scientific reincarnation, horror, spirituality- all in one Hammer delight!

 

Frankenstein Must be Destroyed – Okay, there are more series inconsistencies that might hamper this 1969 outing for some; in many ways, it seems like the Hammer Frankenstein films were themselves released out of order, go figure.  The derelict laboratory scares, lady screams, and medical thrills here are darker, more sinister, and brutal compared to the previous installment indeed.  Cush is totally freaky this go round- nasty from beginning to end with an acerbic delivery and vehement action both for and against coerced accomplices Simon Ward (Young Winston) and Veronica Carlson (also of Dracula Has Risen from the Grave). How could such a charming little old man play such a saucy bastard? Shudder.  The visual mix of finery, top hats, and spats clashing with dirty acts and bloody surgery send the period fine furnishings and Victorian protocol on its ear.  Returning director Terrence Fisher (must I?) keeps things very intense, well paced, and properly played for a complete science horror ride.  Cocaine use, ethics of medicine, lunacy- with all this juice, it’s easy to say to hell with film continuity!

 

The Vampire Lovers –Ingrid Pitt and Peter Cushing star in Hammer’s kinky 1970 adaptation of Carmilla, and this one all but has it all!  It doesn’t look dated one bit, is still very well paced, and keeps up the entertainment through out.  Very nice fog and castle moods, early 19th century frocks and wispy nightgowns, sparkling candelabras and jewelry- it all sets the tone for plenty of blood, fangs, bites, and lots and lots of boobs.  The askew, black and white dreamlike photography and scary outdoor locations set off the definite lesbian juiciness, but fans of girl on girl vampire action and those of straight horror can both enjoy alike. The virginal Madeline Smith (Live and Let Die) ups the vampire prey, Kate O’Mara (Dynasty) is also darkly enchanting, and Pippa Steele (of the follow up Lust for a Vampire) is a real screamer!  Okay, the opening narration is a bit much and the music is kind of loud but really, no quibbles here. Now if only the two sequels were readily available stateside!

 

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Twins of Evil – Another horror gem that goes by a dozen different titles and is tragically near impossible to find! Lovely playmates Mary and Madeleine Collinson join a zealous witch finder Cushing in this 1971 pseudo sequel prequel to The Vampire Lovers.  Even if the ladies may seem young or look a little too seventies ingénue to start, they are simply dynamite in their matching frocks and do fit the colonial style. Without subtitles, the accents and dubbing might be iffy for some, but so what.  It might also be tough to tell the girls apart initially, but bad girl Frieda makes herself known against good twin Maria, and the audience is treated to mistaken identity suspense, decent effects, and some sensual scares.  And oh, how Big Pete rocks that puritan look! He’s scary strict yet charismatic in his persecutions and latently kinky in beating and burning pretty girls. Cushing raises the evil fears and witchy terrors amid the vampness along with the slick Damien Thomas (Jane Eyre) as Count Karnstein. Who’s more the villain, the count who makes no secret of his bloodthirsty practices or the ringleader who burns the innocent?  Though juicy, some of the plotting here doesn’t make sense if you think too hard, for writer Tudor Gates (also Lust of the Vampire) may stray too far from the film’s predecessors and the Carmilla novel. Nevertheless, there’s great blood, boobs, black candles, and rituals to enjoy, along with a fun Katya Wyeth (A Clockwork Orange) appearing for Mircalla’s rising and seduction scenes.  Stroke that candle girl!

 

Horror Express The DVD transfer on this 1973 Peter Cushing and co. fright fest is damn bad, ripe with too dark to see images, background noise, and ridiculously soft dialogue and dubbing. The turn of the century Asia locale looks cheap, the archaeology and science of the time stinks, and the editing is poor in my cut up 85 minute print.  Nevertheless, Christopher Lee is young, juicy, and rockin’ the porn mustache! This cargo gone wrong tale with a splash of religion and aliens has a fun train bound cast of characters, all of them with something to hide. Sure, the effects are a little hokey, but the less is more mystery does well- and the scary red eyes work. There’s rapid isolation for the evil monsters to run amok, kinky implications, betrayal, tension among passengers, and ambiguity among our boys. Lee and Cushing- both good guys working together for a change!  Add an unexpected and fun appearance by Telly Savalas (Kojak), humor and great quips, even some genuinely scary and jumpy moments along with the contained paranoia and you’ve got a damn fine little horror movie. This one definitely deserves to be cleaned up- hopefully the recent blu-ray does some justice.  As much as I’m against modern remakes- and Lee would have to make a cameo appearance in any update- in the right hands, this contained, fearful formula could work anew.

 

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FLASH FICTION FRIDAY: ANN WILKES

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , on June 6, 2014 by Horror Addicts Guest

Surprise!

By Ann Wilkes

 

After removing her cheesecake, Francine tapped the cheesecake button on the fridge’s touchpad. The fridge hummed softly, updating the grocery list to include the ingredients from Francine’s recipe. Being Type H, Francine liked to make cheesecake from scratch, in order to control what went into her food.

She brought the cheesecake into the living room where china dessert plates, forks, napkins and serving utensil waited on a whitelist-tagged, lace table runner on the coffee table. “Dana, I can’t believe you had to endure that,” she said to her friend as she joined her on the sofa.

“I’ll never eat there again, I can tell you. Imagine! Non-filtered ice and a sticky tabletop! Ooh, that looks delicious.” Dana’s eyes sparkled and she leaned forward to help herself. “Ouch!” She jerked in her seat, her hand moving to her pocket.

“Are you okay?”

“Yeah, I saved Jimmy’s toy from the vacuum this morning and forgot to put it away.” Dana pulled out an action figure from her front pants’ pocket and set it on the corner of the coffee table — or tried. It bounced off and hit her right on the nose. “Ouch!”

“Oh, no,” said Francine. “Are you ok? Let me have a look. Oh, dear.”

“I forgot about your repeller mat,” she said as if through a tunnel. “You should put a warning sticker on it.” Her nose began to swell. After putting the toy safely on the table runner, she sat back, tilting her head up to stop the throbbing. Francine ran for ice.

#

After seeing Dana off, Francine admitted to herself that she found the unexpected event exhilarating. When was the last time I was surprised by anything? she wondered. She questioned–not for the first time–her insulated Type H existence. Since high school, she had only associated with her personality type. Henry and she only frequented Type H places of business and only attended Type H parties. In high school, before the segregation, Francine thought, parties were fun, because people were flawed, varied and funny.

The next day, Francine called Stepford Industries to schedule a tune-up of all her SI Neat and Clean Devices. Repelling was one thing. Hurling heavy objects back at people would not do. The company assured her a Type H repairman would be there by the end of the day.

The repairwoman came three hours later, while Francine was gardening. Checking the woman’s ID on the security screen on the back patio, she read “Char Blake”. The letter in the lower left corner was a C! Francine opened her mouth to tell her to leave and send a Type H as agreed, but she realized what this was: a surprise! Instead, she said, “I’m gardening just now. You know where everything is.” She buzzed her in from the garden.

A thrill shot through Francine at the prospect of having a Type C in her home. What would Dana say? Or Henry? It was like a dirty secret. Type Cs didn’t worry about cleanliness, order or germs. They dreamed big, but finish things. They also procrastinated and eschewed promptness.

#

Char started with the repeller mat. Next, she serviced the laundrybot, the vacuumbot and the spillbot. Once she located it behind a dresser upstairs, she set to work on the bug-eating lizardbot. She would finish in the kitchen with the fridge and smartstove.

As Char bent over the bot’s open housing her nose dripped on the circuit board. She was burning up. She rubbed her runny nose and stood to adjust the thermostat leaving the lizard bot’s green tummy opened, circuits exposed. “Went and caught Clyde’s virus after all,” she muttered to herself. She went downstairs in search of something cold. She couldn’t believe the neatness of the fridge. Did she alphabetize, too, or just sort by food group? She had thought there were too many fussy-bots for a Type C house.

Char heard Francine cross the threshold to the kitchen right before she sneezed into the fridge.

Char shut the door and wavered. She looked at Francine. “Type H?”

Francine nodded, her eyes wide.

Cramps gripped her stomach and she vomited onto the counter, the front of the cupboards and the floor. Now she felt chilled. When she realized the Type H was going to be more concerned about infection than helping, she moaned.

“Call . . . ” she gasped.

#

Francine couldn’t move her feet. Where was the spillbot? The vidphone rested on the vomit-splattered counter.

The tech moaned again.

Francine willed her feet to move. She could use the vidphone in the den. As she strode by the kitchen, her blouse up over her face to keep from smelling the vomit, the lizardbot launched at her from the stairs. She shrieked and fought it off as it clung to her with its powerful, suction-cupped feet. She stumbled backwards into the kitchen as it darted its tongue out and licked her hair, pulling it out of her head. I must have gotten a bug in it from the garden.

She beat on the bot’s back trying to get to let go. Then she slipped on the vomit. Coming down with a thud, her head landed on the tech’s stomach. This triggered more vomit – right into Francine’s face. She wanted to scream, but dared not open her mouth. Then she passed out.

#

When Francine’s husband came home two hours later, he found his wife and a strange woman in coveralls on the kitchen floor. Francine’s mouth gaped open. Her red face looked like it’d been scrubbed raw. Her eyes didn’t focus. She didn’t move. Henry smelled spillbot cleaner. He stole himself to touch his wife’s ankle, not daring to come closer. She was stone cold.

The other woman whimpered, her eyes fluttering open.

In a panic, Henry ran out of his house for help. And then he just kept running. And running. And running. He couldn’t take surprises either.

******

As Ann Wilkes, Ann writes science fiction and fantasy. Her short stories read like Twilight Zone episodes – often tragic, funny or both. Her latest sales have been to Every Day Fiction and a Fantastic Stories anthology edited by Warren Lapine. Under her legal name, Ann Hutchinson, Ann writes memoir, fiction and lyrics. She is also a freelance journalist, copywriter and editor. She is currently co-editing an anthology to benefit the local YWCA as a labor of love. Ann loves dancing with her husband, Kevin, with whom she teaches private lessons. Read more at annwilkes.com, clevercopy.net, scifiodd.com and socodancebeat.com

Cheap reads

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , on June 5, 2014 by David Watson

21949677First up I want to talk about Even Hell Has Standards: Pride by Chantal Noordeloos. This book is available on amazon for 99 cents and its a great story. Adolf Zakerny is one evil man. He has lived his life as a tribute to hell. He is a serial killer who has killed and tortured hundreds of people and he believes that one day he will go to Hell and become a demon because he was so good at making people suffer.

Finally one day he is gunned down by police, his only regret is that he didn’t make it to 1,000 murders. As he arrives in Hell he finds that things aren’t what he thought they would be. He leaves one body and enters a new one which isn’t as good as the one he had. Also there is no fire and brimstone, just darkness and people waiting in long lines for their punishment. Adolf doesn’t get the hero’s welcome he thought he was going to get, he’s just another soul waiting to learn his fate in Hell.  Adolf doesn’t think of himself as the average soul and demands to see Lucifer.  Adolf is determined to make a name for himself as one of the greatest demons in Hell but Lucifer is not the person Adolf thinks he is and the devil has other plans for his soul.

I’ve read various works by Chantal Noordeloos, she is a great writer and this is another story by her that I couldn’t put down. This story works as a psychological horror story, a disturbing shockfest and a philosophical tale on how to live life. In some horror stories that I’ve read, the author tries hard to shock and terrify the reader but Chantal doesn’t have to try to shock you. The horror in her stories is organic. Chantal’s writing is scary without her even trying to be scary.

It’s hard to talk about my favorite parts of this book without giving to much of the story away but one part I did like was when Adolf gets to take a tour of Hell. In one of the rooms he sees Tantalus. Tantalus is a Greek mythological figure who is being punished for feeding his child to the gods.  When Adolf sees him he tries to prove himself to Lucifer by making Tantalus suffer more. This ends up being an impossible task and not for the reason you might think.

Another thing I liked about this book was how complex of a character Lucifer was. Lucifer also has a servant who is hardly in the story but comes across as being a sympathetic character when you realize who he was talking about when Adolf sees him for the first time. I also love the way he looks at Adolf as he leaves Lucifer’s chamber. At this point I would love to talk about the main theme that Chantal brings up in this story but I can’t without ruining this novella. So I’m just going to say that Even Hell Has Standards: Pride is only 99 cents and you should really go buy a copy.

7940988Here is a book you will find for free on Amazon. It’s Zombie Nights by Tom Lichtenberg. “Being a zombie, not so easy”. That could have been Dave Connor’s six word memoir. “At first he couldn’t remember how he’d ended up in that shallow grave; he just knew it was hell to claw his way out, and that the taste of its dirt would remain in his mouth for the rest of his time on this earth” … Expect the unexpected in this existential resurrection thriller.

The Book’s Review of Itself:

This is not really a story about zombies, for of course there are no such creatures,only maybe that some people are more dead than others, and while some people may have 20947585all the luck, others have very little of it. This is an absurdist fable at heart, whose moral is that no matter where you go, there you are, even after death.

One more book for 99 cents that I’m proud to have a small part in is 60 Black Women in Horror Fiction by Sumiko Saulson. February is African American History Month here in the United States. It is also Women in Horror Month (WiHM). This list of black women who write horror was compiled at the intersection of the two. It consists of an alphabetical listing of the women with biographies, photos, and web addresses, as well as interviews with nine of these women.

 

Press Release: Web Of Deceit

Posted in News with tags , , , , on June 4, 2014 by Horror Addicts Guest

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Michael Kyne and Bianca Allaine Barnett originally produced the short film Web of Deceit (formerly M is for Marriage) as an entry into the ABCs of Death 2 Search for the 26th Director competition. In that vote-based competition, Web of Deceit placed 20th out of over 250 entries from all over the world. Now, Michael and Bianca are raising funds to produce a limited run of 100 festival edition DVDs and take their short to independent film festivals. This limited festival edition will also contain bonus materials, including behind the scenes interviews and trailers.

 

Michael’s past work includes They Walk and Crazed, for which he was executive producer and special effects supervisor, and Lovely Molly, for which he worked in the costume department. Bianca’s past work includes the teen vampire comedy My Sucky Teen Romance, Evil Inside, the upcoming Bride From Hell, and Albino Farm, in which she portrayed the memorable villain Pig Bitch alongside WWE superstar Chris Jericho.


For more information on Web Of Deceit, check out these links:

http://www.biancawins.com

https://www.facebook.com/webofdeceitfilm

https://twitter.com/WebofDeceitFilm

For more info contact: webofdeceitfilm@gmail.com

 

 

HR Giger has Passed on into Another World.

Posted in News with tags , , , on June 1, 2014 by Mimielle

Maybe this was your first contact. 1979.

When the word ‘alien’ was truly redefined forever.

alien_poster_1979_cut

hr_giger_alien_iv

Or perhaps like myself, you are older and were more shocked at a younger age when the bizarrely beautiful works of HR Giger were a bit newer. One of these, perhaps?

80db35fd-a79e-46f4-b586-a741a09695e4-620x620

omni-giger

No matter, I am sure it was a memorable moment, a questioning and perhaps eerie moment. Yes? Yes!

Then you are more like me than I even imagined. I have tried to write an obituary for HR Giger for Horror Addicts but it more becomes a reflection, like his work. He was a private man, eschewing the spotlight in the dawning age of celebrity and in a time when illustration, design and fine art were perceived as more separate. He preferred to let his work speak for him. I respect that and have always looked to his art and never his fame or personal details. The hard and precise yet moody airbrush, the organic yet metal shapes, the reflection of us all that he captured when we weren’t looking. These are what speak to me and that is both the beauty and the horror that is his art and it is compelling. Unforgettable.

Alien’s co-writer Dan O’Bannon recalled meeting Giger for the first time, in a Paris hotel. Giger offered him some opium. O’Bannon asked why he took it. “I am afraid of my visions,” Giger replied. “It’s just your mind,” O’Bannon said. Giger responded: “That is what I am afraid of.”

“Sometimes people only see horrible, terrible things in my paintings,” Giger once said. “I tell them to look again, and they may see two elements in my paintings – the horrible things and the nice things.”

HR+Giger+Bar+(Switzerland)+1

Interior of Swiss Giger Bar

I may never get to see a Giger Bar but at least my avatar in Second Life has a reproduction of one of the chairs. :) My own art from 2009 hangs on the wall on the left, the segmented and quasi-organic shapes clearly inspired by Giger’s works. His influence reached far and will never stop reaching and growing. Better than any obituary, it is a testament to the meeting of minds and the questions he asked. Of himself, of us all, and now of the universe itself. HR Giger, 1940-2014

fauve-giger-chair

 

In a New York Times obituary, Timothy Leary, a friend of Giger’s, was quoted as having praised the artist by saying, “Giger’s work disturbs us, spooks us, because of its enormous evolutionary time span. It shows us, all too clearly, where we come from and where we are going.”

None of us knows when we will go, or to where. Visions from HR Giger will continue to both haunt my nightmares as well as inspire.

Stay Beautiful, Addicts! ~Mimielle

Sources & Credits: New York Times, The Guardian, Giger Museum, Omni Magazine, Damianos Giger Chair in Second Life

BayCon Horror Buzz – What’s Hot, What’s Not

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 31, 2014 by Emerian Rich

The BayCon Horror panel was awesome! Nice seeing all of you and chatting with authors Laurel Anne Hill and J. Malcolm Stewart! I always enjoy taking notes on what we talk about and letting your feedback steer our show and feedback topics.

ha panel

 

For all of you who couldn’t make it, you might be wondering what the horror buzz is. Here is a list of what the panelist and audience talked about. Do you agree with the list? Would you like to add anything?

KEY:
+ means the majority liked it
– means the majority didn’t like it
? means none of us have seen it or have an opinion one way or another, or that it was a such a quick mention, we didn’t have time to discuss it.

Movies

+The Purge

+Oculus

+The Conjuring

+Devil

+V/H/S

+V/H/S 2

+Beneath

+Pig Hunt

+Troll Hunter

? Insidious

? Insidious 2

-Godzilla w/Brodrick

Books

+Jeffery Ford / Crackpot Palace

+The Orphans of the Creek / Richard S. Todd

+Stephen King / Full Dark No Stars

+Peter Straub / Shadowland & Ghost Story

+Seanan McQuire / Zombie trilogy

+Wrath James Waite / Voracious

+Peter Stenson / Fiend

+Kim Newman / Anno Dracula – Johnny Alucard

TV

+Penny Dreadful

+Dracula

+Hannibal

+Fargo

-Bitten

-Bates Motel

-Witches of East End

?Rosemary’s Baby

?American Horror Story

?Witches of Eastwick series

Coming up – we are excited about

? The Purge 2

? Omen Series

? Insidious 3

? Phantasm 5

? Conjuring 2

? Paranormal Activity 4

? found footage Friday the 13th

? new Poltergiest

Want a remake

Motel Hell

The Car

Terror Train

Mothra

Wish they weren’t gone – must watch

Hammer films

1951 The Thing

Full Moon – Subspecies, Vampire Journals

 

So, online crew, what are your thoughts?

Press Release: Deep Like The River

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , , on May 30, 2014 by Horror Addicts Guest
front_600px__47162.1400605194.800.600The new horror novella Deep Like the River by Tim Waggoner is now available on DarkRegions.com and Amazon.com in ebook, trade paperback and signed deluxe slipcased hardcover edition at: http://www.darkregions.com/books/deep-like-the-river-by-tim-waggoner
“Waggoner’s new work is a new high water mark for him. Its chilling waters will take you into dark places…and weirdly enough you’ll have a great time. Recommended. Wear a life jacket.” - John Shirley author of Doyle After Death
Description
It was supposed to be fun. A chance to get away. An opportunity for two sisters to bond and for one sister to heal. It was a small river, calm, slow-moving. Perfect for a leisurely canoe trip on a beautiful summer day.
But then they hear a baby crying on the shore, abandoned and overheated. Alie and Carin have to take her with them. They can’t just leave her there.
A simple canoe trip becomes a rescue mission. But there’s something on the shore, hidden by the trees. Something that’s following them every step of the way – watching, waiting . . .
Around every bend, the river becomes stranger, darker, more dangerous, until Alie isn’t sure what’s real and what isn’t. The river wants the child for itself, but no matter what it throws at her, Alie’s determined to get the baby to safety. She’s already lost one child. But she’ll have to fight the darkness that haunts the river – as well as the darkness within herself – if she doesn’t want to lose another.
Advance Praise for Deep Like the River
“I don’t know if I’ve ever read a story quite like Tim Waggoner’s DEEP LIKE THE RIVER. With its high emotional and metaphysical content and weird, surrealistic imagery, it reads a bit like Algernon Blackwood’s “The Willows” with Kafka collaborating and Carl Jung offering occasional advice. Or maybe it’s an adventure story that’s taken a sudden turn into The Twilight Zone. However you characterize Waggoner’s approach, the result is a fine piece of writing exploring the mysteries of a mind struggling with the guilt, pain, and terror of grief.” - Steve Rasnic Tem, author of Blood Kin
“The river down which the protagonist of Tim Waggoner’s strange, startling novella canoes with her sister flows from southern Ohio to the heart of a very personal darkness. What begins as an exercise in sisterly bonding travels into something more surreal and sinister, as the landscape around Alie and her sister, Carin, reflects and refracts their innermost memories and fears. The river in these pages might be called the Little Clearwater, but as the sisters learn, it is tributary to streams with names such as Styx and Acheron. With Deep Like the River, Tim Waggoner fixes his gaze on the winding course of human pain and misery, charting the flow of sin and sadness from one generation to the next, and does not look away. It’s fine, powerful work.” – John Langan, author of The Wide, Carnivorous Sky and Other Monstrous Geographies
“A descent into the madness of a ruined psyche, ‘Deep Like the River’ puts Waggoner’s talent for the eerie, desolate, and unpredictable in the spotlight. A must-read for those who like their horror tinged with desperation and guilt.” – Ronald Malfi, author of Cradle Lake
“Waggoner is a divine force in contemporary writing. Every new book of his I read takes me down dark and unruly passageways that bristles my fur and rattles my chains in ways that Ididn’t think possible. He’s as much a stylist as he is a storyteller. DEEP LIKE THE RIVER is certain to usher you into the realm of the dynamically Begotten.” - D. Harlan Wilson, author of Peckinpah: an Ultraviolent Romance
About the Author
Tim Waggoner has published over thirty novels and three short story collections, and his articles on writing have appeared in Writer’s Digest and Writers’ Journal, among others. He teaches creative writing at Sinclair Community College and in Seton Hill University’s Master of Fine Arts in Writing Popular Fiction program. Visit him on the web at www.timwaggoner.com

Press Release: Smothered

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , on May 28, 2014 by Horror Addicts Guest

The Expendables of Horror Movies Smothers Louisiana in May!

image003

Actor and filmmaker John Schneider (Smallville, Dukes of Hazzard) has rounded up some of horror’s most famous faces for  Smothered, premiering in New Orleans in May.

The highly-anticipated fright-fest, which features the likes of Kane Hodder, Don Shanks, R.A Mihailoff, Bill Mosely, and Brea Grant , boasts the largest number of horror icons ever to grace the screen at the same time.

Smothered, written and directed by Schneider, sees the horror icons playing themselves in a scenario that sees them attending a small, disheartening horror-convention on Friday the 13th.  Running out of patience but principally money, the group accept a cash-offer to go and scare-up the local RV park – but things take a surprising, dark turn when they arrive.  The tables are turned as the monsters of the movie screen become the prey!

A recent sneak preview resulted in glowing reviews across-the-board, with critics calling the movie “a horror-comedy with some bite” (Shock Til You Drop) and ” A must see cinematic event” (Examiner).

Smothered will premiere in Louisiana, where the film was shot and Schneider’s Fairlight Films is now located.

The premiere,  being held at the Sheraton New Orleans Hotel on Friday May 16, encompass a pre-screening social hour and post-screening Q&A with Schneider.

Members of the film’s cast and crew, as well as city dignitaries are expected to be in attendance.

Smothered, also featuring Michael Berryman (The Hills Have Eyes), John Kassir (‘The Crypt Keeper’), Dane Rhodes (True Detective), and Shanna Forrestall (The Last Exorcism), is due for release late 2014.

 

 

Press Release: Ghosts Of Punktown

Posted in News with tags , , on May 23, 2014 by Horror Addicts Guest

front-400pxGhosts Of Punktown by Jeffrey Thomson Now available from Dark Regions Press

The new collection Ghosts of Punktown by Jeffrey Thomas, based in the author’s critically-acclaimed science fiction horror megalopolis known as Punktown, is now available in ebook, trade paperback and two signed limited edition hardcover formats. Read the full details on the book at: http://www.darkregions.com/books/ghosts-of-punktown-by-jeffrey-thomas
The book is offered in ebook, trade paperback, signed limited edition hardcover and signed deluxe cowhide-bound slipcased hardcover. Featuring stunning front cover art by renowned artist Kris Kuksi, the deluxe hardcover edition dust jacket will include a 2nd piece by the artist. The signed hardcover editions will include an exclusive story entitled “Another Ghost” not found in ebook or trade paperback editions.

“Whether (Ghosts of Punktown) is your first visit to Punktown, or you’re a long-time resident, you’ll certainly find at least one corner of its twisted streets to call home.” - Rue Morgue Magazine
 
“(in Ghosts of Punktown) Jeffrey Thomas proves once again to be an amazingly talented writer, being able to make the reader feel a connection to the characters in these stories, and to Punktown itself.” – Horror After Dark
 
“(Thomas) has an unusual perspective that makes most of his stories feel just slightly off center, which means that I’m constantly surprised by the directions they take…The setting is unlike any other space colony you’ve ever read about and I guarantee you will not be bored here” – Don D’Ammassa, Critical Mass
Ghosts of Punktown by Jeffrey Thomas is one of the most anticipated Dark Regions Press titles of 2014. Available now on both DarkRegions.com and Amazon.com
 
Description
 
NINE TALES OF THE DARK CITY KNOWN AS PUNKTOWN
Monsters, mutants and maniacs…here, they call them citizens.
In the opening story, “In His Sights,” shape-shifting war veteran Jeremy Stake (protagonist of Thomas’ novels DEADSTOCK and BLUE WAR) is reminded of the last enemy soldier he killed, every time he looks in the mirror…while the concluding story, “Life Work” (Thomas’ first novella-length Punktown story), follows a young businesswoman with a secret past and a syndicate hit man with no future. Between these tales one will encounter a wide and wild variety of the lost souls, both human and other-than-human, that haunt the streets of Punktown.
 
Table of Contents
 
Introduction: A Taste of Punktown
In His Sights
Relics
A Semblance of Life
Bitter Brains
Disfigured
Imp
The Room
Into My Arms
Life Work
* Another Ghost – Hardcover Exclusive
 
Features
 
Both signed hardcover editions feature a new and exclusive Punktown story entitled “Another Ghost” by author Jeffrey Thomas not offered in ebook or trade paperback editions. The deluxe slipcased hardcover edition features another artwork piece by artist Kris Kuksi on the back cover of the dust jacket. The deluxe hardcover edition will be housed in a custom Ghosts of Punktown slipcase.

Horror Addicts Guide to Life

Posted in News with tags , , , , on May 23, 2014 by David Watson

Submissions call for: Horror Addicts Guide to Life

Hey horror addicts we are ready to start work on our third anthology which we are going to call: The Horror Addicts Guide To Life. The idea for this book is for it to be like a self-help book for people who are obsessed with all things horror. We think that horror fans look at the world in a certain way that is different from other people. Horror Addicts have a great sense of humor, they like to be scared, and they are fascinated by things that go bump in a night. To put it another way, normal people may look at an abandoned building and think nothing of it, while a horror fan would look at that same building and wonder what kind of supernatural beings live there? How did they get there? What do they do in there?

What we are looking for in this anthology is anything that Horror Addicts would need to make there lives better. This is meant to be a fun book that doesn’t take itself too seriously. We want some sections that could be strictly for laughs and some that are more DIY.

This anthology would cover a broad range of topics and we are currently in a brain storming phase for what we want in it. All of us at HorrorAddicts.net look at horror as our passion. If horror is your passion also and you have some ideas for us, let us know.  Here are some subjects that we would like included in our anthology.

Decorating your house for Halloween.

Creating a costume for Halloween.

Cooking up recipes for a horror themed party.

A Horror Addicts guide to dating.

Dating a non-Horror Addict.

How to turn a friend who isn’t into horror, into a horror fan.

Getting your kid to start reading horror.

Surviving the zombie apocalypse.

How to escape a vampire?

How do you stop a werewolf?

A list of bad horror movies that are good.

A list of great horror movies to watch on a stormy night.

A list of good horror novels to read.

Horror Addicts guide to music.

Best Horror love songs.

How to write kick-ass horror fiction.

How to build a haunted house.

How to survive a haunted house.

How a Horror Addict would dress for a job interview.

How a Horror Addict should dress for a date.

Non-horror movies that could pass for horror.

How to make a horror movie.

A list of great horror cartoons.

And anything else you can think of for, about, or to assist a true Horror Addict in his/her daily lives.

————————————————————–

HorrorAddicts.net staff, contributors, featured authors and guests ARE eligible to submit.

Deadline: August 29th, 2014, or until filled

Length for fiction/non-fic/poetry: 500-5,000 words (if longer please query)
We will be accepting a small number of fiction and poetry. This is mostly a non-fiction book.

Art: b/w line art only, email biggest, cleanest version of 300 dpi art in jpg or png format. No photography.

Reprints? Please query first about your piece, your rights to the work, and where it’s been printed before submitting work. We will consider a few reprints with permission.

Payment: Contributing authors will receive PDF copy and exposure/marketing through HorrorAddicts.net.

Submission Guidelines: Attach RTF or Doc to email, 12pt courier font, double spaced, pages numbered, with name/word count/contact info in 1st page header.

Send submission to: horroraddicts@gmail.com with the subject line reading: HAGTL, Submission

 

 

LAST DAY TO ENTER: Masters of Macabre Writing Challenge

Posted in News on May 20, 2014 by Emerian Rich

The 4th Annual Masters of Macabre Writing Challenge

This is the 4th annual Masters of Macabre story contest, sponsored by the nightmarish terrors residing over at HorrorAddicts.net. This is the chance for all the gentlemen to show the Wicked Women Writers that we can chill your bones and strike naked fear into the deepest crevices of your psyche just as well as any Great Old One you might find on your next expedition to the dark places of the earth…

What is the Masters of Macabre Writing Challenge?

This is a challenge to all male horror writers, both published and unpublished, to showcase their prose as well as to produce a reading to be aired in podcast form for all of our listening pleasure. Your story (in both text and audio form) will be judged and voted upon by the fans to determine the 2014 Master of the Macabre. Each podcast story must be crafted by the entrant and will be limited to ten (10) minutes.

This year we’ll be having a finalist round where only the very best audio stories will be competing in the final voting round, so make sure your words are as sharp as your claws and saddle up!

2014 Theme: CREATURE FEATURE

Premise: From the rubber costumes of the 20’s to lumbering shuggoths of H.P.Lovecraft to the CG terrors that grace the modern-day silver screen, monsters have always been an integral component to striking horror into our hearts. Whether it’s an alien behemoth from the sky, an otherworldly demon, or a simple mutant pet, it’s time to summon some dark, inhuman creature to menace society.

Challenge: Create a brand new written story and from that story create a 10 minute horror podcast that contains four story elements (below). Register to compete by May 20th, 2014. Audio and text are due on June 20th, 2014

Story Elements: Each participant will be randomly assigned the following three story elements. Your story needs to include each of the following:

1. Location: Where will the story take place? Will your creature attack in a shopping mall? An airplane? Perhaps the havoc will begin in the Gobi desert? The globe is our playground and the black crystal ball will let you know where the monster shall attack.

2. Item:  A simple item will be assigned to you, and it must appear somewhere in your story. Whether it will help or hinder you (and/or your characters) is up to you, but the item shall be gifted to you so you gotta use it. Magic amulets, toilet plungers, dirty wigs, or animal corpses might find it’s way to your inventory, so be hope for the best and be prepared for the worst.

3. Creature’s Origin: Where will the nightmare stem from? Will the creature spawn in the dankest city sewers or will it be awoken from the depths of an abandoned copper mine? Will it live in an abandoned church or will it be found living in the hold of a tanker? You must craft the creature, but the dark lords we answer to will choose WHERE it was born.

Dates to Remember:

Registration opens – April 20th, 2014

Registration closes – May 20th, 2014

Complete story and audio due – June 20th, 2014

Elimination round down to the top 5 – July 1st, 2014

Stories air and voting begins – August 9th, 2014

Last day to vote – September 9th, 2014

Crowning the Master of Macabre – October 3rd, 2014

How to register: If you are up to the challenge, email your name, headshot, and a short (under 50 word) bio to: horroraddicts@gmail.com. Within a few days you’ll receive the complete set of rules as well as your assigned story elements. The sooner you respond, the more time you’ll have to craft your story and produce your podcast!

Questions? Then email us at horroraddicts@gmail.com. No questions and ready to create something terrifying? Email us at horroraddicts@gmail.com.

Good luck, and may dreadful winged things rend the flesh from your enemies of writing.

Dreadfully yours,

Rick Kitagawa

2013 Master of Macabre

World Goth Day Observance Spans 2 Worlds

Posted in News with tags , , , , on May 18, 2014 by Mimielle

header

In all worlds and situations, acceptance is often taken for granted. When intolerance rears its ugly head, sometimes people have suffered and some have died for being who they are, dressing as they choose, expressing themselves overtly. One of those people was a young woman named Sophie Lancaster, a Goth.

Almost 7 years have passed. We do not forget.

Founded in 2009, May 22nd is World Goth Day, a time to gather, to celebrate, to remember and reflect. Since it is on Thursday this year, many will celebrate on the weekend with club events, picnics and other outings but I keep the day with a public luncheon in one of the most visible places in my own local comfort zone, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. This year we will take a group photo in the 20th Century gallery among the Warhols and dine under a 1.5 ton steel heart by Jeff Koons. We don’t just passively remember each year, we are visible. We represent.

Find events all over the world here.

The Sophie Lancaster Foundation

logo

Focused on creating respect for and understanding of subcultures in our communities, The Sophie Lancaster Foundation also works in conjunction with politicians and police forces to ensure individuals who are part of subcultures are protected by the law. Merchandise purchased here benefits the foundation.

For those who don’t have or can’t attend or start a local event, WORLD GOTH FAIR 2014 will be taking place in Second Life on Cursed, Sium & Port Seraphine on May 15th – June 1st, & proceeds will benefit the Sophie Lancaster Foundation. SL merchants, DJs and residents have gathered to play, sell and socialize. The 3 sims full of builds are amazing to see and I confess, my Second Life avatar, Fauve Aeon has done some shopping already!

Here is the DJ lineup for the day (times in PST):

wgd-in-gothika_1

 

And lastly, I will leave you with some photos from the Fair.

Stay Beautiful, Addicts, in ALL worlds! ~Mimielle (and Fauve)

wgd-fauvepix-hub

WGF2014_027

emz-might-like

 

 

3 days left to enter! Masters of Macabre Writing Challenge

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , on May 18, 2014 by Emerian Rich

The 4th Annual Masters of Macabre Writing Challenge

This is the 4th annual Masters of Macabre story contest, sponsored by the nightmarish terrors residing over at HorrorAddicts.net. This is the chance for all the gentlemen to show the Wicked Women Writers that we can chill your bones and strike naked fear into the deepest crevices of your psyche just as well as any Great Old One you might find on your next expedition to the dark places of the earth…

What is the Masters of Macabre Writing Challenge?

This is a challenge to all male horror writers, both published and unpublished, to showcase their prose as well as to produce a reading to be aired in podcast form for all of our listening pleasure. Your story (in both text and audio form) will be judged and voted upon by the fans to determine the 2014 Master of the Macabre. Each podcast story must be crafted by the entrant and will be limited to ten (10) minutes.

This year we’ll be having a finalist round where only the very best audio stories will be competing in the final voting round, so make sure your words are as sharp as your claws and saddle up!

2014 Theme: CREATURE FEATURE

Premise: From the rubber costumes of the 20’s to lumbering shuggoths of H.P.Lovecraft to the CG terrors that grace the modern-day silver screen, monsters have always been an integral component to striking horror into our hearts. Whether it’s an alien behemoth from the sky, an otherworldly demon, or a simple mutant pet, it’s time to summon some dark, inhuman creature to menace society.

Challenge: Create a brand new written story and from that story create a 10 minute horror podcast that contains four story elements (below). Register to compete by May 20th, 2014. Audio and text are due on June 20th, 2014

Story Elements: Each participant will be randomly assigned the following three story elements. Your story needs to include each of the following:

1. Location: Where will the story take place? Will your creature attack in a shopping mall? An airplane? Perhaps the havoc will begin in the Gobi desert? The globe is our playground and the black crystal ball will let you know where the monster shall attack.

2. Item:  A simple item will be assigned to you, and it must appear somewhere in your story. Whether it will help or hinder you (and/or your characters) is up to you, but the item shall be gifted to you so you gotta use it. Magic amulets, toilet plungers, dirty wigs, or animal corpses might find it’s way to your inventory, so be hope for the best and be prepared for the worst.

3. Creature’s Origin: Where will the nightmare stem from? Will the creature spawn in the dankest city sewers or will it be awoken from the depths of an abandoned copper mine? Will it live in an abandoned church or will it be found living in the hold of a tanker? You must craft the creature, but the dark lords we answer to will choose WHERE it was born.

Dates to Remember:

Registration opens – April 20th, 2014

Registration closes – May 20th, 2014

Complete story and audio due – June 20th, 2014

Elimination round down to the top 5 – July 1st, 2014

Stories air and voting begins – August 9th, 2014

Last day to vote – September 9th, 2014

Crowning the Master of Macabre – October 3rd, 2014

How to register: If you are up to the challenge, email your name, headshot, and a short (under 50 word) bio to: horroraddicts@gmail.com. Within a few days you’ll receive the complete set of rules as well as your assigned story elements. The sooner you respond, the more time you’ll have to craft your story and produce your podcast!

Questions? Then email us at horroraddicts@gmail.com. No questions and ready to create something terrifying? Email us at horroraddicts@gmail.com.

Good luck, and may dreadful winged things rend the flesh from your enemies of writing.

Dreadfully yours,

Rick Kitagawa

2013 Master of Macabre

HorrorAddicts.net #100, Top 100 of Horror

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 16, 2014 by Emerian Rich

Horror Addicts Episode# 100

Horror Hostess: Emerian Rich

Intro Music by: Cancer Killing Gemini

————————

165 days till Halloween!

100th Episode! HorrorAddicts.net Top 100 of Horror
grasp logic, phantoms, twilight zone the movie, the annotated dracula

joshua heinrich, spekr freks, office angst, night’s knights, ed pope, band poll, phantoms, dean koontz, twilight zone movie, bram stoker’s menu, the annotated dracula, flash fiction friday, tim reynolds, horrible disasters, end of the world radio, grasp logic, black bird manga, fashion, sun protection, someone wicked, zippered flesh, broken, crime seen, michael brentcollings, mass hysteria, laurel anne hill, baycon, horroraddicts.net meetup, philip carroll, artistic logic, events, dead mail, top 100 of horror

 

Top 100 of Horror

Top 10 Horror Movies – As voted on by HorrorAddicts.net listeners

1. The Exorcist

2. Suspiria

3. The Shining

4. Phantasm

5. Hellraiser

6. Bram Stoker’s Dracula

7. Prince of Darkness

8. Inside

9. Night of the Living Dead (org)

10. Dracula, (Bela’s)

Top 10 Horror TV Series – presented by Kbatz

1. Buffy the Vampire Slayer

2. Dark Shadows

3. The Twilight Zone

4. Tales from the Darkside

5. The X-Files

6. Friday the 13th the Series

7. Tales from the Crypt

8. Night Gallery

9. Forever Knight

10. Elvira’s Movie Macabre (I’m cheating I don’t care!)

Humorous Honorable Mentions:

The Addams Family

The Munsters

Top 10 Horror Manga- presented by Emz

1. Death Note

2. Black Butler

3. Godchild

4. Rozen Maiden

5. Tarot Cafe’

6. Black Bird

7. Vampire Knight

8. Rosario + Vampire

9. Haunted House

10. Murder Princess

Top 10 Horror Books reviewed by HorrorAddicts.net – presented by David

10. Childhood Nightmares Under The Bed from Sirens Call publications. It’s rare that I read an anthology where I liked every story in it but I did for this one.

9.The Nightmare Project by Jo-Anne Russell. This one takes place mostly in an insane asylum which to me makes it terrifying and the main character is excellent the way she goes back and forth from crazy to being a sweet mother who wants to see her kids again.

8. NightWhere by John Everson. This is one bizarre romance that will leave you feeling sick to your stomach.

7. My Fearful Symmetry by Denise Verrico This is a different take on vampires that I really enjoyed.

6. The Weeping Woman by Patricia Santos Marcantonio Good Mexican ghost legend combined with a modern day police thriller.

5. The Last Adventure of Dr. Yngve Hogalum by D L Mackenzie. First steampunk tale I’ve read with a lot of humor. Fun read.

4. Vaudeville by Greg Chapman. I like the concept of traveling side shows so I loved this one.

3.Underwood and Flinch Chronicles volume 1 and 2 by Mike Bennett. Excellent vampire story that I couldn’t put down. Its books like this that make me love reading.

2. Ivory by Steve Merrifield. I loved this one I wasn’t sure where it was going until the end, Really good original idea for a book.

1. Charla by Alex Beresford Its been seven months since I’ve read this book, even if you take the Demon out of the story it still works as a great horror novel.

Top 10 HorrorAddicts.net Interviews – presented by Sapphire (see full blog post)

10. Kimberly Steele

9. Shaunessy Ashdown

8. Patricia Santos

7. Crystal Connor

6. Rick Kitagawa

5. Jennifer Rahn

4. Joshua Heinrich

3. Shana Abé

2. Wicked Women Writers/Masters of Macabre

1. Emerian Rich

Top 10 Horror Stories on HorrorAddicts.net – presented by David

This list proves that Emerian doesn’t like me. It’s almost impossible to go through all of the episodes of horror addicts and pick out a top 10. I’m sure I left out plenty that I liked but this is what I came up with:

10.Season 1 episode 3. The Show by Kirk Warrington. I like werewolves and I liked the concept behind this story.

9.Season 2 episode 13. Santa Claws by Michele Rogers Good Christmas tale, lots of fun

8. Season 4 episode 33. Wings of Revenge by Laurel Anne Hill. Well told story and I like the bats in it.

7. Season 3 episode 28 The Butterfly Collector by Kimberly Steele. I liked this one and that’s all I’m saying. This one got me in trouble because I was listening to it at work. Listen to it you’ll see what I mean.

6. Season 2 episode 15 Night Crossing by Mike Bennett. I liked the book this is from so much I just can’t keep it off the list.

5. Season 5 episode episode 54 Hammersmith House I like the premise, I like the use of a historic event and I like stories told in diary entries.

4.Season 7 episode 72 Mark Vale Inkubus. Great voice and great production values

3.Season 7 episode 83 Shaunessy Ashdown  Commencing Slaughter. Great audio production, good story that may keep you from ever eating meat again.

2.Ronda Carpenter WWW entry season 5 Lust: Barring Lilith. Great story with lots of sex and violence what more can you ask for.

1. Season 1 Episode 6 Hunt Night by Mark Eller. Before I was on staff this was the episode that made me think of the horror addicts podcast as my favorite. Good story about demons.

Top 10 Fashion Must-Haves for Horror Addicts – presented by Mimielle

1. A GOOD Black Eyeliner for everyone! Yes Guyliner is bigger than ever! (Gel crayons double as lip liner, I’m a fan…)

2. SUNSCREEN. Even if you don’t maintain a gothic pallor, protecting your skin keeps it more beautiful.

3. A pair of staples are  A) A good hair product to tame or fluff your hair and define your style and B) A BB or CC cream, with skin benefits and good coverage. For guys who don’t use makeup, a colorless but mattifying foundation primer is undetectable on the skin but has skin benefits and works some pore-vanishing magic!

4. A staple black bottom piece. Black skirt, jeans, leggings, bondage pants, cargo pants/shorts. It’s the most versatile thing in your wardrobe and the easiest to change as a seasonal trend piece!

5. Favorite fandom t-shirt(s). Whether it’s a band shirt, vintage horror movie tie-in or blackletter gym, club or coffee shop shirt, REPRESENT your alternative interests by displaying them once in a while. Extra points if it’s somehow distressed, laced or bleach-‘dyed’. Get creative!

6. A black or white button-down shirt. You can wear it so many ways! Over T’s and tanks, under vests and sweaters, tucked or untucked. I use a men’s pleated tuxedo shirt that I stole from my swain.

7. One or two unusual pieces or trademark ‘you’ looks. For example a couple of mine are ‘all white and pale with intense lips and eyes’ and ‘all black but frilly and with heavy makeup’ and I build most of my wardrobe around these kinds of looks.

8. A go-to ‘uniform’. A set of clothes and a practiced makeup look that you can throw together in very minimal time and always look fab. Mine is a black TrippNYC dress, blow drying my hair straight and a winged black liner/red lip look. Out the door in 20 (shh, don’t tell!)!

9. A great pair of boots or shoes. Docs, Demonia Buckle Boots, your trusty Converse Chucks. Keep them polished/neat even if your look is more deconstructed/grunge.

10. A fierce attitude! Confidence is ultimately the key to pulling off any look!

Top 10 Horror Music – presented by HorrorAddicts.net Staff

1. Type O Negative

2. Midnight Syndicate

3. Saints of Ruin

4. Nosferatu

5. Nine Inch Nails

6. My Life with the Thrill Kill Kult

7. The Damned

8. Tool

9. Mission UK

10. Xorcist

Top 10 Horror Soundtracks – presented by HorrorAddicts.net Staff

1. Suspiria

2. Lost Boys

3. Dracula

4. Interview with the Vampire

5. Sweeny Todd

6. Beetlejuice

7. Nightmare Before Christmas

8. The Crow

9. Scream

10. Queen of the Damned

Top 10 Episode Memories – presented by Emz (find out why by listening to the show!)

1. Season 1 Ep 8- Arlene’s Forever, we were trying to record in the Hell Hole Tavern cemetery in Second Life and Arlene kept getting her hair caught on the cemetery fence and walking around bald.

2. Season 2 Ep 15- Mike Bennett’s introduction on our show of Night Crossing, which was the intro to Underwood and Flinch.

3. Season 3 Ep 31- The first ever Wicked Women Writer’s Challenge

4. Season 4 Ep 37 – Rhonda’s Sea Serpent rising out of the water to kill us all!

5. Season 5 Ep 51 & 52 – Jez and Fang fight in GothHaus. Eyeliner Vs. Top Hat.

6. Season 6 Ep71 – Really a treat for me to interview Patterson Lundquist, the #1 Elvira Impersonator. Not only was it an honor, but we had a lot of fun chatting.

7. Season 7 Ep 84 – Interviewing one of my favorite authors, Andrew Neiderman. I wouldn’t say it was the fun-est because I was nervous as hell, but to be able to talk to an author that has changed your life is an experience I won’t forget.

8. Season 8 No Episode… I got to interview Mike Bennett live via Skype at BayCon and it was so awesome. The audio messed up and I was unable to share it with you, but those of us that were there was so thrilled. Def. something we’ll never forget. If you think Mike Bennett is cool on his podcasts, he is even more awesome live!

9. Season 1 -Horror Con in Second Life. Was so much fun. We had free reign because Mark Eller was the host and he let me do whatever I wanted. We had poetry readings in the cemetery, he killed me in the tavern and then we had a fashion show by hanging for Mimielle’s fashion label in SL where I walked the cat walk, got hung, and then dropped down to make my final lap. Was so much fun!

10. I will never forget my very first show. I was fresh off my first ever podcast called Office Angst, I wanted to do something to do with Horror and I had no idea if this show would fly or even if it would go past that first episode. Sad is I think I’ve lost it… It was deleted from the site and I can not find it in my archive… so it might be lost forever!

 

http://traffic.libsyn.com/horroraddicts/HorrorAddicts100.mp3

Find all articles and interviews at: http://www.horroraddicts.net

———————–

Write in re: ideas, questions, opinions, horror cartoons, favorite movies, etc…

horroraddicts@gmail.com

————————

h o s t e s s

Emerian Rich

s t a f f

Sapphire Neal, David Watson, Dan Shaurette, Marc Vale, KBatz, Mimielle, Dawn Wood

Want to be a part of the HA staff? Email horroraddicts@gmail.com

b l o g  / c o n t a c t / s h o w . n o t e s

http://www.horroraddicts.net

13 Questions’ Most Horrifically Fun Interviews

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 16, 2014 by Sapphire Neal

13 questions

Alright Horror Addicts, do I have a special treat for you? Well, let me put it this way…would any woman make a deal with a crossroads demon to spend a night with the boys of Supernatural?  If you don’t know the answer to that question, then you my ex-friend are in the WRONG place ;)

In honor of our upcoming 100th episode of Horror Addicts, I have wadded through the years of 13 Questions to bring you MY Top 10 favorite interviews!

Whether it be their insane sense of humor, their demonically seductive personalities, or just their undying passion for what they do…Below you will find the 10 Masters and Mistresses Wickeds that have left a mark on me; (Thankfully it wasn’t the black spot! Phheeewww!) as well as my favorite snippet from their interview.

Each author’s name will be a link to the real goodies (a.k.a. their original interview). Now, let’s get this hauntingly exciting review kimberlysteelestarted!!!

10. Kimberly Steele-

[“I feel that my pathetic, obsessive lurking around Emerian’s fabulous site and community becomes slightly more legitimized because I’ve been asked to interview twice.”

You may have heard the rumors going around that Emerian and Kimberly hate each other. After you read what Steele had to say about the rumors you’ll see what’s going on. “She’s my sister by a different mister, I love that chica. Emerian and I share Criss Angel. We get at each other, but it’s really Criss is to blame. He’s a slut.”]

shaunessyscaredshitless9. Shaunessy Ashdown-

[Shaunessy prefers the “monsters” that are “closest to reality.” “Serial killers, jilted lovers that fly off the handle, the sort of badies you find in thrillers like “Psycho” or “Fatal Attraction.” It’s fascinating to explore what turns a person evil…though in the supernatural realm, witches and ghosts really capture my imagination, maybe because they are the most real to me.”]

8. Patricia Santos-  patricia santos

[Excitingly enough the “short” Patricia will be sharing with us an excerpt of her novel The Weeping Woman. Not wanting to give away too much information, all I could get out of Patricia was a small description about the excerpt. “It’s what I call my Mexican exorcism scene. A healer is removing a curse from a young girl. Pretty creepy. You’ll never look at a snake the same way.”]

7. Crystal Connor-

crystal connor[My writing affects everything else. I write at night, so I really don’t have that much of a social life; everyone I love lives normal lives and sleep during the night. The way you’re supposed to haha. But the transition from punching a clock and being financially secure, to trying to carve out a life on the earnings of book sales has really shown me who my friends are. And luckily for me everyone who was around when I was spending money like there was no tomorrow are still with me today.]

 

6. Rick Kitagawa-

[“Hands down, my favorite monster is probably the Creature from the Black Lagoon and other aquatic-based rick_kitagawacreatures.  While the Gill Man is not the strongest or most terrifying of the bunch, he just looks so frickin’ awesome.  Actually, I’m working on (yet) another comic project that focuses on the Creature and other monsters, but puts them in day jobs and awkward social situations with each other.  It’s actually completely not scary at all (much more slice of life/emo stuff), but that just goes to show how much I like the Gill Man. I’m even willing to do a comic that’s not even remotely creepy because I like him so much.”]

5. Jennifer Rahn-

Jennifer Rahn[“I am a scientist, currently researching brain tumors. I did a stint in the biotech industry after my Msc (sic) in Pharmacology and then did my PhD in breast cancer, so I’ve got quite a wide range of experiences that I could use to build up a story environment. I think it all gave me a lot of background fodder for the first novel, and I have an idea for a scifi whodunit, so it probably will provide me with background again, but the nice thing about writing fantasy is that it doesn’t necessarily have to be scientifically accurate!”]

4. Joshua Heinrich-  joshua_heinrich_2009

[Josh’s relaxed nature took hold and he began to joke around while explaining his story The Basement to me. “It’s a bit over 1700 words.  Originally written in Times New Roman.  12 pt, I believe.  In English.  There’s a basement involved.  Okay, okay.  I’ll stop.  It’s a story I actually wrote a few years back.  It sort of jumps into the story of a woman locked in a pitch black basement, sort of following her actions and inner narrative as things come into focus.  I’m not sure I really want to give any more away before your listeners experience the story.  I guess that’s the problem with promoting stories with twists or that evolve into something else as the narrative goes along…it’s hard give a summary without spoiling the whole thing.”]

3. Shana Abé- 

shanaabe[I watched hawks a lot. Eventually I could identify entire families. They’re graceful and deadly, and one afternoon I was watching them slice through the air when I thought, “Dragons! Aha!” Because although hawks are cool, dragons are even cooler. You can say whatever you want about dragons, create any mythology you want for them. They are purely products of our deepest, darkest imagination.

In fact, there’s a scene in The Deepest Night in which Lora and Armand are discussing why they–their species–are so feared by humans. Armand says: “Because dragons are the most formidable creatures of all. Because we exist at the fringes of their imaginations, nefarious and bloodcurdling and never quite fully defined. We can be shaped however they wish, assigned any horrific trait they dare to invoke. We’re the accumulation of all that they fear, most of all themselves.”]

2. Wicked Women Writers/Masters of Macabre-

There really isn’t a specific WWW or MMM that I enjoyed interviewing over the other. In fact, I found that it was the experience of doing a group interview of so many extraordinary authors that makes my WWW and MMM interviews some of my favorite!

www

mmm

And my favorite interview of all time is…dun…Dun…DUUUNNNNNNNNN

1. Emerian Rich-

[As the Horror Hostess that she is, I had to ask what actually got Emerian into the horror genre in the first place? “Horror and darkeemmzz beauty inspire me to create, to live, to be. It sounds like a rather strange thing to say, that things usually involving death or terror inspire you, but I think it is the key to horror culture that outsiders will never really understand. I think it is a true test of the soul when someone is tortured or brought to the brink or death. There is a beauty when a character decides to accept the darkside or when they conquer it through personal strength. I am not a fan of mass murder or child abuse or terrorism in our real lives. However, I am a fan of the child or wife or soldier who battles through and shows that our human spirits can endure pain and still prevail.”]

Crime Seen

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

20574075Detective Evan White is hunting a killer but not just any killer. The man he is tracking  killed his wife and he’s taunting Evan via the phone. Evan wasn’t supposed to get involved in the investigation but he couldn’t stay away. The killer is looking to kill everyone Evan loves and because the killer is already dead, he may be unstoppable. With the help of his partner Angela, Evan will have to stop the murderer before he kills again.

The best words to describe Crime Seen by Michaelbrent Collings would be, interesting. This novel was an original idea and I can’t think of another book like it. Reading it does have its drawbacks though. While it is an excellent novel you have to read it all the way through to fully understand everything that’s going on. When I first started it I felt like I was reading a book that started 1/3 of the way through but the beginning makes sense when you get to the end.

There was one point where I thought I was going to stop reading it because there were things going on that I didn’t understand but I stayed with it because I liked the characters so much and all of my questions were eventually answered. My favorite character was Angela Listings. She is described as small and beautiful in the book, but looks are deceiving. Listings is a tough cop but has a soft side and a great backstory.  My favorite scene with her was when two of the characters are talking about how to stop the bizarre killings and what they think is going on. Listings hears this and says she is  leaving to be among the sane. I like how she tries to simplify everything to keep from being scared when she doesn’t understand. If she still doesn’t understand, she lets her gun and fists do the talking.

I also loved the character of Tuyen,  she is another tough female character but she is different from Listings. Tuyen is Vietnamese, and has a rough life. She works in a voodoo shop along with a second job and she believes in a lot of old superstitions that were passed down from her grandma. She is also psychic and I liked how she helped Evan find the answers he needed to stop the killings, even though she found out that her beliefs wouldn’t save her from the killer.

Crime Seen is a paranormal mystery like you’ve never read before. I loved the concept in this story of finding the truth to end what’s going on. I also liked how Michaelbrent Collings doesn’t explain everything until the end.   Without giving anything  away, Evan’s reaction to seeing Angela at the end was the best part of the book. Even though he knows whats going on, he’s still happy because of the people around him. If that doesn’t make sense, read the book and it will. Crime Seen is a masterpiece, it may seem like it has holes but I think Michaelbrent was just making sure you got to the end before he made you understand his vision. I got to the end and now I’m looking for more books from Mr. Collings.

Morbid Meals – Paprika Hendl with Mamaliga from Stoker’s DRACULA

Posted in News with tags , , , , on May 14, 2014 by Dan Shaurette

EXAMINATION
My favorite vampire novel ever, hands down without question, is Bram Stoker’s immortal DRACULA.

This Victorian era novel may not be as thrilling as modern stories, but it is a snapshot of its era. Furthermore, part of the brilliance of the novel is the epistolary nature of its telling. For those not familiar with that term, that means it is told in the form of letters, diary and journal entries, telegrams, newspaper clippings, etc. This adds to the feeling of realness not only of the characters but their situation. You are there, glimpsing the past lives of these folks.

As part of his journals, the protagonist, Jonathan Harker, wrote about his trip through Europe, and he noted the meals that he ate along the way.

“I had for dinner, or rather supper, a chicken done up some way with red pepper, which was very good but thirsty. (Mem., get recipe for Mina.) I asked the waiter, and he said it was called ‘paprika hendl,’ and that, as it was a national dish, I should be able to get it anywhere along the Carpathians.”

It is from my tattered copy of Leonard Wolf’s excellent The Annotated DRACULA that I long ago found a traditional recipe for paprika hendl (also known by the name chicken paprikash), which itself comes from The Art of Viennese Cooking by Marcia Colman Morton.

Paprika Hendl
1 young fowl, about 4 pounds
2 tablespoons fat
2 large onions, chopped
2 tablespoons Hungarian sweet paprika
1/2 cup of tomato juice
2 tablespoons flour
1/2 cup sour cream

Later in his journey, he has a breakfast of mămăligă (which is essentially a baked polenta). Here is a traditional recipe.

Mămăligă
3 cups water
salt
1 cup corn meal
2 Tbsp butter
1/2 cup sour cream
4 slices of feta cheese (or other sharp cheese)

These two dishes, paprika hendl and mămăligă, have become a staple in my home after I discovered these recipes.  Though they were not eaten together in the story, my family loves to eat the chicken on a bed of polenta, so that has become our tradition. Below I share with you how we prepare the dishes together for one meal.

ANALYSIS
Serves: 5-6 people

Ingredients
Paprika Hendl
1 (5 to 6 pound) whole chicken, cut into pieces
3 Tbsp olive oil
salt and paprika to taste
1 cup chopped onion (about half an onion)
1 Tbsp sweet paprika
1 Tbsp smoked paprika
1/4 cup red wine (or white, if you prefer)
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup sour cream

Chicken broth
Chicken scraps from above
3 oz carrots, cubed
3 oz celery, cubed
3 oz onion, chopped
1 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp whole black peppercorns
1 bay leaf

Mămăligă
2 cups chicken broth
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 cup corn meal
1 cup milk
1/2 cup sour cream
4 slices of feta cheese (or other sharp cheese)

Method
To prepare the chicken

  1. If you bought a whole chicken, cut into manageable pieces.
  2. You can keep the bones in the drumsticks, thighs, and wings, if you like, but do separate the breast meat from the rib bones.
  3. Remove as much of the skin as you can. Set the chicken pieces aside. Save all of the scraps for the chicken broth.

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Making the chicken broth

  1. Into a 7-quart pressure cooker, place the chicken bones, excess fat and skin, giblets, gizzards, small bits of the wings that frustrate people to eat, etc.
  2. Chop the veggies and add them to the pressure cooker, along with the salt, peppercorns, and bay leaf.
  3. Pour in enough water to cover everything completely, but make sure NOT to go above the “maximum fill” line.
  4. Cover with the lid and lock it down. On the stove top, turn the heat to high and bring up to pressure.
  5. When you hear the pressure release whistle, reduce the heat to low, for a steady low hiss. Cook for 40 minutes.
  6. Release the pressure and open the cooker carefully.
  7. Strain the broth into a container. You’ll need 2 1/2 cups total for the recipes here. Save the rest for later use. This will keep in the freezer for up to six months.
  8. Discard the solid bits — they have given their all.
  9. Can you make broth without a pressure cooker? Sure, but it will need to simmer for at least two hours.

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Making the paprika hendl

  1. Place a 5 quart dutch oven onto a stove top burner at medium-high heat. Add olive oil and chicken. Season chicken lightly with salt and paprika to taste.
  2. Brown the chicken on all sides. Remove chicken and set aside.
  3. Add the chopped onion to the dutch oven. Cook until tender and translucent, but not browned.
  4. Stir in sweet and smoked paprika, wine, and broth. Mix well.
  5. Return chicken to the dutch oven, coating all the pieces with the sauce. Bring up to a boil for about a minute.
  6. Reduce the heat, cover the dutch oven, and let it simmer for 40 minutes, or until the chicken is fully cooked at 165 F (74 C) degrees.
  7. (This is the perfect time to make the mamaliga or another side dish of your choice. The instructions for mamaliga are below.)
  8. Remove the chicken to a serving platter and keep warm.
  9. Boil the sauce until reduced, for about 5 minutes. Stir in the sour cream and mix well. (I like to use a stick blender at this point; just be VERY careful, the sauce is extremely hot.)
  10. Serve chicken on a bed of mamaliga (or rice, pasta, potatoes, or whatever you like), and serve the sauce in a gravy boat or just pour over the chicken.

 

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Making the mămăligă

  1. In a 3-quart saucepan, bring chicken broth and salt to a boil.
  2. Wisk in the corn meal slowly in a steady stream. Add the milk. Cook over medium-high heat, continuing to whisk.
  3. When the mixture starts to bubble, turn down the heat to low, and cover the saucepan.
  4. For about 30 minutes you will need to stir the polenta at 5 minute intervals. A long-handled wooden spoon works best. The goal here is to keep the polenta from clumping and burning on the bottom of the saucepan.
  5. After the 30 minutes of slow stirring, remove from heat.
  6. Grease up a casserole dish. Preheat your oven to 400 F (200 C) degrees.
  7. Pour the polenta into the casserole, spread the sour cream on top, and then cover with cheese.
  8. Bake in the preheated oven for 10 minutes.

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DISSECTION
Of course you *could* buy your chicken pre-cut into whatever pieces you like, but this is Morbid Meals! One of the things I want to advocate with these recipes is nose-to-tailslow food cooking. Step away from the boneless/skinless/FLAVORless chicken and canned broth. It doesn’t take long to cut up a whole chicken yourself.

Plus, then you can make your own chicken broth from the chicken bones and scraps. (Especially if you have a pressure cooker, there’s no reason not to make your own broth.) Besides, you can save a fair amount of money buying a 5 – 6 pound whole roasting chicken, or for a smaller family, a 4 pound “young” chicken.

When it comes to seasoning your chicken when you brown it, go with whatever you like. You can do just salt and pepper, or as I like, smoked paprika. In addition to that, my special secret ingredient for cooking chicken is Old Bay Seasoning. Trust me, it’s not just for seafood boils. It perks up the chicken broth, too.

Regarding the mamaliga, we usually do not bake with the sour cream and cheese as it is done traditionally. In that case, it really is pretty much a simple polenta, which is done at step 5. For special occasions, though, we bake it for the traditional mămăligă.

POST-MORTEM
We enjoy paprika hendl so much, my wife and I prepared 100 pounds of it for a medieval feast put on by our local College in the Society for Creative Anachronism. Furthermore, even with my dietary restrictions, I can still make this meal and enjoy quite a feast. With a whole chicken really being the only “expensive” part of this meal, it is one that you can enjoy often, as we certainly do.

I may never get to travel through the Carpathians and partake of the local cuisine. Yet with these recipes, I do feel like I am recreating some of that culinary adventure, and that connects me to the folklore that inspired Bram Stoker.

Dawn’s Dark Music Corner: Grasp Logic

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , on May 13, 2014 by elektronikadance

GL2Grasp Logic began (an alternative/industrial- electronic project created by electronic artist Mi-kel Munzter) in 2009. Grasp Logic’s GL3abrasive tones and distorted impacts revolve around a dark obscure atmosphere. Visually caliginous, various influences include: Horror, Sci-fi, Metal, Dark Wave, Ambient, Cinematic, Noise, and various forms of electronic music. Garrett, Mi-kel Munster started out doing scream vocals for a metal project in high school in Washington State. Eventually, he wanted to branch out into something different, yet still keep his metal influences. He has an avid love for horror films and some of his favorites are: Dementia 13, The Mad Monster, Attack Of The Giant Leeches, Halloween, Bruiser, Army Of Darkness, Dead Alive, and Bucket Of Blood (to name a few). In high school he spent a lot of time watching horror films, reading comics and working on music inspired by those interest, which eventually lead to starting Grasp Logic. So far music releases have include an experimentalGL1 EP entitled “Poetry In Machine” realeased in 2011 and since then, Grasp Logic has been releasing singles working toward  another release. At live shows, Grasp Logic features artist, Robert Bauder. Robert’s gripping artwork has been on exhibit at art shows all over the country.

http://www.facebook.com/robert.bauder.3?fref=tsGrasp Logic is part of the Industrial music community “The Black List” and hasopened for such artists as: The Genitoturers, Dead Hand Projekt, William Control and SMP.Check out Grasp Logic on:Facebook: www.facebook.com/grasplogic

Soundcloud: www.soundcloud.com/grasplogic

Reverb Nation: www.reverbnation.com/grasplogic

Videos on Youtube (Grasp Logic):

Mimielle’s Monday a la Mode: 100 Alt. Fashion Styles to Celebrate Horror Addicts Episode 100

Posted in News with tags , , on May 12, 2014 by Mimielle

This is a list of 100 fashion substyles and NO PICTURES.

Why no pix? Because I want you to test your visualization skills to see how many you can call to mind. Alternative fashion is nothing new though we like to pretend it is and that dressing artfully is a modern concept. Truthfully, it is centuries old and meant much the same then as it does now, a public visual statement outside mainstream culture for whatever reason. This list is not all-inclusive and leans heavily towards my biases and some I know listeners have. Hopefully it will be entertaining and maybe give you a few new inspirations as well.

There is a poll at the end to choose or write in your own sub-style that you currently wear most, I’d really like to know.

 

*The Goths*
1. TradGoth/Oldschool
2. CyberGoth
3. Romantic Goth
4. Nu-Goth/Soft Goth
5. Pastel Goth & Creepy Cute
6. Deathrocker
7. BabyBat
8. Rivet Head
9. BabyDoll Goth
10. Faerie Goth
11. ShiroGoth/White Goth
12. Corporate Goth
13. Victorian Goth
14. Hippie Goth
15. J-Goth
16. Military Goth
17. Tribal Goth
18. Geek Goth
19. Medieval Goth
20. Cabaret Goth
21. Carnival/Circus Goth
22. Casual Goth
23. Haute Goth
24. Glam Goth
25. Metal Head
26. Steampunk Goth
27. Perky Goth
28. Emo Goth
29. Deathrocker
30. Vampire Goth
31. Mopey Goth
32. Festival Goth

*The Lolitas*
Not all of these are sub-sub-styles, more like classifications below the first 3. But it is helpful to classify them in order to sort them out from each other. Plus I like them.
33. Gothic
34. Classic
35. Sweet
36. Punk
37. Kuro, Shiro, other single color
38. Princess/Hime
39. Guro
40. Aristocrat/Madam
41. Ouji/Kodona (Boystyle)
42. Dandy
43. Wa
44. Sailor
45. Qi
46. Country
47. Casual

 

*The Punks & Anarchists*
48. Old school Punk
49. Anarcho-Punk
50. Steampunk
51. Clockpunk
52. Dieselpunk
53. Teslapunk
54.Skatepunk

*The Neos*
55. Neo-Victorian
56. Neo-Roccoco
57. Neo-Romantic
58. Neo-Edwardian
59. Neo-Retro (1960’s-70’s reinventions)
60. Neo-Ludwig
61. Neo-Flapper/Gatsby

*The Retros*
62. Pinup
62. Rockabilly
63. Hippie
64. Bohemian
65. Disco
66. Indie
67. Mod
68. Hipster (many types, often a strange hybrid of retro and ultramodern)
69. T-Bird/Greaser
70. Zoot
71. Laid-Back 80’s Miami Vice/Magnum

*The Japanese Street Styles*
72. Visual Kei, Oshare Kei
73. Gyaru/Gyaru-o
74. Lolita* the sub-sub-styles listed above in their category.
75. Decora
76. Dolly Kei
77. Mori Girl (and Boy)
78. Cult Party Kei (CPK)
79. Yamamba, Manba, Ganguro (sub-style of Gyaru, a small resurgence of Ganguro is currently being seen in 2014)
80. Angura Kei & Shiro Nuri
81. Fairy Kei, Magical Girl styles (these styles are merging somewhat with the new Sailor Moon merchandising and upcoming 6 <3 Princess, including the Shu Uemura x Takashi Murakami collaboration here)

* The Scenesters*
I had to get another cup of coffee before even attempting to unravel a few for this one!
82. Glamcore
83. Screamo (see Grunge as well)
84. Hardcore
85. Pop Scene (overlap with Rave)
86. Hippie Scene
87. Bubblegum Scene (Oh Avril, you are here now)
88. Candy Genderchi
89. Emo (though there is debate whether this belongs here, it is a sub-style and very closely related.)

* The Unclasssified*
These are a thing, they just did not seem to fit well in any category and I am less familiar with them.
90. Chav (pre-Scene and current incarnation)
91. Chonga
92. Chola
93. HipHop
94. Industrial
95. Rave (Candy Rave has Scene crossover)
96. Emocore (ties to Goth and Emo itself)
97. Ero Kawaii (see Bubblegum Scene though both may not like the association)
98. Grunge (I am sure there are sub-sub-styles within but I will leave as an exercise for the readers to sort them.)
99. New Romanticism/Blitz kids (undergoing a slight bout of new popularity related to a small Synthpop revival but not quite full-blown retro)
100. Ethnic Fashion (and surrounding cultural appropriation controversies)

So, how many did you get a visual for? How many were interesting enough to look up? And finally the poll is below…what is YOUR style?

Whatever it is – Stay Beautiful, Addicts! ~Mimielle

Kbatz: Un-scary Fun of Yore!

Posted in News with tags , , , , on May 10, 2014 by kbattz

An Un-Scary 80s and 90s Horror Helping!

By Kristin Battestella

 

Do you want to see something really scary? These cult classics of decades yore provide varying degrees of scares, spooky, sinister, and nostalgia better served for drinking game delights and evenings when you take the ominous none too seriously. Look out!

 

 

Amityville 2: The Possession – Very good zooms, askew camera perspectives, and haunted house phantom forces highlight this 1982 AIP sort of prequel starring Burt Young (Rocky), Rutanya Alda (Mommie Dearest), and James Olson (Rachel, Rachel).  Though a touch toward campy at times, the possession makeup and demonic bodily designs are seriously creepy, and the somewhat stereotypical family dynamics and abuses are no less disturbing and sinister as the household terrors increase. Unfortunately, the latter half of the picture inexplicably dispenses all the fine atmospheric build and turns into a wannabe Exorcist clone with bureaucratic church officials, red tape corruption, and inexplicably poor policing. What the heck happened? After such pleasingly juicy family fears, the finale goes for all the nonsensical cheap thrills, and as a result, the Amityville franchise timeline is completely miffed. This so-called prequel never reveals itself onscreen as such – in fact, it looks decidedly dated eighties, further confusing the supposedly real world happenings and horror movie liberties that already both make yet ruin this film series. Is this installment an account of the DeFeo Family from the Murder in Amityville book or not? If you leave the history out of it and forget the legalese meets exorcism ending, this is an excellent haunted house picture. For all its first half good, it’s a pity someone behind the scenes dropped the ball on this one. I don’t want to be so split on it, but this movie just unravels itself.

 

Kingdom of Shadows – Of course, this 1998 70 minute documentary narrated by late great Oscar winner Rod Steiger (In the Heat of the Night) isn’t suppose to be scary but informative, and with early silent evidence and obscure footage, writer and director Bret Wood (Hell’s Highway) details the foundations of horror onscreen. The black and white visuals, cinematic screams, ominous scoring, and swift editing make for a fun eerie feeling, but the tone here is a touch too esoteric or highbrow thanks to a confusing, even ridiculously wordy approach. What’s trying to be said about the sex, demonic depictions, sadomasochism, and torture of uncensored silent film? Analysis on early religion and science as evil take up too much time, and these heavy segments aren’t meant for younger viewers. Fortunately, there is quality horror education in the F.W. Murnau talk and good versus horror clips from “The Golem” and “Faust” along with famous topics like Jekyll and Hyde, Frankenstein, and Lon Chaney’s monstrous roles. The audience here, however, has to be one already familiar with movie history and horror film – the sole focus on silent movie making macabre combined with the lofty voiceover, necessary subtitles, and philosophical structure requires a finite niche indeed. Counterpoint interviews and expert discussion would have broken up the academia, and a resolution showing how these early beginnings translated into future horror cinema would have set off the silent spooky. For fans of foreign horror and often unknown early cinema, this is a nice treat – but it also makes a great atmospheric party showing on mute!

 

 

Phantoms – Sisters Rose McGowan (Charmed) and Joanna Going (Inventing the Abbotts) arrive in a sleepy Colorado town turned deadly and join Peter O’Toole (Lawrence of Arabia), Ben Affleck (Argo), and Liev Schreiber (Scream) against evil in this 1998 barely R rated adaptation of Dean Kootz’s 1983 novel. We get right to the creepy ghost town suspense with fine simmering discovery, eerie bodies, subtle gore, and no technology or communications – it’s nice to see women thinking on their feet amid the unknown, too. Old time ringing phones, jump buzzers, and more fun sounds create shock moments and ironic use of Patsy Cline classics adds to the discomforting uses of light, dark, mysterious messages, and severed hands. The brooding, character piece direction and in camera action in the first half of the film is quite effective compared to today’s herky jerky in your face every minute awe and hype. Unfortunately, the ensemble atmosphere turns somewhat stupid once the cowboy hat wearing, too young, laughable, and woefully miscast Affleck arrives. Folks begin shooting at nothing and running off alone – I half expected Affleck to break character and ogle over the delightfully Cushing-esque O’Toole. Is this a small thriller or military action? We’ve seen other better small town invasion SF/horror, and the middle section here unravels with anonymous deaths, gruesome cool, and inexplicable monsters. We’re supposed to care when the initial players disappear for entire segments only to return for a redundant science versus religion, preposterous under siege battle of wits finale? So long as you don’t take the faux Lovecraft feelings too seriously or think too much on the smart but ridiculous techno babble, one can enjoy the early mystery and ultimately outrageous finish here.

 

 

Screamtime – There seems to be very little information online about this 90 minute 1983 anthology, and its very dated British on the streets low budget vibe will turn off some. The framing story is also fairly dull with bad dialogue and wooden acting, but the obligatory boobs pop out soon enough and that nostalgic charm can help heaps. It’s a top loading VCR! Those huge glasses! Puppetry and homely Robin Bailey (I Didn’t Know You Cared) anchor Tale 1 “That’s the Way to Do It” along with his pressuring wife Ann Lynn (The Vise). He clings to his childlike profession and the pace is slow to build beyond the family strife, but dizzyingly good killer perspectives, dark angles, and violent bludgeons overcome some of the laughable elements. It’s a familiar concept; sure, however several solid shock moments and the innate creepiness of Punch and Judy dolls make up the difference. For the Second Story “Dream House,” expected but suspenseful creaking sounds and household scares such as creepy kids, flickering lights, a conveniently non-functioning flashlight, and ominous bloody bathwater make for interesting jumps and twists. Is this ghosts, gaslighting, or hysteria? Though slightly dull to start and similar copycats like Psychosis are fairly recent, there’s a pleasingly effective downward spiral here. Next “Do You Believe in Fairies?” presents seemingly classy old ladies Jean Anderson (The Brothers) and Dora Bryan (Last of the Summer Wine) telling their thieving handyman about evil fairies and murdered lovers. Although there’s more of the same freaky dolls and gnomes, this is a quiet but crazy set piece with a mystical wink and some scares. Everything here is a little too humorous and this should be tighter in getting to the juicy of each tale – the woeful frame story breaks up the demented atmosphere, too – but the now period designs and spooky anticipation make for a relatively good time here.

 

 

The Twilight Zone: The Movie – Narrator and original Twilight Zone alum Burgess Meredith leads this 1983 anthology starring Dan Aykroyd (Ghostbusters), Albert Brooks (Defending Your Life), John Larroquette (Night Court), and many more. From the traditional opening titles to tapes stuck in the tape deck, old TV theme songs, and one hulky boob tube, the nostalgia and sentimentality is here for older audiences who appreciate the reflective charm. Though still relevant with nice wartime designs, foreign language uses, and intensity to match its disturbing social analysis, “Time Out” is a little too heavy handed compared to Rod Serling’s original subtly. The bigotry from the late Vic Morrow (Combat!) is upsetting, yet we feel for him as he learns his much-warranted lesson in a most unfriendly past. “Kick the Can” also makes statements on bitter ageism and a second chance at youth but keeps its whimsy thanks to Scatman Crothers (The Shining). The twist is obvious in this retelling and old folks playing can be silly, but that’s kind of the point, too. Kathleen Quinan (Apollo 13), Kevin McCarthy (Invasion of the Body Snatchers), and Bill Mumy (Lost in Space) lead “It’s a Good Life” and its bizarre family analysis endears with its freaky funhouse style. Some of the effects become annoying and compromise the would-be black comedy commentary, but there are precious few scares here. Fortunately, with its fun thunder, lightning, music, excellent editing, airplane fears, and apprehensive shocks, the highlight “Nightmare at 20,000 Feet” remake starring a perfectly panicky John Lithgow (3rd Rock from the Sun) in the famed William Shatner role is still superbly relatable. While there are no bridging stories pigeonholing the reworked plots from longtime TZ writers Richard Matheson and George Clayton Johnson and Melissa Mathison (E.T.) and Jerome Bixby (Star Trek), the suspense and/or lighthearted attempt to capture the varied spirit of the unforgettably superior series is woefully uneven. Though speculative and thought provoking, the scary claims are definitely misleading, and the rug is taken out from under any momentum because we know how these remakes end. Directors John Landis (Animal House), Steven Spielberg (hello), Joe Dante (The ‘Burbs), and George Miller (Babe) feel late on the scene. Thanks to the tragic behind the scenes helicopter accident this try hard homage becomes an unnecessary, shoddy, and latent blockbuster vanity project. Sure, it looks great on blu-ray and can be enjoyed by those who’ve somehow never seen The Twilight Zone, but most of this is too dated for young audiences and too tainted for older viewers to appreciate.

 

FLASH FICTION FRIDAY: Tim Reynolds

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , on May 9, 2014 by Horror Addicts Guest

*Temper Temper “*

by Timothy Reynolds

Leon slammed the spade’s blade into the dirt cellar floor. “Hack my Facebook account will she? Bitch! No wonder Dad ran off with the babysitter-slash-cheerleader when I was ten.”

The pile of dirt grew.  A car door banged shut. He dug faster, mumbling. “I’ll kill her, bury her, hack ‘her’ Facebook account, and make it look like she’s travelling.” The shovel hit something hard.

“What the hell?” He brushed off dirt. In the dim light it looked like two skulls and a pompom.

“Whatcha doing, Honey?”
Leon spun at the sound of his mother’s voice, but not fast enough.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

This story was a winner of the Kobo Writing Life Jeffery Archer Short Story Challenge in early 2013. All rights belong to the author.

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“Tim Reynolds’ published stories range from lighthearted urban fantasy to turn-on-the-damned-lights-now horror, and include the story of a bus driver who kills all his passengers (in ‘Horrible Disasters’ from HorrorAddicts.net) and a dark, depressing view of the near future of reality TV and child-rearing. He can be found online at www.tgmreynolds.com.”

Cheap Reads

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 8, 2014 by David Watson

206_SomeoneWicked_Amy_1For this post I want to take a look at anthologies. One anthology I’ve read recently is Someone Wicked which was edited by Weldon Burge and JM Reinbold and available from Smart Rhino Publications. This book is a collection of 21 tales by the Written Remains Writers Guild that cover such genres as horror, comedy, fantasy and mystery. This is one impressive anthology, every story here is well written and each story is different from the last.

One good story in Someone Wicked is Reckonings by Gail Husch. I loved how the main character describes herself in the beginning  and then she gets into all the little things that she does to get vengeance on the people who annoy her. This is a simple story but the way everything is described paints a picture and makes it come to life. The way this one was written made me think this is going be a great anthology and all of the other stories here are just as good.

Reckonings is a  quiet, psychological horror story with a touch of humor. To show the diversity in Someone Wicked the next story is The Flenser by Billie Sue Mosiman. This horror story goes more for the gross out effect but still manages to have interesting characters and a good shocking ending. The Flenser is about a man who gets a job cleaning flesh off of skull so they can be sold to medical facilities. I did not know jobs exsisted like this and it was interesting reading about how these people would interact with others and what their idea of fun might be.

One of my favorites in this book is Mirror, Mirror by Chantal  Noordeloos. This is a dark fantasy story that looks at the legend of bloody Mary. This story begins in 1852 and is told by a girl named Sophie who along with her mother lives on a  plantation. Sophie has a step sister named Marie-Louise who is a bully and likes to make Sophie’s life hard. In addition to bullying, Sophie has a hard life and her mother along with others end up dying under mysterious circumstances. Sophie feels like an outcast and makes friends with some of the slaves. Here Sophie finds out about the cursed mirror in the house. I loved how this story was told with all the details of life in the mid 1800’s and I liked Sophie’s relationship with the slaves. This was one great horror story on a legend that I didn’t know much about.

In addition to the excellent horror stories in this book there is a mystery here called Missing by JM Reinbold, along with some good takes on fairy tales such as Sisters: A Fairy Tale by Liz DeJesus which I would love to see expanded into a novel. I also loved the dramatic Impresario by Maria Masington, this one takes a look at one young person’s descent into drug addiction that I think sadly a lot of people can relate to. This book even has some stories that are just for laughs such as The Semi-Aquatic Blue Baker of Borneo by Justynn Tyme which is a hard story to explain, it just has to be read. This anthology has it all and is a book you shouldn’t pass up. There are also two other anthologies from Smart Rhino that you might enjoy:


13489986Zippered Flesh edited by Weldon Burge

Monstrous transplants. Appalling amputations. Bizarre implants. Nightmarish forms of body enhancements. Disturbing, perverse, often gut-wrenching stories–all between the covers of this anthology. Here are 20 tales by some of today’s best horror, suspense, and science fiction writers, including Graham Masterton, John Shirley, Scott Nicholson, Michael Laimo, Lisa Mannetti, L.L. Soares, Armand Rosamilia, Aaron J. French, Christopher Nadeau, Michael Bailey, Adrienne Jones, Charles Colyott, J. Gregory Smith, Michael Louis Calvillo, Jezzy Wolfe, Jonathan Templar, P.I. Barrington, Elliott Capon, Rob M. Miller, and Weldon Burge. The stories are not for those who are faint of heart or squeamish, or who are easily offended by nasty language, bloody violence, and freakish body augmentations. You’ve been warned!

Broken: Stories of Damaged Psyches edited by Weldon Burge

This is a collection of five horror/suspense stories by Weldon Burge, including:

SIZZLE — A philandering doctor meets a hill man who wants the “sizzle” cut out of his brain

ANOTHER HIGHWAY FATALITY — A college girl, driving alone late at night during a heavy storm, is stalked by a car with a missing headlight

WHITE HELL, WISCONSIN — A snow plow driver, plowing back roads in rural Wisconsin during a blizzard, fights for his life against elusive assailants

PERMANENT DETENTION — A stressed-out teenager believes his History teacher is actually one of the living dead

BLUE EYE BURN — A Vietnam veteran is haunted by a terrifying incident involving a young Vietnamese girl

Press release: Mass Hysteria

Posted in News with tags , , , , , on May 7, 2014 by Horror Addicts Guest

Mass-HysteriaCreed Noir Presents Mass Hysteria is a exhibition of great Horror trailers, shorts, and feature length films made by indie filmmakers.This is a different sort of film festival. We are looking for anything that has themes of madness, paranormal and occult, or the macabre. This live stream event will be hosted by Creed Noir himself as he introduces the show, each piece shown, and maybe an interview or two.

Come and join in on the fun and thrills of hosted Horror in the spirit of Elvira, Joe Bob Brigs, or the Crypt Keeper on June 6, 2014.

Currently there are no prizes involved, but there is NO submission fee.

For more information go to: http://machinationsintomadness.com/masshysteria/

Black Bird by Kanoko Sakurakoji

Posted in News with tags , , , , , on May 6, 2014 by Emerian Rich

Black_Bird_Vol_1Black Bird by Kanoko Sakurakoji is the story of a young girl named Maiso who is tortured by demons from a very young age. When she was little, a neighborhood boy protected her, but when he moved away, the demons had free reign. Now, she’s sixteen and the demon attacks have increased. Just when the demon attacks are at their worst, the little boy moves back, only now he is a gorgeous man.
Tall, dark, and handsome, Kyo, is her knight in shining armor. What’s more, when he’s around, the demons don’t bother her. It seems like a dream come true, until he tells her he is the head of a demon clan and plans to make her his wife.

Unbeknownst to her, Maiso is the Bride of Prophecy. Kyo tells her that all demons search their lives for her and are after her for one of three reasons:

1. To drink her blood and be granted long life.

2. To devour her, which ensures eternal youth.

3. Or to bed her and make her their bride, which makes thier entire clan prosper.

There is a touch of fetish eroticism as Kyo can lick Maiso’s wounds to heal her. He poses as her teacher, so there are several scenes where she has fallen and he “tends” to her wounds by bringing her into the classroom and licking her under her plaid, schoolgirl skirt.

bb4The series is a tale of courtship, demon attacks, and innuendo. You might ask where the title Black Bird comes from? When Kyo is in his demon form, his hair grows long and straight, he has black wings, and wears a mask that looks like a crow’s beak. At no time does he exhibit the “ugliness” of the other sorts of demons that attack Maiso daily. It was interesting to me that there seemed to be “classes” of demons. The kind that constantly flew around her are almost like spirits. They are transparent, can be tiny or huge, and usually bite at her neck or ankles. The other sort (like Kyo) look mostly like humans and are normally beautiful. When they change into their demon forms, they look more like dark angels rather than the scary, ugly, demons we’ve come to expect from Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Horror Addicts might find the constant girly blushing of Maiso tiresome, but for those of you who enjoy a little innocent romance in your horror, you’ll love this. Sure, there are demon attacks, clan wars, and some sexy makeout sessions, but for the most part, this is a story about a young girl dealing with her ailment (demon attraction) and the fact that her boyfriend is a powerful demon.

The artwork in this manga is beautifully done and reminds me more of the Bride of the Water God in some places. It has a very traditional side, with men wearing long warrior robes and long hair tied in back, but it also shows these same males in modern street clothes.

news_large_blackbird18Later in the series, Maiso grapples with the decision to become Kyo’s bride and sleep with him, even though it may cause her death. There is big drama in whether they should sleep together or not, and when they finally do, if they should do it again and if she gets pregnant will she die. In fact, every time she experiences a pleasurable event with Kyo, the next thing you know, her life is in danger. It begs the question, is the Bride of Prophecy ever allowed to be happy?

Although this manga series is more romance than horror, I still enjoyed it immensely and thought it might appeal to those of you with more classic macabre tastes.

REMINDER! 4th Annual Masters of Macabre Writing Challenge

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , on May 5, 2014 by Emerian Rich

The 4th Annual Masters of Macabre Writing Challenge

This is the 4th annual Masters of Macabre story contest, sponsored by the nightmarish terrors residing over at HorrorAddicts.net. This is the chance for all the gentlemen to show the Wicked Women Writers that we can chill your bones and strike naked fear into the deepest crevices of your psyche just as well as any Great Old One you might find on your next expedition to the dark places of the earth…

What is the Masters of Macabre Writing Challenge?

This is a challenge to all male horror writers, both published and unpublished, to showcase their prose as well as to produce a reading to be aired in podcast form for all of our listening pleasure. Your story (in both text and audio form) will be judged and voted upon by the fans to determine the 2014 Master of the Macabre. Each podcast story must be crafted by the entrant and will be limited to ten (10) minutes.

This year we’ll be having a finalist round where only the very best audio stories will be competing in the final voting round, so make sure your words are as sharp as your claws and saddle up!

2014 Theme: CREATURE FEATURE

Premise: From the rubber costumes of the 20’s to lumbering shuggoths of H.P.Lovecraft to the CG terrors that grace the modern-day silver screen, monsters have always been an integral component to striking horror into our hearts. Whether it’s an alien behemoth from the sky, an otherworldly demon, or a simple mutant pet, it’s time to summon some dark, inhuman creature to menace society.

Challenge: Create a brand new written story and from that story create a 10 minute horror podcast that contains four story elements (below). Register to compete by May 20th, 2014. Audio and text are due on June 20th, 2014

Story Elements: Each participant will be randomly assigned the following three story elements. Your story needs to include each of the following:

1. Location: Where will the story take place? Will your creature attack in a shopping mall? An airplane? Perhaps the havoc will begin in the Gobi desert? The globe is our playground and the black crystal ball will let you know where the monster shall attack.

2. Item:  A simple item will be assigned to you, and it must appear somewhere in your story. Whether it will help or hinder you (and/or your characters) is up to you, but the item shall be gifted to you so you gotta use it. Magic amulets, toilet plungers, dirty wigs, or animal corpses might find it’s way to your inventory, so be hope for the best and be prepared for the worst.

3. Creature’s Origin: Where will the nightmare stem from? Will the creature spawn in the dankest city sewers or will it be awoken from the depths of an abandoned copper mine? Will it live in an abandoned church or will it be found living in the hold of a tanker? You must craft the creature, but the dark lords we answer to will choose WHERE it was born.

Dates to Remember:

Registration opens – April 20th, 2014

Registration closes – May 20th, 2014

Complete story and audio due – June 20th, 2014

Elimination round down to the top 5 – July 1st, 2014

Stories air and voting begins – August 9th, 2014

Last day to vote – September 9th, 2014

Crowning the Master of Macabre – October 3rd, 2014

How to register: If you are up to the challenge, email your name, headshot, and a short (under 50 word) bio to: horroraddicts@gmail.com. Within a few days you’ll receive the complete set of rules as well as your assigned story elements. The sooner you respond, the more time you’ll have to craft your story and produce your podcast!

Questions? Then email us at horroraddicts@gmail.com. No questions and ready to create something terrifying? Email us at horroraddicts@gmail.com.

Good luck, and may dreadful winged things rend the flesh from your enemies of writing.

Dreadfully yours,

Rick Kitagawa

2013 Master of Macabre

HorrorAddicts.net #099, Writers Workshop Winner, A.D. Vick

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 3, 2014 by Emerian Rich

Horror Addicts Episode# 099

Horror Hostess: Emerian Rich

Intro Music by: Cancer Killing Gemini

————————

180 days till Halloween!

writers workshop winner: a.d. vick, desillusion, dracula 2000, the twilight zone

zombieland, t-bone burnnett, fashion, goth sunscreen, black eyeliner, dracula cookbook, poppy seed flat bread, end of the world radio, desillusion, 809 jacob street, marty young, suffer the children, craig dilouie suffer, the darkest touch, joeseph sale, still water, justin macumber, evil dead musical, zombie musical?, ed pope, the heard, movie making, melanie light, victoria broom, jon campling, charlotte hunter, master of macabre challenge, writing contest, dracula 2000, gerard butler, the twilight zone, dunsmuir house, phantasm, tall man, flash fiction friday, james hoch, events, the evil of frankenstein, universal, poltergeist, dead mail, horror manga, rozen maiden, murder princess, black butler, black bird, artistic license, emerian rich, switched at birth, dawn of the deaf, a.d. vick

 

http://traffic.libsyn.com/horroraddicts/HorrorAddicts099.mp3

Find all articles and interviews at: http://www.horroraddicts.net

———————–

Write in re: ideas, questions, opinions, horror cartoons, favorite movies, etc…

horroraddicts@gmail.com

————————

h o s t e s s

Emerian Rich

s t a f f

Sapphire Neal, David Watson, Dan Shaurette, Marc Vale, KBatz, Mimielle, Dawn Wood

Want to be a part of the HA staff? Email horroraddicts@gmail.com

b l o g  / c o n t a c t / s h o w . n o t e s

http://www.horroraddicts.net

 

2014 Writer’s Workshop Winner: A.D. Vick

Posted in News on May 2, 2014 by Sapphire Neal

ha-tagCongratulations to our newest Writer’s Workshop winner, A.D. Vick. “I’m both thrilled and honored to be featured here. I’ve read some material written by other writers involved with Horror Addicts and I’ve found their material quite interesting. So, I’m also somewhat surprised as well as grateful that I’m being showcased here.”

Vick’s submission for the workshop was Night of the Harvestmen. I asked Vick to share a little background about his story with us. “The idea for the story came from my real-life experience. A couple of summers ago it was unusually hot and we were living under extreme drought conditions. As a result, I had to deal with a real infestation of harvestmen, which had apparently figured out how to get into my bathroom where conditions were moister and at times, wetter. They came in by the dozens; and while my story exaggerates their numbers, there were enough of them to really freak me out.”

As always, I was curious to know how A.D. became a fan of Horror Addicts and to see what drew him to the horror genre. Luckily, Vick was more than happy to share a story or two. “I guess I’ve been a HA fan for a year or two. My first connection to it came as a result of my friendship with Mimielle Marek LeFauve, who used to host tea parties locally once a month or so and is now involved with your productions. She spoke to me once or twice about an author friend living in San Francisco who had involvement with horror-story podcasts. Eventually, Mimielle introduced me to Emerian Rich, with whom I became Facebook friends. It wasn’t hard to learn about Horror Addicts after that.”

“I think it’s the interaction between ordinary people in the everyday world and the supernatural. I’ve had an interest in the supernatural for about as long as I can remember and have experienced a few brushes with it myself. I also enjoy the horror writer’s ability to describe occurrences in such detail that the reader feels that he or she is right there, sharing in the frightful occurrences. Horror films have great visuals as well as the ability to shock and frighten. You never know what might be lurking behind the next corner.”

Photo op 002

In addition to Vick’s love for horror stories (especially Gothic literature), he loves music. He is particularly a fan of “heavy metal, classical, dark wave and Celtic.” He also is interested in the care and preservation of a couple of historic cemeteries. I’m fascinated by history and really enjoy discussing and writing about the relationship between certain historic events and the ghost stories that have come about as a result of them, whether real or imagined.”

Currently, A.D. is working on a sequel to his story A Fall from Grace. “When I finish it, I’m going to add it to a collection I have more or less self-published online called, Tales of Dark Romance and Horror. Then, I’d like to move this collection to Kindle and publish it in book form as well. After that, I’ll get back to creating new material that I can submit to various horror venues.”

For more information on A.D. Vick, be sure to check out these sites:

http://gothicembrace.blogspot.com

http://www.romanceandhorror.com

Still Water

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

still water coverStill Water, West Virginia is a tough town to grow up in. It’s a small town and most of its residents work at the local coal mine. The mine may be a dark place but there is something beneath the mine that’s much darker. The tomb of an evil god has now been disturbed and its effecting the whole town.

It starts with a change in attitude, everyone in Still Water is angrier then before and fights are breaking out everywhere. As the ancient sinister force gets closer to awakening, the people in town are changing physically as well and soon the whole world will change and a new age of suffering and hopelessness will begin.

Taylor sees the changes happening in her town and makes a call to her brother Kyle. Kyle left Still Water after graduating high school and never looked back. Now the prodigal son is returning to a Still Water where chaos reigns. He’s not the only one coming into town, a paranormal investigator named Maya is coming to write a story on how strange deaths have been occurring in Still Water. She has no idea what’s really happening in the small mining community but she is about to discover that Kyle and herself maybe the only ones that can stop humanity from tumbling into an evil abyss.

Still Water by Justin Macumber has a feeling of dread that lasts throughout the book. I found myself thinking as I read it, how can these people stop an evil that is as old as the earth itself. Still Water is heavily influenced by the works of H.P. Lovecraft. In Lovecraft’s Cthulhu mythos old gods are awakened and the only thing they want is the destruction of human society. This is the idea behind Still Water. The story starts with a bang as miners are transformed into evil creatures and then builds slowly to an action packed conclusion.

There were a lot of things I liked in Still Water. The description of the small working class town really made it come to life and I liked how Kyle’s family is described. While his family is far from perfect it represents what families are like in working class towns. I enjoyed how the story got into how Taylor feels abandoned by her brother and the guilt that Kyle feels. I also liked the character of Maya, she is a black psychic and a stranger in a strange land. The town would have been against her even if it wasn’t under the influence of evil  but it doesn’t stop her from doing what she feels she needs to do.

Still Water is a book that preys upon our worst fears, which is the idea of being powerless in the face of evil. I loved Kyle’s revelation towards the end of the book and the ending was excellent. My only complaint about this book was that I felt the creatures in the mine could have been described a little better and some of the action scenes could have been more detailed. That being said the best part of Still Water is the atmosphere and it has plenty of it, plus a great story to boot. Still Water is a creepy novel that will have you sleeping with the lights on.

Morbid Meals – Poppy Seed Flat Bread from The Dracula Cookbook

Posted in News with tags , , , , on April 30, 2014 by Dan Shaurette

EXAMINATION
Marina Polvay (1928-2002) was the author of one of my cherished cookbooks, The Dracula Cookbook (published in 1978 and again later in 2000).

Her love of Count Dracula inspired her to travel to Transylvania to find authentic recipes for her collection which eventually became this wonderful cookbook. The book is loaded with anecdotes from Romania along with history and descriptions of the culture from the land beyond the forest.

All of the recipes have a fun flair to them. Many have playful names, like “Shrimp Ghoulé”, and references to Dracula the fictional character, like “Black Forest Cake Nosferatu”. You will also find some wonderful, more traditional recipes, like “Chicken Liver Paprikash”.

The recipe that I want to share is “Poppy Seed Flat Bread”. Not only is this a traditional bread, but for those familiar with vampire lore, you know that counting poppyseeds keeps vampires distracted so you can escape from them. That makes this bread a handy and tasty defense against vampires, should you need it.

For the record, this recipe makes a flat risen bread, like focaccia, rather than something akin to tortillas, pita, or matzo.

ANALYSIS
Makes 1 Large Flat Loaf, roughly 12-15 pieces

2 cups warm water
3 Tbsp honey
2 Tbsp molasses
2 pkgs granulated yeast
5 cups (700 g) all-purpose flour, split (see below)
2 tsp salt
4 Tbsp canola oil
yellow cornmeal, to sprinkle
pat of butter, or non-stick spray
1 egg, well beaten
2-3 Tbsp poppy seeds

  1. In a large bowl, combine the water, honey, and molasses, and yeast. Let sit for about 5 minutes to activate the yeast.
  2. Add 2 cups (280g) flour and salt. Mix together with a wooden spoon for about two minutes.
  3. Add the remaining 3 cups (420g) flour and knead the dough for about one minute.
  4. Pour the oil over the dough and work it in, kneading until the oil is absorbed, for about two minutes.
  5. Cover the bowl with a clean, dry towel and set is aside in a warm place until it doubles in bulk, about 50 minutes.
  6. Punch down the risen dough, turn it out onto a floured board and knead for another minute.
  7. Grease an 11″x17″ jelly-roll pan with the butter or non-stick spray, and then sprinkle with cornmeal to cover the whole pan. Shake out any loose extra cornmeal.
  8. Roll the dough out on a floured surface then place it onto the sheet pan, stretching to fill the entire pan.
  9. Cover again and let rise for another 30 minutes.
  10. Using a sharp knife, cut the dough into roughly 3″ squares. The dough will stay bound together, but it this will make it possible to break the bread into pieces once it is baked.
  11. Brush the top with the beaten egg and then sprinkle with the poppy seeds. Resist the urge to count the poppy seeds as you do so.
  12. Place the dough on the middle rack of your oven.
  13. Bake at 375 F degrees for 50-55 minutes, until the bread has a firm, golden brown crust.

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DISSECTION
The original recipe suggested the use of an 11″x17″ jelly-roll pan, which I did not have. I only had a quarter sheet pan which is about 9″x13″. The dough fit with no issues, though presumably baked thicker than it otherwise would have. By the way, I did not know there was a difference between a “Jelly roll pan” and a “cookie sheet”. Wikipedia explains, “A sheet pan that has a continuous lip around all four sides may be called a jelly roll pan. A pan that has at least one side flat, so that it is easy to slide the baked product off the end, may be called a cookie sheet.”

I supplied the gram weights above for standard all-purpose flour so that the recipe can be altered to use any other flour, like a gluten-free mix, in exact substitution.

The traditional directions above require a lot of elbow grease. Feel free to use a standing mixer with a dough hook if you desire.

POST-MORTEM
I am on a gluten-free diet, but I allowed myself a piece of this bread. I made it the traditional way so I would know what it is supposed to be like when I make it gluten-free later. I could not help myself after the house smelled SO GOOD while it baked. I had forgotten what that smell was like. The bread did not disappoint either. So good! I highly recommend it.

Oh, by the way, that myth about eating poppy seeds causing you to fail a drug test is true, according to Snopes.com and Mythbusters.

As for the myth regarding vampires counting them thus allowing you to escape, well, according to Dracula III:Legacy, they can count REALLY fast.

Kbatz: The Twilight Zone Volumes 1 and 2

Posted in News with tags , , on April 29, 2014 by kbattz

The Twilight Zone Never Goes Out of Style

By Kristin Battestella

Every once in awhile, you get that itch.  That bizarre feeling that can only be quenched by Rod Serling’s classic paranormal anthology series The Twilight Zone.  Growing up, I had a ten inch black and white television in my room.  Late at night, when the other networks shut off (my sister called me on the phone one day to corroborate her story to my nieces-yes, television networks signed off in those days!) the only thing left on my TV was PBS and The Twilight Zone.  This probably explains a lot about me, I know.

Several compilation videos and DVDs of The Twilight Zone have been released in recent years, as well as individual season series and sets.  Here’s an analysis of my recent marathon from Volumes 1 and 2 of The Twilight Zone.

Volume 1 begins with the classic ‘The Invaders’.  I remember this one from being a kid, and thinking I was so cool and special that I found this rare and genius television.  Well, obviously everyone loves Agnes Moorehead (Bewitched) and this episode about a lone old woman tormented by tiny space invaders.  Today it’s a big deal if someone can pull off one person television or present a program without dialogue or sound.  ‘The Invaders’, however, is typical of the Twilight Zone’s vibe.  You can’t take your eyes of the screen, no matter how silly or bizarre things get, and you are always bemiffed by the episode’s end.

‘The Night of the Meek’ is a fine Christmas tale as only Rod Serling can present.  Art Carney (The Honeymooners) plays a down and out store Santa who finds a very special sack of presents.  This episode is a bit more bittersweet than the series’ usually twisted self, but there’s still plenty of veiled commentary on alcoholism and charity.

Robert Redford (Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid) fans will of course enjoy ‘Nothing in the Dark’.  The very young Redford plays a wounded policeman rescued by the very old and fearful Gladys Cooper (My Fair Lady). Some of the twists in The Twilight Zone are no longer so shocking, due to constant repeats on television, remakes, and parodies.  Frequent Zone writer George Clayton Johnson (Logan’s Run) keeps the material here so crisp and tight, that it isn’t even the big end that’s what special.  It’s the getting there that counts.  Spoiled CGI fans of today may not realize that you can put two people in a room with a camera and great things can happen.  The Twilight Zone is the proof.

The Twilight Zone: Volume 2 continues the greatness with Burgess Meredith (Rocky, Grumpy Old Men) and ‘Time Enough At Last’.  If our current digital society someday looses books as we know it, I imagine this tale of a man who can’t get enough to read will be even more ironic and bizarre than it already is.  Serling again gives us social analysis by packing literacy, materialism, and the atomic bomb all in one episode. I know I’d be up the creek without a paddle if it were me in this episode!

‘The Monster Are Due on Maple Street’ continues the social commentary.  Offbeat as it is, The Twilight Zone is just as well know for its allegory and issues.  When the families of Maple Street loose power, cars, and technology, they quickly revert to angry and fearful mobs, despite level headed Claude Atkins’ (Rio Bravo) attempts to stop the finger pointing.  I always think of this episode when I see the very similar episode from the Sci Fi Channel’s short lived First Wave.  Often imitated, never equaled!

We make fun of William Shatner (Star Trek), his stilted delivery, and goofy facial expressions, but everyone knows ‘Nightmare at 20,000 Feet’.  Richard Matheson’s (I am Legend) story about a man who may or may be seeing gremlins out his airplane window is one of the most famous Twilight Zone episodes.  So often the series blurred the line between the mind and reality, and Nightmare does a great job of giving us disbelief, confusion, and good old fashioned claustrophobia.

Lastly on Volume 2 is ‘The Odyssey of Flight 33’.  Perhaps not as famous as its predecessor on this disc, but John Anderson’s (Macguver) missing airplane is just as creepy.  Back in the day, aviation was a relatively new thing, and this fear of technology gone awry can still give us the wiggins.  Are the effects hokey? Yes, but dated graphics should be a given when watching a fifty year old show.  If you are looking for state of the art visuals in The Twilight Zone, I do feel that is missing the point.  Serling’s speculative stories and bizarre twists make me feel more intelligent, more cultured for having watched.  When was the last time you said that about some run of the mill reality series?

Although completists would prefer the season sets in the order that the series was intended or the complete collection, these compilation volumes are a great way to introduce non fans to The Twilight Zone.  When you have that hankering for classic genre food for thought television, pick and choose your favorite Twilight Zone episodes today.  When in doubt, check out a rerun on TV or sample free video online.

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