Archive for the News Category

Kbatz: Ghostly Viewings!

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , on October 11, 2014 by kbattz

Ghostly Viewing Pleasures

By Kristin Battestella

‘Tis the season for a bevy of haunted house scares, poltergeists run amok, and eerie apparitions! Young and old, recent or classic – stay in with these ghosts galore if you dare!

Burnt OfferingsFor only $900, Karen Black (Five Easy Pieces, The Day of the Locust), Oliver Reed (Oliver!, Gladiator), and their aunt Bette Davis (Hush Hush Sweet Charlotte, All About Eve) rent a spooky California mansion for the entire summer from kooky Burgess Meredith (Rocky, Grumpy Old Men) and his sister Eileen Heckart (Butterflies Are Free). You know this is too good to be true! Director Dan Curtis (Dark Shadows) takes his time with Robert Marasco’s source novel, developing the happy characters in the first half hour then building the mystery and haunted house disturbia towards the sinister changes to come. Although the 1976 design is quite dated- ascots, station wagons- the period flair is now cool and backwater scary style. The Dunsmuir House filming location is so, so sweet, too- and oh, that chauffeur! Yes, it’s merely PG and has obvious similarities to Phantasm, but there are still plenty of scares, innuendo, and twists to delight here.

The Conjuring –Vera Farmiga (Up in the Air) and Patrick Wilson (Insidious) lead this 2013 possession thriller along with Ron Livingston (Office Space) and Lili Taylor (Six Feet Under). Although some of the cast may seem a bit too modern and it’s tough to tell the kids apart at times, the 1968 beginning has the fashions, feeling, and creepy dolls for immediate atmosphere. No attempted cool opening credits waste time – the opening crawl explaining the true story basis and Warren demonology casework does just fine before the 1971 station wagons, old TV static, home movie reels, and ominous music accent the main Perron tale. Granted, there is always a hardened dad, nobody pays attention to the dog’s warnings, the clocks all stop at the same time, and they go into the previously boarded up basement! The Warrens also seem fake and over confident to start, withholding information amid a slightly uneven back and forth establishment of the Perron haunted house period Poltergeist meets Ghost Hunters Warren family relationships. Fortunately, the plots and sympathies come together amid foggy lakes, eerie wide camera lens perspectives, uneasy upside down pans, creaking doors, and sleepwalking kids – that’s a creepy blindfolded and clapping game they play! The editing on the jump moments from director James Wan (Saw) is surprisingly subtle, startling the simmering audience at different times with different things and allowing for a personal build instead of in your face, all the time unfulfillment. Kids in peril, bodily bruises, excellent silence and darkness, heavy breathing, and over the shoulder fearful reveals keep the phenomenon intimate despite the old time research montage and cliché centuries old history. Most visual tricks happen in camera; the pacing focuses on fear and personal reaction even as complex, multiple occurrences mount thanks to an off kilter contrast, stillness, or action movement. Horror fans accustomed to recent under 90 minute standards may find the near two hours here long or too similar to classic supernatural fair, but the tension follows through from start to finish, progressing to a wild exorcism finale.

The Haunting- It might be fun to make a marathon with the 1999 redo, but for serious chills, stick with this 1963 classic. You don’t see one damn thing in this picture, and that’s what makes it so terrifying. Horror students and film teachers take note of how mere lighting, sound, and visual tricks keep us on the edge of our seats. Psychology, parapsychology, haunted mansions, and a genuinely fearful looking cast. You don’t need anything else, except to continue the sinister vibes with the source novel The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson.

Poltergeist- Maybe in our rapidly changing television technologies, this one will loose some of its luster someday. For old school folks like me, however, who remember big old console sets full of static, Poltergeist never gets old. The warnings of technology being conduits for angry spirits, beasts in the closet, and demonic toys combined with adorable child victims and sassy little psychics remind us to respect the dead and appreciate the line between life and death. Naturally, there are sub par sequels, but behind the scenes documentaries detailing the tragedies surround this film are far more interesting. And the blu-ray is smashing!

 The Woman in BlackHarry Potter star Danielle Radcliffe does well in this 2012 nuHammer creepy haunted house ghost story adapted by Jane Goldman (Stardust, X-Men: First Class) from Susan Hill’s source novel. There’s a very nice gothic spirit at work thanks to the moody history, ghostly atmosphere, and mostly silent, one-man scares. Suspicious townsfolk and freaky kid deaths add to the sudden effects and camera tricks, and candlelight and darkness up the sinister for an overall, quite effective spooky. Though the period settings are perfectly decrepit in addition to the smart, darker photography, there is just a little too much drab unnecessarily weighing down the film’s look. Perhaps there was an intentional kinship to something black and white or a depressing palette meant to mirror Radcliffe’s widower Arthur Kipps and his desperate state of mind. However, this devoid, colorless, overly digital, saturated dreary feels amiss –we have the spooky and disturbing elsewhere in set decorations, story, and character. There’s no need to add this layer of off putting heavy – in fact, some rich late Victorian color and flair would have gone a long way in the household fears, local smarmy, and child scary simply because the viewer would have found something pleasing, if creepy, for the eye. This doesn’t look fun to watch, and some horror audiences expecting more action or panache may be disappointed by this style. There’s also a few plot holes and missed opportunities or speculation with Ciaran Hinds (There Will Be Blood) as the upstanding, decidedly not superstitious Sam Daily. Were there townsfolk involved in the ghost causing history? Did Kipps really bring the titular vengeance as the bereaved claim or was something else at work? What the F happened to the dog? There’s room for some debate in the tale as it isn’t all explained in one big reveal, but a few clarifications would have been nice – especially since this budding sequel talk sounds kind of crappy. Despite a few questions and visual flaws, the 90-plus minutes here keep things ominous – the shocks and suspense happen without resorting to the crassness, gore, or nudity we so often find today. Bravo!

Free Fiction Friday: J. T. Evans

Posted in News with tags , , , on October 10, 2014 by Emerian Rich

Broken Violence

by J. T. Evans

“I’m going to kill her,” Mickey said in a dead-pan voice.

Joseph opened his mouth to speak as a tear escaped over his quivering eyelid. He found his voice, but only a whisper. “Not her.”

“You know I have to.”

Joseph’s voice cracked as he tried to sound stronger. “Anyone but her.”

“You haven’t given me a choice.”

“There’s always a choice.” He hoped the other man wouldn’t hear the quiver in his voice.
Mickey’s voice dropped to a low growl. “She makes you distracted and weak. You might have a choice. I don’t.”

Joseph scrubbed his hands through his messy, brown hair and looked down at the dirty toilet in the bathroom they shared. “Something else. Anyone else.” He wanted to add “please” to his statement, but didn’t have the strength.

“There are no other options. Her death is the only thing that can make you strong again.”
Snapping his eyes back up, Joseph stared at the visage before him. “Someone else can be the sacrifice.”

“Someone else? Like the time when you were eight? Who else could have burned in Mom’s and Larry’s place when I saved you?”

Joseph shook his head. “How about me? What if I die?” He kept his shaking hands at his side to keep the other man from seeing them.

Mickey threw his head back and laughed. When his mirth subsided, he said, “You know better than that.”

The young man narrowed his eyes. “There’s no need to kill again. She’s not a threat.”

“She was a threat from the first time you saw her.” Mickey glared back.

Joseph raised a fist and tried to sound stern. “No, she wasn’t. I have-“

Mickey roared. “You have nothing! Without me you are nothing but a weakling! I had to save you back then. I will save you now.”

Joseph cowered back from the sudden outburst and whimpered deep in his throat. “You can’t. I love her.”

With a raised eyebrow, Mickey asked, “Do you love her more than me?”

With a slight bit more force, Joseph whispered, “No.”

“Does she love you?”

More whispers. “I’m not sure.”

“That’s what I thought. Quit wasting my time.”

Joseph sighed.

“See? You’re weak when it comes to her. She has to die. Tonight.”

Something inside Joseph snapped. He growled back at the leering man. “I won’t let you.” He raised his hand again, and slowly curled his fingers closed.

“You wouldn’t dare. I give you strength. I give you power. I protect-“

Joseph closed his eyes and slammed his fist into Mickey’s shocked face.

Mickey broke into dozens of pieces as the bathroom mirror in front of Joseph shattered under the force of the blow.

Joseph smiled as he squeeze his fist tighter over the sink. Blood dripped on the shards and washed Mickey away.

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

J.T. Evans arrived on this planet and developed into an adult in the desolate, desert-dominated oil fields of West Texas. After a year in San Antonio, he spent a year in the northern tundra of Montana. This year-long stint prepared him for the cold (yet mild compared to Montana) climate of the Front Range of Colorado. He has thrived in The Centennial State since 1998 with his lovely Montana-native wife and newly created son. He primarily pays the bills by performing software engineering and other technocentric duties. To find out more, go to: http://jtevans.net/

Cheap Reads: Disease

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , , on October 9, 2014 by David Watson

Cover_SmallI have only one selection for Cheap reads this time around and that is Disease by M.F. Wahl. This is a six part serial that takes a look at life after the zombie apocalypse. When I first started reading this it reminded me of The Walking Dead because its main focus is on how human survivors change as they deal with the fall of civilization. It didn’t take long though to realize that the story for Disease is much better then The Walking Dead and I think this is how people would act when zombies take over the world.

Disease begins after society has collapsed. The first characters we meet are a young woman named Casey and a boy named Alex who are on the run. You see how desperate they are as they explore a house that’s crawling with zombies. They battle the undead and get excited as they find an unopened can of dog food.  Casey and Alex are slowly starving to death and a can of dog food is like a godsend, if there is a god in the zombie apocalypse.

Things aren’t bad for everyone though, we also meet a woman named Lot who has started a new society in a hotel. Lot and her followers have everything they need and they started trading with other survivors that have set up their own communities. Lot’s hotel looks like a little utopia in this world where zombies rule, but not everything is as it seems.

Meanwhile Casey and Alex meet up with a group of Lot’s followers led by Danny and it looks like they have finally gotten the help they need. The hotel for them is a blessing and a curse and they soon realize they may have been better off with the zombies.  Because some people are bigger monsters than the zombies outside.

If you’re a zombie fan, Disease is a must read. M.F. Wahl describes her zombies in gruesome vivid detail. All the zombie scenes are so well described that reading it is like watching a zombie movie. One of my favorite scenes was towards the end as a freshly turned zombie rises out of a shallow grave but the scariest parts of this book don’t include the zombies, the people are scarier. One character in particular in this story is the physical embodiment of evil and the way the author shows how evil she is by using innuendo was brilliant. Only one person sees past the facade of the villain in the story but he has his own agenda. I would love to talk more about the story but I don’t want to give away any of the surprises.

Disease is a fresh look at the zombie genre. I liked how the book had both fast and slow zombies and how some zombies were smarter than others. Most of all I enjoyed the characters and how each one of them is a shade of grey.  They all have a sense of right and wrong but when it comes to staying alive, what is right goes out the window. Another thing I liked about this book is how unpredictable it was. There were four times while reading this book that I was shocked because something happened that I didn’t see coming and that’s what I like to see in a great horror story. Disease is the kind of book that I would show to someone when they ask why I like to read horror and I can’t wait to see what M.F. Wahl comes up with next.

 

 

Press Release: The Ghost Sisters And The Girl In Hallway B

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , on October 8, 2014 by Horror Addicts Guest

unnamedMeet the ghost sisters in new YA paranormal novel

Two sisters who love the supernatural investigate a ghost haunting their middle school in a new young adult paranormal novel.

Sunbury Press has released The Ghost Sisters and the Girl in Hallway B by Patricia Santos Marcantonio.

Meet the Ghost Sisters: Kat and Marie Bench.

They love anything to do with ghosts and the supernatural. When their divorced mom moves them to her hometown in Pueblo, Colorado, the sisters discover a real ghost haunts their school—that of a young girl who cries, slams lockers, and leaves mysterious messages as floors writhe, walls weep, and a terrible accident is replayed. Armed with resourcefulness and ghost-hunting tricks they picked up from books and TV, the sisters set out to find the identity of the student apparition. Meanwhile, one of their friends is being bullied. Kat and Marie will need bravery and determination to help their friend and solve the mystery of the girl in Hallway B.

Marcantonio is an award-winning author. Her other books include “The Weeping Woman” and “Red Ridin’ in the Hood and Other Cuentos.” She also is co-author of “Voices From the Snake River Plain,” an anthology of award-winning stories.

http://patriciasantosmarcantonio.com/

http://www.sunburypressstore.com/The-Ghost-Sisters-and-the-Girl-in-Hallway-B-9781620064733.htm

 

 

Review: The Music Of Robot Monkey Arm

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

The Music Of Robot Monkey Arm

Review by Crystal Connor

I usually review horror movies but when I was offered the opportunity to review an album for the band Robot Monkey Arm I took it.

 The most interesting thing right off the bat is that the album is broken up into three parts, it’s like a musical anthology because each section is different in tone.

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Part One

Robot Senza Nome!

 Track 1: l’automa  02:07

Track 2: il brutto 03:40

Track 3: la bella 01:07

Track 4: Titoli 06:10

 What I loved most about part one besides everything is that it’s all instrumental. This is the type of music I can write too. Its eccentric, dark, a bit Gothy and at times a bit jarring but nowhere near in a bad way.  Part one immediately brought to mind The Mars Volta. My favorite track from part on is il brutto

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Part two:

Cinema Vomitif & The White Mask of Doom!

 Track 1: Cinema Vomitif  04:31

Track 2: Kill The Cutie 02:54

Track 3: Deliria (the final girl) 04:08

Track 4: Vengeance Of The Sweater Girl  03:11

 Cinema Vomitif  sounds a little like a song for a car chase from 70s action movie. The tempo is really fast and drum heavy but then with a 3rd of the way left to go it slows down and then picks right back up for the finale!

 Kill The Cutie is hard to describe but I liked it, the undercurrent of the song seems to have Schism (Tool) running through its veins.

 I listened to Deliria (the final girl) like five times is a row. The male voice of the vocalist on this track is hypnotic and the butterscotch tone of female voice of the background singer complements his perfectly. This was my favorite track

 Vengeance Of The Sweater Girl

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Part Thee:

In memoriam to those we’ve lost and those we don’t remember

 Track 1: The Psychogenic Stomp!  02:35

Track 2: Dance Party Ending  01:53

Track 3: l’epilogo (in memoria di Anthony de Mello)  07:00

Track 4: APOEε4 07:38

 The Psychogenic Stomp! is super catchy and punky, had me singing along before the song ended I really liked it. Dance Party Ending is rockabilly all the way and I’m pretty sure that, hands  down, was my favorite in the set. I say pretty sure because the close runner up is l’epilogo, its very orchestral and whimsical. The final track APOEε4 starts off with the piano and then just fades into the sounds of the ocean coming ashore.

I would recommend Robot Monkey Arm to my sister and most of my friends. We’re a little on the snobbish snide up here is Seattle when it comes to alternative music but I’m confident that  Robot Monkey Arm could en mass a pretty large fan base here in the Pacific Northwest.

I would have bought the entire album but because its broken and sold in three parts I purchased the 1st one because it’s my favorite out of the trilogy.

For more information on Robot Monkey Arm, check out these sites:

http://robotmonkeyarm.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Robotmonkeyarm/129365657110627?fref=ts

 

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Washington State native Crystal Connor has been terrorizing readers since before Jr. high School and loves anything to do with monsters, bad guys, rogue scientific experiments, jewelry, sky-high high heel shoes & unreasonably priced hang bags. She is also considering changing her professional title to ‘dramatization specialist’ because it’s so much more theatrical than being just a mere drama queen. Crystal’s latest projects can be found both on her blog and Facebook fan page at:

 http://wordsmithcrystalconnor.blogspot.com

 http://www.facebook.com/notesfromtheauthor

 

Review: The Green-Eyed Monster by Mike Robinson

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

The Green-Eyed Monster by Mike Robinson

A Review by Angela Estes

13440327It was one of those days where I wanted to read an entire book in one sitting.  Luckily for me, I chose The Green-Eyed Monster by Mike Robinson.  The best horror stories leave the reader lost in a miasma of wonderment.  Securely safe in our awareness we have but read a work of fiction, our mind keeps retracing and testing the plot’s connection points for weaknesses.  The best horror authors craft characters and worlds who pop back into our minds while at the grocery store or surfing online.  The best fiction never truly leaves us.  The Green-Eyed Monster Robinson, while not quite achieving that stature of greatness yet, shows enormous potential to get there in his future works.

The story takes place in a fictional Northern California town called Twilight Falls where a respected and celebrated author has just been found dead.  Another author, who is the dead man’s greatest rival, is the main suspect.  If you’re expecting 200 pages of crime and mystery, however, you would be mistaken.  What you get instead is a novel that left me shaking my head at the end, amazed at the size and scope of the story, Robinson attempted to tell.

It isn’t what I would call “an easy read.”  The story of the two authors is told largely by other characters.  It is as if someone wrote a biography of Stephen King, but only included impressions of him from people who spoke to him once to ask for the time.  Or it would be if the tale then proceeded to show how a sole meeting with King changed that individual’s life forever.  Even then it would have to address why we exist and what is the purpose of life itself to be on par.  It’s a lot for a writer and his readers to wrap their minds around.

In The Green-Eyed Monster, Robinson has given us an entirely new world and mythos to consider and I am looking forward to see what he does with it in the sequel, Negative Space.

To find out more about Angela Estes: https://plus.google.com/+AngelaEstesangiece/posts

 

Movie Review: The Calling

Posted in News with tags , , , , on October 5, 2014 by Horror Addicts Guest

Live Action Reviews!

by Crystal Connor

At 1pm on Aug 30th , 2014, Crystal Connor, wrapped in a fleece blanket, with a giant mug of chicken noodle soup scrolled thru the movie menu, made a selection, picked up her remote and clicked play.  For the next two hours her neighbors were subjected to screaming, crying, and expletive outburst…

This is the unedited journal chronicling the harrowing experience her neighbors were forced to endure as she watched, Jason Stone’s 2014 The Calling

Reader discretion is Advised

downloadEntry 1: Call for back up

Entry 2: Seriously? You guys need help

Entry 3: Your way too trusting

Entry 4: You guys need help

Entry 5: No! Don’t even second guess yourself, that voice in your head is screaming for a reason

Entry 6: What are you doing?! Nobody knows where the fuck you are

Entry 7: Way to go, now none of that is inadmissible because you don’t have a warrant

Entry 8: Wait for back up!!!

Entry 9: Are you happy now.

Entry 10: There goes your pension

Entry 11: And your still drinking…yep that’s the best thing to do

Entry 12: Oh my fucking God you’re a goddamned priest! You fucking know better! How dare you allow something like this to happen. You fucked it up for everybody and for that you will burn!

Entry 13: For the love…

Entry 14: Whoa didn’t see that coming.

Entry 15: get up, get up, get up

Entry 16: No, what are you doing…run

Entry 17: I SAID RUN

Entry 18: Oh, Sweet Jesus save us all

Entry 19: I’m buying the book.

 

 

Plotline: Detective Hazel Micallef hasn’t had much to worry about in the sleepy town of Port Dundas until a string of gruesome murders in the surrounding countryside brings her face to face with a serial killer driven by a higher calling.

Scariness Factor: There were some really good suspenseful scenes, especially with the serial killer and the little girl  (yikes)

Gross-out Factor:  N/A

High Points: I really liked that the movie has mature cast and a plausible storyline, the group of five half naked highschool/college kids breaking into a building to play with a ouiji board gets old pretty quick. It didn’t end the way I thought it would so the fact that it wasn’t predictable is a huge plus for me. I loved the motivation of the killer, how he stages the bodies, and the dark tones of the religious undercurrent really helped build the suspense of the movie.

Complaints: My biggest complaint about this movie is the main character.

I’ve seen some reviews say that The Calling is a Fargo knockoff, it’s not. Both movies have a female cops in the lead role trying to solve a crime in the middle of the winter but that’s where the similarities stop. Police chief Marge Gunderson is a much stronger character than Detective Hazel Micallef.

The new trend seems to be that in order to have a ‘strong female lead’ she had to be damaged in some way in order to gain her strength, our Det. Micallef is a functioning drunk and addicted to pain killers. She’s rude, annoying, petty, and shallow and she is not fit for duty. Another thing that bothered me about her addiction is that everyone in the town knows about it but no one says or does anything, even after her impaired judgment endangered other officers. And if that’s not bad enough she’s driving around town like nobody’s business.

Overall: I think watching horror movies should be an ‘interactive’ activity (which is why I watch them alone) and the more I yell at the people on the screen the more fun I’m having. I’m a tough customer and I can be pretty unforgiving when it comes to the myopic way in which I prefer to be entertained. And even though The Calling had me screaming at the characters for almost the entire movie the character of Det. Micallef is too flawed to be believable.

There is so much depth to the religious back story and the motivation of killer but they just skim it because it’s a crime story with the focus on of Det. Micallef. I think it would have been much more frightening if it had been the other way around.

Stars: Even with my complaints The Calling is a descent chiller/thriller and I would recommend it so I am going to give it 3 stars

Where I watched it : Movies on demand

1795961_803788772983725_1553304502_oWashington State native Crystal Connor has been terrorizing readers since before Jr. high School and loves anything to do with monsters, bad guys, rogue scientific experiments, jewelry, sky-high high heel shoes & unreasonably priced hang bags. She is also considering changing her professional title to ‘dramatization specialist’ because it’s so much more theatrical than being just a mere drama queen. Crystal’s latest projects can be found both on her blog and Facebook fan page at:

http://wordsmithcrystalconnor.blogspot.com


http://www.facebook.com/notesfromtheauthor

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