Chilling Chat: Episode #204 – Geneve Flynn

chillingchat

Geneve Flynn is an award-winning speculative fiction editor and author. She has two psychology degrees and only uses them for nefarious purposes.Geneve Flynn-Author-Editor

She co-edited Black Cranes: Tales of Unquiet Women with celebrated New Zealand author and editor Lee Murray. The anthology won the 2020 Bram Stoker Award® and the 2020 Shirley Jackson Award for best anthology. It has also been shortlisted for the British Fantasy Award, Aurealis Award, and Australian Shadows Award. Black Cranes is listed on Tor Nightfire’s Works of Feminist Horror and Locus magazine’s 2020 Recommended Reading List.

Geneve was assistant editor for Relics, Wrecks, and Ruins, a speculative fiction anthology that features authors such as Neil Gaiman, Ken Liu, Robert Silverberg, James (SA) Corey, Lee Murray, Mark Lawrence, Mary Robinette Kowal, and Angela Slatter. The anthology is the legacy of Australian fantasy author Aiki Flinthart, and is in support of the Flinthart Writing Residency with the Queensland Writers Centre.

Geneve’s short stories have been published in various markets, including Flame Tree Publishing, Things in the Well, and PseudoPod. She loves tales that unsettle, all things writerly, and B-grade action movies. If that sounds like you, check out her website. 

NTK: Welcome to Chilling Chat, Geneve! How old were you when you discovered horror and what got you interested in it?

GF: Although I read a lot as a kid, I didn’t really have much access to real horror. I always felt like I wanted something more, but I wasn’t sure what. I found a book in my school library called Where’s My Toe? It was a picture book based on an Appalachian ghost story. An old woman finds a big toe in her garden, and decides, for some unknown reason, to eat it. Then the owner of the toe comes looking for it, groaning, “Where’s my toe?” After creeping closer and closer, the owner takes the old woman’s toe. The thought of eating a toe—ugh. What do you do with the toenail? How did the owner take the old lady’s toe off? Why did they leave their toe in the garden? It scared the crap out of me and I can still remember the illustrations. That was probably my first memorable encounter with horror. But it wasn’t until a friend handed me a copy of Stephen King’s It when I was in high school that the lightbulb in my head really blazed to life.

NTK: What is your favorite horror movie and why?

GF: The Lost Boys, although it’s a blend of horror and comedy. Everything about that movie is just plain fun. The music, the dialogue, the action. I recently wrote a story called, “The Yellow Peril,” as an homage to it and it was pure joy. I also love the Blade trilogy. The movies are over-the-top and ridiculous, but I will rewatch them forever and ever. I grew up reading comics and that aesthetic is what I want when I settle in with my popcorn.

NTK: What is your favorite horror television show and why?

GF: I loved the X-Files. Although most of the focus was on aliens and such, there were some fantastically dark episodes, such as “Home” and “Tooms,” that have stayed with me to this day. The X-Files gave the grotesque a scientific legitimacy that made the horrific seem utterly plausible.

NTK: What is your favorite horror novel and why?

GF: Oh, this one’s tough. This changes all the time, particularly after I’ve finished reading a new book. Can I list a couple? Mongrels by Stephen Graham Jones is tender in the roughest, hairiest way. Let the Right One In by John Ajvide Lindqvist explores loneliness and friendship, and leaves you slicked in blood. The Talisman, co-written by Stephen King and Peter Straub, is about a boy’s journey through dark and terrible terrain as he tries to save his mother. I could go on and on, but I’ll stop there.

NTK: Which do you enjoy most? Editing or writing?

GF: I really enjoy both. They employ different parts of my brain, and it can be nice to switch from one to the other to give myself a mental break. Both practices inform each other. Developing my skills as an editor improves my writing, and being a writer means I’m sympathetic to the challenges in the revision process. If I’m honest though, my first love will always be writing. That moment when it all comes together and you surprise yourself with a story is magic.

NTK: Do your characters have free will? Or do you control everything they do?

GF: They’re like cats. I can try to get them to do what I want, but they ignore me. I try to plot out my stories and predict what my characters will do, but they often take over and shape the story into something else entirely. It’s always fun to watch that play out. My stories where I let them loose usually turn out pretty good.

NTK: What are you most afraid of?

GF: There’s the pedestrian but constant fear of something bad happening to my children. I guess most parents have that; it’s how we as a species have survived this long despite lacking sharp teeth, claws, and venom. But for something a little more specific to me: swimming in open water. I watched Jaws when I was way too young. I think I was seven or eight. Living in Australia where we have great whites, tiger sharks, and bull sharks is a little unfortunate. There’s an inland golf course about fifteen minutes away from me that has six bull sharks in the water hazard. It’s believed they got into the lake during an extreme flood in 1996. I went snorkeling on the Great Barrier Reef once, and I was proud of myself for keeping a level head about it. Then I saw a shark below me. It was only a meter long, but I got out of the water pretty quickly after that.

NTK: How did Black Cranes: Tales of Unquiet Women come about? 

GF: Celebrated New Zealand author and editor Lee Murray and I were attending GenreCon, a speculative fiction convention in Brisbane in 2019. We’d known of each other through the Australian Horror Writers Association and on Facebook, but we’d never actually met. Being conscientious Asians, we had both turned up for an event far too early.

We started chatting and discovered that we were the “black sheep” of the writing community: we wrote horror, we were Asian, and we were women. We wondered at the lack of stories in English that reflected our experiences and Lee suggested that we should put together an anthology to showcase writers like us. Of course, I said yes.

Lee approached Kate Jones from Omnium Gatherum and secured them as our publisher. We sought out Southeast Asian authors and invited them to contribute. We signed up Nadia Bulkin, Grace Chan, Rin Chupeco, Elaine Cuyegkeng, Gabriela Lee, Rena Mason, Angela Yuriko Smith, and Christina Sng. Greg Chapman came on board as our cover artist, and Alma Katsu wrote a gorgeous and powerful foreword. The book was published in 2020, and things have just continued to snowball from there.

NTK: What has your experience been like as an Asian woman who writes and edits horror?

GF: When I first started writing, I didn’t even consider writing Asian, female characters and themes. I had read mostly white, male characters and it didn’t even occur to me to write stories based on Chinese and Malaysian mythologies. Once I sat into my own experiences, my work has become a lot more resonant, and I’ve managed to connect with readers. The reception has been terrific; I think there’s a growing hunger for diversity in publishing nowadays. The editing side of things seems to be less impacted by my ethnicity and gender. Authors just want to know that you’re on their side, and that you know what you’re doing.

NTK: What is the one question you wish an interviewer would ask you? And what is the answer to that question?

GF: What’s one weird thing that you’re afraid of? I watched an interview with Mark Ruffalo when he was on the Graham Norton Show and he said he had an irrational fear of being chased by someone with poop on a stick. I like finding out those odd details about people.

I have a thing about electronic marionettes. I can’t even look at pictures of the Thunderbirds. I think it’s the uncanny valley. My husband keeps trying to get me to watch Team America: World Police. I’d rather take my chances with the poop on the stick. I also don’t like the sensation of someone’s foot on me. Strange, I know.

NTK: (Laughs.) I completely sympathize with you. What was it like to win a Bram Stoker and a Shirley Jackson Award?

GF: Surreal and thrilling and wonderful! The Bram Stoker Award ceremony was online due to the pandemic. Both Lee and I had a laugh as we recorded our acceptance speeches, thinking they would never be played. We were both delighted simply to be shortlisted. Lee was also a nominee for her collection of stories, Grotesque: Monster Stories.

When the awards ceremony played, it was announced that Lee had won for her collection. I promptly burst into tears and I could hardly type congratulations to her. I was so overwhelmed, I almost missed the announcement when Black Cranes won. Thank goodness for pre-recorded speeches!

The Shirley Jackson Award was also pre-recorded, and again, we needed to pretend weeks before the actual ceremony that we were delighted to accept the honour. It was wonderful to have won, and the cheer and support we’ve had from the writing community in response has been really lovely. Plus, owning a working replica of an antique nautical compass is pretty neat.

NTK: What does the future hold for you? What works do Horror Addicts have to look forward to?

GF: I’ve recently completed fifteen poems for Tortured Willows, a collaborative collection of horror poetry with Angela Yuriko Smith, Lee Murray, and Christina Sng. The collection is an expansion on the conversation on otherness and gender launched with Black Cranes: Tales of Unquiet Women. The collection was released on National Dark Poetry Day, 7th October 2021. I’m equally excited and terrified. These are my first attempts at poetry and it’s an honour to share a table of contents with such talented poets.

My short story “They Call Me Mother” will also appear in Classic Monsters Unleashed. The anthology is edited by James Aquilone and features horror giants such as Jonathan Maberry, Ramsey Campbell, Seanan McGuire, and Tim Waggoner. It will be published by Black Spot Books and Crystal Lake Publishing in July 2022.

Along with a few short story and poetry invitations, I’m also planning out a horror novel based on the life of Ching Shih, one of the most successful pirates in history.

NTK: Thank you for chatting with us, Geneve! 

Addicts, you can find Tortured Willows on Amazon.

CoverSep Tortured Willows

Free Fiction : Hungry by Alan Moskowitz

 

Other than a bottle of curdled milk, there was nothing left in the refrigerator.  Desperate, Reynolds grabbed the bottle with a skeletal hand and drank the brutally smelling mess down, hoping for a least some nutrition.  It only took a few moments for his stomach to give it back.   His wasted lungs screamed for air as he coughed up the remains of the milk and sucked in the fetid air.  He threw the offending bottle against the kitchen wall, taking some little pleasure in watching it smash to bits.  He staggered over to the cupboard, his stick-thin legs and exhausted muscles forcing him to maintain his balance by grabbing the edge of the rotting counter as he opened the door. 

Bugs scattered, too fast for his weakened fingers.  He swept the inside of the cabinet, hoping beyond hope that one full precious can of anything may have been missed.  All he felt were the brittle carcasses of dead insects. He moaned in disappointment.

The pain of trying to use his emaciated limbs became too much to bear.  He collapsed onto the floor, surrendering finally to the knowledge that there was no more food, the planet was barren and sterile, and he, like the rest of humanity before him, would starve to death.   He smashed his fists into the floor, raging at the horror of mankind’s stupidity. 

Reynolds woke up screaming, jerking up from the bed, heart pounding in terror.  He looked over at Maria, curled up, peacefully asleep, blonde hair cascading over the blanket.  A dream, only a dream, and a nasty one at that. He took in several breaths, lay back, calming himself.  He gently pulled the cover from her and gagged;  Marie’s rotting skull stared back at him, her once vibrant body withered and emaciated, her wasted flesh sloughed off into puddles of ichors on the blanket.  He moaned in terror, too weak to scream, his vocal cords ravaged.  He looked down at his own devastated body, felt his cold gaunt face.  He tried to cry, but he had no tears left.  

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Alan Moskowitz is a retired screen and TV writer living in Colorado enjoying creating genre fiction.

 

To find more of his work see: mosko13@aol.com

Orion from Thought Beings on Finale!

Check out our season finale, #204, coming October 23rd, for an audio interview with Orion from the band Thought Beings!

Thought Beings is a Synthpop / Retrowave / Esoteric Funk / Darkwave band.

Their new album, Strange Matter is a mix of 80s Horror movie soundtrack, throwback beats, and a new 2021 sound. 

For more information, and to download music, go to: thoughtbeingsmusic.com

Historian of Horror: In Memoriam July – September, 2021

In Memoriam, July through September 2021

This stretch of 2021 does not seem to have been as fatal for horror creators as 2020 or the earlier quarters of this year. That’s a good thing. 

July

Philece Sampler (July 16, 1953 – July 1, 2021) American film, television, and voice actress. She voiced roles in the 2020 horror video game Deadly Premonition 2: A Blessing in Disguise, as well as others, and in numerous animated and anime productions beginning in 1977.https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0192291/?ref_=nv_sr_srsg_0 

Desmond Davis (24 May 1926 – 3 July 2021) British camera operator, The Crawling Eye (1958), The Giant Behemoth (1959), Scream of Fear (1961), and director, Clash of the Titans (1981).

Raffaella Carrà (18 June 1943 – 5 July 2021) Italian singer (A far l’amore comincia tu), and actress in several genre-peripheral peplum (sword and sandal) pictures in the 1960s, including Atlas in the Land of the Cyclops and Mole Men Against the Son of Hercules (both 1961).

Roger Cudney (June 22, 1936 – July 5, 2021) American actor, Mary, Mary, Bloody Mary (1975), The Bees (1978), Amityville II: The Possession (1982), and Ghost Fever (1986).

Richard Donner (April 24, 1930 – July 5, 2021) American film and television director on six episodes of The Twilight Zone in 1963 and 1964; one episode of The Sixth Sense, the spin-off from Night Gallery (“The House that Cried Murder”, Season 1, Episode 4, aired February 5, 1972); one episode of Ghost Story/Circle of Fear (“The Concrete Captain”, Season 1, Episode 2, aired September 22, 1972); the feature films The Omen(1976) and Scrooged (1988); and three episodes of Tales from the Crypt (1989-1992). And the first two Superman movies with Christopher Reeve, but since they aren’t horror, I won’t mention them.

Vladimir Menshov (17 September 1939 – 5 July 2021) Russian director and actor, appeared in Night Watch (2004) and Day Watch (2006).

William Smith (March 24, 1933 – July 5, 2021) Ridiculously prolific American tough-guy actor who appeared in a huge array of delightfully cheesy horror pictures and a handful of borderline classics, including The Ghost of Frankenstein (1942); Atlantis, the Lost Continent (1961); Crowhaven Farm (1970); Grave of the Vampire (as the first dhampyr in film history, 1972); The Thing with Two Heads (1972); Invasion of the Bee Girls (1973); Conan the Barbarian (as Ahnuld’s daddy, 1982); Moon in Scorpio (1987); Maniac Cop (1988); Evil Altar (1988); Memorial Valley Massacre (1989); Feast (1992); The Evil Ones (1994); Manosaurus (1994); Interview with a Zombie (1997); Debbie Does Damnation (1999); The Vampire Hunters Club (2001); The Erotic Rites of Countess Dracula (2001); Zombiegeddon (2003); Voices from the Graves (2006); Rapturious (2007); the first section of The Boneyard Collection (“Her Morbid Desires”, 2008); and Island of Witches (2014); and in one episode each of Kraft Suspense Theatre (“My Enemy, This Town”, Season 1, Episode 15, aired February 6, 1964); The Alfred Hitchcock Hour (“The McGregor Affair”, Season 3, Episode 7, aired November 23, 1964), Kolchak: The Night Stalker (“The Energy Eater”, Season 1, Episode 10, aired December 13, 1974); and the 1985 revival of The Twilight Zone (“Shadow Play”, Season 1, Episode 23, aired April 4, 1986). He also played the Frankenstein Monster on Fantasy Island (“The Lady and the Monster”, Season 5, Episode 4, aired October 31, 1981).

Robert Downey, Sr. (June 24, 1936 – July 7, 2021) American actor, director, writer, producer, and Iron Man’s daddy. Acted in one episode of the 1985 revival of The Twilight Zone (“Wordplay”, Season 1, Episode 2, aired October 4, 1985) and directed three others.

Chick Vennera (March 27, 1947 – July 7, 2021) American actor, The Terror Within II (1991).

Brian Osborne (26 March 1940 – 8 July 2021) English actor in the feature film Haunters of the Deep (1984) and one episode of Tales of the Unexpected (“Never Speak Ill of the Dead”, Season 4, Episode 8, aired May 24, 1981).

Kumar Ramsey (1936 – July 8, 2021) Indian scriptwriter on Darwaza (1978), Aur Kaun? (1979), Saboot (1980), Guest House (1980), Dahshat (1981), Hotel (1981), Ghungroo Ki Awaaz (1981), Purana Mandir (1984), 3D Saamri (1985), Om (1986), Dak Bangla (1987), and Saaya (1989).

Ladislav Potměšil (2 September 1945 – 12 July 2021) Czech actor, Velká neznámá (The Great Unknown, 1970).

Don Jurwich (January 1, 1934 – July 14, 2021) American animator on Wacky Races (1968-1969), in which one of the competitor vehicles was the Creepy Coupe, driven by the Gruesomes, as well as producer on several incarnations of the Scooby-Doo Saturday morning franchise from 1977 to 1981.

William F. Nolan (March 6, 1928 – July 15, 2021) Prolific American science fiction, fantasy, crime, and horror author best known for Logan’s Run and its sequels. His horror writings include several collections of his own short stories and the 1991 novel, Helltracks. He also edited a few horror anthologies. http://www.isfdb.org/cgi-bin/ea.cgi?838  Nolan wrote or co-wrote the screenplays for the feature film Burnt Offerings (1976) and the television movies The Norliss Tapes (1973), The Turn of the Screw (1974), Trilogy of Terror (1975), and Trilogy of Terror II (1996).

Iván Noel (1968 – July 19, 2021) French-Argentine film director and producer, Vuelve (2103), Children of the Night (2014),  Ellos Volvieron (They Returned, 2015), La Tutora (The Tutor, 2016).

Françoise Arnoul (3 June 1931 – 20 July 2021) French actress, Testament of Orpheus (1960), The Devil and the Ten Commandments (1962), and one episode of Treize contes de Maupassant (Thirteen Tales of de Maupassant; “Les Tombales”, AKA “The Tombs”, aired March 7. 1964).

Mike Mitchell (1955 – July 23, 2021) Scottish actor, Zombie Massacre (2013), Dark Highlands (2018), Dragon Kingdom (2018), and the not-yet-released Blood Curse and Alien Zombie Cell.

Alfie Scopp (15 September 1919 – 24 July 2021) English-born Canadian actor in the feature film, The Mask (1961), and voice actor on the 1966 Saturday morning cartoon show, King Kong (see also the entry on Paul Soles in the previous quarter’s In Memoriam post).

Rick Aiello (September 21, 1955 – July 26, 2021) American actor in the feature film Silent Madness (1984) and one episode of Tales from the Crypt (“This’ll Kill Ya”, Season 4, Episode 2, aired June 27, 1992).

David Von Ancken (December 5, 1964 – July 26, 2021) American television director on three episodes of The Vampire Diaries from 2010 to 2013, five episodes of Salem in 2014, one episode of Ghost Wars (“Death’s Door”, Season 1, Episode 1, aired October 5, 2017), one episode of The Purge (“The Urge to Purge”, Season 1, Episode 3, aired September 18, 2018) and three episodes of The Order (2019-2020). He was also a producer on Salem, Ghost Wars and The Order.

Orlando Drummond (October 18, 1919 – July 27, 2021) Brazilian actor in Um Lobisomem na Amazônia (2005) and voice actor for the Portuguese-language versions of all the various series of Scooby-Doo from 1969 to 2010.

Saginaw Grant (July 20, 1936 – July 27, 2021) Native American character actor, Legend of the Phantom Rider (2002), Maneater (2009), the as-yet-unreleased Ghostkiller, and one episode of American Horror Story (“Birth”, Season 1, Episode 11, aired December 14, 2011)

Orestes Ojeda (January 3, 1956 − July 27, 2021) Filipino film and television actor, Kambal sa Uma (1979) and two episodes of the horror anthology series, Regal Shocker (1988).

Jean-François Stévenin (23 April 1944 – 27 July 2021) French actor in Brotherhood of the Wolf (2001).

Gérard Zingg (7 June 1942 – 27 July 2021) French screenwriter and director, Yéti, l’Homme Sauvage (2016).

Clive Scott (4 July 1937 – 28 July 2021) South African actor in a two-part adaptation of “The Masque of the Red Death” on Tales of Mystery and Imagination (Season 1, Episodes 11 and 12, aired November 17 and 24, 1995).

Jay Pickett (February 10, 1961 – July 30, 2021) American actor, Rumpelstiltskin (1995) and Inspired to Kill (2016).

Mark Tarlov (1952 – July 31, 2021) American film producer, Christine (1983) and Cecil B. Demented (2000).

Thea White (June 16, 1940- July 31, 2021) American voice actress, Scooby-Doo! Legend of the Phantasaur (2011).

August

Lilia Aragón (22 September 1936 – 2 August 2021) Mexican actress, Morgana (2012).

Jørgen Langhelle (18 August 1965 – 3 August 2021) Norwegian actor, The Thing (2011), Juleblod (Christmas Blood, 2017).

Reg Gorman (2 August 1932 – 5 August 2021) Australia actor, Inn of the Damned (1975) and The Pawn (2010).

Brad Allan (14 February 1973 – 7 August 2021) Australian action choreographer and stuntman on the 2010 remake of A Nightmare on Elm Street, as well as Pacific Rim (2013), Wolves (2014), Insidious: Chapter 3 (2015), and Sinister 2 (2015).

Markie Post (November 4, 1950 – August 7, 2021) American actress, the second co-star from the 1980s-1990s television sitcom Night Court to expire this summer, after Charles Robinson’s passing on July 11. She appeared in the television movies Visitors of the Night (1995) and I’ve Been Waiting for You (1998), one episode of Ghost Whisperer (“The Woman of His Dreams”, Season 2, Episode 6, aired October 27, 2006) and the 2018 short film, Keep the Gaslight Burning.

Anupam Shyam (20 September 1957 – 8 August, 2021) Indian actor, Sangharsh (1999), The Curse of King Tut’s Tomb (2006) and 706 (2019).

Alex Cord (May 3, 1933 – August 9, 2021) American actor, The Tell-Tale Heart (short film, 1971), The Dead Are Alive (1972), Chosen Survivors (1974), Inn of the Damned (1975), and Uninvited (1987), and one episode each of Night Gallery (“Keep in Touch – We’ll Think of Something”, Season 2, Episode 10, aired November 24, 1971), War of the Worlds (“The Good Samaritan”, Season 1, Episode 10, aired December 26, 1988), Monsters (“Rouse Him Not”, Season 1, Episode 11, aired December 31, 1988) and Freddy’s Nightmares (“Memory Overload”, Season 2, Episode 5, aired November 5, 1989).

Pat Hitchcock (7 July 1928 – 9 August 2021), English actress and only child of Alfred Hitchcock. Appeared in several of her father’s films including Strangers on a Train (1951) and Psycho (1960), and in ten episodes of his television show, Alfred Hitchcock Presents (1955-1960). 

Ken Hutchison (24 November 1948 – 9 August 2021) Scottish actor, Wuthering Heights (1978 BBC mini-series).

Sabina Ajrula (April 17, 1946 – August 10, 2021) North Macedonian-Turkish actress, Senki (Shadows, 2007).

Don Jones (1938 – August 10, 2021, aged 83) American sound engineer on The Psycho Lover (1970) and Blood of the Iron Maiden (1970); key grip on The Astro-Zombies (1968); lighting director on The Mighty Gorga (1969); director of The Love Butcher (1975), The Forest (1982) and Molly and the Ghost (1991); and director of photography on The House of Seven Corpses (1974).

Dilys Watling (5 May 1943 – 10 August 2021) English actress, Theatre of Death (1967).

Paulo José (20 March 1937 – 11 August 2021) Brazilian actor in the 1991-1992 television series, Vamp.

Una Stubbs (1 May 1937 – 12 August 2021) English actress probably best known to American audiences as Mrs. Hudson to Benedict Cumberbatch’s Holmes in the BBC series, Sherlock. Appeared in the BBC2 adaptation of the M.R. James short ghost story, “The Tractate Middoth” as part of the occasional series, A Ghost Story for Christmas, aired December 25, 2013.

Piera Degli Esposti (12 March 1938 – 14 August 2021) Italian actress, Ghosts – Italian Style (1968), Medea (1969) and the yet-to-be-released Building Horror.

Thierry Liagre (1 January 1953 – 17 August 2021) French actor in the 1982 biopic of the French ghost-story writer, Guy de Maupassant.

Sonny Chiba (22 January 1939 – 19 August 2021) Japanese actor and martial artist best known to modern audiences for playing Hanzo Hattori in Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill Vol. 1 (2003) and Kill Bill Vol. 2 (2004). His horror films were Terror Beneath the Sea (1966) and Wolf Guy (1975).

Masanari Nihei (9 December 1940 – 21 August 2021) Japanese actor, Mosura (Mothra, 1961), 

Marilyn Eastman (December 17, 1933 – August 22, 2021) American actress, played the mother killed with a trowel by her zombie daughter in Night of the Living Dead (1968). Also appeared in Santa Claws (1996).

Brick Bronsky (April 18, 1964 – August 23, 2021) American actor in the Troma films Class of Nuke ‘Em High Part 2: Subhumanoid Meltdown (1991), Class of Nuke ‘Em High Part 3: The Good, the Bad and the Subhumanoid (1994) and Return to Nuke ‘Em High Volume 1 (2013); and actor, director and producer on Masked Mutilator (2019).

Michael Nader (February 18, 1945 – August 23, 2021) American actor in the TV movie Nick Knight (1989), which was later remade as the first two episodes of the Forever Knight series (1992-1996), about a vampire detective. 

Rosita Quintana (July 16, 1925 – August 23, 2021) Argentine-Mexican actress, El Demonio en la Sangre (Demon in the Blood, 1964).

Anestis Vlahos (February 7, 1934 – August 24, 2021) Greek actor, The Devil’s Men (AKA Land of the Minotaur, 1976), Passi di morte perduti nel buio (Death Steps in the Dark, 1977).

Zdenka Procházková (4 April 1926 – 25 August 2021) Czech actress, Upir z Feratu (Ferat Vampire, 1982) and Lady Dracula (1977).

Sompote Sands (May 24, 1941 – August 26, 2021) Thai film director, Tah Tien (1973), Crocodile (1979), Kraithong (1980), Phra Rot-Meri (1981), Magic Lizard (1985), and Kraithong 2 (1985).

Roman Gromadsky (December 18, 1940 – August 28, 2021) Russian actor, Tsirk sgorel, i klouny razbezhalis (The Circus Burned Down and the Clowns Ran Away, 1998)

Ed Asner (November 15, 1929 – August 29, 2021) Seven-time Emmy Award-winning American actor, five of those wins for the same character in two different shows, one a comedy (The Mary Tyler Moore Show) and the other a drama (Lou Grant). Perhaps best known to modern audiences as the voice of Carl Fredrickson in Up (2009). Along with virtually every American television series for the past sixty-plus years, Asner made appearances in one episode each of Alfred Hitchcock Presents (“What Frightened You, Fred?”, Season 7, Episode 30, aired May 1, 1962), The Alfred Hitchcock Hour (“To Catch a Butterfly”, Season 1, Episode 19, aired February 1, 1963), and The Outer Limits (“It Crawled Out of the Woodwork”, Season 1, Episode 11, aired December 9, 1963), as well as the made-for-television movie Daughter of the Mind (1969).

Peggy Farrell (June 2, 1932 – August 29, 2021) American costume designer, The Stepford Wives (1975), The Sentinel (1977), and the pilot for the 1995-1998 television series, American Gothic.

September

Mikis Theodorakis (29 July 1925 – 2 September 2021) Greek composer of the score for Shadow of the Cat (1961).

Donald Meyers (c1935 – September 5, 2021) American actor, Zombiez!! (2007), Horror Host (2008), Blood Therapy (2010), At Stake: Vampire Solutions (2012) and the as-yet-unreleased I Filmed Your Death.

Tony Selby (26 February 1938 – 5 September 2021) English actor, Witchfinder General (1968), the no-longer-existing first two seasons of the BBC supernatural adventure show, Ace of Wands (1970-1971), and one episode of the British TV series, Thriller (“I’m the Girl He Wants to Kill”, Season 3, Episode 2, aired March 18, 1974).

Nino Castelnuovo (28 October 1936 – 6 September 2021) Italian actor in the 1975 Giallo film, Strip Nude for Your Killer.

Michael K. Williams (November 22, 1966 – September 6, 2021) American actor in Tell-Tale (2009), You’re Nobody ‘til Somebody Kills You (2012), The Purge: Anarchy (2014), Ghostbusters (2016), and Lovecraft Country (2020), and as His Satanic Majesty Himself in the 2013 short film, The Devil Goes Down

Eiichi Yamamoto (22 November 1940 – 7 September 2021) Japanese anime writer and director, Kanashimi no Belladonna (Belladonna of Sadness, 1973).

Art Metrano (September 22, 1936 – September 8, 2021) American actor, one episode of Kolchak: The Night Stalker (“Chopper”, Season 1, Episode 15, aired January 31, 1975).

Wiesław Gołas (9 October 1930 – 9 September 2021) Polish actor, Rękopis znaleziony w Saragossie (The Saragossa Manuscript, 1965).

Carlo Alighiero (February 2, 1927 – September 11, 2021) Italian actor in the Giallo films The Strange Vice of Mrs. Wardh (1971), The Cat o’ Nine Tails (1971), and Torso (1973)

Fran Bennett (August 14, 1937 – September 12, 2021) American actress, Wes Craven’s New Nightmare (1994).

Ben Best (September 13, 1974 – September 12, 2021) American actor, Land of the Lost (2009).

Joel Rapp (May 22, 1934 – September 15, 2021) American writer on the supernatural sitcoms Topper (“The Package”, Season 1, Episode 32, aired May 14, 1954) and Bewitched (“Samantha and the Troll”, Season 7, Episode 19, aired February 18, 1971).

Ronald Roose (died September 15, 2021) American film editor, My Demon Lover (1987).

Avril Elgar (1 April 1932 – 17 September 2021) English actress, The Medusa Touch (1978) and two episodes of Tales of the Unexpected (1981-1982).

Jimmy Garrett (September 23, 1954 – September 17, 2012) American actor, had bit parts in one episode of The Twilight Zone (“The Night of the Meek”, Season 2, Episode 11, aired December 23, 1960) and in Munster, Go Home! (1966).

Basil Hoffman (January 18, 1938 – September 17, 2021) American actor, one episode of the revival of The Twilight Zone (“Button, Button”, Season 1, Episode 20, aired March 7, 1986) and The Elvira show (1993)

Shukhrat Irgashev (June 19, 1945 – September 17, 2021) Uzbekistani actor, Day Watch (2006).

John Challis (16 August 1942 – 19 September 2021) English actor, Dan Curtis’ Dracula (1974) and one episode of the British show Thriller (“Sleepwalker”, Season 6, Episode 1, aired April 10, 1976).

Tim Donnelly (September 3, 1944 – September 19, 2021) American actor, The Toolbox Murders (1978) and The Clonus Horror (1979).

Morris Perry (28 March 1925 – 19 September 2021) English actor in one episode of the British miniseries Haunted (“The Chinese Butterfly”, Season 1, Episode 5, aired September 16, 1967), the feature film Nothing but the Night (1973), and the BBC miniseries, The Hound of the Baskervilles (1982), starring The Fourth Doctor Tom Baker as Sherlock Holmes.

Petter Vennerød (25 September 1948 – 19 September 2021) Norwegian filmmaker, 1732 Høtten (Bloody Angels, 1998).

Willie Garson (February 20, 1964 – September 21, 2021) American actor, Brain Dead (1990), Repossessed (1990), Mars Attacks! (1996), Monster Heroes (2010), and one episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer (“Killed by Death”, Season 2, Episode 18, aired March 3, 1998).

Peter Palmer (September 20, 1931 – September 21, 2021) American actor, Deep Space (1988), Edward Scissorhands (1990), one episode of the Bewitched spin-off series, Tabitha (“Tabitha’s Weighty Problem”, Season 1, Episode 2, aired September 10, 1977), and two episodes of Swamp Thing (“The Watchers”, Season 1, Episode 18, aired March 1, 1991, and “Judgment Day”, Season 3, Episode 22, aired December 19, 1992).

Melvin Van Peebles (August 21, 1932 – September 21, 2021) American actor and filmmaker, appeared in Jaws: The Revenge (1987) and as Dick Halloran in the 1997 mini-series version of The Shining.

Robert Fyfe (June 19, 1925 – September 22, 2021) Scottish actor, Xtro (1982), Burke & Hare (2010), and Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (2016).

Jay Sandrich (February 24, 1932 – September 22, 2021) American television director on six episodes of The Ghost and Mrs. Muir (1969-1970).

Giulia Mafai (January 13, 1930 – September 26, 2021)) Italian costume designer on the peplum film Goliath and the Dragon (1960), the giallo film Sette orchidee macchiate di rosso (Seven Blood-Stained Orchids, 1972), and the horror films Tutti i colori del buio (All the Colors of the Dark, 1972) and Baba Yaga (1973).

Tommy Kirk (December 10, 1941 – September 28, 2021) American actor, best known for a string of Disney live-action films, including Old Yeller (1957), Swiss Family Robinson (1960) and The Misadventures of Merlin Jones (1964), one of the earliest movies I recall having seen in a theater. His supernatural and horror performances were in The Shaggy Dog (1959), Village of the Giants (1964), The Ghost in the Invisible Bikini (1966), Blood of Ghastly Horror (AKA The Man with the Synthetic Brain, 1967), It’s Alive! (1969), Streets of Death (1988), Billy Frankenstein (1998), Club Dead (2000), and The Education of a Vampire (2001). 

Carlisle Floyd (June 11, 1926 – September 30, 2021) American opera composer, Wuthering Heights (1958), Markheim (1966), and Bilby’s Doll (1976).

Ravil Isyanov (20 August 1962 – 30 September 2021[3]) Russian actor, Hamlet (1996), Octopus (2000), Arachnid (2001), No Escape (2020), and one episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer (“No Place Like Home”, Season 5, Episode 5, aired October 24, 2000).

Gypsy Mob : Episode 13/ A Cocktail for Tony

Bianca was wrapped in a heavy mass, her eyes staring without seeing over a heaving shoulder. Sounds filtered into her brain, the sounds of sobbing and meaningless words. Time and time again, she heard her name, first in a womans voice, over and over. Then, a mans voice, whispering her name in a breathy, disbelieving way. The voices seemed to ring a bell, but she could not attach any importance to them. She drifted off into the darkness, neither knowing nor caring if she would ever come out of it, aware only that she had made it home. Not that it mattered.

When her eyes next opened, she was lying in a soft bed and a cool cloth was bathing her face. Remembering the last time she was laying on a bed and what happened, she snapped fully awake, her heart hammering. The cloth jerked away from her face as the shadowy figure sitting beside her gave a start. Bianca began scrabbling at the sides of the bed, forgetting she had only one hand with which to grip. She bumped the wall beside the bed and white-hot fire shot up her arm from where her hand had lived for her whole life. She gave a little scream and moaned as cruel electricity seemed to sizzle up and down her arm.

There were words coming through the pain. She heard her name again in that female voice that rang a bell, louder this time.

Bianca, Bianca, shhyoure homeyoure safe

Home. She seemed to recall having made it back there before the world went black. This bed was far too soft to be the one at the Gypsy encampment. There had been no cool cloth bathing her forehead there; the only bathing of any sort she had experienced in that tent had been between clients and she had done it to herself, not paying any particular attention to anything above the waist. The smell was different here. Her brain tried to register it and slowly it leaked through to her consciousness.

The smell was her.

Her things, her room, her house, her mother.

Home.

Mommy! Bianca screamed, throwing herself into her mothers arms. Mommy, mommy, mommy Her stump bumped into her mothers back, leaving a red stain. Her cries of pain mingled with her tears of happiness and relief.

Lucia wrapped her arms around her daughter, holding her close, tears of her own coursing down her cheeks. She stroked the bedraggled hair as the girl clutched at her, seeming to never let her go.

Hush now, Bi, she said, her voice shaking. Youre home now, youre safeshhh

Over her crooning, she could hear the approach of Gilettis vehicle as it turned down the drive and approached the house. The engine sound died and a car door slammed. From down the hallway, she heard the sound of the front door banging open. Bianca heard it too and froze against her mother, silent tears streaming down her face as she shook with the effort of containing her sobs.

Its all right, Bi, Lucia said, attempting to disentangle her daughter. Its just your father.

Biancas eyes were still wide as she looked up at her mother. I dont think its him anymore she managed to choke out.

Footsteps sounded down the hallway, steady and purposeful. Lucia told herself she was being silly, that Biancas hysteria had just infected her. Why would she be feeling this sense of dread at the sound of her husbands approach?

The footsteps stopped at Biancas door. There was a moment of silence where all that could be heard was the breathing in the bedroom, Biancas short shaky gasps and Lucias, growing more uneasy. Then the door crashed open.

The silhouette of Don Giletti framed in the doorway with a machine gun in his arms froze them both for only half a second. Lucia had been married to the Don long enough to be able to read the look in his eyes. It galvanized her to her feet, just as the barrel of the gun swung around and began to fire.

The bullets ripped into Lucias body, spinning her around as the muzzle blasts lit up the dark room in a hellish strobe. Gilettis face was illuminated, its blankness terrifying Bianca as much as the sight of her mother being torn to pieces by automatic weapon fire. There was nothing of the man who had roared with laughter as he carried her around the mansion piggyback as a child. This man had dead eyes, showing no emotion as he continued to pump rounds into the shredded piece of meat that had once been his wife. Bianca cowered in the corner of the bed farthest from the door, attempting to make herself as small as possible, her ears ringing from the gunfire, her eyes squeezed tightly shut.

Suddenly, it stopped. Her belabored eardrums could barely make out the sound of a metallic clicking coming from the gun her father held. Opening one eye the barest amount, she saw him staring blankly at what used to be her mother. Gunsmoke filled the room. His finger tightened again on the trigger, creating that clicking sound. Mercifully, the gun was empty. It clattered to the floor, coming to rest with the muzzle facing Lucias obliterated face.

Oh, mommy!

Giletti shifted his dead gaze to his daughter cowering on the bed, seeming to regard her thoughtfully. Her lips moved, producing a tiny squeak that her ears could scarcely register.

Daddy, please

He unbuttoned his sport coat and reached inside, toward his left armpit. Bianca had seen her daddy around the mansion enough times in just his shirtsleeves to know what lived under his left arm in a shoulder holster. She began to push with her legs, trying to get farther away from him as her voice mewled protestations. Daddy, no, please no daddy

Giletti unfastened the holster snap and pulled out his handgun.

No, Daddy, dont

He clicked the safety off and racked the slide.

Daddy, please

He leveled it at Biancas face.

Daddy PLEASE! she screamed.

There was a moment where she thought she had gotten through to him.

Oh, thank you, God, thank you for

Then there was one more explosion, and all that Bianca Giletti had ever been or hoped to be was splattered across the wall above her bed.

Tony the Nose drove up to the mansions driveway and parked beside the bosss car. Its door was hanging open and it was parked at an angle at odds with the neat parking job usually done. Tony regarded this as well as the keys hanging in the ignition for a moment before getting out and walking to the front door, which was ajar. His big feet made the tiniest of crunches on the gravel drive, belying his massive bulk. Reaching the doorway, he smelled the acrid stink of gunsmoke. Pulling out his own sidearm, he held it down by his thigh, pointed at the ground, his finger on the trigger. Entering the mansion, he hugged the wall as he made his way silently down the hallway toward the room Bianca occupied. There were feet protruding from the doorway, clad in shoes favored by the boss. They were still, their toes facing down. Their owner was lying face down in the doorway, his upper half inside the room. Gunsmoke drifted lazily out of the room. Tony holstered his weapon and walked up to the doorway, no longer making any effort to conceal his approach. It didnt matter anymore.

Bianca was leaning against the wall, what remained of her head cocked forward, her chin on her chest, her skull an open, empty bowl, still dripping. The wall behind her was riddled with bullet holes and chunky red and grayish-white material was oozing down the wall from a large splash mark. Tonys eyes traveled slowly from this grisly sight to the body on the ground in front of the bed which bore only a slight resemblance to the bosss wife. A large pool of blood was forming around her, and Tony was glad he wouldnt have to bother cleaning that one up. Blood soaking into a carpet was a bitch. The third figure in the room was the boss, his head blown open on one side, a spray of brain matter coating the wall to his left, his gun still clenched in his hand.

Tony looked at the sad tableau for a few moments before turning and going down the hall to the bosss study. Opening the door, he went to the safe and punched in the code on its keypad. Don Giletti would have been furious if he knew that Tony was aware of the safes combination, but Don Giletti would not be feeling any way about anything, ever again. Twisting the handle, Tony opened the safe and, pushing aside the box of fine cigars Giletti favored, began pocketing the stacks of cash. He filled all the pockets in his suit coat and pants pockets with bundles of bills, indulging in only a moments regret that he didnt have larger pockets to accommodate more of them. That was all right though; his years of unwavering loyalty to the Giletti family had made him a very rich man. This was just a bonus.

Turning from the safe, he picked up the cigar Giletti had sitting on his desk. Producing a lighter, he set the tip aflame before the tobacco began to smolder gently, its scent mixing with the gunsmoke that had begun to filter through the house in a very pleasant manner. Tony thought that if they could manufacture a cigar that smelled like that, he would actually start smoking them. As it was, he puffed just long enough to ensure the ember was well lit and would not go out before placing it carefully on the windowsill so the ember was touching the gauzy curtains Lucia Giletti had selected for all the rooms in the mansion. They began to smolder, their own smoke adding to the haze and making the smell much less pleasant. That was all right though; he wouldnt be here much longer.

Going to his own quarters, he gathered what few items of value he possessed and deposited them in a leather valise. Pulling one of the curtains down from the windows, he ripped a long shred off of it. Opening a bottle of the rum he favored, he stuffed the shred of curtain into its neck. Pulling a few inches out of the bottle, he stepped back into the hallway. The flames had caught in the curtains and he could hear the crackle and roar of a bonfire coming from the bosss study. Holding his breath, Tony stepped into the office for the last time, just long enough to touch the wick of the Molotov cocktail he had made to one of the flames licking its way eagerly around the walls of the office.

Holding the flaming bottle away from his face, he strode down the hallway towards the main door, hurtling it into Biancas room with an almost contemptuous flick of his wrist. The bottle exploded against the far wall, sending flaming liquid splattering all over the room.

Immediately the flames took hold of the fabric in the room. Wall hangings, curtains, bedding and clothing caught fire as though they had been waiting for the opportunity. With the fire in the office now roaring and advancing down the hallway, Tony retreated to the front door, locking it behind him as he slammed it. Smoke belched out of the windows as he tossed the valise into what was now his car. Turning the key and dropping the shift lever into drive, he paused for just a moment, looking at the mansion one last time. He let out what might have been a sigh.

Squealing the car around in a circle, he pointed its nose up the driveway. Toward the future.

THE BIGFOOT FILES/Chapter Thirty-Five: The Darkness in the Pines

 

The Darkness in the Pines by Harlan Graves is a creature-feature novella about a grieving Vietnam veteran named Howard Ward. Released in May, the story is Book 1 of 3 in a series titled The Beast of Fallow Pines. The Fallow Pines is a mysterious place with a history of missing lumberjacks and miners from the 1900s.

The first sentence – “Howard Ward had seen some shit” – is a perfect opener because it implies Howard is about to see more that he hadn’t seen before. And boy, does he ever.

Howard is an aging former soldier who lives in an isolated cabin amid a primeval forest known as Fallow Pines. Still bitter about the tragic death of his wife, Howard lives a loner’s survivalist life.

The story begins with Howard’s discovery of a decapitated bear soon followed by chickens with their heads torn off, then the inevitable footprint we suspect is Bigfoot’s.

The author Graves incorporates Howard’s Vietnam experience through past memories and dreams without killing the suspense in the present. Graves’ writing conveys the foreboding sense of walking through the woods alone, using the snap of a twig or the silence to effectively heighten the tension.

“The wind hissed through the pines, the branches rasping like dry bones. It carried with it the faint scent of decay.”

Howard’s first encounter with the Beast is watching “a huge black shape” drag away one of his deer kills.

When Howard visits a surplus store to buy a bear trap, the proprietor Tom warns him.

“Careful up there, Howard,” Tom said. “I overheard on my scanner just a week ago how a camper out Fallow Creek way was mauled in his sleeping bag. … Bear ate him like a burrito.”

Of course, Howard is stubborn, at one point telling the darkness, “These are MY woods.”

However, Bigfoot disagrees.

The Darkness in the Pines delivers not one but two epic one-on-one battles between Howard and the Beast. Howard seems to channel Arnold Schwarzenegger from the 1987 film Predator, using his soldier skills to try and kill the Beast.

The three titles in The Beast of Fallow Pines series have generated more than 220 reviews on Amazon averaging 4.2 stars out of 5. I enjoyed Book 1 enough to read the rest of the series. I think fans of cryptid horror will enjoy it, too.

NEXT UP: Chapter Thirty-Six: The Beast of Fallow Pines. I review the 2021 novella by Harlan Graves.

Kbatz Krafts: Halloween Haul 2021! 🎃🛒

 

Kristin Battestella aka Kbatz is ringing in “Haulloween 2021” with a collection of dollar store raids, Goodwill shopping, and thrift hauls! Costumes? Check! Skeletons? Check! French maid accessories and potential for a laurel wreath tiara? Why the heck not?! Put on your spiderweb hats for everyday wear and dive in to these seasonal finds!

 

 

For those interested in more Dollar Store Craft Finds and Thrift Sewing Hacks:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g5RzvL23iv

Don’t be shy about shopping cheap or letting people know your wish list wants and gift card needs! Kristin Battestella aka Kbatz shares some discount craft supplies and Dollar Store finds alongside sewing-related gifts and making good use of a hobby store gift card. What a haul!

Revisit More Kbatz Krafts:

Love Skeleton Wreath

DIY Cardboard Backdrop

Jewelry Making Basics

Halloween Haul 2020

Follow Kbatz Krafts on Instagram and Facebook for more Halloween Sewing, Crafts, and DIY or share your holiday escapades by joining Our Horror Addicts.net Facebook Group!

Daphne’s Den of Darkness: 5 Horror Books Featuring the Satanic Panic

Secret, underground groups of Satanists torturing and murdering children was never really a thing. But the panic that the idea caused in the ’80s and ’90s sure was real. All across America, suburbanites clutched their children close, afraid that heavy metal and the mainstream media were turning them into Devil Worshipping monsters. It wasn’t. But, hey… what if it did?

These five novels explore the Satanic Panic, its repercussions, and all its possibilities.

What Hell May Come by Rex Hurst

Jon St. Fond hates his family, and with good reason. When he gets involved with Dungeons and Dragons in an abandoned building, strange things begin to happen around him and secrets are revealed. Maybe his parents aren’t just run-of-the-mill assholes. Maybe there’s something darker at work here. And maybe Jon has a destiny that he’s in no way prepared to face.

If you’re interested, check out my previous review of this book.

Dark Places by Gillian Flynn

When Libby was a child, her sister and mother were murdered in a Satanic Sacrifice. Libby laid the blame on her brother Ben. Years later, hoping to profit off her story, she helps a secret society uncover the truth of what actually happened that night. But she isn’t the only one searching. Someone dangerous is looking for her too.  

My Best Friend’s Exorcism by Grady Hendrix

Sometimes friends change and grow apart. But that’s not what’s happening with Abby and Gretchen. Gretchen has changed since they started high school. Abby knows there’s only one explanation for her best friends bizarre new behavior: Abby is possessed.

Whisper Down the Lane by Clay McLeod Chapman

Inspired by the McMartin Preschool trials, this novel tells two stories: one of a toddler whose little lie sparks of a nationwide hysteria and another of a man with no past who must pay the price for the wrongs done.

Hell Patrol by R.D. Tarver

At a time when Heavy Metal was seen as a sign of the devil, a group of musicians form a band that pays homage to the musical greats. They try to make it big in a town that doesn’t understand them, all while something wicked winds its way around them.

What about you? What horror books (fiction or non) do you like that feature Satanism or the Satanic Panic.

Free Fiction : It Came To the Window by J.S. O’connor

“I’ve seen it, Jim. I swear to God, I’ve seen it. Get me a drink to settle my nerves. I would prefer whiskey, but I’ll settle for anything strong and keep them coming. What’s that? I don’t know what ‘it’ was or is, but I’ve seen it just outside my window and I don’t think this is the first time it came to the house, but this is the first time I saw it. Another please, no ice this time and I’ll tell you the story. 

“It was nearly a week back when I first saw the tracks walking my property after work. I guess you could describe them as a large chicken with talons the size of a pocketknife. They were up near the tree line in some mud. Didn’t think anything of it. See a lot of tracks living that close to the woods. I believe that was a Monday. Tuesday the tracks were by the garage, but I still didn’t think anything of it. It wasn’t until I heard it. That’s when I thought something strange was happening.  

“Give me another Jim. Nothing like a good whiskey to settle the nerves. I’ll tell you what I heard. 

“It must have been Wednesday night. It was a hard day of work up at the factory and when I got home, I soon found myself at the bottom of a bottle. I’m not proud to say, but the bottom of the bottle is where I find myself most nights. Well for the last two years … but I don’t need to tell you that story. I reckon the entire town knows about it. But it’s the truth. Sitting by the fire in my chair, I remember it being pretty cold and I fell asleep. Don’t know what time Kirby started barking, must have been close to eleven-thirty or midnight and the dog is just sitting there going crazy at the screen door. 

“Got to admit something Jim, had a funny feeling that night but I played it off that I had too much to drink. I got up from my chair and stumbled to the back door. That damn dog shot off into the night barking. Didn’t think nothing of the dog running off, it’s what he does, and he comes back when he’s good and ready. But that’s when I heard it. I swear, Jim, I don’t know how to describe it. But I heard it. Now I know what you’re thinking, but I have heard every animal from those woods. The sound echoed through the darkness. It’s been three days and I still haven’t seen Kirby. Didn’t sleep the rest of the night. Just sat by the fire with my rifle. 

“Next morning before work I went looking for Kirby. Nothing. No trace. It was like the damn dog just disappeared. No dog tracks. No weird chicken tracks. It was like the night before never happened. When I got home, I picked up where I left off looking for that dog. Still nothing. Didn’t sleep that night and had no bottle and no strange sounds. Everything was silent. 

“Sorry, I’m shaking. No more Jim I think that was my last tonight. Four is enough. 

“Last night was when I saw it. It was at my window, Jim. I sit here not wanting to believe it myself. I had my bottle and my rifle, and I sat myself by the fire. The night was getting late, and my eyes were getting heavy. I must admit that the whiskey kept me from sleep’s grasp and that’s when I saw it. It was looking through my window. Its eyes were a pale blue, I don’t know how else to describe them. Its face was a light grey, but it had no mouth or nose it was just blank. 

“I jumped from my chair, the bottle broke on the floor, and I fired at it. My aim was off and the glass shattered just above its head. But I scared it off, and I ran towards the window. I could see it clearly even though it was pitch black. It ran on all fours like some damn animal, but it wasn’t no animal. Its body was the same color, that light grey, but the body looked more human than the face. I watched it until it got to the tree line and there it stopped and looked back at me.  

“You must think I’m crazy for telling you this and if you don’t, then what I’ll say next will make you think I’m crazy. It spoke to me. How? I don’t know the thing had no mouth, but I heard it. Or maybe it was all in my head, but I heard the word inside enter my brain. I don’t know what it means and I don’t think I do. Then it disappeared off into the woods, and I didn’t stay long either. Got in the truck and drove away, stayed the rest of the night at the motel – most of today too, now that I think about it. Been thinking long and hard about what it told me last night and I got me a feeling that when I get home it will be waiting for me inside my home. 

“Here’s the money for the drinks, Jim. Thanks for listening to an old drunk ramble. Be seeing you soon, maybe.”  

Book Review: Vacuity and Other Tales

Hello Addicts,

This month, I had the distinct pleasure of reading the 3rd annual horror anthology from Tell-Tale Publishing, “Vacuity and Other Tales.” This collection of short stories run the gamut of scary stories and does so very successfully. I found all of the stories fun and exciting, with enough variety to give a palate-cleansing from the more blood-chilling stories at the right moments.

The book begins with the most intriguing story of the collection, “Vacuity.” Julie Duplantier is a young schizophrenic woman whose mental voices take great pleasure in the slow, methodical ways she tortures and murders others. We also see things from the point of view of her doctor, Christian Andreu. His solution is to perform a risky surgery that will silence the voices forever, which he is successful in doing. What everyone realizes, much too late, is that the voices kept something much worse at bay. If you like your stories drenched in blood, this one is for you.

There are stories of missed love during the Crusades, government-sponsored experiments on vampires, a modern take on Hansel and Gretel, and a curse that nearly brings about the pumpkin apocalypse. There is a little bit of everything for everyone in this book. I especially recommend this collection for those cold and stormy nights ahead.

Until next time, Addicts.

D.J. Pitsiladis

Book Review: Followers by Christina Berglin

Review by: B. Nguyen-Calkins

Internet privacy is a scary concept. Anybody, with enough effort, could find your name, photos of you, and even past locations you’ve visited. If somebody wanted to, I’m sure it’d be easy to… you can fill in the blank with any horrifying end. Stalking, online harassment, or worse. Why are we online at all?! 

Followers expresses the benefits of online friendships and social media. When Sydney, a horror movie enthusiastic and reviewer, is isolated and hit with constant passive-aggressive comments from her personal acquaintances, she instead goes online where people may appreciate the details of the genre (however shallow they may be). She kindles relationships online that have meaning to her personal life. And, ultimately, she sees her blog as an escape from her dead-end job. 

With the benefits of an online life comes risk. Are those often-shallow interactions even reading her work? Do those relationships have any substance? Will she ever make a living as a reviewer? Can Sydney live with the constant horror that runs beneath the surface of her everyday online interactions? And what if those interactions meddle within her personal life? The buildup brewed constantly as I found myself questioning each of the people in her life. This justified paranoia ends up hitting Sydney in the face as she struggles with the balance of digital and personal.

The novel works as a contemporary horror piece on multiple levels. Horror fans will look out for references to the genre as a mental trivia. My personal favorite was when characters review independent horror films at a festival. Holistically, the book is also meta-horror. One element of examining the genre explores the guilt of the “final girl,” especially in a progressively worsened situation. Who could be hurt because she posted clickbait photos for her online blog? How much information is too much to reveal to a virtual stranger? Can Sydney handle the repercussions of a demented stalker?

Strap yourself in and be sure to finish the book, because it truly thrives when Sydney finds herself in her own Scream. Sure, the book is initially carried by its prose and its likable (and unlikeable) characters. Christina Bergling sprinkles some interesting prose inside some dialogue and monologues and plays with some of the reader’s pent-up tension. But while the beginning may seem like a story on another shelf, the story’s resolution rightfully places it as a suspenseful, introspective horror. Followers is a worthwhile read, especially for fans of horror cinema. Its tension builds continuously throughout the story, and it extends today’s horror of digital social lives. The story is finished with some jaw-dropping scenes that seemingly come out of nowhere. It felt like Bergling was biding her time to lull the readers in while she waited for the opportune moment to strike.

WWW All-stars Judges

We want to give a big THANK YOU out to our Wicked Women Writer’s All-Star judges!

FIRST JUDGING PANEL

Michele Roger, Rhonda Carpenter, H.E. Roulo, and Killion Slade

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SECOND JUDGING PANEL

YOU! The listeners and readers of HorrorAddicts.net!

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L. Marie Wood, A.F. Stewart, Shannon Lawrence, Laurel Anne Hill, and Courtney Mroch

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THANK YOU ALL FOR MAKING THIS
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a success!

HorrorAddicts.net 203, Valjeanne Jeffers

HASeason16culhorrorshort2

Horror Addicts Episode# 203
SEASON 16 Cultural Horror
Horror Hostess: Emerian Rich
Intro Music by: Valentine Wolfe


203 | #AfAmHorror | #ValjeanneJeffers | #ElleNoir | #Achoura |

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

22 days till Halloween

Music: “Welcome to My Hell” #ElleNoir

Merrill’s Musical Musings: #RLMerrill  #ElleNoir #HauntedMansion #CrystalBallLady

Catchup: #Halloween #LifeSoFast #Northanger #12thOfOctober #ReadLive #SanMateoPublicLibrary #GhostsBBC #GhostsAMC

October 12th Horror Readings: Tales of Horror

https://www.smlibraryfoundation.org

Theme: #AfAmHorror

https://horroraddicts.wordpress.com/black-horror-movies/

#AbbieSleepyHollow #SleepyHollow #ZNation #RobertaWarren #BlackSummer #Blade #Vampire #VampireHunter  #DraculaTV2013 #Renfield #MidnightTexas #PeterManesh #Figi 

Live Action Reviews: #CrystalConnor #Achoura

Daphne’s Den of Darkness: #DaphneStarsert #HorrorRomance Blood and Chocolate (2007), Warm Bodies (2013), A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night (2014), Ghost (1990), The Shape of Water (2017)

Dead Mail:

Martin: “When He Died” #LemonDemon #Alien Comic

Cessly: #ScreamMovie #90sHorror

https://www.wate.com/news/airbnb-renting-out-scream-house-from-1996-horror-flick/

Sam: #ChooChooCharles #VideoGames

https://kotaku.com/new-open-world-horror-game-features-an-evil-spider-trai-1847788363

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

Also, send show theme ideas!

horroraddicts@gmail.com

Historian of Horror: #MarkOrr #BillyGraham #Vamperella #Marvel #LukeCage #BlackPanther #FirstBlackVampire #RobertCSands #TheBlackVampire #JackTheRipper

https://www.amazon.com/Best-Vampire-Stories-1800-1849-Anthology/dp/1933747358

Bigfoot Files: #LionelRayGreen #Exsists

https://tubitv.com/movies/359982/exists

Audiodrama: #TheDeadbringer #emmarkoff music: “Huitzillin” by Sarah Monroy Solis #sarisolis voices by em markoff, rish outfield, jame seo, emerian rich

WickedWomen Writer’s All-star announcement!

Nightmare Fuel: #DJPitsiladis #TagusND

NEWS: 

#PanicLift

#JesseOrr #GypsyMob #FreeFictition 

#HorrorBites #DeathlyFog #AdamBreckenridge 

https://www.amazon.com/Horror-Bites-Deathly-Adam-Breckenridge-ebook/dp/B09BP5L3Z8

#KbatzKrafts #FreeFiction #TamaraWatson #JSOConnor

http://www.melissasercia.com

http://www.temeculaterror.com

Book Review: Reviewed by: #APHawkins #OblivionInFlux #MaxwellIGold

Featured Author: #ValjeanneJeffers #ImmortalIII #StealerofSouls

Read by EmerianRich.

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h o s t e s s

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h e a d  o f  p u b l i s h i n g

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p u b l i s h i n g  p. a.

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Kate Nox

s t a f f

KBatz (Kristin Battestella), Daphne Strasert, Jesse Orr, Lionel Green, Kieran Judge, Crystal Connor, Nightshade, R.L. Merrill, Mark Orr, DJ Pitsiladis, Christopher Fink, CM “Spookus” Lucas

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Chilling Chat: Episode #203 – Valjeanne Jeffers

chillingchatValjeanne Jeffers

Valjeanne Jeffers is a speculative fiction writer, a Spelman College graduate, a member of the Horror Writers Association and the Carolina African America Writers’ Collective. She is the author of ten books, including her Immortal and her Mona Livelong: Paranormal Detective series. Valjeanne has been published in numerous anthologies including: Steamfunk!:The Ringing Ear, Luminescent Threads: Connections to Octavia E. Butler, Fitting In: Historical Accounts of Paranormal Subcultures, Sycorax’s Daughters, Black Magic Women, The Bright Empire, and, most recently, All the Songs We Sing, Bledrotica Volume I, and Slay: Stories of the Vampire Noire.

Valjeanne is a talented and fascinating woman. We spoke of werewolves, vampires, and a special reveal for her readers.

NTK: Welcome back to Chilling Chat, Valjeanne! Thank you for joining us.

VJ: Thank you for having me.

NTK: What is your favorite horror movie?

VJ: Oh, wow. Tales from the Hood I.

NTK:  What do you like best about that movie?

VJ: The storyline was fantastic, as was the acting, casting. David Allen Grier for example, who is usually known for comedic work did an excellent job portraying a violent abuser (“Monster.”)

Spike Lee placed a message in each story.

Also, Time After Time. It’s an outstanding portrayal of a battle between HG Wells and Jack the Ripper no less! Another wonderful movie about time travel—I’m kind of partial to it.

NTK: Oh, I love that movie! And Malcolm McDowell was terrific as Wells! What is your favorite horror TV show?

VJ: The Dragon Prince (Netflix). It’s billed as a fantasy show, but it definitely can also be described as horror. The Animation and storyline are excellent, and it has a diverse cast of both human and nonhuman characters.

NTK: What is your favorite horror novel and why?

VJ: I have so many! I’d like to pick two. The Talisman (Stephen King) is one of my early favorites. The way King flips between two timelines, and the journey and mission of the hero just reeled me in. And I know it inspired me to write about time travel. The second is Sleepy Willow’s Bonded Soul Book I by Dicey Grenor. This book is sexy, supernatural, and filled with creatures of the night—of all varieties.

NTK: The Talisman inspired you to write about Time Travel, where do you usually find inspiration?

VJ: From other authors, movies, TV shows. I don’t try to imitate anyone, but other authors, etc. inspire me. And of course, as writers, we’re always asking what if…

NTK: Tell us about your book Immortal III: Stealer of Souls. How did that book come about?

VJ: I’d been reading SF/Fantasy and horror for years, and werewolves were always one of my favorite supernatural breeds. And of course, watching movies, etc. werewolves were always one of my favorite types of supernatural beings. The idea kind of crept into my head of shifting timelines and a battle between good and evil werewolves who could be revolutionaries.

NTK: As a person of color, how has your experience been in the horror community? Good? Bad? Bit of Both?

VJ: Pretty good actually. Mind you when I first started writing I didn’t think of myself as a horror writer. Then, I met Sumiko Saulson who interviewed me for 100+Black Women in Horror because of my Immortal series! I was blown away…and very honored. That was the beginning of my Mona Livelong series.

NTK: Do you think more could be done in the horror community to embrace people of color?

VJ: I think that thus far the horror community has been very welcoming. The Horror Writers Association is a wonderful group, as is HorrorAddicts.net. I can only speak from my experience.

NTK: Glad to hear it! You mentioned Mona Livelong, who is a paranormal detective. What kind of research did you do for Mona?

VJ: I did a lot of research on Steampunk/Steamfunk. And actually, one of the authors who inspired me was Brandon Massey. I also did some research on Haitian Creole and the Cajun language and ways of speaking.

NTK: How has the pandemic affected your work? Have you been more productive? Less productive?

VJ: Pretty much the same, except I’ve decided that there won’t be any more in-person events until Covid-19 is behind us. 

NTK: That is a very wise decision. You were one of the writers who contributed to SLAY. What was that experience like?

VJ: I loved it! It was the first time I set out to write a story about a traditional vampire who drinks blood. The vampires I usually write about are time vampires.

NTK: What does the future hold for you? What work do HorrorAddicts have to look forward to?

VJ: I just started working on Mona Livelong IV and it will be a crossover novel between Immortal and Mona Livelong! Yes, I let the cat out of the bag!

NTK: Oh, awesome! Thank you for revealing that on Chilling Chat! And thank you for chatting with me today. Valjeanne! As always, you are a terrific guest!

VJ: Thank you! And you’re welcome!

Addicts, you can find Valjeanne’s work on Amazon.

Merrill’s Musical Musings : Elle Noir 

Welcome to another round of Merrill’s Musical Musings. I am your creepy hostess Ro and this month I’m delighted to share with you a new-to-me artist. Talk about hauntingly beautiful… this month’s artist has a moody, atmospheric vibe that I adored. Elle Noir is a dark wave artist that channels the deepest, darkest truths and turns them into something beautiful. Her hauntingly elegant voice will put you in a trance if you’re not careful. There’s a theatrical quality to her music that reminded me of one of my favorite places, the Haunted Mansion at that Mouse Place… The floating crystal ball lady? Yeah, Elle Noir is like her if she recorded an EP. She’s put out a collection of singles over the past year that you can find on Spotify. “Like A Black Doll” and “Welcome to My Hell” are perfect tracks to play as background music or to get you into that mellow, relaxed state you might prefer before you start creating, or maybe even after a long day at work. Come inside, take a seat, here’s a glass of dark red wine. Enjoy the candlelight, let the music surround you, and enjoy a tune like Elle Noir’s cover of “Spiders” by System of A Down.”

Thanks to Elle Noir for sharing her craft with us. Have pleasant dreams.

That’s it for this month’s Merrill’s Musical Musings. Be sure to hit me up on the socials or leave a comment and share with me your favorite dark wave artists. Stay Tuned for more Merrill’s Musical Musings… 

R.L. Merrill writes inclusive romance with quirky, relatable characters full of love, hope, and rock ‘n’ roll. You can find her at https://www.rlmerrillauthor.com and on the socials as @rlmerrillauthor

Live Action Reviews! by Crystal Connor: Achoura

 

Plotline: Four childhood friends are reunited when one of them surfaces after twenty years, forcing them to confront a creature straight out of a spine-chilling Moroccan legend.

Who would like it: Urban Legends, international films, family horror, creature features, unpredictable endings

High Points: This movie is super good without being downright terrorizing. This would be the perfect movie for a teenaged slumber party

Complaints:

Overall: I loved it, it stressed me out! lol

Stars: 4

Where I watched it: VOD

 

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Master Imaginationist and Instagram photographer Crystal Connor is the Chief Imagineer working for the Department of Sleep Prevention’s Nightmare Division. A Washington State native she loves anything to do with monsters, bad guys (as in evil-geniuses & super-villains.  Not ‘those’ kind her mother warned her about), rogue scientific experiments, jewelry, sky-high high-heeled shoes & unreasonably priced handbags.

When she’s not terrorizing her fans and racking up frequent flyers miles by gallivanting all over the country attending fan conventions and writer’s conferences she reviews indie horror and science fiction films for both her personal blog and HorrorAddicts.net

She is also considering changing her professional title to dramatization specialist because it so much more theatrical than being a mere drama queen.

http://wordsmithcrystalconnor.com

http://www.facebook.com/notesfromtheauthor

Download your free copy of …And They All Lived Happily Ever After! from Podiobooks.com and see why the name Crystal Connor has become “A Trusted Name in Terror!” 

http://podiobooks.com/title/and-they-all-lived-happily-ever-after

Free Fiction : El Dorado by Tawana Watson

I didn’t sleep well last night.  I have so much on my mind that turning off my thoughts was impossible, so another sleepless night. 

I can’t believe how bad my insomnia has gotten over the past few weeks and there is not a medication that my doctor has given me that works, it seems sleep for me is a distant memory.  I turn and look at my clock that is sitting on my bedside table, I have to squint to see the time, just like I feared it was time to get up.

Every day is the same thing. I get up, get dressed for work, and leave the house forgetting my breakfast.  However, today, as I drove down the street something inside me, told me that today was not going to be a typical day.

I got to the office with two minutes to spare, I sat at my desk in my small cubicle, and as my computer powered on the word El Dorado appeared on the screen.  I stood up and quickly looked around at my coworkers as they did their morning routine and nothing seemed out of place so I sat back in my seat.  

The word El Dorado glared back at me, so I started pressing keys to try to remove it from the screen but nothing worked. It just stayed there.  After unsuccessfully trying to remove the word with my keyboard skills, I ducked down under my desk and unplugged my computer.  The computer turned off and after I counted 20 I plugged the computer backup and turned it back on.  Unplugging it did the trick and I got to work on my everyday task list.

My day was dull and boring, I thought as I sat at the traffic light heading home. My whole life is dull and boring I thought as the light turned green and I continued on my way.  As I pulled into my yard I noticed a package at my front door, it was strange because I was not expecting anything. So before pulling completely into my yard I put my car in park, got out, and went to retrieve the package.  As I bent down to pick the package up I noticed in red bold letters someone wrote across the top of the package the word El Dorado.

Once in my house, I dropped everything except the package at the back door.  I went into the dining room, sitting the package on the table before going back into the kitchen to get a knife so that I could open it.  At first, I had a strong urge not to open the package, to just throw it away but curiosity got the best of me.  I took the knife and opened the package. 

The only thing I found was a folded piece of paper.  I  took the paper and opened it.  What was written on it gave me chills, it read;

Once you start this journey you can never turn back. There’s much more to life than the things you can see, and to have a glorious life all you have to do is find El Dorado

There are those words again; El Dorado. 

I dropped the paper and before it hit the floor it was consumed with fire.  I stood there in awe for a second or two but then shook it off and remembered I haven’t slept and I could be in the middle of a dream.  So I pulled myself together and continued with my evening.

I turned my bed down and prepared myself for another sleepless night. My cell phone which I left downstairs began to ring. I hesitated about going downstairs to get it but every time it stopped ringing, it would start again so I went to get it.  

When I reached my phone, I saw that the caller id didn’t show a valid number but a weird number of all 6s.  I pushed the talk button, holding the phone to my ear, and before I said hello I heard a voice  in a low whisper say, 

“You can’t turn back, you have to find El Dorado.” 

I dropped the phone and as the phone hit the floor it started ringing again. I cautiously picked the phone back up and held it so gently, taking the phone into the kitchen, then putting the phone in the sink. As I ran water on it, the ringing faded until it completely stopped. 

I started back to my room and as I went up the stairs I had a sense that I was no longer alone. As I reached my room, I saw a sight that I didn’t expect. 

There I was laying in the bed, and my wrist had been cut. I couldn’t believe what I was looking at and as I stood there trying to figure out what was going on, a hand touched my shoulder and a voice said in a whisper, 

“It’s time. I am here to take you to  El Dorado.”

Nightmare Fuel: Tagus, ND

 

nightmarefuel

tagus

Hello Addicts,

Earlier this season, I told you about a haunted location right here in North Dakota, White Lady Lane in Walhalla. This week, I want to tell you about another haunted spot in the Peace Garden State rumored to be one of the many Gateways to Hell. Join me on a Nightmare Fueled trip to Tagus, ND.

North Dakota has its fair share of ghost towns. One such town is Tagus, located forty miles west of one of the larger cities in the state — Minot. Founded in 1900, Tagus hit its peak population of 140 in 1940 but has since declined to only a handful of people living there and no open businesses. In 2001, the sole remaining church burned down, possibly due to vandalism. A plaque stands where the building once stood.

It is inside this church that the rumored gateway is. According to the stories, the church was home to Satanic rituals and sacrifices, both human and animal. The stories chronicle bestiality, cannibalism, an upside-down cross on the door, and a stairway that led to the bowels of Hell itself. After the fire, the stairs became filled with dirt to hide their location, but if you stand quietly in the right spot, you can still hear the screams of pain from the tortured souls. Other stories document hellhounds lying in wait to tear your heart out, a phantom train running through town, and a glowing tombstone. The town’s abandoned homes are not spared from the legends either, with people reporting weeping, wailing, and the cry of an infant off in the distance.

All of this sounds like it comes from horror movies or the scariest of books. There may be something to the stories, or they could be urban legends shared to scare around a campfire. Based on pictures of the town, there is a creepy vibe given off. If and when I can make a trip to Tagus, I will certainly share anything that happens there. Until then, the legends of the town will have to tide us over.

Until next time, Addicts.

D.J.

Free Fiction : It Came To The Window by J.S. O’Connor

“I’ve seen it, Jim. I swear to God, I’ve seen it. Get me a drink to settle my nerves. I would prefer whiskey, but I’ll settle for anything strong and keep them coming. What’s that? I don’t know what ‘it’ was or is, but I’ve seen it just outside my window and I don’t think this is the first time it came to the house, but this is the first time I saw it. Another please, no ice this time and I’ll tell you the story. 

“It was nearly a week back when I first saw the tracks walking my property after work. I guess you could describe them as a large chicken with talons the size of a pocketknife. They were up near the tree line in some mud. Didn’t think anything of it. See a lot of tracks living that close to the woods. I believe that was a Monday. Tuesday the tracks were by the garage, but I still didn’t think anything of it. It wasn’t until I heard it. That’s when I thought something strange was happening.  

“Give me another Jim. Nothing like a good whiskey to settle the nerves. I’ll tell you what I heard. 

“It must have been Wednesday night. It was a hard day of work up at the factory and when I got home, I soon found myself at the bottom of a bottle. I’m not proud to say, but the bottom of the bottle is where I find myself most nights. Well for the last two years … but I don’t need to tell you that story. I reckon the entire town knows about it. But it’s the truth. Sitting by the fire in my chair, I remember it being pretty cold and I fell asleep. Don’t know what time Kirby started barking, must have been close to eleven-thirty or midnight and the dog is just sitting there going crazy at the screen door. 

“Got to admit something Jim, I had a funny feeling that night but I played it off that I had too much to drink. I got up from my chair and stumbled to the back door. That damn dog shot off into the night barking. Didn’t think nothing of the dog running off, it’s what he does, and he comes back when he’s good and ready. But that’s when I heard it. I swear, Jim, I don’t know how to describe it. But I heard it. Now I know what you’re thinking, but I have heard every animal from those woods. The sound echoed through the darkness. It’s been three days and I still haven’t seen Kirby. Didn’t sleep the rest of the night. Just sat by the fire with my rifle. 

“Next morning before work I went looking for Kirby. Nothing. No trace. It was like the damn dog just disappeared. No dog tracks. No weird chicken tracks. It was like the night before never happened. When I got home, I picked up where I left off looking for that dog. Still nothing. Didn’t sleep that night and had no bottle and no strange sounds. Everything was silent. 

“Sorry  I’m shaking. No more Jim I think that was my last tonight. Four is enough. 

“Last night was when I saw it. It was at my window, Jim. I sit here not wanting to believe it myself. I had my bottle and my rifle, and I sat myself by the fire. The night was getting late, and my eyes were getting heavy. I must admit that the whiskey kept me from sleep’s grasp and that’s when I saw it. It was looking through my window. Its eyes were a pale blue, I don’t know how else to describe them. Its face was a light grey, but it had no mouth or nose it was just blank. 

“I jumped from my chair, the bottle broke on the floor, and I fired at it. My aim was off and the glass shattered just above its head. But I scared it off, and I ran towards the window. I could see it clearly even though it was pitch black. It ran on all fours like some damn animal, but it wasn’t no animal. Its body was the same color, that light grey, but the body looked more human than the face. I watched it until it got to the tree line and there it stopped and looked back at me.  

“You must think I’m crazy for telling you this and if you don’t, then what I’ll say next will make you think I’m crazy. It spoke to me. How? I don’t know the thing had no mouth, but I heard it. Or maybe it was all in my head, but I heard the word inside enter my brain. I don’t know what it means and I don’t think I do. Then it disappeared off into the woods, and I didn’t stay long either. Got in the truck and drove away, stayed the rest of the night at the motel – most of today too, now that I think about it. Been thinking long and hard about what it told me last night and I got me a feeling that when I get home it will be waiting for me inside my home. 

“Here’s the money for the drinks, Jim. Thanks for listening to an old drunk ramble. Be seeing you soon, maybe.”  

Gypsy Mob :Episode 12/ Conflagration

Zara had left the Italian bitch in her tent, securely tied, only to step outside the tent to see a conflagration in progress. Wide-eyed, she watched flames lick up the base of the nearest tent until it was engulfed in flames, a process which took only seconds. For a moment, she was paralyzed, watching her family’s property go up in smoke. Only for a moment, though, then her paralysis broke and she looked around to see the rest of her clan reacting similarly. 

WHAT ARE YOU DOING!” she screamed, her hoarse voice scaling down a few notches as her vocal cords ruptured further. “PUT THEM OUT!”

Galvanized into action by her cries, the surrounding Gypsies scattered, running for water, for dirt, for anything they could think of. Such a thing had never been visited upon their camp, and they were largely running in circles in a blind panic. One of the huge Gypsies regained his head first and began organizing a bucket line to the rusty pump situated in the field nearby where they had pitched their tents. By then, the flames had reached high enough on most tents that any firefighting activities were largely symbolic. 

It was as the first few buckets were thrown on the fires that the explosions ripped through the night, sounding to Zara like a string of firecrackers on steroids, as though the crackers had been replaced by dynamite and the fuses shortened to nothing. Indeed, that is what she thought was occurring until she saw some of her clan jerk upright in mid-run and fall to the ground, red mist spraying from multiple wounds in their bodies.  

“GET DOWN!” she bellowed, blood spraying from her throat as she lapsed into a bout of coughing which brought her to her knees just as a hail of bullets passed over her. One of the Gypsies right in front of her was not so lucky, blood and brain matter from his ruptured skull splattering all over her. The rest of her clan hit the ground as bullets whizzed overhead. 

“Keep going!” she roared between coughs as the bullets ceased for the moment, waving her arm in the direction of the pump. “Keep buckets going or we are doomed!” Her throat felt as though it were on fire as well but she continued screaming. “The buckets! Now! NOW!!”

The silhouettes of the clan began creeping from their prone positions, to the pump and back toward the fires, struggling to keep a low profile while carrying buckets of water. Over the next few minutes, the lack of gunfire made some of them raise their heads and stop crouching as they scurried to and fro, before machine gunfire lit up the night, this time coming from the middle of the camp. Many of the Gypsies dropped to the ground, riddled with bullets, but this time Zara could see the source of the chaos. A large man with a huge gun strode up the midway, raking everything that moved with fire, the explosions from the barrel lighting up the night and providing her a clear target. 

With rage burning in her, Zara waited until the next pause in fire before striding into the midway, her hand raised in the direction of the gunman. He was faced away from her, the muzzle of his huge gun turned to one side as he hunted for more targets. 

“PIG!” she screamed. As he began turning in her direction, she raised a ragged fingernail to her arm and slashed it open, blood dripping to the dirt as she locked eyes with him, bringing him to a halt. Speaking in ancient Rom, she spoke words she had long known but never said, words that she had been warned never to speak, words she had feared but always longed to recite. The words which would turn a man’s rage and hatred inward and destroy himself. 

The gunman’s eyes grew glassy and the barrel of his gun dropped toward the ground, his eyes never leaving hers. She finished speaking and waved her bloody arm, red flecks flying in his direction. Without another word or shot fired, the gunman turned and retreated down the midway, his steps purposeful, machine gun held at his side, facing down. As he left, the energy went out of her and she crumpled to the ground, breathing heavily as her family’s tents burned around her. 

Tony the Nose had worked his way around the outskirts of the Gypsy camp, setting fire to the tents doused by the Giletti brothers and spreading gasoline to those they had not yet reached by the time the gunfire began. Recognizing the sound of the light machine gun, he could tell that Don Giletti had at last freed the weapon from its mount in the mansion’s gun room and had come for the Gypsies. Falling to the ground, Tony worked his way outside of the gun’s radius of fire, outside the tents that were being shredded by the gun’s bullets. The screams and constant fire did not bother him in the slightest. He had brought about far worse in his time as the Don’s enforcer. 

When the gunfire ceased, Tony waited until he was sure that the gun had gone silent. From his prone position, he could see the bulky figure with the gun walking slowly out of the Gypsy’s camp, back to the vehicle Tony had spent countless hours maintaining and upgrading at the Don’s request. When the silhouette had rejoined the vehicle and sped away, Tony regained his feet, listening to the cries from within the Gypsy camp as he walked toward the nearest tent that had been doused with gasoline and had not yet caught fire. Pulling a lighter from his pocket, he scratched the flint. Flame leaped to the mouth of the lighter and he held it to the base of the tent. The flame licked for a second before igniting the gasoline fumes and licking around the tent with startling speed. Not hesitating, Tony moved to the next tent, and the next, circling the camp until all the tents were once more ablaze. What little progress the Gypsies had made fighting the fires the Gilettis had set earlier was immediately eclipsed. Occupied as they were by their wounded and the carnage visited upon them by Don Giletti’s lesser henchmen, these new flames had surrounded them and were burning inward toward the center of the camp before its inhabitants were able to do more than register their existence. 

From beneath his tuxedo coat, Tony produced an enormous weapon, capable of raining destruction paralleled by the machine gun brought by the Don. Unlike the Don, Tony did not walk down the center of the midway, presenting a clear target. He moved around the flaming tents, waiting for a clean shot at the Gypsies he could see silhouetted by the flames. A quick burst of extremely accurate fire sent the nearest knot of Gypsies to the ground, screaming. By the time any of the survivors reached the corpses and began looking for the source of the shots, Tony had already moved halfway around the circumference of the camp and was dealing death to the newest targets which presented themselves. 

He continued in this fashion until he had circled the burning camp twice without spying anything alive at which to shoot. Following Don Giletti’s footsteps, he strode up the remains of the midway, kicking aside bodies that stood in his way until he reached what had once been the Pleasure Tent. All around him, flames reached high into the sky, licking at the stars as the tents burned to the ground. There he found Zara, her throat ruptured by one of his bullets, attempting to staunch the flow of blood as she painfully pushed herself away from his approach. 

She tried to speak, raising the hand which was not pressed to her throat as blood poured from her open mouth. “You…from…hell,” she rasped, her once light voice now reduced to a liquid gargle.

Tony raised a mammoth foot and kicked her in the head, knocking her to the ground. Before she could stir again, the barrel of his weapon had obliterated her skull in a spray of blood and brain. 

Wiping the matter from his face, Tony strode from the camp, his skin stinging from the heat. As he stood by his vehicle and surveyed the camp, he could not see anything that was not aflame. Pulling another gas can from the trunk of the car, he cracked the vent and the nozzle before spinning like a shot-putter and throwing the can into the center of the conflagration. Upon hitting the ground, gas sprayed in all directions, further enraging the flames which had already taken hold. A miniature mushroom cloud rose from the impact point, the flames eagerly spreading to nearby tents and working their way outward, helped by the night’s breeze.

Without another look, Tony seated himself behind the wheel of his car and drove away from the burning Gypsy camp, headed for the Giletti mansion. 

Historian of Horror : The Decline and Fall of Western Civilization

Except for those living under a rock somewhere, everyone has at least heard of the Big Two comic book companies, if only peripherally. Marvel, with its Iron Man, Captain America, Thor and the rest of the Avengers, and DC, with its Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, and their associated Justice Leaguers. In those halcyon days of my misspent youth in the 1960s, during what comics fans now refer to as the Silver Age of Comics, there were several other purveyors of four-color delights of equal importance to me and my peers, publishers long vanished and forgotten by all but the most die-hard connoisseurs of the medium. There was the American Comics Group, publisher of the very first horror comic in the late 1940s, Adventures into the Unknown, and of the most powerful comic book character ever created, the redoubtable Herbie Popnecker. There was Charlton, home to a cluster of third-tier super-heroes and several not-altogether-terrible horror comics. Archie was still putting out the occasional super-hero comics starring the Mighty Crusaders, comprised of characters left over from their Golden Age titles of the 1940s, along with the supernatural adventures of Sabrina the Teen-Age Witch. Dell had a few speculative fiction titles coming out, as well as the first comic book to acknowledge the developing war in Southeast Asia that would soon divide the country. Etc., etc., etc.

My favorite, however, was Gold Key, especially their horror titles – Twilight Zone, Boris Karloff Tales of Mystery, Ripley’s Believe it or Not True Ghost Stories. They also had the monopoly – inherited from Dell Comics in 1962 – on Disney and Warner Brothers cartoon characters and the various Tarzan titles, as well as television adaptations, including The Munsters, Bewitched, Dark Shadows, and Scooby-Doo. And Turok, Son of Stone, great fun with Native Americans vs. dinosaurs in a lost valley.

What a wonderful time it was to be a kid – and all for twelve cents a copy! I don’t even want to know what a comic book would cost these days.

Gold Key was the comic imprint of K.K. Publications, located in the exotically named Poughkeepsie, New York. K.K., in turn, as I only discovered years later, was owned by Western Publishing. Hence, the title of this piece. Although Western survived as a corporate entity until 2001, it had even by then long since been reduced by the vicissitudes of time and the vagaries of the publishing world to but a shadow of its former glory. At least, in so far as this child of the ‘Sixties is concerned. Its last surviving brand, the Little Golden Books, has been taken over by Penguin Random House. Gold Key itself went belly up in 1984.

Oh, how the mighty have fallen!

Late in the story of Gold Key, its titles began to appear under an alternative imprint, Whitman. Whitman is actually still around, but only puts out coin and stamp collecting materials. In its heyday, though, under the steady guidance of Western Publishing, Whitman was a major disseminator of multi-media publications. Big Little Books, small, boxy things about popular movie, radio, and comic strip characters, with alternative pages of simple drawings and simpler text, for example. Some of these are worth a fortune today. I have one of the early Lone Ranger editions I got for the relatively low price of $35 some years ago. Yeah, go ahead. Put a hand on it. You’re apt to draw back a nub.

Popular culture characters also appeared in a series of standard-sized hardbound books, also primitively illustrated. I have several based on comic strips that only lack dust jackets to be worthy of funding my retirement, Blondie and Red Ryder among them. There was also a series of mysteries featuring popular female movie stars of the time, including Judy Garland, Deanna Durbin, Shirley Temple, even Gene Tierney, and Dorothy Lamour. And so on.

But all that was well before my time. In my decade, the 1960s, Whitman revived the Big Little Books with fewer pages and more contemporary characters such as the Man from U.N.C.L.E, Major Matt Mason, and the Fantastic Four. They also put out a couple of horror anthologies I still own, books that have gone a long way towards shaping my interest in all things spooky.

Those titles, Tales to Tremble By and More Tales to Tremble By, both edited by Stephen P. Sutton, came out in 1966 and 1968, respectively. I acquired the second one first, in 1968, around my tenth birthday, under circumstances of which I have no recollection. The first one, according to a note I obligingly scribbled inside the front cover at the time for the benefit of my future self, I bought in Texas. That would be over the Thanksgiving holiday of 1969, when my Uncle Allen married my Aunt Jeannie in Plainview, not far from the New Mexico border. That was at the time the longest trip I had ever been on. I’ve since gone farther than that. Don’t recall picking up anything as cool as Tales to Tremble By in St. Petersburg, Russia, though. I did get my wife a replica Fabergé egg for her birthday. She seemed to like it.

Anyhow, the books. By sometime in the 1950s, Whitman had done way with paper dust jackets and started putting out their books with laminated painted covers. I have a couple of Tarzans from that period. The practice continued for the rest of the company’s run. For all I know, their numismatic stuff comes the same way. Not being a numismatist, I have no idea. I only collect coins up until the point that it’s time to convert them into folding green to be spent upon trivialities like food, clothing, and shelter. And books. Lots and lots of books.

More Tales to Tremble By was not the first scary anthology I had read. My elementary school library had a volume of short stories I’d devoured at least a year before. All I remember of it was that it was a hardback book and old even then, probably from the 1930s or 1940s. Alas, the school has long since been sold off by the City of Nashville and absorbed into the David Lipscomb University system. I drive by every so often and experience sadness. 

I miss that book.

Anyhow. THIS book. The table of contents is like a Hall of Fame of short horror tales and writers of the same. To whit — 

“The Red Lodge” by H. Russell Wakefield.

Sredni Vashtar” by Saki (H.H. Munro)

Thurnley Abbey” by Perceval Landon

God Grante That She Lye Still” by Lady Cynthia Asquith

The Voice in the Night” by William Hope Hodgson

The Extra Passenger” by August Derleth

Casting the Runes” by M.R. James

The Book” by Margaret Irwin

 

“Casting the Runes”, by the way, was the basis for one of the greatest horror films of all time, 1957’s Curse of the Demon (entitled Night of the Demon in England). 

Every yarn here is a certified classic. The other one, the book from Texas, is likewise:

The Hand”, Guy de Maupassant

The Middle Toe of the Right Foot”, Ambrose Bierce

No. 1 Branch Line, The Signalman” (AKA “The Signal-Man”), Charles Dickens

Adventure of the German Student”, Washington Irving

“The Sutor of Selkirk”, Anonymous

The Upper Berth”, F. Marion Crawford

The Judge’s House”, Bram Stoker

Names to conjure with, surely. I anticipate that I shall devote a future column to each of the authors listed here in the future. Except of course for that Anonymous fellow. Can’t find a blessed thing about him. But the others, for sure.

I hope I live that long, anyhow.

There was at least one more horror anthology from Whitman, Ten Tales Calculated to Give You Shudders, edited by Ross R. Olney. It came out in 1972. My copy was originally owned by someone named Cindy, who seemed to enjoy writing her name out as it appears half a dozen times in various places. She also claimed to have been in love with Huey. I think I acquired it in an antique store when I was in college, but I’m not positive. Great stories in it, as well:

Sweets to the Sweet”, by Robert Bloch

The Waxwork”, by A.M. Burrage

Used Car”, by H. Russell Wakefield

The Inexperienced Ghost”, by H.G. Wells

The Whistling Room”, by William Hope Hodgson

The Last Drive”, by Carl Jacobi

The Monkey’s Paw”, by W.W. Jacobs

“Second Night Out”, by Frank Belknap Long

The Hills Beyond Furcy, by Robert G. Anderson

Floral Tribute”, by Robert Bloch. HIM again.

It’s a good book. I enjoy it. But, you know, it’s just not the same as the others. Not a treasured artifact of my childhood. I guess some things just remain more precious because of the context of their acquisition.

Anyhow. If it hasn’t happened before now, I encourage the populace to track down and read these tales. They are among the foundation stones of our genre, historically important, and wonderfully entertaining. Go, seek. You’ll be glad you did.

And so, until next time, mavens of the macabre…

Be afraid. 

Be very afraid.

THE BIGFOOT FILES/Chapter Thirty-Four: Exists

Exists is the purest Bigfoot film I’ve ever watched. By purest, I mean if you looked up “Bigfoot movie” in the dictionary, a picture of this film’s poster should be there. Released in 2014, Exists is directed by Eduardo Sánchez, one-half of the duo who directed and wrote the groundbreaking 1999 found-footage horror film The Blair Witch Project.

Available free with ads on tubitv.com, Exists is basically a more action-packed Blair Witch-style creature feature as the plot follows five friends into the remote East Texas woods for a weekend camping getaway at a neglected hunting cabin. One of the campers, Brian, is the fifth wheel of the group, but he brings along a lot of video equipment to document the adventure.

The film opens with these foreboding words: “Since 1967, there have been over 3,000 Bigfoot encounters in the U.S. alone. Experts agree the creatures are only violent if provoked.”

Exists effectively uses almost all the Bigfoot clichés, including discovery of the hair and the footprint, the eerie vocalizations, and rock-throwing. The Sasquatch itself is one of the best to grace the big screen thanks to the costume design of Charlotte Harrigan and the creature acting of Brian Steele.

The movie starts fast when the group of friends hits something in the road with their SUV. Brian’s video camera catches a mysterious image of “something” walking in front of their vehicle. However, they never find whatever it is they hit.

Once at the cabin, the group spends the first day at a nearby watering hole. While Brian surreptitiously videos one of the couples making out, he hears a noise and sees something moving in the woods. During his search for the creature, Brian reveals that years ago his uncle (who owns the cabin) “saw something out here that freaked him out. Bad enough that he never came back to his beloved hunting cabin.”

What follows that night is a close encounter of the Bigfoot kind as the group is terrorized and left stranded in the woods by a raging Sasquatch. The next morning, Brian’s brother Matt hops on his mountain bike and heads for the highway to look for help and hopefully find cellphone reception.

The second attack on the cabin spooks the remaining four in the group enough to take a shortcut through the woods to try and reach the safety of the highway. The final half-hour is an intensely desperate trek through Bigfoot territory with an emotionally satisfying climax.

For the most part, movie critics and audiences did not like Exists when released in 2014. According to movie review website Rotten Tomatoes, only 33 percent of critics offered positive reviews of the film, but what surprised me was the audience score of 29 percent.

Yes, the human characters are paper-thin, and the plot is bare-bones basic, but the Bigfoot attacks are exceptionally staged and realistic. I think 15 years after The Blair Witch Project’s release that maybe audiences were tired of shaky-camera, found-footage films, especially in the era of slick comic-book, super-hero movies.

Whatever the case, I’m glad the movie “exists” for Bigfoot enthusiasts like me.

NEXT UP: Chapter Thirty-Five: The Darkness in the Pines. I review the 2021 novella by Harlan Graves.

Kbatz Krafts: Halloween Sewing Vlog 1 🎃🧵

What are YOU sewing for Halloween? Kristin Battestella aka Kbatz is putting some old, worn, and miscellany Halloween pants, fabrics, ribbons, scarves, and more to good use in a mystery sewing project! To start, beloved Halloween pajama pants must be salvaged and seam ripped, making the most of every inch of usable material while trying to placate two cats and use the pieces to pattern new pajama bottoms. Every scrap will be saved!

Stay tuned for more sewing vlogs and follow progress photos on our Kbatz Krafts Instagram and Facebook!

Revisit More Halloween Kbatz Krafts:

Pumpkin Ottomans

Mini Bone Wreath

Mr. and Mrs. Skeleton Frames

Halloween Pillows

Daphne’s Den of Darkness: 5 Romantic Monster Movies

Call me a romantic, but maybe Mina Harker should have taken Dracula up on his proposal for eternal life as his bride. I would. Y’all already know I have a soft spot in my heart for monsters, so it should come as no surprise that I like my horror movies with a little dash of romance. If you’re like me, you’ll enjoy these five movies that feature Monster Love:

Blood and Chocolate (2007)

Vivian, a young werewolf, meets the human Aiden in Bucharest and falls in love. When Vivian’s pack finds out about their relationship, it sets off a maelstrom that consumes the whole city.

I both love and loathe this movie. Loathe because it fails as an adaptation of one of my favorite books (by Annette Curtis Klause), but love because it’s actually a pretty good werewolf movie on its own.

Warm Bodies (2013)

After a zombie apocalypse leaves humanity devastated, life becomes an endless, lonely drudge for the zombie R. One day, he meets Julie and everything changes. He saves her from his fellow zombies. The more time they spend together, the more human he becomes, giving hope that maybe there’s a cure.

Hear me out: Zombie Romeo and Juliet. It’s exactly as ridiculous as it sounds. I’m not a big fan of zombie movies, but this one warmed even my cold heart.

A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night (2014)

Arish, a hardworking Iranian man, meets a young woman while lost on the street one night. The two share a strange comradery and become close. But the woman harbors a dark secret, killing in the night to quench her thirst for blood.

This black and white Persian film was the darling of the 2014 indie film festivals. It manages to portray a stereotypical vampire with surprising nuance and creates a unique love story.

Ghost (1990)

Sam, a banker, is murdered by a mugger and continues to haunt is girlfriend Molly as a ghost. When Sam discovers that his death was really a setup and that Molly is still in danger, he enlists the help of a psychic to save her.

This film is so 90’s it hurts. Patrick Swayze? Demi Moore? Whoopie Goldberg? Amazing. From the explanation of how ghosts move objects to the iconic clay molding scene, there is so much to love in this iconic movie.

The Shape of Water (2017)

Elisa, a mute janitor at a government facility, discovers that the agency she works for is holding a mysterious aquatic creature captive. Brought together by their otherness, they forge a deep bond. Elisa and her friends risk their lives to save him from captivity.

I saved the best for last. The Shape of Water won FOUR Academy Awards in 2017, including Best Picture. Part spy movie, part supernatural love story, the film takes itself seriously, and manages to pull of a seemingly ridiculous concept with style.

Whether it’s werewolves, vampires, or strange fishmen, humans will always find a way to romanticize a monster. What are your favorite monster romances? Let us know in the comments!

Temecula Terror Event!

Temecula Terror, Inland Empire’s Newest Halloween-Themed Attraction Brings Frights to Wine Country

Tickets on Sale Now | Open October 1 – 31, 2021

temecula

This October the Inland Empire will be home (or should we say a haunted home) to an all-new, hair-raising, terrifying haunt: Temecula Terror. Open for 19-days, October 1- 31, Temecula Terror invites thrill-seekers to visit a creepy, small town, off a back road in the Temecula Valley, and step into a Halloween Harvest Carnival… with a sinister intention. Tickets start at $20 USD for adults and are on sale today at www.temeculaterror.com.

Dubbed an Indie-Style Haunt, Temecula Terror is located in Galway Downs, a unique outdoor experience located in the wild, shadowing hills of the Temecula Valley Wine Country. Lit only by the stars in the sky and the event’s carnival lights, Temecula Terror will deliver frights for 19-days with 3 mazes, 2 bars, 1 VIP Bar, nightly live DJ and entertainment, carnival games, local food trucks, a pumpkin patch, and a scare zone with roaming monsters.

“Without giving too much away, Temecula Terror encourages those who dare to make it past the fanfare of the carnival and circus to discover that the small town hidden behind it, in the middle of wine country, is the real haunted attraction and not necessarily the carnival,” shared Jeromy Ball, Bloodshed Brothers.

Zachary Ball, twin brother to Jeromy Ball and other half of the Bloodshed Brothers added, “For those really looking to test their bravery, we dare you to step inside the maze we’re calling 301 Hyde Street – some of our own team members were spooked just going over the build and storyline.”

In addition to the frights, Temecula Terror offers something for haunt-lovers of all ages: Family Fright starts at 5:00pm with a pumpkin patch, carnival games, trick-or-treating, food and more. Then at 7:00pm, as the sun starts to set and hide behind the rolling hills, the sinister scares begin as the monsters and ominous spirits are unleashed.

Bringing to life the biggest “haunt” Temecula has ever seen this spooky season, Temecula Terror tickets go on sale today and start at just $20 per adult (12+ years) and $10 for children (Family Fright). Local event production companies Bloodshed Brothers and Clever Coven have banded together to create the first-year haunt with an emphasis on involving local companies, brands, and stories from the heart of Temecula Valley.

Visit www.TemeculaTerror.com for more information,
to purchase tickets and to stay up to date on
Temecula Terror announcements, sales, and more.

Oblivion in Flux: A Collection of Cyber Prose by Maxwell I. Gold

Oblivion in Flux: A Collection of Cyber Prose by Maxwell I. Gold

Reviewed by A.P. Hawkins

Oblivion calls.

The sound of Näigöths’ leathery wings fills the skies over ruined cities. Nature is corrupted, trees turned to pillars of metal and plastic. Humanity has deteriorated to a mere shade of its former greatness, entranced by lies and unaware of the oncoming storm. They bow to new gods, Cyber Gods of their own making, who offer nothing but empty promises and ravenous hunger.

In Oblivion in Flux: A Collection of Cyber Prose, takes readers on a deliciously horrifying journey through wildly imagined apocalyptic landscapes. With each piece, he paints a picture more wild and weird than the last. The vivid imagery all but leaps off the page, pulling the reader further into the mad, broken world Gold has built. 

Many of the pieces in Oblivion in Flux are loosely connected, weaving a thin thread of story as the narrator struggles to escape humanity’s own creation and remain free in the face of cyber horrors and fates worse than death. Repeated words and phrases at the opening and close of many pieces contribute to the overall feeling of madness and horror and make the reader feel as though they, too, might succumb.

Other pieces feel more separate, unconnected to the story running along in the background. But the themes, of decadence crumbling into decay, of humanity, blinded to the destruction it brings upon itself, come through very strong throughout the collection.

Of all the pieces in this collection, REVES DES CYBERDIEUX: A NATION IN THREE ACTS stood out as particularly powerful and timely. Though occasionally heavy-handed, the picture it paints of bloated politicians fawned over by hypnotized sycophants is extremely accurate and provocative.

Oblivion in Flux is an imaginative and gripping indictment of our time, where the metals and plastics and technologies of our society, our Cyber Gods, have turned, mouths agape, to devour us whole. Gold’s collection of cyber prose is a must-read for anyone who enjoys weird horror.

HorrorAddicts.net 202, Naching T. Kassa

HASeason16culhorrorshort2

Horror Addicts Episode# 202
SEASON 16 Cultural Horror
Horror Hostess: Emerian Rich
Intro Music by: Valentine Wolfe


202 | #Polynesian #PacIslander #Horror |  #NachingTKassa |  #ErrieMovie | #InChasmsDeep

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

VOTE FOR YOUR FAVORITE WICKED STORY NOW! https://forms.gle/UiChwdFxZ83Vw2ui8

36 days till Halloween

Music: “A Suicide in Paradise” #InChasmsDeep

Merrill’s Musical Musings: #RLMerrill  #InChasmsDeep #BlackMetal #TheWindInHerLament #MetalHead

Catchup: #Halloween #PandemicLag #Stress #StrangeDays #TrunkNTreat #CobraKai #OctoberTalesofHorror #Northanger #JaneAusten #HauntedHouses #ghosts #costumes 

October 13th Horror Readings: Tales of Horror

https://www.smlibraryfoundation.org

Theme: #PolynesianHorror  #PacIslanderHorror

#HawiianGhostStories

#FilipinoHorror #Aurora #Eerie #PagPag

#EerieMovie #TeenSuicide #ReligiousConspiracy #Nun

Live Action Reviews: #CrystalConnor #Sunod

Daphne’s Den of Darkness: #DaphneStarsert #UniqueVampire #OnlyLoversLeftAlive #BloodRedSky

Dead Mail:

Martin: “Hellslide” #Siiickbrain #Nosferatu #NosChick

Book reviews: https://forms.gle/ayAq37qMV7ENwcQW8

Kim: #WhatWeDoInTheShadows #Goth #MetalHead #bat

Historian of Horror: #MarkOrr #Giallo

Bigfoot Files: #LionelRayGreen #BigFootAShortStory #DLFinn

Audiodrama: #TheDeadbringer #emmarkoff music: “Huitzillin” by Sarah Monroy Solis #sarisolis voices by em markoff, rish outfield, ramon cantarero, emerian rich

Ghastly Games: #CMSpookusLucas #HorrorGames

Nightmare Fuel: #DJPitsiladis #AnnalieseMichel

NEWS: 

#CliffandIvy #BringUsTheNight #AlaskaGoth

#JesseOrr #GypsyMob #FreeFictition 

#HorrorBites #DeathlyFog #AdamBreckenridge 

https://www.amazon.com/Horror-Bites-Deathly-Adam-Breckenridge-ebook/dp/B09BP5L3Z8

#Bianca #Bookhoarding #CoffinPurse #CoffinShelf

#Neflix #MightnightMass 

Book Review: Reviewed by: #MattMorovich #OfMenandMonsters #TomDeady

Featured Author: #NachingTKassa #TheDarkerSideofGrief #ArterialBloom
https://www.amazon.com/Arterial-Bloom-John-Boden-ebook/dp/B085QLBYSS

Read by the author.

VOTE FOR YOUR FAVORITE WICKED STORY NOW! 

https://forms.gle/UiChwdFxZ83Vw2ui8

————————————-

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

Also, send show theme ideas!

horroraddicts@gmail.com

h o s t e s s

Emerian Rich

h e a d  o f  p u b l i s h i n g

Naching T. Kassa

p u b l i s h i n g  p. a.

Cedar George

b l o g  e d i t o r

Kate Nox

s t a f f

KBatz (Kristin Battestella), Daphne Strasert, Jesse Orr, Lionel Green, Kieran Judge, Crystal Connor, Nightshade, R.L. Merrill, Mark Orr, DJ Pitsiladis, Christopher Fink, CM “Spookus” Lucas

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Chilling Chat: Interview with Naching T. Kassa

Naching T. Kassa Interview  with R. L. Merrill

Greetings and Salutations, Horror Addicts. I am honored to have been given the task of interviewing the illustrious Naching T. Kassa this week. Naching wears many hats beyond wife, mother, and horror writer. She’s created short stories, novellas, poems, and co-created three children. She lives in Eastern Washington State with Dan Kassa, her husband, and biggest supporter. Naching is a member of the Horror Writers Association, Head of Publishing and Interviewer for HorrorAddicts.net, and an assistant and staff writer for Still Water Bay at Crystal Lake Publishing.

I challenged Naching to face the World’s Most Dangerous Interview, 2021 Edition, and here were the results:

RLM : Name a childhood fear and tell us whether or not it still scares you.

NTK: As a child, I was terrified of flying peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. They used to swoop over my bed with their batwings. Thank goodness I am no longer afraid of them. Creeping BLTs are much scarier. (As are spiders and other creepy crawlies—Shudder!!)

RLM: Give us three bizarre habits you’ve developed during the pandemic.

NTK: I was a terrible germaphobe before the pandemic, and it seems to have intensified that feeling. I have the habit of washing my hands every time I touch something from outside the home, and until most of my family was vaccinated, I used to spray everyone with Lysol when they went out and came home. My other habit is using aloe vera hand sanitizer. Vitamin E sanitizer is too smelly.

RLM: Name the first book you read as a young person that has stayed with you.

NTK: The first book that really stayed with me was Watership Down by Richard Adams. I read it when I was eight or nine years old after I watched the cartoon. I just loved the story about the rabbits and their search for a new home. And some of the incidents in the story are really quite frightening. Also, I like the fact that Fiver, one of the youngest rabbits, has precognition. 

RLM: What is the most fascinating/creepy/disgusting thing you’ve discovered because of writing?

NTK: Vampire moths are a real thing. They really suck blood and can do it for as long as 50 minutes.

RLM: Which characters from books do you most admire/adore/abhor?

NTK: If we’re talking specifics, I really admire Sherlock Holmes. I love his intelligence and thirst for justice. As to characters I abhor, I really dislike narcissists and Dean Koontz is extremely adept at creating them.

RLM: Name a book that made you say, “yes, I want to be a writer.”

NTK: The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck. I read the chapter written from the turtle’s point of view—when the Joads were headed down the road—and that was the moment I wanted to be a writer.

RLM: If you had to choose a movie or book to live in, what would it be?

NTK: Though I wouldn’t want to live in the real Victorian Era, I have always wanted to live in the world of Sherlock Holmes. That world is just so fascinating and mysterious. I’d love to walk the foggy streets of London in 1895.

RLM: Name your author superpower and how does it come out in your writing?

NTK: My author superpower is my leaning toward prose poetry. I enjoy turning a good phrase.

RLM: Which book do you wish you’d written?

NTK: Jane Eyre. I love that book. There’s a supernatural aspect in the story that many people miss or ignore.

RLM: Which musical/horror film describes your life?

NTK: Salem’s Lot (1979) I live near a small town full of vampires. Hahhah!

RLM: Ever get caught reading/writing sexy times in an awkward place/time/situation? 

NTK: No. But I have ghostwritten erotica and that always feels awkward.

RLM: Thank you so much Naching for daring to face the World’s Most Dangerous Interview. I’m still fascinated by these moths and will have to check them out. I also don’t recall the turtle from Grapes of Wrath and now I feel the need to go back and re-read it! 

RLM: Where can we find your work?

My story “The Case of the Broken Needle,” was recently published in The Meeting of the Minds: The Cases of Sherlock Holmes and Solar Pons 1. I also write and edit for the Crystal Lake Publishing series, Still Water Bay. New episodes are published around the 15th of every month on the Crystal Lake Patreon page. https://www.patreon.com/CLP/posts?filters[tag]=Still%20Water%20Bay

You can find my story “The Darker Side of Grief”, in Crystal Lake Publishing’s Arterial Bloom, an artful juxtaposition of the magnificence and macabre that exist within mankind. Each tale in this collection is resplendent with beauty, teeth, and heart.

You can find me on Twitter @nachingkassa and on my website. https://nachingkassa.wordpress.com/

Merrill’s Musical Musings : In Chasms Deep

 

In Chasms Deep

Greetings HorrorAddicts! I hope these musings find you dim, dismal, and dissolute. Not really. I hope you and yours are doing well and that your life has returned to some sense of normalcy. But since we are going to be discussing black metal today, I thought I’d get you into the right headspace. For those of you, like me, who are new to the subgenre, black metal is characterized by screaming vocals, atmospheric sounds that don’t necessarily follow a typical song structure and pagan and/or satanic themes. The subgenre has received criticism due to the actions of some members of the community, but as with all music, it is unfair to judge all participants by the actions of the few. Metal music has healing properties and many of us turn to metal of all types to get us through the difficult times in our lives. 

In Chasms Deep is a one-man black metal project from the United States who has been making music since 2011. Their latest release, The Wind and Her Lament, draws the listener into a melodic journey from the beginning track. The pieces flow from hauntingly inviting to explosive rainbows of sonic power. The album draws on the four elements to give the listener an immersive experience. Tracks like “A Suicide in Paradise” build from melancholy piano to dream-like guitar sequence to thundering, furious shredding before sinking back into pensive strumming and those haunting piano notes once more. It’s probably my favorite track on the album. “Abyssgazer” piqued my interest with the organ parts in the beginning as well. 

If you’re new to black metal, I’d recommend giving The Wind and Her Lament a listen. The artist has created a landscape of beauty in darkness, which is a place many of us HorrorAddicts love to dwell. I’ll definitely be checking out some of their earlier work on Spotify. 

How about you? Have any black metal recommendations? As a bona fide metalhead, I’m always down to check out new music, so send me an email, rlmerrillauthor at gmail dot com or leave a comment. Thanks for joining me on this musical journey. Stay Tuned for more Musical Musings…

R.L. Merrill writes inclusive romance with quirky, relatable characters full of love, hope, and rock ‘n’ roll. You can find her at https://www.rlmerrillauthor.com and on the socials as @rlmerrillauthor. 

Live Action Reviews! by Crystal Connor: Sunod

 

Plotline: As the medical expenses for her daughter stack up, a mother takes a demanding call center job where the building’s sinister secrets begin to haunt her.

Who would like it: Possession movies, women-driven plots, international films, twist endings

High Points: One of my favorite scenes is watching a woman performing with the power of a mother’s love

Complaints: I don’t have any

Overall: I LOVED this movie

Stars: 4 and 1/2

Where I watched it: VOD

 

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Master Imaginationist and Instagram photographer Crystal Connor is the Chief Imagineer working for the Department of Sleep Prevention’s Nightmare Division. A Washington State native she loves anything to do with monsters, bad guys (as in evil-geniuses & super-villains.  Not ‘those’ kind her mother warned her about), rogue scientific experiments, jewelry, sky-high high-heeled shoes & unreasonably priced handbags.

When she’s not terrorizing her fans and racking up frequent flyers miles by gallivanting all over the country attending fan conventions and writer’s conferences she reviews indie horror and science fiction films for both her personal blog and HorrorAddicts.net

She is also considering changing her professional title to dramatization specialist because it so much more theatrical than being a mere drama queen.

http://wordsmithcrystalconnor.com

http://www.facebook.com/notesfromtheauthor

Download your free copy of …And They All Lived Happily Ever After! from Podiobooks.com and see why the name Crystal Connor has become “A Trusted Name in Terror!” 

http://podiobooks.com/title/and-they-all-lived-happily-ever-after

Nightmare Fuel: Annaliese Michel

Hello Addicts,

Possession movies, when done right, are some of the scariest ones to watch. The level of acting and grueling physical work makes for very intense entertainment. What adds to the spook factor is when the story is based on true events. Some that come to mind are “The Exorcist” and the movies in “The Conjuring” universe. Another that comes to mind is the 2005 flick, “The Exorcism of Emily Rose.” Today’s Nightmare Fuel looks at the story of the real Emily Rose… Anneliese Michel.

Anneliese Michel was born September 21, 1952, in Leiblfing, Bavaria, West Germany, and grew up in a devout Roman Catholic family. At age sixteen, she suffered a severe convulsion and was diagnosed with temporal lobe epilepsy. Even with this, she managed to graduate and attended the University of Wurzburg. She had been prescribed anti-convulsion medications, such as Dilantin, but shortly after she started reporting seeing the faces of devils. She was then prescribed Aolept, a medication used to treat various psychoses including schizophrenia. It didn’t seem to help as she fell into depression and began hallucinating while praying. She’d also begin hearing voices telling her that she was damned and going to rot in hell. Around the same time, she began showing signs of intolerance to sacred Christian objects and places. It was on a pilgrimage to San Damiano that she was deemed possessed by her escort because of her inability to walk past a crucifix and not drinking from a holy spring. This was followed by the first requests for exorcism approval from the Catholic Church. The Church has fairly strict criteria that they follow before granting permission to perform an exorcism. They recommended that Anneliese continue her medical treatment.

By this point, Anneliese’s condition began showing further progression. She’d eat insects, drink her urine, act out aggressively, and injure herself on purpose. She was prescribed stronger medication, but it didn’t help. She eventually began reporting seeing demons, growling, and throwing things about. Throughout her life, Anneliese would do things that made her uncomfortable, thinking that it was her way to atone for the sins of other youth. This thought process only increased as her condition worsened, and she began seeing herself as dying to atone for the sins of all wayward youth and the apostate priests of the modern church. She refused to eat, and her parents became convinced that the medical community wasn’t helping their daughter. The Michel family turned exclusively to exorcism, thinking this was the only way to help her. Adding to this was Father Ernst Alt, a priest who also viewed Anneliese as possessed because he thought that she didn’t look like an epileptic or having seizures. Over ten months, sixty-seven exorcisms were performed.

Anneliese Michel died in 1976. Her official cause of death is listed as malnutrition and dehydration. When she died, she weighed only 68 pounds (30 kg). Her parents, Father Alt, and Father Arnold Renz, who performed the exorcisms, were all charged with negligent homicide. They were found guilty, and each sentenced to six months in prison, which was suspended for three years. Amongst the evidence provided in the trial were recordings said to be the demons possessing Anneliese: Lucifer, Cain, Judas Iscariot, Legion, Belial, Nero, and Hitler. While they argued during the possession, the demons said that they freed the young woman before her passing. Anneliese’s gravesite has since become a pilgrimage site for Christians.

I remember watching the movie in the theater and thinking of how terrifying it was. Perhaps it was the story, or perhaps watching it in a theater added to the terror. Upon leaving the theater, I heard some bigger and stronger guys saying how they didn’t think they were going to be sleeping well that night. It remains one of my favorite possession movies. Knowing the story behind the script only adds to the horror.

Until next time, Addicts.

D.J.

THE BIGFOOT FILES\Chapter Thirty-Three: Bigfoot: A Short Story

In D.L. Finn’s Bigfoot: A Short Story, a man’s life forever changes when he stumbles upon an obscure blog while searching for his recently retired friend, Bob and Bob’s wife Elly. The blog features a bizarre interview with Bob who reveals a conspiracy to kill Bigfoot.

The man reading the blog is Steve, whose wife Sandy wants him to find the new address for Bob and Elly. The couple retired and suddenly moved to Florida without so much as a goodbye or forwarding address. As Steve reads the blog, the story develops a distinct “X-Files” vibe complete with cryptid encounters, UFO sightings, and government conspiracies.

Finn effectively uses the blog in her 2018 short story to challenge Steve’s and the reader’s ability to discern fact from fiction. As the story elevates from a crazy Bigfoot tale into revealing a universal threat to humanity, Steve makes a life-changing decision for him and his wife based on a photograph and a gut feeling.

In an era of fake news and online hoaxes, Bigfoot: A Short Story makes you wonder what you would do in Steve’s situation. I doubt I could do what he did in the end, but after reading Finn’s story, I’d definitely think about it.

NEXT UP: Chapter Thirty-Four: Exists. I review the 2014 horror film directed by Eduardo Sánchez.

Historian of Horror : You Ain’t Nothin’ But a Hound Dawg…

You Ain’t Nothin’ But a Hound Dawg…

I’m pretty much positive that the first film adaptation of The Hound of the Baskervilles that I ever saw was the 1959 Hammer version starring Peter Cushing as Sherlock Holmes and Christopher Lee as Sir Henry Baskerville. According to the database, I assembled several years ago from the television schedules in the Nashville newspaper for those years during which I developed my love of all things horrifying, I must have seen it on September 25, 1965, at 4:00 P.M. That was when the afternoon movie aired by our local CBS station, The Big Show, was on the air. I was in second grade at the time, attending a school close enough to have gotten home from by then, so it fits. None of the other showings I found were possible candidates. I would have either been on my way home from school during a period when it was a much longer trip, or the movie was shown much too late at night for me to have stayed up for at the tender age I was when it was broadcast. Ergo, not only did I see it when I was seven years old, I didn’t watch it again until I was much older. And yet, that viewing is firmly etched into my brain. I remember every detail clearly as if I saw it for the first time just a few years ago. We had only recently gotten our first color TV set, and I recall being fascinated by the vibrant hues of the process Hammer used in their productions.

Funny, isn’t it, how something we experience so young can have such a profound effect on our lives in later years? I had no idea who Sherlock Holmes was in 1965. I didn’t have a clue what a baronet was. I’m not entirely certain I was clear on what a hound was, and yet…

A baronet, by the way, is what Sir Henry Baskerville was. It’s a sort of hereditary knighthood, passed from father to son, or to the eldest male heir, with an attending estate thrown in. Baskerville Hall, in this situation. Baronets are not nobles. They are landed gentry, the highest level of commoner, just below a baron in the English social hierarchy. In case you were wondering. 

Anyhow. It wasn’t long before I began exercising my newly gained literacy by tracking down the novel on which the film was based. I was a precocious child, given to reading beyond my years. By the end of the decade, I’d read all the Holmes tales, along with most of the major classics of horror and a great deal of world literature. It was not unusual for me to blaze through one long or two short books a day, and still have time to play with my friends and accumulate a host of scraped knees and bunged up elbows riding my Spyder-style bicycle recklessly and with wild abandon down the hill in front of our house to the wooden ramp waiting at the bottom, launching myself into the Venrick’s front yard to fetch up in a tangle of limbs and metal tubing, then back up the hill to do it all again.

God, to have a fraction of that energy back now! And the resilience to withstand the gallons of Bactine my mother was obliged to apply to my myriad minor injuries. 

So, the Hound. The book is nominally a mystery, but I’ve never seen a movie version that couldn’t be properly classified as a horror film. The Hound itself is a monster if there ever was one, a gigantic beast that kills either through fear or by the vigorous application of its fangs upon fragile and succulent body parts. Inspired by centuries of English folklore, it is a primal, supernatural force, despite being nothing more than a dressed-up mastiff. 

Well, let me tell you about mastiffs. I had a friend some years ago who raised that particular breed of dog. I once saw one pull a tree it had been tied to out of the ground. A smallish tree, true, but not a sapling. Maybe six inches in diameter at the base of the trunk. A tree. Out of the ground. This is not a puny animal. It was a terrifying beast, even with its owner nearby to keep it calm. 

That’s one of several reasons why I prefer cats. I never want to own a pet that I cannot beat in a fair fight. 

I count a dozen film versions of the story in my collection, including at least one silent, three German adaptations, and one in Russian. That is by no means an exhaustive list. My sources list over thirty film and television adaptations, parodies, pastiches, and reimaginings in several languages including Bengali, Ukrainian and Italian, since 1914. It might be the most filmed mystery novel of all time. Ergo, I hope the populace is at least somewhat familiar with the plot.

If not, here it is, in a nutshell: Holmes is charged with the protection of Sir Henry Baskerville, newly arrived from overseas. Sir Henry has inherited the family estate upon the death of his Uncle Charles, who was frightened to death, apparently by the family curse. Sooner or later, the Hound always gets the baronet, and the line passes on to the next heir. Holmes sends Dr. Watson down to Devonshire with Sir Henry while he finishes up some business in London. As it turns out, there is another heir envious of the title who has arranged to have his big, mean dog kill Sir Charles and try to kill Sir Henry. Holmes arrives in time to stop the plot, and the bad guy is swallowed up in the Great Grimpen Mire that surrounds the Baskerville estate. The End.

The book was written in 1901, during the Great Hiatus, that period when the world thought that the Great Detective’s creator, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, had killed him off forever. Originally serialized in The Strand Magazine before its 1902 hardback publication, The Hound of the Baskervilles was a sort of nostalgic look back at the period before Holmes and Professor Moriarty threw each other off the rocky ledge into the Reichenbach Falls in Switzerland in “The Final Problem”, published in 1893. The novel’s success convinced Doyle to bring Holmes back in 1903 in the short story, “The Adventure of the Empty House”, and things continued on as before until Doyle’s passing in 1930. The stories themselves were firmly set in the Victorian Era, however, with Holmes retiring not long after Her Little Majesty’s death in 1901 to raise bees in Sussex.

The film versions are consistently set within the canonical time period. The best one is probably the 1939 version, starring Basil Rathbone in the first of his fourteen movies as Holmes. This one and the first sequel, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, were made at 20th Century Fox. Rathbone took the series to Universal, and a contemporary wartime setting, for twelve more pictures with varying degrees of success. Still, he is firmly entrenched as the definitive Holmes for many fans of the character. 

Cushing himself reprised his performance for a BBC Holmes series in 1968. The deerstalker cap has been worn on the Devonshire moor by Stewart Granger, Ian Richardson, Jeremy Brett, Matt Frewer and Richard Roxburgh, and even comedian Peter Cook and the former Fourth Doctor himself, Tom Baker. The tale has been adapted to the stage and numerous radio broadcasts, including one 1941 American performance with Rathbone in the lead role, as well as a 1977 episode of that last great hurrah of old-time radio horrors, The CBS Radio Mystery Theatre. There was a Classics Illustrated comic book edition, and Marvel Comics adapted the tale in the black-and-white magazine Marvel Preview #5 in 1975, among many other comic versions. Variations have been done on both the BBC’s Sherlock series with Benedict Cumberbatch and CBS’s Elementary with Johnny Lee Miller. It’s a tale no one inspired by the Great Detective can leave alone, and that suits me fine. Of all the canonical Holmes tales, it is the one closest to my heart, for it has within its telling a true monster, even if the solution is a bit Scooby-Dooish. I’m looking forward to seeing what form the next adaptation of the grand old story takes. And the one after that. They’re bound to be interesting and should be appropriately terrifying. One hopes.

And so, until next time, my dear epicures of eeriness…

Be afraid. Be very afraid.

Gypsy Mob : Episode 10 / Homecoming

How long she walked, she could not tell. Cradling what was left of her arm, she staggered onward, the blood seeping from her stump slowly turning the rags of her remaining clothing red. The stars shone brightly overhead, twinkling with apathy at her plight. At one point the sky lit up as fragments of disintegrating spacecraft streaked overhead. She did not notice but continued onward, her subconscious mind directing her. 

When she finally beheld the lights of the mansion in which she had lived all her life, she stopped, swaying, gazing stupidly at it, her mind struggling to comprehend what she was seeing. Gradually, it dawned on her that it was home. She had made it. She was safe. 

Willing her limbs to continue moving, she fixed her eyes on the lights surrounding the porch and the walkway leading up to the front door. They did not seem to grow closer, but finally, she could see she was making progress in their direction. It felt as though she were on a treadmill, the road moving beneath her as she walked in place, leaving the mansion as far away as ever, gaining only one step every hour or two. She could do nothing more than continue, for she knew if she stopped, she would not start again. She would die here. 

At long last, somehow, the front door appeared before her. She stared at the doorknob for a few moments before reaching up with her bloody hand to twist the knob. It moved a fractional amount before stopping firmly. She was locked out. All she had learned about how to sneak in and out of the house without anybody knowing had been blasted from her mind and all she could do was stand there stupidly for several minutes before it occurred to her to press the doorbell. 

From within the house, she could hear a buzzing. Some part of her brain registered it as the sound of someone at the door to her house and that someone should answer it, before realizing it was her. She was making the noise by pressing the button. This cycle of realization repeated as she stood there, her finger pressed to the doorbell, eyes fixed on the button. Someone’s at the door, she thought. Someone’s at the door. Someone’s at…

The door opened. 

The woman who opened it was very familiar. It seemed she had seen the woman before, many times, but she could not think where. Her mind already stretched to the breaking point, grappled for the answer. It was her… her…

Her what?

BIANCA!” Lucia screamed, her jaw dropping and involuntarily stepping backward away from the filthy bloody figure that her daughter had become. 

Mother. 

The word came to Bianca’s mind just as it gave up and she sank to the ground, unconscious. 

BIANCA!” Lucia’s shriek cut through the mansion. Giletti, who had been dozing behind his desk with a lit cigar, came awake like a tiger, going in all directions at once before he got his bearings. His wife’s second shriek came down the mansion’s hallway into his office as cleanly as a telegram and he roused his bulk from the chair, dropping his cigar in the ashtray and reflexively grabbing the pistol he kept beneath his desk. Lurching to the door, he threw it open and lumbered down the hallway as rapidly as he could. Already he could see his wife kneeling on the floor, cradling a bundle of filthy rags to her. As Giletti approached, the bundle of rags took shape and formed itself into a person. As he grew closer still, they became—

“Bianca,” Giletti whispered, growing closer. “What—”

His voice died in his throat as his eyes looked over what had just days ago been his spunky, vivacious daughter. They lingered at her face which had been coated in blood and dirt, her hair matted almost beyond recognition. They traveled down the bloody rags swaddling her until they stopped and fixated at where her hand had been. 

Lucia’s wailing as she held Bianca to her barely reached Giletti’s ears. All he heard was the rush of blood running to his head. He had lost henchmen aplenty in his time as the head of the Giletti family. But his daughter used and mutilated as she was, he could not comprehend. 

Turning, Giletti strode back to his office, the cries of his wife ringing in his ears. Booting the door open, he went to the west wall, which was made up of a massive bookshelf. Pulling a large green tome off the shelf, he threw it into a corner with a burst of rage and waited, breathing heavily, as the heavy wall of books swung slowly outward. Behind the bookshelf was a small room, its walls of pegboard, adorned with guns of every size, shape, and caliber. Giletti stepped into the room and reached up high for the weapon he had never used, the weapon he had always wanted to use and had always hoped never to use. There had never been a better time though, and as he pulled the heavy machine gun from its pegs and cradled it in his arms, he could almost hear the screams of the Gypsies as he worked the action. 

From a locker on the sidewall, he pulled a massive belt of ammunition, throwing it over his shoulder. Weighted by the heavy gun, he staggered down the hallway, past his unconscious daughter and wailing wife. Throwing the door open, he made his way to his primary vehicle, a supercharged Jaguar with over 200 horses under the hood. Dropping the ponderous gun on the passenger seat, he slammed the door and rounded the hood, throwing his bulk into the driver’s seat. Twisting the key in the ignition, the horses screamed to life. Without giving them an opportunity to warm up, he threw the car into gear and its engine roared as he floored the accelerator, peeling out of his driveway for the Gypsy camp. 

The glow from the Gypsy’s encampment reached high into the sky and Giletti saw it long before he arrived. Though he had not been informed of the exact plans of his minions, he knew it at once for what it was, having ordered the burning of numerous rivals in his past. As he screeched to a stop in the parking lot, deserted but for the empty cars of his henchmen, he was awarded a grim satisfaction as he saw many of the tents in the encampment were ablaze with flames reaching for the sky, long fingers stretching for the stars. 

Shutting off the engine, Giletti heaved his ponderance from the driver’s seat, pulling from the passenger’s seat the heavy machine gun and ammunition belt which he slung over his shoulder in imitation of the gunners in the war movies he watched regularly. He could smell the stench of gasoline and burning canvas, sweet in his nostrils as he moved to the outskirts of the camp. Squinting past the bright orange light of the flames, he could see dark silhouettes darting between the tents as the Gypsies fought the fire which had descended upon them. Situating himself for maximum visibility on a hill surrounding the tents, Giletti opened fire. 

Daphne’s Den of Darkness: 5 Movies with a Unique Take on Vampires

Vampires are so overdone. I mean, how many times can you watch a dashing creature of the night suck the blood from innocent townsfolk? Don’t get me wrong; y’all know I love vampires. And a good classic vampire film really does it for me. But if you’re looking for something that really goes out there, check out these five movies:

Daybreakers (2009)

Vampires have won. They control the planet, using the few humans remaining as a blood supply source. But that source is quickly running dry, leaving the vampire population starving and slowly turning into uncontrollable monsters. But there may be a way to turn vampires back into humans… and the human infection is spreading.

This movie is probably my favorite vampire story for turning expectations on their heads. If you like traditional vampires, but want to know what really comes next, watch Daybreakers.

Ultraviolet (2006)

In a not-so-distant future, the government engineered vampiric super soldiers to help secure their rise to power. But now, those same hemophages are a threat that must be hunted down. One boy may hold the secret to a cure and a return to humanity, but first, super soldier Violet must rescue him.

Ultraviolet is an absolute bonkers movie. It’s over the top in all the right ways and honestly visually stunning. Milla Jovovich brings that perfect early-aughts vibe, delivering terrible lines with deadpan dedication. I 10,000% recommend watching Ultraviolet, if only to bask in the ridiculousness.

Priest (2011)

A worldwide theocracy was established to keep humans safe from hoards of hungry vampires. The Priests were trained and forced to fight such creatures. But now the war is won and only a few vampires are left… right? A Priest discovers that the vampires have been shoring up their forces in secret and are preparing an attack that humanity may not survive.

The worldbuilding for Priest is so very unique, taking the role of religion in fighting vampires to its furthest reaching conclusion. The vampires are true monsters and visually frightening. Priest may not be a good movie, but you have to give the actors (Paul Bettany, WHAT???) extra points for taking such an absurd role seriously.

Only Lovers Left Alive (2013)

Maybe immortality isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. The morose and depressed vampire Adam is certainly of it. His only solace is his wife Eve and the arts and culture that is their passion.

It’s no secret that I love Tom Hiddleston (if you haven’t, go watch Crimson Peak), and he plays the perfect depressed romantic in this vampire film. Only Lovers Left Alive makes vampires deeply human, diving into what it means to love life when life lasts forever.

Blood Red Sky (2021)

A mother traveling with her son to America is caught in the middle of a plane hijacking. In order to save her son, she must embrace her vampire nature to fight hijackers.

Blood Red Sky explores the line between monster and human, depicting the horrific transformation of Nadja into a bloodthirsty beast, all to protect her child. Blood Red Sky embraces vampire traditions while also playing them in a new light.

What about you? What are your favorite vampire films? Do you like the traditional or the quirky? Leave us a note in the comments!

Book Review : Of Men and Monsters by Tom Deady

 

Review by Matt Marovich

CW: Child and Domestic Abuse 

To be perfectly honest, I was surprised at how much I enjoyed this book.

That’s not to say that I had low or bad expectations for Of Men and Monsters by Tom Deady, quite the opposite, but that I found myself very quickly pulled into this story in a way that was quite surprising.

Taking place in 1975, Of Men and Monsters is the story of two brothers, older brother Matt and Ryan, and their mother. They have recently moved to a coastal New England town named Bayport, although a potentially better way to describe it would be “fled”. We quickly learn that the trio have recently escaped the predations of their abusive father and husband, a violent drunk who started beating his wife before expanding his terrible attentions to his two sons as they grew older. Once he began abusing Ryan, their mother packed their belongings and left as quickly as they could.

In Bayport, life for the three of them begins to have a sense of normalcy and peace. Matt quickly meets a girl named Kelly that he becomes smitten with, while Ryan meets Kelly’s cousin Leah. Their mom gets a job waiting tables at the local diner, and soon enough they fall into a steady routine. A routine that is, unfortunately, shattered when they receive an unexpected phone call and learn that their father is hunting them.

One of the things I enjoyed a lot about this book is the characters. The story is told from Ryan’s perspective but we spend plenty of time with Matt and his mom, seen through Ryan’s eyes. All of the characters are believable, especially Ryan whose perspective, thoughts, and reactions are incredibly realistic. I was almost immediately drawn into the book because of this, having to provide very little suspension of disbelief to get into Ryan as a person. Matt and Ryan have a loving relationship, even if Matt occasionally treats his brother with the frustration or mild disdain that only an older, barely teenage sibling can have.

All throughout the brothers’ summer, enjoying the time they can even as they fear the approaching monster of their father, the story has another thread in the form of an actual monster. While exploring their new home, Ryan discovers a cache of old comic books in the attic, one of which has an advert for Sea Monsters (not Sea Monkeys), which he stealthily sends away for. When they arrive and he begins to grow them, Ryan and Matt quickly learn that the ad’s claim of the creatures being “monsters” wasn’t false advertising.

It’s these three threads woven together that make this story so strong in my opinion. The normalcy of the brothers’ life feels realistic like I could totally see anyone growing up in Bayport having the life they create for themselves, and it’s that normalcy that helps make the other two threads horrific. With the approaching father, it’s the growing dread that comes with each passing day, that he might be closer to finding them, that this new existence of theirs may prove to be as fragile as a soap bubble. With the actual monster, each time we see it the thing has grown, changed, and it doesn’t take much to feel like the brothers are soon in over their heads. The presence of something so unnatural is heightened and emphasized by the rest of their lives, 

I won’t go into the plot any further, you can probably guess how it’s going to go, but even if the final resolutions of the story arcs are somewhat predictable, it’s still enjoyable due to the characters we interact with. Of Men and Monsters is a short read, only eighty-one pages on my Book app with current settings, and I definitely recommend it if you’re into novellas/novelettes. 

HorrorAddicts.net 201, Crystal Connor

HASeason16culhorrorshort2

Horror Addicts Episode# 201
SEASON 16 Cultural Horror
Horror Hostess: Emerian Rich
Intro Music by: Valentine Wolfe


201 | #AfAmHorror | #CrystalConnor | #PalaceofTears | #Candyman |

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

VOTE FOR YOUR FAVORITE WICKED STORY NOW! https://forms.gle/UiChwdFxZ83Vw2ui8

50 days till Halloween

Music: “Ruination” #PalaceofTears

Merrill’s Musical Musings: #RLMerrill  #PalaceofTears #IceNineKills #TwelveFootNinja #VisionVideo #GothDadJokes

Catchup: #HalloweenDecor #PumpkinsAreOut #DragonontheFrontPorch #HuluWeen #BoyfriendDungeon #DatingaCat #OldTechMonsters #GoingUnder #InternBattles #OfficeAngst 

Theme: #AfAmHorror #MovieList

Black Horror Movies

Live Action Reviews: #CrystalConnor #Candyman

Frightening Flix: #KBatz #TalesFromTheCrypt 

Daphne’s Den of Darkness: #DaphneStarsert #BadMoviesGoodMovies

Dead Mail:

Jay: #VampiresonaPlane #BloodRedSky

Martin: #Cartoons #Jokes #GargoyleintheAirport

Russell: #HisHouse #HoodoftheLivingDead

Toni: #YouTubeSpiral #ComedyVids
Ask a Mortician https://www.youtube.com/user/OrderoftheGoodDeath

Andy Sandberg: https://youtu.be/gAYL5H46QnQ

Dino Rap: https://youtu.be/L1SKf9YU4QQ

Soundless Music: https://youtu.be/BHkhIjG0DKc

Carl Poppa:

Bigfoot Files: #LionelRayGreen #TheOregonSasquatch #SyFy #ParanormalWitness

Historian of Horror: #MarkOrr #BaronVonEmmelmann

Audiodrama: #TheDeadbringer #emmarkoff music: “Huitzillin” by Sarah Monroy Solis #sarisolis voices by em markoff, james seo, rish outfield, kadirah wade

Nightmare Fuel: #DJPitsiladis #PeggyTheDoll

NEWS: 

#JohnathanChristian #NewMusic #MyDyingWords

#JesseOrr #GypsyMob #FreeFictition 

#HorrorBites #DeathlyFog #AdamBreckenridge 

https://www.amazon.com/Horror-Bites-Deathly-Adam-Breckenridge-ebook/dp/B09BP5L3Z8

#LorenRhoads #ThisMorbidLife

https://www.amazon.com/This-Morbid-Life-Loren-Rhoads-ebook/dp/B09C11J43W

#FrightTrain #RenataParvey 

Book Review: Reviewed by: #MattMorovich #HowlsFromHell

Featured Author: #CrystalConnor #AisforAigamuchab
Read by Emerian Rich with voices by Evan and Scorpius

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KBatz (Kristin Battestella), Daphne Strasert, Jesse Orr, Lionel Green, Kieran Judge, Crystal Connor, Nightshade, R.L. Merrill, Mark Orr, DJ Pitsiladis, Christopher Fink, Mimielle, Courtney Mroch

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Black Horror Movies

This is our list of Af Am, African, and Black movies from around the world either produced, directed, or main character acting by people of African descent. If you have any suggestions, please add them in the comments and we’ll add them to our list.

Anaconda

Angelheart

Antebellum

Attack the Block

Bad Hair

Beloved

Blackenstein

Blacula 1

Blacula 2

Blade movies

Bones

Candyman, 1992 (review by Kieran Judge)

Candyman, 2021 (review by Crystal Connor)

Da Sweet Blood of Jesus (review by Eden Royce)

Dawn of the Dead

Def by Temptation

Dracula 3000

Eve’s Bayou

Fallen

Ganja & Hess (review by Eden Royce)

Get Out (review by Kenzie Kordic)

Gothika

Heks (review by Crystal Connor)

His House (review by Kbatz)

Hood of the Living Dead

House on Haunted Hill

House on Willow Street

I Am Legend

Last Ones Out

Leprechaun 5: In the Hood

Lost Boys: The Thirst

Ma

Missing Angel (Nigerian)

Night of the Living Dead (article on Tony Todd by Sumiko Saulson)

Queen of the Damned

Serpent and the Rainbow

Strange Days

Sugar Hill (review by Valjenne Jeffers)

Surviving Evil

Synchronic

Tales from the Crypt: Demon Knight

Tales from the Hood

Tales from the Hood 2

The First Purge

The Green Mile

The House Next Door

The Mangler

The People under the Stairs

The Scary Movie franchise

The Soul Collector 8

The Tokoloshe (about Tokoloshe by Kieran Judge)

The Unforgiving

Thriller

Us

Vamp (with Grace Jones)

Vampire in Brooklyn (review by Kbatz)

Vampires in the Bronx (review by Kbatz)

If you have any suggestions, please add them in the comments and we’ll add them to our list.

Chilling Chat: Episode #201 – Crystal Connor

Crystal Connor grew up telling spooky little campfire-style stories at slumber parties. Living on a steady literary diet of Stephen King, Robin Cook, Dean R. Koontz and healthy doses of cinema masterpieces such as The Birds, Friday the 13th,Wordsmith Crystal Connor Hellraiser, The Outer Limits and The Twilight Zone; along with writing short stories specializing in the Science Fiction & Horror genres since before Jr. high School, it surprised no one that she ended up writing horror novels! 

Crystal is a fascinating person and a thought-provoking author. We spoke of writing, her influences, and her literary father. 

NTK: Welcome to Chilling Chat, Crystal! Thank you for joining me today!

CC: Thank you so much for having me.

NTK: What got you into horror and how old were you?

CC: Gosh, that’s such a good question. I’ve always told really good horror stories. When I was little, I was invited to all the slumber parties because I told her really good horror stories. (Laughs.) It’s something that I’ve always done. I didn’t grow up thinking that I was going to be a horror author—it just happened by happenstance, so yeah.

NTK: Did you watch horror movies at the slumber parties? What is your favorite horror movie?

CC: I don’t remember watching horror movies at slumber parties, unless I was the one hosting them. Horror is something that’s always been in the peripherals of my life. I grew up watching the black-and-white Alfred Hitchcock Hour, Dark Shadows, Tales from the Crypt, Twilight Zone, Hellraiser, Stephen King, Michael Jackson’s Thriller. You know, horror’s always been a part of my life, and I always like things—you know—darker around the edges.

NTK: What is your favorite horror television show?

CC: I think my favorite TV shows growing up was a tie between The Outer Limits and The Twilight Zone. I believe science fiction and horror are fraternal twins and there’s a lot of stuff in those two series that are just like downright unsettling. So, growing up—ya there would be a tie.

NTK:  Do you have a favorite horror novel?

CC: Ok, so people actually raise their eyebrows when they hear me say this, but my favorite horror novel of all time is the Book of Revelations in the King James Bible. Now, I grew up in a Christian household and I’m a Godfearing person. I don’t think I’m a Christian because, of course, I’m not living according to the scriptures. But the book of revelations has shaped my writing and me as a person. From a very young age that was the first story that I read from start to finish without stopping, and it’s just so terrifying. I mean, I was just like terrified, right, ‘cause I think I might have been like 10 or 11 years old and I’m super seduced by images and that book is so visually terrifying that it stuck with me. The visuals and the things that were prophesized that are going to come to pass if we don’t change our ways of living—so, yeah, it’s the Book of Revelations that has shaped me as an individual in my personal life and in my writing life as well.

NTK: So, do you have a favorite horror author?

CC: My favorite horror writer, besides myself, hands down has to be Stephen King. I didn’t take any writing classes and when I write, I just kind of dislike writing everything down as it comes to me. But Stephen King is the person who taught me how to write. He is my mentor even though he doesn’t know it. So, when I’m working on a scene and I’m struggling through it, I usually just read a book from Stephen King to see how he did it, and then, I kind of copy that style to get me out of whatever hole I’m in. Whatever I’m like struggling to get by. The very first King novel that I read was Pet Sematary and of course, I’ve read everything that he’s written after that. He’s my favorite horror writer because he’s my literary dad. (Laughs.)

But there are so many amazing horror authors now, that there’s no way that I would be able to name them all. Some women who have been influential in my career would be like Linda Addison, Eden Royce, and Sumiko Saulson. There’re so many of us, and that’s a really good thing.

NTK: That’s great! As a person of color, what has your experience in the horror community been like? Good? Bad? Both?

CC: It’s been a combination of all three. With my first novel, The Darkness, the editor working on it suggested that people would not connect to my two main characters which are both strong black women leads but don’t fit the stereotypical idea of a black woman in the media, you know. So, that was really shocking to hear as a first-time writer coming up. But luckily, I didn’t take her advice and I stayed true to my story. And then, six months after it was published, I was the recipient of two international book awards. It’s been amazing because I’ve had people come up to me saying that they didn’t know that there are black people writing horror.

I think my favorite part of being a black horror writer, is meeting other people of color who are creating horror content. This has just been so incredible. But it’s a double-edged sword, because the assumption is black people are unable to write really good horror, but it is a compliment and because I’m an artist and I’m sensitive about my shit. I’ll take the compliments where I can. (Laughs.)

But it’s incredible to see how people are now recognizing our work and also enjoying our work. Last night, I went to see a private screening of Candyman, and it just brought me to tears to see people of color creating stories of horror that are mainstream. So yeah, this is just incredible.

NTK: You often review movies and books, what did you think of Candyman? Had you seen the original?

CC: Yup. I saw the original and the new movie blew me away. It is not a reboot. It is not a sequel. It is a continuation of the story, and it was so amazing, that I left the theater just numb. My advice to everybody is just to go see the movie, but keep in mind that it’s told from a different point of view. So, the first Candyman was produced by, you know, a white crew, white writers, and predominantly white actors. But this time around, we’re telling our side of this story. So, for me, it was more horrific than the first one. But it is every bit the type of movie we have grown accustomed to and get excited about.

When the movie has Jordan Peele’s name attached to it, it’s just hands down incredible. It was beautiful, and it was frightening, and even the kill scenes were almost elegant. I hope you get to see this movie.

NTK: What inspires your writing? What inspired you to write My First Nightmare?

CC: Oh my God, what inspired me to write My First Nightmare was when my fans would come up to me at conventions and ask me to write a children’s novel. I don’t write for children so for the first two years I absolutely refused to do it. But it did start growing in the back of my mind and when I reached out to an artist, and explained what I wanted to do, the numbers he came back with is what really propelled me to write the book. It could afford the artwork that’s in that book.

The idea for My First Nightmare was to introduce children to the horror genre through the stories of urban legends, myths, and monsters from actual cultures from all the way around the world.

But not from cultures that we are heavily bombarded with. So, there’re no Egyptian monsters, there’re no Norse monsters, I really spent a whole entire year researching the monsters that I wanted to be presented in this book so that it’s truly a diverse horror novel for children and even adults who want to, like, put their toe into the waters of horror.

NTK: So, when you write your characters, do they have free will? Or do you direct their every move?

CC: I think this might be true for all writers but there comes a time in the story where the characters take over. I usually just start writing with an idea and about a third of the way through, I’m just hanging on for the ride. With my Spectrum Trilogy, I was not expecting that to be a trilogy. That was just gonna be a medical thriller/science fiction/ horror book about a child that was created in the lab. But because I didn’t let myself stay in a box, I ended up with a complete trilogy with the genres of time traveling, sorcery, and military thriller. It’s just people who read that series are blown away that I wrote it in the first place, and then the second thing they always ask is how I kept everything straight. And the answer is—I have no idea. (Laughs.)

NTK: (Laughs.) That is cool! What advice do you have for other authors?

CC: My advice would be to always have fun and don’t beat yourself up when you don’t feel like writing that day, or if you have writer’s block. And I’m also gonna share a cheat code: watching movies counts as research!

NTK: (Laughs.) That’s great! What does the future hold for you? What works do Horror Addicts have to look forward to?

CC: I’m currently working on two books. They’re both standalone. One is YA. The other book I’m working on is a straight adult horror novel called The Family.

And, as far as HorrorAddicts is concerned, whatever they throw my way. I have been able to prescreen and review some of the most amazing horror movies that are out there, and that’s one of the things that I love so much about working for HorrorAddicts. It’s my tribe. That’s my tribe.

NTK: That’s wonderful! Thank you for joining me today!

CC: This was really fun. Thanks for interviewing me.

Merrill’s Musical Musings : Palace of Tears


Review of Palace of Tears

Greetings HorrorAddicts. 

It’s getting close, my lovelies. How soon do you pull out your Halloween decorations? When do you start the scary movie marathons and pull out your frightening reads? We’ve got some melancholy darlings in review this time around as well as some Ro’s Recs.

This edition of Merrill’s Musical Musings is going to take you to a dark and dream-like state, with a little romance added in for flavor. The duo known as Palace of Tears has a very interesting backstory that includes a shared love of goth/dark music genres and performing arts. There was a move, followed by some Mardi Gras debauchery, and then the Great Pause, which has affected all of us in different ways. The album Of Ruination rose from these circumstances and listeners will definitely experience the wide array of emotions the artists experienced during these dark and anxious times. 

The tracks are all quite hypnotic. Some tracks are soothing, and others ride that edge of disturbing, adding a slight unease to your mood. The title track “Of Ruination” slices into you with distorted guitars then soothes the wound with ethereal vocals. Standout tracks that really show the artists’ range include “Cold Dead Skin” and “Masque L’Intrigue.” The production value was fantastic as well. Check out Palace of Tears and add them to your spooky, gloomy playlists. 

This month in Ro’s Recs, you should definitely check out Ice Nine Kills’ video for “Hip To Be Scared” and Twelve Foot Ninja’s “Long Way Home” for some horror-inspired music videos. And if you aren’t following Vision Video on Instagram, you’re missing all the Goth Dad jokes you can possibly stand! Let me know what you think.

I’d love to hear from you. What are you most looking forward to? Hit me up in the comments or at rlmerrillauthor@ gmail.com Thanks for checking in and Stay Tuned for more Merrill’s Musings.

____________________________________________________________________________

R.L. Merrill writes stories full of hope, love, and rock ‘n’ roll with a twist of spooky and creepy. You can find Ro on all the socials @rlmerrillauthor and for more about her books, check out www.rlmerrillauthor.com

 

Live Action Reviews! by Crystal Connor: Candyman (Prerelease Private Screening 1st thoughts)

 
 

 

Plotline: In present day, a decade after the last of the Cabrini towers were torn down, Anthony and his partner move into a loft in the now gentrified Cabrini. A chance encounter with an old-timer exposes Anthony to the true story behind Candyman. Anxious to use these macabre details in his studio as fresh grist for paintings, he unknowingly opens a door to a complex past that unravels his own sanity and unleashes a terrifying wave of violence.

Who would like it: Fans of the Candyman franchise.

High Points: What I love most that even though this are slasher kill scenes, the killings take a back seat to the story.

Complaints: Absolutely nothing!

Overall: This is one of the most amazing horror movies that I’ve see in the past 5 years

Stars: 5

Where I watched it: Private screening

 

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Master Imaginationist and Instagram photographer Crystal Connor is the Chief Imagineer working for the Department of Sleep Prevention’s Nightmare Division. A Washington State native she loves anything to do with monsters, bad guys (as in evil-geniuses & super-villains.  Not ‘those’ kind her mother warned her about), rogue scientific experiments, jewelry, sky-high high-heeled shoes & unreasonably priced handbags.

When she’s not terrorizing her fans and racking up frequent flyers miles by gallivanting all over the country attending fan conventions and writer’s conferences she reviews indie horror and science fiction films for both her personal blog and HorrorAddicts.net

She is also considering changing her professional title to dramatization specialist because it so much more theatrical than being a mere drama queen.

http://wordsmithcrystalconnor.com

http://www.facebook.com/notesfromtheauthor

Download your free copy of …And They All Lived Happily Ever After! from Podiobooks.com and see why the name Crystal Connor has become “A Trusted Name in Terror!” 

http://podiobooks.com/title/and-they-all-lived-happily-ever-after

Ghastly Games: Top Five Horror Related Video Games By CM Lucas

Top Five Horror Related Video Games  by CM Lucas 

Since the beginning of the modern video game revolution (or generation 1), the genre of horror has always been present to varying degrees. Unlike its Hollywood counterparts, horror within the gaming industry has been met with acclaim and admiration. From the early days of the Atari 2600 to the powerhouses that are modern consoles and computers alike, horror video games have captured the imaginations and instilled fear in a way film is simply incapable of doing. From the slight jump scares to the titles that delve into the dark void of the subconscious, here are the top 5 horror video games of all time. 

Silent Hill 1 (PS1) 

Emerging from the foreboding shadow left by Resident Evil, Silent Hill cast off the shackles of its predecessor and took players into a visceral, psychological direction. Harry Mason searches for his daughter within the endless mist of Silent Hill. As his search progresses, the town begins to transform into a twisted version of itself. 

At the center of the chaos, a demonic cult wishing to bring about the birth of “God” with the sacrifice of Harry’s eight-year-old daughter. 

With crucified, mangled bodies adorning walls, and demonic apparitions on your heels, this nightmare come to life will leave you with an uneasiness hours after you’ve finished playing. 

Limbo (PS4, Xbox, PC, Nintendo Switch, ios)

Set within a child’s nightmare, we follow a nameless boy as he travels through a silhouetted forest en route to finding his sister. The terror comes from empathy with the nameless child. The terrified but brave boy is forced to endure the hellish landscape filled with frightening imagery, dangerous pitfalls, and a giant spider, all while trying to find his sister, makes for a horrific and somber experience. 

Uninvited (NES, Macintosh, Commodore 64) 

Perhaps one of the best examples of music and atmosphere compensating for limited graphical capability. The oldest entry on this list, Uninvited, places the player in immediate danger as you wake up within a mangled wreck, seconds from erupting in flames. After exiting the wreck, the player finds themselves at the doorstep of a Victorian mansion. Upon entry, the atmosphere is thick with impending doom, as the empty foyer hints at the house’s evil secrets. 

Immersing the player deeper into the experience by placing you in first-person perspective. Adding to the uneasy nature is the game’s limited, point and click controls; there is no free roaming, giving the player a feeling of helplessness when encountering one of many hair-raising specters. Although visually antiquated, Uninvited has the ability to frighten by setting mood and instilling “nail-biting” dread as you prepare to enter a room or speak to a proper southern belle, waiting within a cavernous hallway. 

P.T. (PS4)

Impending, palpable dread is the immediate feeling you get within the opening moments of this 2014 classic. Appearing mysteriously on the PlayStation Network, P.T. was an enigmatic demo that had players scratching their heads as well as sweating profusely (is sweating the right word?) Much like Uninvited, P.T. places the player in first-person, allowing for a more immersive experience. 

The player wakes within a darkened room, focusing on a face peering in from a slightly opened door. We then enter a sprawling hallway that sets the player in a never-ending-ending loop. As the player traverses the loop, your interaction with the environment brings you closer to solving the puzzle. With haunting audio, foreboding atmosphere, and the feeling that there’s always something behind you, the tension rises as you turn the corner upon each consecutive loop until the inevitable and unwelcome encounter with the ghoulish “Lisa.” 

Silent Hill 2 (PS2, Xbox, PC) 

Not only one of the most psychologically scarring experiences in gaming, but in any medium. Silent Hill 2 is an unsettling journey into subconscious self-torment brought to life. James Sunderland is a man who finds himself in the unenviable position of being in the foggy, desolate town of Silent Hill. After receiving a letter from his late wife, James searches for answers, encountering subtextual creatures hell-bent on him suffer. 

As James traverses the small town, he plunges deeper into the nonsensical, nightmarish underbelly of Silent Hill. Coming face to face with issues of incestuous rape, sexual frustration, bullying, and euthanasia; Sunderland must come to grips with his past sins or suffer in a self-imposed purgatory

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CM “Spokkas” Lucas is a freelance writer who enjoys writing Horror/Science Fiction and works as a freelance writerof articles and reviews. He watches movies and plays video games of the horror genre. Look for more articles to come from hin here on HorrorAddicts.net

Deathly Fog: In Cased You Missed It…

DFBannerFInal2

HorrorAddicts.net proudly presents Book 5 in our Horror Bites series, Deathly Fog by Adam Breckenridge. Here’s a recap of events:

August
13PRPress Releasehorroraddicts.net
14BE CalendarBook Eventshorroraddicts.net
14ExcerptA.F. Stewarthttp://afstewartblog.blogspot.com/
15InspirationAdam Breckenridgehorroraddicts.net
16InterviewChilling Chathorroraddicts.net
16ExcerptA Deathly Foghorroraddicts.net
18IntroIntroductionemzbox.com
19IntroIntroductionhorroraddicts.net
20ExcerptA Deathly Fogwww.rlmerrillauthor.com/blog
September
TodayExcerptA Deathly Foghttps://lorenrhoads.com/blog
TodayBE CalendarBook Event Recaphorroraddicts.net

Deathly Fog by Adam Breckenridge

When Jacob and his brothers discover the ability to capture fog from the marsh behind their house, they bring it back with them. The fun game turns to danger as they realize perhaps something else accompanied them home. Is it too late to escape the Deathly Fog?

Nightmare Fuel: Peggy The Doll

Hello Addicts,

A staple of most childhoods is the doll. Whether they are action figures, Barbie, or whatever you called them, practically all of us played with a doll in some fashion growing up. As Hollywood and paranormal shows have shown us, spirits can inhabit them. More often than not, they can be less than pleasant or downright evil. Many believe that dolls are not just toys but also used in education, rituals, and messengers or effigies of gods and goddesses. Some believe that the creation of dolls was to house spirits of the dead. Such is the case with Peggy the Doll.

Peggy is a three-foot cutie with blonde hair and blue eyes. It looks like the typical child’s companion, but that only seems to hide the ghostly abilities attributed to her. A previous owner reported being unable to sleep after purchasing the doll. She lived alone but heard footsteps around the house and the clicking of the bathroom light turning off and on at night. It spooked her to the point of wrapping the doll in a rug and placing her in a shed. From there, the doll, who was unnamed at the time, passed on to paranormal investigator Jayne Harris.

Within days of taking the doll home, Jayne began feeling fatigued, to the point of being unable to get out of bed. When she allowed a friend to take the doll away for a couple of days, she began feeling like her old self again. The strangeness became more evident after she posted a picture of the still-unnamed doll to her Facebook page without any details. Overnight, people sent messages detailing strange things that happened after just seeing the picture. The complaints included headaches, chest pains, lightbulbs burning out, footsteps, and dogs spinning in circles and barking. One message came from a psychic medium, who claimed that the spirit inhabiting the doll was a restless and frustrated woman named Peggy.

Currently, Peggy has a room in the Zak Bagans Haunted Museum in Las Vegas, NV, where cameras watch her 24/7. Before being allowed to see her, visitors sign a waiver in case of any strange occurrences that may follow.

Whether Peggy actually can affect the people in the ways described is left up to the individual. As for me, she has inspired a short story of my own involving a haunted doll. I hope to visit the museum someday and get to meet her face to face.

Until next time, Addicts.

D.J. Pitsiladis

FRIGHT TRAIN : An anthology of spooky tales set around the railways

FRIGHT TRAIN

An anthology of spooky tales set around the railways reviewed by Renata Parvey

Editors: Switch House Gang

“Anyone who has ever been awakened late at night by a distant train whistle knows there is no lonelier sound. It is a mournful howl from a soulless traveler on a night journey to destinations unknown.”

Halloween arrived early this year with a spooky collection of tales based on the railways. Editors Charles R. Rutledge and Tony Tremblay came up with the concept of horror stories set around trains, and were rewarded with an assortment of stories ranging from Victorian-era ghostly yarns to contemporary thrillers, fantasy, and science fiction, ranging from creepy and humorous to atmospheric and downright gory. Fright Train comprises a mixture of contemporary authors with classic writers and a plethora of suspenseful, horror, and chilling stories set on or around train journeys. I particularly liked the concept of train travel and picked up the collection curious to see how each writer interpreted the narrow theme. The anthology is a ticket in itself to travel to unknown lands with shady co-passengers in suspicious cabins. Switch House Gang has reserved a seat for the reader and the ride awaits!

The collection includes classics like Charles Dickens’ The Signalman and Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Lost Special which have spooked us for over a century. And there are also newer stories about ghost trains, train accidents, missing trains, invisible rails, piercing whistles, vampire and zombie passengers, peculiar drivers, specials that give a whole new meaning to ‘special’, and a host of wonderful short stories that keep you on edge as you ride along with the characters. Themes include broken marriages, dead children, grieving parents, retrospecting the past, seeing the future, predicting alternative realities, journeys to and from hell.

It’s hard to pick a favorite because every story is outstanding in its own way and deserves its own review. They’re so different from each other, while simultaneously adhering to the narrow theme. The haunting tale of motherhood in Amanda DeWees’ A Traveler Between Eternities, as an unborn child takes a train ride; the dystopian rail route of Stephen Mark Rainey’s Country of the Snake; Errick Nunnally’s gore-fest Lust for Life that keeps you guessing till the end who the real killer is; past demons catching up with the present in James Moore’s The Midnight Train; the pandemic world of Scott Goudsward’s Plague Train; the haunted joyride of Elizabeth Massie’s Tunnel Vision; Jeff Strand’s Devil-powered Death Train of Doom that questions parental behavior and its influence on the actions of children; Tony Tremblay’s Pépère’s Halloween Train that focuses on the grandparent-grandchild relationship; Charles Rutledge’s twist on Dracula in The Habit of Long Years; Lee Murray’s cultural fest of Maori traditions and seers, spirit-guides and goddesses assisting a search-and-rescue in Weeping Waters; Mercedes Yardley’s The Rhythm of Grief that navigates the rail crossings between the living and the dead; Bracken MacLeod’s Weightless Before She Falls that distinguishes real monsters from imaginary ones, Christopher Golden’s All Aboard and its eerie 3:18 special. The contemporary writers even make up thirteen in number, to go with the horror theme of the book!

A special mention needs to be made of Lee Murray and Christopher Golden whose stories follow Charles Dickens and Arthur Conan Doyle respectively. Fright Train is a spectacular collection in itself, and to be placed next to classic writers is a formidable task. Murray and Golden are absolutely stellar with their standout creations, Weeping Waters and All Aboard. The sounds of the fantail and the shrill whistle of the 3:18 stay with you long after finishing the book.

Some quotes:

-The 3:18 was a ghost in and of itself, ridden by phantoms.

-The night air seemed to ripple, to have texture, just a hint of substance.

-Resentment and blame hung in the air like static building before a thunderstorm.

-An engine, a tender, two carriages, a van, five human beings – and all lost on a straight line of railway! Does a train vanish in broad daylight?

-The fog lay like a thick mist so that people appeared to be dissolving at the ankles.

-The sharp scream of the whistle slashed his eardrums.

-The desert sun pummeled his face like a hot iron fist.

-Does his intention define his evil nature, even if his actions harm nobody?

-You are trapped in the quandary of welcoming the tourist potential of Stoker’s work, but still wishing to change the national image of Romania.

-Pihanga’s tears rolled down the mountainside and onto the plateau.

-There were too many vampires on the train. Inspector Godina rolled his eyes at the motley assortment of Halloween revelers.

-That was the trouble with his gift – it was a feast or a famine – either everything spoke to you, or nothing at all.

-The slow touch of a frozen finger tracing out my spine.

-The stars themselves were weeping, hurling themselves from the heavens.

-They fill their ears and minds and souls with noise, because it’s easier than listening to the quiet.

-This is a train for the dead, and you’re still very much alive.

-He wasn’t a cosmic spiderclown in the sewers. He was a real monster.

The old-world charm of the cover is extremely striking too – it reminds me of those classic spooky movies that showed so much in so little. Atmospheric horror at its best! A good time to revisit Horror Express (1972).

My rating: 5/5 

Historian of Horror : Whatever Happened to Baron von Emmelmann?

Whatever Happened to Baron von Emmelmann?

My devoted followers may recall that last time out, I briefly discussed the career of one Theodore Sturgeon, and his early story, “It”. The tale, which was published in the August 1940 issue of the fantasy and horror pulp magazine, Unknown, concerned the layers of naturally occurring compost that had formed around the lost skeleton of one Roger Kirk. Many years after Kirk’s passing, this was caused by some unknown mechanism the spontaneous generation of a sort of liveliness that resulted in death and destruction until the monster was dissolved in running water. A simple tale well told.

So, who the heck is Baron von Emmelmann?

For the answer to that question, we’ll need to fast forward a few years. The Golden Age of Comics was already in full flower by 1940, but it rapidly exploded into a riotous garden of four-color blooms once the United States joined the Second World War. Even before, as various patriotic-themed superheroes made their appearances even prior to the attack on Pearl Harbor in December of 1941. Captain America himself punched Adolf Hitler on the cover of the first issue of his own title in March of that year, and he wasn’t the first denizen of the new medium to take on the Nazi menace.

In the context of the times, comic book publishers proliferated, spewing out myriad characters ready, willing, and able to face the fascist threat and sell War Bonds, a large number of them heroic aviators. One of the smaller publishers, Hillman Publications, quickly assembled the first issue of an anthology title, Air Fighters Comics, that sold poorly. It was retooled a year later with an all-new line-up, including a young flyer with an almost sentient plane named Birdy. Airboy was so popular that the book was renamed after him a couple of years later, and ran until 1953.

In the eleven years between, a fair number of backup characters passed through the title’s pages, including a second-rate, gimmicky rip-off of Quality Publications aviation hero, Blackhawk. Sky Wolf hung around for a few years, and was featured in the Eclipse Comics’ Airboy revival of the 1980s. Honestly, though, his one real contribution to comic book history occurred in his second appearance, Air Fighters Comics volume 2, issue 3, with a cover date of December 1942.

In a brief flash-back to the First World War, German fighter pilot Baron Eric von Emmelmann was shot down over a swamp in Poland. His corpse festered and percolated there in the miasmic bog, accumulating layer upon layer of muck and mire. Eventually, the Heap emerged, like the creature in “It”, and began breaking things and mangling living beings. And, as in the Sturgeon tale, it resembled a huge, shambling mound with no discernable human features other than arms and legs.

Not long afterward von Emmelmann’s rebirth as the Heap, German pilot Colonel von Tundra was shot down over the same swamp. He survived and encountered the newly born muck-monster, who responded favorably to being yelled at in the native language of his former self. The Heap appeared in three more Sky Wolf stories as an ally of the Nazis before graduating to his own feature, beginning with Airboy Comics volume 3, number 9, October, 1946. By then, he was only vaguely aware of his origins, and less a villain and more of an elemental force for good. His adventures all over the world continued through the final issue in 1953. The character was parodied in an early issue of the Mad comic book, and revived briefly by Skywald Publications in the early 1970s, and a couple of times by Image in their Spawn comic book series. And of course, he was a prominent feature of the Eclipse run of Airboy previously mentioned.

Much more human-looking was DC Comics’ Solomon Grundy, who has never been anything but a villain, or at best an anti-hero. Originating as an opponent of the Golden Age Green Lantern in All-American Comics 61, October 1944, he has continued popping up in various titles and television shows, both animated and live-action, ever since. In his case, the swamp muck formed around the corpse of murder victim Cyrus Gold. 

The Golden age of Comics began to wind down at the end of World War II. Super-heroes gradually gave way to other genres, including war, western, crime, romance, funny animals, amusing teenagers, and horror. Captain America’s publisher, Timely Comics, morphed into Atlas, and like so many other houses concentrated on these new genres, with only a brief revival of its old heroes in the mid-fifties. After the institution of the Comics Code Authority in 1955, Atlas’s horror output was rendered as bland and toothless as all the other publishers, but unlike so many of them, the company survived. Barely.

As the decade wound down, the primary creative force at Atlas, Stan Lee, shifted his focus from ghosts, alien invaders and the like to gargantuan monsters, remnants of ancient times like Chinese dragon Fin Fang Foom, or colossal mummies, or giant statues animated by lightning strikes. One of these was “Monstrum! The Dweller in the Black Swamp”, from Tales to Astonish #11, September 1960. As was not unusual in a Stan Lee tale, Monstrum was more clumsy than malicious, being a refugee from a far planet whose spaceship was trapped in the Black Swamp. Rejected by the humans he sought assistance from, he returned to the swamp to await the evolution of a more compassionate population.

Fortunately for all concerned, not long afterward Lee revived the super-hero genre at his company, renamed it Marvel, and revolutionized the industry. Without the use of any more swamp critters, at least for a while.

The next significant muck monster made his appearance in DC’s horror title, House of Secrets, in issue 92, July 1971. Swamp Thing was created by writer Len Wien and legendary artist, the late and very much lamented, Berni Wrightson. Alex Olsen was an early 20th Century scientist developing a plant-growth formula. When his laboratory was sabotaged, Olsen got mixed up with the formula and the essence of the swamp in which he was located. He returned as the sentient but mute Swamp Thing to get his revenge. 

Under a new alter ego, Alex Holland, he was given a contemporary origin not long afterward in his own title that ran a mere dozen issues. A highly acclaimed series from writer Alan Moore followed in the 1980s, along with a pair of so-so theatrical films, two live-action TV shows and an animated TV mini-series.

Swamp Thing was no paragon of masculine pulchritude, but he was more-or-less sort of kind of human-shaped if you turned your head to one side and squinted. Marvel Comic’s Man-Thing was not. His original artist, Gray Morrow, returned to the source material, creating a shambling mound of insensate gunk and goo with a carrot-nose and beady eyes, much closer to the Heap than to his DC predecessors. First appearing in the black-and-white magazine format Savage Tales #1 in May of 1971, Man-Thing languished for a year before popping up again in a variety of Marvel super-hero titles. He attained his own series in January 1974. Man-Thing’s gimmick was that he was an empath. He responded well to the kindness of strangers, but not to their fear. His touch would burn anyone who was afraid of him, which fortunately turned out to usually be bad people. Man-Thing sold well enough that a second title was added, the unfortunately named Giant-Size Man-Thing. Go ahead, giggle. I won’t judge you. G-S M-T featured as a backup strip some of the earliest adventures of Howard the Duck, along with reprints from those old Atlas comics of the 1950s.

I honestly have no idea if Ted Sturgeon ever knew about the comic book characters that were inspired by his original creation. It never occurred to me to ask him, back in those halcyon days of my mis-spent youth. I’m sure he never received a dime in recompense from Hillman or DC or Marvel or any of the other comics publishers that made use of his concept. I’m not sure that would have bothered him. I hope not. My memories of Ted Sturgeon have no room for rancor, because I only remember him as genial and warm, and wickedly funny. Read, if you can find it, his 1972 short story, “Pruzy’s Pot”, about a living and very accommodating toilet. I heard him read that aloud in 1978, when he was the guest of honor at the Nashville science fiction convention for that year, Kubla Khan Ate. A room full of fen laughed uproariously at that one. There is a place for potty humor, indeed. It all winds up in the swamp, anyhow.

And so, until next time, connoisseurs of chills…

Be afraid. 

Be very afraid.

Gypsy Mob : Episode 10/ Stumped

Her life had always been blessed. Charmed. Being the daughter of a mafia Don had a number of perks. No one troubled her and for the most part, she troubled no one. Her biggest problem in life had been not always getting exactly what she wanted, and even that was easily remedied. A few tears and her father would either make it right for her himself or dispatch Tony to do so, one way or the other. 

When she was taken into the Pleasure Tent, she had raged and screamed, throwing a tantrum until a dark cloud descended over her. It reminded her for a moment of how she had felt when she had tried opium. Then the cloud became complete and she forgot she even had a past. This time there was no warm fuzzy sensation she associated with drugs. All that remained was her basic physical needs; that was all the Gypsy curse allowed to remain. 

The hours had bled together until they felt like days. She was a robotic sex doll, her muffled grunts blending with the slap of flesh and the cries from the far reaches of the Pleasure Tent. These sounds from the darkness were beyond her immediate sphere of existence, the sources of which she neither knew nor cared. Her life had narrowed to the action of spreading her legs for each new client, then rising once he had finished to clean herself robotically with the pail of water beside her mattress. Upon finishing, she lay back down on the mattress to await the next arrival. As the newest member of the Pleasure Tent’s catalog of entertainment, she was not kept waiting long. 

A part of her measured the time by the number of sweaty men who climbed on top of her, eschewing hours, minutes and seconds for this new reckoning. The rest of her could not have cared less about the passage of time, or was incapable of marking it. All she knew was to cleanse her nethers when the crushing weight atop her ceased its grunting and thrusting and climbed off of her. 

Then, blasting through the darkness came the pain. The agony screamed up her arm, snapping her back to reality. The world roared into focus once again, inundating her with memories of her life since coming to the Gypsies. Horror and disgust competed with her missing hand for the place at the forefront of her brain. As blood dripped from where her hand had always been, the memory of other fluids not her own dripping from her added to the coldness she felt. The terror bloomed, consuming her. Now, the fear of what was going to happen to her vied for space with the horrified realization of what had happened to her, what had been happening to her, what she had allowed to happen to her, and what she had ahead of her. Nothing was worse than the other; they were all a nightmare. 

But the pain at the end of her arm would not be silenced, nor pushed aside. In a way, she was grateful for it, for it pulled her out of the darkness and into the present once more. This was not a much better place to be, but it led to the future, to the unknown, rather than to the past. She knew all too well what awaited her there. All she could see of what lay ahead was that her old life was over. She had died, or been murdered, as soon as she set foot into the fortune teller’s tent. There was no returning to what she had been.

After the amputation and Bianca’s awakening, the Gypsies had moved her from the Pleasure Tent, along with the other sex slaves who still had value. Talking rapidly in their own language, they would look at Bianca from time to time and laugh. The Bitch who had amputated her hand came over to her.

“I t’ink we get more use out of you,” she said in her horribly raspy voice, and grinned. Bianca kept the blank look on her face as inwardly she shrieked in fear and rage. . Bianca’s blood was still splattered across the woman’s face and arms. With an absent-minded air, she licked it from her fingers as she looked at the doorway to the smaller tent to which Bianca and her wretched brethren had been taken. 

“We put you back to work tomorrow,” the woman said, turning to leave. “Tonight, I have important business. Sleep well.” 

She vanished out the door, her words echoing in Bianca’s head. Tomorrow, it would resume. She had to get away from here. 

“Hello?” she called, her voice tentative in the silent darkness. No one replied. The other slaves were locked in their own minds, their own clouds of impenetrable darkness, helpless to respond. Hot, furious tears coursed down Bianca’s face as she lifted her body and was immediately halted by the straps holding her limbs to the table. 

Except…

The strap around the wrist where her hand had been felt loose. If not loose, definitely not tight enough to present a problem to a tapered limb without the widening of a hand at its end. Just tight enough to…

She pulled, tears leaping to her eyes as she fought to remain silent, the freshly severed nerves at the end of her stump enthusiastically voicing protests as the strap bit at them. She pulled harder, her mouth open in a silent scream. She thought she could feel her wrist slipping through the strap, but, wary of her mind’s tricks, she closed it to the sensation and kept pulling. The nails on her remaining hand scratched the bed, cracking below the quick, sending needle-like stabs of pain up her other arm, until, with a suddenness that took her off guard, her wrist pulled free of the strap, flying over her body with the residual force. Holding her stump over her eyes she blinked, unable to believe that she was actually free. Without thinking, she went to undo the strap holding her hand, before realizing she had no way to manipulate the buckle without fingers. 

A low whine came from her throat and she pushed at the end of the strap with her stump, the rough leather digging into the fresh meat where her arm now ended. Bolts of agony lanced up her arm, blood renewing its flow sluggishly from the stump at the irritation. Nevertheless, she persisted. Her eyes beheld the strap moving slowly through the loop and she redoubled her efforts, the pain increasing exponentially as her eyes watered. With a final shove, the strap slid through the loop and flapped loose, held only by the pin of the buckle. Sobbing with pain and relief, she raised her body and, gripping the end of the strap with her teeth, she pulled it back, releasing the pin and her hand. 

Falling back on the mattress, she cradled her freshly bleeding stump with her intact arm, silent tears pouring down her face. Staring at the mildewed tent roof, she counted her breaths until she was able to think about something besides the agony coursing through her. By and by, it relented, slightly. Instead of pain, she now thought of survival. 

Sitting up, she fumbled painfully with the straps holding her legs down. Though more difficult with one hand, it was easier than using her stump, which she kept protectively tucked into her armpit, away from all harm. Once her legs were free, she swung them over the mattress and carefully rose to her feet. Her legs wobbled but supported her. She wondered how much blood she had lost, then immediately put it from her mind. It didn’t matter. Looking out the entrance to the tent, she could see the shadows of several Gypsies nearby. She cowered back against the wall of the tent, wondering how she would ever escape, before her overworked mind realized a simple fact. She was not in a prison cell of steel bars. She was in a tent, surrounded on all sides by fabric. 

Crouching, she lifted the tent wall behind her, wriggling underneath it while still keeping her stump carefully shielded. Within a moment, she was outside the tent, smelling the fresh air only slightly marred by evil. Looking around, she saw no one and made her way for the outskirts of the camp as fast as her legs would carry her. 

She missed Tony, her childhood protector, spreading gasoline, by seconds, as she limped out of the camp, bound for home.