Posted in News on February 8, 2016 by Alex S. Johnson

Serpentine by Alex S. Johnson

inspired by works of Ralph Ellison and Bram Stoker.


Forget the ghouls of stage, screen and novels.Serpentine

Or rather, remember them–with a difference.

One day, it was I believe in midsummer, I awoke, wiped the crust from my eyes and saw with a new, startling clarity. It was reminiscent of my first pair of glasses at age 12, when the world screwed into focus, from a Monet painting of water lilies to the stems, leaves and green water.

The first thing I saw was my girlfriend’s portrait next to my computer, in the frame carved from a tobacco box by my great-great uncle, before his move from Alabama to New York in the mass northern movement. I had stared at her dark, curly hair and deep brown eyes so often that her features were embedded in my brain. She was off visiting relatives in Idaho; or so she claimed.

Or maybe she was just passing, as in through. Or for. Black or white, with a shortcut to shades in between. I was more cafe au lait.

But something was different. In her eyes, a glimmer, just a pulse at first. Then the snakes leaped out.

You think I’m crazy. I thought I should either admit myself to a mental hospital or check my meds for interactive effects.

They weren’t large snakes, but vipers. Small, darting across my desk. I raised my hands automatically, but they shot towards my neck and took hold.

A period of blackness. Then a flashlight shining in my eyes. I was disoriented. I looked up, and it was Lateisha, pouring the beam of a Maglite into my retina.

Darling, I was so concerned…

I believe these were her actual words. She was concerned, had a hunch, female intuition, a premonition that something was dangerously wrong with me. Had rushed to take an early flight home. Screamed at the cab driver who was already going 30 miles over the speed limit, weaving between lanes like a drunk on a terminal bender. Snakelike, even.

Yes, I have always maintained a sense of humor, even on good days.

She was wearing a different perfume than usual.

No, it wasn’t perfume. It had a darker, more masculine scent.


I sniffed the air. She looked startled.

“What is it, honey?”


“It’s never nothing with you. Nothing means something. Talk to me.”

I sat up on the bed, where I’d taken refuge, my brain burning. I couldn’t say what was on my mind, my suspicions. But I was too out of it to fake it.

I nearly told the truth, and saw a tail beneath her right eye. Just a flash. I turned away from her.

She leaned over and held my face in her hands.

“You’re scaring me, Don. Should I call your doctor?”

A reptile handler would be more helpful, I thought.

The transformation was sinuous and sudden. I felt the sting of the bites, but no pain. I thought perhaps that the snakes from the photograph had embedded themselves in my neck, which thought, doubtless insane, was no crazier than Lateisha’s actual flash-morph into a monster.

Those were difficult times for me. Obviously, although I had to fake it to make it when my shrink asked me about hallucinations, I was probably hearing sounds that weren’t there and seeing things that looked like loved ones–with scales and yellow slits for eyes.

This was the first episode. After that came old classmates, my best friend from high school, Mom and Dad. Variations on a theme.

Mom, I discovered, was a vampire.

Dad was a ghoul.

My best friend from high school, Henry, was more complex; assembled from rotten body parts by my Dad.

It reached the point where I grew nostalgic for the simple serpentine that had stolen my heart and infected by bloodstream with her venom.

You will find the process is not as painful as it seems. As they say in recovery circles, keep coming back. It does get better.

You may well mistake me for your favorite armchair, but I am watching. Always.

You may think of me as a lampshade, and if so, I safeguard the light for your reading pleasure.

If you find traces of me on an operating table on which you’re strapped, the anesthetic will take effect soon.

Mutatis mutandis.

And now, to the air.



The Herd Short by Ed Pope

Posted in horror, News, short video with tags , , , , on February 7, 2016 by stacylrich

   Ed Pope, a veteran writer for, wrote a terrifying tale about the cow industry, and brilliantly turn it into a voice for feminism.

   This is worth the 15 mins. Alot of message conveyed and very little dialogue, but alot of action. Take the next 20 mins and watch this video. I promise you will finish it with a different outlook of where our meat comes from.

The Herd poster

WARNING: Parental Guidance is strongly advised for graphic gore and abuse situations.

Trailer: The Herd Trailer

Short: The Herd Short


To like and follow on Facebook: The Herd Facebook Link

Interview with Ed Pope and Melanie Light:The Herd Interview


Penny Dreadful’s Sembene: The Stereotypical Death  

Posted in News with tags , , , , , on February 6, 2016 by stacylrich

Penny Dreadful’s Sembene: The Stereotypical Death  By Alicia McCalla


          One of my favorite shows to watch is the dark, suspenseful Penny Dreadful. The show fills me with foreboding—sometimes my stomach lurches with the twisty tentacles of fear and trepidation. The heroine, Vanessa Isles, is a dark fantasy protagonist at it’s best—the tortured soul with ambiguous morals, shades of gray, that make you think about the decision, is it right or evil? Watching her descent into Hell just creeps me out but like the kid who peeks through open fingers, you’ve just got to keep watching the train wreck. 

         Penny Dreadful is so marvelous, though, because all of the main characters sit on the edge. The monsters’ point of view gives rise to all sorts of questions that we REALLY don’t want to think about. Frankenstein and his monster, the uncontrollable Werewolf, the Hunter, and then there’s Sembene.  For the most part, he is a moral compass. He takes care of the monsters, gives them advice, and is always ready for the supernatural battle.  At some point, we find out that he was previously a slaver and sold his own people into slavery but we never go to much into who he really is… Penny_dreadful_sembene_01

        Herein lies the problem. With such depth and character development of the others, why don’t we learn more about Sembene, for most of the first episodes, I assumed that he was a powerful Okomfo, Shaman, or Witch Doctor but that idea never quite materialized. Then, I thought he was perhaps and ancient warrior or hunter who was the mystical teacher or mentor of Sir Malcolm Murray, in one episode his voice calls and returns the man from being lost in the valley of death but that story line didn’t develop either.        

    Finally, I just became aggravated when at the end of the last season, Sembene had been mentoring Mr. Chandler who in the end, eats him and well, Sembene graciously accepts his death. 

      What? I screamed at the TV screen.  Of all the characters that I’d connected with, Sembene’s character had been the most intriguing to me and then he was gone. Disappointment. Why do Black folks always have to die like this in horror shows?  

      Stereotypical. Sigh. 

Well, for a little while I had high hopes.  

If you enjoy Dark Fantasy stories with People of Color as the protagonist, come check out my work.  I try to keep the tension high and unexpected characters get murdered, too.


Alicia McCalla RiseAlicia McCalla is a native of Detroit, Michigan, who currently resides in Atlanta, Georgia. She works as a school librarian and enjoys traveling as well as spending time with her husband and son. Visit Alicia at: to receive your free eBook boxed set and sign-up for e-updates, giveaways, and sneak peeks of her upcoming novels. Alicia McCalla


Live Action Reviews! By Crystal Connor: The Boy

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , , on February 5, 2016 by notesfromtheauthor


By Crystal Connor


On Jan 20th 2016 at 3 O’clock in the afternoon, with two VIP red carpet prescreening passes Crystal and her kid sis stood in line mixing and mingling with other guests, took pix, tweeted, Instagramed and Facebooked the excitement and festivities that was the preshow event.

This is the unedited journal chronicling the harrowing experience that she and fellow movie goers went through as they sat, untied as one, screaming, crying, cringing and shouting expletive outburst to the actors on screen as they willfully endured William Bell and Stacey Menear’s: The Boy

Boy 1Boy 2

Reader discretion is advised

Entry 1: See, you were told not to go up there, that’s why you died in TWD

Entry 2: He’s actually kind of cute

Entry 3: That awkward moment when you’re the only one laughing

Entry 4: I would be more afraid of the parents than the doll

Entry 5: Ok, that’s a warning

Entry 6: Even if everything wasn’t so creepy that house is too big.

Entry 7: Ok, I told you!

Entry 8: Wow

Entry 9: What is it with white folks and attics?!

Entry 10: Nope. Now…OMFG NO!


Entry 12: What the…

Entry 13: How much more of a hint do you need?

Entry 14: So where’s the necklace?

Entry 15: Are we still not gonna talk about the necklace?

Entry 16: What are you crying for? I told you not to! We all did.

Entry 17: Ummm


Entry 19: I mean what else do you do at this point?

Entry 20: NO! Never ask for a sign

Entry 21: Oh my God

Entry 22: And hell no!

Entry 23: Ghost or not that brat needs to be brought to heel, there would be some rule changes.

Entry 24: He has a passport?

Entry 25: Ok shit just got real.

Entry 26: No … FINISH HIM!

Entry 27: No they didn’t!

Entry 28: Oh my GOD they did!

Entry 29: That twist tho…

Entry 30: They just rewrote the horror doll genre.

Plot: An American nanny is shocked that her new English family’s boy is actually a life-sized doll. After violating a list of strict rules, disturbing events make her believe that the doll is really alive.

Who would like it: Everyone who loves creepy dolls, suspense junkies, slasher fans, and those who love seeing strong female leads.

High Points: As soon as the parents leave the rules are thrown out the window

We never see the doll move. Greta didn’t steal her own necklace when she was in the shower, Greta didn’t cut a lock of her own hair when she was sleeping, and Greta didn’t trap herself up in the attic. The Boy did it. And we know he did because there isn’t anyone else in that house. Rightly so about a 3rd of the way into the movie we’re all terrified of the doll.

The turning point is when she locks herself in her bedroom after laying the doll on the bed and returning to the room to see it sitting up next to a clipboard of the rules, all of which had been broken. In order to calm her down and get her to come out of the bedroom he apologizes for scaring her, promises to that he’ll be good, and leaves a peace offering at the door saying it’s her favorite. Despite wild protest from the audience she opens the door to find he made her a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. (Cut diagonally, not in half) and she burst into hysterical laughter. The reason this is the turning point is because of what she does next.

Does she leave? Of course not, but what she does do is comes to terms with her situation and tries to reconcile with the boy by following the rules and treating the doll like a child. Malcom notices the change in Greta toward the doll and is uncomfortable by it.

Earlier in the movie we find out from Malcom that the Heelshire’s lost the child in a fire 20 years ago and we all came to the conclusion that the doll has become a coping mechanism. Greta explains that she feels as if she was brought there for a reason because she is in the unique position to understand how they feel. She too has lost a child, a miscarriage caused by an abusive ex. Malcom isn’t sure the presence in the house is benevolent and tries to convince her to leave. She refuses. He doesn’t force the issue, so for a while we all exists in this uncomfortable state of acceptance as we watch Greta act as creepy as the Heelshires.

And through it all we never see the doll move.

Cue the ex-boyfriend … who shows up out of the blue. That creepy little dolls makes us all uneasy, but the minute the ex shows up on the screen all the murmuring shifts to concerns for its safety. When Malcom stops by with a delivery and sees the ex there, his tune changes from ‘you need to get out of the house’ to ‘grab the boy and come with me now’ but she can’t because one of the rules is that The Boy cannot leave the house.

We all knew it was coming, the epic fight between the ex and Malcom, but it’s hardly a fight at all as the ex is almost twice the size as the delivery driver. The Boy is snatch away from Greta and the ex is swinging the doll around by a leg … and then he smashes the doll against the ledge of a pool table.


For this whole entire time we have been watching this doll being treated like a kid and we all have a visceral reaction to seeing his head being smashed into a billion pieces and watching Greta and Malcom, who didn’t even like the damn thing, screaming in disbelief and running toward The Boy’s broken body. That whole sequence is shot in slow motion and We. Lost. Our. Fucking. Minds. The last time I was in a theater that erupted emotionally like that was with the end scene Guillermo del Toro’s Mama.

I was expecting to see the cremated remains, as if the head of the doll was really an urn. For a minute or two the only thing you can hear is people in the audience crying, the next thing we realize is that the house begins to rumble and once again Malcom suggests that they get out of the house.

It is then that we all become to understand that the writer Stacey Menear and director William Brent Bell set us up. I was so unprepared for what happened next that it felt like I had been hit in the stomach and had lost my breath. I remember my eyes got all watery.

And the screaming.

This wasn’t the type of screaming you normally hear while waiting in lines at an amusement    park, drifting from bowels of a haunted house or the giggle infused shrieks that follow excellently executed jump scares. No. This was long, drawn out, prolonged screaming. And this is where I am going to leave you. You really need to experience this movie for yourselves. But I will say this. For those of us who have been complaining about the constant remakes, franchises that go on and on forever, and movies that drop the ball with the ending, this is the movie we have all been waiting for.

Its original, its unpredictable, its fun and above all else it’s downright scary. And in my opinion The Boy is the best doll movie to date. Go see it! But do yourself a HUGE favor, if you plan on seeing this movie, please avoid spoilers at ALL COST! You really need to experience this movie the way it was meant to be experienced. Trust me on this.

Stars: 5

Where I watched it: Seattle AMC

The only complaints I was is with the preshow event.

1st off, and admittedly this really isn’t a problem, I assumed that the ‘guest star’ was somehow connected to the movie. Zach Clayton was the Seattle star, because he is so young I thought he was the voice actor for the doll, but he’s not. He is a Youtube celebrity who isn’t connected to The Boy.

Most of the VIP guest came to see him, and because he is so young, so are his fans. For a while there the atmosphere felt a bit Twilightish. It was fun, but it was just a really young crowd. This along with the host who really didn’t know that much about the horror genre is what could have become somewhat of a problem if there weren’t a hand full of hardcore horror fans in attendance.

One of the trivia questions was: Name another horror movie that has a doll in it. The contestant on stage said: The Conjuring and the host said no. And we were like WTF and the five of us who knew better were standing up protesting loudly because it seemed like she wasn’t going to get her prize. My sister explained to the host that this was the 1st time Annabelle is introduced, and he actually asked who? But by this time the beautiful co-host had looked it up and awarded the girl her prize. The next contestant was yours truly, with the same question. My answer The Trilogy of Terror and the host said ‘Now your just making stuff up.’ But before I had a chance to lose my damn mind, from the corner of darkness the voice of the sound engineer rang out above the rest as he shouted ‘No she’s not. 1976, scared the hell out of me!’

Another thing that was problematic was that though this age group tweets about everything and it was an amazing advertising ploy, this movie was a bit too sophisticated for such a young audience and many of them may not have seen the movies in which the writer gives the nods.

Other than that it was a blast and the Swag was amazing! If you want to see the all of the uncropped pix of the pre show please click here
VIP Pix for The Boy

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

pic 3 poster

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

My Life My Horror: On the Dearth of Black Characters in Horror Movies

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , , , , on February 4, 2016 by Horror Addicts Guest

My Life My Horror:

 On the Dearth of Black Characters in Horror Movies
James Goodridge

7c0a4462-4171-4f56-839a-7e1ab7dc9672You can say I am old school when it comes to the genre of horror.My thing was the old Universal movies of the 1930’s and 40’s. A love for Hammer Studios,with their naughty but classy out put of films during the late 1950’s up until their fall back in the 70’s were stuff of legend.William Castle, Vincent Price, Peter Cushing, Christopher Lee and John Carradine were the go to guys when it came to macabre reruns for me as a child growing up in New York in the late 1960’s. Not understanding why Las Musarañas Asesinas - The Killer Shrews - Ray Kellogg - 1959 - 003 (1)the six o’ clock news would show soldiers shooting into jungle brush in a place called Vietnam, people holding card board placards protesting civil rights, stop the war, and definitely the day my family gathered in our living room to watch Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s funeral (seeing my parents cry together the first time) horror strangely enough, sports and more extensively science fiction was an escape. Like a drink I like my horror neat not too bloody. But reality caught up to me one Summer night inPOSTER_-_BLACULA 1969. I am changing the channel back and forth on our floor model black and white television between Creature Features, a television show that showcased horror and science fiction, (other cities had their version) on WNEW channel 5 and what other network I can not remember. The Bride of Frankenstein is on, and then I ask myself, “Why are there no people like myself in these movies?”  The period piece movies like The Bride I could understand things were not good for our people in the 19th century and before, but what about now (1969),progress was slow.

Fast forward to the fall of 1971, it’s a Friday Blackensteinnight moms asleep, dad has gone to hang out with his buddies after work,my brother Barron is god knows where as a member of the Reapers Bronx street gang it’s a round midnight and I’m hanging out with my big sister Brenda and her husband Allen, they are spending the night in the Bronx then will head home to Brooklyn in the morning. They are channel surfing. Which back then consisted of me being the remote control, you know getting up and change the channel, yes a channel knob, we also had three networks, three local stations and public TV. Back then we thought we were brand new! Any way my sister is going through the TV Guide and lets out a oh wow !

“Allen you know what’s coming on?” ThingPoster

“ What babe?”

“ Night of The Living Dead!” my sister said.

“ Nice!” Allen said in his best cool jazz head voice.

“ Whats that?” I ask nothing for nothing.

“ Oh your going to like it.” my sister said with a sly look on her face.

“ But what…” I say.

“You not going to be scared are you ?” Allen asks.

“ No I ain’t no chump!” I say not trying to be a afraiddy cat. The lights are turned out and I turn to WABC Channel 7, by coincidence the mood is set by the howl of the wind rushing through the building hallways from an open roof door on the 14th floor of our building in Bronx River Houses which was to become 220px-Candymanposteryears later one of the Meccas of Hip Hop, but that’s another story. We all know the opening sequence with Barbara and Johnny in the cemetery of this classic by George Romero, I slowly getting hyped, Barbara Duane Jones as the hero/protagonist just blew me away!

Keep in mind this picture had made its delayed premiere Back in 1968,I say delayed because according to Mr. Romero the week they wanted to showcase it at a grind house on Time Squares in New York was the same week of Dr. Kings death.That night I found myself engrossed in this movie and also grossed out, but that’s the fun of horror the fear of mortality and the feeling of beating out death, or at least knowing we can leave the movie theater or get up from the couch knowing its just a movie, cheering on the hero or shero as he or she fights the good fight for existence to save the human race,or thyself.Seeing the220px-Hoodposterbrother go through all the issues of trying to survive and be the anchor to a bunch of people who would have been zombie food had it not been for him was euphoric for me.The only other horror movie I could recall seeing, with another black character before Night of The Living Dead was a B movie titled The Killer Shrews (1959)starring James Best,in it the black character “Rook Griswald” a ships mate to Best’s character played by Judge Henry Dupree lasts,maybe ten minutes in to the movie, before he’s shewed up by mutant shrews.Back to Duane Jones,he fought the good fight to the end, but in the end which I later viewed as a metaphor for being black in America ,Duane’s character gets shot in the head mistaken for one of the living dead. No matter what we do America screws us in the end, a feeling and opinion that has ebbed and flowed with me over the years I would submit to the reader,that for some time back then African-Americans did not gravitate to horror not only because of neglect by the movie industry, but also the everyday life,of horror just trying to make it through the week goes on even now in different configurations.

The Blaxploitation boom, of the early to mid 70’s or BJ (Before Jaws)showed that yes a black audience was out there. Blacula (1972), Scream Blacula Scream (1973),Blackenstein(1973),Ganja & Hess (1973) starring Duane Jones and remade as Da Sweet Blood of Jesus in 2014 by Spike Lee)Voodoo Black Exoicist (1973),Abby (1974)and J.D.’s Revenge (1976)which featured black stars such as William Marshall,Pam Grier and Carol Speed among others showed promise. But in 1975 the original Summer block buster and movie game changer JAWS premiered and the black horror movie as a stand alone genre dried up. The 1980’s saw black characters reduced to token parts in the horror movie genre. In my DVD collection I have the rare Blood Tide(1982) featuring James Earl Jones as an ethics challenged relics Hunter.Keith David did show hope for black folk surviving to the end in The Thing(1982)remake and in my opinion whether you call it a short film or a long video Micheal Jackson’s Thriller featuring Vincent Price did some good for people of color in horror. The struggle to scream continued. The same feeling I felt back in 1971 I relived in 1992 watching Candyman the first of a trilogy of movies(1999,2003) starring Tony Todd,while his body of work is not as extended the legendary Mr.Price he still earns the same level of respect in my book. Today even with the recent Oscar’s awards lack of color, with effort we do not have to look to the Hollywood powers that be to be creative Spike Lee’s executive producing of Tales From The Hood(1995) and the use of the INTERNET for web series like Alex Fernandez’s vampire saga Dawn (2015).We are in historic times for horror with the flow of books , INTERNET ,movies, wo etc… the struggle to scream continues.



Born and raised in the Bronx, James is new to writing speculative fiction. After ten years as an artist representative and paralegal James decided in 2013 to make a better commitment to writing.jamesgoodridge headshot Currently, he is writing a series of short “Twilight Zone” inspired stories from the world of art, (The Artwork) and a diesel/punkfunk saga (Madison Cavendish/Seneca Sue Mystic Detectives) with the goal of producing compelling stories



Tales From The Hood: A Social Commentary

Posted in News with tags , , , , on February 3, 2016 by Horror Addicts Guest

220px-HoodposterTales from the Hood was a culturally expressive trilogy told in a metaphor of horror. The stories were real at their core, and so expressive of aspects of black culture that are addressed directly, yet mitigated by the perspective of supernatural horror so that these issues are hauntingly underlying in the forefront of our minds. We come away with a multitude of emotion, partly because we are not given much time to digest the outcome of each story before transitioning to the next. In the beginning, we are introduced to the crazy funeral director who makes the promise of “the shit” to a trio of gangbangers who stick around to listen to his stories.

In the first little story, “Rogue Cop Revelation,” a black councilman who is trying to bring about change by addressing the issues of crime and corruption being committed by those in authority. In a not-so-ironic twist, he is murdered by shady cops, while another black officer stands by helplessly. The black officer is “one of them” in the sense that he is also a cop, which may have helped to save his life, even though he is nothing like the others. We sympathize with the young officer because he was not the perpetuator of the violence, and we can’t blame him for putting his own safety above all else as his reason for not stopping the murder. After all, how many of us would have stepped in if it meant risking our own lives? He is, in his own unique way, just as much a victim as the man who was murdered. There is such complexity behind the story. The councilman was murdered in such a way that any progress he might have made e_tales-from-the-hood_vlcsnap-125513would be rendered null and void. Who would heed the words of a man fighting to keep drugs off the street if he were found dead of an extreme overdose? Once more, he was fighting against those who had the power to cover up what really happened. This, however, left the officer who stood by with the pain of guilt…so much that he hears the voice of the councilman seeking vengeance from beyond the grave.

In the second story, “Boys Do Get Bruised,” we are shown a life steeped in domestic violence, made all the more powerful because abuse is more prevalent in African-American households. The little boy shows up to school with suspicious marks on his face, possibly evidencing the unspoken horrors at home. The little boy speaks of a monster, which we find out is how he sees his abuser. Not a “monster” in the sense that an adult might use it to refer to someone who commits unspeakable violence against a woman or child, but an actual monster. This is completely accurate, as a child has the most honest vision of the world around them with grains of truth intermingled in between, even if their perceptions extend into the fantastical. I feel as this segment is very symbolic, 8b06558ceb6911e1955eaa75617f2616because we often lose our fears as we grow into adulthood. As we get older, we may feel untouchable by things that haunted us as children. Depicting the abuser as a monster not only shows us the inhumanity behind the evil of someone who has the capacity to harm a child, but also gives us, as viewers, the sense of something stronger than ourselves, thus putting us in the place of the little boy in the story: Hopeless. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t cheering the little boy on as David Allan Grier’s character fell victim to a most untimely death.

In the last story, and my personal favorite, “KKK Comeuppance,” a senator tries to change his racist image by—get this—purchasing a plantation home, rich in a history of slavery. He smiles to the public, adhering to his statements that he is not a racist and has shed his old ways. His personal cameraman, an African-American man whose purpose serves as “the black friend,” a sort of testimony to “prove” that he has changed a new leaf and to catch the senator’s recreational moments on film to show him in a different light, surely wouldn’t be supporting this senator if he were still a racist—Would he? This is the conundrum. If given the chance to be included in the “one of us” group, would talesfromthehood1you reject all that you are in order to rise above the struggle? He cracks jokes about his own race, and seems to side with the senator. This is an element of the movie that I have thought about long and hard. There are tributaries of thought that branch off from this on-screen relationship. What makes the cameraman different from other black people in the eyes of the senator, if it does at all? Maybe he is nothing more than a pawn in his political game. Did the cameraman truly remove himself from his racial identity in an attempt to achieve some sort of “superiority” by dissociation, and by association to a powerful white man? It did not, however, bring him immunity from the vengeance of the dolls in the painting. Because these dolls were possessed with the spirits of slaves, they brought a looming sense to this story of just how close in history and in current attitudes we are to racism, defying the cries of how the past is in the past. Just like racism, the dolls easily meshed into the backdrop of a scene painted at a time in history, not forgotten but ignored, by those who didn’t believe in the stories behind the painting, much in the way people ignore stories of slavery and lynchings in the old south.

In the last scene, we see the funeral director with the young gangbangers. I will not reveal exactly what happens, although I feel this is directly addressing the issue of “black on black crime.” I felt it was perfect as an “afterthought” to the movie, which, at the same time, tied into the “main idea.” Whenever white-on-black crime is featured in the c4cd157b7de2b7f223fd4c816cb282abe5ac8ec5news, or even as such a heavy theme just as in this movie, it creates a one-sided dialogue of, “What about black-on-black crime? No one ever mentions that.” And the thing is, it is talked about, but not everyone hears. Moreover, black on black crime is never denied, as implied by these questions that try to sidestep the conversation on the existence of racism. So, to anyone who asks those same questions in regard to the movie presented as a horror-based parallel to real life racism, ask them if they’ve watched it until the end.

Tales from the Hood is one of the scariest movies I have ever seen, and I love horror. However, it breaks the mold by combining scenes that are sure to keep you up all night with a powerful social commentary that comes through in the imagery, words, subtlety, and the overt. There is a consciousness and thought-provocation in the way that the stories are told and intermingled and segmented to soften the blow, just giving you enough time to recover from the horror and discomfort of the experience of one story before easing you into the next. This is a piece of art that should not just be looked at from one facet, but from many, to feel and experience the full effect.


Hailing from the Red state of Texas, Joslyn Corvis is a very proud liberal and feminist. As a first-time college student as of January, 2016, she hopes to pursue a degree in Joslyn Corvis headshotpsychology to become a counselor. She enjoys parks when the weather is nice, late night trips to Whataburger, and sipping coffee from sun-up ‘til sun-down on weekends. You can find more of Joslyn and her works at

Master of Horror L.A. Banks and her contribution to Horror

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 2, 2016 by Horror Addicts Guest

Black Women in Horror:

 Master of Horror L.A. Banks and her contribution to Horror.

“If my soul got jacked, where is it?”L.A. Banks

Happy Black History Month! I want to start this out in saying, yes, this blog post will be long and peppered in fangirl moments. I will drone on about the awesomeness of author L.A. Banks and her extraordinary writing skills in horror/thrillers. I will gawk at the idea that she is not praised as much as she should be, and I will tear up at the reality that this author’s incredible gifts have been lost to us in the literary world. This is my respectful tribute to her…it is what it is. -smile-

banks6In the world of Horror, in link with black women, there are only two names that comes to mind for me that have been cultural innovators and pop icons in this area of literature. And today I’m choosing to speak on the one that I was lead to deeply admire, Leslie Esdaile Banks. Better known as L.A. Banks. When you think of horror, the greats who founded it, and those who followed in their footsteps, oftentimes many people don’t equate women in that class.

People always are quick to name the greats, Horace Walpole, Bram Stoker, H.P. Lovecraft, and contemporaries, Clive Barker and Stephen King as the masters of horror. I take nothing away from them. However, women were also at the forefront of horror. They were the literal foundation that inspired many past and current male horror authors that we so fondly idolize.

“Humans have been telling scary stories of great danger, defeat, and triumph since we built campfires outside the caves while the wolves were howling in the hills near us.” – L.A. Banks via Wild River Review 2011

Women of horror helped craft a culture within the medium that added character to how many male horror writers developed their own stories. A level of maturity, audaciousness, sensuality, and political/social commentary between the pages of great stories that scared us senseless. Who were the women that influenced horror? These founding women were: Ann Radcliffe, Mary Shelly, and more. Later they would influence and shaped the pens of contemporary women horror writers such as Carrie Vaughn, Anne Rice, Sherrilyn Kenyon, and Charlaine Harris. However, it is black women writers such as Tananarive Due and L.A. Banks who chose to elevate the medium and bring with them a fresh flair to the foundation that has sorely been missed, the reality of the black voice and everyday man/woman.

banks5L.A. Banks contribution to horror was shaped around where she came from and the no-holds bar realities of her life in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

“L.A. Banks’s career was born out of tragedy. Years ago, her six-month-old daughter was severely burned, she was going through a divorce, she lost her job when she took time off to be with her daughter, and she was broke. Yet somehow, in the midst of all the grief, she turned to writing – creating page after page of entertainment that kept her girlfriends so entranced they submitted the complete manuscript to publishers without telling her.” – Janice Gable Bashman via Wild River Review 2011

I’m very sure if you look at the lives of the founding women writers in horror, that they too began writing due to specifics in their lives that mandated them taking pen to paper. Culture shifts, frustrations with status, political views, a sense of advocacy in the world. Horror provided the appropriate medium for these women writers to showcase our most feared secret places in our psyche and spirit. L.A. Banks had a gift for doing the same thing. Before ‘Black Lives Matter’ was shouted, L.A. Banks characters in her well-loved and known horror/thriller/pararomance series, The Vampire Huntress Series and Crimson Moon Series, were actively in the streets kicking ass, and taking names later in the same branch of protest and demand for justice. Black Lives Mattered in all her works.

“Fear, hatred, oppression – that’s pure evil and it never lasts. Love endures.” – L.A. Banks via Wild River Review 2011

banks4         L.A. Banks was proud of being a woman writer in horror, paranormal fantasy and more. She was proud of her place as a black woman in the literary world as well. This is why she was ahead of her time. She created a culture where young and old could come together for a cause in saving ourselves from the pains of the streets and the political strife in our governments. Her characters bucked the system of global oppression without batting an eye.

Bloodshed, hearts being snatched out, fangs tearing into necks, demon possessions, werewolves and jaguars, naughty sensual sex. L.A. Banks world was intense and oh so good. What is masked as vampires and demons, monsters snatching people from their beds or in the streets, was a well-written allegory for issues such as police brutality, martial law, government cover-ups, drugs and poverty in our communities. Her works were even crafted as a way to speak about the disconnect between young and old in how we all viewed the lens of civil rights and social rights.

Again, L.A. Banks was ahead of her time.

“The vampire represents a lot of what we see in society. They’re scarier because of that; because the vampire can be anybody. He just blends in and looks perfectly normal. Like serial killers often look like normal people… the fear factor is that they’re among us.” – L.A. Banks via Wild River Review 2011

Her grasp of writing to reach those of us not only in the Black community but also in the Latino, and even white community was something that not many authors today can effectively balance. Listen, when you have a supernatural team of people tasked to save us from the apocalypse, and these characters come from every walk of life. Young, old, street kids, Jews, Latino priests, bikers gangs, southern folks, and more? You then have a mix for how we should be coming together to build ourselves up before we fall into destruction and also shows that on a human level, we all should be able to come together without issue. It makes reading her books immensely relatable. This is why L.A. Banks works resonated well with her fans.

“The more I know what is going on in the world, the more it effects my choices, how I vote, how I spend my money, how I relate to others. I am empowered by what I know, laid bare and ignorant by what I don’t know.” – L.A. Banks via Wild River Review 2011

banks3As a means to reach us all, L.A. Banks used her medium of scaring the hell out of you, while educating you without being preachy unless needed to be. Her style was deftly smooth and gripping, that in my opinion it influenced not only her readers but Hollywood as well. Case-in-point, before her passing L.A. Banks had been featured as a commentary for the behind-the-scenes look at HBO’s True Blood as it was premiered. Like many writers, we research our craft to create our worlds.

Not only did the writers do the same in shaping author Charlaine Harris popular book, but they also used the influences of many other writers to make it a richer environment. Once such influence was L.A. Banks slang and flair. “Dropping Fang” came from her works and found a way in the language of True Blood.

“…Vampires had taken the mantle as the perfectly dangerous lover – the forbidden, kinky, deep dark sensualist. Move over, vamps, somebody in pop culture let the dogs out. So we now have the phenomena where injustice, rage, plus the phase of the moon, means that the otherwise mild-mannered individual who is playing by the rules of society just gets fed up and rips your face off.”– L.A. Banks via Wild River Review 2011

banks2L.A. Banks had a powerful influential gift for writing. Had we not lost her, I believe that she and her works would have continued to not only help in our current climate today, but also changed the diversity of Hollywood.

As she stated back in 2011, “There is always a mentor, a Yoda, a Sensei, a learned master that helps the young initiate along their path of trials and tribulations until they emerge victorious.” Mama Banks you were our mentor, and master in the world of Horror, paranormal speculative fiction and more. August 2, 2011 is the day L.A. Banks parted from this world. It still saddens me that she is not celebrated more, because to me, she is right there in the ranks of Octavia Butler. Women in Horror have been overlooked and oftentimes ignored, especially with fellow women writers like myself. One day this will change.

We women are proud to take on the task of holding up the mantel of women horror writers like I’ve mentioned previously. It’s now up to the readers to turn a willing eye our way and step into our creepy, sinister, maliciously evil works and join us on our journey into greatness. Besides, we’ve been the inspiration for many male writers already. Why not continue the ride?

“Knowledge is Power.” – Carlos Rivera (VHL series)

L.A. Banks, also known as Mama Banks (to us fans), we miss you dearly. Thank you for being a beacon of light for myself as a writer and many others. I only hope that I become the same way as you were for me because when no one else will speak your name, I will. This is your right of honor as is your place at the Queen’s table for us black women writers. Thank you again and happy Black History Month!



Born in Iowa, but later relocating and raised in Alton, IL and St. Louis, MO, Kai Leakes was an imaginative Midwestern child, who gained an addiction to books at an early age. The art of imagination was the very start of Kai’s path of writing which lead her to creating the Sin Eaters: Devotion Books Series and continuing works. Since a young childScreenshot_2016-01-31-15-02-55-1-1-1, her love for creating, vibrant romance and fantasy driven mystical tales, continues to be a major part of her very DNA. With the goal of sharing tales that entertain and add color to a gray literary world, Kai Leakes hopes to continue to reach out to those who love the same fantasy, paranormal, romantic, sci/fi, and soon, steampunk-driven worlds that shaped her unique multi-faceted and diverse vision. You can find Kai Leakes at:

Read more of L.A. Banks interview with Wild River Review here:



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