Free Halloween Fiction : Circle of Trust By Ravyn Storm

“Jamie…Jamie, if you are present, please, give us a sign…we miss you so much!” My best friend, Becca said, circling the Planchette around the Quiji board.

“Yes, girl, we miss you, queen. Show us a sign!!!” My other BFF, Robert chimed in, eyes closed.

I grinned. I was there. It was Saturday night and Halloween. The one night a spirit or entity could choose to walk and be “among the living”. This being my first Halloween on the other side, I was only recently deceased…I was murdered in June. However, the actual ruling on my death was “accidental overdose”.

My friends Becca (cellist, salutatorian), Robert (drum major, top-ten of our class, and “totally gay”), were joined by Demarcus (my once boyfriend, football captain) and Heather (track teammate of mine, fellow cheerleader, honor student, and current girlfriend to Demarcus). In life, I bridged the social gap between Jamie and Robert, and Heather and Demarcus. We were all in the same honor courses at our prestigious high school. Other than that, our group was a two-by-two sandwich with me in the middle.

My “Jamie Sandwich” posse’ was gathered in Heather’s luxurious bedroom. Honestly, her room was similar to a studio apartment. Her parents were wealthy and owned multiple properties in Texas, Florida, and New York. Heather’s room featured a walk-in closet large to house her expansive wardrobe full of everything from Lululemon to Gucci, as well as a small refrigerator (where she hid vodka in water bottles), and a bottle caddy cradling a few bottles of red wine. She had a perfectly made queen sized bed with Vera Wang bedding, a 50inch flat screen smart TV (complete with every streaming service available to mankind), and a small, round table with four cushioned high-back chairs around it.

My friends each occupied a seat at the candle-lit table with their glasses of wine. Each had a hand on the Planchette of the Quiji board. However, Becca would be the voice in charge of asking the questions. Robert was to Becca’s left, Demarcus on her right, with Heather directly in front of Becca. Perfect set-up.

Invisible, I stood between Becca and Demarcus. I began to move the Planchette.

                 H. I. G. U. Y. S.

Robert’s eyes widened as he wrote down the letters. “Hi, guys!” he exclaimed to our friends.

Following proper procedure like always, Becca asked, “Is this you, Jamie???”

I moved the Planchette, “Yes”.

“Stop moving the thing, Robert!” Heather demanded.

“Child, that is NOT me. I do not mess with spirits,” Robert defended, peeking his eyes in her direction.

Heather cut her eyes over to “her boyfriend” Demarcus.

“Babe, don’t even look at me. You know where my hands like to go,” Demarcus said as his non-Planchette hand rubbed Staci’s thigh under the table headed ever so slightly north.

I rolled my eyes. I bit my lip, resisting the urge to grab Demarcus’s “tool” and twist until it came off. I had to be patient. This was making my plan anxiously all the easier.

“Shhhh…” Becca scolded, her eyes remained closed, but she was clearly annoyed by Demarcus’s comment. “Jamie, if this is you, what is the name of your dog?”

“Toby.” I spelled.

“Ooohhhh…” Robert said excitedly, realizing it was me. Robert had a tendency to be dramatic and emotional, I adored him for it. He wore his heart on his sleeve and always spoke his mind.

“Jamie, were you unhappy?” Becca asked with a crack in her voice. I knew where her anxiety originated. There was speculation my “overdose” was a suicide. Deeply empathetic, Becca would never forgive herself if she missed the warning signs.

“No.” I pointed the Planchette. I wanted to reveal myself to her. Give her a hug. She was struggling more than the others without me. But, I had to wait. Wait for the right moment to exact my revenge.

“Why would you overdose, Jamie? It was so scary to watch you die and I will never get over it,” Heather said with fake sadness. She had no idea. I was going to make sure she would never “get over it”.

I started to spell, “F. U. C. K. Y. O. U.”

Robert, writing down the letters, stopped. “Why would she say that to you, Heather?” He asked slowly, staring at the paper, lifting his glaze to her.

Demarcus was now staring at Heather with morbid curiosity. This was playing out perfectly.

“I-I-I don’t know. I loved you, Jamie!” Heather stated, with a wide-eyed look. By now, all eyes were on Heather, just as she preferred. She was always an attention whore.

“We were best friends, since Ms. Gold’s third-grade class. I held your hand as you died! I was there…I was there!” Heather exclaimed with fake tears. She always was such a great actress. Too bad, she’d never get to use her talents after tonight.

“Tell them.” I spelled out. I was angry. Still cloaked in chosen invisibility, I threw Robert’s glass of red wine onto the carpet. Oh well. This was going down. And I was going to enjoy it.

Robert gasped as the glass flew past him, Demarcus’s eyes widened.

“Tell us what, Heather?” Becca demanded, tears in her eyes.

“This isn’t funny!” Heather screamed.

“Did you do something, Heather?” Demarcus withdrew his non-Planchette hand away from her.

“Bitch,” I spelled, moving the Planchette fast with scary speed. I was burning with anger. I could feel my anger translating into the unworldly strength of the undead. It was almost time.

They would find Fentanyl in Heather’s room. She used it to drug me. Slipped it in my vodka soda during our “girl’s night” after summer cheer practice that fateful night. She would later tell authorities I was depressed and dealing with too much stress, but “had no idea I was taking drugs”.  Heather was full of shit.

Heather had been there when I passed out. There, when I could not be revived. There when I died. She called 911 only after she was positive I was dead. She wanted me out of her way. With me gone, she could have cheer captain, track captain, an easy-made route to any college since her “bestie” died (and her parents could afford any school), but most of all, she wanted Demarcus.

That’s it, it was time to reveal myself. Since the Quiji board was actually unnecessary on Halloween to conjure spirits, I started by violently flipping the board and Planchette off the circle table. It all landed with a deafening thud on the hardwood floor. Next, I wanted a more dramatic entrance. I had the candles shoot their flames up to the extended ceiling of Heather’s massive room. As the flames disappeared, and the candles were once again lit in a more normal manner, I appeared.

“Hi, guys,” I said. Then, turning to Heather, my eyes filled with malice, “Hey, bitch”, I said with stone-cold hatred for my murderer, arching my left eyebrow, I said, “I know.” I gave a slight nod toward her accompanied by a little smirking giggle.

Everyone gasped. Becca grabbed Robert’s hand as tears streamed down her face. I felt bad for the next part, but I did what I had to do. With all the invisible force of the undead, I shoved Jamie and Robert back into Heather’s expansive closet slamming the French double doors behind them. I telepathically threw one of the table’s large chairs at the door, locking them inside. They tried in vain to open the doors.

I turned my attention to a now petrified and crying Demarcus and Heather.

“Jamie, baby, what are you doing?” Demarcus stammered. “Why are you doing this?”

“Because she took my life…and now I am taking it back,” I said, with a strange calmness to my tone.

As if on cue, Demarcus started to fall to his knees. His breathing was heavy as he fought to stay upright and awake. And then, just as I had, he succumbed to the lethal amount of Fentanyl placed in his drink.

Heather knelt down beside his body, screaming his name. Demarcus and I would be reunited in death. I grinned a small, evil grin of satisfaction.

We could hear Robert talking to a 911 operator on his cell phone while locked in the closet. Excellent, I thought.

“Familiar sight, huh, Heather?” I calmly inquired.

“Go to hell!” Heather screamed.

“Awe, where do you think I’ve been?” I chuckled, then continued, “By the way, the cops will find your stash of drugs. You might want to get your story straight. I don’t think they’ll believe you twice.”

“So? I’ll tell them-“ Heather started.

“Tell them what, Heather?! Tell them your dead friend came from beyond the grave and murdered your boyfriend while you happen to have massive amounts of Fentanyl in your bedroom? While Robert and Becca will both testify that you murdered us both? Try it.” I invited her.

“Fuck you!” Heather cried in a scream.

I laughed at her. We could hear the sounds of sirens coming closer. I retreated back to my deadly world, out of sight.

A year later, Becca and Robert along with their Quiji board were in Robert’s room sitting on the floor.

Becca, circling the board with the Planchette, began, “Are there any spirits in this room?”

Demarcus and I chuckled as we held hands. With my free hand, I moved the Planchette to “Yes”.

Robert sucked in air and slowly let it out. He said, “Jamie, girl, you know I’ve been in therapy twice a week over your dead ass…but damn, I hope this is you.”

Becca, her eyes closed, giggled.

“LOL. Hi, guys,” I spelled.

We had a good time, the four of us. Before the end of the night, I had another visit to make.

I found myself in Heather’s new, much smaller room. She was now a permanent resident in the Psych Ward of the State Penitentiary. Even daddy’s money could not save her. You know her as “The Fentanyl Killer”. I simply refer to her as “My Bitch”.

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Ravyn Storm is a lifelong reader and avid horror fan, however, growing up in a small town in the piney woods of East Texas, she found herself feeling strange, unusual, and never fit in with the locals. After attending college, Ravyn became a schoolteacher. In 2017, she left teaching to pursue a career in personal training and competed as a national-level bodybuilder. However, her love of the horror genre never changed. Ravyn resides in Dallas, Texas with her husband and two fur babies, Oscar and Louis.

IG Account- Ravyn_Storm

Submission Call! Manor of Frights LAST DAY

LAST DAY to enter!
Our 2023 Anthology announcement:

Manor of Frights

nathan-mcdine-Sz2UlMzTv4I-unsplashImagine a Victorian house where every room is cursed with a frightful existence. Are monsters in the halls? Ghosts left to fester in the library? Or are the rooms themselves enchanted with malevolent energy? What was summoned long ago and what doorways were left open? Manor of Frights will be a collection of tales all set in different rooms of the same house.

 

Stories MUST follow these guidelines: 

  1. MUST be in 3rd person. No 1st person stories will be considered.
  2. The Manor of Frights was built in 1880. So, stories can take place between 1880-1980. Keep this in mind when writing. Is the house new in your era? Run down? Or refurbished? Has there been a fire? A flood? Are you writing about the homeowner? A guest staying at a BnB? Or maybe… You are writing about the architect renovating the place?
  3. Choose a room and write a horror story that takes place in it. 13 rooms will be picked from the submissions. Choose wisely. Be unique. You can write about the normal rooms in a house like bedrooms, bathrooms, or the kitchen, but some other ideas for rooms are: attic, conservatory, library, basement, study, billiard room, cellar, hall, parlor, boudoir, dining room, den, foyer, living room, nursery, dinette, hearth room, scullery, kit room, linen closet, landing, rotunda, nook, covered porch, widow’s walk, or maybe you have an idea of your own.  
  4. The story must have an overwhelming sense of menace and dread. The KIND of horror is open to you. Is there a monster inside? Does it connect to a demon world? Has it been cursed? Is it haunted? Do vampires reside in the home? Scare us. Entertain us.

LBGTQ and POC stories/writers are encouraged to enter. Sensual or passionate stories are acceptable but we don’t want erotica or sexually-based stories. No rape. The editor likes HORROR. Be careful of sci-fi creatures or anything that sways sci-fi or fantasy. She’s not a fan of superheroes or hunters.

No previously printed work and no simultaneous submissions.

We are doing blind submissions. Wow us with your story.

Enter up to two short stories only. Make sure they fit the theme

Manuscript Format:

*Font: 12 pt Courier, Times New Roman, or Garamond.

*Double spaced.

*Your manuscript must be in either DOC, DOCx, or RTF format.

*DO NOT place your name in the manuscript.**

*No header on the manuscript. JUST THE TITLE.

**Again, we are doing blind submissions. Make sure the manuscript is scrubbed of your name and personal info. This could be an automatic decline.**

TO SUBMIT YOUR STORY, CLICK HERE:

https://forms.gle/3igMYXjnbCrcnoP49

Deadline: October 31st, 2022, 11:59pm PST

Length: 2,000-3,500 words MAX. No exceptions.

Payment: $10.00 USD + digital contributor copy

Accepted stories will be published in these formats: PRINT, eBook, and audio. The audio will be produced for both Season 18 of HorrorAddicts.net (2023), and be placed on an audiobook platform for sale.

Return time: Final decisions will not be made until AFTER the submission close date (10/31/22). You should expect an answer within three months of the submission close date. If you do not receive an email stating your manuscript was received within two weeks of submission, please send a polite query to:  ha.netpress@gmail.com

For any other questions, please send an email to: ha.netpress@gmail.com

From The Vault: Odds and Dead Ends: Scene Analysis – Michael’s escape in ‘Halloween’ (1978)

Most of us have probably seen 1978’s Halloween a million times. When we think of the film’s beginning, we think either of the opening credits, with the long track into the pumpkin’s eye, or the famous long-take opening scene. However, the murder of Judith Myers is just back-story for the film as a whole. The story really begins with Michael Myers, now twenty-one, escaping from Smith’s Grove Hospital. This is the scene I want to examine, taking it step by step, shot by shot, and looking at how Carpenter constructs this famous, if often overlooked, scene.

First to notice is the weather. This isn’t necessary for the scene from a storytelling standpoint, but it adds to the atmosphere, if in a slightly clichéd fashion. It’s an additional air of menace. It’s not up to King Lear levels of pathetic fallacy, but it’s still there, ever present throughout the scene. It also adds some visual interest, in much the same way that Ridley Scott would do four years later, with the shimmering water on the walls of the Tyrell building in Blade Runner. Of final note for the weather, compare the slashing of the windscreen wipers in the rain as a visual foreshadowing for Michael’s slashing knife, with a similar shot in Psycho of Marion Crane driving through the rain, with her windscreen wipers foreshadowing Norman Bates’ knife slashing through the shower. Remember that Psycho is a movie which obviously had a profound influence on Halloween and the budding slasher subgenre.

In the car, we are introduced to Loomis, Michael’s doctor. Pleasance plays him as a brooding and serious, if superstitious, man, bordering on obsession. Alongside we have Marion, who is not only dismissive of the patients she looks after but woefully underprepared, having done “only minimum security” before. This conversation between them not only brings us up to speed as to Michael’s condition, “he hasn’t spoken a word for fifteen years,” but also sets up a motif that will play throughout the movie. Those that don’t take Loomis and Myers seriously, end up attacked and often dead. Loomis says for Marion to “try to understand what we’re dealing with here. Do not underestimate it.”

The line “Do not underestimate it” is one of the most important lines in the scene, and perhaps the entire film, and the following remarks of “Don’t you think we could refer to ‘it’ as ‘him’?” “If you say so,” is crucial to our understanding of Myers. He is not so much a man as a manifestation of evil inhabiting the body. Before we even see the old Myers, he has been taken to a realm beyond the human, back into the land of something much older and more terrifying. Loomis wants Myers trapped forever, but the law, thinking that he is still ‘him’, wants him moved. In later scenes, Loomis shouts that he warned everyone about Myers but nobody listened. Only Loomis, who truly understands what Myers is, knows to keep him locked up. The dialogue between Loomis and Marion is expertly written to give exposition, build character, and raise tension, all in small, economical snippets, and all at the same time. This exchange should be studied further by any screenwriting student to see just how brilliant it is.

Then the headlights illuminate the patients in the white robes walking around in the rain, an eerie sight in itself. The music kicks in, the famous piano and synth combo, which warns of impending danger. We’ve had the build-up, our fears raised, and now the film begins to play on them. When Loomis gets out of the car to open the main gate, a figure clambers onto the roof. Myers strikes when Loomis is out of the way. This begins the cat-and-mouse that the two will play throughout the film. That the rear lights paint Myers in a blood-red glow as he climbs onto the car is symbolic of his intent. He means murder.

What is interesting about this scene is that we begin to see Myers’ method of killing. He isn’t just a hulking mass, but he is quiet, methodical, and will only use brute force if he needs to. When Marion first rolls the window down to see who is on the roof, he brings his hand down to attack her. Only after she drives the car into the ditch, closes the window, and scurries to the other side, does he take to smashing the window. He is like a cobra, striking when he needs to but holding back otherwise.

When Myers does smash the window, it’s interesting to see how Carpenter constructs the scare. He uses Hitchcock’s theory of suspense (affectionately known as his ‘bomb theory’), in that he alerts us to the looming threat of Myers smashing the window before Marion is alerted to him. His hand appears in shot, giving the audience a moment of ‘he’s behind you!’ before it disappears for a few seconds. The tension is raised as we wonder exactly when the attack will be, and then a second or two later, the payoff. This simple, few-seconds scare, is a full construction, methodically thought out in all its beats, has rises and falls in its narrative, and is light-years apart from the false scares of many horror movies.

In horror movies today, one might expect Michael to kill the nurse before escaping. However, this original Michael doesn’t need to kill Marion, because his goal is the car. He attacked Marion when she was inside the vehicle, but now that she’s fled, he doesn’t need to pursue her. She isn’t a threat. This is something that the new movie, Halloween 2018, also subtly picks up on, in that Myers doesn’t just kill indiscriminately; he specifically targets. Evil has its own agenda, and it is perhaps something which makes Michael scarier. If he was just a killing machine, you could deal with it. But there is thought behind his eyes, calculated thought, and death is just one part of it.

In the final moments of the scene, we have Loomis’ line, “the evil has gone”. Described as ‘evil’ for the first time, we have Loomis’ superstitions on full display, and our understanding of the scene catches up. That was Myers, as we feared, and not just a random patient, and the sinking feeling in our stomachs ramps up as it drops another notch. All the precautions Loomis asked for, all the connotations of a silent, deadly mass of inhumanity, that we were given in the car,  has all come to fruition. So awful is this realisation that Loomis doesn’t stay around for much more than “are you alright?” to Marion, before rushing off. Once he knows she’s not in danger, she is disregarded. The evil must be stopped at all costs.

This is a perfect example of a well-constructed scene, with its personal rises and falls, and specific story construction. Attention is paid in all areas to ensuring that the filmmaking and storytelling come together in a beautiful composition with every subtlety pulling its weight. Carpenter has created a wonderful scene that sets loose upon the film a carnage that will terrify us long after the credits have stopped rolling.

-Article by Kieran Judge -Follow him on Twitter: KJudgeMental

Bibliography

Blade Runner. 1982. [Film] Directed by Ridley Scott. United States of America: The Ladd Company.

Halloween. 1978. [Film] Directed by John Carpenter. United States of America: Falcon International Productions.

Halloween. 2018. [Film] Directed by David Gordon Green. USA: Blumhouse.

Psycho. 1960. [Film] Directed by Alfred Hitchcock. United States of America: Shamley Productions.

Shakespeare, W., 2000. King Lear. Second ed. UK: Heinemann.

Submission Call! Manor of Frights 3 days left

Only 3 days left to enter!
Our 2023 Anthology announcement:

Manor of Frights

nathan-mcdine-Sz2UlMzTv4I-unsplashImagine a Victorian house where every room is cursed with a frightful existence. Are monsters in the halls? Ghosts left to fester in the library? Or are the rooms themselves enchanted with malevolent energy? What was summoned long ago and what doorways were left open? Manor of Frights will be a collection of tales all set in different rooms of the same house.

 

Stories MUST follow these guidelines: 

  1. MUST be in 3rd person. No 1st person stories will be considered.
  2. The Manor of Frights was built in 1880. So, stories can take place between 1880-1980. Keep this in mind when writing. Is the house new in your era? Run down? Or refurbished? Has there been a fire? A flood? Are you writing about the homeowner? A guest staying at a BnB? Or maybe… You are writing about the architect renovating the place?
  3. Choose a room and write a horror story that takes place in it. 13 rooms will be picked from the submissions. Choose wisely. Be unique. You can write about the normal rooms in a house like bedrooms, bathrooms, or the kitchen, but some other ideas for rooms are: attic, conservatory, library, basement, study, billiard room, cellar, hall, parlor, boudoir, dining room, den, foyer, living room, nursery, dinette, hearth room, scullery, kit room, linen closet, landing, rotunda, nook, covered porch, widow’s walk, or maybe you have an idea of your own.  
  4. The story must have an overwhelming sense of menace and dread. The KIND of horror is open to you. Is there a monster inside? Does it connect to a demon world? Has it been cursed? Is it haunted? Do vampires reside in the home? Scare us. Entertain us.

LBGTQ and POC stories/writers are encouraged to enter. Sensual or passionate stories are acceptable but we don’t want erotica or sexually-based stories. No rape. The editor likes HORROR. Be careful of sci-fi creatures or anything that sways sci-fi or fantasy. She’s not a fan of superheroes or hunters.

No previously printed work and no simultaneous submissions.

We are doing blind submissions. Wow us with your story.

Enter up to two short stories only. Make sure they fit the theme

Manuscript Format:

*Font: 12 pt Courier, Times New Roman, or Garamond.

*Double spaced.

*Your manuscript must be in either DOC, DOCx, or RTF format.

*DO NOT place your name in the manuscript.**

*No header on the manuscript. JUST THE TITLE.

**Again, we are doing blind submissions. Make sure the manuscript is scrubbed of your name and personal info. This could be an automatic decline.**

TO SUBMIT YOUR STORY, CLICK HERE:

https://forms.gle/3igMYXjnbCrcnoP49

Deadline: October 31st, 2022, 11:59pm PST

Length: 2,000-3,500 words MAX. No exceptions.

Payment: $10.00 USD + digital contributor copy

Accepted stories will be published in these formats: PRINT, eBook, and audio. The audio will be produced for both Season 18 of HorrorAddicts.net (2023), and be placed on an audiobook platform for sale.

Return time: Final decisions will not be made until AFTER the submission close date (10/31/22). You should expect an answer within three months of the submission close date. If you do not receive an email stating your manuscript was received within two weeks of submission, please send a polite query to:  ha.netpress@gmail.com

For any other questions, please send an email to: ha.netpress@gmail.com

A Halloween Listicle: SINISTER STORIES FOR THE SPOOKY SEASON

 by Renata Pavrey

The days leading up to Halloween are filled with costumes to prepare, décor to get ready, and treats to bake. The final week of October is a culmination of all the spooky excitement building up throughout the month. Yes! We love our horror movies, can’t have enough of eerie podcasts, and then there are books that thrill and chill. Sometimes it’s just so much to take in, with all that’s happening in a horror fan’s favorite time of the year. Here’s a list of Halloween-themed short story collections, so you can dip in your toes when time runs short on Hallows Eve.

~Halloween Horrors by Alan Ryan – A vintage collection for a night of evil. 13 sinister stories of madness and mayhem that show us a side of Halloween far removed from pumpkin lanterns and hot spiced drinks.

~Ghosts, Goblins, Murder and Madness by Rebecca Rowland – 20 tales of Halloween that showcase the wide expanse of the holiday season – dressing up in costume, playing practical jokes, haunted houses, cursed artifacts, the thin line between the earth and spirit worlds.

~Season of the Witch by RJ Roles and Jason Myers – Witches are not just about brooms and pointy hats; cackling as they fly over the moon on Halloween. This anthology from Crimson Pinnacle Press brings together 19 tales about witches and autumn, providing fresh perspectives to cliches and stereotypes associated with the season.

~Literally Dead by Gaby Triana – Hauntings that go beyond ghosts, spirits who want to help the living, festive greetings that travel through time and space, candy that refuses to be digested – an old school anthology from Alienhead Press that presents common Halloween tropes in spooky new avatars by some of the most terrifying names in contemporary horror.

~Halloween Frights by Brandi Hicks and Shelly Jarvis – If short stories take up too much of your reading time, why not sink your teeth into bite-sized drabbles? Spooky ghost kids, zombie trick-or-treaters, suspicious treats, and decorations coming alive – let’s turn to face the darker side of this autumn holiday.

~Forest of Fear (Books 1, 2 and 3) by Zoey Xolton – There are 3 books in the Fright Night Fiction series from Blood Song Books, that present a delectable collection of Halloween horror drabbles.

~Nom Nom by Ben Thomas and D. Kershaw – Another drabble collection that treats us to a smorgasbord of vampires, djinns, werewolves, jack-o-lanterns, clowns, candies, and everything the festival has to offer in 100-word bits of gore from Black Hare Press.

From The Vault : Top 5 Oldie Halloween Songs

 

I just can’t get enough of these oldie Halloween songs.

  1. “Riboflavin-Flavored, Non-Carbonated, Polyunsaturated Blood” by Don Hinson & The Rigamorticians
  2. “Skeleton in the Closet” by Louis Armstrong
  3. “Headless Horseman” by Bing Crosby
  4. “Grim Grinning Ghosts (From Haunted Mansion®)” by The Mellomen, Paul Frees, Betty Taylor, Bill Lee, Thurl Ravenscroft
  5. “Coolest Little Monster” by Zacherley

Do you have a favorite? Please share!

Submission Call! Manor of Frights 5 days left

Only 5 days left to enter!
Our 2023 Anthology announcement:

Manor of Frights

nathan-mcdine-Sz2UlMzTv4I-unsplashImagine a Victorian house where every room is cursed with a frightful existence. Are monsters in the halls? Ghosts left to fester in the library? Or are the rooms themselves enchanted with malevolent energy? What was summoned long ago and what doorways were left open? Manor of Frights will be a collection of tales all set in different rooms of the same house.

 

Stories MUST follow these guidelines: 

  1. MUST be in 3rd person. No 1st person stories will be considered.
  2. The Manor of Frights was built in 1880. So, stories can take place between 1880-1980. Keep this in mind when writing. Is the house new in your era? Run down? Or refurbished? Has there been a fire? A flood? Are you writing about the homeowner? A guest staying at a BnB? Or maybe… You are writing about the architect renovating the place?
  3. Choose a room and write a horror story that takes place in it. 13 rooms will be picked from the submissions. Choose wisely. Be unique. You can write about the normal rooms in a house like bedrooms, bathrooms, or the kitchen, but some other ideas for rooms are: attic, conservatory, library, basement, study, billiard room, cellar, hall, parlor, boudoir, dining room, den, foyer, living room, nursery, dinette, hearth room, scullery, kit room, linen closet, landing, rotunda, nook, covered porch, widow’s walk, or maybe you have an idea of your own.  
  4. The story must have an overwhelming sense of menace and dread. The KIND of horror is open to you. Is there a monster inside? Does it connect to a demon world? Has it been cursed? Is it haunted? Do vampires reside in the home? Scare us. Entertain us.

LBGTQ and POC stories/writers are encouraged to enter. Sensual or passionate stories are acceptable but we don’t want erotica or sexually-based stories. No rape. The editor likes HORROR. Be careful of sci-fi creatures or anything that sways sci-fi or fantasy. She’s not a fan of superheroes or hunters.

No previously printed work and no simultaneous submissions.

We are doing blind submissions. Wow us with your story.

Enter up to two short stories only. Make sure they fit the theme

Manuscript Format:

*Font: 12 pt Courier, Times New Roman, or Garamond.

*Double spaced.

*Your manuscript must be in either DOC, DOCx, or RTF format.

*DO NOT place your name in the manuscript.**

*No header on the manuscript. JUST THE TITLE.

**Again, we are doing blind submissions. Make sure the manuscript is scrubbed of your name and personal info. This could be an automatic decline.**

TO SUBMIT YOUR STORY, CLICK HERE:

https://forms.gle/3igMYXjnbCrcnoP49

Deadline: October 31st, 2022, 11:59pm PST

Length: 2,000-3,500 words MAX. No exceptions.

Payment: $10.00 USD + digital contributor copy

Accepted stories will be published in these formats: PRINT, eBook, and audio. The audio will be produced for both Season 18 of HorrorAddicts.net (2023), and be placed on an audiobook platform for sale.

Return time: Final decisions will not be made until AFTER the submission close date (10/31/22). You should expect an answer within three months of the submission close date. If you do not receive an email stating your manuscript was received within two weeks of submission, please send a polite query to:  ha.netpress@gmail.com

For any other questions, please send an email to: ha.netpress@gmail.com

Free Fiction : Eternally by Michael Tennant


He sat calmly, peacefully, on the tree branch. It seemed quite sturdy. It would have to be; it was about to experience a heck of a force. Over a thousand pounds, if his memory wasn’t mistaken. He couldn’t recall which page he’d seen that number on. Maybe it was the rope that would be subjected to that strain. Whatever the case, he was confident that both the branch and the rope were up to the task.

He looked at the knot securing the rope to the branch and hoped he’d tied it well enough. He didn’t subscribe to a belief in a higher power, so he wasn’t worried about an afterlife. Likewise, he gave no credence to the metaphysical, and was thus unconcerned about being cursed to haunt the living with any sort of unfinished business – not that he could imagine what business that might be. He’d prepared a will, had his signature witnessed and notarized, listed his life insurance information, and made sure his passwords and PINs were documented. It wasn’t stories about after death that gave him pause; it was dread for the idea that he might screw this up, as he’d been so good at screwing up in life. Being a statistic, he could handle, as long as that statistic didn’t include the word “attempted.” Failing at life was par for the course; failing at death would be the final push to drive him fully mad.

He checked the knot one last time and felt reassured that it would hold. He slipped the loop over his head, positioned the hangman’s knot beneath the left side of his jaw, and snugged the noose against his throat. The apprehension he’d felt for so long slipped away, and he felt relief, knowing that the end he’d craved for decades was finally upon him. He took a deep breath, let it out, and slid forward off the branch.

Almost too quickly to notice, he’d fallen the five feet and six inches that he’d measured out for the drop. As the knot was pulled violently upward beneath his chin, it snapped his head up, back, and slightly to the right. There was an imperceptibly brief flash of pain as vertebrae separated and his spine was crushed and severed, and then he felt no more, but simply hung there, open eyes turned to the sky. He didn’t feel his lungs expel their last breath, nor did he take notice of his heart’s final beat. He simply watched a dew drop grow fat as it neared the point at which it would drip from a leaf just above him, as he awaited the unconsciousness that should overtake him. But the blissful sleep did not come for him, and the dew didn’t drip.

There was no blackness to envelop him, no light for him to go toward. A hundred, a thousand, a million ideas humans had about what happens after death, but none of them had prepared him for the horror of staring up at that dew drop hanging from the tip of that leaf, eternally.

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

 

Michael Tenant I was an enthusiastic fiction writer and poet in high school, and utterly failed to pursue it in any fashion. I’m now trying to rediscover my imagination and creativity, 30 years later.

Live Action Reviews! by Crystal Connor: Haunted Trail

 

 

 

Plotline: A group of college friends receive the surprise of their lives when they discover there is an actual killer on the scene of a local haunted trail.

Who would like it: I think everyone! This movie was so super fun. I had a blast watching this and you will too!

High Points: I loved the super diverse cast of characters and that this movie takes place in a haunted venue

Complaints: Absolutely none!

Overall: I LOVED this movie!

Stars: 5

 

 

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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

Book Review: “Netherkind” by Greg Chapman

Hello Addicts,

In the horror genre, the consumption of human flesh and blood is a fairly regular thing. There are plenty of stories about cannibals and flesh-eating zombies, so it is refreshing to see a story that handles things differently. Greg Chapman offers a flesh-eating tale that falls somewhere between the extremes of the living and the dead in his novel “Netherkind.

Thomas leads a solitary life of torment. He has no memories of life before waking in the apartment he calls home, but that isn’t the most disturbing thing in his life. He has a condition where his body decays painfully if he doesn’t eat human flesh every day. It is an uncontrollable need he fights daily, but never wins. He doesn’t know how it started or whether there are others out there with his same condition. That all changes the day he meets his new neighbor, StephanieNetherkind 2

Stephanie is just moving into the apartment building Thomas lives in and does her best to spend time with him. After spending one night together, he learns some horrifying truths about her. She is like him, a consumer of human flesh. When he awakes, he finds the doors to all the apartments on their floor bashed in and the occupants stripped clean to the bone. His new neighbor, who he just had sex with, reveals that she is like Thomas and that there are more like them hiding in the world. She’d been stalking him for weeks, watching him live and kill, just for the chance to meet and get impregnated by him. With those tasks accomplished, she wounds him and leaves him to die.

Rather than succumb to his injuries, Thomas survives and begins hunting for Stephanie. His travels bring him close frequently, but never close enough. Eventually, he discovers another of their kind, referred to collectively as Fleshers. The Flesher,  named Nero and leads Thomas to their kingdom under the city. He discovers they are one of five tribes, each different in their mindset, physical conditions, and abilities.

Thomas’ clan refers to themselves as Phagun. Another group is called Lepers, whose skin is sickly looking and sloughing off, but whose touch is acidic. A third tribe is the spiritual Stygma, followers of a god named Okin. The fourth group of Fleshers are shapeshifters named Skiift, with humans making up the last group. The Skiift, the Stygma, and the Phagun have waged a centuries-long religious war between, partially fueled by the Phagun’s desire to treat humans as food.

There are a lot of twists and turns in the story, which develops into a chosen one tale. What is Thomas’ history and how does it fit into what needs to be done? How does Stephanie fit into the entire picture? The book answers these questions and more.

I liked the story, but found it a little confusing at certain points, particularly when following who was speaking. That aside, I thought Greg Chapman did a good job with this story, particularly with the sensory descriptions. I recommend this book for anyone needing a rainy day or late-night read. You can find it on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or through your local bookstore.

Until next time, Addicts.

D.J.

Historian of Horror : Monsters to Marvel At!

I’ve written before in this space about the Comics Code Authority, and how it forbade depictions of vampires, werewolves, zombies, ghouls and myriad other creatures of darkness in the comic books approved for consumption by the tender, innocent minds of American youth, beginning in the mid-1950s. This puritanical restriction lasted until the early 1970s, which by a happy coincidence happens to be the time when my most active period of collecting began.

What is most significant about that time as it relates to our favorite genre is that Marvel Comics in particular went absolutely batty over the new freedom, more so than any of their four-color competitors. And it all began at the end of 1971, with the second issue of a title called Marvel Spotlight.

Marvel Spotlight was one of those titles intended to showcase new characters not yet deemed ready for their own series. The first issue featured a Native American Western character called Red Wolf. Not bad, but he went nowhere fast. The second issue, on the other hand…

The cover was by comics legend Neal Adams, inked by another great, Tom Palmer. The interior was drawn by an artist new to me at the time, but one I now acknowledge as a true genius of the art form – Mike Ploog – and written by the equally iconic Roy Thomas. It was called Werewolf By Night.

Oh, frabjous day, calloo, callay! Our long sequential art nightmare was over! There was an actual, bloody-fanged freaking werewolf in a Marvel comic book! And it was available for purchase for only a quarter of a dollar!

Marvel comics dated that February of 1971 were all fifty-two pages for twenty-five cents. It was a brief experiment in a longer format for all the Marvel titles. To flesh out the issue, a story of the Greek goddess Venus from a 1948 issue of her eponymous title, published back when Marvel was still called Timely Comics, was included. It was drawn by Bill Everett, who had in 1939 created the Sub-Mariner, Marvel’s first superhero. 

Werewolf By Night told the tale of Jack Russell, who inherited the curse of the full moon from his father’s side of the family. His adventures continued for another two issues of Marvel Spotlight, both written by Gerry Conway, before a new character, Ghost Rider, took over and Jack’s story transferred to his own title. Werewolf By Night ran for forty-three issues, drawn first by Ploog and later by Don Perlin, an artist I never really warmed to. 

Two months after that issue of Marvel Spotlight came out, a new title appeared, featuring a different monster formerly forbidden by the Comics Code. Tomb of Dracula ran for seventy issues, each one drawn by comic giant Gene Colan, and inked by the aforementioned Tom Palmer. A black and white magazine by the same title ensued, as well as one called Dracula Lives! Neither lasted very long. Nor did the fifty-two pagers Giant-Size Dracula or Giant-Size Werewolf. But they were fun, and I bought them all. 

And there were titles with zombies and mummies and Frankenstein’s Monster and Son of Satan and all manner of spooky critters that had been for so long verboten in the medium. It was a wonderful time to be thirteen and have access to a working lawnmower to make a few bucks to finance a hobby that was not yet priced out of your reach. 

I mowed a lot of lawns in those days. And collected coke bottles, and babysat, and did whatever odd jobs were available. Comic collecting wasn’t nearly as expensive as it became in the late 1980s, but it did take some effort to keep up with. 

And here we are, decades later, living in an age of comic-based movies. One of which I watched just yesterday on Disney+, a live-action television movie based on Werewolf By Night. It also co-stars another Marvel monster of the period, one also intimately associated with artist Mike Plogg at one point in its history. No spoilers here, but I definitely hope the populace will make an effort to seek out and enjoy Werewolf By Night.

I loved it. I recommend it very highly. 

I have mentioned before the passing of Neal Adams. Sadly, Tom Palmer, possibly the greatest inker the medium ever employed, also passed away recently. He died August 18 of this year, at the age of 81. 

For our lagniappe this time out, I tried to find a decent copy of the animated version of Mussourgsky’s “Night on Bald Mountain” from my favorite Disney movie, Fantasia. Alas, YouTube doesn’t have one worth sharing. Instead, enjoy this 1938 animated version from France. Very unusual, very dark and dreary, and delightfully dour.

And as always, my darling demoniacs…

Be afraid.

Be very afraid.

Best in Blood: L. Marie Wood

Congratulations!
To our Best in Blood winner,
L. Marie Wood.

binbseason16

Listen to the awarding and an interview with L. Marie on episode 217, at 30:33.

L. Marie Wood is an award-winning dark fiction author, screenwriter, and poet with novels in the psychological horror, mystery, and dark romance genres. She won the Golden Stake Award for her novel The Promise Keeper. She is a MICO Award-nominated screenwriter and has won Best Horror, Best Action, Best Afrofuturism/Horror/Sci-Fi, and Best Short Screenplay awards in both national and international film festivals. Wood’s short fiction has been published in groundbreaking works, including the Bram Stoker Award Finalist anthology, Sycorax’s Daughters and Slay: Stories of the Vampire Noire. Her academic writing has been published by Nightmare Magazine and the cross-curricular text, Conjuring Worlds: An Afrofuturist Textbook. She is the founder of the Speculative Fiction Academy, an English and Creative Writing professor, a horror scholar, an active member of the Horror Writers Association, a full member of the SFWA, and a frequent speaker in the genre convention space.

BOOK BIRTHDAY! Campfire Tales from HorrorAddicts.net Press

BookbirthdayHorror Bites: Campfire Tales

Dear Reader,

You’ve been invited to a very special night of Campfire Tales, hosted by HorrorAddicts.net. Meet us at Old Bear Creek, just past Dead Man’s Curve. Dress warm. We’ll be waiting.

Four scary tales told by Next Great Horror Writer finalists and woven together by a trek through the woods you’ll never forget.

“Cabin Twelve” by Daphne Strasert
When a camp counselor goes on patrol, she finds an extra cabin in the woods that no one knows about…or do they?

“The Face” by Naching T. Kassa
An ailing mother and her daughter are terrorized by a disembodied face.

“When the Wind Leaves a Whisper” by Jess Landry
Girl Scouts in the 40s experience a frightening occurrence in the woods.

“Goose Meadows” by Harry Husbands
Two friends out drinking at night discover the real horrors of Goose Meadows.

Free Fiction : Till Death Do Us Part – by C M Lucas

A posh café bathed in the dwindling sunlight as blue skies gave way to brilliant orange and red. La Fin du Soleil: an outlier in this small rural and very American town, was not only a tourist destination but a bit of a local hot spot. This quaint little café was a spot where potential lovers gazed into each other’s eyes, waxed poetically, and fell head over heels for the stranger sitting directly in front of them. Strangers like Linda and James. 

One Year Ago 

Linda Muller loved La Fin Soleil. A talented artist and self-described creative spirit, Linda would often find herself sipping a café Late while dreaming up her latest piece. Typically, while sipping her late, Linda would glance at the café’s patrons, often making quick sketches of them while they enjoyed their coffee. On one fateful Tuesday, Linda happened to meet the gaze of a ruggedly handsome, down-on-his-luck somber soul. Ordinarily, James wouldn’t give the French café a second look, however, on that Tuesday, James felt almost obliged to enter La Fin Soleil. Upon entering the small café, James ordered a regular dark roast with double cream and took a seat at the far end of the café beside a large window. Linda glanced at James as he continuously stirred his coffee while peering out the window. Linda observed as James’ pale blue eyes seemed to express sadness. Shaking her head softly before running her fingers through her hair, Linda got up from her chair and, with coffee in hand, made her way over to the somber man. 

“Penny for your thoughts,” Linda whispered. James glanced up at the petite woman. The sunlight bathed Lina from behind; her auburn hair looked as if it were ablaze as a large smirk formed on her face.

“I’m sorry?” James said, squinting. 

“Look, I know that’s cliché, but I, you know, I’ve never seen you in here before. You kind of stand out; you don’t look like the type of guy to stop in here, you know,” Linda explained, “and… I don’t know, you look… Is everything alright?” James continued to glance at Linda, furrowing his brow. 

“Am I alright? Uh, I… Yea, I guess. I’m sorry, what is this?” James asked. “I don’t know, you just have this sadness about, you know? I just thought that if I don’t come over and save this guy from whatever-” James shook his head before meeting Linda’s gaze. “Uh, ok, I gotta say, this is a little weird. I mean, I’ve never had anyone come up to me and ask me if I was ok,” James explained, “I mean, what are you, like the nicest woman on the planet?” 

“Yes, but only during the day. At night, I fight crime. They call me The Auburn Altruist,” Linda said with a smirk. James furrowed his brow before chuckling and shaking his head. “That was really corny. I can’t believe I laughed at that,” James said. 

“I can,” Linda said before the pair busted out laughing. 

“Thank you. I, uh, I needed that,” James admitted. 

“I know. I’m Linda,” Linda said, extending her hand. 

“James,” James said as the pair shook hands. 

“Care to sit?” 

The Present. 

Inside Las Fin Soleil, the dusty, undisturbed tables and chairs sat quietly as a small beam of sunlight shone through a crack in the plywood nailed to the window. In the far corner, sat James. Sitting almost motionless, James glanced out the tiny crack between the boards across the

window as the sun shined against his pale blue eyes. A rhythmic sequence of knocking at the boarded-up front door snapped James out of his daze before he headed toward the door. James grabbed a hammer from the floor before removing the boards from the door. James opened the door with a quivering smirk. 

“A regular knock would’ve been fine,” James said before Linda stuck out her tongue. Linda and James embraced before the pair boarded the front door. They made their way over to the far end table as James retrieved two coffee cups and placed them on the table. Linda smiled as she took a seat. James scurried over behind the counter and pulled out two candles. Lighting the candles as he made his way over, James placed the candles in a makeshift holder. “Care to sit?” Linda asked. 

One Year Ago. 

Inside La Fin Soleil, James and Linda laughed and smiled, while drinking their coffee. Minutes turned to hours as the pair continued to delight one another with conversation. “No, I’m serious. She actually said, ‘hit the bricks.’ It’s funny now, but at the time, it didn’t register, I guess. But, yea. ‘Hit the bricks.’And just like that, I was fired after, what? Nine years?” James explained as the pair continued to laugh. 

“Well, It’s great to see you laugh at the situation. I don’t know, It’s like they say, ‘If you don’t laugh, you cry,’ right?” Linda asked. James smiled before shaking his head. “You’re a walking book of clichés, aren’t you,” James asked while smirking. Linda nodded before finishing her late. James and Linda shared a moment of silence while gazing into each other’s eyes. 

“Can I buy you another coffee?” James asked.

“I’d like that,” Linda answered with a smile. As James attempts to get the waitresses’ attention, both James and Linda notice most of the café patrons are distracted by the events on the TV. 

“What the hell?” 

The Present. 

Within the La Fin Soleil, Linda and James both run their hands along the boards fixed to the café’s loan window. 

“Ready?” Linda asked. James nodded before beads of sweat began to form on his brow. The pair pried at the boards with hammers before the boards gave way, crashing to the dusty tiled floor. The dwindling sunlight burst into the café, illuminating everything. 

“Alright, Ms. Muller. After you,” James said before Linda once again took a seat. James smiled before passing in front of the window. Where once one could view the town’s quaint brilliance, rows of charred, dilapidated shops and houses now stand. The partially devoured bodies of the townsfolk lie scattered and still, as bodily fluids filled the streets. One Year Ago. 

“Everybody, quiet,” the waitress shouted before turning the volume up on the TV. Linda, James, and the rest of the patrons watched in horror as the live news broadcast displayed hordes of the undead filling the streets. The reporter began to run for his life before being consumed by the horde. The patrons within La Fin Soleil frantically began to rush toward the exit. Linda 

grasped James’ hand tight as the pair sat still with shock. 

The Present.

“I’ll never forget the first time I saw the light hit your hair. It looked like your head was on fire, but in an angelic way,” James mused. Linda smiled before taking James’ hands into hers. The pair gazed out the window as the last rays of sunlight peaked from behind the clouds. 

“Here’s to the end. I couldn’t imagine being anywhere else,” Linda said with a quivering smirk. James lowered his head as a deep sadness washed over his face. Linda peered over at the saddened James. 

“Hey, come on. It’s… Look, I… I don’t know, I’m a fool sometimes. But, you love me for it,” Linda said, winking. James continued to hang his head before Linda gently touched his dimpled chin, lifting his head to meet her gaze. A tear began to stream down James’ cheeks. Linda tried in vain to keep her emotions hidden, but as she glanced into James’ eyes, her golden amber eyes began to well up with tears. 

“They’ll be coming,” James said. 

“… I know,” Linda answered. James gazed deeply into Linda’s eyes, grasping her hands tight. 

“I love you, Ms. Muller,” James said, weeping. 

“I-I-I know. H-How could you not?” Linda said before weeping. 

The pair tightly embraced. James ran his hands along Linda’s back, caressing and softly touching every inch. Linda closed her eyes tightly as tears streamed down her cheeks. Intense pounding on the entrance door echoed through the small café, as Linda and James continued to embrace. The boards began to give way before the café door flew open. 

Linda began to loosen her grip before grasping James with an intense grip. James closed his eyes as Linda began to twitch and flail. Linda’s eyes became vacant and bloodshot as all the colour began to drain from her face.

“Shoot it!” 

Linda lifted her head as frothy mucus spewed from her mouth. James closed his eyes before pressing a small revolver to Linda’s temple. As he fired the revolver, Linda fell to the ground. Linda’s lifeless body lay at the feet of the surviving townsfolk. Each member of the mob stood silent, brandishing weapons and assorted body parts displayed in trophy fashion. James stood trembling in front of Linda. His tears continued to stream down his face as he made his way toward Linda’s lifeless body. Retrieving a wilted daisy from his pant pocket, James reached down and placed the daisy beside Linda’s arm. A wilted peddle fell along a large bite mark that ran along the length of her arm before falling to the floor. James rose from the floor before pushing his way through the mob. 

One Year Ago. 

“What’s her problem? Damn waitress just lost her tip-” James abruptly stopped upon peering over at Lindaas he noticed her attention was elsewhere. 

“Wow. First the waitress and now the very woman who rid me of the blues?” James joked. 

“Huh? Oh, I’m sorry. Do you see those?” Linda asked. 

“The Daisies?” James asked. 

“Yes, I… I don’t know, I have a thing for daisies. They always bring me to a special place, you know? I, uh, yeah, I love them,” Linda said, a slight smile forming on her face before the waitress began to alert the patrons of La Fin Soleil.

Chilling Chat Special: L. Marie Wood

chillingchat

L. Marie Wood is an award-winning dark fiction author, screenwriter, and poet with novels in the psychological horror, mystery, and dark romance genres. She won the Golden Stake Award for her novel The Promise Keeper. She is a MICO Award nominated screenwriter and has won Best Horror, Best Action, BestL. Marie Wood Afrofuturism/Horror/Sci-Fi, and Best Short Screenplay awards in both national and international film festivals. Wood’s short fiction has been published in groundbreaking works, including the Bram Stoker Award Finalist anthology, Sycorax’s Daughters and Slay: Stories of the Vampire Noire. Her academic writing has been published by Nightmare Magazine and the cross-curricular text, Conjuring Worlds: An Afrofuturist Textbook. She is the founder of the Speculative Fiction Academy, an English and Creative Writing professor, a horror scholar, an active member of the Horror Writers Association, a full member of the SFWA, and a frequent speaker in the genre convention space. 

NTK: Welcome to Chilling Chat, L. Marie! Thank you for chatting with us today.

LMW: Happy to be here!

NTK: How did you discover the horror genre?

LMW: Interestingly enough, I was 5 years old! I don’t know how I found horror. I think it found me—I think I have always been attracted to the darker side of things, the side that is just a little bit off. And that’s not to say that I’ve always been attracted to blood and guts—that’s actually not what I write or read for the most part. But the tilt on the landscape—the thing that is just a little wrong even though it is surrounded by what is considered “normal”… that kind of thing has always been my cup of tea even at such a young age!

NTK: You’re a big fan of psychological horror. Is that what inspires your writing?

LMW: That’s what I write and always have. Life inspires my writing. I have always seen things at a slant. That’s not to say that I can’t see them the way that most people do, but if I turn my head just a little, the dark side is always right there. It is interesting for me to look at that side, to study how it works, how it hides itself in reality and sometimes stories come from that.

NTK: You also write screenplays. What is the difference between writing a novel or short story and writing a screenplay?

LMW: Night and day! Novels and short stories give you the room to add exposition and descriptive language. Screenplays are visual—if you can’t see what is supposed to happen, neither can anyone else, so all of those moments of contemplation have to be reworked.

NTK: How do you rework those moments?

LMW: Often it requires trimming, but there can be re-wording to make something passive-active. There is a small section where you can direct an actor to do something specific and there is creatively crafting the story to get the actor to express what you are looking for or get the director to shoot a scene a certain way without saying, “Do it this way!” Good writing is needed—just a different kind of good.

NTK:  Recently, you started an online learning platform called Speculative Fiction Academy. What is this?

LMW: Yes!! SFA is my passion! it is an online academy dedicated to teaching people how to hone their craft. I like to call it the MFA program that didn’t exist when I was in school.

NTK: Is it just for writing and screenwriting?

LMW: We have classes that dive into speculative fiction whereas traditional programs focus on literary fiction. We have classes that talk about monsters and faes and the characters that one would encounter when worldbuilding. We talk podcasting, scriptwriting, worldbuilding, business, social media. We cover it all.

NTK:  And who teaches these courses?

LMW: We have classes that talk about how to properly reflect mental health in fiction, and it is taught by a practicing psychiatrist. We have to handle medical problems properly and it is taught by a general practitioner. We have award winners, publishers, academics, authors from multiple genres, filmmakers, podcasters—you name it. Pros teaching what they know to people who want to know.

NTK: Wow! How do Horror Addicts sign up for this?

LMW: Visit Speculative Fiction Academy and choose how you’d like to learn. We have three tiers to choose from. You can choose from individual courses a la carte, monthly memberships, or annual memberships. A la carte courses (which all of them can be) are individually priced. The best value is to get an annual membership and get a month free.

NTK: Of all your work, which is your favorite?

LMW: So, this may sound like a silly answer, but it is true. My favorite work is the one I am working on now—it is always the one I am working on. Because I am so pumped about it. It is exciting to watch the characters come together, to see them grow. I love every minute of writing a novel—even the moments when I don’t know what the heck I am going to do next!

NTK: Do you have a favorite character you’ve written?

LMW: I don’t know that I have a favorite character—just like with the movie question, I really love so many of them.

Angie from The Promise Keeper is so amazing to me—what she endures and how she reacts to what is happening—she floors me.

Patrick from The Realm—I just dig him all the way through the series. He is committed and flawed and so very human—I love it.

James from Crescendo—he’s so tormented and life doesn’t let up for him. I love watching how he reacts to things.

I love each of the mains in The Tryst (Mark, Eric, Nicole). They are so different yet so connected. They are amazing to watch in action and I really enjoy writing them.

Shaun in The Black Hole, Sara Sue in Mars, the Band Man, and Sara Sue…Chris in Telecommuting—I love this dude for his realness.

Honestly, I love them all (Laughs.)

NTK:  L. Marie, what does the future hold for you? What works and activities do Horror Addicts have to look forward to?

LMW: So much! Accursed, Book 3 of The Realm Trilogy will be coming out in October. My first mystery novel, Mars, the Band Man, and Sara Sue, will be out in November.

I have a really neat traditional (well, for the most part) project coming out with Falstaff in 2023. The first two books will come out in Feb.

Book 2 of the Affinity Series (the first of which is The Tryst that I mentioned a second ago) is coming out in February also—it is called Origins and wowza, I loved writing that one.

I have a few short stories and poems that are coming out in 2023—the ink on some of those contracts is still wet!

and…

My first film will be out soooooonnnn!

NTK: Ooh! What is this film?

LMW: it’s a short film and harkens back to the slasher genre and I am pumped about it. It is called 271 Raeburn Avenue. I loved being on set for this. Oh my gosh, it was an amazing experience. On top of all of271 Raeburn Avenue that, I will be speaking at a few conferences. Candyman and the Whole Damn Swarm and International Association for the Fantastic in the Arts.

NTK: What was it like to be on the set and see your creation come about?

LMW: Being on set was so surreal! Fixing lines mid-taping was flipping awesome—that was a dream come true. Overseeing the makeup, and sitting in on production meetings—just so awesome.

I am so amazed at the creativity that everyone brought to the table and that they were saying my lines…lines I wrote!

NTK:  Thank you for joining us today, L. Marie. By the way, congratulations on having your work archived in the University of Pittsburgh Library System.

LMW: Oh, thank you so much! I’m so excited about the archiving! It’s one of those things that you never think will happen for you. I am excited to be included—truly an honor.

HorrorAddicts.net 217, Loren Rhoads, Cemetery

217FinaleHorror Addicts Episode #217 | SEASON 17, Season Finale
Horror Hostess: Emerian Rich & H.E. Roulo
Intro Music by: Valentine Wolfe

217 | Loren Rhoads | Death’s Garden Revisited | Robbie Quine | Cemeteries

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

16 days till Halloween

#HalloweenChat

Theme: #Cemeteries

#JimmyHendrix #cemetery #

Music: “Mummified” #RobbieQuine

https://veglam.com/2022/07/25/robbie-quine-glitter-hole

Drinking word: Cemetery or Cemeteries

Craft: Pop-Up Tombstone Greeting Card

Catchup: Run down of missing people on the finale: Ro, Cam, Ari. #FavoriteHalloweenActivity #Pumpkins #DecorateHalloween #Spiders #Tombstones #CaramelApples #BakedApples #FairTreats 

13:30

Historian of Horror: #MarkOrr #Nessie #LochNess

Craft: Making the card

17:00

BEST BAND ANNOUNCED!

Dead Mail: #HorrorFan

MARTIN: #QuirkyMuseums #AddamsFamilyOdditiesMuseum

https://youtu.be/Ecua0Icj1qo

TIMOTHY: #InterviewTVSeries #AnneRice #vampires #FeastofallSaints #LouisLestat #

GEORGIA: #WritingAdvice #

Season 12 is all about writing! Check out the episodes here: 

https://horroraddicts.wordpress.com/2021/02/22/how-con-writers-learn-what-the-nghw-challengers-learned/

Write in re: ideas, questions, opinions, horror cartoons, favorite movies, etc… Also, send show theme ideas!

horroraddicts@gmail.com

30:13

BEST IN BLOOD ANNOUNCED!

https://lmariewood.com

41:15

Craft: Making the tombstone.

44:29

New Movie List! 

51:42

Nightmare Fuel: #DJPitsiladis #ByeByeMan #UrbanLegend

53:52
NEWS: 

#Krate #TheNeedle

#ManorofFrights #SubmissionCall

https://horroraddicts.wordpress.com/2022/06/29/submission-call-manor-of-frights/

#JesseOrr #ShadowsLove

#MarkOrr #TistehSeasontobeHorrid

#LionelRayGreen #Bigfoot #TheWoodsmen

#CrystalConnor #ExorcismofGod

#Renata #LiterallyDead #GabyTriana

#RussellHolbrook #HorrorAddictsLament

#Interviews #PaulDeBlassieIII #GwendolynNix

#FromtheVault CemeteryBells #JonOBergh

#Events 

#SinisterCreatureCon #Sacarmento Oct 22

https://www.sinistercreaturecon.com/

#NevadaCity #MinersFoundry Nov 5th

https://www.themenagerieodditiesmarket.com/

November 25-27 E.M. Markoff and L.S. Johnson will be at Fan Expo San Francisco

https://fanexpohq.com/fanexposanfrancisco/

BayCon Jun-July 2023

Http://www.baycon.org

57:41
Craft: Putting the tombstone in the card.

1:00:00

Feat Author: #ChillingChat #NachingTKassa

#LorenRhoads #DeathsGardenRevisited 

#Cemeteries #PersonalRelationships #Death #Burial #FamousDeath #FamousBurials

#CemeteryPerspectives #

http://www.CemeteryTravel.com

http://www.LorenRhoads.com

Death’s Garden Revisited https://www.blurb.com/b/11281469-death-s-garden-revisited

Cemtery Songs https://open.spotify.com/playlist/6nn6JH4533x55efCpmjblk?si=7998eed0125f4801

Readings from the book by:

1:20:06 #EmerianRich #StStephens

1:22:34 #Francesca Maria #MountainviewOakland

1:24:59 #Brian Thomas #HotelResurrection

1:27:45  #EMMarkoff #SnowPrague

H.E. Roulo 

http://heatherroulo.com

————————————-

h o s t e s s

Emerian Rich

b l o g  e d i t o r

Kate Nox

r e v i e w  c o o r d i n a t o r 

Daphne Strasert

s t a f f

Naching T. Kassa, Jesse Orr, Lionel Green, Kieran Judge, Crystal Connor, Nightshade, R.L. Merrill, Mark Orr, DJ Pitsiladis, Russell Holbrook, Renata Pavrey, CM “Spookas” Lucas, JS O’Connor
————————————-

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

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Chilling Chat: Episode #217 – Loren Rhoads

chillingchat

Loren Rhoads served as editor for Bram Stoker Award-nominated Morbid Curiosity magazine as well as the books The Haunted Mansion Project: Year Two, Death’s Garden:Rhoads Headshots 9-18 FINAL-1782 Relationship with Cemeteries, Death’s Garden Revisited, and Morbid Curiosity Cures the Blues: True Tales of the Unsavory, Unwise, Unorthodox, and Unusual. Her short stories have appeared in the books Best New Horror #27, Strange California, Sins of the Sirens: Fourteen Tales of Dark Desire, Fright Mare: Women Write Horror, and most recently in the magazines Weirdbook, Occult Detective Quarterly, and Space & Time. 

NTK: How old were you when you first discovered horror?

LR: I remember catching a glimpse of Barnabas Collins climbing out of his coffin when I was four. I didn’t know what I was seeing at the time, but the music was so deliciously creepy! I was definitely marked for life.

NTK: Is Dark Shadows your favorite horror TV show? What is your favorite?

LR: Wow, it’s hard to choose a favorite. I loved Dark Shadows, Kolchak, and the monster of the week episodes of The X-Files. Now I’m loving Legion, which might not seem like horror, because the main character/villain is presented to be so charming. He’s really quite terrifying.

NTK: Do you prefer villains or heroes?

LR: I prefer characters who wander from one side of the equation to the other.

NTK: What do you think makes a character believable?

LR: Self-doubt.

NTK: When you write characters, do they have free will? Or are their actions predetermined?

LR: They definitely have minds of their own. I generally write to find out what I think, rather than the other way around, so I just wind my characters up and watch them go.

NTK: What is your favorite horror novel?

LR: The one I’ve read the most is Dracula. I find something new in it every time I read it. Other than that, my second favorite changes from day to day.

NTK: Do you have a favorite horror film?

LR: Alien. The first one. I still find it scary.

NTK: Is it the fear factor, or the fact that people are pulling together to fight a greater evil that attracts you to the story?

LR: I like watching Ripley, who is marginalized and ignored, turn out to be right. She knows what the protocol is supposed to be, but the more-emotional men overrule her and get killed for it. Watching Ripley, who has discounted herself, realize that she’s resourceful enough to survive is amazing. And the monster still haunts my nightmares all these years later.

NTK: You are a well-known cemetery aficionado and I have been dying to ask you this question, have you ever been to Colma, CA?

LR: Oh so many times!

NTK: What’s it like?

LR: The absolute best. There are 17 cemeteries in town, one right beside the next. They range from Japanese to Chinese to Italian (full of sculpture) to Jewish to Catholic to a former Masonic cemetery to a former potter’s field. There’s even a pet cemetery!

They say 1 million people are buried in Colma but there are only 1,000 live ones.

Wyatt Earp is buried there, and Levi Strauss, and Emperor Norton (the only Emperor of North America and Protector of Mexico). It’s lovely and sad and full of treasures.

I don’t know if you know the history of the graveyards of San Francisco, but in the early 20th century, all of them were dug up and the bodies hauled to Colma. There are several huge mass graves down there. Even so, people keep finding bodies that were missed somehow and weren’t moved.

Several years ago, a woman doing yard work found an iron coffin with a little girl in it, still perfectly preserved, and visible through a glass window into the coffin.

NTK: What inspired you to edit the anthology, Death’s Garden Revisited

LR:  I wanted to assemble a book that illuminated all the reasons people visit cemeteries. Once I started asking people to tell me about the cemeteries they have a relationship with, stories started flooding in. I am really proud of how this book turned out.

NTK: What authors are included in the anthology?

LR: Contributors include horror authors A. M. Muffaz, Angela Yuriko Smith, Christine Sutton, Denise N. Tapscott, E.M. Markoff, Emerian Rich, Frances Lu-Pai Ippolito, Francesca Maria, Greg Roensch, Mary Rajotte, Melodie Bolt, Priscilla Bettis, Rain Graves, Rena Mason, Robert Holt, R.L. Merrill, Saraliza Anzaldua, Stephen Mark Rainey, and Trish Wilson – and then there are all the others who don’t write horror. There are 40 authors in all.

NTK: How many cemeteries have you visited since you first became interested in them? 

LR: At a guess, hundreds. One of these days, I’m going to have to sit down and count them all. On one of my favorite vacations, my husband and I went to 18 graveyards between Boston and Gettysburg in a little more than a week.

NTK: How many cemeteries outside of the U.S.?

LR: I just made a quick list and I’m sure I’m forgetting things, but 51 so far. That includes the thirteen burial grounds I counted in Italy–which is the most I’ve visited in one country outside the US–but in Italy, there are people buried in every church, so I’m sure that doesn’t include every grave I saw there. I’ve been to cemeteries in England, France, Spain, Italy, Greece, and the Czech Republic, as well as in Singapore and Japan. Clearly, there are a lot of countries left to see!

NTK: Have you ever experienced anything strange or paranormal when you visited a cemetery?

LR: I’ve never seen a ghost, but I’ve had spooky things happen. I was on a ghost hunt in a cemetery in Oakland when I felt a weird, cold sensation in the back of my neck. Turns out, I was standing over a fallen headstone that had been covered with sod. Even the docent didn’t know it was there!

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

LR: I’m so glad you asked that! I’m finishing up a book called Still Wish You Were Here, which is a sequel to my first cemetery memoir. It is a collection of my own cemetery essays, stuff that was published in Gothic.Net, Gothic Beauty, Morbid Curiosity magazine, and a bunch of other places. After that, I’m thinking about getting back to my novel The Death of Memory. So many books, so little time!

NTK: Thank you for chatting with me, Loren!

LR: Thank you so much, Naching!

Addicts, you can find Loren on Facebook, Twitter, and at Cemetery Travel.

Author Interview: Gwendolyn N. Nix

What is your name and what are you known for? 

My name is Gwendolyn N. Nix. I’m known for my science fiction and fantasy writing, particularly my new release, I Have Asked To Be Where No Storms Come, which is a weird west horror likened to Clive Barker’s Imagica and Stephen King’s The Dark Tower series. I’m also an editor with Aconyte Books where we create world-expanding fiction, notably for Marvel, Ubisoft, and Arkham Horror – to name but a few! 

Tell us about one of your works and why we should read it.

I Have Asked To Be Where No Storms Come is a weird west dark fantasy horror about fate versus freedom, about no-good brothers, and what it means to sacrifice all you have for power and love. When a demon bounty hunter comes calling, Domino, a witch surviving in the depths of Hell, pairs up with his mother, who died too young and carries the witch lineage in her veins, to survive. Soon the two of them are Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid running from whatever torture awaits them and whoever wants to harvest their magic. At the same time, Domino discovers his brother, Wicasah, has concocted an ill-fated deal with an ancient being of lightning and thunder that will take both his sanity and soul.

 

Overall, I consider my work to slipstream in a way, borrowing pieces across genres and melding them into one big story. I Have Asked To Be Where No Storms Come is an amalgamation of horror, alternative history, dark fantasy, and weird western, which can really cause havoc when trying to pin down where it exactly fits on the shelf… and to me, that is some of the best kind of fiction out there. The best example of what this book comes from a fellow reviewer, “like Stephen King and Cormac McCarthy teaming up to reboot Dante’s Inferno as a Western.” However, it also brings that wide-sweeping epic feeling with prose that will stir the heart and is rooted in Americana horror where demons are cowboys and the landscape has a revenge of its own to enact on those who have abused it. All of that ticks off boxes that draw me to certain books and stories and I hope it will do the same for you.

`What places or things inspire your writing?

I consider myself a magpie writer. I take my inspiration aka “shinies” from everywhere – conversations I’ve privy to, lore and culture, traveling, and exploring the natural world. This novel was heavily inspired by the national parks that I’ve visited and the old stories associated with them, in particular, the Badlands in the Dakotas, alongside the flat plains and dinosaur history native to my home state. I’m heavily inspired by experience and require getting out and experiencing the world to create my unique settings and characters. I hoard these “shinies” and soon enough, the pile of inspiration grows so large that I have to excavate them to make space for the new… resulting in a genre-bending novel. I love exploring historical sites, but sometimes the natural world is the best source of inspiration, overall.

What music do you listen to while creating?

Crafting a playlist about the novel I’m writing is, in itself, a work in progress. It usually starts with a song that has one line of lyrics that catapults my imagination into a new realm. Genre-wise, it can be anything, but I tend to generate mood music, symphonic/orchestra pieces around it. Right now, I’m heavily inspired by The Amazing Devil and have something in the works while listening to that. While I was writing I Have Asked To Be Where No Storms Come, I had a lot of Southern Gothic music playing in the background – Delta Rae, The Brothers Bright, The Civil Wars, a lil’ Johnny Cash.

What is your favorite horror aesthetic? 

I love creeping horror, cosmic horror, weird horror, and folklore horror. Essentially, I look for that creeping dread and unusual twisting of the known that only the absolute unknown can create. I love monsters emerging from the woodwork that stalk their prey, perhaps opening up an entrance into a cosmic otherworld. I really enjoy historical horror, too – I’d love to read a book about pilgrims landing in a strange, unknown world that’s full of horrific things.

Who is your favorite horror icon?

I have a great love of Ash Williams from the Evil Dead franchise. He’s raunchy and weird and just totally oblivious, but he exudes this confidence that somehow lets him slay Deadites in a bumbling hilarious way. I also love The Gentlemen from The Buffy Vampire Hunter episode “Hush.” Such a unique way to present a monster to the audience and the exact type of creeping monsters that intrigue me.

What was the scariest thing you’ve witnessed?

The scariest thing I’ve witnessed happened while I was in Belize conducting shark conservation research. I had an afternoon off and took a swim in the bright blue ocean waters. While I was there, I noticed a barracuda swimming close, but paid it no mind. However, I soon noticed it was swimming closer and closer. I raised a fist – as if a punch would stop the snaggle-toothed fish – when I soon realized I was surrounded by a whole school of barracuda, all of them slowly making a tight circle around me. I swam for the dock and got out of the water as soon as I could, but that hunted feeling was terrifying. 

If invited to dinner with your favorite (living or dead) horror creator, who would it be and what would you bring?

This one is difficult! I’d love to have dinner with Mary Shelley and ask her to take me on a graveyard walk where I’d bring pencil and paper and make gravestone markings for fun. I’d want to know everything she had going on in her head and future stories that she was mulling over. I’d want to ask her about genre and understand the intimate details of her work and imagination. 

Realistically, I desperately want to meet Jonathan Sims! He’s part of The Rusty Quill, which created one of my favorite podcasts of all time, The Magnus Archives. 

What’s a horror gem you think most horror addicts don’t know about? (book, movie, musician?)

An amazing horror gem I don’t hear about enough is this wonderful indie film called Pontypool, which has a unique take on zombie media. It’s black and white and takes place at a radio station in winter. The reveal is so unique and there is a hidden ending that makes you rethink the meaning of language.

Have you ever been haunted or seen a ghost?

Not too long ago I would’ve said no! I’ve always considered myself a supernatural dead zone. However, while I was on a ghost hunt in Butte, Montana, we were exploring an old tin shop that had also a house of ill repute in the 1800s. And, while I was upstairs listening to our guide, I heard someone climbing the stairs with what sounded like steel-toe boots with spurs. Of course, there was no one there as we were the only tour that night! And, my friend heard it too, so I knew it wasn’t part of my imagination.

What are some books that you feel should be in the library of every horror addict?

Ooo this is a good question. I like my horror with a good dose of fantasy or science fiction. Some of my cherished books are The Fisherman by John Langan, The Only Good Indians by Stephen Graham Jones, Bunny by Mona Awad, and House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski. However, I really love supporting short story outlets and have found some of my favorite scary stories within their pages. These stories are both inspirational, shooting for what I want to create with my own work, and they also give me chills! Check out “Bride Before You” by Stephanie Malia Morris and “Leviathan Sings To Me in the Deep” by Nibedita Sen.

What are you working on now? 

Currently, I’m working on the third and final installment in my Celestial Scripts series. But because I have way too many ideas and not enough time, I’m also writing a standalone book about a city made from the bones of a dead god of magic.

Where can readers find your work? (URL #1 place for them to go.)

You can find my work anywhere online, but check out my website for direct links to my books, ongoing projects, book reviews, and general thoughts and musings on writing: https://gwendolynnix.com/books-projects/

 

Live Action Reviews! by Crystal Connor: The Exorcism Of God

 

Plotline: An American priest working in Mexico is possessed during an exorcism and ends up committing a terrible act. Eighteen years later, the consequences of his sin come back to haunt him, unleashing the greatest battle within.

Who would like it: Fans of Paranormal Activity franchises and those who loved The Taken of Deborah Logan

High Points: This movie didn’t do it for me at all.

Complaints: There are so many, this priest should have NOT been in charge of a parish and he wasn’t strong enough to do what needed to be done.

Overall: Really good concept but they just didn’t pull it off.

Stars: 2.5

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

THE BIGFOOT FILES/Chapter Fifty: The Woodsmen 

The Woodsmen is a Kickstarter-funded Bigfoot short film set in Slender Valley where several people have gone missing in the forest. Released in 2018 by Vantage Point Media House and Five Year Plan, The Woodsmen is better than a lot of the feature-length Bigfoot films that I’ve watched because the actual Sasquatch gets more screen time than other movies with runtimes four to five times longer. 

The Bigfoot suit used in The Woodsmen.

I wish more Bigfoot movies were short films, especially if the budget is not there for top-notch makeup effects. I don’t like watching a 90-minute feature and only seeing Bigfoot for less than a minute. Makers of The Woodsmen invested enough of its budget into creating a decent Bigfoot suit and then delivered an old-school creature feature in 20 minutes. It seems like an effective formula to me. 

Anyway, The Woodsmen begins on day seven of a search for the latest missing hiker. Leading the search are Park Ranger Sherman and Deputy Ranger Lewis. Sherman is an awkward nerd who has the top job because his father is the sheriff. Lewis is his female second-in-command who’s bitter about the nepotism. 

The Woodsmen spends most of the search with a young couple who stumble across the camp of an intense Bigfoot conspiracy hunter. Unfortunately, Bigfoot finds the camp, too, and the last five minutes of the film are packed with Sasquatch aplenty. Once the action starts, it never lets up and ends with a twist and a brief epilogue that signals a potential sequel. 

One of the directors, Victor Cooper, is the man inside the Bigfoot suit. Designed by Yoshi Aoki and created by The Butcher Shop FX Studio, the Bigfoot suit looks like its design is based on a gorilla. The creature is menacing enough thanks to the angry intensity in its eyes, sharp teeth, and sharper claws. 

For a super low-budget independent film, The Woodsmen is a solid collaborative effort from Victor Cooper, Jodi Cooper, and Rob Howsam boosted by the pulsating musical score of Felipe Téllez. The Woodsmen has nearly 500,000 views via Five Year Plan on YouTube, where you can watch it for free.

https://youtu.be/SErmFKFkges

NEXT UP: Chapter 51: Boggy Creek: The Series. I review the 2019 Bigfoot horror series.


RELATED LINKS

THE BIGFOOT FILES

Literally Dead: Tales of Halloween Hauntings by Gaby Triana

Review by staff writer and book blogger Renata Pavrey

Literally Dead is the first book in the holiday hauntings series, set around Halloween. Nineteen horror writers come together to create a collection of spooky tales for the Halloween season. There are stories about haunted dresses and shady bookstores, real-life monsters and costumed creatures, murder victims and ghostly insects, soldiers of war, and civilians affected by war. There are monsters in refrigerators, serial killers disguised as ghosts; suspicious postcards, and corn fields that harbour more than corn. We read about scavenger hunts to collect ghosts, and ghosts that teach us how to get rid of ghosts; physical entities, and demons of the mind. The crew of esteemed authors in the horror genre brings to us an assortment of stories under the theme of hauntings.

With such a narrow theme, I wondered what new ideas the writers would present for Halloween. But each one is outstanding in its own way. The collection covers a range of subjects from war to folklore, including genres of crime and contemporary fiction, with tones ranging from humor to out-and-out horror. Literally Dead brings together common Halloween tropes of haunted houses and spirits to beware of, costumes and candy, and memories associated with October 31st that have nothing to do with Halloween, and presents these well-worn concepts into a rich anthology of holiday horrors. I loved the touch of Chinese, Ukrainian and Welsh folklore and customs associated with Halloween, contemporary social issues and significant historic moments, nostalgia, and beauty associated with a season of darkness.

Some of my favorites were The Ghost Cricket by Lee Murray (a touch of Chinese folklore with a noisy cricket that refuses to be quiet even in death), The Ghost Lake Mermaid by Alethea Kontis (the ghosts of murder victims discuss racism and the law when the color of your skin decides if your corpse gets justice), Ghosts of Enerhodar by Henry Herz (the ghosts of Ukrainian folklore feature against the backdrop of the Russia-Ukraine war), Halloween at the Babylon by Lisa Morton (a theatre patron tries to prevent other guests from becoming ghosts like herself), Ghosts of Candies Past by Jeff Strand (a quirky, sugary fest of long-eaten Halloween treats that return to haunt), Soul Cakes by Catherine McCarthy (the living and dead collide at a special time of the year, under the veil of Welsh folklore), Always October by Jeremy Megargee (about a ghost hunter on the lookout for her replacement).

Editor Gaby Triana has done a fabulous job in curating this anthology. A wonderful collection for the spooky season that keeps the reader wanting to read more. It feels like nineteen stories aren’t enough and thirty-one would have been just right – one for each day of the Halloween month. The cover has an old-fashioned vibe with costumed trick-or-treaters and pumpkin baskets, and I love how the book emphasizes the nostalgic aspect of Halloween. There’s a brilliant piece by the cover artist that makes for an equally good read, like the rest of the stories.

Some quotes:

-He didn’t believe in ghosts and haunted houses. Maybe they believed in him.

-You weren’t supposed to run up the stairs of a house that was disproving your assertion that it was not haunted.

-Thoughts crash into my head now; everything falls into place, a well-ordered avalanche.

-An old ghost once told me that if my story faded, I would fade with it.

-The ghostly insect set up a mournful song, the wistful notes as pure and sharp as a mountain stream.

-Are you running from ghosts, or are they running from you?

-Even death couldn’t tame her – if anything, it only seemed to make her more defiant.

-This tradition isn’t to appease her ghost. It’s to keep the ghost in her place.

-Alex had always been a ghost. Long before he died.

-I’d counted twenty-five casseroles. I wondered if they were some kind of charm or talisman. Bringing something not just to feed the grieving family, but to appease the ghosts.

My rating – 5/5

Historian of Horror : ‘Tis the Season to be Horrid!

I know, I know, in my last missive I tantalized the populace with the prospect of an examination of the stellar, if flawed career of legendary British anthologist Peter Haining for this edition, but some new information has become available but not yet acquired. That posting must needs go onto the back burner for the nonce. Fear not, my faithful fiends, it will be forthcoming. For now, as Halloween is rapidly approaching, something more in keeping with the season seemed appropriate to take its place.

Holiday episodes of popular TV programs are a common occurrence, and indeed were even in the days when the dominant home medium was radio. After some research I have identified what appears to be the very first Halloween-related broadcast on what was in 1952 the new medium of American television: the fifth episode of the first season of The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet.

Ozzie Nelson was a big band leader in the 1930s who married his lead singer, Harriet Hilliard before they moved from the ballroom stage to the airwaves as regulars on Red Skelton’s radio show, The Raleigh Cigarette Program. Along the way, the couple found time to spawn a pair of sons, David (1936-2011) and Eric Hilliard, born in 1940 and known to family, friends and fans alike as Ricky. In 1944, Ozzie had enough clout to start his own radio show, The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet, starring himself and his better half as themselves with actors portraying their offspring. It was a typical sitcom of the time and medium, and was quite successful. Halfway through its ten-year run, the Nelson boys were deemed old enough to play themselves, and so mote it was. 

By 1952, television had been around long enough to warrant its own versions of many popular shows from the old medium, including the Nelson family’s. That program lasted fourteen seasons, for reasons that, honestly, I do not understand. Even more so after watching the TV broadcast of October 31, 1952, “The Halloween Party”.

I have no recollection of ever watching The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet during its run from 1952 to 1966, the reason probably being that my father, who exercised a sort of benevolent dictatorship over the family viewing on the one set we owned at the time, found it so monumentally boring that he refused to allow it to be seen in our house. As he was fond of saying, it offended by its blandness.

For so it is. Feel free to watch that episode with its aimless depiction of Ozzie’s utter ineptness at planning and executing a Halloween party for the neighborhood adults. I don’t recommend it, except as a rather curious historical artifact.

Instead, may I direct your attention to the radio broadcast of exactly four years earlier, October 31, 1948, “Haunted House”. Rather than engaging in banal pursuits into contrived incompetence, Ozzie spends his half-hour air time playing around with the idea of investigating a supposedly haunted house in the neighborhood, with some fairly amusing results. It had an energy to it that the television show lacked for its entire run, as far as I’ve been able to ascertain from the few times I’ve been able to bring myself to watch the odd episode or two. As with so many programs that made the transition, it was better heard but not seen. 

Despite that, it lasted long enough for younger son Ricky to join the trend of juvenile television stars making the move into music. Following the collapse of the first generation of rock ‘n’ rollers by 1959, including the deaths of Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and J.P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson in a plane crash that February, Ricky and his peers filled the airwaves with a more adult-acceptable version of the genre, one that had its rough edges carefully excised. Ricky was more successful than most, but his fame petered out by the time Motown and the British Invasion reshaped popular music for the better a few years later.

He did make a comeback fueled by nostalgia in the 1970s, but himself died in a plane crash in 1985. Ozzie passed in 1975, and Harriet in 1994. The couple’s one genre-related TV performance was in the seventh episode of the third season of Rod Serling’s Night Gallery in a tale called “You Can Come Up Now, Mrs. Millikan”, which aired on November 12, 1972. Ricky appeared in the fifth episode of Tales of the Unexpected on March 9, 1977, in a story entitled “A Hand for Sonny Blue”. 

A minimal contribution to the genre, admittedly, but an historic one. Being first does count for something.

And so, until next we meet, I bid you, as always…

Be afraid.

Be very afraid.

Author Interview : Paul DeBlassie III

What is your name and what are you known for? Paul DeBlassie III, Ph.D., psychologist/writer of metaphysical thrillers to pop off the top on the head with trickster mischief and magic and spinning out this interview for HorrorAddicts.net – great to be with u!

Tell us about one of your works and why we should read it. I’ll go with my latest metaphysical head spinner – Goddess of Everything. Be careful! Folks/readers/reviewers have said it has triggers aplenty, a psychic dynamic I think is a bad/good thing since badness looms large so we can better see what’s behind it, a catch-you-by-surprise, mind-blowing reality. It’s a really decent story – 100 4.5-star Goodread reviews!

What places or things inspire your writing? I’m totally into New Mexico, my homeland with ancestral DNA going back 1000 years. So, plenty of mystery, magic, religion, witchcraft, and horror are floating through the ether sphere. It births the stuff infused in my three horror novels: The Unholy, Goddess of the Wild Thing, and Goddess of Everything.

What music do you listen to while creating? John Lee Hooker is my man for all things conjuring and mystic making, the beat and rhythm and drone of the tunes setting me into a headspace that drives my supernatural narratives into weird dimensions.

What is your favorite horror aesthetic? Well, gotta admit it’s the supernatural thriller razzmatazz that sets my psychic fires going, the works of King, Blackwood, and Lovecraft are major sources of literary fuel.

Who is your favorite horror icon? Without a doubt, no way anyone else compares to the touch, mystery, and metaphysical intrigue of Algernon Blackwood, a true pioneer, and eternal spirit in the world of supernatural storytelling.

What was the scariest thing you’ve witnessed? Oooooh….I’m a clinical depth psychologist who treats the transpersonal unconscious mind, so there’s a storehouse of scary, spinetingling, and horrifying experiences I’ve gone through in forty years of psychotherapy practice I bring to the phenomenological collage painted onto the pages of my novels – wicked archbishops unwittingly or deliberately employing dark magic to access power, patients who willfully have engaged the spirit world for egoic purposes that inevitably scar the mind and generate frightening encounters with the dark side of the Great Unseen. And then there comes to mind the time I permitted a personal lapse of consciousness: I entered a haunted home I shouldn’t have gone into. A spirit attached itself to my shoulder and followed me home – had to do a bit of an exorcism to banish that foul presence – ugh! So, I once heard Stephen King say on a podcast interview, he’d never had experiences with the supernatural; but, for me, it’s quite the opposite. Supernatural occurrences manifest regularly in my life and generate enormous psychic oomph for my novels.

If invited to dinner with your favorite (living or dead) horror creator, who would it be and what would you bring? I wouldn’t go. It’s like Gabriel Garcia Marquez said when asked what he’d do if while walking on the streets of Mexico City, he saw Hemmingway on the other side of the road. Would he cross over and introduce himself and meet the famous man? He said no. He wouldn’t want to confuse the man with the work. Besides, those who’ve passed on – Blackwood and Algernon – hover in my study, whispering plot points and wicked ideas as I write. So, you don’t need dinner when there’s ready access to the ever-present reality of the Unseen World.

What’s a horror gem you think most horror addicts don’t know about? (book, movie, musician?) My surrealist artist wife, Kate, and I are finishing Dark on Netflix, a multi-layered horror flick that dips into alternate realities, choices, and fate. It’s mystifying, mind-bending, and a gem in the horror genre.

Have you ever been haunted or seen a ghost? Oh yeah! We all have been. Sometimes we allow our psychic eyes to open to the fact, and sometimes we don’t. Maybe we don’t want to see into the mystic, fearing what’s there. Depth psychology says shifts of mood and energy indicate psychic triggering of the spirit world, ghosts called forth. Sometimes you see them through the corner of your eyes, or they manifest as a startling mental image (S. King expertly taps into this phenomenon). At times, they work behind the scenes via synchronous events or scary happenings like thinking evil thoughts about someone you’ve held bitterness against and a bird splatters against your car windshield while driving. Ghosts can be bloody!

What are some books that you feel should be in the library of every horror addict? Select volumes of Stephen King (what’s stayed with you over time), and all of Black and Lovecraft. Then, on the contemporary scene, there are so many good writers, I’d say go with and keep on your virtual or literal shelf whatever has had soul nourishment and you feel drawn to pick up again and again over time, open at random, and discover new little supernatural jewels. I just finished, The Exorcist’s House by Nick Roberts. Well done!

What are you working on now? I’ve got Seer: The Case of the Man Who Lost His Soul sizzling on my literary cast iron griddle. You can lose your soul. It’s a tough and scary world that a person trips into when they’ve traded the soul, thinking they can simply get it back by reforming their evil ways, making resolutions, or getting religion. Hah! Not so, my friend, not so. Seerdelves into the phenomenon of evil set against the reality of natural magic and how it plays out with Dr. Ernesto de la Tierra and an arrogant, wealthy patient. They thought playing with dark metaphysical realities was no big thing. Surprise . . . there are no small things with little consequences when it comes to toying with the supernatural.

Where can readers find your work?  I’m a one-stop shopper for all things metaphysical, supernatural, and horrifying – Amazon Author Page: https://amzn.to/3GCBuNL

Shadows Love: Retribution

Lastor hit the ground, hugging the darkest part of the darkest shadows. The community was being lit with what looked like fireflies in lanterns hung from poles, casting a cool pulsating glow for about five feet. Avoiding everyone, he edged around a building. Just as the mansion came in to view, a voice behind him whispered “I wouldn’t do that if I were you.”

Lastor jumped. The messenger was standing behind him, looking annoyed. “Look,” he said,” if you prefer to be alone, speak now and I will leave you to your own devices. Or, IF you prefer, I can assist you in making the community play into our hands.”

“Then hurry up,” Lastor snarled, his fangs showing. “I want this over with. Yesterday.”

“The mansion has a number of Pinions guarding it. I will distract the Pinions guarding the front door. You will enter, and should not encounter any resistance. Most of the residents are Above now, during the darkness on the surface. The competition is tomorrow, and they must acquire their subjects. You will be able to sense her once you are inside. Get to her quickly. My brother is a coward and will have several protecting him as he attempts to break down your wife’s resistance. You must kill them as well.”

“Gladly.” Lastor’s face split into the nightmare of a smile. 

The messenger loped off toward the Pinions Lastor could now see blocking the door. There was silence. Then yelling and crashing and the Pinions sped off.

Lastor darted across the roadway and was through the door of the council hall in a trice. Just as the messenger said, there was no one there. He concentrated, locking on to Audrey’s aura, blocking all else. He could feel her, so tantalizingly near. He followed her through the council building and in to one of the hallways of the mansion. There was a door ajar, leading to a set of stairs going down further into the earth.

Lastor quietly stepped down several stairs. The stairway was narrow, enough for him to feel buried alive. Quietly he descended the last steps, blood pounding in his ears. He peered around the corner.

Audrey was chained to the rear bars of a cage set against the rear wall. The cage was small, with barely enough room to stand. A small vampire stood before the cage, chains, spikes, leather cuffs and rings adorning his wrists and fingers. His hair hung in his eyes, which he kept brushing back, only to fall into his eyes again. He was flanked by two bodyguards who looked as if they had come from Above. Exactly like bouncers outside nightclubs, so these stood, mountains of muscle and sinew. Only their dark eyes and unnaturally pale countenances belied their inhumanity.

The three had their backs turned, facing the cage. The brat was inside with the door open, taunting Audrey as she hung from the bars, slim wrists bitten by the harsh chain they were bound with. She looked back at the brat defiantly, no fear in her eyes. Suddenly, she raised her head and looked directly at Lastor.

It was as if someone punched Lastor in the stomach and applied a vice to his heart. The shock in her eyes was quickly replaced by fear as all three heads turned, following her eyes to face him. There was a pregnant pause where the four regarded each other. The bodyguards looked uncertainly at the brat, waiting for orders.

The brat stepped forward, peering at Lastor insolently. “Who the fuck are you?”

Lastor’s voice was like ice. “That’s my wife you have chained up there.”

The brat’s eyes widened in horror. He opened his mouth to shout and Lastor leapt forward, striking him hard in the chest, sending him flying into the wall and crashing to the floor, sobbing for breath as a little blood trickled from the corner of his mouth.

The bodyguard on the left lunged at Lastor, who hit him with a kick to the side of his face, breaking the guard’s jaw and rendering him senseless before the rebound carried his head into the wall. The other guard clenched a fist and swung, catching Lastor in the side of the head and sending him flying into the wall. The guard stomped over and lifted Lastor by the throat, leaving his feet dangling as he slammed Lastor into the wall again and again. He clawed desperately at the guard’s hands, feeling himself starting to black out. In the corner he could hear Audrey weeping softly.

Blindly, Lastor’s hands followed the guard’s beefy arms to his shoulders and up to reach his eyes. The guard screamed as his corneas were shredded, and the retinas ruptured, spilling out onto his face. The guard dropped him and fell to the ground, huddling in the fetal position with his hands over his bloody face, agonized screams echoing off the rock. His hands found his deflated eyes resting on his cheek and screamed louder. 

Massaging his own neck, Lastor placed a foot on the guard’s neck and hopped, letting his full weight bear down. There was a wet crunching sound, and the guard’s screams stopped.

Wiping his hands disdainfully on the guard’s clothing, Lastor turned to Audrey. Tears streamed down her face as she looked at him pleadingly. Lastor could almost hear her crying for him inside his head. He walked toward her slowly, his eyes penetrating her, staring deeply inside her soul.

He reached her and stopped. She was trembling. Slowly he raised a hand to caress her face, his fingers drinking in the touch of her skin. She tilted her head a little, still pleadingly staring at him, her eyes speaking a thousand words. As if in answer to her unspoken request, he leaned in and kissed her. 

TO BE CONTINUED

Ep 217 Nightmare Fuel: The Bye Bye Man

nightmarefuel

bye bye manHello Addicts,

In 2017, a movie came out that introduced us to the entity known as the Bye Bye Man. It was an introduction to a boogeyman who hunted you just for thinking his name. Rather than offer a review of the movie, this week’s Nightmare Fuel looks at the legend of the Bye Bye Man.

The Bye Bye Man’s first appearance was in a short story by Robert Damon Schneck titled “The Bridge to Body Island”. The legend begins in an orphanage in the 1920s with a blind albino boy constantly teased by the other children. He attempts to run away several times, only for his plans to fail each time. Eventually, he escapes by stabbing one of his caretakers with a pair of scissors. After that, the young man lives a life on the railroad hopping on trains and killing at each stop. In need of companionship, he creates a dog with pieces of his victims, mostly eyes and tongues, who he names Gloomsinger. When the Bye Bye man feels someone talking or even thinking about him, he uses Gloomsinger to track them down. Once this creepy canine finds its quarry, he lets out a shrill whistle to alert his master, who then kills them.

The Bye Bye Man’s description is of a pale white skinned man with long hair wearing black glasses, a wide-brimmed hat, and a pea coat. There is a tattoo on his right wrist and carries a sack around with him. Inside this Sack of Gore are more pieces of his victims, which he uses to replenish a constantly decaying Gloomsinger. His preferred killing locations are along the railways, but he has wandered to people’s homes and used tricks to get them to open the door. This includes voice mimicry of someone you know. Make no mistake, once you open that door, you are his next victim.

Could this just be an elaborate story to scare people? Certainly. Can it be true? Possibly. The only way to know for sure is to think of or talk about the Bye Bye Man and listen for the whistle.

Until next time, Addicts.

D.J.

Logbook of Terror : Horror Addict’s Lament

 Mark sat in the breakfast nook, his steaming cup of coffee untouched, staring out at the myriad of ghosts, ghouls, and goblins that adorned his front yard. The day after Halloween was always a difficult time for him, and this year, with his wife having passed on just one week prior, he felt more alone than it seemed right or allowable for a person to feel. Halloween was always their most special time together. No matter what was going on in their lives or in the world around them, they always had their beloved season and their sacred day. They always had Halloween, just like they had each other. 

    But not anymore. 

    Judith was gone and she wasn’t coming back, no matter how hard Mark hoped that she would. So, accepting this fact, he’d endeavored to reach her. He tried all the spells that he could find, went to the local medium, and did everything he could to break through, to make contact somehow, but nothing worked. Even on All Hallow’s Eve, the holiest of all days, when the veil between the living and the dead is thread-bare thin, still…nothing. 

    Mark let out a deep, mournful sigh, then picked his coffee up and sipped it slowly, his eyes still on the yard, his mind churning. Since he’d been unable to contact Judith in the spirit realm, Mark retreated to his first intention: resurrection. 

    There has to be a way to bring her back, he mused, there must! And I’m going to find out and my Judith and I will be together again! 

    Mark savored his coffee. Midnight Syndicate played softly on the nearby stereo. Then, he stood and walked out to the yard. 

    The leaves crunched beneath him as Mark laid down among the Styrofoam headstones. He whispered his wife’s name and closed his eyes while dark clouds rolled in above him. 

    Wind blew over Mark, catching Mark’s thoughts and his grief and carrying them into the ether, through the in-between, to the deep darkness,  where Judith waited and listened. She felt the pain and mourning from her dear husband. And she reached out…

***

    Judith’s decaying hands burst out of the ground on either side of Mark. She scratched and clawed and pulled herself up and wrapped her arms around his torso. 

    Thunder crashed and the sky turned black. The soil opened up, and Judith pulled her loving husband down into the dark soil.

    Mark screamed in horror and confusion. The loose earth spread out around him. 

    “Why do you wake me, my dear?” Judith rasped. 

    “Because I love you! I miss you!” Mark wailed, dirt falling into his mouth 

    “And now, because you couldn’t let me sleep, we will be together, in terror and unrest forever!” 

    Mark fought and screamed for help as his wife forced him into the earth, the soil filling in above them, the decorative tombstones marking their place. 

    And as he sank into the dirt, Mark wished he hadn’t used black magic to bring Judith back.

***

    As the years passed, Mark and Judith’s house sat untouched. Even the most ambitious realtors in town feared the rumors that surrounded the property and refused to go near it. The bank ignored it. The neighborhood children made up stories about the old couple who had lived there, telling tales of how they loved Halloween, that they had become ghouls themselves and that they haunted their own former home. And maybe those stories were true, for on chilly October evenings, are said to be seen sitting in the breakfast nook, sipping tea. And the Halloween decorations are still in the yard and on the house, covered in moss and vines, standing year-round, untouched, forever. 

From The Vault : The Inspiration Behind “The Bell” – from Dark Divinations

The Inspiration Behind “The Bell.”

By Jon O’Bergh

During the nineteenth century, epidemics like cholera periodically swept through the population and brought reports of premature burial. Although most of these reports were undoubtedly fake news, the resulting fear of being buried alive fueled a demand for “safety coffins.” I initially wrote a story about one such burial, told by an omniscient narrator but focused on the graveyard watchman, in which a wife deliberately buries her sick husband before he is dead.

When I saw the Dark Divinations call for submissions, I realized my story had the seeds of something ideal for the anthology. I’ve always loved the Victorian style of writing: the fancy turns of phrase, the old-fashioned word choices, the heightened emotionalism. I thought it would be fun to craft a story using that kind of voice—a Poe-esque story told from the perspective of the person trapped in the coffin. What would he experience? What thoughts would go through his mind? How would he deal with the situation?

Of course, that meant writing the story in the first person and completely re-working it. I decided it would be even more interesting to invest the character with occult abilities, another fascination of the nineteenth century. Not an outright charlatan (although there were plenty of those), but a flawed yet sympathetic character with some amount of real ability. The transformed story now had only a superficial resemblance to the original. Dark Divinations had inspired me to write an even better tale, one I hope is worthy of comparison with Edgar Allan Poe.

 Jon O’Bergh is an author and musician who loves a good scare. He grew up in Southern California, where he received a Bachelor of Arts in Music from the University of California at Irvine. A fan of ghost stories and horror movies, Jon came up with the idea for his horror novel “The Shatter Point” after watching a documentary about extreme haunts. He has published four books and released over a dozen albums in a variety of styles, including the album “Ghost Story.” After many years living in San Francisco and Washington, D.C., he now spends his time in Toronto.