New Book: A new wave of horror in Sacrifices Incarnate

Sacrifices Incarnate is an horror anthology, and author Christopher M. Fink’s first publication.

His early years of writing were nothing short of what you’d expect from a seven-year-old; much of those stories read today like bullet points for a developing concept. In those days, they were untouchable gems of literature (at least in his eyes, as well as his grandparents)! Their support was genuine, but the skills needed work, and so began the journey of honing the craft, and molding it into something much more terrifying! Interestingly enough, one of those very gems entitled “The Evil Leprechaun”—yes, it is every bit as corny as you’re thinking—became the basis for one of the very shorts contained in this book.

This much anticipated anthology is more than a simple book, but the vessel which fear is held and guarded. For those brave enough to venture, it is sure to excite the demons in us all! Sacrifices Incarnate is the culmination of many years, and many fumbling’s of several short stories that manifested themselves simply from a number of captivating locations seen in his travels. The first story created is one entitled “No Fracking”, which was based on an old rundown nameless motel in upstate New York he had visited some years back. It was nothing remarkable, but the seclusion and relative dilapidation of the place had its own unique haunting kitsch that was ripe for a tale of terror!

Other story elements have developed into full elaborations of some genuine fears; many of which most others share. From being buried alive, to confrontations with unseen creatures (Restless, “untitled” & The Quiet Ones respectively), and unassuming relationships (Pen Pal). This book is to grant people the chance to face those fears from the comfort of their own homes, knowing that they can’t be hurt in any way. But if these things did happen upon you, how would it make you feel? That’s the question that begs to be answered!

“I love my craft, and even more, the process by which I create the world and the characters therein. There is nothing more engaging and rewarding! And, like many authors, I suspect, we would all like to be able to make even half a living on our work. Regardless, I will never stop writing. It has become, in many ways, a salvation for me, and a vacation I look forward to everyday!”

“It has since become more than my first publication. It is a tremendous milestone in my career, and has afforded me the privilege of meeting some amazing people in the process.”

If you want to enjoy some genuine terror this Halloween season, as we know our plans and events may very well be up in the air, then look no further! No one said we can’t share a scare, so pick up your copy of Sacrifices Incarnate, now available on Amazon!

As always, I want to thank all my readers, and especially the staff here at Horror Addicts! It’s been so much fun thus far, and I’m looking forward to all that the future holds! From The Horror Seeker, happy reading, and if it gets to be too much, just remember, they’re only stories. None of it is… real.

Right?

Book Review : Clockwork Wonderland

Clockwork Wonderland Review by Ariel Da Wintre

I really enjoyed this Anthology. The book consisted of 14 stories and a poem. It has something
for everyone; scary, intriguing and creative. All the stories have the theme of clocks and Alice in
Wonderland characters. The writers added new characters, taking the classic story and
giving it a horror element. I think this works really well as parts of the original story could be
considered scary all on their own. I found the stories very original and some I didn’t
want to end.

The book starts with a poem by Emerian Rich, “Hatter’s Warning”, and it reminded me of the poems in the original Alice in Wonderland.

The first story is, “Jabberclocky”, by Jonathan Fortin. This story is about a boy named Henry and his unexpected visitor,  the Hatter. I really liked this and I was completely drawn into Henry’s story and the scary Jabberclocky. I loved the end but I didn’t want it to end.

I am still tripped out by the very scary, “Hands of Time” by Stephanie Ellis. It is about an apprentice named Rab who meets an executioner and the timekeeper. I don’t want to give anything away but if you like a bloody good time this is the story for you.

Next, “Clockwork Justice”, by Trinity Adler, is another thrilling story. Alice finds herself in Wonderland and accused of murder. Who did she murder? I won’t say but will she keep her head? Will she solve the crime? All my favorite characters are part of the story Mad Hatter, Cheshire cat and more.

The story, “My Clockwork Valentine”, by Sumiko Saulson is about a girl named Blanche and what happens to her. I loved the imagery in this story and the concept of time. You will get swept away by the story and hope our heroine survives.

“Blood Will Have Blood” by James Pyne, starts with the main character, Alicia, getting pulled into Wonderland and being told she is the new Alice. I think you can see where this is going. I found this story creative and different and it is about a blood clock. It is pretty scary I don’t want to be part of that Wonderland.

I loved “Midnight Dance” by Emerian Rich. This story follows the Mad Hatter and the March Hare. It has a very different twist but with characters we all know and love from the book and Zombies!

The next story, “A Room for Alice” by Ezra Barany, is a scary story that follows Alice as she wakes up in a scary place and meets Tweedle D. I enjoyed this story it had lots of plots and twists and left me thinking for some time afterward. It had a lot of creepy elements and I found it very descriptive.

“Frayed Ears” by H.E. Roulo is a story I loved. It has a Rabbit going through many childhood fairy tales. I couldn’t wait to see who would show up next to help the White Rabbit and will he make it on time and who is causing this to happen.

The next story is “King of Hearts,” by Dustin Coffman. This story had a great twist, a guy goes down the rabbit hole instead of Alice. Lenny is checking the closet for his daughter who hears a strange noise and finds himself in Wonderland. He meets the White Rabbit and other characters. Watch out for the Queen of Hearts!

“Riddle”, by N. McGuire, is about a young lady named Alice. She follows the white rabbit on a train and she is drawn into a very strange situation with different Wonderland characters.  Will she solve the riddle?

The next story is, “Tick Tock”, by Jaap Boekestein. This story has all the characters you love but they are not the way you remember them. Wonderland is at war and you don’t know who are the good guys and who are the bad guys. This story will keep you intrigued.

The story, “Gone A’ Hunting,” by Laurel Anne Hill, follows a young lady named Alease who is chasing the White Rabbit for dinner. She gets more than she’s bargaining for and needs to escape. Will the White Rabbit help her after she was just trying to kill him? Great story, scary to the end.

I really liked “The Note”, by Jeremy Megargee. It had a great concept. Wonderland is not the same and the character telling the story seems so lost and sad. The story has a lot of suspense. I enjoyed the whole vision of this scary wonderland.

The next story is “Half Past”, by K.L. Wallis. This story follows a girl named Alyssa. She is bumped into by someone who drops their pocket watch. She tries to return it and finds herself traveling on a train to Wonderland with Albert Hare. Alyssa ends up going with the hare to his sister Hatty’s home where everyone keeps calling her Alice. There are great twists and turns in this story. The Queen of Hearts in this story which keeps you wondering until the end; will Alyssa/Alice survive.

The final story is, “Ticking Heart”,  by Michele Roger. The story is about a friend of Alice’s coming to visit her in Wonderland and something is very wrong. The Queen of Spades wants to take over and it’s going to be bloody. Will the good guys save Alice and Wonderland?

I enjoyed this collection of short stories thoroughly. I also found myself looking at the cover thinking it really fits this book. I could read these stories over and over again. I couldn’t put the book down until I finished it.

FRIGHTENING FLIX: Gothic Romance Video Review

Yours Truly Kristin Battestella aka Kbatz discusses Category Romance versus Gothic Literature, Slashers versus Hammer, Penny Dreadful, Mario Bava, Crimson Peak, Tom Hiddleson, and Only Lovers Left Alive as well as Victorian and Gothic Romance Themes and the upcoming HorrorAddicts.net anthology Dark Divinations.

 

Thank you for being part of Horror Addicts.net and enjoying our video, podcast, and media coverage!

Listen to Our Podcast: http://horroraddicts.net/

Get involved: https://www.facebook.com/groups/horroraddicts.net

HorrorAddicts.net Online Writers Conference: http://horroraddictswriters.freeforums.net/board/14/writing-horror

Dark Divinations Submission Information: https://horroraddicts.wordpress.com/current-submission-calls/

To Read Detailed Reviews on Our Subjects Re-visit:

Penny Dreadful  1  2  3

Mario Bava Super Special

Crimson Peak

Only Lovers Left Alive

Revisiting Poe Video Review

Classic Horror Reading Video

Dark Shadows Video Review

HorrorAddicts.net Press Presents… Kill Switch, A Tech Horror Anthology

HorrorAddicts.net Press Presents…Kill Switch

FREE on Kindle
Father’s Day Weekend Only!

As technology takes over more of our lives, what will it mean to be human, and will we fear what we’ve created? What horrors will our technological hubris bring us in the future?

Join us as we walk the line between progressive convenience and the nightmares these advancements can breed. From faulty medical nanos and AI gone berserk to ghost-attracting audio-tech and one very ambitious Mow-Bot, we bring you tech horror that will keep you up at night. Will you reach the Kill Switch in time?

EDITED BY:
DAN SHAURETTE
& EMERIAN RICH

STORIES BY:
H.E. ROULO, TIM O’NEAL, JERRY J. DAVIS, EMERIAN RICH, BILL DAVIDSON,
DANA HAMMER, NACHING T. KASSA, GARRETT ROWLAN, DAPHNE STRASERT
PHILLIP T. STEVENS, LAUREL ANNE HILL, CHANTAL BOUDREAU, GARTH VON BUCHHOLZ

MOW-BOT / DANA HAMMER

Mike’s new Mow-Bot is the answer to his weekend chore dreams until the neighbor’s cat disappears.

REMS / TIM O’NEAL

A doctor eager for publication and fame unethically tests a wound debridement technology with disastrous results.

PHANTOM CALLER / NACHING T. KASSA

An elderly woman enlists the aid of two repairmen when her pest elimination program goes haywire and begins attracting ghosts.

SOULTAKER 2.0 / EMERIAN RICH

A game programmer in the final stages of launching a new version of the MMORPG “SoulTaker,” finds a bug even he can’t fix.

IN THE EYE OF THE BEHOLDER / DAPHNE STRASERT

Daemon is willing to do whatever it takes to get the girl of his dreams and if his Iriz eye implant can help him do that, he doesn’t care what else it does.

HAÜS / GARTH VON BUCHHOLZ

A five-year-old boy is left home alone while his parents travel overseas, but his smart-house will keep him safe, right?

TRAVELS / JERRY J. DAVIS

In a near future world where viewers are addicted to a television station featuring a hypnotically seductive sphere bouncing on an endless, surreal journey through unspoiled natural environments, Dodd is the only one who is “awake” enough to fight back.

GO GENTLY / GARRETT ROWLAN

In a future world where no one except fake grandparents live past the age of 65, Enid needs to land the job that will save her life, but a trip down memory lane may prove more difficult than she expects.

STRANGE MUSIC / CHANTAL BOUDREAU

An audio-sensitive college student is the only one who can hear the difference in a mechanical birdsong that attacks her little sister.

ANGELS DON’T FEAR HEIGHTS / H.E. ROULO

A man uses technology to control his daughter from beyond the grave, will she ever be free?

INTELLIGENIE / BILL DAVIDSON

A terminally ill woman discovers a frightening secret when she issues a deadly order to her personal robot.

13TH MAGGOT / LAUREL ANNE HILL

A scientist working with bioengineered medical maggots fails to document her obvious erroneous observation, only to later realize her horrific mistake.

SUBROUTINES / PHILLIP T. STEVENS

A computer programmer looking for his missing children in a legendary ghost house encounters a malevolent AI.

Available now on Amazon!

HorrorAddicts.net Press Presents… Kill Switch on Kindle!

HorrorAddicts.net Press Presents…Kill Switch

NOW ON KINDLE!

As technology takes over more of our lives, what will it mean to be human, and will we fear what we’ve created? What horrors will our technological hubris bring us in the future?

Join us as we walk the line between progressive convenience and the nightmares these advancements can breed. From faulty medical nanos and AI gone berserk to ghost-attracting audio-tech and one very ambitious Mow-Bot, we bring you tech horror that will keep you up at night. Will you reach the Kill Switch in time?

EDITED BY:
DAN SHAURETTE
& EMERIAN RICH

STORIES BY:
H.E. ROULO, TIM O’NEAL, JERRY J. DAVIS, EMERIAN RICH, BILL DAVIDSON,
DANA HAMMER, NACHING T. KASSA, GARRETT ROWLAN, DAPHNE STRASERT
PHILLIP T. STEVENS, LAUREL ANNE HILL, CHANTAL BOUDREAU, GARTH VON BUCHHOLZ

MOW-BOT / DANA HAMMER

Mike’s new Mow-Bot is the answer to his weekend chore dreams until the neighbor’s cat disappears.

REMS / TIM O’NEAL

A doctor eager for publication and fame unethically tests a wound debridement technology with disastrous results.

PHANTOM CALLER / NACHING T. KASSA

An elderly woman enlists the aid of two repairmen when her pest elimination program goes haywire and begins attracting ghosts.

SOULTAKER 2.0 / EMERIAN RICH

A game programmer in the final stages of launching a new version of the MMORPG “SoulTaker,” finds a bug even he can’t fix.

IN THE EYE OF THE BEHOLDER / DAPHNE STRASERT

Daemon is willing to do whatever it takes to get the girl of his dreams and if his Iriz eye implant can help him do that, he doesn’t care what else it does.

HAÜS / GARTH VON BUCHHOLZ

A five-year-old boy is left home alone while his parents travel overseas, but his smart-house will keep him safe, right?

TRAVELS / JERRY J. DAVIS

In a near future world where viewers are addicted to a television station featuring a hypnotically seductive sphere bouncing on an endless, surreal journey through unspoiled natural environments, Dodd is the only one who is “awake” enough to fight back.

GO GENTLY / GARRETT ROWLAN

In a future world where no one except fake grandparents live past the age of 65, Enid needs to land the job that will save her life, but a trip down memory lane may prove more difficult than she expects.

STRANGE MUSIC / CHANTAL BOUDREAU

An audio-sensitive college student is the only one who can hear the difference in a mechanical birdsong that attacks her little sister.

ANGELS DON’T FEAR HEIGHTS / H.E. ROULO

A man uses technology to control his daughter from beyond the grave, will she ever be free?

INTELLIGENIE / BILL DAVIDSON

A terminally ill woman discovers a frightening secret when she issues a deadly order to her personal robot.

13TH MAGGOT / LAUREL ANNE HILL

A scientist working with bioengineered medical maggots fails to document her obvious erroneous observation, only to later realize her horrific mistake.

SUBROUTINES / PHILLIP T. STEVENS

A computer programmer looking for his missing children in a legendary ghost house encounters a malevolent AI.

Available now on Amazon!

Kill Switch Chilling Chat: 10 Quick Questions with Laurel Anne Hill

KSssALT

Laurel Anne Hill has authored two award-winning novels, most recently The Engine Woman’s Light (Sand Hill Review Press), a gripping spirits-meet-steampunk tale set in an Laurel Anne Hill Promotional 2015alternate 19th Century California. Laurel’s published short stories total over thirty. She’s a Literary Stage Manager, speaker, anthology editor, and writing contest judge.

1.) How old were you when you first discovered horror?

I was eight years old when my mom took me to see the scary science fiction movie The Thing from Another World. Afterwards, I had nightmares for weeks. Sometime between age seven and ten, Mom took me to see Dracula (starring Bela Lugosi) and Frankenstein (starring Boris Karloff). No nightmares from those two films. I became hooked on classical horror.

2.) What author has influenced you most?

Many authors have influenced me a great deal. If I can only name one, however, I’ll say Ray Bradbury.

3.) What inspired you to write your piece, “13th Maggot?”

An article in the newspaper about medical maggots caught my attention. Plus, I worked several years in the field of regulatory compliance for a biotechnology startup company.

4.) How much control do you exert over your characters? Do they have free will?

I give my characters a lot of personal space during the first manuscript draft or two. After that, we generally need to have some serious discussions inside of my brain. Often my point prevails, but not always. For example, in “13th Maggot,” ongoing drafts held complicated conflicts between my main character and the woman she works with in the lab. The complexity detracted from the main story, but it took my protagonist great effort to show me why we needed a change.

5.) Do you listen to music when you write? Who do you listen to?

I used to listen to music often when writing, or before sitting down to write. This music connected me to my protagonists’ emotions. The pattern changed during the final years of my husband’s life. David—my beloved—was the co-protagonist in my daily life, our joint story written with each sunrise and sunset. These days, I’m trying to reintroduce music to my writing experience. I concentrate on the same sort of music as before: general classical, world, baroque organ, ballet and opera favorites, 50’s favorites, bagpipes, and other music David and I used to listen to together.

6.) Where do you find inspiration?

Everywhere! Rain hitting my face. Tulips blooming. The sound of a steam locomotive’s whistle. The early morning taste of coffee. The odor of pine trees. Sunrises and sunsets. Shadows on the bedroom ceiling in the dark.

7.) What is your favorite horror novel?

Bram Stoker’s Dracula, of course, tied for first place with several others, such as The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty, and Ghost Story by Peter Straub.

8.) Favorite horror movie?

The Shining, without a doubt.

KSCoverSmall9.) Favorite horror television show?

The six o’clock news.

10.) What does the future hold for you? What do we have to look forward to?

I’m going through the process of finding a freelance fantasy/magical realism editor for my novel-in-progress: Plague of Flies. Sand Hill Review Press has expressed interest in the final product. Plague of Flies is not a horror story, but blends true horrific events with fantasy and magical realism in 1846 Mexican California, during the Bear Flag Rebellion, when the USA stole Alta California from Mexico.

Kill Switch: The Origin Story

In January of 2018, when our then Head of Publishing, Dan Shaurette, approached me about doing a tech horror anthology, I was all for it. I was enjoying the Black Mirror episodes that had just popped on Netflix and I had always been inspired by tech breeding horror. From the time I’d seen Electric Dreams back in the eighties, to the tech-watching-death Brainstorm, to Arnold Schwarzenegger saying, “I’ll be back” in Terminator, I’d been fascinated with tech doing horrible things. But now, as we sit at the edge of a precipice where these devices are no longer science fiction, but a reality, the horror of what really could happen is terrifying.

January 15th, 2018

Dan Shaurette: Hey, I saw your post about tech horror and I, too, am digging the genre these days.

Emerian Rich: Let’s do it!

Next came the name and Dan and I brainstormed that for a bit. Everything from Glitched to Future Dark to Kernel Panic to Digital Dread was brought up, but when Dan said Kill Switch, something just clicked.   

January 19th, 2018

Emerian Rich: No, I’m waiting for one to sock me in the face.

Dan Shaurette: Kill Switch?

Emerian Rich: That’s it!

Dan had already found the awesome vampire android cover and we were on our way.

March 9th, 2018

Submission Call: Tech Horror Kill Switch

“The Future is Broken.” – Black Mirror

What horrors will our technological hubris bring us in the future? When technology takes over more of our lives, what will it mean to be human, and will we fear what we have created? Artificial intelligence, robotics, bionics and cybernetics, clones, and virtual reality. These are a few of my favorite things. The technological singularity is fast approaching, and post-humanity is a frighteningly dark future.

First and foremost, your submission must be a horror story and contain something emotionally, physically, or mentally horrifying. Secondly, the technology should be front and center, not just a deus ex machina. Whether it be a modern technology we are creating now with a purpose yet fully realized, or some new horror as yet to be discovered. We are looking for stories in the same vein as NETFLIX’s Black Mirror.

Post-apocalypse is welcome, as are dystopian societies, but technology must have brought them about. Supernatural elements are welcome in conjunction with the technology. What we don’t want is aliens attacking humanity as the core conceit.

However, as we started to receive submissions, something was going on with Dan. He had a series of health issues and on Father’s Day of 2018, he suffered a medical emergency similar to a stroke. I waited for news on how he was doing. Would Dan come back to us? Or was this his time to go? Weeks passed where the family wasn’t sure of the outcome and finally, we got the word that Dan would survive, but that he wouldn’t be able to finish out the anthology.

My heart sank. We at HorrorAddicts.net were stunned and in a frozen state of denial. Dan, the dude who had always brought humor and brightness to our lives would no longer be on the crew and his book… What would we do about the book?

It was a tough decision. First, I had no help to produce the book with Dan gone, but even more, should I continue his vision without him at the helm? It was a tough decision. I spent hours considering canceling the book. I wrote out a pros and cons list. I spoke to Dan and his wife on text, on the phone, and considered what the impact would be should we cancel the publication mid-stream. And then I asked a question that I had joked with Dan about many times in the past. I simply asked,

What would Dan do?

And the answer I could hear in my head as clear as day was…

Dan would want the book published.

Dan had imagined a handful of stories he was going to write for the anthology. We talked about it daily. He’d poured his heart and soul into planning the book. So why shouldn’t Dan’s dream be realized?

We decided to go ahead and complete his dream of publishing this book. The fact that we have finished it for him makes me sad that he was not able to be involved very much, but it also fills me with happiness that we could see it through.

Naching had come on during this trauma and really helped pull me through. She has been an integral part of this publication as our new Head of Publishing and I couldn’t have done it without her!

I hope you enjoy this book and the plethora of ways tech can kill you. Should make for a fun read. 🙂

There is a little secret in the beginning of the book in binary code.

00110100 00100000 01000100 01100001 01101110

Which translates to: 4 Dan

I am glad this book is out for your enjoyment and the best thing about this book promotion will be when I am able to hand Dan the print copy when I see him this summer and watch the elation in his face as he realizes his dream has come true.

Thank you Dan.

FRIGHTENING FLIX BY KBATZ: Tales from the Crypt Season 3

Tales from the Crypt Season Three Stands Out by Kristin Battestella

 

During Summer 1991, HBO’s Third Season of Tales from the Crypt delivered fourteen episodes adapted from the Tales from the Crypt, Shock SuspenStories, The Vault of Horror, and Haunt of Fear comic book canon – and nearly every half hour plot steps up the sarcasm, star power, and scares.

The ‘Honey, I’m home!’ opening of the “Loved to Death” premiere leads to something saucy in the kitchen but it’s just a bad script in progress by Andrew McCarthy (Weekend at Bernie’s) when he’s not fantasizing about his demanding actress neighbor Mariel Hemingway (Lipstick). Forget the old boombox and shoddy word processor – leather, lingerie, and boobs inspire his creativity and a watching big brother landlord speaking over the intercom braves him to knock on her door. Of course, she’s not interested until he’s successful, making for a bemusing mix of imagination and real world bitter from writer turned director Tom Mankiewicz (Live and Let Die). Unfortunately, subtle make up and costuming reflect the turnaround when a love potion makes the amorous too much to handle.

The Crypt Keeper, meanwhile is smoking in bed with a headless skeleton as the escaped Kyle MacLachlan (Twin Peaks) opens “Carrion Death” with dusty Arizona manhunts, motorcycle chases, and fiery accidents. The desert setting invokes a barren purgatory as a vulture waits amid the echoes, gunshots, race to the border, and loot blowing in the wind. The no water, talking to himself delirium may seem slow for some audiences, however the sardonic trek, gore, and just desserts escalate once the handcuffs are on and there’s no key.

Back to the Future star Michael J. Fox directs Terri Garr (Tootsie) in “The Trap,” for her nasty husband has a life insurance policy and a coroner brother-in-law who can help fake a death. Bemusing morgue saws, faux dead make up, and a bumbling cover story combine for over the top funeral wailing, cremation mishaps, and tropical hideouts. The askew trials, double crosses, and mistaken identity aren’t really horror, but the crime fits the screw here.

Likewise, the memorable “Abra Cadaver” opens with a black and white morgue, autopsies, pretty corpses, necrophilia quips, and dangerous practical jokes on Beau Bridges (Stargate SG-1) by Tony Goldwyn (Scandal). The color present has high tech lab equipment and research debts owed for these experiments on brain function after clinical death – studies done with ritual altars, folk medicine, and poisoned scotch. The distorted voiceover and overhead camera angles match this appearance of death as the acute senses remain to experience the meat locker, hooks, saws, embalming, and John Doe toe tags as the warped mix of science and revenge creates blood trickling down the screen twists.

The Crypt Keeper does a little Mashed to Pieces Theatre in “Top Billing” as desperate Jon Lovitz (Saturday Night Love) fails another audition. He won’t stoop to commercials like successful sellout Bruce Boxleitner (Scarecrow and Mrs. King), and this is an interesting commentary on the look being more important than the talent. Agent Louise Fletcher (One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest) says it’s commerce and product, not art, that sells tickets, winking to the viewer as oft comedian Lovitz is determined to play Hamlet with intense director John Astin (The Addams Family). Will he kill for the part? This little back alley theater at 895 ½ needs a real skull for its Yorick.

“The Reluctant Vampire” also begins with a traditional gothic atmosphere – before the alarm clock by the coffin and fang dentures on the night stand add modern humor as blood bank nightwatchman Mr. Longtooth Malcolm McDowell (A Clockwork Orange) dreads Mondays and The Keeper reads Vampirism Made Easy. Manager George Wendt’s (Cheers) donation numbers don’t add up, so our sensitive vamp – who doesn’t drink direct from humans so he can respect himself in the morning – attacks an old lady’s mugger to replace his martini makings in the vault. Certainly he asks if his victim has any blood born diseases before filling up the water cooler. He’s saving the blood bank and taking a bite out of crime amid newspaper spinning montages, Transylvania soil myths, lighting candles at the snap of the fingers, and dangerous squirt guns with holy water. Van Helsing descendants are on the local talk shows, and Tales from the Crypt manages to be gothic and cute at the same time. Of course, Little CK has a Betty Croaker cookbook while womanizing reporter Steven Weber (Wings) keeps a tape recorder under the bed to get what’s off the record when, as they say, pumping a source for information in “Mournin’ Mess.” Hard nose editor Ally Walker (Sons of Anarchy) wants the scoop not drunk excuses, but suave spokeswoman Rita Wilson (Now and Then) spins the rhetoric on cleaning up the streets as the homeless murders mount. Dead witnesses and some literal cemetery digging lead to tunnels, coffins, skeletons, and underground revelations on The Grateful Homeless Outcasts and Unwanted Layaway Society, ahem, GHOULS. Although this starts off run of the mill, Tales from the Crypt continues to push the envelope with its grotesque.

As a kid I loved director Russell Mulcahy’s (Highlander) “Split Second” and even had it on one of several made ’em myself Tales from the Crypt VHS mixes! Foreman Brion James (Blade Runner) seethes over his sassy waitress with a reputation turned hottie wife Michelle Johnson (Blame it on Rio) while her short shorts and tank top get skimpier for new lumberjack Billy Worth (The Lost Boys, you know, the “Death by stereo.”) Axes, chainsaws, and the inherent dangers on the job immediately hook the audience as the camera reflects the peril, speed, and saucy games people play – leading to new power tools, a violent comeuppance, and plenty of blood splatter.

“Deadline,” however, would see drunk newsman Richard Jordan (Logan’s Run) clean up his act for particular hooker Marg Helgenberger (CSI). Although the narrative bookends are unnecessary, the newsroom clickety clack adds nostalgic pressure, and his cranky editor wants a juicy murder headline or else. Fortunately – or unfortunately – Jon Polito (The Crow) gives him an exclusive, ironic scoop on a crime of passion gone awry.

Tales from the Crypt’s tongue in cheek is in full swing for “Spoiled” as bored housewife Faye Grant (V) loves the over the top scandals of her favorite soap There’s Always Tomorrow. Her married to his work husband’s basement experiments may make medical history, but they interrupt her fantasizing, too. Good thing ‘Abel with the cable’ repairman Anthony LaPaglia (Without a Trace) is there with all the connection in the bedroom innuendo, drafting a bemusing life imitating art mad science mix and self-aware commentary complete with Tales from the Crypt on the boob tube. Like the soaps, the saucy isn’t actually shown – letting the male input and female boxes speak for themselves once the lovers play out their part.

Series producer Robert Zemeckis directs the supersized “Yellow” finale with general Kirk Douglas (Spartacus), his lieutenant son Eric Douglas (The Golden Child), loyal captain Dan Aykroyd (Ghostbusters), and gritty sergeant Lance Henriksen (Near Dark) facing the no man’s land trenches, explosions, and limbs lost of 1918 France. Battle failures, breaks in the communication line, family expectations, and the titular cowardice risk the chain of command, for this solider son refuses to kill and doesn’t want to be killed, undermining his father’s position as the enemy nears. Panic on the mission results in more slaughter and church held court marshals layer the religious iconography. It’s okay for fathers and sons to be afraid to die, and one’s a fool or a liar if he claims he isn’t – especially when facing the firing squad. This is a serious parable about real fear and horrors, yet the episode is not out of place. Who says Tales from the Crypt has to be all cheeky all the time? Rather than the expected juicy or sensationalism, this unique choice sells itself with innate intensity and cruelty for one of the series’ finest.

Of course, there are several less than perfect entries sagging Tales from the Crypt mid-season, including the late Tobe Hopper’s (Texas Chainsaw Massacre) star studded “Dead Wait.” The thieves are arguing over small scale island plantations and pitiful pearl treasures, and should be tense chess conversations fall flat amid red hair superstitions, voodoo talk, and witch doctor suspicions. Jungle fever romance with red king takes black queen quips and sweaty sex with voodoo drums compromise the hanging ram heads and dead chickens in the bed – playing into the very exotical stereotypes that the dialogue warns one to respect. Each eighties era horror anthology series seems to have a problematic voodoo tale, but they are always about a white man looking for something sexy and dangerous with an obvious turnabout. The gore and creepy worms are fine – this isn’t a terrible episode, but it doesn’t zing as it should.

The late night spoof with Whoopi Goldberg (Ghost) as The Crypt Keeper’s guest is more fun. Painter Tim Roth (Rob Roy) doesn’t get the showing he was promised and fantasizes about killing his agent in “Easel Kill Ya,” but some accidental violence and nearby deaths inspire his art. He channels his darkness into some gruesome canvases and sells the paintings to a creepy buyer, but he can’t keep up with the killer demand for his art. Again the fatal twists and obsessive performances aren’t the worst, but this tortured artist cum murderer plot is nothing new.

“Undertaking Palor” also has obnoxious punks at the movies complaining about being one short in the Milk Duds box before they scare each other and capture it on camera. They break into the mortuary to raise the frights in their amateur film making and unfortunately discover twisted little practitioner John Glover (Smallville) using a Shop Vac for his latest embalming. The ironic classical music and Pepsi with pizza while the creepy mortician works makes for some delightful Tales from the Crypt grossness, but the juvenile found footage Nancy Drew mystery weakens what could have been wild had we seen the morgue conspiracy from the inside perspective. The Crypt Jam music video feature on the Tales from the Crypt Season Three DVD set is also a humorous little rap with babes, gore, and highlights from the year in a fittingly oh so nineties fashion both embarrassing and hysterical at the same time. The features also cheat slightly by listing two panel segments, for the first fifteen minute bonus recounting the history of EC Comics mid-century history and their ongoing relevance in horror is just pieced together from the second feature – which is the full half hour Comic Con discussion with voice of the Crypt Keeper John Kassir, producer Alan Katz, and additional crew telling more behind the scenes tales and answering audience questions. This DVD set also goes right to the menu without the “Kill Intro” theme playing only once per disc as in the previous video releases, and I like being able to see that spooky house opening per episode.

There are less fifties abstract and colorful comic designs for this season of Tales from the Crypt, but the seedy dark palette feels a little more nineties grown up to match the mayhem. Lots of familiar faces in supporting roles lend an extra sophistication with old televisions, rabbit ears, Polaroids, or T-n-A as icing on the cake per the humorous or grotesque plots as needed. That newfangled frivolous cable and HBO freedom allows Tales from the Crypt to exploit many women with then nudity, abuse, and victimizing. However, the series also has numerous working women in positions of power or ladies that give back all the ills deserved and never get naked to do so. Occasionally, the hammy over does it with stunt casting and humor falling flat, but bigger names, chilling stories, plenty of gore, quality production values, and heaps of ironic horror help Tales from the Crypt step up its winking formula for Season Three for a macabre and self referential but no less twisted good time.

HorrorAddicts.net Press Presents… Kill Switch, A Tech Horror Anthology

HorrorAddicts.net Press Presents…Kill Switch

As technology takes over more of our lives, what will it mean to be human, and will we fear what we’ve created? What horrors will our technological hubris bring us in the future?

Join us as we walk the line between progressive convenience and the nightmares these advancements can breed. From faulty medical nanos and AI gone berserk to ghost-attracting audio-tech and one very ambitious Mow-Bot, we bring you tech horror that will keep you up at night. Will you reach the Kill Switch in time?

EDITED BY:
DAN SHAURETTE
& EMERIAN RICH

STORIES BY:
H.E. ROULO, TIM O’NEAL, JERRY J. DAVIS, EMERIAN RICH, BILL DAVIDSON,
DANA HAMMER, NACHING T. KASSA, GARRETT ROWLAN, DAPHNE STRASERT
PHILLIP T. STEPHENS, LAUREL ANNE HILL, CHANTAL BOUDREAU, GARTH VON BUCHHOLZ

MOW-BOT / DANA HAMMER

Mike’s new Mow-Bot is the answer to his weekend chore dreams until the neighbor’s cat disappears.

REMS / TIM O’NEAL

A doctor eager for publication and fame unethically tests a wound debridement technology with disastrous results.

PHANTOM CALLER / NACHING T. KASSA

An elderly woman enlists the aid of two repairmen when her pest elimination program goes haywire and begins attracting ghosts.

SOULTAKER 2.0 / EMERIAN RICH

A game programmer in the final stages of launching a new version of the MMORPG “SoulTaker,” finds a bug even he can’t fix.

IN THE EYE OF THE BEHOLDER / DAPHNE STRASERT

Daemon is willing to do whatever it takes to get the girl of his dreams and if his Iriz eye implant can help him do that, he doesn’t care what else it does.

HAÜS / GARTH VON BUCHHOLZ

A five-year-old boy is left home alone while his parents travel overseas, but his smart-house will keep him safe, right?

TRAVELS / JERRY J. DAVIS

In a near future world where viewers are addicted to a television station featuring a hypnotically seductive sphere bouncing on an endless, surreal journey through unspoiled natural environments, Dodd is the only one who is “awake” enough to fight back.

GO GENTLY / GARRETT ROWLAN

In a future world where no one except fake grandparents live past the age of 65, Enid needs to land the job that will save her life, but a trip down memory lane may prove more difficult than she expects.

STRANGE MUSIC / CHANTAL BOUDREAU

An audio-sensitive college student is the only one who can hear the difference in a mechanical birdsong that attacks her little sister.

ANGELS DON’T FEAR HEIGHTS / H.E. ROULO

A man uses technology to control his daughter from beyond the grave, will she ever be free?

INTELLIGENIE / BILL DAVIDSON

A terminally ill woman discovers a frightening secret when she issues a deadly order to her personal robot.

13TH MAGGOT / LAUREL ANNE HILL

A scientist working with bioengineered medical maggots fails to document her obvious erroneous observation, only to later realize her horrific mistake.

SUBROUTINES / PHILLIP T. STEPHENS

A computer programmer looking for his missing children in a legendary ghost house encounters a malevolent AI.

Available now on Amazon!

FRIGHTENING FLIX BY KBATZ: Thriller Season 2

Though Flawed, Thriller’s Second Season Remains Frightful

By Kristin Battestella
In 1961, Boris Karloff returned as host for Year Two of the spooky and suspenseful anthology series Thriller. With 30 episodes a season, the mixed focus on scares and scandal runs thin at times. However, several thrilling and frightful gems –with a few from Big K himself – keep this season entertaining.
Disc One of Thriller’s Second Year opens with an ill wife, an easy to suspect a husband, and pretty younger sister in “What Beckoning Ghost?” Directed by Ida Lupino (The Hitch-Hiker), the suspense, coffins, premonitions, wills, and funerary wreaths escalate the gaslighting versus supernatural possibilities. Smart shadow placement and quality editing on the toppers combine for a nice mix of both scary and crime – a positive blend in the identity crisis that will continually hamper Thriller. Also directed by Lupino and adapted by Charles Beaumont (The Twilight Zone), “Guillotine” sets the French flavor with slicing practice, dark prisons, and jingling shackles. The delicious intro from Karloff, crimes of passion, simmering pace, and seduction anchor the sinister poisons versus ticking clock executions. Although the plot boils down to a straightforward crime, the unique period piece tone and final twists make up the difference, and “The Premature Burial” ups Thriller in full on, macabre Poe fashion. Boris himself is involved with this dreary Victorian tale, its elaborate tombs, questionable deaths, and catalepsy – and this episode aired before the release of the 1962 Roger Corman film adaptation. The larger than usual cast, great costumes, and fancy sets add to the deceit, unfaithfulness, and obsession while the black and white accents the morbid fail safes, bells, turnabouts, and demented performances. More statues and fortune tellers highlight “The Weird Tailor,” written by Robert Bloch (Psycho) and also later adapted in the 1972 Amicus anthology film Asylum. The deadly sorcery mistakes here can’t be amended, but the special eponymous request leads to marital dysfunction, one unusual sewing dummy, and fine social drama amid the occult intensity.
Elizabeth Montgomery (Bewitched), Tom Poston (Newhart), and John Carradine (Bluebeard) start off Disc Two with the lighthearted, perfect for Halloween farce “Masquerade.” From a writer on a honeymoon and a stormy night breakdown to ominous music, the Psycho house setting the scene, and rumors of vampires afoot – even Karloff’s introduction is unabashedly in on the spooky winks, tongue in cheek tone, and self aware repartee. Maybe the vampire cliches are too hammy for some viewers expecting true scares, but fortunately, the haunted house kooky and maze like bizarre contribute to a delightful kicker! “The Last of the Sommervilles” – again directed and also written by that oft Thriller gal Ida Lupino – has hastily buried bodies as garden fertilizer as well as Karloff once again making a slick appearance alongside Martita Hunt (Anastasia). This greedy family has plenty of crazy aunts and hidden relations with inheritance double crosses and Victorian irony. The actual murder how tos are a little loose, but sinister bathtub suggestions and fine interplay raise the suspense. Intense silhouettes, a bemusing score, card game puns, and old ladies with binoculars make the crimes in “A Third for Pinochle” all seem so quaint in this quid pro quo social etiquette meets hatchets tale. The belittling frumpy wives and unassuming killer neighbors ala The ‘Burbs is perhaps too similar to Season One’s “A Good Imagination” also starring Edward Andrews (Sixteen Candles), however, there’s enough whimsy to accent the hi-jinks while thunderstorms, slamming windows, a spooky castle, dungeon cobwebs, and great costumes up the scares in “The Closed Cabinet.” The medieval riddles sound like nonsensical hyperbole, but the 1880 flair, disbelieving lineage, and a superb black and white mood add to the ghostly beckoning, gothic dressings, and ye olde medieval harmonies.
For Disc Three of this Second Season, Thriller finally caught on with the need for more in on the game Karloff and serves up two tales both featuring Boris in different roles for “Dialogues with Death.” Morgue slabs, afterlife questions, skeptical reporters mocking the idea of asking the departed who killed them – and that’s the first half before more American Gothic swamps, flooded mausoleums, and catalepsy. Thriller can seems redundant or as if its running out of content with too many family scares in a row, especially so if every episode had been this kind of multi-plot variety, but writer Richard Matheson (The Twilight Zone) picks up the slack with a crazy uncle and his unusual internment requests in “The Return of Andrew Bentley.” The shrill sounds effects are terrible, indeed, however, familiars, necromancy, and occult warnings on tampering with the perimeters of death add to the moody marital discord. Wow, Jo Van Fleet (Wild River) looks so beautiful and evil alongside pup Bruce Dern (The ‘Burbs) and the again suspicious John Carradine in “The Remarkable Mrs. Hawk.” The quaint farm, cute piglets, weird whimsy, and county fair gentility belies the ruthless thieves and deadly rural. This toes the too goofy line, but there are some fun chess battles had here. More creepy voices, shadows, nightmares, and a noose start “An Attractive Family” before Leo G. Carroll (Spellbound) and Robert Long (The Big Valley) duel over crafty but thwarted spousal accidents that keep the audience guessing to the end.
“Waxworks” leads Disc Four with uncomfortably realistic designs and what you think you see tricks setting the mood for another Robert Bloch tale. The cops are trite, however French flavor adds to the Old World atmosphere, double take scares, unexpected violence, and noir style – making for another pleasing combination of the crime and paranormal parents on Thriller. Ursula Andress (Dr. No) looks divine for “La Strega,” making the viewer care for the peasantry even if the Italian setting is slightly stereotypical and somewhat Spanish thanks to Ramon Novarro (Mata Hari) and Alejandro Rey (The Flying Nun). Once again director Ida Lupino builds an Old Country and foreign horror feeling with witches, familiars, and a dangerous mix of beauty, curses, and superstitions. Operatic orchestration accents the romantic tragedy and inevitable pursuits that can’t be outrun while creepy crones ascend toward the camera with their dread uninterrupted. More screams, black cats, and solitary perils elevate the standard premise, understandable fears, and expected suspicions in “The Storm.” Pesky cabbies and unheeded warnings escalate toward frightful power outages, deadly downpours, animal knee jerks, natural scares, and a fine topper. “A Wig for Miss Devore” begins with past executions and fatal beauties before film within a film aging starlets and movie magic deceptions featuring John Fiedler (The Bob Newhart Show). It’s interesting to have seemingly contemporary talk of parts for 25 year old fresh red heads only and a 38 year old has been who was finished at 32 – a swift social commentary on desperate charms and Hollywood extremes. Thriller is on point when the crimes are supernatural, period set, or elevated with more cultural dimension as in “The Hollow Watcher.” Backwoods murder and Irish mail order brides lead nosy but fearful townsfolk, local legends, and phantom vengeance with scandalous touches and schemes compensating for anything that may appear comical now. Besides, scarecrows are already disturbing enough, right? The series peaks here with what may be the single best disc in the complete Thriller collection.
Karloff’s final in character appearance in “The Incredible Doktor Markesan” leads Disc Five with excellent slow, stilted moves and a sunken, deathly veneer. Suspicious medical university secrets, a kitchen with food so old its turned to dust, and inquisitive nephew Dick York (Bewitched) accent the no trespassing signs, old newspapers, and eerie meetings. Terrifically terrifying makeup and music ala The Gentleman from Buffy highlight this mix of murder and science, going for the scares as Thriller should have done all along. “Flowers of Evil” brings yet more ghoulishness with skeletal props and Victorian flavor. How does one come into the business of procuring bad luck bones to sell, anyway? coughmurdercough. Though overlong in some spots, budding forensics, cadavers, and dissection keep the gruesome mood afloat. Robert Bloch pens the western set “Til Death Do Us Part” with a fortune hunting undertaker in a town where the dead body business isn’t what it’s cracked up to be. The comedic music is overdone, but the unique setting, murderous intentions, and eloping in a horse drawn Hearst are much more fun when played for the macabre bigamy gone bad. “The Bride Who Died Twice” has torture, creepy Mexican generals, and unwilling marital alliances with a wonderfully different setting, epic music, and lovely costumes accenting the star crossed lovers and corruption from director Ida Lupino. Despite the horrors of revolution, fine cinematic flair, and all around period delightful, ironically this strictly dramatic hour doesn’t seem like it belongs on Thriller. Fortunately, Mary Tyler Moore sings Cole Porter in “Man of Mystery,” setting a swanky, urbane feeling for this whodunit full of playboys, money, secrets, and escalating obsessions, and Ida Lupino bows out her Thriller directing on Disc Six with sulfuric acid, animal trophies, timid librarians, iron fisted new bosses, and play within a play winks for the dual femmes in “The Lethal Ladies.”
Since it took so long for Thriller to get its full on horror, it’s tempting to give several pedestrian episodes a free pass. As the spelling suggests, “God Grante that She Lye Stille” serves up ye olde burning at the stake declarations before more familiar moonlight curses almost pull off all the horror stops. Unfortunately, the odd, interchangeable combination of witches and vampires doesn’t quite fire on all cylinders. The room to room opening and closing doors in “Letter to a Lover” feel like an old Scooby Doo montage, complete with repetitive, nondescript country manor suspicions, subservient minorities, subterfuge, and murder. Someone even nearly says, “And I would have gotten away with it if it weren’t for you kids!” “Portrait without a Face” has a neat premise, but John Newland (One Step Beyond) starts with a hammy Vincent Price imitation before one annoying, cackling old lady and a slow double talk investigation that can’t fill up the 50 minute runtime. “Cousin Tundifer” repeats the Edward Andrews humor and comical music, missing the teleportation and topsy turvy time irony and opportunity on laughter and yet another nephew trying to get rich while “Kill My Love” also rinse repeats murder, adultery, and gas leaks. Young George Kennedy (Dallas) can’t save the obvious and disposable Burke and Hare plots of “The Innocent Bystanders,” and as to the crooks and cops of “The Specialists”…yawn. For such a short run, Thriller over relies on too many of the same witches, suspicious couples, amoral families, murderers, and profiteers, and in retrospect, the series seems reluctant to fully embrace its built in horror mantle. I suppose mystery and adultery of the week were simply cheaper to film than weekly macabre. That doesn’t mean that the suspense and crime episodes aren’t entertaining – Thriller provides a little something for everyone across the spectrum from witty to scary and everything in between. Through today’s lense, however, Thriller appears to play it safe more often than it should.
Thankfully, mid century furs, pearls, old technology, fedoras, cool cars, and classy interiors add charm alongside somewhat simplistic but atmospheric and fitting ghost effects – which were probably pretty elaborate for a time when $3, a cup of coffee, or 20 cents a mile paid the cab driver and real operators connected the phone line. Thunder, lightning, fire, mirrors, and black and white ambiance accent the 17th century through Victorian times. Again, it probably wasn’t cost prohibitive to always be period set, but more mood and effort seems to grace the historical pieces, and those well dressed interiors and gothic feelings carry Thriller regardless of the time period onscreen. The series may not be as immediately recognizable as The Twilight Zone or The Outer Limits, however, Thriller does have a universally spooky atmosphere. Part of that may be Karloff’s lure, but he’s still having a good time doing the introductions, even occasionally getting into it with more spunk on the weaker episodes – popping in amid the sets more like Serling this season and quoting Shakespeare in the cemetery! Although the soft voices and sometimes bombastic sounds on this Complete Thriller series set are still obnoxious, more fine Jerry Goldsmith scores add ambiance and can be isolated on select episodes alongside commentaries and other treats.
This second season lags across the middle discs, and a shorter season with more Karloff would have been so sweet, but I’m happy Thriller righted itself this year with a more scary focus. I’d love to see the earlier Karloff series The Veil for comparison, but unfortunately, those sets appear incomplete, elusive, and unavailable on Netflix. Today, a show like Thriller would have been continuously tweaked into its short ruin with all half horror horrors reaching for stunt casting guests and anything and everything shocking in a desperate grab for ratings. Overall, Thriller’s attempt at a suspenseful and scary middle ground is uneven and divisive, leaving audiences to skip around the scary or pick and choose the scandal. However, I’m glad the series didn’t cater to the lowest audience with cheap horror, and thus, Thriller remains sophisticated fun be it murder or macabre.

HorrorAddicts.net Online Writers Conference: Chat Transcripts!

 

Did you ever want to start a podcast but don’t know how?

Do you want to submit material but don’t know what the editor wants?

Never fear! At The HorrorAddicts.net Online Writers Conference, our Podcast Hostess Emerian Rich and our Head of Publishing Naching T. Kassa have answered your questions in two live chat sessions via our HOW Forum.

 

Missed the chats, did you say? HOW Con has you covered once again with our chat transcripts! Emerian discusses podcasting, publishing, and the changing trends in horror while Naching, editor of the upcoming Dark Divinations anthology, shares insights on the submission process and the Next Great Horror Writer Contest.

Both transcripts can be found in HOW’s Horror Workshop section alongside more articles and tips from authors including Dina Leacock and Mercy Hollow and video interviews with witch author J.L. Brown and vampire writer Brian McKinley. There’s so much to see and read at HOW!

 

 

HOWConference: Live Chats!

The HorrorAddicts.net Online Writers Conference is offering Several Live Chat Events with our Publishers, Editors, and Staff. Join us at HOW to ask Your Questions!

Sunday, February 24
CHAT with AN EDITOR!

Sunday February 24 4 p.m. Pacific/ 7 p.m. Eastern Naching T. Kassa, Horror Addicts.net Publisher and Dark Divinations anthology Editor will be chatting with HOW!
Naching is a wife, mother, horror writer, and Head of HorrorAddicts.net Publishing. She’s created 17 short stories, two novellas, a poem, and co-created two children. She lives in Eastern Washington State with Dan Kassa, her husband and biggest supporter. Naching is a member of the Horror Writers Association and a contributor to the Demonic Visions series. She took second place in Horroraddicts.net’s Next Great Horror Writer Contest and one of her poems was included in The Horror Writers Association’s Poetry Showcase Vol. IV.

 

To chat with Naching, join us in the Shoutbox at the bottom of the #HOWConference Front page. If you have a question for Naching, post a “?” comment during the chat hour and the moderator will call on you.

Monday February 25 we are having not
One but TWO Live Chats at HOW!

First on Monday February 25 10 a.m. Pacific / 1 p.m. Eastern join Emerian Rich, HorrorAddicts.net Publisher & Podcast Hostess for Publishing 101

Creator and Horror Hostess of HorrorAddicts.net Publishing Emerian Rich created HorrorAddicts.net as a place for horror addicts, by horror addicts, glorifying every aspect of the horror lifestyle. Emerian is the author of Night’s Knights Vampire Series, the Sweet Dreams Novel Series, and has been involved in dozens of podcast and story projects. She was the editor of the horror ‘zine DarkLives for ten years starting in the mid-nineties. To find out more about Emerian, visit her site at: emzbox.com

Next we are having an Evening Welcome Party!

Monday February 25 8 p.m. Eastern / 5 p.m. Pacific it’s a Shout Box Welcome Night Party with Kristin Battestella, Dark Fantasy author and HorrorAddicts.net Staff Writer. Yes, Yours Truly!

When other kids were playing with dolls and teddy bears, this South Jersey born and bred addict KBatz was watching Price, Lee, Hitchcock, Dark Shadows, Alien, anything and everything in analysis of what was scary and why. Be it vamps, scares, or weres, you name it-freaky or macabre and she is there-regardless of how you pronounce macabre. For more bent paranormal fiction and horror film, television, and literature reviews, find Kbatz’ insanity on the web at: vampfam.blogspot.com

Can’t Wait to See You at HOW!

 

Book Review: Welcome to the Show

Welcome to the Show 
Reviewed by Voodoo Lynn

Reading this anthology reminds me that not everything that is written is your favorite, standing coffee order and that sometimes, something different can be a good thing. There are enough stories here that are written by Bay Area natives to inject just enough truth (whatever that word may mean to you) to make everything plausible. As a lifelong Bay Area native, I have haunted various San Francisco bars and venues, especially when I was an intern at a well-established and known indie label. I have seen everything from burlesque to punk, to spoken word to I don’t know what the hell to call it. I have many fond memories of those shows and wouldn’t trade them for anything. The descriptions of this place, ring true to me.

Like every venue, the Shantyman has its own vibe. From its dark inception to its dystopian future of outlawed music, this venue follows a dark, sinewy path of death and destruction that both ravages the innocent and guilty alike within its infamous walls.

You have a selection of seventeen stories to choose from in this collection, so I know there will be something for everyone. I have to say this is one of the most diverse books I’ve ever read. Now, that’s not saying that I liked every story because I didn’t. In fact, there was more than one story that I felt fell short of the mark and could’ve been fleshed out more instead of giving it the ‘…and everyone died…’ ending. Having said that, let me take you through some of the highlights in this book.

The first story from this collection is “What Sort of Rube” by Alan Clark. This story is based in the 19th century and illuminates for us the very dubious beginnings of this infamous venue. It is narrated by a sailor, so the requisite amount of jargon is utilized but not so much as to take away from the story. It begins with one curse. A curse for revenge. A curse for love. Crazy, stupid love. And its basis is in, music. It’s always about the music. It is the alpha and the omega and through the burning fires of revenge, the stage is set for the damned and unlucky alike, to bear witness to the performances in the Shantyman.

The next story liked was “In the Winter of No Love” by John SkippThis story moves us forward to the summer of love era and a sense of the free love/freedom movement of the 60’s. It also takes us to the darker reality of that line of thinking, to the shattered dreams and memories of an idea that never came to fruition. The main character, Marcie, says that she “tastes” the history and creepiness of the venue and yet, she stays to watch the show of a lifetime. To me, that speaks volumes of the dark allure of the Shantyman. Interesting detail, the author mentions that Marcie is from Milwaukee and at one point, talks about how Marcie is 2173 miles away from the Shantyman door. 2173 is exactly how many miles San Francisco is from Milwaukee. Details. I love little details like that. So, aside from details, this story wins in the category of most unusually imaginative description of the end for the main character and all those poor bastards that was there for that show. I would’ve never seen that end coming. The ending, interestingly enough, is met by a character that reminds me of a very famous 27 year old poet/musician that died way too young. His character, this angel of mercy so to speak, exemplifies the 60’s philosophy on life. Plus, I totally dig the song lyrics in this story. Very groovy…

The last story I want to touch upon is “We Sang in Darkness” by Mary San Giovanni. It is the last story in the collection and it is by far my favorite. It’s set on the future, a sad, dystopian one that is totally plausible. Perhaps it is the conspiracy theory element that currently rings so true. With more and more criticism of fake news and mainstream media and its exclusion and downplaying of important stories, it is the conspiracy theorists that are gaining more traction and followers. Maybe I like the physics aspect of it discussing experiments with electromagnetic fields in the sky (can anybody say HAARP?) and how it was these experiments that caused one of the greatest tragedies of humankind, the complete utter ban on music for the safety of the planet all because the vibrations attract creatures from another dimension which are needless to say, dangerous. It is from here that I have my favorite quote from the story:

“I’d say I saw humanity there, but who’s to say that thoughts and feelings are the exclusive domain of human beings?”

Indeed. The story is so plausible that you can imagine the apocalyptic end of life and society as we know it and the beginnings of a new one, void of such an integral part of us as human beings- music. The main character perfectly illustrates how music has the power to help and change people for the better and we are reminded of how much we really lost because of him. Throughout this story I kept hearing the theme to the X-Files going through my head and though Mulder and Scully don’t arrive just in time, some feds at the end did and we all know what happens to eye witnesses to strange things and the feds…

I can’t say this is the best collection of stories that I’ve read but it is certainly a good one and I enjoyed it. It’s good enough for me to forgive what I call “The Little Story that Could’ve Been” that had a main character that reminded me of Alice Cooper placed into “Rock and Roll Nightmare” instead of Thor. I mention this because this story, that shall remain nameless, was one of my favorites until it just died a quick, uneventful, predictable death. I hope the author of it someday decides to expand on it because it could’ve been something.

Just like many of the Shantyman’s performers and audience members. People whose lives were cut short within the venue doors. Whether it’s cults, sea creatures, time travel, or vampires (I told you there was variety) I’m sure you’ll find your own ticket to ride within the pages of this anthology.

Book Review: Freaks edited by Toneye Eyenot and Michael Noe

Are you looking for stories that stick in your dreams? Ones about people twisted both inside and out? You might regret what you wish for.

Freaks, a collection of stories and poetry edited by Toneye Eyenot and Michael Noe, contains 19 chilling tales of monsters, murderers, and madmen.

This anthology is not for the faint of heart. The stories inside may vary in style and subject matter, but the collection holds nothing back. Each is gruesome and stretches the limits of what you as a horror addict can stomach. The authors explore the depths of human depravity, then dig down a few more feet just for good measure.

Each author put their own spin on the anthology’s theme of horror in the realm of circuses and carnivals. The stories are a good mix of the supernatural, the speculative, and the frighteningly realistic. There are killer clowns, sure, but what about a man with a killer appetite, or a roadshow zombie attraction, or a carnival ride that is actually alive? Not all freaks are easy to identify and the worst ones are really the ones that are monsters on the inside.

My personal favorite entries are “Two for the Show” by Tina Piney and “Clownbear’s Last Performance” by Brian Glossup. Both authors created compelling characters within a short span, a difficult task when also including spine-tingling imagery and suspense.

If you’re brave enough to chance reading this, I can guarantee that you’ll be looking over your shoulder and sleeping with the lights on. And no way in hell are you going anywhere near a circus. If you feel a little squeamish, I think that’s the point.

Freaks appeals to a certain variety of horror addict. If you love to stretch the limits of what is appropriate to publish, take a look. If you want stories that will make your skin crawl and stomach churn, check this out. If you want to question your sanity and that of the authors and maybe of humanity in general… read Freaks. And don’t say I didn’t warn you.

FRIGHTENING FLIX BY KBATZ: Friday the 13th The Series Season Three

Friday the 13th: The Series Loses Steam in Season 3

by Kristin Battestella

The 1989-90 final twenty episode leg of Friday the 13th: The Series sputters as Micki Foster (Louise Robey) and Jack Marshak (Chris Wiggins) continue to retrieve cursed objects sold from the Curious Goods shop. Ryan Dallion (John D. LeMay), however, can no longer confront the evils they face, and Johnny Ventura (Steve Monarque) doesn’t fully comprehend the magical wrong doings of their terrible quarry.

Crosses, Madonna statues, religious paintings, and church festivals create Old World feeling in “The Prophecies Parts 1 and 2” as Jack is off to France claiming he’s researching spiritual phenomena – which isn’t that far from the truth. Creepy long nails, sharp teeth, evil eyes, and demonic voices accent 3:33 a.m. bells, prayers, and eponymous readings as priests cross themselves against possession, hell hounds, and evil tomes. If Lucifer can do his work in a holy place, what hope is there for the rest of us? Family reunions are bittersweet between miraculous visions, foretold fallen angels, and whispers of demons wanting a soul. Frightful falls, a pilgrimage blasphemed, scripture versus scripture – is the faith of a child enough to trap this evil in the protected Curious Goods vault? Though the good gone bad themes feel rushed in the second part, fiery thunderstorms and disturbing violence set off the big terrors for this opening twist. Upsetting injuries, gang violence, and shocking car accidents continue in “Crippled Inside.” It’s difficult to cope with the wheelchair bound result – until an antique pushchair provides some healing astral projection and gory doppelganger payback. What’s a little acid or a short walk off a tall building among rapists? This dilemma on an cursed quarry’s justified usage happens almost without the regular trio, establishing a pattern this season where our collectors are excused away or stumble onto the curio after an otherwise anthology style tale. Gross boils and a bloody hearing aid worming its way deeper anchor “Stick It In Your Ear” alongside magic tricks, blindfolds, guessing game schemes, and the ability to hear people’s thoughts. Camera revelations, scary editing, and vivid sounds make the audience fear this evil little amplifier! Had Friday the 13th continued, it would have been neat to see one elusive object reappear each season, and the standout “Bad Penny” revisits the ominous coin from Season Two’s “Tails I Live, Heads You Die.” The piece is found in the rubble with a skeleton or two alongside cops in the back alley, informant prostitutes, laundered briefcases, and shootouts. Jack and Micki are understandably upset to battle this piece again, and tender moments come between mistakes, conflicts, trauma, and car chases as a cop raises the wrong ghoulish person from the dead with dark magic he doesn’t understand.

 

Whoopsie, a car radio is sold from Curious Goods without checking if it is on the evil manifest while vintage automobiles, confederate flags, and redneck racism set the tone for “Hate On Your Dial.” Our villains were already nasty before the sale, using derogatory terms and shooting at children for funsies, and such murderous blood on the dashboard is a time travel catalyst for a black and white Mississippi trip. Again the social statements are mostly developed without the series stars, and the fictitious fears wrapped in real world horror is somewhat uneven thanks to the back and forth editing between the color present and the black and white past. The appalling racism issues, however, are both dated yet still relevantly disturbing. The eighties may have been thirty-five years from this past depiction, but we aren’t much better in the near thirty years since. More silver screen clips and vintage film reels provide a fallen Old Hollywood glitz in “Femme Fatale” as an aging actress’s screenwriter husband tosses young starlets into his cursed print. How many pretty face fatalities will it take for his wife’s young onscreen self to permanently exit the frame? The eighties does forties mood goes all out with film within a film classic movie retrospectives on lost youth and escapist ingenues willing to do anything to be in pictures. Samurai swords and family honor bring the 1945 Tokyo start of “Year of the Monkey” full circle with sensei instruction, a poisonous tea set, and our trio on the trail of some creepy little see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil monkey statues. As is often the case, the Japanese motifs are slightly cliché exotic with calligraphy, rice paper screens, and guest Tia Carrere (Wayne’s World). Fortunately, the generational lessons and revenge mysticism prove themselves with each statue testing the telepathy, teleportation, and ritual suicide for a promised immortality. Satin lined coffins, somber organs, and Polaroids for the company scrapbook open “Epitaph For a Lonely Soul” between fluids, tubes, classical music, and some sherry while working on the gory wounds and ghoulish purple tissues. Vintage embalming equipment can reanimate bodies, and the candles, grave digging, and undressed corpses suggest a twisted desecration. Memories, decomposition, and the trauma of life renewed hold the undead pretty captive – and Micki may be next for our lonely mortician.

Perilous kids and dogs are quite graphic with very little for “Repetition” and the missing posters, confessionals, and hidden bodies add to the immediate guilt and personal dilemmas caused by a life trapping cameo necklace. Ghostly echoes and desperate kills repeat this swapping cycle as drinking and homeless shelters crisscross over dead mothers and fatal trades. Ironically, Micki isn’t even pursuing the locket and Curious Goods merely bookends the hour. Despite a reversed episode listing order, The Complete TV Series DVD Set has “Spirit of Television” next complete with swanky parties, thunderstorms, seances, and a madame calling on the deceased through a suspect vintage television. Unfortunately, the seemingly happy chats with the departed are followed by upset ghosts, and the subsequent blown up boob tubes and electrocutions in the bathtub renew our madame’s youth. The fantastic conduit, static white noise, and spooky nostalgia accent the psychic fraud as the team must both debunk and retrieve the cursed set – doing what Friday the 13th should with this supernatural late season redeemer. Likewise, the poolside bullies and strong arming of “Jack-in-the-Box” lead to floating bodies and one of Micki’s friends among the deceased. The surviving daughter acts out and rightfully slams the adults responsible. However, the titular toy turns her innocence and grief into vengeance. Drowning in alcoholism parallels set off the ghostly visits and fatal vignettes, but our curio trio can’t endorse this creative revenge no matter how justified. Ancient Gaelic languages, candles, charms, and oak trees open the 1984 prologue for “The Tree of Life,” but when a husband objects to this so-called mumbo jumbo as part of the prenatal regime, these druids cum nurses keep the baby. A present pregnant couple shopping for dolls at Curious Goods is also scheduled at this rigid clinic, and our collectors involve themselves in this sisterhood of spells and solstice sacrifices. Too bad Last Season’s white versus dark coven rivalries weren’t tied in among the disagreeing team and women versus women cult extremes. A shady professor also tells his female students to get in touch with their dark side in the series finale “The Charnel Pit,” and the blindfolded nightcaps lead to a two-sided, time traveling painting said to be done by the Marquis de Sade in blood. Torture, shackles, and a little loving pain leave Micki trapped in the eighteenth century disguised as a duchess and writing of her alluring predicament with Mr. MdS. The boys, meanwhile, must figure out which of the painting’s victims are from the past by looking for a lack of dental work. Fancy dressings add to the courtly facade, dungeon gallery, and willfully sinister charm, for after all, one learns a person’s true colors with a whip. Fortunately, there’s just enough room for one more cursed antique in the vault.

Friday the 13th’s previous two seasons certainly had some duds, and there aren’t as many super bad clunkers in this shortened year. Most of these episodes are okay or decent, but no one really puts everything totally together to zing like the memorable years prior. Dated surveillance equipment and Aliens wannabe trackers in “Demon Hunter” are hammy early with hokey moonlight silhouettes and more Predator commando knockoffs. Power outages at Curious Goods, a museum returning a sacrificial dagger, and further dark secrets hidden beneath the vault that could have been explored more are shoehorned in like an A/B plot behind the laughable family vengeance meets monster puppet, and R.G. Armstrong’s annual Uncle Lewis appearance is sorely missed this year. The series also randomly plays with inconsistent time travel and flashback aspects with one episode’s flashbacks in black and white but another time travel hour in color. Rather than previous innovative technical attempts, the style doesn’t seem to matter. We also never spend enough time at Curious Goods, and “Midnight Riders” has our team star gazing while teens necking in a nearby car are accosted by a try hard phantom gang and local Sleepy Hollow biker legends. A ghoulish headless biker reattachment can’t save this one – oh, and Jack’s mysterious sea captain dad not seen in ten years is somehow in this backwoods on top of those annoying teens who, it turns out, are siblings! o_O A late night swimming pool in “The Long Road Home” is also an excuse for a juicy underwater lip lock between Micki and Johnny amid storm warnings, terrible flirting, and a tacked on yin yang charm with body transferring properties. Highway diners, cliché taxidermy, and country killers can be found elsewhere in horror, and Friday the 13th strays from its virtue once the protagonists use the evil object and its hammy body swaps when it suits them. The trio is actually more present and capable than usual in deducing the preposterous selfishness in “My Wife as a Dog” when a miraculous leash helps a whiny fireman make his ailing dog and soon to be ex-wife one and the same. Curious Goods being cited for not being up to fire code is the better story, and this is an unlikable, perverse little episode with major mixed messages on making your woman a bitch and moving your dog into the bedroom. Again, O_o

Our Micki may get groceries or stay at home and research, however she also continues on a case without Jack or Ryan and it is dumb to have her repeatedly call Johnny for unnecessary help when we’ve seen her face plenty of evil on her own. It’s also surprising she would let a man follow and attack her just to get an object – as if, not that it is her only plan, but rather just the best the writers could do. Micki is either the lovely victim or referred to as minding the store and doesn’t always have very much to do either way. “Bad Penny” has Jack give the past exposition rather than show Micki speaking about the experience herself, although she’s right to be afraid of dying in this fight against evil. The trio is also closer to the terror and within the investigation sooner for “Mightier Than the Sword” thanks to execution protests, pardons, and a pen that lets the author write what the guilty party will do while he gets the subsequent crime writer exclusives and literary glory. Jokes about word processors versus the good old pen and paper write themselves amid nom de plumes and slashers who don’t remember their fatal deeds. Unfortunately, Micki struggles to resist the scripted urge and uses a discreet straight razor to scratch her new murderous itch. She’s briefly smitten by a vampire again, trapped in a gangster movie, and sucked into a hellish painting for some 1790 saucy, too. There are consequences and nightmares as a result, but it’s understandable to see Micki snap – wouldn’t we all? Despite a brief Roxette mohawk meets I Love Lucy updo, one of those fake ponytail braids a la Madonna, and some lovely baroque feathers and period frocks; most of the time Micki’s style is maturely toned down with more nineties turtlenecks and business blazers. By the end of the season, she is once again independently strong, breaking in places and confronting people rather than letting these evils continue.

Once again, Jack’s continental battles have one wondering what Friday the 13th would have been like with him alone on the evil relic hunt. We don’t even get to see it when he’s said to be off recovering the Shard of Medusa from Year Two! The devil punishes him for all his good works, but Jack officially becomes part owner of Curious Goods on paper nonetheless. He’s the reluctant treasurer of the Antiques Association, too, but doesn’t like having its swanky party at the store when the other snobby dealers belittle his occult focus. Jack takes the lead in most cases, researching all aspects and utilizing his magic act connections or Druid knowledge. He also looks more nineties suave in more suit styles rather than his somewhat quirky trench coat and hat. Jack’s there for Micki as a fatherly shoulder, telling her to not let evil defeat her and even getting harsh with her when he has to be. He brings Micki food when she’s on a stakeout, too – even if that’s more about delivering some exposition. Jack waxes on good, evil, the gray between, and how their job never seems to get any easier in “Night Prey” thanks back alley bites, impromptu stakings, and one killer crucifix. Granted, some strobe effects are hokey, however those vampires floating outside the church’s stained class windows are eerily effective. If the show insisted on branching out from the object of the week format, it could have been cool to see Jack team up with such vampire hunters more often. This lone wolf monster vendetta with misused medieval relics feels like a rare Jack-centric episode, but the team is two steps behind as usual and Jack dictates information just as much as he gets in on the conflicted action. He admits that in their line of work, doing the right thing can be a little too weird sometimes, and Jack gets caught in the middle with twisted romance, then shocking innuendo, and murdered priests. It’s 1990 but these vamps are pretty indiscriminate on who they bite.

Unfortunately, Ryan is clearly over all the death in his life, and close to home battles versus Lucifer interfere with a new chance to bond with the mother who abandoned him. Seriously, how do you explain this line of work to mom? Demonic corruption, violence that can’t be undone, guilt, and final heroics send the character off in an eerie and unique, if far fetched exit. It’s at once cathartic to see innocence win in a series where evil can’t always be defeated, however, continuing Friday the 13th with two thirds of the regulars and a tacked on pal shifts the show’s dynamic considerably. Johnny Ventura suddenly becomes Micki’s sounding board but he feels more like an intrusion rather than helpful. The hood from a few episodes last season is now supposedly the hero as if a stranger dropped in with no explanation when the series had other opportunities to involve better mystical support. Whether Johnny stays at the store or has his own car is inconsistent depending on if he is called for a lame reason or if his wheels are part of the plot. He remains a non-believer in the paranormal even as Jack tells him to make himself useful and warns Johnny to take these dangerous curios seriously. Johnny can’t retrieve an object alone nor mind the store without selling the wrong item, and takes an ax to an indestructible evil object when not trying to use the evil for himself. For being the young muscle, he gets knocked out a lot, too. Johnny does write fiction by getting ideas from the tabloids – which Jack calls rubbish even though earlier in the series he said the rags were the best place for tips. They discourage him from writing about the store, but an underground publication angle might have been neat instead of pushing this new character at the expense of the others when Jack and Micki get on as a duo just fine. Thankfully, Johnny is put to use climbing outside to adjust the television antenna. Heck, Jill Hennessy (Law and Order) pops up three times as a sultry vampire, snotty secretary, and a lifeguard. She could have kept around as an undercover regular disguised per antique.

Orange lighting, distorted bells, white out eyes, and wolves leaping through windows keep up the horror intensity alongside foggy cemeteries, stone crypts, religious iconography, fires, and red devils with the horns to match the ghoulish skeletons, gory flesh, and melting oozes. Underground tombs, torches, demon altars, rune manuscripts written in blood, and pentagrams beneath the vault help make Curious Goods by lantern light even creepier, and there’s a stained couch with a body in the pullout cushion! Mirrors assure those vampires have no reflection, there’s holy water on the shelves at Curious Goods, and the store’s business cards give its address as 666 Druid Avenue. Hearts pounding and distorted camera angles set off veiny prosthetic gore even if the period flashbacks and foreign locales are slightly under budget old looking. Fortunately, the retro designs make the most of the horror effects, building that patina mood with frock coats and frilly collars for some provincial time travel or green lighting, cigarettes, and noir styling for the vampire nightclub. The swanky cars, station wagons, mothers in sweaters and pearls, and thirty year old high schoolers with bad perms keep the nostalgia in the forefront, compensating for reused sets and locations or that same Tudor house used for everything. The early computer snooping is also somewhat fake. You couldn’t just type in a name on blank screen and get clues back in the day! What do they think this is, Google? This was the era of phone booths when folks still had black and white televisions, and Friday the 13th gets then edgy by using ‘bitch’ a lot – although such grit feels hollow when wearing those big eighties blazers and tiny bolero ties. Men in tight jeans, long scarves, duster trench coats, and mullets isn’t so timeless nor are the seriously purple eighties mod bathrooms with black fixtures and bloody bathtubs. Of course, rather than due to any letdown in syndication popularity, Friday the 13th: The Series was canceled at a time when sponsors and advertising were swayed by complaints on television violence and how far shows could push the envelope in prime time. In retrospect, it’s an ironic end knowing everything seen here is almost friendly fair compared to the excessive shocks across all the television viewing platforms today.

Season Three strays from the Friday the 13th formula as cast changes and a larger focus on plots of the week loose the ability to fully capitalize on the spooky ideas presented. Fortunately, enough late hour gems keep these terrible little tchotchkes entertaining for old school horror audiences and series completists.

Chilling Chat Episode 154 Crescendo of Darkness with Emerian Rich

Emerian Rich is the author of the Night’s Knights Vampire Series. She’s been included in many short story anthologies and also writes romance under Emmy Z. Madrigal. She is the horror hostess of HorrorAddicts.net and Editorial Director for the San Francisco Bay Area magazine, SEARCH. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband and son. Find out more about Emerian at: http://www.emzbox.com

Our lovely horror hostess is a real scream. She took time out of her busy schedule to chat with me about Crescendo of Darkness, editing and publishing, and the new HorrorAddicts.net submission call.

NTK: Welcome to Chilling Chat, Emz. Thank you for chatting with me.

ER: I am so excited to be on here. I never get to chat with you except about HorrorAddicts.net business.

NTK: Crescendo of Darkness is the eighth book in the HorrorAddicts.net series of anthologies. How did it come about?emz1small

ER: I had been thinking about doing a music-themed horror anthology for a while. I had read A. Craig Newman’s “Circe’s Music Shop” back in the 90s—Yes! The 90s!—as part of a crit group I was part of online. The story stuck with me. I just loved it. So when Jeremiah Donaldson E-mailed me to say he wanted to do a music anthology, I said, “Yes! Under one condition…We have to have this guy’s story in the book.”

NTK: So, “Circe’s Music Shop” set the bar for the anthology?

ER: Yes, in a way. However, Jeremiah has a much different view of music than I do. He knows more about guitar/rock and you will see that a lot of the stories go down that road. For me, music is more melodic and dramatic. My favorite stories in the anthology are the ones that put off a spookier piano-y vibe. I think we got a really nice mix because we were both reviewing them.

NTK: Did you look for stories to surround “Circe’s Music shop?” What was your criteria for the stories you chose?

ER: We did not look for stories that fit with A. Craig’s. He might have put the idea in my head but, when we were reading, we just graded them by how much they moved, scared, or touched us. We were open to all interpretations. HorrorAddicts.net Press has a system for populating our anthologies. We have a team of four readers. The Editor, me, and two others from staff. We all read and grade. Whichever stories get the top grades, we publish. The Editor has veto power and can fight for one if it’s not in the top of the list but, mostly, the highest graded ones (meaning the ones that all of us enjoyed) are the ones that ultimately get into the book. Except yours, which won an award when graded by pros. Congratulations, by the way.

NTK: Thank you! “Audition” was a fun story to write for the Next Great Horror Writer Contest and I’m so honored to be included in Crescendo. We have another NGHW finalist included in the anthology. What attracted you to Daphne Strasert’s story?

ER: Well, as you know, we were only allowed to publish one story from the competition, that being yours, which we felt was the best out of the group. However, we allowed the other contestants to submit something else. When Daphne’s new one came in, I was happy to see it, because she is also a great writer. We graded hers just as all the others and she rang in to the top grades as well. I can’t speak for the others on the submission team, but for me, not only was Daphne’s so different from the others—starring a music box, not an instrument—but it’s also a really creepy story. Daphne’s voice is so fresh and contemporary. I could see this story being made into a movie like The Ring.

NTK: There are fourteen authors included in the anthology and you have a wonderful variety of stories. Can you give us a quick run-down of what the reader can expect to see within these pages?

ER: First, we have a good number of guitar-based stories. Your story, “Audition,” “Circe’s Music Shop” by A. Craig Newman, “Loved to Death,” by Sam Morgan Phillips, “While My Guitar Gently Bleeds,” by Benjamin Langley, “Six String Bullets,” by Cara Fox, and “A Whisper in the Air,” by Jeremiah Donaldson really reflect the cover. Then, we have piano themes in “Solomon’s Piano,” by Jeremy Megargee and “They Don’t Make Music Like That Anymore,” by Kahramanah. There are cursed objects like Daphne Strasert’s, “The Music Box,” and Sarah Gribble’s, “The Legend of Crimson Ivory.” “Lighthouse Lamentation,” by R.A. Goli involves a haunted lighthouse, while Calvin Demmer’s, “Keep the Beat,” is about a cursed village. H.E. Roulo’s, “Become the Music,” is about a child who is allergic to music and my story, “Last Lullaby,” is a re-imagining of the Phantom of the Opera tale.

NTK: Emz, as I mentioned before, this is HorrorAddicts.net’s eighth anthology. What made you become an editor and publisher?

ER: I’m not sure when I fell into all this. When I was in my 20s, I had a local ‘zine called Dark Lives. I would publish horror/goth authors and artists. In the early 2000s, I decided I better stop and get to work on my own novels. When I started HorrorAddicts.net as a podcast, I never even dreamed it would be what it is today. As you know, we are populated by fans and the staff that come to help spread the horror goodness. We became a blog and a site and a lifestyle for so many craving horror that publishing just seemed like a natural progression. Also, I love reading horror and I read so much by authors that haven’t been published before that I’m like…THIS is the stuff I want to read. But if no one is publishing it, then it can’t be enjoyed by other horror enthusiasts like me. I’m really interested in publishing things I like that may not fit the mainstream publishing system. Cool things I haven’t heard before. New ideas that aren’t the same rehashed formula we get in industry anthologies.

NTK: So, what is your favorite kind of horror? What movies, novels, and TV shows do you enjoy?

ER: I like classic horror. By classic, I don’t mean I always have to crouch by the light of the black and white set, straining my eyes to make out the grays of the darkly lit forest, I mean what we think of as classically spooky. The shutters banging, the ghost in the tower, the creaking doors, and melodramatic music. The Woman in Black, The Others, and Ghost Ship are some of my favorites. For TV, I am more into humorous horror themes like Reaper and Dead Like Me. But, I’m also a fan of shows like Ghost Whisperer, The Others (TV show from the 90s), and Midnight Texas. Reading is a whole different story. I really like Anne Rice and Andre Neiderman. My favorites of those two are Anne’s Pandora and Andrew’s Bloodchild. But, it’s been so long since I’ve been able to just sit and read for fun, it’s hard to pin any new author’s down. I am either reading shorts for anthologies reviewing a book for the show, or working on my own stuff. Oh, for the days of laying in bed or on the porch swing and reading! I want all those bored hours from my childhood back!

NTK: Do you write classic horror? Do your books and stories fit in that category?

ER: Now, that is something I haven’t been called on! Wow. I never thought about that. I have written a book like that, Artistic License. A woman inherits a house where anything she paints on the walls comes alive. My vampire work would probably be considered more like dark urban fantasy. Gritty, street kids, and Hell kind of stuff. However, now that you mention it. I think my love of classic horror is really coming out in my work in progress. I am re-imagining Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey in modern times. The heroine is now a goth girl who adores horror media. So, I’ve been injecting lines from movies, excerpts from classic books like The Grey Lady by Elizabeth Gaskell, and Witch House by Evangeline Walton, and even creating a little myself when seeing through the character’s eyes. Jane Austen is thought of as a romance writer but, this book (while it does have romance in it) is more like a love letter to all my favorite horror creators.

NTK: As you know, Emz, Season 13 is CURSED! We’ve talked about your favorite horror, what is your favorite curse?

ER: This is so tough! Omg…so many to choose from! Well, I can’t give you just one. I really like studying the curses surrounding the Titanic. I think it’s fascinating and just can’t get enough of the conspiracy theories there. I really like the Egyptian and mummy lore and the scarab devouring thing creeps me the hell out. But the coolest curses, I think, are the book curses. The ones we’ll be talking about later in the season about the books that have curses written inside them…“Those who lay their eyes upon this manuscript and have not pure intentions, shall be struck down by their maker,” kind of stuff. I had something happen to me in real life where I witnessed someone unable to read or decipher a book. It was a magick book that had an inscription in it about if the person didn’t believe or wasn’t pure of heart, they would not be able to read it. I could read every word as plain as day but, she was like…“What does it say? Is it some sort of code?” Really made an impact on how I consider book curses today. If that could work, why wouldn’t a curse in a book work?

NTK: What awesome curses! And, speaking of books, HorrorAddicts.net has a new submission call coming up. Could you tell us a little about Kill Switch and what you’re looking for?

ER: Yes, Kill Switch is Dan Shaurette’s brainchild. I will be looking for interesting, new, Black Mirror-like stories. I think Dan will have a more sci-fi accepting view, but they all must be horror, so I’m looking forward to reading some really great things. Tech horror is so interesting because we are living in an age where things like implanted chips and bionics are so close to us. Tech is going so fast and it’s not even the future anymore. It’s NEAR future. How will your tech terrorize the world?

Something new we are trying is a blind submission process. We will be grading stories before we know who wrote them. I’m interested to see how that turns out.

NTK: What does the future hold for you, Emz? What do we have to look forward to?

ER: Wow…you do ask the hard questions huh?

My goal is to keep writing and publishing unique and exciting horror with new ideas that we can all geek out on. Also, I plan to continue to support new horror writers and get their voices heard.

NTK: Thank you for chatting with me, Emz! It’s nice to talk to the lady behind the scenes of our favorite podcast and blog.

ER: Thank you for the interview! It’s rare that I get to be on the other side of the couch!

Crescendo of Darkness is available for purchase now. The submission call for Kill Switch ends on October 31, 2018.

Press Release: Tales From The Lake by Crystal Lake Publishing

The Legend Continues…

 

Twenty-four heart-rending tales with elements of terror, mystery, and a nightmarish darkness that knows no end.

 

Welcome to my lake. Welcome to where dreams and hope are illusions…and pain is God.  

 

  • This anthology begins with Joe R. Lansdale’sThe Folding Man, one of his darkest stories ever written.
  • Kealan Patrick Burke’sGo Warily After Dark pulls us into a desolated world, and reminds us of the price of survival: a guilt that seeps into the marrow.
  • Damien Angelica Walter’sEverything Hurts, Until it Doesn’t places us in the middle of a family whose secrets and traditions are thicker than blood.
  • Jennifer Loring’sWhen the Dead Come Home explores a loss so dark, that even the stars are sucked into its melancholic vacuum.

 

In the spirit of popular Dark Fiction anthologies such as Gutted: Beautiful Horror Stories and Behold: Oddities, Curiosities and Undefinable Wonders, and the best of Stephen King’s short fiction, comes Crystal Lake Publishing’s Tales from The Lake anthologies.

 

This fourth volume of Speculative Fiction contains the following short stories:

Joe R. Lansdale – The Folding Man

Jennifer Loring – When the Dead Come Home

Kealan Patrick Burke – Go Warily After Dark

E. Grau –To the Hills

Damien Angelica Walters – Everything Hurts, Until it Doesn’t

Sheldon Higdon – Drowning in Sorrow

Max Booth III – Whenever You Exhale, I Inhale

Bruce Golden – The Withering

JG Faherty – Grave Secrets

Hunter Liguore – End of the Hall

David Dunwoody – Snowmen

Timothy G. Arsenault – Pieces of Me

Maria Alexander – Neighborhood Watchers

Timothy Johnson – The Story of Jessie and Me

Michael Bailey – I will be the Reflection Until the End

E.E. King – The Honeymoon’s Over

Darren Speegle – Song in a Sundress

Cynthia Ward – Weighing In

Michael Haynes – Reliving the Past

Leigh M. Lane – The Long Haul

Mark Cassell – Dust Devils

Del Howison – Liminality

Gene O’ Neill – The Gardener

Jeff Cercone – Condo by the Lake

 

With an introduction by editor Ben Eads. Cover art by Ben Baldwin. Proudly represented by Crystal Lake Publishing – Tales from The Darkest Depths.

Press Release: The End: An Apocalyptic Anthology

The End: An Apocalyptic Anthology

The End Has Finally Arrived…

Available Now Available on Amazon

https://www.amazon.com/dp/1979682712

The End Has Finally Arrived… We all knew it was coming…an Apocalypse to end all things. But how exactly will the world end? Will it be slow or fast? Will it be a zombie plague? A nuclear holocaust? Death from above? Or perhaps something less predictable, like a shocking discovery in an ancient tomb or an unnamed evil stalking us in the shadows? We asked several talented horror writers to deliver their best Dystopian fiction and Apocalyptic stories, and we were horrified by what they predicted. So open up these pages at your own peril, for the End is nigh, and you may discover it is more terrifying than you could have ever imagined!

The End contains short stories by talented writers, such as Shauna Klein, Dona Fox, Andrew Bell, Marisha Cautilli, Joe Cautilli, Brian Barr, D.J. Doyle, Howard Carlyle, Roma Gray, Essel Pratt, Michael Fisher, and G.H. Finn.

This is not your average apocalyptic anthology.  Sure, there are zombies inside, but the end is not always foretold by your favorite television program.

FRIGHTENING FLIX BY KBATZ: Friday the 13th The Series Season 2

More Freaky Good in Friday the 13th The Series Season Two

by Kristin Battestella

 

The 1988-89 Second Season of Friday the 13th The Series boasts twenty-six more episodes featuring antiquing cousins Micki Foster (Robey) and Ryan Dallion (John D. LeMay) alongside occult expert Jack Marshak (Chris Wiggins) as they face increasingly scary retributions in their ongoing quest to retrieve the evil objects sold from the Curious Goods store by the late Lewis Vendredi (R.G. Armstrong).

The snakes, violent patients, and rowdy mental wards escalate in “And Now the News” as one greedy doctor uses an innocuous looking old time radio to scare patients to death and pin the rising fatalities on those in the way of her medical glory. Retro hospital greens and white uniforms add to the paranoia, analysis in fear, and suspicious research for a warped dose of self-fulfilling prophecy. Sure there’s electroshock therapy, but our collectors have become a little more professional, making an appointment, handing out business cards, and explaining how they buy back antiques for their shop – if not why. Grave diggers and thunderstorms accent the robes, chanting, torches, and rituals of “Tails I Live, Heads You Die” while one handy gold piece raises decomposing bodies from the dead. Black masses and alchemy history hit home the occult danger and gruesome horror movie atmosphere for our bold team as backward prayers and coin tosses determine one’s fate. Granted, the concert with a ghoulish monster below in “Symphony in B#” immediately screams Phantom of the Opera knockoff. However, the masked, mostly hidden and morose villain matches the well-edited suspense, and the cursed violin music creates a melancholy theater mood as doubts about a lovely violinist luring Ryan put him and Micki on opposite sides of the case. More behind the scenes strife, jealousy, and temperamental stars make for a fun picture within a picture in “Master of Disguise.” Curious Goods rents their non-cursed décor on set, and the dolly zooms, soft focus, and back glows play with the movie making charm while a handsome actor with a sinister make up kit is desperate for fresh blood. Gossip rags, lookalike costumes, toasters in the bathtub – the Chaney ‘Man of a Thousand Faces’ and William ‘Karloff’ Pratt references wink at the steamy smoke and mirrors and life imitating art. Only on Friday the 13th could one drop studio lights on an extra’s head and bludgeon an actress with her own award.

 

Wax Magic” pulls out all the Freaks meets House of Wax eighties carnival stops with Gravitron and music montages updating the familiar horror themes for this boys night out including eerie effigies, Lizzie Borden weapons, and murderous handkerchiefs. The sculptures hide warped love, magic tricks, and some good old fashioned murder, but it’s nothing a little fire and icky good melting special effects can’t fix. Ventriloquist dummies in horror are always suspect, and this one takes on a sassy little life of his own for “Read My Lips” by getting too fresh with his handler’s fiancee and driving him to murder and madness just to keep their act in the spotlight. Talk about biting the hand that feeds you! Is it the dummy itself – there’s no such doll in the Curious Goods manifest – or killer clothing used to reanimate something monstrous? Naturally there is some bemusing dummy violence with heads in the freezer and puns to match – “Death is easy, it’s comedy that’s hard” – but while some delight in their cursed objects, most are destroyed by them indeed. Elaborate bee boxes, swarming visuals, and buzzing audio lead to rural honey stands, proprietary blends, and killer insects in “The Sweetest Sting.” Although this perhaps isn’t an unusual plot – and the real thing is frightful enough to many – the youth elixirs come with elaborate elevator deaths and fatal farm equipment mishaps. The abusive home of two destitute children, unfortunately, is just as bad as the deceptive allure of the titular Victorian charmer in “The Playhouse.” Ominous facades and warped fun house visuals answer the desperate necessities of the tender young players, making this curse a not so cut and dry reluctance with true to life horrors, abductions, and inept investigations. Will the police believe the evil truth? How’s that big, indestructible playhouse going to fit in the Curious Goods vault anyway?

Confederate letters, battlefield hospitals, and a greasy doctor who’s really a contemporary collector stealing Civil War artifacts anchor “Eye of Death” as an evil lantern’s three hour visits to the past creates some greedy antiquing competition. Rather than black and white, this episode has a gritty wartime and old photograph patina to match the captured moment in time and the power trip it provides. Instead of being an episode any series can do, Friday the 13th shows its unique investigations and eerie artifacts with the well done history and horrors here. Likewise, “Face of Evil” returns to the killer compact of last season’s “Vanity’s Mirror,” although enough is happening with models fearing wrinkles and has been status without the flashbacks to the previous episode. The team races to stop the photo shoot disasters and on set accidents while addressing our ageism obsessions, for a few lines and second best won’t do. Of course, there’s nothing a wicked syringe can’t solve in “Better Off Dead.” Classical music irony accents the science abominations, brain fluids, and creepy transfusions for the AIDS era while a wild tumble down the staircase, shocking car accident, and freaky experiments threaten Micki and company with twisted serial killer medicine and Jack the Ripper tools. Along with winking clips from The Wolf Man, “Scarlet Cinema” provides more film within a film scares, school lectures, youth escapism, and old fashioned projector glows. The mockery of nerdy students and onscreen lycanthropy debate early film superiority and underrated horror film milestones while addressing the blatant rip offs and copycatting homages even as the episode does the same thing. Although the emo student can be annoying, and maybe Friday the 13th does rely too much on the archival footage, the vintage cameras, gray-scale touches, and retro framing techniques reveal the killer wolfy in a bemusing be careful for what you wish for turnabout. Plus that silver nitrate film comes in handy!

Swanky jazz, hot dames, risque kills, and then steamy near nudity spice up “Mesmer’s Bauble” alongside the late singer Vanity, a music montage or two, and wow look at that record store! A lucky charm making an obsessive fan’s dreams comes true isn’t all that different from today’s star worship in new mediums coughtumblrcough, but being a talented artist and selling a lot of records are not necessarily the same thing – except to the number one fan who’s not like all those other crazies. Screaming crowds knock each other over to be one step nearer, and our trinket inches toward Single White Female in her skin insanity. Buenos Aires crimes, passions, and a rare snow globe also spell trouble for “Wedding In Black.” The devil is pissed that Curious Goods is collecting his tricks, and a disembodied voice, hellish scenery, and inside or outside the snow globe twists escalate the vengeance. Although this episode has an unusual format, it might have been neat to see this evil rival trio out to undo our team more often, and it’s superb to see a cast-centric hour dealing with the consequences of their collecting complete with rapacious revenge and what you don’t see worse. The eighties modern interpretative dance and off the shoulder Fame get ups in “The Maestro” won’t be for everyone. However, the ballet scenes are lovely – if fatal as this eponymous choreographer drives his talented but imperfect subjects to risk life and limb with music from an old symphonia. Is sacrificing for great art and success worth it? This music box embellishes a ruthlessness already present, and it’s deadly demands cross the line between brilliant artistry and abusive fanaticism. Satanic effigies and parallel white magic up the ante in the “Coven of Darkness” season finale, pitting shaman energy and protection spells against Uncle Lewis’ former coven and a witch’s ladder omen. A little cut from a witch’s ring or some blood on a ritual handkerchief and our trio is arguing on who’s bewitched, whether they are safe in the store with their evil relics, or if one of them has possible magic powers. Did they expect no retribution for their good works against evil? Possessions, counter spells, candles, and great horror imagery strengthen the character focus, and I wish Friday the 13th had spent more time with its players rather than the curses of the week. Warring covens fighting to get their cursed curios back and developing psychic strengths for the battle could have been ongoing storylines. But hee, calling the object of your incantation on the telephone right in the middle of the chanting, oh how eighties!

Yet this Sophomore Season is tough to get rolling with a rocky “Doorway to Hell” premiere referring to the First Season’s finale, which was itself a bottle episode clip show with a weak frame. Ghostly reflections, broken mirrors, cobwebs, and dark realms fall prey to stereotypical gas station crimes and nonsensical goons. Likewise, the Caribbean clichés, unacceptable racial misunderstandings, exotical fetishism, and snobby white boys playing at real magic in “The Voodoo Mambo” gets lol wut with a montage explaining voodoo like its something rare and mysterious. The what would you do with an extra hour premise of “13 O’Clock” is very cool with a fine technical execution mixing color, black and white, stills, and film movement for its freeze frame pauses in time. Unfortunately, the seedy music, back alley bludgeons, and standard daddy’s princess gold digger with a side piece planning murder compromise the freaky pocket watch with eighties obnoxiousness. I mean, gangs having dance offs on the subway platform? Such filler makes Friday the 13th feel like it should have been a half hour show with only the good horrors necessary. Traditional in store antique sales and Uncle Lewis connections are lost among the laughably bad acting, chicken races, hot rods, and cursed car keys in “Night Hunger,” and the killer zapping qualities of a 1919 World Series ring in “The Mephisto Ring” are just goofy. A bum villain and anonymous heavies beating up old ladies over bad betting tips can’t carry the double duty sports and crimes, and too much is happening between the odd A/B plots in “A Friend to the End.” Is this about the bittersweet sepia and undead child tales or the edgy pain as art with a sculptor turning models to stone? These aren’t the worst stories – though the middle school bike tricks are silly and the evil lesbian subtext typical – but the curses here are stylistically too different and each deserved its own hour. There’s merit in the bickering surgeons and alternative Native American medicines with “The Shaman’s Apprentice” and an Indian grandson caught between his calling as a native healer and his job as a white man’s doctor. However, the outsider belittled for his ideas is a repetitive story with redskin insults, warpath jokes, and dated racism on top of another misfire object and ethnic spins made evil.

The crimped hair, victory rolls, and retro fads also don’t do Louise Robey justice, and former gymnast Micki puts on some giant glasses to go undercover as a journalist when not skimming the fashion magazines for new looks. She repairs and redecorates the store, doing the research and leaving the boys to the big action, but Micki says Curious Goods has no charm. She still hopes to get on with her life, be happy, and not battle evil forever. Her visiting BFFs often pay a terrible price, and each loss is tougher on Micki than the next. Her nephew is also ditched at the store by her divorcing sister, and the family interference in the curio collecting could have been dealt with more. Micki’s jealous and sometimes suspicious of Ryan’s dalliances, but her saucy times are filmed in much more romantic detail. Unfortunately, she is attacked by a creepy mental patient, leaving Micki throwing up and quite shaken before more terrible close calls late in the season. I don’t like that Friday the 13th went there – the fantastics are enough without real world violence. However, these experiences give Micki more doubts about if what they do and the risks they take are worth it, and she even argues the morality of letting an evil doctor die so her friend can live in a slightly uncharacteristic but consequential request. The eighties white shirts with big belts and skin tight pants early in the year also switch to loose fitting darker fashions, big overcoats, and objects in front that seem like television hiding pregnancy tricks. It’s a noticeable one-hundred and eighty degree change, yet it’s nice to see Micki become more than just being there to look sexy with psychic opportunities and white magic potential in the season finale.

Everyone always presumes John D. Le May’s Ryan Dallion is Micki’s boyfriend, and although he apparently carries her picture in his wallet, he’s always ready to party or romance the lady of an episode. He’s bored at the symphony and afraid he’ll fall asleep – until he spots a babe at second violin, that is. Ryan gets over one girl and moves onto the next one in a few episodes as required but can move even quicker, sometimes putting on the ritz in the same show! Thankfully, he does get into vinyl, putting on some records for his music education, and he dresses up eighties fancy, too – with a then rad ear piercing. Though prominent in the weak cool cars hour, it does feel like Ryan is here much this season. However, he doesn’t suddenly become a Civil War expert when he’s caught in the past. Some future knowledge would have helped him for sure, yet he can’t remember anything but the burning of Atlanta. He’s strangely reluctant to believe in werewolves even after all they’ve seen, but he can still be reckless – like climbing the fence of a high security institution and getting electrocuted. He says he remains so loose and celebratory after facing such evils because they got through it, but Ryan is seriously effected when loved ones are presumed dead. He blames Jack and increasingly contests what they do and why. The characters here don’t stand pat, as Friday the 13th plays with their fates early and often. Ryan says Curious Goods puts him through enough pain and he’s had enough of these cursed antiques and the deaths they cause.

 

The late Chris Wiggins’ Jack Marshak saves the day to start Year Two but is referred to with a postcard by the third episode, and his absence is apparent in several weaker shows mid season. Jack’s reputation as an occult expert precedes him, but the heavy mantle of their righteous collecting often puts him and his friends in mortal danger. Despite the risks, he puts on a brave face, often rescuing our cousins – who are somewhat aimless without him – or sends them to cover while he handles the beastlies alone. Jack dictates the course of action and delineates the team, however, he can be wrong about the object they seek and what it does. Fortunately, his old magician ties and show biz connections are more fun, and the trio has a lighthearted, teasing banter – sick in bed Jack is stuck with the paperwork but he rings a bell so Micki will wait on him but his awkward stuffiness drags down his boys night out on the town with Ryan. It would have been neat to see more of their in store dynamics, and why does Jack get the crappy cold room downstairs next to the vault? Occasionally his absence isn’t even addressed, but brief mentions of him off collecting Nazi materials remains interesting. I would have loved to see these occult aspects or secret societies and paranormal investigation plans as Friday the 13th allegedly intended to include, and “The Butcher” provides such German quotes, period accents, Norse mysticism, frozen Nazi escapes, and resurrection amulets. Torturous dreams delve into Jack’s World War II past as he’s reluctant to investigate the strangulation revenge, Neo Nazi thoughts, and extremist talk show hosts turned politicians unfortunately eerily relevant today. It’s a frightful mix of real world horrors and fantastics explaining why Jack does what he does at Curious Goods and there should have been more episodes like this.

Unfortunately, Steve Monarque’s (Under the Boardwalk) appearances as Johnny Ventura in two episodes this season don’t bode well for his regular status to come in Season Three. It’s odd to place “Wedding Bell Blues” back to back with a similar title, as the episodes are drastically different and the empowered pool cue, smoky billiard halls, and big haired bridezilla spend too much time away from team. The cliché hustling and filler, almost a spin off tone are apparent and so is Johnny’s street wise attitude. He says he’s not some dumb kid and wants to immediately know all the curse details – but he looks eighties old and figures out the secrets by breaking doors down, asking questions later, and missing the body in the freezer. The brief mention of Ryan and Jack on the hunt for evil snow shoes sounds more interesting than this laughably bad debut, for the best thing about this episode was my husband and I debating whether a mere pool cue stab through the torso could actually be so quickly fatal or if a good jam through the eye into the brain would have been better. Of all the ways for Friday the 13th to bring on a new character, the basic cool guy is the lamest way to go, and the robberies, shootouts, and penitentiaries gets worse in “The Prisoner.” Inmates trading a bloody invisibility bomber jacket, oh my! Johnny’s nondescript in the joint solving a phantom murder over double crossed loot, everybody talks like James Cagney, and I don’t care about a ridiculous crime of the week with a curse afterthought. R.G. Armstrong’s lone appearance as the late Uncle Lewis is better trouble in the uneven premiere, and Elias Zarou’s Rashid should have become a regular, creating a second mature duo with Jack to investigate more Old World occult. Likewise, Joe Seneca (Silverado) deserved more as a recurring voodoo expert. Certainly the budget was low, but more Curious Goods staff would have made recovering artifacts faster and built in more adventures to keep Friday the 13th going with the forthcoming cast changes.

 

Understandably, the Friday the 13th: The Series – The Complete TV Series DVDs are not perfect remasters with an often dark print and uneven, low volume. The then-rad cars, bedazzled leather jackets with sleeves rolled up, and big sunglasses at night are still eighties steeped alongside tight white leggings, off the shoulder shirts but giant shoulder pads, and high-waisted acid wash jeans. But wow those poofy huge wedding dresses and patterned ties on top of super shiny dress shirts and striped sports jackets – woof! When not faced with crimped side ponytails and convertibles driven by yuppies with yellow sweaters tied over their shoulders, the forties-esque glam and Stray Cats mini fifties revival create a neo noir mix with moody red lighting, blue neon, flashlights, and spooky fog. Basic green screen effects, old school shadow schemes, and the somewhat unfinished looking visuals remain eerily effective while the gray-scale moss, webs, and vines hit home the swampy underworld design. Sepia tints, snap shot still frames, and old style filming techniques add to the retro reels, classic clips, and pop music photo shoots – and folks had to go to a camera shop to rent a giant camera! Piles of papers, dusty old books, undeveloped film rolls, newspapers, mini cassettes, and tape recorders did research pre-internet the hard way, but record players, horseshoe phones, hefty televisions, and big answering machines invoke a bemusing nostalgia. Listening to the radio for news! Pharmacies that deliver? That car phone is just a receiver with a cord?! Look at that old five dollar bill as evidence one is from the future! Although some houses and locations are clearly revisited and the Fred Kreuger pizza face gore is good but common, the slightly cheap and fun styling embraces its low budget horror roots. That racy lingerie on the prostitutes, however, is actually a lot of clothing compared to today’s uber skimpy!

Friday the 13th’s Second Year is slow to start with more of the same cool cursed objects of the week repetitiveness thanks to a lot of episodes and a few letdowns. Despite its syndication success, the series missteps slightly by not going far enough with character developments or the full potential of its evil love, greedy wealth, and eternal youth opportunities. Fortunately, Friday the 13th‘s mix of horror, humor, nostalgia, and dark morality plays remains impressively ghoulish for old school audiences and scary anthology fans.

Kidnapped! Siren’s Call: Horror: Odd and Bizarre

 

Horror: Odd and Bizarre

Take two steps to the left of normal and you’ll find the type of stories offered in Horror: Odd and Bizarre. Consider them the red-headed stepchildren of the genre…

From a museum process that not only preserves the dead but brings them back to life to a phone that warns you of the impending apocalypse, each tale hits on a different level of the bizarre. Maybe a killer clown epidemic that preys on everything you hold dear, or a painting that subtly changes to spell out your doom, piques your odd meter instead—don’t worry, they’re in there too.

If you like horror with a unique spin, a bizarre thread that straddles the line, or a tale that just a little off, you’ll definitely enjoy each odd morsel and bizarre bite contained within!

Featuring:

Phantom Pain — Kayce Bennett

All Aboard — C.R. Langille

Self Portrait — Ben Pienaar

The Process — Georgina Morales

A Man Called Cup — Jason A. Wyckoff

Fingers — Maynard Blackoak

A Clown of Thorns — Ken MacGregor

Into The Dream Never — S.E. Foley

Hi — Calypso Kane

Beep — Kristal Stittle

A Clown and a Dragon Walk Into a Bar — Rob E. Boley

Ivy’s First Kiss — Matthew R. Davis

Horror: Odd and Bizarre can be found online at:

Amazon: US | UK

Amazon Print: US | UK | Canada

Kidnapped! Siren’s Call: Twisted Yarns

Twisted Yarns

Twisted Yarns is a collection of eleven depraved stories that will warp your mind and spark your curiosity for tales best muttered in hushed tones and dark corners.

Imagine finding a baby in a dumpster; how far would you go to protect it? Picture yourself trapped in a maze with a monstrous creature that wants nothing more than to spill your blood while others bet on the outcome of your life; would you run to survive? Do you think you could – run or survive? Perhaps you’re clinging to a lost love so strongly that your rational mind doesn’t realize how strongly it’s clinging to you; is it bliss or torture? Come to think of it, is it safe to accept that tasty sample the kindly gentleman who works at the grocery store is offering you? It couldn’t be anything but harmless, could it?

If you prefer your horror twisted with a bit of grit sprinkled on top for flavor, this is the perfect anthology for you!

Featuring:

Blood Oranges — R.k. Kombrinck

Polandrio — Trevor Firetog

Kin — Elizabeth Allen

Dumpster Baby Blues — Bob Macumber

Dead World Protocol — Glynn Owen Barrass

The Road Less Taken — J.T. Seate

Countdown — Danielle Allen

A Walk in Moonlight — Sharon L. Higa

David — John Mc Caffrey

Geo — Micheal Lizarraga

The Garden of Love — Kevin Holton

Twisted Yarns is available on:

Amazon: US | UK

Amazon Print: US | UK | Canada

Kidnapped! Siren’s Call: Out of Phase

 

Out of Phase

Horror and science fiction blend seamlessly in the twelve stories contained within this anthology. Whether it’s mutation, creation, invention, machinery has gone awry, or space/time travel, each of the authors included took on the challenge of weaving a tale that not only stood up against scientific possibilities but will scare the proverbial pants off readers.

Imagine a world where the skies are protected from giant insects by men and women who climb into flying steel contraptions. Or perhaps you like the idea of nanobots quietly working in the background to effect positive change, only to find out that maybe those changes aren’t completely beneficial. How about genetic manipulation went horribly wrong? Fiction that may not be too far from fact…

All of these terrifying, yet thought-provoking scenarios are part of this collection of tales that definitely have some genuine kick!

 

 

 

 

 

Featuring:

Dead Serious: A Story of the Invaders — Paul M. Feeney

Hive Mind — Alex Woolf

The Unity Contagion — B. David Spicer

SkyDogs — Richard Farren Barber

Grey Sands — DJ Tyrer

Waiting Time — Rivka Jacobs

First Second — Jason D’Aprile

Idle Puppet — Dev Jarrett

Face Value — P.N. Roberts

The Forgotten Ones — J. D. Waye

What Really Happened on Green Moon 764… — Sergio Palumbo

Under The Twin Eyes — Matthew Smallwood

Out of Phase is available on:

Amazon: US | UK

Amazon Print: US | UK | Canada

Submission Call: Crescendo of Darkness

Cover by Carmen Masloski

Crescendo of Darkness
Edited by Jeremiah Donaldson

“Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent.” -Victor Hugo

There’s a funny thing that can soothe the soul after a rough day at work, can put you in the mood to take on any challenge, or can transport you back twenty years in time. It’s the most widely enjoyed mode of entertainment and the most used form of mood alteration. Music.

Your story must involve music in some way. This could take the form of a specific genre or song, but also the creation of music, an instrument, or even the lack of music. What would you do if you didn’t have your favorite music to calm your mind or to motivate you? What horrible deeds are prevented on a daily basis because someone listened to their favorite song? How many people are alive because someone heard the right song at the right time? What is the power of music?

Note: This is a HorrorAddicts.net anthology. Your story must be a Horror story and contain something emotionally, physically, or mentally horrifying.

Manuscript Format:
Font: either Courier or Times New Roman.
Double spaced, font 12 point.
Your manuscript must be in either DOC or RTF format.
1st page header to state: author name, mailing address, email address, and word count.
Following pages header to state: author name, story name, and page number.

In the body of the email:
100 words or less bio about you.
One sentence explaining the story attached. Your elevator pitch.
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram ids
Your website or blog

Subject of the email state:
CRESCENDO OF DARKNESS/Author Name/Story Title
Send to: horroraddicts@gmail.com

No previously printed work and no simultaneous submissions.

Deadline: October 31st, 2017, 11:59pm PST
Length: 2,000-5,000 words
Payment: $10.00 USD + digital contributor copy
Return time: Final decisions will not be made until AFTER the submission close date (10/31/17). You should expect a return within 3 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 horroraddicts@gmail.com

For any other questions, please send an email to horroraddicts@gmail.com

Press Release: Teeth Marks by Matthew Weber

Press Release: Teeth Marks by Matthew Weber

 

Brace yourself for 12 twisted tales from America’s Deep South in TEETH MARKS, the third collection of horror fiction from Matthew Weber.

 

Psychotic Killers, Bloodthirsty Monsters and Ghastly Specters from Beyond the Grave!

Weber’s latest collection will grab you like a meat hook and keep you turning pages long after you’ve wet the bed. From back-country curses and maniacal next-door neighbors to alien invasions and shape-shifting beasts, TEETH MARKS delivers the most fun you’ll ever have reading about terrible things. Available now for Kindle download and soon in paperback from Pint Bottle Press.

*********

Matthew Weber (A DARK & WINDING ROAD, SEVEN FEET UNDER) is editor of the DOUBLE BARREL HORROR anthology series and editor-in-chief of EXTREMER HOW-TO home improvement magazine. He is a happily married father of three children, and when he’s not writing, remodeling or chasing kids, he plays bass in the long-running punk band, SKEPTIC?

Submission Call: Crescendo of Darkness

Cover by Carmen Masloski

Crescendo of Darkness
Edited by Jeremiah Donaldson

“Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent.” -Victor Hugo

There’s a funny thing that can soothe the soul after a rough day at work, can put you in the mood to take on any challenge, or can transport you back twenty years in time. It’s the most widely enjoyed mode of entertainment and the most used form of mood alteration. Music.

Your story must involve music in some way. This could take the form of a specific genre or song, but also the creation of music, an instrument, or even the lack of music. What would you do if you didn’t have your favorite music to calm your mind or to motivate you? What horrible deeds are prevented on a daily basis because someone listened to their favorite song? How many people are alive because someone heard the right song at the right time? What is the power of music?

Note: This is a HorrorAddicts.net anthology. Your story must be a Horror story and contain something emotionally, physically, or mentally horrifying.

Manuscript Format:
Font: either Courier or Times New Roman.
Double spaced, font 12 point.
Your manuscript must be in either DOC or RTF format.
1st page header to state: author name, mailing address, email address, and word count.
Following pages header to state: author name, story name, and page number.

In the body of the email:
100 words or less bio about you.
One sentence explaining the story attached. Your elevator pitch.
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram ids
Your website or blog

Subject of the email state:
CRESCENDO OF DARKNESS/Author Name/Story Title
Send to: horroraddicts@gmail.com

No previously printed work and no simultaneous submissions.

Deadline: October 31st, 2017, 11:59pm PST
Length: 2,000-5,000 words
Payment: $10.00 USD + digital contributor copy
Return time: Final decisions will not be made until AFTER the submission close date (10/31/17). You should expect a return within 3 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 horroraddicts@gmail.com

For any other questions, please send an email to horroraddicts@gmail.com

Submission Call: Crescendo of Darkness Anthology, HorrorAddicts

Cover by Carmen Masloski

Crescendo of Darkness
Edited by Jeremiah Donaldson

“Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent.” -Victor Hugo

There’s a funny thing that can soothe the soul after a rough day at work, can put you in the mood to take on any challenge, or can transport you back twenty years in time. It’s the most widely enjoyed mode of entertainment and the most used form of mood alteration. Music.

Your story must involve music in some way. This could take the form of a specific genre or song, but also the creation of music, an instrument, or even the lack of music. What would you do if you didn’t have your favorite music to calm your mind or to motivate you? What horrible deeds are prevented on a daily basis because someone listened to their favorite song? How many people are alive because someone heard the right song at the right time? What is the power of music?

Note: This is a HorrorAddicts.net anthology. Your story must be a Horror story and contain something emotionally, physically, or mentally horrifying.

Manuscript Format:
Font: either Courier or Times New Roman.
Double spaced, font 12 point.
Your manuscript must be in either DOC or RTF format.
1st page header to state: author name, mailing address, email address, and word count.
Following pages header to state: author name, story name, and page number.

In the body of the email:
100 words or less bio about you.
One sentence explaining the story attached. Your elevator pitch.
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram ids
Your website or blog

Subject of the email state:
CRESCENDO OF DARKNESS/Author Name/Story Title
Send to: horroraddicts@gmail.com

No previously printed work and no simultaneous submissions.

Deadline: October 31st, 2017, 11:59pm PST
Length: 2,000-5,000 words
Payment: $10.00 USD + digital contributor copy
Return time: Final decisions will not be made until AFTER the submission close date (10/31/17). You should expect a return within 3 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 horroraddicts@gmail.com

For any other questions, please send an email to horroraddicts@gmail.com

Press Release : Twice Upon An Apocalypse from Crystal Lake Publishing

Twice Upon An Apocalypse

Edited by Rachel Kenley & Scott T. Coudsward

These aren’t your mother’s fairy tales. Throughout history parents have told their children stories to help them sleep, to keep them entertained. But we’re pretty sure none of those parents had this in mind. These are the fairy tales that will give you and your children nightmares. From the darkest depths of Grimm and Anderson come the immortal mash-ups with the creations of HP Lovecraft.

The stories in Twice Upon an Apocalypse will scare and delight “Children” of all ages!

Twice Upon an Apocalypse is one of the most refreshingly inventive, entertaining, thoughtful (and thought-provoking), not to mention unnerving anthologies I’ve read in years.”Gary A. Braunbeck

Watch the latest episode of Beneath the Lake videocast, with host Todd Keisling interviewing TWICE UPON AN APOCALYPSE contributors, Armand Rosamilia and Bracken MacLeod: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WzrPckuRO2A&feature=youtu.be

Introduction by Gary A. Braunbeck
“The Pied Piper of Providence” by
William Meikle
“The Three Billy Goats Sothoth” by
Peter N. Dudar
“Little Maiden of the Sea” by
David Bernard
“The Great Old One and the Beanstalk” by
Armand Rosamilia
“In the Shade of the Juniper Tree” by J .P. Hutsell
“The Horror at Hatchet Point” by
Zach Shephard
“The Most Incredible Thing” by
Bracken MacLeod
“Let Me Come In!” by
Simon Yee
“The Fishman and His Wife” by
Inanna Arthen
“Little Match Mi-Go” by
Michael Kamp
“Follow the Yellow Glyph Road” by
Scott T. Goudsward
“Gumdrop Apocalypse” by Pete Rawlik
“Curiosity” by
Winifred Burniston
“The Ice Queen” by
Mae Empson
“Once Upon a Dream” by
Matthew Baugh
“Cinderella and Her Outer Godfather” by
C.T. Phipps
“Donkeyskin” by
KH Vaughan
“Sweet Dreams in the Witch-House” by
Sean Logan
“Fee Fi Old One” by
Thom Brannan
“The King on the Golden Mountain” by
Morgan Sylvia
“The Legend of Creepy Hollow” by Don D’Ammassa

Links

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2s8wknN

Official Launch Page (includes a sample): http://www.crystallakepub.com/apocalypse/

Thunderclap: http://bit.ly/2qBHfrR

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/…/35238942-twice-upon-an-apocalyp…

Shirt: http://crystallakepub.storenvy.com/products/19917797-clp-twice-upon-an-apocalypse-t-shirt

Interview with Armand Rosamilia: http://www.crystallakepub.com/2017/05/28/the-deep-end-interview-with-armand-rosamilia/

HorrorAddicts.net Press presents…Clockwork Wonderland.

HorrorAddicts.net Press presents…Clockwork Wonderland.

Clockwork Wonderland contains stories from authors that see Wonderland as a place of horror where anything can happen and time runs amok. In this book you’ll find tales of murderous clockworks, insane creations, serial killers, zombies, and a blood thirsty jabberclocky. Prepare to see Wonderland as a place where all your worst nightmares come true. You may never look at classic children’s literature the same way again.

Edited by Emerian Rich
Cover by Carmen Masloski
Featuring authors:

Trinity Adler
Ezra Barany
Jaap Boekestein
Dustin Coffman
Stephanie Ellis
Jonathan Fortin
Laurel Anne Hill
N. McGuire
Jeremy Megargee
James Pyne
Michele Roger
H.E. Roulo
Sumiko Saulson
K.L. Wallis

With Foreword by David Watson

 

Hatter’s Warning by Emerian Rich

Starting off with a poem from the Mad Hatter who warns us, our time is running out and Alice the queen of Wonderland is after our heads and our souls.

Jabberclocky by Jonathan Fortin

A drunken clock repair shop owner and his abused son receive a visit form the Mad Hatter who has an evil plan to bring a murderous Jaberclock to life. Only the Cheshire Cat can save the day or is he as mad as the Hatter?

Hands of Time by Stephanie Ellis

The Queen of Heart’s executioner and timekeeper are looking for an apprentice and a new set of hands to kill and kill again to run the queen’s clock.

Clockwork Justice by Trinity Adler

With only one day and two clues, a bloody torn card and carrot tarts, Alice fights to prove she’s innocent and avoid losing her head to the Red Queen’s executioner.

My Clockwork Valentine by Sumiko Saulson

Unlike the White Rabbit, Blanche Lapin does not carry her timepiece in her pocket, but in her chest. It’s a Victorian-era clockwork pacemaker and if it’s not wound every forty-eight hours, she will die. When the key is stolen, the thief who has it will let her die if she doesn’t declare her love and stay with him forever.

Blood will Have Blood by James Pyne

There are many Wonderlands and a young woman is trapped in one where she is expected to be the new Alice. It’s a place where the rivers are filled with corpses and that’s not even the worst of it. The only way out is by wearing a clock necklace that needs blood for fuel, but what happens if it runs out?

Midnight Dance by Emerian Rich

Wonderland is being overrun by zombies. Mr. Marsh and The Mad Hatter are in a race against time to jam up the clockmaker’s clock and stop the undead apocalypse. If they can’t the apocalypse will start over and over as the clock strikes one.

A Room for Alice by Ezra Barany

When Alice is locked in a blood-splattered room and poisoned by D, she must behead the Queen of Spades within fifteen minutes in order to get the antidote. Can Tweedle help, or is he part of the problem?

Frayed Ears by H.E. Roulo

Caught in a child’s fever-fueled dream, The White Rabbit, The Scarecrow, and other storybook characters soon discover that story time is coming to an end and maybe so are they.

King of Hearts by Dustin Coffman

A prequel story to Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, this tale explains how the Queen became mad, and why she hates the name Alice so much, though it has nothing to do with the real one.

Riddle by N. McGuire

A steampunk take on the infamous tea party, with a killer twist.

Tick Tock by Jaap Boekestein

To hear him tell it, a heroic wild card fights against the usurper Alice and puts Mary—the true Queen Of Hearts—on Watch World’s throne. Is that what’s really going on?

Gone a’ Hunting by Laurel Anne Hill

Alease goes rabbit hunting, but she’s the one caught in a place where she will have plenty of time to think about what she’s done.

The Note by Jeremy Megargee

Cheshire Cat tells a story about the changing, horrifying world of Wonderland and why he has to leave it.

Half Past by K.L. Wallis

A woman follows a mysterious man though the subway and travels back in time to the late 1800s, where she finds that instead of the patriarchal norms of the past, she is in a Wonderland where women are the superior sex and moral boundaries cease to exist.

Ticking Heart by Michele Roger

A woman on a train goes to visit Alice in a war-torn steampunk Wonderland, which is very different than the one we know.

To read the full story and more Clock-inspired, Alice Horror, check out Clockwork Wonderland.

Press Release: Visions Of The Mutant Rain Forest By Robert Frazier & Bruce Boston

PRESS RELEASE
Visions Of The Mutant Rain Forest
By Robert Frazier & Bruce Boston

The Mutant Rain Forest is nature’s revenge upon man’s despoliation. Robert Frazier and Bruce Boston, SFPA’s first two Grandmaster Poets, created and began
exploring the Mutant Rain Forest in the late 1980s with both collaborative and solo works. Since that time, stories and/or poems set in the Mutant Rain Forest have appeared in Omni, Asimov’s SF Magazine, Amazing Stories, Weird Tales, Daily Science Fiction, Strange Horizons, Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror (St. Martin’s), Year’s Best Horror (DAW), The Rhysling Anthology, and many other publications.

In the mutant rain forest it’s adapt or be redacted. Their collaborative poem “Return to the Mutant Rain Forest” received first place in the 2006
Locus Poll for All-Time Favorite Science Fiction, Fantasy, or Horror Poem.

pr
Mutant Rain Forest collects the best stories and poems from this world: two novelettes, four
short stories, two flash fictions (nearly 40,000 words of fiction), and 38 poems, including two
stories and five poems appearing here for the first time.
Maggot to fly. Tadpole to poison frog. Man to abomination.
Includes the following short stories:
• Cruising Through Blueland
• Holos at an Exhibition of the Mutant Rain Forest
• The Tale Within
• A Trader on the Border of the Mutant Rain Forest
• Going Green in the Mutant Rain Forest
• Descent into Eden
• Aerial Reconnaissance of a Conflagration…
• Surrounded by the Mutant Rain Forest
• And a lot of poems!

 
“Adventurers Bruce Boston and Robert Frazier have been exploring a magical land for decades, and here is the astonishing report of their discoveries in poems and stories. They have met those who come to the Mutant Rain Forest to seek escape or transcendence or a body to hold, and they have dwelt with the natives who live beneath the bright canopy of its gargantua trees and beside the murk of its swamps. These pages document the riotous and brutal fecundity of nature, which is everywhere expressed in this remarkable feat of literary imagination. Trust Frazier and Boston to guide you to the most exotic of its flora and fauna and introduce you to the strange characters who struggle to understand its secrets. Here’s my warning and my promise: something in the Mutant Rain Forest will surely stick to you!”

– James Patrick Kelly, winner of the Hugo, Nebula and Locus awards.

 
Order now: http://buff.ly/2lpetFw
Website: http://www.crystallakepub.com/vision-of-the-mutant-rain-fo…/

Review: Eerie Trails of the Wild Weird West by Maynard Blackoak

 

 

Another great anthology from Sirens Call Publications bringing fourteen short stories set in the Weird West by Maynard Blackoak, and fellow Oklahoman.

My favorite short story is “Claire Simmons”. In this story, George Anders, a collector of old books and documents reads pages from an old journal written by a Cole Perkins long ago. It tells a story of lost and unrealized love. George reads the story Cole tells in his written story set in Ingall, Oklahoma, an old ghost town that was alive long ago with an infamous shootout. What happens to Cole once he reaches the town just after midnight is a bittersweet tale of lost love. While the story doesn’t end how I would have thought, it is definitely a great story nonetheless.

I loved that he didn’t saturate the stories with cliche forced western dialogue. That was a small fear when I read the title, and a very pleasant surprise when I read the first story.  He did take me on a journey as promised of the Weird West. I have never read stories of the West that had werewolves, or even vampires. Don’t worry, there are more eerie creatures that won’t disappoint. This is a unique idea and executed well by Blackoak. I was really impressed with the stories and how they brought the common thread of the West together.

One of the stories that brought the historian out of me was “The Most Killed Man in the West”.  This story is about a man Dynamite Dan Clifton that dies time after time. All because he enjoys robbing banks. This is a favorite past time of the Indian Territory and shortly after Oklahoma became a state, but not as much. I guess old habits die hard for Ol’ Dynamite Dan. So, the story catches up to Dan when he’s dying from of course a bank robbery and follows him to Guthrie, Oklahoma. I have heard of this place maybe once or twice. In Guthrie, they rob a bank. Of course, he dies, but how he is able to come back to life time after time came at me like an explosion of dynamite. I wasn’t expecting it.. but I did love it. My only minor let down was that when his cohorts and he ride into Guthrie and they are surveying the layout, Blackoak doesn’t give a description of what they see in their mind, but that doesn’t effect the story at all.

I love that the facts used in the stories are accurate and his knowledge of the history of Oklahoma is realistic and he was able to apply it to his characters’ stories and lives. While there’s an eclectic collection, they all have a common thread of the West and yes, the word “weird” doesn’t do some of the stories justice.

I highly recommend this collection if you like stories that end with a twist, history of the west, or even the idea that there’s vampires, mythical character cameos or werewolves in the west… like how did they get in the west? But they made it there and fit in very well! Maybe I have been looking at the West in the wrong light all these years ….

You can find this book full of weird tales at these sites: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/666687

 

 

 

 

Press Release: Haunting and Spiritual Stories by Kenneth Gary

 

 

kennethggary

Self-published in summer of 2016, Kenneth G Gary has produced several short stories that can stand alone with visual production.

Here’s an excerpt from the back cover:

“This book is a collection of short stories. They stand by themselves, individually, and seek to enable a scintillating excursion beyond the common four walls of life. I wish to seduce the imagination with a subtle convergence of storytelling, quietly seeping into questions of  considerable moment.

Some of the stories are just plain scary.”

 

Kenneth  Gary’s book is available currently on The Dark Art Store

 

 

 

David’s Haunted Library: Dark Dreams

David's Haunted Library

product_thumbnailThe dreamworld is an odd place, it’s close to reality but much scarier and deadlier. Dark Dreams is an anthology edited by Mark Slade that contains 14 stories that take place in a different reality. The book begins with a story by editor Mark Slade called Dream Guru. It follows a man named Charlie who has to get a hold of $10,000 to pay a bad debt. He comes up with a plan to extort money from a doctor who enters people’e dreams to help them with their problems. Of course things don’t go as planned and a lesson is learned about greed. This story had  an original feel to it and I liked how Charlie’s character changed as he saw a chance to fix his situation in life.

Another story with a concept I loved was Beyond The Mind’s Eye by Thomas M. Malafarnia. A scientist studies an art student to find out how he thinks. The point is to use a computer to turn dreams into reality and what better way than to study the mind of an imaginative person. I loved how the person being studied doesn’t see himself as being important and the scientist has to explain to him how even though he may not be good in certain things like logical thinking, his imagination is the key to  changing the world. There is a good point in this story about how important imagination is and how it takes all kinds of people to make the world work. There is also a point about how greed will always be man’s downfall. The only thing I didn’t like in this story was how the author made it obvious what was going to happen at the end of the story, there was a little too much foreshadowing.

Vampire Therapy by Emerian Rich is a story that stands out in Dark Dreams. It begins with a woman named Amy who is going to a therapist for help dealing with bad dreams stemming from the death of her husband Thomas due to a terrorist attack. Little does she know her whole apartment building is being haunted. I love how this story goes from being sad and dark to funny and then back again. For a short story this one really runs through a wide range of emotions such as despair. loneliness, love, fear and happiness. Great idea for a story that could easily be turned into a novel and a nice twist on the vampire literature genre.

Another good one in this collection is Beautiful Angel by John C. Adams. What was interesting in this one was that the story is told from a ghost’s point of view. I liked it when the ghost points out how lucky she was that she never had to pay bills again and then goes to work solving mysteries. While I loved the concept here, the ending wasn’t very good but I would still love to read more about this mystery solving ghost. Dark Dreams has some entertaining stories in it and a lot of original ideas. I’ve read a few books edited by Mark Slade and each one seems to be a little better than the last, Dark Dreams is well worth your time.

Dark Regions Press Nightmare’s Realm: New Tales of the Weird & Fantastic

Dreams and nightmares often give us glimpses into our true character; they can reveal our deepest anxieties and our most ambitious aspirations. Weird fiction has a rich history with dreamlike stories and nightmares that cross boundaries between the real and imaginary. Even H. P. Lovecraft endured many bizarre dreams from the early days of his youth that he then used as inspiration for some of his fiction and poetry. Now world-renowned weird fiction scholar and editor S. T. Joshi has assembled a new set of nightmares from some of the strongest minds in weird fiction today.

cover-original-600px

Announcing Nightmare’s Realm: New Tales of the Weird & Fantastic edited by S. T. Joshi with cover artwork by Samuel Araya. Featuring 100% original fiction focusing on the theme of dreams and nightmares by authors Ramsey Campbell, John Shirley, Caitlin R. Kiernan, John Langan, Simon Strantzas, Nancy Kilpatrick, W. H. Pugmire and many more.

To be offered for preorder in deluxe signed limited edition hardcover format on DarkRegions.com on November 22nd 2016 with an early ebook download exclusively for preorder customers. Ebooks and trade paperbacks will not be offered separately until Q1 2017.

Nightmare’s Realm Table of Contents

Introduction by S. T. Joshi
Prologue: To a Dreamer by H. P. Lovecraft
The Dreamed by Ramsey Campbell
A Predicament by Darrell Schweitzer
Kafkaesque by Jason V Brock
Beneath the Veil by David Barker
Dreams Downstream by John Shirley
Death-Dreaming by Nancy Kilpatrick
Cast Lots by Richard Gavin
The Wake by Steve Rasnic Tem
Dead Letter Office by Caitlín R. Kiernan
The Art of Memory by Donald Tyson
What You Do Not Bring Forth by John Langan
The Barrier Between by W. H. Pugmire
Sleep Hygiene by Gemma Files
Purging Mom by Jonathan Thomas
The Fifth Stone by Simon Strantzas
In the City of Sharp Edges by Stephen Woodworth
An Actor’s Nightmare by Reggie Oliver
Epilogue: Dream-Land by Edgar Allan Poe

Nightmare’s Realm Deluxe Slipcased Hardcover Edition Details

* Signed by editor S. T. Joshi, artist Samuel Araya and all authors including Ramsey Campbell, Darrell Schweitzer, Jason V Brock, David Barker, John Shirley, Nancy Kilpatrick, Richard Gavin, Steve Rasnic Tem, Caitlin R. Kiernan, Donald Tyson, John Langan, W. H. Pugmire, Gemma Files, Jonathan Thomas, Simon Strantzas, Stephen Woodworth and Reggie Oliver.
* Limited to 150 signed and numbered copies worldwide
* Oversized at 7″x10″
* Offset printed on acid-free paper with Smyth sewn case binding
* Black embossed end sheets, black satin book ribbon
* Bound in black leather
* Front cover and spine stamped with title and DRP logo in red / gold.
* Wraparound full color 12pt dust jacket with matte finish
* Housed in a black slipcase

Submissions Call: Clockwork Wonderland

LAST WEEK!!

Clockwork Wonderland

A Horror Anthology

This is an Alice in Wonderland, clockwork, Horror anthology.

CWFront

Following the rabbit down the hole is the easy part. Battling time is what will kill you. Whether you’re trying to get back home or struggling to survive in Wonderland, your stories MUST be horrifying.

“You act as if time is on your side. He isn’t. He’s always on his own side.”

At the most basic, your story must have a clock involved. Clockpunk, clock engineering, and steampunk with clock elements is encouraged as well as the thought of time as an entity. Be creative, turn Wonderland on its ear. Twist it, tweak it, punk it.

Your story may star or co-star any of the characters in the original text by Lewis Carroll, as well as characters of your own creation. Feel free to “punk” any of the characters to fit your vision, but do not use any characters from other modern day Wonderland series.

A word from the editor: I don’t care how well your story is written, if it’s not scary, or horrifying, it won’t make the cut. We are HorrorAddicts.net. Bring the horror.

Manuscript Format:
Font: either Courier or Times New Roman.
Double spaced, font 12 point.
Your manuscript must be in either DOC or RTF format.
1st page header to state: author name, mailing address, email address, and word count.
Following pages header to state: author name, story name, and page number.

In the body of the email:
100 words or less bio about you.
One sentence explaining the story attached. Your elevator pitch.
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram ids
Your website or blog

Subject of the email state:
CLOCKWORK WONDERLAND/Author Name/Story Title
Send to: horroraddicts@gmail.com

No previously printed work and no simultaneous submissions.

Deadline: October 31st, 2016, 11:59pm PST
Length: 2,000-5,000 words
Payment: $10.00 USD + digital contributor copy
Return time: Final decisions will not be made until AFTER the submission close date (10/31/16). You should expect a return within 3 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: horroraddicts@gmail.com

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

Submissions Call: Clockwork Wonderland

Clockwork Wonderland

A Horror Anthology

This is an Alice in Wonderland, clockwork, Horror anthology.

CWFront

Following the rabbit down the hole is the easy part. Battling time is what will kill you. Whether you’re trying to get back home or struggling to survive in Wonderland, your stories MUST be horrifying.

“You act as if time is on your side. He isn’t. He’s always on his own side.”

At the most basic, your story must have a clock involved. Clockpunk, clock engineering, and steampunk with clock elements is encouraged as well as the thought of time as an entity. Be creative, turn Wonderland on its ear. Twist it, tweak it, punk it.

Your story may star or co-star any of the characters in the original text by Lewis Carroll, as well as characters of your own creation. Feel free to “punk” any of the characters to fit your vision, but do not use any characters from other modern day Wonderland series.

A word from the editor: I don’t care how well your story is written, if it’s not scary, or horrifying, it won’t make the cut. We are HorrorAddicts.net. Bring the horror.

Manuscript Format:
Font: either Courier or Times New Roman.
Double spaced, font 12 point.
Your manuscript must be in either DOC or RTF format.
1st page header to state: author name, mailing address, email address, and word count.
Following pages header to state: author name, story name, and page number.

In the body of the email:
100 words or less bio about you.
One sentence explaining the story attached. Your elevator pitch.
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram ids
Your website or blog

Subject of the email state:
CLOCKWORK WONDERLAND/Author Name/Story Title
Send to: horroraddicts@gmail.com

No previously printed work and no simultaneous submissions.

Deadline: October 31st, 2016, 11:59pm PST
Length: 2,000-5,000 words
Payment: $10.00 USD + digital contributor copy
Return time: Final decisions will not be made until AFTER the submission close date (10/31/16). You should expect a return within 3 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: horroraddicts@gmail.com

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

Kbatz: The Veil with Boris Karloff

 

Boris Karloff’s The Veil a Pleasant Paranormal Discovery

by Kristin Battestella

 

Behind the scenes troubles and production turmoil put an abrupt halt to the 1958 supernatural anthology series The Veil, leaving host Boris Karloff and twelve in the can episodes of surprisingly quality unaired and on the shelf – until recently that is. Who knew?

 

Eerie music and Gothic castle arches lead to a grand fireplace complete with Mr. Karloff introducing these tales of supposedly true but unexplainable stories, and “Vision of Crime” provides a shipbound moment of clairvoyance and murder between brothers. The hackneyed old ladies fall a little flat, however Karloff and a pre-Avengers Patrick Macnee have some fun with the incompetent constabulary. In addition to hosting, Karloff acts in all but one episode of The Veil, and deduction on derringers, opportunity, and motive with a whiff of the fantastic help solve the case. “Girl on the Road” may seem then-contemporary slow to start with fifties innocence and a dame having car trouble in need of a man to fix all. Thankfully, roadside drinks, suspicious phone calls, and looking over her shoulder fears hook the audience into waiting for Karloff’s mysterious arrival and the paranormal plot turn. While the trail leads to where we already suspected, the simmering mood keeps The Veil entertaining. Likewise, ship captain Boris serves up some deadly seafaring adventures with a side of poisonous snakes to his wife in “Food on the Table.” The disposal is for a pretty barmaid recently come into wealth – and of course, supernatural consequences follow. Again, the story may be familiar but the characters and performances see the viewer through the twenty odd minutes. An Italian setting adds flair in “The Doctor” alongside aging physician Karloff and his prodigal son. Stubborn superstitions versus new medical treatments leave a sick child’s life in the balance, and I actually didn’t see this twist coming.

 

 

Ironically, the French accents are iffy rather than flavorful in “Crystal Ball,” but hey, when your upward mobile lady friend-zones you for your boss at least you get the eponymous gift, right? The foretelling effects are really quite nice with smoky swirls, upside down visuals, and distorted reflections. Moulin Rouge meetin’ Uncle Boris adds to the saucy scandals, and naturally, our two timing mademoiselle gets what she deserves. Rival brothers, contesting wills, lawyer Karloff, family violence, and ghostly biblical warnings anchor “Genesis,” however “Destination Nightmare” has a different opening and introduction before its dreams and mysterious pilot sightings. Crashes, parachute errors, and propeller sputters add to the fears, fine flying effects, and wild toppers while rising temperatures and New York bustle make for some murderous window views in “Summer Heat.” The crime may not be what it seems, yet silence during the observations add to the helpless feelings. It’s nice to see such fifties coppers confronted with the unexplained in their investigation, too. Despite the unique India 1928 setting and Eastern philosophies, “Return of Madame Vernoy” feels western fake thanks to bad casting. I mean, sure he likes to tan, but George Hamilton?! Fortunately, remembering past lives and reincarnations remain an interesting concept. Do you go back to the living the life before and contact family from the past? Can you move forward knowing what was or is there some other purpose for such memories?

 

“Jack the Ripper” is the lone episode of The Veil with Karloff featuring in the bookends only, and the production differences are apparent. However, Victorian spiritualism and professional clairvoyants make for an interesting spin on the Whitechapel theme with brief flashbacks accentuating the predictions and dreamy, eerie quality. The violence is unseen, but reading the scandalous newspaper reports on the crimes create reaction and believability. While the viewing order of the episodes is irrelevant, random VHS or video releases and an elusive two disc DVD version billed as Tales of the Unexplained can make watching The Veil in its entirety a tough, frustrating hunt. Fortunately, it’s also fun to discover new old television thanks to today’s technology, and The Veil is available on Amazon Prime – complete with subtitles! The transposed episodes and mislabeled descriptions, however, are confusing without a third party list, and Amazon is also missing two more episodes of The Veil which can be found on Youtube. The Veil’s original pilot “The Vestris” aired as an episode from another anthology series Telephone Time, and wow, that show has some fifties hallmarks complete with a housewife dreaming of dancing to her new dial tone! Thankfully, sailor songs, fog, phantom coordinates, and ominous quarter bells give “The Vestris” a proper shipbound atmosphere. A lady on board bodes of misfortune, and Karloff’s appearance doesn’t disappoint. “Whatever Happened to Peggy” has familiar people, places, and young lady not who she seems to be. Her memory difficulties and escalating coincidence make for a creepy and unexpected cap on The Veil.

 

The mid-century cars and fashions look sweet, and The Veil uses period settings and Victorian panache to fit the time as needed. Somehow, big skirts, bowler hats, and cravats always add to the spooky mood along with candles, gas lamps, and tea sets. Well done music accents the supernatural sophistication, strong characters, and sly drama. The Veil would seem to use its morality before the twist plotting to set itself apart from other anthologies of the era, however Karloff’s unseen series predates One Step Beyond, The Twilight Zone, and The Outer Limits – only the earlier Tales of Tomorrow or Alfred Hitchcock Presents provided competition. Each half hour moves fast, knowing how to be eerie enough to fill the time but not over stay its welcome once we know the twist. Although the introductions could be worded better and Karloff gives a postscript telling what happens next rather than showing it, The Veil admits up front that there will be no explanations. If not for a somewhat limited availability, this much shorter six hours is certainly easier to marathon than Karloff’s own later Thriller series. Where Thriller struggles to fill its sixty minute time with crime or suspense plots and never quite goes full on horror as it could, The Veil uses murder and scandal for a paranormal punchline just like it promises.

 

Now similar anthology tales of premonitions, ghosts, astral projection, or psychic phenomena will make The Veil obvious for wise speculative viewers – the unfortunate result of it’s previously unviewed shelf life. The small number of episodes leaves The Veil feeling too brief to be of real substance, and its quick run through may leave one lacking or wanting more. Fortunately, the possibilities were here alongside Karloff’s macabre charm, fun mini twists, and surprising paranormal guesses. The Veil may not look like much, but its black and white mood, well told stories, and fantastic toppers are more than enough for a spooky, rainy afternoon marathon anytime of year.

 

Live Action Reviews! By Crystal Connor: H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival Best of 2015

 

 

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.

She is also the founder of CrystalCon, a symposium that brings both Science Fiction & Fantasy writers and STEM professions together to mix and mingle with fans, educators, and inventors in attempts to answer a new take on an age-old question … which came first, the science or the fiction?

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.

Download your free copy of …And They All Lived Happily Ever After! audiobook 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

crystalconnor

Kbatz: Friday the 13th: The Series Season 1

Frightening Flix

 

Friday the 13th The Series Gets off to a Memorable Start

by Kristin Battestella

 

No, this 1987 television series has nothing to do with Jason Voorhees and the Friday the 13th film franchise. This Friday the 13th is an American/Canadian co-production that debuts with twenty-six episodes of curses, scares, creepy, and campy charm.

 

Distant cousins Micki Foster (singer Louise Robey) and Ryan Dallion (John D. LeMay) are bequeathed a mysterious antique store from their suspicious and relatively unknown late Uncle Lewis Vendredi (R. G. Armstrong). Unfortunately, this eclectic inventory isn’t for sale, as the store’s contents are comprised of cursed items from Uncle Lewis’ deal with the devil. All previously sold and demonically indestructible merchandise – ranging from as small as a compact mirror to as big as an electric chair – must be reacquired and returned to the special vault beneath the Curious Goods store. With the help of occult researcher Jack Marshak (Chris Wiggins), Micki and Ryan must now pursue former customers who aren’t always so willing to part with their antique’s particular evil enchantment.

 

Yes, some of the antique retrieval plots are silly and dated, but Friday the 13th has many memorable episodes beginning with “The Inheritance” and its devilish retribution complete with flaming hoof prints on the stairs. The series premise is introduced alongside a killer doll, a little girl in peril, and playground dangers with creepy lullabies, thunderstorms, and howling winds. It’s easy to get behind our trio in their evil object of the week quest, for the ravens, monastery, suspicious brotherhood, and quill that writes the deaths to come of “The Poison Pen” add an eerie medieval mood with hoods, candles, chanting, spiders, and guillotines. Despite some rad eighties moments, “A Cup of Time” has skeletons, murder, and deadly sips from an ordinary looking mug. Maybe old ladies fighting over teatime with a punk score is hokey, but the fountain of youth desperation remains wicked. Normally, it would be good business to have some fun dress up and magic tricks for “Hellowe’en,” however a crystal ball, good scares, and ominous smoke and mirrors assure this party at Curious Goods wasn’t the best idea – especially when your guests fiddle with the merchandise. This spooky atmosphere, demonic rituals, and a race against the sunrise sets the tone for Friday the 13th perfectly while the autopsies, hospitals, morgue drawers, and elevator injuries accent the Jack the Ripper scalpel in “Doctor Jack.” What if an operation with an accursed objected wielded by a skilled surgeon with a superiority complex was your only chance at survival? The titular effects, camera works, and enchanted gloves of “Shadow Boxer” are no less preposterous yet Friday the 13th is again memorable with a green locker room patina, old school gym feelings, and a down on his luck sports fall from grace. There’s humor, suspense, justice being taken into one’s own hands, and they have to wait for the pictures to develop overnight. The horror!

 

The crazy, rich old ladies and killer yardwork of “Root of All Evil” are slow at times, but we do get to know our characters’ relationships and responsibilities better amid this intense, man-sized mulcher action. It’s good to get away from the shop for the harvest struggles and rural farms of “Scarecrow,” too. Scythes and heads on the front porch create an off-kilter slasher tone before the David Cronenberg (Videodrome) directed “Faith Healer” and its rousing, fire and brimstone con man claims – and an ominous medieval white glove that does the trick. Is such power for good or ill when for every life it heals, it must take another? White, clean, pure suits quickly become sullied with back alleys, leprosy sores, and pestilence consequences as this glove literally burns itself onto the hand where its deeds and demands cannot be escaped. These impressive morality and faith debates give way to perhaps my most memorable Friday the 13th episode, “The Baron’s Bride.” A time traveling vampire fantasy may see like a big leap of faith – especially once the colorful gothic décor and capes switch to black and white carriages and angry mobs. However, the Stoker myths and traditional vampire lore hold up alongside fast action and a whiff of romance. Sunken treasures, stormy nights, and scary phone calls in “Bedazzled” make being alone at night at Curious Goods as spooky as you’d expect. This bottle show takes place almost entirely in the store with good old fashioned scares and invading crooks who don’t stop once their cursed antique has been locked away in the vault. “Vanity’s Mirror” is another memorable Friday the 13th hour thanks to beauty obsessions and an innocuous little compact causing too much torment. Cruel teasing and ugly duckling relatable forgive any hello eighties high school motifs – in fact, the pitiful prom designs add to the creative deaths, quality gore, and alluring retribution.

 

I’m sorry doesn’t cut it when you execute wrong man in “The Electrocutioner,” but grainy jailhouse footage sets the mood for this electronically charged dentist who’s out for some shocking revenge. Unsympathetic kills and nitric oxide play into our medical fears with this wrongful sense of justice as do the trepanning techniques, draining spinal fluids, and simple but desperate patients in “Brain Drain.” Cool mad laboratory equipment and brains in tanks anchor the intelligence transfers, trephanator talk, and intangible, Flowers for Algernon sciences. Friday the 13th goes all out for the mid-season two-parter “The Quilt of Hathor (Part 1)” and “The Quilt of Hathor (Part 2): The Awakening” for a trip to a good old fashioned thee and thou religious community hiding the titular evil homespun and its sinful dreams brimming with red décor, forbidden fruits, and baroque frocks. Horse drawn carriages, snow, and culture clash suspicions accent the forbidden romance and religious fervor. Who knew being so penitent didn’t mean you couldn’t be any less nasty? Okay, the old speaketh arguing may make some chuckle, but the witchcraft finger pointing, fiery mobs, and comeuppance twists match the horror where we least suspect it superb. Likewise, flashbulbs, dark rooms, and a Geraldo-esque newscaster with best alibi ever develop “Double Exposure” alongside gory bubbling, doppelgangers, and machete killings. It’s interesting to see this early commentary on scandalous crimes boosting nightly ratings when we have instant breaking news alerts everywhere today. Maybe this episode felt the need to go all out with crazy dreams, evil television motifs, and slasher slick after the slightly slower two-parter before it and Ryan having two loves of his life two episodes in a row is poor placement. However, the ticking clock twists here are memorable fun before the pregnancy fears and medical defects make for a warped sense of necessity in “What a Mother Wouldn’t Do.” No one wants to harm a baby, but an evil cradle can fix all that! The parental defense, Titanic history, and watery deaths give this Friday the 13th debut year a penultimate topper.

 

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The middle of this season is very strong, however, with such a high episode number, Friday the 13th was bound to have a few clunkers. Ugly statues, honky tonk stalkers, seedy motels, and unlikable, obsessive frat boys ruin “Cupid’s Quiver,” and the lack of authorities illumes one of the series’ ongoing impossibilities. Early on, our trio aren’t very smooth investigators and think they have the right to break in all over a college campus because they’re antique dealers! Magician secrets, beautiful assistants, fatal theatrics, and the cutthroat of magic show business don’t save “The Great Montarro.” It’s a pity since this is one of the few Jack centric episodes, but the sideshow tricks and Houdini wannabe divas are more laughable than ominous. “Tales of the Undead” has comic book shop nostalgia and an evil edition that kills you within its pages – a fantastic possibility ruined by a trash can looking monster costume. The ‘Take on Me’ music video from A-ha did it better! Though the poisonous insects and creepy crawlies will disturb some audiences,“Tattoo” is a cliché Chinatown crime plot with seemingly deliberate bad Kung Fu lip reading, submissive Asian prostitutes, and every other old Oriental stereotype crammed into one episode. Maybe the horror aspects aren’t all bad, but these mediocre episodes are a letdown when following immediately after such memorable Friday the 13th hours. “The Pirate’s Promise” offers lighthouse quaint, eerie foghorns, and phantom boats that take modern babes in exchange for gold bullion. Unfortunately, the mutinous history can’t help our cousins not bungle it up without Jack, and the Miami Vice wannabes, counterfeit money, and macho talk in “Badge of Honor” is likewise D.O.A.. The up close camera shots, day glo lighting, and jazzy score try for a jaded, gritty noir piece, but even with steamy Micki times, this one is embarrassingly dated and out of place. The Egyptian relics, trapped in the vault peril, and evil green effects make for a great framework for “Bottle of Dreams,” but sadly, this final episode of the season is largely a clip show that should have been the second to last airing instead. Sure, it’s an overlong season, however we aren’t going to forget all the good times that soon!

 

Billed as just Robey on Friday the 13th, our Micki is certainly beautiful – but my goodness that is big red hair! Some obvious extensions and then-vogue Jem styles make Micki always seem MTV ready, but her frilly tank tops, skirts, and uppity shoulder pads often make her appear more tiny compared to the baddies or disproportionate with her giant bobblehead hair. Initially doubtful, squeamish, and needing to be rescued, Micki’s bad feelings about their situation increase over the course of the season. She accepts responsibility and wants to do the right thing – Micki isn’t willing to leave anyone in danger and chooses this antiques recovery quest over her potential wedding. At times, she does regret giving up her old life for this so-called job but also gets pretentious in her righteousness. She’s an antique dealer in a battle of good versus evil and that gives her a license to go anywhere and intrude on anyone – even going undercover as a boy! Micki gets in on the action more and comes to handle herself alone just fine – except when our intrepid team doesn’t succeed or when the plot doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. Both cousins still have parents, so why did they inherit the shop? Why do they all live at Curious Goods? Micki has some romance and visiting Friday the 13th old flames, however it’s always played as too eighties steamy – and we’re expected to believe she brings guys home when Ryan sleeps on the other side of a glass door? Micki’s not herself in “The Baron’s Bride,” but it’s fun to see her personality changes and vamped persona because we already like and respect her moxie.

 

Ironically, watching Friday the 13th back in the day, I always thought John D. LeMay’s (also of the unrelated Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday) Ryan Dallion had a crush on Micki, and the dialogue always makes sure to reiterate how through marriage or distantly related they are. They do have fun chemistry even when Ryan is a jerky Andrew McCarthy knock off to start. He thinks Curious Goods is cool and gets his information on the supernatural from his comic books. Ryan is self aware, however, and adds humor and realistic logic on how their simplest answer must be the correct one – which helps ground the audience when he enjoys playing the hero detective in a yuppie suit. Some of the eighties brat pack cool is kind of meh today, but Ryan fits right in undercover at high school! There are consequences to their collection, of course, and he is injured a few times, adding a sense of realism and not reset fantasy even though Friday the 13th has an evil of the week design. “Double Exposure” gives Ryan too many lady loves in a row, but his romance in “The Quilt of Hathor” makes the character grow up a little alongside the eerie colored smoke and his side of the family’s dangerous business prospects in “Pipe Dream.” Though this plot is a little thin, the personal ties keep viewers interested. Will Ryan treat the cursed object and its consequences any different now that Uncle Lewis wasn’t the only family member in on the devilish bargains? Ryan openly discusses the series premise, the evil behaviors, and moral turnarounds he’s seen. By the end of this debut season, it isn’t so cool, and Ryan develops a cynical edge with more than a few regrets.

 

Already experienced in the occult and its negative allure, Chris Wiggins (Babar) as Jack Marshak is a wonderful mentor for our young cousins – an Obi-wan Kenobi who acquired the antiques that Uncle Lewis cursed and re-released to the public who greatly regrets his unwitting part. Ever resourceful, Jack uses newspapers and tabloids to find curious stories that may lead to their quarry. At times, he only appears briefly in bemusing ways to help, but his quirky street connections add depth to the quest. Jack has a lot of exposition to quickly deliver early on Friday the 13th, but his knowledge of their evil manifest and gruff authority grounds the fantastic. Unfortunately, Jack doesn’t appear in all the episodes, and the one-liners about him being off elsewhere on a retrieval mission are convenient but disappointing. Today, an older ex-occultist battling alone against evil objects around the globe sounds like a good series premise itself. The storylines with Jack present have just a bit more finesse, and he has his doubts about whether our young team is up to snuff. “Brain Drain” also offers a bittersweet rekindled romance for Jack, but he nonetheless dusts himself off and is there to save the day when things go wrong. But why does he have to sleep downstairs by the creepy vault? In antithesis to Jack, television veteran R.G. Armstrong (Pat Garret and Billy the Kid) also makes several guest appearances as Lewis Vendredi, that devil bargaining late uncle who sold his soul and spread evil all in a day’s work. Just because he’s dead doesn’t mean he won’t pop up now and again! Carrie Snodgrass (Diary of a Mad Housewife) should have stayed longer as Jack’s love interest, however genre audiences will find maybe not necessarily name players but numerous recognizable character actors adding extra charm to Friday the 13th. Ray Walston from My Favorite Martian, Catherine Disher of Forever Knight, Sarah Polley from Avonlea – I swear Philip Akin brought some of the dojo sets from Highlander: The Series with him!

 

Whelp. This was 1987 and 88, so the shorts, sport coat, rolled up sleeves, and slim tie together or the big earrings, big belts, high waisted jeans, and giant shoulder pads eighties meets forties caricature fashion should go without saying as bad. Fortunately, Friday the 13th does have spooky, to the point opening credits complete with a creepy waving monkey to hit home the peeking through the keyhole ominous artifacts tone. Curious Goods is a neat and comforting shop in its own evil way. We never get to fully see the entire set brightly lit with the layout completely known, which works for on set logistics whilst adding the potential for mysterious nooks and crannies where anything can happen. Dusty interiors, record players, corded phones, and cassette tapes in the answering machine add period nostalgia in addition to the past curios and clutter alongside television static, adjusting the rabbit ears, two whole channels, and a giant flash on that camera. Where else could you use the line, “Let’s go out to dinner – you, me, your camera – and see what develops.” *rimshot* Remember, on Friday the 13th they couldn’t just Google their case. Our team goes to the library to make copies! Some special effects are hammy and poor while other gore designs are seamless enough to maintain the scary, desperate atmosphere despite dim lighting and a flat picture making it tough to see everything. The sound is also uneven at times, but stormy effects and recognizable, fitting theme music with whimsical tinkles and crystal chimes accent the shadows, silhouettes, flashlights, and lanterns. There are some jump scares on Friday the 13th, but the gags are admittedly humorous, adding campy appeal to the fast moving forty-five minute episodes.

 

I’d like to skip over the clunkers and Friday the 13th has its fair share of dated, cheap faults in this debut season. Fortunately, most of the fond thoughts from watching the series then hold up now thanks to a not always cut and dry good versus evil. It wouldn’t be any fun if it was easy to retrieve these cursed tchotchkes all wrapped in a pretty bow. Even my mom wanted to know what channel Friday the 13th was on – which surprisingly doesn’t seem to be anywhere despite the increasing popularity of retro-themed channels and horror anthologies. DVD sets are available, however, as well as Amazon Prime streaming. Today Friday the 13th may seem like a relatively short-lived series, but this first year has more than enough memorable curses, evil, and eighties fun for paranormal audiences to revisit or enjoy anew.

Press Release : Gutted

Press Release: Gutted

gutted
Crystal Lake’s first pro-paying anthology, featuring Neil Gaiman, Clive Barker, and Ramsey Campbell, take readers on  a disturbing journey into the beauty that rests inside the very heart of darkness.

From Bram Stoker Award-nominated publisher, Crystal Lake Publishing, and the editing duo who brought you the best-selling and critically acclaimed small-town Lovecraftian horror anthology Shadows Over Main Street, comes Gutted: Beautiful Horror Stories—a disturbing journey into the beauty that rests inside the very heart of darkness.

Awe meets ache.

 Terror becomes transcendence.

 Regret gives way to rebirth.

Fifteen short stories and one poem span nearly every twisted corner of the horror and dark fiction genres:

A woman experiences an emotional reckoning inside a haunted house.

A father sees his daughter rescued after a cold case is solved, only to learn the tragic limits of his love.

A man awakens a vengeful spirit and learns the terrible price of settling scores.

A boy comes of age into awareness of a secret universe of Lovecraftian scale.

A young woman confronts the deathly price of existence inside a German concentration camp during the Holocaust.

 

And much, much more…

Gutted: Beautiful Horror Stories features the most celebrated voices in dark fiction, as well as a number of exciting new talents:

Clive Barker, Neil Gaiman, Ramsey Campbell, Paul Tremblay, John F.D. Taff, Lisa Mannetti, Damien Angelica Walters, Josh Malerman, Christopher Coake, Mercedes M. Yardley, Brian Kirk, Stephanie M. Wytovich, Amanda Gowin, Richard Thomas, Maria Alexander and Kevin Lucia.

With a foreword from Cemetery Dance magazine founder Richard Chizmar.

Cover art by Caitlin Hackett

Interior artwork by Luke Spooner

Edited by Doug Murano and D. Alexander Ward

 

Gutted: Beautiful Horror Stories

An anthology of dark fiction that explores the beauty at the very heart of darkness

Stephanie M. Wytovich — “The Morning After Was Filled with Bone”

Brian Kirk — “Picking Splinters from a Sex Slave”

Lisa Mannetti — “Arbeit Macht Frei”

Neil Gaiman“The Problem of Susan”

Christopher Coake“Dominion”

Mercedes M. Yardley — “Water Thy Bones”

Paul Tremblay“A Haunted House is a Wheel Upon Which Some Are Broken”

Damien Angelica Walters“On the Other Side of the Door, Everything Changes”

Richard Thomas“Repent”

Clive Barker — “Coming to Grief”

John F.D. Taff“Cards for His Spokes, Coins for His Fare”

Amanda Gowin — “Cellar’s Dog”

Kevin Lucia“When We All Meet at the Ofrenda”

Maria Alexander“Hey, Little Sister”

Josh Malerman“The One You Live With”

Ramsey Campbell — “The Place of Revelation”

 

“It’s a book for readers who love language as much as story, who understand that horror can be beautiful, ecstatic and revelatory as well as down-right scary.”James Everington

“All of the stories in this anthology have a beauty, whether it is in language or tone or in finessing a hard-hitting theme to disarm the reader. It’s worth picking up this collection.”Eden Royce

 

Find out more on : Pinterest Goodreads Facebook

Once Upon a Scream Author Spotlight: Chantal Boudreau

Horroraddicts.net publishing has recently published our 4th anthology called Once Upon a ScreamRemember the Fairy tales that you grew up reading? Well they are back again with a horror twist. Once Upon a Scream includes 18 tales that are fantastic and frightful. One of the authors in this anthology is Chantal Boudreau and recently talked to us about her writing:

What is your story in Once Upon A Scream called and what is it about?

OnceUponAScreamFrontMy story is called “Without Family Ties” and it’s about a man who sees his family line coming to end, so he uses ritual magic to try to preserve it, with unpleasant consequences.

What inspired the idea?

I wanted to write something with a theme similar to Pinocchio, yet having a sinister, modern flavour. I decided to research ritual dolls and fertility magic, and the results inspired my story.

When did you start writing?

I’ve been writing since I could read. I won prizes for my stories in junior high and high school, so I kept at, but I’ve only been working to get published for the last six years.

What are your favorite topics to write about?

I’m a speculative fiction writer at heart, and I lean towards the dark and edgy. I enjoy multi-layered flawed characters and reluctant heroes – someone to whom the reader might be able to relate

What are some of your influences?

One of my bigger influences was Tanith Lee. I loved her Red as Blood story collection, which had10792270 horror and dark fantasy fairy tale mash-ups. I’m also a fan of a variety of mythological and traditional tales. They are the foundation of today’s speculative fiction.

What do you find fascinating about the horror genre?

Horror is cathartic. It generates negative emotion – fear, anger, sadness, disgust – but when you’re done reading, you get to leave all that behind. You get the relief of knowing none of it was real and you can look at reality in a more positive light.

What are some of the works you have available?

I’ve published several dozen works, including novels, most of which are now out of print. But there are still quite a few anthologies out there with my stories in them, like the Deathlehem trilogy, Dead North and other zombie anthologies, and My Favorite Apocalypse. There are even some non-fiction collections containing articles by me, such as Horror Addicts Guide to Life.

13371591What are you currently working on?

I’ve been working mostly on short fiction lately.  My current work-in-progress is a horror tale called The Reluctant Collector about a debt collector who hates his job to begin with and then ends up cursed to despise it, and one of his co-workers in particular, even more.  It drives him past the breaking point, and chaos ensues.

Where can we find you online?

Links:

Website: Website

Facebook: Facebook

Amazon Author Page: Amazon Author Page

Twitter: Twitter

Scribd.com: Scribd.com

Goodreads Author Page: Goodreads

Press Release : MADHOUSE

 

MADHOUSE, a shared world psychological horror anthology from the publisher that brought you World War Cthulhu and Chiral Mad 3, is now available on both DarkRegions.com and Amazon. Edited by Brad C. Hodson and Benjamin Kane Ethridge, the entire anthology takes place in the same mental institution during the midst of a violent sandstorm: Golden Canyon Behavioral Health Center.
Each story in MADHOUSE is written by a different author but follows the same timeline of events and even references other stories within the book. The anthology is woven together with meta chapters and contains over 30 original full page interior illustrations by surrealist artist Aeron Alfrey. It marks the first release in the new Dark Regions Horror imprint.
For a full table of contents or a sneak peek at Aeron Alfrey’s nightmarish artwork, head over to DarkRegions.com to read more: Madhouse Official

Coming soon: Clockwork Wonderland Writer’s Call

HorrorAddicts.net Announces:

Clockwork Wonderland
A Horror Anthology

This is an Alice in Wonderland, clockwork, Horror anthology. We will be announcing the submission details soon, but this is to give you an idea of what we’ll be looking for.

aliceFollowing the rabbit down the hole is the easy part. Battling time is what will kill you. Whether you’re trying to get back home or struggling to survive in Wonderland, your stories MUST be horrifying.

“You act as if time is on your side. He isn’t. He’s always on his own side.”

alice2At the most basic, your story must have a clock involved. Clockpunk, clock engineering, and steampunk with clock elements is encouraged as well at the thought of time as an entity. Be creative, turn Wonderland on its ear. Twist it, tweak it, punk it.

Your story may star or co-star any of the characters in the original text by Lewis Carroll, as well as characters of your own creation. Feel free to “punk” any of the characters to fit your vision, but do not use any characters from other modern day Wonderland series.

alice15A word from the editor: I don’t care how well your story is written, if it’s not scary, or horrifying, it won’t make the cut. We are HorrorAddicts.net. Bring the horror.

Stay tuned to HorrorAddicts.net for more information on how to submit.

 

Free Fiction Friday: Remembering The Importance of the Fairy Tales

Just the basic ramblings of an insomniac…

Hey guys, so I was reading a thread on Facebook today in which the originator is not in a safe place. The immediate and permanent solution to this problem is jumping on a plane. But the person says they are afraid to fly. Naturally this has caused some strong words, disbelief and a roar of push back. And I too was pissed off when I read that. But before I responded I wanted to figure out why that made me so mad.

So, I reread what was written again. Fear. Ok. Fear. I make a living ensuring people don’t sleep well at night, so I thought about it for a sec.

Fear. If this person was a character of mine, what would I do to them to make the reader turn on the lights? What would I have to do to make the reader think about them long after the story ended? What if it were me?

A few months ago, there was a meme floating around that showed a bug infested bathroom and asked ‘Would you spend the night here for 10 million dollars?’ My answer was not only no, it was fuck you, kiss every inch of my ass, no! Now that I am thinking about it, would I be able to do this wearing a bee suit? No. What if I wore a self-contained Hazmat suit, with the lights turned off and wearing headphones and listening to music? That would only make it worse because I would want to know where I was. What was with me, and anyone who has read any of my books knows the very last place one should be left in the dark with is with my imagination.

Ok. Let’s ask me this way. If it meant not only saving my life but also the life of someone I loved, would I be able to do it? If we’re going to be brutally honest here, the answer is still most likely no. At this point, if the person who was with me, because they love me would be frantically trying to come up with an alternative route to survival. Because if that bathroom was the only option Sean would be right, we would both be fucked and that’s just the honest to God’s truth.

Click here for the Sean reference: Sean was right!

And it was at this point when I realized why I was so pissed off about this post. The people who know this person immediately took the bee line to the alternative route. Now just to back up a bit, this person is outside of the United States and what’s putting them in danger is not considered a crime where they are.

However…

This person is an American, and the person who is causing the unsafe living conditions has dual citizenship. What’s being done is a crime on American soil, and there is an American Embassy in the country that they are in. Though in a foreign country, on the other side of those gates is American soil.  It’s not a permanent solution but it is an immediate one. And it’s not like a “Not without my daughter” scenario either because the people who know where this person is have posted Google images and MapQuest directions … it’s on the bus line!

This person has a HUGE pool from which to pull resources, the last I checked there were more than 700 comments, and a few hundred sub conversations. A lot of people have offered to pay or chip in to pay for an international flight, one person booked a hotel room.

Does this person jump on the bus? No. You read that right. No. Did they check into the hotel? No.

Instead they are making excuse after excuse why these aren’t viable options while with the next breath stating how terrified they are.

And I am left to wonder if this is a cry for help or the cry of the wolf, and I am not the only one. According to what’s being said by the people who care about this person what’s being said, at least part of it is true. Which means things are only going to get worse. This person is a critical point here because people are starting to shake their heads and express their frustration.

This person needs to desperately remember ‘The boy who cried wolf” because when things get worse, the help that’s being offered now may not be extended.

No, we are not children anymore and we realize that leaving breadcrumbs is not the best navigation method when trekking through the back country. But still, it would be behoove of us to remember that Grandma did not have such big teeth…

 

***********

Master Imaginationist and Instagram photographer Crystal Connor is a Washington State native who 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 readers 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. The End is Now is the 5th book that has been unleashed by Connor’s awarding winning imagination.

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

And They All Lived Happily Ever After!

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( Fairly Tales was 1st posted on 1/26/2016 on Crystal Connor’s blog: A Few Notes From The Author )

Press Release: Flowers In A Dumpster

Mark Allan Gunnells, master of the short story, releases a collection that even has Clive Barker smiling.

27911326Seventeen Tales to Frighten and Enlighten The world is full of beauty and mystery.

In these 17 tales, Gunnells will take you on a journey through landscapes of light and darkness, rapture and agony, hope and fear.

A post-apocalyptic landscape where it is safer to forget who you once were… An unusual support group comprised of cities dying of a common illness… A porn star that has opened himself up to demonic forces… Two men battling each other to the death who discover they have much in common… A woman whose masochistic tendencies may be her boyfriend’s ruin… A writer whose new friendship proves a danger to his marriage and his sanity.

Mark Allan Gunnells loves to tell stories. He has since he was a kid, penning one-page tales
that were Twilight Zone knockoffs. He likes to think he has gotten a little better since then. He
has been lucky enough to work with some wonderful publishers. He loves reader feedback, and
above all he loves telling stories. He lives in Greer, SC, with his fiance Craig A. Metcalf.

Available from Amazon: http://getbook.at/AmazonDumpster

For more information visit: http://www.crystallakepub.com/flowers-in-a-dumpster.php

 

Kbatz: Sins and Saucy!

Sins, Dirty Secrets, and Saucy!

By Kristin Battestella

From past rituals and torrid affairs to technological scares and crimes you thought you could hide, this modern quartet is brimming with sinners, sex, and consequences. Yowzah!

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Let us PreyThe Scottish setting and British accents of this 2014 creepy starring Liam Cunningham (Game of Thrones) may be tough for some. The voices are softer than the big sounds, and the dark, saturated picture is tough to see at times. Fortunately, that’s about all the quibbles here thanks to ominous waves, bleak crows, and an abandoned, end of the earth isolation. Despite the dark design, several critical scenes are well lit with either halo brightness, orange purgatory hues, a sickly green patina, or red for violent flashbacks. Female clichés are upended amid this interesting cast of characters – and there is plenty of gray behind the bars and the badge making for some mysterious hit and runs, visions, antagonism, and a twisted parable mood. Suspicious doctoring, eerie fingerprints, ticking clock night shift hours, and talk of Biblical retribution but not necessarily salvation add to the bizarre, in limbo happenings. Snippets of past vices quickly reveal what the audience already suspects of our players, and whether Cunningham’s little black book is full of vengeance for good or ill, we don’t blame him either way. Nice tricks, match strikes, radio call ins, limited technology, and small intimate locales go a long way amid rhythmic editing. There’s action, blood, and violence, but this isn’t bloated with cool of it all visuals or torture porn. Although the script may be nothing new and we know what’s going to happen, the layered references, sardonic irony, and one by one karma is well played and doesn’t underestimate the audience. I almost wish this was a limited series with the not so divine collector Cunningham kicking ass and taking names with each cigarette puff, however this is a fine film as is with no need to cheapen the tale with more. Who’s the right sacred just in all of this? Who’s really a crazy predator? When you think you are one and not the other, does it make a difference? This is a refreshingly adult, R-rated, well thought out and surreal but on point commentary.

Altar Olivia Williams (Dollhouse) and Matthew Modine (Memphis Belle) renovate a spooky, desolate estate on the English Moors in this 2014 Kickstarter scary full of fog, muted black and white style, and crisp, chilly moods. This family isn’t feeling the “no signal” under construction living for the sake of mom’s work, and Modine looks appropriately Vincent Price-esque as her increasingly tense, creepy, and obsessive American artist husband. Williams’ Mrs. is in over her head before the scares begin, and though she explores, uncovers hidden doors, and takes pictures, Meg isn’t seen doing much actual renovation and this design premise feels unnecessary along with a son who only appears as required by the plot. She also disbelieves their daughter by trying to be down with the hip lingo, deflecting by watching a movie on the iPad, and not wanting tweets about ghosts or dissing of her work reputation online despite her own suspicions. Rather than being a strong, proactive wife and mother, Meg takes a lot of crap from her husband and ends up in need of rescue because she ignores the obligatory superstitious handyman, her own internet research, and the local ghost whisperer. Distorted camera work and spinning panoramas are unnecessary as well, interfering with the innate, ghostly fears and appropriately askew one on one strangers. Seemingly innocent cuts, drops of blood, eerie apparitions, bones cracking, disembodied phones ringing, bugs, and coming alive walls do enough atmosphere building over the 95 minutes, and a one sentence history makes things bemusingly self aware: this bad happened, that bad happened, place should be torn down, fin. Granted, this isn’t anything new and not a whole lot actually happens, but the seventies haunted house movie feeling and overall creepy tone provide a well paced burn to counter the usual horror contrivances like separated family members, lookalike ghosts, and going back into the house because you forgot your car keys – although the asthmatic teen has her cell phone but not her inhaler, talk about priorities! The repeating past events and titular rituals will be expected by wise horror audiences, and some of those haunting details should have been clarified, faults I again suspect are due to having a one in the same writer and director. I feel like I’ve said a lot of negatives yet this one was better than I expected thanks to its not reaching with sex and gore or a trying to be something its not pretentiousness. There’s some same old, same old, but the time remains a pleasing escalation of ghostly possessions.

DarknetThis 2013 Canadian anthology series jumps right into the First of Six half hour episodes with an internal website design, ominous subway obliviousness, and mysterious keys in a terminal locker leading to more clues. Our young and hip protagonists are often alone, in over their heads, and unaware they are horror subjects, and the seemingly random, intercut mini tales make it tough to grow attached whether our anonymous victims are in the played videos or surfing the visuals in real time. These aren’t characters, just people being scared from scene to scene. Surveillance camera black and white accents the suspense and ironic toppers in each vignette, but the non-linear excuses only provide short term effectiveness. Through the keyhole views, police investigations, voyeurs, and saucy witnesses help rebuild tension in Episode Two, and bickering couples, incessant buzzing, faulty electricity, and erotic treasure maps don’t lead to a happy ending. Whether the stories are creatively connected or not, the disjointed twists aren’t necessarily crafty when the audience is duped into a confusing short attention span structure. Episode Three serves up eerie escorts, homeopathic pills, perilous jaywalking, and worse telephone repairmen – those tasers do come in handy! Despite the lack of logic needed to keep the shockers afloat, the storylines are quite quality along with the desperate prescriptions, kitchen hallucinations, and surgery fears of Show Four. Yes, be suspicious of house call doctors, cryptic contests, and fishy hotline calls! The isolation, blurred camerawork, and disembodied voices go well with the medical horrors, proving the plots here don’t always have to be solely murderous. Cubicle ho hum and new town paranoia also do excellently in the full length story for Episode 5, using the alarming videos within an escalating tale for what ifs instead of the previous plot hole shockers. Ironically, the Finale goes back to hacker games and cheap sex thrills, weakening the killer tapping on the window simmer and turnabout is fair play surprises for a limp finish. A Season Two is in the works, and this kind of instant shock value fits its online Vimeo platform – where the over reliance on technology, messaging, social screens, and scrolling matches the current horror trends. Worse sex and violence can be found on the internet, however, and in five years, that technological steep will compromise all watch-ability. That’s not to say the series isn’t without promise, but its fleeting by design choices over brewing scares is only a fright fix memorable in small doses. Hopefully,the next batch will correct the kinks and notch up the fear.

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The Theatre BizarreUdo Kier (Shadow of the Vampire) is discomforting in his puppet makeup and makes for a bizarre animatronic host indeed for the “Theatre Guignol” frame story linking this 2011 anthology. Our First tale “The Mother of Toads” is self aware with Lovecraft references, croaking old ladies, reptilian rituals, and disturbing nudity – but the vacationing couple clichés may bore horror viewers expecting oomph. Tale Two “I Love You” escalates from a dramatic break up and bad sex to a painful look at two timing revelations and honest cruelties. Again, the violent reactions are predictable, but the distorted editing is a pleasing accent on the unabashedly R skin and splatter. The Third segment “Wet Dreams” offers a weird therapist, torture devices, and several creative varieties on every man’s fear of uh… dismemberment. Dream analysis blurs the line between conscious moments or imagination, but that abstract also muddles some of the sympathy involved. “The Accident,” however, has pretty scenery, a little girl asking hefty questions, intercut motorcycle fatalities, and upsetting animal scenes. Why do we lie to comfort our children? While such somber may seem out of place here, this vignette isn’t trying to scare but instead relay what is scary to us. Next, rapid life flashing before your eyes editing, back alley stupor, drug fixes, and eerie needles anchor the premise of “Vision Stains.” What if memory collection was within the eye itself? Should it be stolen in a dark violent high disguised as some sort of vigilante justice? The solitary narration makes the structure difficult, but that askew perception is also necessary to the storytelling. Gluttonous decadence, sex meets food sustenance, and avante garde orgies make for some fun fetish extremes for the finale “Sweets,” and director commentaries and lengthy interview features provide more insights. The overall tone, however, does seem sexist on both sides – male directors telling tales about bitches but those gals are apparently justified over such creep dudes. The balance isn’t quite right, and if viewers are going to pick and choose their favorite segments individually, the concepts might have been nice to see in a new Tales from the Crypt style series instead. A lot here is too weird, derivative, and uneven thanks to the unique design, but there is still some choice horror entertainment, too.

Press Release: Jesse Galena releases The Corrupted Kingdom

The Corrupted Kingdom is a set of connected short, horror/fantasy stories that explores the ruins of a once-great kingdom now crawling with abominations through the eyes of the people who dare to venture into it.

The Corrupted Kingdom by Jesse Galena (cover)Synopsis:
Suspended in degradation, that dismal place draws people from all over the world.

Rumors say riches, secrets, and cures for all ailments rest within its borders. However, they hide between roaming abnormalities, monsters that defy the laws of nature and human understanding.

Within the twisted borders of that once-great Empire, not even the shrouded sunlight can aid foreigners in their pilgrimage. The past and the future become a mix of nearly connected events. Time itself holds no tangible meaning there. Some buildings stand while others collapse. Some weeds grow and choke the landscape while fires burn without fuel.

Perhaps the mysterious source of why it fell all those years ago is the same reason it still stands today. Contained within this tome are seven accounts from several unfortunate souls, proving only the mad and the desperate would dare to discover what truly lies inside that unhallowed kingdom.

The Corrupted Kingdom is listed in the top 500 Kindle short reads for science fiction and fantasy.
The Corrupted Kingdom is available for free on Kindle Unlimited for a limited time.

Amazon purchase link: http://www.amazon.com/Corrupted-Kingdom-Jesse-Galena-ebook/dp/B016APVG06/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8
Author’s website: RexiconJesse.wordpress.com
Author’s Goodreads page: Goodreads.com/rexiconjesse
Author’s Twitter: @RexiconJesse
Author’s Facebook: facebook.com/JesseGalena

Press Release: Christmas Horror. Volume 1

Christmas Horror Volume 1

from Dark Regions Press featuring new tales of holiday terror by Joe R. Lansdale, John Skipp, Cody Goodfellow, Jeff Strand and more color illustrated by Zach McCain is now available for preorder at: http://www.darkregions.com/books/new-releases/christmas-horror-volume-1
b7cab5d8-e403-4be7-8d94-f2441b25befaIntroducing the new annual Dark Regions Press holiday anthology: Christmas Horror. Volume 1 features all new and original stories from authors Joe R. Lansdale, John Skipp, Cody Goodfellow, Jeff Strand, J. F. Gonzalez, Stephen Mark Rainey, Nate Southard, Shane McKenzie and (in deluxe hardcover retail editions only) William Meikle. Each story is preceded by a full page/full bleed color illustration by artist Zach McCain.
Table of Contents
“Santa Explains” by Joe R. Lansdale
“The Endless Black of Friday” by Nate Southard
“Red Rage” by Stephen Mark Rainey
“Pointy Canes” by Jeff Strand
“Naughty” by Shane McKenzie
“Krampusnacht in Cell Block J” by Cody Goodfellow
“The Shittiest Guy in the World (A Christmas Fable)” by John Skipp
“Belsnickel” by J. F. Gonzalez
“The Color That Stole Christmas” by William Meikle (Deluxe Hardcover Retail Editions and Expanding Grab Bag 2 Exclusive Editions Only)
More information on Christmas Horror Volume 1 can be found on the DarkRegions.com website.

Press Release: Crystal Lake Publishing releases The Dark at the End of the Tunnel

Award-winning screenwriter releases his mind-bending first short story collection
The Dark at the End of the Tunnel by Taylor GrantOffered for the first time in a collected format, this selection features ten gripping and darkly imaginative stories by Taylor Grant, a Bram Stoker Award ® nominated author and rising star in the suspense and horror genres.

Discover what happens when:

– A wealthy industrialist awakens after ten years in suspended animation, and finds out that the horrors of the past can never be left behind.

– A lonely man realizes that he’s gradually vanishing from existence, into a nightmarish limbo of his own making.

– An author stumbles upon an incomplete manuscript by his deceased father, and makes the grave mistake of trying to complete the story.

– A woman learns that the imaginary voices that haunt the delusional and criminally insane are, in fact, real.

This remarkable collection of short fiction exposes the terrors that hide beneath the surface of our ordinary world, behind people’s masks of normalcy, and lurking in the shadows at the farthest reaches of the universe.
Foreword by Gene O’Neill
Taylor Grant is a Bram Stoker Award® nominated author and an award-winning screenwriter. His short films Sticks and Stones and The Vanished both premiered at the prestigious Cannes Film Festival. His work has been seen on network television, the big screen, the stage, the Web, as well as in comic books, newspapers, national magazines, anthologies, and heard on the radio.

Several of Grant’s screenplays have sold or been optioned by major Hollywood film studios such as Imagine Entertainment, Universal Studios, and Lions Gate Films. He is currently working with a successful video game company to bring one of his stories to life as an exciting RPG game.

“A master class in storytelling…one of the best collections of the last ten years.” – Joe McKinney, Bram Stoker Award Winner, Dead City, The Dead Won’t Die

“… a cornucopia of horror from a master of the genre!” – Tim Waggoner, Eat The Night, The Way of All Flesh

“…written with the precise-concise language of a poet. Each story has an almost perfect closure….” – Gene O’Neill, Bram Stoker Award Winner, The Cal Wild Chronicles, The Hitchhiking Effect

“…beautifully crafted tales… a depth and humanity of which we all can relate.” – John Claude Smith, Riding the Centipede, Autumn in the Abyss

“As classic, elegant, deadly effective and efficient as a switchblade.” – John Palisano, Bram Stoker Award Finalist, Dust of the Dead, Nerves

“A master at balancing pure dread, raw untethered emotion, and brilliant characters.” – Robert S. Wilson, Bram Stoker Award nominated editor, author of Empire of Blood series.

Available on Amazon.com: http://getbook.at/DarkTunnel

For more information visit: http://www.crystallakepub.com/the-dark-at-the-end-of-the-tunnel.php

December: Winter Horror

by Crystal Connor

Lol, I’m sorry I couldn’t help it. This post is about Winter Horror, which is the theme this month on HorrorAddicts.net.

As both a horror author and fan one of my favorite things I enjoy writing about is and being entertained by is the psychological side of horror.

I’m not sure if you know this but I am classically trained as a Marine Diesel Engineer and the 1st time I went to Dutch Harbor I fell to my knees once on the dock. The captain had no idea what was going on and when he asked I replied, “I’m repenting because if I don’t a frozen wasteland just like this will be my Hell.”

If you could have seen the look on his face! Lol. The idea of being trapped and cold in a hell frozen over inspires me to go to confessional, and I’m not Catholic, I’m a Christian … but still. My sinning ass needs all the help I can get.

I think the three greatest contributors which has the potential to make the winter months so truly terrifying are Freezing Temperatures, Being Lost and Isolation, the induction of the fear that follows.

I think this is the reason I am such a fan of trapped environments. My all-time favorite of this troupe is when environment one is trapped in is a vast and open space, hellscapes of snow and ice.

Let’s explore these elements with a little shameless self-promotion served on the side…

Freezing Temperatures:

Barrow, Alaska is one of the coldest and remote settlements in the North America. With wind chill, temperatures can reach almost minus 100 degrees Fahrenheit. I said minus 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Just let that sink in for a moment.

It doesn’t matter if its 65 degrees or God forbid, even colder than that, once I’m cold, I’m cold and the only thing I really think about once I’m cold is getting warm again and I’m in a pretty crappy mode until that happens. And until that happens its safe to say I’m not thinking straight because all I’m always thinking about is how cold I am and longing for the time I spent in warmer climates.

Studies have shown that temperature may sway how much trust people put in one another so it’s not surprising that people link temperature with psychological mindset (cold-bloodied killer)

Being Lost:

Now being lost is completely different from being trapped or isolated. When you’re lost, at least at first, it’s the confusion that interrupts clear thinking. But you can always cling to hope when lost.

If your off hiking somewhere, or take the wrong turn during a road trip and don’t show up when and where you were expected you’re going to be missed and this is what eventually helps a person to stop randomly wandering around and talk themselves into some sort of game plan to get them found or at the very least, help them get their bearings back.

This is where the wisdom of walking along a fence or river or just being still so that whoever is looking for you can actually find you comes in.

But if your judgment has been impaired due to being cold, and you’ve been subjected to the imagination of novelist such as myself, once it gets dark all bets are off. Of course you’ll worry about the bear’s, wild dogs, and other dangerous animals but not as much as you’ll think about the ghosts and strangers lurking between the clumps of trees, no matter how unrealistic these fears may be, and that will more likely than not make a person make drastic decisions that will make their situation worse.

Isolation:

First of all you know exactly where you are and others might too, but when things go wrong you can’t get out and those on the outside who know where you are probably don’t know you’re in trouble and wouldn’t expect it as your exactly where you told everyone you’d be.

And this is the reason I say a person can be cold, scared, and lost … or … cold, scared, and isolated. I’ve never seen or read a book where people where both isolated and lost at the same time.

One of the great things about using isolation as a horror element (Claustrophobia, agoraphobia, taphophobia, merinthophia, autophobia … the list goes on and on) and the adverse psychological effects it has on just basic thinking, not to mention, critical potentially lifesaving decision making is what makes isolation so terrorizing on so many levels. Not only that, but all kinds of studies have been conducted on human subjects in regards to extreme isolation and solitary confinement … the results of all of which is why this type of sensory deprivation is considered torture.

This is the type of subject I can write all day long about so instead of letting this post get out of hand I’m going to give you guys a little homework! lol

Homework for couch potatoes:

Three good reads that I think you should read if you haven’t already (or read again if its been awhile) about winter horror using the elements of isolation are:

Trapped by Dean R. Koontz http://www.amazon.com/Trapped-Dean-R-Koontz/dp/0061050040

The Shining by Stephen King  http://www.amazon.com/The-Shining-Stephen-King/dp/0307743659

In The Foothills of Mt. Empyreal The End is Now by Connor Titus http://www.amazon.com/In-The-Foothills-Mt-Empyreal/dp/1494964198

Three movies using the same elements

Adam Green’s 2010 Frozen 

John Carpenter’s 2011 The Thing 

Antonia Bird’s 2009 Ravenous 

Home work for outdoorsy type:

 If you rather not sit inside all winter and would rather risk your life by actually testing the patience of the gods of winter, you could try (but I am going to suggest that you don’t) your hand at navigating your way through:

 Death zone, Mt. Everest, Nepal

Dudes it’s called the Death Zone, even experienced climbers have perished here, and since rescuing or carrying an injured climber back to basecamp is impractical, they are typically left behind to die. About 150 bodies have never been recovered but despite its names there are worst places to die a wintery death.

Muir Snowfield, Mt. Rainier, WA

Like they say, there’s no place like home! Rainier’s summit requires a formidable alpine climb, and more than 90 mountaineers have slipped or frozen trying to reach 14,410 feet. But a whopping 294 fatalities have occurred elsewhere on the mountain

Right in my own back yard, Willamette National Forest, Oregon

A staggering 189 men and 51 women officially remain listed as missing since 1997 by the Oregon Office of Emergency Management after trekking into Oregon’s wildest places, said Georges Kleinbaum, search and rescue coordinator for the office. “It only takes a mile before you get totally turned around and don’t know which way to go,” said Kleinbaum, adding that 1,036 search and rescue missions were conducted across Oregon last year.

 Bonus

You really can’t talk about the horrors of winter without mentioning Christmas. My 2nd favorite all time sub-genre of Horror is Religious Horror and actually I think that might be 1st.  As a believer there is nothing more frightening to me than the idea of God turning his back on you, succumbing to temptation and forfeiting your admission to Heaven.

If you don’t have a weekend to spend reading a book but a have a few hours to kill check out Christopher Borrelli’s 2007 Whisper besides the child being the offspring of Satan, the religious undertones are subtle

However if you prefer your Christmas horror to be terrifying and religious-less I highly recommend Paul Andrew Williams 2008 The Children which is part of the 8 Films to Die For franchise. You can watch them both on either Amazon Video or Netflix

If you like your horror in quick short dosages I have something that fits the bill, clocking in at just 12 minutes and 9 seconds this little audio gem will fit nicely in your standard 15 minute coffee break The Christmas Wish http://podiobooks.com/title/and-they-all-lived-happily-ever-after/

And on that note, happy holidays you guys and as always thanks for stopping by! See you all next year!

Books

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

http://wordsmithcrystalconnor.com

http://www.facebook.com/notesfromtheauthor

Download your free copy of …And They All Lived Happily Ever After! audiobook 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

Press Release: Crystal Lake Publishing releases Horror 201: The Silver Scream

Thorror 201 volume 1he definitive guide to filmmaking and filmmakers by the best in the field.

Horror 201: The Silver Scream, the follow-up to the Bram Stoker Award nominated Horror 101: The Way Forward, delves into the minds of filmmakers to see what it takes to produce great horror films, from the writing and funding process, to directing, producing, and writing tie-ins.

It’s a tome of interviews and essays by some of our favorite artists.
That’s right, film legends and authors such as Wes Craven, George A. Romero, Ray Bradbury, Ed Naha, Patrick Lussier, Stephen Volk, Nancy Holder, Tom Holland, John Shirley, William Stout, and John Russo want to share their expertise with you through informative, practical, career-building advice.

These are the folks behind movies and novelizations such as A Nightmare on Elm Street, Scream, Dark Shadows, Sleepy Hollow, Supernatural, Buffy, Resident Evil, The Stand, Sleepwalkers, Masters of Horror, The Fly, Critters, Tales from the Crypt, Child’s Play, Fright Night, Thinner, The Langoliers, Ted Bundy, Re-animator Unbound, Halloween, Apollo 18, The Eye, Night of the Living Dead, The Crow, The Mist, Pan’s Labyrinth, and Raiders of the Lost Ark.

Horror 201 also entertains. You’ll see a side of your favorite authors, producers, and directors never seen before – combining fun and entertainment with informative career-building advice.

Horror 201 is aimed at arming generations of authors, screenwriters, producers, directors, and anyone else interested in the film industry, from big budget movies to the independent film circuit, as well as the stage.

Whether you’re an accomplished author or screenwriter, writing as a hobby, or have dreams of writing screenplays or making movies, Horror 201 will take you on a behind the scenes tour of the Horror movie industry from Hollywood to the UK and Australia.

Horror 201 covers:

  • Horror as culture
  • Scare tactics
  • The evolution of the horror film
  • Viewer desensitization
  • Watching your story come to life
  • Screenwriting advice
  • Dissecting screenplays
  • A production company case study
  • Tricks of the trade
  • Writing tips
  • Advice on Producing
  • Advice on Directing
  • Information about funding and distributing a film
  • Entertaining tidbits and anecdotes

And so much more!

Horror 201: The Silver Scream is perfect for people who:

  • are looking to delve into screenplay writing
  • want to write their first screenplay
  • are fans of the horror movie industry
  • like to follow the careers of their favorite directors
  • are planning on infiltrating a different field in horror writing
  • are looking to pay more bills with their art
  • are trying to establish a name brand
  • are looking to get published
  • are looking for motivation and/or inspiration
  • are seeking contacts in the film industry

Edited by Joe Mynhardt and Emma Audsley.

The full line-up includes:

Wes Craven, George A. Romero, Ray Bradbury, Ramsey Campbell, Ed Naha, Edward Lee, Patrick Lussier, Tim Lebbon, Jonathan Maberry, Stephen Volk, William Stout, Michael McCarty, Dan Curtis, William Stout, Graham Masterton, Harry Shannon, Jason V. Brock, L.L. Soares, Mick Garris, William F. Nolan, Lee Karr, Stephen Johnston, Aaron Sterns, Michael Laimo, Jonathan Winn, David. C. Hayes, Brian Pinkerton, David Henson Greathouse, Aaron Dries, Armand Rosamilia, Billy Hanson, Jack Thomas Smith, John Russo, Mark Steensland, John Shirley, Tom Holland, Adrian Roe, Dave Jeffery, James Hart, James Cullen Bressack, Jeff Strand, Nancy Holder, E.C. McMullen Jr., Richard Gray, Richard Chizmar, William C. Cope (interior artist), Tim Waggoner, Tom Monteleone, Nick Cato, Kevin Wetmore, Eric Miller, and Lynne Hansen.

Don’t let this opportunity slip through your creative fingers.

http://getbook.at/Horror201Vol1

“Being a part of Horror 201: The Silver Scream is almost as thrilling as having had my novels turned into feature films. After all, it’s not everyday one shares a TOC with George Romero, Wes Craven, and Mick Garris! This is a must have book for all writers looking to break into filmmaking.” – Michael Laimo

“No one teaches horror. As a student of terror, realizing just how useful it is in teaching how society works and is influenced, that is a shame. Horror 201 opens the door again, but be careful… you don’t know what lurks on the other side. The truth is scary.” – David C. Hayes

“With essays and interviews from the likes of John Carpenter, Richard Chizmar, Dan Curtis, Harry Shannon, Edward Lee and the late great Wes Craven, HORROR 201: THE SILVER SCREAM serves up prime cuts of fresh meat and raw broken bone for the palate of the discerning horror fiction and flick aficionado.” – Steve Vernon (author of Tatterdemon)

“As an in-depth look into what it takes to produce great horror films, we can think of no better resource on the market!” – Dave Jeffery & James Hart ( Award winning film makers from Venomous Little Man Productions)

“Horror 201: The Silver Scream will be seen as a landmark, the ultimate practical guide to horror filmmaking that will hopefully create and arm an entire generation of horror screenwriters and aspiring directors.” – Aaron Sterns

“Horror 201: The Silver Scream Vol.1 is chock-full of advice from many different artists associated with the movie industry. Tips on everything you need to know about the biz are included here: articles, history, music, screen writing, tricks of the trade, cultural and historic fears. They’re all here. And much more. There is never a one-fits all solution for anything, but this great tome will point you in the right direction. Crystal Lake Publishing is fast becoming the expert on all things horror.” – Blaze McRob

“A treasure of insights, anecdotes, and advice on the art and craft of horror films—from those who are in the trenches doing it. A must-read for fans and future filmmakers alike.” – Taylor Grant, Award-Winning Filmmaker, The Muse, Sticks & Stones, The Vanished

“The brilliance of Horror 201: The Silver Scream is how easily it blends the solid experience and unquestioned genius of experts like Wes Craven, George A. Romero and Ray Bradbury with the eager musings and possibly incoherent ramblings of relative newbies like me. Instead of a work penned solely by experts, we have instead a democratic microcosm of the industry. So for those who’ve often wondered how to bridge the divide between horror and Hollywood, they’re sure to find something — no matter how familiar they are with the ins-and-outs of the business — that speaks to them, answers their questions, and hopefully inspires them to take their next step. All in all, a fantastic read, a strong addition to an already famous series, and a great honor to be a part of.”  — Jonathan Winn, Martuk … the Holy, Eidolon Avenue (Crystal Lake Publishing, Jan 2016)

“Horror 201: The Silver Scream, a quasi-follow-up to Horror 101: The Way Forward, focuses squarely on the horror film industry. And similar to Horror 101, which deals with the art of writing horror, Horror 201 is a veritable grab bag of industry insiders’ encouragement and advice. You can dip in anywhere and discover pure gold and an unrestrained affection for the genre, although Joe Mynhardt has sensibly grouped the material he has garnered into logical sections such as ‘Screenwriting’ and ‘Novelisations’. Quite how he has managed it, I don’t know, but you will find here a proper treasure trove of goodies, including essays such as Scare Tactics: The Evolution of the Horror Film & Viewer DesensitisationHorror is Culture, and a tribute to Wes Craven, and interviews with John Carpenter, George A. Romero, and Wes Craven among others. An absolute must for fans of horror films and those who want to write, produce, or direct in the genre.” – John Kenny

“Horror 201 The Silver Scream is an eye-opening walkthrough in the wonderful world of filmmaking! This is perfect for the upcoming screenplay writer, film director, and everybody who loves a good horror movie! These pages hold essays, interviews, and endless knowledge for those looking to open their eyes and expand into this amazing craft. This isn’t just a book, it’s a gateway. A gateway to a vast universe hidden backstage with all the ins and outs, tips, tricks, and trades of the craft!” – Kya Aliana, author of the Vampiress series

“Horror 201: The Silver Scream is a milestone in horror history and filmmaking history. This invaluable collection will take you far and deep, thrusting you into the inside world of horror movies! Consider this book a beacon, calling out to you, guiding you through your craft and showing you the best way to go.” – Kya Aliana, author of the Vampiress series

“If you’ve ever wanted to go back stage or behind the scenes, now you do it from the comfort your couch, bed, or favorite lounge chair! Horror 201 brings an exciting aspect to world of horror – the ability to learn from the pros! This is a turning point in horror and film history, and will certainly continue to inspire, teach, and guide everyone who is involved in the industry!” – Kya Aliana, author of the Vampiress series