Guest Blog: A First Time For Everything by John C Adams

A First Time for Everything

by John C Adams

From the age of eleven onwards, there’s pretty much a steady stream of things you’ll be doing for the first time. In all types of society, the public role of the rite of passage is an important sociological aspect of the transition to adulthood. Yet it still remains the case that most of the more interesting rites of passage involve sneaking around behind your parents’ backs…

Sometimes, the rite of passage occurs in early puberty rather than when we stand on the cusp of adulthood. And they don’t always have to be traumatic. They can be about connecting with your true self.

In Richard Matheson’s delightful little short story Blood Son Jules has always been certain that he doesn’t belong. That’s because he has a strong personal certainty that he fits in somewhere else entirely. His difficulties are that his parents and schoolteacher just can’t understand. Sound familiar? Well to many of us it probably is but Jules is a plucky little lad and as time moves on he just becomes more determined to find a path to those he can call his own. Good for him!

“One Saturday when he was twelve, Jules went to the movies. He saw Dracula.

When the show was over he walked, a throbbing nerve mass, through the little girl- and -boy ranks. He went home and locked himself in the bathroom for two hours.

His parents pounded on the door and threatened but he wouldn’t come out.

Finally, he unlocked the door and sat down at the supper table. He had a badge on his thumb and a satisfied look on his face.”

It takes a few more years until Jules finds a bat at the zoo and begins to see a way through to making the identity he longs for, and strongly associates with, reality. In Jules’s case his rite of passage is the time-honoured first bite.

Most of us can recognise the importance of the rite of passage in forming our sense of belonging to the group. But thinks that sometimes we have to step outside the mainstream to find that sense of belonging.

The onset of puberty involves first times for girls too. In Stephen King’s novel Carrie, Carrie White doesn’t get a visit from the curse until she’s sixteen. That’s very late and theories abound as to why puberty was delayed so long. What could there be in her upbringing to explain her physical rejection of womanhood? It’s right there in the form of her appalling mother, of course. As soon as Carrie realises that she isn’t bleeding to death after all her first thought is one of anger at everything and everyone who has singled her out and made her different. In Carrie’s case her primary defence mechanism to deal with the pain of her mother’s behaviour is to embrace the darkness:

“She thought of imps and familiars and witches (am i a witch momma the devil’s whore) riding through the night, souring milk, overturning butter churns, blighting crops while They huddled inside their houses with hex signs on Their doors.”

Carrie White is a master class in how anger can spill over when an individual is rejected not just by their mother but then by society as a whole. It’s no surprise that the ensuing prom night doesn’t end well.

The real danger lurks for society whenever the emerging adult is denied a sense of belonging to the tribe and that this lies beneath the importance we attach to rites of passage ceremonies.

In some cases, the choice to belong or not (the fundamental ability to fit in) isn’t ours to make. Sometimes, an uneventful transition to college and the adulthood that lies beyond just isn’t meant to be. In Stephen King’s novel Christine, Arnie Cunningham and his best buddy Dennis are working their way through high school. All’s right in their world: Dennis is a football star set for college. Arnie is keen on mechanics and hopes to persuade his university-lecturer parents to let him skip college and do something vocational instead. Both Arnie and Dennis have part-time jobs that pay well and are saving hard for the usual things – college and a first car. It’s all going so well until they drive past a broken-down 1958 Plymouth Fury with a For Sale sign. From the outset the car seems to cast something like a lovespell on Arnie, as Dennis is well aware:

“I thought about LeBay saying, Her name is Christine. And somehow, Arnie had picked up on that. When we were little kids we had scooters and then bikes, and I named mine but Arnie never named his – he said names were for dogs and cats and guppies. But that was then and this was now. Now he was calling that Plymouth Christine, and what was somehow worse it was always ‘her’ and ‘she’ instead of ‘it’.”

Dennis’s share of the tale is shot through with the pain of watching his best friend’s life implode. Central to that is watching the subversion of many ‘first time’ rites of passage by the dark force that is Christine: buying your first car and doing it up, asking a girl out, taking things all the way. Stuff that Dennis is still able to enjoy but from which Christine is able to exclude Arnie.

It is natural, bearing in mind the importance of getting rites of passage right, that we are afraid of being unable to take charge of our own transition to adulthood. Isn’t that what growing up is all about, after all?

Rituals appear in all forms of society and feature in human lives for thousands of years. The details may differ but the purpose remains the same at every point in history. Ignore them at your peril!


John C Adams is a Contributing Editor for the Aeon Award and Albedo One Magazine, and a Reviewer with Schlock! Webzine.

You can read John’s short fiction in anthologies from Horrified Press, Lycan Valley Press and many others. A non-binary gendered writer, John has also had fiction published in The Horror Zine, Devolution Z magazine and many other smaller magazines.

John’s fantasy novel Aspatria is available to read for free on Smashwords, and on Amazon. John’s futuristic horror novel ‘Souls for the Master’ also is available on Amazon.

John lives in rural Northumberland, UK, and is a non-practising solicitor.

http://johncadams.wix.com/johnadamssf

 

 

April’s Demented Children by Alex S. Johnson

Come Out and Play

This month’s theme on HorrorAddicts.net is demented children. Creepy kids. Scary small ones. Terrifying tots.

How did this enduring horror trope come about? From Henry James to Shirley Jackson, Ramsey Campbell to Stephen King and beyond, hundreds of 80s midlist paperbacks–and that’s just the literary end of the seesaw–kids have been frightening us, haunting our imagination. Carrie. The Omen. The Exorcist. The Bad Seed. The Brood. Let the Right One In. Children of the Corn…the list goes on and on. And that’s not even touching the plethora of powder-faced ghosts with eyes like piss-holes in the snow, courtesy of J-Horror.

The Exorcist

Who will ever be able to forget, to scratch out the brain cells permanently burned with images of Linda Blair as 12-year-old Regan McNeil in The Exorcist, welts scrawling out the words “Help Me” on her skin, tumbling backwards down the stairs, her head twisting 180 degrees, as she suffers the agony of demonic possession? Never mind the scene with the crucifix. How about little Damien Thorne in The Omen, whose idea of good fun at a birthday party is watching his nanny hang herself from a window? And Michael Myers, standing in front of his house in a clown outfit, fresh from slaughtering his older sister in Halloween?

Childhood is supposed to be a golden time in our lives. A time of innocence and play. Exactly how did it become corrupted? What is the resonance in actual life of these abominations?

“Come and play with us”

The real horror, I suspect, lies in the way the evil of the adult world seeps into that golden realm. Try as we might to protect them from harm, children are victimized psychologically, sexually, physically and in other ways. The fallout from this trauma becomes compressed in narratives that detail our deepest fears. These children are aspects of ourselves, writ large. Because nobody escapes childhood unscathed. Even if we’re popular, well-liked, we see how bullies mistreat the weaker kids (Carrie, Christine, Evilspeak), and the subconscious projects means of, if not righting these wrongs, at least a good, satisfying round of havoc, blood, fire and the creative use of cutlery.

Carrie

As with many aspects of life, denial of the problem is no solution. Children are our most vulnerable citizens, and it’s little wonder that they serve so often as the source of fear. As of 2015, statistics indicate that at least 1,500 children die of abuse yearly in the United States alone–a collective wound that festers and burns.

This assumes that all children come into this world a blank slate, and it is purely environment that shapes them. And that is much too simplistic. Part of the fun of child-themed horror–for after all, we are talking about entertainment, however dark its roots–comes from the recognition that kids aren’t innocent in a metaphysical sense. Rumors of demon broods are more factual than they appear.

Have you Seen this Baby?

Children arrive smeared with blood and mucus, chaotic blocks of potential awareness, maturity, intelligence and empathy. Playful mischief can and does register as cruelty. Witness your normal baby, the ultimate megalomaniac, demanding all to serve him, worse than any tyrant.

So, as Facebook relationship status has it, “it’s complicated.” Horror gives us a means to deal with our helplessness in the face of core human evils, gain some kind of catharsis and challenge the fears that might otherwise overwhelm us. We were all children once, and the choice is perennial: giving in to the dark side of adulthood or finding some means to free ourselves from the contagion.

April is the start of Spring; new life flourishes where the old dies. So let’s enjoy a month of enfants terribles, sanguinary small fry, knee high nemeses, miniature malefactors. The stories we tell about the younger versions of ourselves can be a source of healing and pleasure.

And now, without further ado: HorrorAddicts.net presents April’s Demented Children.

  1. http://blogs.indiewire.com/pressplay/children-in-horror-films-the-kids-are-not-alright-20141029
  2. http://horror.about.com/od/horrortoppicklists/tp/20killerkids.htm
  3. http://www.listal.com/list/kids-of-horror
  4. http://www.research.lancs.ac.uk/portal/en/projects/children-in-horror-fiction-and-film%28d05fc303-7e18-4765-9ae5-2236ebfeac9a%29.html

 

HorrorAddicts.net 120, Chantal Noordeloos

ha-tag

Horror Addicts Episode# 120

Horror Hostess: Emerian Rich

Intro Music by: Valentine Wolfe

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chantal noordeloos | madalice | found footage

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

54 days till halloween

chantal noordeloos, babymetal, gimme chocolate, wes craven, a.d. vick, nightmare on elm street, horror news, vampire squirrel, vampire ride, 16 slices, ghost golf, daryn coleman, stephen king, carrie, christine, the stand, phantom of the opera, don post, mask maker, dead babies, alex s. johnson, books, david watson, crystal connor, the darkness, the end is now, IMDB, chris jackson, kbatz, dress your dreams, fashion, d.j. pitsiladis, nightmare fuel, elisa lam, elevators, castle, american horror story, morbid meals, dan shaurette, queen of hearts tarts!, alice in wonderland, lewis carroll, best band season 9, murder weapons, madalice, dawn wood, bless the bitch, midnight syndicate, christmas album, yuletide, jesse orr, grant me serenity, missy, black jack, movies, the taking of deborah logan, found footage, the quiet ones, blair witch, shaky camera, ghost scent tour, scent kit, los angeles, marc vale, advice, stephanie, santa fe, new mexico, self-surgery, dr.frankenstein, chantal noordeloos, angel manor, deeply twisted

Horror Addicts Guide to Life now available on Amazon!
http://www.amazon.com/Horror-Addicts-Guide-Life-Emerian/dp/1508772525/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1428730091&sr=8-1&keywords=horror+addicts+guide+to+life

HorrorAddicts.net blog Kindle syndicated

http://www.amazon.com/HorrorAddicts-net/dp/B004IEA48W/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1431022701&sr=8-1&keywords=horroraddicts.net

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

horroraddicts@gmail.com

————————

h o s t e s s

Emerian Rich

s t a f f

David Watson, Dan Shaurette, Marc Vale, KBatz (Kristin Battestella), Mimielle, Dawn Wood, Lillian Csernica, Killion Slade, D.J. Pitsiladis, Jesse Orr, A.D. Vick, Mimi Williams

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

b l o g  / c o n t a c t / s h o w . n o t e s

http://www.horroraddicts.net

HorrorAddicts.net 118, Mercedes Yardley

ha-tag

Horror Addicts Episode# 118

Horror Hostess: Emerian Rich

Intro Music by: Valentine Wolfe

mercedes yardley | dark matter noise | stephen king movies

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

83 days till halloween

83 days till halloween

la guns, crystal eyes, anne rice, queen akasha, vampires, glam metal, heat, sunburn, seaworld, scarela, mike bennett, h.p. lovecraft, addict on the street: jean batt, live baycon, haunters, drag king,  guillermo del toro, strain books, donny marisue, goth dj neshamah, loren rhoads, the dangerous type, kindle books, wait for books, lasher, anne rice, books, matthew weber, a dark and winding road, d.j. pitsiladis, david watson, serial killers, highwayman, ink, glenn benest, dale pitman, morbid meals, dan shaurette, chicken a la king, dawn wood, dark matter noise, hell’s frozen, grant me serenity, jesse orr, black jack, dan shuarette, stephen king movies, it, storm of the century, stand by me, pet cemetary, the green mile, the shining, salem’s lot, christine, shawshank redemption, the mist, creepshow, misery, graveyard shift, firestarter, maximum overdrive, room 237, langoliers, bag of bones, dead mail, angela, halloween costumes, penny dreadful, the stig, top gear, birthday suit, ursula, mimielle, dyed hair in the pool, swimming cap, ask marc vale, vlad, blood stains, mercedes yardley

 

Horror Addicts Guide to Life now available on Amazon!
http://www.amazon.com/Horror-Addicts-Guide-Life-Emerian/dp/1508772525/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1428730091&sr=8-1&keywords=horror+addicts+guide+to+life

 

HorrorAddicts.net blog Kindle syndicated

http://www.amazon.com/HorrorAddicts-net/dp/B004IEA48W/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1431022701&sr=8-1&keywords=horroraddicts.net

 

———————–

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

horroraddicts@gmail.com

————————

h o s t e s s

Emerian Rich

s t a f f

David Watson, Dan Shaurette, Marc Vale, KBatz (Kristin Battestella), Mimielle, Dawn Wood, Lillian Csernica, Killion Slade, D.J. Pitsiladis, Jesse Orr, A.D. Vick

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

b l o g  / c o n t a c t / s h o w . n o t e s

http://www.horroraddicts.net

 

13 Questions with Laurence Simon

Now here is a name that all you HA listeners out there will know, Laurence Simon, a.k.a the creator of the 100 Word Stories series! That’s right, this week I was able to interview the master of short stories and even catch a glimpse of what goes on inside that head.

Laurence explained to me how his short stories got their start. “A college friend wrote 100 stories 100 words long, so I thought I’d give it a shot and write a few. They were about Abraham Lincoln, inspired by a play written by Woody Allen. Then, a few years later, some other friends created a site called 100 Words Or Les Nessman, where you had to write a 100 word story on a topic or write about the WKRP character. I recorded the stories I wrote for that site and put them on a podcast feed. When the Les Nessman site became unstable, people wanted to keep up the challenge aspect of that site, so I came up with the Weekly Challenge for others to participate in.”

And for those of you, like me, who have been wondering just how many of these stories Simon has written…well, I’ll let him tell you…. “I’ve written at least 1 a day for the past seven and a half years. My queue is stacked up through April of 2014, and there’s many more in the drafts pile. So if it isn’t over 4,000 by now, it’s close to that number.”

Animal lovers everywhere will appreciate what Simon feels is his best work so far, A Night On The Beach, which was written for one of his cats. In fact he cares for them enough that “every night before he goes to bed, he walks by the shelf that his cats’ ashes are on, and tells them that he misses them.” Laurence was also kind enough to share A Night On The Beach with us –

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I wake up and shake the sand from my shoes. This happens every morning.

But I haven’t been to the beach in years.

Only in my dreams.

Sometimes, there’s driftwood in my hand, seaweed wrapped around my ankle.

Salt in my hair from the ocean spray.

On a shelf over my mirror, I’ve put my seashell collection.

All these things, I dream of. And bring back with me.

When I dream of you, take my hand, and let me bring you back.

I will leave my sadness on the sands of my dreams.

To be washed away with the tide.
—————-

Now I’m sure many of you have come across one of Laurence’s many websites, here is a look into his “isfullofcrap” site. “These days [isfullofcrap.com is] just an “About Me” placeholder. I used to run a daily political and current events snark blog called “The Blog Is Full Of Crap” there. And before that, I ran “Amish Tech Support.” But those days are over. My daily blogging is about Second Life, but that’s also fading. I’d rather just enjoy it than get all nitpicky on it, or rail against a privately-held company that develops features and pricing structures for customers that no longer exist and never will again. So, really, http://podcasting.isfullofcrap.com/ is where the real deal is. That’s where the the podcast dwells. (Until I give it its own domain and put isfullofcrap.com out to pasture.)”

Now my addicts, on to the horrifying part of this interview! Just kidding but I am gonna tell you a little bit about Laurence’s love of horror. According to him, “Fear is such a deep and raw emotion. Writers and directors who can manipulate you through it effectively are very rare. Stories that don’t rely on the supernatural or impossible are more powerful than ones that do. The Long Walk by Stephen King is my favorite horror tale. (To me, it’s horror. Deal with it.) But the moment that he wimps out and whips out a haunted demon-car or crazy-assed parallel universes, I want to smack him with the book and run him over with a van. The guy is brilliant without having to rely on that stuff. Okay, so a little magic or impossibility is necessary, but just a touch of it… one little tiny twist or spark. That’s all it takes. Good horror is when you hand someone a shovel, they dig themselves into a hole, can’t get out of it, pass through the drama as they try to get out of it by other means, and then go one step further into the really nasty stuff… the horror stage. If it doesn’t have a touch of hubris, then you’re only a victim to be added to the body count. Misery will always beat Christine in my opinion.”

“The traditional monsters are unbelievable. Give me something human or once-human, because real people are the biggest monsters of all. You’re going to laugh, but Willy Wonka was a horror movie monster to me when I was little. The man was witty, aloof, and bumping off kids one by one. Then, he told Charlie he broke the rules and… and…That’s usually when I had to go to bed. If you think about it, lots of movies are like that.
– Cut off ET when the alien is dead and Elliot is in the science lab.
– Cut off Wizard of Oz when Dorothy is watching Auntie Em in the crystal ball.
– Cut off The Ten Commandments when the Israelites have their backs against the sea.
Try it. (Especially on your kids.)”

And sadly, this brings us to the end of our interview kiddies. BUT fear not, there are more 100 word stories in your future. Here’s some things on the drawing board:

– More 100 word stories

– More 100-word entries for the A is for Avatar series (http://aisforavatar.com/)

– Collections of the stories in Kindle and other e-book reader formats.

– A feed of the stories in image format so people with WiFi picture frames can create slideshows of the stories

– Apple and Droid apps

– New refrigerator magnets of my best stories

For more information on Laurence Simon, you don’t want to miss checking out these websites!
http://twitter.com/isfullofcrap
http://twitter.com/100wordstories
http://www.facebook.com/100wordstories
http://podcasting.isfullofcrap.com/

Guest Blog: The “Eeeee” Factor In Horror Movies – E A Draper

You know, I used to be more of a horror movie fan but with the release of movies such as “Saw”, “The Hostel”, and the re-release of “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” I find myself yearning for the early days of my horror addiction, yearning for the days of “Frankenstein”, and “Dracula”, and “Friday the 13th”. I want to go back to the days when you would be scared out of your pants and jump at every noise when you went to bed that night and God help you if you forgot to close your closet door ‘cause there was no way you could sleep with it open and once that light was out you were pretty much stuck hiding under your covers all night.
Ahhh…those were the days.

When I was growing up some of the movies that scared me the most were the Freddie Kruger movies (up to number three because to be honest once you get past the third in any series it just gets silly) and movies like “It’s Alive”, and the first few Pinhead movies (that would be the “Hell Raiser” movies for all of you non-pinhead fans). Now, thinking over why I like these older horror movies with their “lame” (as some of my younger friends would call it) special effects, and why the more modern and more realistic films don’t appeal to me, was kind of a hard at first. So, to figure it all out I went back and viewed bits and pieces of these oldies but goodies. I even looked up snippets of Edgar Allen Poe’s classic “The Pit and the Pendulum” staring Vincent Price. Then I went and watched parts of “The Hostel”, “The Hills Have Eyes”, and “Saw I”. After watching nearly three hours of varying degrees of scariness I finally put my finger on what is was that made me yearn for the days of Jason and his scary white mask. Guess what it was? Well, since none of you are mind readers (or at least I don’t think you are…can’t read your minds) I will tell you.

It is the “eeeee” factor. What is this mysterious “eeeee” factor that I am basing my like or dislike of a movie on? Well, let me share with you this magic little noise that defines how good I think a movie is.

When I watch a horror movie I make varying sounds of shock and disbelief such as ahhh…ohhh…eeeee….ewww, and generally cower behind my hands (“Jeepers Creepers” was watched almost entirely behind my hands and consisted of me doing nothing but “eeeee”). The sound that I made the most, if it was a really scary movie, was “eeeee” so that is what I decided to call my rating system for horror movies. It’s simple, easy to use, and easily understood by all because, in my opinion, only a really scary, spooky, on the edge of your seat movie draws this noise from a person involuntarily. I mean, come on, it’s a horror movie and it’s supposed to make you want to nail all your windows and doors shut when it’s over. To me, it’s not a good horror movie if I am not “eeeeeing” a lot and watching it through my parted fingers. And that, my friends, is why I did not enjoy “Hostel” and the others. I simple found no “eeeee” factor to them (mostly I just went ewww). All I wanted to do was cover my mouth and close my eyes. There was no “ahhh…ohhh…eeeee…ewww” there was only “when is this movie going to end so my stomach will stop trying to exit my body.” Basically, I wasn’t really scared. Grossed out, yes, but not “looking under my bed” scared and “searching behind all my doors” scared.

Sigh. I feel so…old fashioned. What is a horror fan to do when so many horror movies are now produced along the lines of “Saw?” All I can say is “thank god for DVD’s.” At least I can watch my favorites on the player. Now, I don’t “poo poo” all modern horror movies. I actually like quite a few and will list some of them in with my favorites.

So, anyone else out there wishing for a little more “eeeee” and a little less “ewww”?

A few of my favorites

  • White Noise
  • Silent Hill
  • Christine
  • Any Edgar Allen Poe movies
  • The Evil Dead
  • Sean of the Dead
  • Resident Evil (all of them and yes…I know…very gory but uber cool moves by Alice)
  • Frankenstein
  • Almost any vampire movie (I’m a junkie what can I say)
  • Nightmare on Elm Street
  • Friday the 13th
  • Alien (shivers just typing it)
  • Hell Raiser
  • The House on Haunted Hill (1959 & 1999 versions)
  • Hot Fuzz
  • Van Helsing

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E.A. Draper is the co-author of “God Wars” with her partner Mark Eller.
Visit her on the web at: www.eadraper.wordpress.com or download the
podcast The Hell Hole Tavern which features all three books in the “God
Wars” series as well as additional side stories at:
www.hellholetavern.com