Kbatz Kraft: Goth Parasol Upgrade

Last year I picked up an old cane umbrella at the Salvation Army Thrift Store for half the $1 sticker price. Yes, fifty cents! Though functioning, this decades-old umbrella feels delicate. Areas on the black canvas are faded and there are a few pinprick holes in the fabric. However, with the right details, this for pennies find can become the perfect goth parasol!

While the honey-colored wood handle and point are superior to modern plastic, the color doesn’t match any of my summer straw hats and bags. Fortunately, a day’s work with 80 grit sandpaper, a generous coat of Jacobean stain, and a semi-gloss topcoat create a fresh, dark finish. Rather than a recognizable bamboo or cherry, this wood smelled sweet when sanded – perhaps a good old hickory. For walking, this all-black exterior cane is sophisticated, but I left the interior stem its original warm wood color. When opened, the vintage shaft advertises old fashioned craftsmanship compared to cold contemporary metal, and inside the canopy where the notch locks there’s a piece of tape with the previous owner’s name. Instead of destroying such unexpected history, I stuck the price tag next to it, embracing a fifty-cent, fifty-year conversation piece with a story to tell. Thanks, Joseph!

After the rough stuff comes the expected parasol lace. Gathered straight lace from that three dollar cumbersome clearance roll last seen on my Victorian Bonnet became a delicious flounce sewn around the end point easily enough, but this was not going to become multiple tiers of bridal shower ruffles or baby bows and cutesy swag. More time-consuming lace both hand-gathered and machine sewed on a black ribbon was glued down to cover the faded canvas edge – just enough romanticism without being twee or too heavy. Although I couldn’t do much about the overall faded fabric, those pinprick holes could be disguised with sequin ribbon from my stash. Trails of sequins were glued over the imperfections, which when open, reflect some sunshine for a final ooh la la. Did I forget to mention this has a cute little button closure instead of lame modern Velcro? Oh yes!

With on hand craft supplies, $4 stain, and sandpaper found in the garage, for under $12 I have a priceless looking parasol with history and craftsmanship that can’t be found in those tiny yet expensive and not made to last Halloween knockoffs. Certainly, there are much more involved ways to do a complete parasol retrofit, but with the right affordable materials and glam vision, anyone can ritz up an umbrella for a sunny day in dark times. The most difficult thing here was waiting on fair weather to work outdoors. I’m too superstitious!

Revisit more Kbatz Krafts or Frightening Flix including:

Gothic Thrift Alterations

Upgrading Masquerade Masks

Gothic Romance Video Review

For more detailed Project Photos, Follow Kbatz Krafts on Facebook! 

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/kbatzkrafts/

Kbatz Kraft: DIY Flower Pens

I love zany pens – especially goofy or oversize flower pens and buy a bunch at a time whenever I see them in the Dollar Store so I have a back up when one runs out of ink. Yes, the bane of these fun conversation pieces (that no one can nonchalantly steal from us overprotective pen lovers) is that eventually, the ink ceases to flow. Occasionally I’ll leave a cool one in the pen cup, but then you inevitably end up grasping for that one working pen among the pretty but useless accumulation. Bulk pen options online look to be only cutesy daisies or rose wedding favors that feel cheap – a bud topped on a pen wrapped in ribbon. Well then, I can do that my tacky self!

Our on hand ingredients are simple:
*back to school clearance stick pens
*assorted thrift store flowers
*dollar store floral tape.

1.) After cutting single stems from the floral bunches to the length of the pen without its cap, hold the stem and pen firmly together and start wrapping the tape at the bottom of the pen.

2.) Once it is tightly started, continue winding the tape around the pen and stem – the green tape sticks to itself and any rough spots can be smoothed.

3.) At the top of the pen – just beneath the flower – the tape edge can be folded to cover the pen top.

OPTIONAL: On a few flower pens, I hot glued extra leaves from the floral bunches beneath the flower to hide any troublesome gaps.

Mine are red flowers with just the green floral tape stem, but for more dramatic looks one can use a longer flower length, feathers for faux quills, or go totally goth garden with black flowers and a black wrapped ribbon finish. My bunch inside a reused dark candle jar looks misleadingly real, and my husband said, “So THAT’S where you’ve been hiding the pens!”

This craft feels deceptively simple and almost not even worth sharing. However, during these stay at home initiatives, it’s the perfect time to revitalize old artificial flowers as something both summer vase decorative and useful fresh for that new at-home office or classroom. The kids can ritz up their writing utensils with bemusing toppers with this spare change fun, and the best part is that when the pen runs out of ink, you can remove the flowers for another project and make more themed pens per season.

Halloween pen bouquets, oh yes!

Revisit more Kbatz Krafts including:

Repurposed Black Topiaries

Creepy Cloches

How to Make Stuffed Pumpkins Video

For more Project Photos, Follow Kbatz Krafts on Facebook! 

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/kbatzkrafts/

Dark Divinations Pre-Order with Special Tarot Card Set

Dark Divinations edited by Naching T. Kassa
It’s the height of Queen Victoria’s rule. Fog swirls in the gas-lit streets, while in the parlor, hands are linked. Pale and expectant faces gaze upon a woman, her eyes closed and shoulders slumped. The medium speaks, her tone hollow and inhuman. The seance has begun.

Join us as we explore fourteen frightening tales of Victorian horror, each centered around a method of divination. Can the reading of tea leaves influence the future? Can dreams keep a soldier from death in the Crimea? Can a pocket watch foretell a deadly family curse? From entrail reading and fortune-telling machines to prophetic spiders and voodoo spells, sometimes the future is better left unknown.

Choose your fate.
Choose your DARK DIVINATION.

With stories by: Stephanie Ellis, Hannah Hulbert, Daphne Strasert, Ash Hartwell, R.L. Merrill, Alan Fisher, Michael Fassbender, Joe L. Murr, Naching T. Kassa, Emerian Rich, Jon O’Bergh, Rie Sheridan Rose, Jeremy Megarge, and HRR Gorman

Kbatz Kraft: Upgrading Masquerade Masks

It’s that time of year when masks pepper the stores – ritzy but cheap playthings for an evening masquerade or Mardi Gras. I picked up a few at the Dollar Store and found another at the thrift shop, and although these are a little flimsy or faux plain, that just means they can be properly jazzed up with more feathers, glam, and accessories.

Of course, one can immediately tell the difference between the slightly more expensive three dollar thrift mask compared to the two different Dollar Store styles thanks to the central red plumes and structured mask. The sequin trim had come undone in a few places, but outside of those glue gun repairs, this didn’t need anything else. I actually found another small red and black mask in my stash – clearance from Joann’s with lace designs and a solid shape but otherwise plain. Adding red and black feathers anchored with a black flower jazz up one side, and although I am tempted to ritz it up further, it’s feminine and petite style creates a his and hers bargain with its thrift mate. The purple Dollar Store mask is embellished and sturdy, but one measly flower is hardly a worthy accessory! Contrasting yellow feathers from a feather assortment add immediate pop alongside purple ones while white feathers match the silver and white trim already on the mask. With hot glue on the stems, I layered and arranged the feathers behind the flower, and beneath it I glued some dangling, glittery purple berry picks invoking grapes and bacchanal flavor. Also from the Dollar Store, these little balls chip or break off easily, so I secured trouble spots with purple glitter hot glue sticks. These accessories have visual weight but aren’t heavy on the mask, and a dash more feathers on the left corner create festive balance to complete the look.

More holiday picks and swirly clips from my craft stash certainly look party-ready, but they are much too heavy for the black Dollar Store mask. It has a lot of moody black feathers on its right, however, the mask itself is flat and flimsy. Unlike the others, this also has a holding stick rather than a tie around the head. In need of heft in glam without weight, long black leaves from Dollar Store bunches did the trick – creating height and three-dimensional shape for the flat facade. A new gray and silver flower also cut from a cheap floral bunch anchored the leaves while silver glitter branches become lightweight but eye-catching sprigs. At this point, I went overboard adding shiny branches around the top and bottom of the mask for more dimension and trim before anchoring the left side with a sparkly little bat. This did make the mask feel heavy – I probably should have backed it with some sturdy materials before I decorated it – but I couldn’t resist something a little, you know, Kbatz. To compensate for the heft, I added a tassel and ribbon tie at the bottom of the stick, so one could let the mask dangle at the wrist while one dances, as you do.

Outside of eight dollars for four masks, costs here mainly come in hot glue, feathers, and florals if you don’t have already have a craft stash. Even when calculating those crafting essentials likewise found affordably at the dollar or hobby stores, upgrading cheaper masks for a night or two of revelry costs far less than the elaborate but expensive and not necessarily better quality masks found at the Halloween shops or party chains. These Dollar Store upgrades are an affordable way for anyone to get creative with something customized and unique at the masquerade. Why not? Go wild! There’s always room for another feather!

 

Revisit more Kbatz Krafts including:

Re-purposed Black Topiaries

Creepy Cloches

Victorian Bonnets and Capes

 

Thank you for being part of Horror Addicts.net and enjoying our video, podcast, and media coverage! Join the Costuming Conversations on our HorrorAddicts.net Facebook Group or tell Kbatz what you’d like to see with our Online Survey

 

For Additional Photos, visit Kbatz Krafts on Instagram!

Haunt Jaunts : McKamey Manor

How Long Do You Think You Could Last Before Using the Safe Word?

Are you familiar with McKamey Manor? The first I remember hearing about it was circa 2014. At that time it operated out of a house in San Diego, California, and apparently had been for several years.

However, McKamey Manor’s owner, Russ McKamey, has since moved and brought his house of horrors with him. It’s now open in two locations –Summertown, Tennessee (about an hour south of Nashville) and Huntsville, Alabama. Although, they might be part of the same location. I’m still not sure if you have to survive the Nashville location long enough to be taken to the Huntsville location or if you can opt to go straight to the Huntsville one.

All I do know is that McKamey Manor has become so popular it’s not just open for Halloween anymore. Now it’s open year-round.

It’s often called the most intense Extreme Haunted Attraction/Survival Horror experience imaginable.

Not everyone would want to do this, but of those who do, not everyone is allowed. Unless they meet a host of stringent requirements, including:

  • Completing a Sports Physical
  • Passing a background check
  • Providing proof of medical insurance
  • Passing a portable drug test the day of the show
  • Signing a 40-page waiver –which also requires initialing each clause in the contract

If you make the cut, you’ll endure torturous challenges involving mud, bugs (eating them and maybe them trying to nibble on you), water, fake blood and more. There are even rumors of eels and caimans being part of the deal.

It looks awful –unless you’d like to star in scenes from any of the Saw or Hostel movies, that is.

If you can’t handle it, you can use the safe word to end the experience at any time. The whole experience could last as long as 10 hours, but it never has.

Russ knows what will break a person. He doesn’t hesitate to pull out all the stops to break them as quickly as possible from what I read in a Nashville Scene article about McKamey Manor and the reporter who attempted it. That’s where I learned the average amount of time people last is only eight minutes.

How long do you think it’d take you to use the safe word? I wouldn’t even make it to reading the waiver.

 

Kid Fears Free Fiction Friday: Dark Angels by Emerian Rich

An early story by Emerian Rich. Published in DarkLives ‘Zine 1997.

Dark  Angels
by Emerian Rich

Among the high majestic redwoods, behind a cluster of small shacks, atop steep hill, is a log cabin church. It’s old, drafty, and doesn’t lock. This is the place where the fight of angels began. 

I was eight years old when I first heard the warnings of the crazy preacher. Early on Sunday morning in the middle of summer is not the best time to be in church. So many distractions caught me losing concentration while the old man spoke. The sun was bright, shining through the tiny cracks in the ceiling time had put there and making a strange design on the floor. There were no lights in the church and although the windows were not covered and the door was open, the redwoods shaded it, making the place strangely dim. Birds sang happily and there was a rustle in the bushes that had to be a deer or raccoon.

The black preacher’s voice was deep and commanded attention. He spoke of war and fire. His hands were huge as he mimicked the flight of an angel.

“Listen, children, and beware, for it’s a comin’ and you won’t want to be here when it does. The devil, he got angels, too. And they will take your soul if you let em!”  the preacher said.

The children were scared, their eyes wide with horror, gripping the benches till their knuckles turned white. The adults in the chapel looked around nervously, motioning for the head counselor to “do something.” They moved the children out of the church and told us to go to the playground.

The old preacher still spoke, even though his words were drowned out by the noise erupting from every small little body. He spoke louder, determined that every ear would hear his warnings.

I was being pushed by the children beside me to get up and go outside.

“We can go!  Get out of the way!” a nasty brown-haired kid with mud on his face said as he shoved me toward the door.

I stood, stumbling over the first three rows of wooden bleachers and falling onto the dirty floor. Kids ran past me, shouting and laughing.

“Let’s play!”

“Race you to the swings!”

“I’m first on the slide!” they screamed in a jumbled mess of voices.

I stood, brushing the dirt off my skinned knees and straighten my dress. I looked up slowly, not wanting to meet the eyes of the old preacher. I was the last one listening and he glared at me as he spoke. 

“Fire will explode, little one. Explode!” he screamed as the other adults dragged him away.

An adult pulled me away and out to the campground.

“Beware of the Dark Angels!” the preacher yelled as we were pulled away. 

***

At nap time, I lay in my lower bunk, thinking of how strange the whole day had been. I looked at the other kids who were asleep, faces smashed against their beds. Was I the only one that found some interest in the old man’s story? I wondered what the Dark Angels looked like and snuggled deeper into my sleeping bag. I imagined their massive black wings flapping violently. Why was I the only one listening to the old preacher? Why were the other kids trampling over me to get out and play? Weren’t they scared of the Dark Angels coming to get them?

***

At free time I decided not to go swimming, but to go in search of the old man. I knew where they had taken him. There was some kind of building up in the forest. A place I had only seen from afar when entering the camp in a broken-down stuffy church bus.

When I got to the log cabin church, it was deserted and only gave a few cracking noises from within as if settling back down from being trampled on by tons of kids that morning. I stared up at the steep hill that led to the unknown building. It was the hill that we told ghost stories about in our cabin at night. My body quivered but I kept on. I had to know the secret of the Dark Angels.

The trees above wrestled with the wind and dropped acorns all around me. I screamed, jumping back and tripping on a boulder. My head throbbed and every one of my limbs was skinned. I got up slowly, hoping my leg oozing blood wasn’t broken. I straightened my dress and brushed the leaves and dirt from my face and arms. 

“Kylie…” a voice called out of the woods. 

I turned, searching every tree and bush for the source.

“Kylie Ross, you should not be up here, my dear,” said the old black preacher as he stepped out from behind a huge Redwood.

I was speechless and all of a sudden scared of the man that I had been searching for.  

“Don’t be frightened, young one. I won’t hurt you.”

“How did you know my name?” I asked.

“God told me about you. You are a special child, see?”

“He did?”

The old preacher nodded. “Let’s get you fixed up.” He offered his hand and led me back into the log cabin church. Taking out a first aid kit, he helped me clean up my wounds. I had bandaids on both my knees and one elbow by the time we were done. The sun was fading and my tummy rumbled, but I wasn’t going to leave the preacher man until I found out about the Dark Angels.

A noise outside drew the old preacher’s attention. Scuffling and flapping came from beyond the open door.

“Kylie, you stay here for a spell,” the preacher said and ventured into the waning light. 

I waited for a while. Until the light was so dim I could barely see the outline of the door. 

“Preacher?” I called, but no answer came. My timid footsteps whispered across the floor and I peeked into the darkness.

There were adults outside but no preacher. I knew if I was found up there alone, there would be trouble, so I tried to sneak around the church and back down the camp before any of them caught me. The adults all wore long brown jackets and hats. I was almost in the clear when I tripped on a rock and turned my ankle. Dirt and rocks scattered down the hill and made one of the adults turn my direction. His face was pure white and his eyes fiery red.

“Get her!” he commanded, throwing off his coat to expose massive black wings. 

I screamed as they came after me. Their eyes pierced through me. Ten pairs of wings surrounded me and I knew I was never going to get out of their dark clutches.

A high-pitched tone came out of the darkness, making the Dark Angels clutch their ears and recoil into black-feathered balls. Up over their hunch bodies came the brightest light I’d ever seen.

“Kylie, you are not safe here,” a white-winged angel said, sweeping me up and carrying me to safety away from the dark monsters.

The angel was beautiful and her eyes were ice blue. Her wings encircled me and were as soft as my bed at home. She held me tightly as we soared through the air to a branch out high above. The Dark Angels below woke from their confusion and looked up into the trees.

“Hold on to the tree. Don’t let go. We’ll be back,” the white-winged angel said and jumped off the branch. A dozen angels like her, shining bright with light, swooped down, their white hair blowing behind them as they fell. 

Screams filled the air as the fight of the angels began. 

END

SUBMISSION CALL: Dark Divinations / Last Chance!

Dark Divinations
Edited by Naching T. Kassa

It is the height of Queen Victoria’s rule, the world is powered by steam and seen by gaslight. Fog swirls in the street, while in the parlor, hands are linked. Pale and expectant faces gaze upon a woman, her eyes closed and shoulders slumped. The medium speaks, her tone hollow and inhuman. The séance has begun.

Séances are but one method of divination and communication with the dead. There are many others. From Tarot to the witch board, scrying to numerology, HorrorAddicts.net wants it all. We want your Victorian Age stories of Dark Divinations.

First and foremost, your submission must be a horror story and contain something emotionally, physically, or mentally horrifying.

Secondly, it must take place during the Victorian Era. We don’t care if it’s in England, the American West, colonial India, or Africa, it must take place during the years of 1837-1901.

Lastly, the story must concern a method of divination (the practice of foretelling the future through supernatural means.) This can include but is not limited to: Ouija boards, cards, scrying, entrail reading, and necromancy. We’re looking for originality above all.

What we don’t want: We are not looking for steampunk stories for this anthology. We also don’t want a story where the divination is just “stuck-in” and isn’t really an integral piece of the story.

No previously printed work and no simultaneous submissions.

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

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

Manuscript Format:
*Font: either Courier or Times New Roman.
*Double spaced, font 12 point.
*Your manuscript must be in either DOC or RTF format.
*Do not place your name in the manuscript, just the title.**
*No header on the manuscript.
**Again, we are doing blind submissions. Make sure the manuscript is scrubbed of your name and personal info. This could be an automatic decline.**

In the body of the email:
*The header info usually found in the manuscript should be in the email. Please include: author name, mailing address, email address, and word count.
*One sentence explaining the story attached; your elevator pitch.
*100 words or less biography about you.
*Facebook, Twitter, Instagram links
*Your website or blog.

Subject line of the email should state:
*DARK DIV SUBMISSION/DIVINATION THEME (crystal ball, tarot cards, Ouija Board etc.)/STORY TITLE
*Send to: ha.netpress@gmail.com
Deadline: October 31st, 2019, 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 (10/31/19). You should expect an answer within three months of the submission close date. If you do not receive an email stating your manuscript was received within two weeks of submission, please send a polite query to:  ha.netpress@gmail.com

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

SUBMISSION CALL: Dark Divinations / Last week to enter!

Dark Divinations
Edited by Naching T. Kassa

It is the height of Queen Victoria’s rule, the world is powered by steam and seen by gaslight. Fog swirls in the street, while in the parlor, hands are linked. Pale and expectant faces gaze upon a woman, her eyes closed and shoulders slumped. The medium speaks, her tone hollow and inhuman. The séance has begun.

Séances are but one method of divination and communication with the dead. There are many others. From Tarot to the witch board, scrying to numerology, HorrorAddicts.net wants it all. We want your Victorian Age stories of Dark Divinations.

First and foremost, your submission must be a horror story and contain something emotionally, physically, or mentally horrifying.

Secondly, it must take place during the Victorian Era. We don’t care if it’s in England, the American West, colonial India, or Africa, it must take place during the years of 1837-1901.

Lastly, the story must concern a method of divination (the practice of foretelling the future through supernatural means.) This can include but is not limited to: Ouija boards, cards, scrying, entrail reading, and necromancy. We’re looking for originality above all.

What we don’t want: We are not looking for steampunk stories for this anthology. We also don’t want a story where the divination is just “stuck-in” and isn’t really an integral piece of the story.

No previously printed work and no simultaneous submissions.

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

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

Manuscript Format:
*Font: either Courier or Times New Roman.
*Double spaced, font 12 point.
*Your manuscript must be in either DOC or RTF format.
*Do not place your name in the manuscript, just the title.**
*No header on the manuscript.
**Again, we are doing blind submissions. Make sure the manuscript is scrubbed of your name and personal info. This could be an automatic decline.**

In the body of the email:
*The header info usually found in the manuscript should be in the email. Please include: author name, mailing address, email address, and word count.
*One sentence explaining the story attached; your elevator pitch.
*100 words or less biography about you.
*Facebook, Twitter, Instagram links
*Your website or blog.

Subject line of the email should state:
*DARK DIV SUBMISSION/DIVINATION THEME (crystal ball, tarot cards, Ouija Board etc.)/STORY TITLE
*Send to: ha.netpress@gmail.com
Deadline: October 31st, 2019, 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 (10/31/19). You should expect an answer within three months of the submission close date. If you do not receive an email stating your manuscript was received within two weeks of submission, please send a polite query to:  ha.netpress@gmail.com

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

SUBMISSION CALL: Dark Divinations

Dark Divinations
Edited by Naching T. Kassa

It is the height of Queen Victoria’s rule, the world is powered by steam and seen by gaslight. Fog swirls in the street, while in the parlor, hands are linked. Pale and expectant faces gaze upon a woman, her eyes closed and shoulders slumped. The medium speaks, her tone hollow and inhuman. The séance has begun.

Séances are but one method of divination and communication with the dead. There are many others. From Tarot to the witch board, scrying to numerology, HorrorAddicts.net wants it all. We want your Victorian Age stories of Dark Divinations.

First and foremost, your submission must be a horror story and contain something emotionally, physically, or mentally horrifying.

Secondly, it must take place during the Victorian Era. We don’t care if it’s in England, the American West, colonial India, or Africa, it must take place during the years of 1837-1901.

Lastly, the story must concern a method of divination (the practice of foretelling the future through supernatural means.) This can include but is not limited to: Ouija boards, cards, scrying, entrail reading, and necromancy. We’re looking for originality above all.

What we don’t want: We are not looking for steampunk stories for this anthology. We also don’t want a story where the divination is just “stuck-in” and isn’t really an integral piece of the story.

No previously printed work and no simultaneous submissions.

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

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

Manuscript Format:
*Font: either Courier or Times New Roman.
*Double spaced, font 12 point.
*Your manuscript must be in either DOC or RTF format.
*Do not place your name in the manuscript, just the title.**
*No header on the manuscript.
**Again, we are doing blind submissions. Make sure the manuscript is scrubbed of your name and personal info. This could be an automatic decline.**

In the body of the email:
*The header info usually found in the manuscript should be in the email. Please include: author name, mailing address, email address, and word count.
*One sentence explaining the story attached; your elevator pitch.
*100 words or less biography about you.
*Facebook, Twitter, Instagram links
*Your website or blog.

Subject line of the email should state:
*DARK DIV SUBMISSION/DIVINATION THEME (crystal ball, tarot cards, Ouija Board etc.)/STORY TITLE
*Send to: ha.netpress@gmail.com
Deadline: October 31st, 2019, 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 (10/31/19). You should expect an answer within three months of the submission close date. If you do not receive an email stating your manuscript was received within two weeks of submission, please send a polite query to:  ha.netpress@gmail.com

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

SUBMISSION CALL: Dark Divinations

Dark Divinations
Edited by Naching T. Kassa

It is the height of Queen Victoria’s rule, the world is powered by steam and seen by gaslight. Fog swirls in the street, while in the parlor, hands are linked. Pale and expectant faces gaze upon a woman, her eyes closed and shoulders slumped. The medium speaks, her tone hollow and inhuman. The séance has begun.

Séances are but one method of divination and communication with the dead. There are many others. From Tarot to the witch board, scrying to numerology, HorrorAddicts.net wants it all. We want your Victorian Age stories of Dark Divinations.

First and foremost, your submission must be a horror story and contain something emotionally, physically, or mentally horrifying.

Secondly, it must take place during the Victorian Era. We don’t care if it’s in England, the American West, colonial India, or Africa, it must take place during the years of 1837-1901.

Lastly, the story must concern a method of divination (the practice of foretelling the future through supernatural means.) This can include but is not limited to: Ouija boards, cards, scrying, entrail reading, and necromancy. We’re looking for originality above all.

What we don’t want: We are not looking for steampunk stories for this anthology. We also don’t want a story where the divination is just “stuck-in” and isn’t really an integral piece of the story.

No previously printed work and no simultaneous submissions.

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

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

Manuscript Format:
*Font: either Courier or Times New Roman.
*Double spaced, font 12 point.
*Your manuscript must be in either DOC or RTF format.
*Do not place your name in the manuscript, just the title.**
*No header on the manuscript.
**Again, we are doing blind submissions. Make sure the manuscript is scrubbed of your name and personal info. This could be an automatic decline.**

In the body of the email:
*The header info usually found in the manuscript should be in the email. Please include: author name, mailing address, email address, and word count.
*One sentence explaining the story attached; your elevator pitch.
*100 words or less biography about you.
*Facebook, Twitter, Instagram links
*Your website or blog.

Subject line of the email should state:
*DARK DIV SUBMISSION/DIVINATION THEME (crystal ball, tarot cards, Ouija Board etc.)/STORY TITLE
*Send to: ha.netpress@gmail.com
Deadline: October 31st, 2019, 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 (10/31/19). You should expect an answer within three months of the submission close date. If you do not receive an email stating your manuscript was received within two weeks of submission, please send a polite query to:  ha.netpress@gmail.com

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

SUBMISSION CALL: Dark Divinations

Dark Divinations
Edited by Naching T. Kassa

It is the height of Queen Victoria’s rule, the world is powered by steam and seen by gaslight. Fog swirls in the street, while in the parlor, hands are linked. Pale and expectant faces gaze upon a woman, her eyes closed and shoulders slumped. The medium speaks, her tone hollow and inhuman. The séance has begun.

Séances are but one method of divination and communication with the dead. There are many others. From Tarot to the witch board, scrying to numerology, HorrorAddicts.net wants it all. We want your Victorian Age stories of Dark Divinations.

First and foremost, your submission must be a horror story and contain something emotionally, physically, or mentally horrifying.

Secondly, it must take place during the Victorian Era. We don’t care if it’s in England, the American West, colonial India, or Africa, it must take place during the years of 1837-1901.

Lastly, the story must concern a method of divination (the practice of foretelling the future through supernatural means.) This can include but is not limited to: Ouija boards, cards, scrying, entrail reading, and necromancy. We’re looking for originality above all.

What we don’t want: We are not looking for steampunk stories for this anthology. We also don’t want a story where the divination is just “stuck-in” and isn’t really an integral piece of the story.

No previously printed work and no simultaneous submissions.

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

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

Manuscript Format:
*Font: either Courier or Times New Roman.
*Double spaced, font 12 point.
*Your manuscript must be in either DOC or RTF format.
*Do not place your name in the manuscript, just the title.**
*No header on the manuscript.
**Again, we are doing blind submissions. Make sure the manuscript is scrubbed of your name and personal info. This could be an automatic decline.**

In the body of the email:
*The header info usually found in the manuscript should be in the email. Please include: author name, mailing address, email address, and word count.
*One sentence explaining the story attached; your elevator pitch.
*100 words or less biography about you.
*Facebook, Twitter, Instagram links
*Your website or blog.

Subject line of the email should state:
*DARK DIV SUBMISSION/DIVINATION THEME (crystal ball, tarot cards, Ouija Board etc.)/STORY TITLE
*Send to: ha.netpress@gmail.com
Deadline: October 31st, 2019, 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 (10/31/19). You should expect an answer within three months of the submission close date. If you do not receive an email stating your manuscript was received within two weeks of submission, please send a polite query to:  ha.netpress@gmail.com

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

PR: The Queen Mary’s Dark Harbor Unveils: Rogue

The Queen Mary’s Dark Harbor Unveils: Rogue

Navigate a Spine-Chilling Journey of Chaos & Dread in Dark Harbor’s NEWEST MAZE

 Sink to Never-Before-Seen Depths of the Historically Haunted Ship, including Door 13 & the Boiler Room

Test the Waters with 23 Nights of Terror September 26 – November 2

Brace for impact as The Queen Mary’s Dark Harbor releases a storm of fear like no other in the all-new maze: Rogue. Dark Harbor’s newest maze will take guests through the frightening voyage that nearly changed history. Sparking the creation of the Hollywood blockbuster The Poseidon Adventure, the 95-foot wall of blackness sent waves of panic through the marine community and re-defined science as we know it. All who dare will grasp for air as they plummet with fear, clinging to survival in the newest, spine-chilling maze.

 

As the tale goes, while transporting American troops during World War II, the RMS Queen Mary became known as the Grey Ghost. During a stormy December crossing from New York to Scotland, the famed ocean liner was broadsided by a monstrous force of nature: later classified by NOAA as a “rogue wave”.

 

Dark Harbor attendees will roll into the tide of this historic moment by becoming fully immersed in the panic and chaos of Rogue’s impact with deafening water effects, complete darkness, floor to ceiling seafoam, and even experience the feeling of being capsized. All those aboard will hold on to dear life, as the Grey Ghost attempts to keep herself afloat. 

 

In addition to the announcement of the all-new maze, the producers of Dark Harbor announced at Midsummer Scream, on Sunday August 4, for the first-time ever, Dark Harbor guest will have access to never-before-seen depths of the Queen Mary. In one of the newly re-imagined mazes onboard the historic ocean liner, attendees can now walk through the infamous Door 13. Dubbed one of the most haunted areas on the ship, legend has it that an 18-year old crewman was crushed to death by Door 13 in 1967, and now Dark Harbor guests can walk-thru the iconic location. Guests can also venture 6-fathoms below sea level submerged in the notorious Boiler Room to indulge in the newest secret bar offered at Dark Harbor nightly. 

 

Southern California’s most haunted Halloween event will welcome MORE scares than ever before with the season’s most authentically frightening experience available. Dark Harbor tells the truly haunted, historic tales of the Queen Mary through the infamous spirits of Captain, Chef, Iron Master, Samuel the Savage, Graceful Gale, Half-Hatch Henry, Scary Mary, Voodoo Priestess, Ringmaster, plus hundreds of their bloodcurdling henchmen await to tempt your fate. 

 

Live your nightmares aboard the Queen Mary with newly-intensified returning mazes Feast, B340 and Lullaby. Circus and Intrepid prove even more twisted and darker than before with new immersions and even more twisted scares for the 2019 season.

 

With Dark Harbor’s disturbingly creative minds, 6 mazes, 13 bars, fire shows, aerialists, sliders, Michael Jackson’s Neverland Ranch Sinister Swings, Panic! 4-D Experience, zombie DJs, Barrel Room Tastings, R.I.P. Lounge, and much more, Dark Harbor 2019 is certain to be a freakishly fun time.

 

The annual haunt opens its gates on September 26 and continues to scare those who dare on select nights through November 2. General admission ticket prices start at just $20 online, with Fast Fright, Evil Express, RIP Lounge Passes, Creepy Cabanas and lodging packages available. Dark Harbor is offering a 40% discount on general admission for select nights until August 5 at 11:59pm with promo code SCREAM. For more information or to purchase tickets online, visit www.queenmary.com/dark-harbor.

SUBMISSION CALL: Dark Divinations

Dark Divinations
Edited by Naching T. Kassa

It is the height of Queen Victoria’s rule, the world is powered by steam and seen by gaslight. Fog swirls in the street, while in the parlor, hands are linked. Pale and expectant faces gaze upon a woman, her eyes closed and shoulders slumped. The medium speaks, her tone hollow and inhuman. The séance has begun.

Séances are but one method of divination and communication with the dead. There are many others. From Tarot to the witch board, scrying to numerology, HorrorAddicts.net wants it all. We want your Victorian Age stories of Dark Divinations.

First and foremost, your submission must be a horror story and contain something emotionally, physically, or mentally horrifying.

Secondly, it must take place during the Victorian Era. We don’t care if it’s in England, the American West, colonial India, or Africa, it must take place during the years of 1837-1901.

Lastly, the story must concern a method of divination (the practice of foretelling the future through supernatural means.) This can include but is not limited to: Ouija boards, cards, scrying, entrail reading, and necromancy. We’re looking for originality above all.

What we don’t want: We are not looking for steampunk stories for this anthology. We also don’t want a story where the divination is just “stuck-in” and isn’t really an integral piece of the story.

No previously printed work and no simultaneous submissions.

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

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

Manuscript Format:
*Font: either Courier or Times New Roman.
*Double spaced, font 12 point.
*Your manuscript must be in either DOC or RTF format.
*Do not place your name in the manuscript, just the title.**
*No header on the manuscript.
**Again, we are doing blind submissions. Make sure the manuscript is scrubbed of your name and personal info. This could be an automatic decline.**

In the body of the email:
*The header info usually found in the manuscript should be in the email. Please include: author name, mailing address, email address, and word count.
*One sentence explaining the story attached; your elevator pitch.
*100 words or less biography about you.
*Facebook, Twitter, Instagram links
*Your website or blog.

Subject line of the email should state:
*DARK DIV SUBMISSION/DIVINATION THEME (crystal ball, tarot cards, Ouija Board etc.)/STORY TITLE
*Send to: ha.netpress@gmail.com
Deadline: October 31st, 2019, 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 (10/31/19). You should expect an answer within three months of the submission close date. If you do not receive an email stating your manuscript was received within two weeks of submission, please send a polite query to:  ha.netpress@gmail.com

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

My Darling Dead : Episode 10 | The Blacksmith

As Alasin fled the hut, she forgot that it was not sitting on the ground, but raised on stilts three steps high. She flew out the door and the ground rose to meet her sharply.  Tumbling end over end she landed in a heap at their bottom. She lay there, winded, her eyes unfocused as the cloud of dust she had raised settled in the early morning rays of sunshine. 

There was a scuttling noise from under Madam Flood’s hut that slowly acquired her attention as her eyes began to focus. Finally able to breathe, Alasin pushed herself up as she turned to face the noise. As her eyes focused, at last, she froze, her heart hammering in her chest. 

A small, thin woman had come out from under the house and was creeping toward her, crouched low, eyes bright and teeth bared. Her hair was matted and thick with dust, as were her clothes. Her nails, long and broken, reached out to Alasin, who could smell the foul creature from where she lay. The rat woman let out a high pitched cackle that sounded devoid of sanity and pounced. 

The woman was in the air for the briefest instant before a large hammer swung out of the blue and pulverized her face. Alasin, who had opened her mouth to scream, was showered in bloody chunks of skull, brain and flesh. She spat as though her tongue were afire and finally laid eyes upon her rescuer. He was a large man, thick shouldered with a blacksmith’s apron over a muscled chest. A dripping blacksmith’s hammer swung from one huge arm.

“Strewth! But that’n almost had ye! Still, no harm done, I’ll reckon. Up y’come, miss!” He said, and extended a hand to her with a smile. 

Alasin wiped her hand on her skirt and gave it to the man with a shaken smile. “Thank you, sir, and thank you for dispatching that…what was that?” she asked as she was pulled upright as though she were a feather. 

“Oh, ar,” the man said darkly, swinging his hammer over his shoulder, unmindful of the muck coating its head. “Them’d be the changed ones. Rat people, I call ’em. Best to do is put ’em down before they hurt somethin’.” He sighed. “Even though some of ’em be my best o’ friends.”

“Madam Flood mentioned something about them last night.”

The man’s face brightened. “Ma’am Flood! That’s right, this be her place, don’t it? How be she?”

“She’s, er… fine,” Alasin stammered, hoping he wouldn’t insist on speaking to the old woman.

“She in?” inquired the man. “I hain’t seen Ma’am Flood in an age, and I be–”

“No! She, ah, said she had somewhere to go this morning and left before I woke, so I took myself for a walk and fell down her stairs because I wasn’t used to them you see and then the creature came from under the stairs and–”

“Ne’er mind,” the man boomed, his chuckle cutting off Alasin’s frantic blather. “We best get ye where ye wish to go, little miss, lest one more of the nasty rat people get ye. Strewth!”

Alasin awoke in pitch darkness, a giant weight upon her chest. Her head was pounding and her mouth tasted of rot. She pushed at the weight. It felt like a dead animal, cool and smooth-skinned with a light coating of hair covering it. It was large, and heavy. Her fingers explored down its length. Her heart shot into her mouth as her fingers touched a palm, then fingers. She was able now to identify the giant weight as an arm, slung across her, as she lay in this bed. 

HIS bed, she realized as unbidden, memories began flooding into her fevered brain. Going off with the jolly blacksmith(whose name she could not recall) after he had saved her life, finding out that she really liked him, turning aside his questions about who she was and where she was going so she could spend longer with him, until he finally stopped asking. Becoming tipsy as they dined and drank as the sun first rose and set in the sky, finally a fog of stumbling back to his own hut and going to bed together. Now she could tell that beneath the arm and the animal pelts that served as a blanket, she was naked. 

Whimpering, she pushed at the arm which held her in a death grip, immobile in its deathly contraction. Finally she was able to wriggle out from underneath it and fall to the floor, sobbing as she pushed herself to the farthest corner of the room, wrapping her arms about herself against the night’s chill. There she sat, struggling to produce silent tears as she wept, for her own terror, for poor Madam Flood, for the unnamed blacksmith, before turning her tears back upon herself. 

When she awoke again it was the gray light of dawn, the sound of birds filling the silence that comes when most people are still asleep. Her neck ached from where she finally fallen into a doze, huddled in the corner hunched over. She was still nude, and shivering violently. Her gaze fell upon the corpse in the bed, face frozen in a peaceful expression, massive arm extended over where she had fallen asleep beneath it.

Unbidden, the tears started again, but she knuckled them aside and pushed herself up, hobbling on stiff legs across to the bed and pulling the bearskin blanket off of the blacksmith’s body, wrapping it around herself as she tried not to look at what remained of her lover. She stooped, picking up her scattered clothing piece by piece. As she did, her little bottle of wizard’s powder and chain dropped to the floor with a clink. With a happy swoop of her stomach, she dropped to her knees beside it and availed herself. 

“Farner! Hey mate, ’tis Bron! Yer not at yer shop! What gives?” 

Alasin’s head jerked up at a pounding from the door, white powder coating her nostrils, her eyes wide. She jammed the lid on the bottle and grabbed up her clothes while the pounding increased before the latch was pushed open from the outside and the door banged open. A small squat man stood framed in the early morning light, his face nothing but a silhouette.

“C’mon, I needs me sword t’day, Farn! Git yer…hoho, what’s all this then?” he said, noticing Alasin, looking frenzied as she clutched her clothing to herself. An ugly grin spread across his face. “Well hey there sweet’eart, me name’s Bron and I guess my man Farn’s been stickin’ it to ya, eh?” 

Alasin’s eyes were huge as she did her best to sidle sideways to block Bron’s view of the bed and Farner’s lifeless body. Bron was fortunately too busy examining the curves of the sheet Alasin draped around herself to notice the bed. 

“Porked ya good did ‘e?” giggled Bron, grabbing his crotch and making exaggerated grinding movements with his hips. 

Alasin’s eyes flashed with temper but Bron sniggered and to her great relief turned to leave. As his body moved, the shadow he had cast upon Alison moved as well, letting a slab of sunlight smack her in the face. “Well I’ll not begrudge ‘im a lie-in after a night wid a beauty like you. Yew tell ‘im Bron stopped by, an’…”

He trailed off, eyes widening. He took a step forward and looked more closely at Alasin. 

“You…” he whispered. Alasin’s heart, hammering like mad, simultaneously froze. 

“Yer…yer the princess!” Bron blurted, raising a hand to point at her. 

“Yes, you festering sore,” Alasin said, drawing herself up to her full height and looking down her nose regally at the little man. “I am Alasin, Princess of Dandoich, and I command you to depart from here immediately and speak of this to no one. Is that clear?”

“Yer… the princess,” the man said, a stupid grin spreading over his face. “Huh… what are you doing here?” His eyes crawled over her, insolent in their lingering. His tongue wet his lips. 

“Dog!” shouted Alasin. “How dare you look upon me! You have been given a command and you will obey at once. Leave!” She raised a hand and pointed to the door. The clothing she had clutched to herself slipped and fell to her waist, exposing a breast. 

“Whoaa…” Bron said, his eyes huge. Alasin swore and snatched the clothes to herself again while attempting to maintain her composure. She saw his grin had become nasty. He stepped inside and shut the door. 

“No one knows yer ‘ere, or yew wouldn’t be wid ‘im,” Bron whispered, gesturing to Farner’s still motionless body. “And that means, I can do what I likes wid ya. Farn won’t mind.” He was beginning to breathe heavily, massaging his trousers as he moved toward her. “And you can’ stop me, Princess, wee slip of a girl like ye.” 

Alasin did not move as he advanced. The rage in her at being spoken to thus had completely blotted out any hint of fear. In one move, she dropped all her clothing and stood before him completely nude, sending his jaw dropping. 

“Hear this, you squalid peasant,” Alasin said, her voice like iron. “If you come for me, you will end. Heed my warning, and desist.”

SUBMISSION CALL: Dark Divinations

Dark Divinations
Edited by Naching T. Kassa

It is the height of Queen Victoria’s rule, the world is powered by steam and seen by gaslight. Fog swirls in the street, while in the parlor, hands are linked. Pale and expectant faces gaze upon a woman, her eyes closed and shoulders slumped. The medium speaks, her tone hollow and inhuman. The séance has begun.

Séances are but one method of divination and communication with the dead. There are many others. From Tarot to the witch board, scrying to numerology, HorrorAddicts.net wants it all. We want your Victorian Age stories of Dark Divinations.

First and foremost, your submission must be a horror story and contain something emotionally, physically, or mentally horrifying.

Secondly, it must take place during the Victorian Era. We don’t care if it’s in England, the American West, colonial India, or Africa, it must take place during the years of 1837-1901.

Lastly, the story must concern a method of divination (the practice of foretelling the future through supernatural means.) This can include but is not limited to: Ouija boards, cards, scrying, entrail reading, and necromancy. We’re looking for originality above all.

What we don’t want: We are not looking for steampunk stories for this anthology. We also don’t want a story where the divination is just “stuck-in” and isn’t really an integral piece of the story.

No previously printed work and no simultaneous submissions.

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

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

Manuscript Format:
*Font: either Courier or Times New Roman.
*Double spaced, font 12 point.
*Your manuscript must be in either DOC or RTF format.
*Do not place your name in the manuscript, just the title.**
*No header on the manuscript.
**Again, we are doing blind submissions. Make sure the manuscript is scrubbed of your name and personal info. This could be an automatic decline.**

In the body of the email:
*The header info usually found in the manuscript should be in the email. Please include: author name, mailing address, email address, and word count.
*One sentence explaining the story attached; your elevator pitch.
*100 words or less biography about you.
*Facebook, Twitter, Instagram links
*Your website or blog.

Subject line of the email should state:
*DARK DIV SUBMISSION/DIVINATION THEME (crystal ball, tarot cards, Ouija Board etc.)/STORY TITLE
*Send to: ha.netpress@gmail.com
Deadline: October 31st, 2019, 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 (10/31/19). You should expect an answer within three months of the submission close date. If you do not receive an email stating your manuscript was received within two weeks of submission, please send a polite query to:  ha.netpress@gmail.com

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

SUBMISSION CALL: Dark Divinations

Dark Divinations
Edited by Naching T. Kassa

It is the height of Queen Victoria’s rule, the world is powered by steam and seen by gaslight. Fog swirls in the street, while in the parlor, hands are linked. Pale and expectant faces gaze upon a woman, her eyes closed and shoulders slumped. The medium speaks, her tone hollow and inhuman. The séance has begun.

Séances are but one method of divination and communication with the dead. There are many others. From Tarot to the witch board, scrying to numerology, HorrorAddicts.net wants it all. We want your Victorian Age stories of Dark Divinations.

First and foremost, your submission must be a horror story and contain something emotionally, physically, or mentally horrifying.

Secondly, it must take place during the Victorian Era. We don’t care if it’s in England, the American West, colonial India, or Africa, it must take place during the years of 1837-1901.

Lastly, the story must concern a method of divination (the practice of foretelling the future through supernatural means.) This can include but is not limited to: Ouija boards, cards, scrying, entrail reading, and necromancy. We’re looking for originality above all.

What we don’t want: We are not looking for steampunk stories for this anthology. We also don’t want a story where the divination is just “stuck-in” and isn’t really an integral piece of the story.

No previously printed work and no simultaneous submissions.

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

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

Manuscript Format:
*Font: either Courier or Times New Roman.
*Double spaced, font 12 point.
*Your manuscript must be in either DOC or RTF format.
*Do not place your name in the manuscript, just the title.**
*No header on the manuscript.
**Again, we are doing blind submissions. Make sure the manuscript is scrubbed of your name and personal info. This could be an automatic decline.**

In the body of the email:
*The header info usually found in the manuscript should be in the email. Please include: author name, mailing address, email address, and word count.
*One sentence explaining the story attached; your elevator pitch.
*100 words or less biography about you.
*Facebook, Twitter, Instagram links
*Your website or blog.

Subject line of the email should state:
*DARK DIV SUBMISSION/DIVINATION THEME (crystal ball, tarot cards, Ouija Board etc.)/STORY TITLE
*Send to: ha.netpress@gmail.com
Deadline: October 31st, 2019, 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 (10/31/19). You should expect an answer within three months of the submission close date. If you do not receive an email stating your manuscript was received within two weeks of submission, please send a polite query to:  ha.netpress@gmail.com

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

SUBMISSION CALL: Dark Divinations

Dark Divinations
Edited by Naching T. Kassa

It is the height of Queen Victoria’s rule, the world is powered by steam and seen by gaslight. Fog swirls in the street, while in the parlor, hands are linked. Pale and expectant faces gaze upon a woman, her eyes closed and shoulders slumped. The medium speaks, her tone hollow and inhuman. The séance has begun.

Séances are but one method of divination and communication with the dead. There are many others. From Tarot to the witch board, scrying to numerology, HorrorAddicts.net wants it all. We want your Victorian Age stories of Dark Divinations.

First and foremost, your submission must be a horror story and contain something emotionally, physically, or mentally horrifying.

Secondly, it must take place during the Victorian Era. We don’t care if it’s in England, the American West, colonial India, or Africa, it must take place during the years of 1837-1901.

Lastly, the story must concern a method of divination (the practice of foretelling the future through supernatural means.) This can include but is not limited to: Ouija boards, cards, scrying, entrail reading, and necromancy. We’re looking for originality above all.

What we don’t want: We are not looking for steampunk stories for this anthology. We also don’t want a story where the divination is just “stuck-in” and isn’t really an integral piece of the story.

No previously printed work and no simultaneous submissions.

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

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

Manuscript Format:
*Font: either Courier or Times New Roman.
*Double spaced, font 12 point.
*Your manuscript must be in either DOC or RTF format.
*Do not place your name in the manuscript, just the title.**
*No header on the manuscript.
**Again, we are doing blind submissions. Make sure the manuscript is scrubbed of your name and personal info. This could be an automatic decline.**

In the body of the email:
*The header info usually found in the manuscript should be in the email. Please include: author name, mailing address, email address, and word count.
*One sentence explaining the story attached; your elevator pitch.
*100 words or less biography about you.
*Facebook, Twitter, Instagram links
*Your website or blog.

Subject line of the email should state:
*DARK DIV SUBMISSION/DIVINATION THEME (crystal ball, tarot cards, Ouija Board etc.)/STORY TITLE
*Send to: ha.netpress@gmail.com
Deadline: October 31st, 2019, 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 (10/31/19). You should expect an answer within three months of the submission close date. If you do not receive an email stating your manuscript was received within two weeks of submission, please send a polite query to:  ha.netpress@gmail.com

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

SUBMISSION CALL: Dark Divinations

Dark Divinations
Edited by Naching T. Kassa

It is the height of Queen Victoria’s rule, the world is powered by steam and seen by gaslight. Fog swirls in the street, while in the parlor, hands are linked. Pale and expectant faces gaze upon a woman, her eyes closed and shoulders slumped. The medium speaks, her tone hollow and inhuman. The séance has begun.

Séances are but one method of divination and communication with the dead. There are many others. From Tarot to the witch board, scrying to numerology, HorrorAddicts.net wants it all. We want your Victorian Age stories of Dark Divinations.

First and foremost, your submission must be a horror story and contain something emotionally, physically, or mentally horrifying.

Secondly, it must take place during the Victorian Era. We don’t care if it’s in England, the American West, colonial India, or Africa, it must take place during the years of 1837-1901.

Lastly, the story must concern a method of divination (the practice of foretelling the future through supernatural means.) This can include but is not limited to: Ouija boards, cards, scrying, entrail reading, and necromancy. We’re looking for originality above all.

What we don’t want: We are not looking for steampunk stories for this anthology. We also don’t want a story where the divination is just “stuck-in” and isn’t really an integral piece of the story.

No previously printed work and no simultaneous submissions.

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

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

Manuscript Format:
*Font: either Courier or Times New Roman.
*Double spaced, font 12 point.
*Your manuscript must be in either DOC or RTF format.
*Do not place your name in the manuscript, just the title.**
*No header on the manuscript.
**Again, we are doing blind submissions. Make sure the manuscript is scrubbed of your name and personal info. This could be an automatic decline.**

In the body of the email:
*The header info usually found in the manuscript should be in the email. Please include: author name, mailing address, email address, and word count.
*One sentence explaining the story attached; your elevator pitch.
*100 words or less biography about you.
*Facebook, Twitter, Instagram links
*Your website or blog.

Subject line of the email should state:
*DARK DIV SUBMISSION/DIVINATION THEME (crystal ball, tarot cards, Ouija Board etc.)/STORY TITLE
*Send to: ha.netpress@gmail.com
Deadline: October 31st, 2019, 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 (10/31/19). You should expect an answer within three months of the submission close date. If you do not receive an email stating your manuscript was received within two weeks of submission, please send a polite query to:  ha.netpress@gmail.com

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

Terror Trax: CADAVERIA

CADAVERIA

Cadaveria, vocals
Marçelo Santos, drums
Peter Dayton, bass
Live guitarist: Enrico Toselli
CONTACT:
http://www.cadaveria.com
https://www.facebook.com/cadaveria
Twitter: @cadaveriaofficial
Album/Song/Tour
We are excited about right now Far Away From Conformity, remixed and remastered:
http://www.cadaveria.com/web/shop/far-away-from-conformity-cd-digipack-2017/

What singers or bands inspired you growing up?

Venom, Mercyful Fate, Sepultura.

Who are your favorite artists today?

Tool

What non-musical things inspire your music?

Cinema, poetry, life.

Is there a place where you go to be inspired?

My soul.

What’s been the greatest achievement of your band?

To release five studio albums, a double DVD and many music videos, to play lots of gigs all around the world and to be 100% independent.

Where was the coolest place to play? Where did you enjoy yourselves the most?

Mexico always welcomes CADAVERIA with a great enthusiasm and we love Mexico back.

What are your favorite horror movies?

Profondo Rosso, Nosferatu, Das Cabinet des Dr. Caligari

What was the scariest night of your life?

When I discovered I have a cancer.

If you could play anywhere in the world, where would it be and who would be your opening band?

I would like to tour the US.

What are you working on now for future release?

I’m writing some lyrics for CADAVERIA sixth album.

Final thoughts / Anything you want to tell the listeners?

Enjoy every single moment of your life.

 

 

SUBMISSION CALL: Dark Divinations

Dark Divinations
Edited by Naching T. Kassa

It is the height of Queen Victoria’s rule, the world is powered by steam and seen by gaslight. Fog swirls in the street, while in the parlor, hands are linked. Pale and expectant faces gaze upon a woman, her eyes closed and shoulders slumped. The medium speaks, her tone hollow and inhuman. The séance has begun.

Séances are but one method of divination and communication with the dead. There are many others. From Tarot to the witch board, scrying to numerology, HorrorAddicts.net wants it all. We want your Victorian Age stories of Dark Divinations.

First and foremost, your submission must be a horror story and contain something emotionally, physically, or mentally horrifying.

Secondly, it must take place during the Victorian Era. We don’t care if it’s in England, the American West, colonial India, or Africa, it must take place during the years of 1837-1901.

Lastly, the story must concern a method of divination (the practice of foretelling the future through supernatural means.) This can include but is not limited to: Ouija boards, cards, scrying, entrail reading, and necromancy. We’re looking for originality above all.

What we don’t want: We are not looking for steampunk stories for this anthology. We also don’t want a story where the divination is just “stuck-in” and isn’t really an integral piece of the story.

No previously printed work and no simultaneous submissions.

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

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

Manuscript Format:
*Font: either Courier or Times New Roman.
*Double spaced, font 12 point.
*Your manuscript must be in either DOC or RTF format.
*Do not place your name in the manuscript, just the title.**
*No header on the manuscript.
**Again, we are doing blind submissions. Make sure the manuscript is scrubbed of your name and personal info. This could be an automatic decline.**

In the body of the email:
*The header info usually found in the manuscript should be in the email. Please include: author name, mailing address, email address, and word count.
*One sentence explaining the story attached; your elevator pitch.
*100 words or less biography about you.
*Facebook, Twitter, Instagram links
*Your website or blog.

Subject line of the email should state:
*DARK DIV SUBMISSION/DIVINATION THEME (crystal ball, tarot cards, Ouija Board etc.)/STORY TITLE
*Send to: ha.netpress@gmail.com
Deadline: October 31st, 2019, 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 (10/31/19). You should expect an answer within three months of the submission close date. If you do not receive an email stating your manuscript was received within two weeks of submission, please send a polite query to:  ha.netpress@gmail.com

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

SUBMISSION CALL: Dark Divinations

Dark Divinations
Edited by Naching T. Kassa

It is the height of Queen Victoria’s rule, the world is powered by steam and seen by gaslight. Fog swirls in the street, while in the parlor, hands are linked. Pale and expectant faces gaze upon a woman, her eyes closed and shoulders slumped. The medium speaks, her tone hollow and inhuman. The séance has begun.

Séances are but one method of divination and communication with the dead. There are many others. From Tarot to the witch board, scrying to numerology, HorrorAddicts.net wants it all. We want your Victorian Age stories of Dark Divinations.

First and foremost, your submission must be a horror story and contain something emotionally, physically, or mentally horrifying.

Secondly, it must take place during the Victorian Era. We don’t care if it’s in England, the American West, colonial India, or Africa, it must take place during the years of 1837-1901.

Lastly, the story must concern a method of divination (the practice of foretelling the future through supernatural means.) This can include but is not limited to: Ouija boards, cards, scrying, entrail reading, and necromancy. We’re looking for originality above all.

What we don’t want: We are not looking for steampunk stories for this anthology. We also don’t want a story where the divination is just “stuck-in” and isn’t really an integral piece of the story.

No previously printed work and no simultaneous submissions.

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

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

Manuscript Format:
*Font: either Courier or Times New Roman.
*Double spaced, font 12 point.
*Your manuscript must be in either DOC or RTF format.
*Do not place your name in the manuscript, just the title.**
*No header on the manuscript.
**Again, we are doing blind submissions. Make sure the manuscript is scrubbed of your name and personal info. This could be an automatic decline.**

In the body of the email:
*The header info usually found in the manuscript should be in the email. Please include: author name, mailing address, email address, and word count.
*One sentence explaining the story attached; your elevator pitch.
*100 words or less biography about you.
*Facebook, Twitter, Instagram links
*Your website or blog.

Subject line of the email should state:
*DARK DIV SUBMISSION/DIVINATION THEME (crystal ball, tarot cards, Ouija Board etc.)/STORY TITLE
*Send to: ha.netpress@gmail.com
Deadline: October 31st, 2019, 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 (10/31/19). You should expect an answer within three months of the submission close date. If you do not receive an email stating your manuscript was received within two weeks of submission, please send a polite query to:  ha.netpress@gmail.com

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

SUBMISSION CALL: Dark Divinations

Dark Divinations
Edited by Naching T. Kassa

It is the height of Queen Victoria’s rule, the world is powered by steam and seen by gaslight. Fog swirls in the street, while in the parlor, hands are linked. Pale and expectant faces gaze upon a woman, her eyes closed and shoulders slumped. The medium speaks, her tone hollow and inhuman. The séance has begun.

Séances are but one method of divination and communication with the dead. There are many others. From Tarot to the witch board, scrying to numerology, HorrorAddicts.net wants it all. We want your Victorian Age stories of Dark Divinations.

First and foremost, your submission must be a horror story and contain something emotionally, physically, or mentally horrifying.

Secondly, it must take place during the Victorian Era. We don’t care if it’s in England, the American West, colonial India, or Africa, it must take place during the years of 1837-1901.

Lastly, the story must concern a method of divination (the practice of foretelling the future through supernatural means.) This can include but is not limited to: Ouija boards, cards, scrying, entrail reading, and necromancy. We’re looking for originality above all.

What we don’t want: We are not looking for steampunk stories for this anthology. We also don’t want a story where the divination is just “stuck-in” and isn’t really an integral piece of the story.

No previously printed work and no simultaneous submissions.

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

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

Manuscript Format:
*Font: either Courier or Times New Roman.
*Double spaced, font 12 point.
*Your manuscript must be in either DOC or RTF format.
*Do not place your name in the manuscript, just the title.**
*No header on the manuscript.
**Again, we are doing blind submissions. Make sure the manuscript is scrubbed of your name and personal info. This could be an automatic decline.**

In the body of the email:
*The header info usually found in the manuscript should be in the email. Please include: author name, mailing address, email address, and word count.
*One sentence explaining the story attached; your elevator pitch.
*100 words or less biography about you.
*Facebook, Twitter, Instagram links
*Your website or blog.

Subject line of the email should state:
*DARK DIV SUBMISSION/DIVINATION THEME (crystal ball, tarot cards, Ouija Board etc.)/STORY TITLE
*Send to: ha.netpress@gmail.com
Deadline: October 31st, 2019, 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 (10/31/19). You should expect an answer within three months of the submission close date. If you do not receive an email stating your manuscript was received within two weeks of submission, please send a polite query to:  ha.netpress@gmail.com

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

SUBMISSION CALL: Dark Divinations

Dark Divinations
Edited by Naching T. Kassa

It is the height of Queen Victoria’s rule, the world is powered by steam and seen by gaslight. Fog swirls in the street, while in the parlor, hands are linked. Pale and expectant faces gaze upon a woman, her eyes closed and shoulders slumped. The medium speaks, her tone hollow and inhuman. The séance has begun.

Séances are but one method of divination and communication with the dead. There are many others. From Tarot to the witch board, scrying to numerology, HorrorAddicts.net wants it all. We want your Victorian Age stories of Dark Divinations.

First and foremost, your submission must be a horror story and contain something emotionally, physically, or mentally horrifying.

Secondly, it must take place during the Victorian Era. We don’t care if it’s in England, the American West, colonial India, or Africa, it must take place during the years of 1837-1901.

Lastly, the story must concern a method of divination (the practice of foretelling the future through supernatural means.) This can include but is not limited to: Ouija boards, cards, scrying, entrail reading, and necromancy. We’re looking for originality above all.

What we don’t want: We are not looking for steampunk stories for this anthology. We also don’t want a story where the divination is just “stuck-in” and isn’t really an integral piece of the story.

No previously printed work and no simultaneous submissions.

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

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

Manuscript Format:
*Font: either Courier or Times New Roman.
*Double spaced, font 12 point.
*Your manuscript must be in either DOC or RTF format.
*Do not place your name in the manuscript, just the title.**
*No header on the manuscript.
**Again, we are doing blind submissions. Make sure the manuscript is scrubbed of your name and personal info. This could be an automatic decline.**

In the body of the email:
*The header info usually found in the manuscript should be in the email. Please include: author name, mailing address, email address, and word count.
*One sentence explaining the story attached; your elevator pitch.
*100 words or less biography about you.
*Facebook, Twitter, Instagram links
*Your website or blog.

Subject line of the email should state:
*DARK DIV SUBMISSION/DIVINATION THEME (crystal ball, tarot cards, Ouija Board etc.)/STORY TITLE
*Send to: ha.netpress@gmail.com
Deadline: October 31st, 2019, 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 (10/31/19). You should expect an answer within three months of the submission close date. If you do not receive an email stating your manuscript was received within two weeks of submission, please send a polite query to:  ha.netpress@gmail.com

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

Winternight Whisperings Valentine Wolfe

Darklings, Listen!

 

Winternight Whisperings is upon us! The newest Valentine Wolfe album, Winternight Whisperings, is here in digital format and on it’s way in physical form. And what’s more, we’ve got THREE shows coming up to share our version on holiday music with you all.

 

The idea is simple: we’re inspired by the 19th century tradition of telling ghost stories on Christmas Eve. We felt we weren’t the only ones wanting to revive that celebration. After The Ghosts of Christmas Past in 2015, we started thinking about ways to play this music live and, of course, create more music for a haunted December.

 

The result is Winternight Whisperings: 8 ghost songs, one ghost story featuring Tally Johnson, and two metal songs to make your spirit bright.

 

 

You can also buy digital copies there if you can’t bear to wait.
Our local Greenville fiends can join us on Tuesday, December 18 at Hughes Main Library. We’ll be telling ghost stories with Tally Johnson. 6:30-8:30, No cover, all ages, too! Details are here: https://www.facebook.com/events/578057502664712/

 

And finally, we’ll celebrate on January 5 with a final Christmas Haunting: We’ll be bringing Tally down to the Wynne-Russell House in Lilburn, GA for an evening of dark ambient music and ghost stories celebrating Twelfth Night! Tickets are VERY limited, get yours here: https://timetravel.events/tickets/

Most of the music we’ll be playing at the shows are dark ambient/soundscape songs. We may play some metal at the Poe House; the other shows will be more…brooding.

 

Make your plans to join us now, and we can’t wait to celebrate this holiday season in our own way with you all. And we would love to know your favorite tracks from Winternight Whisperings…please let us know?

 

Marley was dead, to begin with…
Braxton and Sarah

PR: A Message from Valentine Wolfe

Darklings, listen…

These words are from a lonely soul, toiling ceaselessly to pursue a dream-which, of course became a nightmare. These words are from Victor Frankenstein, and like Victor, we’ve been alone in in chambers, working away, and now…our secret may be revealed.

 

This fall, we present the newest Valentine Wolfe project, The Haunting of Mary Shelley, of, A Vindication of the Rights of the Departed.

 

The album will have 11 tracks, consisting of :

A Voice in the Dark
On the Education of Daughters
Song for Justine
Soulgiver
Hours of Sorrow
It’s Not Your Story To Tell
I Will Be With You On Your Wedding Night
Victor’s Confession
Doomed To Live
What Lies Beyond
The Modern Persephone (soundtrack to the silent Edison version of Frankenstein from 1910)


Cover art by the incomparable Egregore Design.

Releasing on October 4-7, Greenville and Atlanta.

Like Victor, we’ve obsessed over our creation, our story of two extraordinary women and the creation of the Modern Prometheus. For us, Mary Shelley is the Queen of the Underworld, and our modern Persephone. We believe we’ve created the darkest, most compelling Valentine Wolfe music yet-we know every band says that, but for us, the music we’re hearing has exceeded our darkest imagination…

We hope you’re looking forward to hearing our music as much as we look forward to finally sharing it with you all.

Do you share our madness?

Braxton and Sarah

-Valentine Wolfe

Can’t wait for new music? You can always purchase digital copies of Sarah’s brooding and chilling dark ambient solo project, Dolorosa Lachrymosa by clicking here.

Terror Trax Review: The Barbarellatones

Barbarellatones interview

To: HorrorAddicts.net

Attn: Hostess Emerian Rich

Dear Boss,

Last night at the stroke of midnight, as per my assignment, I met with the members of the rock and roll outfit The Barbarellatones at the pre-agreed upon location–an abandoned drag racing track just outside the city limits. However, I had no idea that once there I would bear witness to a phantom drag race involving two greaser teens driving 1950s hot-rods, wherein the two ghost cars lose all control and burst into flames at the end of the race, only to repeat the duel over and over until the exact time of 3:15 a.m. As I had never been in the presence of drag-racing phantasms, terror held my eyes fixed on the track. Aniela, one of the group’s members, told me that this went on every Thursday, and that the troupe gathered to watch, for, “inspiration”, as she called it. She gave me an elixir to calm my nerves, after which imbibing, I instantly blacked out. Mysteriously, I managed to complete the assigned interview, and have sent this one and only copy along to you through the assistance of a bilingual carrier pigeon nicknamed Dr. Chud.  From what I can see, I am locked in the turret of a castle overlooking a grim and dark industrial section of Los Angeles. Please send help as my hands and feet are bound tight with feather boas, which really hurt, and I am in dire need of a snack.

Yours,

R.H.


In case anyone in our reading audience may be unfamiliar with the term, can you please explain the genre tag “Gothabilly”?

Gothabilly to me means dark, swampy, reverb-drenched, surfing at midnight-y, horror-rock, B-Movie Camp…The Cramps really nailed it in my opinion. I love them! We’ve been labeled as ‘Transvestobilly’ and that’s fine with me…

In the band bio, you mentioned that seeing The Rocky Horror Picture Show at the age of 13 was a life-changing event. How so?

The combination of Rocky Horror, Bowie and Ludes all hitting me at the age of 13/14 in the early 70s is the reason why I am so weird, and is reflected in my music. I am first and foremost a Glam Rocker.

How did the Barbarellatones get together? How did you come up with the name?

Barbarella was a film about an Intergalactic Space-Slut. It was the first Glam Rock movie!? It blew my mind; I loved the horny, campy, Sci-Fi, slut-glamour of it all…that’s what I was going for with the name The Barbarellatones.

Is it true that you have a hot rod hearse and that you cruise the strip in it on Saturday nights?

If I could rock a hearse I would choose the Jaguar XKE Hearse from Harold and Maude, obviously…!

Is it true that said hot rod hearse is also a time machine?

Only after reaching a land speed of 666 Miles per Hour during a full lunar eclipse on Bela Lugosi’s Birthday.

Have you yourselves heard the rumor that the Barbarellatones are involved in robbing graves, mortuaries, and medical school cadaver storage units, and that you are using the stolen corpses to assemble an army of Frankenstein monster type groupies?

We have all kinda ‘projects’ going on down at ‘The Lab’. Our latest is ‘The Trandroid’: A Transvestite Sex Android.

Do you live in a volcano?

 I live near a Volcano! I’m on Maui and The Big Island is coughing up tons of Sulfur Dioxide. It gives me a sore throat and an ass kicking headache…I’m breathing little shards of Volcanic Glass!

How did your love of campy, B-horror movies begin? Can you recommend some personal favorites?

I’m kind of an Art-Fag. I love film, music, low-brow Art and performance art; bad fashion…the list goes on…! As far as Film, we spoke about some of my faves, Barbarella, RHPS, Zardoz is great, I love Fellini’s Satyricon, Kenneth Anger, Andy Warhol, John Waters, cheesy horror and sci- fi. There’s a lot of good shit out there!

To you, what do glitter, glam, and horror have in common?

They all have a high amount of Fabulousity: Dark, Sexy, Campy and fun. I love Goth but it’s a turnoff when it takes itself too seriously. Ok…we are doing the Ghoul Thing…dressing like Zombies, got our SPF 1000…sometimes you go to a Goth club and no one smiles. That’s lame to me. I like the vibe more of a Tranny Bar, its over-the-top and I guess I really resonate with the Glam ethic of Flamboyance. I love Goth music tho, don’t get me wrong. Sisters of Mercy are fantastic, I love Siouxsie, Bauhaus, Alien Sex Fiend, the Damned…it’s great and creepy-cool.

How is horror culture a part of your daily lives?

I sometimes phase in and out of a Campy B-Movie world. I have a big, weird imagination and it just happens organically. I’ll come up with a weird lyric or riff and it’s often Sophomoric and abserd but if it gets its teeth in me I usually craft it into a song. 

Is it too late to accept the offer for that Chesterfield?

We here at Barbarellatones Enterprises LLC are merciful. We will grant you your final Chesterfield cigarette.

Gila monster versus surf zombies, who wins?

This is probably one of the most important questions ever posed to the human race…Gila monster vs Surf Zombies. Gila monster, after he fell into the Fukashima Nuclear Reactor developed mutant laser-beam eyes which, when intensely focused, would incinerate a surf zombie. So it’s a win for Gila on that one.

What is your favorite curse?

My favorite curse, my ‘Dark Gift’ is Alcoholism. I’ve been clean and sober for 26 years now, which is an eternity for a Junkie like me. It has been such a wild ride…ironically it’s very psychedelic being sober. I love helping others crawl out of the gutter and Re-Invent themselves. There’s nothing like it. 4th Dimension, Baby…

Can I see Barbarellatones live in the near future?

I am living in Maui these days and the rest of ‘The Barbs’ are in LA. I plan to come out and play some shows…my bandmates are Whores and are playing in other projects (as they should) so I’ll see if I can round up my Drag Queens and after a couple rehursals should be good to go. We have a lot of songs, so I would pick my very favorites and glam out with my clam out.

How can we keep up with the band?

I’m always writing and recording, so I try to stay on the Gaydar. We are on a bunch of radio shows but I do want to make more videos in the future. I love that!

Are you going to untie me?

I’m a Leo…a cat. When I catch a mouse, I play with it for a while; until I get bored…or hungry…

To bear witness to the Barbarellatones in all their sleazy campy glory, follow the hyper-link road!

 

 

 

An Interview with Horror Artist Rhaega Ailani

Yasou Rhaega! Thank you so much for taking the time to speak with us at HORROR ADDICTS.

I wanted to ask you a few questions regarding your artwork and illustrations because you have such a large span ranging from fantasy art to science fiction.

Gia sou Lisa! Pos iste. It will be an absolute pleasure to me to answer

What made you choose that direction for your craft?

I think I took the route of Fantasy even before knowing that my path in this life it would be closely linked to art. Yet one of the first memories I keep from my childhood was my first book of Greek Mythology, full of illustrations and amazing stories that inspired me and push me to imagine so much. Mythology always has been defining my way.

I guess I am an addictive Dreamer: I see the world around me through the prism of the fantasy and the imagination, maybe because I know reality too well, and yet I think the world of Fantasy and Dreams, is always full of possibilities.

I see you are in London now, but you spent a lot of time in the Mediterranean. Do you feel living there, with it rich culture and mythology, it had a strong impact on your creative muse?

I moved to London few years ago. My partner is a londoner, and even If I have been always moving around and living for a while in different countries such as Germany, France, Greece, etc. (As I never liked to be in the same place for a long time). I always come back to here, to the little Mediterranean city near I was born, Tarragona. Maybe because some part of me always has the incredible need to come back to where I belong to.

Over there, you just need to sit down on the soft sand, let the soft tamed breeze guide your thoughts and look at the sea in silence. Sometimes it amazes me how simple moments like can take your mind to places that you couldn´t even dream off, pushing in every step to bring each time the best of you in each piece. At least, that´s my purpose in life.

You took a long break of silence for awhile. What was it like for you during that time? Did you feel an itch to break out of it early? Or was it a welcome vacation from things?

About the break I took. I really needed it. There was in a concrete moment where my personal life was taking over a bit, and I felt I needed to take a break, breath deep and analyze.

Sometimes at some stages life decides to open new doors for us so we can walk into them, because we have to do it, so we can develop as human beings and it will help us to grow stronger, even if at the beginning we don´t understand why.

This personal break was more like a cunning step into a new stage in life for me, spiritually and in my way to develop my creations of course.

What’s it like being an artist for a living? Do you sometimes feel it’s harder, or would do you feel you made the right choice? What are some of the challenges you face being an artist for hire?

It is something completely hard, challenging I would say. (And being a woman inside this industry, much more!) But as Truman Capote use to say, “When God hands you a gift, he also hands you a whip”. And the truth is there´s no prize in this life, without any struggle. This is the path I chose. I love art (and in concrete, illustration), so much that I knew since I was a child that this would be the path I would follow. And I don´t regret it. The fruits of your work sometimes they take time to mature, but it´s an immense pleasure when you receive them. I think I find many challenges on a daily basis, like any other artist, but the biggest one (at least for me), is the one of getting to please myself first with the job I’ve done. I am my biggest and hardest critic, I´m not an easy woman with compliments, and to me it is very important to show the real vision of what I had in my mind to others, through my work. I can repeat the same image as many times as I want, and I will not stop sketching until I have what I really want, what my heart really wants to show. I don´t care about the effort, I don´t care how long it takes me. It´s my work, and before presenting it, I have to be completely satisfied with it, if not I will not do it.

Some of your work has a strong spiritual influence. As a creative myself, I understand this draw but tell our audience what this is like-or what it means-for you.

Spirituality is a very important part of us, it´s an essential path that sooner or later someone should take to understand your own soul. Is not a fashion, it’s not about reading some books and thinking you are invested of some kind of “divine” touch to do as you want. Spirituality is not a degree you can learn anywhere. It’s a silent and hard path that´s not the same for everyone. It´s a lesson we all learn. You can call it however you want. There´s no time limits, no other goals than the ones that you decide. Spirituality is most of all daring to look inside yourself, take into your arms you “inner child” and learn to listen to him/her again, working in yourself. Spirituality to me I could summarize it in three simple concepts: Listen, Accept & Love yourself.

And yes, I do feel a very important connection to it. Because I would be so simple-minded (or maybe too arrogant) to think that the only thing that exists and matters is the material world that surround us. Not at all, this is just like a “mirage”. I always say,” I don´t like to meet people, I like to feel people”. And that´s how it is.

 

What kind of art, besides the spiritual, do you feel the strongest connection to, and why?

I must admit I feel some kind of “weakness” for some styles like for example the Renaissance, or almost all the “Pre-Raphaelism”: And with this we go back to the point of my personal “addiction” for Mythology and Fantasy. Because these styles, they represent perfectly an atmosphere of dreams and fantasies, with a very powerful allure that I find too appealing to me personally. I love the classics, it´s hard for me to get into the concept of modern art now in our days, but I must admit also I admire many artists, especially in comics and illustration like Hergé, Arkás, René & Gosciny, Luis Royo, Ciruelo Cabral, or Victoria Francés, which I think they are amazing with all the work they do.

Us writers sometimes experience writers block. Do you ever feel “creative block” when you’re working? If so, how do you move past that?

I don´t think I ever experienced that.  But maybe what I experienced is a “physical block”, in times when health didn´t allowed me the strength I needed to can continue creating. Then it´s a real nightmare, when you have so much into your head to get out, but your health is not really letting you push forward for it and can accomplish it.

Tell us a story behind one of your favorite pieces. I know people often ask where you get your ideas, but I love hearing stories behind the ideas.

I can tell you for example three of them. One of my recent ones called “Nimué”, and isbased on the mythic young maiden that used to serve the Lady of the Lake (some say that is the Lady of The Lake herself, in one of her multiple faces), in the old Arthurian Myths. I always found this character (being another interpretation of the mythic “Lady” or not), very fascinating that in fact, I felt I had to paint her soon or later. But as always, I didn´t want to do it until I had the right image in my mind to create her. And there it was, one morning I suddenly woke up, and I started to paint.

And the strokes came on its own, with no effort, easy. That´s how I truly imagine her. Like a kind of silent nayad, sitting on the bottom of the dark lake, holding always Excalibur in her hand, strong and confident. Maybe waiting for the rightful King to release it again.

Do you have a ritual when you sit down to begin a piece? If so, tell us a little about how it works for you. If the ritual is somehow interrupted, does it affect you or your work?

My personal ritual? I always try to do a little of meditation before I start to work. (To me it´s also a way to thank to the universe for what I am, and what I have, and to relax of course), burning an incense stick, always the best to clear the atmosphere, and get me into the perfect scenery and frame of mind so can get started with the job …I truly think  you don´t need much to create a new piece, once you  truly feel it in your heart, and you have the inspiration and the right vibration to do so.

I usually don´t get very interrupted, because I try to find the right time to start my work: I love to be alone in my studio, loneliness to me is the perfect haven to start to engage what are the ideas with the result.

When we look at an artist’s work, we can always see a “signature” in their style which sets them apart from other artists. What do you feel your signature is?

My signature is to me, like a wild scratch that fights to get out from the paper, out of the canvas and into the surface, for the darkness into light. Out of the art piece itself to become a little haven to the mind and senses for a while to the public that watches it . Maybe my signature itself is a reflection of my wild side: the inner “fight” that exists inside every creative soul to make it work the way that it has to be. I think that this is to me more than a simple signature. It´s a “print” of my own soul.

Do you feel like where you are, for example geographically, has an influence on your work?

Oh yes, definitely the place where I am creating it becomes a strong influence in my work. As I said before, I love to travel and to visit different places. I “visualize” life itself as a “long journey” from which we have the chance to learn all what we came to learn in here. Every place where I have been living, even for a lil´while brought me some sort of happiness and knowledge, that now I consider it as completely priceless. And part of what I learned it always its own mirror in my artwork.

Some artists find it harder to work in certain places, geographically which has been your most challenging, and your least?

My most challenging I guess is my own country. My least challenging is Greece, definitely. I adore the meaning that Greeks give to art, to their random lives, and the incredible support they give to artists, to the ones that are Greeks themselves, as to the ones that come from another country. When I worked there with other artists, I felt like home. It was like a constant exchange of ideas and experiences. I have the highest respect to them. They are people that make you “grow” completely.

We’d love to see more of your work! What’s up and coming from you?

By now completing some illustrations for the role book game called “Aureus” (“Aureo”), based in the Ancient Greek Mythology, the compilation of my last Mythology exhibition called “Mythica”, and another exhibition (completely different this time), where I will develop much more what I call “Spiritual Painting” A much more transcendental and close view of art. It’s a graphic representation of the feelings and the depths of the soul to me.

If we wanted to own a piece from you, where would go to purchase?

If you or anyone would like a piece of my artwork, it’s something so simple as writing me a mail. I love when I get a message of someone asking me if they could commission an artwork from me. It makes me happy to make someone else happy.

It has been really great getting to know you! I hope you’ll let us check in with you again soon. Before we let you go back to your colorful world, will you leave us some breadcrumbs to find you again?

Yes of course, here you have the links!!:

https://www.facebook.com/Rhaegaailani/

http://rhaegaart.wixsite.com/illustrator/contact-

https://twitter.com/rhaegaart

Thank you so much for allowing us into your world for a brief moment. All the best to you from us at Horror Addicts!

Terror Trax Review: The Creptter Children

As a metal fan, particularly the darker side of rock whether it be industrial, black metal, doom, gothic or others of that ilk, I’m always open to listening to new bands. Asleep With Your Devil is the new EP from The Creptter Children and I had no idea what to expect and knew nothing of the band. At the end of my first round of listening, I went straight back and listened to it again…and again.
This is an excellent collection. There is not a duff track amongst them and three have a definite ‘earworm’ quality, namely: “Watching You”, “Asleep With Your Devil”, and “Killer”.
The singer has a voice as good as Izzy Hale of Halestorm and Sharon del Arden of Within Temptation. Musicianship and production is excellent without losing the edge I like to hear in metal. This is wonderful and I am now going straight over to Twitter to start sharing their music.
*The Creptter Children will be featured on #159 of HorrorAddicts.net coming in August 2018!

Stephanie Ellis can be found at https://stephellis.weebly.com and on twitter @el_Stevie.

When Stephanie is not writing reviews, she is co-editor at The Infernal Clock (http://infernalclock.blogspot.co.uk/) a fledgling publishing venture and is also co-editor at The Horror Tree’s Trembling With Fear online magazine (https://horrortree.com/category/trembling-with-fear/) where they’re always open for flash submissions. She has also had short stories and a novella published in a variety of horror anthologies and magazines.

Dark Dreams Excerpt Fiction Friday Emerian Rich

Read a free excerpt from Mark Slade’s anthology Dark Dreams.

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Through the dark recesses of the dreamworld come strange stories of horror, terror and wonder, with a mysterious question: how can so many people have the same dreams?

Read Emerian Rich’s “Vampire Therapy” in this anthology of dream terror, Dark Dreams from Rogue Planet Press

Here are the stories from the minds of: Mark Slade, Thomas M. Malafarina, D. S. Scott, John C. Adams, Emerian Rich, Jason Norton, P. J. Griffin, Mr. Deadman, David Ludford, Joseph J. Patchen, Mark Tompkins, E. S. Wynn, Shawn Clay, Kevin Rees.

Cover and Art by Cameron Hampton

Read a free excerpt from Emerian Rich’s story, “Vampire Therapy” below.

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Vampire Therapy

by Emerian Rich

“And how’s work?”

“Crap, as always.” Amy sat back on her therapist’s couch with a definitive slouch.

“And the dreams? Still the same?” Dr. Whitefield studied her with the same non-judgmental, impartial serenity she always did.

“Yes,” Amy answered. “I mean mostly, yes.”

“How do they differ?” Whitefield shifted in her chair and leaned forward. Perhaps interested in the change, or just interested to hear something—anything—different after three years of therapy. Maybe grasping at a straw, a small sliver of hope that she’d helped.

“Well, it still starts with Thomas. He’s in the park, it’s snowing as always and he is happy, walking through the winter wonderland. But he realizes the snow falling is ash and he runs. What’s different is now, when he turns the corner in the path to go through the tunnel, you know, where I am and he can’t ever get to me, there is a bed. One of those royal beds with curtains and all done up in red velvet.”

“Interesting.”

“And I’m there on the bed and there’s a man looming over me. He’s got long auburn hair and these eyes that…Well anyway, he’s good looking and he keeps covering me so Thomas can’t see.”

“And?”

“And that’s it. I wake up.”

“How does Thomas respond?”

“I don’t see his reaction. I just feel the man hovering over me.”

“Well, Amy, I think this is progress. I think your dreams are telling you, you are ready to think about dating someone new. As if your subconscious is telling you it’s okay to move on.”

“You think?”

“Yes, I do.” Whitehead sat back, a self-satisfied grin on her lips. “The next step for you, however, is to allow yourself to explore the possibility that there could be someone else in your life.”

Amy smiled even though she had no hope of shedding her grief. She wanted to tell the doctor that when she wakes up, she sees the man’s face in front of her. He looks her in the eyes and she feels herself lose all willpower. Those prismatic golden eyes. Then he plunges to her neck and disappears.

A chime from Whitehead’s desk signaled the session over and she stood to shake Amy’s hand.

“You’re doing very well. I’m proud of you. You’ve turned a corner, and I’m excited to see where this breakthrough will take you.”

“Me too.” Amy shook hands and stood, moving to the door.

“See you next week. And good news, soon we could be meeting less frequently.”

Amy smiled and turned on her heel. It had been three years since Thomas… Her nose started running before tears streamed down her face. Well, that was new. Usually her tears were the first to come. Thomas was gone. Passed away when terrorists targeted his law firm’s building in an attack. Everyone kept giving her the same line. She should be happy, they caught the bastards. But where did that leave her? Just because the criminals were caught didn’t mean her pain suddenly disappeared. She hadn’t even been able to bury her husband, there wasn’t enough left to recover. It was almost like Thomas would walk through the door at any moment. Like he left to pick up milk and just took the long way home.

“Sweet-ums, I’m home and I brought cookies!” she could hear his voice in her head as clear as day, but it was just in her head. Thomas was gone.

As she readied for bed, she remembered the first night without him. It had been horrible sleeping alone. Her therapist suggested a full body pillow to make it seem like someone was there, but no one was there. Dating or finding a new man was out of the question. Thomas had been her soul mate. They met in their thirties, both knowing they had never met anyone like each other.

“One of a kind,” he used to say. How would she ever find another one of a kind?

#

Amy stared up at the ceiling for thirty minutes, forty, fifty. The clock ticked by. When she hit the hour mark, she turned on the light and switched on a meditation CD her therapist suggested to calm her nerves.

Lights off, she closed her eyes and took a deep breath. The sounds of flute and ocean waves did, if not calm her, give her something to concentrate on besides the fact the only person who made her life worth living had died.

The waves reminded her of the summer before Thomas’ death when he took her to the beach off the coast of Mendocino. They walked the sands, held hands, and at sunset, he took her in his arms and kissed her. She felt a tear run down the side of her cheek. There was no reason to wipe it away, it would have brothers. Perhaps the only children she would ever have, the tears of her grief.

She heard someone breathe and her eyes flew open, staring blindly into the darkness before her. It was just her own breath.

She reached over and turned on the light. She’d leave it on. No reason to worry about the electricity bill. She had nothing extravagant left to spend her paycheck on anyway. She closed her eyes and thought about the ocean again.

“Enough, Amy. Remember…focus on the future, not the past. The future not the past. Future not the past…”

She floated into a light sleep. She didn’t want to overreact, but this was the earliest she’d been able to sleep yet. As soon as she began to relax, she felt the heaviness from her dream. A kind of pressure and coldness came over her.

Her eyes flew open and before her was a man’s face, so close she couldn’t focus. It was blurry, but it looked like the man from her dream, the one who was always kissing her neck.

“You’re real?” she asked.

His eyes widened and he drew back, sitting so quickly in the chair next to her bed, she thought she must still be dreaming. Yes, he was there, real, and she was awake. She stared at the man.

You can see me? He had a British accent.

“Who are you?” She drew the covers up to her neck, feeling more naked than she was. She had on Thomas’s Giants T-shirt, it wasn’t like she was nude. But there was a man in her bedroom! “Why are you…how did you?”

Good God! She can see me and she’s wondering how I got in? He laughed. Priceless.

“Hey, buddy, you can’t just… I’m calling the cops!” She reached for her phone, but he was at her side in a moment and grabbed her hand. Or tried to grab her hand. She felt a cold breeze as his hand passed right through hers. She drew in a big gulp of air. “You’re a…a ghost?”

Damn it all to hell! He turned and paced the room.

It was her turn to laugh at him as he attempted to kick the garbage can, the chair, and the bed. None of his effort caused the items to budge. He whipped around and came close to her, the look of fury causing her laughter to stop. Her breath caught in her throat.

Don’t you dare laugh at me, do you hear me? Or I’ll…I’ll never let you sleep!

“You can’t threaten me.” She scowled as he backed away. “You can’t do anything to me! You can’t even touch me!”

Oh yes? How’ve you been sleeping lately, eh? Had any good dreams?

“You! You’ve been causing my insomnia?”

Well it’s not Thomas, whoever the hell he is.

“Shut up! You don’t know anything about him.”

Happily. He rolled his eyes.

“How dare you speak of my deceased husband like that! Get out!” She grabbed her lotion from the bedside table and hurled it at him. The lotion flew right through him and landed on the floor. “Get out!” She picked up a magazine and it joined the lotion on the floor, never touching him.

Now who’s frustrated, love?

“What do you want?”

I’m really just here to steal your energy, but now you ask, I do have a message for you.

“You’ve seen Thomas? Where is he? Is he here? Why can’t I see him?

No. Cease your needless mourning. If he’s gone, he’s better off, believe me.

“Bastard! He loved me!”

Sure he did, but anyway—

“Shove it up your—”

Careful now. He stood close to her again, giving a serious threat stare. She felt a coldness emanate from him and pulled the covers up.

“This is my house. You need to leave and find someone else to keep up at night.”

Ah, but you’re the only one who can see me, so you’re the one that will do an errand for me.

“You mean, you steal others energy too?”

What, are you hurt? How quaint. Little Amy’s dead husband left her and now she’s being two-timed by her resident ghost. What do you care if I suck a couple of zaps off Mrs. Murphy?

“Mrs. Murphy down the hall? Yuck! No, not really?”

Yes, and Pam and Stella downstairs, and a few of the girls in that college apartment, you know the one with the strapping young buck who beds them and makes them get their own brekkie? Now he’s a man after my own heart.

“Why don’t you go suck from him, then.”

Him? No, no. My tastes have never run to the male persuasion. Plus, his little conquests come so full of energy, I nearly have my fill every time.

“You’re sick.”

No. I’m dead. And don’t have a choice. I’m trapped here.

“How are you trapped?”

I can go about town, but every evening I wake in the spot I died.

“You died in my apartment?”

Not technically. In the hall, in front of 6B.

“This must have been ages ago, I never heard of a murder in this building.”

It was but two months ago. That brat Sammy did it.

“Sammy Olsen killed you? I don’t believe it. He’s seven years old.”

He’s a slayer. He used a common everyday Number 2 pencil, the blighter.

“Wait. Huh?”

Keep up, love. He smirked. Not the sharpest nail in the box are you?

“You’re talking nonsense.”

I’ll spell it out for you. I was a vampire. He opened his mouth and tapped a fang. Sammy punctured me, stabby, stabby, yeah? With a bloody pencil. Now I’m stuck outside your door for eternity.

She stared, unsure she was really awake. Was this some kind of elaborate dream?

Hello? He snapped his fingers in front of her face. “Jesus…what a waste. You know, you aren’t bad looking, but this dense stare has got to stop. You’ll never get a new husband if you—”

“I don’t want a new husband. I want Thomas.”

Clearly, he’s gone.

She just stared, he was right. Thomas was truly gone.

Blimey, she’s gone rigid.

“What do you want from me?” Amy asked, defeated. “Oh yes, energy.” She laid back spreading her arms out as if on the cross. “Go ahead, get it over with.”

Just what a guy likes to hear. You take all the fun out of it. When I come back to flesh, I’ll be sure to kill you first so you can be with your beloved Thomas. You are truly a waste of life, you know that?

“You’re dead. There’s no coming back.”

Watch me. I did it once, I don’t see why I can’t again. I’m getting stronger every day. Why last Thursday all I could do was sway the curtains, now you can see me and I knocked over the plant in the hall. Soon, I’ll have enough power to kill the slayer and return to my throne.

“Kill little Sammy?”

Why not? He killed me didn’t he?

“You’re right. He can defend himself. Perhaps he’ll have his pencil with him again.” She smirked, happy for once she got a cut in on him. He looked burned. She’d really hurt him. He swished to her side and stood very close, still intimidating in his translucent, ghost form.

He won’t have another chance. His voice rattled out from the grave. Coldness wrapped around her like a glove, sending a chill up her spine and causing goosebumps to break out all over her body. Before her teeth chattered, she clamped them shut, trying to think of another jab that would piss him off enough to go away.

“The way I see it,” she said, her voice shaking despite her attempt at control. Her breath puffed out before her as if it were the middle of winter. “You weren’t a very smart vampire if a seven-year-old could outsmart you.” Amy saw a flash of anger on his already enraged face. Fire burned in his eyes and his jaw clenched. A sudden whoosh sound signaled him entering her body and she felt a pressure in her brain, as if it were too full, like a sinus infection, hangover, and being underwater all at the same time. His echoing voice came from her lips.

Listen here, you dimwitted, widowed, sadsack. I am Jamison, Baxter, Antonio the Third, King of Vampires, and I will suck you dry. Suck you dry!

The pressure in Amy’s brain reached an unbearable level and just as she gasped for breath, blackness overtook her.

Find out how the story ends in Dark Dreams from Rogue Planet Press.

Kbatz: 666 Park Avenue

666 Park Avenue Had Spooky Potential

by Kristin Battestella

Yes, I am superstitious about the number, and 666 Park Avenue probably began with one foot in its 13 episode grave thanks to its polarizing name. Though flawed with an unclear theme and a rushed rectification, this 2012 limited run remains a frightfully fun marathon.

New building managers Jane van Veen (Rachael Taylor) and Henry Martin (Dave Annabel) move into The Drake, a historic complex owned by penthouse living Gavin Doran (Terry O’Quinn) and his wife Olivia (Vanessa Williams). As Gavin uses his wealth and influence to advance Henry’s political ambitions, Jane renovates the building, finding unusual secrets alongside fellow resident Nona (Samantha Logan). Neighbors Brian (Robert Buckley) and his photographer wife Louise (Mercedes Masohn) encounter the unexplained at The Drake themselves, as does Louise’s sultry assistant Alexis (Helena Mattsson). Ghostly phenomena, suspicious residents, and past mysteries escalate as Jane digs deeper into the building’s history – and discovers her own deadly secrets.

park avenue

Although 666 Park Avenue is loosely based upon a book, the series ironically shares several similarities with the equally ill fated series The Gates, which aired two summers prior on ABC. Our new tenants move into a luxury, too good to be true apartment building, taking a working position in a community where their predecessor left under unusual circumstances. The ridiculously short credits also flash a lone title card before the listings scroll over the opening action, making who’s a regular or who’s merely recurring tough to deduce. Like The Gates, 666 Park Avenue also pads its short 42 minutes – or less – with unnecessary song montages, and despite a classy billionaire interracial couple at the top, diversity is lacking elsewhere. Does ABC keep repeating this formula hoping to get it right? The numerous writers and directors have no consistency for 666 Park Avenue, and the characters are their roles rather than truly bloomed personalities. The mismatched couples are unevenly developed and only seen hurrying home or leaving late. Some are in on the spooky while others are not, and most of the residents only interact for a hello or goodbye in the surprisingly tiny lobby. The Drake seems more like a hotel thanks to a weekly revolving door where regulars are left hanging for other going nowhere spooky. People are being sucked into the walls for goodness sake but 666 Park Avenue moves away from its scary core for irrelevant corporate schemes, Madoff name drops, and political double talk. Instead of sullying evil with the same old prime time hitmen or political assassinations, maybe not being so New York City steeped or having been period set may have let the building intrigue shine. The wicked blackmail in the second half of the series does better, but the ridiculous need to have an upscale party literally every other episode gets old fast. Truly, no one episode of 666 Park Avenue is all super, the audience never receives the answers we really want, and poor structuring muddles the quality paranormal pieces.

Fortunately, 666 Park Avenue is more spooky than nighttime soap opera with an adult cast, mature situations, desperate pleas, eerie phone calls, and mysterious contracts due. Thunder, spooky zooms, and ominous doors lead to residents with suspicious blood on their hands, petty thefts, and one creepy laundry room. The Pilot gets to the ghostly prospects early alongside deadly quid pro quo requests and a nefarious Order of Dragon past. This first hour feels like a decent haunted house movie, showcasing the eponymous elevator mishaps, spooky stairwells, and murderous flashbacks. Perhaps episode five “A Crowd of Demons” uses a Halloween party excuse too soon – we don’t know the players enough to see them dressed up yet – but this is an atmospheric good time once the ghosts break loose. After an uneven first half, “Downward Spiral” begins to get to the bottom of The Drake only to have its reveals delayed until Show Nine “Hypnos.” Stock crashes, evil men in suits, sacrifices, and past rituals pepper the upscale where we least expect it. Play up those literal trips down memory lane, the mental hospital scares, bricked up fireplaces, and spooky books! “The Comfort of Death” toys with ghosts in the mirror and long lived curses while “Sins of the Fathers” adds priests and more 1927 living history coming back to rent an apartment. Reappearing pills taunt an addict, a knightly organization battles The Drake’s Order of the Dragon – a lot of should have been there all along paranormal is tossed in too late along with a halfhearted evil topper in the “Lazarus” finale, and those dangerous bathtubs, past drownings, and bricked up bodies make viewers wonder why 666 Park Avenue wastes so much time on shopworn auxiliary in its early episodes.

Where the eponymous complex’s supernatural threats are quite interesting, our would be heroic couple Rachael Taylor (Jessica Jones) as Jane and Dave Annabel (Brothers & Sisters) as Henry are a touch too innocent, plain, and naive for 666 Park Avenue. They don’t seem like much of a pair, just New York ambitious with lots of parties interfering while Jane’s connection to the building – which should have been immediately solidified – is strung along until the seventh episode. There’s generic architecture talk, but Jane merely breaks a few things and knocks down some walls in her haunted house reveals without finishing projects or following through on the top to bottom explorations. Eventually, it seems like the idea of Jane and Henry being building co-managers is dropped altogether, as the totally unaware of the paranormal Henry doesn’t seem to care about Jane’s pleas to move or her fear for her life until she goes missing and ends up in an institution. Of course, Jane has no right to complain about Henry’s politics getting shady when she has been keeping secrets about The Drake the entire time, and these plots that should be powerful are erroneously intercut with weaker B and C stories. William Sadler (Death in Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey yes!) is great as Jane’s estranged father, however, his horror heavyweight potential comes to 666 Park Avenue too late. Likewise, Henry’s spooky dreams don’t happen until the finale, as if the potluck writers simply forgot that Jane had the supernatural visions. It’s not the actors’ faults, nor the dozens of writers and directors who otherwise do fine work, but it seems like there was no character bible for this duo, leaving the audience anchorless to the very persons for whom we should cheer.

13th floor penthouse power couple Terry O’Quinn (Lost) and Vanessa Williams (Ugly Berry) certainly have the slick and suspicious afoot capabilities, but once again the mixed motivations on 666 Park Avenue hamper their scene chewing. At once, Olivia seems like a clueless fairy godmother lavishing on the newbies. However, one too many times she deus ex machina conveniently helps Gavin out of an evil jam before being unaware again by the next episode. Gavin, of course, threatens someone every hour to prove he is the top of the top, using politicians to get rid of mysterious rivals or swiftly dealing with dangerous minions. He knows all along about some secrets yet is blindsided by other evil trickery. If he’s so powerful, why is his demonic brand such a slippery slope under constant threat? The rug is cut out from under the viewer when his evil hierarchy, past Order of the Dragon connections, and good versus evil religious aspects are never fully explained. 666 Park Avenue plays with pedestrian dirty politics too long, and I swear they literally pull a Seven from Married…with Children and send the Dorans’ pointless daughter down the stairs to never be heard from again.

 

Sadly, I’m not sure the yuppie marital discourse of Robert Buckley’s (One Tree Hill) struggling playwright Brian and his wife Mercedes Masohn (Fear the Walking Dead) as bitchy photographer Louise are necessary at all. Sure, they add bubble bath steamy and voyeurism, but oddly, 666 Park Avenue remains tame in the would be saucy affairs. Paranormal drug addictions and fatal attraction with Helena Mattsson (Betrayal) as Louise’s assistant Alexis become completely uninvolved with the aforementioned characters’ storylines, and although the gambling debts being tattooed onto Enrique Murciano (Without a Trace) as romantic Doctor Scott are a neat Karma twist, it never goes anywhere. The paranormal stamp on Brian’s writing is late in the game to save the wishy washy between his women, and we don’t know what’s really going on with Alexis and her debt until Episode Ten. Rather than juggling too many superfluous paranormal residents and their wannabe The Devil’s Advocate deals with Gavin and compromising the series, 666 Park Avenue should have combined these plots for just one strong younger couple, thus earning a second year to introduce some deadly love triangles.

But wait, there’s more trite with the stereotypical magical negro psychic and rebel teen Samantha Logan (Teen Wolf) as Nona. Not only do redundant ghosts also impart similar mysterious warnings, but Nona doesn’t always share what she knows, inexplicably leaving only the audience aware of the clairvoyance. Of course, Nona also has a magical negro grandmother in a wheelchair, and Ghost Guinan herself Whoopi Goldberg also makes an appearance as some kind of Matrix Oracle where, I hate to say it, she seems more like she’s just talking on The View. Erik Palladino (ER) as doorman Tony is also treated as a subservient ethnic minority picked over for a higher position but used as a thug or handyman and deliveries as needed. 666 Park Avenue also has a black widow obsessed with youth, an obituary writer who changes people’s lives with her pen, and two detectives snooping about The Drake. Well, one detective anyway – Teddy Sears (Masters of Sex) continues as another going nowhere side plot while his female black partner is never shown again. Typical.

 

Thankfully, symphony moments and ironic classic tunes add upscale accents to the blackmail and violence on 666 Park Avenue while creepy dream travels, phantom hallways, and hidden aspects of the building slowly reveal some sinister. It’s frustrating when something spooky happens only to be cut away for an ominous commercial edit, but distorted wide lenses and through the keyhole photography add a sense of askew not found on your typical New York drama. The women’s over-arched eyebrows give them a perpetual wow face, people researching their family history never bother to use ancestry.com, and some special effects look mighty poor. However, folks being sucked into the floor is pretty darn cool, and the 1920s styles make up for the contemporary lookalikes and lacking attention to detail. 666 Park Avenue has too many people, side politics interfere with the paranormal goods, and it takes half the thirteen episodes to really get going. The Drake’s spooky promise is never fully refined, and the episodic dragging once again proves that network television needs to catch up with today’s tightly paced shows and no time to waste storytelling. 666 Park Avenue should have been a taught 6 episodes rather than bloating itself with broad filler. Ironically, while improving on The Gates with its more spooky adult drama, these same pitfalls that shuttered The Gates condemns 666 Park Avenue.

It’s annoying when such creepy potential and likable actors don’t get the well thought out summer event series they deserve. Could have, should have – 666 Park Avenue is by no means great. Yet despite my negativity on the show’s never quite hitting the right notes, it was indeed entertaining to marathon for the weekend, and 666 Park Avenue fits well for viewers new to horror, budding paranormal teens, or those looking for something upscale and spooky but light on fear.

Free Fiction Friday: Dark Soul by Emerian Rich

punkprintThis is a throw back… reaching into the writing crypt for my very first publication credit. A poem of my youth that can still make me feel like I did back then. I’ve since realized, this is a symptom of our age. For many of us Dark Souls… we’ve had to come a long way to be comfortable with ourselves. For some of us, the path was to much to bear and we miss you dearly. For others, they are still trying to drown themselves in poison to be able to function in our world. For us rare few who have seen it to the other side, stay strong!

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Dark Soul

By: Emerian Rich

If the world was as dark as my soul…

But it isn’t, I’m isolated.

 

What a powdered, pink mother

Gives birth to is all her

Fear of death.

 

But we aren’t scared anymore, are we?

 

A childhood of fear has turned into

Hopelessness,

Helplessness,

Finally, fearlessness.

 

We are strong aren’t we?

We are jaded and mean.

We are heartless and rude.

 

Sometimes I cry at the things I’ve done,

For loving myself,

For doing what I want.

 

Where do I go to get rid of the guilt

From that house with the white picket fence?

 

I try to drown it in all types of poison.

Torture to my body and soul.

 

But there’s no hope at last

I’m dying from it.

The guilt of my mother’s past.

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If you have poetry to share with us, please send it to: horroraddicts@gmail.com

Free Fiction Friday: Her Eyes Were October by Chantal Boudreau

Her Eyes Were October

 by Chantal Boudreau

Her eyes were October

With a harsh and chilly stare

Rejecting what I’d done

Her look letting me know it

 

Her eyes were October

With no April found in there

Don’t forget, don’t forgive

She would never move past it

 

Her eyes were October

With a suffocating glare

Punished me at each turn

I just couldn’t escape it

 

Her eyes were October

With a cold I could not bear

Needing warmth, needing love

I somehow had to claim it

 

So I brought winter to that gaze

Frozen death, end of days

Time bled away in liquid red

And now I’m truly free

 

I’ll find spring thaw in other eyes

No more ice, no more lies

The bliss of March, all fresh and new

That’s what I’ll finally see.

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zombiemepicAside from being a long-time fan of the zombie genre via books, movies and now TV, Chantal Boudreau began her existence as a published author with a zombie short story named “Palliative” in an anthology called “Vampires, Zombies and Ghosts – Oh My!” published by Notreebooks.  This was followed by the publication of several other zombie shorts: “Just Another Day”, “Waking the Dead”, “Escarg-0”, “Life and Undeath on the Chain Gang,” and “One Lonely Night” in the May December Publications’ anthologies “First Time Dead, Volume 1”, “Hell Hath No Fury” (all women writers), “Zero”, “Zombie Lockdown” and “Let’s Scare Cancer to Death” as well as “What a Man’s Gotta Do” in the anthology “Undead Tales” from Rymfire Books and “Deadline” in the anthology “Zombie Buffet” from Open Casket Press.  She has done extensive research for her blog series “Chantelly’s Field Guide to Zombies” and a non-fiction article on Zomedy – the dark humour in zombie fiction.  She is currently shopping a full zombie novel, Sleep Escapes Us, set in ancient Thrace and involving the myths surrounding the death god, Zalmoxis.

Without a Map by Nikki Harlin

Without a Map

by Nikki Harlin

 

i only know who

i am in the stairwell, in the basement. there—

the hand tearing through the floor boards

gropes for an ankle

to love

in the corner i tell myself

that is a portrait

when it is clear

it’s not

a mirror

i know

i’ve passed before

footprints appear behind the sound of circling hooves

in a dry field I cannot find

the door out. a scare crow leans in the wind, its hair a fire

i started to see in the stalking dark.

***********

Nikki Harlin is an MFA student at Cal State San Bernardino where she writes poetry and is a staff editor for Ghost Town Lit Mag.

Kbatz: House of Dark Shadows

House of Dark Shadows Creepy Fun for Long Time Fans

By Kristin Battestella

Naturally, House of Dark Shadows- the 1970 big screen debut of the hit soap opera- is essential for fans of the series.  All the scares, screams, and treats are here with an extra dose of theatrical panache.  Woohoo!

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Collins handyman Willie Loomis (John Karlen) is obsessed with finding the family jewels- especially after Roger Collins (Louis Edmunds) fires him for his angry behavior.  Unfortunately, Willie discovers the family secret is not riches, but the vampire Barnabas Collins (Jonathan Frid).  Once released from his chained coffin by Willie, Barnabas preys upon Carolyn Stoddard (Nancy Barrett), the daughter of matriarch Elizabeth Collins Stoddard (Joan Bennett).  Although Resident doctor Julia Hoffman (Grayson Hall) believes she can cure Barnabas of his vampire affliction, he plots to make governess Maggie Evans (Kathryn Leigh Scott) his vampire bride- something he was unable to accomplish with his lookalike love Josette 175 years before.

Of course, this cinematic update is a redo of the 1967 Barnabas introduction, and it is sweet to see it all in color and without television restrictions.  The camerawork is horror film perfect- cut off points of view and askew angles up the scares with claustrophobic and intimate photography. The intense vampire filming wonderfully contrasts Jonathan Frid’s nonchalant onscreen arrival, but we should know better than to believe this ‘cousin from England’ story!  Though the pacing and editing is well done, the plot and style is perhaps slow to those who don’t know the tale whilst also seemingly rushed for familiar viewers.  Director Dan Curtis (Burnt Offerings) and house writers Sam Hall and Gordon Russell have to tweak and condense months of storyline after all, and these ninety minutes do pack a lot.  Barnabas’ rising, Carolyn as a vampire, a romance with Maggie, and a vampire cure all at once; it’s a bit like the 1991 Dark Shadows: The Revival actually.
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It is odd though that characters originally present for this TV plot are absent- namely Victoria Winters, Joe Haskell, and no mention of Jeremiah Collins’ relations with Josette nor Angelique’s foil of Barnabas. Instead Maggie Evans and Jeff Clark are combined into an awkward couple. Barnabas’ love obsessions and motivations, though great and more malignant than could be shown on the show, are also a little uneven thanks to this summarizing in House of Dark Shadows. Fortunately, it’s totally amusing to see police arming with crosses and handling out silver bullets montages.  Fuzz standing guard against vamps, no questions asked!  The stakings are bloody like the likes of Hammer Horror, too- again without the hampering from television restrictions.  However, the swift filming is blessedly more for the drama then the sensational. Vampires love, feed, die. Fin.

The transferred cast for House of Dark Shadows also has its fun and drama. Even knowing what Barnabas is- or perhaps even if you don’t- Jonathan Frid is slick as always as our favorite sad and lovelorn vampire. He’s tragic, and yet Barnabas must continually cover his bloody indiscretions. Early in the film, its great to see the humble changes to John Karlen’s Willie and the violent abuses he suffers thanks to Barnabas’ unglamorous vampire rage.  The rapidly aged Barnabas segment is also disturbing, again showing the dark side of twisted vamp love. This is how a real vampire would be, after all- old, nasty, lurching towards the luscious necks for blood! Kathryn Leigh Scott is of course lovely as Maggie, but she screams an awful lot and doesn’t look quite right with any of her leading men. Thankfully, the innocence and naivety of the ladies are great against their own hot and bothered jealousies.  Nancy Barrett, usually a straight Carolyn or another demure and ditzy role in the series’ period storylines, makes a great slutty vampire! Likewise, Grayson Hall gets to play Julia Hoffman as a little more creepy.  She chain smokes and practically stalks her unrequited vampire love. Thayer David is also his usually cucumber cool Professor Stokes, but eh Roger Davis as Jeff Clark is quite the yawner as our good guy. Everyone else is on form, subdued in the scares, and delightful without the famous Dark Shadows same day tape flub ups and obvious glances towards the cue cards. Yet Davis is still over the top.  Did know one else notice?

Don Briscoe also gets some big and sexy action for House of Dark Shadows as Carolyn’s willing jugular, but I don’t understand why the character’s name is some sort of Tom Jennings/ Todd Blake combo.  Who the heck is that?  Lisa Richards (Sabrina Stuart in the series) is also a fun wink to the audience in playing a Collins secretary named Daphne before Kate Jackson entered the series as Daphne Harridge.  Mrs. Johnson, however, looses a bit of fun with fill in actress Barbara Cason (It’s Garry Shandling’s Show) instead of regular Clarice Blackburn.  Collins staples David Henesy, Louis Edmunds, and the ever-classy Joan Bennett also don’t have much to do beyond some cursory scenes in the first half of the picture. Nevertheless, it’s fun to see other stock players in quick cameos- including wicked Reverend Trask actor Jerry Lacy as a minister, the devil’s henchman himself Humbert Allen Astredo as a doctor, Quentin’s love Terry Crawford as a nurse, and gypsy henchman Michael Stroka as a pallbearer. Even Dennis Patrick (on the show as Jason McGuire) as Sheriff Patterson gets into the vampire chase- he comes into the ladies’ bedrooms to check the garlic strands!

In addition to cast and character juiciness, House of Dark Shadows looks so, so sweet.  Though the voices are low and tough to hear, some scenes are a bit dark, and opening and closing credits strangely run over some of the action; the now period design, great nighttime suspense, red coat symbolism, and wolf howls and spooky sounds set the mood perfectly. Everything looks old and dirty as it should- not TV low budget hokey or 70s stink.  The Lyndhurst Castle and Sleepy Hollow Cemetery locations are excellent, too. I should know- I visited there last year.  No, not solely for a Dark Shadows pilgrimage, but that was certainly reason enough!  A serious scholar could have a lot of fun studying scenes versus locations frame by frame. Yes, some of the interior filming might seem crowded- most of the scenes are comings and goings in the hallway around people and through museum like antiques.  Others might also find it incredibly odd to see Dark Shadows without the familiar Collingwood and Old House sets.  Fortunately, candles, cobwebs, and a scary pool house add heaps of atmosphere.  Robert Cobert’s music is also wonderful as always- perfect for a 70s horror film. You’d never know it was originally scoring for a 60s soap!  Although I could do without a brief but dated costume party scene and annoying evil echo effects, the gore and sexy of House of Dark Shadows looks dandy. Though perhaps still too gory and mature for kids even if it’s all tame compared to today, the lengthy bites and bright red blood are just a tiny bit naughtier than the series proper.  Men rip open their shirts; victims tear off their neck bandages and submit willing for the bite!  There’s even man on man vampire attacks, too- a little homoerotica television couldn’t quite touch. There aren’t any hokey bats in House of Dark Shadows, either. Well, almost!
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Despite being a flashy consolidation feature, this is not an introductory piece.  New audiences perhaps can’t appreciate all the bells and whistles similarities and/or differences, and that’s part of the fun of House of Dark Shadows.  Certainly, some fans might also disown this theatrical adaptation thanks to the ending.  However, longtime viewers can eat up this or the sequel Night of Dark Shadows for a quick fix.  In fact, I would like to see Johnny Depp and Tim Burton’s upcoming Dark Shadows film have a similar plot and style to House of Dark Shadows.  Seventies horror film fans familiar with the series can enjoy the ride here purely as a juicy vampire movie, and I hope the remake can tie together both the essentials of the soap and the spirit of great horror cinema of the decade.  None of that Alice in Wonderland hokey this duo keeps re-treading, please!  Fortunately, it looks like a proper DVD release of House of Dark Shadows is finally forthcoming ahead of the remake- but I’d hang on to my VHS copy or catch an October airing just in case.  Fans of the gothic soap or vampire film can have a lot of fun in the House of Dark Shadows!

Band Contest – HorrorAddicts.net Theme Song

offhabandsfPRESS RELEASE
September 21, 2014

Contact: http://www.horroraddicts.net
Email: horroraddicts@gmail.com

Every three seasons, HorrorAddicts.net chooses a new theme song.

Bands / Musicians are now welcome to submit their song for possible use on the show. If chosen, your song will be played as the theme song every show for three seasons.  Your band name will be mentioned on every show to thousands of listeners across the globe. HorrorAddicts.net is an international podcast with our largest fan bases located in: UK, USA, Australia, Canada, and South Africa.

The song submitted must be in mp3 format.
Send us an email to: horroraddicts@gmail.com

Email must include:
*Your band name

*Short (100 words or less) bio.

*An mp3 of the song you’d like considered

*Contact email

*Picture of the band in png, or jpg format.

ckgbadgeThis contest closes Dec 31st, 2014 and winners will be announced publicly in 2015.

The new theme song will debut on Season 10 of HorrorAddicts.net starting in 2015.

By entering this contest, you are agreeing to allow your song played for three seasons of HorrorAddicts.net.

Best Band Season 8: Unveil

Logo Unveil - Web

The dark rock band, Unveil was featured on episode #91 of HorrorAddicts.net, Season 8 and then you the listeners voted them Best Band. Unveil was formed in 2004 by Eric Lee on bass, Eric Pomerleau on drums, and Alain Robitaille on guitar. In 2011, they played a special fund raising event and invited their friend, Joelle Nolin on vocals. Ever since that magic night, she has been part of the band.

I was fortunate to sit down with Alain and discuss the band, their sound, and what they have coming up next.

Unveil 2HA: Tell us about your band. Who writes the music?
ALAIN: I write most of the music but Unveil has no dedicated lyricist. The lyrics of the first album were written by me and Erich Langlois, a good friend of mine who writes lovely dark poetry. He gave me several texts when I started the band. I simply built a universe around his words. Writing of the second album is moving along smoothly. I have a good idea of the direction I want to take. It will include several texts of my own. Joelle, our new vocalist, also brought-in several solid texts. And I still have a few things left over from my “Erich” stash. As the album is in the writing stage, more contributors may appear in the future.

HA: What singers or bands inspired you growing up? Who are your favorite artists today?
ALAIN: My teen years were in the 70’s, so I learned to play electric guitar listening to vinyl records. My favorites were Rush, Black Sabbath, The Mission, Pink Floyd, The Cure, and countless others. Since those days, the Internet has opened up a floodgate of incredible music. To catch my attention, a band has to have a dark edge. Some of my favorite artists these days include The Birthday Massacre, Emilie Autumn, Lacuna Coil, Chelsea Wolfe, and Die So Fluid.

HA: How did you find out about HorrorAddicts.net? How does it feel to be chosen as Best Band?
ALAIN: I’ve been faithful HorrorAddicts.net listener since season 4. I must admit, I don’t remember exactly how I find out about Horror Addicts. I believe it was through Grave Concerns Ezine. I’m always web crawling for new and exciting music, authors, photographers… We were up against so many great bands, to be named “best band” is a totally unreal. It’s like being included in a family that you have loved for many years.

HA: What non-musical things inspire your music? Is there a place where you go to be inspired?
ALAIN: Since a very young age, I have had a fascination for vampires. The setting of the first album is deliberately inspired by this. The songs are not about vampires, but are written from a vampire’s perspective. Songs about loneliness, death, disgrace, fear… Unveil is all about subtlety, so don’t expect bats, coffins or blood sucking. I don’t have a special place where I sit down and wait for inspiration. I often find my best ideas when I am doing something else. The trick that works for me is: pen and paper. Whenever an idea pops-up, I write it down. So when I’m ready to write new lyrics or a story, I flip through my notes looking for building blocks.

HA: What’s been the greatest achievement of your band? Where is the coolest place you’ve played?
ALAIN: Unveil’s greatest achievement is without a doubt: “The Story of Sarah”. An event that mixed a rock concert and a short film. This project actually included the writing of two short tales: The Story of Sarah & The Story of Anna. The bridge between the two tales is a character named “The Stranger” whose story is revealed through the lyrics of the songs. It’s fun to play the “standard” gig, but what I love is bringing music to places you don’t normally see a live band. In 2010, we played a full set in a gothic fashion store. But the definitively coolest place we had the pleasure of playing has to be at a Zombie Walk where we played to a horde of zombies. A videoclip of the event can be seen on Unveil’s YouTube page. Having fun is always the number one goal at any Unveil gig. If we don’t have fun playing the show, the crowd won’t have fun watching it.

HA: What are your favorite horror movies?
ALAIN: Vampire movies. Some of my favorites are: Fearless Vampire Killers, Fright Night, From Dusk Till Dawn, Bram Stoker’s Dracula, and The Addiction. I also enjoy horror-mystery movies such as: Stigmata, Prince of Darkness, The Omen, The Others, and The Ring. I’m also a big fan of the Tim Burton. I think he did a mesmerizing job in retelling Sleepy Hollow.

HA: What was the scariest night of your life?
ALAIN: When I was young, my father was a movie theatre manager. So he had access to 16mm reels of major theatrical releases. He would regularly take out his projector to present the latest movies on a wall in the house or even in the backyard. Keep in mind that this was in the 70’s, before the coming of the VHS cassette. I remember one night in 1974, I was 8 years old. That night, he did a private screening of the movie “The Exorcist” for family and friends in the basement at our house. At the end of the evening, when everyone went back to their houses, I was left alone to sleep in that same basement.

Unveil 5HA: What is available now that the listeners can download or buy?
ALAIN: Last year, we released a first official EP called “Codex Noctem”. Physical copy can be ordered through CdBaby. If you prefer downloads, you can go to BandCamp, iTunes, Amazon and many others. You can also listen to “Codex Noctem” through streaming services like Spotify, Deezer, Rdio.
http://www.cdbaby.com/Artist/Unveil http://unveil.bandcamp.com
You can also find Unveil on many social medias such as, Facebook, Twitter, ReverbNation, MySpace… A web search for “unveil616” will find most of them.
The best place to get all the latest news is our FaceBook page at: http://www.facebook.com/unveil616

HA: If you could play anywhere in the world, where would it be and who would be your opening band?
ALAIN: Finland would be great! They have a thriving music scene with so many great artists. But the ultimate “dream gig” would be Las Vegas; a big production with showgirls in black feathers raven costumes and massive stage props. Or maybe a midnight acoustic set at Stonehenge? The opening band would be One-Eyed Doll from Austin, Texas. Lead by Kimberly Freeman’s amazing stage presence, this duo puts on a rockin’ high energy show.

HA: What are you working on now for future release?
ALAIN: For now, we are working on a second album. We still have no release date at this time, but we are aiming spring 2015. We will be making local shows to try out new ideas. I also want to create a stage show around a new story set in the world of ghosts and spirits. I have been doing paranormal investigations with my friends of the web series “Ghosts in Time” to get into the mood.

Dawn’s Dark Music Corner: Endless Sunder

Sounds of Seattle CD Review-Endless Sunder “Descent”
by Dawn Wood 

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The EBM and Industrial Scene has powerfully re-emerged over the past few years and shown itself to be worthy of grabbing attention on an international level.  There are some REALLY good bands that deserve attention.  Case in point: Westin Halvorson.  Westin has diligently worked to get electronic/industrial bands into the spotlight of the Seattle live music scene. Westin is the guitarist of (now touring) My Life with the Thrill Kill Kult.  He also fronts his own band Desillusion and plays in Pixel Pussy, Anguisette and is the drummer for an amazing electro-industrial band called:  Endless Sunder.  Desillusion’s keyboardist and Producer, Asher Vast, is the main composer, vocalist and Producer behind Endless Sunder.  Asher is also a great collaborator in the Seattle music scene.  On guitar, is the talented Corey Wittenborn (also in Murder Weapons) and on keyboards/ synths is Kevin Preston (also from The Crying Spell, Monicom and 64K.)

coreyasherwesEndless Sunder originated in 2007 in Olympia, Washington as an Electro-Industrial Rock project stemming from influences like Frontline Assembly, VNV Nation, Nine Inch Nails and 16 Volt.  One of the many things I love about this band is they take very seriously the entire presence of the band.  Although certainly not contrived, everything from their photos to videos to stage presence is intriguing, mysterious and from a marketing perspective…..packaged with perfection.

Asher was kind enough to let me review Endless Sunder’s CD entitled “Descent”. There is also a video of “Mechanism” to accompany the CD.

kevinThe CD starts out with the song “Atonement”, which is a heavy, grinding, fierce, industrial rock song and a great way to start out this CD.  Next, is “Pendulum” which is reminiscent of Marilyn Manson….only is actually danceable AND rocking with a catchy recurring motif.  I especially like how Asher’s vocals seem to swirl around the listener. 3rd track is “Choking Game” which is another great grooving industrial rock tune with smashing guitars and noise!  4th track is “Pawn”.  This song has a driving groove, is dark and sensual.  The vocals are absolutely amazing on this song. Asher’s vocals are whispery and present band Westin’s back up vocals are nothing short of fierce.  The 5th track is “Mechanism” which is epically industrial-dance and yet…a hard-driving rock track.  The percussion is especially infectious in this song and also quite memorable are the motif and chorus.  This song has become quite the favorite in the local Seattle scene. 1westin The 6th track is “Estranged”.  “Estranged” is another epic song with wonderful complexities and beautiful keyboard lines.  I almost want to compare this song to Depeche Mode.  Yes, you read that correctly and yes, this is a huge compliment from me.  What an extraordinary song all around!  The 7th track is “Shell”, which is a solid, infectious, straight-ahead industrial rock song.  “Shell” boasts a rocking beat, guitars and roaring, tortured vocals.  The 8th track is “Entrophy”, which is a kaleidoscope of industrial goodness.  “Entrophy” would be a perfect soundtrack song.  The 9th track is “Siren”, for which I especially enjoyed the amazing guitar work.  The last track is “Introvert”.  What a beautiful final song.  Once again, a lovely keyboard motif, intense…yet whispery vocals and plenty of mystery and intrigue that draws the listener in.  This entire CD is well worth having in your collection and Endless Sunder is a “must see”, “must hear” band.

endless_sunder

Asher and Kevin have a video and photography company in Seattle called “AVAST Productions”.  They put together a stellar video for The Birthday Massacre, as well as several Northwest bands.  Check them out at: http://www.avastproductions.com  and www.facebook.com/AvastProductions

You can check Endless Sunder out on their website: www.endlesssunder.com, as well as on:  Facebook, Twitter, ReverbNation, myspace, discogs.com, vampirefreaks.com and youtube.com.






			

Kbatz: Dog Days of Horror!

Dog Days of Summer Horror!

By Kristin Battestella

Well, well.  What better way to usher in the Dog Star than by releasing our inner lycanthrope viewing pleasures?

Viewer’s Best Friend

Brotherhood of the Wolf – Yes, the dubbing and/or subtitles in this 2001 French action/horror/period Le Pacte Des Loups will automatically turn off some folks. However, the voiceovers and onscreen readings aren’t hokey at all, and the internal narration helps instead of hinders here. On form stars Vincent Cassel (Eastern Promises) and Monica Bellucci (Under Suspicion) do their own English tracks, and director Christophe Gans (Silent Hill) smartly filmed with little close ups to ease the dub matchings. Beautiful landscapes and photography, lush interiors and costumes add more than enough visual spice; the atmosphere, period music, and candlelight do wonders. The hearsay and speculation builds delightfully along with the mix of American Indian natural beliefs versus French hypocrisy and politics of the time. Though there is a serious overuse of slow motion stylings, 18th century mullets, and too out of place Fu fight choreography, the nudity and brothel scenes do serve a purpose. True it’s not full on horror, uber scary, or that gory. There’s actually little wolfness in the first hour, the beast CGI is iffy, the 2 and ½ hour runtime is a little long, and though both are well done, the period mystery and supernatural cult action are a little inconsistent with each other. Nevertheless, it’s all damn entertaining for a foreign action/horror/period film.  Who knew?

 

Curse of the Werewolf – Oft Hammer director Terence Fisher (Horror of Dracula) helms this 1961 Spanish styled wolfy starring a creepy but tragically tormented Oliver Reed (Gladiator), the caring Clifford Evans (The Kiss of the Vampire), and the sad but buxom Yvonne Romain (Circus of Horrors).  As usual, the Spanish portrayals are somewhat stereotypical or plainly English barely disguised as Spanish.  The plot is quite slow to start as well, with plenty of boobs, nasty nobles, injustice, murder, and illicit pregnancies all before we get to the titular plight. Yes, what we get is dang good; it just seems as if we restart 3 times before finally getting to where the film is going. Thankfully, the 18th century style, costumes, and carriages look sweet and colorful.  All the expected horror smoke, mirrors, and perfectly cued music and thunderclaps do their part.  The notion of a cursed child battling for his youth against a wolfish soul is also unique- none of this modern rugged and roguish teen dream business.  Religious subtext and medieval fears also add an extra dimension and it all makes we wish Hammer had done more werewolf pictures.

 

Dog Soldiers – I love this 2002 wolf warfare treat from writer and director Neil Marshall (The Descent, Centurion).  Kevin McKidd (Rome), Liam Cunningham (Hunger), and Sean Pertwee (Cold Feet) are delightfully good fun along with the well-paced but no less intense action and slow-brewed but no less scary horror.  There’s lovely photography-both confined, claustrophobic interior camerawork and wide scoping vista displays- to balance the horror siege and guerilla action style.  It’s all natural, too- not over saturated with digital designs.  Though perhaps subpar compared to the fancy effects we expect, the wolfy styles are also sweet. Marshall leaves no time for big 3D panoramic wolf risings when the intimate fighting is on. Why should he? The peril gets across better when you don’t immediately see the werewolves in all their glory, and the paranoia and performance play is allowed the spotlight instead. The humorous nods to the audience, thick accents, harsh language, Brit slang, and disturbingly good gore might be bothersome to some. However, there’s much more good to be had here than any such American hang-ups. Even knowing what happens, this movie gets me every time- and it looks great on blu ray, too.

 

She Wolf of London – This 1946 short has a would be were-lady running amok in turn of the century England- and yes, it still looks good!  All the hallmarks are here: the disbelieving law, legends of cursed parentage, great button up rigidity hiding the doggy truth.  June Lockhart (Lost in Space) is our lovely distressing damsel-or is she?  However, it’s Sara Haden (Andy Hardy) as her Aunt Martha that’s so juicy, jealous lesbian-esque, and just a bit too wicked stepmother to really be so kind. The dialogue is perhaps too mid century for the onscreen action and it’s all probably too angry chick and not meant for male fans.  Although I suspect that was the point; I never saw a werewolf wear such great frocks and veils! It’s interesting that we don’t see the lycan hysteria as in today’s films- it’s all mostly off-screen attacks and fear of the beast that drives the suspense.  Yes, there’s more obvious mystery fun than true horror. However, the plot is tight and nicely paced, the silver palette crisp, and the angled and crooked photography atmospheric. Beat that!

Werewolf Hunter – Subtitled The Legend of Romasanta stateside, this 2004 Spanish production boasts a nice cast, smart editing, and lovely 1851 style and decoration.  Sinister as always Julian Sands (Warlock, A Room with a View) is his usual sexy and scary self, of course. The suspense and mystery are well paced; the intercutting between wolf attacks, various points of view, and investigative tactics add uniqueness compared to the typical American herky-jerky contemporary filmmaking. There’s a great wolf to human transformation, too, and a good dose of implied kink with nudity, naturally.  Tension, scares, disturbing deaths and horror despite no seriously overwhelming gore- even if this isn’t truly a 100% werewolf film, everything’s done right here.  After seeing this and Agora, I don’t know why we aren’t receiving more films via Spain.

Werewolf of London –Universal’s 1935 lycanthropy tale stars Henry Hull (Lifeboat) as our tormented scientist turned wolfy. Yes, it’s a bit heavy handed on the ‘good Christian England’ versus these exotic evil afflictions and abominations! The Tibet action is a little stereotypical and ill made, and the wolf makeup is not as good looking today.  Thankfully, the scares and screams shine through. The premise is still intriguing, and other onscreen laboratory tricks and period décor look smashing.  The women are perhaps too thirties and in some scenes downright annoying for modern viewers, but again, the juicy moral anguish wins.  Sure, it is probably too Jekyll and Hyde, but so what? The examination of man against beast and science versus morality works 75 years on. Who’d need CGI if we could still make gems like this?

 

Be Leary of thy Neighbor’s Pet

Red Riding Hood – The fine cast in this 2011 thriller meets fairytale- Amanda Seyfried (Mamma Mia!), Gary Oldman (Bram Stoker’s Dracula), Virginia Madsen (Candyman) and Julia Christie (Don’t Look Now)- overall aren’t too bad. I dare say the classy elder players are even on form and beyond.  The photography also looks perfect, with rustic medieval village designs and lovely snowbound mountainscapes. It was fun to guess at director Catherine Hardwicke’s (Twilight, big surprise) wolf mystery, suspect and identify the townsfolk, and call all the obvious red herrings whilst keeping in mind all the standard “What big eyes you have…” staples.  Unfortunately, this entire wolf teen dream triangle in the middle ages ala Twilight thing is getting waaayyyy old. Snoozer boys, blurry action bam boom werewolf designs, and a dumb ending stemming directly from this Twihard mess not only taints the tale but undoes all the positives for audiences who don’t want to be fed more googley eyes.  The Company of Wolves was better.

Rabid!

 Van Helsing (2004) – Fans of Hugh Jackman (X-Men), Kate Bekinsale (Underworld), and David Wenham (Lord of the Rings) can enjoy parts of this vampire, wolf, and other random monster menagerie from writer and director Stephen Sommers’ (99 The Mummy good, good Lord no G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra). Tragically, the rest of this overly CGI mess looks like someone forgot to clean the crap out of the cage.  What could have been something morally dark, seriously scary, and religiously anchored in the spirit of the Universal Monster predecessors is instead dumbed down to vampire eggs, fake flying chicks, bad accents, and worse jokes. I can’t believe they thought this was going to be a franchise.  What’s ever scarier: I attempted to read the novelization.  Shudder. Stick with Dracula: Dead and Loving It if you want camp.

Monster Mash with UNVEIL

For episode 91 we are happy to bring back one of our favorite bands, Unveil. The goth-punk metal band from Sherbrooke, Quebec, was formed by songwriter and guitarist Alain Robitaille, a drummer named Pom, bassist Mr. Lee, and now includes lead vocalist Jow. Alain explained, “Unveil is a rock band with a dark edge. One could say, we are metal heads playing gothic rock songs with prog influenced arrangements. The band was officially born in 2004 out of the desire of good friends to play music together. This gave me an outlet to use songs I had stashed in my ‘secret garden’ for the past 20 years.”

The song we are featuring for this episode is “Empty”, from their album CODEX NOCTEM, which was just released in June 2013. Alain sent us “Empty” because of its theme which is near and dear to my heart: vampires. As he put it, “vampires [are] my favourite horror character. But you won’t find bats, fangs or red lined caps here. You have to listen carefully to ‘unveil‘ the truth. This is our first official album and it was entirely self-produced. The only outside help we got was for the mastering. We are now working on material for a second album.”

Unveil CD

The band thrives on playing gigs. “Playing concert halls is always fun because you get the chance to bring the full stage show. But what we really enjoy is playing the odd gig in town. Record stores, radio stations, you name it. Last year, we played at a Zombie Walk. Now that was a totally different experience. One song that stands out at every show is ‘Hide’. It’s the kind of song that makes you jump around. On Halloween 2010, we presented a very special event called ‘The Story of Sarah‘; a multimedia production combining a short film within a rock concert. More than a year of work went into that show and we got a fantastic reaction. We are looking at the possibilities of creating an acoustic version.”

Dust-to-Dust

Alain’s many musical influences have shaped the band, including the name. “I am a big fan of the 70’s prog movements with bands like Genesis and Pink Floyd being major influences.  From day one, we knew that we wanted to combine elements of storytelling into our show. Stories shrouded in mystery in which you unveil clues to uncover the truth.”

As for the album’s title, he added, “A codex is the first incarnation of the modern book. So CODEX NOCTEM is a fitting name for a first album built around a collection of songs about the night. Producing an album is a lot more work than I first envisioned. The hardest part is the same as with any artistic creation: letting go. You can always improve your creation, but you have to let it go to let the magic begins. Only then can listeners get an emotion out of your work. I am involved at every creative level with this band. Anything related to Unveil has passed through my hands. That includes recording, video editing, web design and a whole lot more. For the “Story of Sarah” project, I actually wrote two short stories. Who knows, maybe one day they will become audio books.”

What music does he like to listen to? “I listen to a lot of music and my favourite artists continually change. I would say Black Sabbath, Katatonia and The Mission are major influences of my song writing style. Alice Cooper and Rammstein are my reference in stage productions. I’m also a big fan of the Finnish Rock scene (Charon, PoisonBlack, etc.) I like many styles of music. But if you want to grab my attention, any type of music with a little dark side will do the job. Emilie Autumn, Birthday Massacre, Peccatum, etc. I personally think that there is good stuff in every music style, but you sometimes have to dig a little deeper to find it. We are currently working with a local DJ to create a dance floor version of one of our songs. Now that is really far from our comfort zone. A dark ambient track would also be a fun thing to make.”

He also listens to podcasts, including some familiar to us. “I listen to very few podcasts asides HorrorAddicts. I really enjoyed the Night’s Knight series and I’m looking forward to sink my teeth into Lilith’s Love. I am also a big fan of The MetalCast.”

Unveil live 2

So what’s next for Alain and Unveil? “Now that the album has been released, we can start working on our new stage production. We are working with a set designer to create a show where storytelling is woven into a rock show. I am reading various fairy tales to get the creative juice flowing.”

Finally, what advice does he have for new bands? “Don’t be afraid of who you are. Create music that you like, not music to be liked.”

Unveil’s new album CODEX NOCTEM is available now for download from their Bandcamp page. CDs will be available at Musique Cité in Sherbrooke: the last independent music store in town, and also from CDBaby. You can follow the band on Facebook and MySpace.

Monster Mash with The Jesus Cleaver

Welcome back from our mini-hiatus, Addicts! For Episode 88 we are featuring the song “Europa” by Australian dark alternative band The Jesus Cleaver. Singer/songwriter John P. Shea is the core member though he collaborates often with other artists. As he puts it, “I handle all of the writing and production duties, and most of the instrumentation. We were briefly a 2-piece around 2002, with [3] on bass, when we did our first live show. Now, we’re focusing primarily on recording. [3] did some bass parts on the debut album, A Private Encyclopaedia, and I also recorded backing vocals for the track ‘Rend’, which featured Brisbane singers Angie Draper and Tanya Quinlan. For the current album, Life In Clouds, we also got a guitar part for ‘Empty’ recorded by Brisbane alt-rock outfit, Blu Blak Truk. So overall, I’m trying to balance my need for total control with actually getting things done in a reasonable time frame. But I’m also cognizant of creating artistic dependencies. I guess a loose collective of special guests is a better description, depending on the requirements of individual songs. That being said, I think that the possibility of collaborating with other artists is getting more and more intriguing. But I also like the built-in sense of isolation that seems to permeate our work.”

The Jesus Cleaver

“Europa” is his latest single from the current album, Life In Clouds. “It’s hard to describe how important this particular track is. It represents a culmination of a lot of things musically, but more importantly, I think that the lyrics present a pretty vivid picture. It’s quite up-tempo too, which is a bit of a first for us. The song is about how far apart things can get, and also how close things can come together. It’s about raw desire, about being completely infatuated, irrespective of how long things have been going on for. It draws a bit from David Bowie’s ‘Space Oddity’, in that a long journey is implied. The song title is reflective of that as well, and the artwork hints at two bodies in mutual orbit. Whenever I buy a new album, the first thing I do is read all of the lyrics. For this sort of audience, hopefully there’s something really strong on offer. Our lyrics underpin all of our songs, and everything begins with the lyrics in the first instance. That being said, the track could equally get skipped as soon as my vocals come on!”

The Jesus Cleaver is based in Brisbane, Australia, which is where John grew up. “Brisbane has a very diverse music scene, and has been home to acts ranging from the Bee Gees, The Saints, The Go-Betweens, and Savage Garden to name a few. In the late 80’s, Brisbane indie artists faced the height of a pretty oppressive cultural environment. A lot of indie acts were around at the time, and the city’s community radio station, 4ZzZ FM, was (and still is) a big part of the pulse of things.  This was when I first started writing, and getting more deeply exposed to the local sub-culture. In terms of influences, it’s difficult not to have textures from acts like those of the line up of the first Livid Festival somewhat engrained. There are quite a few videos from Brisbane acts around at that time on the ‘That Striped Sunlight Sound’ blog as well. Andrew Stafford’s book, Pig City is a great read for anyone interested in this aspect of Brisbane’s cultural development, and more broadly, Clinton Walker’s Stranded: The Secret History of Australian Independent Music is also an important reference. But more broadly in terms of influences, 4ZzZ shared a lot of the indie ethos that BBC presenter John Peel espoused, and UK labels such as 4AD, Beggars Banquet, Rough Trade and Mute were very well represented in playlists of the the day. In fact, Joy Division’s ‘Love Will Tear Us Apart’ (Factory Records), was still doing well in the station’s 1988 Hot 100. US labels such as Alternative Tentacles were also in the mix, so hopefully that paints a bit of a picture. Our main influences are dark alternative acts such as Joy Division, The Cure, Siouxsie and the Banshees, as well as people like David Bowie, Kate Bush and bands such as Depeche Mode.”

How do your fans react to your music? “There are two aspects to this. In the first, I have a close group of friends and artists that I play new releases to. One of the biggest buzzes I get is in seeing them quite perplexed (for example, “Girl With No Name”), or pointing out what the song means to them, or other tracks or styles that it relates to, some of which I might not have heard of previously. All of these different tangents that the song is provoking. Secondly, for our broader fan base (an attribute which we can barely lay claim to), occasionally, we’ll get some positive tweets on particular tracks. That’s something I really thrive on. But overall, I think that music listening has become a very passive experience these days, despite the abundance of social media. Hopefully, some of our work will be good enough to prompt a conversation here and there, otherwise, we’re just another unnoticed tree falling in the forest, so to speak. We’re so far removed from the mainstream, but that in many respects is a very good thing. As an underground act, we’re not beholden to anyone or any corporation. We’re completely in control of our means of production and our artistic destiny, and we run our own small-scale promotion within a small but loyal sub-genre. If people view that as interesting, and take the time to discover and explore our art, then, fan by fan, I think that we might eventually achieve something resembling a following. In the mean time, we’re concentrating on getting better and better at our craft, and entertaining ourselves and close friends along the way.”

Europa

Of your music, do you have any favorite songs? “I guess each time I finish a new song, it’s the new favorite du jour. So at the moment, it’s ‘Europa’, and before that it was ‘Empty’. ‘Empty’ was a pretty important achievement, and a lot of production went into its rather murky, menacing mid-bass sound, and overall sense of power and intimidation. That track is a combination of some interesting musical loops and crescendo, and the guitar part from Blu Blak Truk is pretty decimating at an appropriate playback volume. ‘Luscious, which was our first single from the debut album, A Private Encyclopaedia, also has a special place, especially considering how long that song existed in a very abstract, avant-garde form. During production, the bass and guitar parts were added on top of the droning strings and free-form percussion. Before this, the song was very sparse.”

How would you describe your music? “That’s the hardest thing I find about being involved in music production and promotion – writing about your own work. I really appreciate the gift that some music journalists have of naturally being able to go on at length and in such descriptive language. For me, a song is a song. You either play it once and forget it, or you turn it up because it fills you up with something, it makes your existence that much better for that moment, or even the whole day. At least that’s my experience with my favorite songs.

I find it especially hard because we don’t clearly fit into a particular genre, and even song to song, there’s a great deal of variety in our work. There are hints here and there, and at times some of our influences make themselves more clearly known, but maybe its a process of joining the dots, from what has come before us, and the various directions we’re heading toward.”

What was the inspiration for Life In Clouds? “Life In Clouds is about existing in a particular state of bliss, and perhaps in denial, too. It’s otherworldly in a sense, in that it can’t necessarily be attained, or transitioned to. The tracks on the album loosely explore various facets of this, particularly in an inter-personal sense. Hopefully they fit together, and the title track is certainly deeply aligned, or central to this theme. The video for ‘Mercy’, which was the first single from the album, tries to portrait some of this as well in its imagery.”

Who are your favorite bands, and who has influenced your music? “I’m a huge fan of SWANS and Michael Jira. I recently saw them perform in Sydney, doing ‘The Seer’ live. Michael is a remarkable writer, and, for example, songs from the period “‘White Light from the Mouth of Infinity’ (1991) / ‘Love of Life’ (1992) / ‘The Great Annihilator’ (1995) are immensely inspiring. His recent work is very powerful, in that musically, he’s stripped things down to very simple phrases or passages of energy, yet these are being orchestrated continuously in a purposeful way. I’m still trying to rationalize the live show. I get the sense that he has a very personal vision of destruction that he’s trying to convey. For a writer of his experience and accomplishments, to realize that this is a truth that he has arrived at, and that this is what is literally being pounded into you, it’s pretty close to a spiritually cleansing. I came away from the show more as a survivor, questioning everything I’ve ever done artistically. It was much more a sense of emptiness than of being elated. It’s pretty hard to describe, but the fact that his work is so strong and powerful, and yet so out of phase with the rest of the universe, that’s pretty compelling in terms of a measure of his dissatisfaction with the status quo. Peter Hook did his ‘Unknown Pleasures’ show in Brisbane a little while ago, and that was very close to a transcendental atmosphere being formed in the venue – the energy of the songs, and their raw emotional charge, not to mention the Northern accent. I’d love to see him again with ‘Closer’. In fact, we’ve had a pretty good run lately. Blixa just came back and did a great Einstürzende Neubauten show, and Peter Murphy was pretty sublime as well – he added a good helping of Bauhaus tracks, including ‘She’s In Parties’, which is one of my favorites. Ninth, his current album, is definitely one of his best yet.”

Are there any other styles of music that you like? “I’m reasonably omnivorous, and my music collection has albums from artists such as the Beastie Boys, Johnny Cash, Billie Holiday, Shostakovich. It’s pretty eclectic. Not expansive, because in my youth I was constantly saving money for synths and drum machines, and I tend to be interested in complete bodies of work, which at the time precluded some of the more peripheral interests.”

What type of music turns you off? “I still have scars from The B52’s being played at our high school formal.”

Is there a style that you haven’t worked in that you would like to? “In terms of new styles, it wouldn’t be impossible for something more orchestral to turn up, or perhaps something harsher, maybe some more guitars and percussion samples, but not necessarily agro-tech. I think we’re way too humanist to get into that sort of territory.”

How long have you been writing, composing, or playing? “I’ve been writing since I was a teenager, but most of that early stuff hasn’t seen the light of day. The debut album, A Private Encyclopaedia, was in many respects a ‘best of’ for a lot of that earlier work. In terms of composing and playing, I’ve been into the music technology side of things for a long time, and started out with hardware sequencers running MIDI synths, and then a drum machine. When I was in high school, I read Paul White’s Home & Studio Recording magazine religiously every month. I’ve slowly accumulated all of the studio gear one tends to accumulate, but there are still a few things on the eBay saved search list!”

Life In Clouds

What has it been like creating your albums? “In many respects, creating an album is an act of pure vanity – at the end of the process, you’ve got something unique that you can play instead of everyone else’s work. It’s a very demanding process, and yet it’s something that I’m completely comfortable with. It’s taken a long time to get there, and you have to learn a lot about your own limitations, but ultimately, you’re imposing your own sense of style throughout the decision making. With today’s tools, the possibilities are practically infinite, so having a clear sense of purpose for each track is critical. Sustaining this through the entire recording process is important, because I’m trying to convey, in musical terms, the emotional state of the lyrics. The music is really there just as a support mechanism, and at times, it can be quite strange indeed, compared to most conventional songs which probably emerge the other way around. The work so far on the second album has been a lot smoother than the first, apart from the small matter of being hospitalized for abdominal surgery after recording vocals for the track ‘Empty’. On the production side of things, I’ve got a clearer perspective now on what works and what doesn’t work. Because each song is different from the next, the actual path to completing a song might go down different roads, but aesthetically, things seem to be ending up in the right place. There are still a few songs to go though, so I still have a little apprehension around how they’ll turn out.”

Do you listen to podcasts? “In the very early days, I used to be a regular listener to quite a few podcasts. It’s so refreshing to be able to listen to shows that are actually entertaining. Some shows have come and gone (including my own, ‘Afterglow‘), but podcasting is still a critical outlet for independent media. I try and keep up with some of the dark alternative DJ’s, such as DJ Bronxelf, and now I’ll have to check out the HorrorAddicts archive too! Lately, I’m listening a lot to Radio National on the ABC. When cars have built-in mobile internet and podcast receivers, I’ll definitely be getting back into this medium. I think it needs this sort of convenience to really take off. Well, for me at least, mainly because I can’t stand ear buds or listening ‘on the go’.”

John P Shea - self portrait

When you aren’t working on music, do you have any other creative outlets? “Lately, I’ve been doing some vintage synth restorations. I don’t have a lot of free time, so that turns into a very slow process, especially if parts aren’t available. For one part, a 30mm travel slide potentiometer, I only found one supplier, and they had a minimum quantity of 1,000 units for orders. It took about 3 years for the part to turn up on eBay, and the seller would only ship to the US. By a remarkable coincidence, I was in Florida at the time, and got them sent to the hotel, so that was a bit of a win. I’ve actually re-manufactured some slide switches, where the aluminum-wrapped baton had been snapped off. I found a similar NOS (New Old Stock) part on eBay, as there wasn’t a modern equivalent, but its plastic mechanism (inside the switch housing) was slightly over-sized, so that required a lot of careful work to size it down (and not damage the baton, nor the housing). It’s amazing the level of mechanical engineering contained within the humble slide switch. There are notches on the sides of the housing, and a tiny spring with ball bearings at each end is located perpendicularly through a hole in the base of the baton, which is actually an inverted “T” shape. The ball bearings sit into the notches, which gives you that *click* feel as the baton moves back and forth. There are a set of very delicate contacts on the underside of the inverted “T”-shaped, and these mate with the switch terminals, which are molded through the plastic base, around which the housing is folded. I had to keep the original underside of the “T”, as this was molded to suit the contacts, so this meant that the top half of the original base had to be cut off, and the sized-down replacement “T” glued on top. The actual electrical switching is done as the mechanical movement of the baton drags the contacts over the terminals. You don’t really get any sense of appreciation for the design until you take one apart and try and re-build it. Everything has to fit within pretty fine tolerances. A labor of love, but you’ve got to be able to switch LFO waveforms, right? Not exactly Rock’n’Roll, but you wouldn’t have Rock without a soldering iron!”

Anything not so synth-geeky? “I also started some research for a long-form writing project, but that’s on hold for now. It was great to step back into some of the local University libraries again. I’m the kind of person that gets a buzz out of research and analysis, particularly if you’re doing it the old fashioned way. It’s important to have distractions from music though, and things like studio maintenance (and continual upgrades), as well as things like the graphic design side of things, they’re all something I enjoy.”

What’s next for you and the band? “The remaining tracks for the album Life In Clouds are what’s on the immediate agenda. All the lyrics are ready to go, but I haven’t started any pre-production yet. I mentioned the collaboration thing previously, that might also be an option. I’m pretty much always writing, but I haven’t got anything clearly formulated yet for the next body of work.”

Do you have any advice for new bands? “Just to be very, very clear about what your motives are for being involved in music. Many of the traditional aspirations are not compatible with the current reality, so you have to frame things within your own reality. If that’s something that other people can get into, then all the better. Many music projects don’t necessarily consider an end date either, so if you’re not achieving certain things within a certain time frame, then don’t be afraid to pull the pin. Making music is a deep, deep pit that you can pour yourself into. At times, it seems like you can never do enough. I’m fortunate in that The Jesus Cleaver is a project that seems to function best when deprived of nearly all of its oxygen. You also need pretty thick skin if you’re doing underground promotion, as you’ll be ignored almost all of the time. People’s attention is such a rare commodity these days, but music has that ability, like nothing else, to make a deep connection with the listener, and that’s my main interest.”

All of The Jesus Cleaver’s songs can be streamed in full, for free at any time at music.thejesuscleaver.com, and downloads of the albums and singles are also available in various formats. To find out more about John and his music, visit his official site at thejesuscleaver.com, as well as on Facebook and Twitter. To keep up-to-date, you can also subscribe to the band’s mailing list.

Monster Mash with À Rebours

For our season finale, I could think of no one finer to conclude our musical meanderings than Ian Stone of À Rebours [ah reh boor]. I discovered his music in 2007 and I have endeavored to keep in touch with him through the years. It was a real treat to be able to tap him for the finale.

Of the band itself, Ian is “the founder, singer, guitarist, programmer, and songwriter. Ryan Holmes is the bassist, and John Cole is the drummer. Ryan and John both bring that outside viewpoint along with an expert-level of musicianship to the mix. I write the songs from start to finish and I present them with pretty much a finished product, with a bass part and drum part already written. Although I’m proud of what I create, I’m still insulated in my little creative cocoon. Ryan and John generally play what I’ve written, but when either one tweaks something or suggests a change it’s always fantastic. Both of them are outstanding and we all like textures and unexpected left turns, so their perspectives are welcome. They’re really the first ones I’ve felt comfortable letting in to the creative process in that respect. I’ve had such bad experiences with band mates before that I always had the idea that À Rebours wasn’t going to be a democracy. Haha! Thankfully I am privileged to work with a couple of guys that will add taste and texture instead of cliché and mediocrity.”

His debut album, Vanish, is always in my listening rotation (not just around Halloween) and the songs are deep, sometimes playful, always hauntingly beautiful pieces. It was difficult for me to choose one song to feature on Horror Addicts. In the end, I picked the song that seems the most Poe-inspired to me, which is “Cardiac Thanatosis”.

What was the inspiration for this song? “Naturally heartbreak is the general theme, but I wanted something that took the feeling in a different direction. At the time the music was starting to take shape, I was reading The Villain’s Guide to Better Living by Neil Zawacki and there was a section in there about how important it was to get rid of your heart before someone got to it. The book suggested cutting it out and hiding it so that good guys couldn’t poison you with things like regret, sympathy, kindness and those types of things that would kill your evil mojo. I thought, ‘There we go. How do you protect yourself against heartache? You’ve got to make sure there’s nothing to break!’ I was reading this in early 2005 or so, I think, or early 2006. It wrote itself from there. My songwriting tends to go like that: once a seed idea has germinated the whole song just kind of unfurls out of itself.”

He added, “Incidentally I’ve had many late night, alcohol-saturated discussions with friends and fans about whether or not the song is figurative or literal. I like for the listener to derive some of his or her own meaning from it, but if you ask me I suppose my response depends on my mood. I’ve defended both sides. The sketch animation video I did for that song ends with an image of a screaming guy with a massive suture on his chest. Is it symbolic, or literal? Hmmmm…”

I first discovered you about the time you packed up and left Phoenix, AZ, for the “bright lights” of New York. How has NY treated you since then? “Haha well let’s clarify that I went to upstate NY, not New York City. Going to NYC would’ve been a significantly different experience—better or worse, I’m not sure. But I would say that as far as the band goes it was a setback. I built up the beginnings of a solid fan base in Phoenix, and then I left it behind and never really built something as good here. The decision to move had nothing to do with music, and in the long run it’s been overall good for my life…not easy, but good in the end. I met my new wife out here after all. For my music, though, it’s been difficult, and may very well have been a blow À Rebours won’t bounce back from. That’s depressing. I have a lot of music still inside clawing at the walls to be let out. I have some stories to tell about the things that happened to me in New York and about the things I’ve discovered about myself. You can’t, however, spend too much time dwelling on the whole ‘coulda-shoulda-woulda’ thing, or playing ‘what if?’ all the time because it’s pointless. It just causes emotional unrest, you know? So I suppose now I just need to get to making lemonade, if you know what I mean. I just need to release my music and keep trudging forward.”

Where are some of the places you have toured/played? “Played all over Phoenix before I left. In the North East I’ve played all over the Southern Tier, Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse, Binghamton, some places in PA, all the way down to Ohio, Connecticut and over to Michigan.”

Where would you love to play that you haven’t yet? “I haven’t gotten to play in NYC yet, which I’d like to. I really want to play in Europe, too; I think audiences there are more in tune with À Rebours’ musical style and I’ve just fallen in love with Europe every time I’ve traveled there.”

Do you have any stories of any gigs that stand out? “Haha not any good ones! Any band will tell you that there are more clusterfucks on stage than visits from angels, so lets just say that we have our share of those! But, to answer you, I guess one that stands out in my mind was when we played Mohawk Place in Buffalo alongside Tearwave, who at the time was on the Projekt label, and Woven, who were from LA and touring. Overall the show was an epic dud because, like, five people came. Total bust—and Tearwave were hometown heroes there. It kind of baffled all of us. Bad timing, I guess. It happens. But each band setup nevertheless, played like we were playing to a stadium and were cheered on by the other two bands. It was kinda cool. The energy from fellow musicians and the enthusiasm and support for what each band stood for was just awesome. We played so great that night, haha of COURSE!”

I know that “À Rebours” is French for “against the grain”, but what does it mean to you, and why the evolution of name from “Maxwell’s Demon”? “À Rebours stands for being fiercely unique and independent. To me it means not only trying to find an oblique way of doing things, but also making a point to do things differently. It’s about existing on a level apart from the everyday ignorance, mediocrity, and herd mentality. It’s about being an outsider by choice and savoring the delicious experience that offers.

“I switched from Maxwell’s Demon because À Rebours just resonated with me and more accurately described what I was aiming for. I figured I’d have one shot—my fifteen minutes—to say what I wanted to say to people so I’d better make it count. Or at least be as accurate as possible.

“About that time, oh I’d say 2005 I think, I was also submitting an early version of ‘This Winter’ to Projekt for their unsigned band compilation. Again, I wanted a name that cast the light I wanted cast on the music I was presenting. It was the first time I was putting my music out there. That compilation never materialized, but it was the thing that solidified the name. In retrospect, Maxwell’s Demon probably would’ve been easier for people to pronounce!”

It may be hard to choose, but which of your songs is your favorite and why? “On Vanish, I’d say my favorite is ‘Dust‘. Amongst the newer songs, my favorite is ‘The Parliament of Rooks.’ That tune is split into two parts and bookend the album, but as a whole I’d say it comes the closest to capturing the bleak, melancholy sound I’m always trying to create. There’s a live version of the second part on YouTube, if one is interested in hearing it.”

Outside of the usual labels describing music, how do you describe your music? “Way back on MySpace I used to describe it as ‘deliciously melancholy rock.’ On our Facebook it says ‘If Edgar Allan Poe had a rock band, this would be it.’ It’s a collision of rock, shoegaze, goth, progressive, and probably a few other things in the mix. Sometimes it’s bleak and introspective, sometimes it’s dense and defiant. Put equal parts haunting, Tesla experiment, postmodern romance, and message from space into a shaker with ice, strain into a chilled soul and garnish with loud amps.”

Who are your favorite bands, and who has influenced your music? “Oh my God that’s asking for an encyclopedia recital! My favorite band of all time is the prog band Fates Warning. I grew up on them, learned so much from trying to play their music and they still capture that same vibe lyrically and atmospherically that resonates with me. I have everything they’ve done and just about every side project from the members.

“Outside of that I could name a ton of artists that inform my style: AFI, Bethany Curve, Jean-Michel Jarre, Peter Murphy’s Carver Combo, Trivium to start. I’ve had stages where I couldn’t get enough of things as widely different as Jack White, Iron Maiden, or VNV Nation. I’ve got a huge music collection. Real honestly, anything that I hear that I like is a potential influence. It all enters some kind of mental cauldron and bubbles back up somewhere.

“I know Ryan and John are both big fans of Dream Theater, Queensrÿche, Iron Maiden and Rush (as am I). Ryan has a Jazz degree so there’s that side of his playing that figures in. John is a high school band teacher so he naturally has to command a ridiculously huge repertoire and that kind of knowledge naturally informs his playing.”

What other styles of music do you like? “Classical. Middle Eastern. Ambient and atmospheric. Electronic, Industrial and Dance. All kinds of rock and metal. I’ve been getting into sick and sleazy blues—not like Stevie Ray Vaughan or Eric Clapton kind of blues, I mean like chilly, raw, remote, bar on the edge of town at 4 in the morning kind of blues. Just to name a few things.”

What type of music turns you off? “I just CANNOT get into contemporary country. Old C&W has some valid merit and of course great musicians; I still don’t much care for it though. The stuff nowadays we call country just completely turns me off. Induces nausea, even. Most contemporary R&B and pop music kills me a little inside, too. Outside of those I can usually find something I like in just about every genre.”

Is there a style that you haven’t worked in that you would like to? “As far as genres that I’d like to explore, I’d like to go in a couple of different directions. One, I’d like to do more electronic. There are more keyboards and sequenced parts in The Parliament of Rooks album than in Vanish, but it’d be fun someday to go full on industrial-EBM or something. Second, I’d love to do something totally and unapologetically heavy metal. Something like Trivium or In Flames. Now, I don’t believe À Rebours is the medium to explore those avenues, so there might be side projects in the future, or perhaps a revival of Maxwell’s Demon outside of À Rebours. I need to get Parliament of Rooks out and the third album done as well, though, before I even entertain those ideas!”

Speaking of, how soon can we expect to have The Parliament of Rooks available? “Well that, my friend, is the million dollar question, LOL! 2013 at the earliest, hopefully not 2014 or beyond. I’m trying to balance optimism with realism. At this point that’s the best I can offer.”

How has producing The Parliament of Rooks been different than Vanish? “Compared to this, Vanish was a breeze. With all of the times that files have been lost or corrupted, that life has gotten in the way and shut me down, and now of course factoring in the physical distance from my label and their resources…it’s been very frustrating. The songwriting aspect is always the most time consuming because I obsess over so many aspects of a song. That being said, writing definitely went faster for POR than for Vanish. However, once Vanish got the green light to produce, it went fairly quickly. This album has been anything BUT quick or smooth. It’s been terribly frustrating. The music was all written three years ago!”

Do you listen to podcasts, and if so what kind and which ones? “I have listened to some, but I just don’t feel like I have the time to subscribe to them. I’ve tried before, and iTunes just ends up full of podcasts I never listen to. Then I get so fed up I just delete the whole lot. I feel lucky to have time to read a book for crying out loud.”

When you aren’t creating or playing music, do you have any other creative outlets? “Absolutely!! Music is actually my second avocation. I am a freelance illustrator/designer and I run a business called Moulin Diesel. I did all the artwork for Vanish from the tray card and J-card to the disc. Moulin Diesel did À Rebours’ website and graphics, too. Art is really the thing that feeds my soul. Music is a side dish. I’m passionate about both, don’t mistake me, but my art definitely takes precedence over my music, especially at this point in my life where the music is caught in a swamp and my art is doing well. Not to mention art actually creates an income, whereas the music most definitely does not. But alas, we don’t do creative things for the money, only for the enjoyment. Nevertheless, one has to eat, n’est-ce pas?”

Indeed, so what’s next for you and the band? “Finish recording and release The Parliament of Rooks. That is job number one. And then, of course, play shows to support it. Given Ryan and John’s schedules, however, that second piece is tentative. Ryan’s in Connecticut playing with the band Echo & Drake which is dong fantastically well. I’m really proud of him. John, as I said, is a high school teacher so he’s really only free during the summer. I need—NEED—to release this album though and tell the story of the third album, of which I’ve already been writing for. We’ll see what the live schedule looks like, but one way or the other I need to keep sharing the music I write.”

What advice do you have to new bands? “The ‘music business’ is a sham designed to grind you up and package you as a money-making commodity for the people running the business. Avoid it. Be your own boss, learn some business practices and run your band like a business. It won’t be any harder work and you’ll be happier in the long run. And when I say treat it like a job, that means full time at the very least. It’ll require that much and more to make it into something. I think that’s why À Rebours hasn’t done better: life got in the way and I never put the 110% it took to make it. When I tried, other things suffered and cost me emotionally. For better or worse, I believe the band could’ve been more and probably still could be. But I’ve come to terms with the fact that presently it’s not and shouldn’t be my main focus in life.”

You can download their music from iTunes and Spotify, or purchase the physical CD directly from CD Baby or from their website in a merch bundle. Merchandise is available at their website: maurautius.com, as well as some other stuff on Cafépress. They are also on ReverbNation and MySpace. You can follow them on Facebook and Twitter as well.

HorrorAddictsCon: Steven Rose Jr. – Horror and Dark Fantasy III

Horror and Dark Fantasy: One and the Same?

by Steven Rose, Jr.

Part III

The dark fantasy tends to contain literary elements from both the epic fantasy and, as stated at Beyond, a horror story. The dark fantasy plot often involves a quest on the main character’s part, but it is often a quest into darker, more forbidden settings. The hero may or may not have friends or companions on that quest with him/her. The obstacles he/she faces are menacing creatures that you find in many horror stories, creatures such as zombies or evil spirits ready to devour the hero either physically or spiritually. There often tends to be more fairy or folk tale elements in this type of story than in the epic fantasy or horror story. Therefore there may be magical creatures, such as fairies or talking animals that help the hero, and the hero may come from humble beginnings like the hero in the fairy tale often does. Also, the story’s ending is more like that in the fairy tale—a joyful ending where everything turns out good for the hero(es) and they either go on living life as normal as before or better.

These distinguishing elements between horror and dark fantasy can best be seen if we compare a horror novel such as Dracula with a dark fantasy novel such as Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere. In Dracula, a young man who can be considered the hero goes on a journey to the evil count’s estate in Transylvania on business. He is imprisoned by the count, and faces many obstacles in his attempt to escape and in doing so is in utmost fear for his life. He finally does escape, but the count follows him home to his native England . It is there where Dracula causes the terror and havoc on not just the hero’s, Jonathan Harker’s, friends and beloved, Mina, but even on the society at large. The horror of this creature is that he can take control of a person’s life and soul in that he can make them into one of the living dead like himself making them have to feed off of innocent people’s blood. He is immortal and undefeatable. He can appear anywhere at anytime, and, unlike in most of the movie adaptations, can even walk about by day under certain circumstances. He can make people come to him over remote distances by merely thinking about it, like he does with Mina. He can change into a bat, wolf or mist. He can even change the appearance of his age from old to young. Jonathan Harker, Mina, and the vampire hunter Dr. Van Helsing, along with others form a kind of expedition to go after Dracula and kill him after the evil count has fled back to his native Transylvania . In this way the basic mythic motifs of the quest and battle against an enemy comes up in this novel. But even though Dracula has become a threat to an entire society, the climaxing battle here is more for an individual’s soul, Mina’s.

Gaiman’s Neverwhere is a story that is actually developed from the basic plot of Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland. The story mostly takes place at night in the underground ofLondon . Because it’s based on Alice in Wonderland, it’s got a fairy tale quality to it and this kind of otherworld atmosphere, yet it takes place in the subterranean structures of an actual geographical based city. However, this underground world in the novel is a fantastical one in that it is seldom seen by Londoners and is occupied by magical beings and so is an environment of mystery. One of the magical beings is an enchantress who sucks the life source out of people, an element of horror since it is so close to the idea of sucking the soul out of a person and is a more personal threat like what we see in Dracula than a societal one. But the very fact that this hidden society comes out both underground and above at night while the rest of Londoners are sleeping gives the setting a more imaginary, dream-like quality seen in much of high fantasy. The majority of the characters the hero comes in contact with are of magic and mystery, as opposed to the more rational based human characters in Dracula (save for the vampires themselves, of course). One of these characters is a talking rat, a rodent character type often seen in a lot of fairy tales and fables such as The Nutcracker. So the quest inNeverwhere, unlike in Dracula, involves more fantastical characters who help the hero on his journey, and the purpose of the quest is more societal than it is personal.

Another high fantasy element in this novel is a giant boar that the heroes must battle in the sewers, a creature used as a dragon type in this story. Likewise, Dracula himself on a more implicit and symbolic level is a dragon figure. In fact, his very name derives from a word associated with dragon. As a dragon figure he is a threat to society. But more importantly he is a hoarder of not only blood but gold like the typical Western dragon is. And, of course, he is a devourer of human blood just as a dragon is the devourer or destroyer of human flesh and lives.

So in comparing these too popular novels, we can see that the distinction between the genres of horror and dark fantasy is that one is more emphasized on the threat of the individual as opposed to a whole society, more specifically the threat to a person’s soul, although dark fantasy can contain that same kind of element. However, there is a more fairy tale quality to the dark fantasy than there is to the horror story since more impossible characters occur, characters like talking and humanized animals such as the talking rat in Gaiman’s novel. In the horror story, the characters are more rational and realistic and the plot, although fantastical in its involving supernatural creatures, consists of more realistic and so more believable events.

Another factor that we shouldn’t overlook is that the distinction between these two genres is also due to the commercial industry’s categorization and marketing of fiction. The majority of book retailers sell their literary merchandise according to popular interests and therefore according to what the majority of customers are going to be looking for in story type. But in order for retailers to do that, and in order for them to consider readers’ preferences, the literary conventions of these story types have to be considered.

So the distinction between the genres of horror and dark fantasy seem to be based on two factors: literary convention and marketing. Yet when looking at the conventions closely between stories of these two subgenres, the distinction seems very blurred because many of these conventions are used to a more or lesser degree in both. What are your thoughts on the differences in these two subgenres? Would you say the two are based more on conventions or more on marketing methods? Are such categorizations more up to the reader than the forces of literary convention and marketing? Are horror and dark fantasy interchangeable terms, or can dark fantasy be considered a mixed genre of horror, high fantasy and even fairy tale elements? Should both just be considered dark fiction and not have any further classifications? Let’s extend this discussion, and so please feel free to leave any answers or other comments!

References

Suggested Reading

Steven Rose, Jr. is a journalist and writer of fiction. His non-fiction includes book, television, and movie reviews. His fiction consists of horror and science fiction short stories, although he plans to write novels in the near future. Besides writing, Steven serves as a public relations rep for the Sacramento based network, Sylvanopolis Writers’ Society. For more information about Steven, go to: http://faroutfantastic.blogspot.com/

HorrorAddictsCon: Steven Rose Jr. – Horror and Dark Fantasy II

Horror and Dark Fantasy: One and the Same?

by Steven Rose, Jr.

Part II

Like the epic or high fantasy, the horror story also involves the unknown and mysterious, but these two elements are much more threatening to the individual. They are usually threatening to a character’s life either spiritually or physically. Therefore, the threatening force is some sort of unfamiliar being such as a ghost, demon, or vampire and often associated with the underworld like the enemy characters are in epic fantasy. But the emphasis is on the threat to the individual than it is on the one to a whole society. Although the term horror primarily has referred to a sense of fear for a person’s own soul and therefore spiritual life (as is the case with Dracula) it has also come to be associated with an extreme fear for one’s physical life.

If the threatening being is not of the supernatural realm, then it is often associated with it through superstition. This is the case with The Phantom of the Opera. The Phantom is not really a supernatural being himself but, because he hides in obscure parts of the opera house and kills people, he is thought to be a ghostly presence. Throughout the horror narrative, there are many unexpected attacks or pursuits from the monster, often in dark settings, resulting in shock on the audience’s part. Needless to say, such evoking of fear plays a crucial role in the horror story.

Often at the end of a horror story, the reader or viewer is left hanging, but not in the sense of a lack of a satisfying conclusion. The audience is left hanging in the sense that they wonder what will happen to the characters’ lives after the characters have faced the traumatic situation brought on by the threatening figure or monster. Therefore the conclusion to a horror story tends not to be as joyful or promising as that of the epic fantasy, and because the story has been focused on the menacing being itself and the terror it has caused, the other characters’ lives are not elaborated on in the conclusion making it much shorter than that of the typical epic fantasy. The monster may have been destroyed by this time or somehow banished from the setting, but what happens to the characters next is anybody’s guess. The monster may return, as is the case with many Hollywood horror films (and so why sequels are so popular with them) or the main characters may have post trauma to deal with that may drive them to insanity. Because of these possibilities, the conclusion to the horror story is more realistic than the more fairy tale happy ending of the high fantasy.

References

Suggested Reading

Steven Rose, Jr. is a journalist and writer of fiction. His non-fiction includes book, television, and movie reviews. His fiction consists of horror and science fiction short stories, although he plans to write novels in the near future. Besides writing, Steven serves as a public relations rep for the Sacramento based network, Sylvanopolis Writers’ Society. For more information about Steven, go to: http://faroutfantastic.blogspot.com/

HorrorAddictsCon: Steven Rose Jr. – Horror and Dark Fantasy I

Horror and Dark Fantasy: One and the Same?

by Steven Rose, Jr.

Part I

In the last ten years at least, the dark fantasy subgenre has become just about as popular as the horror subgenre. The two have many similar elements even to the point where they may seem interchangeable or synonymous with each other. Dark fantasy has been permeating just about all media, including video games and books. Neil Gaiman is one of the most popular dark fantasy writers of today, and J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series of novels and the TV series Supernatural can also be considered to fall under this fantasy subcategory. Authors more associated with strict horror have also written some dark fantasy–Steven King with his DarkTower series, for instance.

Two other authors, who write much science fiction and horror but also write a lot of dark fantasy are Ray Bradbury and Harlan Ellison. Ray Bradbury’s most famous dark fantasy is his novel Something Wicked This Way Comes, while Ellison has famous stories of the subgenre such as “The Basilisk” and “Chatting with Anubis”.

Directors such as M. Night Shyamalan and Guillermo Del Toro who typically make horror movies, like Devil and The Orphanage, also make films that can be classified as dark fantasy: Shyamalan Lady in the Water, Del Toro Pan’s Labyrinth. It shouldn’t be too surprising that such authors and movie directors of horror also produce dark fantasy works since the two subgenres are both imaginative, dark forms of story telling, but what literary elements and conventions really distinguish the two?

Since horror has been the more popular familiar genre for a longer period of time, we’ll look at the literary conventions that make it up before we do the ones of dark fantasy. But before doing that, because dark fantasy descends from the more typical epic or high fantasy, we’ll look at the conventions of epic fantasy before looking at the ones of dark fantasy. But as far as supernatural horror goes, horror itself is also a subgenre of fantasy since it involves imaginary events such as hauntings and black magic.

Horror stories involving more realistic menacing characters, such as serial killers, would not be considered supernatural horror and so would hardly fall under the umbrella of the fantasy genre. So in general, fantasy story telling, regardless of the medium it is told through, involves any type of plot that is centered around magical or impossible events. In a wider perspective, this includes science fiction. The scientific events in a science fiction story, although much more plausible than events in high or epic fantasy, have not occurred in the present time the story is produced and so at that time of production these events are impossible, yet they are visionary since they are possible for a future time. But since we are looking at the distinctions between two subgenres of fantasy that do not primarily deal with science, we’ll disregard science fiction for purposes of this discussion. Because the fantasy genre is the umbrella that the subgenres supernatural horror and dark fantasy fall under, we’ll look at the conventions of epic/high fantasy which is the oldest form of story telling that falls under that genre.

Most epic fantasy involves either a hero’s quest or a battle to save a society–often a kingdom, maybe even the world. Magic, the supernatural, or both play a major role in the story. The Lord of the Rings (LOTR) involves wizardry and underworld creatures such as demons and spirits–the Orcs and Ringwraiths, for example–in the war that occurs throughout Tolkien’s trilogy. The main hero’s, Frodo Baggins’, quest is to take a magic ring to its rightful place and destroy it before it leads to the world domination of evil. The hero or heroes in stories such as this must face several obstacles to completing a task, these obstacles often involving the supernatural. However, they often receive help from a supernatural force such as a deity or elf, or a magic object they obtain. This is the case in the Lord of the Rings prequel, The Hobbit, when Bilbo finds the ring (before its evil power is discovered in LOTR) because he can turn invisible in times of danger by slipping it on his finger.

The hero in epic fantasy often makes it back to his/her homeland after completing the quest/battle bringing some sort of redemption to the society. Such fantasy is often also referred to as high fantasy. Northern Virginia Community College’s literary Website, Beyond . . . , indicates that a slight difference between the two terms is that high fantasy often takes place in imaginary worlds (as is the case with LOTR) whereas epic fantasy is based more in reality and so more directly based on myths rooted in our world’s history (for example, The Odyssey). A good example of epic fantasy would be Marion Zimmer Bradley’s Mists of Avalon since it is based on Arthurian and therefore British/Celtic myth. But in nearly all circumstances both kinds of fantasy involve the unknown and mysterious. Because of this we’ll use these terms interchangeably for reasons of simplicity since this discussion’s aim is to distinguish horror and dark fantasy, not epic and high fantasy, from each other.

References

Suggested Reading

Steven Rose, Jr. is a journalist and writer of fiction. His non-fiction includes book, television, and movie reviews. His fiction consists of horror and science fiction short stories, although he plans to write novels in the near future. Besides writing, Steven serves as a public relations rep for the Sacramento based network, Sylvanopolis Writers’ Society. For more information about Steven, go to: http://faroutfantastic.blogspot.com/

Monster Mash with Septron

For our final song this season, we are featuring German Electro band Septron, which is the one-man project of Bastian Polak. I was not able to chat with Bastian, so I’ll let his music speak for him.

I do not speak German, but with a song like “Aschenland”, which means “land of ashes”, you don’t really need to. This is a strong but hushed electronic piece and the words are delivered with warm, mournful emotion. Like many songs on his latest album, Wuterguss, one can definitely feel his range of emotions, all woven skillfully through the music.

I would describe all of the music as dark wave, electro, and industrial, but I would also say they are emotional and compelled me to listen to more than just his ashen track. Online translation helped me get a feeling for what he wanted to convey with his words, but in the end I just sat back and listened and enjoyed the songs.

Bastian lives in the central Palatinate region of Germany. For over 8 years, he has been producing music from his home-recording studio. He has also performed some live shows and festivals. He has a strong English-speaking fan base that is just as passionate as his native fans.

If you would like to hear more from Septron, you can find his music online at his homepage at Septron-Music.com. You can buy tracks from Wuterguss at Amazon and iTunes. You can also find him on ReverbnationMyspace, and Facebook.

Do Goths Have To Work Harder Than Norms To Get Respect In The Workplace?

Do goth or alternative lifestyle employees have to work harder than the norms?

I am a gloom cookie, a mistress of the dark, a “goth” as the norms call us. I wear black clothes, color my hair, and sport elaborate makeup. I’ve worked for employers that don’t care what I wear and ones that have dress codes that make me alter or tone down my look, but at the core I am still me and I will be me whether they like it or not. Those of us who live alternative lives… whether you be a goth, lolita, punk, gay, or have an uncommon religion, are different. We see things differently. We process things differently and have different answers to mainstream questions. Some of us hide or disguise our differences so that we can have a simpler life, but in the end, we are different and you have to be a pretty good magician to hide it at all times, even in the workplace.

I don’t have to tell you that the “norm” perception of us is bad. Apparently we are evil, devil worshiping, spell casting, curse making, sexually perverse, murderous fiends who will stop at nothing to “turn” them     (fill in the blank- goth, gay, evil)   . God forbid you fall into two or three of these different alternative categories. To them, a gay male, goth, pagan, has one intent: To corrupt their way of life and turn their sons into flaming voodoo priests! I’m not going to tackle how we change that impression in this post… that is so much bigger than ourselves. However, given that the impression of the general public is this, do we have to work harder in the workplace to prove our usefulness? To earn respect, do we have to be better, faster, and sharper than the “norms”?

I think we do. Because not only do they think we are “weird”, they also believe that we spend our work hours thinking “weird” things. It doesn’t matter that your cube mate is obsessed with her pet tabby cat and has pictures of the feline plastering her side of the cube wearing sweater sets. No, that is an acceptable hobby. Yet if we mention just once about a concert, book, or a movie we like, they instantly place us in the antagonist position. I can hear the conversations by the water cooler. “Omg… she said she just LOVES the Saw movies. What do you think her house looks like? Do you think she has meat hooks and table saws? Do you think she’s going to kill us all?”

Something that goes along with their perception of us is that we are lazy or try to get out of work. You know, because we need time to plot our destruction of their lives. Do you feel like, as a goth in the workplace, you are treated unfairly or held to a higher standard? Or perhaps judged more harshly because of your outward appearance or special interests? Do you find that you have to work harder for respect when your “norm” co-worker is constantly late and plays Farmville on Facebook all day but earns kudos easily? Do you think the way you dress or things you enjoy on your off-time hinder you from getting raises, promotions, or special incentives?

I once worked for a company where I was the token goth. I was the person they liked to put on the forefront to show others how diverse they were, but even known as the diversity proof, the stereotypes didn’t end. The fact is, unless you are willing to abandon your look or personality completely, you will be discriminated against. Until our general populace starts to really accept people’s differences in truth- not just in word, we will have to continue to wear down the prejudices that plague people of our kind.

I’ve worked with people who thought my dress code had something to do with my religion and they were shocked when I handed out holiday candy. Hum… do all Catholics wear pink? Not really… so why would all people who wear black be Satanists? It’s a color people! Just saying. A lot of these stereotypes are not even logical.

I’ve been blamed for bad business deals because I like the number thirteen and good friends (or not so good friends it turns out) have accused me of putting curses on them. I’m sorry, but I don’t have time to plot against you. If I had the ability to cast voodoo magic, I would definitely use that power to improve MY situation in life… not bring yours down. Here’s an interesting thought: If the majority of norm public doesn’t believe magic or spell casting is real, why do they assume we can wield it against them?

I’ve worked for good people too. Ones that understood or at least try to allow for my way of life, but these are not common. Why? What’s going to happen if you get close to a goth? I have to admit, there is a slim chance of getting black eyeliner on you, but beyond that, we are good people. Sure, there are the bad apples, just like any set of people, but for the most part we are kind, imaginative, interesting people and you are missing out on some terrific friendships.

I pride myself on being good at my job. No matter what the task is, I take time management and execution very seriously. I am a perfectionist and list maker and I rarely slack off. I work hard and I expect to be treated kindly and respected by my co-workers and managers. For these reasons, I have been able to earn respect at several companies by showing what I can do, but it wasn’t easy. If I was the cookie cutter worker, would I have more opportunity for advancement sooner? Who knows. It feels like it. Being a goth in the workplace almost feels like being on probation from day one. Guilty until proven innocent.

Because we are constantly trying to break down the stereotypes and work harder to prove we are not flakes or idiots, do alternative lifestyle people in the mainstream workforce have more stress in their lives? Do you find yourself getting sick more than others do or feeling exhausted at keeping up the charade? How long is the life expectancy of a goth in the modern office? I bet that’s one they haven’t tested! Why? Because we may melt in the light of day?

I’ve been very sarcastic in this post, but I really want to know. I’m interested in your view on this subject. How do you feel you are discriminated against in your office? How have you dealt with the hurdles you’ve faced? If you are not a goth, and are scared to get to know us, why? What fears can we break down for you? What makes you so scared?

Inside Horror Music with Midnight Syndicate

Midnight Syndicate has been creating instrumental Halloween music and gothic horror fantasy soundtrack CDs for the past thirteen years.   The group’s music has become a staple of the Halloween season worldwide as well as a favorite in the haunted house, amusement park, role-playing game, and gothic music industries.   From Universal Orlando’s Halloween Horror Nights and Hugh Hefner’s Halloween parties to Monday Night Football, X-Box games, the classic Dungeons & Dragons role-playing game, and Barbara Walters specials, their CDs are designed to take listeners on a journey into the darkest corners of their imagination.

Sin: Thank you for taking the time to speak with us. I want to say first, FABULOUS work. You guys have been part of many really cool things. Before we get to that, how did Midnight Syndicate start?

MS: I had this idea for a band that would create “soundtracks to imaginary films” by blending instrumental music and sound effects.  I always enjoyed instrumental music as I felt that it left  interpretation completely up to the listener and really sparked the imagination.  Take that and add sound effects reminiscent of the radio dramas of the 30s and 40s or a really good horror film and you got a formula for transporting a listener to a world of their own creation.  I’m a huge horror movie, high fantasy, and supernatural buff  so almost every creative project I’ve ever done tends to head down a darker path.  Midnight Syndicate was no exception.   Gavin joined me as my writing partner on “Born of the Night” (our second disc) and we’ve been writing music together ever since.   We just celebrated the 13th Anniversary of our first disc so we’ve been doing a lot of looking back this past year.  It’s been a great journey so far.

Sin: Where do you take inspiration from?

MS: Horror movies, roleplaying games like “Dungeons & Dragons,” and “Call of Cthulhu,” history (especially the Victorian era), horror artwork, and stories of the supernatural.   For me, I have to add EC Comics, Twilight Zone, and Stephen King to that list.  I get a lot of inspiration from those stories.  

Sin: You guys are often known as “Halloween music” or “Haunted House music.” Are you comfortable with that and what genre would you say you think Midnight Syndicate fits in?

MS: We are.  We’ve made a mark in those areas and are proud of that.   When we were first starting out, there really wasn’t anyone else doing anything like this.  Fans of Halloween and Haunted house designers had a choice between a bunch of cheap recycled sound effect tapes from the 70s and Monster Mash-type party compilations.   We changed that by producing effective dark atmospheric discs that focused on the music as much as the sounds.   Quality too and taking a lot of time to get it as good as possible was and always has been a staple of what we do.  I think people appreciated that.   When you are the first to do something (as we were for haunted houses, Halloween retail, and roleplaying games) a lot of doors and opportunities can open for you.   Granted, the fact that we weren’t easily classifiable made it impossible for us to get a record or distribution deal (lots of rejection letters) but we combatted that by starting our own label and distributor, Entity Productions and that’s worked out pretty well for us.

Sin: You have worked with/provided tracks to many other artists over the years: Three-Six Mafia, Twiztid, The Misfits, King Diamond… is there a favorite piece that resulted from any collaboration with other artists or their using your compositions?

MS:  It has to be Three-Six Mafia’s rap track “Wolf Wolf.”  Ironically, I experimented with a vampire-themed rap track on our self-titled debut called “Premonitions of a Killer.”   The music was based on a musical theme I had written for the vampire character Vellich from the original 1995 version of “The Dead Matter” film.  I turned that musical theme into a rap track with vampire-themed lyrics written and performed by some friends of mine that went by the name Dark Side.  To hear a legendary rap act like Three Six Mafia take one of my songs  and turn it into a kick ass rap track was surreal.   To this day, that track is special to me on many levels.

Sin: Last year, AOL put out a list of the Top 10 Best Halloween CDs of all time. Three of these were Midnight Syndicate releases. That’s quite an achievement considering all of the Halloween and gothic-themed music that’s out. What is your reaction to that?

MS: It was awesome.   Both of us were happy and humbled.  It’s great for us because as a part of the Halloween holiday there’s at least one time of the year where we can hear our music playing in bigger venues to more of the general public whether it’s Halloween radio stations like AOL and Sirius XM, amusement parks, haunted houses, stores, tv specials, or homes that decorate for trick-or-treaters.  Definitely a bonus.

Sin: Midnight Syndicate created the first original soundtrack for the Hasbro roleplaying game Dungeons & Dragons and has been featured in a few other computer games as well. How did that come about? Were you excited about these projects?

MS: Absolutely.   Both Gavin and I are huge fans of Dungeons & Dragons.  To to be asked to do the first official soundtrack to a game we grew up playing (and was a influence for our work in Midnight Syndicate) was an honor.   It also let us stretch our wings a bit since the theme dictated more of an  fantasy feel than the typical horror themes we deal in.  It was a great project and working with Wizards of the Coast was awesome.   The disc did really well for us and that led to some licensing opportunities with the folks who put together the game Shadowbane and Baldur’s Gate 2: Dark Alliance for the X-Box.   As a huge fan of the Baldur’s Gate franchise it was excellent hearing our music in there.
 
Sin: Tell us about The Dead Matter (movie). How did you become involved with it? Did you enjoy working on it? 
 
MS: I did an earlier version of “The Dead Matter” back in 1995 as my first project out of college.   We were really limited by the budget so our goal was to complete it and use it to put ourselves in a position to remake it with a budget down the road.   That opportunity came about through Midnight Syndicate and Robert Kurtzman ten years later.   We shot the new “The Dead Matter” movie in 2007 and released it on DVD this past year.  It’s a supernatural thriller about this relic that can raise and control the dead (“dead matter”).  It’s got both zombies and vampires mixed in there with lots of twists and turns to keep you guessing.   Unlike Midnight Syndicate, there’s also is a bit of humor in there which audiences seem to be enjoying.   I directed and scored the film as well as co-produced it with Robert and Gary Jones.  My goal was to make a film that would entertain people and it seems like people are having a lot of fun watching it (which is the a great feeling having worked on it for so long).  The whole process was a great, tremendous experience and I’m already looking forward to the next one.

Sin: In April of this year, you came out with your first music video for Dark Legacy and then in June, your second video, for the song Lost. What made you decide to do a music video and how was making it different from other projects you have worked on (if at all)? Were you happy with how both turned out?

MS: We were really happy with how they turned out.  As far as why we did it, we just felt that it was something way past due,  it would be a great thing our 13th Anniversary, and we knew they’d make cool extras for “The Dead Matter” DVD so we did it.   After coming off “The Dead Matter,” I wasn’t interested in directing the videos so it was really David Greathouse (for “Dark Legacy”) and Andy Smoley (for “Lost” ) that came up with the concepts and executed them both.   It was quite a different experience as Gavin and I are usually right in there on everything.   But when you trust the director’s vision (like we did with Andy and Dave) it makes it easy, even fun, to just sit back and watch them do their thing.  They are both two very talented directors.   The “Dark Legacy” music video marked the first time Gavin and I had played together live on stage so that was a lot of fun.   I loved the attention to detail Dave and the Precinct 13 artists put into the scenery and his whole vision.  In “Lost” I loved all the little references that Andy and the 529 Films team dropped in there.   From the “The Dead Matter” on the theatre marquee, on the television, and on the computer, to the radio station playing all Midnight Syndicate – it’s just really, really entertaining for me to watch.  

Sin: You are the inspiration and an influence for many other artists. Who would you cite as the influences behind Midnight Syndicate?

MS:  Musically our influences are film composers like Danny Elfman, John Carpenter, Jerry Goldsmith, Bernard Herrmann, Hans Zimmer, and James Horner as well as heavy metal artists like Black Sabbath and King Diamond.   I’m also influenced a bit by bands like Sisters of Mercy and Rob Zombie.   For Gavin it would be Dead Can Dance and early Genesis.   Movie sound design and the radio dramas of yesteryear have been a big influence on the Midnight Syndicate sound from the beginning.

Sin: What’s next for Midnight Syndicate?

MS: Gavin and I are at work on a brand new Midnight Syndicate CD we’ll be releasing in August of 2011.   It’s going to have a dark carnival theme with a twist.   After a year or so of post-production and handling the release of “The Dead Matter,” we’re just really excited to be getting back to making another Midnight Syndicate CD.

Find out more about Midnight Syndicate at: www.MidnightSyndicate.com