Archive for Horror Addicts

An interview with Mike Robinson

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 24, 2015 by David Watson

Our featured author for episode 117 of the Horror Addicts podcast is Mike Robinson. Mike has five books available and a blog where he talks about cryptozoology. Recently Mike answered some questions for us about his writing:

When did you start writing?

17839307My hand has been fused to The Quill (my generic name for any writing instrument, be it a pencil, pen or keyboard) since I was about 7 years old. I don’t remember any particular moment when I decided to write — I simply wanted to spin the kind of stories I was reading, or that were being read to me. It was my brain’s way of going to the bathroom. As my first Big Ambition was to be a baseball player, I naturally started writing about sports. Gradually, with the help of authors like Bruce Coville, Mark Twain, R.L. Stine, Gary Paulsen, Stephen King, Michael Crichton, etc., I started transitioning into the realm of the horrific and the fantastic. To this day, I remain lost in that delicious labyrinth.

What do you like to write about?

The horrific and fantastic. (*wink*) Like a lot of my shadow-dwelling peers, I’ve always been fascinated with humankind’s ongoing relationship to, and reconciliation with, the Unknown. The human reaction to a monster, or a strange phenomenon, interests me more than the monster or phenomenon itself (though of course I have Fortean love for those, too). So I often infuse my classifiably “speculative fiction” tales with more “literary fiction” hallmarks such psychological analysis, metaphysical exploration and introspection. Spaceships, vampires and elves are not really my thing. Contemporary people confronting something whose very21795163 existence their minds, and our world, has barely even begun to conceptualize — now, that’s my thing.

What interests you about cryptozoology?

More or less the same thing that interests me about speculative fiction (the umbrella term for all things science fiction, fantasy and horror): the search for and celebration of the Unknown. Whatever its spotty reputation, at its heart cryptozoology recognizes that we still live in a wide, weird cosmos. Globalization may be shrinking the human world, but I’m confident the greater world’s many nooks and crannies still await with untold wonders. I also appreciate cryptozoology’s inherent rejection that the natural sciences have virtually checked off everything “big”, an assertion that has always given off an unpleasant whiff of Ahab-ian arrogance.

What are some of the books you have out?

My first was Skunk Ape Semester, which I call “On the Road” meets “The X-Files”, and which touches on real-life phenomena such as Bigfoot (or, the titular Skunk Ape), Sedona vortices and UFOs, the Dover Demon, the lake monster Champ, etc.
17364665Next came The Green-Eyed Monster, a supernatural murder mystery with a strong philosophical bent, and which shares space with my surreal thriller Negative Space in a non-linear trilogy called The Enigma of Twilight Falls, the final of which,Waking Gods, will be released in January 2016 (I call it a ‘non-linear trilogy’ because the books can theoretically be read in any order).
There’s also The Prince of Earth, a metaphysical horror novel set alternately 20 years ago in the Scottish Highlands and in modern-day Los Angeles, and which I call a cross between H.P. Lovecraft and the films of David Lynch. Last but not least is the sampler platter Too Much Dark Matter, Too Little Gray: A Collection of Weird Fiction, which is a pool of horror, metaphysics, sci-fi, and “other.”
What will you be reading for episode 117 of the podcast?
My short story “High Stakes” from the aforementioned collection, Too Much Dark Matter, Too Little Gray. It’s a Twilight Zone-y meditation on fate and theology, tinged with dark humor and horror.
Where can you we find you online?
You can find me at my website: www.mikerobinson-author.com, as well as my Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/MikeRobinsonAuthor?ref=hl and my Amazon page at http://www.amazon.com/Mike-Robinson/e/B009RDLX7K/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_pop_1. My Goodreads page is here: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5753321.Mike_Robinson

An interview with Mark Slade

Posted in News with tags , , , , , on April 24, 2015 by David Watson

meOur featured author for episode 113 of the podcast is Mark Slade. Here is what Mark had to say about his work and what draws him to the horror genre:

 

 

 

When did you start writing?

I was 14.Iwrote a story after watching a movie on Elvira and quickly realized how bad that was compared to The Twilight Zone, Hammer films and Alfred Hitchcock Presents that I had been watching. I thought I could do better than that movie on Elvira. actually, I was wrong.  I wrote for years then stopped in my late twenties. I picked it up again at age 41 after a friend urged me to.

What kind of stories do you like to write?

Mostly I like to write stories with surprise endings. I love doing Twilight Zone type stories which is actually a huge canvas with fantasy,horror, and sf. I’ve always tried to find a good bridge between stories in the style of my fav writers like Ray Bradbury, Richard Matheson, Robert Bloch, Joe Lansdale, Dennis Etchison,  and Clive Barker along with influences from Tennessee Williams, Truman Capote,  and too many to list. Robert E. Howard has been a great influence as well, and I love Manly Wade Wellman and John Collier! no one ever talks about Collier. It’s a shame, he was really good.

Could you tell us where we might read some of your work?

Horrified Press has published a lot of my stories in their anthologies. They published my weird/western “A Six-Gun and the Queen of Light.” I have a book published by Sunbury Press called Electric Funeral. and some audio dramas I wrote for 4077th/all better audio productions. I have to thank Jeff Niles and Viktor Auralis for giving me the chance to write scripts for their audio dramas. I’m having a blast doing it.
I’m also in Demonic Visions anthologies edited and published by Chris Robertson. I also write a column called FROM THE GRAVE for Horror Metal Sounds website, run by Kenneth Gallant. Kenneth is hoping to transition to print soon. I get to look back on old favs from horror and underground categories. Maybe one day collect all of those articles in book form.
Could you tell us about Nightmare Illustrated magazine?22529373
Unfortunately NI is over with. It never really took off. It was meant to be in the style of EC comics what they called picto-fiction. It was hard to explain to artists how to do that, so I gave up and accepted what art I could get for the stories. some issues are better than others. I think issue 2 is the best. But we got to involve some good writers and artists. Got to have interviews with Joe Lansdale and a few others.
BIZZARE VOL 1
Could you tell us about your story in Bizarre Fantasy?
Bizarre fantasy is a comic book anthology edited with Gavin Chappell. in the same vein as Heavy Metal Magazine. got a lot of great art and some cool stories. That’s one thing I have to hand it to Nathan Rowark and Gavin Chappell. They are really good at giving writers and artists chances to express ideas and start-up projects. They’ve been good friends in these endeavors.
What’s the difference between writing a story that would be considered bizarre fiction as opposed to other genres?
I really couldn’t tell you. It’s all genre oriented aimed at those who like pulpy type of fiction. Really it’s more a name for the volumes coming out.
What do you like about the horror genre?
The fact that characters experience worst kind of situations and make it out changed people. Also that they are gruesome stories. Or funny. Sometimes the weirder the story, the better.
To find out more about Mark Slade check out his blog: http://bloodydreadful.blogspot.com/

Writer’s Workshop Winner: Jesse Orr

Posted in News with tags , , , , , on April 10, 2015 by David Watson

For episode Horror Addicts episode 112 our featured author is the winner of our annual writer’s work shop Jesse Orr. Jesse’s band Murder Weapons has been showcased on the horror addicts podcast last season:

https://horroraddicts.wordpress.com/2014/06/08/dawns-dark-music-corner-murder-weapons/

 

Jesse also has a 12 part story that is being showcased on the horroraddicts blog this season. The series is called Grant Me Serenity and you can read part one at this link:

https://horroraddicts.wordpress.com/2015/03/15/grant-me-serenity-jerry/

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Here is what Jesse had to say on his music and writing:

1. When did you start writing?

Earliest memory of writing I have is it being part of our daily routine in elementary school. One of my favorite activities was to take a picture from a metal box containing laminates of various random things, then write a story based off of it. I don’t remember most of the photos but two I recall are a gorgeous looking strawberry shortcake and some sort of tranquil wooded creek scene. I used the creek scene for a my first ever story with chapters. There were five chapters in that story, each one maybe fifty words. I remember being irked that they were so short upon typing them. There was also a unit called Written and Illustrated the whole school did every year in which as the title implies we would write and illustrate our own stories, then bind them into crude but awesome books. I still have some of them that I wrote, one of them a Sherlock Holmes mystery.
2. What are some of the subjects you like to write about?
Invariably something dark with a high likelihood of no happy ending. I wouldn’t say I have certain subjects I prefer over others. Generally nothing supernatural but that could be changing. I wish I could give a better answer but I’ve spent forever trying to and the idea of choosing to write about subjects is completely alien to me.
3. What is your story about for episode 112?

This was written sometime back in 2001 and was lost on a dead hard drive for about a decade. Once recovered, I had no memory of the story outside of knowing I’d written something ”fucked up and bloody” and retooled what I found to fit in with the origin part of a vampire story I’ve been working on for years. As you might guess, this is the origin of the vampire species itself on earth, with the newly turned largely running on mad savage instinct alone. What you don’t see in the story I submitted is that the longer one of these creatures stays alive, the more refined it gets and becomes less a zombie and more the vampire we are familiar with since Mr Lugosi redefined the role.

4. Could you tell us about your music career a little?

No.
Just kidding. The thing which started me on the path to where I am now was a review for a KISS concert in Anchorage Alaska in January 2000. I didn’t even go to this show, but the photo was very striking. I thought, “Holy shit, people are allowed to look this weird on stage? You can do that???” I started playing drums, took up bass upon moving out of my parents’ house, and moved to Seattle to further my career, Alaska not being known for producing musicians. I joined two projects within a month of moving here, one experimental avant-garde industrial and one 80s metal, the former I played keyboards and the latter I honed my bass skills with the help of the frontman. In 2009 I joined Desillusion, where I learned a whole new school of musicianship. I always wanted to start my own project though, and so I finally started writing my own tracks and looking for people who would play them with me. Murder Weapons was born in 2012 and we’ve been playing shows since. Currently we’re about to put out a CD and we’re planning a music video.
5. Is the process for writing a short story a lot different then writing a song?
The strangest things randomly inspire me, and I frequently wake up with gibberish scrawled on my dry erase board I have only a hazy recollection of writing. When writing a story, I always have it in my head, at least a concept for it, and then it’s just a matter of transcribing it. With a song, I frequently just sit down, choose a key and a cool sound and let it go from there. Sometimes I’ll have a sample or a concept in mind but normally I have no idea how a song will turn out when I start. With writing I normally have at least a vague idea.
6. Which one is easier for you?
They are equally easy when the muse is in. I wrote an entire song once start to finish within six hours because the muse was screaming in my ear that night. I have also had songs in progress for years and not finished. The same is true with writing. Some weeks I’ll have 10000 words, some I won’t even press a button. The hard part is being able to indulge the muse when it knocks, which more and more frequently is about ten minutes after I lay down to sleep.
7. What are your plans for the future in writing and in music?
With writing, I’m always trying to push myself to write at least in a way I haven’t yet. I like to write about certain things, and when I write about them time and time again I have to find some way of making it fresh. I’m hoping the column I have biweekly on this site is well received and eventually I’d like to publish some sort of book, or something. In music, I’m following the logical progression of album, music video, promotion, shows, repeat.

https://www.facebook.com/murd3rweapon5

Black Jack

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , , , on March 14, 2015 by David Watson

Final6x9-200x300Hey Horror Addicts, On this season of the horror addict’s podcast we will once again be having an audio drama that will be running season long. Starting with episode 111 you will be able to hear Dan Shaurette’s story Black Jack. Dan is a  staff writer at horroraddicts.net and his story Black Magic ran during season 8 of the horror addict podcast. Black Jack will be a full audio production with multiple voices and sound effects that you won’t want to miss. To get a feel for what to expect from Dan’s story I asked him a few questions about his work:

What is your story about?
Without giving away too much, the story is about Jacob Springer and his investigation into who killed his mother. It is set around the murderous reign of terror committed by Jack the Ripper in Whitechapel, 1888.

What inspired you to write it?
While writing Black City, my current novel in progress, I created Jacob Springer initially as a throwaway character, but he wasn’t too keen on that. He’s a bit of a rogue, you see. So as he became more involved in the story, I gave him a back-story, which evolved into this tale, Black Jack. Much like the side bits I discovered while writing Black Magic, it was the discovery of butchered bodies dumped in the Thames River and around town that are not (usually) attributed to Jack the Ripper. These killings started about a year or so before, occurred during, and lasted a year or two after Jack’s ripping spree took place. They made headlines, usually being blamed on Jack, but the police kept them separate while investigating because they were a different style of mutilations. It was the story of a victim who was unnamed at first, but later called “Fairy Fay”, that gave me the core of the tale.

5791268Who are some of the voices who will be in it?
In addition to Emerian Rich who brings voice to three different characters, my good friends and local podcasters Jack Mangan and Dani Cutler were roped in to help. Murdo Morrison and Mat Weller who voiced MacGillivray and Black in Black Magic are back. I also worked with Lucie Le Blanc again, who provided the voice of Abby from my Masters of Macabre story a few years back. She directed me to contact the phenomenal Veronica Giguere. Rounding out the cast are Pete Lutz, Sean Young, Glenn Hibburt, and Ted Wenskus, all of whom answered the call online for voices, and each and every one has been a pleasure to work with, and I hope to work with them again.

What can we expect in upcoming episodes?
Fairies, demons, and serial killers, oh my. Oh yes, there will be blood and gore. Gee, I hope this is the right place for that.

What do you like about this time period?
Especially this time period, the one dominated by Jack the Ripper, I find it fascinating researching the life and time of these people. Whitechapel was a piss-poor place to live back then, and the Ripper was a truly frightening killer. It was a dark and horrifying time and the mystery of who Jack the Ripper really was lingers to this day. In this story, I advance my theory as to who the Ripper might have been — had they been assisted by some supernatural elements, of course.

Is it related to your story Black Magic or Lilith’s Love?
Black Jack is a direct prequel to my novel, Black City, which Black Magic was a parallel story to. In Black City, Jacob Springer teams up with Matt Black and Andrew MacGillivray to find out who is killing women during the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago. If my stories were compared to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, these would be two stand-alone origin stories with Black City being The Avengers. With that analogy, Lilith’s Love is like one of the Spider-man movies — it came out a long time ago and you know the stories are connected somehow.

How long did it take to produce an episode?
Once everyone turns in their recorded lines to me, it takes me at least a week to edit everything together with sound effects and music to make one episode… which runs less than 10 minutes.

Will you eventually turn this into a book?
Yes, just as I did with Black Magic, I will edit and publish Black Jack. Then I have to finish up Black City before I go insane. You know, again. After that, I have so many more stories to tell, I promise, you haven’t heard the last from the Black Books.

 

For more information on Dan check out his website:

http://dan.shaurette.com/

“Dark is the Sea” by Heather Blanchard

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , , on January 11, 2015 by Donald "D.J." Pitsiladis

Hello fellow Addicts!

This week I bring an offering of witchcraft and mermaids in the form of “Dark is the Sea” by Heather Blanchard.

Rowan Munro was ten years old when she was kidnapped by a man whose face she doesn’t remember.  She managed to escape, although the how is also missing from her memories.  When her mother disappears months later, Rowan’s father moves her to London, far from her home in the Scottish village of Dorchay.  Years later, she returns to stay with her aunt and discovers her heritage is a very unique one.  She also rekindles a friendship with her best friend Violet, a young witch being trained by her aunt, and falls in love with another childhood friend named Blake.  Amidst all of this, a mysterious and powerful entity, known as The Hunter, has set his sights on her.

In many ways, this book reads like the Twilight series of books, only without the vampires.  There is a very clear romantic theme throughout the book, as well as plenty of paranormal goings on.   From The Hunter to a castle haunted by shadow creatures, this does have a lot to keep any reader’s interest.  If there are any faults to it, it’s Rowan’s reactions to certain key events.  It is a good read, but more so if you are a fan of paranormal romance stories.

Until next time, Addicts.

Donald “D.J.” Pitsiladis

Kbatz: Apparitions

Posted in News with tags , , , on October 14, 2014 by kbattz

Apparitions is a Fine Spiritual Thriller

By Kristin Battestella

apparitionsWhat if Mother Teresa was possessed and died during an exorcism? So begins Apparitions, a 2008 6-part British tale chronicling a modern day exorcist caught between the bureaucracy of Rome and the demons running amok in London. Who knew?

Father Jacob (Martin Shaw) tries to help a young family in fear of demonic possession, despite Cardinal Bukovak’s (John Shrapnel) insistence that Father Jacob is over stepping the bounds of his archaic exorcism office. Sister Ruth (Siobhan Finneran) is placed as Father Jacob’s secretary to keep an eye on him, but she begins to question the strange goings on around their parish – and their mysterious patient Michael (Rick Warden), himself a victim of possession in Satan’s master plan to birth new and powerful evil on earth. Can Father Jacob unravel these demonic intentions and save the lives and souls of those around him, or will his own institution and the non-believers inside and out inadvertently allow evil to triumph?

Blasphemous suggestions, debates on canonization, and behind the scenes church happenings are immediately intriguing to start Episode 1 of Apparitions. However, series writer and director Joe Ahearne (Ultraviolet, Doctor Who) and co-creator Nick Collins (Murder in Suburbia) also smartly endear the cast and plots with quickly relatable young girls with possessed dads and seemingly inspired Leprosy healings. There’s a pleasing attention to detail as well through battle of wits dialogue, historical dates, and specific examinations. Are the saints as active in earthly work as demons – even in prisons and with rapists seeking repentance? Perfumes versus foul scents, appearing and disappearing eerie figures, and more devilish implications create a paranormal but religious CSI design with no need to resort to nasty priesthood innuendo. The flaws of the church, however, are certainly acknowledged; exorcisms are recognized as medieval hokey, and the misbelieving even make some Hammer Horror jokes. Are such non-believers all possessed by evil? Of course not, but are all men of the cloth touched by grace? Nope. Apparitions confronts the whole lot of grey in between thanks to multiple storylines and layers of legion; the longer serial format gives room for deeper demonology dimensions, legal issues, social services, church hierarchy, government battles, and family debates by Episode 2. A film would have one monstrosity excised with the confrontation against evil resolved in several hours, but Apparitions offers a possession infrastructure to mirror the church’s chain of command. Who knew being a priest was such dangerous work? Apparitions remains self aware with quips – “Don’t make many enemies in your line of work?” “Only Satan.” – and provides fantastical but honest discussion on humanity being the battleground between good and evil where our flaws, temptations, and those to which we would or would not do harm are used against us. Casualties and sacrifices happen in this spiritual warfare, and Episode 3 raises the stakes as Apparitions uses its individual hours or multi part arcs to tie its larger plot together. It was probably tough to watch Apparitions from week to week thanks to the somewhat rolling cast and changing righteous or evil affiliations, but binging several episodes at a time keeps the soulful character dilemmas in focus.

Demonic pregnancies and abortions gone awry push the exorcism twists further in Episode 4, but these upsetting, controversial themes remain delicate and compelling. Where is the line between deformity or evil showing upon one’s person, disability, mental illness, and possession? Do we encounter demons daily but remain unaware as we argue the fine line between medical rights, patient privacy, and religious need? No one wants a priest interfering with healthcare, but interesting commentary on how medicine was once thought of as superstition helps plead the spiritual case. Demons, of course, thrive on perversion and seek to be born in emulation of John the Baptist and Jesus Christ. Even people who think they believe are shocked when they encounter the possessed on Apparitions. Episode 5 mixes Islam and supposed visions of the Blessed Mother with hopeful, miraculous moments, and this good standing tall balance keeps Apparitions from being too somber or serious. Can we recognize these good or ills among us? Do we invite the devil in while supposedly differing religions recognize our common evil enemy? Apparitions poses a lot of questions and can be lofty at times in hypothesizing whether humanity is inherently bad or good, and some secondary people or plots end up forgotten and unresolved by the Episode 6 finale. Several excellent supporting players don’t have any follow up time, and this one series could have perhaps been 8 or 10 hours instead of 6. Fortunately, great guest stars and core characters facing their own demons provide more thought provoking muster. Could you work for evil just once to save millions? The needs of the masses certainly outweigh the cost of one’s own life – or soul. The finale pieces together all the significant dates, anniversaries, and births to up Apparitions’ ante, testing its faithless by having them perform exorcisms and face their own catastrophes. Once you open the door to hell, can it be closed? Does God let evil in only to prove good’s triumph? For all its doom and gloom on evil and possession, Apparitions is a powerful spiritual show about the underlining good needed for the job, cloth or no cloth.

Apparitions producer and star Martin Shaw (Judge John Deed, Inspector George Gently, The Professionals) looks the mature, priestly part as Father Jacob and is certainly up to the credible, experienced, and soft spoken but kick ass task. His rapport with young Romy Irving (Public Enemies) overcomes her fear and ours as Father Jacob puts pressure on and pursues his investigation for the true cause – there’s no time to pussyfoot around when souls are at stake! Father Jacob firmly believes Satan is amidst our daily lives but must continually defend his exorcism office even to fellow church members who think he is relic of the past. Father Jacob embodies an interesting debate – he doesn’t want people to suffer to prove his point, but the possessed are the exact people he must excise. How much pain is saving the world going to take? You don’t need to believe to enjoy Apparitions thanks to Shaw’s everyman alone style and the doubts cast upon him by others. Why do so many immediately resist the opportunity for his help or take extremes to spit in his face? Is it easier for people to run from faith when they should fight evil or help good to happen? Father Jacob is an anchor for his office, yet Shaw also provides excellent internal conflict and silent reflection. His line of work always leads to death, but Father Jacob must continue to fight the good fight. A very strong script also helps Shaw take it to the next level – he always has a good comeback or the right thing to say to the possessed, the believer, or the church that is both for and against him. Father Jacob has to break the rules and does what he has to do, and Apparitions is a worthy ride because we want to see Father Jacob succeed against all this dang earthly red tape just as much as we root for his quest against supernatural evil.

Are these miracles on Apparitions done for good or ill? Guest priest Elyes Gabel (Game of Thrones) adds more conflict and temptation while addressing homosexual ideologies within the Catholic Church. Are the ones concerned with what is thought to be the unclean or questioning their faith and role in the church the ones closest to God that the demons seek to trick and enter in? David Gyasi (Interstellar) as prison chaplain Father Daniel wants to take action and is a resourceful ally for Father Jacob, but doubts what he witnesses during exorcisms. Wouldn’t you? Shaun Dooley (Red Riding) also represents a realistic father trying to handle divorce and parenting before possession becomes a factor. Why does he have to justify his family to the church, indeed? Rounding out the ensemble is Rick Warden (Band of Brothers) as the perfectly disturbing, demonic, and desperate Michael. His Holocaust parallels and waxing on why God allows evil to happen are sickly good television. The devil is, after all, a master wordsmith and persuasive little fellow who exploits our fears and weaknesses. Michael’s struggles with his possession are eerily correct in many aspects – cast out one demon on Apparitions, and another takes his place. Ultimately, Satan wants your soul, or better yet, the best soul he can find. The higher evil can climb, all the better. Thus is the battle on Apparitions.

 

Some of the female characters on Apparitions, however, are somewhat under written as either helpful, bitchy, or obstacles as needed and could have stayed around much, much longer. Sassy nun Michelle Joseph (Eastenders) feels under utilized as the good counterbalance to numerous cliché non-believing beotches, but detective Stephanie Street (20 Things to Do before You’re 30) does better as a strong sensible lady seeking answers to these crimes. Can justice be served legally and spiritually or does one office trump the other? Likewise, abortion clinic doctor Claudia Harrison (Murphy’s Law) is willing to consider Father Jacob’s theories whilst also seeing to her patients needs, and psychologist Claire Price (Rebus) seems objective but her atheist stance and evaluations for the church clash just a bit. Cherie Lunghi (Excalibur) also provides a very interesting debate on the devil as seduction, and it is such a loss that Apparitions didn’t continue for a second season. Just seeing Lunghi and Shaw go toe to toe in this ongoing good versus evil war would have been delightful enough! Thankfully, Siobhan Finneran (Downton Abbey) is a strict but fun Sister Ruth with worthy wit to match Shaw as Father Jacob. She starts out an unofficial spy for the suspicious, jerky but juicy, and career advancement seeking John Shrapnel (Gladiator) as Cardinal Bukovak, but Sister Ruth is wise enough to make up her own mind in whether she is for or against what’s happening. She certainly plays with that vow of obedience as needed! Again, this evil fighting priest and nun tag team antagonism would have been fun to see in a Series Two. Pity.

The look and feel of Apparitions is appropriately foreign and ecclesiastical, too, with plenty of priestly robes, aged buildings, and inspiring or brooding locales from London to Rome. Smart uses of Latin prayers and Italian dialogue also accent the drama, which doesn’t go for shocking full on horror in its solid 55-minute shows. Of course, there are disconcerting touches of gore, blood, and skin – and not as in nudity skin, either – and subtitles will be necessary for these soft-spoken accents and multiple languages during the tense moments of exorcism, violence, and surprises. Despite old world candles, chapels, and rituals, the medieval rite in the modern realm also makes amusing appearances. Oh, a second priest isn’t handy for an exorcism? Let’s just call him up and put on the speakerphone! Excellent intercutting, uses of light and dark photography, colored lighting, and zooms up the intensity, and music, prayers, and near chanting rhythms heighten simultaneous action. People do shout or talk over each other, but this works when the languages or prayers are being translated – or when taunting demons are causing mayhem while those unseeing speak on, unaware. Fiery fantastics and walking on water spectacles do have their moments in the final two episodes, but most of Apparitions relies on the cast in action or reaction before special effects. Sometimes the imagery of the possessed tapping on the church gates waiting to enter in is really all you need to send your demonic tale home.

 

Some audiences may be put off by the totally steeped in religion setting of Apparitions, and the variously heavy subject matter is obviously polarizing. This is however an intelligent presentation of a frightening implication, a word of warning on the dilemmas both internal and external akin to the classic “The Howling Man” episode of The Twilight Zone. Despite sensational topics and a dabble in the supernatural realm, Apparitions does not go for the scandalous or shocking but remains a mature analysis on body, mind, and soul – you won’t find everything wrapped in a pretty bow here like other exorcism films that declare all is well. The plots remain personal with small people amid the institutional framework solving mysteries and using clues in this tormenting game against evil – a game evil wants to play with you. Mainstream sophisticated viewers, casual horror fans, and even the non uber religious can enjoy the good versus evil drama of Apparitions.

Kbatz: The Visitation

Posted in News with tags , , , , on July 22, 2014 by kbattz

 

The Visitation Gave Me Nightmares

By Kristin Battestella

 

The cover looked cool and it was quasi religious-that’s how we came to purchase The Visitation.  Edward Furlong and Kelly Lynch star in the 2006 Independent thriller from director Robby Henson and novelist Frank Peretti.

 

Martin Donovan stars as Travis, a minister who has lost his faith since his wife’s murder.  Fellow minister Kyle (Randy Travis) encourages Travis to get involved when strange sightings around the quiet town of Antioch occur.  Mysterious prophetic men appear and disappear, and new veterinarian in town Morgan (Kelly Lynch) is healed.  Her rebellious son Michael (Noah Segan) quickly falls under this powerful spell after a freaky near fatal car accident.  When Brandon Nichols (Edward Furlong) finally arrives in Antioch, all the women in town fall into his group.  But to Travis and atheist Morgan, Brandon is not the messiah he appears to be.

 

It wasn’t Furlong’s ambiguous portrayal that spooked me, but his here and there again disciples are the freakiest things since Julian Sands in Warlock.  They kill Travis’ dog only to resurrect it; they give words of wisdom around town-not the help the people of Antioch, but to sway them in Brandon Nichols’ favor.  When the trio stake’s out Morgan’s home , the window apparitions are downright creepy.  My bed is currently next to my window, so the thought of sadistic long haired demonic angels pacing a foot away from my head definitely gave me a few bad dreams.  Well…okay nightmares so bad I woke up with my heart pounding.  Not a lot of films can do that!

 

Edward Furlong’s acting as the second coming in The Visitation, however, leaves much to be desired.  He’s good at being bad, but Furlong doesn’t sell the charismatic leader well.  He’s known as a Hollywood bad boy, so right from the start we know Brandon’s up to no good.  After his true intentions are revealed, Furlong does little to gain sympathy for his character.  His acting hasn’t grown much beyond Terminator 2: Judgment Day, but director Henson (Thr3e) smartly focuses elsewhere.  Furlong isn’t the star of the film, Travis Jordan is.  We relate to his story far better, and Donovan (Weeds) shows his angst well.  We know his vibe; because he thinks something is fishy, so do we.  Likewise, we understand Kelly Lynch and Morgan’s struggle and doubts.  Traditional fans or country enthusiasts might wish to tune in for Randy Travis.  The crooner’s portrayal of the Billy Graham like Pentecostal leader in town is steadfast as the voice of reason in Antioch.  His character is integral to the film, and perhaps there should be a touch more of him.

 

The convoluted story in The Visitation, however, does need some fine tuning.  We receive Nichols’ back story a little too late, but it’s double tied and redundant.  We are meant to sympathize with him, but the herky jerky abuse flashbacks don’t plant the seed well enough for us to imagine the horrors endured. It’s as if screenwriter Brian Godawa thought something on Nichols was needed, but I’m not so sure it was.

 

Initially I thought this was a horror movie, so I was surprised to find it online in a Christian catalogue.  Henson’s  movie is about the awesome, tempting, too good too be true power of the devil, the costs of said power, and the dark half of human nature that Satan needs.  Looking all bad and Warlocked on the outside, The Visitation is really a very serious religious film about faith.  The moral dilemmas in The Visitation  are swift and complex.  Morgan is the anti-Christian who is saved by the Bible given to her from Kyle Sherman.  When Travis is tempted by Nichols in his cultish revival tent, it’s incredibly easy to give in.  Everyone else has, but Travis holds fast to his supposedly lost faith.  Even when he discovers his wife’s murder is directly involved with Nichols’ plan, Travis does the right thing.  Brandon Nichols, unfortunately, puts his faith in Satan and his spooky angels.

 

I would also label The Exorcist as a quasi religious film like The Visitation.  As is the case here, we witness the deceiving power of the Prince of Darkness.  Both films are equal parts horror and religion.  Where The Exorcist scares you witless, The Visitation wins on what you can’t see.  Contemporary Christian teens will love the struggles in The Visitatio and perhaps its source novel. The mock crucifixions, however, are too frightening for kids or prudes.   The point here is your religious choice.  Could Nichols have chosen Christ over the Devil?  The Visitation makes the audience think on this also.  Can we?

 

With precious little effects and solid acting, Henson puts out a serious moral film just as much along the lines of Elmer Gantry and The Apostle as The Exorcist.  Henson could have easily created an effects laden gory, all the stops out, wow is the devil show.  Thankfully, he didn’t.  The Visitation is for horror fans, religious groups, devout young adults, and all the skeptics alike.  Regardless of where you’re coming from, The Visitation is worth the watch-and the nightmares.

 

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