Live Action Reviews! by Crystal Connor: Relatos Salvajes (Savage Tales)

Plotline: Six dark stories, involving six savage situations full of revenge (either accidental or intentional), dangerous and unexpected arguments or misunderstandings, suspicious conversations and deals, which change the lives of people who are involved in them.

—Gusde from IMDb 

Who would like it: Fans of horror shorts, horror anthologies, foreign films, twisted tales, revenge stories and dark comedies. 

High Points: All six stories are really strong 

Complaints: N/A

Overall: I loved it!

Stars:  By Segment…

1 Pasternak: While being on a plane, a model and a music critic realize they have a common acquaintance called Pasternak. Soon they discover that every passenger and crew member on board know Pasternak. Is this coincidence? 5 Starts

2 Las Ratas (The Rats): A waitress recognizes her client – it’s the loan shark who caused a tragedy in her family. The cook suggests mixing rat poison with his food, but the waitress refuses. The stubborn cook, however, decides to proceed with her plan. 4 Stars

3 El Más Fuerte (The Strongest): Two drivers on a lone highway have an argument with tragic consequences. 5 Stars

4. Bombita (Little Bomb): A demolition engineer has his car towed by a truck for parking in a wrong place and he has an argument with the employee of the towing company. This event destroys his private and professional life, and he plots revenge against the corrupt towing company and the city hall. 4 ½ Stars

5. La Propuesta (The Proposal): A reckless son of a wealthy family has an overnight hit-and-run accident, in which a pregnant woman gets killed. He wakes his parents up and his father calls the lawyer. The parents propose to pay the ground-keeper to take the blame for the boy. Soon the father discovers that he is a victim of extortion of his lawyer and the public prosecutor in charge of the investigation. What will be his decision? 5 Stars (This one made me the most angry)

6. Hasta que La Muerte nos Separe (Until Death Do Us Apart): During the wedding party, the bride discovers that her newlywed husband has been cheating on her with one of the guests, and she decides to pay him back. 5 Stars (My personal favorite)

Where I watched it: VOD

***

Master Imaginationist and Instagram photographer Crystal Connor is the Chief Imagineer working for the Department of Sleep Prevention’s Nightmare Division. A Washington State native she loves anything to do with monsters, bad guys (as in evil-geniuses & super-villains.  Not ‘those’ kind her mother warned her about), rogue scientific experiments, jewelry, sky-high high-heeled shoes & unreasonably priced handbags.

When she’s not terrorizing her fans and racking up frequent flyers miles by gallivanting all over the country attending fan conventions and writer’s conferences she reviews indie horror and science fiction films for both her personal blog and HorrorAddicts.net

She is also considering changing her professional title to dramatization specialist because it so much more theatrical than being a mere drama queen.

http://wordsmithcrystalconnor.com

http://www.facebook.com/notesfromtheauthor

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

http://podiobooks.com/title/and-they-all-lived-happily-ever-after

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Live Action Reviews! by Crystal Connor : The Field Guide to Evil

Plotline:

A feature-length anthology film. They are known as myths, lore, and folktales. Created to give logic to mankind’s darkest fears, these stories laid the foundation for what we now know as the horror genre.

Who would like it: People who love horror anthologies, foreign films, the dark side of folklore and horror shorts  

High Points: Diverse collection of stories from different parts of the world

Complaints: N/A

Overall: It’s really good, over all I am going to give it 4 ½ Stars!

Stars: By Segment…

DIE TRUD: A terrifying monster, known as the ‘Trud’, visits sinners in medieval Austria. In this female centric story, the sinner not only surrenders to (perceived) sin, but embraces the Trud.⠀3 Stars

AL KARISI: The shape-shifting demon mentioned in Armenian, Kurdish & Semitic folktales that appears in the form of an ugly old woman stealing newborn babies and haunting pregnant women in their nightmares. Specifically, women without a man by their side at night.⠀5 Stars

THE KINDLER AND THE VIRGIN: In the forest of Poland a kindler meets a ghost-like virgin. To thank him for the fact that he carried her to the village on his back she shares a secret on how to avoid the law. He must dig out 3 freshly buried bodies and eat their hearts and he will never be guilty. 3 ½ Stars

MELON HEADS: A Midwestern legend. Melon Heads is the name given to legendary beings and urban legends in parts of Michigan, Ohio, and Connecticut generally described as small humanoids with bulbous heads, theorized in the 1970s, who occasionally emerge from hiding places to attack people. 2.8 Stars

WHAT EVER HAPPENED TO PANAGAS THE PAGAN: The kallikantzaros is a malevolent goblin that dwells underground sawing the world tree all year so that it will collapse, along with the Earth. According to Greek folklore, when they are about to saw the final part, Christmas dawns and they are able to come to the surface to bring trouble to mortals. On January 6th, when the sun ceases its seasonal movement, they must return underground to continue sawing for the world tree has since healed itself. 4 Stars

PALACE OF HORRORS: A circus agent is lead to the depths of the jungles of Bengal to the ruins of an old palace where human curiosities were once kept. They try to convince the caretaker to sell them the malformed people.⠀2 ½ Stars

A NOCTURNAL BREATH: A brother and sister live in a remote area of Germany. Their livestock is infected with the plague, which is spread by a rat-like ‘drude’ that swaps between human hosts. 5 Stars

THE COBBLERS’ LOT: Loosely based on Hungarian folklore. It is originally known as ‘The Princess’ Curse’ and told here as the tale of fraternal shoemakers competing for the hand of the king’s daughter from a neighboring kingdom amid fetishism and the perils of the libido. 5 Stars (My personal favorite!)

Where I watched it: VOD

***

Master Imaginationist and Instagram photographer Crystal Connor is the Chief Imagineer working for the Department of Sleep Prevention’s Nightmare Division. A Washington State native she loves anything to do with monsters, bad guys (as in evil-geniuses & super-villains.  Not ‘those’ kind her mother warned her about), rogue scientific experiments, jewelry, sky-high high-heeled shoes & unreasonably priced handbags.

When she’s not terrorizing her fans and racking up frequent flyers miles by gallivanting all over the country attending fan conventions and writer’s conferences she reviews indie horror and science fiction films for both her personal blog and HorrorAddicts.net

She is also considering changing her professional title to dramatization specialist because it so much more theatrical than being a mere drama queen.

http://wordsmithcrystalconnor.com

http://www.facebook.com/notesfromtheauthor

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

http://podiobooks.com/title/and-they-all-lived-happily-ever-after

Book Review: Freaks edited by Toneye Eyenot and Michael Noe

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

David’s Haunted Library: Shadow People And Cursed Objects and Wicked Gardens

David's Haunted Library

28810445I have two anthologies that I want to talk about and they have one thing in common. They both include a story from Horror Addicts hostess Emerian Rich. The First book is Shadow People and Cursed Objects edited by C. Le Mroch. There may be a lot of ghost anthologies out there but what makes make this one different is that it challenges you to guess if each ghostly tale is based on a true story or not. At the end of the book  is a section that gives background info on each story and tells you if its true or the author’s imagination.

Shadow People and Cursed Objects has thirteen tales that are well written and delightfully spooky. The first story is The Busby Chair by Alice J. Black. In this one, a boy is dared by his classmates to sit in a cursed chair in a museum. According to legend, a ghost will come and kill you if you sit in his chair. I loved the atmosphere here and how it includes an old legend and kids doing something dumb due to a dare. This was the perfect set up for the rest of the anthology.

It’s hard to pick favorites, but one of mine was Bye Bye Blackbird by Emerian Rich. Set in 1926, it focuses on a shy woman who spots a raven necklace that she must have. Despite the shopkeeper refusing to sell, she ends up with the necklace after a series of events and wishes she hadn’t. What I love about it is how the twenties comes to life with references to flappers and the descriptions of the outfits they wear. I liked that despite the main characters getting warned about the necklace, they seem to think that the warning means something different and the woman with the necklace becomes a target. I loved the concept of a cursed object causing so much destruction.

Another story that stood out for me here is Doomsday Every Night At Five by Evan Dicken. The story looks at a simpler time where a young girl keeps seeing stories of the apocalypse on an old TV every night at 5. After awhile she comes to the conclusion that the people in the TV are watching her as she is watching them and there are things happening that she can’t control. There is only one way to end how she feels, I love the ending to this one.  I also enjoyed the next story in the anthology which again deals with a kid taking a dare. Fatty And The Nothing Man by Sean Ealy follows a boy named Fatty who decides to venture into a haunted house in order to impress his so called friends. Inside he meets the old woman who owns the house and finds that there is only one way to leave the house. What I liked here was how the woman talks Fatty into what she wants him to do and then Fatty makes a big revelation of his own. Does anything good ever come from a dare?

Another great one here is Pedro by the book’s editor C. Le Mroch. Did you ever have an invisible sibling that your parents talked about being perfect in every way? We’ll Peter had that, his name was Pedro and now Peter is an adult and Pedro is getting Peter’s son into trouble. How do you stop a ghost from causing trouble? Peter will find out that there is only one way to do it. This was an excellent story with a good message to it. There are no bad stories in Shadow People and Cursed Objects. The editor did an excellent job of picking the best of the best and the concept of deciding what is real or what isn’t also makes this book a must read. This is one book that you shouldn’t pass up.

The other anthology is Wicked Gardens Edited by Mark Slade and Gavin Chappell. This book is differentCfc5tMWWwAAYs7a than most books out there. In this collection, we have several stories that range from the bizarre to the horrific and they all have to do with an apartment building and a garden. Anything goes in this anthology and if I had to describe it in two words I would say it’s oddly original. I’m no stranger to Mark Slade’s work. When you read a book that has him involved you just need to check your brain at the door and enjoy the ride, and I did just that.

One of my favorite stories here was from Emerian Rich called The Garden. Belinda went to live with her Gram after her dad died and mom ran off. She feels lonely sometimes but the roses in Gram’s garden are always there when no one else is. I love the foreshadowing in the beginning of this story with Belinda being compared to the flowers that her grandma grows. There is also a good message about how your loved ones never really abandon you and you are strong enough to survive anything.

Another good one is Giving Up The Ghost by Mark Slade. This one has to do with an unhappy couple, a trapped spirit and a man who doesn’t want to give up his old apartment. I loved the idea of a spirit being kept against its will.

If you like strange, there is one tale in this book that really fits the bill. Apartment 6-A by L.A. Sykes is about a serial killer stuck in an apartment after the apocalypse. One word to describe this one is bleak. There is no light and no living people, just one man alone with the memories of his past killings and some dead bodies which he has conversations with. This was one deranged story.

This may be an odd little book but it’s not one that you should pass up. All of the stories and poems here show a lot of imagination and you have to love a book where anything goes. Wicked Gardens is the kind of book you read when you want to try something totally different because this book will remind you how creative horror writers can be.

 

Cheap Reads

206_SomeoneWicked_Amy_1For this post I want to take a look at anthologies. One anthology I’ve read recently is Someone Wicked which was edited by Weldon Burge and JM Reinbold and available from Smart Rhino Publications. This book is a collection of 21 tales by the Written Remains Writers Guild that cover such genres as horror, comedy, fantasy and mystery. This is one impressive anthology, every story here is well written and each story is different from the last.

One good story in Someone Wicked is Reckonings by Gail Husch. I loved how the main character describes herself in the beginning  and then she gets into all the little things that she does to get vengeance on the people who annoy her. This is a simple story but the way everything is described paints a picture and makes it come to life. The way this one was written made me think this is going be a great anthology and all of the other stories here are just as good.

Reckonings is a  quiet, psychological horror story with a touch of humor. To show the diversity in Someone Wicked the next story is The Flenser by Billie Sue Mosiman. This horror story goes more for the gross out effect but still manages to have interesting characters and a good shocking ending. The Flenser is about a man who gets a job cleaning flesh off of skull so they can be sold to medical facilities. I did not know jobs exsisted like this and it was interesting reading about how these people would interact with others and what their idea of fun might be.

One of my favorites in this book is Mirror, Mirror by Chantal  Noordeloos. This is a dark fantasy story that looks at the legend of bloody Mary. This story begins in 1852 and is told by a girl named Sophie who along with her mother lives on a  plantation. Sophie has a step sister named Marie-Louise who is a bully and likes to make Sophie’s life hard. In addition to bullying, Sophie has a hard life and her mother along with others end up dying under mysterious circumstances. Sophie feels like an outcast and makes friends with some of the slaves. Here Sophie finds out about the cursed mirror in the house. I loved how this story was told with all the details of life in the mid 1800’s and I liked Sophie’s relationship with the slaves. This was one great horror story on a legend that I didn’t know much about.

In addition to the excellent horror stories in this book there is a mystery here called Missing by JM Reinbold, along with some good takes on fairy tales such as Sisters: A Fairy Tale by Liz DeJesus which I would love to see expanded into a novel. I also loved the dramatic Impresario by Maria Masington, this one takes a look at one young person’s descent into drug addiction that I think sadly a lot of people can relate to. This book even has some stories that are just for laughs such as The Semi-Aquatic Blue Baker of Borneo by Justynn Tyme which is a hard story to explain, it just has to be read. This anthology has it all and is a book you shouldn’t pass up. There are also two other anthologies from Smart Rhino that you might enjoy:


13489986Zippered Flesh edited by Weldon Burge

Monstrous transplants. Appalling amputations. Bizarre implants. Nightmarish forms of body enhancements. Disturbing, perverse, often gut-wrenching stories–all between the covers of this anthology. Here are 20 tales by some of today’s best horror, suspense, and science fiction writers, including Graham Masterton, John Shirley, Scott Nicholson, Michael Laimo, Lisa Mannetti, L.L. Soares, Armand Rosamilia, Aaron J. French, Christopher Nadeau, Michael Bailey, Adrienne Jones, Charles Colyott, J. Gregory Smith, Michael Louis Calvillo, Jezzy Wolfe, Jonathan Templar, P.I. Barrington, Elliott Capon, Rob M. Miller, and Weldon Burge. The stories are not for those who are faint of heart or squeamish, or who are easily offended by nasty language, bloody violence, and freakish body augmentations. You’ve been warned!

Broken: Stories of Damaged Psyches edited by Weldon Burge

This is a collection of five horror/suspense stories by Weldon Burge, including:

SIZZLE — A philandering doctor meets a hill man who wants the “sizzle” cut out of his brain

ANOTHER HIGHWAY FATALITY — A college girl, driving alone late at night during a heavy storm, is stalked by a car with a missing headlight

WHITE HELL, WISCONSIN — A snow plow driver, plowing back roads in rural Wisconsin during a blizzard, fights for his life against elusive assailants

PERMANENT DETENTION — A stressed-out teenager believes his History teacher is actually one of the living dead

BLUE EYE BURN — A Vietnam veteran is haunted by a terrifying incident involving a young Vietnamese girl

African American Horror Writers

With February being Black History Month I thought it would be nice to do a blog post talking about African American horror writers. I knew of four writers when I started this post but managed to find  more as I was writing. I’m sure there are quite a few more out there that I missed, so if you know of any others please leave a  comment on the end of this post.

The first author I want to talk about and probably the most popular is L.A. Banks. L.A. Banks was born in Philadelphia. She has written under several different names, has written in multiple genres and has won many literary awards. L.A. Banks is the author of the Vampire Huntress series of novels and comics. There are 12 novels in this series along with one graphic novel and a YA novel. Some critics have called her work: “fresh, hip, fantastic and far superior to Buffy.” Some of her vampire novels include Minion and The Awakening.

L.A. Banks has also written a series of six werewolf novels called the Crimson Moon series. Some of the titles include Never Cry Werewolf and Left for Undead. L.A. Banks was also the co founder of The Liar’s Club, a networking group for professionals in publishing and other aspects of entertainment. Sadly L.A. Banks died of adrenal cancer in 2011. You can find out more about her career at leslieesdailebanks.com.

Next up is Maurice Broaddus, he was born in London, England but now lives in America. He graduated from Purdue University and is a senior writer for Hollywoodjesus.com. Maurice has written in several genres, his horror novels include: Devil’s Marionette and The Knights of Breton Court: King Maker. Maurice now live in Indianapolis Indiana and is part of the Indiana Horror Writers Association. You can learn more about him at mauricebroaddus.com.

The next author I want to talk about is Brandon Massey, he was born in Waukegan, Illinois in 1973 and has published three novels a year since  1999. Brandon loved watching horror movies growing up and he was a life long reader. He then decided that he wanted to start telling his own stories and became a horror writer. Some of his novels include: Thunderland and Covenant. Brandon has also edited two collections of short stories by African American Horror writers called: Dark Dreams and Voices From The Other Side: Dark Dreams 2. To learn more about Brandon Massey go to: brandonmassey.com.

Next on the list is Wrath James White. Wrath is a former MMA fighter and hard core horror author.  In 2011 Wrath wrote a book of dark poetry called Vicious Romantic which was nominated for an HWA Bram Stoker award and a movie just went into production based on his novel The Resurrectionist.  some of his other works include Succulent Prey and Population Zero. Wrath James White also has a great blog which I’ve been reading for the last 5 years where he talks about politics, religion and anything else that he finds worthy to talk about, to check it out go to wordsofwrath.blogspot.com.

Jermiah Jefferson is another author who like L.A. Banks has written a series of vampire novels. Jermiah grew up listening to disco music and watching horror movies. She also loved to daydream and read. She has written non fiction, erotica and has written four books in the Voice of Blood vampire series. Some of her works include Wounds and A Drop of Scarlet. For more information about her go to: jemiah.com.

The authors above were authors that have written more then one horror novel but there are also some authors that have only one horror novel or is a writer of horror flash fiction or poetry that I wanted to mention also. One writer that I have to mention is Octavia Butler. Octavia wrote mostly science fiction throughout her life but she did write a vampire novel called Fledgling. Another great science fiction writer that has written some novels that could be considered horror is Tananarive Due; one of her horror novels  is called Joplin’s Ghost.

Another author I want to mention here  is Angella C. Allen who edited a vampire anthology by African American Horror Writers called: Dark Thirst. I also can’t fail to mention Michael Boatman who wrote a book about monster hunters called The Revenant Road which I will be reviewing on this blog in the next week or so. Last but not least is Andre Duza who has written a book about a zombie woman out for revenge against a serial killer called Dead Bitch Army. Once again, this is an incomplete list if you know of any authors that I forgot to mention please leave a comment.