THE BIGFOOT FILES\Chapter Thirty-Three: Bigfoot: A Short Story

In D.L. Finn’s Bigfoot: A Short Story, a man’s life forever changes when he stumbles upon an obscure blog while searching for his recently retired friend, Bob and Bob’s wife Elly. The blog features a bizarre interview with Bob who reveals a conspiracy to kill Bigfoot.

The man reading the blog is Steve, whose wife Sandy wants him to find the new address for Bob and Elly. The couple retired and suddenly moved to Florida without so much as a goodbye or forwarding address. As Steve reads the blog, the story develops a distinct “X-Files” vibe complete with cryptid encounters, UFO sightings, and government conspiracies.

Finn effectively uses the blog in her 2018 short story to challenge Steve’s and the reader’s ability to discern fact from fiction. As the story elevates from a crazy Bigfoot tale into revealing a universal threat to humanity, Steve makes a life-changing decision for him and his wife based on a photograph and a gut feeling.

In an era of fake news and online hoaxes, Bigfoot: A Short Story makes you wonder what you would do in Steve’s situation. I doubt I could do what he did in the end, but after reading Finn’s story, I’d definitely think about it.

NEXT UP: Chapter Thirty-Four: Exists. I review the 2014 horror film directed by Eduardo Sánchez.

Historian of Horror : You Ain’t Nothin’ But a Hound Dawg…

You Ain’t Nothin’ But a Hound Dawg…

I’m pretty much positive that the first film adaptation of The Hound of the Baskervilles that I ever saw was the 1959 Hammer version starring Peter Cushing as Sherlock Holmes and Christopher Lee as Sir Henry Baskerville. According to the database, I assembled several years ago from the television schedules in the Nashville newspaper for those years during which I developed my love of all things horrifying, I must have seen it on September 25, 1965, at 4:00 P.M. That was when the afternoon movie aired by our local CBS station, The Big Show, was on the air. I was in second grade at the time, attending a school close enough to have gotten home from by then, so it fits. None of the other showings I found were possible candidates. I would have either been on my way home from school during a period when it was a much longer trip, or the movie was shown much too late at night for me to have stayed up for at the tender age I was when it was broadcast. Ergo, not only did I see it when I was seven years old, I didn’t watch it again until I was much older. And yet, that viewing is firmly etched into my brain. I remember every detail clearly as if I saw it for the first time just a few years ago. We had only recently gotten our first color TV set, and I recall being fascinated by the vibrant hues of the process Hammer used in their productions.

Funny, isn’t it, how something we experience so young can have such a profound effect on our lives in later years? I had no idea who Sherlock Holmes was in 1965. I didn’t have a clue what a baronet was. I’m not entirely certain I was clear on what a hound was, and yet…

A baronet, by the way, is what Sir Henry Baskerville was. It’s a sort of hereditary knighthood, passed from father to son, or to the eldest male heir, with an attending estate thrown in. Baskerville Hall, in this situation. Baronets are not nobles. They are landed gentry, the highest level of commoner, just below a baron in the English social hierarchy. In case you were wondering. 

Anyhow. It wasn’t long before I began exercising my newly gained literacy by tracking down the novel on which the film was based. I was a precocious child, given to reading beyond my years. By the end of the decade, I’d read all the Holmes tales, along with most of the major classics of horror and a great deal of world literature. It was not unusual for me to blaze through one long or two short books a day, and still have time to play with my friends and accumulate a host of scraped knees and bunged up elbows riding my Spyder-style bicycle recklessly and with wild abandon down the hill in front of our house to the wooden ramp waiting at the bottom, launching myself into the Venrick’s front yard to fetch up in a tangle of limbs and metal tubing, then back up the hill to do it all again.

God, to have a fraction of that energy back now! And the resilience to withstand the gallons of Bactine my mother was obliged to apply to my myriad minor injuries. 

So, the Hound. The book is nominally a mystery, but I’ve never seen a movie version that couldn’t be properly classified as a horror film. The Hound itself is a monster if there ever was one, a gigantic beast that kills either through fear or by the vigorous application of its fangs upon fragile and succulent body parts. Inspired by centuries of English folklore, it is a primal, supernatural force, despite being nothing more than a dressed-up mastiff. 

Well, let me tell you about mastiffs. I had a friend some years ago who raised that particular breed of dog. I once saw one pull a tree it had been tied to out of the ground. A smallish tree, true, but not a sapling. Maybe six inches in diameter at the base of the trunk. A tree. Out of the ground. This is not a puny animal. It was a terrifying beast, even with its owner nearby to keep it calm. 

That’s one of several reasons why I prefer cats. I never want to own a pet that I cannot beat in a fair fight. 

I count a dozen film versions of the story in my collection, including at least one silent, three German adaptations, and one in Russian. That is by no means an exhaustive list. My sources list over thirty film and television adaptations, parodies, pastiches, and reimaginings in several languages including Bengali, Ukrainian and Italian, since 1914. It might be the most filmed mystery novel of all time. Ergo, I hope the populace is at least somewhat familiar with the plot.

If not, here it is, in a nutshell: Holmes is charged with the protection of Sir Henry Baskerville, newly arrived from overseas. Sir Henry has inherited the family estate upon the death of his Uncle Charles, who was frightened to death, apparently by the family curse. Sooner or later, the Hound always gets the baronet, and the line passes on to the next heir. Holmes sends Dr. Watson down to Devonshire with Sir Henry while he finishes up some business in London. As it turns out, there is another heir envious of the title who has arranged to have his big, mean dog kill Sir Charles and try to kill Sir Henry. Holmes arrives in time to stop the plot, and the bad guy is swallowed up in the Great Grimpen Mire that surrounds the Baskerville estate. The End.

The book was written in 1901, during the Great Hiatus, that period when the world thought that the Great Detective’s creator, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, had killed him off forever. Originally serialized in The Strand Magazine before its 1902 hardback publication, The Hound of the Baskervilles was a sort of nostalgic look back at the period before Holmes and Professor Moriarty threw each other off the rocky ledge into the Reichenbach Falls in Switzerland in “The Final Problem”, published in 1893. The novel’s success convinced Doyle to bring Holmes back in 1903 in the short story, “The Adventure of the Empty House”, and things continued on as before until Doyle’s passing in 1930. The stories themselves were firmly set in the Victorian Era, however, with Holmes retiring not long after Her Little Majesty’s death in 1901 to raise bees in Sussex.

The film versions are consistently set within the canonical time period. The best one is probably the 1939 version, starring Basil Rathbone in the first of his fourteen movies as Holmes. This one and the first sequel, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, were made at 20th Century Fox. Rathbone took the series to Universal, and a contemporary wartime setting, for twelve more pictures with varying degrees of success. Still, he is firmly entrenched as the definitive Holmes for many fans of the character. 

Cushing himself reprised his performance for a BBC Holmes series in 1968. The deerstalker cap has been worn on the Devonshire moor by Stewart Granger, Ian Richardson, Jeremy Brett, Matt Frewer and Richard Roxburgh, and even comedian Peter Cook and the former Fourth Doctor himself, Tom Baker. The tale has been adapted to the stage and numerous radio broadcasts, including one 1941 American performance with Rathbone in the lead role, as well as a 1977 episode of that last great hurrah of old-time radio horrors, The CBS Radio Mystery Theatre. There was a Classics Illustrated comic book edition, and Marvel Comics adapted the tale in the black-and-white magazine Marvel Preview #5 in 1975, among many other comic versions. Variations have been done on both the BBC’s Sherlock series with Benedict Cumberbatch and CBS’s Elementary with Johnny Lee Miller. It’s a tale no one inspired by the Great Detective can leave alone, and that suits me fine. Of all the canonical Holmes tales, it is the one closest to my heart, for it has within its telling a true monster, even if the solution is a bit Scooby-Dooish. I’m looking forward to seeing what form the next adaptation of the grand old story takes. And the one after that. They’re bound to be interesting and should be appropriately terrifying. One hopes.

And so, until next time, my dear epicures of eeriness…

Be afraid. Be very afraid.

Gypsy Mob : Episode 10 / Homecoming

How long she walked, she could not tell. Cradling what was left of her arm, she staggered onward, the blood seeping from her stump slowly turning the rags of her remaining clothing red. The stars shone brightly overhead, twinkling with apathy at her plight. At one point the sky lit up as fragments of disintegrating spacecraft streaked overhead. She did not notice but continued onward, her subconscious mind directing her. 

When she finally beheld the lights of the mansion in which she had lived all her life, she stopped, swaying, gazing stupidly at it, her mind struggling to comprehend what she was seeing. Gradually, it dawned on her that it was home. She had made it. She was safe. 

Willing her limbs to continue moving, she fixed her eyes on the lights surrounding the porch and the walkway leading up to the front door. They did not seem to grow closer, but finally, she could see she was making progress in their direction. It felt as though she were on a treadmill, the road moving beneath her as she walked in place, leaving the mansion as far away as ever, gaining only one step every hour or two. She could do nothing more than continue, for she knew if she stopped, she would not start again. She would die here. 

At long last, somehow, the front door appeared before her. She stared at the doorknob for a few moments before reaching up with her bloody hand to twist the knob. It moved a fractional amount before stopping firmly. She was locked out. All she had learned about how to sneak in and out of the house without anybody knowing had been blasted from her mind and all she could do was stand there stupidly for several minutes before it occurred to her to press the doorbell. 

From within the house, she could hear a buzzing. Some part of her brain registered it as the sound of someone at the door to her house and that someone should answer it, before realizing it was her. She was making the noise by pressing the button. This cycle of realization repeated as she stood there, her finger pressed to the doorbell, eyes fixed on the button. Someone’s at the door, she thought. Someone’s at the door. Someone’s at…

The door opened. 

The woman who opened it was very familiar. It seemed she had seen the woman before, many times, but she could not think where. Her mind already stretched to the breaking point, grappled for the answer. It was her… her…

Her what?

BIANCA!” Lucia screamed, her jaw dropping and involuntarily stepping backward away from the filthy bloody figure that her daughter had become. 

Mother. 

The word came to Bianca’s mind just as it gave up and she sank to the ground, unconscious. 

BIANCA!” Lucia’s shriek cut through the mansion. Giletti, who had been dozing behind his desk with a lit cigar, came awake like a tiger, going in all directions at once before he got his bearings. His wife’s second shriek came down the mansion’s hallway into his office as cleanly as a telegram and he roused his bulk from the chair, dropping his cigar in the ashtray and reflexively grabbing the pistol he kept beneath his desk. Lurching to the door, he threw it open and lumbered down the hallway as rapidly as he could. Already he could see his wife kneeling on the floor, cradling a bundle of filthy rags to her. As Giletti approached, the bundle of rags took shape and formed itself into a person. As he grew closer still, they became—

“Bianca,” Giletti whispered, growing closer. “What—”

His voice died in his throat as his eyes looked over what had just days ago been his spunky, vivacious daughter. They lingered at her face which had been coated in blood and dirt, her hair matted almost beyond recognition. They traveled down the bloody rags swaddling her until they stopped and fixated at where her hand had been. 

Lucia’s wailing as she held Bianca to her barely reached Giletti’s ears. All he heard was the rush of blood running to his head. He had lost henchmen aplenty in his time as the head of the Giletti family. But his daughter used and mutilated as she was, he could not comprehend. 

Turning, Giletti strode back to his office, the cries of his wife ringing in his ears. Booting the door open, he went to the west wall, which was made up of a massive bookshelf. Pulling a large green tome off the shelf, he threw it into a corner with a burst of rage and waited, breathing heavily, as the heavy wall of books swung slowly outward. Behind the bookshelf was a small room, its walls of pegboard, adorned with guns of every size, shape, and caliber. Giletti stepped into the room and reached up high for the weapon he had never used, the weapon he had always wanted to use and had always hoped never to use. There had never been a better time though, and as he pulled the heavy machine gun from its pegs and cradled it in his arms, he could almost hear the screams of the Gypsies as he worked the action. 

From a locker on the sidewall, he pulled a massive belt of ammunition, throwing it over his shoulder. Weighted by the heavy gun, he staggered down the hallway, past his unconscious daughter and wailing wife. Throwing the door open, he made his way to his primary vehicle, a supercharged Jaguar with over 200 horses under the hood. Dropping the ponderous gun on the passenger seat, he slammed the door and rounded the hood, throwing his bulk into the driver’s seat. Twisting the key in the ignition, the horses screamed to life. Without giving them an opportunity to warm up, he threw the car into gear and its engine roared as he floored the accelerator, peeling out of his driveway for the Gypsy camp. 

The glow from the Gypsy’s encampment reached high into the sky and Giletti saw it long before he arrived. Though he had not been informed of the exact plans of his minions, he knew it at once for what it was, having ordered the burning of numerous rivals in his past. As he screeched to a stop in the parking lot, deserted but for the empty cars of his henchmen, he was awarded a grim satisfaction as he saw many of the tents in the encampment were ablaze with flames reaching for the sky, long fingers stretching for the stars. 

Shutting off the engine, Giletti heaved his ponderance from the driver’s seat, pulling from the passenger’s seat the heavy machine gun and ammunition belt which he slung over his shoulder in imitation of the gunners in the war movies he watched regularly. He could smell the stench of gasoline and burning canvas, sweet in his nostrils as he moved to the outskirts of the camp. Squinting past the bright orange light of the flames, he could see dark silhouettes darting between the tents as the Gypsies fought the fire which had descended upon them. Situating himself for maximum visibility on a hill surrounding the tents, Giletti opened fire. 

Daphne’s Den of Darkness: 5 Movies with a Unique Take on Vampires

Vampires are so overdone. I mean, how many times can you watch a dashing creature of the night suck the blood from innocent townsfolk? Don’t get me wrong; y’all know I love vampires. And a good classic vampire film really does it for me. But if you’re looking for something that really goes out there, check out these five movies:

Daybreakers (2009)

Vampires have won. They control the planet, using the few humans remaining as a blood supply source. But that source is quickly running dry, leaving the vampire population starving and slowly turning into uncontrollable monsters. But there may be a way to turn vampires back into humans… and the human infection is spreading.

This movie is probably my favorite vampire story for turning expectations on their heads. If you like traditional vampires, but want to know what really comes next, watch Daybreakers.

Ultraviolet (2006)

In a not-so-distant future, the government engineered vampiric super soldiers to help secure their rise to power. But now, those same hemophages are a threat that must be hunted down. One boy may hold the secret to a cure and a return to humanity, but first, super soldier Violet must rescue him.

Ultraviolet is an absolute bonkers movie. It’s over the top in all the right ways and honestly visually stunning. Milla Jovovich brings that perfect early-aughts vibe, delivering terrible lines with deadpan dedication. I 10,000% recommend watching Ultraviolet, if only to bask in the ridiculousness.

Priest (2011)

A worldwide theocracy was established to keep humans safe from hoards of hungry vampires. The Priests were trained and forced to fight such creatures. But now the war is won and only a few vampires are left… right? A Priest discovers that the vampires have been shoring up their forces in secret and are preparing an attack that humanity may not survive.

The worldbuilding for Priest is so very unique, taking the role of religion in fighting vampires to its furthest reaching conclusion. The vampires are true monsters and visually frightening. Priest may not be a good movie, but you have to give the actors (Paul Bettany, WHAT???) extra points for taking such an absurd role seriously.

Only Lovers Left Alive (2013)

Maybe immortality isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. The morose and depressed vampire Adam is certainly of it. His only solace is his wife Eve and the arts and culture that is their passion.

It’s no secret that I love Tom Hiddleston (if you haven’t, go watch Crimson Peak), and he plays the perfect depressed romantic in this vampire film. Only Lovers Left Alive makes vampires deeply human, diving into what it means to love life when life lasts forever.

Blood Red Sky (2021)

A mother traveling with her son to America is caught in the middle of a plane hijacking. In order to save her son, she must embrace her vampire nature to fight hijackers.

Blood Red Sky explores the line between monster and human, depicting the horrific transformation of Nadja into a bloodthirsty beast, all to protect her child. Blood Red Sky embraces vampire traditions while also playing them in a new light.

What about you? What are your favorite vampire films? Do you like the traditional or the quirky? Leave us a note in the comments!

Book Review : Of Men and Monsters by Tom Deady

 

Review by Matt Marovich

CW: Child and Domestic Abuse 

To be perfectly honest, I was surprised at how much I enjoyed this book.

That’s not to say that I had low or bad expectations for Of Men and Monsters by Tom Deady, quite the opposite, but that I found myself very quickly pulled into this story in a way that was quite surprising.

Taking place in 1975, Of Men and Monsters is the story of two brothers, older brother Matt and Ryan, and their mother. They have recently moved to a coastal New England town named Bayport, although a potentially better way to describe it would be “fled”. We quickly learn that the trio have recently escaped the predations of their abusive father and husband, a violent drunk who started beating his wife before expanding his terrible attentions to his two sons as they grew older. Once he began abusing Ryan, their mother packed their belongings and left as quickly as they could.

In Bayport, life for the three of them begins to have a sense of normalcy and peace. Matt quickly meets a girl named Kelly that he becomes smitten with, while Ryan meets Kelly’s cousin Leah. Their mom gets a job waiting tables at the local diner, and soon enough they fall into a steady routine. A routine that is, unfortunately, shattered when they receive an unexpected phone call and learn that their father is hunting them.

One of the things I enjoyed a lot about this book is the characters. The story is told from Ryan’s perspective but we spend plenty of time with Matt and his mom, seen through Ryan’s eyes. All of the characters are believable, especially Ryan whose perspective, thoughts, and reactions are incredibly realistic. I was almost immediately drawn into the book because of this, having to provide very little suspension of disbelief to get into Ryan as a person. Matt and Ryan have a loving relationship, even if Matt occasionally treats his brother with the frustration or mild disdain that only an older, barely teenage sibling can have.

All throughout the brothers’ summer, enjoying the time they can even as they fear the approaching monster of their father, the story has another thread in the form of an actual monster. While exploring their new home, Ryan discovers a cache of old comic books in the attic, one of which has an advert for Sea Monsters (not Sea Monkeys), which he stealthily sends away for. When they arrive and he begins to grow them, Ryan and Matt quickly learn that the ad’s claim of the creatures being “monsters” wasn’t false advertising.

It’s these three threads woven together that make this story so strong in my opinion. The normalcy of the brothers’ life feels realistic like I could totally see anyone growing up in Bayport having the life they create for themselves, and it’s that normalcy that helps make the other two threads horrific. With the approaching father, it’s the growing dread that comes with each passing day, that he might be closer to finding them, that this new existence of theirs may prove to be as fragile as a soap bubble. With the actual monster, each time we see it the thing has grown, changed, and it doesn’t take much to feel like the brothers are soon in over their heads. The presence of something so unnatural is heightened and emphasized by the rest of their lives, 

I won’t go into the plot any further, you can probably guess how it’s going to go, but even if the final resolutions of the story arcs are somewhat predictable, it’s still enjoyable due to the characters we interact with. Of Men and Monsters is a short read, only eighty-one pages on my Book app with current settings, and I definitely recommend it if you’re into novellas/novelettes. 

HorrorAddicts.net 201, Crystal Connor

HASeason16culhorrorshort2

Horror Addicts Episode# 201
SEASON 16 Cultural Horror
Horror Hostess: Emerian Rich
Intro Music by: Valentine Wolfe


201 | #AfAmHorror | #CrystalConnor | #PalaceofTears | #Candyman |

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

VOTE FOR YOUR FAVORITE WICKED STORY NOW! https://forms.gle/UiChwdFxZ83Vw2ui8

50 days till Halloween

Music: “Ruination” #PalaceofTears

Merrill’s Musical Musings: #RLMerrill  #PalaceofTears #IceNineKills #TwelveFootNinja #VisionVideo #GothDadJokes

Catchup: #HalloweenDecor #PumpkinsAreOut #DragonontheFrontPorch #HuluWeen #BoyfriendDungeon #DatingaCat #OldTechMonsters #GoingUnder #InternBattles #OfficeAngst 

Theme: #AfAmHorror #MovieList

Black Horror Movies

Live Action Reviews: #CrystalConnor #Candyman

Frightening Flix: #KBatz #TalesFromTheCrypt 

Daphne’s Den of Darkness: #DaphneStarsert #BadMoviesGoodMovies

Dead Mail:

Jay: #VampiresonaPlane #BloodRedSky

Martin: #Cartoons #Jokes #GargoyleintheAirport

Russell: #HisHouse #HoodoftheLivingDead

Toni: #YouTubeSpiral #ComedyVids
Ask a Mortician https://www.youtube.com/user/OrderoftheGoodDeath

Andy Sandberg: https://youtu.be/gAYL5H46QnQ

Dino Rap: https://youtu.be/L1SKf9YU4QQ

Soundless Music: https://youtu.be/BHkhIjG0DKc

Carl Poppa:

Bigfoot Files: #LionelRayGreen #TheOregonSasquatch #SyFy #ParanormalWitness

Historian of Horror: #MarkOrr #BaronVonEmmelmann

Audiodrama: #TheDeadbringer #emmarkoff music: “Huitzillin” by Sarah Monroy Solis #sarisolis voices by em markoff, james seo, rish outfield, kadirah wade

Nightmare Fuel: #DJPitsiladis #PeggyTheDoll

NEWS: 

#JohnathanChristian #NewMusic #MyDyingWords

#JesseOrr #GypsyMob #FreeFictition 

#HorrorBites #DeathlyFog #AdamBreckenridge 

https://www.amazon.com/Horror-Bites-Deathly-Adam-Breckenridge-ebook/dp/B09BP5L3Z8

#LorenRhoads #ThisMorbidLife

https://www.amazon.com/This-Morbid-Life-Loren-Rhoads-ebook/dp/B09C11J43W

#FrightTrain #RenataParvey 

Book Review: Reviewed by: #MattMorovich #HowlsFromHell

Featured Author: #CrystalConnor #AisforAigamuchab
Read by Emerian Rich with voices by Evan and Scorpius

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h e a d  o f  p u b l i s h i n g

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p u b l i s h i n g  p. a.

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b l o g  e d i t o r

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s t a f f

KBatz (Kristin Battestella), Daphne Strasert, Jesse Orr, Lionel Green, Kieran Judge, Crystal Connor, Nightshade, R.L. Merrill, Mark Orr, DJ Pitsiladis, Christopher Fink, Mimielle, Courtney Mroch

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Black Horror Movies

This is our list of Af Am, African, and Black movies from around the world either produced, directed, or main character acting by people of African descent. If you have any suggestions, please add them in the comments and we’ll add them to our list.

Anaconda

Angelheart

Antebellum

Attack the Block

Bad Hair

Beloved

Blackenstein

Blacula 1

Blacula 2

Blade movies

Bones

Candyman, 1992 (review by Kieran Judge)

Candyman, 2021 (review by Crystal Connor)

Da Sweet Blood of Jesus (review by Eden Royce)

Dawn of the Dead

Def by Temptation

Dracula 3000

Eve’s Bayou

Fallen

Ganja & Hess (review by Eden Royce)

Get Out (review by Kenzie Kordic)

Gothika

Heks (review by Crystal Connor)

His House (review by Kbatz)

Hood of the Living Dead

House on Haunted Hill

House on Willow Street

I Am Legend

Last Ones Out

Leprechaun 5: In the Hood

Lost Boys: The Thirst

Ma

Missing Angel (Nigerian)

Night of the Living Dead (article on Tony Todd by Sumiko Saulson)

Queen of the Damned

Serpent and the Rainbow

Strange Days

Sugar Hill (review by Valjenne Jeffers)

Surviving Evil

Synchronic

Tales from the Crypt: Demon Knight

Tales from the Hood

Tales from the Hood 2

The First Purge

The Green Mile

The House Next Door

The Mangler

The People under the Stairs

The Scary Movie franchise

The Soul Collector 8

The Tokoloshe (about Tokoloshe by Kieran Judge)

The Unforgiving

Thriller

Us

Vamp (with Grace Jones)

Vampire in Brooklyn (review by Kbatz)

Vampires in the Bronx (review by Kbatz)

If you have any suggestions, please add them in the comments and we’ll add them to our list.

Merrill’s Musical Musings : Palace of Tears


Review of Palace of Tears

Greetings HorrorAddicts. 

It’s getting close, my lovelies. How soon do you pull out your Halloween decorations? When do you start the scary movie marathons and pull out your frightening reads? We’ve got some melancholy darlings in review this time around as well as some Ro’s Recs.

This edition of Merrill’s Musical Musings is going to take you to a dark and dream-like state, with a little romance added in for flavor. The duo known as Palace of Tears has a very interesting backstory that includes a shared love of goth/dark music genres and performing arts. There was a move, followed by some Mardi Gras debauchery, and then the Great Pause, which has affected all of us in different ways. The album Of Ruination rose from these circumstances and listeners will definitely experience the wide array of emotions the artists experienced during these dark and anxious times. 

The tracks are all quite hypnotic. Some tracks are soothing, and others ride that edge of disturbing, adding a slight unease to your mood. The title track “Of Ruination” slices into you with distorted guitars then soothes the wound with ethereal vocals. Standout tracks that really show the artists’ range include “Cold Dead Skin” and “Masque L’Intrigue.” The production value was fantastic as well. Check out Palace of Tears and add them to your spooky, gloomy playlists. 

This month in Ro’s Recs, you should definitely check out Ice Nine Kills’ video for “Hip To Be Scared” and Twelve Foot Ninja’s “Long Way Home” for some horror-inspired music videos. And if you aren’t following Vision Video on Instagram, you’re missing all the Goth Dad jokes you can possibly stand! Let me know what you think.

I’d love to hear from you. What are you most looking forward to? Hit me up in the comments or at rlmerrillauthor@ gmail.com Thanks for checking in and Stay Tuned for more Merrill’s Musings.

____________________________________________________________________________

R.L. Merrill writes stories full of hope, love, and rock ‘n’ roll with a twist of spooky and creepy. You can find Ro on all the socials @rlmerrillauthor and for more about her books, check out www.rlmerrillauthor.com

 

Live Action Reviews! by Crystal Connor: Candyman (Prerelease Private Screening 1st thoughts)

 
 

 

Plotline: In present day, a decade after the last of the Cabrini towers were torn down, Anthony and his partner move into a loft in the now gentrified Cabrini. A chance encounter with an old-timer exposes Anthony to the true story behind Candyman. Anxious to use these macabre details in his studio as fresh grist for paintings, he unknowingly opens a door to a complex past that unravels his own sanity and unleashes a terrifying wave of violence.

Who would like it: Fans of the Candyman franchise.

High Points: What I love most that even though this are slasher kill scenes, the killings take a back seat to the story.

Complaints: Absolutely nothing!

Overall: This is one of the most amazing horror movies that I’ve see in the past 5 years

Stars: 5

Where I watched it: Private screening

 

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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

Deathly Fog: In Cased You Missed It…

DFBannerFInal2

HorrorAddicts.net proudly presents Book 5 in our Horror Bites series, Deathly Fog by Adam Breckenridge. Here’s a recap of events:

August
13PRPress Releasehorroraddicts.net
14BE CalendarBook Eventshorroraddicts.net
14ExcerptA.F. Stewarthttp://afstewartblog.blogspot.com/
15InspirationAdam Breckenridgehorroraddicts.net
16InterviewChilling Chathorroraddicts.net
16ExcerptA Deathly Foghorroraddicts.net
18IntroIntroductionemzbox.com
19IntroIntroductionhorroraddicts.net
20ExcerptA Deathly Fogwww.rlmerrillauthor.com/blog
September
TodayExcerptA Deathly Foghttps://lorenrhoads.com/blog
TodayBE CalendarBook Event Recaphorroraddicts.net

Deathly Fog by Adam Breckenridge

When Jacob and his brothers discover the ability to capture fog from the marsh behind their house, they bring it back with them. The fun game turns to danger as they realize perhaps something else accompanied them home. Is it too late to escape the Deathly Fog?

Nightmare Fuel: Peggy The Doll

Hello Addicts,

A staple of most childhoods is the doll. Whether they are action figures, Barbie, or whatever you called them, practically all of us played with a doll in some fashion growing up. As Hollywood and paranormal shows have shown us, spirits can inhabit them. More often than not, they can be less than pleasant or downright evil. Many believe that dolls are not just toys but also used in education, rituals, and messengers or effigies of gods and goddesses. Some believe that the creation of dolls was to house spirits of the dead. Such is the case with Peggy the Doll.

Peggy is a three-foot cutie with blonde hair and blue eyes. It looks like the typical child’s companion, but that only seems to hide the ghostly abilities attributed to her. A previous owner reported being unable to sleep after purchasing the doll. She lived alone but heard footsteps around the house and the clicking of the bathroom light turning off and on at night. It spooked her to the point of wrapping the doll in a rug and placing her in a shed. From there, the doll, who was unnamed at the time, passed on to paranormal investigator Jayne Harris.

Within days of taking the doll home, Jayne began feeling fatigued, to the point of being unable to get out of bed. When she allowed a friend to take the doll away for a couple of days, she began feeling like her old self again. The strangeness became more evident after she posted a picture of the still-unnamed doll to her Facebook page without any details. Overnight, people sent messages detailing strange things that happened after just seeing the picture. The complaints included headaches, chest pains, lightbulbs burning out, footsteps, and dogs spinning in circles and barking. One message came from a psychic medium, who claimed that the spirit inhabiting the doll was a restless and frustrated woman named Peggy.

Currently, Peggy has a room in the Zak Bagans Haunted Museum in Las Vegas, NV, where cameras watch her 24/7. Before being allowed to see her, visitors sign a waiver in case of any strange occurrences that may follow.

Whether Peggy actually can affect the people in the ways described is left up to the individual. As for me, she has inspired a short story of my own involving a haunted doll. I hope to visit the museum someday and get to meet her face to face.

Until next time, Addicts.

D.J. Pitsiladis

FRIGHT TRAIN : An anthology of spooky tales set around the railways

FRIGHT TRAIN

An anthology of spooky tales set around the railways reviewed by Renata Parvey

Editors: Switch House Gang

“Anyone who has ever been awakened late at night by a distant train whistle knows there is no lonelier sound. It is a mournful howl from a soulless traveler on a night journey to destinations unknown.”

Halloween arrived early this year with a spooky collection of tales based on the railways. Editors Charles R. Rutledge and Tony Tremblay came up with the concept of horror stories set around trains, and were rewarded with an assortment of stories ranging from Victorian-era ghostly yarns to contemporary thrillers, fantasy, and science fiction, ranging from creepy and humorous to atmospheric and downright gory. Fright Train comprises a mixture of contemporary authors with classic writers and a plethora of suspenseful, horror, and chilling stories set on or around train journeys. I particularly liked the concept of train travel and picked up the collection curious to see how each writer interpreted the narrow theme. The anthology is a ticket in itself to travel to unknown lands with shady co-passengers in suspicious cabins. Switch House Gang has reserved a seat for the reader and the ride awaits!

The collection includes classics like Charles Dickens’ The Signalman and Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Lost Special which have spooked us for over a century. And there are also newer stories about ghost trains, train accidents, missing trains, invisible rails, piercing whistles, vampire and zombie passengers, peculiar drivers, specials that give a whole new meaning to ‘special’, and a host of wonderful short stories that keep you on edge as you ride along with the characters. Themes include broken marriages, dead children, grieving parents, retrospecting the past, seeing the future, predicting alternative realities, journeys to and from hell.

It’s hard to pick a favorite because every story is outstanding in its own way and deserves its own review. They’re so different from each other, while simultaneously adhering to the narrow theme. The haunting tale of motherhood in Amanda DeWees’ A Traveler Between Eternities, as an unborn child takes a train ride; the dystopian rail route of Stephen Mark Rainey’s Country of the Snake; Errick Nunnally’s gore-fest Lust for Life that keeps you guessing till the end who the real killer is; past demons catching up with the present in James Moore’s The Midnight Train; the pandemic world of Scott Goudsward’s Plague Train; the haunted joyride of Elizabeth Massie’s Tunnel Vision; Jeff Strand’s Devil-powered Death Train of Doom that questions parental behavior and its influence on the actions of children; Tony Tremblay’s Pépère’s Halloween Train that focuses on the grandparent-grandchild relationship; Charles Rutledge’s twist on Dracula in The Habit of Long Years; Lee Murray’s cultural fest of Maori traditions and seers, spirit-guides and goddesses assisting a search-and-rescue in Weeping Waters; Mercedes Yardley’s The Rhythm of Grief that navigates the rail crossings between the living and the dead; Bracken MacLeod’s Weightless Before She Falls that distinguishes real monsters from imaginary ones, Christopher Golden’s All Aboard and its eerie 3:18 special. The contemporary writers even make up thirteen in number, to go with the horror theme of the book!

A special mention needs to be made of Lee Murray and Christopher Golden whose stories follow Charles Dickens and Arthur Conan Doyle respectively. Fright Train is a spectacular collection in itself, and to be placed next to classic writers is a formidable task. Murray and Golden are absolutely stellar with their standout creations, Weeping Waters and All Aboard. The sounds of the fantail and the shrill whistle of the 3:18 stay with you long after finishing the book.

Some quotes:

-The 3:18 was a ghost in and of itself, ridden by phantoms.

-The night air seemed to ripple, to have texture, just a hint of substance.

-Resentment and blame hung in the air like static building before a thunderstorm.

-An engine, a tender, two carriages, a van, five human beings – and all lost on a straight line of railway! Does a train vanish in broad daylight?

-The fog lay like a thick mist so that people appeared to be dissolving at the ankles.

-The sharp scream of the whistle slashed his eardrums.

-The desert sun pummeled his face like a hot iron fist.

-Does his intention define his evil nature, even if his actions harm nobody?

-You are trapped in the quandary of welcoming the tourist potential of Stoker’s work, but still wishing to change the national image of Romania.

-Pihanga’s tears rolled down the mountainside and onto the plateau.

-There were too many vampires on the train. Inspector Godina rolled his eyes at the motley assortment of Halloween revelers.

-That was the trouble with his gift – it was a feast or a famine – either everything spoke to you, or nothing at all.

-The slow touch of a frozen finger tracing out my spine.

-The stars themselves were weeping, hurling themselves from the heavens.

-They fill their ears and minds and souls with noise, because it’s easier than listening to the quiet.

-This is a train for the dead, and you’re still very much alive.

-He wasn’t a cosmic spiderclown in the sewers. He was a real monster.

The old-world charm of the cover is extremely striking too – it reminds me of those classic spooky movies that showed so much in so little. Atmospheric horror at its best! A good time to revisit Horror Express (1972).

My rating: 5/5 

Historian of Horror : Whatever Happened to Baron von Emmelmann?

Whatever Happened to Baron von Emmelmann?

My devoted followers may recall that last time out, I briefly discussed the career of one Theodore Sturgeon, and his early story, “It”. The tale, which was published in the August 1940 issue of the fantasy and horror pulp magazine, Unknown, concerned the layers of naturally occurring compost that had formed around the lost skeleton of one Roger Kirk. Many years after Kirk’s passing, this was caused by some unknown mechanism the spontaneous generation of a sort of liveliness that resulted in death and destruction until the monster was dissolved in running water. A simple tale well told.

So, who the heck is Baron von Emmelmann?

For the answer to that question, we’ll need to fast forward a few years. The Golden Age of Comics was already in full flower by 1940, but it rapidly exploded into a riotous garden of four-color blooms once the United States joined the Second World War. Even before, as various patriotic-themed superheroes made their appearances even prior to the attack on Pearl Harbor in December of 1941. Captain America himself punched Adolf Hitler on the cover of the first issue of his own title in March of that year, and he wasn’t the first denizen of the new medium to take on the Nazi menace.

In the context of the times, comic book publishers proliferated, spewing out myriad characters ready, willing, and able to face the fascist threat and sell War Bonds, a large number of them heroic aviators. One of the smaller publishers, Hillman Publications, quickly assembled the first issue of an anthology title, Air Fighters Comics, that sold poorly. It was retooled a year later with an all-new line-up, including a young flyer with an almost sentient plane named Birdy. Airboy was so popular that the book was renamed after him a couple of years later, and ran until 1953.

In the eleven years between, a fair number of backup characters passed through the title’s pages, including a second-rate, gimmicky rip-off of Quality Publications aviation hero, Blackhawk. Sky Wolf hung around for a few years, and was featured in the Eclipse Comics’ Airboy revival of the 1980s. Honestly, though, his one real contribution to comic book history occurred in his second appearance, Air Fighters Comics volume 2, issue 3, with a cover date of December 1942.

In a brief flash-back to the First World War, German fighter pilot Baron Eric von Emmelmann was shot down over a swamp in Poland. His corpse festered and percolated there in the miasmic bog, accumulating layer upon layer of muck and mire. Eventually, the Heap emerged, like the creature in “It”, and began breaking things and mangling living beings. And, as in the Sturgeon tale, it resembled a huge, shambling mound with no discernable human features other than arms and legs.

Not long afterward von Emmelmann’s rebirth as the Heap, German pilot Colonel von Tundra was shot down over the same swamp. He survived and encountered the newly born muck-monster, who responded favorably to being yelled at in the native language of his former self. The Heap appeared in three more Sky Wolf stories as an ally of the Nazis before graduating to his own feature, beginning with Airboy Comics volume 3, number 9, October, 1946. By then, he was only vaguely aware of his origins, and less a villain and more of an elemental force for good. His adventures all over the world continued through the final issue in 1953. The character was parodied in an early issue of the Mad comic book, and revived briefly by Skywald Publications in the early 1970s, and a couple of times by Image in their Spawn comic book series. And of course, he was a prominent feature of the Eclipse run of Airboy previously mentioned.

Much more human-looking was DC Comics’ Solomon Grundy, who has never been anything but a villain, or at best an anti-hero. Originating as an opponent of the Golden Age Green Lantern in All-American Comics 61, October 1944, he has continued popping up in various titles and television shows, both animated and live-action, ever since. In his case, the swamp muck formed around the corpse of murder victim Cyrus Gold. 

The Golden age of Comics began to wind down at the end of World War II. Super-heroes gradually gave way to other genres, including war, western, crime, romance, funny animals, amusing teenagers, and horror. Captain America’s publisher, Timely Comics, morphed into Atlas, and like so many other houses concentrated on these new genres, with only a brief revival of its old heroes in the mid-fifties. After the institution of the Comics Code Authority in 1955, Atlas’s horror output was rendered as bland and toothless as all the other publishers, but unlike so many of them, the company survived. Barely.

As the decade wound down, the primary creative force at Atlas, Stan Lee, shifted his focus from ghosts, alien invaders and the like to gargantuan monsters, remnants of ancient times like Chinese dragon Fin Fang Foom, or colossal mummies, or giant statues animated by lightning strikes. One of these was “Monstrum! The Dweller in the Black Swamp”, from Tales to Astonish #11, September 1960. As was not unusual in a Stan Lee tale, Monstrum was more clumsy than malicious, being a refugee from a far planet whose spaceship was trapped in the Black Swamp. Rejected by the humans he sought assistance from, he returned to the swamp to await the evolution of a more compassionate population.

Fortunately for all concerned, not long afterward Lee revived the super-hero genre at his company, renamed it Marvel, and revolutionized the industry. Without the use of any more swamp critters, at least for a while.

The next significant muck monster made his appearance in DC’s horror title, House of Secrets, in issue 92, July 1971. Swamp Thing was created by writer Len Wien and legendary artist, the late and very much lamented, Berni Wrightson. Alex Olsen was an early 20th Century scientist developing a plant-growth formula. When his laboratory was sabotaged, Olsen got mixed up with the formula and the essence of the swamp in which he was located. He returned as the sentient but mute Swamp Thing to get his revenge. 

Under a new alter ego, Alex Holland, he was given a contemporary origin not long afterward in his own title that ran a mere dozen issues. A highly acclaimed series from writer Alan Moore followed in the 1980s, along with a pair of so-so theatrical films, two live-action TV shows and an animated TV mini-series.

Swamp Thing was no paragon of masculine pulchritude, but he was more-or-less sort of kind of human-shaped if you turned your head to one side and squinted. Marvel Comic’s Man-Thing was not. His original artist, Gray Morrow, returned to the source material, creating a shambling mound of insensate gunk and goo with a carrot-nose and beady eyes, much closer to the Heap than to his DC predecessors. First appearing in the black-and-white magazine format Savage Tales #1 in May of 1971, Man-Thing languished for a year before popping up again in a variety of Marvel super-hero titles. He attained his own series in January 1974. Man-Thing’s gimmick was that he was an empath. He responded well to the kindness of strangers, but not to their fear. His touch would burn anyone who was afraid of him, which fortunately turned out to usually be bad people. Man-Thing sold well enough that a second title was added, the unfortunately named Giant-Size Man-Thing. Go ahead, giggle. I won’t judge you. G-S M-T featured as a backup strip some of the earliest adventures of Howard the Duck, along with reprints from those old Atlas comics of the 1950s.

I honestly have no idea if Ted Sturgeon ever knew about the comic book characters that were inspired by his original creation. It never occurred to me to ask him, back in those halcyon days of my mis-spent youth. I’m sure he never received a dime in recompense from Hillman or DC or Marvel or any of the other comics publishers that made use of his concept. I’m not sure that would have bothered him. I hope not. My memories of Ted Sturgeon have no room for rancor, because I only remember him as genial and warm, and wickedly funny. Read, if you can find it, his 1972 short story, “Pruzy’s Pot”, about a living and very accommodating toilet. I heard him read that aloud in 1978, when he was the guest of honor at the Nashville science fiction convention for that year, Kubla Khan Ate. A room full of fen laughed uproariously at that one. There is a place for potty humor, indeed. It all winds up in the swamp, anyhow.

And so, until next time, connoisseurs of chills…

Be afraid. 

Be very afraid.

Gypsy Mob : Episode 10/ Stumped

Her life had always been blessed. Charmed. Being the daughter of a mafia Don had a number of perks. No one troubled her and for the most part, she troubled no one. Her biggest problem in life had been not always getting exactly what she wanted, and even that was easily remedied. A few tears and her father would either make it right for her himself or dispatch Tony to do so, one way or the other. 

When she was taken into the Pleasure Tent, she had raged and screamed, throwing a tantrum until a dark cloud descended over her. It reminded her for a moment of how she had felt when she had tried opium. Then the cloud became complete and she forgot she even had a past. This time there was no warm fuzzy sensation she associated with drugs. All that remained was her basic physical needs; that was all the Gypsy curse allowed to remain. 

The hours had bled together until they felt like days. She was a robotic sex doll, her muffled grunts blending with the slap of flesh and the cries from the far reaches of the Pleasure Tent. These sounds from the darkness were beyond her immediate sphere of existence, the sources of which she neither knew nor cared. Her life had narrowed to the action of spreading her legs for each new client, then rising once he had finished to clean herself robotically with the pail of water beside her mattress. Upon finishing, she lay back down on the mattress to await the next arrival. As the newest member of the Pleasure Tent’s catalog of entertainment, she was not kept waiting long. 

A part of her measured the time by the number of sweaty men who climbed on top of her, eschewing hours, minutes and seconds for this new reckoning. The rest of her could not have cared less about the passage of time, or was incapable of marking it. All she knew was to cleanse her nethers when the crushing weight atop her ceased its grunting and thrusting and climbed off of her. 

Then, blasting through the darkness came the pain. The agony screamed up her arm, snapping her back to reality. The world roared into focus once again, inundating her with memories of her life since coming to the Gypsies. Horror and disgust competed with her missing hand for the place at the forefront of her brain. As blood dripped from where her hand had always been, the memory of other fluids not her own dripping from her added to the coldness she felt. The terror bloomed, consuming her. Now, the fear of what was going to happen to her vied for space with the horrified realization of what had happened to her, what had been happening to her, what she had allowed to happen to her, and what she had ahead of her. Nothing was worse than the other; they were all a nightmare. 

But the pain at the end of her arm would not be silenced, nor pushed aside. In a way, she was grateful for it, for it pulled her out of the darkness and into the present once more. This was not a much better place to be, but it led to the future, to the unknown, rather than to the past. She knew all too well what awaited her there. All she could see of what lay ahead was that her old life was over. She had died, or been murdered, as soon as she set foot into the fortune teller’s tent. There was no returning to what she had been.

After the amputation and Bianca’s awakening, the Gypsies had moved her from the Pleasure Tent, along with the other sex slaves who still had value. Talking rapidly in their own language, they would look at Bianca from time to time and laugh. The Bitch who had amputated her hand came over to her.

“I t’ink we get more use out of you,” she said in her horribly raspy voice, and grinned. Bianca kept the blank look on her face as inwardly she shrieked in fear and rage. . Bianca’s blood was still splattered across the woman’s face and arms. With an absent-minded air, she licked it from her fingers as she looked at the doorway to the smaller tent to which Bianca and her wretched brethren had been taken. 

“We put you back to work tomorrow,” the woman said, turning to leave. “Tonight, I have important business. Sleep well.” 

She vanished out the door, her words echoing in Bianca’s head. Tomorrow, it would resume. She had to get away from here. 

“Hello?” she called, her voice tentative in the silent darkness. No one replied. The other slaves were locked in their own minds, their own clouds of impenetrable darkness, helpless to respond. Hot, furious tears coursed down Bianca’s face as she lifted her body and was immediately halted by the straps holding her limbs to the table. 

Except…

The strap around the wrist where her hand had been felt loose. If not loose, definitely not tight enough to present a problem to a tapered limb without the widening of a hand at its end. Just tight enough to…

She pulled, tears leaping to her eyes as she fought to remain silent, the freshly severed nerves at the end of her stump enthusiastically voicing protests as the strap bit at them. She pulled harder, her mouth open in a silent scream. She thought she could feel her wrist slipping through the strap, but, wary of her mind’s tricks, she closed it to the sensation and kept pulling. The nails on her remaining hand scratched the bed, cracking below the quick, sending needle-like stabs of pain up her other arm, until, with a suddenness that took her off guard, her wrist pulled free of the strap, flying over her body with the residual force. Holding her stump over her eyes she blinked, unable to believe that she was actually free. Without thinking, she went to undo the strap holding her hand, before realizing she had no way to manipulate the buckle without fingers. 

A low whine came from her throat and she pushed at the end of the strap with her stump, the rough leather digging into the fresh meat where her arm now ended. Bolts of agony lanced up her arm, blood renewing its flow sluggishly from the stump at the irritation. Nevertheless, she persisted. Her eyes beheld the strap moving slowly through the loop and she redoubled her efforts, the pain increasing exponentially as her eyes watered. With a final shove, the strap slid through the loop and flapped loose, held only by the pin of the buckle. Sobbing with pain and relief, she raised her body and, gripping the end of the strap with her teeth, she pulled it back, releasing the pin and her hand. 

Falling back on the mattress, she cradled her freshly bleeding stump with her intact arm, silent tears pouring down her face. Staring at the mildewed tent roof, she counted her breaths until she was able to think about something besides the agony coursing through her. By and by, it relented, slightly. Instead of pain, she now thought of survival. 

Sitting up, she fumbled painfully with the straps holding her legs down. Though more difficult with one hand, it was easier than using her stump, which she kept protectively tucked into her armpit, away from all harm. Once her legs were free, she swung them over the mattress and carefully rose to her feet. Her legs wobbled but supported her. She wondered how much blood she had lost, then immediately put it from her mind. It didn’t matter. Looking out the entrance to the tent, she could see the shadows of several Gypsies nearby. She cowered back against the wall of the tent, wondering how she would ever escape, before her overworked mind realized a simple fact. She was not in a prison cell of steel bars. She was in a tent, surrounded on all sides by fabric. 

Crouching, she lifted the tent wall behind her, wriggling underneath it while still keeping her stump carefully shielded. Within a moment, she was outside the tent, smelling the fresh air only slightly marred by evil. Looking around, she saw no one and made her way for the outskirts of the camp as fast as her legs would carry her. 

She missed Tony, her childhood protector, spreading gasoline, by seconds, as she limped out of the camp, bound for home. 

FRIGHTENING FLIX BY KBATZ: Tales from the Crypt Season 5

Star Studded Tales from the Crypt Season 5 remains Memorable.

by Kristin Battestella

The Fall 1993 Fifth Season of Tales from the Crypt is a star-studded season full of familiar faces and frights to remember beginning with Tim Curry (Clue) and Ed Begley, Jr. (She-Devil) in “Death of Some Salesmen.” Our unscrupulous cemetery plot salesman snoops in the obituaries, preying on old widows like Yvonne De Carlo (The Munsters) with a rural, door to door con as the humorous winks, overalls, and southern gentility contrast the risque sex, bloody secrets, and murderous traps. Headless revelations offer a quirky, if disturbing grain of truth on swindling salesmen getting what they deserve, but the revolting comeuppance had both me and my husband gagging and laughing at the same time. Our Crypt Keeper host is taking calls on KDOA Radio as Hector Elizondo (Chicago Hope) suspects young wife Patsy Kensit (Full Eclipse) of having an affair in director Kyle Maclachlan’s (Twin Peaks) “As Ye Sow.” Unfortunately, Adam West’s (Batman) upscale surveillance firm says she does nothing but go to church everyday – to a controversial priest tossed from his last parish. Debates on the church as living organ, throbbing with his flock in his arms provide juicy winks as the power of suggestion has our paranoid husband fearing betrayal and jumping to the wrong conclusion. An unreliable point of view imaging what’s going on in the confessional makes for a controversial mix of sacrilegious horror, but it’s cheaper to hire hit men than get a divorce. War photographers Steve Buscemi (Boardwalk Empire) and Roger Daltry (Highlander: The Series) likewise fight over Lysette Anthony (Dracula: Dead and Loving It) in “Forever Ambergris” while The Keeper himself shoots for Vicghoulia’s Secret. Anything can happen during this Central America assignment, and villages contaminated with germ warfare create an elevated dramatic mood amid macho guns versus the camera, mercenaries, and screaming convulsions. Bubbling flesh, oozing blood, squishing eyeballs – what’s a little imbued chemicals once you steal the award winning photographs and get the girl?

In “Two for the Show” bored, adulterous wife Traci Lords (Cry Baby) wants more passion. However, her husband is worried her leaving will make him look bad at the corporate banquet, leading to strangulation, scissors, knife play, and stuffing the body into a bedside chest even if it just won’t fit. Suspicious cops, dismemberment, and a heavy suitcase provide suspense with shades of Hitchcock in the overhead parallels and two shots of men on a train hypothetically debating about killing their wives. The crime has already been committed, yet there’s a classy, potboiler tense to the garbage disposal twists. Of course, the audience is on trial with the barrister wig wearing ‘Honorable Judge Crypt Keeper’ presiding over “House of Horror” as Wil Wheaton (Star Trek: The Next Generation), Kevin Dillon (Entourage), Brian Krause (Sleepwalkers), and more eighties teens are all grown up and trying to join the fraternity with paddles, humiliation, kneeling, and scrubbing dog poo with a toothbrush. The sister house is here for their final initiation at a haunted fraternity house with a murderous past, and one by one the plebs must make it to the attic with all the tricks, gags, screams, chainsaws, and turnabouts along the way. Assistant Maryam d’Abo (Bond Girls Are Forever) is unhappy when magician Billy Zane’s (Dead Calm) show isn’t a success in “Well Cooked Hams.” While The Crypt Keeper is taking French lessons for his trip to ‘gay Scaree,’ the turn of the century magic scene is cutthroat and our magician will kill to get ahead when not stealing the Box of Death trick from fellow hunchback illusionist Martin Sheen (The West Wing). Inserted knives, sulfuric acid, burning ropes, and handcuffs add to the magic rivalry and period mood as the disguises, reflections, and smoke and mirrors leave the audience screaming. The difference, you see, is in not when the crowd is aware of the ruse but when they actually believe it. Slick Anthony Michael Hall (The Breakfast Club) tries to outwit the mummy legends and sacrificed princesses in “Creep Course,” however his attempt to steal the mid-term answers leads to statues, tombs, torches, and a sarcophagus from the professor’s private collection – courtesy of some grave robbing family history. The jocks versus academia double crossing twists provide gross embalming techniques, through the nose icky, and projectile vomiting for a fun atmosphere with good old fashioned wrappings in contemporary mummy spins.

Big CK is a flight attendant on Tales from the Crypt Scarelines for “Came the Dawn,” but the bimbo in the bathroom and the bloody ax murderer have other dismembering ideas. Good thing suave in his Porsche Perry King (Melrose Place) picks up broke down Brooke Shields (The Blue Lagoon), taking her to his cabin on a stormy night – after stopping for oysters and champagne, of course. Medieval décor with executioner artifacts and weapons accent opera, fireside candlelit dinners, and jewels. Unfortunately, tales of adultery begat black stockings bondage interrupted by an ex-girlfriend shouting at the door. Wise Tales from the Crypt viewers will figure out what’s happening easily thanks to taxidermy and ladies clothing in the closet. However, that obvious doesn’t make the revealing attacks any less chilling. Con artist couple Lou Diamond Phillips (La Bamba) and Priscilla Presley (Dallas) dig up their buried alive cohort and the money with him in “Oil’s Well That Ends Well” – a fellow con who happens to be the man behind the Crypt Keeper John Kassir in his only onscreen Tales from the Crypt appearance. She wants another con and shows her authority at the rowdy bar, taking on the nasty boys with a great speech on how strong women are called bitches, screwed, fucked, and screwed again. Oil claims help swindle the local rednecks into drilling under the graveyard, with explosions and self-referential quips setting off the who’s screwing whom. More bemusing dialogue mixed with suspense and surreal shootouts elevate “Till Death Do We Part.” Although this is another crime drama and love triangle more about violence than horror, gigolo John Stamos (Full House) and mob dame Eileen Brennan (Clue) provide diamonds, dice, jazz clubs, and saucy betrayals – leading to limos in the woods with guns, bodies in the trunk, rubber aprons, and axes. Crook Robert Picardo (Star Trek: Voyager) is just so polite in making the vomiting, fainting lady stand up and watch the quartering! Our KRPT sportscaster Crypt Keeper, meanwhile, is on the radio with the World Scaries featuring the Fright Sox versus the Boo Jays. Which team will keep their winning shriek alive?

This is a short, mostly solid season, however, there are a few less than stellar episodes of Tales from the Crypt such as Ernie Hudson’s (Ghostbusters) “Food for Thought” with its carnival warped, saucy dessert metaphors, and perverted quid pro quo abuses between a mind reading couple. The racial implications among the freaks, conjoined twin ladies naked in the shower, illicit fire eater romance, and a jealous girl gorilla make for fiery consequences, yet the revenge is thin, with most of the circus designs just for show. The fourth and ghoul Crypt Keeper quarterback also can’t save the uneven crimes in director Russell Mulcahy’s (Highlander) “People Who Live in Brass Hearses.” Violent ex-con Bill Paxton (Aliens) and simpleton younger brother Brad Dourif (Child’s Play) are out for revenge, harassing the suspicious ice cream truck driver before bloody hooks, murderous mishaps, gory gunshots, and safe cracking gone awry. There are some twists, but the sardonic humor and quirky characters can’t carry the heist amid unenjoyable outbursts and obnoxiousness. Ghoulish bodies, morgue drawers, and colorful goo open “Half-Way Horrible” and the Keeper is shrinking heads in the dryer at his scare salon while a detective asks Clancy Brown (Highlander) about his chemical company’s proprietary ingredients. These rare herbs were of course stolen in the jungle amid tribal drums, native secrets, and zombie rituals. Voodoo dolls come back to haunt the corrupt chemist, and once again it’s just rich white guys learning the err of their appropriating ways – told from the sympathetic point of view of said rich white guys. It’s not surprising and doesn’t make us feel bad when he gets his due. As The Keeper says, ‘he needed to learn rot from wrong a little fester.’

Fortunately, old fashioned kitchens, cameo jewelry, and country strings accent the rural settings of these tales again based on Haunt of Fear, Tales from the Crypt, Vault of Horror, Shock SuspenStories, and Crime SuspenStories. Cha-ching money sounds, stormy nights, and other audio bells and whistles set off the vintage video, VCRs, old televisions, giant tape reels, transistor radios, huge ass car phones, and hi tech nineties corporate contrasting the old school noir, file folders, and black and white photographs. Warped camera angles, dark lighting, shadow schemes, and colorful touches keep the on location production values top notch amid effective jungle horrors, gross make up, blood, and disturbing gore. Downtrodden circus tents and lanterns provide golden Victorian patinas while haunted houses and cobwebs create congested scares. Train tensions begat outdoor ominous and penultimate zombie gross, and though front loaded with juicy nudity, later in the season the steamy lingerie isn’t as important as the swanky bling, period costumes, or Egyptian motifs. Tales from the Crypt’s horror prosthetics really allow the cast per episode to sink their teeth into the role or multiple roles whether playing to or against type. Tales from the Crypt Season Five starts strong with some of the series’ finest humor and horror with sardonic sexiness and star studded scares. This shorter year shines with relatively few poor outings – a precursor to today’s brief, quickly digestible fall horror and anthology seasons. Tales from the Crypt Season Five is a creepy, fast marathon for Halloween or anytime of year.

For More Horror Television check out:

Tales from the Crypt 1 2 3 4

Tales from the Darkside 1 2 3 4

Kindred: The Embraced

Dracula (2020)

Daphne’s Den of Darkness: 5 Horror Movies So Bad They’re Good

There are some bad horror movies out there. Like, bad bad. But that doesn’t mean you can’t still enjoy them. Whether it’s the acting, special effects, writing, or themes, some movies go hard in the wrong direction. But just because it’s bad doesn’t mean it isn’t good.

Rubber (2010)

A sentient tire (yes, a tire) with telekinetic powers terrorizes a small town with its homicidal intentions. This movie is exactly as absurd as it sounds. The premise is ridiculous enough to warrant watching, but he acting is what really puts it over the top.

Doom (2005)

Loosely based on the video game series, Doom is a sci-fi horror mashup featuring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. If you like aliens, guns, and questionable moral decisions, you’ll enjoy this. It’s about as well written as any video game movie (so… not well written at all) and correspondingly well acted. There are some jump scares for good measure and plenty of bloody death scenes.

Death Race 2050 (2017)

Based on the original Death Race movie (a Very Serious Action Film), Death Race 2050 takes the concept of a murder spree car race to its logical and absurd conclusion. Filled with ridiculously gory deaths, over the top acting, and social satire, Death Race 2050 is just plain fun.

Rampage (2018)

You know I love monster movies. So, I was bound to enjoy this giant animal extravaganza. This is another video game based movie starring Dwayne Johnson. Rampage has little regard for logic and even less for science, but you get to watch a giant ape, wolf, and alligator duke it out on the Chicago skyline, so who cares?

Splice (2009)

Genetic engineers splice animal and human DNA to create a creature unlike anything the world has ever seen. But feelings get in the way and things take a turn for the horrific. The concept alone is pretty bizarre, but somewhere around the middle of the movie, things turn from weird to downright f*cked up.

What’s your favorite bad horror movie? Do you like the B-list or did a blockbuster fall short? Let us know in the comments!

Book Review: Howls from Hell Anthology

Book Review: Howls from Hell review by Matt Marovich

No matter what the theme of the anthology, the one constant among such books is that an anthology is not going to completely be the thing for everyone, and Howls From Hell, A Horror Anthology (which I’ll just refer to as Howls from here on out) is no different. That said, I will say that I enjoyed most of the stories in Howls and even the ones I enjoyed less were still decent. 

Other than being generally “horror”, there’s no real standard theme to the stories in this anthology, all of which come from members of an online community called the HOWL (Horror-Obsessed Writing and Literature) Society. The stories cross the gambit from ones I would describe as more Weird fiction than Horror to body horror, monster horror, and slasher horror. There are strange occult stories that might fit in the Lovecraft Mythos or something similar and one of body-hopping police officers/crisis interventionists who possess people in order to solve problems. While I generally prefer anthologies organized around a more standardized topic, the lack thereof doesn’t detract from Howls and I think instead provides it a little bit of strength; where an anthology with a unifying theme might have a few weaker pieces that don’t quite match the rest of the stories, by not having such a thread to tie the stories together it allows Howls to offer a greater variety of experiences that might provide more of a palette to appeal to a greater audience.

The one thing that I will say about Howls is that there were some stories that didn’t quite strike me as “horror”. One such story is “Manufactured Gods”, a piece that struck me as more sci-fi than horror about future explorers of an ancient tomb who make a startling discovery. Another is the story I referenced above, “Possess and Serve” which seemed more like a police procedural or thriller than a true horror story. The first story in the anthology “A Casual Encounter”, which details the first-person perspective from a sex worker who is more than she seems, having an encounter with a john, really isn’t a story with a beginning, middle, and end or a plot with a conflict that is resolved; it feels like it should be a scene in a larger piece. Despite these opinions, these three stories were creatively written with vivid descriptions that captivated me and I enjoyed them quite a lot. 

If you are a fan of horror and anthologies I would recommend giving Howls from Hell, A Horror Anthology a try; it’s a quick read and with the variety of tales to provide I’m sure you’ll find something to enjoy.

HorrorAddicts.net 200, Wicked Women Writer’s All-star Challenge

HASeason16culhorrorshort2

Horror Addicts Episode# 200
SEASON 16 Cultural Horror
Horror Hostess: Emerian Rich
Intro Music by: Valentine Wolfe


200 | Wicked Women Writer’s All-star Challenge | Batavia | Dark Shadows 1879 Plot 

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

VOTE FOR YOUR FAVORITE WICKED STORY NOW! https://forms.gle/UiChwdFxZ83Vw2ui8

AllStars2021new
64 days till Halloween

Music: “The Absinthian” #Batavia

Merrill’s Musical Musings: #RLMerrill #Batavia #FromtheInside #AliceCooper #Styx

Catchup: #KidBackinSchool #Silence #200thEpisode 

Theme: #200thEpisode #WWWAllStars

Frightening Flix: #KBatz #DarkShadows #1897Plot

Live Action Reviews: #CrystalConnor #Pride  #LGBTQ #HorrorMovies #WhatKeepsYouAlive #CreaturesFromThePinkLagoon #TheDisappearanceofAliceCreed  #Spiral #ColinMinihan

Daphne’s Den of Darkness: #DaphneStarsert #HorrorManga #DevilsLine #Uzumaki #Parasyte #AjinDemiHuman #TokyoGhoul

Historian of Horror: #MarkOrr #EarlyTV #SuspenseShow #1947TV #RadioPlay #BelaLugosi #Poe #TheCaskofAmontillado #WWII

Bigfoot Files: #LionelRayGreen #TheRedBook #JillHedgecock #PattersonGimlin #BigFoot

Audiodrama: #TheDeadbringer #emmarkoff music: “Huitzillin” by Sarah Monroy Solis #sarisolis voices by em markoff, james seo, emerian rich

NEWS: 

#HorrorBites #DeathlyFog #AdamBreckenridge 

https://www.amazon.com/Horror-Bites-Deathly-Adam-Breckenridge-ebook/dp/B09BP5L3Z8

#JesseOrr #GypsyMob #FreeFictition 

Book Review: Reviewed by: #EmerianRich #WolfeManor #AdeleMariePark

WICKED WOMEN WRITER ALL-STAR CHALLENGE

JUDGES: 

#RhondaCarpenter  http://www.themarkofadruid.com/

#HERoulo http://heatherroulo.com/

#KillionSlade https://www.killionslade.com/

THE WICKEDS: 

Jaq D. Hawkins “Naga People”

Daphne Strasert “The Blood of Sorus”

D.M. Slate “International Cuisine”

Naching T. Kassa “Prey Upon the Wicked”

Stacy Fileccia “Zandra’s Kiss”

VOTE FOR YOUR FAVORITE WICKED STORY NOW! 

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

————————————-

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

Also, send show theme ideas!

horroraddicts@gmail.com

h o s t e s s

Emerian Rich

h e a d  o f  p u b l i s h i n g

Naching T. Kassa

p u b l i s h i n g  p. a.

Cedar George

b l o g  e d i t o r

Kate Nox

s t a f f

KBatz (Kristin Battestella), Daphne Strasert, Jesse Orr, Lionel Green, Kieran Judge, Crystal Connor, Nightshade, R.L. Merrill, Mark Orr, DJ Pitsiladis, Christopher Fink, Mimielle, Courtney Mroch

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Wicked Women Writer’s All-stars: Meet the Contestants


wwwbannerHAJaq3-250smJaq D Hawkins
is the author of The Goblin Trilogy, which includes Dance of the Goblins, Demoniac Dance, and Power of the Dance. She has also written the Airship Mechanoids Steampunk series which begins with The Wake of the Dragon and will continue with The Winds of Winter Storms due in 2021.


DM Slate photo - dmslate94D.M. Slate is an author of dark fiction and suspense, whose first novella was released in 2009. She enjoys writing short stories and flash fiction, as well as full length novels. Slate resides in Colorado with her two teenage children, alongside a house full of animals and reptiles.


stacyfileStacy Fileccia teaches 8th grade English and used do technical writing and math tutoring. A coffee and chocolate lover, she lives in Ohio with her husband, 8 kids, 3 dogs, & a snake. Scribbling in many genres—often at practices and appointments—she has been published by Sirens Call, and won the 2016 Most Wicked Woman Writer contest.


DaphneStrasert-1920x1080-1024x577Daphne Strasert is a horror, fantasy, and speculative fiction writer from Houston, Texas. She has published many short stories through HorrorAddicts.net, Dark Water Syndicate, and Crimson Streets. When not writing, she plays board games and knits. Her interests include monsters, murder mysteries, and things that go bump in the night.


Nachingwriterpic2019Naching T. Kassa is a wife, mother, and writer. She’s created many short stories and co-created three children. She lives in Eastern Washington State with her husband, Dan Kassa. Naching is a member of the Horror Writers Association, Head of Publishing for HorrorAddicts.net, and an assistant at Crystal Lake Publishing.

Merrill’s Musical Musings : Batavia

Greetings HorrorAddicts! This month’s review is a bit of a concept project and that got me thinking about some of my favorite concept albums. I’m excited to share them with you, but first, a little about Batavia. 

This husband and wife duo shares a love for punk and industrial music and has created a project that delves into both of these sounds to build a moody piece about the evil that humans do to one another. “Quite Mean Spirited” gets off to a rocky start, but by track three it had my attention. Track four, “Finis,” and especially five, “The Absinthian,” were solid performances, and I gained an appreciation for the piece and where they were headed. Inspired by a true story of violence out of 1930s Soviet Russia, Batavia explores loneliness and fear during a time when many folks are well-versed in those emotions. I admire their creativity and passion and will check out more of their work in the future. You can find more about Batavia on Bandcamp. 

Recently my musician pal Ted Levin released a series of videos featuring his original music set to horror imagery from the film Begotten (1989). It’s eerie, disturbing, and so very, very cool. He has a sound that harkens back to Pink Floyd with sprinkles of Alice in Chains and Soundgarden mixed in for extra flavor. Check out “Bound” and “Sky and the Sun” on YouTube for a creepy good time. 

Nothing is more fascinating to me as a music fan than when artists open up about their lives and let us into their world. One of my favorite examples of this is Alice Cooper’s From The Inside. The album explores his experience in a mental institution as a result of his alcoholism. It’s witty, funny, dark, and vulnerable, and it’s one of my all-time favorite albums. “How You Gonna See Me Now” is a brilliant song that touches me on a very personal level. 

https://open.spotify.com/embed/album/7FFpqmbQxj3u4Q7aLGNox0

Another concept album that takes me back is Styx’s Paradise Theater. The double album cover shows the dilapidated theater on the inside and a brilliant shining version facing outward. I wanted to know all of the stories that went on there when I listened with my mom, dancing around the house and trying not to bump the record player (I always did).

 https://open.spotify.com/embed/album/6PhLTeuN0G894bdSBTCwUF

That’s it for this month’s Merrill’s Musical Musings. Be sure to hit me up on the socials or leave a comment and share with me your favorite concept albums. Stay Tuned for Ro’s Recs… R.L. Merrill writes inclusive romance with quirky, relatable characters full of love, hope, and rock ‘n’ roll. You can find her at https://www.rlmerrillauthor.com and on the socials as @rlmerrillauthor

FRIGHTENING FLIX BY KBATZ: Dark Shadows 1897

Revisiting Dark Shadows’ 1897 Storyline by Kristin Battestella

Let’s celebrate with Dark Shadows as we are so often wont to do! Though arriving in the middle of the macabre sixties soap opera, the 1897 storyline is the series’ longest time travel jaunt at 183 episodes. Its Victorian turn of the century vampires, werewolves, and panache make this plot the perfect place to sample what the eerie endurance of Dark Shadows is about as our company stock becomes all new characters for the period mayhem. Thanks to video releases and streaming options broken down into forty-episode seasonal Collections, viewers new or old can easily jump into this Dark Shadows breadth. Here’s a recap of said Collections covering the 1897 ghosts, secrets, and curses.

Collection 13

When the Ghost of Quentin Collins (David Selby) drives the entire Collins family from Collingwood, governess Maggie Evans (Kathryn Leigh Scott) and her two possessed charges (David Henesy and Denise Nickerson) flee to the Old House as Barnabas Collins (Jonathan Frid) and Dr. Julia Hoffman (Grayson Hall) search for answers to rid them of the poltergeist and stop Chris Jennings’ (Don Briscoe) werewolf transformations. When Barnabas and Professor Stokes (Thayer David) discover Quentin’s I Ching wands, Barnabas uses them to will himself to the year 1897. Once in the past, he introduces himself to Judith Collins (Joan Bennett) and investigates Quentin’s secrets. Unfortunately, Barnabas harbors a secret of his own – he has been unchained from his coffin and is once again a vampire.

Collection 13 begins with Episode 696 from February 1969, just before the nineteenth-century switch, and concludes with a wallop for Number 735. Opening narrations get the viewer up to speed on the scandals and ancestral players after the Episode 701 transition, and the paranormal tricks work well with the soap opera mysteries. We’re like the newly arrived vampire Barnabas indeed – at the mercy of unfolding mysticism, scheming gypsies, heirs at each other’s throats, and missing wills. Why is the maid Beth Chavez still on at Collingwood if her mistress Jenny Collins has left? Where is Edward Collin’s wife Laura and what does she have to do with Quentin’s banishment? Why does governess Rachel Drummond see lights in the empty Tower room? Borrowing from classic literature on Dark Shadows is apparent with this Jane Eyre symbolism, yet the familiar gothic tropes anchor the spooky changeover. Iconic Dark Shadows music accentuates the shockers, and Robert Cobert’s morose motifs and creepy cues help build character suspense. Scary shadows, fake cobwebs, spotlights, darkness, and candle effects invoke careful mood and ominous set design even as Dark Shadows remains notorious for its fly-by-night production cheapness. Thankfully, the antiques, colorful frocks, microphone shadows, and set bloopers alike set off the quality storytelling keeping us on the edge of our seats with illicit twists, fiery whodunits, and Martinique zombies. Episode 705 has a sweet, fatal climax, and plenty of red herrings and tower mysteries makes for some great undead kickers and fainting frights – especially Episode 723.

Collection 14

The mysterious Laura Collins (Diana Millay) returns to Collinwood determined to take her children Jamison (David Henesy) and Nora (Denise Nickerson) away from Reverend Trask’s (Jerry Lacey) strict boarding school. Her former lover Quentin Collins, however, has other occult plans for her. Barnabas Collins also battles Laura with the help of gypsies Magda (Grayson Hall) and Sandor (Thayer David). Unfortunately, his unraveling of Quentin’s secrets has deadly consequences, and Barnabas must help family matriarch Judith in the 1897 past to save the Collins’ 1969 future.

Dark Shadows adds even more supernatural elan with children in peril in Episode 736 and wolfy foreplay thru 775. The 1897 action interweaves bizarre dreams and eerie prophecies as the ensemble tackles several well balanced plots at once. Unlike slow soaps, something happens each episode with real-time half-hour pacing. First time viewers are treated to surprise connections and cliffhangers regarding the murders, blackmail, and poisons. Certainly, there are melodramatic hysterics, but the lycanthrope suspense, meddling witches, and phoenix – yes a phoenix – storylines remain unique. The impish Quentin is oh so suave, calculating, and full of love to hate charm as he causes trouble in every way possible. Paranormal layers populate Dark Shadows with bats, doppelgangers, Egyptian motifs, and psychic torment. Cool crypts, wolf howls, and chilling knocks at the door invoke atmosphere while the wobbly Styrofoam tombstones and visible boom mikes are drinking game-worthy. Poor Barnabas Collins, stuck in a foreign time and dealing with ghosts, wolf investigations, and vampire victims all at the same time. His flub, “My cousin, Uncle Jeremiah…” is certainly understandable! We can laugh and forgive such same day tape mistakes because Dark Shadows comes together so effectively – creating intense, ambitious daytime action with complex characters to match.

Collection 15

While werewolf Quentin Collins and Magda the gypsy who cursed him seek a cure for his lycanthropy, time-traveling cousin and vampire Barnabas Collins tries to keep their paranormal secrets from fellow family members Edward (Louis Edmunds) and the newly married Judith Collins Trask. Corrupt Reverend Trask has all but taken over the Collinwood estate and soon seeks to cleanse the family of its evils once the mysterious Count Petofi (Thayer David) and his magical cohorts come to town.

After nearing over 100 hundred episodes in the 1897 storyline, Dark Shadows lends itself a hand by adding even more vengeful ghosts, gypsy curses, and freaky talismans to the gothic storytelling. 1969 names and plots are mentioned to remind the audience of this 1897 excursion’s original purpose, but the time travel troubles, shockingly bloody vampires, and expanding werewolf yarns lead to a zany off-screen shootout and elaborate action sequences. Character shakeups and spooky developments keep the paranormal fresh; no player is superfluous as each wrench contributes to the complex immediacy amid witches, zombies, and disembodied hands. Steamy dream sequences, psychics, and undead secrets come to a head as disposable policemen, jailed werewolves, and possessions provide tension and suspense. Manipulated wives mix with supernatural causes, and the infamously inaccurate Collins Family History book means anything can happen. The Picture of Dorian Gray twists delight along with a crazy finale in Episode 816. Of course, that monkey’s paw style hand leads to some wildly bad makeup and pasty skin effects that are actually ghoulishly fitting, and the black and white kinescope versions of Episodes 797 and 813 are more disturbing thanks to chilling séances and ghostly overlays. When the panning cameras, zooms, booming screams, coffin creaks, slamming doors, fog machines, and lights out cooperate, it’s the exclamation on all the fearful gothic mood. Certainly, the gypsy material here is stereotypical and cliché. For some audiences, Dark Shadows may seem comical in its juicy horror camp. However, today many shows seem to easily unravel with less material over shorter amounts of time. There’s even been a small Victorian cum steampunk resurgence onscreen, but Dark Shadows has been doing this kind of entertainment all along.

Collection 16

Vampire Barnabas Collins is re-entombed in his coffin by the warlock Count Petofi who is intent on escaping 1897 by traveling to the future with werewolf Quentin Collins. Unfortunately, the witch Angelique (Lara Parker) has marital plans for Quentin, leaving the possessed Charity Trask (Nancy Barrett), jealous maid Beth Chavez (Terry Crawford), and painter Charles Delaware Tate’s (Roger Davis) perfect woman come to life Amanda Harris (Donna McKechnie) with brokenhearted, violent, and trigger happy threats.

1969 time travel goals lay the 1897 exit groundwork as skeletons, full moons, gunpoint confrontations, and confessions spearhead the intersecting supernatural tangents, unreliable I Ching attempts, and astral projections gone awry. The vampires, vendettas, paradoxes, and possessions are no longer secret thanks to prophetic harbingers and fatal deadlines. Hooded executioners provide suspense and vicious murders push the daytime television envelope while deceptive visions create an eerie mix of who is who, past or present, and living or dead. Vampires can’t help against unique spells during daylight nor is the werewolf available during the full moon. Characters learn of their own suicides from their future ghosts as villainous malice and emotional anchors swell with sword-wielding terror. Spectral toppers, paranormal visuals, and dark romanticism balance the traditional two-shot soap opera conversations. Although the performances are sincere and earnest, the cast tries not to laugh over crazy dialogue, infamous flubs, and teleprompter glances. Enemies sit together over brandy, waiting for who will blink first before the witch hypnotizes a man to put the pistol to his temple. That’s Twisted! Hidden letters written in 1897 are read in 1969 just in the nick of time – bringing the ominous facts full circle with bloody bright red flashbacks, cyanide, and jealous women. Redemptions and rejections lead to dying for love morose, and mystical bargains trap the afflicted via voodoo effigies, shackles, or black magic. Episode 839 would seem to resolve this fatal past with all is well second chances but the lycanthrope troubles and bodily possessions then and now linger. Stolen portraits, magic rings, late messages, and all aboard whistles add to the diabolical in Episode 850, and unknown prices must be paid. On Dark Shadows, most characters accept the fantastic rather than balk. However, no one ever really escapes from Collinsport.

Collection 17

Barnabas Collins travels from 1897 back to 1796 with Countess Kitty Soames, the reincarnation of his beloved Josette DuPres (Kathryn Leigh Scott) after seemingly defeating the vile Count Petofi – who has switched bodies with the now immortal Quentin Collins in order to travel to 1969. Unfortunately, ancient Leviathan interference and an evil antique shop run by the enthralled Megan Todd (Marcia Wallace) upset numerous events past and present for Dr. Julia Hoffman and the rest of Collinsport.

Body swaps, mistaken identity, and abused I Ching hexagrams open Episode 858 amid bitter marriages, magical portraits, and blackmail. Enemies become allies as characters must prove who they are thanks to skeleton keys, psychic visions, and mystical ruses. Inner monologues matching the real person in the wrong body curb confusion as well as garner sympathy while buried alive threats and haunted punishments result in kidnappings and failed rituals. Dubious lawyers and lookalike vampire encounters ramp up the scares in Episode 868 as suspicious relatives and antagonizing ministers plot with buried suitcases and decoy burglaries. Will power over evil, cliffside desperation, and deadly shockers in Episode 876 up the intensity before 879 adds double-crosses, stranglers, poison, and fresh cement. Climatic scandals keep the paranoia and graveyard chases on track as victims must stay awake lest spells overtake them. Green screen mistakes and innate camera flaws may make the magentas look garish, however, the distorted hues are terribly effective for gaslight ambiance and ghostly overlays. Cursed people are packing, gold diggers are making plans – there’s a sense that 1897 is a wrap and 1969 is imminent thanks to psychedelic dreams, astral interference, and time travel technicalities. Unfortunately, the fiery 1897 finale fumbles thanks to a shoehorned in 1796 detour before the much maligned leviathan storyline with its naga lockets and necronomicons. After three odd colonial episodes, the vampire brides and meddling witches are also left hanging for torches and snake altars before the return to 1969 in Episode 888. It’s a big WTF that today would have audiences immediately tuning out and complaining on Twitter. If Dark Shadows had directly taken the I Ching back to 1969 and then revealed the unusual Lovecraft-inspired leviathan abstracts as a subplot to what happens with our 1897 immortals; the ancient rituals and cult incantations might have been received differently. A lot happens on Collection 17, but Dark Shadows has plenty of juicy left to come, and the 1897 escapade remains perfect for a spooky marathon.

Want more horror like Dark Shadows?

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For even more Dark Shadows reviews, visit my detailed analysis at I Think, Therefore I Review!

Wicked Women Writer’s All-star Competition: Naching T. Kassa

wwwbannerStory Title: Prey Upon the Wicked
by: Naching T. Kassa
Object: Orb
Cultural Influence: American Indian

*~*Judging panel has not altered/edited this text.*~*
*~*Text is posted as sent by the author.*~*

SFX: BELL TOLLS

NARRATOR

PREY UPON THE WICKED

By Naching T. Kassa

The body of Omen Plattu lies upon the silver floor of the spacecraft Eishu, his long arms bent and broken, his grey skin blanched white.

Komen Daru of the planet Kemu, captain of the craft, stares into Plattu’s face. The eyes arrest his attention and send chills over his thin arms and legs. Plattu’s eyes reflect an image of the last thing he saw, the one who took his life. Daru has seen her face before.

She is human and hideous. Her ash-covered visage is framed by dark, flowing hair. Her small eyes glare. A medallion, fashioned from beads, encircles her neck.

Omen Mu, Daru’s subordinate appears at the opposite end of the corridor and hurries to Daru’s side. He is tall and thin, the psychic energy about him radiates fear.

OMEN MU

(HIGH NASAL VOICE)

What has happened, my Komen?

KOMEN DARU

(LOW HEROIC VOICE)

Plattu has been killed. His blood depleted.

MU

How?

DARU
See these small puncture wounds here in his throat? The blood was drained from here. I believe he was attacked from behind. His arms have been torn from their sockets. It is as though—what is the matter, Mu? You are trembling.

MU

My Komen, this is why I came to see you. One of our specimens has escaped. I believe she is responsible for Plattu’s death.

DARU

Which specimen was it?

MU

Number 13.

DARU

Thirteen! Of all the specimens, she is the most dangerous. Send a message to Central Command—

MU

I cannot, my Komen. The Communications Uplink has been damaged, as has our Navigation Control. We are on an unalterable course to Kemu.

DARU

Our homeworld? Can you imagine what havoc she would wreak if she reached our planet? How could this happen? She should have been in crynation until we reached Star Port.

MU

The cryogenic pod was a faulty one. It thawed and she broke free.

DARU

We must recapture her. Go to the armory. Collect weapons for yourself and for me.

MU

Respectfully, my Komen, I do not think conventional weapons can disable 13—or destroy her for that matter.

DARU

Nonsense. Even though she is dangerous, she is still human. They are weak, fragile beings. You captured her once. You can do it again.

MU

This is no mere human, my Komen. She is an offshoot of the human species, something more than mortal. A great deal of luck went into her capture. We killed her human guardian and took her while she slept. You know she is the perfect killing machine, a creature capable of spreading her own disease over an entire planet.

DARU

What do you suggest we do?

MU

We must consult the Orb. It houses the combined knowledge of every world we have ever visited. It can tell us how to vanquish her.

DARU

Then we will go to the library first.

MU

What of Plattu’s body?

DARU

Leave it here. We will move it to the morgue later.

SFX: FOOTSTEPS (WALKING AWAY)

SFX: FEMININE GIGGLE

MU

Wait, my Komen. What was that?

She is behind us!

SFX: FOOTSTEPS (RUNNING BACK)

DARU

There is no one here, Mu.

MU

My Komen! Plattu’s head…it is gone! She has taken it!

DARU

Why? Why would she do such a thing? What horror have you brought upon this ship, Mu?

MU

The humans have a name for such as she. They call them…Vampires.

SFX: TRANSITIONAL MUSIC

NARRATOR

The library of the spacecraft contains a large and glowing orb. Within its crystalline structure rests the knowledge of every being the Kemu have abducted, killed, or enslaved. It glows a fiery red as Mu accesses the information inside.

MU

I have searched every culture on the water world, my Komen. There are differences but many agree on several points. Here are the weapons used.

DARU

I do not recognize these things. What is Garlic?

MU

Garlic is a malodorous plant grown on the water planet. Unfortunately, we have none of them on board.

DARU

What about—a Crucifix?

MU

A Crucifix is the symbol of a certain deity worshiped there. We can manufacture those.

DARU

It seems crucifixes only keep the creature at bay. They will not kill it. The report states that only a steak through the heart or sunlight can destroy such a beast. Since we cannot return to the system of the water planet, we cannot use the sun. That leaves us only the steak. We have that, I trust. We took enough from the Bovine creatures.

MU

We have enough. The steak we use for sustenance will be a satisfactory weapon should it remain frozen. I am afraid that in its natural state it will be of little use to us.

DARU

Very well. Cut it into shards so that we might pierce the creature’s heart. Then create the crucifixes. Is that acceptable, Mu? Your psychic aura radiates confusion.

MU

I am troubled, my Komen. Thirteen came back for the head of Omen Plattu. Why?

DARU

Who knows the ways of these humans? Have you searched the information in the Orb?

MU

I have. The information cannot be found.

DARU

Then, it is not important.

SFX: TRANSITIONAL MUSIC

MU

We have collected all of the needed items, my Komen, but I do not think we should split up. It is dangerous to hunt this creature alone. Every survival video I have seen, Ghostbusters, Fright Night, The Cabin in the Woods, warns against it.

DARU

Your fear is too great. The Vampire relied upon the element of surprise. It cannot defeat us now that we are prepared. I will go toward the Control Chamber, and you will take the opposite direction.

MU

My Komen—

DARU

Enough. Do as I say.

MU

As you wish, my Komen.

NARRATOR

Mu disappears in the opposite direction and Daru peers before him. He catches sight of a shadow as it ducks into the Control Chamber. The silhouette possesses no discernible source.

Daru clutches the frozen meat of the Bovine creature in his gloved hand. In his other, he holds a crucifix. Without a sound, he creeps toward the chamber. He pauses in the doorway and peers into the room.

The Vampire kneels at the center, her back toward him. A strange song rises from her lips, and a knife gleams in her hand as she cuts her long hair short.

Daru slinks toward the creature. If he can catch her unawares, all their problems will be solved.

He is but inches away when she turns to face him. Her crimson-colored eyes burn in the half-light afforded by the instrument panels around her. Sharp teeth glisten. Her pale countenance would be frightening enough without the smearing of black ash which covers it.

Daru glances at her hands. One is missing two fingers. They have been torn away.

He thrusts the crucifix toward her. Her reaction is not as expected. She does not quail before him in abject terror as the Orb reported she would. Instead, she laughs, and the hollow sound chills 

the chambers of his heart.

13 THE VAMPIRE

(LAUGHS)

That doesn’t work if you don’t believe.

DARU

It does not matter. The item in my other hand will work!

VAMPIRE

What is that?

DARU

A steak! One that I will drive into your evil heart.

SFX: FOOTSTEPS INDICATING A STRUGGLE, GRUNTING, A DULL THUNK.

Die, foul beast!

SFX: LAUGHTER

DARU

Wait…you are still alive. I stabbed you! You’re supposed to burst into flame or crumble into dust!

VAMPIRE
Where did you people get your information?

DARU

From the Orb, the vessel of all knowledge.

VAMPIRE

Oh…the Orb. I hope it is more accurate when describing your people and culture than it is in describing mine. I visited your Orb and it told me many things about your people. It said you were conquerors. You abduct people from their planets, infect them with a virus, and then return them to the population. When the populace has been destroyed by the virus, you invade. Is this true?

DARU

We have colonized many worlds this way

VAMPIRE

You think yourself superior to those you conquer?

DARU

Of course.

VAMPIRE

Wicked grey man! You are as bad as they. Long ago, they gave us blankets rife with smallpox, all so they could steal our land. You are as greedy as those who butchered us so long ago. It will be your undoing. Stare into my eyes, grey man. Look deep and drown.

DARU

No, stay away! What are you doing? I can’t move!
VAMPIRE

You shouldn’t have killed him. If you had allowed him life, I would’ve let you live.

DARU

W-Who?

VAMPIRE

My guardian. The one who protected me by day. He was my husband, more dear to me than the fingers of my right hand. So dear, I tore them from my hand in grief. You have placed these ashes upon my face. I mourn as befits the wife of a Blackfoot.

DARU

Let go of me!

VAMPIRE

Your Orb is an interesting thing but easily altered. You should’ve used the laser. Decapitation is the best way to kill a vampire.

DARU

Wait, let me go. I did not kill your mate. It was Omen Mu!  Please, I will do anything.

VAMPIRE

You disgust me. Clinging to life while preying on the innocent. You have met your match, grey man. I prey upon the wicked.

DARU

Noooo! Please! Aaahhh!

SFX: BELL TOLLS

*~*Judging panel has not altered/edited this text.*~*
*~*Text is posted as sent by the author.*~*


To vote for this story in the 2021 Wicked Women’s Writing All-star Challenge, CLICK HERE
Voting ends: September 15th, 2021

Wicked Women Writer’s All-star Competition: Stacy Fileccia

wwwbannerStory Title: Zandra’s Kiss
by: Stacy Fileccia
Object: Time Travel Device
Cultural Influence: Arabic

*~*Judging panel has not altered/edited this text.*~*
*~*Text is posted as sent by the author.*~*

Zandra’s Kiss

By Stacy Fileccia

Zandra missed her mom. Body aching, Zandra had awakened on the sandy floor of an old wooden shack. Bound—hand and foot—with what looked like sticky, braided hair, she couldn’t even see her special birthmark on her wrist. Blood seeped into her mouth from her swollen lip. That had happened when a bearded brute punched her as he dragged her into an ice cream truck. All she could see now was four drunken men—playing cards on an old picnic table—and a guy, with diamond-stud earrings and a sickening smile, examining a scalpel.

She shuddered.

Three certainties blasted through Zandra’s mind. She’d be tortured. She’d never see her mom again. She’d likely die. If she was lucky. Her heart pounded. The roof of her mouth ached and swelled—like her lip. She took in a deep breath.

Without warning, cards, men, and beer bottles flew in all directions. The lion’s roar of strong wind exploded the air, shaking the shack. With a whip-crack sound, it stopped. No one moved in the resounding silence.

The door burst open. 

Whispered echoes of “Bertrand” poured from her captors’ lips as the man, himself, ignored them. He strode directly to Zandra, grasping her chin and chuckling, “Fighter, eh?” Standing, he said, “Ser goot, gentlemen. Let us get started.”

In the flurry of activity that followed, “Bearded Brute” sliced through Zandra’s ankle bonds, but she had a plan. She landed a kick, square on his squat nose. 

As he howled and Bertrand laughed, the other cardplayers seized her. Her mom’s sweet face dancing in her mind, Zandra heard herself screaming as they carried her across the room, slipped her bound hands over an anchored hook, and hoisted her writhing body onto the bloodstained table. Stretching her painfully, they strapped her ankles to the bottom corners.

Bearded Brute stomped over, looking murderous, but Bertrand wagged a finger, “’Ave your fun with her after I remove her Ghudat Aljilatin.” 

Bearded Brute seethed, turning an almost inhuman gaze to Zandra. He wiggled his fingers in her face. They had odd scars on the tips, almost like closed eyes. He jammed his index finger between her lips and teeth, making her gag as it hit the back of her throat. Something shot from his finger until her mouth was completely full of what felt like the sticky braided hair that bound her wrists. It tasted worse than old earwax.

Jaws aching, she could barely breathe.

Her captors held her down with their stinking bodies, making Zandra feel about as powerful as a butterfly trapped between book pages. Bearded Brute sliced open the left side of her T-shirt.

Pain exploded through her like lightning fire as Bertrand stabbed between her ribs, slicing, cutting, digging. Unendurable. Yet she endured, squeezed to breaking against the warped wood.

“Goot, goot,” Bertrand kept saying.

Not good. Not good. Zandra screamed inaudibly. The roof of her mouth suddenly broke open, causing a flood—that tasted like cotton candy—to fill her mouth and spill from her swollen lips.

Would she drown?

Ignoring her torment, Bertrand sliced away while the nasty gag dissolved into the sweet taste of cotton candy.

Like a psychotic tiger appearing from nowhere, a tornadic wind burst to bloom in the middle of the shack. Sand and surgical equipment flew everywhere. Bearded Brute’s knife flew from his hand into Diamond Guy’s neck, who crumpled where he stood. 

The tornado tipped like a wilting flower until Zandra could see it as if from above. A knife-wielding, ginger-haired woman in peacock-blue medical scrubs stepped through it as the wind whip-cracked and vanished. While the men seemed stunned, the woman slashed through Zandra’s ankle straps.

Except for Bertrand, the men fell into chaos, grabbing for weapons to fight the woman.

But “woman” she was not. Not anymore. 

At first, she looked like a holograph of herself. Then her entire body morphed into something like molten amber. Yet she moved as if she were fully human. Bullets, knives, and more went pelting through the air, but, rather than harming her, the projectiles only slowed as they went through her.

Zandra’s head spun. Had the men drugged her? She couldn’t be seeing a woman of amber stepping through a torrent of bullets. Could she? The amberized woman engulfed Bearded Brute. Obviously unable to breathe, Bearded Brute’s eyes bulged as he fought in slow motion.

“Salt!” screamed Bertrand. “You, fools! You can’t …” He fumbled through his clothes, pulling out what looked like a pistol-sized, metal squirt gun.

But Zandra’s other captors had already run away. 

As Bearded Brute convulsed in death throes, Zandra decided what she saw was real. She spat out the disgusting, disintegrated gag, twisted off the table, and unhooked her still-bound hands. Once Bearded Brute stilled, the amberized woman let him sink through and out of her.

Then she strode toward Bertrand, who shot her. Something white streamed from the gun, causing the woman to catch fire where it hit.

Zandra slammed her bound fists onto Bertrand’s weapon and kicked it away. She tried to run as the woman rolled on the floor to put out the flames, but Bertrand caught Zandra by her long red braid. He held her around the neck, using her as a human shield against the woman rising from the floor.

Inspired, Zandra flung her bound hands in a double fist into Bertrand’s face while back-kicking him in the balls. He fell to the floor on top of her. She felt her ribs crack. Barely able to breathe, new pain exploded in her side as Bertrand stabbed her in the hole he’d made.

Unbelievably, Zandra’s neck elongated. As if she were snake, she whipped around and bit the back of his neck.

Screaming, he pushed through the amber. He squeezed Zandra’s neck, cutting off her air. Growing weak, her neck retracted.

As if they’d been thrown into a pool of partially-solidified gelatin, amber flooded over Zandra’s vision. The woman had engulfed both Zandra and the fat torturer atop her. Neither could breathe. As he struggled for air, Bertrand released Zandra’s neck. Miraculously, the amber around her face opened, and air rushed into her lungs. This time, Zandra’s entire body elongated, and she slid out from under Bertrand while he fought for his life. She coiled her turquoise scales in the corner of the shack, raising her head high, swaying as she let her instincts guide where next to bite.

Bertrand’s entire body had blackened—Zandra supposed—from her venom. Yet he fought with inhuman strength. Hairy, spidery legs shot from his sides and out of the amber. 

From somewhere, a voice screamed, “Cut them off!”

Zandra swooped down and bit completely through a leg. The others retracted. Bertrand soon moved no more. 

Finally, the amber drew away, and the woman reformed, massaging the amber stuff into several nasty wounds. “Thanks for that. He could breathe through the spiracles on his legs.” 

For a tangled minute, Zandra and the woman stared at each other. “Zandra, I’m Qadira. I’m here to help you.”

Serrated protrusions—fangs? Could they be fangs?—pulsed at the roof of Zandra’s mouth. Zandra hissed, “How did you know I’d been kidnapped?” 

Qadira sighed. “It’s complicated. Neither of us is from this time or this world.”

Zandra felt her body shrinking, reforming into human shape. On her arms, she could barely see the faintest outlines of the beautiful turquoise scales, melding into her skin. She said, “I’m … an alien? Some kind of monster?” The thought made her sick to her stomach.

“You’re no more a monster than any other race. Our people are a lot like the humans. We … we crashed on this planet and hid the children from our pursuers throughout … time.”

Longing for her mom, Zandra rubbed her the heart-shaped birthmark on her wrist.

Qadira smiled sympathetically. “Right now, I just want to get the Qalam Almusafir safely out of your Ghudat Aljilatin.” She pointed to Zandra’s side where—Zandra realized—she’d been stabbed with a golden pen, not a scalpel. Like armored guards, vivid turquoise scales still encircled it. Zandra nodded.

Qadira transformed her left hand into the amber stuff. A kind of euphoria washed Zandra’s pain away when the amber swallowed the pen—the Qalam Almusafir. With her right hand, Qadira pulled out the pen and gave it to Zandra. “This traveler’s pen is yours. It will take you to any place or time on this planet. I’ve got one, too, see?” Silent tears slid down the woman’s cheeks as she raised her own pen in the weak light, revealing a birthmark on her wrist uncannily similar to Zandra’s. “Bertrand stole the one he used to find you from my other daughter—your… your sister.”

Zandra gasped. She thought of her mom, the one who had kissed her boo-boos and sang sweet songs to her before bed. “You’re my …”

With unchecked tears, Qadira continued, “Last night, I … I couldn’t get to her in time…”

A slim, forked tongue flicked out from between Zandra’s teeth, tasting … honesty. Qadira wasn’t lying. Zandra choked on a sob.

Turquoise scales flash appeared along Qadira’s arms. “We are Alkubra. The reptile aspect came out early in you. Probably a defense mechanism.”

“Wait. What? What does that mean?”

 “It means you can transform into a giant, venomous snake, closely resembling an Arabian Cobra but with a bright red mark like braided hair down your back. Given enough time, Bertrand would have died from the bite—the Alkubra Kiss, your kiss.”

“Why didn’t my … sister … do that?”

“Too young, I guess.”

Zandra didn’t know what to say.

With effort, Qadira turned her obvious grief into facts. “Bertrand was trying to remove your Ghudat Aljilatin—a defensive gland that causes our bodies to gelatinize.”

“Did he do it?”

“Don’t worry. My Alyt Aldifae will heal your gland.” Qadira held up her left arm to show a missing hand.

Zandra gasped as she looked down at her sided where the pen had been. Qadira’s Alyt Aldifae looked like a mound of honey on her wound.

“No worries. My hand will reform in a couple of months.”

Rubbing her birthmark, Zandra said, “What was that braided hair stuff?”

“The men were Aleanakib, the alien race that conquered our world. They can shoot spider webby stuff from their fingers. Forget about it. They’re dead now, and we need to get out of here before more come. Do you want to come with me?”

Thinking of her mom, Zandra hesitated. “You’re really my birth mother?”

Nodding, Qadira said, “I live with other Alkubra on a beautiful, tropical island.”

Realistically, with her mom dead from the Aleanakib attack, Zandra had no better choice. She nodded.

Qadira pulled a prescription pad from her scrubs and scribbled something with the Qalam Almusafir. “We sign the bottom together.”

Zandra hissed, “Let’s go.”

END

*~*Judging panel has not altered/edited this text.*~*
*~*Text is posted as sent by the author.*~*


To vote for this story in the 2021 Wicked Women’s Writing All-star Challenge, CLICK HERE
Voting ends: September 15th, 2021

Wicked Women Writer’s All-star Competition: Daphne Strasert

wwwbannerStory Title: The Blood of Sorus
by: Daphne Strasert
Object: Alien Tome
Cultural Influence: Brazilian

*~*Judging panel has not altered/edited this text.*~*
*~*Text is posted as sent by the author.*~*

The Blood of Sorus

Daphne Strasert

The book didn’t belong in a museum. 

Especially not one of those stark, soulless off-world mausoleums where the Estranhos took their plunder to collect dust. ‘For preservation,’ they said. Sanosa knew what that meant. The Estranhos would save Sorus’ culture for posterity while they ravaged its forests, pillaged its earth, and drove the Sorians themselves into crowded, dirty slums.

Not this time, though. This time the book would stay on Sorus. Where it belonged. And the Estranhos that found it… well, they wouldn’t be finding it—or any other artifacts—ever again.

The oppressive jungle heat weighed on Sanosa’s scales. Fat droplets condensed over her hide and dripped down her tail. She struggled for each breath, the air around her thick and sticky. Every step forward she met with resistance. Vines and roots leapt out at her feet, refusing to let her pass unhindered. Thorns dug into her flanks. It was almost as if the forest didn’t want her there.

Not that being unwanted was anything new. The Sorians weren’t wanted anywhere. Not even on their own forsaken planet. Sorians eked out an existence in the hostile landscape, always in danger of being reclaimed by the wilds of Sorus. 

The temple loomed up from the shadows with no warning. The massive entrance waited for her like the open maw of the creatures that lived in the river. One moment, Sanosa trod on thick forest foliage, the next on stone.

Stone. In the middle of the jungle. It must have come from dozens of miles away. But here it was, a testament to Sorian ingenuity and dedication. The Estranhos would claim it was their doing. Some ancestral visit thousands of years ago. The Estranhos took credit for everything. 

Just like they took credit for finding the book and the temple they’d pillaged for it. Abandoned for hundreds of years, deep in the rainforest, only the fancy imaging satellites had dug it up from its rest. It never occurred to the Estranhos that the temple was better left unfound. They should have left it to the trees and vines and poisonous snakes that ruled the jungle.

Standing before the cavernous entrance to the temple, Sanosa felt a call to enter, like a rushing tide under her feet that pulled her in. She was all too aware of the danger that lurked all around her, danger she couldn’t see. The underbrush was thick, but the darkness of the temple was even thicker. 

As Sanosa rummaged for her light orb, her fingers brushed across the binding of the book stashed safely in her pack. “Bound in Sorian hide and written in blood,” the museum plaque had read. She shuddered.

She cracked the rusted orb against her palm and it hummed to life, floating toward eye level and casting yellow light all around it.

The orb emitted just enough light to see where she stepped as she entered the temple, but not nearly enough to illuminate the walls or ceilings. Every step took her further from the dangers of the jungle and deeper into the dangers of the unmapped building. Soon, the way through which she’d entered was swallowed by the temple’s own suffocating darkness. 

The orb whined. Sanosa looked at it in panic. It had always been an unreliable tool, but she’d just serviced it. It faltered, flickered, then fell. In the darkness, Sanosa heard the crack as it hit the ground.

The light from outside had faded completely, leaving Sanosa alone in the pitch dark of the chamber with nothing but a steady drip, drip, drip and a rustling of something unseen. 

Sanosa took deep lungfuls of the damp air, trying to calm her furiously pounding heart. It was okay. This would be okay. When daylight broke once more, she would have just enough light to see her way out. 

Slowly, her eyes adjusted to the gloom. No… that wasn’t it. She blinked, spots of light coming into focus, then spreading. A web of blue light flicked into existence, spreading like a spiderweb over the chamber. Sanosa’s breath caught in her throat. The vines that covered the walls of the chamber came to life, filling the darkness with pulsing light. The reflected luminescence bounced off her scales and turned them from green to turquoise. They covered the walls, the floors, even the ceilings. The chamber stretched far further than Sanosa had realized. Now that it was lit on all sides, she could feel her own insignificance.

Following the track of light, Sanosa saw that the vines converged in the middle of the chamber floor, rising over a central pillar, covering it in their glow. There the vines grew thickest, crisscrossing over each other and pulsing brightly with light. If the vines were arteries, then surely this was the heart of the chamber. 

Sanosa crept forward and pulled the book from her pouch. It was thick, nearly the width of her palm. She could still see the outline of scales. Thousands of years ago, a Sorian had given their life to make this tome. Sanosa’s blood boiled at the thought of how it had been treated. It was a sacred sacrifice—a grave and corpse bound together—yet the Estranhos had displayed it like an insect stuck with pins. 

Sanosa would put it back to rest. 

A wound of snapped and shriveled vines covered the pillar where the marauding estranhos had dug through to steal the treasure before. Only a few new growths had taken their place. Sanosa swept them aside to reveal the stone underneath. As they snapped, they splattered her with their glowing contents. 

This was it. This was where the book had belonged all along. Sanosa offered a few reverential words and placed the book on the stone. 

As its weight settled, the chamber brightened, the vines’ light growing to an almost painful intensity. Sanosa stared around her at the suddenly bright space, then looked back down to the book. Vines wriggled and writhed over its surface, tendrils growing into the spine and cover. The book glowed. It pulsed in a strong, steady rhythm, sending shockwaves through the vines that that now joined it. Sanosa ran her hand over the cover and felt an answering shiver from her bones. 

She should leave. A distant part of her, an instinct much, much older than even than this chamber, warned her away. But as she turned to leave, her feet stuck fast to the floor. Her muscles seized against the sudden weight pulling them down. Sanosa looked to her feet only to find them entangled in the vines she had stepped onto only minutes before. They shifted and twisted around her, growing up her ankles. 

Sanosa jerked in their grasp, trying to wrest herself free, but they clung more tightly. She cried out as the first of them dug inward, piercing her skin and burrowing deep. Another followed. Then another. Her blood flowed thick over the vines and floor. Sanosa cursed and struggled more intensely. 

The floor rumbled underneath her, a deep, rhythmic thump. In the dark of the cave, vines rustled against stone, sounding oddly like whispers. Sounding like something calling to her.

Her bones creaked and cracked. Vines burrowed into them, splintering them from the inside, taking their place. Her muscles screamed in protest, stretching and bulging, fueled by the bioluminescent fluid pumped into her by the vines. 

She could feel them, writhing and wriggling under her skin, reaching ever further inside to the deepest parts of her. They wound through her veins, bloomed in her lungs, filling her.

The chamber pulsed around her, a thundering heartbeat that overtook Sanosa’s own. The whispers grew louder. They spoke of pain and retribution. They called for blood… more than Sanosa could ever supply. 

The room shrank around her, the ceiling rushing down as if in freefall. But no… no… it wasn’t the room that was shrinking. She was growing. Enormously. Impossibly. 

The vines crawled up Sanosa’s spine. The last of her ineffectual struggles died away with a flash of pain in her temples. And then she felt it: Sorus. The beating heart of the planet was within her. She felt every rustle in the underbrush, every whisper of the wind. She felt the deep wounds of the mining operations digging into her skin, the searing of her flesh as farm developers razed the forest with fire. Rage boiled over.

Sanosa screamed, or tried to. The sound that came out was nothing like her voice, nothing like any voice. Instead, a roar erupted from her throat, shaking the walls of the room. 

Whispers grew to shouts in her mind. She must rid Sorus of this invasion, of this infection. Only blood would heal the wounds. Only the blood of the Estranhos.

Sanosa was huge now, far too large to fit through the entrance through which she had come. But that wasn’t a problem. She could always make another exit. And she had so much work to do. 

*~*Judging panel has not altered/edited this text.*~*
*~*Text is posted as sent by the author.*~*


To vote for this story in the 2021 Wicked Women’s Writing All-star Challenge, CLICK HERE
Voting ends: September 15th, 2021

Wicked Women Writer’s All-star Competition: Jaq D. Hawkins

wwwbannerStory Title: Naga People
by: Jaq D. Hawkins
Object: Circuit Board
Cultural Influence: East Indian

*~*Judging panel has not altered/edited this text.*~*
*~*Text is posted as sent by the author.*~*

Naga People

Music

Sound of underground train

Kat: Excuse me, can I sit with you?

Hamima: Is someone bothering you? There’s not a lot of people on the trains this time of night.

Kat: You could say that. See that guy in the front of the car, the one with sunglasses?

Hamima: Yeah, sunglasses on the Underground is pretty weird. Is he the creepy guy?

Kat: Not just a creepy guy… um, what’s your name?

Hamima: Hamima.

Kat: Indian, huh? I’m Kat.

Hamima: My family is from India. I was born here.

Kat: Hey, no offence.

Hamima: So what do you mean by not just a creepy guy?

Kat (loud whisper): Aliens.

Hamima: Oh crumbs. Look, whatever you’re on, don’t involve me. I’m getting off at Piccadilly anyway, the next stop.

Kat: Here, take this with you. Please!

Hamima: A circuit board? But it’s so small! How could this…

Kat: It’s what he’s following me for. It’s a key for… look, I know it sounds crazy, but they’re planning to totally eliminate humans from the planet. Without this, the machine won’t work. Just take it! Put it in cement and drop it off a pier somewhere. You don’t have to believe me, just do it anyway.

Hamima: So won’t he follow me then?

Kat: Not if he doesn’t know you’ve got it. Just say what you’re thinking when you get off at the stop, call me a crazy woman. You can even mean it. Then get rid of the thing where no one can find it.

hesitate (music)

Hamima: So… will you be alright?

Kat: I’ll get off at Piccadilly too and lead them up where there’s lots of people. They won’t dare do anything in a crowd. I can lose them.

 Hamima: This is crazy…

Kat: Look, just when we go into the tunnel. The light changes so you can see through his sunglass lenses.

Hamima: Oh my god!

Kat: Do you believe me now?

Hamima: His eyes!

Kat: Like a snake. I know.

Hamima: My grandmother told me a story about Naga People.

Kat: This is no story. Now take the circuit board!

Sound of trains stopping, then running footsteps and a distant scream.

Walking footsteps

Hamima (frustrated): How do I get myself into these things.

Man with Sunglasses: Excuse me, Miss.

Hamima: What are you doing? Let go of my arm!

Man with Sunglasses: If you come with me quietly, there’s no need to make a scene.

Hamima: Come with you where? Who are you?

Man with Sunglasses: You have something of mine.

Hamima: I don’t…

Man with Sunglasses: What did she give you? Do you know who that woman you were sitting with is?

Hamima: Some crazy woman…

Man with Sunglasses: That’s right. She’s a terrorist. She’s tricked you into carrying the key to an explosive device.

Hamima: That’s crazy. She tried to give me a circuit board, but I refused.

Man with Sunglasses: She still has it?

Hamima: It’s just a circuit board. Why don’t you just make another if it’s so important?

Man with Sunglasses: You don’t understand. The sequence on it can’t be duplicated. The plans were destroyed.

Hamima: Then you should be happy if you’re stopping a terrorist.

Man with Sunglasses: You think you’re clever, do you?

Hamima: Clever enough not to accept things from crazy people on the tube.

Man with Sunglasses: Let’s not play games. We know you have it. She has already been searched… thoroughly.

Hamima: How… how do you know she didn’t hide it on the train?

Man with Sunglasses: Stop prevaricating. I can have you dissected if necessary.

Hamima: Is that what you did to her? Is that what that scream was?

Man with Sunglasses: How do you know it was her you heard scream?

Hamima: You said you didn’t want to play games.

Man with Sunglasses: I don’t. Give me the circuit board. Now!

Hamima: Al… alright.

Sound of shuffling in handbag.

Hamima: I… I can’t find it!

Man with Sunglasses: Stop stalling!

Hamima: Let go of my arm! We’re on CCTV you know… why are you smiling?

Man with Sunglasses: We thought of that. We’re being observed by my people. No one is coming to help you.

Hamima: Where are you taking me? Let me go!

Man with Sunglasses: This corridor is unused. We can search you here.

Hamima: Wait! Shouldn’t we go back and look to see if it dropped somewhere?

Man with Sunglasses: Our people are doing that now.

Hamima: I don’t have it, I swear!

Man with Sunglasses: We will find it.

Door opening.

Hamima: Oh thank gods! Security, this man is forcing me to go with him against my will! Please make him let go of my arm!

Security Officer: Empty her bag on the desk.

Hamima: Wait! Let go of my bag. Umg!

Sound of handbag contents clattering on desk.

Hamima: (outraged) You can’t do this! That’s my personal property!

Sound of rummaging.

Hamima: What kind of guard are you? You’re supposed to protect me!

Security Officer: On the contrary, miss, my job is to destroy you and all of your people.

Hamima: Oh my god, your eyes…

Man with Sunglasses: Now you begin to understand. We are everywhere. Here it is!

Security Officer: The key…

Hamima: You mean… that woman… she wasn’t crazy? This really is…

Man with Sunglasses: The end of your kind. This planet is ours now.

Hamima: (hyperventilates, moans)

Sound of fast steps trying to run.

Security Officer: Grab her! Don’t let her get away!

Hamima: (muffled scream)

Man with Sunglasses: What shall I do with her?

Security Officer: Take her through to the break room. Some of us haven’t had our lunch yet.

Hamima: (panicked muffled screams)

Sounds of scuffle and door opening then closing.

Distant scream.

*~*Judging panel has not altered/edited this text.*~*

*~*Text is posted as sent by the author.*~*


To vote for this story in the 2021 Wicked Women’s Writing All-star Challenge, CLICK HERE
Voting ends: September 15th, 2021

Wicked Women Writer’s All-star Competition: D.M.Slate

wwwbannerStory Title: International Cuisine
by: D.M. Slate
Object: Android Body Part
Cultural Influence: Filipino

*~*Judging panel has not altered/edited this text.*~*
*~*Text is posted as sent by the author.*~*

International Cuisine

By D.M. Slate

Max pushed her chair away from the table, stretching her legs out and patting her full stomach. Smiling in delight at her new-found-friend, she asked, “How was your dinner?” 

“Amazing.”, Jamison replied. “Food in the Philippines is always great, though. How about you, Ms. Vlogger Extraordinaire – what did you think?”

Chuckling, Max tried to sound official, “The adobo was killer. Literally to die for. It was stewed to perfection! And the lumpia – mmmmmm – deliciously crisp with a fresh veggie crunch. Pair that with the seaside table and a gorgeous sunset – are you kidding me – nothing could make a travel vlogger happier.”

A waiter approached, placing a single egg on the tabletop between them. Max’s smile vanished. Snarling her lip in disgust, she watched in horror as her date carefully peeled the top of the shell away, exposing the partially formed duck fetus inside the boiled balut egg.

Jamison grinned and leaned forward in his chair. “Want a bite?”

Recoiling, Max leaned back further, informing him, “That’s NEVER gonna to happen.

The burly man held the egg into the air with and let out an excited, “Cheers” before tipping the shell to his lips and gulping. Max cringed and looked away, but it was impossible to escape the crunching noises coming from his mouth. 

Taking a swig of warm beer to wash it down, Jamison laughed in response.  

“So you’re seriously leaving tomorrow morning?” 

Nodding her head, the young woman agreed. “Yup. On to my next destination. It’s my job.”

They locked eyes for a second before she looked away. Max swiveled in her chair, peering down the beach. “What’s down there?” 

He grunted. “Nothing. This cafe is the end-of-the-line. There’s only jungle, wildlife, and a swarm of hungry insects beyond that.” 

Pouting, Max replied, “Awwww. That’s too bad. I’d love to get some last-minute shots, but, if it’s too dangerous… then, I guess I understand.”

He gave her a skeptical look. “Alright, alright. Let’s go.” 

They stood and Max put her purse strap over her shoulder, before swiping her wind-blown hair away from her eyes. She felt him watching her arm.

The Navy commander’s voice was timid as he asked, “Uuuh. I know we’ve only known each other for like a day, but I feel like I need to ask about the back-story on your robot arm.”

Her eyebrows raised in amusement, but Max was used to the question by now. “Technically, its called a prosthetic, but robot arm works too.” She looked thoughtfully at the device. “Let’s just say that I bit off more than I could chew, on one of my early adventures… and that was a bad decision. I was just young and inexperienced at the time.”

Jamison apologized. “I’m sorry. I shouldn’t’ve asked.”

Max shrugged.  “It’s ok. I’ve come to appreciate the capabilities of my replacement appendage.” She smiled wide and made a proud fist with her prosthesis.

The couple walked near the water’s edge, hand in real-hand, as the sun dipped further behind the horizon. Following a curve on the beach, the small village disappeared from view behind them. Max stopped, removing her phone to shoot a closing video for her next travel segment. 

Jamison stood close to her. “Is there anything that I can do to help?”

Shaking her head she replied, “Nope – I just want to capture the serenity of this moment.” They stood in silence as she recorded, immersing her viewers into the darkening tropics.

As soon as she was done recording, he asked, “What’s your favorite part of your job?”

The young woman thought for a second. “I love getting to see so many beautiful destinations and learning about different cultures and lifestyles – but I think my favorite part of what I do is partaking in the international cuisine. It’s amazing how much tastes vary from one location to another.”

He nodded. “Are you ever scared, traveling alone?”

Max laughed, whole-heartedly. “Nah. People aren’t really that scary.” 

Changing the subject, she pointed to the sky. “Look, you can see Mars tonight.” As they gazed out at the vast universe the vlogger sighed, “This view makes me homesick.” 

The commander interlocked fingers with her once again, asking, “So, where do you call home?”

She shrugged. “I’ve travelled so far that its getting hard to remember, honestly.”

Jamison turned to face her, looking deep into her eyes. 

His forehead scrunched in confusion. 

“Wow. The light from the moon reflecting off the water makes your eyes look like they’re glowing. How awesome – I’ve never seen anything like this before.”

Max replied with enthusiasm. “Yeah, that is kind of crazy, huh?”

He raised his hands up to her chin, shifting her face toward the moonlight, inspecting.

Max blinked, sending her inner eyelids sliding sideways across her orbs. 

Jamison recoiled and screamed, attempting to pull away, but Max’s prosthetic hand was already clasped around his wrist. His eyes were wide and filled with agony as she tightened her grasp, crushing his bones. A final effort on her part finished the job, popping the hand from the end of the arm. Blood spewed from the amputation and the commander now stared at the mangled limb in shocked silence, mount agape.

Wasting no time Max lunged forward, projecting her serpent-like tongue into his open mouth. He choked as it worked its way down his esophagus into his chest cavity. 

Max curled the end of her tongue and yanked with all of her strength, ripping his innards out of his mouth. Her tongue retracted and she swallowed the delicacy in one single bite. 

The commander’s limp corpse fell to the sand, gurgling. 

Her attention shifted to her prosthetic, which was still grasped Jamison’s severed body part. Max chuckled at the irony – they were still technically holding hands. How cute.

Max licked her blood-stained lips, before descending her second row of razor-sharp teeth. Bringing his hand to her mouth she chomped off the pinky finger, munching on the snack.  

Satisfied, she complimented herself out loud. “I knew that was going to be the perfect dessert. North American with a hint of Filipino – Deeeeeeelicious!”

*~*Judging panel has not altered/edited this text.*~*
*~*Text is posted as sent by the author.*~*


To vote for this story in the 2021 Wicked Women’s Writing All-star Challenge, CLICK HERE
Voting ends: September 15th, 2021

Historian of Horror : Why Adam Breckenridge is My New Hero

Why Adam Breckenridge is My New Hero

I presume that the populace is following with rapt attention the unfolding celebration here on HorrorAddicts.net of the advent of Adam Breckenridge’s new release, Deathly Fog. It looks really interesting, and I look forward to reading it as soon as Amazon deigns to complete my order for it. And of course, I wish Adam the very best of luck. I know that writing a coherent story is a major undertaking, having done that myself a fair number of times, and sincerely wish for him that he makes a lot more money from his efforts than I have from mine. Plus, there are less tangible benefits such as accolades, adulation, and the simple pride of accomplishment. But money is nice, as well. Samuel Johnson, after all, did once say that any writer who claimed to write for any reason other than money was either a liar or a fool. And the Good Doctor was rarely wrong, although his purported opinion of Shakespeare leaves something to be desired. 

I’m sure my devoted reader(s) are wondering why all that makes Adam my new hero, and that’s a fair question. I’ve witnessed a lot of debuts and acclaimed releases in my nearly sixty years of literacy, and while I would never want to minimize his achievement, I could see why folks might think my reaction was just a tad over the top. Even with his attained goal of having completed a short story a day for an entire year, which is pretty damned impressive, hero worship seems so much more than would reasonably be called for.

It’s because something that Adam said in the post of August 15th regarding the inspiration for his tale brought me around to the notion of composing this and at least one subsequent column. I have never written 366 stories in a year, and it’s extremely unlikely that I ever will. I maybe write a short story or two a year, along with the odd poem, and my career as a novelist appears to have stalled at two volumes. Frankly, this column I concoct for the edification and entertainment of the populace is the bulk of the writing I’m doing at the moment. It brings me great pleasure to do so, but like all my creative endeavors, I find that inspiration does not always spring full-grown like Athena from the head of Zeus. There are many times when I struggle to settle on a subject.

Those who have been kind enough to follow my progress in this space might have noticed that I look for a connection to my current topic from my own life experiences and cultural frame of reference. I’m always seeking out ways to humanize the inhumane by providing a context based on the things I’ve seen and done and the places I’ve been and the people I’ve encountered along the way. And there have been a lot of all those.

The reality is that there are so many stories to tell, it’s often difficult to settle on a single one every couple of weeks. As I type this, I am sitting in what was once one of my now-grown children’s bedrooms, filled floor to ceiling on all four walls and in back-to-back free-standing bookcases centered in the space behind my desk with books and magazines and toys and recordings and objets d’art and various and sundry other odds and ends, all of which have their own yarn to relate. And that’s just in my office. Throughout the fairly sizeable house my wife and I still occupy are numerous other artifacts from all over the planet, the detritus of a whole family tree of world travelers and doodad acquisitors. Every piece in that accumulation of relics has a story to tell here. 

And then there’s the better than six terabytes of stuff I have stored on two sizeable external hard drives. Two because those things don’t last forever, and backing up that much data every so often is de rigeur if one wants one’s career as your Historian of Horror to endure. You can thank me later for that foresight.

So, which one now? Which explication of the terrifying shall a personal anecdote or randomly noticed factoid or bit of cultural flotsam inspire for this particular exercise in the elucidation of the eerily ephemeral? Thanks to Adam, I have one ready, as of a few minutes after I read his post.

The fourth paragraph of which included a reference to ‘the old adage that ninety percent of everything is crap’, which has been known in science fiction fandom for sixty-five years now as Sturgeon’s Law. It even has its own Wiki page. I looked. It’s right here:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sturgeon%27s_law

You see, I knew Theodore Sturgeon, a little. Not well; I doubt he would have remembered me for more than a few seconds at a time except as one of the myriad fen (there’s that word again!) who orbited around him at the several science fiction conventions we both attended in the 1970s. But he was always kind and gracious to me, as he was to all the fenfolk. He came to the cons, he hung out with us, he read his stories to us, he laughed and drank and dined with us, he signed anything we shoved under his nose to receive an autograph upon. And he let us call him Ted. 

Well, I called him Mr. Sturgeon, because I was young and awed by being in the presence of one of the best writers of the 20th Century, regardless of genre. And he would smile and nod and seem genuinely pleased to have me ask him to sign my copy of the September 1939 issue of Astounding Science Fiction that contained his first published story, “Ether Breather”.

If only I still had it. Alas, it vanished in the Great Sell-Off of 1989, when I was obliged by financial constraints to pay my mortgage and feed my children on the proceeds from the liquidation of huge chunks of my various collections.

Oh, well. God knows where I’d put it all, if I still had it.

Anyhow, thanks to Adam, what I do have is a tale to tell you. One regarding things you didn’t even know you needed or wanted to know about.

How delicious is that?

But wait, you say. Sturgeon was a science fiction writer, not a horror writer. Well, y’know, Oscar Wilde was mainly the playwright of comedies of manners like The Importance of Being Ernest or Lady Windermere’s Fan, despite scribing The Picture of Dorian Gray. Robert Louis Stephenson wrote mostly adventure tales for boys like Treasure Island, and yet he managed to churn out the delicious horrors of The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. And Henry James was a mainstream author who wrote one of the greatest ghost stories ever, The Turn of the Screw. Even Charles Dickens took time out from his massive doorstop expositions on social conditions in Victorian England to bestow upon us all the many spooks and spirits found within A Christmas Carol. So, it’s okay if Ted Sturgeon wrote a few scary pieces along with the futuristic stuff. He’s allowed.

In my brief segment of one of the recent podcast episodes, I mentioned that, of all the pulp magazines that proliferated in the first half of the 20th Century, the most important for our genre was Weird Tales. The second most important in terms of historical impact was undoubtedly Unknown, published by Street & Smith as a companion to their science fiction magazine, Astounding. Both were edited by John W. Campbell, who demanded a higher standard of quality and serious thought from his writers than was required by most pulp publications, including Weird Tales, which relied more on shock and gruesome sensationalism than Campbell wanted for his periodical. Street & Smith had deeper pockets than most other publishers, as well, so Campbell’s authors, a cadre which included Isaac Asimov, Robert A. Heinlein, A.E. Van Vogt, and even L. Ron Hubbard, were better paid and more prestigiously regarded than those who found exposure in lesser venues. Had Unknown, which was retitled Unknown Worlds near the end of its all-too-brief run, survived the wartime paper rationing that restricted the output of even the largest pulp publisher of its day, it might have wound up being the premier source of horrific literature for the subsequent decades that Astounding, now called Analog Science Fiction/Science Fact, has been for its genre, rather than Weird Tales.

Oh, well.

As I mentioned above, Sturgeon’s first story to appear in a pulp magazine was in Astounding in September of 1939. His next several were in Unknown. The first three were light fantasies. The fourth, though. Oh, boy. The fourth created an entire subgenre of swamp things and man-things and heaps and blobs and globs and all manner of frightening critters that emerged from bayous and marshes and peat bogs all over the world to terrorize mostly comic book audiences throughout the next several decades. And it has one of the best last lines in all of horror literature.

“It” was published in the August, 1940 issue of Unknown, and has been reprinted dozens of times since, in many languages. It is one of those elemental tales that was at the time so sui generis, and yet has been so inspirational that it is often overlooked as the original of the many horrors that followed its appearance. The early, one might almost say seminal scholar of speculative fiction, E.F. Bleiler, said of it in his 1983 book The Guide to Supernatural Fiction that it was ‘told with gusto… Obvious reminiscences of the Frankenstein monster and anticipations of the hordes of comic book Things that wander about destroying people.’. I think that was a tad dismissive for a work that has had so enormous an impact on subsequent developments in our favorite genre.  

All about which I shall expound at length in the next installment. So, join us in a fortnight for “Whatever Happened to Baron von Emmelmann?” Same bat-time, same bat-channel. And, as always, my fellow denizens of the darkness…

Be afraid. Be very afraid.

Deathly Fog Party Winners!

DFBannerFInal2

Thank you to all those who partied with us in the Facebook Group! Here are our winners!

Grand Prize Winner who gets a Horror Bites eBook of his choice and a special gift from HorrorAddicts.net in the mail!
Mark Orr

Runner-ups winning a digital copy of Deathly Fog:
Alison Scott and Sandy Drury

We also have a random prize drawing for a digital copy of Deathly Fog
Bryon Hutcheson

Winners, please be on the lookout for a message from us. If you don’t hear from us, please email at horroraddicts@gmail.com so we can distribute your prize!

If you did not win, Deathly Fog is still available at Amazon for .99 cents.
Also, subscribe to this blog for more contests coming your way soon.
Happy writing!

Gypsy Mob: Episode 9/ Auction

Rocco and Brando kept well out of sight of the light emanating from the Pleasure Tent, unaware that cruel eyes watched them edging closer. Rocco’s gas can made sloshing sounds as he poured it around the base of the tent nearest the light, keeping one eye on the door. Across the midway, Brando mirrored his movements, the stench of gas making him light-headed. As he rounded the edge of the tent, a sweet smell like cinnamon and incense wafted over him, breaking through the fumes of gasoline. Pausing in his movements, he looked across at his brother, his vision swimming. Rocco did likewise, a silly grin on his face. 

“Do you smell that?” Brando asked, not troubling to keep his voice down. 

“Smells nice,” Rocco said. 

Movement from the tent caught their eye as Zara stepped into the light, clad in nothing but a g-string, her long dark hair covering her breasts but only barely. Her metallic eye shadow glinted in the light as she raised a hand dripping with red and beckoned to them. Her tongue ran across her lips, leaving an inviting sheen. 

Rocco’s jaw dropped, along with the gas can. Brando was already moving toward her, following as she backed slowly into the tent, shadow stealing over her as the two mobsters entered the tent. The cinnamon and incense smell grew stronger. As it did, their steps grew jerky and halted, their bodies swaying as their belabored nervous systems fought to keep them upright. As they crumpled to the floor, Zara swirled a cloak around her shoulders, hiding her body from sight. She surveyed the unconscious figures with distaste, prodding them with a bare foot. Beckoning to the shadows, two huge Gypsies appeared and lifted them with ease. 

“Take them to the chamber,” Zara rasped, fastening the cloak about her neck. “Customers waiting.”

Gasping and spluttering, Rocco and Brando regained consciousness as a bucket of water was splashed over them. Attempting to thrash, they found their arms and legs to be bound straight out, displaying their nude bodies on two splintered wooden tables. Blinking the water from his eyes, Rocco attempted to yell but found his mouth to be stuffed with a gag that tasted of gasoline. Screaming through the gag, he looked over and saw his brother once again mirroring his movements as they both thrashed within their bonds. Zara, now clothed, stepped forward into the circle of light shed by the naked bulb swinging over their heads. She held up their shredded clothes. 

“You would burn us alive like dogs?” she said, her eyes smoldering. “Taste gas on your clothing, curs. If you were lucky, fumes would put you back to sleep. But we do not show you such mercy.”

Throwing their mutilated garments to the floor, she gestured. A Gypsy stepped forward, holding a tarnished silver tray which may once have been a cookie sheet. Lowering it to their vision, the brother’s struggles renewed as they beheld the sharp and rusty implements laying on it. Placing a hand on each of their heads, Zara patted them. “Now now, be still. You no worry about these being used on you. Yet.”

Exchanging bewildered looks, Rocco and Brando ceased their futile thrashing and concentrated on breathing through their noses without inhaling gasoline fumes from the gags that had once been their fine clothing. 

Stepping back from the brothers, Zara barked an order in another language. Five hooded figures stepped into the light and lowered their hoods. Two women and three men stared at the prone bodies with a look of hunger on their faces. The women were young and attractive, the men fit and looked as though they would be at home in a bank. 

“We have two members of local mafia to offer today. They unharmed and last long time, if you want. Examine them before we start bidding,” Zara said, her new raspy voice carrying well in the stillness of the Pleasure Tent. 

One of the men and one of the women approached Rocco, the other three went to Brando. The brothers squirmed as they were fondled, poked and prodded by the prospective buyers. The woman flicked Brando’s penis with bright eyes, fondling it as it rose to attention against its owner’s will. She nodded gleefully. One of the men by Brando pulled the gag from his mouth, peeling his lips back to examine his teeth. Brando began to scream, his limbs turning to water in his prone position. Immediately Zara was there, silencing him with a firm strike to the side of the head with a small bit of pipe. Cramming the gag back into his mouth, she shot a furious look at the man who had removed it, who gave her an apologetic glance. 

When their examinations of the goods had satisfied them, the five returned to their positions at the edge of the circle of light. All looked excited, breathing heavily as their eyes darted from the tray of tools to their prospective property. 

“The bidding starts at one thousand. We start with this one, since he so excited for it,” Zara said with a grin. The buyers chuckled, glancing at Brando’s now wilting manhood. The woman who had fondled him raised her hand. The other man raised his. By the time the man gave up, Brando’s value had reached $27,000. The woman was breathing harder than ever and her eyes shone as she stepped forward to choose her weapon.

“No, you wait,” Zara said, wagging her finger. “We deal with brother first.”

When both brothers had been purchased for nearly $50,000, the losing bidders melted back into the darkness as silently as they had come. The winning bidders, the blonde woman and a man with carefully parted hair and a pencil-thin mustache, waited, looking excited. 

“Take them to chambers,” Zara said to the Gypsies before turning to the winning bidders and gesturing. “Please, follow purchase. You find everything you need there.” 

The two huge Gypsies came forward and began rolling the tables with the prone figures to separate sides of the tent, out of the circle of light. The brothers were screaming from behind their gags, pleading for mercy as they were separated by the stone-faced Gypsies. Folding screens were erected, shielding them from each other’s view as Zara brought a duplicate tray of implements to each side. The woman had shed her cloak and was tying back her long blonde hair into a tight bun. The man removed his own cloak to reveal a doctor’s scrubs. 

“Have fun,” Zara said with a grin. “You remove gags now, they hear each other die.”

Outside at the entrance to the Gypsy camp, Tony had been standing like a statue, watching where Brando and Rocco had vanished. The seconds ticked away. Once enough of them had elapsed, Tony pulled his own gas can from the trunk and began spreading gas around the border of the camp, taking care that each tent received a full dose. 

From within the camp, two sets of ragged screams began. Tony seemed not to hear it. He had heard far worse. 

Live Action Reviews! by Crystal Connor: Spiral (Not that one)

 

Plotline: A same-sex couple moves to a small town to enjoy a better quality of life and raise their daughter with strong social values. But when neighbors throw a very strange party, nothing is as it seems in their picturesque neighborhood.

Who would like it: Fans of cults, secret societies, diversity, nail bitters, and religious horror

High Points: How the director used the current social climate to tell this movie and how he centered the only black character in the movie

Complaints: Absolutely nothing!

Overall: I LOVED this movie

Stars: 5

Where I watched it: Shudder

 

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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

“Deathly Fog” Facebook Party Begins Today!

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Deathly Fog
by Adam Breckenridge

When Jacob and his brothers discover the ability to capture fog from the marsh behind their house, they bring it back with them. The fun game turns to danger as they realize perhaps something else accompanied them home. Is it too late to escape the Deathly Fog?

You are cordially invited to attend a Facebook Party in the honor of

Deathly Fog

Where: Facebook

When: Today, August 17th – Thursday, August 19th

Please, join us for trivia, fun and prizes! Winners will be announced Friday, August 20th.

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Daphne’s Den of Darkness: 5 Horror Manga You Should Read

I’ve written before about the rich history of horror in Asian cultures, and the world of manga is no exception. These graphic novels from Japan range across all genres, but horror manga are truly in a class by themselves. Incredible art, unique concepts, and an approach to horror where nothing is too extreme make horror manga a must-read for any horror addict.

Devil’s Line by Ryo Hanada

Vampires are real, but they aren’t the sexy demons of the night that we know from pop culture. Known as Devils, these creatures turn into vicious monsters that are incapable of stopping their blood lust. Some Devil’s try to live in peace with humans, but risk putting their loved ones in danger with their mere existence. Filled with twists, murders, and love, Devil’s Line is a great vampire manga without too much gore.

Uzumaki by Junji Ito

Uzumaki details the story of a town cursed by supernatural spirals. Increasingly bizarre and frightening events follow the characters as they try to escape their town and fates. If you want stunning art and a Lovecraftian storyline (without all the racism), check out Uzumaki.

Parasyte by Hitoshi Iwaaki

Aliens come to Earth, burrowing into human brains to take over their bodies, then eating other humans for sustenance. A high school boy manages to prevent an alien from taking him over, causing the alien to inhabit just his arm. This series is big on body horror and explores heavy themes like humanity and morality.

Ajin: Demi-Human by Tsuina Miura (Story) and Gamon Sakurai (Art)

A small group of humans, the Ajin, are capable of incredible regenerative abilities, making them immortal. Others see them as monsters, but the government sees an opportunity. They use the Ajin for horrific experiments. When some of the Ajin escape, they are hell bent on revenge.

Tokyo Ghoul by Sui Ishida

After his date tries to eat him (literally), Ken Kaneki finds himself transformed into a Ghoul, a creature with super strength and healing that must feed on human flesh to survive. He must now navigate his new life while keeping his darker desires in check.

Have you read these? What would you add to the list? Let us know in the comments!

The Inspiration Behind “Deathly Fog.”

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The Inspiration Behind “Deathly Fog

By Adam Breckenridge

Heading into 2016, I got struck with one of the most insane ideas I’ve ever had as a writer: could I write a short story a day—every single day—for the entirety of 2016? That would be three hundred sixty-six stories, accounting for the leap year, more than I had ever written in my life up to that point. I felt like a lunatic for even thinking the idea, let alone moving forward with it, and yet on January 1, I sat down to turn out the first of the stories.

Writing a story a day for a year is one of the most challenging and rewarding things I’ve ever done. It requires commitment, an intense pace, and it requires you to latch onto any idea that pops into your head, no matter how flimsy, just to have something to work with that day.

And at some point, a strange and quite flimsy idea popped into my head: an image of a boy grasping a globe of fog in his hands, blowing on it to try to keep it between his palms. I can no longer recall what inspired the image, all I knew was that I had something I could spin into a story. It was enough to get me through another day.

On December 31, I wrote story number three hundred sixty-six, and on January 1st I sat down to start reading through them. When I had started out I had figured that, even going by the old adage that ninety percent of everything is crap, that would still mean I had produced thirty-six good stories in the previous year, an effort any writer could be proud of. I just had to figure out which thirty-six were the good ones.

I think I wound up doing a little better than ten percent, but at any rate, there are a number of stories I extracted from the morass that I thought had promise. “Deathly Fog” wound up being one that particularly stood out. Though the original draft is an anemic and atrophied little wastrel compared to what you get to read today, I immediately saw in it the potential for a sort of Jamesian ghost story of uncertain ghostliness, of boys coming to terms with their childhood fears, of brothers growing apart, and of a girl who may be just a girl or who may be something else entirely, but who awakens in the boys something beyond the limitations of childhood play.

Quite a lot of my writing in the last five years has centered around mining the fruits of my mad undertaking. Several of the other stories have already found homes elsewhere, some have expanded into larger projects, and some are still waiting patiently for me to attend to them. In the back of my head I’ve been aware that, with enough time and patience, I could make something out of every single one of the three hundred and sixty-six stories, but it would require more time and patience than I have. I had to pick and choose among them, and it’s been gratifying to see that my faith in “Deathly Fog” was not misplaced, and I’m glad to have found it a good home.

Adam BreckenridgeAdam Breckenridge is a Traveling Collegiate Faculty member of the University of Maryland Global Campus, where he travels the world teaching US military stationed overseas and is currently based in South Korea. He has eighteen short story publications and, in addition to Horror Bites, has most recently appeared in Clockwork, Curses and Coal from Worldweaver Press and Mystery Weekly.

Book Review: Wolfe Manor by Adele Marie Park

reviewedfixedWolfe Manor by Adele Marie Park

Reviewed by Emerian Rich

wolfemanorA great first novel from a bright and promising author, Wolfe Manor takes you on a magical journey of self-discovery.

Wolfe Manor  is a school where two interesting aunts welcome students and lost souls. An orphan left at the manor as a babe, Fianna teaches art to the young girls, inspiring them with lessons she learned in the same halls.  The manor is the only home she’s ever known, but even though she’s been there all her life, it holds secrets even she doesn’t know about. As dark entities attack the estate, Fianna comes into powers she never knew she possessed. With the help of her adopted aunts and several quirky characters she’s become friends with, her powers awaken. The secrets of who her parents were, why they left her, and what her destiny is come alive in this paranormal drama. 

Reading, I felt as if I had fallen down the rabbit hole into a universe that I wanted to explore. Could I get out of the train car and walk around in this magical manor myself? Well, yes. Through the author’s description, she creates an atmosphere that involves the reader as if you are just another character trying to help Fianna realize her true purpose. The author’s characters are fully developed and have passionate souls that wrap you in a warm hug. This is definitely the sort of book best read under the quilt by the fire with the wind blowing outside.  

For fans of Practical Magic, The Magicians, or even Harry Potter, this book will make you feel as if you’ve grown up with Fianna and are right at home. Magic, demonic entities, animal familiars, and fantastical libraries await you. A must read for any dark fantasy lover.

Deathly Fog: Book Event Calendar

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HorrorAddicts.net proudly presents Book 5 in our Horror Bites series, Deathly Fog by Adam Breckenridge. Please, help us celebrate our newest release by attending the following online events:

August
13 PR Press Release horroraddicts.net
14 BE Calendar Book Events horroraddicts.net
14 Excerpt A.F. Stewart http://afstewartblog.blogspot.com/
15 Inspiration Adam Breckenridge horroraddicts.net
16 Interview Chilling Chat horroraddicts.net
16 Excerpt Deathly Fog horroraddicts.net
17 Announcement Facebook Party horroraddicts.net
17 Facebook Party Facebook Party https://www.facebook.com/groups/208379245861499
18 Intro Introduction emzbox.com
18 Facebook Party Facebook Party https://www.facebook.com/groups/208379245861499
19 Intro Introduction horroraddicts.net
19 Facebook Party Facebook Party https://www.facebook.com/groups/208379245861499
20 Announcement Announce FB Winners horroraddicts.net
20 Excerpt Deathly Fog www.rlmerrillauthor.com/blog
September
7 Excerpt Deathly Fog https://lorenrhoads.com/blog
7 BE Calendar Book Event Recap horroraddicts.net

Deathly Fog
by Adam Breckenridge

When Jacob and his brothers discover the ability to capture fog from the marsh behind their house, they bring it back with them. The fun game turns to danger as they realize perhaps something else accompanied them home. Is it too late to escape the Deathly Fog?

HorrorAddicts.net 199, Sandra Becerril

HASeason16culhorrorshort2

Horror Addicts Episode# 199
SEASON 16 Cultural Horror
Horror Hostess: Emerian Rich
Intro Music by: Valentine Wolfe


199 | #MexicanHorror | #SandraBecerril | #TheFunhouseCollective | #Diablero

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

78 days till Halloween

Music: “Twilight Zone” #TheFunhouseCollective

Merrill’s Musical Musings: #RLMerrill #TheFunhouseCollective

Catchup: #HalloweenDecor #TheWalkingDead #BloodRedSky #DeathlyFog #AdamBreckenridge #Aterrados #Terrified #NakedContortionists #UndeadKid

Aterrados:

Theme: #WillTheThrill #MexicanHorror #TombsoftheBlindDead #NightoftheSeagulls #ReturnoftheBlindDead #TheLoreleysGrasp #NightoftheSorcerers #Werewolf VSTheVampireWoman #CurseoftheDevil #DraculasGreatLove #TheMummysRevenge #HunchbackoftheMorgue #VengenceoftheZombies #HorrorRisesFromtheTomb #VampyrosLesbos #SheKilledinEcstasy #TheAwfulDrOrlof #TheDiabolicalDrZ #Succubus #VenusinFurs #AVirginAmongTheLivingDead
Frightening Flix: #KBatz #Diablero

Daphne’s Den of Darkness: #daphnestarsert #TheRing #Insidious #LightsOut #Mama #TheGrudge

Dead Mail: Write in! HorrorAddicts@gmail.com

LAURA: #chupacabra #MexicanMonster #LatinxMonsters
https://tubitv.com/search/chupacabra

SAM: #GhostbustersAfterlife November 11th, 2021 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xaG_5ZZ2PyM

CHARLES: #ThePicassos #DeathRock #RememberYouWillDie

Historian of Horror: #MarkOrr #SpookyMusic #Ratchet #DanseMacbre #Beethoven #LeRouetdOmphale #TheShadow #QuietPlease #SymphonyinDMionr #ILoveMystery 

Bigfoot Files: #LionelRayGreen #BigfootHorrorStories #StevenArmstrong

Audiodrama: #TheDeadbringer #emmarkoff music: “Huitzillin” by Sarah Monroy Solis #sarisolis voices by em markoff, rish outfield, ramon cantarero

Odds and Deadends: #KieranJudge #CulturalTouchstonesinCandyman #Candyman #RomanNumerals

NEWS: 

#VisionVideo #ComfortintheGrave 

#JesseOrr #GypsyMob #FreeFictition 

#HorrorBites #DeathlyFog #AdamBreckenridge 

https://www.amazon.com/Horror-Bites-Deathly-Adam-Breckenridge-ebook/dp/B09BP5L3Z8

#TemeculaTerror #HorrorEvent

#LionelRayGreen #Interview #BrianALane

Book Review: Reviewed by: #DJPitsiladis #GhostMagnet #James Beach

Chilling Chat: #NachingTKassa #

Author Audio: 

#SandraBecerril #TheSilenceOfAllDead

Read by Emerian Rich

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

————————————-

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

Also, send show theme ideas!

horroraddicts@gmail.com

h o s t e s s

Emerian Rich

h e a d  o f  p u b l i s h i n g

Naching T. Kassa

p u b l i s h i n g  p. a.

Cedar George

b l o g  e d i t o r

Kate Nox

s t a f f

KBatz (Kristin Battestella), Daphne Strasert, Jesse Orr, Lionel Green, Kieran Judge, Crystal Connor, Nightshade, R.L. Merrill, Mark Orr, DJ Pitsiladis, Christopher Fink, Mimielle, Courtney Mroch

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

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New Horror Bite: Deathly Fog by Adam Breckenridge

HorrorAddicts.net is proud to present our newest Horror Bite…
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Deathly Fog
by Adam Breckenridge

When Jacob and his brothers discover the ability to capture fog from the marsh behind their house, they bring it back with them. The fun game turns to danger as they realize perhaps something else accompanied them home. Is it too late to escape the Deathly Fog?

Merrill’s Musical Musings

Merrill’s Musings – Funhouse Collective

Greetings HorrorAddicts. I hope this month’s Merrill’s Musings finds you happy, healthy, and ready to rock. I am a sucker for a great cover song, and Dutch artist Golden Earring’s “Twilight Zone” is an excellent choice. This month we’re checking out Funhouse Collective’s creepy, sinister version of this classic hit. The Funhouse Collective is the brainchild of Johnathan Mooney who had gotten the inspiration to start this new endeavor as a “collective” of multiple musicians and artists to collaborate with on different sounds and songs. Gone is the 80s rock sound, and in its place, we’ve got an alternative take that makes for a decent homage. The spirit of the song remains in their delivery, which is a little uneven but is a fun reminder of the horror roots of the decade. All three versions of the song have a different take on the tune and a variety of beats and synthesizers are used in the artist’s arrangement. I appreciate the effort to bring a little dark nostalgia. Anything to take me back to the 80s for an audio visit is fine by me. This is the artists’ first collaboration, and I look forward to seeing them take some other old favorites for a spin.

What are some of your favorite 80s tracks? Or maybe you’ve got a great cover to share? Hit me up in the comments or on the socials @rlmerrillauthor and share your favorites! Here’s a playlist of some of my favorite covers done recently by current bands. https://open.spotify.com/playlist/404GT0TGFW2D8YBVABbR9t?si=8UrYSVO5QNWefE_4tfAT-A

Stay Tuned for more of Merrill’s Musical Musings… 

 

Temecula Terror Event!

Temecula Terror, Inland Empire’s Newest Halloween-Themed Attraction Brings Frights to Wine Country

Tickets on Sale Now | Open October 1 – 31, 2021

temecula

This October the Inland Empire will be home (or should we say a haunted home) to an all-new, hair-raising, terrifying haunt: Temecula Terror. Open for 19-days, October 1- 31, Temecula Terror invites thrill-seekers to visit a creepy, small town, off a back road in the Temecula Valley, and step into a Halloween Harvest Carnival… with a sinister intention. Tickets start at $20 USD for adults and are on sale today at www.temeculaterror.com.

Dubbed an Indie-Style Haunt, Temecula Terror is located in Galway Downs, a unique outdoor experience located in the wild, shadowing hills of the Temecula Valley Wine Country. Lit only by the stars in the sky and the event’s carnival lights, Temecula Terror will deliver frights for 19-days with 3 mazes, 2 bars, 1 VIP Bar, nightly live DJ and entertainment, carnival games, local food trucks, a pumpkin patch, and a scare zone with roaming monsters.

“Without giving too much away, Temecula Terror encourages those who dare to make it past the fanfare of the carnival and circus to discover that the small town hidden behind it, in the middle of wine country, is the real haunted attraction and not necessarily the carnival,” shared Jeromy Ball, Bloodshed Brothers.

Zachary Ball, twin brother to Jeromy Ball and other half of the Bloodshed Brothers added, “For those really looking to test their bravery, we dare you to step inside the maze we’re calling 301 Hyde Street – some of our own team members were spooked just going over the build and storyline.”

In addition to the frights, Temecula Terror offers something for haunt-lovers of all ages: Family Fright starts at 5:00pm with a pumpkin patch, carnival games, trick-or-treating, food and more. Then at 7:00pm, as the sun starts to set and hide behind the rolling hills, the sinister scares begin as the monsters and ominous spirits are unleashed.

Bringing to life the biggest “haunt” Temecula has ever seen this spooky season, Temecula Terror tickets go on sale today and start at just $20 per adult (12+ years) and $10 for children (Family Fright). Local event production companies Bloodshed Brothers and Clever Coven have banded together to create the first-year haunt with an emphasis on involving local companies, brands, and stories from the heart of Temecula Valley.

Visit www.TemeculaTerror.com for more information,
to purchase tickets and to stay up to date on
Temecula Terror announcements, sales, and more.

Historian of Horror : The Good Girl vs The Greatest Villain of Them all

The Good Girl Artist vs the Greatest Villain of Them All

Let’s look at the second half of that title first, shall we? Who is the greatest comic book villain of them all?

Lex Luthor? Not even close.

Thanos? Amateur.

Galactus? What a piker.

Darkseid? Can’t even remember which planet he left his Mother Boxes on.

Green Goblin? Red Skull? Purple Pantywaist?

Nope, nope and nope.

The greatest villain in the history of comic books was a Vienna-born American psychiatrist who studied under Sigmund Freud and specialized in the treatment and understanding of violent behavior. His name was Fredric Wertham, M.D.

Like most villains, he was the hero of his own narrative. And, truth be told, he was not otherwise a horrible person. He never slaughtered half the life in the universe. He didn’t eat inhabited planets or reduce them to cinders. He didn’t kill Spider-Man’s girlfriend. His research was even put before the Supreme Court as evidence in the Brown vs Board of Education case that overturned racial segregation in American public schools in 1954. No, all he did was virtually shut down an entertainment medium on the verge of expanding out of its cultural ghetto into near respectability. Would the Pulitzer committee have had to wait until 1992 to award the first and only prize to a graphic novel without his baleful influence? Maybe, but we’ll never know, will we?

Wertham never set out to destroy the comics industry. He simply wanted to stop juvenile delinquency, using the false notion that, because naughty kids read comic books in the 1940s and early 1950s, then obviously, quad erat demonstratum, comic books caused childhood misbehavior. Of course, he had to falsify his data (i.e., make it up out of thin air) to prove his point, given that virtually every child in America read comic books in the period before television absorbed American popular culture into its unblinking cyclopean eye. 

Along the way, he facilitated the forced shutdown of vast swaths of the comic book publishers of the time. The number of markets for comics creators dwindled from dozens to a handful. There were other factors, of course, and other decriers of the latest medium to draw the ire of concerned parents, but it was Wertham’s 1954 book, Seduction of the Innocent, that slew the so many of the giants of the field and made his name anathema to generations of comic book fans.

Notice I used ‘fans’, there. ‘Fen’ is only the plural of ‘fan’ in science fiction fandom, or was when I was active in both, way, way back in the Cultural Pleistocene Era. 

Anyhow.

Wertham didn’t manage to kill the industry off completely, nor was that his aim. He simply wanted parents to know what their children were reading, and give them tools to help them head off the behaviors he found so problematic. Like that has ever worked. Right, Tipper?

He didn’t even kill off the worst offenders among the super-heroes, Batman with his ‘homosexual’s dream’ relationship with Robin or the ‘lesbian ideal’, Wonder Woman. They, along with Superman, were too big to succumb to the general dying off of the rest of the super-hero genre. 

Wertham did, however, inflict a fatal blow to other genres, particularly crime and horror. A Comics Code Authority was cobbled together by the remaining publishers to address Wertham’s concerns, led by the president of Archie Comics, John L. Goldwater. Werewolves and vampires were banned, as were the very words ‘horror’ or ‘terror’ in the titles of the magazines. Refusal to conform would cost the recalcitrant publisher access to distribution, unless that publisher was the acknowledged curator of wholesome sequential art content, Dell Comics. Those specific restrictions alone wiped out entire companies, most particularly E.C., which had drawn the ire of the Code hierarchy with a merciless and nearly libelous lampooning of Goldwater’s main money-maker, Archie Andrews, in Mad #12. E.C. publisher William M. Gaines soon switched over from putting out titles like Tales from the Crypt, Vault of Horror and Haunt of Fear to dumping all his yeggs into a single basket, a magazine format continuation of E.C.’s ground-breaking parody comic book, MAD, that was beyond the reach of the Comics Code Authority.

Didn’t see that one coming did you, Goldwater?

Among Wertham’s other targets for opprobrium were the ‘headlight’ comics, those that prominently featured female, er, prominences. One of the illustrations included in Seduction of the Innocent was a specific example of such, the cover of Fox Publications’ Phantom Lady #17 from 1948, an illustration in which the title character was bound with ropes to what looks like a dock piling in such a posture as to accentuate her, um, pulchritudinous assets. 

Oh, my.

The artist who drew that cover was the subject of the first part of the title above. Bet you were wondering when I’d get around to that. His name was Matt Baker, and he was the first significant African-American comic book artist. And from this point on, he is the focus of our tale, for he was the dominant, so to speak, ‘Good Girl Artist’ of his day.

That’s as in artist who drew girls good. The morality of the females involved was not necessarily their salient feature. Or features, as it were.

Anyhow.

Clarence Matthew Baker was born in Forsythe County, North Carolina, on December 10, 1921. His family moved to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania circa 1924, where Matt graduated from high school in 1940 with the stated ambition of being an artist and photographer.

Due to a heart condition, possibly due to having had rheumatic fever as a child, Matt was not eligible for military service during World War II. He did some sort of job for the Navy Department until moving to Brooklyn in 1943 with his brother and working for the National War Labor Board while studying art at Cooper Union in New York. He stayed at that school for only one term before taking a job with the Iger Studio.

Jerry Iger had started a studio that supplied content for the burgeoning comic book markets with his partner Will Eisner, but when Eisner’s creation, The Spirit, gained lucrative newspaper syndication, Iger carried on without him. Through Iger, Baker churned out mass quantities of work for the aforementioned Fox, as well as Fiction House, St. John Publications and myriad smaller houses. He drew mostly jungle hero and heroine stories for Fox and Fiction House, even going so far as to create the first obviously black hero in a mainstream comic book. Voodah ran in Crown Comics, published by a very minor house called McCombs, for the magazine’s entire nineteen-issue run from 1945 to 1949. Alas, Voodah was only dark-skinned in the first few issues before he miraculously transformed into a garden-variety Caucasian jungle hero.

Baker’s work for St. John was mostly in the romance genre, a field in which he excelled. Few artists of his day drew women so beautifully. There are those who claim his attention to the details of feminine beauty was due to him being quite the ladies’ man. There are those who claim the opposite and even speculate on the nature of his relationship with Archer St. John, his primary publisher. Either way, he turned in some great comics stories in those days, along with the first graphic novel, It Rhymes with Lust, published in 1950 by St. John, and a short-lived syndicated newspaper comic strip, Flamingo.

Baker did do horror tales for St. John, as well as for other, lesser publishers. Alas, in the wake of Wertham’s attack on his medium, Baker lost his most reliable markets. Fox and Fiction House were defunct by 1955. St. John held on until 1958, but just barely. Baker spent the rest of the decade working for the less prestigious houses Charlton and Atlas, the latter being the forerunner of the modern-day Marvel Comics. The titles he contributed to for those houses are a litany of defanged spookiness – Out of This World, Tales of the Mysterious Traveler and Strange Suspense Stories for Charlton; Journey into Mystery, Tales to Astonish, and World of Fantasy for Atlas. None of them with the frissons he created in his earlier horror work, but they paid the bills for the remainder of his short life.

Baker passed away from his life-long heart condition on August 11, 1959, at the much too young age of thirty-eight. Had he survived another decade, he would likely have been a major player in Marvel’s ascendancy in the 1960s. But that was not to be.

I doubt that Wertham took note of Baker’s passing. He wrote more books, even managing one last dig at the baleful effect of comics on American youth in his 1968 tome, A Sign for Cain. His last book was a generally favorable examination of the phenomenon of fanzines, those amateur paeans to various fandoms that proliferated in the days before the internet made everyone a pundit on whatever topic took their fancy. Present company included. 

Wertham died in 1981, if not reviled by comics fans, at least regarded with ye olde legendary jaundiced eye. Comics writer Mark Evanier wrote a not entirely condemnatory article that was reprinted in his 2003 book, Wertham Was Right! I won’t go so far as to say that Wertham’s reputation was fully reformed by Evanier’s essay, but it does put his actions, however questionable, into a context that is more favorable than he enjoyed in earlier days.

Baker’s reputation, in the meantime, has remained high and even grown. He was inducted into the Will Eisner Comic Book Hall of Fame in 2009, and numerous artists of the last several decades cite him as a major influence on their own work. Given the comparative legacies of the Good Girl Artist and the Greatest Villain of Them All, I’d settle for Baker’s over Wertham’s any day of the week, and twice on Sundays.

In addition to my well-worn copy of Seduction of the Innocent and the Evanier volume mentioned above, I would like to commend to the populace two other essential works on the relevant history of the period covered herein. To whit, The Ten-Cent Plague: The Great Comic-Book Scare and How it Changed America by David Hadju, and Invisible Men: The Trailblazing Black Artists of Comic Books by Ken Quattro. Both are available from Amazon.

And, so, until next time —

Be afraid. Be very afraid.

Gypsy Mob : Episode 8/Play Me

Lucia Giletti was having a cigarette and a martini on the back patio, attempting to calm her mind as she waited for word of her daughter. She watched Tony finish hacking the last appendage off of the corpse of Ladez Hammalka, tossing it into the flaming incinerator before heaving the torso up and into the inferno. Taking a drag, she glanced up at the sound of the wireless doorbell chiming out over the background. Tony turned, making for the door as he wiped his hands on his suit but Lucia waved him off.

“Make sure that Gypsy burns to ash,” she said, draining her martini and setting it on the patio table. “I’ll see who’s at the door.”

Making her way through the mansion, she passed Giletti’s door, hearing the muffled yelling that was her husband’s phone voice coming from inside. Rolling her eyes, she took a drag of her cigarette as she reached the front door. Peering through the peephole, she saw nothing. Unlatching the lock, she opened the door.

A box, messily gift-wrapped, sat on the step. There was no card. Alarm bells tolled in the back of Lucia’s mind as she reached down to pick it up. The lid to the box was loose and she lifted it off. A nest of newspaper filled the box, but it was too heavy for that to be all it contained. Shutting the door behind her, she set the box on a table beside the door. Digging into the paper, her hand touched something smooth and round. Pushing the paper aside, she pulled a rewritable DVD from the box. On its gray surface, someone had scribbled PLAY ME in black marker. A frown creased her face as she set the disc down on the table and reached back into the box. Pushing through the paper, her hand touched something soft and wet. She upended the box on the table and amid the cascade of papers, something fell out and hit the table with a thump. As the wads of paper fell away, Lucia screamed.

Giletti finished a phone call with his accountant when he heard his wife’s screaming from the front hallway. Bolting from his desk as well as he could, he threw open the door to his study and saw her standing at the front entrance against the wall, her face white, her mouth open as an unholy scream emanated from it. As Giletti approached, he could see something on the table across the hallway from her in a litter of wadded paper. He drew nearer, and his breath caught as he saw the hand sitting on the table, the back emblazoned with a tattoo over which he and his daughter Bianca had fought endless battles when she came home with it. He could even hear his furious words to his daughter.

“You’re lucky I don’t cut that off, young lady!”

Lucia finally stopped screaming but her eyes were huge and her mouth hung open as though screaming silently. Giletti could not stop walking closer, hoping against hope that what he saw was not what was there. The closer he got, the more impossible it was to deny. Bianca’s hand lay on the table, mottled with blood vessels and turning gray.

“TONY!” Giletti’s roar cut through the mansion.

Tony appeared just as Lucia’s eyes rolled back in her head and her knees crumpled. With gargantuan steps, Tony reached her just in time to catch her before her head hit the floor, gently lowering her the rest of the way. His impassive eyes swept from her unconscious form to Giletti’s apoplectic face, to the source of their ire. Expressionless, he stepped forward and scooped the hand and DVD into the box. He glanced at Giletti, whose rage and horror seemed to have rendered him speechless. Silent as ever, Tony took the box and its contents to his quarters, leaving Giletti to deal with his comatose wife.

***

An hour later, Lucia had been revived and sedated. Now she reclined in a window seat overlooking the rear grounds, a cigarette forgotten in a shaking hand as she stared with vacant eyes at the immaculate lawn and garden. Giletti was back in his study, pretending to occupy himself with business affairs while his mind continued returning unbidden to his daughter’s decaying hand sitting on his entryway table.

A tentative knock at the study door made him jump. Cursing his frayed nerves and the Gypsies responsible.

“Enter!” Giletti barked.

Rocco and Brando opened the door and entered, looking grim.

“Yes, what now?” Giletti said, his voice rather higher-pitched than usual.

“Where is Lucia?” Brando asked, his own voice shaking.

“At the back window. Whaddaya want?” Giletti’s lighter chased the tip of a cigar around before the flame connected.

“Good,” Rocco said. He stepped forward, setting a laptop on Giletti’s desk. “She don’t need ta see this. Really, none of us do, but you’re her father, an—”

“For Christ’s sweet sake, Rocco, what do you want?Giletti sucked mightily at his cigar and the tremor in his hands died a little.

Dis is da DVD dat was in da box,” Rocco said, pressing a key on the laptop and turning it around to face Giletti.

Giletti’s eyes lowered to the screen. There was a jumble of motion and blurry figures before the camera auto-focused, bringing into sharp detail a figure laying on a table, naked. The camera panned up the naked body to Bianca’s face, slack and vacant. Her face filled the frame, her blackened eye captured in crystal clear HD before panning down her body to the stump where her hand had once lived. The ragged flesh was dangling under the wire still wrapped around her wrist, swollen and angry as darkening necrotic tissue crept up her arm.

The screen went blank and silent for a few beats, before suddenly cutting to a jumpy shot of a blood-stained floor. The camera jiggled before panning across the bloody floor to what appeared to be a human but with a face so red and mangled that it only resembled a human face. Laughter filled the soundtrack as a hand holding a box cutter reached down and started slashing at the neck of the figure. Gurgling screams emanated from the faceless man.

Giletti’s face was white, his cigar forgotten as the camera jerked away, focusing on a woman with her back to the camera, arms spread out as though being crucified. As she revolved on the spot, Giletti could see her face, but it wasn’t her face. It was Matteo’s severed face she wore like a mask, sticking her tongue through the flayed lips to waggle at the camera cheekily. Pulling the face mask off, Zara leered at the camera, blowing it a kiss before it panned down to the floor and went dark.

Rocco and Brando looked at Giletti with apprehension, their own brutal retributions at his orders paling in the wake of the savagery of the Gypsies. Don Giletti was frozen, his eyes fixed on the now black screen as the blood filled them. Jerking to his feet, Giletti roared “If dis is what dey want, then dis is what dey shall have. Take Tony an exterminate every one of them! Do not let any of em die widout suffering!”

As the Giletti car rolled to a stop at the darkened carnival, the smell of gasoline was strong, the fumes leaching through the trunk and into the cab. Even with all the windows open, Brando and Rocco were still feeling decidedly light-headed. Tony, behind the wheel, was as impassive as ever. Killing the engine, they sat there for a moment, letting their ears adjust to the sound.

It was nearly dead silence. The darkness of the night was broken only by a weak glow from the center of the carnival, the silence only split by the occasional human voice coming from the direction of the glow. Rocco and Brando looked at each other, their unease increased exponentially, having watched the video.

“Right, Tony,” Rocco said, his voice striving to sound tough. “Start spreading gas around th outskirts. We’ll take de other cans inside and spread it around as much as we can. Hopefully if we light it up from de perimeter, de whole fucking place will go up.”

Popping the trunk, Tony unfolded his long form from behind the wheel and grabbed one of the gas cans. He looked around a moment before nodding at Rocco and vanishing into the darkness.

Each grabbing another can, Rocco and Brando advanced on the entrance, nerves strung to the nth degree to where when Rocco stepped on a twig, they both jumped.

Creeping into the tents, they began sloshing the gas over the fabric at the base of the tents, conserving the liquid to ensure maximum saturation as they worked their way inward toward the glow. As they grew closer, they could see everything was dark and shut down except for the Pleasure Tent. Keeping out of sight of its entrance, they continued their work, unaware that eyes within the tent were tracking their every move.

Zara’s throat was sore, but her eyes were bright as she watched them from the shadows, seething with barely controlled rage. She watched them draw closer and an evil grin spread across her face. With a hoarse whisper, she beckoned to one of the Gypsies and whispered instructions. With a chuckle, they both faded back further into the tent, to await the arrival of the Giletti brothers.

From The Vault : Best Latinx Horror Movies

from Will “the Thrill” Viharo

Naschy and Franco made hundreds of films between them so this is only a small but representative sampling. Here are some of my favorites. Salud! THE BLIND DEAD quadrilogy directed by Amando de Ossorio

  1. Tombs of the Blind Dead
  2. Night of the Seagulls
  3. Return of the Blind Dead
  4. Tombs of the Blind Dead

Also by Amando de Ossorio:

  1. The Loreley’s Grasp
  2.  Night of the Sorcerers

Rino Di Silvestro:

Werewolf Woman Paul Naschy:

  1. Werewolf VS. The Vampire Woman (aka Werewolf Shadow)
  2. Curse of the Devil
  3. Dracula’s Great Love
  4. The Mummy’s Revenge
  5. Hunchback of the Morgue
  6. Vengence of the Zombies
  7. Horror Rises From the Tomb

Jess Franco:

  1. Vampyros Lesbos
  2.  She Killed in Ecstasy
  3. The Awful Dr. Orlof
  4. The Diabolical Dr. Z
  5. Succubus
  6. Venus in Furs
  7. A VirginAmong the Living Dead

Listical courtesy of Will “the Thrill” Viharo http://www.thrillville.net/

Book Review: “Ghost Magnet: Crime and Magic in the New Russia #1” by James Beach

Hello Addicts,

When you are on the run from the bad guys, you always try to stay one step ahead of them. It could be continuous running, maybe even hiding in places they never think of looking. What if you do all of that, but they find you no matter where you go? Better yet, what if their informants are impossible to escape because they are ghosts?

In Ghost Magnet: Crime and Magic in the New Russia #1 by James Beach, Aurelian is a thief on the run after a jewel heist went sideways. He is hiding out amongst drug addicts for the night while he waits for a boat to take him to Odessa, where he can get the means for a new start elsewhere. He discovers that the drug den belongs to a former coroner named Mikhail Coba. Rumored to have murdered his wife and children because they got in his way, Coba and his bodyguards are looking for someone or something. That makes Aurelian more nervous but not as frightened as when he sees the thugs inject an addict with something that changes the man before he points to his hiding spot. After a brief surprise attack, the young thief escapes and doesn’t stop until he’s lost his pursuers, or so he thinks. Within minutes he is captured, and that is when the strangeness and horror kick in.

Coba has a channeling medium in his employ, along with a drug that allows ghosts to possess people before eventually consuming their bodies in a gruesome fashion. The mobster shares that he is looking for a wicker basket, which the spirits have advised Aurelian knows its location. This wicker basket provides a vital clue to a long-dormant experiment Coba wants to restart for his purposes.

This novella offers lots of twists and turns and whose pacing fits well between action and rest periods. It is an exciting start to a series I highly look forward to reading more of in the future. It is perfect for an afternoon read when you don’t want to jump into a girthy story and will want more by the end.

Until next time addicts,

D.J.

HorrorAddicts.net 198, L. Marie Wood

HASeason16culhorrorshort2

Horror Addicts Episode# 198
SEASON 16 Cultural Horror
Horror Hostess: Emerian Rich
Intro Music by: Valentine Wolfe


198 | #LMarieWood #AfricanAmericanHorror #Provision #Heks

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

92 days till Halloween

Music: “Clarity” #Provision

Merrill’s Musical Musings: #RLMerrill #Provision

Catchup: Miss me? #RenoDeserted #ScaryPortaPotty #BlackHoletoHell #JeepersCreepers #CityGirlCreeps #AvoidthePortaPotty #ZombiesAteMyNeighbors #SegaGenisis #BigFatBaby #HatchetGuys #ChainsawMen

#TwilightZone #BlackSummer

Theme: #AfricanAmerican
https://www.oprahdaily.com/entertainment/tv-movies/g33624587/black-horror-movies/

#NightoftheLivingDead #Blacula #GangaandHess #SugarHill #Candyman #TalesfromtheHood #TalesfromtheCryptDemonKnight #EvesBayou #Bones #GetOut #Ma #Us

Live Action Reviews: #CrystalConnor #Heks

Daphne’s Den of Darkness: #daphnestarsert #InfectiousMovies #Pandemic #Quarantine #Contracted #Pontypool #CabinFever #Blindness 

Dead Mail: 

Write in! HorrorAddicts@gmail.com

MARTIN: #ZombieCartoon

TINA: #13thAnniversary #Podcast #200thShow

LANEY: #StrayKids #FelixAnimeGhost #TekkenAnimeGhost #GodsMenu #UpAllNight #VampireSpoof

Historian of Horror: #MarkOrr #Slicks #PulpMagazines #HPLovecraft #RayBradbury #WeirdTales

Bigfoot Files: #LionelRayGreen #PrimalRage #Tubi

Audiodrama: #TheDeadbringer #emmarkoff music: “Huitzillin” by Sarah Monroy Solis #sarisolis voices by em markoff, james seo, rish outfield, emerian rich, dj pitsiladis, philip ginn

Nightmare Fuel: #DJPitsiladis #TheConjureBox

NEWS: 

#Microwaved #SaveMe #Betelgeuse 

#JesseOrr #GypsyMob #FreeFictition 

#FreeFiction #DanACardoza #CarlosRuizSantiago #HankBelbin #RajalaxmiBehera #TerryPierson #PraptuiGupta #Alice Paige

#CreeptheRomanceAlive #GothicRomance

#JunjiIto #EisnerAward

Book Review: #EmerianRich #MuhyoandRoji #YoshiyukiNishi

Chilling Chat: #NachingTKassa #LMarieWood

Author Audio: 

#LMarieWood #TheRealm

Read by Emerian Rich

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

————————————-

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

Also, send show theme ideas!

horroraddicts@gmail.com

h o s t e s s

Emerian Rich

h e a d  o f  p u b l i s h i n g

Naching T. Kassa

p u b l i s h i n g  p. a.

Cedar George

b l o g  e d i t o r

Kate Nox

s t a f f

KBatz (Kristin Battestella), Daphne Strasert, Jesse Orr, Lionel Green, Kieran Judge, Crystal Connor, Nightshade, R.L. Merrill, Mark Orr, DJ Pitsiladis, Christopher Fink, Mimielle, Courtney Mroch

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

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Live Action Reviews! by Crystal Connor: Heks

 

Plotline: A grieving woman discovers that her mother’s murder has ties to a South African witch doctor’s curse.

Who would like it:

High Points:

Complaints: Too many to list.

Overall: IMO this movie isn’t very good, the plot is weak, there was no research on the subject matter, there is no back story or character development and it doesn’t make much sense.

Stars: 1

Where I watched it:

 

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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

Ro’ Recs : Vision Video’s Upcoming Album

Greetings and Salutations! I’ve got a great rec for you this month and it all started with a bloody video. Like most 80s kids, I loved my MTV…so much that I got a job just so I could convince my mom we needed cable and that I’d pay for it so I could watch videos 24-7. It really “chaps my hide” when I think about how good kids have it today with YouTube and the like putting all this great music at their fingertips, rather than having to keep their fingertips on the pause and record buttons of their tape decks. But I digress. 

I received an email with a link to Vision Video’s new clip for “Comfort In The Grave” and I clicked it while preparing for a day of educating America’s youth. And whoa. It was an imaginative short film with gore and a great soundtrack. Score! I hit the sender back and replied, “send me more,” and much to my delight, I received an early promo copy of the band’s upcoming album Inked In Red. Fellow former and current goth friends, when I tell you you’re gonna love it, I mean you’re gonna love it. 

With jangly guitars, bouncy bass lines, and silky synthesizers reminiscent of Joy Division, New Order, and The Smiths, Vision Video has created an album full of delicious tracks. The Athens, Georgia quartet delivers a solid album that HorrorAddicts will love, especially after watching the killer video for “Comfort In The Grave.” Keyboardist Emily Fredock does a fantastic job with this moody track, taking the listener with her on a homicidal journey. Vocals from frontman Dusty Gannon give me a modern Killers-esque vibe and the lyrics are inventive and poetic in a refreshing way. Tracks “Static Drone,” “Run,” and “In My Side” are some of my favorites on first listen, but all of the tracks have the potential for repeat plays. While heavy topics like trauma and terror are covered in the tunes, there’s also a danceability and hopefulness that makes this album special. It’s a rare band that can bring nostalgia along with that fresh feeling of finding a new favorite. 

Discovering new music and other expressions of art during the pandemic has been so important. We need art to keep us motivated and determined to keep putting one foot in front of the other, now more than ever. I’m so glad I found Vision Video in my inbox. I am looking forward to watching this band grow and expand their reach and I hope all of my HorrorAddicts.net pals will join me in celebrating the release of Inked in Red with them. Stay Tuned for more Merrill’s Musical Musings and Ro’s Recs…

———————————————————————————————————————————————————

R.L. Merrill writes inclusive romance with quirky, relatable characters full of love, hope, and rock ‘n’ roll. You can find her at https://www.rlmerrillauthor.com and on the socials as @rlmerrillauthor. 

 

Nightmare Fuel: The Conjure Box

Hello Addicts,

There are plenty of different means of contacting those on the other side. There are ouija boards, spirit boards, tarot cards, tape recorders, and any number of other different ways used by mediums, psychics, and paranormal investigators. For this week’s Nightmare Fuel, I wanted to look into one of the more extreme methods: The Conjure Box.

Before I share any details on the box and the procedure, I must ask listeners and readers not to try this game unless you and your partner are strong-willed. It is said that people who enter the box change due to opening themselves to possible demon-like entities.

What you’ll need to build a Conjure Box are:

  1. Six metal sheets. Five should be no taller than the person who will enter the box with their hands raised, and the sixth should be slightly taller than the rest as it will be the lid.
  2. Six mirrors the same size as the metal sheets. All should be as flawless as possible.
  3. A battery-operated or crank-charging light source capable of emitting bright yellow or white light. Do not use a light requiring outlets since there can be no gaps in the box. Also, do not use candles for health safety reasons. (Carbon monoxide or carbon dioxide)
  4. Two or three alarm clocks, synchronized.
  5. Two ladders.
  6. Blankets.
  7. Water.
  8. First aid kit.

Construct the box so that the metal is on the outside and the mirrors attached inside facing each other. One ladder should remain outside the box, and the other placed inside when the witness enters or exits. There should be absolutely no outside light visible inside. Set all of the alarm clocks for ten minutes after the witness plans to enter the box. The witness should only take the light source, which should remain turned off until the lid is closed, and one alarm clock. Before closing up the box, the partner remaining outside needs to confirm they are ready to begin. If confirmation is not received, do not proceed.

After that, it is a waiting game for both people until either the witness signals they want out or once the alarm clock goes off. When either happens, the partner should open the box and lower the ladder for the witness to climb out. They should not remain in the box beyond ten minutes, no matter what is said. The blankets, water, and first aid administered if needed. It is important to only enter and exit by the lid and not dismantle the box until after the witness is outside of it.

If all of this seems too much or too silly to attempt, there is a smaller and safer version. The box construction is scaled-down and involves either metal or wood, with mirrors facing each other inside. However, instead of someone entering the box, you place a recording device inside before sealing it up for ten minutes. Demonic growls emanate from the speakers upon playback when there is no cause in the box. Either version of the game carries the danger of allowing something through, so always play with caution and respect.

Until next time Addicts,

D.J.

Gypsy Mob : Episode 7/ The Amputation

The sun had been up for some time when Zara rose. Catering to the nighttime crowd meant the Gypsy camp went to bed late and was rarely stirring before noon. Which meant by the time she found the body, it could have been there for hours.

The camp was roused by a piercing scream, sending everybody scrambling for the nearest weapon. It was a scream some had never heard in their lives, a scream which some had hoped never to hear again. It spoke of loss, horror, and death.

First responders would never be able to forget the sight of Zara, eldest daughter of Ladez, cradling what at first appeared to be a mangled mannequin with no head, just a mass of hamburger. As they grew nearer and their minds were able to process what they were seeing, they realized it was the naked body of their patriarch, the tattoos covering his chest and arms unmistakable. If not for that, the shredded remains of his face and head would have left them completely at a loss.

Zara was holding the shattered body close to her, rocking back and forth and caressing where the forehead had been, her fingers growing red as she howled her anguish to the sky. One by one, her brethren sank to their knees, unable to continue standing or tear their eyes away from what had once been their leader.

When her throat had grown raw and a red mist was coming from her mouth, Zara was the first to rise. Standing, she dropped the body as though she had no more use for it. Her voice was hoarse but still carried. Every Gypsy present heard her, and no one doubted.

I am the leader now. You will all follow me. If you challenge me, you will end up worse than my poor father. This I say! She screamed the last, her voice hoarsening further as the wind carried specks of blood to coat the faces of those nearest.

Now! she shrieked. Kill the Italian bitch and her boyfriend! Cut them into pieces and send each of them to her family! One by one, so they get a new one every day!

Her wildly rolling eyes caught movement. A wizened old woman several yards into what had become a crowd was moving forward, breaking through the tightly packed ranks. Standing before Zara, the old woman bent to her knee, casting her eyes downward.

Maam, though I do not challenge thee, I must mention; the fresh Italian girl is now our top earner. Do not cut off thy nose to spite thy face.

Zara stared at the woman, her face working. Finally, she arrived at a decision.

As you say then. We will take the bitchs hand and do as I have said with her boyfriend. Then, if need be, we can continue amputating the unnecessary bits from her until her daddy sees reason. Zara looked to the mangled corpse of her father and tears sprung to her eyes which she brushed angrily away. They will pay for what they have done to us.

What was once Bianca stared at the ceiling. It never changed. Sometimes she stared at the ceiling, sometimes at the ground, or to the left or right, depending on what her current client wanted. She was never required to be on top. She lay there, mechanically rising from her cot to swab her nether regions before returning to her supine position. Sometimes she was required to take someone into her mouth, but for the most part, whomever entered her enclosure was content to take his will and be gone.

When the flap which served as her door pushed aside, she barely noticed. Her lizard brain associated the sound with imminent sexual penetration and wearily began sending lubricative signals to what controlled her sexual organs. She heard murmuring of at least two voices and began to relax her nether regions, as she had been conditioned to do upon hearing more than one voice. But these voices were choked neither with rut nor excitement, as she had grown used to. These voices were businesslike as she lay on the cot, her legs spread. Unbidden, her mind regressed to her earliest gynecology appointments, and she felt a twinge of nervousness, as she had always felt before having her private areas examined. At the same time, her lizard brain insisted that she was about to play host to multiple uncaring men and responded enthusiastically by sending hormones to her brain, allowing her body to compensate for it.

She opened her eyes, hoping there was some redemptive feature for her eyes to comprehend. Movement at her feet registered first as she saw one Gypsy wrap a length of chain around both her ankles and before she could think to move, her wrists were seized by two incredibly strong hands and yanked above her head, stretching her body to the limit. She screamed in fear and pain as her muscles were stretched far beyond their normal breaking points. She felt something tear in her right shoulder where she had strained it years ago throwing the javelin in track. She screamed again, helpless in her bonds. Vaguely, she felt a strong pressure around her right wrist. She looked and saw a length of wire wrapped around her forearm just above her wrist.

Zara walked forward, a wide smile across her face as her tongue continually moistened her lips. A small black plastic object stuck out of her tightly clenched fist. As she grinned, her thumb moved and a small narrow silver sliver shot out of its end. It retracted into the black plastic handle then shot out again as Zara advanced, her thumb playing with the release switch of the box cutter, sending its five-inch blade in and out.

Dont worry, bitch, Zara rasped in her new voice, halting the blades action as she drew near, raising the box cutter to level at Biancas face. The blade shot out another several inches. Youll live.

Striding forward, Zara knelt on Biancas hand and began sawing at her wrist, below the wire. Screaming, Bianca fought to free her hand but Zaras weight was relentless and Biancas hand did not move as Zara expertly cut between the radius and ulna, and the scaphoid and lunate bones of Biancas arm and hand, neatly severing her right hand.

Bianca screamed as blood spurted but tapered off quickly, the wire tourniquet doing its job. She bucked and thrashed but the chain remained around her legs and her arms remained securely over her head. As she flailed about, she caught glimpses of the figures holding her arms steady. She spat at them, cursing and swearing between sobs as she berated them, everything, anything, for the pain that she felt, before falling silent at the horrible new voice of Zara, grating in her face:

IT CAN ALWAYS GET WORSE.

Bianca shut up, screams fighting to escape from her mouth as she whimpered, tears rolling down her face as her phantom hand flexed back and forth in agony. Zara picked up the severed hand, waved it at Bianca and raised its middle finger.

31 Gothic Shows to Creep the Romance Alive

crimsonp

  1. Crimson Peak, 2015
  2. Dragonwyck, 1946
  3. The Monk, 2011
  4. Byzantium, 2012
  5. Wuthering Heights, 1939
  6. Bram Stoker’s Dracula, 1992
  7. Dracula, 1931
  8. Rebecca, 2020
  9. Dark Shadows, 1991
  10. Gaslight, 1944
  11. Sweeny Todd, 2007
  12. The Bride, 1985
  13. Corpse Bride, 2005
  14. The Woman in Black, 2012
  15. Sleepy Hollow, 1999
  16. The Crow, 1994
  17. The Haunting of Bly Manor, 2020
  18. The Heiress, 1949
  19. Phantom of the Opera, 2004
  20. Love Never Dies, 
  21. Edward Scissorhands, 1990
  22. Jane Eyre, 1997
  23. 1408, 2007
  24. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, 2016
  25. My Cousin Rachel, 2017 
  26. Dark City, 1998
  27. The Old Dark House, 1932
  28. Valerie and Her Week of Wonders, 1970
  29. Kiss of the Damned, 2012
  30. Lisa and the Devil, 1973
  31. A Cure for Wellness, 2016

Have we forgotten one? Help us grow our list! Comment below.