Live Action Reviews! by Crystal Connor: Haunted Trail

 

 

 

Plotline: A group of college friends receive the surprise of their lives when they discover there is an actual killer on the scene of a local haunted trail.

Who would like it: I think everyone! This movie was so super fun. I had a blast watching this and you will too!

High Points: I loved the super diverse cast of characters and that this movie takes place in a haunted venue

Complaints: Absolutely none!

Overall: I LOVED this movie!

Stars: 5

 

 

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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

Live Action Reviews! by Crystal Connor: The Exorcism Of God

 

Plotline: An American priest working in Mexico is possessed during an exorcism and ends up committing a terrible act. Eighteen years later, the consequences of his sin come back to haunt him, unleashing the greatest battle within.

Who would like it: Fans of Paranormal Activity franchises and those who loved The Taken of Deborah Logan

High Points: This movie didn’t do it for me at all.

Complaints: There are so many, this priest should have NOT been in charge of a parish and he wasn’t strong enough to do what needed to be done.

Overall: Really good concept but they just didn’t pull it off.

Stars: 2.5

Where I watched it: VOD

 

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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

Book Review: Black Flames & Gleaming Shadows by Frank Coffman

Review by Stephanie Ellis 

4 stars

Black Flames & Gleaming Shadows by Frank Coffman, pub. Independent, 28 Feb. 2020

Synopsis:

This is Frank Coffman’s second large collection of speculative poetry. As before, the verses herein cross the spectrum of Weird Horror, Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Adventure and include examples from sub-genres of these modes of the high imagination. Following his chapbook, This Ae Nighte, Every Nighte and Alle (2018) and his acclaimed magnum opus, The Coven’s Hornbook & Other Poems (2019), this collection of 93 poems (six sequences of poems: sonnet sequences, a “megasonnet” sequence, a sequence in an Old Irish metric, etc) continues in the same tradition. A formalist whose rhymed and metered verses follow in the tradition of the exemplary work of the great early Weird Tales poets such as Clark Ashton Smith, Robert E. Howard, H. P. Lovecraft, Donald Wandrei, and Leah Bodine Drake, he is also a great experimenter with a broad variety of exotic and cross-cultural forms and an innovative creator of several new ones. His poetry has been published in several magazines, including Spectral Realms, Weirdbook, The Audient Void, Abyss & Apex, Gathering Storm, Phatasmagoria and Lovedraftiana; and in anthologies such as Quoth the Raven, Caravan’s Awry, and Sounds of the Night.

Review:

Black Flames and Gleaming Shadows by Frank Coffman is very much verse in the traditional sense, by which I refer to his employment of recognised forms, for example, the sonnet, or his adaptation of them to create his own variant. Having read, and written much, in recent years in blank or free verse, it took a while to settle back into reading poetry of this style, but settle I did.

During my degree studies, I spent some time on Victorian poetry which led me to the likes of Tennyson and Browning, the latter remaining a favourite, especially with his “Porphyria’s Lover” and “The Laboratory”. Coffman’s poetry took me right back to that place, that sense of enjoyment of a tale told well, in poetic form. One word of advice: this collection is one very much to dip in and out of as I find my brain has a tendency to try and overlay the pattern and rhythm of one poem onto the next – which does the subsequent poem a disservice until you pause, reset and re-read. You might find the same.

From the King in Yellow to King Arthur, Coffman covers a wide variety of subjects, each fitting neatly into the convenient sections: Weird Tales & Cosmic Horror, Vampiricon, Samhain Halloween, Poems of Science Fiction, Fantasy, Myth, Legend, and Metapoetry, Homages & Some Traditional Verse. All are written in traditional form and there is a very useful Glossary of Forms explaining those he uses.

Yet tradition does not mean dry mimicry, instead, he adopts an element of playful homage at times as in “The Spooky Path Not Taken” (a wonderful ghostly take on Robert Frost’s classic) and “It WAS a Dark and Stormy Night” (which is most definitely not the opening line).

Whilst the writing is in this ‘older’ style, the subject matter is often very modern and pertinent to the concerns of today. “The Cyborg Dilemma” questions our advance into a brave new world where biomechanics bring the human and machine into ever closer contact, a synthesis of worrying implications. “Leaving Earth Behind” finishes with a poignant couplet effectively asking – shouldn’t we look after our own planet first before trying to ‘terraform’ others. Strong emotion with the lightest touch can be found in “Fib-on-ac-ci-dent?”, such wistfulness in so few words.

Other poems are akin to the epic narrative verse of yore. The gothic “The Vampire Ball” is surely something that should become a must for reading aloud at a small gathering, by a roaring fire, on a dark and stormy night …

Frank Coffman has taken tradition and made it his own, indeed amongst some of his poems are pleas not to discard the old, simply because it is just that. “Post” starts ‘This age of ours – it seems to me – is flawed/Things and Ideas “Old” must be replaced …  That traditions are deemed anathema is scary.”

With Coffman’s journey not yet done, I’ll finish with his own words from “Verse’s Vagabond”. ‘No rest! So many roads I’ve never gone!/Though I set off at dusk … ‘twill soon enough be dawn.’

Let us all accompany him on his adventure, vagabond readers traveling with him.

Book Review – Ashthorne by April Yates

By staff writer and book blogger Renata Pavrey

 

Title – Ashthorne

Author – April Yates

Genre – Historical fiction, Gothic horror

Publisher – Ghost Orchid Press

In the aftermath of WWI, Adelaide Frost seeks employment as a nurse at Ashthorne – a manor house that has been designated as a convalescence center for soldiers of war. She is sternly informed not to make contact with the house owners, Mr. Ashthorne, and his daughter Evelyn. Her job requires her to work for the injured soldiers without asking any questions. A resident doctor operates in his treatment room, that no one has access to besides the doctor and the patients.

Something is amiss at Ashthorne. Initially dismissed as the after-effects and trauma of fighting and being rendered disabled by war, Adelaide learns there’s more to the soldiers’ wanting to kill themselves and not coming out alive from the doctor’s treatment room. Evelyn has her own suspicions about the evil lurking within her father’s home, but her investigations haven’t revealed much so far. Now, with Adelaide’s help, the two women seek to uncover the truth behind Ashthorne. What happened to Evelyn’s mother, why does her father blindly believe the doctor, who is the priest with much say in the town’s proceedings, can the nurses be trusted, why is the land on which Ashthorne stands so important?

In a short, compact, and concise novella, April Yates packs a punch of a story that covers so much in so few words. I was introduced to Yates’ writing in the short story First Harvest from Blood and Bone, edited by A.R. Ward. I loved that anthology and found every story so outstanding that I looked forward to her debut book. And Yates doesn’t disappoint. With Ashthorne, she creates a world that brings together historical fiction with gothic horror, thriller, and romance. And there’s another world within this world that addresses post-traumatic stress disorder, rehabilitation, homosexuality, religion and medicine, and the role of women in society.

The characters are multi-layered and well-developed. The storyline involves several tangents, but they all fall together nicely. The plot is to the point and quick-paced. Sometimes, novels are so long drawn out, that one wonders why the author had to drag a story that could have been said in a few words. With Ashthorne, you hope for the opposite. The novella is so well written, that one hopes it could have been a longer novel. I would have liked to learn more about the caves and the history of Ashthorne that makes the grounds significant. I love books that blur the lines between thriller and horror, and Ashthorne keeps you wanting to read more.

A haunted house story that incorporates witchcraft, demons, mysterious mirrors, and basements to beware of. As a historical fiction sapphic horror story, Ashthorne is splendidly written and deserves to be read. April Yates is an author to look out for. And kudos to the cover designer!

My rating – 5/5

Book Review: From Daylight to Madness by Jennifer Anne Gordon

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Reviewed by Emerian Rich

For: Readers who enjoy Gothic Literature like Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights.

Content warning: baby death, mental illness, harm to animals, gaslighting

From Daylight to Madness by Jennifer Anne Gordon is an emotional trek through one lady’s experience with losing her child at birth and how she is mistreated by her husband, mother-in-law, and eventually a hotel they ship her off to.

From Daylight Cover full gold - Jennifer GordonIsabelle is a young wife in the 1870s who has suffered a terrible tragedy. She’s given birth to a son who dies just after he is born. Her controlling husband and mother-in-law do not allow her to see him or even say goodbye. They take the body God knows where and force her to clean up the blood after the tragedy. They don’t allow a grave marker or any sort of service for him. He was not alive, he did not have a name. They keep her drugged up on laudanum and complain that she doesn’t “mourn properly.” 

Finding she can no longer bear children and won’t pop out of her sadness, they send her on a “holiday” at an institution masquerading as a seaside hotel. At the hotel, things go from bad to worse when she meets a cast of characters with real mental problems. One gal, in particular, is deeply twisted.

All things are not horrible at the hotel, however. Isabelle is able to get out from under her husband and mother-in-law’s thumb and experience a little freedom–something she’s never had in her entire life. She also meets another hotel guest who shows her kindness and a little romance blooms in their shared misery.

First, a warning. For readers who have experienced a miscarriage, stillbirth, or baby death, this book may be too much for you. The author does a really great job of getting inside Isabelle’s head and making the reader feel the impact of her baby’s death. She is basically haunted–not by a real ghost, but by her grief. She hears her baby’s cry in her head and reminisces frequently about not being able to hold him or say goodbye. She even carries a hatbox with her that she imagines holds him in it, so he is by her side always. 

Passages like… 

“…death had kissed her insides and left her rotting…”

“…Isabelle felt like a fancy dress…poorly made…different parts of her…separating and being held together by straight pins…” 

“…birth leaving her womb nothing more than a tattered old book of gruesome tales better left untold…”

…weave such deep and expressive imagery it’s hard not to put yourself in her place.

The exquisite writing in this book takes place inside Isabelle’s head as she compares the cups of tea and laudanum scattered about the house to little tombstones of her grief, the only sign that her baby ever existed because he did not get a tombstone. 

As a modern woman reading her story it’s difficult because the way others gaslight her is just agonizing. I was infuriated with how her husband and mother-in-law paint a narrative that is unfair and harmful to her. They pass that narrative off to the hotel employees who then drill in the narrative, causing her to constantly question them and herself.

*She had a stillborn, but no…he lived! She heard him crying. 

*She isn’t mourning, but yes she is if anyone was paying attention. 

*She was abandoned by her parents and now has been abandoned again, but no…her parents died, they didn’t mean to leave her. 

People don’t allow her to speak her truth and it made me want to travel to that hotel and make things right. But in the same instance, I know entering the hotel I would just be another casualty hushed up, drugged, and put on the porch to sleep with the other patients, I mean…vacationers.

Although meant for wellness, the island hotel seems a spooky place where spiked tea and her own mental state cause her to lose time and survive in a dream-like state where she isn’t sure what is real or not. She finds a little graveyard of babies there, the truth of that place never fully understood. The hotel is a character itself, akin to Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde…sunny and bright one moment but hiding dark, dirty secrets the next.

I have to say, I like this book because of how much it jarred me. I went into it hoping to see some ghosts in a haunted hotel but came out of it bloodied by the emotional trip I took with Isabelle. It made me uncomfortable and scarred. If you can handle the harrowing journey, it will be a book you remember for a long time. Just make sure your mental state is strong enough to handle it, tea+laudanum on standby.

Live Action Reviews! by Crystal Connor: Portland Horror Film Fest Day 4

 

Live Action Reviews on location! Portland Horror Film Festival 2022.

This film festival is a 5-day International Festival of Terror, bringing horror from around the world to creepy Portland, OR, a tree-filled land with a deep and dark history.

This was day Four …

Saturday, July 2 12-5 pm at the Clinton Street Theater Horror by Women Double Feature & Short films

12 pm – Feature: Stag (US) w/director Alexandra Spieth

1:45 pm – Short Films 4 w/filmmaker Q&A

Bumper: The Body

The Boy Who Woke Up Dead

Spaghetti Face

I’ll Never Be Alive Again

A Conversation with E (CA)

The Cookie Crumbles

The Strong Box

The Last Christmas (CA) 3:10 pm – Feature: Maya (Pakistan) w/director K/XI

 

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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

Merrill’s Musical Musings – Mechanical Horror/Zwaremachine

Zwaremachine

Greetings Horror Addicts! I hope you’re surviving the Dog Days of Summer. I mean, it’s fine, I guess. Sunny, hot, daylight comes early…what’s not to love? BLECK. I must be patient, I know, but that’s tough when our mistress Emz posts pictures of the spooky offerings at Ross and Michael’s and there are SO many great horror flicks online. I’ve already hit Etsy for some creepy goods while binging What We Do In The Shadows. Man, I love that show with its dark moody set where it feels as if it’s always nighttime is perfect for those, uh, sunny summer days. BARF. We watched Day Shift with Jamie Foxx and Dave Franco and I loved it! It’s got a Zombieland feel, but the action was WAY more intense…and graphic. Watch the trailer on Netflix and see what I mean. Any favorites from this summer? Hit me up at rlmerrillauthor@gmail.com and share your favorites.

Ro’s Reviews

Since we’re featuring Mechanical Horror this week, we’re revisiting industrial artist Zwaremachine (reviewed on Horror Addicts in September 2019). They’re back with a couple of catchy tunes called “Parasol” and “Resist.” Both songs have great rhythm and instrumentally they remind me of the 80s synth music that was heavily featured in movie soundtracks. Folks have gone wild for shows like Stranger Things and Archive 81—can you tell I’ve been watching WAY too much TV?—and both shows’ scores have this vibe. Their track “Resist” also has a retro sound I’d compare to Nitzer Ebb or Prodigy. Fans industrial dance tracks might want to check out the band’s catalogue. I can picture films like 

Shout Outs

Dark Wave Doom artist Jonathan Christian’s “Talkin’ Bout The Wolf” is an intriguing tune you should check out. Seattle Darkwave artist NUDA’s instrumental “Trigger” is full of hooks and effects that tease the senses and will likely give the listener an inkling of what their live shows would be like. Bellhead’s “Nothing As It Seems” is a super creepy industrial track with shudder-inducing whisper-talk lyrics and a fun drum track. Don’t listen at night by yourself.

Ro’s Recs

I love the radio function on Spotify and YouTube Music. I’ve found so many bands that I really dig that way. My latest discovery was a heavy rock band from Sweden called Witchcraft. They have the same vibe as another recent discovery, Nashville’s All Them Witches, and the similarity goes farther than the similar names and themes. Their music styles are alike, the kind of rock that you can just zone out to, get in the flow and get shit done. Or not. Get bewitched by these excellent bands.

That’s it for this edition of Merrill’s Musical Musings. Have you been following along on the YouTube Music Playlist for this season’s show? If not, check it out, and Stay Tuned for more

Live Action Reviews! by Crystal Connor: Portland Horror Film Fest Day 3

 

 

Live Action Reviews on location! Portland Horror Film Festival 2022. This film festival is a 5-day International Festival of Terror, bringing horror from around the world to creepy Portland, OR, a tree-filled land with a deep and dark history. This was day three …

Friday, July 1 7-11 pm at the Hollywood Theatre

7 pm – Short Films 3 w/filmmaker Q&A Bumper:

The Beast in the Bedroom

Welcome

Shadow of a Silhouette

I’ll Be Back Tomorrow

7 Minutes In Hell Love You,

Mama (CA) #Nofilter

Hell Hole

In The Shadow of God (CA)

9 pm – Bonus Shorts Smile (CA) Relax with Draco While Mortals Sleep 9:30 pm – Feature: Woodland Grey (Canada)

 

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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

Merrill’s Musical Musings : Vision Video

Vision Video

Greetings Horror Addicts! As summer stretches on and sunny days rule, we can feel some comfort in the fact that we just passed the 100-day mark. Yes, less than 100 days until Halloween! Stores are starting to put up their decorations and I can’t WAIT to see what this year’s spooky season has in store. Perhaps a few sea creatures should be added to my décor…

Yes, there’s something welcoming and yet terrifying about the wide-open waters, and musicians throughout time have created songs and music inspired by the sea. Since we here at Horror Addicts are all about the creepier side of art, I thought I’d write about some of the creepier music from the depths. See my list of recs below.

Ro’s Reviews

This episode’s review is of the phenomenal goth rock band from Athens, Georgia, who rep the area’s legacy for great alternative music well. I reviewed their debut album Inked in Red on the April 2021 episode of Merrill’s Musical Musings and I’ve been shouting from the rooftops about them ever since. They recently released a new single and video called “Beautiful Day To Die” and once more I’m here to sing their praise. The mellow, moody track is on the softer side for the goth punk pop band but the gorgeous harmonies will suck you in despite the flowery sunshine of the video. In fact, the dichotomy of the field of wildflowers while musing about death is perfection. The band has been touring for the past few months and you can find clips of their shows on YouTube, their Instagram page—which also features the hilariously hip advice from Goth Dad—and I highly recommend you check them out or heck, even catch them live!

Shout Outs

Oh, Lord. Where are my Weird Al Yankovic fans? Psychostick has tickled my metal heart with their new versions of metal songs we love. I am so digging songs like “Numbers” and “Bruce Campbell.” If you want a chuckle, check them out. It looks like they’re even taking a trip under the sea… Metal band Locust Grove released a new album called Battle of the Locust and if songs like “Monster” are any indication, they should make metal fans quite happy. 

 

Ro’s Recs

The ocean is definitely one of my favorite places to be, although I don’t go nearly enough. There’s something peaceful about it, but there also lies a warning to humans who think they are invincible. Whether it was films like Jaws, The Abyss, or The Lighthouse reminding me to never turn my back on the water, or my own life experiences, I have a healthy respect for the water and what lives beneath. When the Pirates of the Caribbean movies were insanely popular, there were lots of folks praising the resurgence of sea chanties. I picked up Rogue’s Gallery back then and it’s a lot of fun. There’s even a Son of Rogue’s Gallery you can jam out to. They’re naughty and I just love them. I also made y’all a little gift. Songs of the sea for your dark little hearts. Okay, some of the songs are dark, and some are just classics or by artists us Horror Addicts love. Have any other ideas? Send them to me at rlmerrillauthor@gmail.com.

 

Check out the tunes above on my YouTube Music Playlist and Stay Tuned for more

 

Odd Playthings – An Anthology of Horror About Toys Edited By Patrick Winters

Review by staff writer and book blogger Renata Pavrey

Title – Odd Playthings

Author(s) – Multiple

Editor – Patrick Winters

Genre – Horror, anthology

Publisher – Black Ink Fiction

A unique collection of horror stories that pays homage to the playfulness and innocence of childhood hobbies, while instilling fear in adult readers and collectors. Odd Playthings is a tribute to toys of all kinds – stuffed animals, action figures, wooden handicrafts and terracotta figurines. From toys believed to be prophets, to curses carried through generations, toys that will protect their owners at any cost, to ones that go out of their way to destroy, quirky puzzles boxes and haunted bobble dolls, dolls that solve murder mysteries and dolls that commit murder – the reader is transported into a land of endearing childhood activities, with a horrific twist that makes us ponder on what would happen if our beloved toys turned rogue. Odd Playthings turns back time with sixteen stories from twelve writers who offer a glimpse into the joys of our past, transformed into horrifying scenarios.

A challenge for the editor is not only collecting well-written horror stories adhering to his offbeat theme but also finding writers who share his love for toys and present an eerie array of tales for the reader. Carnival prizes, alien toys, wood and clay toy makers, footballs that curse their players, superheroes fighting plastic dinosaurs, serial killers who collect toys and toys who are serial killers – we read about a range of odd playthings from different cultures and customs around the world. The stories are so different from each other and yet come together beautifully in this distinctive collection from a variety of international writers.

“Toys became tools to tell stories, toys made it possible to go places I never could, and means to reach the furthest ends of my imagination,” writes Dave Wheeler in the foreword that introduces us to this splendid assortment of terror tales. Some of my favorite stories were Strange Customs by Patrick Winters (about a serial killer’s toy collection), To Fight Another Day by Dawn DeBraal (about action figures whose action wreaks havoc), Giuseppe the Toy Maker by Lynne Phillips (an ode to the old-world charm of handcrafted wooden toys), Giselle by Lynne Phillips (a doll sets out to avenge its murdered owner), and Star Man the Invincible by Scott McGregor (about a toy from outer space). But I loved every story from this anthology – it’s so well curated.

Some quotes:

-You should always kill with care the things you once loved. To do any less insults their memory.

-A child is usually the one to see what isn’t there, to see through the lies of the world and view the truth of their surroundings.

-The shoelace tip-tapped like a metronome as the leg swung.

The stories are a mixed bunch, but they’re all entertaining in the way each of us interprets horror – as children, teenagers, and adults. The cute and creepy cover with splotches of paint aptly describes what to expect within the pages of this anthology. There’s sci-fi, crime, historical fiction, horrors of the real world and paranormal – something for every reader to enjoy the coming-together of an exceptional bunch of writers. Kudos to editor Patrick Winters for accomplishing this task.

My rating – 5/5

13 BOOKS ABOUT HAUNTED HOUSES by Renata Pavrey

By book blogger and staff writer Renata Pavrey

What is it about hauntings that seem to beckon rather than repel? Buildings possessed by the dead who either want to drive away the living or make them one among themselves. Lodgings that come with a gamut of warnings and rumors that refuse to die, only to have an occupant promptly settle in and find oneself in trouble. Whom does a haunted house belong to – the owner who buys the property, or the ghost that refuses to let go? Horror fiction is replete with books about haunted places – homes, buildings, stores, hospitals. Then there are stories that blur the lines between thriller and horror – the things people are capable of that ghosts would never do, hauntings of the mind that far surpass a spirit’s capabilities. Here are thirteen books that take the haunted house trope and give it a life of its own, from the classic to the contemporary.

The Turn of the Screw – Henry James

A gothic novella that was first published in a series format. The 19th-century classic raises the question of supernatural entities versus imagination, where the reader and protagonist both try to discern what’s real.

The Haunting of Hill House – Shirley Jackson

Is a house haunted because of its invisible inhabitants, or does believing it’s haunted make it so, or is it people doing the haunting while the ghosts suffer in silence? Blending terror and horror, another gothic story that blurs what’s inside one’s head versus what’s outside, and what one chooses to believe.

The Shining – Stephen King

Ghosts don’t always possess homes; sometimes they linger in hotels too. An isolated location with just three characters for the most part. Where would you go if there was nowhere to go to? Claustrophobia, solitude, loneliness. How would you know if it’s the hotel taking control, or your mind giving it up?

You Should Have Left – Daniel Kehlmann

Originally written in German and translated into English by Ross Benjamin, the novella follows seven days in the life of a screenplay writer in a rented Airbnb, which refuses to let go of its newest resident.

Apartment 16 – Adam Nevill

Sometimes supernatural influences are not happy with single houses; they need to possess entire buildings. An atmospheric novel that blends thriller with horror.

The Graveyard Apartment – Mariko Koike

A Japanese translation that mixes detective fiction with horror writing. If secluded haunted houses were bad enough, what happens when a building stands right next to a graveyard? Psychological horror can be more terrifying than out-and-out gore.

Beloved – Toni Morrison

Ghosts were once people, too. They might have known us. Maybe they loved us, or disliked us tremendously. How do you deal with malevolent spirits of people you knew and loved, but they don’t feel the same? Morrison’s seminal work explores the mother-daughter relationship, and the psychological effects of slavery.

Rebecca – Daphne du Maurier

Hauntings need not always be physical entities. Memories can be powerful shapeshifters; taking over one’s mind and body with greater strength than any external force. Another hybrid novel that blends thriller with psychological horror.

The Sanatorium – Sarah Pearse

A former sanatorium, redeveloped into a luxury hotel. Will the ghosts of the past stay buried down, or will the evils of the present beckon them to the surface? A spine-tingling gothic mystery, just like its cold, isolated landscape.

Home Before Dark – Riley Sager

Another novel that shifts between thriller and horror, making the reader question its supernatural occurrences. When the author of a haunted house book is faced with a haunted house, is it just another story?

Horrorstör – Grady Hendrix

Horror need not always be dark, as reflected in this horror-comedy set in an IKEA store. When furniture comes to life, is there more to the products you sit and sleep on?

Seeing – Patrick Winters

How do haunted houses gain their reputation? A tightly-packed novella about a formerly luxurious mansion that has now gained a reputation of being haunted. Atmospheric and eerie writing that subtly creeps up on the reader, rather than in-your-face jump scares.

The Elementals – Michael McDowell

How do ghosts decide whom and what to possess? In a locality of three houses, two are without hauntings, while the third is filled with horror. If you live in either one of the three, would the spirits make your acquaintance?

Where would your next book take you? Step into a room, apartment, palace or hospital, and share space with its ghostly inhabitants as you dive into a story.

Merrill’s Musical Musings

Greetings Horror Addicts! As I work on this collection of tracks for you to check out, it is indeed foggy and overcast outside, blanketing my neighborhood in that gray tinge that hurts your eyes and makes you long for a fire or for an afternoon curled up in bed with a good book. I hope wherever you are, and whatever you are doing, you’re staying healthy and safe and listening to some good tunes. Looking for new music? I’ve got a bunch of artists to share with you!

Ro’s Review

Amulet hails from Washington D.C. and will appeal to fans of Concrete Blonde or current rockers Dorothy as well as Coyote Kid as reviewed here on Horror Addicts last year. Their bio on BanCamp states that Amulet is bass-driven, dark alternative rock with powerful female vocals. With a theatrical performance ranging from high-energy post punk to soulful a cappella movements, Amulet is a ride through the emotional journey that is the dark side of the human experience. Their latest album, House of Black and White has some fabulous tracks such as “Valentine’s Day” and the title track “House of Black and White.” The album contains several solid rockers for the goth set. The band would be right at home on a dark bar stage belting out “Ghost of You” and I’d personally love to catch their live set someday. 

Shout Outs

New remixes are out now from industrial outfit Panic Lift’s Disease of Kings for you to check out. The Hate Club manages to sound just as heavy and fierce in an unplugged format. Check out their Unplugged Pt. 2 EP. Xenocide, the latest project from SINthetik Messiah, is a sci-fi-influenced EP about the end of a world and the life within, a topic many of us have likely pondered over the past three years. The songs all have a steady beat and a compelling hook. Check them out on BandCamp. And last but certainly not least, Blazer Jacket, a retrowave artist from Ukraine, brings us the powerful track “Get Out.” Excellent production quality, heavy vocals, and a clear message give this track it’s heart. It is a call to arms for the artist’s people who are currently engaged in the fight for their lives. Please show some support for Blazer Jacket during this bleak time for their country. 

Ro’s Recs

I have two recs on this occasion, and both are not what you’d consider horror when you look at their face value. Falling in Reverse are best known for their early emo anthems like “I’m Not A Vampire” and “Don’t Play With Ouija Boards”…wait, okay maybe they’ve got some horror themes in their repertoire. I first heard their new track “Voices in My Head” this week, and I was curious about lead singer Ronnie Radke’s latest hijinks. I looked up the video and was impressed with the level of production which has been improving with each new offering. FIR never shies from the darker side of humanity and sanity, but this particular video finds Radke’s many personas killing each other off. It’s quite graphic and brutal, but compelling to watch. If darker action flicks a la John Wick are your jam, check out this video. 

And then I came across the latest from manic pretty boy Brendon Urie and Panic! At The Disco…Again, Urie and co. are known for their emo gems like “I Write Sins Not Tragedies” but if you watch their videos, or if you’ve ever watched any of Urie’s Vines, you’ll notice that he’s got a delicious dark side. Just check him out in the video for “Emperor’s New Clothes” in his devil disguise and you’ll love it. In their new track, “Viva Las Vengeance” Urie becomes the victim of his…piano. You gotta watch it. The track is peppy and pop-punky, but the video is dark. And bloody. And I loved it. Check out these offerings on my YouTube Music Playlist and Stay Tuned for more

FRIGHTENING FLIX VIDEO REVIEW: Horror Cliches I’m Tired of Seeing

 

Hello Contrivance, my old friend!

It’s time to fast forward over the prologues, driving to the horrors, and jump scares to have a fireside chat with Kristin Battestella aka Kbatz as we discuss all the formulaic tropes and problems with paint by numbers horror movies! For more Frightening Flix editorials as well as Kbatz Krafts projects anyone can do, pick up your copy of the Horror Addicts Guide to Life Book 2 workbook anthology available now on Amazon. What Horror cliches are YOU tired of seeing?

 

Horror Addicts Guide to Life Book 1

Horror Addicts Guide to Life Book 2

Our Frightening Flix Video Playlist

Kbatz Horror Addicts Guide to Life Book 2 Press Tour Interview

More Horror Reviews and Viewing Lists at I Think, Therefore I Review and Twitter!

 

Book Review: Future Tense: Tales of Apocalyptic Vision

Future TenseHello Addicts,

Apocalypse. It is a word that has so many meanings to so many people. To some, it is the end of all things. To others, it is the end of one time and the start of a new. Both meanings are on full display in “Future Tense: Tales of Apocalyptic Vision” by Michaelbrent Collings.

This is a collection of stories that covers a gamut of horrific settings. It starts with using clones to deter suicides in a totalitarian future; moves on to a society where a computer decides your life; and then lands on a group of friends getting together being forced to play a deadly children’s game. There are post-apocalyptic stories on a global scale, and others covering a more personal perspective. Michaelbrent Collings seems to have all the bases covered.

Since starting doing book reviews for Horror Addicts, I have become a big fan of the author. When I see one of his books, I know I am in for a macabre ride and good storytelling. This collection didn’t disappoint. I don’t want to divulge too many details to keep from accidentally revealing spoilers, but I can say that there is something for everyone in there. There is humor for those who like their funny bone tickled while being chilled, and nasty people getting their just rewards. Even the author appears in a story as well. All will have a fun and scary time.

You can find “Future Tense: Tales of Apocalyptic Vision” by Michaelbrent Collings on Amazon in eBook, hardcover, and paperback formats.

Until next time, Addicts,

D.J.

Book Review: SAIR BACK, SAIR BANES by Anthony Engebretson

A book review by Renata Pavrey

With a catchy title and cover, Sair Back, Sair Banes certainly piques the reader’s interest. I love books about folklore from around the world, and this novella set in Scotland was placed on my to-read list as soon as publisher Ghost Orchid Press mentioned it.

Genevieve takes a trip from America to connect with an old family friend of her now-deceased parents. Her father loved the outdoors and adventure, and often spoke about his love for the Scottish people, customs, lore, and legends. He also regaled Genevieve’s childhood with stories of the kelpie – shape-shifting horses that inhabit water bodies.

Genevieve’s host lives right next to a loch, and she encounters a drowning horse on her first day. But no one else was around to see the horse struggling and disappearing beneath the cold, dark waters. Nobody owns a horse around here, as far as anyone can tell. Was Genevieve imagining it, was someone playing a prank on her, or is there more to the legend of the kelpies? An over-friendly bartender, an icy pub owner, people going missing, a killer on the loose, trauma of parental abuse and suicide – Sair Back, Sair Banes packs a punch within its few pages.

The phrase ‘Sair Back, Sair Banes’ comes from an old folk curse, about a problematic horse in Scottish history. Blending folklore and legends with modern themes of loneliness, isolation, mental health, along with family history and relationships, Anthony Engebretson takes the reader on a trip through the Scottish landscape and culture. His story has one story and many stories; where the protagonist could be anybody, as could the antagonist. A place where spirits could be good and people could be bad; where there’s more to our ancestors than the stories they pass on. I loved this interweaving of themes and emotions – a well-written story that gives the reader something to ponder upon, much after having finished the book.

Sair Back, Sair Banes is Anthony Engebretson’s debut book, although he has written short stories for several anthologies. This was my first time reading this author, and I’ll certainly look forward to more from him. Ghost Orchid Press is known for featuring unpredictable, but brilliant writing. From the body horror Blood and Bone, to the eco-terror Chlorophobia, and the haunting collection Palimpsest, I look forward to their new releases. Sair Back, Sair Banes is another stellar book from their repertoire.

Merrill’s Musical Musings : The Royal Ritual

Track: Gnossienne No. 1

Ro’s Review

The Royal Ritual is the artist name for David Lawrie, a UK-based, multi-talented musician. Gnossienne No. 1 is an ethereal piano performance with modern touches. According to Wikipedia, The Gnossiennes are several piano compositions by the French composer Erik Satie in the late 19th century. The works are for the most part in free time and highly experimental with form, rhythm and chordal structure. The form as well as the term was invented by Satie.

Lawrie’s take on Erik Satie’s Gnossienne No. 1 is the perfect accompaniment for reading your favorite tales of vampires or visiting haunted houses. The artist’s compositions can be found in TV and film as well.

This week’s Shoutout goes to Plastic Assault Network. “Soul Seeker” is the third and final single released by Plastic Assault Network on December 17th, 2021, and completes their EP.

Ro’s Recs this week features the Papa himself. Ghost’s latest release Impera features the catchy tune “Twenties” as well as the gorgeous track “Call Me Little Sunshine.” Ghost is considered a metal band, but fans of Blue Oyster Cult and Nightwish will love them as will true metalheads. Their music is strangely addicting and though it contains guitars, Papa Emeritus (Sweden’s Tobias Forge) has such a beautifully soothing voice, you find yourself singing along to lyrics about darkness, the devil, and dystopia-like a pop music earworm. I never quite understood why all of my musician heroes were obsessed with Ghost…until I saw them live. Then I, too, became a believer. Impera is a full-bodied, Satiric/Satanic feast of audial delight. Check it out.

All of the songs shared this season are available on the Horror Addicts 2022 Playlist. Stay Tuned for more…

Merrill’s Musical Musings : Crimson Brulee

Ro’s Review

NY-based Crimson Brulee released their promising EP Tragica, which brings us “words for the wounded hearts of the world.” Guitar-heavy licks laced with synthesizers give them a rich sound and the production quality on this EP is quite pleasing. The male vocalist channels his inner Peter Murphy while the female’s vocals add a soft melodic quality to their tracks. Crimson Brulee is definitely a band to watch.

The track “I Came Back To You” has an 80s horror movie vibe Horror Addicts will enjoy, and “Nothing Dies Forever” is a goth love anthem for the ages. “Where Tarantulas Roam” has a radio-ready hook that surprised me with its catchy vibe. Check out Crimson Brulee on YouTube Music

I’d also like to give a Shout-out to the band Cut Like This. Their track “The Boogieman” is like dancing with a nightmarish Gwen Stefani and I am here for it. Horrorpunk is such a fun genre and I recommend you check out this fun creepy lullaby.

Ro’s Recs:

If the Trinity of Terror tour happens to come to your town, you should totally check it out. Lilith Czar, Motionless in White, Black Veil Brides, and Ice Nine Kills? Yes, please! I caught the San Jose show at the Civic Auditorium, which is a gloriously old venue that had great energy and my black little heart was so fulfilled by their musical offerings. If Ice Nine Kills would just create a rock opera and bring it to the stage, the world would be a better place. 

Catch tracks from all of the bands I’m reviewing this season on the HorrorAddicts.net YouTube Music Playlist. Stay Tuned for more…

Book Review: GENERATION X-ED edited by Rebecca Rowland

GENERATION X-ED,  An anthology of horror from the latchkey generation

Book review by Renata Pavrey

A unique collection of horror stories that pay tribute to the seventies and eighties. Generation X-ed turns back time with twenty-two writers who offer a glimpse into the horrors of the past. Videocassette players, slasher flicks, satanic cults, paper maps, cable repairs, alien invasions, summer vacations, creature features, rock and grunge music – the reader is transported into an era filled with cultural references that range from books to movies and music.

A challenge for the editor in not only collecting well-written horror stories adhering to the theme but also finding writers from generation X, who have mined their memories for an eerie array of tales for the reader. From VHS tapes to MTV, hairstyles and clothes, movie theatres and film stars, political events, and manmade disasters, the writers take us through time and place with very different stories, but all bound by their connection to the 70s and 80s.

My most favorite story was How I Met Kurt Russell by Rob Smales, which takes us through the movies and characters played by Kurt Russell. In a narrative hilarious and unnerving in equal parts, Smales addresses the horrors of identity, fandom, and superstardom. I just loved his horror-comedy, the subject of his story, and the route of exploring serious themes through humor. Some of my other favorites were In From The Cold by Adrian Wayne Ludens (the nostalgia of old photographs), A Genealogy of Hunger by Thomas Vaughn (a stellar piece of speculative fiction), Pay Heed to the Preacher Man by Eldon Litchfield (about small towns and creepy residents), Naming The Band by Elaine Pascale (hierarchies and dynamics between band members), Birnam Hall by L. E. Daniels (sheer brilliance in writing about sexual assault without actually writing about it, as a mirror to unreported cases), Stand Beside Me Now by Tim Jeffreys (for his take on haunted houses), Parker Third West by Dale W. Glaser (for his deep dive into dorm life), The Shade by C.O. Davidson (dealing with death and grief).

The stories are a mixed bunch, but they’re all entertaining in the way each of us interprets horror – as children, teenagers, and adults. Although the cover depicts a slasher anthology, the collection covers sub-genres of horror from cosmic to sci-fi, psychological and paranormal, folk horror, and horror-comedy. Highly recommended for readers from the latchkey generation, who have lived through the era and will identify with the references. But it’s really just for everyone, to enjoy the coming-together of an exceptional bunch of writers. Kudos to editor Rebecca Rowland for accomplishing this task.

My rating – 5/5

Book Review: Tenebrae in Aeturnum (A Collection of Stygian Verse) by Benjamin Blake

 

 

Tenebrae in Aeturnum (A Collection of Stygian Verse) by Benjamin Blake, pub. Hippocampus Press, Nov. 2020.

5/5 stars

Benjamin Blake is a new – to me – poet. As someone who has been delving more and more into the world of dark poetry, it’s been a treat to discover a poet who will most certainly draw me back to his work in the future. From the start, he comes up with lines that just make you stop and read them again. I mean the line ‘The nightingale has stopped singing’, evokes so much, a doom-laden phrase that serves as a warning for what is to come. There follows a collection that completely lives up to this expectation of dread. Throughout, Blake uses imagery of death and despair; walls bleed and bodies burn alongside poems of suicides and war, sex, and abuse. The horrors of humanity are laid bare in expressions of beautiful darkness.

The textured and nuanced lines made me stop again and again to repeat them. I am someone who can almost ‘taste’ words and when I come across the right combination it is as if I am eating something solid. For me this collection is a veritable feast – my umami. From that first line to ‘A Sunken Star’ – ‘Some people are nothing but tombs/Filled with dried flesh and dust/And locked from the inside to Elderflower – ‘There are worse things than being alone/And the laughter’s turned to screams’, to A City, a Tomb – ‘What can one do/When they realise that the place they wish to escape from/Is actually where they belong?’, Blake delivers pearls and believe me, there are many more within the pages.

The shadow world of Blake’s poetry is a dark one but one which demands you cross his borders again and again.

Book Review: The Jewish Book of Horror, ed. Josh Schlossberg

Synopsis: Horror is part of the human condition, but few peoples across the ages know it quite like the Jews.

From slavery to pogroms to the Holocaust to antisemitism, the “Chosen People” have not only endured hell on Earth, they’ve risen above it to share their stories with the world.

Whether it’s pirate rabbis or demon-slaying Bible queens, concentration camp vampires or beloved, fearless bubbies, THE JEWISH BOOK OF HORROR offers you twenty-two dark tales about the culture, history, and folklore of the Jewish people.

Review: The Jewish Book of Horror, ed. Josh Schlossberg (pub. Denver Horror Collective) is a dark, informative and entertaining read. I was drawn to this book because I was wondering how can a people, who have endured so much during the history of the human race, create fictional horror and I also wanted to know what was different about ‘Jewish’ horror compared to standard offerings.

The answer is to be found in the rich religious traditions and folk culture associated with the Jewish people, an aspect given a greater voice in the introduction by Rabbi John Carrier. Story settings varied from biblical to present-day to post-apocalyptic. Demons abounded, and I encountered the dybbuk properly. Social mores and expectations were also touched on, whether to be battled against or to attempt to maintain. Some were quiet horror, others less so, nor was the tragedy of the concentration camp shied away from. Religion and the question of faith was central to many.

It’s hard to highlight favourites when there isn’t a bad story amongst them, but a few standouts for me were ‘How to Build a Sukkah at the End of the World’ by Lindsay King-Miller, ‘The Horse Leech has Two Maws’ by Michael Picco and ‘Ba’alat Ov’ by Brenda Toliari.

Jewish horror as a subgenre is unique, it carries the weight of one of the oldest traditions in the world. This is horror from a different perspective and all the more refreshing for it.

5/5 stars

Book Review: This Morbid Life by Loren Rhoads

 

Reviewed by B. Nguyen-Calkins

Essays get a bad reputation within my friend group. Essays are wordy, boring, long. Twelve years plus may also put a damper on essays. However, Loren Rhoads’ This Morbid Life is such a fun collection of essays, I will be recommending it to my friends who may not be convinced of the genre’s beauty.

Each piece of the collection is effortless to read. It’s also convenient to read one or two pieces a night. There wasn’t a piece that didn’t make me think, at least for a moment, about life. It’s difficult to declare a singular theme for the collection. Rhoads declared the book as a love letter to all those who accompanied her life. While trying to generalize the book in its entirety, I can think of nothing more than what Rhoads writes- it’s a love letter to life and its people. Rhoads writes with a sincere voice, while still managing to befriend the reader without hesitation. As I read some pieces it almost sounded like I could hear it being told to me. The prose is natural and invigorating.

Though the collection is about life and its morbid irony, each piece has a unique outlook to offer you. I especially favored some over others, but with a work that comes across as personal as This Morbid Life, it’s difficult to say one is better than another. I’d recommend reading the collection from start to finish rather than jumping around. The specific order of the stories is purposeful. You may find yourself going back to reread an essay, a paragraph, or a line. But holistically, each piece builds or contrasts from the previous. 

A great collection or anthology intertwines stories seamlessly. I couldn’t stop reading after finishing one chapter. While I do have favorites, I can’t separate them from the collection. They worked together building a process of thinking for myself. I have a digital copy; however, I would love this in print. As I’ve said, it would be a great collection to read a bit each night. For This Morbid Life, I’ll settle and charge my Kindle.

Story Review: The Crate by Stephen King

Review by B. Nguyen-Calkins

In the depths of horror literature, Stephen King rises near the level of a modern legend. His works such as Carrie (1974), The Shining (1977), and It (1986) are some of his many works of intense horror and suspense. Yet King shines even in the shortest of stories that may fail to popularize beyond his novels. 

Ever been out in the woods and find something that’s obviously old? Maybe a doll or a magazine, or maybe a box with a locked lid. Immediately, curiosity drove you to open it… surely, whatever inside is worth a look. 

   The curious horror fanatics might be immediately overcome with a sense of dread. The Crate (1982) displays macabre scenes of straight unknown brutality which may justify that sense of dread. What starts with dramatic irony, readers are told of a professor’s experience with an old, unknown crate tucked beneath a staircase. The professor is afraid. He can hardly think, and only a couple glasses of whiskey can help cool his nerves. He explains to his friend of his run-in with the crate, tucked away beneath the basement staircase of the zoology department’s laboratory. “It’s a real crate,” said the janitor who found it. One built with traditional carpentry technique, far dating any living person.  

After reading this story, you may think twice about opening any cob-web-covered boxes. 

The Crate displays merciless scenes of straight unknown brutality. It creates terror for innocent students just trying to grind through their master’s programs, their “long sounds of terror and pain” cut off by something awful. Unsuspecting students and staff (and perhaps more) encounter the crate, only for their fates to be tucked away neatly in a box covered by foreshadowed death. The story is filled with scenes of blood and pain, with descriptions of body horror so vivid you may even hear a broken jaw snap closed behind you. 

And it all comes from one old, nailed-up crate, just waiting to be opened. 

Don’t be discouraged if you think this story has little substance. While describing his experience with the crate, the professor is motivated through chess-like strategies. Read the story again and try to decipher just who his pieces are.  

Who’s to say you won’t be the next person to stumble upon the crate, nailed shut and abandoned in the middle of nowhere. Maybe when you’ve purchased a new home and searched its attic, you’ll find a crate just like it. Will you open it? 

Merrill’s Musical Musings: Night Terror

This month’s artist, Night Terror, has recently released their debut on Bandcamp titled Freak on the Inside. It is the product of the artist’s personal experiences and reflects the current darkness in our world. The tracks all consist of straightforward techno beats with some original effects and sounds. I can appreciate where the artist went lyrically and it’s obvious that he poured his heart into this project. Fans of Dark Pop duo Provision and Palace of Tears, who were both previously reviewed on HorrorAddicts.net, will vibe with Night Terror and appreciate tracks like “Falling Time” and “Get Out Of This Place.” Some artists are bravely taking on our pandemic world through their craft and Night Terror chooses to explore the reality we’re living in both literally and figuratively. Their song “Viral Attack” will appeal to those searching for answers during this dark time. 

Thank you all for continuing to support art and music. These uncertain times have forced many artists to re-evaluate their choice to pursue their passion and it’s my hope that most will make it through and continue to create and rebuild. If you like the music we’ve shared here on HorrorAddicts.net, please support the artists. Whether you purchase their work physically in stores or digitally by buying albums on Bandcamp or the iTunes store, it goes a long way toward ensuring we have their art to soothe us and challenge us for years to come. If you have questions or comments, don’t hesitate to comment below or contact me through HorrorAddicts.net. I love hearing from fellow music fans. Thanks for checking out my reviews this season and Stay Tuned for more Merrill’s Musical Musings…

Live Action Reviews! by Crystal Connor: On Location: The 26th Annual H. P. Lovecraft Film Festival!

 

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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

Book Review: Vacuity and Other Tales

Hello Addicts,

This month, I had the distinct pleasure of reading the 3rd annual horror anthology from Tell-Tale Publishing, “Vacuity and Other Tales.” This collection of short stories run the gamut of scary stories and does so very successfully. I found all of the stories fun and exciting, with enough variety to give a palate-cleansing from the more blood-chilling stories at the right moments.

The book begins with the most intriguing story of the collection, “Vacuity.” Julie Duplantier is a young schizophrenic woman whose mental voices take great pleasure in the slow, methodical ways she tortures and murders others. We also see things from the point of view of her doctor, Christian Andreu. His solution is to perform a risky surgery that will silence the voices forever, which he is successful in doing. What everyone realizes, much too late, is that the voices kept something much worse at bay. If you like your stories drenched in blood, this one is for you.

There are stories of missed love during the Crusades, government-sponsored experiments on vampires, a modern take on Hansel and Gretel, and a curse that nearly brings about the pumpkin apocalypse. There is a little bit of everything for everyone in this book. I especially recommend this collection for those cold and stormy nights ahead.

Until next time, Addicts.

D.J. Pitsiladis

Book Review: Followers by Christina Berglin

Review by: B. Nguyen-Calkins

Internet privacy is a scary concept. Anybody, with enough effort, could find your name, photos of you, and even past locations you’ve visited. If somebody wanted to, I’m sure it’d be easy to… you can fill in the blank with any horrifying end. Stalking, online harassment, or worse. Why are we online at all?! 

Followers expresses the benefits of online friendships and social media. When Sydney, a horror movie enthusiastic and reviewer, is isolated and hit with constant passive-aggressive comments from her personal acquaintances, she instead goes online where people may appreciate the details of the genre (however shallow they may be). She kindles relationships online that have meaning to her personal life. And, ultimately, she sees her blog as an escape from her dead-end job. 

With the benefits of an online life comes risk. Are those often-shallow interactions even reading her work? Do those relationships have any substance? Will she ever make a living as a reviewer? Can Sydney live with the constant horror that runs beneath the surface of her everyday online interactions? And what if those interactions meddle within her personal life? The buildup brewed constantly as I found myself questioning each of the people in her life. This justified paranoia ends up hitting Sydney in the face as she struggles with the balance of digital and personal.

The novel works as a contemporary horror piece on multiple levels. Horror fans will look out for references to the genre as a mental trivia. My personal favorite was when characters review independent horror films at a festival. Holistically, the book is also meta-horror. One element of examining the genre explores the guilt of the “final girl,” especially in a progressively worsened situation. Who could be hurt because she posted clickbait photos for her online blog? How much information is too much to reveal to a virtual stranger? Can Sydney handle the repercussions of a demented stalker?

Strap yourself in and be sure to finish the book, because it truly thrives when Sydney finds herself in her own Scream. Sure, the book is initially carried by its prose and its likable (and unlikeable) characters. Christina Bergling sprinkles some interesting prose inside some dialogue and monologues and plays with some of the reader’s pent-up tension. But while the beginning may seem like a story on another shelf, the story’s resolution rightfully places it as a suspenseful, introspective horror. Followers is a worthwhile read, especially for fans of horror cinema. Its tension builds continuously throughout the story, and it extends today’s horror of digital social lives. The story is finished with some jaw-dropping scenes that seemingly come out of nowhere. It felt like Bergling was biding her time to lull the readers in while she waited for the opportune moment to strike.

Live Action Reviews! by Crystal Connor: Achoura

 

Plotline: Four childhood friends are reunited when one of them surfaces after twenty years, forcing them to confront a creature straight out of a spine-chilling Moroccan legend.

Who would like it: Urban Legends, international films, family horror, creature features, unpredictable endings

High Points: This movie is super good without being downright terrorizing. This would be the perfect movie for a teenaged slumber party

Complaints:

Overall: I loved it, it stressed me out! lol

Stars: 4

Where I watched it: VOD

 

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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

Oblivion in Flux: A Collection of Cyber Prose by Maxwell I. Gold

Oblivion in Flux: A Collection of Cyber Prose by Maxwell I. Gold

Reviewed by A.P. Hawkins

Oblivion calls.

The sound of Näigöths’ leathery wings fills the skies over ruined cities. Nature is corrupted, trees turned to pillars of metal and plastic. Humanity has deteriorated to a mere shade of its former greatness, entranced by lies and unaware of the oncoming storm. They bow to new gods, Cyber Gods of their own making, who offer nothing but empty promises and ravenous hunger.

In Oblivion in Flux: A Collection of Cyber Prose, takes readers on a deliciously horrifying journey through wildly imagined apocalyptic landscapes. With each piece, he paints a picture more wild and weird than the last. The vivid imagery all but leaps off the page, pulling the reader further into the mad, broken world Gold has built. 

Many of the pieces in Oblivion in Flux are loosely connected, weaving a thin thread of story as the narrator struggles to escape humanity’s own creation and remain free in the face of cyber horrors and fates worse than death. Repeated words and phrases at the opening and close of many pieces contribute to the overall feeling of madness and horror and make the reader feel as though they, too, might succumb.

Other pieces feel more separate, unconnected to the story running along in the background. But the themes, of decadence crumbling into decay, of humanity, blinded to the destruction it brings upon itself, come through very strong throughout the collection.

Of all the pieces in this collection, REVES DES CYBERDIEUX: A NATION IN THREE ACTS stood out as particularly powerful and timely. Though occasionally heavy-handed, the picture it paints of bloated politicians fawned over by hypnotized sycophants is extremely accurate and provocative.

Oblivion in Flux is an imaginative and gripping indictment of our time, where the metals and plastics and technologies of our society, our Cyber Gods, have turned, mouths agape, to devour us whole. Gold’s collection of cyber prose is a must-read for anyone who enjoys weird horror.

Merrill’s Musical Musings : In Chasms Deep

 

In Chasms Deep

Greetings HorrorAddicts! I hope these musings find you dim, dismal, and dissolute. Not really. I hope you and yours are doing well and that your life has returned to some sense of normalcy. But since we are going to be discussing black metal today, I thought I’d get you into the right headspace. For those of you, like me, who are new to the subgenre, black metal is characterized by screaming vocals, atmospheric sounds that don’t necessarily follow a typical song structure and pagan and/or satanic themes. The subgenre has received criticism due to the actions of some members of the community, but as with all music, it is unfair to judge all participants by the actions of the few. Metal music has healing properties and many of us turn to metal of all types to get us through the difficult times in our lives. 

In Chasms Deep is a one-man black metal project from the United States who has been making music since 2011. Their latest release, The Wind and Her Lament, draws the listener into a melodic journey from the beginning track. The pieces flow from hauntingly inviting to explosive rainbows of sonic power. The album draws on the four elements to give the listener an immersive experience. Tracks like “A Suicide in Paradise” build from melancholy piano to dream-like guitar sequence to thundering, furious shredding before sinking back into pensive strumming and those haunting piano notes once more. It’s probably my favorite track on the album. “Abyssgazer” piqued my interest with the organ parts in the beginning as well. 

If you’re new to black metal, I’d recommend giving The Wind and Her Lament a listen. The artist has created a landscape of beauty in darkness, which is a place many of us HorrorAddicts love to dwell. I’ll definitely be checking out some of their earlier work on Spotify. 

How about you? Have any black metal recommendations? As a bona fide metalhead, I’m always down to check out new music, so send me an email, rlmerrillauthor at gmail dot com or leave a comment. Thanks for joining me on this musical journey. Stay Tuned for more Musical Musings…

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. 

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. 

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.

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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

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 

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.

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

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… 

 

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.

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…

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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. 

 

Live Action Reviews! by Crystal Connor: The Giant

 

Plotline: A teenager’s small town life is changed forever when a series of murders begin on the same night that her missing boyfriend suddenly reappears.

Who would like it: Fans of atmospheric, dreamy, horror movies about coming of age.

High Points:

Complaints:

Overall: This movie left a lot of unanswered questions

Stars: 2 1/2 Stars

Where I watched it: VOD

 

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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

Book Review: Smithy by Amanda Desiree

Reviewed by Ariel DaWintre

Genre: Horror-paranormal

The story of Smithy is centered in an old mansion called Trevor Hall with a past in a wealthy old town. It begins with a group of college students and a chimpanzee called Smithy. The story is told through the characters’ letters, journals, and diaries. The story starts out very academic. The students and scientists are conducting an experiment with a young chimpanzee which is very smart. They are teaching him to use sign language to communicate but he starts signing things that don’t make sense and acting oddly in the mansion. Strange things start happening at the mansion and the students can’t explain. 

I liked the characters Ruby, Gail, Tammy, Jeff, Eric, and their very different personalities. The main character is the chimpanzee Smithy, whose formal name is Webster. And is about his interactions with everyone and his surroundings. The main person running the experiment and head of the program is Dr. Piers Preis-Herald along with his assistant Wanda. The students are at different levels of academics and have their own ideas of how things should be run, setting up issues, friction, and confusion between the team members. 

The story took a bit to get started for the horror part but it was a good story. I was engaged and with the group wanted answers. I don’t know if I got all the answers to what was happening. I know at the end I was looking back in the story for answers. You did get an ending and it was kind of a sad ending and but the house did win after all. I did have lots of questions and wondered if there will be a part two or a new story and see if it was based on a true story.

Merrill’s Musical Musings: Riot Legion

Greetings HorrorAddicts! Time continues to pass in stops and starts. The days blend together and are distinct only by the latest headlines or weather phenomenon, like what the heck even is an “atmospheric river?” It sounds to me like the next thing in darkwave music. As I write this, we’ve made it through Groundhog Day and that means we’ve passed the darkest time of the year. We have light at the end of the tunnel, and that can be interpreted in many ways. Thank goodness for music, I say, as we could all use a little pick me up. Today I’m here to bring you a new artist who might just get you through the next six weeks of winter that precocious Punxsutawney Phil predicted, the little furry bugger! We need the rain here in the West, but I’m sure folks would like a break from the cold. Hang in there and let’s meet this month’s artist, RIOTLEGION.

RIOTLEGION hail from Seattle and pack a hard-driving industrial sound. Whereas Seattle is known for its grunge musical history, RIOTLEGION breaks with tradition. The album Machine Liberation was released  23 June 2020 through Blind Mice Productions. The brainchild of Michael Coultas, RIOTLEGION is known for high-energy audio-visual performances in the area. Their lyrics delve into the chaotic political landscape we find ourselves in after the events of the past few months. 

Many of the tracks on Machine Liberation lean heavily on distorted beats and chants that might appeal to fans of previously reviewed artists JUSTIN SYMBOL or CELLMOD. “Out of My Head” hits with a hypnotic beat and a rhythmic chant and is a standout on the album and the creepy intro to “Liberation” piqued my interest. The artist relies heavily on flickering synthesized beats and static to add atmosphere to tracks like “Decimator,” and “The One You Deserve.” 

Check out RIOTLEGION if you’re looking for some angry club music to work out some of your aggressions. I’ll be back next month with more new music for you to feast your ears upon. In the meantime, be sure to follow me on Instagram @rlmerrillauthor where I post music recommendations in my stories. I can’t have my lovelies going without the best tunes to listen to, now can I? You can also find playlists on Spotify for my books and whatever mood I’m currently in. Stay tuned for more Merrill’s Musical Musings…


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.

 

The Dead Lands : Directed by Tao Fraser

The Dead Lands – Directed (2014) by Tao Fraser 

Reviewed by Kate Nox

When warriors from a rival tribe commit sacrilege in his tribe’s burial ground, Hongi (James Rolleston), son of a Maori Chieftain reports the act to his father. When questioned about the act, the rival crew of hot heads declares war on the village, killing all but Hongi who has been knocked down a ravine and forgotten.

Coming to and finding himself the only survivor he pursues the killers into a forbidden area (the Deadlands). There he meets an invincible ghost warrior who is rumored to haunt the land. 

Hongi discovers that the ghost is in fact, a fierce warrior, (Lawrence Makoare) although throughout the film there are times you wonder if the frightening warrior is truly a ghost or still human. Either way, he is tormented by a ghastly memory of loss in his own life which gives him a thorough understanding of the young boy whom he teaches to fight, and they join forces to hunt down and destroy the rival killers. 

If you are a fan of action films, you will appreciate that The Dead Lands, in fact, follows the action film formula. There is plenty of bone-cracking, slashing, and gore to keep you interested.

If you are bothered by horrific characters who battle in close and bloody conflict, taunting their opponents with insane faces, wagging tongues, stomping, screeching  and other acts designed to instill fear in the opponent, then I’d advise skipping this one. It is one of those movies where you want to reach out and smack the evil characters just for being so overwhelmingly nasty!

As for telling the story of loss, revenge, and horror lying in the psyche of both main characters, this movie is a winner.

The writers and director use a mix of tradition, mythology, and visions of dead ancestors to produce a truly spiritual “other-world” ending which will make you question what you’ve seen.

Thumbs up on horror and realism!

Odds and Dead Ends :The Silly, Slimy Charm of ‘Braindead’

Horror movies sometimes get a bad rap, and one of the reasons it gets this is all the blood and the gore and the violence and the splattered body parts that can make an appearance in some of its roster. And I’ll admit, on occasion you do watch someone pull glass out of their leg in gratuitous detail and have to admit that it was unnecessary to the emotional impact of the story. But some films can go in for gleeful blood and gore, and despite the usual apprehension, get good opinions in both the public consciousness and decent reviews from the critics. The 1992 film Braindead (released as Dead Alive in some territories), an earlier project from Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson, is one of those films. By embracing an absurd concept and playing up both the scenario, and the execution (in a filmic sense and a killing sense), it makes for a strangely charming, slapstick zombie comedy that’s fully aware of what it’s doing, and manages to survive the usual criticisms of ‘too much gratuitous violence’.

            The basic plot of the film, for those who haven’t seen it (and if you haven’t, spoilers ahead), sounds exactly like a run-of-the-mill zombie movie we’ve now before. A ‘Sumatran Rat-Monkey’ is captured and placed in the local zoo; an animal which used to be used in black magic rituals. Whilst stalking her shy son, Lionel (Timothy Balme), who is on a date with a young woman she disapproves of (Paquita, played by Diana Peñalver), Vera Cosgrove (Elizabeth Moody) gets bitten by the rat-monkey, and over the next few days she succumbs to her infection in gruesome, decomposing fashion. The infection spreads, culminating in a mansion full of rotting corpses spurting blood and other bodily fluids, and a finale with a lawnmower and an awful lot of body parts.

            Films had come before which had reveled in the amount of violence on screen to self-aware effect; the obvious candidate being Sam Raimi’s Evil Dead films. And whilst the first film played it straight (to a certain extent), Evil Dead II took such pleasure in killing off deadites in a gleeful manner that it’s hard not to see it as a possible influence on the tone of this film. There’s also the large amount of practical effects, and the relatively low budget natures of the films (Braindead had around $3m in it, Evil Dead II had apparently a $3.5m budget). But even Raimi’s films, which had set new bars for the amount of severed heads and splattered limbs, can’t come close to Jackson’s movie. Reportedly Braindead is, by the quantity of blood used in production, the goriest film ever made, though of course, we’ve no way to properly assess this claim.

            The excess is so absurd that the film manages to give a nodding wink to the audience that it isn’t meant to take the violence seriously (there’s no way the human body can be cut up that easily, and also contain such an amount of blood). This self-aware presentation is also carried out through the regular comedy of the film, from the ridiculous setup to the occasional joke (we have, for example, a wonderful exchange between Lionel and Paquita, the latter of which exclaims ‘“Your mother ate my dog!”’, with Lionel’s immortal reply of ‘“Not all of it,”’ to follow). At points, Jackson manages to blend the disgusting gore with the comedy, to give beautiful gems which couldn’t happen in any other film. You wouldn’t be able to get a close-up of porridge, eaten a second before, squirting out of the neck-wound of a nearly-decapitated zombie, in even something like a Nightmare on Elm St film.

            By blending the black comedy and the excessive violence together, it can get away with elements which would be frowned upon even in a so-bad-it’s-good movie, let alone one that was just offensive to filmmaking. When you’ve got an eccentric, kung-fu priest kicking zombies with comic sound effects shouting the line ‘“I kick ass for the Lord”’, and an eccentric Latvian vet with a ridiculous accent and glasses who takes money from people’s hands with a pair of tweezers, you understand that this isn’t a film which goes for realism. When we have a man taking on a hoard of zombies with a knife and a cleaver, and we cut back to him standing over a foot-high pile of severed limbs without having suffered even a scratch, we know we’re not meant to really believe he’s fought them all off; the film just says he did and we believe it because we’re just going along with it at this point. And that’s even before the giant inflatable zombie-mother in the finale.

            But despite pulling out ribcages and going through an army of zombies with a lawnmower, there’s some good, quality filmmaking in here. Jackson uses several exaggerated crane moves which would become part of his main arsenal in The Lord of the Rings which look glorious, for example in a scene with Lionel and Paquita on Lionel’s balcony. Their first kiss is led up to by a big crane move from the ground up to the balcony, sweeping in on them as they are swept into each other’s arms; a wonderfully romantic camera movement. The lighting in the finale is great, with just the right mix of psychedelic colours and silvery moonlight turning the blood black. The lighting is even worked into a gag with one zombie thrust onto a light fixture, where bright orange light streams out of her eyes and mouth, turning her in effect into a lampshade.

            And one might even say there’s a little touch on class and possibly even immigration in the film’s writing. Vera and Uncle Les, both wealthy individuals, look down on Paquita (Vera because she believes her to be ‘experienced’, and Les because he’s misogynistic and specifically suggests that he goes after Paquita because she’s ‘“Latin”’), and try to get Lionel away from her. Even the strange vet initially thinks that Les is from immigration, claiming to have lost his papers, showing his deepest fear of being deported.

            It’s a silly, purposefully overdone zombie comedy with far too much blood and gore to be taken seriously, but it’s made a connection with audiences and critics. IMDb has it rated at 7.5/10, which, for a film with this amount of churning guts stinking in the open air, is ridiculous. The dialogue isn’t the greatest, and some of the acting isn’t good. But despite this, Braindead has somehow managed to click the right combination of direction, practical effects, comedy, and sheer absurdity, to make it out of the ‘so-bad-it’s-good’ category and into genuine horror merit. It’s not the greatest horror movie ever made, but there’s a slippery, stomach-churning charm to the film which has allowed it to remain in the public consciousness for so long and going beyond the other films in the director’s oeuvre. It’s silly, slimy, and charming.

-Article by Kieran Judge

-Twitter: kjudgemental

Book Review — “Made in L.A. Vol. 1: Stories Rooted in the City of Angels”

Hello Addicts,

This month’s book review takes us to Los Angeles, CA. The anthology Made in L.A. Vol. 1: Stories Rooted in the City of Angels contains stories written by Los Angeles based authors which take place in or around the Los Angeles area. The tales range from funny to spooky and many genres in between.

The first in the anthology, “Between Broken Pieces,” is about an actress trying to be what everyone expects her to be, no matter how self-destructive it is. The story, shared from the points of view of the four women most directly tied to her life and career, is the kind of tragic story that can carry the tagline, “ripped from the headlines.”

The second standout for me takes place in the Cecil Hotel, “No Vacancy.” A man travels to the famed haunted hotel with a psychic to help him solve a mystery involving his sister that led to her death.

Another that caught my imagination was “Unquiet Baggage.” The story is told from the perspective of a murdered man as he follows the suitcase carrying his remains wherever his husband goes with them. It very much has a “The Lovely Bones” feel about it.

In truth, any of the ten stories included in the anthology is well worth the read. I recommend it to anyone looking for a good rainy day read.

Until next time, Addicts.

D.J.

Merrill’s Musical Musings : Vexillary

Greetings HorrorAddicts I bring you some groovy reviews and righteous recommendations this year to keep your tuneage vibing. Or something like that. Despite the insanity that was 2020, many artists were able to come up with inspired material and I’ll share some great picks with you over the coming months. 

Vexillary is an instrumental project by New York based Reza Seirafi that was influenced by the artist’s love of blending components to create something new. A chemist in his other life, he likes to take seemingly inharmonious sounds and make them fit together. Tracks like “Maritime Panic” offer additional sonic adventures with each new listen. “Annihilation” has a manic feel that leaves the listener grasping at the elements and trying to find something to hold onto. There is a feeling of doom, especially in the opening notes of “Forged Skies” but this offering of electronica is never gloomy, and by the time you reach “The Geneticist,” the mad scientist vibe of the SurViolence is complete.

Vexillary is music for those who need an intense infusion with a side of chaos to make their aural journey complete. Give it a listen and let us know what you think. 

Want to share your favorite music from 2020? Comment below or email me at rlmerrillauthor@gmail.com. The next Ro’s Recs will be less of a “best of” and more of a “here’s what you don’t want to miss.” I’ll see you soon, my HorrorAddict Darlings. In the meantime, Stay Tuned for more Merrill’s Musical Musings…

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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. You can also find her Hope, Love, and Queeromance posts over at www.queeromanceink.com

Live Action Reviews! by Crystal Connor: Held

The footage you are about to see chronicles the harrowing experience that her neighbors endured for hours as she screamed, cried, and shouted expletive obscenities at her television as she watched: Held

Who would like it: Fans of trapped environments, survival, strong female leads, suspense and thrillers.

High Points: My favorite part of this the reason what was happening was happening and the way the final girl got out of it

Complaints: None!

Overall: Love it

Stars: 5

Where I watched it: Screener

 

Live Action Reviews! by Crystal Connor: The Binding (Il legame)

 

Plotline: While visiting her fiancé’s mother in southern Italy, a woman must fight off a mysterious and malevolent curse intent on claiming her young daughter.

Who would like it: Fans of the occult, magic, witchcraft, curses, and international films

High Points: I love the slow burn of how this movie opens up and sets the scene but in no way is this a slow movies

Complaints: I don’t have any complaints

Overall: I enjoyed the heck out of this!

Stars: 5

Where I watched it: Netflix

 

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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

Book Review: Unknowing, I Sink by Timothy G. Huguenin

Julian takes a summer job cleaning the house of Mr. V, a notorious recluse in his small West Virginian town. He soon discovers that the sickly old man is far weirder than the rumors say. Julian tells himself that the money is worth it so he can get a car and impress the girl he likes. But when his crush asks Julian to sneak her in to see the mysterious Mr. V, Julian puts much more than just his job at risk.

Because Unknowing, I Sink is a novella, there’s no room for excess in the plot. The story is tight, keeping the action fast. There is no unnecessary fluff. Still, Huguenin manages to build dread organically, keeping the horror in the back of your mind for most of the book. He does an excellent job of making the reader create their own worry. Something is going to happen, something is right around the corner. The pay off is worth the wait.

Unknowing, I Sink features a small cast of characters, but each are inundated with flavor and personality. Julian just wants to impress the girl he likes. He’s barely spoken to her before, but he’s sure that if he could just get money for a good car, it will be enough to get her attention. Huguenin wrote Julian as a flawless teenage character, annoying enough to be realistic, but not so much that I threw the book across the room (it’s happened before).

Mr. V does more than just hide in shadows. Huguenin imbues him with vibrant personality while still keeping him shrouded in mystery. The unearthly visage created by the many screens and umbilical of electrical cords only foreshadows the true horror.

Huguenin also went the extra mile in filling out his background characters. Stacey—who initially only appears in Julian’s imaginings—comes roaring to life off the page, defying Julian’s expectations and blazing a trail for objectified girls in fiction everywhere.

Huguenin has always expressed a strong desire to write stories imbued with the spirit of West Virginia. From the tone, to the characters, to the town, I feel he succeeds. Setting steps to the forefront throughout Unknowing, I Sink. The house is a character in its own right, with cameras and intercoms that turn it into an extension of Mr. V.

Huguenin has a grounded style of writing that makes the story incredibly accessible. You’re immediately pulled in by the description and character voice.

I consider Unknowing, I Sink one of the most literary horror books that I’ve picked up in the past year. Huguenin takes a subtle hand in guiding the reader through the story, letting tension build organically, before punching them in the gut with the reveal. I hope Unknowing, I Sink is in consideration for a Stoker Award next year. It would be well deserved.

If you’re looking for creeping horror with a satisfying twist and excellent writing, pick up Unknowing, I Sink. Also check out Huguenin’s other books.

Timothy G. Hugunin was a contestant in the Next Great Horror Writer Contest here at HorrorAddicts.net. Check out this interview with him!

Merrill’s Musical Musings: Dissonance

Greetings HorrorAddicts. This month we’re listening to the Dark Wave artist Dissonance. Cat Hall has a new maxi-single that’s perfect for fans of bands like GARBAGE, NINE INCH NAILS & INFORMATION SOCIETY. Precipice is a techno-moody piece that is very personal to Hall. Music helps us heal from the tragedies in our lives, and for Hall, it’s been a form of catharsis. After a serious health battle, she’s come out on the other side to share her emotional experience in these three pieces. With remixes by Joe Haze, Diverje, Junior Kain, and Machines with Human Skin all add layers to the composition. Reminiscent of Tubular Bells or early Depeche Mode, Precipice is music to sit with and contemplate. Each element woven together, whether it be effects or harmonies, all evoke feelings of loss and yet are ultimately hopeful. 

Thank you for joining me this month. I hope you and yours are well. I’d love to hear what kind of music is getting you through this tumultuous time. If you want to hear what I’ve been listening to, you can check out my #SpotifyWrapped. If you’re not on Spotify yet, you might want to change that in 2021. Getting a report on your listening habits can be…creepy, but also a great trip down memory lane. Stay Tuned for more Ro’s Recs and Merrill’s Musical Musings… 

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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. You can also find her at www.queeromanceink.com writing about Hope, Love and Queeromance.