FRIGHTENING FLIX BY KBATZ: The Strain Season 2 and 3

Real World Trauma Acerbates the flaws in The Strain Seasons Two and Three

by Kristin Battestella

After an unraveling end to the First Season of The Strain, it took me a long, long while to return to the thirteen-episode 2015 Second Season. Childhood flashbacks recounting fairy tales of nobles with gigantism and quests for the curing blood of a gray wolf start the year off well. Horrific blood exchanges lead to village children vanishing in the shadow of the creepy castle before we return to the present for secret deals with The Master, alliances with the Ancient Ones, and blind telepathic feeler vampires canvassing the city. Scientists Ephraim Goodweather (Corey Stoll) and Nora Martinez (Mia Maestro) contemplate vampire vaccines while former antique dealer Abraham Setrakian (David Bradley) pursues a rare strigoi text and rat catcher Fet (Kevin Durand) prepares their explosive defensive. Government officials like Justine Feraldo (Samantha Mathis) fight back against the zombie like masses despite shootouts in infested laboratories, double-crosses, and sentient, disguised as human foot soldiers. Old fashioned black and white Mexican horror reels add personality and history to our reluctant heroes while more superb action and flashbacks standout late in the season with “The Assassin” and “Dead End.” Unfortunately, early on in Year Two, my main dilemma with the First Season of The Strain returnedyou can read all of this, but it is much too much onscreen. Unnecessary timestamps and location notations clutter reintroduced characters, new problems, old problems, and unintroduced newcomers. There are too many separated characters with unbalanced screen time who must repeatedly explain who they are. Enemy’s enemy is my friend mixed motivations create confusion – multiple people hunting The Master individually making promises to his fellow ancient vampires with little background on who these chained monsters chilling beneath Brooklyn are. Cryptic double talk and real estate transactions may be filler or meandering developments, but it’s a toss up on which one will drag on or disappear. The past stories are often more tantalizing because our team isn’t much of a team. It took so long in the First Year to get everyone together, yet each is still toiling over what to do in this vampire zombie apocalypse. After previous fears over any tiny contagion, one and all shoot, blast, slice, and splatter at will. They hand out fliers with the monster details and warn the community, yet unaware police are shocked to find vampires in a dark alley.

Maybe The Strain is meant to mirror how no one is on the same page in a crisis – we are now witnessing that chaotic misinformation mistake first hand indeed – but the plot is all over the place, too. It’s been a few weeks onscreen since The Strain began, however, life is upside down for some while others seem totally unbothered. Again, this is a foreboding parallel to our real life pandemic with the poor working man much more deeply impacted than the wealthy ease of access, but here there’s no sense of the storytelling scope despite opportunistic orchestrations and tough women securing the five boroughs. Slick villains talk of great visions and master plans, but tangents diverge into a dozen different threads and multiple dead ends. Is The Strain about a doctor experimenting on the infected to test scientific theories or weird do nothing telepathic vampires and slow strigoi chases? Are we to enjoy the precious moments between our little people struggling on the ground or awe at the zombie outbreak turned vampire mythology? New people and places are constantly on the move, jumbled by an aimless, plodding pace as too little too late politicians talk about quarantines when The Strain is past containment. Confusing, pointless storylines take away from important intrigues and significant elements tread tires amid random threats and dropped crises. The conflicts on cruel science for the greater good grow hollow thanks to constant interruptions and changed emotions. Provocative diluted worm extracts taken for illness or ailments are used as control by the strigoi or when necessary for our heroes, but the scientific analysis of such a tonic or hybrid cases is never considered. Infecting the infected experiments and vampire free island security only take a few episodes, yet viewers today who can’t pay the rent are expected to believe it takes weeks for a market free fall and runs on banks? “The Born” starts off great, but often there’s no going back to what happens next regarding cures and Roman history as contrived messy or blasé action pads episodes. Rather than driving away in a cop car, dumbed down characters run into a church for a lagging, maze-like battle that kills an interesting minority character. When the community comes together for “The Battle for Red Hook,” unnecessary family pursuits ruin the sense of immediacy while the hop, skip, and jump to Washington D.C. for two episodes of scientific effort gets ditched for glossed over vampire factions and historic relics. Both the lore and science are interesting, but these mashed together entities compete for time as if we’re changing the channels and watching two shows at once. Instead of the rich detail we crave, The Strain continually returns to its weakest plot with shit actions and stupid players causing absurd consequences.

The Strain, however, does look good, and the ten episode Third Season provides coffins, gore, goo, and nasty bloodsucking appendages. The vampire makeup, creepy eyes, monster sinews, and icky skin are well done. Occasionally, creatures scaling the wall and speedy, en masse action is noticeable CGI, but the worms, tentacles, and splatter upset the body sacred. Sickly green lighting invokes the zombie plague mood while choice red adds vampire touches alongside silver grenades, ultraviolet light, and ancient texts. Sadly, Season Three opens with an unrealistic announcement that it’s only been twenty-three days since the outbreak started. The uneven pace makes such time impossible to believe, and tricked out infrared military are just now arriving three weeks into the disaster. Mass manufacture of The Strain’s bio-weapon is also never mentioned again as the science is now nothing more than a home chemistry set. Instead, step by step time is taken to siphon gas in a dark, dangerous parking garage – which could be realistic except The Strain has never otherwise addressed food, supplies, precious toilet paper, or the magically unlimited amount of silver bullets. Once again, everyone who fought together goes on to separate allegiances on top of hear tell global spread, Nazi parallels, control centers, and messianic symbolism. It’s all too clunky thanks to people made stupid and contradictions between the onscreen myths, technology, and abilities. Too many convenient infections, Master transformations, tacked on worms, and excuses happen at once – cheapening Shakespearean touches and monster worm bombs with redundant failures. Montages wax on human history while voiceovers tell audiences about government collapse, glossing over arguably the most interesting part of the catastrophe for drawn-out experiments on microwaves. There’s no narrative flow as the episodes run out but suddenly everyone is sober enough to use the ancient guidebook to their advantage. After such insistence over sunlight and ultraviolet, those safeguards are inexplicably absent when needed. No one maximizes resources and opportunities in “Battle for Central Park,” and people only come together because they accidentally bump into each other. In “The Fall,” a carefully orchestrated trap and prison plan is finally put into action against The Master, but ridiculous contrivances stall the operation before easy outs and one little effing asshole moron ruining it all. Again.

The cast is not at fault for the uneven developments on The Strain, but if Ephraim Goodweather is only there to be a drunken bad parent failing at every turn, he should have been written off the show. If we’re sticking with Eph and his angst before science, then his pointless strigoi wife and terrible son Zach should have been tossed instead of hogging the screen. Cranky, obnoxious, budding sociopath Zach’s “Why? No! Don’t!” lack of comprehension is unrealistic for his age, and everything has to be dumbed downed to appease him.  Onscreen The Strain is continually talking down to viewers like we are five and it gets old very fast. Previously compassionate characters are reset as cold marksmen, and Eph claims he no longer cares about the cause when he was once at its epicenter. He complains he has nothing to do, bemoaning the lack of a feasible vaccine before gaining government support in creating a strigoi bio-weapon only to ditch it for microwaves and vampire telepathy. Zach ruins each plan anyway, and by the end of Season Two, I was fast forwarding over the Goodweather family plots. Nora Martinez is also nonexistent as a doctor unless convenient, relegated instead to babysitting, and Samantha Mathis’ (Little Women) Justine Feraldo likewise starts off brassy before unnecessarily overplaying her hand and failing bitterly because of others. Initially The Strain had such a diverse ensemble, but by the end of the Third Season, all the worst things have happened to the women and minorities. Ruta Gedmintas’ Dutch wavers from the cause for a conflicted lesbian romance that disappears before she returns to the fold as Eph’s tantalizing research assistant when she’s not being captured and rescued. I won’t lie, I only hung on watching The Strain as long as I did for Rupert Penry-Jones (MI-5) as the thousand year old hybrid Quinlan. He uses his conflicted history with The Master to help Setrakian and sees through Ephraim while developing a distrustful shoulder to shoulder with Fet. Unfortunately, his vampire super powers come in handy unless he’s forgotten about when it’s time for the action to sour or let failures happen, and nobody tells officials about this almost invincible half-strigoi who could be useful in a fight. Setrakian, Quinlan, and Fet make for an ornery, begrudging trio, living in a luxury hotel while pursuing Abraham’s relics whether they agree with the plan or not – mostly because Fet accrues all manor of weapons and is happy to use them. Setrakian has some crusty wisdom for them, but his battle of wits with Jonathan Hyde as the at any price Palmer provides great one on one scene chewing. The double crosses and interchangeable threats feel empty, and Palmer also has an odd romantic side plot that wastes time, but Richard Sammel’s Nazi vampire Eicchorst remains a deliciously twisted minion. “Dead End” and “Do or Die” reveal more personal history as the mature players provide intriguing questions on immortality, humanity, and barbarism. Miguel Gomez’ Gus finally seems like he is going to join the team, but then he’s inexplicably back on his own rescuing families and refusing to accept his mother’s turn in more useless filler. He and Joaquin Cosio (Quantum of Solace) as the absolutely underutilized fifties superhero Angel are conscripted to fight vampires but once again, they remain wasted in isolated, contrived detours.

Streamlining Fet, Dutch, Quinlan, and Gus as vampire fighters testing methods from Setrakian’s texts and Eph’s science funded by Feraldo could have unified The Strain with straightforward heroes versus monsters action we can root for in an apocalypse. Watching on the eve of our own real world pandemic, was I in the right frame of mind to view The Strain unclouded? Thanks to creators Guillermo de Toro and Chuck Hogan and showrunner Carlton Cuse’s foretelling social breakdowns between the haves and the have nots, maybe not. That said, The Strain terribly executes two seasons worth of source material. An embarrassment of riches with a scientific premise, mystical flashbacks, assorted zombie and vampire crossover monsters, and intriguing characters fall prey to uneven pacing, crowded focus, and no balance or self-awareness onscreen. The Strain may have been better served as television movies or six episode elemental seasons – science in year one, vampire history the second, relic pursuits, and a final battle. Disastrous characters and worthless stories compromise the meaty sacrifices, crusty old alliances, and silver standoffs – stretching the horror quality thin even in a shorter ten episode season. Rather than a fulfilling mirror to nature parable, The Strain Seasons Two and Three are an exercise in frustration, and even without the real world horrors, it’s too disappointing to bother with the end of the world reset in Season Four.

For More Frightening Television or more Guillermo del Toro, Re-visit:

All Things Dracula Video Review

Top Horror Television

Crimson Peak

 

Freaky Foodies : Morbid Meals – Canniburgers from the Vault

MM13EXAMINATION

Have you ever wondered? You know… What does human meat taste like? Putting these recipes together has encouraged me to ponder this question. You know it was going to come up. Well, thanks to Chef Jim Thomlinson of London Mess, we now have an interesting approximation.

Jim and his conspirator, Emma Thomas of Miss Cakehead, partnered with FOX UK to create a publicity event for Season Five of The Walking Dead. They did their research — all book learning, I’m sure — into what cannibals have documented through the years what they thought human flesh tasted like. Jim’s recipe used pork, veal, and beef bone marrow. Fans of the show came to a pop-up grill in East London called Terminus Tavern and were served these burgers with some bacon ketchup on the side.

As I live nowhere near London, I decided I would attempt to make the burgers myself and share the fun. They seemed appropriate for the Death card and this episode’s discussion of zombies.

ANALYSIS

Makes 8 burger patties

Ingredients

1 lb ground pork
1 lb ground veal
1 lb beef marrow bones (or 1/4 lb bacon, minced)
salt and pepper, to taste

Apparatus

  • Large bowl
  • Meat grinder (optional)
  • Frying pan or skillet

Procedure

  1. If you have beef marrow bones, we want to use just the marrow in the bones. It is very easy to push the fatty marrow out through the bones.
  2. Mash the marrow to break it up. Set aside. Freeze the bones for later; they will be perfect for making beef stock/bone broth in the future.
  3. If you don’t have marrow bones, then bacon can be a nice substitute which adds its own familiar flavor. Chop the bacon and set it aside.
  4. If you have a meat grinder, grind up the pound of pork, then the beef marrow (or bacon), then the veal. Mix all of the ground meat together and run it all through the grinder again.
  5. If you do not have your own grinder, then buy ground pork and ground veal, and mix these together with the mashed bone marrow (or bacon) in a large bowl.
  6. Add salt and pepper and mix well to incorporate everything together.
  7. Divide the meat into about 8 patties.
  8. Drizzle a teaspoon of oil into your frying pan or skillet and heat on high until the oil shimmers, about 3 minutes.
  9. Cook the patties until golden brown on one side, about 5 minutes. Flip the patties and cook on the second side, another 5 minutes. If you have a meat thermometer, ground meat needs to reach 160°F for safety.
  10. Serve immediately with your favorite fixins.

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DISSECTION

Right off the bat you are probably thinking, “Ewww… beef marrow?!” That’s assuming you got past “Ewww… human burgers?!” Bone marrow is actually quite delicious roasted and spread on toast. I’ve had it at The Salty Sow and it is divine. This is really little more than a rich fat that adds a velvety quality to the burgers. Ask your butcher if they can get you some. My local gourmet store sold some from Rumba Meats.

If you can’t find marrow bones or soup bones at your local grocer, or if you just can’t get past the “bone marrow” factor, I think some strips of bacon would suffice. Bacon is mostly fat and the smoke and saltiness would go well. Just don’t cook the bacon before using it. Chop or grind it right up raw with the rest of the meat.

POST-MORTEM

So… what does it taste like? I don’t have Hannibal Lecter’s palate, but I quite enjoyed them. They were nothing like beef burgers, of course. The pork and veal were a nice complement to each other. The marrow brought it all together in a nice solid patty. I would definitely make these again.

Pair this with a Zombie cocktail and you will have the perfect meal for your watch party for The Walking Dead or iZombie. Hell, I’ll probably serve them again when NBC’s Hannibal premieres June 4th, 2015.

Live Action Reviews! by Crystal Connor: Buy One Get One Free: Zombies!

 

Blood Quantum

Plotline: The Dead are Coming Back to Life Except for the Native Peoples Who are Immune. The Tribal Sheriff Must Protect His People from Hordes of Walking White Corpses.

Who would like it: Zombie fans, gore hounds, enjoys movies with the social commentary and movies that make you think. 

High Points: The originality 

Complaints: None!

Overall: I loved it and I think you will too

Stars: 5

Where I watched it: Shudder

Betaal 

Plotline: Hired to displace tribal villagers to make way for a new highway, officials unearth an old curse and an army of British …

Who would like it: Zombie fans, fans of military action flicks, and movies with the social commentary and movies that make you think, foreign films. 

High Points: The evolution of the zombies 

Complaints: None

Overall: This really surprised me, it was really easy to binge watch 

Stars: 5

Where I watched it: Netflix 

 

***

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

Odds and Dead Ends : White Zombie |The Grandfather of Zombies

Along with the pandemic film, which for obvious reasons seems to be especially prevalent in these trying times, its close cousin, the zombie movie, is also emerging from the graves. Several years ago, J Malcolm Stewart briefly discussed the zombie film in a guest article for HorrorAddicts.net (link below) and discussed White Zombie in passing. However, considering the fundamental importance of the film to horror history, a more in-depth look at the film seems to be needed.

Inspired by The Magic Island by William Seabrook, the film stars Bela Lugosi as the powerful Murder, practitioner of potions and religions. The film follows Madeleine and fiancé Neil, who upon meeting by chance in Haiti, are to be married at the plantation of their wealthy friend, Charles Beaumont. However, madly in love with the young lady, Charles, visits Lugosi’s mesmeric Murder, who convinces Charles to transform her into a zombie. Once returned to somnambulistic life, Charles can do away with her at his will. It’s a simple script, all in all, and very much a product of the time, where even supernatural films were often dominated by romantic love-stories.

Some context is definitely needed to explain quite a few decisions with the film. Especially prominent in the final twenty minutes or so, is the prevalent absence of dialogue, where much of it plays out in prolonged silent sequences. This is partially explained when we remember that the film was released in 1932, only five years after synchronised sound was first applied to a feature film with The Jazz Singer in 1927. Britain only got its first talkie with Hitchcock’s Blackmail in 1929, an intriguing film with both silent and talkie versions. Anyone in the mainstream film industry at this time, unless they’d just started working there, wouldn’t be too familiar with talkies, and the conventions that synchronised sound would bring. You can still see these longer, quieter sections of film even in Dracula the year before. The world is still partially in the silent mindset.

This may also explain some of the over-acting in the film. If you’re used to working in a medium where facial expression is the primary way of getting information about a character across, it lingers like an accent. You can also see this in early television when theatre actors made the crossover into television for small parts. Even the framing, without a fourth wall, would replicate the theatre. This isn’t an excuse for the overacting, but a reason nonetheless.

One of the main reasons for the film’s enduring grip on the public consciousness must undoubtedly be Bela Lugosi. An incredibly accomplished screen actor by this time, and with the name of Dracula forever attached to him even a year later, managing to grab Lugosi for a starring role would have been a big step for the film. It might possibly have secured them a great portion of the very small budget, if they attached him before going into full production (that part I don’t know, admittedly, and is pure speculation on my part). We should never forget that, as well as being a classic horror movie, this could easily be regarded as a ‘Bela Lugosi’ movie; the star power of the man helping to shape our understanding of this film for years to come, as it fits into more than just one categorisation of film history outside the standard, mainstream concept. Lugosi is the great redemption of the movie, in all its $50,000 budget, eleven-day shoot, all-shot-at-night production glory. Sets were used from other Universal productions, such as Dracula, Frankenstein, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, etc, because of the restricted budget as an independent film. Because of this, it’s very easy to see the film as a Lugosi film first and foremost in terms of academic interest, but don’t be fooled.

The world is at the beginnings of mass globalisation at this time, with technology rapidly advancing throughout the globe. Interest in other cultures comes in fits and starts, such as the Egyptology craze that Stoker tapped into in The Jewel of Seven Stars (a link for the interested to my article on Queen Tera from this novel is found at the end). This, combined with a need to tap into new and fresh fears from writers and creators, probably all helped to kick off a new interest in Voodoo. The topic had been all the rage the few years prior, with playwright Kenneth Webb attempted to sue for stealing the name from his play, Zombie, though nothing came of it. Thankfully for us, because otherwise, we might not have the word ‘zombie’ bandied about in titles so readily nowadays, if the same man could sue over and over again for use of the word and be fairly sure of cashing in.

Haitian Voodoo (which is the branch of Voodoo associated within the film, to my brief knowledge) is a real set of beliefs, though not as much in the realms of mesmerism and evil as Hollywood blockbusters (and, probably most notably, Wes Craven’s film The Serpent and The Rainbow) would have you believe. This has never stopped filmmakers taking something seemingly ‘other’ and turning into something horrific, however. This has, of course, been the trend in global storytelling since the beginning of time, that what we do not understand is inherently frightening. Here, multiple strands associated with various parts of the world compose factions of the same belief in an all-powerful being who communicates with the world through spirits, and that by communicating with these spirits (loa), one can communicate with the presence of the all-powerful Bondeye. To this end, only a very small fraction of the religion concerns itself with the creation of zombies, though this is in principle part of the belief system.

This zombie creation is used metaphorically to highlight the racial inequality present in society at the time (though perhaps it is still pertinent even today). Note that the film takes place largely around a plantation and that the shambling zombies of the locals are used by Murder to work the mills. In one scene that tracks through the men, used as little more than cattle to work for the light-skinned Lugosi, the grinding wheels and machinery could be almost taken to sound like the groans of the trapped souls. The very idea of a white man using practices brought about by a largely black community (even more apt as Voodoo has its early origins in Africa, especially the French colonies, hundreds of years ago), for his own gain at the cost of those of a different skin complexion, could be read to have serious racial undertones. Even the name of the film, White Zombie, brings these two worlds together in an explicit binary. You can enjoy the film perfectly without recognising all of this, but the fact that it is there should be borne in mind.

White Zombie, can be seen as the beginning point for two branches of horror tradition; that of zombies, and of Voodoo. Most zombies would continue to exist in this mesmeric guise until George A. Romero came along in 1968 with Night of the Living Dead and re-crafted the concept into the shambling hoards of the undead after our flesh which we are familiar with. And it’s safe to say that the Voodoo strains in folk horror and beyond wouldn’t be nearly as strong without this film to prove that it can, just about, work. White Zombie is a fun, surreal 70 minutes that I’d encourage any fan of classic horror, or scholar of generic traditions in cinema, to seek out, if only to know what the hell Rob Zombie’s old band was named after.

-Article by Kieran Judge

-Twitter: @KJudgeMental

___________________________________________________________________________________________________________

-Link to Stewart’s article on zombies and the 80’s Voodoo films: https://horroraddicts.wordpress.com/2017/02/17/guest-blog-black-zombie-hollywood-and-the-80s-voodoo-revival-by-j-malcom-stewart/

-Link to my own article on Queen Tera in The Jewel of Seven Stars: https://horroraddicts.wordpress.com/2018/09/05/odds-and-dead-ends-resurrecting-the-queen/

Bibliography

Blackmail. 1929. [Film] Directed by Alfred Hitchcock. UK: British International Pictures.

Dracula. 1931. [Film] Directed by Tod Browning. USA: Universal Pictures.

Frankenstein. 1931. [Film] Directed by James Whale. United States of America: Universal.

Night of the Living Dead. 1968. [Film] Directed by George A. Romero. USA: Image Ten.

Rhodes, G. D., 2001. White Zombie: Anatomy of a Horror Film. Jefferson: McFarland & Company Inc.

Seabrook, W., 1929. The Magic Island. USA: s.n.

Stoker, B., 2009. The Jewel of Seven Stars. United States of America: Seven Treasures Publications.

The Hunchback of Notre Dame. 1923. [Film] Directed by Wallace Worsley. USA: Universal.

The Jazz Singer. 1927. [Film] Directed by Alan Crosland. USA: Warner Bros.

The Serpent and The Rainbow. 1988. [Film] Directed by Wes Craven. USA/Dominican Republic/Haiti: Universal.

Webb, K., 1930. Zombie. USA: s.n.

#PLAGUE MASTER: Rebel Infection Sneak Peek

PM2BANNER

HorrorAddicts.net is proud to present a sneak peek into Plague Master: Rebel Infection by H.E. Roulo. Please enjoy this excerpt from Chapter 14.

Hillside Threats

Trevor is hailed as a hero for returning with a vaccine for the zombie infection. His celebrity also makes him a dangerous threat to the powerful Founders of his homeworld. Revolution is in the air, and Trevor is caught in the middle. He is forced to seek help on other worlds and becomes trapped on a snowy hillside.

He rushed a dozen steps up the steep incline, barely noticing a soft shifting sound. A gray hand reached from the snow and yanked his arm. Caught unaware, Trevor fought for balance, instinctively reaching toward the ground for balance. A gaping mouth opened in the snow. The ice-coated zombie who’d grabbed him caught Trevor’s fingers between oil-slicked teeth, snowflakes pristine on its cold lips. Its tongue squirmed against his woolen glove.

Twisting his hand into a fist, Trevor rammed it forward with his momentum, scraping between gaping teeth and into the back of its throat. His other hand slammed his wrench into its bottom jaw. The joint shattered. Torn muscle flexed uselessly in the cheek his blow laid open.

The jaws tried to close, gnawing weakly at mitten and coat sleeve. Trevor lifted the wrench again and slammed it into the temple of the zombie. It lay still.

Panting, he yanked his hand out, not stopping to retrieve the soggy glove that bunched against the back of the skull’s teeth.

He stared at the stranger’s broken face, heart pounding. Man or woman, he couldn’t tell, but no cure would bring this zombie back.

“It’s not because you’re infected.” He yanked his wrench out of the zombie’s head, flicking away blackened matter. “It’s because I’m human.”

He’d started with the best intentions, but he’d fight for his life, even if someone else had to die.

Snow shifted on the hillside.

Trevor hopped several paces to the side, wrench held ready. Up and down the hillside, more zombies stirred. Dozens had followed him over the cliff, making random buried mines of teeth and grasping limbs. Traveling uphill was impossible with so many lying in wait.

PM Rebel InfectionGrateful he hadn’t broken a limb when he fell, he ran downhill at an angle, hoping to find a less steep and treacherous way up.

Snow rustled and crunched as they stirred behind him. The zombies pursued. He hadn’t meant to be such a good distraction.

Read more excerpts and see behind the scenes of the PLAGUE MASTER trilogy.

Find H.E. on Twitter, Facebook: Her Blog, Goodreads, and Author Central. 

Plague Master: Sanctuary Dome (Book 1) and Plague Master: Rebel Infection (Book 2) are available on Amazon.

Chilling Chat: Episode 173 | H.E. Roulo

chillingchat

H.E. Roulo’s short stories have appeared in several dozen publications, including Nature and Fantasy’s special Women Destroy Fantasy issue. She is the author of the Plague Master series. Fractured Horizon, her science-fiction podcast novel, was a Parsec HE ROULO 1Award Finalist.

NTK: Welcome to Chilling Chat, Heather. Thank you for joining me today.

HER: Happy to be here, Naching. 

NTK:  Could you tell us a little about Plague Master? What is this series about?

HER: Sure! I’ll throw a few buzz-words at you then dig into it a bit more. It’s a dystopian, sci-fi/horror, zombie YA trilogy. The series takes place in a solar system colonized by humans, but there’s a new infection raging on the planets.

There are a couple storylines, but the biggest one is Trevor, who grows up on a downtrodden planet that really didn’t need a zombie infection to make it even worse. There’s also a dome for infected who haven’t become zombies to go to, but of course, nothing is as it seemed.

In the new book, Plague Master: Rebel Infection, Trevor returns to his homeworld with a cure for the infection, except it stops working and he has to find out why. It’s not just politics and secrets, of course. There’s space travel, avalanches, and diving through zombie-filled tunnels.

NTK: Sounds exciting! What inspired you to write about zombies in a space setting?

HER: I’d released a sci-fi book, Fractured Horizon, and was looking to write something that would catch people’s attention. I saw a call for an audio drama and wrote a short, 40-minute script. They loved it (it’s out there in the Omega Road Chronicles.) I wrote a related short story, and that sold. It was obvious that zombies were good sellers and I felt like I had a different enough approach to stand out. I took what I’d learned and wrote the full novel. Plus, writing zombies is fun!

There are a lot of zombie stories out there. Fewer space zombies.

NTK: I have to ask…do you prefer fast zombies or slow ones?

HER: Oh, good question.

I promise I’ll answer that. First, let me say that I didn’t have to choose. In my world, the infected becomes violent and crazed as they first change—so you have the terror of the fast zombie. However, after a while, they slow down and become almost docile unless riled up, so you get your slow zombies.

This allowed people to think zombies could be kept in herds, like sheep.

Anyway, in general, I like the fast ones.

I loved 28 Days Later.

NTK: Are you a fan of George Romero?

HER: I think you have to give him credit when you talk about zombies. I wouldn’t risk calling myself a fan, though. I’m not nearly knowledgeable enough. 

NTK:  How much control do you exert over your characters? Do they have free will?

HER: Characters always act in ways logical to them, so sometimes they can’t take the path I had planned. Still, I always know the end of a story before I begin and it’s just a matter of steering them where they need to go.

NTK: What’s your writing process like? Do you outline?

HER: Oh, you may be sorry you asked that.

NTK: (Laughs.)

HER: I am a true believer in outlining. I have an entire process, and my most successful blog post ever was on how to outline a book—it gets tons of hits every fall as people gear up for NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). It’s called, “A Simple Novel Outline – 9 Questions for 25 Chapters.”

I have to know my beginning and end. I need at least two or three scenes I’m really excited about.

Plague Master Sanctuary DomeAfter I have those, I plug them in to a chapter framework and start filling in around them. I used to do it in Word, but I’ve found the Scrivener is especially good for that. However, I usually end up pulling it back out as I get the story more filled in. Then I work in Word again.

Once I have the outlined chapters, I start at the beginning and work from front to back, never going back! I used to rework and rework. Now I just leave myself notes to go back if something changes along the way.

When I’m deep in a novel, I try for 2000 words a day.

I did warn you.

NTK: (Laughs.) You did. What is your favorite horror novel?

HER: Favorite questions are hard for me. I rarely have that kind of loyalty to anything. I like novelty. My favorite things are the stories, songs, and televisions shows I haven’t seen yet and that surprise me. I rarely consume anything twice. Today, I’ll fondly recall the horror of certain stories in the anthology Unaccompanied Sonata by Orson Scott Card.

NTK: Favorite horror movie?

HER: I’m a big fan of anything post-apocalyptic and dystopian. I had to read Cormac McCarthy’s grim and hopeless The Road after seeing the movie. I also love time travel and alternate realities. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind impressed me when it came out. Coherence and the movie Primer kept things interesting.

NTK: What attracts you to Dystopia?

HER: I’ve always loved dystopian stories. The Girl Who Owned a City was one of my first favorites. So was Z for Zacharia. I also loved Island of the Blue Dolphins and My Side of the Mountain. I think it’s about starting over, relying on your abilities to survive, and simplifying things

 

—not that most people think of dystopia as simple, but it does remove superficial troubles for real and basic needs.

So for me, it isn’t about the breakdown of society. I know that Island of the Blue Dolphin isn’t traditionally considered a dystopian story—but it’s about surviving with whatever you find yourself with. Starting over, and being able to build something new. Things get messed up—I’m sure we all look at the world and wish it was simple and basic, and about our own skills and ability—so a reset sounds great.

I wouldn’t actually want that, though. I have a family and comfortable things. (Laughs.)

Structure keeps us safe. These stories are about what happens when that safety net isn’t there.

NTK: Have you read The Stand by Stephen King?

HER: I haven’t. He wasn’t in the boxes of garage sale books my dad brought home each weekend—I’m not sure why. Eventually, I deliberately went back and read a few things by him, like The Long Walk, and was so impressed that I read his book On Writing.

Excellent advice in there, for any writers looking for a book.

NTK: What’s your favorite horror television show?

HER: The Black Mirror series has me hooked.

NTK: You’re a fan of the original Star Trek, do you have a favorite frightening episode from that series?

HER: Oh, that’s a new question!

I am a big fan of Star Trek, TOS, and of Next Generation, too. A lot of the series, actually.

What comes to mind is “The Devil in the Dark”, which is the one with the Horta, who seems like a monster but in the end we realize isn’t. There’s so much that’s fantastic in that episode.

I love creatures that are more than they seem.

I love subverting expectations, actually. I dislike predictable stories—give me something new!

NTK:  What does the future hold for you? What do Horror Addicts have to look forward to?

HER: Well, we’re talking about the second book in the Plague Master trilogy, so you know PM Rebel InfectionI have to write the third and final one. I’ve had the series finale in mind for a long time, so I’m thrilled to finally write it.

I have a few other short stories that will no doubt come out. I tend to submit a lot except when I’ve got a book coming out.

And I’d like to sell a novella about a villain superhero called Heart of Marble. It’s dark and funny.

I also have an urban fantasy story that I’ve been trying to finish for about a year. It’s got four or five point of view characters, and bringing them all together for a satisfying ending has been tricky.

I think it’s a novel, but I need about ten more chapters to be sure. (Laughs.)

NTK: Thank you for chatting with me, Heather.

HER: I had a great time. Thanks!

 

Horror Addicts, you can find Heather on Amazon, Facebook, and Twitter.

Her new book, Plague Master: Rebel Infection, is available now!

 

28 Days Later Twitter Watch Party – Tonight

PM2BANNER

Horror Addicts, in honor of her new book release, Plague Master: Rebel Infection, H.E. 28 Days LaterRoulo would like to invite you to her Twitter Watch Party! She’ll be watching the fantastic 2002 zombie film, 28 Days Later starring Cillian Murphy, Naomie Harris, and Christopher Eccleston. HorrorAddicts.net will be tweeting along with H.E. beginning at 8 pm PST, so get your popcorn, put the movie on, and join us tonight!

WHAT: 28 Days Later Twitter Watch Party

WHERE: Twitter

WHEN: Tonight at 8:00 pm

FOLLOW: #ZombieGrr

Stay Spooky!

28 Days Later Twitter Watch Party

PM2BANNERHorror Addicts, in honor of her new book release, Plague Master: Rebel Infection, H.E. Roulo would like to invite you to her Twitter Watch Party! She’ll be watching the 28 Days Laterfantastic 2002 zombie film, 28 Days Later starring Cillian Murphy, Naomie Harris, and Christopher Eccleston. HorrorAddicts.net will be tweeting along with H.E. beginning at 8 pm PST, so get your popcorn, put the movie on, and join us Thursday, September 5.

WHAT: 28 Days Later Twitter Watch Party

WHERE: Twitter

WHEN: Thursday, September 5, at 8:00 pm

Stay Spooky!

#Plague Master: Rebel Infection Blog Tour and Events

H.E. Roulo and HorrorAddicts.net are pleased to present Zombies in Space! Join us as we tour the web and hold live events.

#PLAGUE MASTER: REBEL INFECTION

See the videos, read the excerpts and posts,  join our celebrations, and sample the wonders of the Plague Master Universe.

August #Plague Master: Rebel Infection Blog Tour and Events
25 #Plague Master: Rebel Infection Press Release / horroraddicts.net
26 #Plague Master: Rebel Infection BLOG TOUR Begins / horroraddicts.net
27 28 DAYS LATER Twitter Watch Party Announcement / horroraddicts.net
28 Recap of #Plague Master: Sanctuary Dome / https://www.hauntjaunts.net/blog/
29 YouTube Book Trailer Miniseries Announcement / horroraddicts.net
29 YouTube Book Trailer Miniseries Part 1 / https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCjwWhMpEXWIluDOlUVWhFSQ/
31 #Plague Master: Rebel Infection Chapter 3 Excerpt / https://emzbox.wordpress.com/
SEPTEMBER
1 World Building in the #Plague Master Universe / https://thetaooftim.wordpress.com/
2 #Plague Master: Rebel Infection Chapter 5 Excerpt/ stephanieellis.org
3 #Plague Master: Trevor’s Got Trouble at Home / www.SumikoSaulson.com
4 YouTube Book Trailer Miniseries Announcement / horroraddicts.net
4 YouTube Book Trailer Miniseries Part 2 / https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCjwWhMpEXWIluDOlUVWhFSQ/
5 28 DAYS LATER Twitter Watch Party Announcement / horroraddicts.net
5 28 DAYS LATER TWITTER WATCH PARTY / https://twitter.com/hroulo
6 Chilling Chat: Episode #173 | H.E. Roulo / horroraddicts.net
7 HorrorAddict’s.net Episode #173, H.E. Roulo / horroraddicts.net
7 #Plague Master Series Timeline – What’s Up with the Zombies? / https://girlzombieauthors.blogspot.com/2019/09/new-zombie-series-plague-master.html
8 Some Stories Just Won’t Die: A Zombie Book’s History of Survival  / https://www.rlmerrillauthor.com/post/sunday-surprises
9 #PM2 Did I Just Make a Miniseries? / https://nicolegivenskurtz.com/category/pulp-reports/
9 #PM2 Did I Just Make a Miniseries? / https://mochamemoirspress.com/uncategorized/did-i-just-make-a-miniseries/
10 #Plague Master BLOG TOUR Announcement / https://richandroulo.wordpress.com/
11 #Plague Master: Rebel Infection Chapter 7 Excerpt / https://chantellyb.wordpress.com/
12 YouTube Book Trailer Miniseries Announcement / horroraddicts.net
12 YouTube Book Trailer Miniseries Part 3 / https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCjwWhMpEXWIluDOlUVWhFSQ/
13 #Plague Master: Rebel Infection Chapter 12 Excerpt / https://elliotthorpe.wordpress.com/
14 Zombies in Space / https://davemstrom.wordpress.com/
15 Meet the Characters of Plague Master: Rebel Infection / http://selahjanel.wordpress.com/
16 5 Questions with Loren Rhoads / https://lorenrhoads.com/blog/
17 Facebook Takeover Party Announcement / horroraddicts.net
17 Hitting the Action in the Plague Master Series / https://samaireprovost.com/
18
Finding Romance in a Zombie Apocalypse / mmgenet.com
19 #Plague Master: Rebel Infection Chapter 14 Excerpt / horroraddicts.net
20 A SIMS Character’s Take on Characters from the Plague Master Series / https://frightenme.weebly.com/frighten-me-blog
21 Facebook Takeover Party Announcement / horroraddicts.net
21 FACEBOOK TAKEOVER PARTY / https://www.facebook.com/events/377070086259488/

HorrorAddicts.net Press Presents PLAGUE MASTER: Rebel Infection

H.E. Roulo and HorrorAddicts.net Press proudly present: Plague Master: Rebel Infection.

The dramatic sequel to Plague Master: Sanctuary Dome, and second book in the Plague Master Series, is now available.

Enter the World of PLAGUE MASTER: REBEL INFECTION

PM Rebel InfectionTrevor’s return from the zombie infection makes him unique. It also makes him dangerous.

He’s a hero on his homeworld, celebrated for finding a vaccine against the zombie virus, but the ruling Founders don’t trust him and his low origins. When the revolution comes, Trevor is caught in the middle.

Despite his homeworld’s troubles, a message from a Plague Master forces Trevor to seek reinforcements. He hunts for Kristin, the woman he left behind, and an answer to why the vaccine is failing.

He and his friends must fight on space stations and worlds overtaken with infected to discover the terrible truth about his cure.

New to the Plague Master Series? Find the first book here:

 

PLAGUE MASTER: SANCTUARY DOME

When Samantha’s brother goes missing, the trail leads to Julius Cerberon, the rich philanthropist who built a dome for sufferers of mankind’s newest disease. Can she really accuse the universe’s greatest humanitarian of murder?

Meanwhile, on a downtrodden planet, Trevor has the unenviable job of zombie bait. He saves his dream girl, but she is infected. Her goodbye kiss forces him to escape to the domed utopia where infected are quarantined until they change–but he will never change, isn’t infected, and has to keep kissing the girl to pass the tests. Not a bad deal, until the dome breaks and a planet-worth of zombies invade.

And his girl could change any minute now.

PRAISE FOR
PLAGUE MASTER: SANCTUARY DOME

“A perfect mix of classic sci-fi and zombie horror. Once you start, you are hooked!”
-Jake Bible, author of Little Dead Man.

Sanctuary Dome starts with a bang, is complicated by a kiss, and ends with a promise. This is a YA zombie love story like no other.”
-Jennifer Brozek, author of Apocalypse Girl Dreaming

“A smart zombie novel with relatable characters you’ll be rooting for until the end.”
-Emerian Rich, author of Night’s Knights Vampire Series

Sanctuary Dome is fast-paced zombie sci-fi on a prison planet of the dying and the undead.”
-Stephen North, author of Beneath the Mask

“H.E. Roulo transports the reader to an eerie, futuristic environment. Her efficiency of prose will absorb readers of all ages. Macabre, frightening, but always hopeful.”
-Philip E. Carroll, author of Shooting Stars

HE ROULO 1

H.E. Roulo is a Pacific Northwest writer of science-fiction, horror, and fantasy. She earned a BA in English from the University of Idaho and is an SFWA member. Her science-fiction novel Fractured Horizon was a Parsec Award Finalist. She’s had dozens of short stories published in anthologies and magazines and was the winner of the 2009 Wicked Women Writers contest. Recent publications include Fantasy magazine (Women Destroy Fantasy special issue), Nature Futures 2, and Blood Type: An Anthology of Vampire SF on the Cutting Edge. She co-hosted the author interview podcast Podioracket.com from 2009 to 2012.

 

Plague Master: Rebel Infection is now available on Amazon!

Book Review: Mountain Sickness by Frank Martin

Frank Martin is working on relaunching this book series with new graphics and comics included.
We’ve re-posted this review from 2017 to feature his book again and show this new artwork.
To find out more about Frank’s project, go to: www.frankthewriter.com

Mountain Sickness by Frank Martin

review by David Watson

Telluride is a small remote town in the Colorado Rockies and it’s a playground for the rich and famous. People come from all over to ski here and the city’s economy is dependent on tourism. It wasn’t always that way though, it started as a mining town but the mine was considered dangerous and closed down. Since then, Telluride has been a winter paradise until a mysterious plague starts to affect the guests.

Telluride isn’t an easy place to get in and out of, so when disaster strikes there is nowhere to run to. It starts with normal people turning into raving lunatics; it ends with them changing into flesh-eating zombies. To make matters worse, the town is being rocked by a blizzard and the locals and tourists alike will have to work together to survive and keep the zombie virus from spreading. If you ever wanted to know what the zombie apocalypse would be like in a blizzard than Mountain Sickness by Frank Martin is your chance to find out.

My first thought when I saw this book was: “Zombies in a snowstorm, sounds like fun.” I can’t think of any other zombie books or movies that take place in a cold climate so I found this idea appealing. My one complaint about this book is that it takes a long time to get into the action. There are so many characters being introduced in the beginning that it’s hard to keep track of everyone. Once we see the first person sick with the zombie virus the story gets good real quick.

It’s not just the setting that makes this zombie story different, it’s also how the people are before they change. The victims fly into a rage before they become zombies and in the beginning, they start as fast-moving zombies. One of my favorite scenes was when one of the ski resort’s employees named Chris goes to find his girlfriend as the people are turning into zombies. He finds her close to death and her dying wish is for Chris to save a boy named Ryan. Chris starts looking for Ryan and as he does he sees himself as a man who has never committed to the life he truly wanted and now he has to fulfill his girlfriend’s dying wish. This made me fall in love with the character Chris and as we see him try to rescue Ryan, he finds another survivor on the way, a 13-year-old girl named Stephanie.

Stephanie is another character in this story I fell in love with. In the beginning, she is a normal teenage girl but we see her become a different person as she deals with the loss of her family and is forced to become an adult as society collapses around her. One scene I loved has Stephanie walking up to someone changing into the living dead and knocking them out with one punch. Seems unbelievable but the zombie didn’t see it coming. The most interesting part of this book is seeing how all of the characters change as they realize that if the zombies don’t get them then they will probably die in the blizzard. The setting and the characters make Mountain Sickness  a must read.

 

 

FRIGHTENING FLIX BY KBATZ: Forest Frights!

Forest Frights! by Kristin Battestella

Here’s a round up of wooded perils and forest fears – as if the ticks weren’t bad enough!

Bird Box Foreboding radio reports, risky rapids, blindfolds, and children not allowed to talk belie the lovely rivers and still forests of this 2018 Netflix thriller directed by Susanne Bie  (The Night Manager) starring Sandra Bullock (Practical Magic), Sarah Paulson (American Horror Story), Trevante Rhodes (Moonlight), John Malkovich (Shadow of the Vampire), and B.D. Wong (Awake).

Nothingness point of views from behind the blindfold accent the backpacks, lead lines, titular pets, riverside boats, and rowing toward the dangers unknown. If you look you will die, and mom means business as fog and water perils add to the lack of sight unease. Five years before, our mom-to-be is arguing with her sister and painting art full of disconnected, lonely people.

These women have realistic conversations with layered dialogue and familial quips, but the relatable doubts about motherhood and everyday big decisions degrade into mass crowds, suicide reports, sudden hysteria, and panic as something seen by some but not others results in slow motion car accidents, road rage, and shocking deaths. Unlikely strangers fearing demons or religious judgment and arming themselves are thrust together amid busy signals, screaming cell phone calls, no media, and no military help. Is this some new biological warfare making people see something that kills themselves?

Birds sense the danger and a faint growling, but cameras are to no avail and our family on the river will only remove their blindfolds when huddled under blankets as the story goes back and forth between their journey with static on the radio and our previously housebound survivors concerned with rationing and the pregnant women among them. It’s tough to think about baby names when electricity, supplies, and shotgun shells won’t last. No one was prepared for the apocalypse to happen that day. Do they let others inside their abode or listen to voices on the riverbank saying it is okay to take off the blindfolds? Desperate runs to the nearby supermarket for essentials such as canned goods, toilet paper, diapers, booze, and electronics use GPS only, with windows blacked out, tape over the cameras, and proximity sensors to warn when something comes near.

The slow burn suspense allows time for these disparate strangers to forge late friendships amid fears they are all going to die and debates about living versus surviving in these topsy-turvy circumstances. Some briefly consider staying in the supermarket – leaving others behind while they maintain all they need despite the escalating violence outside. Whiskey talking admits how bleak the situation is while others hope things may get better.

However, five years later our mother is still rowing toward the unknown possibility of safety as the family dangers on the boat increase. Of course, a few people do some foolish things, and there may have been other options than taking the most dangerous course of action. The supposedly helpful birds are useful or forgotten as needed alongside somewhat obvious metaphors about the people being who’s actually box-bound and resorting to new, heightened senses. Understandably, the tension escalates when outside influences are let in – one by one people are lost as suspicious newcomers knock and hopeful possibilities end with appropriately blunt gunfire and shootouts. Training to survive without sight becomes paramount while terror in the home, outdoor separations, and family sacrifices test the temptation to look.

Thanks to the courage and drama here with frights real and fantastic, there’s no need for any spoon fed twist, toppers, scary movie cliches, or bombastic  horror in your face. The multi-layered studies and suspense are well-interwoven, progressing naturally as the isolated settings allow the performances and storytelling to carry the must see intensity.

It Comes at Night Gas masks, bodies in the wheel barrow, and backyard executions open this 2017 thriller as rough and bearded Joel Edgerton (Loving) does what he has to do for his wife and son. It’s excellent to see an interracial family front and center – horror needs to stop being blonde babes all the time – but we know things won’t bode well for the family dog! The lone lantern light and shadows traveling through the expansive but boarded up log cabin add a certain sadness to match the sans electricity, long dark hallways, plastic sheeting, and one red door to enter or exit.

Pictures of good times line the walls – the days before this unexplained plague necessitated rifles, the defending of one’s castle, and shoot first ask questions later mentalities. What do you do when another family of three is in need of food and shelter? Flashlights, outdoor sweeps, and night time blues aide the tense family protection amid gory dream scares, body horror, and tied up intruders. Interrogations provide talk of precious water, sickness in the city, going off the grid, and trading for supplies. Men can understand these desperate measures when seeing to their families, but can they trust each other? A family conference votes to welcome the new trio in their secure homestead, yet the skeptical, suspicious, on guard feelings remain thanks to the desolate roads, car crashes, and gunshots outside.

There are rules to the home, too: they eat together, always travel in pairs, and never go out at night.The families bond over chores and even laugh when reminiscing about desserts or liquor, but barking, noises in the woods, and sleepwalking encounters keep everyone on edge. Testy accusations lead to separations and putting others at risk to save one’s own family. No one here is a bad person, but such extreme situations make good people do terrible things.

This claustrophobic parable remains tense and doesn’t overstay its welcome – but it didn’t need the extra horrors or double dream fake outs as the social examination scares and siege stress are enough. Although the unexplained elements continue the debate after the picture ends, it also seems like important staples go unclarified. Were they sick all along? Is there something supernatural at work or not? Some audiences may find the lack of answers a waste, but the subdued chills and bleak statements remain intriguing.

The Passion of Darkly NoonThe titular Brendan Fraser stumbles injured upon the unwittingly tempting Ashley Judd and her mute but charming boyfriend Viggo Mortensen in a surreal wood for this 1995 psychological thriller. While the DVD has low volume and an odd aspect ratio, there’s a golden glow and crisp country white to match the pretty outdoors and should be quaint cottage. Minimal music parallels the natural cricket sounds and rainstorms – but the idyllic springs and hidden grotto are no match for ostracized Judd’s tight tops, tiny dresses, and sweaty mellow.

“Extremist Ma and Pa picked my name from the Bible,” Fraser stutters over past cult persecutions. We don’t see the trauma he recounts but immediately sense the disturbed attraction and late blooming Oedipal complex as “Lee” remains buttoned up in the heat and standoffish, not hearing the notion to leave strict religious groveling for not necessarily sinful ideals.

There’s much to explore, a fresh start on a new homestead, but he’s too distracted by the nineties Skinamax. The naughty atmosphere rises with obsession turning into mea culpa harm, but Viggo (“He is Vigo! You are like the buzzing of flies to him!”) does well with no dialogue as the tensions mount. Backwoods colloquialisms add to the kooky yet friendly characters, but what’s with the literally flaming, giant, glittering shoe floating down the river? A Circus, elephants, apples, religious stewing – viewers must be in the right mood to digest this slow burn symbolism.

Hear tell of who’s crazy; a witch, or the monster of the woods adds to the secrets and rival testimonies. Is it an evil bewitchment when your husband has a heart attack over a tempting woman appearing in the forest? Fear mongering, curses for one’s sins, justice, punishment – where’s the happy medium beyond the escalating blood, barbed wire, and bizarre visions?

The brooding drama becomes increasingly unreliable as this purgatory cycle repeats, for each fanatical person entering this Eden-like grove ruins it a little more. A savage siege leads to red warpaint, hellish flames, and howling in a fine performance from Fraser, who is perhaps more known for his comedies rather than dramas. While this could have been totally horror or straight steamy, some serious, tender, or scary scenes are dated, laughable, and bemusingly infantile. Fortunately, this character study on passion as both sex and sacrifice is an interesting in limbo morality play with saucy fun and tempting extremes perfect for a late night trippy.

Pyewacket – Playing the daughter, Nicole Munoz (Defiance) invokes the eponymous evil to kill mom, Laurie Holden (The Walking Dead) in this 2017 Canadian parable featuring creaking forests, goth rebels, and can’t take it back terrors. Our widowed mother is doing her best to keep it together and wants a fresh start, but moving is the worst thing for a teen with awkward crushes and an inseparable BFF.

Relatable conversations on support versus instability, transferring schools, driving, and bad influences endear both ladies to the audience – even her friends insist parents are just as screwed up as teenagers. Music is in the background rather than overwhelming viewers, a realistic rather than Hollywood choice. As the camera follows this goth gang through the school hallways. We’re the fifth member of the group and caught in the middle from the backseat as the vengeful spell casting looms.

Pizza, a relatively small cabin, mom needing a weekend job, and say hey, a Latina lead, yes please – it’s as if writer and director Adam MacDonald (Backcountry) had a list of horror cliches and insists on how not to incorporate them. Although it’s not expressly said to be Halloween, fallen leaves, pumpkins, cawing crows, sage, chants, binding rituals, and blood bowls and owl motifs accent the occult primer. Despite the careful preparation and craft materials, there’s an underlying sense of a not listening teen doing something she shouldn’t – especially when mom apologizes and the gals bond over memories of the deceased. Her friends think this is all just acting out for attention, but soon enough indeed our daughter regrets the ritual. Unfortunately, a locked door can’t keep out Pyewacket. Ominous knocks and creepy attic access escalate to vehicular frights, and innocuous shots – shadows about the house, rustling in the woods – become suspect while we wait for the subtly disturbing entity.

Overhead slow spins and gradual zooms build unease as friends disappear before the camera shakes with unreliable delirium thanks to unfinished rituals, unexplained appearances, and darkness. Is this evil trickery mounting or is a scared teen roaming in the disorienting woods? Are forgiveness and reverse spells enough to put everything right when this festering horror was summoned in spite of, “be careful what you wish for,” warnings? Visions of the dead, distorted vocal inflections, rattling doorknobs, and pleas to be let in provide terror as this freaky manifestation is revealed. Some may not like the quick finale, but knives, gasoline, fiery mistakes, and a bitter comeuppance create a creepy atmosphere that does what it is says on the tin. Those skinny pants, however, are not going to look good in a few years.

Author Interviews at The Mount Holly Book Fair Part 1

Vampires, Magic, and Steampunk!

 

Kristin Battestella aka Kbatz was on the windy scene April 29, 2018 at the Mount Holly Book Fair to interview several Local Horror Authors…

 

Author Brian McKinley chats about his Ancient Blood series, vampires past and present, psychological horror, thrillers, Hitchcock, and zombies. For more visit http://www.brianmckinleyauthor.com/

 

 

Author Char Webster talks about her Gifted Series and The Runes Universe, paranormal, magic powers, and marketing. For more visit http://www.charwebsterauthor.com/

 

 

Author Christine Norris talks about her Athena series, Middle Grade Fantasy, mythology, Young Adult versus New Adult, Magic, and Steampunk. For more visit https://www.facebook.com/AuthorChristineNorris

 

Special Thanks to the Mill Race Arts & Preservation for hosting The Mount Holly Book Fair.

 

Stayed tuned to HorrorAddicts.net for more Author Interviews and let us know what kind of video/media content you would like to see!

Book Review: The Ren Faire at the End of the World 3

Review by Ariel DaWintre

The Ren Faire at the End of the World: The Time of Sex, Magik, and Power Tools is Coming to an End (An Arcanum Faire Novel) 3, by Josef Matulich is a fun tale of the perils of building a Ren Faire in a town of witches and demons. Who knew so much was happening in Arcanum, Ohio?

I was immediately attracted to this book because of the title. It was so long, it had me curious. The start took me a bit to catch on. I was about 2 chapters in before I really understood what was happening. I would suggest reading books one and two first, because I felt I was missing something because this is part three. I think I would have understood it more and had more background on the characters, mostly the bad guy.

The book centers around Marc who is building the Ren Faire and his girlfriend. a witch named Brenwyn. There is an interesting cast of characters helping build and run the Ren Faire. I loved a lot of the side characters, Eleazar is awesome but I did keep wondering if he was from a different time or that this guy really stays in character! I really liked Michael and OCD list guy, they were right up my alley. Some of my favorite scenes were with Marc and his staff because they were funny. I didn’t like the bad guy, but his sister Cassandra, I REALLY didn’t like her., which is the point if you think about it.

I felt the story had a nice flow and it kept my interest. I was engaged and wanted to know the outcome of the story. I was worried about the main characters and really wanted the bad guys to get what was coming to them. If you like a story with witches, zombie farm and wild animals, and demons this is the series for you. The book kept my interest to the end and I have to admit I am a little scared to go to Arcanum, Ohio.


Ariel DaWintre is a writer and voice actor. She has performed in several audio works including “JoJo” in HorrorAddicts.net’s production of GothAmazing Race, “Ember” the novel Dusk’s Warriors, and “Claudette” in the novel Artistic License. She’s currently working on a fish out of water tale about an American living in Hong Kong. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.

David’s Haunted Library: Mountain Sickness

Telluride is a small remote town in the Colorado Rockies and it’s a playground for the rich and famous. People come from all over to ski here and the city’s economy is dependent on tourism. It wasn’t always that way though, it started as a mining town but the mine was considered dangerous and closed down. Since then, Telluride has been a winter paradise until a mysterious plague starts to affect the guests.

Telluride isn’t an easy place to get in and out of, so when disaster strikes there is nowhere to run to. It starts with normal people turning into raving lunatics; it ends with them changing into flesh-eating zombies. To make matters worse, the town is being rocked by a blizzard and the locals and tourists alike will have to work together to survive and keep the zombie virus from spreading. If you ever wanted to know what the zombie apocalypse would be like in a blizzard than Mountain Sickness by Frank Martin is your chance to find out.

My first thought when I saw this book was: “Zombies in a snowstorm, sounds like fun.” I can’t think of any other zombie books or movies that take place in a cold climate so I found this idea appealing. My one complaint about this book is that it takes a long time to get into the action. There are so many characters being introduced in the beginning that it’s hard to keep track of everyone. Once we see the first person sick with the zombie virus the story gets good real quick.

It’s not just the setting that makes this zombie story different, it’s also how the people are before they change. The victims fly into a rage before they become zombies and in the beginning, they start as fast-moving zombies. One of my favorite scenes was when one of the ski resort’s employees named Chris goes to find his girlfriend as the people are turning into zombies. He finds her close to death and her dying wish is for Chris to save a boy named Ryan. Chris starts looking for Ryan and as he does he sees himself as a man who has never committed to the life he truly wanted and now he has to fulfill his girlfriend’s dying wish. This made me fall in love with the character Chris and as we see him try to rescue Ryan, he finds another survivor on the way, a 13-year-old girl named Stephanie.

Stephanie is another character in this story I fell in love with. In the beginning, she is a normal teenage girl but we see her become a different person as she deals with the loss of her family and is forced to become an adult as society collapses around her. One scene I loved has Stephanie walking up to someone changing into the living dead and knocking them out with one punch. Seems unbelievable but the zombie didn’t see it coming. The most interesting part of this book is seeing how all of the characters change as they realize that if the zombies don’t get them then they will probably die in the blizzard. The setting and the characters make Mountain Sickness a must read.

 

 

Ghastly Games Review: Zombie Fluxx

Zombie Fluxx By: Kenzie Kordic

Zombie Fluxx is a spin-off from the card game entitled just Fluxx.  Zombie Fluxx takes the original gameplay from the Fluxx game and spins it into a zombie version.  It is actually a lot of fun to play because each game is unique and you most likely will never play the exact same way twice.  This review will lay out the good, bad, and ugly of the Zombie Fluxx game, leaving you dying to try it.

Zombie Fluxx is a game that is surrounded by the card entitled “Creeper.”  This card will hang out through the entirety of the game, trying to stop every player from winning.  Each player starts with three cards in total, and has a play and keep a card concept.  With each new drawn card, the rules of the game change.  You could start out playing the traditional Zombie Flux and end up playing a whole ‘nother game entirely.  The rules change on a whim and you’ve gotta be able to keep up in order to win.

The goal of the game is to defeat the zombies and win as a team.  Well, that’s how the game starts.  As I said previously, the rules change quickly.  There are several cards that have been put into the game to defeat the zombies such as weapons, special abilities, and much more.  The games are relatively quick to play through so you can easily play more than one game in an hour sitting.

All in all, I rate this game as addictive and I highly recommend it!  The positives of the game are fluid with the negatives.  I love how the rules change but that can be a turn off for some players.  I love the zombies incorporated into the game which can be quite horrific depending on who you play with.  All in all, this is definitely a game for all horror buffs to play at least once.

 

Kenzie Kordic is a young author who strives to create truly scary stories.  Kenzie has been obsessed with the horror genre for as long as she’s been able to read. She has written numerous short stories as well as working on a novel.  She can be found watching horror movies with her pup.

kenziekordic.com
twitter.com/kenziekordic
facebook.com/kenziekordic

Live Action Reviews! by Crystal Connor: It’s Better To Be Alive

The music I am going to be reviewing for you today comes from a rap artist named Kasim Gary but who is widely known as Guillotine, however his mature and unique style of dark storytelling was inspired by more than just movies. Encouraged by both his father and brother and armed with the historical knowledge of art and dark literature concepts Guillotine creates more than just music. As a true fan and architect Guillotine has many contributing irons in the fires of horror, which is precisely why the name Guillotine is swiftly rising to the top of Horrorcore.  For those of you who are unfamiliar with the term or are wondering why I am reviewing a rap artist on a horror blog, the term is meant to describe a subgenre of horror called, which is rap music that is inspired by horror movies. Oftentimes their music videos resemble or flat mistaken for short horror films, which is why I knew reviewing his work would be a good fit here at Horror Addicts.

The Darkness

I love the whisperings at the beginning of the video. The sharp juxtaposition of order and chaos, normality and the freakishness is a common theme throughout and towards the end you start to wonder if what’s going on is actually happening or a hallucination caused by some sort of psychosis.

 

Expect Me To Change

This one had me at “I’m an addict for scaring the people.” Yes, my squad #AllHorrorEverything this is why I think this is my favorite song and the video is grotesquely beautiful. This one is for the gore hounds and nothing is spared. The makeup is stunning, the blood and splatter are over the top. The ‘villain’ in this video brand new dollar bill crisp, exquisitely dressed, and downright gorgeous. And you all know how I feel about bad guys. Oh, be still my beating heart.

Much Better to Be Alive
I really loved the visuals in this video, but I wasn’t really feeling the music because I am not really a fan of the dubstep style.

Lost It to the Music

This is my 2nd favorite from this album, the beat makes you turn up the volume and the villain in the video hooded, his weapon of choice 1st a hammer, then an ax, and then…well, I’ll let you see it for yourself.

Gotcha Duckin
Everything about this video, the lyrics, the beat, the imagery is old school hip hop blended with 80s slasher films nostalgia. It’s nicely done.

The Last Freestyle

Clocking in at 9 minutes and 26 seconds like The Darkness, this is more than a short film than a music video.  The Last Freestyle is shot in a bleak post-apocalyptic world and right off the bat, there is plenty for fans of zombie genre & gore hounds to sink their teeth into. Once the rapping starts you’ll find yourself bobbing your head to a classical hip-hop beat with lyrics that flow like water. The only difference here is instead of rapping about fast cars, beautiful women, and expensive jewels Guillotine uses zombies as a metaphor to describe the realities of growing up and living in the inner city.

So Near

This video opens up with a quote from Clive Barker, “Everybody is a book of blood; wherever we’re opened, we’re red.” This should have prepared me. But it didn’t. This track is more of a short story than it is a song, and I was I distracted by light upbeat rhythm and what was going on that when he said, “This little sexy petite Christian girl in a bad mood,” I was like WTF?!! All the shit she’s done just a minute into the song and she’s a Christian girl…oh contraire! Lol, you’ll see what I mean when you listen to the song.

 

Dope Emcee

This is a nice short video with lyrics paying homage to the MCs who seemed to have inspired him.

It’s Better to Be Alive

Bringing up the rear of my top three, this seems to be the 1st version of Much Better to Be Alive but I’m not sure why he thought it needed to be remade. The absence of the dubstep sets these lyrics on fire, there aren’t any special effects or heavy makeup in this video, and it seems to have been shot in the living room which only serves to highlight the lyrics.

 

Depending on how old you are you may have heard of another Horrorcore group that goes by the name of Insane Clown Posse. However,  the aforementioned hip-hop duo is not the only one who has paved the way to allow Guillotine to arrive where he is today. Make no mistake about it, he is the descent of a rich, long line of Horrorcore forefathers.  Dare I say, he has made his musical ancestors proud.

To learn more about Horrorcore and discover other Horrorcore artist, Nico Amarca’s article: Obscure Hip-Hop Genres: HORRORCORE written for Highsnobiety, and Benjamin Welton’s: 6 Horrorcore Rappers For Metalheads are excellent places to start.

http://www.highsnobiety.com/2015/05/28/horrorcore/

http://www.metalinjection.net/lists/6-horrorcore-rappers-metalheads-might-enjoy

To purchase this album It’s Better To Be Alive and sample more of his music: https://guillotinethekasinochamp.bandcamp.com/

To view and purchase the artwork: http://darkart.bigcartel.com/

 

BUT WAIT….THERE’S MORE!!!

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.

She is also the founder of CrystalCon, a symposium that brings both Science Fiction & Fantasy writers and STEM professions together to mix and mingle with fans, educators, and inventors in attempts to answer a new take on an age-old question … which came first, the science or the fiction?

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.

The Website

The Fanpage

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

Kbatz: Lady Horrors!

Frightening Flix

 

Lady Horrors!

By Kristin Battestella

 

Because new, retro, foreign, zombies or witches – we all need some more ladies in our horror!

 

The House of the Devil – Creepy menus, cult statistics, and retro credits start this 2009 blu-ray featuring Jocelin Donahue (The Burrowers), Dee Wallace (The Howling), and Mary Woronov (Death Race 2000). Payphones, eighties rhythms, and old fashioned style add period flair alongside onscreen smoking, maps, feathered hair, and a big old cabinet television showing Night of the Living Dead. Even the giant Walkman and slightly corny music montage and dance about the house has a purpose in the narrative. Church bells, cemeteries, and an imminent eclipse lay the scary foundation, and rather than an opening scare fake-out, writer/director/editor Ti West (The Innkeepers) uses zooms and movement within the camera frame to create viewer intimacy, closing in from the chilly exterior and ominous windows as the suspicious phone calls lead to desperate babysitting jobs, desolate night drives, and a maze-like Victorian manor. Yes, our Samantha is at times very dumb and unaware she is in a horror movies thanks to plot holes a collaborator not wearing so many behind the scenes hats could have clarified. Mistakes and convenient contrivances in the somewhat tacked on final act also break the solitary point of view for the audience’s benefit. However, that finale free for all with ritual candles, hooded robes, and a sudden twist ending is in the seventies splatter spirit, and the simmering, silent build happens naturally over the film. Instead of hollow thrills a minute, the viewer is allowed time to suspect the scary attic, theorize on suspicious photos, and listen for every noise – we know something is supposed to happen but not when. Though this kind of approach may seem boring to some, this innate alone trickle let’s us appreciate the dark basement and the inopportune power outage for when the titular frights do happen. It’s nice to have something different from the mainstream horror trite, too – not to mention an $8 pizza! 

 

Hush – Writer and director Mike Flanagan (Oculus, Absentia) and his wife, co-writer, and star Kate Siegel place our deaf-mute author in a pleasant forest cabin for some writing, relaxation, and terror in this 2016 eighty minute Netflix original. Comfort cooking noise fades and unheard laptop tones switch to wild kitchen alarms – immediately establishing the common sounds taken for granted alongside subtitled Sign Language, feeling vibrations for sound, and hearing an author voice in your head brainstorms. Friends speak while they sign, breaking up the quiet for the viewer, and we must pay attention to writing onscreen such as book jackets and manuscript text. Understandably, phone technology and Facetime calls are important, but an over-reliance on gadgets in horror can be tiring and soon dated with wi-fi switches, lost connections, and cut power. Fortunately, the intimate home makes the audience accustomed to the hearing challenges before adding the muffled silence, unseen scares, unheard screams, and instant cyberstalking. Through windows or foreground focus and background action, we have the full perspective when the protagonist doesn’t. It is however a mistake to reveal the crossbow and Bowie knife wielding stalker so completely. We don’t need to know the sociopath motivation nor should the viewer feel for the killer or care if he has any personality, and removing his mask just creates limp assholery. The frightening unknown with footstep vibrations, hands at the window, and approaching shadows creates a better siege, and the mystery of who and why is lost in the contrived lulls and stupid mistakes while Maddie waits around for his taunts instead of fighting back. Why not set something on fire, smoke signal authorities? Having her inner monologue address the situation and the pros or cons in each course of action is also better than breaking Maddie’s point of view and using fake out possibilities. Although it’s a pity millennial viewers wouldn’t watch something that was all silent, the long periods with no dialogue, sound effects, and score crescendos do just fine in accenting these unique dynamics. While not perfect, this tale has enough thriller tense and innate woman alone in peril – and thus proves exactly why I must know where all the windows, entrances, and exits are in a given location and never sit with my back to any of them!

Hush_2016_poster

 

Maggie Sad voicemails, outbreak news reports, desolate cities, quarantines, and martial law immediately set the bleak outlook for infected daughter Abigail Breslin (Little Miss Sunshine) and her gray bearded father Arnold Schwarzenegger in this 2015 zombie drama. Wait – Arnold? In a drama movie? About zombies? No choppers?! Nope, this is not an action horror movie, and gruesome gurneys, gangrene encounters, and blackened decay are not played for scares. Here the body horrors and social breakdowns go hand in hand – science can’t put a dent into the virus fast enough, and loved ones must wait as the vein discolorations and white out eyes spread toward heightened smells and cannibalistic tendencies. Minimal technology, chopping wood, rustic generators, cassettes, and older horseshoe phones accent the isolated farmhouse as insect buzzing, infected neighbors, and animal dangers mount. Younger siblings are sent away, and step-mom Joely Richardson (Nip/tuck) struggles with her faith, strength of conviction, and the promises they’ve made despite the deadly risks. How does a teenager keep it together when she has nothing better to do but sit around and die? Do you call friends for a last hurrah? This flawed father won’t send his daughter to die in quarantine with strangers, but he can’t give the painful lethal injection at home or make it a quick end, either. Creepy doctor visits amplify the stigmas and paranoia regarding these in between infected, and nice teen moments soon give way to growls and necroambulist changes. Where is the line between siege removal authorities and family compassion? Someone has to take control and there’s no time for sympathy – just the inevitable breakdown of families desperate to stay together. Governator Arnold produced the film sans salary, and the off-type surprise provides heart wrenching results and must see performances. Granted, most audiences probably expected zombie action thrills a minute and there are unnecessary artistic shots, long pauses, and plodding direction at times. However, this is a strong story with hefty goodbye conversations, and it is surprising such realistically upsetting and horrible circumstances rather than horror went unnoticed. Without mainstream box office demands, indie releases are free to tell their story as it needs to be told, and this tearjerker delivers a great spin on the flooded and increasing derivative zombie genre. 

 

Picnic at Hanging RockThe Criterion blu-ray has almost two hours more features discussing this 1975 Australian spooky drama based on the Joan Lindsay novel about schoolgirls gone missing in 1900. The innocent white lace and valentine wishes are soon to be ill foreboding thanks to eerie music and budding whispers. These girls tighten each others corsets in parallel shots with mirrors, BFF poetry, latent suggestions, and repression abound. The seventies breezy fits the late Victoria ruffles, hats, and parasols – gloves are permitted to be removed for this excursion! Capable Aussie help and buttoned up British elite mark a strong class divide, and pretty mountain vistas, wild vegetation, and rocky mazes contrast the lovely yet out of place English manor. Straightforward, controlled camerawork captures the society at home, but surreal, swooning outdoor panoramas invoke Bermuda Triangle suggestions alongside dreamy voiceovers, rolling cloud rumbles, and red symbolism. Insects, reptiles, swans, disturbed bird migrations, fickle horses, watches stopping at noon – the metaphysical or transcendental signs imply something beyond mere coming of age and sexual awakening. Trance like magnetic lures radiating from the titular nooks and crannies stir these Gibson Girl naps, and askew slow motion reflects this layered beauty meets danger. The enchanting blonde, the nerdy girl with glasses, an awkward brunette, and the complaining chubby girl – standard horror stereotypes today – all talk as if they are up to something naughty with self-aware doomed to die chats before scandalously removing their shoes and stockings. A flirty French teacher, the severe math teacher in red reciting lava flow build up and volcano rising statistics with an uncomfortable kinky – we don’t see what happens. However, hearing the screams and watching the resulting hysterics make it creepier. Incomplete searches, Victorian speculation, and unreliable witnesses muddle the investigation, but most importantly, doctors assure the survivors are still chaste. Such delicate interrogations and polite society leave newspapers and angry townsfolk wondering while the school faces its own fallout with withdrawals, unpaid terms, drinking, and guilt. Yes, there’s some artistic license with absent families, poor forensics, and missing evidence ignored. Surprising connections, however, and good twists in the final forty minutes keep this damn disturbing – and it’s all done without gore or effects. The innate power of suggestion, period restraints, and our own social expectations drum up all kinds of unknown possibilities, and I don’t know how anyone doesn’t consider this a horror movie.

 

the-witch-2015

The Witch – We don’t get many Puritan period pieces anymore much less ninety minutes plus of simmering 17th century horror as seen in this 2015 festival darling. Big hats, white collars, thee versus thou court room arguments, and family banishments immediately establish the ye olde alongside natural lighting and authentic thatch buildings for a rural, simplistic ambiance. Unfortunately, such exile to these empty, harsh, unyielding lands turns devotions to desperation with gray crops, bloody eggs, abductions, and babies in peril raising tensions in the humble hovel. Spooky forests, fireside red lighting, blood, nudity, ravens, and primal rituals suggest a dark underbelly only partially seen with hazy splices, shadows, and moonlight. The screen is occasionally all black and certain scenes are very tough to see, but such visual bewitching adds to the folktale surreal. Personal, intimate prayers are addressed directly to the camera, and we feel for Anya Taylor-Joy (Atlantis) as Thomasin when she apologizes for her sin of playing on the Sabbath. The scripture heavy dialogue and religious names are fittingly period yet remain understandable as coming of age children question how an innocent baby can be guilty of sin. Both parents’ faces are shadowed with hats, dirt, and impurity, yet snapping mom Kate Dickie (Red Road) gives Thomasin all the difficult work. Increasing dog problems, ram troubles, and creepy rabbits contribute to the toughness – the young twins chant oldeth nursery songs to the goats and claim there is a witch at work, but dad Ralph Ineson (Game of Thrones) isn’t totally forthcoming with his grief, hopeless trading, and family pressures. The isolated, starving couple argues, debating on sending the children away as the strain, zealousness, and fears mount. Ominous lantern light, alluring witchcraft, and almost ritualistic in itself bloodlettings stir the finger pointing hysterics while great performances hit home the wild bed fits and exorcism-esque prayers. Somebody has to be blamed. Where do you get help when evil would take advantage of such hypocrisy and social failings? It’s easy to imagine the fantastic or confuse apparitions of the dead as angels when the devil answers your pleas instead of Grace. Maybe one has to be familiar with Puritan history or Biblical texts to fully appreciate the struggles and references here. However, contemporary audiences should realize that there’s more to the horror film genre than today’s rinse repeat wham bam boo gore. Although a brighter picture would have been nice, the genuine designs here are much more pleasing than any digital overkill. Doubt, what you don’t see, and the power of suggestion escalate the horrors with maniacal laughter, screams, and one scary voice leading to a deliriously delicious finale. Why aren’t these niche indies that do film making right really the mainstream cinema?

 

Don’t forget you can read more of our Feminine Horror recommendations in the Horror Addicts Guide to Life!

Ghastly Games: Last Night On Earth

GhastlyGames2

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Imagine this, you are living in a small town and you and your friends are looking for something to do on a Saturday night. Suddenly you see a horde of zombies stumbling towards you from down the street. Now you have to go into buildings and search for items that you can use to defend yourself and try to save others from the zombies that are taking over the once peaceful town. Does this sound like a B grade horror movie? Well that’s the point behind Last Night On Earth from Flying Frog Productions.

This game comes with a game board with parts that you can move around in order to change the game.  Also you get 22 plastic miniatures, 8 unique heroes, and 14 zombies, 120 playing cards, split between 40 Zombie Cards, 40 Hero cards and then 20 Advanced cards for both the Hero and Zombie decks. You can either play as the zombies or heroes in this game and you can play with 2 to 6 players. If you ever wanted to know what its like to be in a zombie movie then this is the game for you.

I played this game with my family and in all honesty despite all the glowing reviews that I saw for it we thought it was mediocre. There were a lot of instructions to read, the set up was a little complicated and if you’re playing as a zombie it’s almost impossible to win. To really get into this game you have to spend a good hour reading all the directions and then expect to play it for a couple of hours. So if you have a short attention span (like me) or you don’t have a lot of time to spend playing games, then this might not be a good game for you.

However if you are willing to take the time to learn the rules and play the game more than once, you may start to like it. What I mean is that you are not going to like this game right out of the box, you have to play it a few times to get a better understanding of it and then it will grow on you. The object of this game is for it to feel like you’re in a zombie movie and if you have the patience you get to a point where it does feel that way. This game even comes with a soundtrack CD to set the mood.

If you are a novice game player you might not like this game but if you love board games and taking the time to learn new ones, you might get a kick out of it. For my family the most fun we had while playing this game was inventing different backstories for all the zombies and heroes.  We made up our own scenarios on how the zombies became zombies and we gave the humans the task of turning the zombies into humans again. This game became a lot more fun when he started getting more creative on how we played. So I do recommend this game, just remember if you get bored with it just think outside the box and you may learn to love it.

Game-Board-last-night-on-earth-the-zombie-game-37164215-500-375

Kbatz: The Strain Season 1

Frightening Flix

 

The Strain Struggles Late in Its Debut  by Kristin Battestella

 

Guillermo Del Toro (Pacific Rim, Crimson Peak) executive produced the 2014 FX debut of The Strain – a thirteen episode vampire zombie plague thriller based upon Del Toro and Chuck Hogan’s (Prince of Thieves) own novel trilogy. While the series starts strong with scientific updates on traditional horror lore, the pacing flounders in the latter half with muddled, drawn-out storytelling.

CDC Canary Team members Ephraim Goodweather (Corey Stoll), Nora Martinez (Mia Maestro), and Jim Kent (Sean Astin) investigate the strange circumstances surrounding a plane landing in New York. Everyone on board is seemingly dead, and a mysterious box of Earth lies in its cargo hold. Despite plague symptoms and infectious worm-like creatures, higher up authorities dismiss Eph’s insistence for a quarantine thanks to the powerful but ill mogul Eldritch Palmer (Jonathan Hyde). Rodent inspector Vasiliy Fet (Kevin Durand), however, realizes larger vermin are afoot, and ex-con Augustin “Gus” Elizalde (Miguel Gomez) reluctantly takes jobs for the bizarre Thomas Eichhorst (Richard Sammel) – who has tormented the supposedly unassuming antique dealer Abraham Setrakian (David Bradley) in the past. Fortunately, Setrakian wields a silver sword cane and having seen this kind of vampire killer previously, uses his strigoi wisdom to help Eph stop this outbreak before it is too late.

 

A super-sized seventy-two minute “Night Zero” written and directed by Del Toro starts The Strain with waxing on hunger, unquenchable thirst, and love – the forces that make us human. Airplane tedium, radio chatter, familiar travel fears, and ornery passengers create realism, grounding the ominous scares in the cargo hold with jurisdiction, stupidity, press, and red tape. Family troubles versus work priorities layer values, packing in smart dialogue and character backgrounds without being rushed or in your face. Spiritual character names and “Holy Jesus!” exclaims over creepy jar specimens and biohazard suits invoke a whiff of religion alongside doctors talking of 210 souls on board this modern Dementer ala Horror Express. Well shot horror movie accents set the scene amid numerous locations, disaster response action, quarantine technicalities, and paranormal simmer. The Strain uses horror to mirror politics and acknowledges public panic, PR responses, famous survivors, and disaster containment while building suspense and updating traditional vampire lore with contemporary science and plague cliffhangers. Television reports and leaked documents are not to be trusted – nor is the titular coffin decorated with Faust demonography in The Box.” It’s tough to get everyone’s name on The Strain, however, the not all white, not all speaking English characters are real people dealing with prejudice to match rather than stock Hollywood pretties. Supposed criminals go to mass and respect their families while the villains at the top are more concerned with looking in control as they cover their asses. Shrewd commentary on the press making a scoundrel for the public to detest sets off terse conversations and hatred coming full circle as the empty body bags, zombies at the morgue, and bath tub body horror mounts. Selfish bureaucrats look the other way to tentacles and bone cracking transformations – orchestrating suffering to belie the facade in “Gone Smooth.”

The Strain may start slow for some viewers, but we are now invested in the players even before the horror escalates. Be it cravings for blood, liver transplants, custody battles, or sobriety, everyone is trapped by their own needs – not to mention the intrusive media and corrupt disease officials. The Strain tells its scary story with authentic hopes, wills, and weakness rather than expected television gimmicks, and frightful moments of invasive violence create scientifically based monsters for 21st century audiences in “It’s Not for Everyone.” Basement autopsies and pets beware disrupt rosaries and prayers yet gruesome new appendages and genital mutations become increasingly intriguing. Blood on snow, husbands and wives that can’t do what needs to be done, dishonest team members – if you love someone, how far are you willing to go? Hackers and lying politicians are just as dangerous as biological agents, and the ye olde Van Helsing and front line doctors lock horns over how to proceed in “Runaways.” This strigoi vampire history is tough for men of science to accept! Instead of listening to rat catchers, Spanish traditions, or our elders when they say to stay away from monsters, today these horrors demand documentation, cell phone video, and proof splashed upon the unreliable internet – idle inaction as this tiered metamorphosis grows from plague to vampires to zombies in “Occultation.” Apocalyptic gloom, biblical pestilence, and contemporary virus talk refresh the vampire genre while leaving the comforts of sunlight to save the day. Unless there’s a gosh darn lunar eclipse imminent that is! External planetary zooms further show how small humans are once we’re the tasty victims chained in a padded room, and The Strain reminds us this outbreak will get worse before it gets better. Can we protect loved ones when families won’t have it? A plague that isn’t on the news means it isn’t really happening, right? Nail gun action matches slowing or rapid heart rates as the untrustworthy phones, backward security systems, and interrogations help things fall apart in “For Services Rendered.” Sirens, bridges shutting down, cabbies with a gun and silver bullets…oh yeah.

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SARS masks in the crowded subway station keep the fears immediate for Creatures of the Night” while vampires and virus debates reveal similar preferences for lying dormant in dark, damp areas. Looting is small in comparison to what’s at stake once zombie movie aspects pick up the outbreak action. Our everyday heroes are besieged – fighting off the approaching, growling prowlers with rudimentary weapons. With teamwork, they can get the job done, and it’s great to see characters who have been apart on The Strain finally meet. Will they work together or is it everyone for themselves? What do you do when one of your own is infected? Do you treat a victim or save one’s soul? Fortunately, a convenience store is a good place to hold up, and UV light is your friend against a smart monster mob. Back room surgery, however, is to no avail. Everyone on The Strain is fair game, and people must be smart with Macguyver tricks and proactive measures against the increasing enemy and disturbing child attacks. Once noble citizens must sneak into corporate offices, investigate underground tunnels for vampires, and experiment with science and weapons – breaking the rules they once felt paramount to save all they hold dear. Hefty decision making comes in “The Third Rail” with plans to attack and big, matricide choices thanks to not the fantastic but regular human sickness. Do we leave family behind or commit a worse sin? World Trade Center ties give The Strain a firm reality while containers packed with strigoi are apparently being bought and shipped in a quite creepy, but gosh darn it not surprisingly corporate turn. Science versus bible quotes accent the tiptoeing into the lair as everyone gets on the same page for some great confrontations. Evil so easily tricks the well-intentioned does it not? An almost Hammer-esque sixties flashback sets off “Last Rites” as personal parallels are strongly felt past and present. This battle has been going on longer than we think, and there’s no time for current stubbornness and disrespect amid such bittersweet loss.

Sadly, The Strain degenerates somewhat when too many disposable characters and dead-end tangents behave in dumb horror movie fashion and disrupt the interesting but unanswered vampire hive hierarchy designs, creature differences, and mystery SWAT teams. The solid Holocaust flashback scenes should also not be intercut with the modern narrative as if they were just any standard B plot. I don’t like Holocaust material as it is, and splicing it with horror plots compromises the real world impact – this provenance should have been told in its entirety in one episode. The Strain falls into an alternating pattern with the same character plots together – which forces important developments to wait while others catch up – and the storylines become increasingly busy and repetitive. Redundant scares aren’t surprising the fourth time around in “The Disappeared,” and The Strain sags when boosting annoying child questions and plots. The audience doesn’t need any rabies for people explanations, and more inconsistencies creep into the debates, grief, and jailbreak infections. Some victims are infected by a little nick while others unafflicted fight hand to hand versus the tentacles, and these later episodes becoming increasingly padded with either extreme as needed. Maybe there are biological time differences for a strigoi turning, but a serious amount of artistic license plays a part as Loved Ones” further sidetracks The Strain with convenient laptop uses, secondary A/B plot holes, and unrealistic turns. Isn’t anybody getting out of dodge to warn somebody about this huge happening in New York City? Where is the military? Secretary of Health quarantines and National Guard calls comes too late – as does an attempt to broadcast information. Shouldn’t a way to call for help have been the first course of action, not last? Surely, these intelligent vampires could have looked up everyone’s addresses and come knocking on some doors much sooner, too. Although the miniseries styled international ensemble represents all walks of life and the characters themselves are well done, the show would have been a lot shorter – and maybe should have been only ten episodes – had several plots and players been woven tighter. Half the survivors are completely superfluous with stray shock stories wasting time The Strain doesn’t have to spare. The Master” finale does tie up some loose ends by pulling together speakeasy secret passages and survivor connections, but such obvious information and smart uses of sunlight feel unnecessarily delayed just to entice for the second season. You can get away with that on the page, but on television the string along action becomes too chaotic, ending The Strain with poorly choreographed fights and a vampire turf war voiceover.

 

Ephraim Goodweather is a fittingly ironic name for Corey Stoll’s (House of Cards) relatable CDC doctor reluctant to choose between his falling apart family and work commitments. Eph is frank with the press on the job yet has to be the bigger man and leave his family happy without him. Drinking questions are thrown in his face, and Eph can’t convince the FBI to just consider the possibility of an outbreak – making viewers glad when he gets to say I told you so. The family angles do become too cliché as the season goes on, unfortunately slowing the main story down while The Strain decides whether these side characters are important or not. Such uneveness compromises Eph at times, like when he sleeps with a woman one moment but professes to love his wife in the next. Fortunately, this scientist is thrust out of his element with swords and medieval monsters thanks to David Bradley’s (Harry Potter) tough pawn shop owner Abraham Setrakian. Our Armenian Jew Holocaust survivor has seen these strigoi before as a young craftsman learning how to stay alive, and his old-fashioned ways are a pleasant marker amid the contemporary battles. After all Setrakian’s witnessed, we don’t blame him for his chopping heads with a sword first and the heck with CDC rules after crusty attitude. He vomits at the gore but Sean Astin (Lord of the Rings) as Jim Kent plays the fence when it comes to doing the right thing thanks to an understandably sick wife behind his reasons. What do you expect him to do but what any one of us would have done? Jim is the audience layman and sums up the scares quite plainly, inducing dry chuckles to alleviate the tension. We hope Samwise will make amends, but will it be too late? Likewise, Mia Maestro (Frida) as Nora Martinez cracks and can’t always handle The Strain’s gruesome or deaths. They are supposed to be doctors helping people, right? Nora cares deeply but doesn’t need a man to tell her what to do. She researchers her own information and shares her input with Eph against superiors and red tape. Though reluctant to believe what’s happening – much less fire a gun or kill – Nora must protect her mother while on the run and accepts the necessary defiance of their ‘do no harm’ creed.

Kevin Durand’s (Lost) Vasiliy Fet has a thankless job as a city exterminator aka rat catcher. However, he’s quite well educated and has a sense of humor about his work. Fet can be both harsh to the uppity deserving it and kind to others in need – he knows what’s happening below is a sign of worse to come and to hell with those who disagree with him. He does what he has to do without help from others, but comes to respect Setrakian’s knowledge and ingenuity in this fight. Miguel Gomez’ (Southpaw) Gus Elizalde is also doing the best he can to get legit and help his family now that he’s out of juvenile prison. He quickly grows suspicious of Eichhorst and wants out of his dirty work, but, like most of us, he just plum needs the cash. When his friend is infected and the prisoners are chained together, the cops see rap sheets rather than what’s really happening, naturally. Yes, how do you stop a plague from running rampant in a jailhouse? I know there is a reason for it, however, I wish Gus wasn’t separate from the other main storylines. His literally bumping into another main cast member on the street is not enough. Thankfully, Richard Sammel (Inglourious Basterds) as the not quite breathing Thomas Eichhorst is wonderfully creepy unto himself with a Nazi to the core defense of the Reich and a suave, godless collaborator veneer. He counters every argument with a justifiable defense and is frighteningly not wrong when he says people accept the choice to suffer and comply rather than die. Eichhorst’s strong arm and menace increases as The Strain goes on, and Jonathan Hyde’s (Jumanji) terminal magnate Eldritch Palmer wishes he were as ruthless. He believes in a higher power and thinks The Master will reward him with immortality, but faith in evil or one’s own wealth and power may not get you very far in the end. We should have seen more of Roger Cross (24) as Palmer’s loyal but suspicious aide Fitzwilliam, and Ruta Gedmintas (The Tudors) as regretful hacker Dutch Velders is a strong character with superb chemistry who’s story is dealt with too late. Jack Kesy (Baywatch) as the goth musician Gabriel Bolivar and Regina King (American Crime) as his manager Ruby are also underutilized – The Strain glaringly derails by conveniently forgetting to check up on his storyline much, much sooner.

 

Fortunately, fine cinematography and cinematic editing anchor The Strain’s usual forty-five-minute episodes. Viewer discretion is advised alongside brief title credits with bloody smears on white tiles and a fitting sense of medical gone wrong. Onscreen locations and time stamp countdowns with the occasional pop-up text messages are nicer than having to read tiny print on a dated phone screen, and the realistic mix of languages, Spanish lyrics, and cultural accents match the city locales. The antique store base provides a sense of old patina hidden in the borough, contrasting the bright yellow warning tape, flashlights, bio gear, and technology screens, laptops, and communications. Simple buzzing sounds, ringing noises, “Did you hear that?” calls, and recoils over ammonia smells invoke more senses than obnoxious jump scare sounds while slimy tentacles, oozing worms, slushy squirts, and gurgling slurps add to the monstrous. Autopsy saws and dissections increase the body horror as Neil Diamond tunes, pop music cues, and nursery rhymes create irony. Colorful orange and green hues pop during night scenery, drafting a super-sized count on acid, comic book style, however dark tunnels and UV lighting can be tough to see at times. There’s also a subtle ‘Spot the Cross’ thread in The Strain thanks to necklaces, crucifixes, altars, and other veiled spiritual reminders seemingly hidden in every scene – good visually counteracting evil. Several common directors and writers doing multiple episodes each including Keith Gordon (Dexter), Peter Weller (Sons of Anarchy), David Weddle and Bradley Thompson (Battlestar Galactica), David Semel (American Dreams), Regina Corrado (Deadwood), and Gennifer Hutchinson (Breaking Bad) help maintain The Strain’s overall cohesive feel and well done horror design. I must also say, I actually don’t mind the commercials when watching The Strain on Hulu, for these fast moving ads get back to the show – unlike the seven minutes or more on television when you forget what you were watching!

The Strain starts with plenty of layered horror parallels and intriguing monsters versus science enthusiasm and well developed characters. However, poor pacing and struggling storylines in the second half of this debut kind of make me want to read the books instead of watch Season Two. Some harsh language and brief nudity are nothing major for horror tweens today, but it is best for sophisticated scary fans to go into The Strain cold for a maximum on the surprises, plague versus horror politics, historical commentaries, and religious context. Despite a piecemeal, trickling along exit, The Strain is a unique combination of mad science, vampires, and zombies with a little something to appease all horror audiences.

An Interview with H.E. Roulo

On February 29th Horroraddicts.net publishing released its newest book:Plague Master: Sanctuary Dome by H.E. Roulo. She has had stories in other Horroraddicts.net publications such as:   The Wickeds, Horrible Disasters and Horror Addicts Guide To Life. She has also been on the Horror Addicts podcast on several occasions and won our Most Wicked award in 2009. Here is what some people are saying about Plague Master: Sanctuary Dome:

10497226_786392101430051_367125154057381978_o“A perfect mix of classic sci-fi and zombie horror. Once you start, you are hooked!”
-Jake Bible, author of Little Dead Man.
“Sanctuary Dome starts with a bang, is complicated by a kiss, and ends with a promise. This is a YA zombie love story like no other.”
-Jennifer Brozek, author of Apocalypse Girl Dreaming
“A smart zombie novel with relatable characters you’ll be rooting for until the end.”
-Emerian Rich, author of Night’s Knights Vampire Series
“Sanctuary Dome is fast-paced zombie sci-fi on a prison planet of the dying and the undead.”
-Stephen North, author of Beneath the Mask

“H.E. Roulo transports the reader to an eerie, futuristic environment. Her efficiency of prose will absorb readers of all ages. Macabre, frightening, but always hopeful.”
-Philip E. Carroll, author of Shooting Stars

Here is an interview Horroraddicts.net did with H.E. Roulo about her new book:

When did you start writing?

From the top bunk, I’d tell my younger sister stories at night. As soon as I knew enough letters, I put  pencil to paper to write stories. By the time I was in the third grade I knew I wanted to be an author. I just didn’t know how badly it paid.

You produced your first book Fractured Horizon as a podcast. Why did you go this route and where can people listen to it?

For a lot of years, I didn’t tell people I wrote. Co-workers didn’t know. It was my secret.
When I finally decided to take my writing public, I wanted to see whether there was interest. Did people like my stories? Podcasting my novel let me get immediate, week-by-week feedback. I also didn’t have to worry about hiring an editor, I did all the recording myself at night or while my toddler slept.
Fractured Horizon was my first big success, even a Parsec Finalist, and it will always be dear to me. The story of Kay Downs traveling through time the hard way, by living through it, until she reached the damaged future and repaired it, started my career. Peoples’ responses to that story encouraged me to continue. I’ve learned a lot since then. I recently rewrote the text of Fractured Horizon to be clearer. I’ve had it edited. I need to release it, it’s just a matter of finding the time.fractured-horizon

Is writing an audio drama different from writing a novel?

I’ve deliberately attempted new things so I would be a better writer. I learned a lot about story, being concise, setting the scene, and pacing, from experimenting. The podcast novel, Fractured Horizon, was an audio book. I simply read the written novel, edited the audio to take out pauses, and added an episode introduction to catch listeners up. It’s a little rough, and moves too fast. I could do better now. Of course, I think that about every project I finish.
Once I was done releasing Fractured Horizon, I was looking to do more audio. I released short stories, including three for HorrorAddicts.net. Those stories did a lot for me. I won the first annual Wicked Women Writer’s challenge with “Graveyard Shift”; released “Undergrowth” as my first ebook single; and “Great Asp & Little Death” became one of the stories in the Rich & Roulo series.
After that, I had several stories traditionally published in markets like Nature and Fantasy’s special Women Destroy Fantasy issue.
Finally, I wrote a script for a full-cast audio drama. An audio drama is different from an audio book because the voices of the characters and sound effects tell the story—just like old radio plays. I had to be creative; there’s only sound to tell the story. I couldn’t rely on descriptions or go inside the character’s head. That audio drama, and the world I created, led to much more.

What is the inspiration behind Plague Masters: Sanctuary Dome?

The novel took a long path. It started as an audio drama submitted to Necropolis Studio Productions for their Omega Road Chronicles, which is a series of moody unconnected short stories, much like The Twilight Show. My script was for a 40 minute show. They selected it right away. Next, I turned the idea into a short for the Live and Let Undead anthology, which is themed around putting zombies to work. And that sold right away.
At that point, it seemed a no-brainer to expand the world I’d come to love. I already had Samantha, who is searching for her brother’s murderer. For the novel, I added the story of Trevor, a teenager from a downtrodden planet. He wants to fight against the zombies swarming his world, but opportunity is scarce. He’s working as zombie-bait for the local militia when the girl he likes becomes infected. They get sent to the Sanctuary Dome, a punishment that’s actually a big improvement, but he’s not infected and is trying to save everyone, even his home world, from this disease.

Are the zombies in your story fast-moving or slow-moving?

24899021Mythology is so important in a story like this. It drives the tension and action. In my world, a bite means a change to a zombie, but there are also blood infections. Get splashed with zombie blood, and you’ll change but no one knows how soon. It turns people into ticking time bombs. That’s what happened to Samantha, and to the girl Trevor loves. They’re infected, but not changed into zombies, yet.
When someone does change, they go through stages of madness and rage. They’re still fast. Eventually, zombies become slow and docile. They will wander with sheep in a field, but they can get aggressive again if provoked. Don’t provoke the zombies, it gets ugly fast.

How many books do you have planned in the Plague Masters series?

It’s a tidy trilogy with an ending I’m really excited to write. At this point, the first book is available for purchase. I’ve finished writing the second one. Now, I get the dig into the finale of the series. There’s going to be even more action, and more at stake for every character.
All the worlds in this system are suffering. The series has to end soon, before there’s no one left for me to torture.

Why do you think people are so fascinated with the zombie apocalypse?

I think there are lots of different reasons. A zombie apocalypse lets us imagine a world starting over. Old, boring problems are gone. No one_IMG_8000 worries about grades or taxes in a zombie apocalypse.
Life becomes purer, it’s about survival, testing ourselves, and hopefully rising to the occasion. With zombies, there’s no guilt in killing them, no gray area, no reason to understand their point of view. There’s fairness in knowing that they’ll kill you if they can, and you can respond on that level. If you’re smart and careful, you’ll survive. Our world is a complicated place. The zombie apocalypse simplifies it.
Until the Plague Masters rise, of course.

Heather Roulo is a Seattle author. Her short stories appear in several dozen publications, including Nature and Fantasy’s special Women Destroy Fantasy issue. Plague Master: Sanctuary Dome is the first book in her Plague Masters Series.

To hear the audio drama of the short story that inspired Plague Master: Sanctuary Dome, visit The Omega Road Chronicles Audio Drama online.

Find out more at heroulo.com

http://podiobooks.com/title/fractured-horizon/

http://www.fracturedhorizonnovel.com/2015/04/13/free-audio-drama-omega-road-chronicles-ep-3-the-killer-with-eyes-of-ice/

Horroraddicts.net Publishing presents: Plague Master: Sanctuary Dome

10497226_786392101430051_367125154057381978_oOn February 29th Horroraddicts.net publishing released its newest book: Plague Master: Sanctuary Dome by H.E. Roulo. She has had stories in other Horroraddicts.net publications such as:   The Wickeds, Horrible Disasters and  Horror Addicts Guide To Life. She has also been on the Horror Addicts podcast on several occasions and won our Most Wicked award in 2009. Much of H.E. Roulo’s writing mixes horror and Science Fiction and her latest book is no exception. My full review is below:

Some teenage boys dream of getting a car or having a nice girlfriend. When you’re a teenager who lives in a run down neighborhood on a planet that is being over run by zombies, you dream of helping your planet’s army kill them all. Trevor wanted to do all he could to help his planet and jumped at the chance to be zombie bait. The soldiers send him into buildings to draw the zombies out and he gets to feel like he is helping society.

Life changes quickly for Trevor as he saves his dream girl but finds out she is infected. Trevor then escapes his planet and ends up in the Sanctuary Dome where the people infected with the zombie virus stay until they are changed. On another planet not far away, a teenage girl named Samantha is trying to find her missing brother and believes that the person responsible is a man named Julius. Julius is a rich man and his money built the Sanctuary Dome, can he be responsible for murder? Secrets are being kept under the dome and soon the zombies will be free to infect the universe.

Plague Master Sanctuary Dome is a book that horror fans and Science Fiction fans will enjoy. Science fiction fans will love the futuristic mythology and the political system that reminded me of The Hunger Games. I love the concept of a dome on another planet where diseased people are kept and the technology they have to see if someone is infected. I also liked how different the zombies are, they can be fast-moving or slow-moving based on how they were infected.

My favorite part of this book was Trevor’s story. Trevor is your average teenager thrown into a harsh situation. He simply wants to protect his family and everyone else on his planet but he finds out that everyone has an agenda and nothing is as it seems. He is used as zombie bait by an army that doesn’t care about him because he is from a poor area of the planet. While he sees himself as helping people against the zombies, his father is against what he is doing and is the only one who is looking out for him. The relationship between father and son is easy to relate to, Trevor’s father just wants to protect his son but Trevor is naive and thinks he knows whats best for himself.

There may be a lot of zombie books out there but Plague Master: Sanctuary Dome is a fresh spin on the genre. What I liked best about it was the characters who are mostly young people who were forced to grow up to fast. Not only do they have to deal with zombies they also have to deal with a corrupt political system that doesn’t have everyone’s best interests at heart. This book has something for everyone. Younger readers will like the action and the characters while older readers will like the setting that H.E. Roulo created. This is the first book in a trilogy and it will be exciting to see where the story will go next.

 

_IMG_8000Heather Roulo is a Seattle author. Her short stories appear in several dozen publications, including Nature and Fantasy’s special Women Destroy Fantasy issue. Plague Master: Sanctuary Dome is the first book in her Plague Masters Series.

To hear the audio drama of the short story that inspired Plague Master: Sanctuary Dome, visit The Omega Road Chronicles Audio Drama online.

Find out more at heroulo.com

Review: Pride and Prejudice and Zombies

PPZFor strange people like me who are both Horror addicts and Regency fans, the movie Pride and Prejudice and Zombies is the perfect mix of gore, tradition, and humor.

To benefit those of you who have been under a rock, I will explain. This movie is based on the Pride and Prejudice and Zombies book series written first by Seth Grahame-Smith and improved upon by Steve Hockensmith. In its most basic description, it takes the original Jane Austen tale and ultimately inserts zombies, but it’s so much more than that. The lore behind the Bennett sisters and the rest of their relations has been “punked” zombie-style. Instead of the Bennett sisters being looked down upon because of money or poor relations, they are chastised by one set for being trained in martial arts in the Chinese style (vs. Mr. Darcy and the Japanese tradition) and by another set, they are chastised for being trained at all. Mr. Bennett has made sure his girls know how to defend themselves and others from the undead zombie horde. Mr. Darcy and his Aunt Catherine are also warriors, but trained in the more “upper class” Japanese style. No one much pays attention to the girls until zombies spring up in their neighborhood and then everyone hides under the table while the Bennett sister effectively take care of business.

Those of you who have not seen the film, might want to stop here. Spoilers ahead!

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Mr. Darcy is not the tall, commanding gentleman we’ve grown to love, but he is a warrior and has an understated sort of command. Lizzy and Jane are expertly played by two young women that I adored. Wickham is all he should be: charming, underhanded, evil…even if he looks more like Capt. Wentworth from Persuasion than P&P’s bad man. Out of all the actors, though, Lizzy (Lily James) is the star.

Written and directed by Burr Steers, I say bravo! He brought everything I wanted in this movie and none of what I didn’t. His humor and sincerity combined in a movie I will be owning as soon as it’s released. Instead of the mimicky spoof that the first book emanated, he seemed to take more of the whit and sincerity that the prequel (Dawn of the Dreadfuls) and sequel (Dreadfully Ever After) captured. The message in this film is one women can get behind and if your daughters are old enough to handle the gore, they should see it. It proves women are just as tough and can take care of themselves in battle, even in Regency gowns and stockings.

The fun-est scene is when Darcy and Lizzy have a disagreement and they use martial arts to settle it. At one point, Lizzy crisscrossed her feet around Darcy’s neck. Scary, but so sensual as Darcy looks down her long stockinged legs to the knife latched on her thigh. These girls are sexy anyway you look at it and they fill me with pride when they launch into battle. Go Lizzy! Go Jane! Lydia, Katie, Mary…battle those zombies like we know you can!

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This movie is not without faults. There are holes and a few instances of “skips” in action, such as when Darcy and Wickham are back to back, surrounded by a zombie horde and when we rejoin them they are suddenly alone, battling each other, no zombies in sight. But these holes are easily overlooked for the entertainment value it brings. For hard-core Janites, there are a few “YES!” moments that we have always wanted played out. What if Lizzy could beat up Darcy during the proposal? What if Darcy finally got to kick Wickham’s butt? What if Lizzy could prove to Lady Catherine she is worthy of Darcy after all?

One thing I felt kind of annoyed with was the “heaving bosoms” of Lizzy. Almost every single shot has her breathing hard, her breasts bouncing up and down in an over-amplified manner. If you can stop noticing it, you’re better than I, but I guess the guys had to have some incentive to watch. And taking my hubby along, I have to say he did enjoy it almost as much as I did. There are enough epic battle scenes and zombie confrontations to keep him occupied.

Although I loved this movie from beginning to end, the gore might be a little much for some of you not used to it. If, however, you are an avid watcher of The Walking Dead, Z Nation, or the movies of our most beloved George Romero, this will be tame gore for you. For the horror addicts, this has a few truly terrifying moments such as when Jane encounters a zombie woman in the woods clutching an undead baby to her breast. The undead are done pretty well for you, too. No Halloween store makeup here.

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There is definitely room left for a sequel, but if following the book series, a lot from the sequel and prequel will have to be filled in to complete the story. I’d love to see both the prequel and sequel filmed, but because this is such a niche market, I don’t think that dream will be realized.

I love this film and this is the first time I will have ever said this—the movie was better than the book! For you Janites who aren’t sure about the gore, give it a chance! Or just wait for someone to cut it into pieces on YouTube so you can enjoy the precious story moments in between the scares.

David’s Haunted Library: Neeta Lyffe, Zombie Exterminator

9866652Neeta Lyffe, Zombie Exterminator by Karina Fabian . The title alone made me want to read this book. The main character is a woman named Neeta Lyffe and she’s a zombie hunter, that right there tells you what to expect and to someone like me who wants some comedy with their horror, it screams buy me. Another thing the title of this book does is give you a hint of what to expect from the story.

In the 2040’s zombies have become a problem and the world needs zombie exterminators. One of the best zombie exterminators around is Neeta Lyffe but things aren’t going well for her. The government and special interest groups are making her follow the most environmentally friendly procedure to kill zombies. In addition to that Neeta is being sued because she set a zombie on fire that walked into a lawyer’s back yard. In desperate need of money, Neeta decides to train zombie exterminators as part of a reality TV show that’s more violent than any other show out there. As if dealing with the government and ungrateful people wasn’t enough, she now has to deal with the paparazzi, a production staff that doesn’t understand what she is trying to accomplish and a group of exterminator recruits who have no idea what they’re getting into.

Just when I thought that there were no more original zombie stories left, this one comes along. Neeta Lyffe, Zombie Exterminator is more of a satirical parody of real life then an average zombie novel. The funny thing is though while reading this book I found myself thinking that this is probably how a real zombie apocalypse will be.

In Neeta’s world no one takes zombies seriously, they might see them as a threat but it doesn’t stop people from being people. You still have people walking into graveyards and playing tag with zombies, some people let their deceased loved ones walk back into their home despite the fact that they could get eaten and even though household cleaners put a stop to zombies, the government still limits their use.   The only one who takes zombies seriously is Neeta, but getting others to see things her way isn’t easy.

One of the funniest moments in this book was getting to read the internet bulletin boards for Neeta’s reality show, complete with misspellings. I also enjoyed how the crew for Neeta’s  show acts, while Neeta is trying to educate people on the dangers of zombies, the crew is just worried about getting the highest ratings possible. This book has some serious moments that I enjoyed as well, like when Neeta points out  that she has to act strong all the time because that’s what keeps the demons at bay.

I have to admit the story in this book is a little weak, at about half way through the book I was thinking to myself that I got the joke and was wanting a little more action and suspense. That being said the story makes a great point of showing how ridiculous society can be and it does it in a hysterical way. Neeta is a great character and I liked the range of emotion that she has. Keep in mind when you read this book that it’s not your normal zombie book, its much smarter and you can probably teach a class on the deeper meanings in Neeta Lyffe, Zombie Exterminator.  If I was to describe this book in one word it would be clever.

5 things you need to know about zombies

By Karina Fabian
It’s the 2040s, and the world has seen the rise of a new pest – zombies. Yes, the reanimated are clawing themselves out of graves or shambling out of morgues and wander the streets. Fortunately, the contagion is mostly controlled, and these corpsicles are the exception rather than the rule. Nonetheless, one in 20 Americans will have a close call with a lamebrain of the undead variety.

Should you encounter one, it’s good to keep these things in mind:

  1. 9866652Zombies are not the dead come back to life. That is not you Aunt Maisy eager to embarrass you with a public display of affection. That’s a soulless, animated corpse that wants to bite you, infect you, and if she was a fan of zombie lore, eat your brains. There are no exceptions.
  2. Zombies are not intelligent. But they do retain certain skills, attitudes and habits developed in real life. Martial artists and dancers may still have their moves, even if they lose body parts during the routine. Someone who went fishing every Saturday could return to its favorite spot, maybe even with a pole. As we’ve recently seen with the Crappy Crude attack in Richmond, people can program their brains to come back with a certain mission or 15996091purpose through the use of attitude immersion and catchy tunes. Which is why this next point is so important.
  3. The best way to stop a zombie is to sever the spine, preferably right after the person has died. Bullets to the head or smashing the skull make good TV, but if you don’t destroy the brain, the zombie will keep going. Sever the spine, and the active brain will not be able to make the body move.
  4. Regardless of what preferences the zombie has, certain things usually repel it. Heavy chemical products like household cleaners with bleach or ammonia (not the Green stuff) and insecticides can, at least temporarily, hold back a zombie’s advance. Thus, splashing a line between you and it could give you enough time to run, or tracing a circle around yourself may cause it to pass you by. If the person worked regularly with these kinds of products before death, such as as a housekeeper or non-organic farmer, these will not phase them, however.
  5. Leave the zombie killing to the professionals. We’re not living a season of The Walking Dead. Rare common sense thinking meant strong protocols were put in place early to prevent the zombie apocalypse. Nonetheless, that doesn’t mean individual stupidities won’t increase the spread of zombieism. Most untrained individuals who try to take on a shambler alone end up being bitten and infecting themselves or others or creating a mess that spreads the contagion. Licensed zombie exterminators are on-hand 24/7/365 to take on the zombies. If you have to fight, then fight smart, but otherwise, run and call 9-1-1.

For more information, check out the Neeta Lyffe, Zombie Exterminator novels by Karina Fabian. Also in audiobook, narrated by Becky Parker.

 

Karina’s Blog Tour:

http://tobtr.com/s/7963563
author.dawnwitzke.com
http://AnneEJohnson.blogspot.com
http://www.writersinresidence.blogspot.com
http://writersonthemove.com 
http://sonnetodelldustypages.blogspot.co.uk 
https://damnationbooks.wordpress.com/
https://thecatholicgeeks.wordpress.com/
http://sonnetodelldustypages.blogspot.co.uk
www.mscottchambers.com
https://sayssara.wordpress.com/
http://jaletaclegg.blogspot.com/2015/10/warning-this-blog-has-been-infiltrated.html
http://HorrorAddicts.net
http://spellboundscribbler.wordpress.com
http://thebookconnectionccm.blogspot.com/ 
author.dawnwitzke.com
http://sallyfranklinchristie.com 
http://apiusman.blogspot.com/ 
http://girlzombieauthors.blogspot.com/2015/09/zombie-terrorists-get-theme-song.html
http://apiusman.blogspot.com/ 
http://apiusman.blogspot.com/ 
http://apiusman.blogspot.com/ 
author.dawnwitzke.com
https://vonniewinslowcrist.wordpress.com/ 
https://lexxxchristian.wordpress.com/ 
http://www.thewriterslens.com/
http://samanthabryant.com
http://sallyfranklinchristie.com 
https://emzbox.wordpress.com/
www.jacquelinevickauthor.blogspot.com
http://www.paulinebjones.com/BlogWP/
http://www.blogtalkradio.com/webuiltthatnetwork/2015/10/18/the-catholic-geek-karina-fabian-and-becky-geist-on-audio-books-and-zombies

Review: Strange Appetites: An Anthology of Truly Bizarre Erotic Stories

Strange Appetites:
An Anthology of Truly Bizarre Erotic Stories

review by Voodoo Lynn

Enjoy Japanese fairytales, zombies, cthulu, and magic? You will love this anthology of truly bizarre erotic stories. Here are some of my favorites:

StrangeAppetites_CvrPRTJaded Appetites by Richard Freeman

Yutaka is a man who has done it all, sexually. He’s been up and down and all around the sexual kinks/perversion scale and just as he plunges into boredom, he meets a strange man named Tori at a sex club. Tori informs him he runs his own special club that caters to a very specific clientele. It is there that Yutaka meets Hari, a woman unlike any other he has ever encountered or ever will again. This story is based on an old Japanese folktale that I have never heard of before about the Hari-onago, the hooked woman—a women with very long hair that has little hooks on the end that rip into the flesh of unsuspecting males.

The myth seems to have originated from the Ehime on the island of Shikoku in Japan. As the story goes, she wanders the island, searching for young male victims. She will smile and laugh at them and if they dare laugh back, she attacks. Apparently, most men die but there are a couple of accounts where a man got away, barely. As all cautionary tales go, this one has a point: Don’t pick up strange women at night on a dark road.

I have also found out that the word “tori” in reference to Japanese martial arts means: to choose, to take, to pick up. This is a perfect name for the strange man who chooses Yutaka to come to his club and meet Hari the yokai—a supernatural, monstrous ghoulish figure. I am all about the details. As a person with really long hair myself, I’m kinda surprised I have never heard of this story before but, it gives me plenty of ideas for a cool Halloween costume! The imagery is vibrant and uncluttered and it flows as freely as the blood and hair in this story. A great quick read; especially if you’re curious about learning a little international folklore.

Oasis Beckoning by Jacqueline Brocker

This is a story of a man stuck in a desert, dying of thirst who thankfully, finds a cool pool of water. We don’t know much about the young man other than he is twenty five, with scars and rashes and that he has apparently fled his village when it was attacked by an army with guns, cannons and planes. This pool is a god send. As he soaks, he becomes so comfortable in the water that he falls asleep. It is here where things get interesting.

We find that the water is a living entity and that is it feminine. She reacted to the man as a lover would their first time together, with nervousness, excitement, anticipation and of course, desire; not only for one self but, to also please her lover. She took him in and lovingly cleansed his body and his soul. The water began her gentle and playful seduction. He reacted with astonishment and curiosity, at first. Like many males of the human species he was anxious for the mysterious force of nature (usually a human female but, in this case water) to touch him on his inflated spectacle of gender. Of course she wouldn’t, at least not yet.

This story has many faucets to it that are unique and fascinating. As humans, I think we are all in awe with nature at one time or another, for one reason or another—just ask any outdoor enthusiast. I have been fortunate in my life to have beheld many wondrous natural sites: the Grand Canyon in winter as first snow falls after a long drought, a sunset over the Pacific ocean at Cliff House in San Francisco, the wild, untamed mass of the Mayan rainforest jungles and the majesty of the Milky Way Galaxy overhead while camping in the Northern Nevada desert mining for my favorite stones—opals. It is humbling to know just how powerless we are when it comes to trying to dominate nature. It would seem nature has a way of reminding us of who or more accurately, what is really in charge ultimately. Earthquakes, floods, hurricanes, and volcanic eruptions. No matter where you are, the threat of nature snuffing out your life in a variety of ways is always there. As the self-appointed representative of Mother Nature Poison Ivy once said:  “…it’s not nice to fool with Mother Nature…”

The idea of mankind being able to exert control on the forces of nature is not only arrogant and foolish, but ultimately futile and quite possibly, lethal. Will he escape the waters’ ineffable lure or, will he be seduced by feelings of eroticism and comfort? In essence, he returned to the womb and was nourished by the earth’s amniotic fluid, so why would he leave? You will just have to read it and find out for yourself.

Black Paint by Nobilis Reed

Master Tholnauer is an alchemist and an artist, an artist with some very unique paint. For the right price, he can paint you anything you want, including fully functional body parts, if you get my drift. This story is original and funny. I am familiar with stories that utilize magic paint. In fact, there are several countries and cultures around the world that utilize such paint though, it must be noted that their use is primarily for ritual purposes. This however, is the first time that I have heard about it being used for sex education. How can one not enjoy a story that uses the phrase,

“…and I applied the unguent of epilation and with as much calm professionalism as I could muster.”

This is a story that is perfect for those looking for a good, quick read and a love of fantasy writing mixed in with their horror and eroticism.

Strange Hospitality by Kailin Morgan

This story is built upon a time tested horror staple: a person is driving down an unfamiliar, desolate road during a storm that ends up with some sort of car trouble and then goes wandering around looking for help, finding a large, isolated house, far from any main road. The weirdness begins. In this version, we have Devon, an American, who has traveled to England to meet up with professors at Cambridge. His GPS fails on the way and then he promptly loses control of his vehicle. He tries to use his cell but, SURPRISE! It doesn’t work in a snow storm in the middle of BFE. At this point Devon does the same thing that every doomed victim in a horror story does- he goes wandering around, trying to find help and instead finds a weird, spooky house and decides to knock on the door and asks for help.

Now, I know what you’re thinking—the door is answered by some sort of servant or old creepy dude, but that didn’t happen. Mister dreamboat answers the door and Devon gets invited in; pleasantries are exchanged, hospitality is shown. Coffee was made and shared and a warning is issued: don’t go mucking about the house while the owner is not with him as it could be dangerous. Da, da DAAA! Is this warning heeded? Of course not! If it was, then we wouldn’t be here reading this story. Invariably, Devon hears a noise and instead of politely staying in the rooms he was told to, he follows it. Surprisingly, it doesn’t end up in a bedroom with the windows open and long, flowing drapes billowing in the wind, nor does it end up in a secret torture chamber or lab. Rather, it ends in a large bathroom, decked out with various depictions of octopuses. Here Devon is tempted into the warm, inviting waters because that’s what any rational person would do in a complete stranger’s home. Oh, and drink their wine. Not cool dude. But, if this had not happened then we wouldn’t be able to read about the light chastising of such rude behavior. We wouldn’t be privy to the hint of a warning because we were too busy being seduced. And, we wouldn’t realize that a porn version of Cthulhu was just right around the corner. Who knew?

I don’t want to give too much away, but after a multi-tentacle encounter came (pun intended) to its conclusion, the attractive man beast proposed an offer to our seemingly naïve, rude and good looking victim: Would he stay there and let him take care of him? Now, your immediate response might be to say ‘HELL YES!!!!’ After all, if I experienced a multi-tentacle sexual encounter with an attractive human on land/ octopus creature in h2o, who appears to be fabulously wealthy with a huge estate in the middle of England and gave me such a powerful orgasm that made my hips shutter and my vision blur that promised to take care of me and offer me such pleasure for the rest of my life that wants my company, where do I sign? But, think about it. You would have to give up your entire life, as you know it.

For me, the real horror is the thought of abandoning all that I am and giving up those external aspects of my life that make up “me”, all for one person that I just met. I suppose it depends on what you’re giving up. I will happily call myself a coward if I don’t make the choice to disappear and would rather stay with my life now. Of course, the Cthulhu-esque hottie beast-man might just kill me anyway if I don’t stay in which case, I choose door number two! Read this story because it’s interesting and then you can optionally drive yourself crazy afterwards pondering what you would do in this situation.

The Ravening Season by Jacqueline Brocker

The Ravening season is about the mysteries of the woods. A man with a group of friends are walking in the woods when he spots a woman so beautiful with such presence yet, somehow innocent like a child, or so he thinks.  He recounted to himself stories he heard of woodland creatures that if treated right would bring,

“…a lifetime of happiness and ecstasy.”

In this way, we can think of him as a person trying to gain the trust of a feral animal, or a selfish, sexist dumbass or, maybe all the above in this case. He bides his time and amazingly, it works. He thinks he is the luckiest man on Earth. Here he is, watching her develop physically, becoming more womanly and mature as time goes on. He wants her so badly but he knows to go slow so he doesn’t spook her. This becomes his single minded pursuit. He leaves his friends behind for her.

As the story progresses, his lust grows like her body. We’ll ignore this man’s disturbing pedophilic stalker obsession with her virginity and trudge on with the story. As the seasons change, so does her appearance from blonde to brunette (And why may I ask are brunettes always villianized unless they are Snow White?). Her behavior also changes from passive and shy to more aggressive and even violent. Yet, like a moth to a flame he keeps coming back to her. Some people just love pain I suppose.

The story seems to be about the all-consuming and irrational nature of love and lust. The author paints very clear and crisp images of what is going on. I enjoyed how the story isn’t set in any particular time period. The tale itself is timeless in its familiarity and warning. Like all fairy tales, this one teaches us something about life. It gives us a warning to not do what they did lest we experience a similar fate as the lead character does. So, what’s the lesson here? Is it about love, lust, obsession, betrayal, foolishness? There are so many things to glean from this story. To find out you’ll just have to read it and judge for yourself what the moral of the story is. I suggest you do it with a full stomach lest you find yourself hungry for something you think you might want but will later on regret, like that nice big piece of chocolate cake that is beckoning you from your icebox…I wonder if I have some milk in there too…

Sleep of Reason by Richard Freeman

I’m just gonna come right out and say this now: This is by far, my favorite story from the collection of stories. It starts out as a jaded author named Paul suffers from a severe case of writers block. (We’ve all been there.) The only joys in his life are sex and psychoactive drugs. He keeps journals of his psychedelic experiences. In this way, the character reminds you of Carlos Castaneda, minus the tutelage of the Yaqui Indian Don Juan Matus. After being in a rut for so long, he needs a little something to help him get out of it and he hears of a new drug “writhe” that’s unlike anything he ever experienced. The dealer says the drug is organic. OK. Good to know. Sulfur is also organic but, I wouldn’t suggest ingesting that either. The dealer continues on and warns Paul that the trip he’s gonna go on is dangerous and recommends he does it at home and lock all the doors and windows. So, Paul goes home and does what he suggests. What happens next after he takes the drug is something the reader has probably never experienced. Well, at least not me anyway.

Imagine a world where you blend a steampunk Alice in Wonderland, The Beatles animated film Yellow Submarine, a little Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and you will begin to get an idea of just how odd this other world is. Oh, did I forget to mention you’d need to throw in a bunch of Caligula to the mix as well? Don’t ask me how it all works, it just does. You’d think that you would experience a bit of confusion and shock and you will but, not like you’d think. If you’re looking for some mood music to accompany this story, like a soundtrack if you will, might I suggest the following: Alice Cooper’s ‘Welcome to my Nightmare’, Arthur Brown’s ‘Fire’, Pink Floyd’s ‘Dark side of the Moon’ and anything by the plutonium rock band Disaster Area. (I would be curious to know what soundtrack the author of this story would recommend.)

In between trips to this world, Paul writes profusely about it though, all he’s really doing is biding his time until his next fix. As Paul becomes more and more addicted to the experiences he has to the drug an underlying issue surfaces. What is reality? What is the real world to people who feel like the physical world they live in holds no meaning to them; they have no ties to it, no normal and necessary anchors like family, friends, community, etc. When we sleep at night, don’t we all experience dreams that occasionally seem like more than a dream? When we are immersed in deep REM sleep isn’t our subconscious mind busy at work processing info and connecting that into a reality that very few can differentiate from waking action? Many religions practice some form of meditation which is, if I understand it correctly—an altered state of mind. Would we tell people who pray or meditate a lot that those experiences aren’t real or meaningful and therefore not as important or “real” as waking life? Paul ends up getting the opportunity to be able to live this imaginative world 24/7. No more drudgery, bills or pain. No more responsibility and no more effort to make life worth living. If given this opportunity would we refuse paradise so easily? This story is fascinating to me. I won’t tell you what happens but, it’s just crazy and engaging, and it makes you wonder about yourself and the human condition. Read this sober, or read it drunk or high. Whatever you chose, just give it a read. Now if you’ll excuse me “…I need to go ask Alice, I think she’ll know…”

Screen Siren by Annabeth Leong

You would have to be living under a rock to not know that zombies are all the rage right now and this story is no exception to that cultural phenomenon. This story can be summarized in this way, think: Shaun of the Dead goes to Hollywood via Tromaville. In this world after the zombie apocalypse, people have learned how to ‘domesticate’ zombies. They are the now the menial slave labor of the general populace doing the jobs nobody wants to do. They are the day laborers, waitresses and in the case of this story, even temporary actors before being shipped off to the fields. Every civilization seems to have a segment of the population that is disposable and nobody knows that better than Hollywood.

In this surreal land of opportunity there are brokerage firms that make last chance deals with these actors. They will commit suicide and right after they die, they will be sent to a casting call to possibly be cast in one final film before being sent to the labor camps. These former living, breathing humans are now property. Supposedly they are checked for total brain death because if there isn’t that total loss of self, the residuals of the individual comes out and they are the ones that attack and eat you. When struggling Z movie director, Sam, happens to get a chance to cast his female lead to a recently departed but not totally gone actress from his fantasies. Jessica Savage, how could he resist? Even if she may eat his pancreas. He has limited time to spend with her or, what’s left of her conscious, soul, being, essence.

This story expertly shows us the ugly and disappointing side of life. It illustrates how things don’t always go the way we want them to or plan on. There is no shying away from it here; it’s all out there for us to see—all pink and naked. The world of fantasy and real life collide here with the force of matter and antimatter in an extreme scene which is referred to as ‘sexual penitence’ in the story. The sheer force of lust and willpower makes for a memorable albeit, repulsive climax. It’s a tragically funny story full of cynicism and of course, rampant sexism. Not from the author directly but rather, through the world of fame and fortune, celebrity and the eternal quest for perpetual youth. Even in this fictional world, women are still viewed as second class citizens and property where their only value is their looks. Welcome to Hollywoodland. But, just because a story is based in Hollywood that doesn’t mean it’s not an entertaining read. For those of you who don’t care for happily ever after endings, this interesting story is for you.

Little Henna Hair by R. W. Whitefield

How can I not give props to a story that uses the phrase,

“…squirrel boys with sincere stripy shirts, shaking their bony asses.”

HAHAHA!!! I couldn’t have come up with a better description of young gothic boys dancing at a club if I tried. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been attracted to my fair share of them. I’ve just never heard it put quite so plainly and I admire the succinct and cogent description utilized here.

This story is about lycanthropy and how young women really shouldn’t be walking alone late at night. The description of the canine/ human in question reminds me of a slightly older, Alcide Herveaux from True Blood. Our gothic little red riding hood sounds like a hottie so it’s no big surprise when Fido decides to track her however, little red ain’t no dummy. She knows something is afoot when she leaves the club after closing time. I appreciate the author’s nod to the X-men’s own wolfish character Wolverine when little red calls out the name Logan after hearing a noise behind her. I mentioned True Blood earlier in this review and indeed I would be remiss if I didn’t concede to the fact that there are huge parallels to that show and this story. Huge like, Grand Canyon huge. I’ll be honest here, this isn’t my favorite story but, it’s alright. Otherwise, if you’re into sexy fairytales, quickies and bestiality, then this one is for you.

HorrorAddicts.net 117, Mike Robinson

ha-tag

Horror Addicts Episode# 117

Horror Hostess: Emerian Rich

Intro Music by: Valentine Wolfe

mike robinson | pamela moore | penny dreadful

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

97 days till halloween

sycamore leaves, aha, bret alexander sweet, backstreet boy n’sync zombie flick?, sharknado, a christmas horror story, will shatner, halloween carols, daniel ford, a.d. vick, tales of dark romance and horror, free fiction friday, lillian csernica, books, david watson, loren rhoads, as above so below, mike robinson, negative space, wicked women writers, masters of macabre, morbid meals, dan shaurette, nightmare fuel, candyman, d.j. pitsiladis, deadly pixy sticks, pamela moore, dawn wood, jesse orr, grant me serenity, black jack, kbatz, horror blogger alliance, penny dreadful, kristin battestella, hbo, deadmail, angela, halloween costumes, jeffery, bullies, goth bashing, pamela, podcast authors, mark eller, mike bennett, rhonda carpenter, marc vale advice, norms, horror movies, zombies, maniacs, vampires, instant death, protect yourself, survival, horror addicts guide to life, mike robinson, cryptozoology, author reads, stephen king, the shining, storm of the century

Horror Addicts Guide to Life now available on Amazon!
http://www.amazon.com/Horror-Addicts-Guide-Life-Emerian/dp/1508772525/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1428730091&sr=8-1&keywords=horror+addicts+guide+to+life

HorrorAddicts.net blog Kindle syndicated

http://www.amazon.com/HorrorAddicts-net/dp/B004IEA48W/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1431022701&sr=8-1&keywords=horroraddicts.net

———————–

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

VOTE FOR YOUR FAVORITE MMM / WWW contestant.

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————————

h o s t e s s

Emerian Rich

s t a f f

David Watson, Dan Shaurette, Marc Vale, KBatz (Kristin Battestella), Mimielle, Dawn Wood, Lillian Csernica, Killion Slade, D.J. Pitsiladis, Jesse Orr, A.D. Vick

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

b l o g  / c o n t a c t / s h o w . n o t e s

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Horror Addicts Guide to Life Author Spotlight: Pembroke Sinclair

23466108Pembroke Sinclair is an author who knows exactly what to do when zombies come calling. For Horror Addicts Guide To Life   Pembroke wrote an article called “Surviving Zombies” which lets all of us horror addicts know the best way to survive the zombie apocalypse. To read Pembroke’s article along with several other articles on living the horror lifestyle, pick up a copy of Horror Addicts Guide To LifeRecently Pembroke was nice enough to tell us what she likes about horror:

What do you like about the horror genre?

I really enjoy that the horror genre shows in extreme and metaphorical fashion what society is afraid of. I love dissecting and picking apart the meaning in the films where others just usually write them off as scary and gory.

What are some of your favorite horror movies, books or TV shows?

My favorite horror movie of all time is Aliens. It scared the hell out of me as a child, but also intrigued me. When I grow up, I want to be an Alien Queen.

I’m also a huge fan of slasher films and zombies. I’ll watch pretty much anything if they fall into those categories.16177830

In what way do you live the horror lifestyle?

I’m constantly aware of my surroundings so if the dead rise from the grave or a crazed killer shows up, I know how to get away or find a weapon to protect myself.

What are you currently working on?

At the moment, I’m working on my grandfather-in-law’s biography. He was in WWII and made advances in the ranching industry in Wyoming, so it’s been interesting to write.

The 3rd book in my Road to Salvation Series, Good Intentions, will be available in July. This YA series focuses on demons and the battle between good and evil.

After all of this is done, I’m planning another YA zombie novel.

Where can we find you online?

Blog:  http://pembrokesinclair.blogspot.com/

Goodreads:  http://www.goodreads.com/Pembroke

Amazon:  http://www.amazon.com/Pembroke-Sinclair/e/B007RFYJ6W/

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/jessicarobinsonauthor

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/PembrokeSinclai

HorrorAddicts.net 114, H.E. Roulo

ha-tag

Horror Addicts Episode# 114

Horror Hostess: Emerian Rich

Intro Music by: Valentine Wolfe

h.e. roulo | particle son | the walking dead

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

174 days till halloween

richard cheese, down with the sickness, zombies, baycon, book release party, emerian rich, h.e. roulo, j. malcolm stewart, laurel anne hill, sumiko saulson, loren rhoads, lillian csernica, seanan mcguire, earthquakes, horroraddicts on kindle, babadook, netflix, chiller, lifeforce, colin wilson, the space vampires, tobe hooper, texas chainsaw massacre, mathilda may, siren, slasher, stack.com, death note, adam wingard, the woman in black, horror addicts guide to life, sandra harris, ron vitale, david watson, books, plague master: sanctuary dome, zombie dome, slicing bones, kindle buys, morbid meals, dan shaurette, london mess, fox uk, canniburgers, the walking dead recipe, nightmare fuel, japanese fable, slit mouth woman, surgical mask, particle son, revelation, portland band, dawn wood, stephen king, clive barker, grant me serenity, jesse orr, black jack, the country road cover up, the sacred, crystal connor, dracula dead and loving it, kbatz, kristin battestella, c.a.milson, the walking dead, dead mail, candace questions, colette, bees, david, bugs, the watcher in the woods, pembroke, jaws, gremlins, craig, devil, sparkylee, the thing, dogs, kristin, alien, robert, magic, daltha, clowns, pennywise, jaq, creature from the black lagoon, jody, night of the living dead, world book day, interview with a vampire, michael, haunting of hill house, kbatz, frankenstein, dracula, anne rice, jane eyre, sumiko, the stand, lillian,  jim butcher, changes, a.d., exorcist, mimielle, firestarter, bad moon rising, jonathan mayberry, edgar, alabama, alien from la, kathy ireland, ask marc, marc vale, mike, pittsburgh, driver’s test, what would norman bates do?, mother, voices, psycho, h.e. roulo, heather roulo.

 

Horror Addicts Guide to Life now available on Amazon!
http://www.amazon.com/Horror-Addicts-Guide-Life-Emerian/dp/1508772525/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1428730091&sr=8-1&keywords=horror+addicts+guide+to+life

 

Baycon.org

 

HorrorAddicts.net blog Kindle syndicated

http://www.amazon.com/HorrorAddicts-net/dp/B004IEA48W/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1431022701&sr=8-1&keywords=horroraddicts.net

 

———————–

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

horroraddicts@gmail.com

————————

h o s t e s s

Emerian Rich

s t a f f

David Watson, Dan Shaurette, Marc Vale, KBatz (Kristin Battestella), Mimielle, Dawn Wood, Lillian Csernica, Killion Slade, D.J. Pitsiladis, Jesse Orr.

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

b l o g  / c o n t a c t / s h o w . n o t e s

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Author spotlight: Heather Roulo

H. E. Roulo is no stranger to horroraddicts.net. She has been on the show before, won our most wicked award in 2009 and she has had stories in out publications: The Wickeds, Horrible Disasters and our current anthology Horror Addicts Guide To Life.  H.E. Roulo has a new book out from Permuted Press called Plague Master: Sanctuary Dome. H.E. is our featured author for episode 114 of the podcast  and she answered a few questions about her writing for us:

When did you start writing?

25256749From the top bunk, I’d tell my younger sister stories at night. As soon as I knew enough letters, I put pencil to paper to write stories. By the time I was in the third grade I knew I wanted to be an author. I just didn’t know how badly it paid.

You produced your first book Fractured Horizon as a podcast. Why did you go this route and where can people listen to it?

For a lot of years, I didn’t tell people I wrote. Co-workers didn’t know. It was my secret.
When I finally decided to take my writing public, I wanted to see whether there was interest. Did people like my stories? Podcasting my novel let me get immediate, week-by-week feedback. I also didn’t have to worry about hiring an editor, I did all the recording myself at night or while my toddler slept.
Fractured Horizon was my first big success, even a Parsec Finalist, and it will always be dear to me. The story of Kay Downs traveling through time the hard way, by living through it, until she reached the damaged future and repaired it, started my career. Peoples’ responses to that story encouraged me to continue. I’ve learned a lot since then. I recently rewrote the text of Fractured Horizon to be clearer. I’ve had it edited. I need to release it, it’s just a matter of finding the time.

Is writing an audio drama different from writing a novel? 

fractured-horizonI’ve deliberately attempted new things so I would be a better writer. I learned a lot about story, being concise, setting the scene, and pacing, from experimenting.
The podcast novel, Fractured Horizon, was an audio book. I simply read the written novel, edited the audio to take out pauses, and added an episode introduction to catch listeners up. It’s a little rough, and moves too fast. I could do better now. Of course, I think that about every project I finish.
Once I was done releasing Fractured Horizon, I was looking to do more audio. I released short stories, including three for HorrorAddicts.net. Those stories did a lot for me. I won the first annual Wicked Women Writer’s challenge with “Graveyard Shift”; released “Undergrowth” as my first ebook single; and “Great Asp & Little Death” became one of the stories in the Rich & Roulo series.
After that, I had several stories traditionally published in markets like Nature and Fantasy’s special Women Destroy Fantasy issue.
Finally, I wrote a script for a full-cast audio drama. An audio drama is different from an audio book because the voices of the characters and sound effects tell the story—just like old radio plays. I had to be creative; there’s only sound to tell the story. I couldn’t rely on descriptions or go inside the character’s head. That audio drama, and the world I created, led to much more.

What is the inspiration behind Plague Masters: Sanctuary Dome?

24899021The novel took a long path. It started as an audio drama submitted to Necropolis Studio Productions for their Omega Road Chronicles, which is a series of moody unconnected short stories, much like The Twilight Show. My script was for a 40 minute show. They selected it right away.
Next, I turned the idea into a short for the Live and Let Undead anthology, which is themed around putting zombies to work. And that sold right away.
At that point, it seemed a no-brainer to expand the world I’d come to love. I already had Samantha, who is searching for her brother’s murderer. For the novel, I added the story of Trevor, a teenager from a downtrodden planet. He wants to fight against the zombies swarming his world, but opportunity is scarce. He’s working as zombie-bait for the local militia when the girl he likes becomes infected. They get sent to the Sanctuary Dome, a punishment that’s actually a big improvement, but he’s not infected and is trying to save everyone, even his home world, from this disease.

Are the zombies in your story fast-moving or slow-moving?

Mythology is so important in a story like this. It drives the tension and action. In my world, a bite means a change to a zombie, but there are also blood infections. Get splashed with zombie blood, and you’ll change but no one knows how soon. It turns people into ticking time bombs. That’s what happened to Samantha, and to the girl Trevor loves. They’re infected, but not changed into zombies, yet.
When someone does change, they go through stages of madness and rage. They’re still fast. Eventually, zombies become slow and docile. They will wander with sheep in a field, but they can get aggressive again if provoked. Don’t provoke the zombies, it gets ugly fast.

How many books do you have planned in the Plague Masters series?

I’m contracted for three books. It’s a tidy trilogy with an ending I’m really excited to write. At this point, the first book is available for purchase. I’ve finished writing the second one. Now, I get the dig into the finale of the series. There’s going to be even more action, and more at stake for every character.
All the worlds in this system are suffering. The series has to end soon, before there’s no one left for me to torture.

Why do you think people are so fascinated with the zombie apocalypse?

I think there are lots of different reasons. A zombie apocalypse lets us imagine a world starting over. Old, boring 10422043_759435137459081_6646199572415413856_nproblems are gone. No one worries about grades or taxes in a zombie apocalypse.
Life becomes purer, it’s about survival, testing ourselves, and hopefully rising to the occasion. With zombies, there’s no guilt in killing them, no gray area, no reason to understand their point of view. There’s fairness in knowing that they’ll kill you if they can, and you can respond on that level. If you’re smart and careful, you’ll survive. Our world is a complicated place. The zombie apocalypse simplifies it.
Until the Plague Masters rise, of course.

http://www.heroulo.com/

http://podiobooks.com/title/fractured-horizon/

http://www.fracturedhorizonnovel.com/2015/04/13/free-audio-drama-omega-road-chronicles-ep-3-the-killer-with-eyes-of-ice/

 

 

The Walking Dead: Season One Review

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 by C.A. Milson

There are zombie movies and TV shows, and then there is The Walking Dead.

 

The Walking Dead tells the story of Rick, his wife Lori, their son Carl, and a band of survivors who are trapped in a world gone to shit, and they will do anything to survive.

 

The series kicks off with Rick and Shane. Both of them are cops, and damn good ones at that. Although from the get-go, it is obvious that Shane is not as peachy clean as he makes out J (more of that later)

 

Early on into the piece, a high speed chase takes place down the Interstate. Rick and Shane barrel off in the cruiser and help set up the blockade to catch the crims. As luck would have it (or fate), Rick gets shot during the gun-fight and ends up in hospital in a coma.

 

Fate has a way to deal a harsh blow. And in this series, no one is innocent as a virus is released, killing all but a handful of people. But it doesn’t stop there. The virus not only takes the lives of millions, but brings them back from the dead, and the dead are hungry for one thing – blood!

 

Rick – Rick awakens from his coma, sometime after the epidemic has done its damage, and he stumbles out of the hospital to see what is left of humanity… The dead are everywhere, littering the sidewalks and streets like common trash. As he struggles to find his family in a world gone to hell, he must come to terms with the Dead been risen from the grave, and make choices he wouldn’t otherwise consider.

 

Rick has a chance meeting with Morgan. A street-wise survivor who will do anything to keep him and his son safe from the Walkers. He forms a fast friendship with Rick, and they agree to keep each other’s backs, even if it is by CB Radio.

 

In his journey to find his family, he has an unlikely meeting with one character who will become a regular on the show – Glenn. Glenn’s knowledge of the streets of Atlanta turns out to be a valuable asset, and it inevitably saves Rick from what would otherwise be his very short-lived appearance. Glenn navigates Rick to safety and after some run-ins with a horde of Walkers, (and of course hot-head Merle), Glenn takes Rick back to base camp.

 

When he does find his beloved family in the middle of the bush (but close enough to Atlanta), the reunion is not euphoric. Lori – thinking that Rick had died – had been sleeping with Shane (for some time apparently), and Shane thinks he is the one destined to keep Lori and Carl safe.

 

If the group is to survive, they will need to band together, set aside their old-world prejudices and do whatever they can to survive one day after another. For tomorrow, the Dead may just have their fill.

 

 

Along for the ride in Series One are:

Merle – Merle is the original hot-headed, trouble making SOB. A former criminal, he is extremely racist, spiteful and very cynical about everybody and everything which causes nothing but trouble between him and anyone else that he comes into close contact with.

Daryl – Daryl is the younger brother of Merle. Unlike his hot-headed brother, Daryl does have some redeeming qualities, even if he acts like a hillbilly and eats road-kill. Daryl is a survivalist, and a skilled tracker and hunter. He is also an expert with his favorite weapon of choice, a crossbow.

Dale – Dale is the ever present voice of reason in this post-apocalyptic world, even when it is not asked for. His biggest flaw is his compassion for humanity and his over-protectiveness for Andrea. Dale serves as the father-figure of the group, even if his thoughts and morals are not exactly shared by anyone else, especially Shane.

Shane – There is a lot that can be said about Shane. Unfortunately, not any of it is good J Shane is a man of action, which for him, is not always a good move. (Shoot first ask questions later). He was a Sheriff before the outbreak happened, and a good friend to Rick. Since the outbreak, he convinced Lori that Rick was dead and set-up home (in a tent) with his new family. Shane is aggressive, single minded, narrow minded and quick to pass judgment on anyone who doesn’t agree with his opinion.

Carol – Carol the meek… Carol the silent… Carol the schemer. J There is something that can be said about the quiet ones.. They are often the most dangerous.. But, I am not going to spoil anything for you here. Let’s just say that in Season One, we meet Carol, who is frequently abused by her idiot husband, Ed. Carol’s world revolves around Ed and their daughter, Sophia. What Carol lacks in confidence and self-esteem, she certainly makes up for with her empathy. As mild as she is in Season One, just wait til you see her in later seasons. J

Andrea – In her former life, she was a civil rights lawyer. It is no wonder that she doesn’t take BS from anyone, not even her father figure, Dale. Andrea is more comfortable with a gun than being in the kitchen “playing house”. Andrea is opinionated, head-strong and although a rank amateur with a gun, she soon becomes a great sharp-shooter, thanks to Shane’s teaching.

Lori – Wife to Rick and mother to Carl. In this Walker-infested world, she is determined to shield Carl from the harsh realities that surround them constantly. Self-critical and always trying to find a solution to her family issues.

Carl – Son of Rick and Lori. When we first meet Carl, he is a young boy, and already eager to be an adult. The Walkers he finds more curious than a menace, and his curiosity does land him into trouble on more than one occasion.

Glenn – As I said before, Glenn is street-smart and for the most part, quiet. He is the one most favored to gather supplies for the group. Even if his actions do land him in trouble of his own at times.

 

Season One lasted for six episodes, and ended with Rick and his group of survivors gaining access to the C.D.C., only to find out that the building is on a countdown to self-destruct.

 

Unlike other Zombie shows, The Walking Dead certainly has raised the bar on survival horror themed entertainment. The characters, they grow on you…Even the ones who are annoying and deserve to be killed off. J

 

There are other shows that have tried to cash in on the phenomenon that is TWD, but not one of them comes close to this one.

In my next review, I will focus on Season Two, Life On The Farm J

**********

C.A.Milson grew up in Brisbane, Australia. He is the author of 5 books; Indie Film Director/Producer; Publisher; and Marketing Consultant

 The eldest of many siblings, his interest in writing started in 1989, when he lived in a small town in Victoria, Australia. It was not until 2008 when he saw his dream finally come, when his first novel was published by a company in the US.

 His books include; “Rise Of The Darkness”; “Bloodline Of Darkness”; “Pick Up The Phone” (Under his real name of Chris Jackson); Izbranny (Russian version); and “Not So Ordinary Girl” (which he co-wrote with well-known sports entertainment writer, J.D.Rebel).

 “Phantasmalyptic” was released in 2010, which was a graphic comic adaptation of “Rise of The Darkness”. In 2014, “Rise Of The Darkness” was released for the first time as Audiobook and is available on GooglePlay, iTunes and various other online retailers

 His interests include films, foreign culture, traveling, cinema/film, mythology, cooking, Xbox, and spending time on his backyard hobby farm.

 

 

 

 

Morbid Meals – Canniburgers

MM13EXAMINATION

Have you ever wondered? You know… What does human meat taste like? Putting these recipes together has encouraged me to ponder this question. You know it was going to come up. Well, thanks to Chef Jim Thomlinson of London Mess, we now have an interesting approximation.

Jim and his conspirator, Emma Thomas of Miss Cakehead, partnered with FOX UK to create a publicity event for Season Five of The Walking Dead. They did their research — all book learning, I’m sure — into what cannibals have documented through the years what they thought human flesh tasted like. Jim’s recipe used pork, veal, and beef bone marrow. Fans of the show came to a pop-up grill in East London called Terminus Tavern and were served these burgers with some bacon ketchup on the side.

As I live nowhere near London, I decided I would attempt to make the burgers myself and share the fun. They seemed appropriate for the Death card and this episode’s discussion of zombies.

ANALYSIS

Makes 8 burger patties

Ingredients

1 lb ground pork
1 lb ground veal
1 lb beef marrow bones (or 1/4 lb bacon, minced)
salt and pepper, to taste

Apparatus

  • Large bowl
  • Meat grinder (optional)
  • Frying pan or skillet

Procedure

  1. If you have beef marrow bones, we want to use just the marrow in the bones. It is very easy to push the fatty marrow out through the bones.
  2. Mash the marrow to break it up. Set aside. Freeze the bones for later; they will be perfect for making beef stock/bone broth in the future.
  3. If you don’t have marrow bones, then bacon can be a nice substitute which adds its own familiar flavor. Chop the bacon and set it aside.
  4. If you have a meat grinder, grind up the pound of pork, then the beef marrow (or bacon), then the veal. Mix all of the ground meat together and run it all through the grinder again.
  5. If you do not have your own grinder, then buy ground pork and ground veal, and mix these together with the mashed bone marrow (or bacon) in a large bowl.
  6. Add salt and pepper and mix well to incorporate everything together.
  7. Divide the meat into about 8 patties.
  8. Drizzle a teaspoon of oil into your frying pan or skillet and heat on high until the oil shimmers, about 3 minutes.
  9. Cook the patties until golden brown on one side, about 5 minutes. Flip the patties and cook on the second side, another 5 minutes. If you have a meat thermometer, ground meat needs to reach 160°F for safety.
  10. Serve immediately with your favorite fixins.

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DISSECTION

Right off the bat you are probably thinking, “Ewww… beef marrow?!” That’s assuming you got past “Ewww… human burgers?!” Bone marrow is actually quite delicious roasted and spread on toast. I’ve had it at The Salty Sow and it is divine. This is really little more than a rich fat that adds a velvety quality to the burgers. Ask your butcher if they can get you some. My local gourmet store sold some from Rumba Meats.

If you can’t find marrow bones or soup bones at your local grocer, or if you just can’t get past the “bone marrow” factor, I think some strips of bacon would suffice. Bacon is mostly fat and the smoke and saltiness would go well. Just don’t cook the bacon before using it. Chop or grind it right up raw with the rest of the meat.

POST-MORTEM

So… what does it taste like? I don’t have Hannibal Lecter’s palate, but I quite enjoyed them. They were nothing like beef burgers, of course. The pork and veal were a nice complement to each other. The marrow brought it all together in a nice solid patty. I would definitely make these again.

Pair this with a Zombie cocktail and you will have the perfect meal for your watch party for The Walking Dead or iZombie. Hell, I’ll probably serve them again when NBC’s Hannibal premieres June 4th, 2015.

Review: Plague Master: Sanctuary Dome

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Some teenage boys dream of getting a car or having a nice girlfriend. When you’re a teenager who lives in a run down neighborhood on a planet that is being over run by zombies, you dream of helping your planet’s army kill them all. Trevor wanted to do all he could to help his planet and jumped at the chance to be zombie bait. The soldiers send him into buildings to draw the zombies out and he gets to feel like he is helping society.

Life changes quickly for Trevor as he saves his dream girl but finds out she is infected. Trevor then escapes his planet and ends up in the Sanctuary Dome where the people infected with the zombie virus stay until they are changed. On another planet not far away, a teenage girl named Samantha is trying to find her missing brother and believes that the person responsible is a man named Julius. Julius is a rich man and his money built the Sanctuary Dome, can he be responsible for murder? Secrets are being kept under the dome and soon the zombies will be free to infect the universe.

Plague Master Sanctuary Dome is a book that horror fans and Science Fiction fans will enjoy. Science fiction fans will love the futuristic mythology and the political system that reminded me of The Hunger Games. I love the concept of a dome on another planet where diseased people are kept and the technology they have to see if someone is infected. I also liked how different the zombies are, they can be fast-moving or slow-moving based on how they were infected.

My favorite part of this book was Trevor’s story. Trevor is your average teenager thrown into a harsh situation. He simply wants to protect his family and everyone else on his planet but he finds out that everyone has an agenda and nothing is as it seems. He is used as zombie bait by an army that doesn’t care about him because he is from a poor area of the planet. While he sees himself as helping people against the zombies, his father is against what he is doing and is the only one who is looking out for him. The relationship between father and son is easy to relate to, Trevor’s father just wants to protect his son but Trevor is naive and thinks he knows whats best for himself.

There may be a lot of zombie books out there but Plague Master: Sanctuary Dome is a fresh spin on the genre. What I liked best about it was the characters who are mostly young people who were forced to grow up to fast. Not only do they have to deal with zombies they also have to deal with a corrupt political system that doesn’t have everyone’s best interests at heart. This book has something for everyone.  Younger readers will like the action and the characters while older readers will like the setting that H.E. Roulo created. This is the first book in a trilogy and it will be exciting to see where the story will go next.

Press Release: Pray For Darkness by James Michael Rice

The Amazon Jungle.

23791949Early explorers called it the Green Hell, and for good reason. Consisting of more than a billion acres of untamed wilderness, the Amazon is a place of fragile beauty… and unspeakable danger.

When Ben Sawyer and his friends embark on an adventure tour in a remote section of the jungle, they plan on having the trip of a lifetime. But when their riverboat captain is murdered, leaving them stranded, their dream vacation rapidly tailspins into a nightmarish battle for survival.

Something sinister has been watching them, stalking them under cover of darkness.

Something that will not allow them to leave the jungle alive…

Pray for Darkness is the story of three twenty-something year old friends—Ben, Auggie, and Cooper—who head to the Amazon in the hope of creating some lasting memories before they are completely saddled by the drudgery of everyday life. Once there, they arrive at a rustic jungle lodge, populated by tourists hailing from around the world, and are immediately entranced by the fragile beauty of the forest and its creatures. However, it does not take long for their wanderlust to kick in, and they decide to up the stakes by venturing even deeper into the jungle to spend a few days at a remote campsite.

Under the watchful eye of their native guide, Ernesto, they abandon the relative safety of the tourist lodge and head to the remote camp in search of a “true” adventure. But when their riverboat captain is murdered and their boat disappears, their dream vacation quickly becomes a real life nightmare. Now they must brave the dangers of the wild as they make their way back to civilization.

And they are not alone.

A tribe of hungry corpses has detected the presence of the human intruders, stalking them under cover of darkness. Now Ben and his friends must use every resource at their disposal in order to survive the journey back to safety.

About the author:

In his new novel, Pray for Darkness, author James Michael Rice draws from a wealth of personal experience while writing about an ill-fated adventure trip into the Amazon.

While developing ideas for his novel, Rice journeyed deep into the Amazon not once, but twice, in order to experience the jungle and all of its glorious (and potentially lethal) flora and fauna firsthand.

Rice explains, “While visiting the jungle, I was amazed by all the beautiful and deadly creatures that are common there… poison dart frogs, venomous spiders and snakes, caiman, piranha; the list goes on and on. Nevertheless, there is another side to the Amazon, a wondrous and beautiful side that possesses an almost hypnotic power. I knew that such an amazing, exotic location would make the perfect setting for my next book. Combine that with the element of mystery (the vast majority of the jungle has yet to be explored, and amazing new species are being discovered there on an almost daily basis) and you have the perfect setting for a horror story. With so many movies, television shows, and books about the zombie apocalypse, I decided it was time to create an “origin” story to reveal where the living dead really come from… ”

James Michael Rice is the author of Rebel Angels, A Tough Act to Follow, The Still, and Pray for Darkness. He lives in Southeastern Massachusetts, and recently appeared in “The Bridgewater Triangle Documentary”, the first full-length documentary on New England’s own paranormal hotspot.

Book Review: Insurgent Z

23929492Botte Louisiana is just a little fly spec on the map. The weather is almost always hot and life is pretty laid back in this small town. Things are changing quickly though, the military has its eyes on Botte and they want to do some experiments on prisoners at the local prison which is referred  to as Paradis (French for Paradise). The hope was to create an army of super soldiers but not surprisingly, things don’t work out.

Sheriff Mason Guillot is used to work being easy in his town but now he is in the middle of a zombie outbreak and forced to confront his dark past. Eight years ago he was a soldier and his superior officer Jonathan Hart led him into a trap that caused two people to die. Hart is in charge of the experiments at the prison and Mason must face the man he never wanted to see again. Mason must defeat his personal demons and let go of the past in order to help the people in his town survive the zombie uprising.

Insurgent Z  by Mark C. Scioneaux and Dane Hatchell starts off as a military thriller and then turns into a horror novel. The beginning of this book led me to believe it was going to be a very different kind of novel. It starts in the middle east and gives us some background on two of the main characters before it gets into the zombie story line. The opening of this book was fantastic and I loved the dialogue between the soldiers who are being held prisoner in an enemy camp and their torturer, a man they call scarface. This book starts off with a dose of real life horror and then you see how this real life horror shaped Mason before the zombie outbreak 8 years later.

Mason is a man who has gone through hell  and you root for him because he still tries to do the right thing even after he has suffered. I liked how this book gets deep into what makes all the characters tick. Even  the supporting characters are given back stories, two people in the book, a young couple named Ryn and Deb have had a rough life. They are married and nothing turned out how they planned. Ryn became a drug dealer and Deb works with hospice patients. You see that their relationship is strained but as zombies stumble on to their property, you see them work together to survive. I loved their story and it was one of the scariest parts of the book when they have to fight to survive.

Insurgent Z is everything you would expect in a zombie book. You have interesting characters, flesh-eating monsters, science experiments gone wrong, old school zombies(read it, if you know about the history of zombies you’ll know what I mean.) and lots of action. The characters are what really makes this book worth reading though. Even people who aren’t in the story very long get a back story and the authors make you care about them. This is what makes this book horrifying, you care about the people and you want them to get a happy ending. Insurgent Z is a simple story with complex characters and is a good example of how zombie fiction never gets old.

Zombie Author Profile: Jessica Robinson

What was the inspiration behind Undead Obsessed?

Undead Obsessed CoverI’ve always wanted to write about zombies, but I was never sure what I wanted to say. After watching World War Z, it hit me: science in zombie films. From there, the journey started, and I looked for ways in which science had failed society and how it could be the cause of zombies taking over the world.

What was the most important thing you learned from writing this book?

People were so nice and willing to talk to me about their professions—even if they thought what I was doing was slightly insane. Most of the people I interviewed weren’t zombie fans, but they were incredibly helpful, knowledgeable, and had great ideas of what could possibly create zombies. They were amazing to talk to, and I couldn’t have finished the book without them.

What would you do to survive the zombie apocalypse?

I’m pretty lucky in that I live in Wyoming. Our population is fairly low, and we have terrain that most zombies would find difficult to navigate. We also get really cold winters. So, to survive, I would fortify my house, wait for winter to roll around, then pick off the zombie popsicles at will.

If you had to battle a horde of zombies who would be a part of your zombie fighting dream team?

Since you said “dream team,” I’m going to assume they can be fictional characters. I would have: the Predator because of his cloaking ability; some Terminators because zombies wouldn’t go after them; some Jaegers from Pacific Rim because they can just step on the rotting corpses; and Ripley because if she can fight an Alien Queen, zombies will be no problem for her.

What other zombie books have you written?

I’ve written some young adult zombie novels—Life After the Undead and Death to the Undead—and a religious zombie novella, Finding Eden. I also have plans to write more in the future.

What are you working on now?

At the moment, I am finished up the third book in my young adult series called The Road to Salvation, which includes The Appeal of Evil and Dealing with Devils. When that is finished, that’s when I plan on working on my next zombie novel.

http://pembrokesinclair.blogspot.com/

Review: The Dark Times

23797186In the opening of The Dark Times by Dane Hatchell and P.A. Douglas there is an author’s note saying that some people think the apocalypse is a chance to start over and be part of a new utopia. The sad truth is that people don’t always change and a disaster can bring you closer to who you really are and for some that’s a scary thing. This note sold me on the book and it gives you a great idea of what to expect while reading it. People have an idea of how they would change when society collapses, but what they think they will become is not reality.

The main character in The Dark Times is an overweight cop named Rico who is down on his luck and drowning his sorrows in whiskey when the first wave of zombies arrive. Rico handles himself well, he kills some zombies and manages to save people and decides to turn his life around. He leaves his old life behind and hops on his Harley in search of a new beginning. He ends up in a small town in Texas and meets a junkie named Angie. Rico fights the urge to help her but when things go bad, Angie may be the only one that can help him.

Everyone thought that the first wave of zombies was a one time thing caused by a mysterious illness but six months later it starts again and this time its the end. Civilization collapses quickly and Rico and Angie have to work together to survive. Being a heroin addict, Angie is not the most reliable person but Rico has demons of his own and the only way they can both survive the zombies is to put their past lives in the past.

The Dark Times is a very dark book and not just because it’s the zombie apocalypse and the end of civilization as we know it. This book is dark because it takes a look at human nature and asks the question: can a person get past their personal demons in order to survive? Every character in The Dark Times has a dark side and they have to confront that dark side to survive in the zombie apocalypse. The characters are what makes this book good, they are all complex and it was interesting to see how they change during the apocalypse. What really distinguishes this book from other zombie books is the depth to the characters, I found myself rooting for even the bad guys in this story.

There were some things that I didn’t like about this book, for instance there were a few scenes with a group of soldiers that seemed random and took away from the story. There was also an African-American character named Quinn that was so stereotypical it annoyed me. All in all though this is a good book and worth your time, it was interesting how some of the characters didn’t change at all as their world collapses. The Dark Times is a good look at how people change or don’t change when faced with the end of the world. There are a lot of books out there on the zombie apocalypse but few of them have as good  of characters as this one.

Zomedy – Dark Humour of the Undead Kind by Chantal Boudreau

Zomedy – Dark Humour of the Undead Kind

by Chantal Boudreau

Zombies are funny.  They may be gross, frightening and tragic, but there is still something ridiculous about them, something that makes you hold back a laugh when you should be shocked or terrified.   You’ll find amusing events in even some of the goriest, angst-ridden zombie stories, usually for the sake of comic relief and to give viewers or readers a moment to catch their breath.  In some cases, like “Fido” and “Zombieland”, the entire premise of the tale is based upon dark comedy, with a variety of images of zombies doing crazy things, or constant references to silly but effective rules created to address the dangers of the apocalypse.  In the more dramatic movies, it may be just the odd moment, like when the people shooting zombies from the roof in “Dawn of the Dead” identify the zombies as celebrities like Burt Reynolds.

Zombies have always made me laugh and when I started writing zombie stories, I found humour leaching into my writing in one form or another.  My first story featured a woman feeding brains to her undead husband with a pool hook, a visual that always makes me smile.   Zomedy has become an accepted term to describe a zombie spoof, or comedic zombie film, but I think the humour of zombies goes beyond the obvious laughs and the campy (a la “Weekend at Bernie’s II”).  I thought it might be interesting to look at the more common tools of zomedy, both in written and cinematic comedic forms as well as in those genre pieces intended to offer a more serious approach to the undead.  I’ve come up with a dozen that are prevalent and easily identifiable:

Zombie puns

A good pun is the true essence of humour; even a bad one will at least elicit a chuckle or a groan.  Titles of zombie movies and stories are notorious for using puns. One of the classic zomedies, “Shaun of the Dead,” used a pun in its title as a humorous way of paying homage to the legendary George Romero. This tool is even more prominent in the written zombie genre, at least in the aspect of a good play on words.  One example of this is “Married with Zombies” by Jesse Petersen, with sequels “Flip This Zombie” and “Eat, Slay, Love.”  Not only does it capture the domestic element of the zombie stories, it also links the stories to items in current culture.

Zombie animals

Another tactic used to lighten the mood in genre books and movies is the inclusion of zombie animals.  I discovered after writing my novelette, “Shear Terror”, that there was a movie from New Zealand with a similar theme called “Black Sheep”, one involving crazy evil scientists, a wealthy farmer, animal rights activists, a man with an ovine phobia and a combination of zombies and lycanthropes (in this case were-sheep).  While the humour was cheesy in places, the gory zombie sheep attack scenes were so bizarre that they were down-right hilarious, perhaps because sheep are typically non-aggressive, so the attacks were totally uncharacteristic.  Then again, perhaps it was because sheep already have a herd mentality so becoming a zombie throng just seemed so fitting.

Zombie dogs are the most common animals in zombie movies, with “Resident Evil” and “I Am Legend” immediately springing to mind, but they don’t tend to tap into that humorous element, likely because people are more attached to dogs in general, and they can be very frightening without being undead.  The comedy comes from the unexpected, like the deer in “Slither”, another example of a zombie animal behaving in an uncharacteristic manner.  And then there are the animals that are just funny to begin with, like cows, who are popular humorous zombies in the gaming world as well as in movies like” Dead Meat.” There is even a very funny zombie cow scene in A. Lee Martinez’s book, “Gil’s All Fright Diner.”

Slapstick

Let’s face it, the walking dead are hardly coordinated, at least the shamblers aren’t, and they can take damage and still keep moving in ways a normal living human couldn’t. The physical malleability of zombies makes them a prime candidate for slapstick.  Throw them down the stairs so that their head ends up backwards or blow a gaping hole in their torso, and they keep on going, like in “Death Becomes Her.”  Apologize severely for breaking their ankle in the door, only to have them limp hungrily after you, like in “Zombieland.”  The possibilities for his type of humour are endless.  This is the true form of zomedy however, and you are less likely to see a version of this in a dramatic zombie flick.  It does not translate easily to the written page, either.  This is one of the cheapest forms of humour going, and while some movies like “Zombieland” apply it sparingly and appropriately, it is one of the fallback forms of comedy that the low budget zombie movies resort to for cheap laughs.

One-liners

No proper zomedy exists without at least one or two stinging one-liners, “Evil Dead II” and “Army of Darkness” are rife with them, but you can find the occasional witty and sarcastic zinger in even the hardest and nastiest of zombie tales.  The one-liner is as much a weapon as it is a method of adding humour to the scene.  It captures the real personality of the character speaking it in a few short words, it sometimes rebuffs a snide remark made by a lesser antagonistic character, or serves as a coup de gras when the hero has just conquered the enemy.  For example, the one-liners from Columbus in “Zombieland” are self-deprecating, but amusing nonetheless, whereas Tallahassee’s zingers are cool and over-confident.  Some critics see them as cliché or gratuitous, but I see the one-liners as a staple of the genre.

Zombie fighters with funny obsessions

Speaking of characters, it is usually the unruly and often unsophisticated survivors in the zombie apocalypse who are at the root of most of the humour.  Some of us can sympathize with their quirky yet familiar traits, and we are laughing as much as ourselves as we are at the characters.  Perhaps there is something about being particularly driven that has allowed these characters to survive in the first place, and it contributes to their appeal.  I added that obsessive element to my veteran ranch-hand, Rudy, in my tale “What a Man’s Gotta Do.”  The thing he craves would likely surprise you, but it is no stranger than Tallahassee’s yearning for Twinkies in “Zombieland.”  The heroes’ obsessions with things like video games or zombie movies often give them the kind of knowledge they need to hunt and fight zombies in the first place – a suggestion that it will be those on the fringes of society who could end up rising to the top when all goes to pot.

Over-the-top zombie hunters

Every zombie story seems to have a character who is at least a little crazy, or who has a personality so loud you have to laugh in response to their antics.  The true zomedies take that one step further and either all of the characters match that description (e,g, “Shaun of the Dead” and “Zombieland”), or there is a character so outrageous that the humour is built entirely around them, like Ash, in the “Evil Dead” series.  Then there are those in possession of some unbelievable trait, perhaps something like a gun serving as a prosthetic leg like in “Planet Terror.”  You don’t get much more over-the-top than that.

Characters in zombie books are no different.   Jenni, one of the female protagonists, earns the nickname “Loca” from one of the other characters in Rhiannon Frater’s “The First Days” because she is crazy, albeit in a likable way.  Witnessing the death of her children at the hands of her once abusive, zombie spouse is enough to drive the victimized woman over the edge.  Although she recovers from a near catatonic state, she is never quite normal after that.   She takes a perverse pleasure in picking off zombies with her gun, and the image of her swinging wildly over a group of zombies to play bait for the kill is one that makes you shake your head and grin.

Laughing in the face of sure doom

There is a scene in “Dead Snow” where the characters are facing down swarms of Nazi zombies and they resign themselves to defeat but with an edge of humour, intending to take as many with them as they can.  These scenes are commonplace in zombie films and sometimes in books, where characters realize that they are about to be overwhelmed, but instead of panicking or becoming morose, they grin and lash out, prepared to die fighting.  This resolve is admirable, but at the same time, funny.  It’s a heroic gesture, but a crazy one too.  You laugh with them as they fall, drawing satisfaction that they weren’t truly defeated, at least on a spiritual level.  The humour in this act sometimes comes from a sense of irony in written works, as those falling to the zombies contemplate their fate and find something oddly amusing about their situation.

Zombie love/camaraderie

Another comedic plot device in the zombie genre is where people are unwilling to let go of friends and loved ones after they have turned, and find ridiculous ways to cling to them after the fact.  They tie or chain them somewhere, and perhaps even allow them to play video games, as in “Shaun of the Dead.” This is one of the darkest forms of zomedy, since many people can relate to the idea of not being willing to let go of a loved one or close friend who has died and risen again.  Woman writers in particular seem to be drawn to this type of black humour, the comedy present because the viewer or reader can recognize that the zombie is nothing like the living person, but blinded by love and a sense of dedication, the character cannot see this.

Random zombie pieces in odd places

Dismembered zombie bits are plentiful in genre movies and books, but the humour comes when they end up in odd places, or take on an undead life of their own.  Some might suggest that the movie Idle Hands is an example of this, although others might argue that they are more like hands possessed as opposed to undead hands.  Nevertheless, there’s something just plain goofy about a lone finger or toe wriggling along all by itself, or a single eye peering at you from some unexpected place.  Viral zombies generally don’t exhibit this type of behaviour since they are subject to the “head shot” rule, but the supernatural ones often persist beyond amputation, as do ones reanimated by scientific means.  The Re-Animator has various body parts scuttling around independently, in one of those instances where the head shot does not necessarily signal the end for a zombie.  It’s creepy but funny, reminding us that zombies are definitely no longer human.

Zombies doing non-zombie things

Witnessing zombies doing things that should be reserved to living breathing humans is equally funny, also because they lack something essentially human and we are reminded of that by their shallow and obviously forced charades.  In “Fido,” and a select number of short stories, the power of the zombie has been enslaved to benefit mankind, and they are recruited to do the mindless drudge work that most people don’t want to do.  The zombies of “Fido” are controlled by a special technology, a collar that keeps them in check, and owning a zombie servant becomes a status symbol because of the expense involved – an amusing notion. Some people even use their zombie servants to service their romantic or sexual needs – gross, but hilarious.  The same type of humour is evident in the spoof “Zombie Strippers!”, another case of zombies doing people work with a “ha ha” factor along with the “ew” factor.

Tales from the zombie’s point of view

You would expect this kind of story to be sad, or just disgusting, but sometimes it is the lack of understanding on the part of the protagonist, or their state of denial, that brings in that component of dark humour.  In some instances, a story like this is so well-woven that it even draws on the sympathies of the readers, like the funny tale of a handicapped zombie in the story “The Hungriest Zombie”.  His state is pitiful, but laughable, and by the end of the tale you are rooting for his success.  “Ahh, Zombies!” presents this concept from a cinematic approach, a quirky but amusing zomedy. There are entire zombie memoirs out there, and even *ugh* paranormal romances centred on zombies.  I don’t think I could keep a straight face while reading one of those.

Braiiiins!!!

And finally, truly the zomedy piece de resistance, there is the familiar catchphrase or trademark cry of the zombie – brains!  This hungry plea can be found in practically every proper zomedy out there, such as “Return of the Living Dead,” and can also be heard uttered by a zombie Homer Simpson in one of the classic Simpsons Halloween episodes.  This groaned demand is not reserved for strictly humorous fare.   It sometimes serves as a moment of comedy relief in the more dramatic genre works, a chance for the viewer or reader to have that breather before returning to more serious and frightening things.

These are probably the most common comedic tales used in the zombie genre, but there are a plethora of others, many of them original and darkly delightful.  They all tend to serve similar purposes – defining the protagonists and making them seem human and likable despite the fact that they are blowing away one zombie after another, allowing for a break in the action and tension so the viewer/reader can recover from the violence and gore before charging in for more, or even allowing the viewer/reader to distance themselves from the story altogether so they can grasp the “bigger picture” often a particular social or cultural message.  The best way to get a proper sample of exactly what’s out there is to explore a variety of zomedies that the genre offers and to observe the assortment of black humour first hand.

************

zombiemepic

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

 

Review: Time Of Death: Induction

23364657Emma lives in Florida and has a pretty average life. She is 37 years old, married to a man named Jake and has a dog named Daphne. Emma is close to completing her nursing degree and has just lost her first patient, or did she? When she gets home from the hospital she is surprised to find out that her patient has come back to life and is trying to eat the hospital’s staff. From there Emma’s life goes from average to tumultuous, not only does she have to deal with the undead coming back to life but there is also a hurricane destroying Florida. As civilization collapses, Emma and her family have to try to survive and hopefully build a new life.

Time Of Death: Induction by Shana Festa is a book that starts with a slow burn and ends with an explosion. In the beginning we see all the characters going about their normal life and then the zombie apocalypse happens and the book becomes non-stop action. I loved how Shana makes us care about the characters before she puts them into danger. Once the hurricane hits and the zombies started to rise, I didn’t want to put the book down.

I liked how with the action moving along like a freight train, Shana  still manages to insert humor into the mix. For instance as Emma and Jake are driving around looking for shelter, Emma takes a sniff and thinks her husband has just passed gas. The smell doesn’t belong to her husband but we get a couple of good laughs before the action starts again. Another scene has Emma traveling with a group of soldiers on a reconnaissance mission and they use a series of hand gestures that Emma doesn’t understand. After a bit the soldiers start to laugh and Emma realizes that the soldiers are messing with her.  In a book about the collapse of society I like how the humor in Time Of Death breaks up the tension. Even when the world is ending I think people would still use humor to lighten the mood, so it was a nice touch.

Time Of Death: Induction is a first novel and it does show. I thought some of the action scenes were confusing and at times the story felt rushed. At one point a human is using a pole to keep zombies away from a boat and the zombies pull him to his death , I thought this was something zombies shouldn’t be able to do. Also there is one point where I almost stopped reading because the title of the chapter gave away what was going to happen next. It’s hard to feel suspense when you know what’s coming.

All this being said  I enjoyed this book. The characters were excellent, you see Emma and Jake have their differences and don’t always work as a team, but you still see that they love each other. One of the best scenes in the book is when you see the couple try to make an escape and  clash over what should happen with the dog Daphne. Daphne may be a dog but she is a good character in this book. If you’re a zombie fiction fan you will love Time Of Death: Induction. The way the apocalypse starts made this book worth it for me. This is the first in a series and its a good first novel.

Why Zombies Are The Worst Monsters of All by Janiera Eldridge

Why Zombies Are The Worst Monsters of All

by Janiera Eldridge

If you have even the slightest interest in zombie culture you’ve received the question, “Why are you so interested interested in zombies?”

I usually give the short and sweet response, “Because they’re the scariest monsters of all.” Surprisingly, people don’t ask anymore questions after that as they’re already on to thinking about the next mundane question to ask a horror fan. However, my answer will always remain the same.

Zombies are the scariest monsters of all because simply, they’re made up of fellow human beings. Zombies are not mutated animals like the always elusive Bigfoot or a gigantic dinosaur like Godzilla. If a zombie apocalypse were to pop off tonight, the enemy would look just like you and I.

Most scientists agree that the closest we will come to a zombie apocalypse is if a rabies outbreak took place. Rabies can’t be cured. Sure if you get it from a dog or cat bite you can receive a series of shots to stop the virus from taking hold, but if it settled in to your system it will be devastating. In the case of a rabies outbreak, the infected would not die right away. They would display aggressive behavior that includes biting and wounding people due to delusions as well as paranoid behavior. Now, think of the drooling and foaming of the mouth that takes place after a while. Yeah, the rabies would spread like wild fire.

Sure, you’d like to be bad ass like the people in The Walking Dead or the sub-par Z Nation, and just shoot the zombie right in the middle of the forehead or slice their head clean off. But what if the enemy was your mother or your dad? If you’re in any way normal, you might find putting a bullet through their head if you need to a tad difficult. I would imagine many of us would die before we killed our loved ones, even if they were drooling, incoherent, disgustingly infected with disease, monsters.

And then there are those relatives where…lets just say it be a lot easier to “defend” yourself against the zombie enemy if you really had to.

Depictions of the living dead always show monsters with gaping wounds that ooze pus and blood and skin that sheds like slime. However, I believe all of these disgusting antics are done to make you believe that what you’re seeing (or reading) is some how inhuman when actually zombies are simply “humans gone bad.”

If you like the Gothic and macabre like I do (which I assume you do or what are you still doing here reading this depressing post?) then you already know there are parasites (such as toxoplasmosis)  that can make its way into your brain and can take control of it, literally. It can cause inflammation in the brain that can lead to delusions and paranoia just like rabies. It’s very easy to get too as it can be be contracted by simply drinking contaminated water.

See how easy it would be for the world to go completely mad? Now isn’t that much scarier then some green guy hobbling along trying to strangle you with bolts in his neck?

Don’t let this article be a reminder of all of the ways the human population can go to hell, let it serve as an explanation of why you’re addicted to and get super creeped out at your favorite zombie shows. It’s all because: zombies are the scariest monsters of all!

We like reveling in our own demise, don’t we?

*****************

kindle copyJaniera enjoys feeding her book addiction when she not writing books that always feature ethnic leads(part of her own personal quest to bring more diversity to the paranormal and horror genre). Writing is therapeutic to her during her struggles with Fibromyalgia. Being unable to work a normal 9-5 is what encouraged her to write full time. When not reading or writing she is freelance writing web content or articles on a variety of topics. Freelancing for 5 years has made her an expert on how to give her clients the very best content possible. She also loves writing the synopsis for other author’s books on Fiverr. When trying to relax she likes a huge yard sale on a Saturday morning, rainy days to read by and nacho cheese is her kryptonite. Soul Sisters is her debut novel. Janiera’s horror/erotica story “Halloween Seduction” was featured in Blood Reign Lit Magazine, the “Bloody Valentine” edition.

Zombie Cruise is her fest zombie short story.

My End Was Not My End by Chantal Boudreau

My End Was Not My End

 by Chantal Boudreau

 

One briny blip

Ocean of gore

Lurching shuffles

Breathing no more

Here’s not the place

I’m meant to be

Undead flotsam

Zombie sea

 

Craving Endless

Ear-rushing roar

Starving for flesh

Longing for more

This not the way

I’m meant to be

Urgent hunger

Takes hold of me

 

Torment constant

Can’t ignore

Forced still forward

No change in store

If I could pray

I’d beg for peace

One headshot brings

My sweet release.

************

zombiemepic

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

Zombie Author Profile: Raymond Lee

What is the plot of your book: Mail Horror Bride?

From the blurb: 

23211442From Russia, With Love…

How do you destroy your enemy? Go for the heart, then take over the brain.
The Z1219 virus, created by Russia’s most skilled scientists, is the deadliest biological weapon in history. Harbored in the human bloodstream, it remains undetected until detonated. Once detonated, the host becomes a walking corpse with only one goal: Eat everyone.
And now it is in America, packaged in the mail order brides the Russians shipped over to destroy us all.
With the disease now running rampant and no cure yet discovered, it is every uninfected person for himself.
Homes are destroyed and the families inside them torn apart. Relationships can help or hurt as those left uninfected discover they are not entirely untouched by the disease.
Follow a group of strangers as they struggle to do anything necessary to survive without losing their humanity in the process. Some will win this challenge. Most will lose.
It’s a new world and the zombies aren’t the only monsters. They’re just the easiest to recognize in a country gone horribly wrong.

What was the inspiration behind the book?

I was sick in bed during the 2013/14 New Year’s marathon of The Walking Dead and happened upon it while flipping through channels. I instantly became addicted to the show and the whole zombie apocalypse scenario. When the season ended and I found myself going through withdrawal, I decided to create my own zombie apocalypse. Like the show, I wanted to focus more on the survivors than just the blood and guts of zombie slaying. Unlike the show, I wanted it known right away how the virus started.
The Russian mail order bride scenario came about because it seemed the easiest way another country could get the virus over here undetected. Thousands of these women enter the country every year. It was easy to see them as the perfect carrier. And to my knowledge, the idea hasn’t been done. I like offering something new.

What was the hardest part of writing Mail Horror Bride?

Web-Blood-Curse1This was actually the easiest book I’ve written. I am used to writing books with only one or two main characters so when you get stuck, you get really good and stuck. Since there were so many different characters I could play with in this one, I never got stuck. Some scenes may have been tricky but they didn’t truly stump me. I was able to have so many different viewpoints, so many characters with different traits, and have them start out at different locations. it was a lot of fun, especially since this genre gives you license to create some really twisted characters. From the very start I wanted to make a series that readers could find themselves asking “Ok, who’s really the monster here?” The only thing I can even think of that was a bit hard was just keeping track of the time frames and where each character was at. They started separate, in different locations, then slowly joined together into one big group. While switching between the little groups forming I had to constantly keep how much time had passed for them in my head, along with what state were they in and what direction were they headed in now. Oh, and hair color. There were a few times I’d forget who was blonde and who was brunette among the younger girls, and had to go back and check.

What draws you to horror writing?
I share a birthday with the master of horror writing, Stephen King, and I think I share a bit of his demented mind as well. I have the craziest, most frightening dreams. Sometimes the things that happen in them cause me to wake up covered in cold sweat and shaking with fear and nausea.
I’ve always been drawn to anything supernatural, which makes horror writing all the more appealing. Even when writing romance novels under my real name, I tend to generally write darker story lines than you find in traditional romance. It just happens that way.

How long would you survive the zombie apocalypse?
moonlitcov3According to every online quiz I’ve taken, I’d be the last one standing. I’ve never shot a gun but I think I’d learn easy. I could slice and dice, which I think is safer in a world filled with monsters attracted to noise anyway. I’m not much of a runner, but neither are the zombies (unless you’re talking Dawn of the Dead zombies, then I’m totally screwed), and I’m pretty low maintenance so living without electricity and all that wouldn’t faze me too much. I’m already very suspicious of people and don’t need a bunch of friends (Quality over quantity!) so I’d be smart about people. My outdoorsman skills and my upbeat attitude would help me live. Upbeat in a zombie apocalypse? Yep, I said that. Put me in a world where I don’t have to work or listen to people gripe about politics and I’m a happy camper. Gotta kill some zombies to live like that? No problem.

If you had to battle a horde of zombies who would be your dream team fighting next to you?
Daryl Dixon, Rick Grimes, Michonne, Glen Rhee, Dean Winchester, Sam Winchester, Blade. The Avengers. And from my own book: Raven Bleu.

What else have you written?
I write paranormal romance and contemporary romance under my real name, Crystal-Rain Love. Mail Horror Bride was my debut under the Raymond Lee pen name. I started with romance as it was the easiest genre to break into. The traditional publishers of that genre have always been great about helping new authors know exactly what to do, and generally taking on more authors. Now that I’ve got a nice backlist going in that genre, and self-publishing has become easier, I finally branched out into the genre I’ve adored since my childhood, which was spent reading Stephen King.
Do you have any other books coming out?
The second book in the One Nation Under Zombies series is planned for March. I plan on getting the third out by year’s end.

http://www.crystalrainlove.blogspot.com/

http://raymondleeauthor.blogspot.com/

 

Book Review: Contagious by Emily Goodwin

Review of Contagious

by Michele Roger

13416617“I wasn’t afraid of death. If I died, it would be over. My worst fear wasn’t of dying, it was of living. Living, while everyone around me had their flesh savagely torn from their bodies to be shoved into the festering and ever-hungry mouths of zombies. It terrified me, right down to my very core, to be alive while the rest of the world was dead.”

In the midst of the Second Great Depression, twenty-five year old Orissa Penwell doesn’t think things can get any worse. She couldn’t be more wrong. A virus breaks out across the country, leaving the infected crazed, aggressive and very hungry.

Orissa will do anything-no matter if it’s right or wrong- to save the ones she loves. But when she discovers that most of the world is infected or dead, she must decided if those lives are worth saving at all.

In her narrative story telling, Emily Goodwin presents a refreshingly strong female hero in her zombie-infested, survival tale, “Contagious“.  Orissa, the lead character is one part hard-drinking, drug looking party girl but one hundred percent butt kicking strategist and survivalist.  Upon reading it, I likened Orissa to Ellen Ripley in Alien.
Through Orissa, Goodwin thrusts the reader into new literary territory.  While Ripley grappled with her softer maternal instincts, Orissa juggles her command and leadership role against a sharp personal contrasting desire. While saving trapped hospital patients during a zombie plague, her heart wishes to be rescued by the handsome, Irish doctor, Padraic.
A corner-stone to a great zombie story is the element of gore and Goodwin delivers in spades.  From intestine chomping little girls found feasting on the newly dead in the hospital basement to lead pipes through zombie skull death blows at the grocery store, there is plenty for the reader to, errr, feast upon.  While the male characters do their fair share of “fending off the monsters”, it is the focus on blue jeans and leather jacket clad Orissa and her lead pipe weapon of choice that shines.
Contagious is fast-paced, smart and well written.  It’s above-board appeal is its fresh perspective and its gritty narrative.  Goodwin has shown that female writers can make flesh crawl, both living and undead just as well as her male peers.

A Zombie Resolution by Chantal Boudreau

A Zombie Resolution

by Chantal Boudreau

Mzombie2aking New Year resolutions has long been a tradition with the living, but shouldn’t the undead have the opportunity to better themselves as well?  We would expect their resolutions to differ somewhat from the norm, however.  While the average person might resolve to join a gym or spend more quality time with their family, such things might prove less than practical for a zombie.  Considering their nature and properties, here’s what a top ten list of zombie resolutions might look like:

  1. BRAAAAIINS!!!

Everything begins and ends with this in the realm of zombie, so would this be that big of a surprise?

  1. A regular routine of shambling

No one would envision the walking dead taking to the treadmill, but they could at least get out there and shuffle and moan more often.  They don’t have to master the Thriller routine, but practicing it could improve their coordination.

  1. Lose weight

Zombies don’t do diets – they aren’t exactly known for their impulse control – but they could shed a few extra pounds through rot and ruin.  Drop a few fingers and toes, maybe your liver or spleen,  and it’ll show the next time you step on the scale. Just don’t lose your head.

  1. Make time for the mob

Zombies don’t tend to have a family once the apocalypse strikes (although there has been the occasional exception,) not in the ordinary sense anyway.  Their new family is the zombie mob, with whom they can spend more quality time.  Avoid being the straggler left behind or you could miss out on all the fun.

  1. Become more spiritual

Zombies don’t pray or meditate, but they could hang out by the nearest church and chow down on a priest, minister or Bible study group.  That way, in addition to finding religion, they can also eat it.

  1. MORE BRAIIIINNNS!!!

Considering that this is a focal point in a zombie’s existence, it had to show up on this list more than once.  Am I right?

  1. Quit smoking

In zombie terms, this means staying clear of any open fires, flame-throwing survivalists or the odd villager’s torches. Burning is baaaad.

  1. Volunteer

zombie1While you won’t find zombies ringing a bell by the charity kettle or scooping casserole in a soup kitchen, there are ways they can make a difference.  They can be one of the select few at the forefront of the mob trying to push down a chain link fence, getting crushed up against the wire, or the unlucky shambler first in line to set off the survivor booby trap.  Come on all you zombies – step up.

  1. Be a better person

The only way this can be achieved is by zombies working harder to hide their undead state.  Hang out in shadowy areas so food in transit might not notice you’re undead until it’s too late.  Hover by water fountains, crowded parking lots and in grocery aisles with your most gory bits sheltered from view.  Or better yet, hang out behind curtains or under the blankets until prey comes to you.  Think less “zombie” and more “zombie in disguise as people.”

  1. And, of course, EVEN MORE BRAAAIINNS!!!!

To repeat, everything begins and ends with this in the zombie realm.  ‘Nuff said.

************

zombiemepic

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

 

Kbatz: Zombies, Old School

An Old School Zombie Education!

By Kristin Battestella

Here’s a shocker, zombie films are nothing new! Here’s a bemusing set of early Hollywood undead to start your Z education off right.

worldzombieKing of the Zombies – Well, unlike the often ignorant portrayals of early film, Mantan Moreland (Charlie Chan in the Secret Service) is actually a show stealing funny man in this 1941 undead romp. His Jeff doesn’t speak in the stereotypical subservient tone; He’s not a servant there for one’s bemusement, but rather a working man who defuses the scares with humor. There is a difference indeed. In addition to interesting plane footage, with a creepy crash into a foreign country and shades of voodoo, more suspense and pleasing layers are added when no one believes Jeff’s supernatural encounters. Though the ‘lingo’ is very dated and the effects of the hour insignificant, great candles, shadows, solid Oscar nominated music, and a gothic Old World feeling add to the unusual mix of pseudo wartime spies, scares, and humor. This isn’t meant to be serious- Druids and veiled Nazis in with Voodoo? Espionage, suspicions, and speculation mixed with hypnosis on the eve of World War II? The picture needs a major restoration, and some of the sneaking around can be a little confusing- yet it’s all somehow credible and spooky. The neat, on the nose proto-war aspects and amusing scares make this one worth the study.

Revolt of the Zombies – So it is cheating a bit by calling this 1936 supposed sequel to White Zombie a Bela Lugosi film, as he technically does not star in this hour-long focus on French Zombies and World War I. Yes, you read all that right. Stock footage of Lugosi’s hypnotic eyes is used here as part of the undead brainwashing- or rather on the “robot soldiers” as they are called. The sound is poor, but any innate flaws can be forgiven thanks to this very unique interwar look and Cambodian setting. Who would have thought someone would make a movie about the fictitious horrors of one war whilst on the brink of the next? The black and white shots of Angkor are also glorious and worth the viewing alone for scholars. Granted the men are wooden, the women stereotypical, and there’s some kind of love triangle if you can tell which guy is which. Ironically, there aren’t even that many scares or zombies to speak of, either. Thankfully, this one has enough novelty going for it to earn an audience. Who knew?

White-Zombie-photo-3-400x291White Zombie – Bela Lugosi (Dracula) is done up smashingly twisted as the witchdoctor causing undead trouble for Robert Frazer (The Three Musketeers) and Madge Bellamy (The Iron Horse) in this 70 minute 1932 treat. Though the costumes are thirties smashing, the sound and film is very poor- snap, crackle, pop and all that- making this tough to watch for some. Though it’s easy to think there’s something kinky afoot with some pre-code suggestions and innuendo and the music is quite good and suspenseful, the made on the cheap style is a bit too obvious. The acting is a little over the top, too, and the plot can be somewhat confusing if you don’t hear all the dialogue. The portrayal of Haiti and minorities is also a little stereotypical of the time as well. Nevertheless, this is a fun little piece showcasing the more traditional voodoo zombie angles of those buried alive and soullessly controlled rather than our brain eating slow pokes and humor.  Actually, I’m surprised the remake for this hasn’t gotten off the ground yet or that the idea of using zombies as manual labor isn’t used that often- particularly since zombies are currently trumping the glitter vampire wave and post-apocalyptic notions are quite hot right now.  It’s technically flawed, but zombie fans can learn a lot here.

Skip It!

Zombies of Mora Tau – Treasure, betrayal, diamonds, and zombies, oh my! This 1957 black and white hour plus is full of B players that put on just a bit too much amid plenty of horror clichés. A little old lady who knows the score, the screaming damsel dressed in white, erroneous “African voodoo mumbo jumbo.” There should be scaries and scandals ad nauseum with the whammy of possibilities, but no. I mean, a good candelabra- yes candelabra– or two could ward of the living dead, who knew? The zombies look exactly like everyone else- the audience can’t really get behind the heroes when one can’t tell them apart. And did I mention there’s hokey underwater action, too? Geesh, here’s proof that all old films are not classics.

Review: Dearly Departed: A Zombie Novel by Lia Habel

dearlyWhen I first started reading Dearly Departed by Lia Habel, I was really confused. It wasn’t the writing – which is great. It was the juxtaposition of the female tale and the zombie army. I have never read anything like this before and once I got into it, I couldn’t devour (pun intended) it fast enough.

Nora Dearly and her best friend, Pamela, are in the high class. They go to a preppy school, have fancy toys, and ride in fashionable carriages. And even though Pam isn’t as in with society as Nora is, they are pretty and clean and live in a posh area where they are mostly sheltered from anything disruptive. They also seem to be sheltered from anything REAL.

Bram (who… I have to say, even though he’s a zombie… I’m in love!) is an undead soldier who is from the outside world. He grew up on an farm, kills other zombies (the shambling kind) for a living and saves Nora absolutely. Not from zombies, because she is immune to the zombie plague, but from her boring existence!

This book is so new and innovative, I could not get enough and I’m happy that it appears to be a series. Not only does this book mix Victorianesque fashion and society with zombies, there are fabulous tech toys like the vid screen inside the old style carriage and digidiaries. It also has an awesome airship.

If there is anything negative about the book, I would say (because I’m not into war chronicles) that the militant Wolfe parts irritated me. I didn’t like him, which was the point, but I found these parts almost too irritating to read because I didn’t like him so much.

This book was a heartfelt love story between a girl and a zombie. I have never read any zombie story where I was jealous of the main character who got to kiss the zombie. That seems wrong somehow, but also very entertaining.

Kbatz: Of the Deads!

Of the Deads!

By Kristin Battestella

Start your New Year off and running with this quick inventory of those trend setting Romero and friends zombie classics!

Night of the Living Dead (s) – For horror enthusiasts, the z word brings one thing to mind-Night of the Living Dead. The original 1968 zombie classic by George Romero set the bar for scares, silent styled filmmaking, and social statements in horror. You can’t be a fan of the genre without having seen this picture. And yet, the 1990 remake, rewritten by Romero and starring Tony Todd (Candyman), isn’t half bad. Maybe not a classic, but this modern analysis of society and zombies is a perfect introduction for closeted horror fans.

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Dawn of the DeadThis 1978 sequel to Night of the Living Dead from George A. Romero has a lot of subtle humor thanks to Ken Foree (Kenan & Kel) and Gaylen Ross (Creepshow) holding out against a zombie infestation in a very, very sweet mall. I mean, wow, did malls like this really exist back in the day? Our local malls have none of this magic- just clothing shops and empty spaces. But here, rednecks use the reanimated dead as target practice, the government and media are nonexistent, and the ills of people- not zombies- ruin this little retail paradise. Yes, there’s fun, nostalgia, and great zombie effects. However, the somber social statements, serious reflection, and the dynamics of what plague can do to people are just awesome. Seriously, nowadays the best place to survive zombies would actually be a dang Wal-Mart- groceries and guns!

Day of the Dead – George A. Romero gives us a bleak look at science versus the military in this 1985 second sequel to Night of the Living Dead.  The cavernous underground but confined setting is great for intimate threats and limited places as Lori Cardille (Ryan’s Hope) and Joseph Pilato (Pulp Fiction) adversely cling to some semblance of civilization. Once again, it is the people behaving badly- not the zombies- that creates all the problems. This is a lovely study into what makes the undead how they are, if they are still human at all, or if they can or should be tamed. Who is the real animal here? Is the zombie invasion some sort of punishment or judgment against us or a humbling reason to restart humanity back on the right track? Despite great gore and fear, the pace may seem slow to some.  There isn’t a lot of humor here, which helped Day’s predecessor Dawn of the Dead, but we are watching the breakdown of society thanks to flesh eating monsters, remember. This is clearly a stressed, unhappy situation, and it makes for great horror film.

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Return of the Living Dead – John Russo’s 1985 split sequel to Night of the Living Dead brings a little too much punk to the series- yes, these fashions have not stood the test of time. Thankfully, self- reverent humor, a dang intelligent set up, tongue in cheek fun, and a sweet ending go a long way in the whole eating brains of it all. Brains! Brains! Not only do we have characters ironically named Burt and Ernie, but there’s still some social analysis and sexy balancing the gore, too. While some may not like this departure from the seriousness of the original or Romero’s follow up series, you have to be able to laugh at all these zombies at some point. Others new to the somewhat confusing franchises might like the fun nostalgia and a comparison marathon as well.

But it’s Iffy

Return of the Living Dead Part II – This 1988 sequel from John Russo’s Night of the Living Dead spinoffs is played all for the laughs, so much so, that I’m not sure why its rated R.  Sure, there’s some kids using weapons against the undead and the usual violence, but compared to its precursor, the nudity, horror smarts and all out gore are lacking here.  The quips and zombies are fun, and the guts and gore we are given are good when we get it, but it doesn’t seem like enough. The straight comedy approach with only hints of military secrets and societal hysteria aren’t expanded enough to keep things interesting. A step down from first in this offshoot series, yes that would be fine- but this is almost a parody of the franchise at this point.  It is strangely funny that James Karen and Thom Matthews inexplicably return from the Return of the Living Dead, but the gag doesn’t last. I’d much rather writer and director Ken Wiederhorn (Shock Waves) been allowed to make a proper Part 2 instead of reducing it all to a dumb teen comedy remake.  Pity.

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