Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Halloween Bash...Alternative Halloween Viewing Material.

So you've been watching slasher tear through teenage fodder, old houses creak coyly and creatures jump from the darkness and the Halloween season is almost over but you want a final Halloween film that is a tad different from the others.  Here are two ideas.

Donnie Darko, taking place throughout October with an eerie intelligence, somber atmosphere and great soundtrack.  It even ends with a Halloween Party.
The Crow, Alex Proyas' masterpiece of goth-pop sensibility.  Halloween is a constant reference, you have trick or treaters and figure of the Crow is iconic and a go to for so many lazy costume goers.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Halloween Bash...Scott M. Baker

When M.R. asked me to write a posting about what Halloween means to me, at first I was stymied. Anybody who knows me knows that I am a certified Monster Kid, and have been as far back as I can remember. I live, eat, and sleep this stuff. Most people wake up from a nightmare and turn on a light to drive the demons away; I wake up and jot down the details for my next short story. However, this year Halloween means something more to me.


Let me explain. Several years ago, shortly after the publication of The Vampire Hunters, I received a message from a young lady who had read the book and wanted to tell me how much she liked it. She was from Florida and, at the time, I lived in northern Virginia. We struck up a conversation, and during the course of time this young lady mentioned that she was writing her own vampire novel. I volunteered to read it, and provided her honest and critical feedback.

As time went on, this young lady and I became good friends.  She agreed to be one of my beta readers. We exchanged plot ideas, and would review sections of each other’s work that were causing us problems. As time passed, we discovered that we also had similar interests.  We both loved vampires.  We were both fans of World War II history.  We both loved it when you mixed vampires or zombies with Nazis.  And we both had a twisted sense of humor. 

Even more important, this young lady offered me comfort during a very difficult time in my life. She challenged me to be a better person and to stand up for myself. She made me realize I was special, and I deserved to be happy. She supported me when I needed it, and kicked me in the butt when I needed it more. 

Through it all, me and this young lady shared our love for horror.  She read the next two books in The Vampire Hunters trilogy and Rotter World, and beta read the various short stories I wrote (including the one about the giant spider from space, even though she hates spiders).  We started watching The Walking Dead and True Blood together on Sunday nights.  Well, not physically, but we texted each other during the shows as if we were together.

Once the difficult time in my life had passed, she suggested that we meet and see what happened.  That was in November 2011.
So what does this have to do with Halloween and why the day is special to me? Two things.
First, the young lady whose manuscript I reviewed is Alison Beightol.  Today, her second vampire novel (Blood Betrayal) is being published. I am very proud of her, and am confident her career will be a success.
Second, Alison and I met because of horror, and it has been a constant through our relationship. Which is why, this afternoon, the two of us are getting married. Of all the dates to get wed, Halloween seemed the most appropriate. 
So am I still the creepy little Monster Kid who enjoys Halloween because it represents something that is very near and dear to me? Yes. But now I have someone special and even more  dear to me to share it with. 



Born and raised just outside of Boston, Massachusetts, Scott M. Baker now lives in Florida with his fiancee and fellow author Alison Beightol, his stepdaughter, two house rabbits, two boxers, and a cat. His first zombie novel, Rotter World, was released by Permuted Press in April 2012. He has also authored The Vampire Hunters trilogy and several short stories, including “Dead Water,” “Rednecks Shouldn’t Play with Dead Things,” “Cruise of the Living Dead,” “Deck the Malls with Bowels of Holly,” "The Hunger," and "Last Flight of the Bismarck." He is currently working on a post-apocalyptic Young Adult novel titled Hell Gate and a sequel to Rotter World.


Monday, October 28, 2013

Halloween Bash... with Vampirella


Writer: 
Shannon Eric Denton
Art: 
Dietrich Smith
Colors: 
Wes Hartman
Letterer: 
Marshall Dillon
Cover: 
Joe Jusko
Publisher: 
Dynamite Entertainment
Price
$4.99
Release Date
October 23, 2013     

"Vampirella once again joins forces with Dracula and Eva in order to confront a Doomsday Cult intent on releasing one of the Ancient Ones back upon the Earth. The trio, empowered from their previous successes, will confront these evil forces head on! These three warriors race from threat to threat in order to stop the apocalypse but will learn that even their immense power may not be enough. Whether they accept it or not, some battles cannot be won…"From Dynamite Comics

With Eva and Dracula by her side Vampriella the ultimate hit and miss horror icon embarks in an action packed and lightening paced one shot adventure.  The script by Denton spends little time establishing a mood, confident his audience is familiar with these characters.

Dietrich Smith's art is slick, but never breathtaking or greatly detailed.  His panels are large, but not as intricately detailed as many other splash pages.  The result is that despite the larger than average page number of the issue, this is an incredibly quick read.  The sense of movement however works very well and you can follow the massive amount of combat in the issue.

Overall this isn't a bad Halloween Special, it's just not great either.



  

Sunday, October 27, 2013

The Thing: Collector’s Edition DVD, starring Kurt Russell
Directed by John Carpenter
Review by Wayne C. Rogers

I picked up a fairly new copy of the DVD for John Carpenter’s The Thing: Collector’s Edition, which was released in 2004, last week for a couple of bucks.  The movie itself came out on June 25th, 1982.  That was the summer filled with blockbusters, or at least great movies: Blade Runner, E.T., Poltergeist, and John Carpenter’s The Thing.   
 I’d already read John W. Campbell’s short story, Who Goes There, several years before the Carpenter movie came out and had also seen the original 1951 film, The Thing From Another World, that was directed by Howard Hawks and starred James Arness as the creature.  
John Carpenter’s The Thing also blew me out of my seat.  The special effects for the creature were awesome, and the actors had me believing I was right there with them at the Antarctic research station, trapped in a snow blizzard with the Thing coming after my sorry ass. 

Anyway, when I purchased the DVD I hadn’t seen the movie since it had been out in the VHS format, which was at least fifteen years.  I also saw that this particular edition of the film had an 80-minute behind-the-scenes documentary, and I wanted to see it.  That's what caused me to buy it on DVD.
For those of you who don’t know the movie, it’s about a group of American  scientists and a helicopter pilot who find themselves stranded at an Antarctic research station during a snow storm.  What creates the tension for this movie is that a very aggressive alien is also at the station with them.  The alien and its space craft were discovered by a Norwegian station several miles away.  The alien wiped out everybody there, except for two men who chased it in the form of a dog across the snow to the American station.  The two Norwegians die, and then the Americans take the animal in, not knowing a pissed off alien is inside of it.
I mean the alien was frozen in the snow for like 70,000 years, so it was a little cranky when the Norwegians thawed it out.

The alien is a shape changer and can take any form it desires.  So, it doesn't take long before the scientists realize the alien is amongst them.  They just don't know who's real or who's an alien.  In other words, they know whom to trust.  The film is therefore filled with a strong sense of claustrophobia and distrust, not to mention violence when the alien rags on someone.  To add to the utter sense of isolation is a great musical score by Ennio Morricone that’s both haunting in nature and adds to the sense of loneliness at the research station.
Besides Kurt Russell who plays the helicopter pilot, MacReady, John Carpenter was able to assemble a strong cast of secondary actors who brought their superb skills to the set and delivered performances that were Oscar worthy.  You have Wilford Brimley (before he grew his white mustache) as Blair, Keith David (Platoon, Marked For Death, Pitch Black) as Childs, Donald Moffat as Garry, Richard Masur as Clark, and Charles Hallahan as Norris, whose head rips off during the movie, falls to the floor, develops crab-like legs, and then scuttles hurryingly out of the room, hoping to escape the flame thrower.
The great Stan Winston did the creature/dog special effects as a favor to Robb Bottin (The Howling, The Fog and Robocop), who was busy doing the special effects for the rest of the movie.  In many ways, this was Robb’s picture because without his special effects, it would’ve been just a good film, instead of a great one.  His creatures (remember, this was pre-CGI) took special effects to the next level with their awe-inspiring believability and astounding gruesomeness.
Though a lot of the movie was filmed on sound stages with the temperature turned down, much was also filmed in Stewart, British Columbia because of the snow there.  Though it was a grueling shoot, the actors loved it and felt it made their character’s reactions more real to the audience.
The Thing was John Carpenter’s first big studio project, and everyone was expecting great things from it at the Box Office.  When it didn’t happen, it was a letdown for all involved as they tried to figure out what went wrong.  Of course, the movie has since become a classic and has sold a ton of DVDs to its legion of fans.

I need to point out that the screenplay was written by Bill Lancaster, who is the son of the late Burt Lancaster, and who had written The Bad News Bears.  He gave the film its foundation, and then it was up to the cast and crew to bring the movie to life.
The Collector’s Edition of this DVD has a great documentary that’s nearly an hour-and-a-half long and tells you everything you need to know about the making of the movie and about its after affects.  There's also a look at the production design, some other special effects, and trailers.

This is a great horror movie that still holds up well after thirty years with special effects that will knock you right out of your little white cotton bobby socks.  It’s good that the movie has finally found its audience and the deserved recognition for such fine directing, acting and mind-blowing special effects.  The Thing is a true classic in every sense of the word and a fantastic movie to watch on Halloween night!  





Wayne C. Rogers is a Las Vegas casino employee who has been writing professionally (with the intent to sell) for twenty-five years. It's only been within the past three years that Mr. Rogers (no, not the famous TV host of programs for children) made the decision to work towards being a full-time writer of horror, suspense, psychological, and erotic horror fiction.
He has written several novellas (three of which are posted on Amazon's Kindle), dozens of short stories (some of which are also on Amazon), an erotic/horror novel--The House of Blood--for the wild crowd that lives on the kinky side of reality, and five completed screenplays based on his stories The Encounter, The Tunnels, A Step in the Shadows, Trick or Treat, and The Garbage Disposal (the last three are short screenplays). He is currently at work on a sixth screenplay, The Code of Honor, as well as a seventh, Dolan. During the year of 2012, Mr. Rogers sold over twenty short stories with some of them appearing in the paperback anthologies: I'll Never Go Away, Grindhouse and Peep Show, Volume 2.
Being somewhat of a couch potato at his old age of sixty-two, Mr. Rogers enjoys the pastime of writing, reading (he has over a few hundred books stored in boxes a few feet from his writing table), great movies from any time period, and well-made television programs such as Justified, Mad Men, Breaking Bad, The Game of Thrones, Justified, and American Horror Story. Finally, Mr. Rogers is rather unusual in that he doesn't own a house or a car, A friend just recently bought him a cellphone, but he hasn't turned it on as of yet. He spends his free time at the computer writing his stories, and usually doesn't leave his apartment till it's time to head to work. Thank God for ham & cheese sandwiches and chicken noodle soup!!!

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Halloween Bash...Daddy's Got You free on Amazon

Click the image below to jump to Amazon to get a free copy of Daddy's Got You

Wayne C RogersReviews Doctor Sleep by Stephen King

Dr. Sleep by Stephen King
Scribner, Hardcover, 531pp, $30.00
Review by Wayne C. Rogers


For those who grew up with Stephen King as a stable in their reading curriculum, Dr. Sleep is to be savored like an exquisite meal.  Unfortunately, you’ll probably find yourself flipping through the pages as fast as you can, unable to put the book down. 
That’s what I did.
I love it when that happens!

The journey of Dr. Sleep starts out with Danny as a young boy, coping with being a fatherless child and the horrible things his dad attempted to do to him and his mother at the Overlook Hotel.  It then advances in years to when Danny’s an adult, drinking and fighting, unconsciously carrying his dad’s legacy with him wherever he goes.  In time, Danny bottoms out as an alcoholic.  It’s only then that he’s able to make a decision to change his destructive ways.

Over the next few months, Danny Tolerance travels to Frazier, New Hampshire. 
This is a fine, New England town where he eventually gets a job in the local hospice, while discovering AA meetings.  Though Danny does many things around the hospice, it’s his specialty for helping the dying to pass over that draws the attention of the nurses and the cat, Azzie, who can sense when a patient is in the last stages of life.

As the years pass by, Danny begins to receive visions of a child with strong psychic abilities.   The little girl, Abra, is born close to Frazier and gradually grows into a lovely teenager with strong powers of the shining.  Think of Carrie on steroids.  
  
Unfortunately, Danny isn’t the only one who becomes aware of Abra.    
Rose, the beautiful leader of the True Knot, also has the shining.  In fact, all the members of the True Knot have some degree of the shining, but Rose is the strongest.  Once she becomes aware of Abra, she gets it into her mind to kill the child and to use the girl’s powers for the benefit of the group.      
When Abra begins to suspect the danger she’s in, she seeks out Danny’s help.  He knows firsthand what it’s like to be a child and to have an unimaginable evil hunting you down.  Once he’s called in to help, Danny will devote himself to destroying the True Knot.

For readers expecting an out-and-out horror novel, this isn’t it.  Though there are plenty of frights in Dr. Sleep, the book deals more with the personal journeys of Danny Tolerance and Abra Stone and how they cope with the changes within themselves.
    
Danny’s journey is one of redemption.  It begins at rock bottom and then gradually works its way into sobriety.  It’s only then he can find his true calling, which is to help the dying to pass over. 
Abra, on the other hand, experiences a journey of understanding in how pure evil can manifest itself within our world.  She learns how to fight it, using her gift of the shining for both revenge and to protect the helpless.    

The two journeys are filled with indispensible meaning and personal growth as each person overcomes tragedy and heartache to push beyond their imagined limits.  You see there can be no growth without handling the challenges placed before you.  Each individual must do this on their own, even if they have the full support of their family and friends.  Most of life is an internal struggle that one battles every single day.   
     
Dr. Sleep is certainly Stephen King’s masterpiece. 
It’s a story that will resonate within a reader’s mind long after the last page is turned.  This is what great storytelling is about.  Not the horrors of mankind, but rather the connections we make with each other that are filled with love and giving.


Highly recommend!     
 Wayne C. Rogers is a Las Vegas casino employee who has been writing professionally (with the intent to sell) for twenty-five years. It's only been within the past three years that Mr. Rogers (no, not the famous TV host of programs for children) made the decision to work towards being a full-time writer of horror, suspense, psychological, and erotic horror fiction.
He has written several novellas (three of which are posted on Amazon's Kindle), dozens of short stories (some of which are also on Amazon), an erotic/horror novel--The House of Blood--for the wild crowd that lives on the kinky side of reality, and five completed screenplays based on his stories The Encounter, The Tunnels, A Step in the Shadows, Trick or Treat, and The Garbage Disposal (the last three are short screenplays). He is currently at work on a sixth screenplay, The Code of Honor, as well as a seventh, Dolan. During the year of 2012, Mr. Rogers sold over twenty short stories with some of them appearing in the paperback anthologies: I'll Never Go Away, Grindhouse and Peep Show, Volume 2.
Being somewhat of a couch potato at his old age of sixty-two, Mr. Rogers enjoys the pastime of writing, reading (he has over a few hundred books stored in boxes a few feet from his writing table), great movies from any time period, and well-made television programs such as Justified, Mad Men, Breaking Bad, The Game of Thrones, Justified, and American Horror Story. Finally, Mr. Rogers is rather unusual in that he doesn't own a house or a car, A friend just recently bought him a cellphone, but he hasn't turned it on as of yet. He spends his free time at the computer writing his stories, and usually doesn't leave his apartment till it's time to head to work. Thank God for ham & cheese sandwiches and chicken noodle soup!!!


Friday, October 25, 2013

Halloween Horror Bash...Evil Dead Maze

For those of us who can't make it to Universal Studios for Halloween Horror Nights, here is the Evil Dead Attraction.  

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Halloween Bash...with James R Tuck

HALLOWEEN AND BROTHER HANK (or my weirdest association with October 31st)

Okay, some of you will relate to this. You will know where I am coming from immediately because you will have a similar back story. Some of you won't and this will be just a strange glimpse at life in the South in the early eighties.
Here's some things you need to know going in:
I grew up attending a Pentecostal church. No, we didn't handle snakes but folks did speak in tongues and fall out during service whenever things really got to humming. Other than that we were pretty much just excited Baptists.
This was before everyone had a magic, instant communicator device with the power of Google in their hand. We weren't ignorant, but information was harder to come by and if someone stood on a stage and spoke to you authoritatively on any subject, their words had more weight than today.
And lastly, this is about the time period and what happened to me, not a knock against religion.
With that set up here is what would happen around Halloween every year from the age of 12 (1982) to about 15 (1985) for me.
The weather turns in Georgia every October. It may be 80+ during the day, but as the sun drops so does the temperature. It's as if the whole state loses its ability to hold heat. Some nights it will drop to below 40 degrees, requiring a jacket. Also during October in the Eighties the Marietta Church Of God would bring in the (at the time) honorable Brother Hank Davis to hold forth a revival designed to save the immortal souls of the young people in their pews.
Now Brother Hank Davis was a fucking rock star to us wide-eyed church youth. He was young, meaning he was under 40, and had a full head of thick hair that swept up and back like some feathery helmet of awe. Many of the girls and some of the boys fancied him, finding him handsome. Most of this was the simple fact that he was ON STAGE which puts a sort of Gaussian blur filter on anyone, lifting their attractiveness level several notches.

The other thing that made him a rock star wasn't his cool, casually hip way of talking, it was the lurid subjects he spoke on, subjects that when strung together should have blared out from a grindhouse poster in a psychedelic carmine red.
ROCK N ROLL
BACK MASKING
SATANISM
DRUGS
and since it was October when he visited
HALLOWEEN: THE DEVIL'S HOLIDAY.
Can you see the movie tear sheet in your mind?
He would stand on the stage in rolled up shirt sleeves, his jacket tossed to the floor, discarded like a shed skin. The subject of All Hallow's Eve was far too serious for staid dress clothes. He began with the shocking "history" of trick or treating.
You know this old story: Druids would wander from castle to castle demanding a young woman that they would then sacrifice to the Devil.  If a castle refused, because, you know, it was their children and all, then the Druids would place a carved turnip outside the castle door that held a candle made from rendered human fat. This jack o' lantern would call down a demon who would enter the castle and kill the youngest person there before the sunrise. (those damn dirty druids!)
Brother Hank would tell us these stories, explaining that if we went to our neighbors and asked them for a Kit Kat Bar while dressed in our rubber masked finest then we would be carrying on the satanic tradition of Halloween and we would be guilty of trafficking with the Devil's own bastard children. Why we would be performing satanism!
Strangely enough, even the year that Brother Hank preached the night before Halloween, we all were out in the streets, begging candy by virtue of our costumes bought and homemade and our tightly clutched pillowcases.
I never bought Brother Hank's alternative history of All Hallow's Eve, I know some folks at my church did, but I knew better. I read widely and even without the internet I knew who the druids were. I did find it all very fascinating. His sermons of warning were like super condensed, audio stage versions of a Hammer Horror film.
In the end, you could never have that perfect combination of misinformation, showmanship, and religious fevor in this day and age. Brother Hank survived in a world without wikipedia. But even today, the 31st of October doesn't roll around without my mind turning back to those revivals. They did form some kernel of what I write about today, just like Elvira's Saturday afternoon show, the Munsters, and Hammer's psychadelic, lesbian, vampire flicks.
It's all in there if you look hard enough.

Thank you so much for tuning in. Things have been very hectic for me lately, lots going on. I've written a LOT, remodeled my tattoo shop, and taken up photography. I know your life is just as busy as mine. That's why I appreciate you taking the time to read this and, hopefully, review the e-arcs I've sent. I'm very proud of these two books. These are completely mine. I wrote them and laid them out and published them all myself. It's a weird turn as an artist when you craft something that is so completely in your control. The artwork you see on the covers is mine. I drew the image for THAT WAY LIES MADNESS and I took the photograph I used for HIRED GUN. The layouts are mine. The font choices are mine.
These are the most personal books I've put out so far.
But you know how I feel. You do the same thing with your blog. YOU choose the things you cover. YOU choose the images and the look of your blog. YOU put yourself in it. I appreciate that. I really do. I did the same thing for these two books.
I certainly hope you enjoy them, they are a bit different than my Deacon Chalk stories, but you can still tell they are born of me.
If there is anything I can do for you just ask. If I can I will. If you would like a guest blog or an interview just drop me a line at James@jamesrtuck.com
You completely rock.
Thank you.
James R. Tuck

James R. Tuck is a Professional Tattoo Artist, Photographer, and a multi-published author. He lives outside Atlanta with his lovely wife and cool kids.
The DEACON CHALK series (Kensington Books), The CHAMPIONS OF HOLLOW EARTH series (Pro Se Press forthcoming 2014), the editor of the double anthology THUNDER ON THE BATTLEFIELD Volumes 1 and 2 (Seventh Star Press), and his short fiction has appeared and will appear in several anthologies such as: ONE BUCK ZOMBIES (One Buck Horror), THE BIG BAD (Dark Oak Press), HOOKERPUNK (Dark Oak Press forthcoming), ROBOTS UNLEASHED! (Mechanoid Press forthcoming), and BADLANDS:TROUBLE IN THE HEARTLAND (Zelmer Pulp forthcoming).

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Halloween Bash...Why Horror, Why Halloween?


Why do you write Horror? 

This is a typical question that most horror authors are asked.  What type of person would sit around thinking of and creating horrific sequences meant to elicit fear from their reader?  It is a fair question. 
The allure is simple.   It is not a desire to create sequences of nauseating violence, it is because without the threat of failure or risk there can be no sense of triumph.  It is only in the true sense of danger that our protagonists can succeed.  Victories in a horror novel are not taken for granted, in this they are more valuable. 

In a Horror setting the reader or viewer knows that the protagonist or hero is not certain to survive.  Sure in Die Hard the odds are against McClane, and yeah Segal faced down an army in Under Siege, but was there any doubt that they would survive?

In a Horror story anything can happen to anyone at any time, and if the protagonists are well drawn the reader will truly root for them because their triumph and even survival are not guaranteed.
From an early age I was drawn to these stories, even before I even understood the ‘horror’ label.  In a long ago time, Halloween was the easiest season to seek out these stories.  Horror films were on TV nearly every night.  I remember setting the VCR in the living room to record these intense features I knew my parents would not want me to watch and finding time later to view them.  Two that stick out vividly were IT and the original Nightmare on Elm Street.  IT was a TV movie and Nightmare on Elm Street was censored for TV, but as a lad in elementary school these were intense features. 
But why expose yourself to such frightening gut churning ordeals?  The answer is simple, even a viewer or reader can triumph when experiencing one of these stories.  If Freddy scares you, stare him down until you have overcome him.  This is why Horror franchises lose their bite.  By Freddy’s Dead you know what’s coming even though you have never seen it.  But when re-watching the original you are remembering how it made you feel, and experiencing a frightening form of nostalgia. 

As a child I was an avid reader and quickly worked through what was in the children’s section of my local library.  During the month of October the Horror books would be pulled from the adult fiction racks and displayed prominently.  The cover art alone on some of these books could inspire a thousand lurid dreams.  When I found a an old copy of In The Flesh by Clive Barker I immediately recognized the image, and didn't realize I had since read another edition. I purchased the copy anyway solely for the cover art.  I had read a number of King’s books as well as the bulk of Crichton’s work by the time I was 11 or 12.  I sought out King’s Novel IT at my local library, because damnit the movie was a two parter and I missed the second half when I recorded the first.  I knew I would never get the book out of the library and into my house while keeping my parents ignorant of my actions. (damn thing was long and the hardcover was larger than a couple of bricks)  I was also very aware that my parents would (rightly) not see this as appropriate reading material or an 11 year old.  The exact consequence of failing to covertly sneak/checkout the book from the Library and into my house was irrelevant.  It would not have been pleasant.   Rather than tragically attempt to re-enact Steve McQueen’s Great Escape, I power read the second half over the course of a few weeks.  Smaller paperbacks were easier, but not immune to my parents need to act responsibly.  I remember clearly my Dad taking away Interview with the Vampire and Silence of the Lambs from me before I was 13.  I tried to argue Silence of the Lamb was fine, but he tricked me by asking me to describe the last scene I read.  I told him Clarice had just found a rotting severed tongue in an old storage cellar.  That was my mistake, he opened to my bookmark, skimmed it briefly and that book went back to the library.  After reading these books later in life it was clear he made the correct paternal call.  Michael Crichton hid his terror in the guise of Science Fiction, making his novels more palatable to my Dad. 

Jurassic Park was one of the first truly intense novels I remember reading, and then prompting re-reading.  By the time the film was released theatrically I had read the novel at least twice fully though, and the second half a few more times.  I clearly remember my Dad taking me to see the film shortly after it was released.  On the car ride to the theater he tried to prepare me for what was going to be an intense film, and while we were there some kids my age left nearly in tears, somehow though I didn't find it that scary.  (Aside from the opening when the dude is dragged into the Raptor cage)  The book was better, a startling lesson for an 11 year old kid.    There was a sense of accomplishment as we left the theater together.   I had faced something that was intended to frighten and my steely nerves were victorious.


Horror allows us to confront our fears in a safe environment.  Halloween is a reminder of this.    Ghouls greet us in the windows of stores and we all watch in anticipation as a little kid walks cautiously toward the animatronic cackling witch.  They may have jumped and ran the first time, but damn it they will not let that stand.  They will conquer the witch, and with it feel a sense of triumph.  On the car ride home they will beam up to their parents regaling them with the tale and explaining that they are no longer scared, and their parent will face the fact that their child is growing up. 
Horror and Halloween help us to confront the darkness in the world that surrounds us.  It is a season when it is culturally acceptable to peer into the shadows outside our house, and within us.  And as we cast a light into these dark recesses we learn.  Perhaps there was nothing to fear, and we can take this lesson and grow.  Perhaps there was a creature there and we now know what it is and can confront it.  And perhaps what’s there will overwhelm us and tear us apart and we will never be what we used to be.  But hey this is horror and as I said earlier, not everyone survives.  Then again, maybe we shouldn't have been who we were and it is in this destruction we will truly become who we are.
But what do I know, I just write scary stories,

Happy Halloween

M.R.



Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Halloween Bash with Peter Mark May

What Draws You In?


What makes you watch a horror film or read a chilling novel full of blood or a ghostly short story?
The author of a book draws me in first. I know so many of them since I’ve got published. I’ve always had my favourites like; King, Straub, Herbert, Lumley, Wilson, Clark and Keene all regulars on my bookshelves, before and now. Added to those are new people you try, either because they come recommended or I’ve met them and got on well, or they’ve bought me a cold beer (always a winner).
But after that it’s the cover that draws the ordinary horror fan in. I remember not reading a certain Pan Book of Horror anthology once, because the gross cover put me off and the book smelt earthy, much like the mud covered skulls on the cover. So if the cover speaks to me, then what onto the next tester the back cover blurb.
Now that has to grab you by the short and curlies and pull you into the book when you are not familiar with the author. But what pulls you in? Is it a certain monster, or is it slasher gore, or gentle ghost horror, with people you can relate to. Do heroes or anti-heroes turn you on? Are you more likely to love first person POV, or third person? Do you like zombies or guns, or people fighting against all the odds, or is a bit of titillation part and parcel of your horror bag.

It’s weird but I prefer sci-fi films slightly over horror ones. Yet I read no science-fiction books. I mainly read horror 85% of the time, and my non-horror outings are the odd fantasy book or ancient Egyptian murder mysteries.
So once horror has drawn you in, especially books: what keeps you going back for more?
Is it a type of book, say zombies you like, or the author? Do you read everything by an author you love, even though he/she has a one in three hit and miss ratio? I read tons of Dean R Koontz books years ago; then read one that really sucked and never went back. Also I think I had over-read him and had got bored with the repetitiveness of his storylines. Don’t get me wrong Watchers, Strangers, Lightening and Phantoms are great books, but my journey had ended, I moved on.
Whereas, with F Paul Wilson, Stephen King, Peter Straub and few others I just keep going. Maybe less; sometimes is more. A once a year book, is more than of an event than if you have three books out in a  short space of time and you have to find the money to buy them and the time to fit them in your reading schedule. Having published two books with Samhain in the USA, there is another long line of great authors I have to try and find time for.

I always make spaces for at least two authors I’ve not read before. The horror genre maybe a bit more bottom heavy with publishing deals, but there is some great stuff out there. Dig down, some of the stuff you get at conventions from small presses are full of groundbreaking new talent...go on make space for more horror in your life...I do. 
Peter Mark May was born in Walton on Thames Surrey England way back in 1968 and still lives nearby in a place you’ve may now of heard of called Hersham. He is the author of DemonKumihoInheritance [P. M. May], Dark Waters (novella), Hedge End and AZ: Anno Zombie [Samhain].
He also runs Hersham Horror Books publishing five anthologies so far (editing three himself: Alt-Dead, Alt-Zombie and Fogbound from 5) and has somehow found the time to co-found KarĊshi Books with Johnny Mains and Cathy Hurren.

 He’s had short stories published in genre Canadian & US magazines and the UK & US anthologies of horror such as Creature FeatureWatch, the British Fantasy Society’s 40th Anniversary anthology Full Fathom Forty, Alt-Zombie, Fogbound From 5, Nightfalls and Western Legends The Bestiarum Vocabulum.



Sunday, October 20, 2013

Halloween Bash Wayne C Rogers Reviews The Shining

The Shining by Stephen King
Doubleday, 1977, $35.00, 450pps
ISBN: 0-385-12167-9
Review by Wayne C. Rogers


After thirty-six years, I’m finally reviewing Stephen King’s The Shining.  If the readers are confused by the price of the book, I purchased one of the hardcover editions published in the nineties with an exceptional dust jacket by Peter Kruzan, Craig De Camp, and Thomas Holdorf.  Doubleday did the six King novels that were originally published by them with new jackets designed by these three men, and I love the way the covers look.  I have Salem’s Lot, The Shining, and The Stand with matching dust jackets.  The novel is also available in paperback for a lot less.
Let me say from the start that I consider The Shining (Stephen King’s third published novel) to be one the scariest book I’ve ever read.  I’ve read a lot of great horror fiction over the last thirty-five years, including all of King’s novels and anthologies, plus those by Robert R. McCammon, Dan Simmons, Peter Straub, Charles L. Grant, Ramsey Campbell, Dennis Etchison, F. Paul Wilson, Joe R. Lansdale, Bently Little, Tom Piccirilli, Richard Matheson, Joe Hill, Ira Levin, William Petty Blatty, and a dozen more.  All of these authors are excellent writers, but no novel has ever cut me to the core like The Shining did in 1977.  I read the novel in less than two days, and it literally scared the bejesus out me.  Since then, I’ve read it twice more and though the effect of the novel isn’t as strong as the first time around, it still stuns me in a way few other novels are able to do.   The Shining has never been equaled for its pure fear factor.  The novel is a sheer masterpiece…a classic that made a young, upcoming author famous worldwide. 
The Shining is about the Torrance family acting as caretakers for the Overlook Hotel in the dead of a Colorado winter.  There is Jack and Wendy Torrance, plus their six-year-old son, Danny, who’s psychic and can see glimpses of the future.  The hotel, however, is haunted with the evil energy of ghosts from the past…the ghosts of people who either killed themselves or were murdered.  The Overlook wants Danny Torrance and will use the father’s alcoholism to create chaos within the family and then eventually kill them.   As the time of death approaches, the hotel grows in psychic strength, coming alive with memories of the past, offering false promises to Jack if he will bash in the heads of Wendy and Danny with a roque mallet.   
As I’ve said in the past, The Shining is one of the most terrifying novels I’ve have ever read, and it still scared me pretty good this third time around.  The ghosts and situations at the Overlook certainly have their moments, but what struck home for me is the relationship between Jack and his wife and son.  I come from a family where my step-father was an alcoholic, and I know what it’s like to fear the arrival of the drunken party, knowing that one little thing can set the person off in a fit of pure, uncontrollable rage.  The Overlook Hotel captured the sense of utter isolation and of being cut off from the rest of the world (friends and relatives), while the father slowly goes berserk and then on a wild killing spree.  Stephen King was able to craft every scene with a true sense of reality that would come alive in my mind in ways that were terrifying to remember.  The author was able to do this because of his own experiences in battling alcoholism and understanding what a person and his family goes through emotionally when dealing with this addiction.
Remember, The Shining was published in 1977.  When I first read it, I entered a new world that had been allusive to me in other novels.  The author had (and still has) a special gift for words and descriptions and the creation of characters that few others can match even at this time.  The fiction of Stephen King was literally the next evolution in storytelling.  You could see it in his published novels at the time. 

The Shining is, and will probably always be, one of my favorite novels of the thousands I’ve read during the last fifty years. 
Here’s an anecdote.
I was coming back on a bus from a Zen center in Nebraska in 1991.  We made our way through Colorado and up through the mountains.  The sun was setting, casting an eerie glow on the cliffs around us as the bus made its way toward Utah.  When darkness had settled in and the passengers started to get comfortable, a voice sounded from the rear of the bus.  It was exactly like the kid from Stanley Kubrick’s version of The Shining.  The person in the back started saying, “Redrum.  Redrum.  Redrum.”  This went on for about sixty seconds.  Everybody was listening to the voice, but no one was saying anything.  Finally, after the voice had stopped and a minute of silence had gone by, people started laughing because they knew what “redrum” meant and that it came from the movie, The Shining, and that we were in the mountains where the story takes place.  After twenty-two years, I still remember that unusual moment on the bus. 
While you’re at it, be sure to check out the sequel, Dr. Sleep, which continues the story of Danny Tolerance and will probably be Steve King’s biggest seller in the history of mankind.
Enough said.


 Wayne C. Rogers is a Las Vegas casino employee who has been writing professionally (with the intent to sell) for twenty-five years. It's only been within the past three years that Mr. Rogers (no, not the famous TV host of programs for children) made the decision to work towards being a full-time writer of horror, suspense, psychological, and erotic horror fiction.
He has written several novellas (three of which are posted on Amazon's Kindle), dozens of short stories (some of which are also on Amazon), an erotic/horror novel--The House of Blood--for the wild crowd that lives on the kinky side of reality, and five completed screenplays based on his stories The Encounter, The Tunnels, A Step in the Shadows, Trick or Treat, and The Garbage Disposal (the last three are short screenplays). He is currently at work on a sixth screenplay, The Code of Honor, as well as a seventh, Dolan. During the year of 2012, Mr. Rogers sold over twenty short stories with some of them appearing in the paperback anthologies: I'll Never Go Away, Grindhouse and Peep Show, Volume 2.
Being somewhat of a couch potato at his old age of sixty-two, Mr. Rogers enjoys the pastime of writing, reading (he has over a few hundred books stored in boxes a few feet from his writing table), great movies from any time period, and well-made television programs such as Justified, Mad Men, Breaking Bad, The Game of Thrones, Justified, and American Horror Story. Finally, Mr. Rogers is rather unusual in that he doesn't own a house or a car, A friend just recently bought him a cellphone, but he hasn't turned it on as of yet. He spends his free time at the computer writing his stories, and usually doesn't leave his apartment till it's time to head to work. Thank God for ham & cheese sandwiches and chicken noodle soup!!!

       

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Halloween Bash with Naima Haviland

Monsters in Gullah Folklore
The Gullah-Geechee Corridor is a marshy strip of waterways and islands stretching down the coast from lower North Carolina to upper Florida. Gullahs were the corridor's original slaves. Geographical isolation preserved Gullah culture over 300 years. Gullah folklore has great monsters, which drive the plot in my historical vampire novel, The Bad Death. All sources noted here (except my book) are nonfiction.
In my novel, 'drolls' are little vampires who run in packs, but a Gullah droll can be the uneasy spirit of any child who suffered an unnatural death. The most legendary is Crab Boy, whose story serves as a cautionary tale to children. As told to Murrells Inlet native, Lynn Michelsohn, the boy went diving for an elusive stone crab but got more than he bargained for. Residents still hear his screams across the marshes.

As Daufuskie Island's Roger Pinckney described in Blue Roots, "Some spirits…are inhabitants of a parallel spiritual universe who cross over into the material world at will or by command." This spirit is called a 'hag' and Blue Roots specifies, "… two types, the hag that is a total spirit and the 'slip-skin' hag, which is a person, usually a female, who becomes invisible by shedding her skin…"… two types, the hag that is a total spirit and the 'slip-skin' hag, which is a person, usually a female, who becomes invisible by shedding her skin…" The hag then slips into your skin while you sleep to give you nightmares. In Africanisms in the Gullah Dialect, a Johns Island resident described the experience, "…they bear on you, and they feel kind of heavy. They say the whole person is lay weight upon you in the bed. Then you can't wake." One way to prevent a hag riding you is to cut off the bedposts so she can't roost. A sieve hung by your bed or rice thrown on the floor tempts the hag to count holes or grains, distracting her from persecuting you. The Bad Death's hag slipped her skin to escape with her life, and our heroine's body is the perfect hiding place now that the monsters called 'plat-eyes' are prowling. 



A Gullah woman described her run-in with a plat-eye In A Woman Rice Planter: "I see a man walk right befo' me, en I call to um…de man neber answer, en w'en 'e git to de gate 'e neber open um, 'e jes' pass trou' wi'dout open, en den 'e tu'n 'eself unto a bull, en rare up befor' me. Den I kno' 'twas plat eye…" Plat-eyes shape shift badly, and you can spot them by their mistakes. In human form, they're apt to have only one eye. Most references attribute the term 'plat-eye' to that one human eye being big as a plate. However, the 1989 James Island and Johns Island Historic Survey credits the name to the monster's fondness for plaiting the eyelashes of whoever it's terrorizing. In The Bad Death, plat-eyes love the smell of whiskey and the taste of human blood.
If you're bloodthirsty for more, enter to win The Bad Death – in your preferred e-book format – here!





The Bad Death is available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle format. It releases in other digital formats December 1 – pre-order at iTunes and Kobo.  Naima also wrote Night at the Demontorium, and Bloodroom. Find her at naimahaviland.com or subscribe to her New Releases newsletter.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Halloween Bash with Jack Ketchum

MY FAVORITE HALLOWEEN STORY
By Jack Ketchum       


            When Halloween, 1970 rolled around I was twenty-four years old and still very much a hippie and crashing with my friend John Wexo in sunny Laguna Beach, California.
            (Remember crashing?)
            I have notes on this so it’s easy to recall.  That night I got the notion that what we should do was to reverse the order of things trick-or-treat-wise.  So Paula and John and I went out and bought fresh-cut flowers and salted mixed nuts and bagged the nuts in plastic-wrap along with thin-cut strips of typed paper (remember typing?) on which we’d written quotes from Camus and Abbie Hoffman and Mark Twain and a bunch of other people.  Myself included.  Sort of a home-made fortune-cookie type thing.
            Then we put on masks -- mine was a da-glo skeleton -- and went door-to-door handing out the flowers and the nuts.
            Wouldn't accept a thing.
            We pretty much upset everybody one way or another.  John is six-two and that sure didn’t help any.  But mostly we upset them in good ways.  Most were smiling by the time we left and some even seemed touched by the gesture.  One old woman, whose husband almost closed the door on us when we first told him we were there to give him something, actually blessed us.  Teenagers goofed on the whole thing.  Only one guy seemed really scared.  And he was bigger than John.
            But the best thing was that on three occasions children answered the door, truly astounded by this weird adult departure from the rules and delighted by it.  One boy’s eyes went wide as we handed him his flower and when he said thank you, all three of us had the feeling that as he closed the door, that little fella was thinking about it.  Hard.  That he’d remember it.
            We went home and drank hot hard cider and listened to the Song of the Humpbacked Whale.

            Haunting.
Piece originally published by in Chizmar and Morrish's OCTOBER DREAMS

Jack Ketchum is a fucking legend in my mind.  He is responsible for the scariest book I have ever read, Off Season, the most gruesome book I have ever read The Girl Next Door, and one of the all time best books I have read Red.  Pick these up now.   http://www.jackketchum.net/