Monday, June 24, 2013

Primal 2010

Primal from writer director Josh Reed is an incredibly straightforward isolated from civilization horror flick, where the cast is picked off one by one.  The film follows six students searching for old cave paintings deep in a jungle.  Something infects them and they turn into a mutated cannibal and the others must fend them off.  While we have all seen this before, Reed brings a great sense of direction to the chaos and the mythology of the creatures and the infection is very well constructed.  The cast does admirably, but there are no real standouts.  Despite the old formula there are a few descent surprises by the end of the film.  This is a solid little B-creature that if you don’t ask too much from is worth a watch.  

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Horror for the Summer Season

While we usually think of horror emerging from the Shadows, it can take you on a beautiful day with the sun shining bright.  With Summer officially upon us I wanted to make sure the horror aficionado had some seasonally appropriate scares. 

Castaways by Brian Keene and Slither by Edward Lee offer great summer settings with plenty of beach action. 

Everybody knows and celebrates Jaws,
but what about Alexandre Aja’s incredibly fun Piranha from 2010? 


Dead Island, choose your survivor in a sandbox style game that takes place at a tropical hotel resort over run by the undead. 

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Guest blog by Mark Allan Gunnells On The Art of The Short Story

Please Welcome Mark Allan Gunnells to Cutis Anserina 

I have a passion for short fiction.  Since I was young and checked out a copy of King’s Night Shift from the library, I’ve been hooked on short stories.  Single author collections, anthologies, magazines...I just devour them.  Not that I don’t appreciate and thoroughly enjoy novels and novellas, but I have a deep and special love for shorts.

As a writer, I feel a strong leaning toward them as well.  I write novels and novellas, and I take pleasure in satisfaction in those forms…but short stories are my true love.  I get a thrill each time a new book of mine is released, but the collections give me an extra special thrill.

GHOSTS IN THE ATTIC being a prime example.

This was my second short story collection, after TALES FROM THE MIDNIGHT SHIFT.  TALES is now out of print, though a paperback and digital edition are in the works.  I was proud of that one, but hoped it wouldn’t be my only collection while at the same time fearing it would be.  I knew collections were a hard sell, both to the public and publishers.

So I decided I couldn’t just sit around and wait for the opportunity to do another collection to fall in my lap.  I had to make it happen.

I looked around at the small press publishers I admired, and determined which ones were putting out single-author collections.  Bad Moon Books was at the top of my list.  I took a chance and emailed Roy Robbins, expressing my passion for the short form and inquiring if he might be willing to consider a collection by me.

To my delight, he told me to put together a manuscript and send it his way.  No guarantees, of course, but it was definitely encouraging.  I worked hard at selecting stories I thought would represent a strong but varied offering of my work, and I sent it in.

The response I got from Roy was better than I was expecting.  The only problem was his schedule was so full he didn’t know when he might be able to fit the collection in.  Which is why I suggested he make it a digital collection.
And that was how GHOSTS IN THE ATTIC was born.  The stories contained in the collection are all special to me for one reason or another, and I worked very hard at making the pieces satisfying and complete. 

Not to say that my novels and novellas aren’t special to me, but I have a passion for short stories.

Mark Allan Gunnells has been writing since he was 10 years old. His first book, A LAYMON KIND OF NIGHT, was published by Sideshow Press in 2009. Since then he has put out three more books with Sideshow: the two-novella WHISONANT/CREATURES OF THE LIGHT combo, a short story collection entitled TALES FROM THE MIDNIGHT SHIFT VOL. I, and the Halloween themed DARK TREATS. He also has put out the novella ASYLUM with The Zombie Feed, and Bad Moon Books released a digital collection entitled GHOSTS IN THE ATTIC and the novella OCTOBER ROSES. He released his first published novel, THE QUARRY, with Evil Jester Press, and followed that up with SEQUEL from Gallow's Press and THE SUMMER OF WINTERS also from EVIL JESTER. His most recent book is the novel THE EXCHANGE STUDENT from Etopia Press. He lives in Greer, SC, with his partner Craig A. Metcalf.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Horror Authors’ Bookshelves: David Wellington

From the darkness has curiosity ever reached out and struck you?  Has it caused you to wonder about your favorite genre writers and what’s on their bookshelves?  It’s reached out and struck me.  Do they have some classic pulp detective novels?  What about graphic novel collections?  Maybe the severed head of the poor unfortunate soul who sent them their first rejection letter.
Like the person in a horror story that hears a strange noise, I ventured alone into the darkness to investigate.  And here at Ravenous Monster I will bring you your favorite horror authors’ bookshelves and their personal thoughts on their collections, until the thing in the shadows finally reaches out and claims me….

Click below for a Tour of David Wellington's personal collection...

Monday, June 3, 2013

John Carpenter’s Asylum issue #1 Review

John Carpenter’s Asylum written by Bruce Jones and illustrated by Leonardo Manco
The plot follows LT. Daniel Beckett, an Iraqi war veteran turned priest and suspect in a failed exorcism that resulted in a child’s death; teaming with Detective Jack Duran to hunt down the possessed who are committing ritual murders. 

It sounds cool doesn’t it, but it’s not.  While the artwork by Leonardo Manco is a gorgeous mix of comic sensibilities and painting it doesn’t mask the story’s poor pacing thinly drawn characters, bland dialogue, or uninspired plot progression.  Jack Duran is a thinly drawn tough cop cliché and Beckett is boring from his introduction in a morning after sequence with a woman who he leaves without talking to, even as she tries to engage him, and walks to a church and is revealed to be a priest.  This sequence sums up the book nicely, failed attempts to shock the audience and nothing else.  Much of this revolves around nude women, who are often so for NO apparent reason. (Really she takes her shirt off to make a phone call?) 

With the beautiful artwork and involvement from John Carpenter this book is a serious let down.