FEATURED ARTIST

Artist of the Month – July 2017:  Aya Jade

Artist of the Month – July 2017: Aya Jade

I could not have picked a better AotM for July then Miss Aya. Because she is a firecracker!!! Special effects makeup has been popular for years now. Especially for cosplay and with shows like Face/Off. And this female artist certainly has skill in that department! I mean to go from this TO THIS will certainly blow a few minds and drop some jaws!!! I have some face paint left over that I WAS going to dabble with one of these days. But well SHIT!
Here is a brief bio of our lovely monster, followed by our Q&A:horror-artistofthemonth-ayajade-nun
My name is Aya, I’m a fashion and special effects artist from Wellington, New Zealand.
I’m 22 years of age and have been doing beauty makeup professionally since the age of 17 but I’m very new to the special effects community!
House of Tortured Souls: This extent of face special effects painting is pretty new and mind blowing! How many years have you been in it to get these awesome?
Aya Jade: I’ve only been doing it for a year now, but I dabbled in body painting before becoming qualified!
HoTS: Do you go to an Art School? Or have a special teacher?
AJ: I went to the Special Effects Makeup Course in Wellington last year, it is a ‘Full-on’ for a few months, learning the basics of what we need to know to be in this career path. I would love to go on to learn sculpting and molding.
HoTS: Why horror?
AJ: Horror movies and games are a favorite genre of mine and I’ve always been fascinated by the creations and transformations in them. Seeing something so grotesque in a real world is setting is intriguing but terrifying.
HoTS: What is your favorite monster?
AJ: Silent Hill creatures, they’re all so insane looking.
HoTS: Is there a special makeup or body paint you use?
AJ: I use a lot of Kryolan, Ben Nye and Mehron! They’re amazing professional SFX brands. I also Paint with Fab paint and Snazaroo.
HoTS: Do you do comic cons or any art shows?
AJ: Unfortunately we don’t have much in New Zealand but I do go to our biggest event which is Armageddon. I’m either cosplaying or doing the zombie makeup!
HoTS: Do you do ‘How to’ videos?
AJ: Yes! I’m very amateur, though, haha.
HoTS: Do you have a fan page? Instagram? Twitter? Facebook? YouTube?
AJ: All of my social medias are under the name Aya Jade. I’m on Instagram, Facebook, and YouIube.
HoTS: Are you for hire? You would total rock a wedding!
AJ: Yes, I am actually!
HoTS: What do you like to do when you are not creeping people out?
AJ: I play video games, watch my favorite TV series and movies, I’m also super passionate about animals and love hanging out at my local shelters and sanctuaries if I’m not at home with my own!
I MEAN, WHO IS NOT IN LOVE WITH AYA NOW?!?!?
Posted by Tammie Parker in ARTIST OF THE MONTH, EXCLUSIVE, FEATURED ARTIST, IN THE SPOTLIGHT, MAKE UP AND EFFECTS, 0 comments
Artist of the Month – June 2017:  Matthew Zip

Artist of the Month – June 2017: Matthew Zip

Once again, this artist was introduced to me by a previous AoTM. I am thrilled to wear the Artist Interview pin! This guy has amazing talent, and the detailing will blow you away. It does take hella skill to create these sketches, but also passion and drive. And boy, does he have all of that!Creature From the Black Lagoon / Artist: Matthew Zip

A Brief Biography

Matthew Zip was born and raised in Tucson, Arizona. He now lives in Houston Texas and is a tattoo and fine art artist. He has been with his lovely wife Amanda for over ten years, and they have been married for four of those. They have one son, Jacob.
Be sure to check out his website.

The Interview

Let’s begin the interrogation!
Otis from The Devil's Rejects and House of 1,000 Corpses Otis from The Devil's Rejects and House of 1,000 Corpses / Artist: Matthew ZipHouse of Tortured Souls: How old were you when you started to draw?
Matthew Zip: I have been drawing ever since I could hold a pencil or a crayon.
HoTS: Where did you learn to draw? Did you take classes?
MZ: Myself, mostly, until I got into high school and got into a good art class there with a very supportive teacher. After high school, I continued my education and got an associates degree in fine arts. That’s where I really started to learn a lot, in college.
HoTS: When and why did you fall in love with horror art?
Matthew Zip: I’ve always been in love with the horror genre. Ever since I was a kid in the 80s, my dad would take me to video stores, and I would just stand there in the horror section and look at all the different covers. They were so beautiful and horrible at the same time, and they really captured my imagination.
HoTS: Do you draw in lead, charcoal, or the blood of innocent souls?
MZ: 😉 All of the above!
Image: Matthew Zip
My dear friend Jamie Dietz will melt when she sees this one!
HoTS: Do you have a favorite monster?
MZ: If I did it would probably be Nathan Grantham from Creepshow (“Father’s Day” story) or Chop Top from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2.
HoTS: Do you post in galleries anywhere or do a booth at comic cons or art shows?
MZ: I have done comic cons and art shows, no galleries as of now.
Freddy Kruger smiles in A Nightmare on Elm Street
Freddy Kruger sneers in A Nightmare on Elm Street
HoTS: Where can we find and purchase your work?
MZ: A few different ways, either through my Instagram or Facebook or you could go to my Etsy store.
Alfred Hitchcock / Artist: Matthew ZipHoTS: Where can we find and purchase your work?
Skeleton Moth from The Silence of the Lambs / Artist: Matthew ZipMZ: A few different ways, either through my Instagram or Facebook.

HoTS: Do you have any fan pages or a Twitter account so we can keep up with your work?
MZ: Yes!
My Instagram is @zip_tattooist
My Facebook is Matthew Zip Howard
Batman's The JokerHoTS: Are you working on anything right now?
MZ: I just finished up seven pieces for one person, all of them sketches and all of them classic Universal monsters.
HoTS: What are some of your past-times outside of drawing?
Regan from The Exorcist / Artist: Matthew ZipMZ: I have no real hobbies outside of art, unless you count more art is being a hobby! Haha, I do painting, sculpting, tattooing, and I’m trying to get into special-effects make up more.
Star Wars isn’t actually scary, but I am still a nerd after all and these are frocking amazing!
Yoda from Star Wars
Darth Vader from Star Wars
Boba Fett from Star Wars
Darth Maul from Star Wars
And this tribute to Snape has me in my feels!
Posted by Tammie Parker in ART AND VENDORS, ARTIST OF THE MONTH, COLLECTIBLE REVIEWS, FEATURED ARTIST, IN THE SPOTLIGHT, 0 comments
Artist of the Month – May 2017: Maxwell H. Blackheart

Artist of the Month – May 2017: Maxwell H. Blackheart

Mother’s Day is coming up. Get your mom and your baby’s momma something special this year.
No? She’s more of an ‘I Love Lucy’ kinda gal? Okay!
Or maybe clowns?
Giggles 😀 I, personally, would be thrilled to own any of those pieces. Then again, I am one twisted bitch!
Once again, a previous AotM sent me to this one. And BOY have I hit the MOTHERLOAD!!! Maxwell is flipping amazing!! There be a lot of talent in them fingers – and a lot of demented thoughts in that there brain! I love it!! Maxwell does have amazing skills and you will be thrilled to have been introduced to his work!
I’m in need of a Hall of Blackheart now!!
I was obnoxious enough to get some answers out of him! No really he was kind enough to take the time out to answer some questions and is a real down to earth fellow.
Firing away with the questions.
House of Tortured Souls: How old were you when you started to draw?
Maxwell H. Blackheart: I can remember watching my dad draw quick sketches of faces when I was about six or seven. I didn’t know how he did this so I would just watch him draw these random faces. After awhile I got motivated to try it myself. I copied what he did and liked doing it. After many more drawings I started drawing Peanuts characters and just a few years later around eight years old I was drawing Kiss band members, snakes, spiders, and severed heads. It had begun.
HoTS: What was your first piece?
MHB: My first piece that I consider worth calling it a piece of art would have been a portrait of Gene Simmons from Kiss. I was starting to use colored pencils which I love to use to this day. It’s really my favorite medium because it’s quick and enjoyable for me.
HoTS: When and why did you fall in love with horror art?
MHB: I’m not exactly sure when I did. It was just kind of the path I took. It was the road that felt right and looked interesting to explore. I guess I’d say around eight years old. Godzilla, Frankenstein, and severed heads were always a fun subject for me.
HoTS: Do you draw in lead, charcoal, or the blood of innocent souls? 😉
MHB: I draw mostly with Prismacolor pencils and ink. I also like graphite. I’ve only produced about 9 or 10 acrylic paintings but I hope to do more in the future.
HoTS: Who is your favorite immortal creep?
MHB: My favorite Immortal creep is a hard question. For some reason Rawhead Rex comes to mind. Nothing like a heavy metal looking head chomping boogie man to torture your soul with fear.
HoTS: Do you do comic cons, art shows or anything?
MHB: I would love to. I wanna meet all the nice people I hear from every single day on social media. It’s hard for me to travel at this time. For now you will have to come to me here in Spokane Washington or you can just visit my Instagram.
HoTS: Where can we find and purchase your work?
MHB: If you want to see what I have up or make a purchase, I sell originals and prints here http://www.maxblackheart.com and Etsy as well https://www.etsy.com/shop/MaxBlackHeart. T-shirts are a new item I have been selling also.
HoTS: Do you have any fan pages or twitter account so we can keep up with your work?
MHB: I mostly post my latest pieces on Instagram @maxblackheart. You can find me on Facebook and Etsy also.
HoTS: Are you working on anything right now?
MHB: I am currently working on a painting that is Alice Cooper themed, ‘Cold Ethyl’ from his song with the same title. If you love corpses or “love” corpses you’ll love this piece. Also take a listen to this song if you haven’t heard it. It’s a real toe tapper.
HoTS: What are some of your pastimes outside of drawing?
MHB: I have lots of things I do outside of my art like spending time with my family. Riding motorcycles music and photography. I also like thinking and doing things my own way. Also really good at eating steak. Medium rare please.
Y’all be sure to go follow, like, poke, pinch, share, love, put your right foot in, put your right foot out… Oh no, wait, that’s something else! Seriously go support as much as you can!
Posted by Tammie Parker in ART AND VENDORS, ARTIST OF THE MONTH, EXCLUSIVE, FEATURED ARTIST, IMAGES, STAFF PICKS, 2 comments
ARTIST OF THE MONTH – APR 2017: Mélanie Khoth

ARTIST OF THE MONTH – APR 2017: Mélanie Khoth

I spotted our next AotM on Instagram. It was right around the time the new Ring movie was out , so her 3D art really caught my attention! And the fact that this artist is a young female, even better!!! My favorite piece and what made me really go after her was her Samora piece. OMG it is flipping AWESOME!
Image: Melanie Khoth
Mélanie Khoth is 22, lives in Paris, France, and is a Graphic Designer at BeautEastSphere.com. She was kind enough to answer a little Q&A, so let’s dive right in.
House of Tortured Souls: How old were you when you sgot into art?
Mélanie Khoth: I started drawing at a very early age, like every kid. Stickman family and my childhood heroes.
HoTS: Your talent at 3D is phenomenal! Did it take you years to get to this point?
MK: Oh merci! Less than 3 years ago (I was a physics student at this time), I first saw somewhere on Internet a post on 3D drawings, and I was like super impressed, I didn’t know that kind of drawing was possible. And of course, I wanted to try. My first 3D drawing was an Eiffel Tower. (You can see it on my Instagram page, first post I think.) I really started drawing at this time, and posted my drawings on Instagram to see my progress.
HoTS: Who is your favorite monster?
MK: Hard to choose. I’m a big horror movie fan, I watched them all. But I will choose Chucky, cute and funny (I’m 3D drawing him, so don’t miss it), or the Gremlins. Haha.
HoTS: Did you go to art school?
MK: Nope, self taught. Drawing is natural for me, I just take a pen and know what to do.
Image: Melanie Khoth
HoTS: Do you do art shows, comic cons, or sell your art anywhere?
MK: No, no, and no, but I would love to.
HoTS: Do you use pencil, charcoal, or graphite, or ink from nightmares?
MK: Colored pencils are my favorite. I also use markers and paint pens. I love colored drawings.
HoTS: Do you have a fan page, maybe on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram?
MK: You can stalk me on my Instagram page or Facebook, or Twitter, or YouTube. Just look for my name.
HoTS: Is there somewhere fans can go to purchase your art?
MK: No, sorry, not at the moment! But I’m planning to, so many people ask me for a portrait. I didn’t stop my physics studies for nothing, haha.
HoTS: How many jars of peanut butter are in your kitchen?
MK: Zero! Peanut butter is not very popular in France. I’m a Nutella person.
HoTS: What do you love to do in your spare time other than drawing?
MK: I’m a yoga girl, I like to be in weird yoga pose. Reading and watching series or movies. I also love watching movie trailers, that’s my thing. I think I watched more trailers than movie.
I will leave you guys with this cute 3D of a sweet clown. 🙂
Image: Melanie Khoth
Posted by Tammie Parker in ARTIST OF THE MONTH, FEATURED ARTIST, IN THE SPOTLIGHT, INTERVIEWS, 0 comments
ARTIST OF THE MONTH – MAR 2017: Don England

ARTIST OF THE MONTH – MAR 2017: Don England

I found out our next AotM by a previous AotM Cory Newman (you remember the badass tattooist) He actually pointed the finger to a few horror artists, many will be AotM in months to come. Don England does most of his sketches only with pencil and ink alone, and they turn out incredible! He has a truly amazing skill and horror is perfect for black and white sketches.
Here is our Q&A:
House of Tortured Souls: How old were you when you started to draw?
Don England: I’ve been drawing as long as I can remember. My mother was an artist and taught me many techniques in drawing when I was a little kid. Spider-Man was my favorite thing to draw when I was younger.
HoTS: Did you take art courses?
DE: I took basic art classes in school and then in my late 20s I took a few classes at a local art store to learn watercolor and a few other things. But that’s about it.
HoTS: When and why did you fall in love with horror art?
DE: Well, I’ve loved horror films since I was a little kid. Back in grade school I would watch Sir Graves on the local station. He would play a variety of horror films ranging from the Universal monsters to the Hammer films. Eventually we got cable and then a VCR and they opened me up to an entirely new world of horror I had never seen. So for whatever reason horror became a passion for me either watching or talking about it. So it just became natural for me to start drawing what I would see on the screen.
HoTS: Who is your favorite immortal creep?
DE: Werewolves were always my favorite. Curse of the Werewolf was the first werewolf movie I had seen but An American Werewolf in London is the movie that blew my mind. l watched it when I was in 6th grade and I’ve never been the same since! I like the idea of the inner beast coming out.
HoTS: Tell us about your featured pieces.
DE: Nosferatu, a piece that took me awhile to finish because I didn’t think it was looking correct. By the time I finished it I personally think it’s one of the best I’ve done.
Artist of the Month, Mar 2017, Don England, Nosferatu
Artist of the Month, Mar 2017, Don England, Horror Collage
DE: Horror Montage, was a piece I worked on for a long time, a lot of erasing and rearranging. It’s the piece that got me noticed.
DE: The Night Pieces cover is one of my personal favorites. Gary Reed, who was putting out the book, gave me a brief idea of what he wanted and this is what came of it. It’s different for my usual stuff and I think that’s why I like it.
Artist of the Month, Mar 2017, Don England, Night Pieces
Artist of the Month, Mar 2017, Don England, Pan's Labyrinth
DE: The Pale Man from Pan’s Labyrinth is such a great looking character. I was really pleased with the way it come out.
DE: An American Werewolf In London, I had this piece planned for a long time.. I wanted to do something more that just a couple images from the movie. Once I finally got moving on it I was very happy with the final results.
Artist of the Month, Mar 2017, Don England, An American Werewolf in London
HoTS: Do you do comic cons or art shows anywhere?
DE: I’ve been setting up all comic and horror cons for nearly 25 years. When I started, it was to promote Lethal Lita, the comic I was working on at the time. After a few years of local comic cons I started setting up at horror cons and now I’m at 12-15 conventions a year, mostly in the mid-west. Cinema Wasteland, Monsterpalooza, Horror Hound, and Motor City Comic Con are a few of my regular shows.
HoTS: Where can we find and purchase your work?
DE: You can see me at the conventions but you can also go to donaldengland.com for prints, original art and shirts. I also post on Facebook and Instagram almost daily with sketches and finished pieces that are for sale. If interested in commissions you can message me with your request.
HoTS: Do you have a fanpage or twitter etc where we can keep up with your work?
DE: I’m on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. I post the most on Facebook where I have a personal page and a fan page. Both pages are open to anyone wanting to see my work.
HoTS: What was your first piece?
DE: Hmmm, I’m going to guess Batman or Spider-Man.
HoTS: What is your favorite pastime outside of drawing?
DE: Hanging out with the wife and kids!
Posted by Tammie Parker in ART AND VENDORS, ARTIST OF THE MONTH, FEATURED ARTIST, IMAGES, IN THE SPOTLIGHT, STAFF PICKS, 1 comment
ARTIST OF THE MONTH – FEB 2017: Kevin Merck

ARTIST OF THE MONTH – FEB 2017: Kevin Merck

Turkey Merck Mugs have my heart for so many reasons! For one, they are crafted with unbelievable attention to detail. Every mug is incredibly life-like – even to the point where you can hear them scream. Another reason I love Terkey Merck Mugs is, duh!, Kevin is a true horror craftsman, an exceptionally talented horror artist. This art is sure to creep out or flip out any house guests you may have and is a sure fire way to get your mother out of your house. 😉
We float in the same social circle, so it wasn’t long before I stumbled across Terk via another Artist of the Month, Steve Turner, who has drawn ‘The Screamer’ and ‘Joe’ several times. (And I want each piece!) Then, one of the Walkers I have the pleasure of chatting with on Facebook posed with one of the cups for a shot. I MELTED! There was so much good stuff in the photo!
Check out the glossy, bloodshot eye. And look at how wet that blood appears! And all those wrinkles! What did I tell you about detail?
I was lucky enough to have the chance to interview Kevin Merck, the man behind these creations. Here is our Q+A.
House of Tortured Souls: What got you into designing coffee mugs?
Kevin Merk: Since 2001, my main focus has been to create interesting sculpts on traditional utilitarian ceramic ware. Sculpted character coffee mugs have always been a popular item, but they have become a really hot item over the past couple of years. I probably made my first mug around 2003.
HoTS: How long have you been a fan of horror?
KM: For as long as I can remember. I think the first horror/action movie that I watched was Predator… I was 5.
HoTS: Favorite monster?
KM: The Wolfman… or the Xenomorph… or the Predator… It’s a toss up.
HoTS: Do you mold each mug by hand, or have you created a mold for your different types?
KM: I create many original pieces, and then I choose which design I want to produce on a larger scale. From there I sculpt another model based on my original design and then make the molds and then begin castings. Even though my production pieces come from a mold, I actually sculpt certain areas on each cast while the clay is still damp. My goal is to make each piece look like it did not come from a ceramic mold. Each cast is also custom painted using ceramic glazes and fired in my kiln. I fire each piece at least three times and I apply a different layer of glaze before each firing. I only began casting my designs in 2016 so every piece up until 2016 was a one-off original.
HoTS: Do you own a kiln? And how many incidents have there been?
KM: I own two Olympic Kilns. Olympic makes a really dependable kiln, and they are located just 15 minutes from my house. If you mean exploding pottery when you say incidents, then, yes… but only once… and that was my fault because I rushed the firing. I had a two very good teachers, Wayne Hewell and Jeff Standridge, when I first starting firing my work so I have been able to avoid many possible mishaps due to their instruction.
HoTS: Do you do conventions or art shows?
KM: I have done local pottery shows in the past, but I had to give those up in 2016 due to my busy schedule. I would like to set up at the Atlanta Walker Stalker Con at some point. Having a booth at Monsterpalooza would also be pretty cool.
HoTS: Are you working on any new ones, or have plans down the road?
KM: I work on new designs quite often. Some of the designs make the cut for production and some of them remain on my shelf or are purchased by collectors. I have a couple of designs I would like to release next year. A Batman mug is pretty high on the list and I also have some designs based on The Walking Dead walkers that I would like to produce. I also have an original design, Mad Mike, that is due out in March or April.
HoTS: Did you take some courses or classes on how to create mugs?
KM: On the pottery side of things I studied under Master Potter Wayne Hewell and he taught me how to work with the clay, firing, glazing, etc. As far as sculpting goes, I supposed I would be considered a self-taught sculptor since I have never taken a class on sculpting…I just kind of wing it until it looks right. I have watched a ton of online demo videos by some of the world’s best sculptors.
HoTS: What activities do you do outside of creepy mug creations?
KM: I try to spend as much time with my lovely wife, Kayla, and my two awesome kids, Mara (2) and Grey (1). I am big into the outdoors…I love kayak fishing on the river and hunting…but that has been put on the back burner since I have been so busy this year with fulfilling orders. I am also active in my church, and I am very thankful that the Good Lord has allowed me to make a living doing something that I am very passionate about!
HoTS: Do you have a fan page, website, Twitter account, etc?
KM: You can find my work on my Instagram, Facebook and Twitter accounts. My website is primarily used for mug sales so to see most of my sculpts you will need to visit my social media accounts.
Thanks for the wonderful interview, Kevin Merck!
Posted by Tammie Parker in ARTIST OF THE MONTH, FEATURED ARTIST, IN THE SPOTLIGHT, INTERVIEWS, STAFF PICKS, 1 comment
ARTIST OF THE MONTH – JAN 2017: Jonathan Patrick Hughes

ARTIST OF THE MONTH – JAN 2017: Jonathan Patrick Hughes

We start 2017 with one of our own – Jonathan Patrick Hughes.
If the title was not a big enough hint, it is a Christmas horror. Which we certainly do not have enough of 🙂
Here is our interview:
House of Tortured Souls: How long have you been a horror fan?
Jonathan Patrick Hughes: I have been a fan since I was quite young. I guess you can say that my mother got me involved starting with Friday The 13th Part 2 and from then on, my love for horror just escalated as time moved forward.
HoTS: What led to you deciding to write and direct a scary movie?
JPH: When I was 4 years old, my mother brought home with her a VHS copy of Michael Jackson’s Thriller. I watched that thing 1,000 times and after seeing how the short film was made, I knew that was exactly what I wanted to do. Back then, it was very rare that an audience got to see a making of something and at the age of 4 no one knows what they want to be when they grow up. I was different, bc I knew that was exactly what I wanted to do when I grew up.
HoTS: How long have you worked on (S)Aint Nick?
JPH: The idea popped in my head 3 years ago. We just got done shooting my very first horror short film, APARTMENT 1109 and when it was time to wrap up everything I just wanted to keep going. I was so excited to say that I made my first film and within a week later, the idea for (S)AINT NICK was born. I started writing the script while I was still in film school and once I graduated in January of 2015, I put all my focus on preparing what was going to be my first film after film school. Pre production ran about 7 months, we shot the film last December through the beginning of January and then spent about 7 months on post production.
HoTS: What inspired you to do this particular movie?
JPH: Being a fan of all types of Horror films, I was always a fan of holiday-themed horror films. Halloween, My Bloody Valentine, Silent Night, Deadly Night, and Trick ‘r Treat just to name a few. Christmas horror seems to be my favorite type of holiday-themed horror films. It’s the time of giving and spending time with the family in front of a fully lit tree, dinners, and just smiles all around. Everyone is just so perky around that time of year. So, I wanted to crash that party with a very bleak, disturbing tale of sadness and discomfort, making an audience feel like they desperately need to rush home and take a shower after what they just witnessed. To make a long story short, my biggest influence upon making this film was ROB ZOMBIE. If anybody knows the kind of films he makes and loves them as well as his style of filmmaking and storytelling, then they should also find themselves loving (S)AINT NICK as well.
HoTS: Who is your favorite immortal creep?
JPH: MICHAEL MYERS is my ultimate idol. John Carpenter’s Halloween is my all time favorite film and has been for over 25 years. I’ve seen the film way over 300 times and every time I view the film, I always get excited as if it’s the very first time I’m viewing it.
HoTS: Coke or Pepsi?
JPH: If I had to choose, I’d say Pepsi. I would much rather enjoy a half gallon of iced tea, though.
HoTS: Are you working on any more movies or have plans for others?
JPH: We are in the very early stages of writing my debut feature. I have asked Braden Bixler to come on board as my co-writer. Braden was responsible for the sound and score on (S)AINT NICK. The only thing that I will say at this giving time is imagine if John Hughes (Weird Science, Sixteen Candles, and Uncle Buck) was alive today and decided to make a slasher film, taking it back to the old school days. That is the current project we are working on. I have also developed an Easter horror short film, as well, but we will see if that takes off sometime in the future.
HoTS: Where can fans view/purchase (S)Aint Nick?
JPH: (S)AINT NICK has just been picked up by Body Bag Films. Tony Newton is the producer of an anthology titled The 12 Slays of Christmas and (S)AINT NICK will be one of the tales told in the anthology. No official release date as of yet, but I am told that the film will be available On Demand as well as DVD. As soon as I find out all the goodies, I will gladly inform everyone. Click here to check them out on IMDb.
HoTS: Do you have a fan page or twitter acct where we can keep up with the latest?
JPH: I just use Facebook. It’s user friendly and everybody seems to have one. I have a Twitter, I just don’t use it.
HoTS: What are some of your other hobbies?
JPH: Hobbies include spending time with my son, Liam, who is 5 years old, and trying to be a better father as well as a better coach. Other hobbies include writing, directing, creating, watching movies – old and new, listening to music, and setting up future goals for myself. You only live once, go big or go home, but always have fun!!!
We are looking forward to more of his work.
Posted by Tammie Parker in ARTIST OF THE MONTH, COMING SOON, FEATURED ARTIST, FEATURED CONTENT, INTERVIEWS, 4 comments
ARTIST OF THE MONTH – NOV 2016: Cory Newman

ARTIST OF THE MONTH – NOV 2016: Cory Newman

By Tammie Parker

A Few Minutes With
Cory Newman

Boy, do I have a way of stumble across different, unique, and original artists! Once again, I found an artist through a mutual Walker (zombie for TWD) friend, that was showcasing his work of her as a Walker. My original comment was ‘WOW! That is one helluva nice tat!’ However, I came to find out it wasn’t a tattoo at all; that’s just the style and the fact that Cory Newman uses parchment paper so it looks like it’s on skin. His highlighting and shading is on point, and these portraits jump off that paper. You really have to stand back to make sure you do not get bit.
Then, when I struck up a conversation with him, I found out that not only is he a real tattoo artist (and a kick-ass one – click here to check out his tat Facebook page), but he’s also a horror fan and does other monsters besides zombies. So there’s something for everyone. 😉
Cory is 45-years-old and a professional tattoo artist from Wisconsin. He owns Black Lotus Custom Tattoos in Onalaska, Wisconsin.
I harassed Cory, and got these Q&As out of him.
House of Tortured Souls: How old were you when you started to draw?
Cory Newman: I’ve been drawing for as long as I can remember. I remember growing up with people always saying how good my art was.
HoTS: Where did you learn to draw? Did you take classes?
CN: I’m a self-taught artist. I did take an art course once, but it didn’t last long. I didn’t like being told what’s the right and wrong way to draw.
HoTS: When/why did you fall in love with horror or zombie art?
CN: I fell in love with horror when I was 8. I remember being home alone and watching the Exorcist through the holes of a blanket. It was fun being scared.
HoTS: Do you draw on paper (in lead?) then paint in? Or on a computer with a program?
CN: I draw it graphite, white charcoal, and red food coloring.
HoTS: Do you have a favorite monster or walker?
CN: It’s hard to choose a favorite horror movie monster but if I have to answer I would say I’m partial to Michael Myers and Ash and the Deadites from the Evil Dead. I’m also I big zombie fan. I love The Walking Dead. My favorite character is Rick Grimes and my favorite walker is the ‘Bicycle Girl’ played by Melissa Cowen. Also, I love Hellraiser and all the Cenobites.
HoTS: Do you do comic cons or art shows?
CN: I don’t do comic or horror cons. but that is one of my long term goals. I would love to travel to like-minded people to sell my art.
HoTS: Where can we find and purchase your work?
CN: As of right now, the only way to purchase prints of my work is to contact me on Facebook. I very rarely sell my originals. Only two people own my original work. I don’t really do commissions. I feel like I’ll be stuck drawing a bunch of stuff that’s extremely boring to me. I don’t want to get burnt out on my drawing.
HoTS: Do you have any fan pages or a Twitter account so we can keep up with your work?
CN: No real fan pages. I have most of my work on my Facebook profile under the album Horror and Fan Art. And I also have a page called The Devils Sketchbook. The best way to keep up on my drawing is through my Facebook profile.
HoTS: Are you working on anything right now?
CN: Right now I’m working on a drawing of Negan from The Walking Dead. Next I’m planning two Hellraiser drawings.
HoTS: What are some of your pastimes outside of drawing?
CN: Outside of drawing and tattooing I spend a lot of time with my wife and my boxer Boondox. I also collect horror and walking dead collectibles. Other than that I’m a pretty boring person.
HA! Yep, he’s a pretty boring person! Right?
I am the proud owner of two of his pieces.
I am completely in love and now planning a road trip to Wisconsin to find a bush to hide in (or in this case a bookshelf!) to watch him work.
Posted by Tammie Parker in ARTIST OF THE MONTH, FEATURED ARTIST, Homepage picture, IN THE SPOTLIGHT, 0 comments
ARTIST OF THE MONTH: Steve Turner

ARTIST OF THE MONTH: Steve Turner

A Few Minutes With Steve Turner

By Tammie Parker

BRAINSI discovered Steve though a mutual Walker (The Walking Dead zombie) friend. Steve drew him as a Walker and it was the first time I thought to myself, ‘Well I would certainly hang that on my wall!’ Absolutely DISGUSTING and absolutely AWESOME!! He is very detailed, and many of his work is life-like. He definitely has a way of showcasing your creepy side.

Steve agreed to a Q&A, so let’s get to it!
 

House of Tortured Souls: How old were you when you started to draw?

Steve Turner: I don’t really know. I’ve been drawing for a while now, but I’ve been drawing digitally for around four or five years.

 

HoTS: Where did you learn to draw? Did you take classes?

ST: I’m self taught, like everything it’s just practice. I’m still learning new things

 

HoTS: When and why did you fall in love with horror art like The Walking Dead, Alien, etc.?

ST: I’ve always been into the horror genre, but The Walking Dead really grabbed me, Walkers are my favorite to draw.

 

HoTS: Do you draw in lead, charcoal, or the blood of innocent souls? Then paint over? Or is it all done on the computer?

ST: It’s all hand drawn on the computer using a Wacom Digital Pen and different pieces of software for line work and textures.

 

HoTS: Do you have a favorite monster? Do you have a favorite walker?

ST: I like the classics, Freddy, Jason, etc. Favorite walker? That’s a tough one. They are all fantastic, and I’ve been fortunate enough to become friends with the actors and they are great guys.

 

"Eleven' Stranger Things

Eleven from Stranger Things

HoTS: Do you do comic cons or art shows?

ST: No, I don’t, but some of the Walker actors show my work at the cons.

 

HoTS: Where can we find and purchase your work?

ST: I don’t actually sell my work it’s purely a hobby for me, I usually give the image to whoever it’s for and leave it up to them what they want to do with it.

 

HoTS: Do you have any fan pages or a Twitter account, so we can keep up with your work?

ST: Yes. I have a Facebook page, an Instagram account. I’m also on DeviantArt [Berzerk Artwerk], I need to update with my latest work!

 

HoTS: Are you working on anything right now?

ST: Mainly pet portraits! They are very popular at the moment.

 

HoTS: What are some of your past-times outside of drawing?

ST: I like walking Zakk my Border Terrier every morning, gaming, and watching movies.

 

Here are two of his TWD pieces. I’m telling ya this man in flipping awesome!

'It's an emotional moment' Negan on TWD

It’s an emotional moment.’ Negan on The Walking Dead

steveturner-walker-chrisharrelson

Chris Harrelson, a Walker on The Walking Dead

Posted by Tammie Parker in ARTIST OF THE MONTH, FEATURED ARTIST, IN THE SPOTLIGHT, 0 comments

The Twisted Mind of Jasper Bark

By John Roisland

Jasper Bark Head on a Stick. Fair use doctrine.

A few years ago,while online, I became friends with a horror author by the name of Jasper Bark. He and I quickly hit it off as we both share the love for the horror genre. I did some research on my new friend and his work, and I soon became a fan.

From author of children’s stories to adult comics, publisher and poet Jasper Bark seems to have done it all. As a child of two river Gypsies, Jasper seemed to have had an active life, while giving a go at schools and a few political demonstrations. Jasper now rests his head as a happily married man who, together with his wife, share their lives and love for their daughters.

Now while it may seem that Jasper has settled, he now focuses his creative mind on his passion for writing! Be sure to find Jasper Bark on Facebook and become a follower of his work.

Jasper Bark - The Final Cut. Fair use doctrine.Jasper Bark - Stuck On You. Fair use doctrine.

Jasper Bark - Way of The Barefoot Zombie. Fair use doctrine.Jasper Bark - Tomes of The Dead. Fair use doctrine.

I recently asked my friend to give me a short bio. He in return, sent me two. Both, I felt, I must share with you for you to get a full feel for not only what Jasper Bark has contributed to the world, but also to get a feel for who Jasper Bark is.

Here is the first:

Jasper Bark finds writing author biographies and talking about himself in the third person faintly embarrassing. Telling you that he’s an award winning author of four cult novels including the highly acclaimed Way of the Barefoot Zombie, just sounds like boasting. Then he has to mention that he’s written 12 children’s books and hundreds of comics and graphic novels and he wants to just curl up. He cringes when he has to reveal that his work has been translated into nine different languages and is used in schools throughout the UK to help improve literacy, or that he was awarded the This Is Horror Award for his recent anthology Dead Air. Maybe he’s too British, or maybe he just needs a good enema, but he’s glad this bio is now over.

And now for my favorite:

Jasper Bark is infectious – and there’s no known cure. If you’re reading this then you’re already at risk of contamination. The symptoms will begin to manifest any moment now. There’s nothing you can do about it. There’s no itching or unfortunate rashes, but you’ll become obsessed with his books, from the award winning collections Dead Air and Stuck on You and Other Prime Cuts, to cult novels like The Final Cut and acclaimed graphic novels such as Bloodfellas and Beyond Lovecraft. Soon you’ll want to tweet, post, and blog about his work until thousands of others fall under its viral spell. We’re afraid there’s no way to avoid this, these words contain a power you are hopeless to resist. You’re already in their thrall and have been since you started this book. Even now you find yourself itching to read the rest of his work. Don’t fight it, embrace the urge and wear your affliction with pride!

Trust your Uncle Jasp on this, you know it makes sense.

I cant say enough about Jasper Bark. He’s a kind hearted soul, with a great sense of humor. He’s just a all around great guy! So get your ass over there and give Uncle Jasp a shout! Tell him John at House of Tortured Souls, sent you!

Keep It Evil.

Posted by John Roisland in FEATURED ARTIST, 0 comments

PROFILE: Bo Hons: Confections From Hell

By John Roisland

Bo Hons - Cake Chef

Back in the mid-nineties I became friends with a guy who you swear could have been the fifth member of Danzig. Sporting long, jet-black hair, black wristbands, and ripped jeans, Bo Hons looked like a rock star, and when I first met Bo, he was, in fact, a drummer in an Annapolis, MD-based heavy metal band called Vox Humana. I was introduced to Bo by other members in the band that I knew. Bo and i quickly became very good friends, and I’m proud to say we still are to this day!

Eventually, Bo left the music industry to pursue his other passions of photography and cooking. A few years later, Bo proudly graduated from the Baltimore Culinary Arts school. During his schooling, he was kind enough to prepare for me a multi-flavored multi-colored checkerboard chocolate mousse cake that was so far beyond mere deliciousness that to this day I still tell people about it!

Through many hard years of different culinary jobs, Bo ran for the northern border and ended up in Canada. Bo created and opened his bakery called Wolfbay Cafe. Bo started off small doing small cakes for friends and families for birthdays and holidays. Through word of mouth, the size of his orders grew and so did his notoriety.

Bo’s talent and passion for his baking has landed him in many competitions and is now training his own courses and classes in airbrushing for cake decorating.
Bo Hons - Human liver cake Bo Hons - Jack-o-lantern

Now it’s 20 years later and Bo has long since cut his hair (as matter of fact, he’s completely bald), but he somehow still looks like a rock star – in his own way. Through many hard years of different culinary jobs, Bo ran for the northern border and ended up in Canada. Bo created and opened his bakery called Wolfbay Cafe. Bo started off small doing small cakes for friends and families for birthdays and holidays. Through word of mouth, the size of his orders grew and so did his notoriety. Bo is still a proud American but resides in Alberta, Canada, where he is appropriately a huge ice hockey fan as well as a very happy family man.

Don’t get the wrong impression from the pictures that I’m sharing; these are his horror creations. In addition to horror-themed confections, Bo turns his vast talents to create custom orders as well as experiments with his own culinary treats, such as special flavor of the month cheesecakes. Aside from the cake he made me while he was still studying, I’ve not had the pleasure of tasting his creations. I’ve only seen pictures of Bo’s work, but it is amazing! And believe me – if it is half as good as my cake, you will be satisfied.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I don’t know how things work as far as being able to do shipping, but if by any means you ever find yourself north of the border, do yourself a favor and look up Wolfbay Cafe. In the mean time, you can email Bo at wolfbaycafe@gmail.com and check out his  Facebook page). Tell him that John-Boy is waiting for another chocolate mousse cake, as a matter of fact a nice House of Tortured Souls birthday cake is now in order,…just sayin’! Proud of all you have achieved Bo , you have earned the named CAKE CHEF!

1978346_10152184729653241_1790032767_o

Bo Hons

Keep It Evil.

Posted by John Roisland in Categories, FEATURED ARTIST, 1 comment
Gia Nova- Women in Horror

Gia Nova- Women in Horror

By Dixielord

Women are making their mark in horror today. From directing and producing to acting virtually every step of the film making process has notable women representing and pushing the envelope. Not limited to film women are attacking every aspect of the genre, such as fiction, and bringing new elements like burlesque into horror.       So today I am focusing on a woman who has made her own path in horror and has walked it bravely. The House of Tortured Souls proudly salutes Gia Nove for her accomplishments in helping to bring dance and burlesque to horror fans.

Gia Nova is a model, actress, and stage performer, and more than that a wonderful person.

Gia Nova

Gia Nova autographed photo

Gia Nova has graced the pages of Playboy and took her modern horror burlesque act across the nation, from New Orleans to Las Vegas and beyond, as well as all points in between. She is the tattooed showgirl who swallows fire and walks on coals, wearing nothing more than a G-string, pasties and demon horns.

Gia Nova bends over backwards

Gia Nova bends over backwards for you
Copyright Corinne Barrios used with permission

She has also brought her horror burlesque act to the realm of horror conventions, appearing regularly at the Mad Monster Party show based out of Charlotte, North Carolina. She also was a guest at the Scares That Care II convention in Williamsburg, Virginia. At Scares That Care she performed her act to a packed audience, and brought the house down. Since the convention she has become an official celebrity representative of the charity.

Gia Nova at Mad Monster Party

Gia Nova at Mad Monster Party Copyright Corrine Barrios, used with permisssion

Her charity work shows that Gia is just as beautiful on the inside as the out. Besides her work with Scares That Care she has also worked to distribute warm clothing to the needy in Atlanta during the insane winter storm in 2014. And now she is adding actress to her resume as she stars in the upcoming independent film Frankenstein Created Bikers. The film shot in Atlanta also stars actress and permanence Tristan Risk, best known from American Mary.

Frankenstein Created Bikers with Gia Nova

See Gia Nova and Tristan Risk in Frankenstein Created Bikers

She is also costarring with adult superstar Christy Canyon on Vivid Radio, and has been featured in Heavy Metal Magazine (whew shes busy!). She was voted 2012 entertainer of the year at the Exotic Dancers Award Show in Las Vegas, Nevada. All this and she still takes her stage show on the road. I met Gia back in 2013 in New Orleans at a convention. Of course I went to meet her because she was a beautiful playboy model, I didn’t know what a big heart she had, but I found out quickly. I love this girl and an honored to call her friend. I could write a thousand words about how wonderful she is, and not scratch the surface. You need to get out and see her, and see for yourself. Follow the lady on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and other social media. Find out where she is performing and get yourself there.

Posted by Allen Alberson in FEATURED ARTIST, HORROR HEROES, IN THE SPOTLIGHT, 0 comments

INTERVIEW: Jonathan Patrick Hughes Chats About His Upcoming Film (S)AINT NICK and Starting Out in Today’s Horror Industry

Interview: Jonathan Patrick Hughes

By Nicole Robinson

There is always a new crop of filmmakers, writers, actors, directors, and more working hard to become the next big thing in horror. As films like A Nightmare on Elm Street and Halloween start to be termed classic horror, a new generation of horror movies is emerging from Generation X.

Jonathan Patrick Hughes

Jonathan Patrick Hughes

It is not often we are given the unique opportunity to explore the mind of one these up and coming directors, but we have been given this chance to meet Jonathan Patrick Hughes. Upcoming screamfest (S)aint Nick is the fifth film from Hughes, and we sat down with him to discuss his new flick and why he stands out.

 

House of Tortured Souls: John, tell us about yourself…

Jonathan Patrick Hughes: Hello Horror Fiends.

My name is Jonathan Patrick Hughes and I just finished shooting my fifth short film entitled (S)aint Nick. I was born in Philadelphia, PA, on Aug. 7, 1979. My mother, Patricia Cullen, was a registered nurse and my father was a Philadelphia police officer. I got my first taste of horror when I was roughly 3-years-old and noticed my dad was watching Friday The 13th Part 2. I remember being highly afraid of the man in the potato sack stalking a woman with a pitchfork. When I was 4-years-old, my mother brought home a VHS copy of Michael Jackson’s Thriller. The tape not only had the short film / music video but also the making of it. I found myself mesmerized by how it was made and realized (at the tender age of four!) that I wanted to do the very same thing.

When I was five, I started using my mother’s video camera and recording everything in sight. As time went on, I became obsessed with the idea of making movies and hoped that one day that would happen. My two best childhood friends, Rob Montgomery and Alexis Polce, and I always had ideas for films. They were never captured on camera, but at least our minds were boiling with ideas. When I was 15, I started working at local video stores. Even if I wasn’t making movies, I still found ways to be involved with them somehow. After many years of working at video stores and cinemas, I realized I wasn’t getting any younger and began to think that I would never make movies, and that it was just a broken dream like most of us have. That all changed when I found out I was going to be a father.

In 2010 my fiancé at the time became pregnant with my son, and we moved our life to Pittsburgh. It took almost three years to adapt to a new area and new responsibilities. When I found out that Pittsburgh had a film school program, I researched for days and called many times before I decided to enroll. The scary part was thinking, ‘I’m going to go to school. I’m going graduate, and I’m still not going be making movies‘. I was accepted into the program with open arms in May of 2013. However, I was unable to start until October. That’s when it hit me that I should make my first movie before school just to see what I can do before school as well as after. I wanted to test out my own progression, to see if this is something I truly can do. I was fortunate enough to raise close to $1,400 to make my first movie by using Kickstarter. That is how Apartment 1109 came about. The film was released on DVD on New Year’s Eve of 2013.

At school I learned how to write, produce, edit, and (of course) direct films. I paid more attention to the writing/directing parts since that’s what I wanted to do the most. The Factory Digital Film Program at Douglas Education Center, which is located in Monessen, PA, was one the most memorable experiences I have ever had. I was taught by filmmakers, not teachers. These professionals take their students through a boot camp crash course on how to make a movie and how hard it is to make a movie. My film father, Robert Tinnell, with whom I still keep in contact, is the director of the program, and I’ll never forget him. I drove him nuts, but I never missed a single class. The program is something I recommend to anyone who wants to make movies, but I will say this: if you’re gonna go to film school, you better have a passion and you better breathe this shit because you won’t make it otherwise. One thing I noticed while attending the school is that the instructors care way too much about their students and will do whatever they have to to break them. Like I said, it’s boot camp for film because we make movies and were taught how to survive the struggle and the stress as well as problem solving. At the end, a film is made and the victory is celebrated. I have been out of film school for almost a year and have worked on a few short films and music videos. I also directed a trailer for Alyssa and Rebecca Johnson and just recently finished shooting my newest horror film (S)aint Nick.

 

HoTS: Why do you want to work in the film industry and as a director?

JPH: There is nothing else for me to do. I feel that making movies is fun, creative, and a way to communicate with an audience. Writing and directing is the passion. I have a vision, and I want to express it through motion pictures.

 

HoTS: Why horror? And what do you feel is special about your work that you would like your audience to see?

JPH: Horror films have a special language, like French or Spanish. Only a few people in crowded room will understand what they are experiencing. Horror films have always spoken to me differently than any other genre. I do admire all genres but, for me, horror is where the heart is.

 

HoTS: Can you name two people who inspire you and tell us why?

JPH: John Carpenter and Marilyn Manson.

Two genius artists who have very dark yet colorful visions. John Carpenter can make any genre of film while Manson can entertain anyone with his over the top stage performances. When I listen to a Marilyn Manson record, it’s almost as if I’m listening to a film he directed.

 

HoTS: What is your favorite horror movie and why?

JPH: John Carpenter’s Halloween.

It is genius – a 90 minute film that captures every kind of feeling and emotion and that isn’t afraid to be what it is. A classic film with a classic story, a classic theme, and a classic icon.

 

HoTS: What upcoming projects can we expect from you?

JPH: I’m in talks to direct three music videos for bands Kill the Stigmatic, White Trash Stars, and Post Mortal Possession. I’m also in talks to write and direct two sixty second horror films for 60 Seconds to Die 2. I’m currently writing my feature film that will be dedicated to my son Liam. It’s a kids movie entitled Bedbugs. It’s a nod to some of my childhood favorites like The Goonies meets Ghostbusters, Gremlins, and Little Monsters. I want to show my son how awesome it was growing up in the 80s. I hope he has the same experience that I had when I viewed these films that were so much fun and filled with both adventure and excitement.

 

HoTS: What was it like filming the soon-to-be-released (S)aint Nick?

JPH: Being on the set of (S)aint Nick was a bag of mixed treats. Some days were smooth, while others felt like a bumpy road leading to Hell. Everyone was under stress, and everyone was at each other’s throats just trying to make this film. Some people even left set and dropped off because of the content as well as the vision I was trying to get across to an audience. In the end we were able to finish shooting the film, and now we’re waiting on a locked edit so we can go forward with music and sound. I’d also like to add it was my first time directing a 9-year-old, and that was a little rough, but in the end he did a great job and I’m happy with his performance as Bill.

 

HoTS: What is one thing that got you through the rough times?

The disgusting man known as Horace Jones, played by the ever so funny and loveable John Seese, made the rough days better with his clever one liners and over the top acting skills. I salute you, John Seese, not just because you’re a friend or an actor, but because your presence can light up the darkest hour. And I’m proud of you as well as your magnificent performance. Last, but not least, to my number one cinematic sister: I absolutely adore you as well as your acting skills. Just know that I could never make a movie without you and will never. We been in this together since day one in August of 2013. Since then we both have grown, and we will continue to grow. You’re my number one scream queen, and I love you!

 

HoTS: Where did the idea for the movie come from?

JPH: Death metal and hardcore sexxx. Hahahaha.

The idea first entered my mind right after we finished shooting Apartment 1109. I knew I wanted to attack the Christmas holiday and turn it into a disturbing tale that is sure to leave a foul taste in your mouth.

Christmas has always been a holiday I never really agreed with. After I learned the truth about Santa Claus, the magic went out of the window. Many years after, I started believing that this certain holiday is an uneven one. They feed us the same Christmas carol year after year, talking about how great the time of year is and how everyone is happy. Just because you drive down a street with 30 houses covered in 500 chasing lights does not mean the people behind those closed doors are happy. I thought it would be a good idea to take an audience inside a house where it’s not about candy canes, smiles, and mistletoe. It’s about two siblings who are now living with their stepfather who is a verbally abusive alcoholic and all around disgusting human being who will make you want to shower every time he appears on screen. Christmas is not the most wonderful time of the year at this house. I’m hoping that when people see this they will understand where I’m coming from.

 

HoTS: When is it going to be released?

JPH: Release date TBA. We’re working out a deal with a production company as we speak. However, I will self-distribute a DVD with all 5 of my films including Apartment 1109, A Gamble With Death, Empty, All Hallows’ Eve: Chapter 1 – The 11th Hour (which is still in post-production after a full year) and, of course, (S)aint Nick.

 

HoTS: What was your favorite experience while filming the movie?

JPH: My favorite experience would have to be either when I actually vomited on set during a very disgusting moment – I didn’t expect that to happen. It’s gross and I was thinking about cutting it out but everyone begged for it to stay in. It’s in the film. The other experience would have to be directing the bloody goodness. This is the most disgusting film I have ever written and directed. It was kind of cool to see body parts being detached from the human body.

 

HoTS: Anything else you would like to share with us?

JPH: Everyone has a dream. Stop dreaming and start living. You have one life, so fucking live it. Making movies is like having sex: when you’re done, you feel great, stress free, and relieved, and within minutes you’re ready to go back and do it all over again.

I like to add that I’m really thankful for my cast and crew. They really helped so much making this nightmare a reality and I couldn’t be happier with the job well done.

Jonathan Patrick Hughes taking a break.

Jonathan Patrick Hughes taking a break.

Posted by Nicole Robinson in COMING SOON, EDITORIALS, FEATURED ARTIST, FEATURED CONTENT, HORROR NEWS, IN THE SPOTLIGHT, INTERVIEWS, 1 comment
Pain Dead: An Original Horror Short Story by Jason Messenheimer

Pain Dead: An Original Horror Short Story by Jason Messenheimer

PainDead

 

The following is a work of fiction written by Jason Messenheimer. Jason has given House of Tortured Souls his permission to post his short stories.

I don’t know why I’m even writing this. It’s not that I care. I quit caring. A long time ago. I really don’t think I’m going to start now. My whole life has been one living hell. It started years ago. All I did was show up to school. And after that everything turned to shit. For twelve years. Twelve long fucking years.

The only thing that school has ever taught me is how to hate. I know hate is a strong word, but guess what motherfuckers? Still not caring. The other thing it taught me was how to hide in plain sight. How not to draw attention to myself. How to know the exact second to when the bell was going to go off and to have my shit together so I could hit the door right away. Every one of those useless teachers knew I was being bullied and none of those useless fucks ever did a damn thing to help me. Time to return the favor.

So what did I do? I hugged the walls while I was walking. I kept out of everyone’s way. I never spoke in class unless asked and I never offered anything more than what was asked of me. I didn’t have friends. I hated everyone. Well, almost everyone. I used to dream of building a bomb and blowing up the high school. The only thing that stopped me was the fact I might go to jail and somehow some of these preppy fucks that I wanted dead would live and I would never have a chance to right that wrong.

So I waited. I was mocked. I was ridiculed. There was no place I could go to get away from the torment. I heard people around town whisper in hushed voices of how creepy I was and how their, insert family term here, would kick my ass. Nice fucking thing to hear while I was being dragged to church. Fucking bastard assed fucks. Bomb would be too good for those hypocrites. No, the flames of Hell would be too perfect for them to spend eternity in. But I was pretty sure that God hated me too.

So I practiced. I practiced hiding in plain sight. I practiced how to walk without making a sound. Hell, half the time I barely remembered to breathe. I could walk in and out of a room without anyone noticing me. I kept my head down. I grew my hair long so I didn’t have to make eye contact with anyone. There were times that teachers did not even know I was in class because I sank down in my chair and hid behind the person in front of me. Hide in plain sight. It works.

Then it finally happened. The event. The one thing that changed the playing field. The thing that made my skills these fuckers made me learn became the greatest asset I have ever known. Hell, I’d go as far as to say it made me a god among men. The dead came back to life. The nice part about the whole situation? The dead couldn’t see me either.

Just for the record though, when the dead started coming back, I really didn’t care if I lived or died. Nothing for me changed. I just went through the motions that had been imposed on me just so I could survive. I just kept my head down, made no eye contact, and barely remembered to breathe. Then one day it dawned on me. People started to notice me. The living ones. The ones who tormented me for years. The ones who turned a blind eye to my pain. They noticed me. They pleaded with me. They needed me. They begged me to help. So I decided that I would help them. I’d help lead them to the most painful death I could possibly imagine and I would take great pleasure in their suffering.

So I began to plan. I started getting information. Where were people hiding? What did they need? What could I do to earn their trust before I bent them over and had my way with them? I went from freak to savior. Well, at least until the murderer in me came out to play.

One of the first things I had to do was track down one person. Stephen Sticks. That motherfucker had been an infernal pain in my ass since elementary school. Him and his band of six mindless morons. Or, as it turned out later, some of the offensive players for the high school football team. The only problem was I had to find him.

I was nervous at first. I had to calm down and fix that problem really quickly. It seemed that somehow these zombies could smell emotion. Every time I got nervous, angry, or excited they started to notice me a little more than I wanted them to. So I had to calm down. I had to quit breathing.

The nice part of these zombie dumb fucks was that they were a little faster than normal. It let me cover distance more quickly. I moved a little bit slower than the dead fucks. I had to maintain a certain pace so that it kept my heart beating at a normal rate.

At the very beginning I toyed around with the idea of going around in a car. That idea backfired in my face. I wound up turning a corner in this little shit of a town and ran into about twenty of those bastards. They would beat on the doors and windows trying to get in. I panicked. They kept trying to break in. If it wasn’t for the fact that I was in front of a movie theater with a sunroof on the car I would be walking around and not have to worry about breathing. My first little bit of luck finally came around. Someone from inside the movie theater threw down a rope and I climbed onto the roof of the theater. Who happened to be one of my saviors? Stephen Motherfucker Must Die Sticks.

The first thing that Stephen wanted to do when he rescued me was throw me back over. His little clan that he set up was agreeing with him. They asked me why I should even be allowed to come inside. I told them my trick. I told them I could walk among the dead. They laughed, they mocked, they howled with joy thinking I had gone crazy and they were going to get a show. Then I had to ask how long they expected to stay alive living off candy and stale popcorn.

So they wanted a show, a test, something to prove to them that I could do what I said. It just so happened that they had a zombie to put my little claim to the test. They had one of the zombies trapped up in the balcony area. So their little test was this: get up there, walk past the zombie, and walk down the stairs and out the other side. Too easy. Way too easy.

So the moron squad took me into the theater. They broke apart into two groups. One of them was to bang on the door where I would exit, drawing the zombie over there. Then they would remove the barricade along the other side of the theaterwhere the door had been ripped off years ago. This would give me just enough room to slide in before they sealed off the stairs again. I thought I could trust them and this would be easy. First mistake.

As soon as they barricaded the entrance where I got in, I realized I was in trouble. Once a fucktard, always a fucktard. These bastards started banging on the walls and yelling on the other side of the barricade where I just went into. They figured that it was a trial by death, and if I was going to die then they were going to get a free show. If I wasn’t any use they would get to see my untimely demise. Second mistake.

I stopped. I quit listening. I quit breathing. I shut everything down. I had to make it up these steps. Only one zombie. Not that big of a deal. I’ve walked by more. I looked down. Then I started walking up the stairs. Slowly. One foot at a time. Breathe in slowly while walking with the left foot. Exhale slowly while moving the right foot. Don’t look left, right, or up. Blank stare. Facing forward. Slow. Don’t think.

When you don’t think on your own, it’s amazing where your mind actually goes. Revenge was a good starting motivator. First I just had to get past the zombie coming my way. I would have thought it was funny that twenty five years of zombie movies since Night of the Living Dead and every single one of them was wrong. Sure there were small things from each movie that came together and gave us this clusterfuck that we were now living. They were fast. Not shambling, but not running. Just walking at a good clip. The shooting them in the head? Bullshit. The only way to slow them down was to take out their kneecaps. But then they could crawl after you. They were smart as well. Not talking smart, but they could use ladders and curbs did not slow them down.

One step. Then another. Another. I was three quarters of the way up the stairs and my playmate’s shadow fell over me. Don’t look. Don’t look. Keep breathing slowly. Left foot. Right foot. Try not to think. Just move and don’t look. You’ve done it before. And then I made my final mistake.

I recognized the shadow that fell across my path. I forgot everything I knew that kept me alive. I had to look up and make sure. I drew attention to myself. Out of all the people that could have been a zombie, there was one person who didn’t deserve it. Krysta. The metal chick at our high school. The only person on the planet to have the same hair as Slash from GNFNR.

If it wasn’t for the fact that the douche bags behind the barricade had told me she was a zombie, I wouldn’t have believed it. Of course it helped that her hair covered most of her face. She must have been recently turned because she didn’t smell like some of the ripe ones that were walking around out there in the world. She could have passed for human because she was still walking as close to normal as a living human.

My heart starting beating like a machine gun in my chest. I started sweating. Krysta started coming at me. The only thing I could see of her face was her mouth. The teeth coming at me. Snap, snap, snap. It was dark in the balcony, but I swear I could see her white, perfect teeth coming right at me. Snap.

When her hand grabbed the front of my shirt, I snapped back to where I should have been. I quit breathing. I stopped sweating. Her mouth was inches from my face. Snap, snap, snap. Don’t look away I told myself. Don’t even breathe.

I swear at that point I could see her eyes. Or maybe I was just crazy from fear. I didn’t turn away. Snap. I just stared straight ahead. Into those cold black eyes. Snap. I started thinking of the craziest shit. Chica, I thought, you don’t want to hurt me. I never did anything to you. Never said anything bad about you. You don’t want to hurt me. Now those pricks that are behind that barricade of chairs? If you let me go, I’ll feed you to them myself.

Now I’m not sure if it was the fact that my heartbeat slowed down, or that I stopped sweating, or fearing, or was just the luckiest son of a bitch on the planet at that moment, but it seemed that Krysta was losing interest in me. I didn’t move. I didn’t blink. I tried really hard not to breathe. She tilted her head and was looking straight at me, but it was like I wasn’t there. Her grip loosened. Krysta must have lost interest because she let me go and continued down the stairs. Human tartar as soon as I can. A deal’s a deal.

She released me and started walking back down the stairs towards the noise. I kept on going up. Real slow. Breathe in. Breathe out. Left foot. Right foot. Looking down and a little to the right. I could hear Krysta behind me. Snap. Snap. Snap.

I reached the other side of the balcony and started going down the same way I came up. I finally made it to the door at the bottom of the stairs. I figured Stephen would have let me out. Once again I figured wrong.
“Hey Jake,” I heard him from the other side of the door, “we think your little stunt is a fluke. I mean come on. I know the girls ignored you in life. I didn’t think it would be a repeat occurrence when they were dead.” Laughter from the other side of the door. Fuckers must die.

On one side of me, seven bastards pounding on the other side of the door, and on the other side of me, Krysta moaning and starting back up the stairs and across the balcony.

The one thing about being blind to the dead is the simple fact that I have to keep a tight rein on my emotions, especially when I’m among a crowd of them. If I get even a little bit excited and change my heart rate, sweat, or even alter my breathing a little bit, I start drawing unwanted attention to myself. I have a theory why this is. I think the zombies can smell adrenaline. From what I can see, whenever people are under attack, their adrenaline starts pumping and it sends these zombies into a frenzy, much like I imagine how sharks react to blood.

Another thing that I noticed but can’t explain is that when zombies are out and in a group just ambling around, they constantly bump into each other and fall over. However, when they are around me, they go around me. I have no idea why they do this, but I’m not going to question what works.

I heard Krysta making her way along and was almost at the top of the stairs. As much as I would have loved to get mad and call those fuckers everything I wanted to and kick off the hinges of the door, I knew it would just draw unwanted attention to me. So I kept my breathing slow, my mind blank, and I pushed myself a little closer to the wall. I wanted to give Krysta all the room she needed, but once again without drawing attention to myself.

Krysta came down the stairs. I couldn’t see exactly where she was, but the snap, snap, snap of her teeth gave me a clue. Even though I knew she couldn’t see me, she still walked closer to the wall on the other side of the stairs. I kept looking down, holding my breath till she passes. She moved right past me and started banging on the door trying to get to the meatheads on the other side.

“Holy shit,” I heard Stephen exclaim on the other side of the door, “That fucker really can hide right in front of him. Jeffery, take Scott and Corey to the other side and start pounding on the walls. I think we just found a way to survive and not have to worry about becoming diabetics in the process.”

So once again Stephen sent some of his moron boys to the other side of the theater. Once again they started making noise and drawing Krysta’s attention to the other side of the theater. And once again Krysta walked by me, snap, snap, and walked to the other side of the theater. Finally, Stephen opened the door and pulled me out.

“Jake,” Stephen started with the tone that made you know he was faking being your friend, “I usually don’t believe in fate or destiny or any of that shit, but after what I saw today I might change my mind. The fact that you can go invisible to these things, well, there must be a reason why you found us instead of all of the people at the middle school. We need to work together to get everyone we can into a bigger group so we can plan and try to find a place where it will be easier to defend ourselves. We’re going to need your help, buddy. We can’t do much to survive by ourselves so we’re going to need to rely on you. What do you say?”

He stuck out his hand, and I shook it. His little gang started slapping me on the back and saying they were glad to have me as part of their gang. I smiled. I said my thank yous. I pretended that the last twenty minutes of pants shitting terror never happened. I would play along until the opportunity presented itself where I could take all of them out in the worst way possible way to them. Turned out I didn’t have to wait long.

One of the first things I did was sleep about eight hours. Or rather, pretend to sleep before I could start planning. I heard them in the next room trying to figure out how they could use my trust to turn it against me. But there were a few things they wanted to get before they ‘terminated’ my services. It turned out that it was a short list. What do all teenage boys want during the zombie apocalypse? The three B’s: babes, booze, and bud.

Twelve hours later I had returned from my supply run. I had managed to shamble my way down two and a half blocks to the intersection and shambled about a quarter mile further down the road. The electricity in town was still on, so I had no problem getting in and out of the store. Just shamble around, pull something off the shelf, find an aisle where there were no zombies, stuff what I grabbed into the backpack real slowly, and continue on with my shopping.

I had to get everything that I needed to fit into my backpack. Wouldn’t do me much good to use a shopping cart. Sure, a few of these dumb fucks were using shopping carts in the store, but I didn’t need to draw any more attention to myself by accidentally hitting another dumb fuck with a cart. Nope, one backpack and a trench coat with a slit in the lining so I could carry what I needed while keeping my hands free. The method to my madness is the quick getaway. If for some reason the dead heads started paying a little too much attention to me, I could drop all my stuff and go. But I didn’t want that. I did not want to lose my party favors.

When I got back to the theater, the boys were quite happy to see me. I took off my jacket and started to pull out various kinds of alcohol. The boys were six kinds of excited. They also had the forethought to take a small propane grill and put it up on the roof. I offered to cook. They were all up for that. They were disappointed that there was no bud that I could find. But the fact that I brought back some Xanax and Klonopin as party favors more than made up for it. They were so excited that they didn’t even notice that there was no seals on their booze when they drank them.

I also encouraged them to bring a radio up to the roof. I told them to blast it as loud as they wanted. Worried about drawing zombies in? Hell no. I could sneak out no matter how many of them showed up. So I started cooking burgers while these boys started partying it up. It was Christmas, New Year’s, and their birthdays all rolled up into one hellacious holiday. I just smiled and gritted my teeth praying my plan would work. I was also hoping for some Megadeth, but it seemed like pop and rap for the duration. Of course there were the accident that I kept having that I kept dropping burgers off the top of the movie theater. Oops. The boys also were impressed by how much I was drinking. But that’s what happens when I replace my vodka with water.

About forty five minutes into the party the boys were starting to get very tipsy and were falling down. I suggested that all of them except for Steven go down the stairs and get seated in the theater and we would bring down the food. Steven was way past gone, but agreeable. While those fools were trying to stagger down the stairs I was trying to figure out the next part of my plan. I was hoping that I didn’t use too many party favors on the boys. They all sat down in the theater and about ten minutes later I started hearing some of them snoring upstairs.

Stephen was passed out in a lawn chair on the roof. I was hoping that he wouldn’t overdose before I got to use my party favors. He had a few more pills than anyone else at the party. Some jerk shouldn’t have put all of those sleeping pills he got at the pharmacy into the kids booze. I put a few more pills in Stephen’s drink because I needed him out longer than his boys.

I pulled up my shirt and took the rope I had around my waist and tied it into a makeshift harness. I tied Stephen up and threw him over the side. I left him hanging a few feet from the roof, hoping the rope wouldn’t break, or even worse, him dying and leaving me with a hanging corpse. I waited too long to get my revenge, and I didn’t want it ruined because of one too many pills.

I pulled out some duct tape from the lining of my coat and was so excited that I ran down the steps three at a time. The six boys were out cold. I used the tape to tie the boys down. I wrapped their legs, wrists and chests to the chairs, but I left their mouths free. I wanted to hear them scream. Just like I screamed when, well, I don’t have time to go into details.

I ran back up the stairs to grab some more party favors. The first thing I did when I got up to the roof was throw as much raw burger and blood off the side to get the zombies on the ground floor a little more riled up. I also grabbed a bottle of adrenaline and a syringe and headed back down the stairs.

I gave the six boys down there six shots, one shot each. I made sure that I used only one needle and no alcohol. They were living on borrowed time and I was there to collect. They woke up and started screaming at me. Threats, pleas, crying. I did not care. It was going to be the greatest show that I was never going to see.

“Sorry boys, but I have a strict “Don’t Know, Don’t Care” policy. I don’t know you very well, so I don’t care if you die a painful death. I hope it is very painful and that you get the same amount of pain you inflicted in your miserable lives.”

I pulled a knife out of my pocked that started to slice up my captive audience. I was getting threats and pleading. I think I had a smile on my face. I really didn’t care about them. But I had to get back to my big fish upstairs. In good conscience I just couldn’t leave him hanging. First things first, though, I had to give these six boys their dance partner. I opened the doors that went up to the balcony.

“Chica,” I said, “come out here and take your pick of bachelor one, two or three.”

I started laughing. Maybe I went a little crazy at the moment. I ran up to the front doors. There must have been about a hundred of undead fucks out there. “You boys and girls look like you’re a little hungry,” I laughed, “let me get the doors for you and you can come in. I made some lunch for you. So please, come on in and take your pick.”

I must have been grandstanding there for about five minutes. I should have been worried. I didn’t know where chica was. Really wasn’t too concerned. I was tapping on the doors working the zombies outside into a frenzy. I finally turned the key in the door and hauled ass before the doors swung in from the other side of a few hundred pounds of zombies and made an appetizer of Jake under glass. I ran through the concession area and took the steps three at a time up to the roof. As soon as I hit the roof I spun around and slammed the door shut. I waited a couple of minutes until I heard the blood curdling screams start. I think I was grinning at that point. I turned and was stopped in my tracks. Krysta was bending over the side of the theater trying to reach down grabbing at Stephen. I could hear her teeth clacking.

I don’t know what the hell I was thinking at that moment. I must have been crazy from the adrenaline high. Or maybe it was that I just planned a way to kill six people that way who probably didn’t deserve it. Anyways, I ran up to Krysta, grabbed her by her waist band of her pants and pulled her back up to the roof. “Chica, what the fuck are you doing?” I was screaming right in her face. I was pointing my finger inches from her mouth. She clicked her teeth a couple of times together and started leaning off the side of the building trying to get back at Stephen, ignoring me. I yanked her back up. “Chica, you want him don’t you? You can understand what’s going on right? If you understand, just give me some kind of sign.”

I don’t know what the hell I was thinking. I had six people screaming and dying in the theater below me. Their screams were drawing in more zombies. My dumb ass was standing on top of a theater, screaming, pointing my finger a few inches from another one’s mouth while she kept snapping her teeth at me. Stephen was hanging three feet from the roof, sleeping through the whole time.

“OK, let me get my fun in and you can have yours.”

Snap, snap, snap.

I’ll spare you the boring details of how I got Stephen, Krysta, and myself off of the theater roof. I’m also not going to tell you where we went. What I did though, well, there’s going to be a special place for me in Hell.

I found a nice little basement. First thing I did was tie Stephen up down there. Body hanging in a perfect X. Then I took Krysta and put her outside. I needed some sleep, and I didn’t trust her enough to have me sleeping with her in the house. I woke up a few hours later to the sound of Stephen screaming.

He was whining and crying and asking what I was going to do to him. I told him he didn’t want to see what I was doing to him. So I took a hot iron spike and put out his eyes. He was screaming about how much it hurt. So I gave him a big shot of painkillers. I wondered how bad it hurt when I injected him in the eyes.

I spent the next few days playing sounds of zombies groaning. I took knives and cut slices of flesh off him while he was asleep. I just make his life a living hell for about three days. Eventually I lost all interest in torturing him.

“Stephen, I got some good news for you. I’m tired of this game, so I’m going to give you a chance. I’m giving you a chance to get out of here. All you have to do is just get out of this basement. I’ll cut you loose and all you have to do is walk out the door. Oh wait, I forgot, I promised you to someone else.”

I opened the door to the outside of the basement. All Stephen could hear was snap, snap, snap. He was screaming something or other, but I didn’t care anymore.

“Chica, he’s all yours.”

I swear I saw a zombie grin.

Posted by Machete Von Kill in FEATURED ARTIST, FEATURED CONTENT, ORIGINAL FICTION, 0 comments
TRIBUTE: Remembering Wes Craven

TRIBUTE: Remembering Wes Craven

We Honor Genre Legend
Wes Craven

2 August 1939 – 30 August 2015

Wes Craven
When we here at House of Tortured Souls heard the tragic news about Wes Craven losing his battle with brain cancer, we were stunned and instantly saddened. It made us all realize what an indelible mark he has made in the film industry and with his fans and ourselves. And like many other sites, we decided to honor this revered master of horror and suspense and all say a little something about what the man and his films meant to us…

JOHN ROISLAND: When I was very young, I remember hearing adults talking of this horrific film called The Last House on the Left. I recall pieces of TV and newspaper ads for it and still more and more discussion about how disturbing and gross the film was, yet these ads and talks never seemed to have gone away. The funny thing was that the film came out the same year I was born, so that should give you some idea as to how long the impact of this film was. This was my first introduction to Mr. Wes Craven.

Moving forward a few years, I was in the 6th grade and had a few friends of mine staying the night. We had stayed up late watching this new horror movie on VHS called A Nightmare on Elm Street. To this day I remember how vivid my dreams were that night. This guy with knives for fingers chased me through this huge maze. This guy became one of the horror genre’s most popular horror icons, as well as Wes Craven’s most notorious character – Freddy Krueger.

For years to follow, Craven’s films became the blood that flowed through my veins. The Hills Have Eyes, Shocker, The People Under the Stairs, and let us not forget one film that I thought was absolute genius: Scream. Who else would have used a story about horror films, to create a horror film?

Many years later, I caught up with my past and finally watched The Last House On The Left. The movie was, by this time outdated, and the special FX that one has grown to expect in movies weren’t there, and ya know what? It didn’t matter. The film stands on its own and is one of a kind. I can honestly say that all the things I had heard all those adult voices saying when I was just a little kid were true. Love it or hate it, it is one of the most powerful and disturbing films I have seen to this day!

I’m not going to lie and tell you the Wes Craven was/is my favorite writer/director, because he isn’t. What I will say is that this master of horror deserves a huge amount of credit for his hand in shaping the horror film genre into what it is today. He was an inspiration and set filmmaking standards that will take many, many years for anyone else to match.

Thank you, Mr. Craven, for the beautiful nightmares.

 

AMY LYNES: I was in the seventh grade when I saw A Nightmare on Elm Street in the theater, and I was beyond terrified. I had truly never been that scared in my life. There were parts of the film where I couldn’t even breathe, and I think I jumped out of my seat at least five times. And the terror didn’t end when the credits rolled either. I was unable to sleep right for WEEKS. All these years later, I can honestly say that I have never had a film scare me the way ANOES did. The only other horror film that came even remotely close was also one of his films – Scream.

At the time, I had no idea that the director for ANOES and one of my childhood favorites, Swamp Thing, were one and the same. Swamp Thing showed me that appearances aren’t everything, and it made me the type of kid who always rooted for the underdog and stick up for the kids who were bullied. That is something that has stuck with me my entire life, and it’s huge part with who I am today.

While Scream isn’t one of my favorite films, it did genuinely scare me the first time I saw it. It was the kind of thing every girl who has ever been home alone or has been a babysitter in someone else’s home fears. Not since ANOES had a film given me nightmares and Scream did just that.

In the late 80s/early 90s, horror got boring for me. Everything seemed to lack originality or a formula that worked, and everything seemed SO predictable. Sadly, I kinda gave up on the genre for a while. Then in ’94, Wes Craven gave us New Nightmare and he gave Freddy back to the fans. He got rid of all the cheesy lines and he made Freddy scary again. He instantly reignited my love of horror with one film.

Wes Craven seemed to have a way of honing in on what scared me the most, and his films have had a huge impact on me becoming the horror fan that I am today. His passing was truly a loss to the horror community and its fans. He will be missed – by myself and countless others – for decades to come.

RIP Mr. Craven. You will live on through your countless masterpieces and in the hearts of your fans. Thank you for all the screams.

 

STEPHANIE ROISLAND: I was very young the first time I saw A Nightmare on Elm Street. My family was not into horror at all with the exception of my older brother. I always knew I was different. I wasn’t afraid of Freddy, he made me giggle. I was scared of the The Wizard of Oz, but The Hills Have Eyes intrigued me.

Wes Craven helped open my eyes to a world where everything twisted was acceptable and nightmares can be made into a reality on film. I loved the independent thoughts and freedom of his writing and movies. He, along with a handful of other directors/writers, gave me insight into a world where I fit in.

When I heard of Mr. Craven’s passing this is what I blogged and it is still how I feel: “The goal of life is not to live forever, but to create something that will”. And he accomplished just that. He will be immortal, not in the flesh but in his works. He has created a legacy that will live on and on with each generation. We will show our grandchildren his cult classics just as we did our children and show them how true horror really should be.

Rest In Peace, my friend, and here is to the immorality of Gods and Monsters.

 

DIXIELORD: Like so many horror fans, I first discovered Wes Craven with A Nightmare on Elm Street. It was like nothing I had ever seen before. Freddy Krueger was no hulking, silent stalker, no shambling zombie, and no Gothic Victorian creature of the night. Freddy was something entirely new, a laughing, wise cracking demon from hell, and he was always waiting in your dreams. With him, Wes Craven had made my nightmares something to really fear. Those harmless nightmares might not really be so harmless. Over the years, Freddy became a pop culture icon as the films got more campy, and people knew that Freddy was really Robert Englund. Then, when Freddy was posing with babies, and riding on parade floats, Wes took him back, and made him scary again. In New Nightmare, Wes Craven crashed through the fourth wall at full speed, making Freddy more real and more terrifying than ever.

Thank you, Wes, for making my youth more fun and more exciting. Thank you for giving me nightmares and for inspiring my imagination, while reminding me it’s all just a nightmare, and I can always wake up.

 

NICK DURHAM: Other than maybe John Carpenter, no other horror maestro’s films have had the effect on me the way Wes Craven’s had. Granted my feelings on The Last House on the Left are one thing, but that has its place in history and it set the stage for the greatness that would come. There was a time when nearly everything Craven touched turned to gold. Well…almost everything. Despite that though, a majority of his films have had quite an impact on me personally.

The Hills Have Eyes and, of course, the original A Nightmare on Elm Street are two of my all time favorite horror films in the history of ever. Not to mention the fact that he somehow managed to reinvigorate life into Freddy with New Nightmare and an extremely original and interesting premise that no other slasher franchise would dare take on. As much as I love John Carpenter to death, he’s never gone down that road. That, in itself, really made me believe that anything could be possible in the horror genre besides the typical and tired tropes we see again and again.

Wes Craven breathed life and fresh air into so many different elements of the horror genre with his films. Granted his later work didn’t do a whole lot to twist my knickers, but there’s no denying the effect a majority of his work has had on me personally and how I view the horror genre in general. There’s damn few other people in the genre that spoke to me like Wes Craven did, and all of us are worse off without his presence.

 

KIM RICKETTS: Early on in my journey into horror I was introduced to A Nightmare on Elm Street. I was young, probably first grade or so, and I remember sitting near my mom watching that gloved hand breach the water and get closer and closer to a dozing Nancy. I was terrified and captivated at the same time. I so badly wanted to look away but I couldn’t. I was hooked.

The actual killings didn’t scare me half as much as the psychological scares that Wes Craven put into his work. My whole life I’ve never been so much afraid of what I could see but what was lurking out there unseen and ready to get you at your most vulnerable time. The fact that you were less safe sound asleep and dreaming than when you were wide awake was a complete mind screw. I came to love the campy wit and pure genius that was Freddy Krueger. He became one of the bad guys that I wanted to win over and over.

The concept of New Nightmare was brilliant to me. To take Freddy from the screen and bring him into “real life” was frightening. Having Heather Langenkamp and Robert Englund as themselves rather than Nancy and Freddy and then interact with a much darker, scarier Freddy made it seem like it really could happen.

With the Scream series, Craven hooked me again. I was in high school when the first film came out. I could relate. Sidney and her friends weren’t all that different from my friends and me. We felt invincible and didn’t follow rules for nothing. The fact that these kids were following horror movie rules that were basically every typical horror cliché was genius. This could happen in my town, and to my friends and me, and that just wasn’t cool. We were indestructible, after all, and too young to die. It made it even scarier.

And that’s what Wes Craven did so well. He scared you with what was in your mind. Whether it was Scream or The Last House on the Left, it could happen.

His scares will transcend time and his works will continue to frighten people for generations.

 

Dyametric 13: Wes Craven will be missed so much, by me and many others. As a director he wowed me. The second horror film I saw was A Nightmare on Elm Street. This film sparked something big in my heart for horror. It kept me wanting more. The first horror film I ended up seeing in the theater was Freddy’s Dead. I actually talked my mother into buying tickets for me and a friend, and it was amazing.

The People Under the Stairs was another big film for me. I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve watched it. “Fool” was a true hero in this film and the way he got the name, always makes me smile. The reason is a past story of my own.

A little known movie by the name The Fear (1995) was a film Wes didn’t direct, but acted in. My name (Dyametric 13) comes from that film. I already knew what diametric meant, but watching this film made me love the word more. Dyametric 13 (with a slight spelling change) just stuck with me from that point on.

Even the Scream franchise has had some impact on me as a horror fan. It’s not one of my favorites, but every now and then, I will still give it a watch.

The Serpent and the Rainbow truly terrified me. This film still gives me chills. I imagine waking up in a coffin, buried alive, now a living zombie, and it freaks me out. Knowing that this kind of stuff happens in real life? It makes the whole film just a bit more terrifying.

In my eyes, this man will never truly die. He has earned his place in horror history, and he is a true legend.

R.I.P. Wes Craven, you will be missed.

 

MACHETE VON KILL: I thought it would be easy to sit down and write about what Wes Craven and his movies meant to me. I thought it would be easy to put his impact on my life into words. I was wrong on both accounts, but I’m trying…

The first thing that comes to mind when I hear the name Wes Craven is Freddy Krueger! I was 10 years old and at a slumber party the first time I saw A Nightmare on Elm Street. Freddy scared the shit out of me! I had nightmares for weeks! I had a rounded plastic bird cage in my bedroom window, and at night it cast a shadow on my ceiling. That shadow looked just like Freddy’s famous fedora. I was positive that Freddy was going to come out of that shadow and get me in my sleep! I don’t scare easily (other than a few embarrassing phobias). I never have. Freddy got me good and, in the long run, I liked it.

Over the years I’ve watched many of Craven’s films. The Serpent and The Rainbow, The People Under the Stairs, and the original The Hills Have Eyes are among my favorites.

I have to admit, by the mid 1990s I was bored with the horror genre. I didn’t have access to much in my small town, and what I did have access to was mostly CRAP. It was played out, lame, and had no story. I gave up on my beloved genre until Craven gave us the gift of Scream. That movie brought me back to the genre. Wes was able to remind me why I fell in love with horror movies in the first place. He brought back masterful storytelling, enhanced with gore, rather than gore just for the sake of gore. It was a love letter to the fans, and for that I can never thank him enough.

 

WOOFER McWOOFERSON: When I started this piece, I thought I would talk about the two Wes Craven movies that I like most. The more I think about it, though, the harder that has been. His impact on the horror industry is undeniable, so I decided the best course was to discuss 10 things Wes Craven taught us.

1) The Last House on the Left (1972) taught us that revenge isn’t always a dish best served cold.

2) The Hills Have Eyes (1977) taught us that being on guard is never overrated.

3) Swamp Thing (1982) taught us that even plant monster men can love.

4) A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) taught us that sleep really can be a bad thing.

5) Invitation to Hell (1984) taught us that Susan Lucci plays evil like nobody else.

6) Deadly Friend (1986) taught us to fear basketballs.

7) The Serpent and the Rainbow (1988) taught us that Bill Pullman was more than a one trick pony.

8) Shocker (1989) taught us that the electric chair is not our friend.

9) The People Under the Stairs (1991) taught us that a lovely exterior can hide a hideous interior.

10) Scream (1996) taught us that there are rules to horror, and if you want to survive, you’d better know those rules and follow them.

Thank you, Mr. Craven. RIP.

 

KEV B.: We recently lost one of the brightest and most original minds in horror… Wes Craven who (among his other accomplishments) gave us Freddy Krueger and Ghostface. This is my posthumous praise for Mr Craven and his legacy. I was born in 1971 and raised in what I consider the greatest era of the horror genre. A time (in my opinion) of unparalleled awesomeness and the best time to be a young horror fan.

When I was about 12 years old my mom and I went to see A Nightmare on Elm Street on opening day, and I would venture to say it changed modern horror movies forever. I remember vividly, after the credits rolled, a man running out of the theater and projectile vomiting as Mom and I laughed.

It was unlike any other slasher of its time and gave us a new horror icon for the 80s… Freddy Krueger. Armed with a glove of knives for fingers and a killer wit, he slashed his way into our dreams and our hearts and established Wes Craven as a formidable force in the genre. After a few sequels, Freddy’s one liners became increasingly corny and he lost his initial menace, but the original is a true horror classic.

In the years to follow, Craven released The Serpent and the Rainbow and The People Under the Stairs, both of which are among my all time favorite movies and a departure from traditional horror. The Scream franchise was his big return to form, and he created a new icon for a new generation. Ghostface was a new kind of slasher with a whole new take on an old theme.

Wes Craven changed horror in my eyes, and with his passing horror will never quite be the same… Mr. Craven, you will be missed.

Wes Craven

Gone but never forgotten.

Posted by Amy Mead in ARTIST OF THE MONTH, EDITORIALS, FEATURED ARTIST, 0 comments

FEATURED ARTIST: Sid Graves Cemetery Prints

Sid Graves: Cemetery Prints

By Stephanie Roisland

Sid Graves Cemetary Prints 001

My husband John and I met the Graves (Sid Graves and his wife Becky) in 2009 at the Spooky Empire convention in Orlando, FL. We all became instant friends, enjoying each others company a few times a year at Florida conventions.

I cant say enough about Sid and his work. He is an amazing talent and has an eye to see things emerge in his mind, and then manipulate them into his breathtaking art. We personally own some of Sid’s pieces; they are the focal point of our living space: radiating dark and saddening images, with just enough beauty to make them unforgettable.

Sid Graves Cemetary Prints 002Sid Graves is a 44-year-old self taught photographer. With no formal training, he has never let that slow his ambitions. His mother, who regrettably passed last year, was a free lance photographer and, when Sid was a child, his mentor.

Sid Graves Cemetary Prints 003When asked how long he had been doing photography he stated, “44 Years”.

He is inspired by the unique and forgotten, and he is known for saying, “To find beauty within the morbid”. That is his true calling. His favorite location to photograph is an old cemetery called Bonaventure, located in Savannah, GA.

Other than his photography, Sid also creates one of kind, custom, hand crafted frames in all shapes and sizes. Sid Graves Cemetary Prints 004All Sid’s photography prints and frames are available for sale on his website.

You can also find him on Facebook at Cemetery Prints Inc. or email him directly at cemeteryprints@hotmail.com.

Posted by Stephanie Roisland in FEATURED ARTIST, 3 comments