By Tammie Parker
This soup became a tradition when my twin sons were growing up. We called it Witch's Brew, but it has many names (Biohazard Soup, Stuff and Thangs Soup, Clown Soup, etc). The trick is to add ingredients that you can say are something incredibly creepy or disgusting (tomato juice is now blood for example), but use names that will go with the title of the dish. Thus, for Witch's Brew, chicken wings become bat wings and green beans become goblin fingers. For Clown Soup, cherry tomatoes are clown noses, spiral cut different colored vegs for a clown's rainbow wig, and so on. The only thing you need to know to make all of this weirdness come out tasting great is simple seasonings (salt, pepper, garlic powder, crushed red pepper-easy!) and to slow cook the soup.
I'm having a TWD Premiere Party (if that wasn't drilled into your head yet from previous articles 😉 ), so my soup will contain a lot of shredded or ripped body parts (hearts, guts, limbs - thangs Lori!) and blood.
Here's a list of examples to help you out (I hope you make Clown Soup 😀 because this is the perfect year for it!)NOT ALL OF THESE GO IN ONE PARTICULAR THEMED SOUP (for instance if you are making for a TWD party, there wouldn't be any Dragons' Tongues. That's InShane!! :
- Tomato juice (1 large can – sufficient for the soup base) = Blood
- Stewed tomatoes (1 can) – partially rip apart by hand = Hearts
- Raw chicken wings (4) = Bat wings
- Smoked oysters (1 can) = Ogre hearts
- Hominy (1 can) = Teeth
- Smoked sausage (1/2) (peeled) = Skinless fingers or Limbs of a goblin
- Spiral cut vegetables (potatoes, zucchini, carrots) (1 each) = Guts
- Spinach (to taste) = Ogre Skin
- Pearl onions (to taste) = Eyeballs
- Bacon (4 slices cut in half) = Skin
- Red kidney beans (1 can) = Rat hearts
- Baby Carrots (1 pkg) = Dragon's tongue
- Ribs (small package) = Guess
- Hot dogs (1 pack cut in fours) and spaghetti noodles (2 per hot dog quarter) broken in half. Poke four noodle through each hot dog (THIS IS TO BE ADDED AT THE END) = Zombie virus
- Angel hair pasta (1 serving) = Hair (If you want to use noodles, please remember they will go end at the end because they will get too soggy.)
1. Combine your choice of items 1 – 13 in large sauce pan over medium heat.
2. Cover and cook for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
3. Add items 14 and 15 if desired.
4. Cook 10 more minutes.
Servings: Plenty of leftovers.
Have fun and be disgusting! 😀
WE WANT YOUR SCARY STORIES!
By Tammie Parker
We know tons of you have your own scary stories. They be actually be real story or something you went through or even something you witnessed first hand. We want to hear about them, and we're going to publish them EVERY day between October 24th and Halloween. You will, of course, be credited. Each story will start with the title. Don't worry - if you can't think of a title, we will. Then your name, where you're from, and any other introductory information your story requires.
The deadline to submit your scary story is 15 October 2016 midnight all time zones. This allows us to process the entries and communicate with the authors.
All entrants will become automatic Friends of the House and will have their names and stories posted on our site. From the submissions, three winners will be chosen based on creepiness (of the story, not the entrant). Winners will receive horror mystery bags.
To enter, email your scary story to us at firstname.lastname@example.org, subject: Scary Story Contest.
We’ll get back to you as soon as possible.
We are looking forward to being creeped out by our fans! Winners to be announced on November 8, 2016.
House of Tortured Souls LIVE
Sunday, 17 July 2016
Season 01, Episode 01
It's the very first episode of House of Tortured Souls LIVE! Join our hosts, John, Andrew, and Dixie as they talk horror. We are horror all the time. It's the first show and we are still working out the kinks. Did someone say kink? Okay, back to horror. In this first episode we do introductions, then we move on to talk about the new Ghostbusters movie. Who are you gonna call?
After that, we talk about the upcoming Scares That Care Weekend 3, and the Scares That Care charity itself. If you are anywhere near historic Williamsburg, Virginia on July 22-24, 2016, get your ass to the Double Tree Hilton for Scares That Care Weekend 3.
Finally, we send a special salute out to a living legend of horror. THE master of horror who finally gets some just recognition. Who is it? Listen to find out! Most of all keep coming back. The gang has great chemistry born of friendship and a mutual love of horror. Tune in, and turn it up!
Special thanks to Rocky Gray for our opening music and our artwork. You the man, man!
Welcome to Collinsport
This tribute is dedicated to Jason "Egg" Brown who is no longer with us. Jason was a smart, funny, and kind person, and he had a way with words as anyone in The Vortexx chat will tell you. Rest in peace.
Despite Dark Shadows airing between 1966 and 1971 when I was three- to eight-years-old, I have fond memories of rushing to watch it when it came on. How much of this is from the original airing and how much is from its syndication run I do not know. Memory is a tricky thing. Either way, Dark Shadows was a big deal for me and many other young horror fans. With witches, vampires, werewolves, gothic architecture, flashbacks to period piece episodes, and storylines inspired by the likes of Shelley, Poe, and Lovecraft, Dark Shadows was nothing like anything we'd seen on TV before. And we couldn't get enough of it.
Created by Dan Curtis after he dreamed of a mysterious young woman on a train, Dark Shadows began as a gothic soap opera following the lives of the Collins family of Collinsport, Maine (named for the family) and eventually morphed more into a supernatural soap opera. The show really took off in the second after the character of Barnabas Collins was introduced and Jonathan Frid joined the cast. Barnabas was eventually revealed to be a Collins ancestor who was cursed to be a vampire after he refused to return to the witch Angelique (Lara Parker), his former lover.
Barnabas was imprisoned by his own father in a chained coffin with a cross on the inside of the lid, but returns after his coffin is disturbed by contemporary Collins' looking for the family's alleged jewels. It doesn't take long for Barnabas to assume the role of a ladies man while feeding off the citizens of Collinsport at night. He is most taken by Maggie Evans (Kathryn Leigh Scott) because she resembles his long lost love Josette.
Interestingly, Barnabas was not supposed to be a regular, but his enormous popularity persuaded the producers to bring him on board completely. It even took quite a while before any character used the word vampire to describe Barnabas. Until that time, characters merely referred to him as one who “walks at night but...ain't alive” and “one of the undead”.
Other show regulars include Joan Bennett (who was on for the show's entire run) as Elizabeth Collins Stoddard, who had not ventured outside of her palatial home in over eighteen years, Alexandra Moltke Isles (for which producers received a great deal of criticism because of her age and lack of experience) as Victoria Winters, Nancy Barrett as Carolyn Stoddard (Elizabeth's daughter), Louis Edmonds (who also stayed for the show's full run) as Roger Collins (Elizabeth's brother), and David Selby as Quentin Collins.
Bennett, Barrett, and Edmonds were acting veterans who brought an air of legitimacy to the show and offset the perceived problem with having an unknown in a key role.
It's difficult to imagine now, but Dark Shadows was first and foremost a soap opera – a dark, gothic soap opera, but a soap opera nonetheless, and it originally aired on daytime television. With only a weekly budget of $70,000, they managed to create 1,125 episodes of one of the most beloved horror shows of the 20th century and spawn countless variations, including:
-House of Dark Shadows (1970) – feature length movie
-Night of Dark Shadows (1971) – feature length movie
-A television revival show in 1991 (featuring a very young Joseph Gordon-Levitt)
-Two book series of Dark Shadows, one consisting of 32 books and a novelization of House of Dark Shadows and the other a trilogy by Lara Parker, the actress who played Angelique
-Countless magazine articles and features
-A comic strip
-Two board games
-Two jigsaw puzzles
-A View-Master reel
-A series of audio dramas with many members of the original cast
Yes, Dark Shadows was a seminal production that paved the way for many other horror television shows, and television was the better for it.
House of Tortured Souls
Salutes the 1976 Classic The Omen
By Woofer McWooferson
On June 25, 1976, The Omen premiered in theaters to critical and commercial acclaim. The Omen was one of the top grossing films in 1976, grossing over $60 million at the box office, and received two Academy Award nominations. It also became an instant classic and spawned two sequels: Damien: The Omen 2 and The Final conflict, neither of which lives up to its parent film. (Technically, there was a third sequel, but the less said, the better. And don't even mention the remake... Please.) Starring Gregory Peck, Lee Remick, Patrick Troughton, David Warner, Billie Whitelaw, and Harvey Spencer Stephens, The Omen is supernatural horror about a child secretly adopted at birth by the Ambassador Robert Thorn (Peck) and his wife Katherine (Remick) when their child is allegedly stillborn.
The film begins with Thorn agonizing over the death of their baby because his wife's greatest desire was to have her own child. A priest at the hospital hovers nearby and offers a solution to Thorn's problem, a solution that will spare his wife's feelings and provide a home for a child born with no family of its own. The priest even points out that this child's birth was God's way of supplying Thorn with a baby in place of their own. Thinking he is sparing his wife heartache and helping an orphan baby to have a family and home, Thorn unknowingly brings the Antichrist into his family, causing far more heartache than a lost infant could ever have done. The Omen jumps from Damien's birth to just prior to his fifth birthday when Thorn is transferred from Ambassador to Rome to become Ambassador to Great Britain where people around them begin to die mysteriously.
Expertly directed by Richard Donner, The Omen is an almost perfect horror movie and stands the test of time. Donner had been directing for over 15 years when he took on The Omen, and his credits include the television shows Perry Mason and The Twilight Zone. Although he went on to direct Superman, Ladyhawke, Scrooged, and more, The Omen is unquestionably his best work. Each scene is perfectly crafted for maximum impact without being obvious or overwhelming and much of this credit must also go to the script. David Seltzer, who penned the film, had previously worked on Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (uncredited) and The Other Side of the Mountain, but his work on The Omen's script is, perhaps, his finest. Scenes which are clichéd in other horror movies do not feel so here – they feel real because the characters are rich and fully developed. Similarly, the dialogue is real and natural in spite of the topics of discussion often being supernatural. The casting is impeccable. All take their parts seriously, and there are no attempts to “steal” the movie from each other. Their character arcs compliment each other and the story itself, making for not just a great horror movie but a great film period. Finally, the film is accented by Jerry Goldsmith's powerful original score, for which he won the Academy Award, and there is not one note off.
If you have not seen The Omen, I strongly encourage you to rectify that. It is simultaneously a psychological thriller and a supernatural horror story that, though made in 1976, it is not dated and can hold its own against almost every modern horror movie. Celebrate the 40th anniversary of The Omen by watching it again – or for the first time. You'll not be disappointed.
Twice As Far
By Nicole Robinson
The end of last night’s episode of The Walking Dead saw Daryl reunited with his crossbow at the cost of Denise when a burned Dwight returned and shot her through the eye during her pep talk to Daryl and Rosita. Denise, being one of the valuable assets that Alexandria had, will be sorely missed as the only doctor in the community. Her training as a psychologist also could have been helpful in the war against a Negan that is undoubtedly coming - something that her death will escalate once Rick finds out it was Dwight and The Saviors that are responsible.
Olivia counts the pantry stock, Father Gabriel patrols the grounds, and Eugene and Sasha stand watch at the gates while Morgan practices with his ninja stick. Carol smokes her cigarette. These day to day activities of Alexandria give the illusion that Rick and friends are safe in their community, safe behind the walls and closed doors that provide protection.
Daryl checks out his bike, stolen with his crossbow earlier this season by one of those strangers he tried to help in the burnt woods.
“I should have killed him,” he tells Carol over a smoke. He is right. He should have, and this mistake will come back to haunt him later.
Eugene’s intelligence has always been his best weapon, and this episode proved exactly why. Eugene knows how to make bullets, and bullets are more valuable than the guns that shoot them. After all, guns are no good without bullets. Out with Abraham, the two find a metal shop that will allow Eugene to get to work. A very proud Abraham sings Eugene’s praises before being interrupted by a metal head walker. Eugene calls dibs, and Abe steps back.
The walker has been coated in metal, so when Eugene tries to machete it, his knife just bounces off the walker's chrome dome. Eugene gets pinned and is unable to reach a weapon causing Abe to step in and save him. An insulted Eugene chastises Abraham, who reminds him that thinking, not killing, is his best skill. Eugene responds by dismissing Abraham, stating “your services are no longer required”, and Abraham storms out while telling Eugene he can find his own way home.
Denise drags Daryl and Rosita outside the safety of the walls to search an apothecary for medicines that could be useful to the community. If it’s more apothecary than boutique, she reasons, it’ll have drugs. Having to abandon the truck after running into a fallen tree blocking the road, Denise tries to convince Daryl to take the tracks because it is the most direct route. He refuses.
The pharmacy is still locked when the three arrive, so all the meds are still safe and sound. While Daryl and Rosita clean out the place, Denise find a baby shoe in a sink full of blood in the back and reflects that perhaps she was not as ready as she thought. On the way back she tells Daryl the story of her twin brother, older by six minutes. She describes him as brave and angry, reminding Daryl of his own brother, Merle.
At this point, the episode seems more like filler. Aside from the realization that Eugene is able to make bullets, this episode was fairly sleepy.
After Denise risks her life for a can of soda and vomits on her glasses, Daryl yells at her in a very big brother sort of way for doing so. She stands up to him, yelling “I have training in this sh**!” She brought him because he reminds her of her brother and makes her feel safe. She should have gone with Tara and told her she loves her. She brought Rosita because she is inspired by her strength. In short, she is tired of being afraid to survive. She is sick of the fact she is not out in the world trying to live, and to live you have to take chances.
Suddenly an arrow pierces Denise through the eye. A group of Saviors come out of the woods and they have Eugene. Daryl looks at the man who stole his bike and crossbow. His face is burnt now, and he introduces himself as Dwight. Daryl was right; he should have killed him when he had the chance. The arrow came from Daryl’s crossbow, but Denise wasn’t the one he was aiming for. Dwight wants to be let into Daryl’s complex, and wants to be allowed to take whatever and whoever they want. If his demands are not met, they will kill Eugene, then Rosita, and then Daryl.
Eugene takes one for the team, grabbing a mouthful of Dwight’s manhood after spotting Abraham hiding behind some barrels, apparently having been following Eugene. He surprises the group and starts shooting. Rosita gets the guns, and Daryl slashes a neck before he starts shooting. Gunfire erupts and walkers descend causing Dwight to call for the Saviors to fall back. Eugene is shot in the crossfire. The three carry him back to Alexandria. Luckily he was only grazed, and the antibiotics will likely save his life. Abraham apologizes for doubting his abilities and says, “You know how to bite a d*ck – and I mean that in the nicest way possible.”
Daryl retrieves Denise’s body, and buries her in their graveyard while holding a vanity keychain she took from the store. It reads "Dennis", which was her twin brother's name. Carol joins him and they dig mostly in silence. She sees what the audience sees as well. This one is going to have a lasting effect.
“You were right,” Carol says. “I knew it when you said it.”
In a last tragic twist, Carol leaves Alexandria, leaving behind only a letter for Tobin to find that says she can’t face another threat and she cannot kill anymore. This letter is addressed to the community as a whole:
I love you all, and I would have to kill for you. I can’t; I won’t. I can’t love anyone because I can’t kill for anyone anymore. I am going like I always should have. Don’t come after me, please.
This is not the last of Carol no doubt. Someone will go after her despite her request not too, likely Daryl. The death of Denise will have a resounding effect of Alexandria now that the only doctor is dead. When Tara returns from her supply run with Heath to find her having been killed, her reaction is going to reopen this wound for Daryl. She came to him for protection and she died as result of mistakes. Not killing Dwight has come back on him in the worst way possible, and that kind of guilt is hard to live with. It clouds judgment and leads to careless mistakes. Daryl may actually end up getting himself killed despite his good intentions.
By Nicole Robinson
The aftermath of the premature attack on the Saviors Compound resulted in the kidnapping of Carol and mom-to-be Maggie at the end of last week’s episode of The Walking Dead. This week found the two women with guns to their heads by a small group of Negan’s followers - a chain-smoking woman named Molly, a dark haired woman called Chelle, a man named Donnie, and a fiery redhead leader, Paula - while Rick and friends held hostage a member of their group named Primo. Guest star Alicia Witt (Urban Legend, Vanilla Sky) played Paula and went toe to toe with Carol this week in “The Same Boat”, revealing her to be the voice on the walkie at the end of last week’s high energy episode.
Carol and Maggie are held hostage after Carol shoots Donnie, a member of the Saviors, in the arm. The Saviors group tie-up and gag Carol and Maggie and hold them hostage in an old slaughter house while trying to decide if they will accept Rick’s offer to trade. Donnie claims that Primo could patch up his worsening gunshot wound courtesy of Carol. The Saviors split up to dispatch some walkers and one drops a of set rosary beads while being dragged out which Carol quickly grabs.
With the Saviors distracted, Maggie tries to free herself, not getting far before the captors return. In the past, Carol has been a master at being someone she is not in order to disguise herself, and this time was no different. She pretends to hyperventilate. Maggie gets their captors' attention and persuades them to take off the gags. Carol feels for the rosaries, and chain-smoking Molly helps her. "Oh, you're one of THOSE," she quips.
"How did you make it so far? Paula asks Carol with a clear disapproval of her “weakness”.
Carol weakly says, "Just don't hurt Maggie. Don't hurt the baby."
Donnie demands revenge against Carol as Paula insists no medical assistance is coming to help him. He suggests shooting her in the arm as she did him, and Paula disagrees citing “insurance”. He hits her and starts kicking Carol. Maggie kicks Donald; he knocks her back, then returns to kicking Carol. Paula pistol whips him and sends Chelle and Maggie to another room, to “see if she knows anything". The two do some bonding over pregnancy and Chelle’s severed finger which she got as result of stealing gas to look for her blown up boyfriend (thanks to Daryl).
Meanwhile on the kill floor, Carol thanks Molly and Paula for helping Maggie only to be shut up very quickly by Paula when she starts to talk about Ed. She knows that Carol is a pathetic, weak little bird and isn’t surprised that her husband abused her, but her relationship with Donald isn’t some domestic violence thing. He is just a “warm body for her bed” and she could kill him in his sleep without a second thought. Attempting some more sympathy points, Carol tells them that her faith got her through the death of her daughter. Paula and Molly are unaffected by her faith, instead showing annoyance at Carol’s weakness.
Rick’s voice comes over the walkie offering supplies to make the trade fairer. Paula rejects the offer despite Carol’s attempts to convince her that Rick can be trusted. Molly steps in and points out that Carol’s people have already blown up all of their people. Carol counters with the argument that they were ambushed. Paula says that it is fair because they were defending themselves but wonders why they did not just stop there. Carol claims that they said they were working for Negan, and he sounded like a maniac that had to be stopped. “We are all Negan,” says Molly.
This famous comic line makes very little sense to Carol but clearly this group has a strong loyalty to the yet-to-be-seen leader of The Saviors. Up until this point in the episode, it appeared Carol was faking her meek, little bird ways. Half expecting Carol to break out of her bonds and rain fire down on her captors, the viewers were left scratching their heads wondering what is going on inside Carol’s head. Why isn’t she fighting back?
She does eventually break free, using the metal crucifix to cut through the tape. Instead of going commando like she has in the past with Terminus and The Wolves, she sneaks around. She finds Maggie and tries to convince her just leave instead of killing them all, which is hormonal Maggie’s preference and probably the smarter choice. This season has been laced with humanity being a greater threat than the dead. Leaving others alive has come back to haunt Rick and friends since the beginning of the series, a lesson Carol should have learned by now.
Carol and Maggie return to the kill floor and quietly tie up Donnie who has died (kill count: 19) and is turning. The Zombie on the leash bites Molly when she returns and Maggie takes her down, bashing her head in with Donnie’s gun. They try to escape and hit a dead end of walkers on spikes set up to stop others both in and out of the slaughter house. Paula shows up shooting and runs out of ammo. Carol points her gun and tells her to run. Maggie tells her to shoot her and while she hesitates, a walker gets loose of the spike and lunges for Carol. Carol shoots Paula and Chelle shows up. Maggie ambushes her and the two fight until Chelle swipes a knife at Maggie’s belly. Carol shoots her point blank (kill count: 21) and Paula gets up. Finally answering Paula’s “what are you afraid of" question, Carol says, “I was afraid of this”.
In one last attempt to fight, Paula lunges and knocks the gun out of a shaky Carol’s hand. In the altercation, Carol impales her on a spike and her face becomes a walker snack. A special round of applause to Greg Nicotero’s special effects team for this scene. Among the noise of Paula gurgling death, Carol picks up the walkie and tells the other Saviors to meet them on the kill floor. There she uses a cigarette set the two ablaze Karen and David style bringing her kill count to 24 this week.
Maggie and Carol walk out to be met by Rick and the group. A visibly shaken Carol is comforted by Daryl while Rick questions Primo about Negan. He states that he is Negan, and Rick apologizes while shooting him. Roll credits. Clearly Primo is not Negan, and this is only the start of the war with the Saviors.
Carol appears to be breaking down in this new world. Spending a few months behind the safety of Alexandria’s walls have allowed for her to reflect on the time she spent on the road as a ruthless killer willing to do whatever it takes to stay alive. It seems that her kill count is getting to her and as it rises, she withdraws into her old defenseless and weak self we saw in the beginning of the series. Viewers are left to wonder if Carol is going to be able to handle the new world and its new rules of survival. Everyone has a breaking point and Carol has finally reached hers.
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.
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.
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.
Pain Dead Three
So here I am writing again. It’s not because I’m not worried about someone reading this. No, it’s more along the lines that I’m scared right now. Very scared. I’m just glad that I managed to have the foresight to actually stock up on food and water. Just wish I would have been smart enough to get some books in the home. But no, I never thought that one through.
So. Writing. Again. By hand. I imagine this is what it was like all those hundreds of years ago when everything was written with quill and ink. Ugh. How the hell did people survive back then? I’m hating it right now without the electricity. I can’t have a generator because it makes too much noise. I am in a basement with a lantern. I can’t write upstairs because it’s dark outside and the last thing I need is light going through the cracks between the boarded up windows and drawing the attention of unwanted neighbors.
I have learned a few things about these zombies. First of all, there is no book or movie that ever gets what these things are exactly right. The most significant thing I've learned is that they attack by smell. I’m pretty sure of it. I’ve been scared once or twice while foraging and when the adrenaline hits they pick up on me very quick. The trick is getting my heart rate to go down before I became someone’s snack.
One strange thing I’ve noticed is that during the night the zombies stop wherever they are. They don’t wander around like in the movies. If someone is running around making a bunch of noise or waving around a flashlight they will investigate. Other than that, they pretty much stop when it’s dark.
Another thing that I noticed from books and movies that they got wrong is the fact that if someone gets bitten they are usually done. C’mon, when some dumb motherfucker gets bit their adrenaline must be kicking into overdrive. Most of the bites that I’ve seen happen are usually pretty deep. So whatever in in their mouth that turns people into zombies is pretty much tossed around their blood system in a matter of seconds. Each one is different depending on how deep they were bit, how much they were bleeding, or how many zombies were snacking on them when they were bit. You have to excuse me, now. All of these talking about zombies eating has made me work up an appetite.
One last thought before I go is about something that has always bothered me since the beginning of this whole mess. Why the fuck in the movies did they always think that shooting a zombie in the head will kill it a second time? Hello, they are already dead. There is nothing going on upstairs. Chopping off the head will allow you to escape, but shooting them in the head? Waste of a fucking bullet. Save those for the living dumbasses.
Well, that sucked. I almost managed to get my ass killed today. Another thing I learned about zombies is they can track by our bodily functions. I ate the rest of my food up a couple of days ago and I was going out to forage. I don’t know where the scary Krysta went off to, but since she was gone, I figured it was my chance to go for a food run. I got about twenty steps away from my door when my stomach growled. Well, long story short, there were about three zombies around the side of the house and when they heard my stomach growl they realized that dinner was served. Luckily I wasn’t that far away from the door and I made it back inside before they could see me. Heard them walk right on by the door and keep walking. If you’ll excuse me now I’m going to try to eat some paper so my stomach will have something in it so I can try this shit again.
Only made it about five feet away from the door this time when I heard the now familiar click, click, click of familiar teeth. As soon as I heard that I turned around and went back into the house, locking the door after me. I heard Krysta walk up to the door, drop something heavy, and I heard the clicks fade away. I waited a couple of minutes before I opened up the door. There was a box of various canned goods sitting on the doorstep. I picked it up and looked for her. She wasn’t within earshot, so I took my canned goods, said a quiet thank you, and stepped back into the house and locked the door behind me.
Two hours later the clicks came back. Same story as before. Krista came up to the door, dropped something, hit the door once, and walked away. I took off to the door to see what she had left me. Two gallons of water and a half gallon of vodka. Not sure if it was by choice or by accident. I’d marry that zombie now if I wasn’t afraid she would bite off my finger while putting a ring on it. I’m also pretty sure that I couldn’t find someone to marry us. God forbid should I have to consummate the marriage. Gah, I need a drink.
Holy shit, what a night. Drank way more that I probably should've . Don’t really remember what happened last night. All I know is I woke up next to an open back door with familiar clicks going on that sounded like gunshots going off in my head. I sobered up really quick and opened my eyes. Krysta was standing over my head with a machete in her hand. She was looking down at me with a look that said ‘stupid’. I looked down at my feet and there were three mangled bodies of zombies that were there. Apparently in drunken stupidity I opened the door and passed out. Krysta must have come in and protected me in my drunken slumber. She sliced all the arms and knees with it and chopped off their heads for good measure. She took care of my dumb ass.
Well, fuck it. When I sober up I’m going to look for wedding rings. Just need to make sure that they have pulses attached to them. I need to take care of my girl since she took care of me. Feel stupid for ever thinking she would hurt me.
Two days later I found the ring for my girl. It just happened to be attached to one of the most hated people from my former life. I don’t really want to go into very many details on who it was. I will be a little happy to let you know what I did. It was not a pretty picture.
First of all I drugged the son of a bitch. Found a tranq gun a few days ago. Shot him right in the balls. Then I dragged him back to where I had my little party with Steve Sticks. Then the fun began.
There were no drugs used to help me with this motherfucker. I sound proofed the room where the party began. So yeah, I sound proofed it a second time.
The first thing I did was removed the boobs nails in his fingers and toes. He started screaming and whining and crying about how much pain he was in and how he wanted his nails back. So I obliged him. I gave him his nails back. Ground them up in a drink and let him drink them. It was a hundred and ten in the room so he gulped the water with his nails down really quick. I don’t think he even tasted the finely ground glass in his tasty beverage. He then swore at me that if he ever got out of the chair he was going to kill me for taking his nails off. But hey, I’m a nice guy so I made sure that he couldn’t get out of his chair. I gave him his nails back. All ten of them. Inch and three quarters, galvanized. Then I covered them up with bandages. Did I forget to mention that I soaked them with salt and lemons? He shit himself and I needed to cover up the smell.
That’s as far as the torture went. I just wanted to make sure that he couldn’t get out of his chair. I just kept feeding him three times a day. Chicken broth, water, and finely ground glass. Took a week for the motherfucker to die from internal bleeding.
I didn’t feed him to Krysta. He was so stupid in life I was pretty sure it was contagious. But she was insistent, so I removed his stomach and intestines. Don’t need my girl getting indigestion. It was weird when I was removing his insides. Thought he was dead. Apparently I was wrong. It was quite weird. Krysta was looking at me like I was the scary one.
Back to Pain Dead
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.
So here I am writing about this shit again. Still can’t figure out why. Still don’t give a flying fuck. Been a busy day. Walking slowly, not breathing, and looking for specific people to get back at them.# It’s painful to try to get back at somebody and then stumbling into them shambling around being an undead dumbfuck. Ugh. Such is life.
I did manage to get myself a new toy. Only had to take it off the hands of one of the high school jerks. Wait, let me phrase it differently. Actually, I had to take his hands off him. I had just finished sighting in a sniper rifle and I went out to test my newfound sniping skills. Didn’t take long to find my target. It just happened to be Fuck Face Mikey and his little harem.
Let me tell you a little bit about Fuck Face Mikey. He was one of those genetically perfect jocks. Played for all the varsity teams. Pretty much got a free ride through high school because he was the one who could score the points to win the games. Lord, how I hated this motherfucker.
So there I was looking out my scope trying to when I heard this loud mouth yelling, waving around a katana, and having the audacity to be not wearing a shirt. What made it even worse was the fact was he was with two of the super skanks from school and they were running with him in their underwear. Fuck, this zombie apocalypse makes people do some weird shit.
So Fuck Face Mikey had a katana that probably made him feel like Billy Badass. He was screaming at the zombies trying to draw their attention to him. When they got close enough he would slice at their knees, making the zombies fall over. He would then cut their arms off at the elbows so that they couldn’t crawl after them. Not a very nice thing to do. I figured I’d give the zombies coming at him a little bit of a fighting chance. Seriously, if Krysta came around here all that work I put into that girl would have been a waste of time.
It seemed that the longer the apocalypse went on the easier it seemed that the living were getting smarter at getting away from the dead. Not cool. They were squirming out of grips and avoiding bites like it was no big deal. It was to me.
So I figured I would give chica a little bit of an edge. I went to a hardware store and found some nails. I put them through the back of the hands so they were just sticking out the other side of her hands. She could grab, and hopefully be able to hold her victim. If they pulled away from her, they would lose a chunk of their flesh and hopefully bleed out quick. I covered her hands with some fingerless gloves.
I toyed around with the idea of making a set of metal teeth for Krysta and decided against it. Not only would it change her snap, snap teeth into clang, clang and draw unnecessary attention to her, it would involve a little risk that I was not going to take. I would have to put my fingers into the snapping mouth. Fuck that.
The final thing I had to do to make Krysta my perfect little undead weapon was trying to get the undead stink off of her. I’m not even going to tell you what kind of hell I went through while I was getting her cleaned up in the shower. Uhg, nasty. It still makes me throw up a little bit in my mouth when I think about it. Then it was just a matter of dressing her, putting her hair in her face so no one could see her, and giving her marching orders.
Usually I just let her roam around. She always came back to the hideout sometime during the night, always alone, and if I didn’t give her any orders the next morning she would go wandering around by herself around noon.
I was hoping that she wasn’t in the neighborhood. It would suck if I lost my only friend during all this. I also had a sneaking suspicion that there probably wasn’t another female zombie who responded to me calling them chica, or anything else I’d say. I’d probably get the same reaction if I went up to one of these zombies and introduced myself as dinner. God forbid if I had to clean up another zombie. Fuck that.
So there I was lying on my stomach, watching Fuck Face Mikey lift his katana up in the air looking to slice another zombies arm off at the elbow. His arm came down, but the only thing that came down on the zombie was blood coming out of the stump where his hand and forearm used to be.
Chaos ensued. One of the super skanks actually had the brains to actually take off her bra and use it as a tourniquet. I blew her kneecap to shit. The last one turned and ran. She got about thirty yards before I shot her in the back and paralyzed her. Now all I had to do was wait until the dead got their dinner eaten and dispersed. Then I was going to get my new toy and head home.
On the way back home it was just another walk of not breathing and not drawing attention to myself. I was about to turn the corner when I heard a woman screaming. I also heard the breaking of glass. I almost forgot where I was and what I was doing. I quit going home and starting following the screaming and broken glass. Thankfully there were no zombies in the area. I still did the walk because you never know.
I turned the corner to see Krysta screaming and taking a bike and just beat the shit out of another window. I stopped in my tracks totally confused. She kept screaming and the last swing of the bike slipped out of her hands as it destroyed the window. Krysta went through the window still screaming.
I walked up to the broken window and I was just in time to hear another scream. I looked in through the window and realized that Krysta had broken into the local paper. There was a man in there hiding under his desk. There was a name plate that said Dan on the desk.
Krysta kept screaming at him and kept trying to grab him. I think she was doing some serious damage to her throat because she was bleeding some blackish sludge out of her mouth. She finally got a hold of Dan around the throat. I was expecting her to take a bit of him. Instead she lifted him up and slammed his head over and over again into the desk. Brains, teeth, and broken ceramic from coffee cups went sliding everywhere. A couple of zombies had shown up and were trying to get through the window. I was assuming Dan was dead at this point.
Krysta saw the two zombies trying to get in. She screamed and yanked Dan’s arm off at the shoulder. She walked up to the two zombies and took Dan’s arm, swung it like a baseball bat, and broke both of their jaws. She then walked up to the window, dropped the arm, and pulled herself out.
I walked up to her, “Chica,” I said, “are you alright?”
I did not expect an answer. Instead she turned around and looked at me. It scared the hell out of me when she gurgled, “He….. no… get… to…… live…… like……. you. He….. no…. deserve….. to……. be……. like……. me.”
“Ok,” I said, “let’s get you home and get you cleaned up.”
I don’t know what the fuck happened today, but for the first time since the dead came back I was actually scared.
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.
By Nicole Robinson
The Walking Dead returned to AMC on Sunday with an intense 90 minute premiere entitled “First Time Again” that still has fans talking. In the first 60 seconds of the start of the mega hit zombie drama, we found our fearless leader, Rick Grimes, played by Andrew Lincoln, standing in front of what can only be described as a mega herd trapped in a quarry not far from where our survivors our laying their heads at night. Surrounded by new and old faces, the group watches as one of the 18 wheeler trucks blocking the herd into the quarry falls off the side, leaving a path wide open for the herd to escape.
*WARNING: If you have not seen the Season 6 Premiere of The Walking Dead. STOP reading now. Spoilers ahead.
In an interesting twist on the storytelling, the season premiere used flashbacks in black and white to show us on what our survivors have been up to since we left them back in March after Rick shot Pete. Rick and his group have taken matters into their own hands to protect the Alexandria Safe Zone. With the new blessing of a grieving Deanna, (Tovah Feldshuh) the survivors have been given carte blanche over the future of the town and its inhabitants.
Not all of the residents of Alexandria are quick to allow Rick to start setting up shop as the leader of the Safe Zone. Carter (Ethan Embry), an outspoken resident, clearly does not trust Rick or his plans to lead the mega herd away. Carter quickly learns that screwing with Rick Grimes is a terrible idea after putting a gun in the face of everyone’s favorite mullet. Rick gladly offers him some friendly words of advice and everyone goes back to playing nicely. Carter was sparred... For now.
The crap your pants moment arrives when Daryl slowly creeps his motorcycle as the massive horde of decaying flesh eaters trial behind him like a redneck pied piper. Even Daryl looks a little scared right then. Over the course of the seasons we have watch as the walkers slowly decay in front of our eyes. This mega horde of walkers puts in front and center just how disgusting they have gotten over 6 seasons and we cannot wait to see what else they have in store for us in the first half. And bravo at the ping pong walkers, bouncing off the steel walls. Seeing those exploding heads gave us all that warm and fuzzy feeling that we missed all summer.
After weeks on the rode out on a supply run, Heath returns quickly finds himself herding the dead with our group of survivors, showing his potential to be a valued member of the group in episodes to come. Teaming up with Glenn and Nicholas, who seems genuinely sorry for trying to kill Glenn last season, Heath takes out a store full of walkers successfully preventing the noise from drawing the mega herd off the chosen path. So far so good.
It wouldn’t be an episode of The Walking Dead if everything went as planned. First, after admitting Rick was right after all and making the mistake of redeeming himself during the apocalypse, Carter gets a kiss on the cheek from a walker. Screaming in terror as his face is being bitten off, he draws the mega herd off the road towards him. Thankfully Rick comes along and sticks a knife into his skull, allowing the group to redirect the herd back on track. Just when they thought the plan had worked, an obnoxiously loud horn starts going off from the direction of Alexandria turning the mega herd back where they came from.
We will have to wait until next week to find out how Alexandria handles itself against the massive walker horde. Most of the people living inside the walls have been there from the start and are not well equipped to defend themselves. Those steel fences are strong but not strong enough to keep a herd of that size from ripping it down.
Next week will also be exploring the even more of the relationship between Morgan and Rick. Morgan is clearly trying to get a read on the new Rick as well as dealing with everything he has been through on his own. He started as a man trying to protect his son Duane and grieving for his wife, then he slipped into madness after Duane’s death at her walker hands. Now, he’s a ninja warrior, with a six-foot long stick, the deadly use of which was taught to him “after”, he says. These are two men who have been profoundly changed since they first met, and need to completely rebuild their relationship. We assume that means Morgan’s going to be a big part of this season, which is great because Lennie James does a wonderful job with the character, and that stick...