Stephen King

Once again I have the pleasure of reviewing another book by my good friend author Claus Holm. Though born and raised in Denmark, Claus refers to Tucson, AZ, USA, as his “spiritual home,” and this is quite evident in The Tucson Time Traveler, a collection of stories set in and around the Tucson, AZ, area. Part Ray Bradbury and part Stephen King with a bit of Rod Serling seasoning, The Tucson Time Traveler takes readers through tales of alternate, and sometimes fantastic, realities all circling the central theme of time travel.

The Tucson Time Traveler begins with “The Hilter Dilemma”. Right out of the gate, Claus presents readers with an alternate reality based on the much-debated question, “If you could go back in time and kill Hitler, would you”. It is presented from the POV of a German official who grew up after Hilter was assassinated, causing Germany’s rise as the dominant power in the world. Whereas most Hitler and time travel stories focus on the protagonist’s struggles to stop Hitler prior to his rise to power, Claus takes a different tack and does so brilliantly.

The second story, “Tamagotchi”, deals with loss, grief, and the various ways that humans deal with both. Letting go of a loved one is never easy and the hardest loss for most humans is the death of a loved one. “Tamagotchi” shows just how far a grieving family might go to ease the pain of death.

With “I Love Her From The Mirror”, a man moves into an apartment where his mirror gives him a glimpse into another resident’s life. As the narrator watches his neighbor, always careful to respect her privacy, he finds himself falling in love. By turns humorous and thoughtful, “I Love Her From The Mirror” has a definite Twilight Zone vibe.

Next up is “The Killer Inside”, a tale of a man who decides to act out certain compulsions that he never even knew he had. Mostly told from the killer’s point of view, “The Killer Inside” will make you reconsider those urges Poe called “The Imp of the Perverse”.

One of my favorite stories is “The Last Haunted House”. Following two Halloween night stories, the first of an old man building a haunted house and the other of the three kids who choose to enter, “The Last Haunted House” perfectly captures the feel of Halloween to those who love it – both the old and the young. The sights and sounds of Halloween and the haunted house are palpable and bring to mind hints of Bradbury’s “The Halloween Tree” while the interactions of the children are authentic and believable.

The next story, “The Phone People”, presents a brief interlude in the life of Dave, a man with no past and a job that requires forgetting. Without giving anything away, “The Phone People” has a Ramsey Campbell feel that will leave the reader thinking.

With “The Final Event”, Claus taps into his inner Stephen King and tells the story of a pair of friends who gets their thrills terrorizing other drivers.

Another favorite of mine, “The Harp” is a modern fairy tale set in Smaaland, Sweden. The rich description immerses the reader, transporting them as the story unfolds.

The next to the last story, “The Man of A Lifetime”, will leave the reader wondering about the nature of memories as well as how they shape our lives.

“The Tucson Time Traveler” is the final story and one which dually addresses the concept of memories and their impact on our lives as well as the implications of time travel. Once again, I cannot say much without giving away the story, but I can say that it is a perfect end to a great collection.

I can’t recommend this collection enough. Claus Holm is an extraordinary writer whose abilities to craft a story and create believable characters makes reading The Tucson Time Traveler a joy. Pick up this one if you can!

5/5 claws

BOOK REVIEW: The Tucson Time Traveler (2018)

BOOK REVIEW: The Tucson Time Traveler (2018)

Once again I have the pleasure of reviewing another book by my good friend author Claus Holm. Though born and raised in Denmark, Claus refers to Tucson, AZ, USA, as his “spiritual home,” and this is quite evident in The Tucson Time Traveler, a collection of stories set in and around the Tucson, AZ, area. Part Ray Bradbury and part Stephen King with a bit of Rod Serling seasoning, The Tucson Time Traveler takes readers through tales of alternate, and sometimes fantastic, realities all circling the central theme of time travel.

The Tucson Time Traveler begins with “The Hilter Dilemma”. Right out of the gate, Claus presents readers with an alternate reality based on the much-debated question, “If you could go back in time and kill Hitler, would you”. It is presented from the POV of a German official who grew up after Hilter was assassinated, causing Germany’s rise as the dominant power in the world. Whereas most Hitler and time travel stories focus on the protagonist’s struggles to stop Hitler prior to his rise to power, Claus takes a different tack and does so brilliantly.

The second story, “Tamagotchi”, deals with loss, grief, and the various ways that humans deal with both. Letting go of a loved one is never easy and the hardest loss for most humans is the death of a loved one. “Tamagotchi” shows just how far a grieving family might go to ease the pain of death.

With “I Love Her From The Mirror”, a man moves into an apartment where his mirror gives him a glimpse into another resident’s life. As the narrator watches his neighbor, always careful to respect her privacy, he finds himself falling in love. By turns humorous and thoughtful, “I Love Her From The Mirror” has a definite Twilight Zone vibe.

Next up is “The Killer Inside”, a tale of a man who decides to act out certain compulsions that he never even knew he had. Mostly told from the killer’s point of view, “The Killer Inside” will make you reconsider those urges Poe called “The Imp of the Perverse”.

One of my favorite stories is “The Last Haunted House”. Following two Halloween night stories, the first of an old man building a haunted house and the other of the three kids who choose to enter, “The Last Haunted House” perfectly captures the feel of Halloween to those who love it – both the old and the young. The sights and sounds of Halloween and the haunted house are palpable and bring to mind hints of Bradbury’s “The Halloween Tree” while the interactions of the children are authentic and believable.

The next story, “The Phone People”, presents a brief interlude in the life of Dave, a man with no past and a job that requires forgetting. Without giving anything away, “The Phone People” has a Ramsey Campbell feel that will leave the reader thinking.

With “The Final Event”, Claus taps into his inner Stephen King and tells the story of a pair of friends who gets their thrills terrorizing other drivers.

Another favorite of mine, “The Harp” is a modern fairy tale set in Smaaland, Sweden. The rich description immerses the reader, transporting them as the story unfolds.

The next to the last story, “The Man of A Lifetime”, will leave the reader wondering about the nature of memories as well as how they shape our lives.

“The Tucson Time Traveler” is the final story and one which dually addresses the concept of memories and their impact on our lives as well as the implications of time travel. Once again, I cannot say much without giving away the story, but I can say that it is a perfect end to a great collection.

I can’t recommend this collection enough. Claus Holm is an extraordinary writer whose abilities to craft a story and create believable characters makes reading The Tucson Time Traveler a joy. Pick up this one if you can!

5/5 claws


Posted by Woofer McWooferson in BOOKS, COMICS, AND PUBLICATION REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments
In Memoriam: Harlan Ellison 1934 – 2018

In Memoriam: Harlan Ellison 1934 – 2018

Harlan Ellison / Fair use doctrine.Around 1988, I had the great pleasure of spending two days off and on with Harlan Ellison. My first encounter was as part of a group of six having dinner with Harlan Ellison the night before he was to speak at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. When we met him in his hotel lobby, we discovered that no one had bothered to tell Harlan. There were mutterings of what to do, our group asking Harlan because he seemed annoyed. In typical Harlan fashion, he snapped, “Don’t ask me what I want to do because I want to go upstairs and go to bed.” Without missing a beat, I asked, “So should we all go upstairs and go to bed with you?” Harlan’s face was priceless, but the ice had been broken and we proceeded to dinner and an evening I will always remember.

Harlan was cantankerous, abrasive, temperamental, kind, considerate, and a force all his own. I will miss him deeply.

Original cover for Harlan Ellison's Rumble, now titled Web of the City.Born in 1934, Harlan Ellison grew up in Ohio and briefly attended Ohio State University before being expelled allegedly for punching a teacher who had criticized his writing ability. Ellison also served two years in the army in spite of being staunchly anti-war. Ellison published his first work in 1958, a novel titled Rumble, now retitled Web of the City, a semi-autobiographical non-fiction recollection of his time in a Brooklyn gang. The same year two short story collections were published, A Touch of Infinity and The Deadly Streets. After working in television for many years, Ellison published The Glass Teat in 1970, a collection of essays reflecting his opinion of television. The Other Glass Teat, published in 1975, is a follow-up work in the same vein.Harlan Ellison's The Glass Teat and The Other Glass Teat

Harlan Ellison was an American author whose fictional pieces were often of a science fiction, horror, or sci-fi horror nature, but anyone who ever called Harlan a “science fiction” writer never made that mistake a second time. Harlan eschewed labels that pigeon-holed his writing. Ellison’s 1,700+ published works include teleplays, screenplays, novellas, comic book scripts, and short stories as well as essays and critiques of television, film, literature, and more. For his work, Ellison has won Jupiter, Hugo, Nebula, World Fantasy, Writer’s Guild of America, and Edgar awards. In 2000, Ellison also received the World Horror Convention Grand Master Award for his contributions to the field of horror literature.

Don Johnson as Vic and Tiger as Blood in Harlan Ellison's A Boy and His Dog

Don Johnson as Vic and Tiger as Blood in Harlan Ellison’s A Boy and His Dog

Ellison’s work can be seen on television shows such as Star Trek, The Sixth Sense, The Twilight Zone, The Outer Limits, The Hunger, Logan’s Run, and Babylon 5. In 1975, Ellison’s novella A Boy and His Dog was adapted into a movie with a very young Don Johnson and a (not as young) Jason Robards (Harlan, though not pleased with the adaptation, kindly autographed my copy). His 1967 short story “I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream”, a post-apocalyptic tale of sentient computers and suffering humans, won the Hugo award that year and is often considered one of the greatest post-apocalyptic stories of the 20th Century.

William Shatner and Joan Collins in Harlan Ellison's "The City on the Edge of Forever", one of the most highly acclaimed Star Trek episodes.

William Shatner and Joan Collins in Harlan Ellison’s “The City on the Edge of Forever”, one of the most highly acclaimed Star Trek episodes.

Ellison was also known for taking a vocal stand when he perceived that his work was being butchered or his creative contributions undermined. When this happened, Ellison would direct that the credits read Cordwainer Bird – save when he disagreed with changes to the Star Trek episode “The City on the Edge of Forever”. Interestingly, both Ellison’s original script and the shooting script won awards, the former being the Writers Guild for best episodic television drama (1968) and the latter being a Hugo for best dramatic presentation (1968). This episode also inspired the punk band Edith Keeler Must Die and the song “Edith Keeler Must Die” by Arigon Starr, both named after Spock’s assertion that, “Jim, Edith Keeler must die.” Nevertheless, while Hollywood may’ve not appreciated his efforts, Constant Readers certainly did. For fans, the name Cordwainer Bird immediately evokes knowing nods and “Um-hms”.

Harlan Ellison at the LA Press Club / Copyright 2006 by Galen A. Tripp

Harlan Ellison at the LA Press Club / Copyright 2006 by Galen A. Tripp

Regardless of his irascibility, his work has influenced countless other authors. Stephen King speaks fondly of Harlan and other authors who helped answer questions for Danse Macabre, his 1981 non-fiction book on horror in media.

Lastly, thanks are due to the writers— Ray Bradbury, Harlan Ellison, Richard Matheson, Jack Finney, Peter Straub, and Anne Rivers Siddons among them— who were kind enough to answer my letters of enquiry and to provide information about the genesis of the works discussed here. Their voices provide a dimension to this work which would otherwise be sadly lacking.
— Stephen King

I think that sentiment is as appropriate now – Harlan’s death will leave the world and the world of fiction sadly lacking. Rest in peace, Mr. Ellison.

I’d like to end this with another anecdote from my adventure with Harlan. Among the many outstanding moments, this one stands out above the others.

After dinner, we walked around 5-Points South and stopped to look over some items in the window of Memory Lane. I spotted a button that read “WAR is Menstruation ENVY” and laughed outrageously. We all agreed that it was awesome. The following day Harlan spoke to a small group from the UAB Honors Program. I arrived late to find that he had saved me a seat beside him. As I sat down, Harlan presented that same button to me. I still have it.

Thank you, Harlan. Rest in peace. You will be sorely missed.

Posted by Woofer McWooferson in HORROR NEWS, OBITUARY, STAFF PICKS, TRIBUTE, 0 comments
DREW BARRYMORE: From Child Star to Cannibalistic Leading Lady

DREW BARRYMORE: From Child Star to Cannibalistic Leading Lady

Drew Barrymore with General from Cat's EyeDrew Barrymore has spent her life in front of the camera in a variety of roles but is especially known with genre fans in recent times for her portrayal of Sheila Hammond in two series the Netflix show The Santa Clarita Diet.

Barrymore’s first role was uncredited in a made for television movie Suddenly, Love in 1978 (when she was merely two years old and played a baby boy named Bobby).

Drew BarrymoreIt wouldn’t be until two more years late, in 1980, that Drew would play Margaret Jessup in Altered States, which was also the debut film for William Hurt. Altered States reflected a disturbingly surreal element of humanity and was more psychological than horrifying.

A year later Barrymore hit the big time, starring as the adorably lovable Gertie in Steven Spielberg’s E.T -The Extra-Terrestrial. E.T. was a huge success and grossed nearly half a billion dollars at the box office and was the highest-grossing film of 1982, cementing Barrymore as quite an in-demand child star.

Drew Barrymore in FirestarterIn 1984 Barrymore scored the coveted role of Charlene “Charlie” McGee in the big screen adaptation of Stephen King’s novel Firestarter, playing the film’s pyrokinetic lead. Starring alongside industry heavyweights George. C. Scott and Martin Sheen, Barrymore dominated her screen time and delivered a powerful performance of a young girl driven by her love for her father.

A year later Barrymore would star in yet another Stephen King adaptation, in the anthology film Cat’s Eye. King reportedly wrote the screenplay with Barrymore in mind for the role as she had impressed producer Dino De Laurentiis with her work a year earlier on Firestarter.

Drew BarrymoreThrough the rest of the 80s, Barrymore played parts in shows such as Amazing Stories, The Ray Bradbury Theatre, and CBS Schoolbreak Special. It wasn’t until 1989 when Barrymore was 14 that she returned to genre films with the serial killer thriller Far From Home, as Joleen  Cox. The film was a flop, despite the fact it featured some horror alumni such as Richard Massur (IT), Jennifer Tilly (Bride Of Chucky), and Matt Frewer (The Stand).

This seemed like a decline in Barrymore’s career until three years later when she would star in the seductive 1992 Katt Shea thriller Poison Ivy. As Ivy, Barrymore befriends Sylvie Cooper (played by Sarah Gilbert) and seduces Sylvie’s father Darryl (Tom Skerritt). Barrymore delivered a sultry and fragile performance as the film titles vixen and regained her hold on Hollywood, yet again being seen as a talented actress.

Drew BarrymoreFollowing the success of Poison Ivy (which would spawn three sequels since), Barrymore appeared in Waxwork II: Lost in Time, Sketch Artist, Guncrazy, and No Place To Hide in 1992.

In 1993 Doppelganger was released. Barrymore played Holly Gooding, a young woman with a strange double. It wasn’t as successful as hoped, but has since become popular with fans.

Later that year Barrymore would play Long Island teenager Amy Fisher, in The Amy Fisher Story – based on the true story of a teenager who shot her adult lover Joey Buttafuoco’s wife. The film was well received at the time, and Barrymore praised for her portrayal of the wayward teen and the crime that shocked the world.

For the following years, Barrymore took more romantic roles and in 1995 even appeared as Sugar in Batman Forever, one of the villain Two-Face’s (played by Tommy Lee Jones) girlfriends.

However in 1996 came a pivotal moment in Barrymore’s career, taking on a role as a victim called Casey Becker rather than the lead she was originally offered. In Wes Craven’s/David Williamson’s Scream, Barrymore’s role became as infamous as Janet Leigh’s in Hitchcock’s Psycho 36 years earlier and has since been part of one of Horror’s most memorable on-screen deaths for over two decades since.

Drew Barrymore in ScreamFrom Scream, Barrymore took more light-hearted roles – for which her fans adore her- in films such as The Wedding Singer, Ever After, and Home Fries.

It was in 1999 that Barrymore launched her production company Flower Films and their first film Never Been Kissed (which reunited her with former Doppelganger co-star Sean Whalen – known as Roach from The People Under the Stairs – and Scream co-star David Arquette) was released.

Drew BarrymoreIn 2001 she returned to the genre in Donnie Darko as Karen Pomeroy. The sci-fi/thriller film still has fans divided to this day over the interpretation of what it means.

Following commercial success with the Charlie’s Angels film reboots and a dramatic role in Driving in Cars With Boys, Barrymore has built her career for the last decade primarily in producing films and starring in romantic and dramatic roles.

Drew BarrymoreIn 2017 Netflix released the first series of The Santa Clarita Diet. The show is a horror comedy, about the strange death of Sheila Hammond. However Sheila isn’t quite dead, she’s undead and has a hankering for human flesh. It is up to her husband Joel (Timothy Olyphant), daughter Abby (Liv Hewson) and their young neighbor Eric (Skyler Gisondo) to help figure out how Sheila became what she now is and try and change her back to normal.

The show has run for two seasons already and confirmation for series three has been announced. Fans are enjoying the dark humor and balance between the comedy itself and grotesque gore. It has been an enjoyable and hilarious show to watch and personally a great reintroduction to genre fans for Barrymore’s skills as a comedienne and her abilities within the genre.

Drew Barrymore and Timothy Olyphant in Santa Clarita Diet

Posted by Michelle MIDI Sayles in Categories, 0 comments
WiHM: Celebrating Women In Horror Month with Katt Shea

WiHM: Celebrating Women In Horror Month with Katt Shea

With a career as long as your arm and a keen investment in varied genres, Katt Shea has been a popular female actress and filmmaker to film fans for nearly forty years.

Her first acting job on screen was as Rita in the TV movie The Asphalt Cowboy in 1980, and from then on, she acted in films like My Tutor, Scarface, Preppies, and Psycho III.

Stripped to Kill (1987) Written and directed by Katt SheaIn 1987, Shea then stepped behind the camera and became the writer (alongside Andy Reuben) and director on her first film Stripped To Kill (which got a sequel two years later with Stripped To Kill 2: Live Girls). Stripped To Kill was a dramatic crime horror focused on the investigation of the death of a girl in a strip club and one detective’s need to go undercover as a stripper to solve the crime. It has an oddly beautiful mix of stripping and crime solving for the fans of 80s films.

She continued her directing career with another film about the world of strippers with the vampiric romp, Dance of the Damned and Streets (a film about runaways in Venice being hunted by a psychotic cop).

Dance of the Damned (1989) Written and directed by Katt SheaIn 1992, Shea would become an even bigger name worldwide, with the release of her popular sexual thriller Poison Ivy. The film starred Hollywood child darling Drew Barrymore (now nearly a young woman) alongside the likes of Tom Skerritt, Sara Gilbert, and Cheryl Ladd. The film focused on a sexually alluring femme fatale, her friendship with another confused young woman, and the lengths she will go to to have anything she desired.

Poison Ivy was so popular with audiences, it spawned three sequels with heavy female influences on either the script or direction each time.

Following the success of Poison Ivy, Shea’s next project was co-writing and directing the low budget Roger Corman produced made-for-television film Last Exit To Earth. This was a film, amidst their formidable friendship and filmmaking career and Corman has even stated in the past when interviewed regarding Shea:

She is a talented director. She’s particularly good with actors, having been an actress herself. She’s taught herself about the camera and has gotten better with each picture.

Streets (1990) Written and directed by Katt SheaThree years later, however, horror fans were treated to the fun and meaningful film Carrie 2: The Rage.

Shea directed this enjoyable teen follow up to De Palma’s 1976 adaptation of Stephen King’s Carrie. The film even starred Amy Irving, who returned as Sue Snell for the second time and introduced the impressive Emily Bergl in her first film role.

Though Carrie 2: The Rage received mixed reviews, personally (as a fan of adaptations of King’s books) I can appreciate this film more than the 2002 remake with Angela Bettis.

Since beginning her career, Shea has always impressed others with her kindness and care. This has led to her career as an acting coach and has made a lucrative career as such by helping prepare new as well as established actors for roles within the industry. She has continued to sometimes make and act in films over the years and never regrets a moment of it.

The Rage: Carrie 2 (1999) / Kate Shea as the Deputy DA

I like every single film I’ve ever made , I really do. Other people call them exploitation films, but to me what I was doing was never exploitative. I always had a strong point of view about my intention; it was never just to make money or to titillate or to horrify. I always had my purpose and I made those movies myself. I can’t imagine sitting around and trying to piece together elements that I think other people want to see. That would be so boring!
—Katt Shea

Katt Shea

Posted by Michelle MIDI Sayles in STAFF PICKS, WOMEN IN HORROR, 0 comments
INTERVIEW: Land of the Dead & The Hills Have Eyes star Robert Joy

INTERVIEW: Land of the Dead & The Hills Have Eyes star Robert Joy

Robert Joy is a name that might not be instantly familiar to cult/horror fans but he has over 100 film and TV credits and has been in such classics as George Romero’s Land of the Dead, The Hills Have Eyes (2006).

Robert Joy

Currently fans can see Joy as Polonius in an excellent production of William Shakespeare’s Hamlet starring Michael Urie (Ugly Betty), Alan Cox, Madeleine Potter (Red Lights), Oyin Oladejo (Star Trek Discovery), Keith Baxter, Ryan Spahn, Kelsey Rainwater, Chris Genebach, Gregory Wooddell, Avery Glymph and directed by Michael Kahn at the Shakespeare Theatre Company DC. I saw it, and it was very impressive.
Joy has taken time out of his busy schedule to talk to me about his craft and the genre films he is beloved for as well as the play he is currently in and what he has in store film-wise.
House of Tortured Souls: You got your start on the stage, were you exposed to many theatre productions as a child?
Robert Joy: I didn’t have an opportunity to watch much theater. When I was older I saw a few things, I remember my mother took me to a musical of The King and I that was done really well. And when I was in my late teens, I worked at a canoeing summer camp for kids in Northern Ontario, and three of us from the staff went down to Stratford. We hitchhiked for adventure, and then after that summer, when I got back to St. Johns Newfoundland, I got involved with the amateur theatre scene which was really sophisticated. And I started doing Gilbert and Sullivan and Shakespeare and a wide range of other things.
HoTS: Your first huge break was starting out in the play The Diary of Anne Frank (1979) with heavy hitters like Eli Wallace. What was he like to work with?
RJ: That was an amazing experience I had admired his work on television and I had seen a movie of his called The Tiger Makes Out and it was Eli Wallace and his wife Anne Jackson. It (the film) was very funny but it was also very emotional; the comedy was mixed with heartbreak. And I was floored by their acting, and it was amazing years later I got to act with them in The Diary of Anne Frank. Its only because of him and his family that I’m in the United States at all, really, because he invited me down to New York when The Diary of Anne Frank came from Toronto to New York.

Robert Joy

HoTS: The film Ragtime was an early breakthrough role where you worked with the legendary Milos Forman (One Flew Over a Cuckoos Nest, Amadeus, People vs Larry Flynt) What was he like as a director?
RJ: He was an amazing guy, he’s not with us anymore is he?
HoTS: I believe so, yes.
RJ: He’s an amazing fellow; he’s very smart and very fun loving, so the atmosphere on this huge production, the logistics of which were daunting, the sense that it was all a big party was palpable (laughs). He had bought a puppy. I think it was a lab. The puppy was on the set the whole time, pooping and peeing (Both laugh). There was this atmosphere you were living in some very big-hearted fun-loving guys’ home (laughs) shooting this enormous movie. But yeah it was a lot of fun to work with Milos Forman. He wouldn’t hesitate to sort of indicate any way he could what he was looking for, and you had to be careful not to do exactly what he did because he would sort of act the scene for you. Like he’d say (in a Czech accent), “More eyes! More crrrazzy”. Stuff like that. It was almost like being directed by one of the Muppets and you had to take one he said and interrupt it into what you knew he wanted. He was a very wonderful and supportive director.
HoTS: It’s an incredible film with an incredible cast. What memories do you have of that shoot in regards to the cast?
RJ: James Cagney wasn’t in the best of health, and he couldn’t take airplanes. I can’t remember exactly why, but a friend of his came over on I think it was the Queen Mary from New York to London because he shot it in London. All my scenes are in London and Oxford that part of England. Donald O’ Conner, Pat O’ Brien, and Pat O’Brien’s wife, and what I remember most is how down to earth everybody was and friendly and approachable. It was very moving to see these old friends being old friends, and, you know, they were open-hearted about including a young actor like me. In the film, Pat O’Brien plays my lawyer, and I had admired him, his movie career was amazing. His wife, whose name I’m sorry I can’t recall (Eloise Taylor), she played my mother (laughs) in that movie. I couldn’t believe my luck.
HoTS: I watched an old interview with youon YouTube actually – it must have been mid-eighties – for TV, and you mentioned you turned down Amityville 2: The Posession on grounds of the violence. I’m guessing you’ve softened you’re stance since, with being in films such as The Hills Have Eyes and Land of the Dead?
RJ: Well that’s interesting I didn’t realize I had done that, I was in an Amityville film it was Amityville 3D.
HoTS: Yeah.
RJ: So had I turned down Amityville 2, I guess. I very rarely turn anything down so I might have had another job at the time. As an actor, especially early in your career, you can only really afford to be fussy about what you expect when you have income. It might have been I was disturbed by the excessive violence. I’m not a fan of really violent movies, and as you say The Hills Have Eyes was probably the most violent I’ve ever been in. I have mixed feelings about it, I think it’s very skillfully made and ultimately I think it makes a very interesting premise behind it and as a cautionary tale  about what happens when people are marginalized or when things go bad and human beings are so separate from each other that they almost mutate away from each other. It had that kind of parable element to it. I remember reading the script of The Hills Have Eyes, and when the father character is crucified on the flaming cross, I thought this was too much, but I did it. It was one of those things I did because my daughter was about to go to university, and I didn’t have the luxury of picking and choosing. But I’m proud of it. It wasn’t an easy part to play, and there were a lot of challenges in the making of it. I’m proud we all pulled together an made what turned out to be in its own way a high quality of example of that kind of movie. The director, Alexandre Aja, the principal director, would say, “It has to be brutal and uncompressing”. And that’s what it was.

Robert Joy

HoTS: You also have a great role in George Romero’s adaptation of The Dark Half. Had you read the book before filming?
RJ: No, I hadn’t read the book, but I feel like the opportunity to work with George Romero was one of the great opportunities in my life. The Dark Half has violence in it, but you have a mixture of Stephen King and George Romero, and the range of the material in it is wide and deep. And I was very happy to do it based on the screenplay, but, no, I did not read the novel.
HoTS: So safe to assume you were very familiar with his body of work?
RJ: Yeah. I was most familiar with Night of the Living Dead. It was one of those one-of-a-kind kinds of movies because at the time it hadn’t really spawned that much of a collection of movies by the time I did The Dark Half, at least not that I was aware of. It just seems like subsequently that zombie genre has exploded. But back then it was like he was a one of a kind artist and it was such an interesting role. Like that scene where I come in and basically come in and try to extort Tim Hutton’s character and it’s one of the most interesting scenes. The character on the surface is so playful but under the surface menacing, and the politics of the scene goes up and down. One person has the power, then you wonder maybe the other person has the power, and its really good screenplay writing. And, of course, it’s beautifully directed by George. And when I met George in Pittsburgh, I was struck by courtly he was; it made me think of this old-fashioned gentleman. And he was so welcoming. I didn’t feel like I was just being hired to be in a movie; I felt like I was being welcomed into a community. That’s very important in a profession that is very gypsy-like where often you’re just hired, and when the job is over you never see the people again, so it was very special to be a part of his team.
HoTS: The character of Fred is so wonderfully cocky. Is a role like that enjoyable because it seems like you’re having a ball playing him. Do you enjoy those types of roles?
RJ: Well, you know that was the first role of that kind I had ever played. The other thing based just on the audition I did, I guess I auditioned for him in New York, and I didn’t have the reputation for playing that kind of part. I was so appreciative of George for saying, “Oh yeah, he can do it”. Whereas a lot of other people try to keep you in a pigeonhole, so he’s an actor’s best friend.
HoTS: Was George a fan of rehearsing his actors?
RJ: Yes. It was very interesting. It started before rehearsal with George, and it happened again with Land of the Dead. It starts with the audition in a funny way. You start to get an idea what he’s after, and he’s very involved in the costume and makeup, the costumes, in particular. The costume becomes a kind of rehearsal even though you’re not doing the scene at all. But you get an impression of George’s input where every visual detail that you’re going to present to the camera goes through the filter of his vision. Take Land of the Dead for example. He thought that Charlie should have a cap – you know a wool watch cap they call them – and then when they put one on me, he said, “Ah, no, but it should have a hole in it. Here is where the hole should be” (laugh). So every visual detail had a significance – a storytelling significance, and then in the rehearsals he would have on the shooting day, I don’t think we had separate rehearsals like on other days, but he would rehearse on the day. And for the most part, what I appreciated was that he would respond to what the actors brought and support what the actors brought. Every now and then he would just have just one thing to say, a detail or one turning point in the scene, and he would give his one note that would be an enormous contribution. He wasn’t a control freak. He wasn’t a puppet master. He was wanting to know what you brought, and then he could help you take it a step further.
HoTS: So he gave you the freedom to find the character yourself?
RJ: You gotta remember that during the auditions he saw basically what he wanted, but then when he would see it on the shooting day, he could refine it, improve it, and enhance it. He was a real connoisseur of what the actors brought. He was one of those people who would be really encouraging. His contribution and his notes were in the middle of a kind of cheerleading capacity, like a great coach really.
HoTS: Speaking of Charlie from Land of the Dead you give the character of a real depth and pathos, I was wondering if you drew inspiration from anything specific?
RJ: Not really, no, but the character is written beautifully, and he has a backstory that was very easy to get behind. I mean it was painful, but the idea that to go through a trauma and then come out the other side with a loyalty to the person that saved you, I never had that kind of experience but it was easy to get behind it. It’s weird somebody asked… You saw Hamlet the other night, right?
HoTS: Yes.
RJ: So somebody asked the actor playing Hamlet, Michael Urie, how do you feel those feelings? He said, “Well, you know, it’s what we have to do as actors. I never killed a king or seen my father’s ghost or anything like that, but you have to imagine what it would be like”, and that’s how I feel about Charlie. He wrote a backstory and situation for Charlie that was so rich that it was so easy to get behind it. It’s what we do when we read a novel or see a movie. We, as an audience, as readers and viewers, we enter that situation. And as actors, it’s an extension of that same thing. We go there, and the material takes you there.
HoTS: You’ve done several make-up heavy movies. Do you feel like it informs your character similar to a costume?
RJ: Oh my god, yeah. Because the makeup alters your face, it’s even more significant than a costume. I remember when I’d be sitting in the chair for three or four hours with Chris Nelson who applied the prosthetics and painted them. What a genius. He’s an actor as well. He’s in Kill Bill. He plays The Groom in the wedding scene. While I was in that makeup chair watching it happen, it was incredible. It’s incredibly helpful to the actor’s imagination because you’re watching it [take shape] in the mirror. You are becoming something else, and it takes a lot of the burden off of the actor because the makeup is doing much of the work. I mean I certainly don’t have to ask my way into communicating Charlie’s history if half of his face is a burn scar. That trauma is there, and it’s enormously important. Same with The Hills Have Eyes. That mutation is present. There’s so much less effort required. It’s still a lot of work in the acting, but there is such a thing as bad effort as when a performance becomes effortful instead of natural, and what the makeup does is let the extraordinary be natural.
HoTS: How long did the makeup take on Land of the Dead, and can you walk us through the process?
RJ: It took about four hours. It was two large pieces on the right side of my face, and when they go on in a kind of an approximate pinkish flesh color. The application is very important and takes time. The first thing is you have to have your hair plastered back under a cap, but the painting is amazing. With the painting, he would paint red and blue first. Then cover it with the kind of skin tone and add layers of paint so that even though all you see is flesh color underneath, it is hints of veins and arteries and such. It took a long time.
Robert Joy and Tess Harper in Amityville 3D
HoTS: You are currently playing Polonius in the Shakespeare Theatre Company of DC’s amazing production. First of all, I saw you in this and thought you were incredible, as was the entire cast. What did you think of the modern re-imagining?
RJ: I am totally excited by this re-imagining because sometimes a modern re-imagining doesn’t fit a classic play but Michael Kahn has imagined this play. Not only does it fit, but it enhances the text. You know that scene where I enlist my daughter to spy on Hamlet. Classically that’s done where Polonius and the king are watching behind a curtain, but to have a listening device in the book she’s reading… I mean, Shakespeare put the book in the scene and somehow that book was going to be a clue I imagine. Because he doesn’t put props into his scenes very often, so 400 years ago that book would have been some kind of a clue to Hamlet that she is spying on him. But to have a listening device in it makes it relatable, and that is just one example. Some of in the play lends itself to this depiction of a surveillance state and authoritarian kind of East German State.
HoTS: Yes. I thought it was really interesting how they dealt with the politics which is rife in the play. Now you are, of course, no stranger to performing Shakespeare. In fact, I read you and Ruby, your daughter, acted in The Tempest together?
RJ: That’s right. That was really the highlight for both of us, I think. She had been auditioning in Canada and got the role of Miranda in The Tempest, and as they were talking to her after she was hired, they asked her about her last name and if, by chance, she was related to me because they knew me from CSI: New York. She said yeah he’s my dad, and they asked if it would be alright if we asked him to play Prospero. It was a miraculous turn of events because it turned out to be one of the most amazing things each of us ever did. And it’s so rich with implications for our current world as well. The weird thing is Ruby and I were just talking about it last night because she is working with a group of academics in Toronto. Even now they are doing this kind of symposium about The Tempest, and its implications on colonialism and immigration and the attitude having different cultures in the one place. Like Caliban, Ariel, and Prospero were like different species of humans. But it was a fascinating play and we had a great time doing it.
HoTS: Do you think you’ll ever do a film together?
RJ: We are always looking or possibilities. We keep imagining it will happen on stage maybe playing King Lear and she could play one of King Lear’s daughters or any combination where I get to play her dad again or just be in the same project. But you know, these things can happen, but they are hard to force. But we certainly both want to work with each other again.
HoTS: Great! Finally, I wanted to ask about your latest film, Crown and Anchor, and if you could tell us what it’s about and a bit about your character in it?
RJ: Yeah. I really like this film. You’re introduced to this a police officer in Toronto, and he has rage issues. He gets a call from his hometown that his mother has passed away, so he goes back to his hometown and you realize where all his rage issues come from. It’s a very complicated family with a father who’s in prison and a brother who is going down the wrong road and getting involved with drug dealers. My character is his uncle, the imprisoned brother’s father, who is trying to be a leader figure in the family but can’t quite manage it because he’s a drinker and has flaws of his own. It’s a fascinating character because on the one hand there are comedic elements. He’s a bit of a mischief maker and an eccentric character, but then it becomes clear he is really trying to save a very bad situation. It’s a complex and nuanced film, and I loved playing that part. I just got another part you might be interested to hear about. I don’t know if you know of the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Gold Finch?
HoTS: Yes. This is filming now or in post-production?
RJ: Yes. It just started filming last week, and I am playing the part of Welty in that. Jeffery Wright plays the part of Hobie, a man who has an antique shop and antique restorer in Manhattan. I play his partner who goes through trauma at the beginning of the film. I don’t want to give too much away, but the part of Welty will involve a wound in makeup. I did the fitting, and when you were talking about prosthetic makeup, I thought about that because I had to do one of those life casts. It’s going to be a horrific head wound.
Asia Argento, Simon Baker, Joanne Boland, Robert Joy, Shawn Roberts, and Pedro Miguel Arce in Land of the Dead (2005)
I once again want to thank Mr. Joy for his time and sharing insights into his craft and touching on some of his amazing and varied body of work. Also a big thank you to the fine people at the Shakespeare Theatre Company DC.
If you are in the area its an incredible production with a brilliant cast and director. It runs now until March 6, 2018. Please visit the website below for more info.

Vinessa Shaw, Emilie de Ravin, and Robert Joy in The Hills Have Eyes (2006)

Posted by Mike Vaughn in INTERVIEWS, STAFF PICKS, 0 comments
WiHM: Salute to Mary Lambert and Her Infamous Retelling of a Stephen King Classic

WiHM: Salute to Mary Lambert and Her Infamous Retelling of a Stephen King Classic

Mary Lambert and Pet Sematary sign

Mary Lambert

Stephen King and Mary Lambert on the set of Pet Sematary

Mary Lambert has always been a household name for music fans, having begun her career directing music videos for the likes of Madonna, Bobby Brown, The Eurythmics, and much more.

Following the success of her first feature film Siesta in 1987, Lambert’s follow up film, Pet Semetary, reached an all new audience – horror fans!

Lambert carefully, and respectfully, worked alongside Stephen King to create a visual adaptation of one of his more popular novels (at the time) and to bring the characters within his book to life.

Mary Lambert

Stephen King and Church the cat from Pet Sematary

With Lambert’s vision and willingness to shoot the film in King’s home state of Maine, the film evolved wonderfully and became the classic that it is known for by horror fans today.

The casting choices of amazing actors such as Dale Midkiff, Denise Crosby, Micah Hughes, Brad Greenquist, and the late Fred Gwynne, made the film a powerful portrayal of a family caught between the moral and immoral when unthinkable tragedy befalls them.

Despite the huge commercial success of Lambert’s adaptation of Pet Semetary, she continued to primarily make music videos. In between, she created films like The Attic with Tom Malloy. Her sequel Pet Semetary 2, which starred Edward Furlong and Clancy Brown, was sadly a cinematic flop but gained a following with a certain crowd.

Mary LambertRecently, Lambert appeared in Unearthed & Untold: The Path to Pet Semetary, a phenomenal documentary by John Campopiano and Justin White, about the making of Lambert’s iconic film.

Lambert herself, alongside many other cast and crew, candidly discussed the film’s production and throughout the documentary, she is praised by her colleagues.

Despite her minimal and infrequent interactions within the horror genre, it is undeniable that Lambert is known primarily for a memorable horror film.

Mary LambertPersonally, Pet Semetary was the turning point for me and the beginning of a passion for horror and reading Stephen King novels. It is a twisted tale of sorrow and despair, and Lambert’s ability to garner an emotional response from her viewers, proves her place as a director within the horror world- even after nearly thirty years, I talk to many fans about the impact of Gage and the kite scene during their childhood viewing and how emotional that moment was for them.

With news of her unforgettable film facing a remake (due for release April 19, 2019), fans are curious to know how Lambert feels about the news.

Pet Sematary - Zelda, Church, and Pascow

Posted by Michelle MIDI Sayles in STAFF PICKS, WOMEN IN HORROR, 0 comments
Nick Younker – Interview With A Horror Author

Nick Younker – Interview With A Horror Author

Hello, horror fans! Horrormadam here to tell you about one of my favorite authors Nick Younker. His short stories and novellas run the gamut of themes from Native American curses, to sociopaths, vampires, unnatural chaos, and the Zombie Apocalypse. They are so intelligent and engaging and give you a complete story in a concise manner. I love them so much that after completing I am compelled to review on Amazon. Before we talk to Mr. Younker, I wanted to show you the synopsis for my favorite of his Don’t Bury Me:

Evan, an activist hell-bent on exposing corruption within the pharmaceutical industry, accepts an invitation to go on a daring mission to Croatia in search of an ancient corpse that fell victim to a 14th-century plague. The mission becomes a stunning success with the discovery of a femur bone, but it comes with a price when he takes it to Indiana University in Bloomington for independent research.

After it reanimates, the outbreak takes a supernatural turn and the government responds by quarantining five states in the Midwest. The terminal virus, also known as the Rip Tide, forces people to self-cannibalize near the end. Evan, who seems to be immune to the Rip Tide, travels up and down the deserted roads of Southern Indiana to help people die peacefully.

Aided by both FEMA and the CDC with a satellite phone and airdrops, Evan encounters a young girl who was abandoned by her parents. To make matters worse, a 14th Century witch appears to him as an apparition, taking the form of a dead Goth-Rock Star he admires to manipulate him into spreading her lethal spores. But Evan has other plans and he starts to break through her supernatural code, finding unique ways to keep the young girl alive.

If that doesn’t get you interested I don’t know what would!

House of Tortured Souls: When did you get the writing bug and what made you want to be a writer?

Nick Younker: I never got the “writing bug,” per say. But I did write some prose in college and found out that I had some skills inherent to people in the industry. Honestly, I only wanted to be a news writer when I was in college and that’s what I did after I finally got my BS. But the more time I spent in the television industry, the less I liked it. So soon after I started working for Turner in Atlanta, I also began doing small projects at home. Just a short story here or a screenplay there. Eventually, my flow began taking me in the direction of prose, which is a world apart from screenwriting, and I started producing stories one after the other. I did write a novel and a few novellas but found short stories to be the most fulfilling work. They contain less filler and I write in Grunge Narrative style, so that’s extremely attractive to me.

HoTS: Who were some of your early writing influences?

NY: I’m assuming you’re asking about novelists, but I have a long list of writers that have influenced me from different mediums. In the literary industry, novelists like Bukowski, Vonnegut (both used Grunge Narrative style), Ketchum, Blatty, Irving, Larsson and Algernon Blackwood were the most attractive scribes for me.

But my influences in movies and music include Alan Ball, the Coen Brothers, Cobain, Springsteen, Vedder, Cornell, Cantrell, Jett, Hetfield, Hendrix, Morrison and most importantly, Roky Erickson. The works of these fine names have exploded my ability to think critically, fourth dimensionally, and allowed me to pursue creative works that have far surpassed my expectations.

HoTS: Why the horror genre?

NY: Why not? I have frequently been asked that by my family and friends, who do not seem to share the same love of horror that I do but never miss an opportunity to download one of my works.

Horror entertains a reader the same way drama, literary fiction, romance, sci-fi, young adult (vomit), thrillers and human-interest stories do. I don’t think anyone sits down to read a book that they already know what happens at the summit. Everyone wants to be shocked, to see some originality. I would argue that horror is the premiere genre to achieve such goals. It is much broader and the freedom to shock a reader is virtually limitless.

HoTS: Who are some of your favorite authors and books?

NY: Well, I’m not a big fan of playing favorites, but The Willows by Algernon Blackwood did for me what The Blair Witch Project did for horror movie fans. I should also add that 1984 has been a big hit in my playbook. But my all-time favorite book(s) is the Millennium Trilogy by Stieg Larsson (The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo).

HoTS: Have your influences changed as you’ve grown older?

NY: Not really. I rarely buy new books from mainstream authors, instead opting for indie writers who have a good following from people I know and trust. Even though I write primarily in horror, I like books that feature characters who struggle with poverty, especially poverty in the richest nation in the world. I suppose you could say that I identify with them, given my chosen “career.”

HoTS: What are some of your favorite horror movies?

NY: There’s a laundry list of those, but I will try to condense it. Let The Right One In, What We Do In The Shadows, Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Rawhead Rex, Return of the Living Dead, Zombieland, An American Werewolf in London, The Howling, Candyman, Dawn of the Dead (1978), The Conjuring, Rosemary’s Baby, Demons, Demons 2, Spookies… oh shit, I got carried away.

HoTS: Tell us about some of your favorites that you have written?

NY: Out of all my stories, Don’t Bury Me is perhaps my best work to date. Although there is a special place in my heart for the others, that one really tugged at my heartstrings. I have a new one I’m working on right now that’s a passion project, titled The Birth of an American Vampire. It features a character who was turned by immaculate conception following the death of his mother and the extreme grief that left him vulnerable to the curse. He has no sire, just a victim of natural selection following a perfect storm of internal and external conflicts gone violently wrong.

HoTS: Are there any author’s quotes that keep you going?

NY: I wouldn’t say that the quotes keep me going, but there is one that I really admire from Rita Hayworth and The Shawshank Redemption:
“Get busy living, or get busy dying.” ~ Andy Dufresne as written by Stephen King.

HoTS: For young writers out there, what words do you have for them?

NY: Embrace poverty and love the poor because they’re going to be your brethren.

HoTS: Where do your ideas come from?

Nick Younker: Thick air… cause I find it hard to breathe or think, in thin air.

HoTS: When they make a film about your illustrious writing career, who do you think should play you?

Nick Younker: The late, great Chris Farley. I can’t say for certain, but I think he’d return from the grave for an opportunity like that.

HoTS: Is there anything else you would like to add that I haven’t included?

NY: Not really, but I would like to take this opportunity to address the rise of Grunge Narrative writing style. Writers like myself use it and I find it to be the best way to read any great short story. I wrote an article about the many different tenets of the style that you can read here.

If anyone wants to check out my works in the horror genre, you can visit my Amazon page.

You can catch up with him on Twitter (@NYounker) where he publishes over 20 smart-ass tweets and horror images every day. You can also connect with him on his website, FogstowJamison.com, where he publishes articles on news in the horror, sci-fi and dark fantasy industry.

Thanks for speaking with me, Jaye! You rock girl!

And I want to thank Nick Younker so much for answering my questions and giving us such great reading material! Nick, you are an inspiration to me and my writing!

Posted by Horrormadam in BOOKS, COMICS, AND PUBLICATION REVIEWS, INTERVIEWS, PARANORMAL, SCI-FI HORROR, STAFF PICKS, THRILLER, VAMPIRES, WEREWOLVES, 0 comments
Tower Junkies Rejoice – The Dark Tower TV Show is Coming

Tower Junkies Rejoice – The Dark Tower TV Show is Coming

The Dark Tower, Roland Deschain, Everything is 19 / Image: Michael Whelan

The Dark Tower, Roland Deschain, Everything is 19 / Image: Michael Whelan

Last summer’s The Dark Tower wasn’t the adaptation that fans expected and was met with mixed reviews across the globe, but that’s not stopping plans to proceed with The Dark Tower TV series. Tower Junkies have been hearing rumors of a Dark Tower TV series for more than a decade, but this time it looks like those rumors might come to fruition as The Dark Tower TV show may start filming this summer. Omega Underground is reporting that filming will take place in Ireland and the UK, a smart move since they’re reportedly going to stick much closer to the books than the did. Likewise, this means we can expect different casting choices and rumors are that’s started as well.

The Dark Tower, Roland Deschain, Tull / Image: Michael Whelan

The Dark Tower, Roland Deschain, Tull / Image: Michael Whelan

IMDb still lists the possible series as focusing on the events in Wizard & Glass, the fourth book in the series and the one which tells us the most of Roland’s youth and his first ka-tet, so there’s nothing to be learned there. However, King himself stated in October of 2017 that the series focus had changed from prequel or background, which would’ve accommodated the leads from the film, to a complete reboot.

The Dark Tower / Image: Ned Dameron

The Dark Tower / Image: Ned Dameron

During the decade of hope, speculation, and disappointment, producer Ron Howard was behind the epic concept of a combined TV series and feature films to tell Roland Deschain’s tale, allowing for the different mediums to accommodate the various aspects of the story as well as of Roland’s world itself. Tower Junkies are hopeful that the medium will facilitate a more faithful rendering of the narrative and of Roland and his world. Without the confines of a feature film time limit, The Dark Tower TV show may just succeed where the movie could not.

The Dark Tower, The Crimson King / Image: Michael Whelan

The Dark Tower, The Crimson King / Image: Michael Whelan

Stay tuned to House of Tortured Souls for more information as it becomes available.

Long days and pleasant nights.

Posted by Woofer McWooferson in COMING SOON, HORROR NEWS, REMAKES AND REBOOTS, 0 comments
COMING SOON: Incident in a Ghost Land (2018)

COMING SOON: Incident in a Ghost Land (2018)

Being a huge fan of Martyrs (2008) I was pretty excited to learn that its director Pascal Laugier is making a new film called Incident in a Ghost Land. The film is set to release sometime in April of this year.

Incident in a Ghost Land (2018)

The film stars the incredibly beautiful Mylene Farmer, a very famous French singer in real life, successfully selling more than 30 million records in France. She is considered one of the most successful recording artists of all time in France. Alongside Farmer co-stars Crystal Reed (from TV’s Gotham) and Anastasia Philipps (a lovely young Canadian Actress).

Incident in a Ghost Land (2018)The script is described as having a Stephen King vibe to it and the film as “dark” and “scary”. It’s about a mother Colleen (Farmer) and her two daughters Beth (reed) and Vera (Philipps) who upon the death of Colleen’s aunt inherit her house. On the first night in their new home, there is a home invasion and Colleen is forced to fight to save her daughters lives.

Incident in a Ghost Land (2018)Sixteen years later, Beth becomes a famous horror writer and has a happy family; on the other hand, Vera can’t cope with her past trauma and has become mentally unstable and paranoid. The two sisters continue to live in the dead aunt’s home. Mother and daughters reunite and the strange events begin.

Incident in a Ghost Land (2018)Incident in a Ghost Land sounds a bit “vanilla” and like a story that has been done a thousand times before — not the extreme cinema experience I was expecting. The trailer did nothing to improve my opinion, so I decided to revisit the original Martyrs trailer to see how the two lined up. The Martyrs trailer definitely appears more violent and extreme from the get-go, but it doesn’t reveal much of the actual story or the depths it goes to. At a first glance, it looks like a gritty revenge movie. I’m hoping Incident in a Ghost Land will also be much more than what we see on the surface, and I remain optimistic and excited for its release.

Posted by Candace Stone in COMING SOON, HORROR NEWS, NEW RELEASES, 0 comments
INTERVIEW: Alistair Cross

INTERVIEW: Alistair Cross

Alistair Cross - Sleep Savannah SleepAlistair Cross, acclaimed author of such works as The Crimson Corset and his newest novel Sleep Savannah Sleep and co-host of Haunted Nights Live! a radio program broadcast on the Authors On The Air Global Radio Network with the equally amazing author Tamara Thorne, was kind enough to do an interview with me for my home here at House of Tortured Souls. Before I get to the interview, though, I would like to tell you more about his works.
Alistair Cross - The Crimson CorsetAbout The Crimson Corset: Welcome to Crimson Cove a cozy village in California where Cade Coulter, our protagonist, moves to live with his brother hoping for a peaceful life. Everything is idyllic until the sun sets and the little tourist town begins to show more night death than nightlife. At the very edge of town sits The Crimson Corset known for its crazy soirees and licentiousness, where people can indulge their every fantasy no matter how depraved or unacceptable. The only thing is is that the place is owned and operated by a vampire.
The owner, Gretchen VanTreese, wants to take out the Old World Vampires that also exist in the town so that she can be free to create a new race of vampires that she will rule. And Cade Coulter will have to fight this wicked and enticing vampire, even give up his own humanity to save the town and everyone that he loves.
I loved this book. There is nothing better than a great story infused with blood, violence, and gore. Let me show you some of the reviews so you can get an even better idea:
Put Bram Stoker in a giant cocktail shaker, add a pinch of Laurell K. Hamilton, a shot of John Carpenter, and a healthy jigger of absinthe, and you’ll end up with Alistair Cross’s modern Gothic chiller, The Crimson Corset-a deliciously terrifying tale that will sink its teeth into you from page one.
—Jay Bonansinga, New York Times Bestselling author of The Walking Dead: Invasion and Lucid.
Alistair Cross’ new novel The Crimson Corset…is taut and elegantly written taking us into the realms where the erotic and the horrific meet. Reminiscent of the work of Sheridan Le Fanu (Carmilla, Uncle Silas) in its hothouse, almost Victorian intensity, it tells a multi-leveled story of misalliance and mixed motives. The language is darkly lyrical, and the tale is compelling. Read it; you’ll be glad you did.
—Chelsea Quinn Yarbro, author of Saint-Germaine Cycle and the Chesterton Holt Mysteries.
Very nice heavy hitters for a debut book!
Alistair Cross - The Angel AlejandroHe has also written The Book of Strange Persuasions, The Angel Alejandro, and the aforementioned Sleep Savanah Sleep. Alistair has also collaborated on many books with the sensational Tamara Thorne as Thorne&Cross. Some of their joint titles include The Cliffhouse Haunting, Mother, The Witches of Ravencrest, and The Ghosts of Ravencrest.
Which brings me to the next bit about him. Alistair Cross and Tamara Thorne started their own radio show called Haunted Nights Live! where they talk all things horror to some of the biggest names in the business. Featuring such guests as Chelsea Quinn Yarbro of the Saint-Germain vampire series, Charlaine Harris of the Southern Vampire Mysteries and basis of the HBO series True Blood, Jeff Lindsay, author of the Dexter novels that inspired the hit television series, Jay Bonansinga of the Walking Dead series, and Laurell K. Hamilton of the Anita Blake Vampire Hunter novels.
So, now that we have established his illustrious credentials, let’s ask him some questions.
House of Tortured Souls: So, Alistair, what would you like people to know about you?
Alistair Cross: I am not a morning person: no, I will not help your sister move…and I prefer cats to most people.
HoTS: When I was doing research for this interview, I noticed on his website that in 1987 – He saw Carrie and the Nightmare on Elm Street movies, wrote more stories (most of which featured an unmanageably extensive cast of talking cats). So sorry I missed that readers.
Next question Alistair: What are your horror influences?

AC: Stephen King, of course, who was my introduction to the genre back when I was barely 8 years old. I am also influenced by Anne Rice, Dean Koontz, John Saul, Ira Levin, and William Peter Blatty, just to name a few.
HoTS: What did you do with your very first advance for a book??
AC: I just stared at it. A lot.
HoTS: What was your first scary movie?
AC: The first movie I remember being absolutely terrified by was Cujo. It still makes me a little uneasy.
HoTS: How do you write what you want without worrying about how your subject matter will be taken?
AC: As a horror author, I consider it my duty to shock and offend. There are few subjects I won’t touch on, animal cruelty for example because it’s not necessary and it’s too easy. But I don’t think about reader reaction when I’m writing. I write the stories I want to read and figure it is likely others out there will want to read them too.
HoTS: What is your spirit animal?
AC: Stevie Nicks is my spirit animal.
HoTS: Has anything in your books ever happened to you?
AC: While I’ve certainly never been lured into an underground lair of a seductive blond vampire or found an amnesiac angel in my koi pond after a violent storm, some of the events in my writing do come from personal experience. All fiction is rooted in truth, but I never set out to chronicle my own experiences. It’s about the characters and their stories, not mine. The only exception is Five Nights In a Haunted Cabin, a real-life account of an experience I had with my collaborator, Tamara Thorne.
HoTS: How did you and Tamara become writing partners?
AC: It’s an unusual story that began in the late 1990s when I came across Tamara’s novel Moonfall. I liked it so much, I got all of her books and began stalking her website via AOL dial-up because in my day we had to practice patience when we stalked people online. Several years later, after my first book was published, I began a blog dedicated to interviews with authors. Tamara Thorne was one of the first people I asked to be on my blog. She said yes and we hit it off enough that she asked me if I’d like to write a short story with her. That short story became a full-length novel, and that led to the next one and the one after that, and the rest is history. Writing with Tamara is one of the easiest, most natural things I have ever done and, at the risk of sounding corny, I believe it was simply meant to be.
House of Tortured Souls: And readers I thought it was only fair to reach out to Tamara Thorne and gets some fun stuff on Alistair from her:
Tamara Thorne: I love collaborating with Alistair. We spend our days working on Skype and when our cats start climbing us, we turn on the cameras. Alistair’s kitty, Pawpurrazzi, truly abuses him. I love watching the way she gives him kisses, then shoves her butt in his face. Those two are madly in love.
We write together in the Cloud and rarely recall who wrote what. After each day’s work – or after completing the first draft – my job is to read our words aloud. When we’re in edit mode, reading for hours can be pretty grueling, but my collaborator knows how to keep things lively. He moves ahead in the manuscript and adds lines so outrageous and rude that I fall apart – so does he. We relish our giggle breaks more than I can say. Once in a while, we leave an obscenity in to amuse our editors. The reactions are varied but hysterical.
So I cannot recommend these authors enough and I also cannot thank them enough for taking their time to answer some questions and share a few laughs. Below are some links for you to get to know and experience more of Alistair Cross and his partner in crime Tamara Thorne. And definitely, check out their radio broadcast.
Posted by Horrormadam in BOOKS, COMICS, AND PUBLICATION REVIEWS, FICTION AND POETRY, FRIENDS OF THE HOUSE, INTERVIEWS, MONSTERS AND CREATURES, PARANORMAL, PODCAST, THRILLER, VAMPIRES, 0 comments
Happy 70th Birthday, Stephen King!

Happy 70th Birthday, Stephen King!

Buckle up, Constant Readers, because House of Tortured Souls is paying tribute to the father of contemporary horror - Stephen King. This post won't be as long as one of Mr. King's novels, but you might want to get a fresh beverage and a snack before continuing.
Comfy? Got your drink and snack? Good. Then follow us as we delve into a few of the memories Mr. King has given us. It's not dark here - certainly not as dark as Pet Sematary - but you might want to keep a lamp burning. Just in case.Simpsons Opening-Stephen King / Fair use doctrine.

I'm His Number One Fan! Wait...

By Woofer McWooferson

I honestly can’t remember the details of my first exposure to Stephen King’s work, but I do remember that it changed my life. As a horror fan, I read everything horror that came my way. When someone mentioned this new writer and his book Carrie, I gave it a shot and have never looked back. I tore into everything that he wrote like a werewolf starved for human flesh and finding the tastiest morsel around. My family and friends were thrilled as they now had a guaranteed gift for the freaky kid – anything King.
horror-novel-thestand / Fair use doctrine.When The Stand was released, I was a freshman in high school. I snapped it up fast and read it in record time even for me. Those of you who’ve read The Stand (or seen the mini-series) know about Captain Tripps. You can imagine, then, how freaky it was for me when I caught a cold while enjoying it. Strangely, every subsequent reading also resulted in a cold. That’s a bit trippy, don’t you think? Later, when the unabridged version was released, I also snapped it up – and yes, I got another cold – and enjoyed it even more than the heavily cut original. Many Constant Readers have said they don’t care for the unabridged version as they feel it adds nothing to the story, but I have to respectfully disagree. King is the master of detail, and I found all the extra bits particularly satisfying. The Stand remains my favorite standalone King work.
The Gunslinger trade paperback / Fair use doctrine.And then The Gunslinger was released. My then-boyfriend, Rich, got an advanced release, read it, and passed it along for me to read. We both fell in love with Roland Deschain. Rich was as much of a horror fan as I was, and we shared many glorious King novels before eventually parting as a couple but remaining friends. But it was his gift to me of The Gunslinger that will always be most special. He started me on the road to the Tower and even accompanied me about halfway there. We’ve fallen out of touch, but I still think of him fondly and wonder what he thought of the rest of Roland’s tale. Did he love it as much as I did? How could he not?
Although I’ve read everything King’s written thus far, none have had the impact on me that The Stand and The Dark Tower did. Indeed, King’s influence on me was such that I found myself speaking of him during the oral portion of my master’s exam. I didn’t exactly plan to bring up King, and I wasn’t sure what the panel would think of my comparisons even as I spoke. He wasn’t exactly taught in college back then (at least not much outside of the composition classes I taught), after all, and I nervously smoked outside as the panel discussed me and my answers. Apparently, they found my comments valid because I did receive my MA. Thanks, Mr. King.
Today, I raise a glass to you and wish you the best. May you continue to fuel our nightmares for many more years to come. Happy birthday!

By Scarlett O

I was a mere tot when the adaptation of Stephen King's The Shining came out in theaters in 1980; nevertheless, I was allowed to watch it before the age of ten. How times have changed! It was my very first horror movie, and I can honestly say without reservation that I've never been the same since. Both traumatized and intrigued, the level of terror that this particular movie held for me has set the standard for which I judge all horror movies. Needless to say, that's a pretty high bar that few other horror films have been able to come close to clearing. As an adult, I read the actual book from which the movie is based and like all other good books, Stephen King's The Shining reaches a level of impressive that I couldn't have imagined in my worst nightmares. To this day, large hotels with seemingly endless hallways or hearing “REDRUM” gives me chills. As it should.The Shining - Bloody Elevator / Fair use doctrine.
Though there were clear differences between King’s novel and Stanley Kubrick's direction of the film, such as the main character’s name (Jack vs John Daniel), physical appearances (blonde Wendy vs brunette), preference of cartoons by the boy Danny (Sesame Street vs the Road Runner), and even the hotel room number (217 vs 237), and perhaps the most interesting - that one ended in fire (the book) and the other in ice (the film), it's obvious that readers and viewers alike could appreciate the artistic thrill of them both. Still, it should not go without mention that none of this would have been possible if the one and only Stephen King had not written the infamous novel in the first place.

By Michelle MIDI Sayles

On this day in 1947 a King was literally born – Stephen King that is!
It wasn't until 42 years later that I discovered his literary world and my own thirst for horror grew in me, like a beast of its own.
I was 9 and at a slumber party with three other girls watching the VHS release of Pet Sematary. Unlike most girls, I didn't hide under the blankets during the "scary parts" or scream. I just watched with amazement as Gage’s, Church’s, and Louis' antics mesmerized me.Church-Pet Sematary_02 / Fair use doctrine.
I was so enamored with the film that I begged my parents for a month to buy me the novel for my 10th birthday, and I still have that battered and much loved copy to this day (after countless rereads).
From that moment, I was glued to all things King! I spent my teen years on a mere babysitter's budget (choosing that and my studies over flipping burgers part time like most kids here). I would frequent yard sales and second-hand markets to find older but cheaper copies of King's novels so I could stockpile all of his books (one day, when I retire, I will try and read any remaining that I have yet to tackle). I recorded each mini-series and film that came onto my screen to VHS, so I could watch it again and again (The Tommyknockers, The Stand, Children of the Corn -and sequels- etc). I clipped articles about my idol and more recently began collecting merchandise related to his works.
Through bad relationships, schooling, work life, having a family, and even suffering losses, King was my beacon. At any time, I could immerse myself in a book or film of his and just feel centered and at home.
Happy birthday, Mr King, I doubt you understand the impact you have had on many lives, but you'll always be special in mine.MIDI's King collection

By Schock

The horror world wouldn’t be the same if not for author Stephen King. His novels - that seem to multiply like gremlins - and movies that spawned from his narratives have become a staple in the world of horror, terror, and suspense. When we hear the name Stephen King, we think only of monsters and twists that ensue within the stories he’s penned as well as the rich east coast New England area of his mind.
My first encounter with anything Stephen King was Carrie - the movie based on the novel that we have all come to know as an ultimate in psychological (and psychic) terror. I discovered at a young age my love for the underdog, but my apparent blood fetish spawned way later in life. That’s another story altogether... Carrie introduced me to the world of King and I wanted to dig a little deeper. I then discovered other movies based on his novels – Cujo, Christine, Children of the Corn, Thinner, Needful Things, Cat’s Eye, The Shining, Stand By Me, Pet Semetary, IT… The list goes on and on and on. Then there are the King short stories translated to film. My absolute favorite of these is “Sometimes They Come Back”. Obviously, if you can’t tell, I didn’t read a lot as a child; I threw down on the movies, though, and when I got older I discovered that the novels were actually pretty easy to find. So I began the hunt for as many as possible in my area.
Christine was the first book I acquired, and reading the book, I could feel what he was writing more so than the movie portrayed. So I wanted more. I wanted to see how the stories could just put fear and terror into people. The directors of the movies really shined a light on the stories with their films. Some of the novels, though, like IT are thicker than every version of the bible put together. My friends and I use to have an ongoing joke when we would discuss Stephen King movie and book comparisons. He used three pages just to describe the treads on the tires in From a Buick 8. That brings me to something that King inadvertently taught to those of us who are creators of art – whether it be prose, poetry, music, or the visual arts: detail is KEY to making sure you give the audience every inch of what your mind wants to get out. This was a beautiful thing to learn from King’s legacy of horror and terrifying tales.From A Buick 8 / Fair use doctrine.
If anyone deserves to be awarded the title King of Horror or Master of the Macabre, it is none other than Stephen King himself. King’s not a man who walks around mopey and weird as you’d expect a horror writer to be. He’s a regular man, a visionary, and an inspiration – and not only to filmmakers and fans. He has inspired now for decades, generations even, and will continue to inspire for many years to come. When we are all long gone from this earth and some weird alien life goes digging around, they’ll find one (or thirty) of his novels and be terrified at what they read. Let’s hope that one day this happens and Stephen King will be known to these people thousands of years from now as a God.Stephen King-Pet Sematary / Fair use doctrine.

Happy Birthday to the *King* of Horror

By Tammie Parker

horror-novel-firestarter / Fair use doctrine.I read Firestarter when I was 8! That truly did raise the bar pretty high for all trying to scare me from then on out. I had a tough childhood, this was written for me! OH, to have the power to set shit on fire!
A truly odd fact is that we read IT in English 101 in my 8th grade class!! A bit of an odd book to use to teach all about grammar, huh? We even watched the original movie right there in class.   horror-movie-it-original / Fair use doctrine.Although the monster at the end disappointed me, I loved the story and the build-up. I loved the goosebumps, the hair-raising, eye-bulging, hanging onto the bed rail, it's-way-past-my-bedtime words!
After IT, (a few years down the road) I fall in love with Misery. horror-novel-misery / Fair use doctrine.The cockadoodie potty language definitely had me cracking up. Stephen King taught me how to find out when someone was going into my private stuff!
horror-novel-doloresclaiborne / Fair use doctrine.And then Dolores Claiborne. I truly loved the character Dolores! Having personally gone through 10 years of molestation, this novel was tough to read. However I wanted to read it through, I was certain I would be ecstatic with Dolores' settling this chaos. I love how simple it is to travel into the story, Stephen completely takes you there. There is never a question of the color of the sky, the scent in the air, especially the creepy thing lurking around the corner.
Then came The Stand, which very rapidly became my favorite book.
horror-novel-thestand / Fair use doctrine.Stephen is probably the source of my love for dystopian horror. The Stand opened my eyes to so much! Scenarios I had never thought of before. Human characteristics and how we would react, and what we would become if/when something happens.
After that (again a few years down the road) Dark Tower novels, WOWZA what a story!!
I have YET to see the movie, but I love the cast! And the trailers look absolutely amazing!

I have read Desperation, The Dead Zone, and, well, it is safe to say Mr. King is my most read author. During my research, I found out that Stephen and his wife Tabitha actually stayed in the real Stanley Hotel as he wrote the novel! I fell in love with him all over again. What a true badass! And what a wicked imagination 🙂
Happy 70th, Mr. Nightmare Maker!

What Stephen King Has Meant To Me

By Dixielord

Stephen King's Full DarkI discovered Stephen King sometime around the mid 80s. I don't remember exactly when, about my senior year in high school or maybe my first year in college. I remember a high school friend/acquaintance was reading Christine, and me, to my utter shame now, thought reading a book that big was the nerdiest thing in the world. How things change.
Christinebecame one of the first King novels, probably THE first novel, that I read. I think Night Shift was the first book, followed by Skeleton Crew, as I fell quickly in love with his short stories. I devoured his short stories rabidly, as quickly as I could get my hands on them. Then I started on the novels – Christine, Carrie, Firestarter, everything my college library had to offer, including the non-fiction Danse Macabre. It was through Danse Macabre that I became aware of H.P. Lovecraft.
Is it fair to say my life was changed? It was changed, dear readers. I had transformed from someone who laughed at readers to a voracious reader, from a man who had never heard of Lovecraft to a hardcore fan of the Cthulhu mythos and the unspeakable horrors from beyond.
Out of college I continued to follow him, buying his books when I could afford to, checking them out of the local library when I couldn't. I built up a nice collection of hardcover King over the years. After his near-fatal accident, his stories changed, and my life changed as well. I lost my mother to cancer, and his books started taking on a more depressing (at least to me) tone. The recurring theme of God demanding a sacrifice started to wear thin on me, and I just recently realized why. Don't get me wrong, his writing was still top notch, but I couldn't take the new stuff. I stopped reading King altogether after Desperation. I still cherished my King collection, though, and it nearly killed me when I had to sell them.
Sell your King collection? Blasphemy! Sadly, life doesn't always go as planned, and losing my job with no employment in sight meant I needed money. Of all the books I owned, I hated putting up my King collection for sale. But someone offered me too much money, and I needed money too much. I said goodbye with tears in my eyes.
I came back to King, and I'm still coming back, going back for the books I missed and grabbing the new ones as well. Now, new fans are discovering Stephen King, and old fans are rediscovering him. IT is in the theaters, reinvigorating horror in general, and putting the master's name back on the lips of everyone. The Dark Tower is just out of theaters. All of this has brought me back to my books, thinking about reacquiring the ones I had to sacrifice. King changed my life. Stephen King gave me a life, he gave me books and made me a reader. He opened worlds after worlds.

By Brenda Wilder Antlitz

Carrie-Sissy Spacek-John Travolta / Fair use doctrine.I was first introduced to the King, Stephen King that is, in the winter of 1976, the year that Carrie, came out. I was 12 at the time and in junior high school, which meant that 1) every girl was in love with John Travolta, and 2) I was too young to see it in the theater. So after hearing all of the cool kids telling us about the movie, especially the ending when the hand comes out of the ground, I knew I had to see it! But what was I going to do? And then I knew. I would do the next best thing: go to the bookstore.
The bookstore experience was just as exciting - walking down the aisle of the horror section, smelling the scent of new books under the incandescent lights, and looking for the name Stephen King. Even his name sounded grand! As I walked, I looked and looked, then and there it was: Carrie. I quickly opened it up, flipped through the pages, my hair flying back, as I watch the words fly past me, and I then floated to the register where I paid and become the proud owner of my very first (but certainly not last) Stephen King novel!
When I got home, I got a bottle of Coca-cola and went straight up to my bedroom (my safe haven), and I began to read Carrie. It was in the early afternoon when I began reading, and I only stopped to go to the bathroom, which I did with all lights on of course! LOL. But I simply could not stop reading it... I could relate Carrie White. Completely.
I felt as if Stephen King saw through me and wrote this character about me (except that I did not have special psychic abilities nor a crazy, religious fanatic for a mother). I was a very shy loner, misunderstood and bullied so bad that my only escape was through books, TV, music, and movies. And so, because of Carrie White, I became a horror lover and not just of the Friday the 13th kind but of the psychological kind. The kind that makes you think - and question - EVERYthing!!
After that, I was hooked on The King of Horror!
Stephen King became known not only for his novels and their adaptations to the big screen but also for the works that made it to the small screen, TV. You have to realize that back then we only had a handful of TV stations. Cable was new (we did not have it), and VCRs were just starting to come out although few could afford them, yet. So when there was a movie of the week, or better yet a mini-series, it was a big deal! An event, even.
'Salem's Lot / Fair use doctrine.The first major Stephen King-based mini-series was a two-night event, and it's still talked about to this day. 'Salems Lot, staring David Soul and Lance Kerwin, debuted on 11/17/1979, and it was something we’d never seen before. A second 'Salem's Lot mini-series (remake not sequel) debuted on 11/19/2015 and starred Rob Lowe, who played Nick Andros in the mini-series of The Stand. If you ask people what they remember about it, they will tell you that it scared the crap out of them.'Salem's Lot mini-series remake / Fair use doctrine.
I could go on and on with the list of books and movies, that Stephen King has written, but there is not enough time or room.
All I can say is this: there are writers who affect only a few, and Stephen King is not one of them. Stephen King has affected generations! He is the reason why most of us became fans of horror/thrillers, became writers – authors, even - readers, and film fans. For me, not only did he do all of the above, but he also was an influence on my becoming a paranormal investigator.
I guess all that is left to say, besides "Thank You", is happy birthday to The King of Horror, Mr. Stephen King!!

From House of Tortured Souls to you, Mr. King, fangs for everything.horror-stephenking / Fair use doctrine.
Posted by Woofer McWooferson in CELEBRITY BIRTHDAYS, EDITORIALS, HORROR HEROES, TRIBUTE, 0 comments
MOVIE REVIEW: IT (2017) (1 of…???)

MOVIE REVIEW: IT (2017) (1 of…???)

When we are kids, we watch movies, read books, and hear stories that we carry with us throughout our lives. IT, the super long novel by Stephen King, is one that King’s Constant Readers, as well as most horror fans, have carried with us through our youth. The original adaptation, released in 1990, as a miniseries, started with the youth of Derry, Maine, and ended with the adults when Pennywise returned 27 years later. Of course, the time the film was made plays a large factor in how it was portrayed. So we have to look at it that way in regards to content and exactly what boundaries could be pushed and what couldn’t. Since it was a TV miniseries and the rules were different then, IT really was a different adaptation altogether.
Looking back on the original, I have always felt it to be rather boring and a little too much on the cheesy side. This opinion does not reflect on the actors themselves, but on the direction and the script. I do not speak for everyone, but for me, the story could have been told in a way that wasn’t so much like an after school special about talking to strangers and more like an actual horror film. In other words, the miniseries was like a Goosebumps version compared to what we are allowed to see now in films. IT was very kid friendly so to speak, and for the time it was made, it was definitely on the verge of causing concern for the people of the world. Tim Curry is a great actor and did very well putting that scare into the youth of the early 90s. As horror fans, we need to go into this re-envisioning of the story with fresh eyes and a fresh mind - regardless of who you are. Try to avoid comparing and contrasting both films. And now, on to how this new movie, which was not only a better portrayal but also much scarier.
When I walk into the theater, I was actually amazed that we had fancy seating, all recliner like and cozy. That was a bit weird to me as I’m used to the poor people theaters with sticky floors and immensely uncomfortable seating. Big kudos to United Artists theater in Fishers, Indiana for being awesome in that regard.
I am pretty sure there were 20 minutes of previews, and a couple of them looked really good. Saw 8, though, that horse has been beaten to death. Give it up already. Mother is, I’m pretty sure, a spin-off of Rosemary’s Baby. I can’t for the life of me remember the two that actually looked really good though. I’ll figure it out later. Ha!
Spoiler warning skull_smallRight from the start, the movie gets you all hyped up because it’s set in 1988-89 which, for many of the movie-going public, is when we were young and have some of our earliest memories of life. Those that are into that whole holding on to nostalgia, this is perfect for that. The soundtrack alone was fantastic, and the fashion, lingo, and settings definitely invoke the late 80s. The movie starts with Billy (Jaeden Lieberher) and Georgie Denbrough (Jackson Robert Scott) in a bedroom making a paper boat with Georgie super excited to get it going. Bill instructs Georgie to get some wax to waterproof the paper boat and allow it to float. The foreshadowing comes immediately upon Georgie entering the basement, scared but carrying a 1980s-era walkie talkie that squealed and made a lot of noise to communicate with Billy on the whereabouts of the wax. Yes, that’s important to the film.
Not five minutes later, Georgie is running down the street chasing the paper boat in the rain, but the boat is at the mercy of the water and quickly falls into the a sewer drain. Pennywise the clown (Bill Skarsgård) appears in the drain with his famously evil grin and gains the attention of Georgie, who doesn’t really find it odd that a clown is just hangin’ ‘round in the sewer. There was some struggle, some blood, and a lot of screaming. I’ll just say this: those who haven’t seen the original or read the book, that’s all you need to know; however, those who have seen or read the original know just how fast IT jumps the gun and gets bloody fast.
Flash forward to 1989, almost a year after Georgie goes missing, and the kids are all leaving school. Each one is focused on for character development, a really cool and quick way for the movie to get past all the rhetoric and get to the action on what is to come. The bully, Henry Bowers (Nicholas Hamilton), and his crew terrorize all of the “Losers Club” and just sets a tone that you may believe he is working with Pennywise to abduct kids so that he is safe from harm. There wasn’t a lot of storytelling in this film it was really straight on, get down to business. Pennywise shows up to each kid that was focused on in Derry, and presenting fears to them that could cause them to panic and freeze, enabling Pennywise to snatch them up. What he didn’t realize is that they’re stronger than that. As the stories cross together, the Losers Club all hang out and become closer enjoying some of their summer. It is finally opened up that these things are happening. Each kid giving a brief story of what they saw. Stan Uris (Wyatt Oleff) sees a creepy painting that frightens him, and the woman in it comes to life. Michael Hanlon (Chosen Jacobs), who is home schooled, sees Pennywise hanging in a meat locker. Beverly Marsh has the infamous drain incident where blood comes shooting out like – not unlike Johnny Depp’s death scene in A Nightmare on Elm Street. Eddie Kaspbrak, my favorite character, sees a leper, and Billy, of course, sees Georgie. Ben Hanscom (Jeremy Ray Taylor) also has an encounter. Richie Tozier (Finn Wolfhard) is the only one who (I think) had not seen Pennywise beforehand. Richie makes it a point to mention this as well. Is he funny and smart sassy? Very much so and way much more so than the Seth Green was in his portrayal. Richie really sets the comedic tone for the movie always cracking jokes about sex, penis size, and just generally making fun of everyone. I can relate to this guy pretty well. For example, when Ben gets cut up and beaten, Richie says something about him bleeding Hamburger Helper. HA! So this kept the lightheartedness pretty well throughout the movie even though there were dire things happening all around them.
After a few dozen jump scares and plot development, the kids come together and discover that the key to finding him is in the Well House, which we see is an abandoned and almost certainly condemned house that probably shouldn’t be standing. Eddie, Billy, and Richie man up and go inside to look around. With some fear tactics and an encounter with Pennywise, Bev comes in and stabs the clown in the head giving some wiggle room for the boys to get out of the there. I know I’m vaguely telling what’s up. But y’all don’t need too much info because this is where IT really takes off.
So, with all of that said, the movie from beginning to end was fantastic - and we actually see who and what floats and where “down here” is (which always bugged me about the miniseries). Finally, the Losers Club comes together and decides that if IT comes back, then they will return and fight it again, leaving room for a sequel of course. However, I don’t feel like it needs one. Still, ending like with a “just in case” situation was good after everything played out as it did and they got free. The ending was pretty solid and could be left standing as is. To me, this movie works a standalone film on its own accord. Not only was the direction solid, the script excellent, and the acting on point, but it was seriously a great scary movie. The way I see it is that the original was something thrown together because someone had an idea, and at the time was a good one. This film, though, had a lot of thought and time put in into it, which gave it a better quality story and made it much scarier, creating a fearfest that I believe ANY horror fan can appreciate.
Check out what some other attendees thought of IT in my video below.

EDITOR’S NOTE: As many staff members are attending IT, there will be more reviews to come. Please stand by.
-Woofer McWooferson, Editor-in-Chief
Posted by Schock in MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 1 comment
MOVIE REVIEW (RETRO): Revisiting Creepshow (1982), Pt. 3

MOVIE REVIEW (RETRO): Revisiting Creepshow (1982), Pt. 3

REVISITING CREEPSHOW

Part 3: You Lunk Head!

Hello there kiddies! Thanks for stopping by and welcome to the third installment of my monstrous multi-part series! A repulsive and revolting retrospect to that fiendish fright-fest, Creepshow...
In the last two installments, I discussed the film's background, its impact upon its release, the intro of the film and the first story, "Father's Day". Now let's get into the second story, "The Lonesome Death of Jordy Verrill".Creepshow-Jordy Verrill-01 / Fair use doctrine.
This story begins with a crash. A meteor lands in a run down farm in rural Maine. The owner of the farm is Jordy Verrill, played by the writer of the film and horror master himself Stephen King. Jordy is portrayed as being quite unintelligent and makes terrible decisions. He comes to the conclusion that the meteor would be worth a pretty penny, which his small mind views as $200, at the local university. When Jordy touches the meteor, it burns his fingertips, so he decides to cool it off by pouring some water on it. This breaks the meteor in half, revealing a white liquid inside. Jordy thinks the meteor will be worth significantly less now that it is broken, but decides to try anyway. He picks up the meteor pieces after pouring the liquid that sat inside into the ground and places them in a bucket. Hours later, while watching TV and drinking beer, Jordy looks at the fingertips he had burnt on the meteor and sees a type of green moss growing from them. He runs to the phone to call the doctor, but imagines that the doctor will cut his fingers off and hangs up. He then realizes that he had been periodically sucking on those fingers all night. He sticks his tongue out at the bathroom mirror and sees it is covered in the same green moss. From here, things escalate quickly as the farm and Jordy himself are being overrun by foliage growing at an incredible rate.
Creepshow-Jordy Verrill-02 / Fair use doctrine.This story was adapted from the Stephen King short story "Weeds" published in Cavalier Magazine in 1976. Since then, it's been very difficult to find and has never been published in any of King's short story collection books. The short story is similar but does carry differences. One main difference is the tone. Jordy Verrill is not very intelligent, but it is played straight, whereas in the film it seems to be played at a goofy level, almost cartoonish. The short story shows that the weeds possess a form of sentience as Jordy begins hearing them communicate in his head and also make suggestions to him, like taking a cold bath to relieve his itching for example. He also doesn't imagine himself talking to his father in the mirror, I think this was the film's way of addressing the weeds talking in his head and his contrasting thoughts about the bath making it worse.
This story seems to be an homage to H. P. Lovecraft's "Colour Out of Space", in which a meteor of an unknown color lands on a remote farm and begins to change the foliage and the family living there. It can also be seen as a jab at the isolationist and lonely lifestyle of being a farmer as Jordy seems to have little exposure to life outside the farm. You may even see this as he struggles with the thought of calling the doctor for help. But, I don't think this was intentional. Another story that may have inspired King is a true one. In 1961, a man in North Carolina purchased a single square of linoleum from a neighbor to fill in a missing piece on his floor. Soon after, his wife began suffering from acute respiratory ailments. When he removed the piece of linoleum, he discovered a mass of mold had grown underneath. They cleaned it with all kinds of chemicals, but it wasn't long before the mold had grown on the walls and furniture. Eventually, most of the home was covered in gray, hairy mold. Although, this is similar to Weeds, there is no confirmation that King had ever heard of this.
This segment of the film definitely stands out for its goofy acting and cartoonish sound effects. It's the only story in the film played for laughs. This was on purpose. Romero had told King to play Jordy like Wile E. Coyote, the way he looks when he goes off a cliff. In this aspect, King doesn't disappoint. Some may call his acting hammy, but I think it suits the character perfectly. King also had an allergic reaction to the makeup he wore and had to take medication just to make it bearable. One can only imagine how difficult it would be for one to act under such circumstances.
Creepshow-Jordy Verrill-03 / Fair use doctrine.In conclusion, this is one of my favorite stories, mainly because it evokes the hopelessness of a Lovecraftian cosmic horror. From the second the meteor landed on Jordy's farm, he was doomed. It's also a very good example of Stephen King's earlier works, when he wore his inspirations on his sleeve. The end is also something I enjoy very much, we hear the news on the radio proclaim that serious rainfall is on the way and we see the foliage has reached the highway and is making its way towards Castle Rock, Portland, and Boston. Will the entire country eventually be covered in weeds? It would appear so.

Well, the weeds in my backyard are telling me to end part 3 of my retrospective. In any case, I hope you lunk heads can hold your breath a long time, at least until my next installment, where I take a look at the next creepy tale, "Something To Tide You Over"...
Posted by Alf Benny in MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments
TRIBUTE: George A. Romero (5 of ?)

TRIBUTE: George A. Romero (5 of ?)

Remembering George A. Romero

With the passing of George A. Romero this week many of us are mourning the loss of one of the true legends of the horror industry. Although he is viewed as the father of the modern zombie film, I feel that it's important to keep in mind some of the other influences he had both inside the horror industry as well as outside.
As we all know, he is almost single-handedly responsible for the modern zombie. Everything from The Walking Dead graphic novels and the TV series, the Resident Evil franchise (both the games and the films), and even books like The Zombie Survival Guide all owe a debt of gratitude to Mr. Romero, as his take on the undead have helped to shape all these.
His sphere of influence spreads far beyond zombies, though. Some of his best work was with the writing of Stephen King. Everyone knows that the works of King are notoriously difficult to translate to film. His take on King's The Dark Half made the story compelling and interesting while remaining very true to the source material. Many people consider it to be one of the most faithful King adaptations ever put to film.
His directing skill was always spot on and appropriate to the type of film he was making. His use of unique lighting and camera angles on Creepshow differed from most other films and made it feel like a comic book come to life. It also helped teach young impressionable fans such as myself that horror could be artistic, beautifully lit, ironic, and fun.
Although many people consider Bruiser to be his worst film, I believe that it proves that he wasn't just a great director but a masterful storyteller. Weaving a very bleak story with depth and heart about a man struggling with life and identity. Making the viewer feel compassion for the man and the monster while also creating a stark, uncomfortable world.
Don't even get me started on the genius and magic behind the film Martin. I could talk about that one for hours.
So much more than just the "Godfather of zombies", George A. Romero was a true visionary who will be missed but whose influence will live on for generations.
Posted by Richard Francis in EDITORIALS, TRIBUTE, 0 comments
SHORT REVIEW: Rainy Season (2017)

SHORT REVIEW: Rainy Season (2017)

"It's not a rock."
Fair use doctrine.
As regulars to HoTS can attest, back in October of 2016, I became aware of a short film titled Rainy Season when director Vanessa Ionta Wright reached out to HoTS. A quick look at the information confirmed my suspicion: Rainy Season is an adaptation of a Stephen King story of the same name. Since Rainy Season is one of my favorite stories, I jumped at the chance to cover this. Later, I found out that Wright and fellow Rainy Season executive producer Samantha Kolesnik had organized the first annual Women in Horror Film Festival which is being held September 22 – 24, 2017 - more great news!
Then I got the best news. The short film was finished, and I was offered a chance to view and review it. So, without further ado and with many thanks to Wright and everyone involved in the production (as well as apologies for the delay), here we go.
First, it’s important to note that rarely are Stephen King works solely one tone or another. King is known for the dark comedic streaks that are seamlessly integrated into otherwise horrific and terrifying tales. Second, while King often brings monsters into his stories (“Gray Matter”, “The Raft”, Cujo, IT, The Stand), the real focus is the humans and how they react in extreme situations. It’s well known that stressful situations often result in the worst of mankind being brought to light, but they can also bring out the best in mankind. This is something that King handles quite well and which draws us back time and again to see how things work out for his next victim. Finally, one of King’s greatest gifts is his ability to tell a story in a manner that makes the reader want – need – to finish it. It’s incredibly difficult to translate the words to images in a way that’s going satisfy all fans of the written word. That’s why so few of his works have been effectively adapted into the medium of film and video. It takes a director with a deft touch to bring a King story to life on film, and Vanessa Ionta Wright has that touch.
Rainy Season_Willow General Mercantile & Hardware / Fair use doctrine.Rainy Season follows John Graham (Brian Ashton Smith), a college English professor on a book-writing sabbatical, and his wife Elise (Anne Marie Kennedy) as they arrive in Willow, Maine, for the summer. Stopping in at the Willow Mercantile and Hardware, John and Elise are greeted by elderly local Henry Eden (Kermit Rollison) and his dog. Henry spooks the couple by knowing who they are and why they are there before reminding them of the speed at which news travels in a small town. Henry is soon joined by Laura Stanton (Jan Mary Nelson), another local, as he attempts to convince the Grahams to spend the night out of town. Laura backs up Henry, stressing that they’ve arrived on the exact day of the Rainy Season, but rather than convincing them, her words solidifies the Grahams’ view of the two as not quite right. After making their way to their rental cabin, John and Elise settle in for the night, unaware that they will soon find out the two locals may not be as crazy as they first thought.
Brian Ashton Smith and Anne Marie Kennedy are believable and sympathetic as the loving yet troubled couple who don’t seem entirely at ease with one another. Their chemistry is real, and we get the sense that both want things to be better but aren’t entirely sure how to make it so. The trip to Willow is supposed to help give them both new perspective. Their love is clear, but so is the tension affecting it. At the cabin, their shared looks and shy touches reinforce this.
Rainy Season / L – R: Jan Mary Nelson, Kermit Rollison, Anne Marie Kennedy, and Brian Ashton Smith / Fair use doctrine.
Kermit Rollison and Jan Mary Nelson do a great job portraying the locals whose unwilling duty it is to greet the couple. We get the sense that doing it more than every seven years would be too much. As reluctant emissaries of Willow, Eden and Stanton try to welcome the couple without being too welcoming, ultimately suggesting they spend their first night out of town even though they know the Grahams will not.
Technically the film is excellent. Sound and visuals are top notch, adding to the overall effectiveness. With a sometimes ironic soundtrack, Rainy Season definitely captures the feel of the source material – a little bit retro, a little bit modern, and all apropos. Together with the solid acting of the players as well as the impeccable direction, Rainy Season works. Wright makes some difficult choices for the adaptation, but they pay off. The climax made me groan and grin – though the grin may properly have been more of a grimace – simultaneously. She takes us to the edge of an eldritch chasm and leaves us laughing nervously at our escape.
Do yourself a favor. Watch it if you get a chance. It shows there are still directors in the industry who know how to adapt the written word. King fans will be especially happy to spot a few Kingian Easter eggs.
Catch Rainy Season at Attack of the 50ft Film Festival at 7:00pm on June 27, 2017, at The Plaza Theater in Atlanta, GA.
Don't forget to check out the official website.
Give them a Like on Facebook.
Follow them on Twitter.
Subscribe to their YouTube channel.
Posted by Woofer McWooferson in MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments
COMING SOON: The Mist (TV series) (2017)

COMING SOON: The Mist (TV series) (2017)

In 1980, Stephen King’s novella “The Mist” was published for all to experience.
In 2007, Frank Darabont brought this chilling tale to the big screen in the movie of the same title.
In 2017, Spike TV will adapt the novella for audiences all across the US to enjoy in the safety of their own home.
The first trailer for Spike TV’s adaptation of “The Mist”, has been released, and again audiences will have to ask themselves... what is scarier, the things in the mist or that which is in ourselves? The show is set up to have ten episodes and carries the tagline:
FEAR. HUMAN. NATURE.
Brief Synopsis: Small town that is engulfed by a mysterious dense mist containing monsters.
The TV show will expand on the 2007 movie release and take place over multiple locations in town, including a church and a mall. With multiple settings comes multiple personality types, all having to work together or tear each other apart in the chaos of their quiet town.
When asked if the series will establish a link to the original King novella or the 2007 Darabont movie, show creator, Christian Thorpe, told Entertainment Weekly, “It’s a weird cousin to the original material,” he says. “It has a constant ebb and flow communication with the novella. But who knows? Maybe some of the original characters will make a cameo at some point.”
Below are some of the actresses and actors that will bring this nightmare to the small screen:
  • Main character Eve Copeland is played by Alyssa Sutherland of Vikings.
  • Her husband and all around nice guy Kevin is Morgan Spector, better known for his role on Person of Interest.
  • Local sheriff Connor Heisel is brought to life by Mad Men’s Darren Pettie.
Be prepared... The Mist rolls in to your living room on Thursday, June 22, 2017, on SpikeTV.
FOLLOW THE MIST
Happy Nightmares!
ZombieGurl
Posted by ZombieGurl in HORROR NEWS, 0 comments
MOVIE REVIEW (RETRO): Revisiting Creepshow (1982), Pt. 2

MOVIE REVIEW (RETRO): Revisiting Creepshow (1982), Pt. 2

REVISITING CREEPSHOW

Part 2: I Want My Cake

Hello there kiddies! Thanks for stopping by and welcome to the second installment of my monstrous multi-part series! A repulsive and revolting retrospect to that fiendish fright-fest, Creepshow...
In the last installment, I discussed the ins and outs of the film's background, its impact upon its release, and the intro of the film. Now, let us take a look at the first story in this anthology, aptly named, "Father's Day".
This tale centers around the affluent and boorish Grantham family as they gather at their patriarch's home on Father's Day seven years after his death. Aunt Sylvia (Carrie Nye (The Screaming Skull, Too Scared To Scream)), Richard (Warner Shook (Knightriders)), Cass (Elizabeth Regan), and Cass' husband Hank Blaine (Ed Harris (The Abyss, Needful Things)) are waiting for Sylvia's Aunt Bedelia (Viveca Lindfors (Exorcist III, The Hand)) to arrive. Creepshow-Father's Day-Father's Day cake / Fair use doctrine.In the meantime, they begin to tell Hank the story of how Aunt Bedelia killed her own father, Nathan, played by Jon Lormer (Twilight Zone, Star Trek), on Father's Day, years after he had her fiance murdered in a "hunting accident". Aunt Bedelia, now an alcoholic and consumed with guilt, arrives and visits her father's grave. After getting the event off of her chest, her father's decayed corpse rises from the grave to exact his revenge. He strangles Bedelia and shortly begins murdering the rest of the family, all the while asking for his Father's Day cake.
This story is one of the best examples of a Tales From The Crypt story. Usually, someone kills another person and that person will eventually rise from the grave to exact their revenge. Although, most of the times in these tales, the previously dead would have been killed for an unjust cause. In this story, that is debatable. The Grantham family is not seen as the shining example of morality, but the family patriarch, Nathan, is surely the worst of them all. After having Bedelia's fiance killed, he is left in her care. He nags and nags about his Father's day cake as she is seen to be emotionally distraught. It's difficult to blame her for her actions, but one can say that murdering him can not be justified. As pleasing as it is to see a bad person receive their comeuppance, in general, revenge leads to more revenge. Nathan's reanimated corpse also kills the maid, Mrs. Danvers. Where some may see her as being innocent in all of this, she was witness to his murder and did nothing about it. This could make her an accomplice in some people's eyes. The only character killed that one could say was wholly innocent was Hank. I guess a vengeful animated corpse cares not for the innocent. In the end, this is a shining example of karma.
I've seen many reviews say that it is the weakest story and others say that it should have been left out. I personally feel it is a great way to start the film and give us a taste of what is in store for us. Some of the imagery is outstanding. Who could forget the scene of Sylvia's head on a platter, topped with icing and candles, and Nathan proudly proclaiming, "It's Father's Day and I got my cake. Happy Father's Day!", while Richard and Cass look on in stark terror? Hell, someone even made an action figure of this scene recently. Nathan's reanimated corpse, played by John Amplas (Day of The Dead) looks amazing. The make-up effects were done by the legendary Tom Savini (Dawn of The Dead, Maniac). One other thing that sticks out to me about Nathan's reanimated corpse is his voice. I can never get tired of hearing that ghoulish sound, it's quite terrifying. All of the actors do a great job as well, especially Viveca Lindfors. Despite her strong Swedish accent, she delivers a powerful monologue. She asked George A. Romero if she could improvise the scene. She channeled her anger over her rocky relationships with her own father and her ex-husband. The product is a realistic and emotionally-charged performance. One more thing I truly love in this story is small, but has stuck with me since I was a child. When Richard and Cass encounter Nathan at the end, Richard let's out a gasping "Oh my god!" which is quite unique. We're used to hearing people scream or just gasp in horror films, but Warner Shook decided to recite his line while inhaling. This strikes me as a very authentic reaction to seeing something so horrifying.
Creepshow-Father's Day-Aunt Bedelia / Fair use doctrine.This isn't to say this story doesn't have its downfalls. The flashback scene of Nathan nagging Bedelia for his cake is quite hammy and goofy. This could have been on purpose, perhaps Romero felt that this is how the family sees the event as they are relating it to Hank. It does retract a bit from the overall feel of the story and otherwise great performances. Another scene that isn't very good is Hank's death. He falls into the hole that was Nathan's grave and sees Bedelia's corpse. Nathan's obelisk-like tomb then slowly starts inching fotward, threatening to fall onto Hank. It seems like Hank has no sense of urgency here and just lays there staring at the tomb for seconds on end. Nothing is holding him in place. In the comic book, we see that Bedelia's lifeless corpse has rolled on top of him and he struggles to get it off of him. This slows his escape long enough for the tomb to fall onto him and crush him. Why Romero chose to portray it the way he did in the film is beyond me. Since the comic book was based on the original script, I feel King had written this into the screenplay. It's very odd and a bit comical, you just end up screaming at the screen, "Get up, you fool!"
Stephen King wrote this story specifically for this film and as I stated before, I think he wrote this as a pastiche of the general Tales From The Crypt story. He may have had some inspiration from James Joyce's book, Finnegan's Wake. In this story, the titular character falls from a ladder and dies. He is then revived when someone accidentally spills whiskey on his corpse. In Father's Day, Nathan is revived directly after Bedelia accidentally spills her whiskey at Nathan's grave. This idea originally came from an old Dublin street ballad and the Gaelic word for whiskey translates to "water of life".
This was Ed Harris' fourth role. The year before this film, Ed Harris had the starring role in Romero's previous film, Knightriders. Later in 1993, he went on to play the main character, Alan Pangborn, in the film adaptation of the novel, Needful Things. But, beyond these connections, I don't think I need to tell you how well his career has gone since his appearance in Creepshow.
Ed Harris in Creepshow / Fair use doctrine.
One more thing of note to mention is the murder weapon. Creepshow-Father's Day-ashtray / Fair use doctrine.In the flashback sequence, we see that Bedelia kills Nathan by bashing him over the head with a marble ashtray. This ashtray can be seen in every story in this film, even in the wraparound story. Maybe, you can watch the film again and make a game out of spotting each of its appearances. No, I'm not going to spoil it for you! Where's the fun in that?
Well, that concludes part 2 of my retrospect and I've suddenly got myself a hankering for some cake. How about you? In any case, don't be a nunk head and join me next time as I take a look at the next spooky story, "The Lonesome Death of Jordy Verril..."
Posted by Alf Benny in MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments
COMING SOON: IT (2017) Teaser Trailer

COMING SOON: IT (2017) Teaser Trailer

Well, the long-awaited trailer for the theatrical adaptation of Stephen King’s IT is here and boy does it look good. In case you’re not aware, this is one of two IT movies that are planned. This one is considered IT: Part 1: The Loser’s Club.
Before I get into any discussion of this, let me clarify by saying that I’m a huge fan of the book and a pretty big fan of the original TV miniseries. Thus, when I heard they were remaking it, I was less than pleased with the idea. Who, after all, will be able to give Pennywise the personality that Tim Curry did? Then you look at the rest of the cast: John Ritter, Annette O’Toole, Jonathan Brandis, Dennis Christopher, Harry Anderson, Tim Reid, and even Richard Thomas. What great jobs they all did bringing these characters to life. Sure, parts of the book were missing, but there are parts that will never be seen on screen, and that’s all I’ll say about those.
The first name I heard was Bill Skarsgård (Hemlock Grove, Allegiant). I wasn’t sure since it was attached to Pennywise and, as I said before, Tim Curry is Pennywise. The next name was Finn Wolfhard (Stranger Things) who would be taking on the Seth Green role as Richie Tozier (Beep, beep, Richie!) and found myself a little bit more interested. I’d assumed that Finn would be playing Bill Denbrough, the role played by Jonathan Brandis (as a kid and Richard Thomas as an adult), so I was surprised to learn that part would be played by Jaeden Lieberher (Masters of Sex). The rest of The Losers Club are Sophia Lillis (A Midsummer Night’s Dream) as Beverly Marsh, Wyatt Oleff (Guardians of the Galaxy) as Stan Uris, Jeremy Ray Taylor (The History of Us) as Ben Hanscom, Jack Dylan Grazer (Tales of Halloween) as Eddie Kaspbrak, and Chosen Jacobs (Hawaii Five-0) as Mike Hanlon.
IT_The Losers Club / Fair use doctrine.
I’m afraid I’m not familiar with most of their work, but I liked what I saw in the first teaser trailer, which is now out. And I find myself very interested. Take a look for yourself and let us know what you think.

Posted by Woofer McWooferson in HORROR NEWS, 0 comments
MOVIE REVIEW (RETRO): Revisiting Creepshow (1982), Pt. 1

MOVIE REVIEW (RETRO): Revisiting Creepshow (1982), Pt. 1

REVISITING CREEPSHOW

Part I: That's Why God Made Fathers

Hello there, kiddies! Thanks for stopping by and welcome to my monstrous multi-part series! A repulsive and revolting retrospect to that fiendish fright-fest, Creepshow...
When I was a kid, Saturdays were a special day relegated to staring at my television all day long. The mornings were full of cartoons. Late morning to early afternoon, we watched wrestling, 70s kung-fu, or giant monster films. But, later in the day came the horror movies. This was the best time to be glued to that screen. One of my favorite films, which they ran quite often, was Creepshow. I was too young to remember this film’s theatrical release, but I can imagine that the combination of George A. Romero and Stephen King was enough to make most horror fans' hearts thump erratically. In fact, this was one of the first horror films I can remember watching, along with Psycho and Night of The Living Dead. It was also one of the films that jump started my love for Stephen King and soon afterwards I was begging my mother to buy me one of his books. She purchased Night Shift (an anthology of short stories) from a flea market for 50 cents.
As an obsessive fan of horror and comic books, this was the perfect film for me. It brought together two of my favorite things that, at the time, was not easy for a young boy to find. To Romero and King, it was an homage to the comic books they loved as kids, EC horror comics like Tales From The Crypt, The Vault of Horror, and The Haunt of Fear. Comic books were all but exclusively about superheroes by the time I was old enough to enjoy them and I didn't even know that horror-themed comic books had ever existed. In fact, by the time the Tales From The Crypt television series first aired, I thought they were ripping off Creepshow! Boy was I wrong.
The year was 1982 and Warner Brothers was trying to decide when was the best time to release this strangely-toned R-rated film. Summer is usually the time most people go to the movies, but horror films do better closer to Halloween. They knew they couldn't release it before October 31st as the Halloween film series was dominating ticket sales for their last two releases. Michael Myers was becoming a household name and Creepshow would definitely be overshadowed by it. In an unusual move, they decided to give it a limited summer release in the Boston area. They gave it a four-week trial run, and it was met with great sales and high praise. Upon hearing that Halloween III: Season of The Witch would not feature Michael Myers, much to the lament of the fans of the series, they predicted that tickets sales for the film would dry up quickly. They were correct. Creepshow was released in theaters worldwide on November 12, 1982. It grossed well over $5 million in its opening weekend and knocked First Blood off of the number one spot. The first and only George A. Romero film to open at number one at the weekend box office. By the end of its run, the film grossed over $21 million in the US, becoming Warner Brothers’ biggest horror hit of the year.
Creepshow consists of five terrifying tales written by Stephen King. This is the only time George A. Romero directed a film that he didn't write. Three stories were written specifically for the film, while the other two were adaptations of short stories previously released in magazines. Most of the tales follow the stereotypical Tales of The Crypt formula. Someone commits a horrific act and it eventually comes back to haunt them, usually in the form of a murdered individual returning from the dead with a horrifying visage. Karma...
The film begins with a wraparound story about a boy who loves to read horror comics, but his father sees it as trash and refuses to allow his son to read it. I think this is an ever relevant topic, especially to 80s kids who listened to Heavy Metal and played Dungeons & Dragons. There was a huge push back against them at the time as they were thought to be teaching kids Satanism. To Romero and King, this was a callback to the similar attack on comic books in the 50s, which led to the self-regulating organization, Comics Code Authority and eventually the fall of horror comics.
The Creepshow comic book props and artwork seen in this story and the rest of the film were drawn and inked by Jack Kamen, a legendary artist in a variety of genres for EC Comics. He also drew the comic book cover-style movie poster. Originally, King wanted Graham Ingels (famous for his work on The Haunt of Fear and Tales from The Crypt) for the artwork. If you've ever read King’s non-fiction book about horror in film, radio, print, and comics, Danse Macabre, or the short story, The Boogeyman, then you know Stephen King thinks highly of Ingels' artwork. Unfortunately, Ingels was not interested. So, William M. Gaines (publisher and co-editor of EC Comics) recommended Kamen.
Playing the father Stan in this story is a non-mustachioed Tom Atkins (The Fog, Escape From New York, Night of the Creeps), who also starred in Halloween III which was released two weeks prior and was in direct competition. He also worked with Romero later on in Two Evil Eyes and Bruiser. Playing the horror comic reading son, Billy, is Stephen King's eldest son, Joseph King, who eventually grew up to become a best-selling author in his own right, under the pseudonym, Joe Hill (Horns, The Fireman). During a break, Stephen took Joe out to McDonald's, he had the make-up crew put scars and cuts and bruises on Joe as a joke. After leaving the drive-thru, the girl working the register called the police. Stephen had to explain to the police that they were making a movie and it was all a gag.
The scene ends with Stan smacking Billy for talking back and then throwing the comic in the trash. Afterwards, Billy is visited by The Creep, hovering outside his window heralding the upcoming horrors. Billy smiles at The Creep, knowing full-well that his revenge against his strict father is at hand. Although it is quite an evil notion, and should not be seen as good, this is an emotion most children have felt at one point. A concept that we can all relate to. This is followed by an animated intro with drawn images of all of the stories encompassing the film. I also loved this as a kid and I would be lying if I said, I didn't love it now.
Well, that concludes part one of my retrospect. I hope you enjoyed it. Join me next time kiddies, when we take a look at the first terrifying tale of the bunch — Father's Day...
Posted by Alf Benny in MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 1 comment
HISTORY OF HORROR: SEPTEMBER

HISTORY OF HORROR: SEPTEMBER

By Woofer McWooferson

Join House of Tortured Souls as we celebrate significant dates in the history of horror in September. Click on thumbnails for full images.

September 1 - 7

09/01/1939 – The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1939) released
theatrically
Poster The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1939) Copyright RKO Radio Pictures
Poster Universal Pictures
09/02/1923 – The Hunchback of Notre Dame released
theatrically
09/02/1978 – Dawn of the Dead released
theatrically
Fair use doctrine.
Image credit erinc salor
09/05/1942 – Werner Herzog (director of Nosferatu: Phantom der Nacht) born
09/06/1879 – Max Schreck (actor who portrayed Count Orlok in Nosferatu) born
Public domain
Image Universal Pictures
09/06/1925 – The Phantom of the Opera (1925) released theatrically
09/07/1940 – Dario Argento (director, producer, and screenwriter of Suspira and other horror films) born
Photo by Ian Gavan - © 2012 Getty Images - Image courtesy gettyimages.com
Photo by Bobby Bank - © 2010 Bobby Bank - Image courtesy gettyimages.com
09/07/1954 – Doug Bradley (best known as Pinhead in the Hellraiser film series) born
09/07/2004 – Silent Hill 4: The Room released on the PlayStation, Xbox, and PC in North America
Image Konami

September 8 - 14

Fair use doctrine.
09/08/1990 – Bride of Re-Animator released theatrically
09/09/1954 – Jeffrey Combs (actor in many horror films) born
© Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Fair use doctrine.
09/09/1997 – Cube released theatrically
09/09/2004 – Resident Evil Outbreak File #2 released for the PlayStation 2 in Japan
Image Capcom
Copyright 2005 Sony Pictures
09/09/2005 – The Exorcism of Emily Rose released theatrically
09/10/1993 – The X-Files premieres on television
Fair use doctrine.
Fair use doctrine.
09/10/2004 – Resident Evil: Apocalypse released theatrically
09/11/1987 – Hellraiser released theatrically
Fair use doctrine.
Fair use doctrine.
09/11/1992 – Candyman released theatrically
09/12/1958 – The Blob (1958) released theatrically
Fair use doctrine.
Photo by Apger - © MPTV - Image courtesy mptvimages.com.
09/12/1992 – Anthony Perkins (actor who portrayed Norman Bates in the Psycho films) dies (b. 1932)
09/13/1913 – Paul Wegener (director of The Golem: How He Came Into the World) dies (b. 1874)
Photo by A7A08A39_023.jpg - © Archives du 7e Art/Deutsche Bioscop - Image courtesy photo12.com.
Fair use doctrine.
09/13/1991 – Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare released theatrically
09/13/2005 – Supernatural premieres on television
Fair use doctrine.
Fair use doctrine.
09/14/1960 – The Little Shop of Horrors (1960) released theatrically

September 15 - 21

09/15/1974 – The Ghost Galleon released theatrically
© Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc. All Rights Reserved.
09/16/1963 – The Outer Limits premiered on television
09/16/2002 – Castlevania: Harmony of Dissonance released on the Game Boy Advance in the US
Box art. Fair use doctrine.
Movie poster. Fair use doctrine.
09/16/2005 – Cry_Wolf released theatrically
09/17/2004 – Silent Hill 4: The Room released on the PlayStation, Xbox, and PC in Europe
Image: Konami.
Fair use doctrine.
09/17/2004 – Resident Evil Outbreak released on the PlayStation 2 in Europe
09/18/1963 – The Haunting (1963) released theatrically
Movie poster. Fair use doctrine.
Movie poster. Fair use doctrine.
09/18/1998 – The Dentist 2: Brace Yourself released theatrically
09/20/1940 – The Mummy’s Hand released theatrically
Movie poster. Fair use doctrine.
Fair use doctrine.
09/20/1975 – Asia Argento (actress in many horror films, daughter of Dario Argento and Daria Nicolodi) born
09/21/1947 – Stephen King born
Fair use doctrine.
Movie poster. Fair use doctrine.
09/21/1984 – The Company of Wolves released theatrically in the UK

September 22 - 28

09/22/1986 – Castlevania released for the Nintendo Entertainment System
Box art. Fair use doctrine.
Movie poster. Fair use doctrine.
09/22/1995 – Se7en released theatrically
09/22/1999 – Resident Evil 3: Nemesis released for the PlayStation in Japan
Box art. Fair use doctrine.
Movie poster. Fair use doctrine.
09/23/1988 – Dead Ringers released theatrically
09/24/2001 – Silent Hill 2 released on the PlayStation, Xbox, and PC in the US
Fair use doctrine.
Movie poster. Fair use doctrine.
09/24/2002 – Vampires: Los Muertos released on video in the US
09/24/2004 – Shaun of the Dead released theatrically in the US
Movie poster. Fair use doctrine.
Movie poster. Fair use doctrine.
09/25/1959 – The Mummy (1959) released theatrically
09/25/1994 – Alone in the Dark 2 released on PC
Box art. Fair use doctrine.
Movie poster. Fair use doctrine.
09/25/1998 – Urban Legend released theatrically
09/26/1962 – Carnival of Souls released theatrically
Movie poster. Fair use doctrine.
Fair use doctrine.
09/26/1970 – Sheri Moon (actress in House of 1000 Corpses, The Devil’s Rejects, Toolbox Murders) born
09/27/1985 – The New Twilight Zone premiered on television
Fair use doctrine.
Box art. Fair use doctrine.
09/27/2001 – Silent Hill 2 released on the PlayStation, Xbox, and PC in Japan
09/28/1987 – Friday the 13th: The Series premiered on television
Title card. Fair use doctrine.
Fair use doctrine.
09/28/2007 – Moonlight premiered on television
09/29/1955 – The Night of the Hunter released theatrically
Movie poster. Fair use doctrine.
Movie poster. Fair use doctrine.
09/29/1995 – Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers released theatrically

September 30

09/30/1984 – Tales from the Darkside premiered on television
Title card. Fair use doctrine.
Movie poster. Fair use doctrine.
09/30/1988 – Elvira, Mistress of the Dark released theatrically
09/30/2005 – Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow released on the Nintendo DS in the European Union
Box art. Fair use doctrine.
Posted by Woofer McWooferson in HORROR HISTORY, 0 comments