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BOOK REVIEW: Chris Sun’s ED (2016)

BOOK REVIEW: Chris Sun’s ED (2016)

Exploring the novel ED
by Chris Sun

Chris Sun is known for his work in Australia as one of the leading local filmmakers. His films reach as many fans in the independent horror circuit worldwide, as those of the likes of popular Australian filmmaker Greg McLeanChris has created various independent films and is known for his hit Charlie’s Farm (2014), Daddy’s Little Girl(2015), and the upcoming November 23rd release at Melbourne’s Monster Fest, front-runner BOAR (2017). ED marks Chris’ debut novel and is available for purchase directly from Slaughter FX, along with Chris’ films.
Charlie's Farm (2014) / Fair use doctrine.Daddy's Little Girl (2012) / Fair use doctrine.Boar (2017) / Fair use doctrine.

This is my first review of a horror novel, but once I finally began to read Chris Sun’s ED, I was immediately immersed in the seedy strip club, creative body horror, and sexualized world of Sun’s forward-talking serial killer lead.

In ED, we meet Larry Penklesten, a cocky, self-assured, and handsome car salesman with an incredibly dark and secret world of his own. When Larry isn’t out getting quite literally fucked (or fucking someone) royal, he’s trolling for his next victim. That is because Larry thinks the ghost of the Butcher of Plainfield himself, Ed Gein, visits him and mentors him through his murderous blood lust. Larry has (as described feverishly) a really big cock, that is able to magically pleasure any woman willing to ride it!

The language and atmosphere Sun carves out in those sexual scenes, are enough to make a girl’s thighs sweat with desire. Each sexual encounter is written so vividly that every thrust and gasp of orgasmic pleasure is palpable. The scene between Larry and Evie in a strip club bathroom is imprinted in my mind days after finishing the novel (pages 245-249 for anyone interested). Larry is also great at his job, which creates a desirability within his work place with both males and females on varied levels.

Ed (2016) / Fair use doctrine.We know that Larry loves the ladies, but ultimately Larry loves to fuck and kill so much more. His differing styles and attitudes toward each victim he mutilates made me recoil in both shock and awe. Throughout the novel, Larry kills a series of prostitutes and strippers, or people looking for gay or even group sex in online forums. He selects his victims carefully either online or in person at strip clubs, bars or on the street, and he likes to murder and dismember his victims.

Sun’s careful use of language creates a vivid picture of Larry’s playful rearranging of the bodies as he intriguingly turns humans into various items of furniture. The descriptive prose and first-person narrative Sun employs — through Larry’s eyes — helped me to feel in tune with Larry’s behavior. The reader is immersed in the scene and assaulted by the sights, smells, and visuals of the world that Sun creates, and we are lost within it all.

The reader feels each knife stab, each stitch threaded, each bone crunch; in a dramatic flair, many horror readers are accustomed to when reading books by the largely published writers.

I loved how Sun investigated Larry’s mental instability through his urges.

The scenes with his victims’ ghosts all verbally abusing him in his car was another of the more memorable for me (very An American Werewolf in London) and his interactions with Ed’s ‘ghost’ are just at times hilarious.

The novel’s climax is told through two stories. I will try not go into too much detail to avoid spoiling the read for anyone who purchases ED. as all HoTAs fans know, I am not a fan of spoilers.

Ed (2016) / Fair use doctrine.The first story twists theperspective we have followed all along, switching the core narrative in a strange fashion and varying the events we have witnessed unfolding thus far. This is a technique I have seen before, and although somewhat confusing at first, it became an interesting moment in the book.

The second follows on from the twisted core narrative and draws us back into the original concepts, making us feel Larry’s harrowing anxiety and panic as a wave of confusion floods him. It takes a moment to find itself again, but once it plants its feet firmly in the ground, we are left with many questions regarding a possibility of a continuation to ED.

The open-ended finale was a great turn of events, and I happily await a possible second book…..or will ED become the next written version of an icon like Jason Voorhees, Hannibal Lector, or Victor Crowley? Or even Chris Sun’s next cinematic adventure?

If you enjoy a very Norman Bates-meets-Patrick Bateman style of story, I think ED is a must have for your bookshelf.


Posted by Michelle MIDI Sayles in BOOKS, COMICS, AND PUBLICATION REVIEWS, REVIEWS, SLASHERS AND BAD HUMANS, STAFF PICKS, 0 comments
What’s HoTs in Mainstream Horror?

What’s HoTs in Mainstream Horror?

This year has seen many exciting releases cinematically and on DVD / Bluray for horror fans, from the thrilling John Krasinski film A Quiet Place to the latest addition to the Children of the Corn franchise Runaway.

As usual, the genre is so varied and in the coming months, 2018 is set to provide us with even more variety to enjoy on both the big and small screen.

Here’s a sample of what’s to come.

Coming to Cinemas

Mainstream Horror: Slender Man (2018)Cinematically we begin with the release of the long-awaited film Slender Man, On August 24th. Based on the 2011 myth created as part of a competition, the film supposedly investigates that and the resulting case where two 12-year-old girls attempted to murder their friend in the woods, claiming it was because of Slender Man in 2014.
Mainstream Horror: The Little Stranger (2018)The next release will be The Little Stranger, which will hit cinemas on August 31st. Starring Domhall Gleeson, Ruth Wilson, and Charlotte Rampling, this release focuses on a ghost story and is being described as a stylistic thriller set in a big British country house.
Mainstream Horror: The Predator (2018)Many fans will be excited on September 14th, when The Predator is finally released. This newest installment of the franchise is co-written and directed by Shane Black (who actually played Hawkins in the original Predator film back in 1987) and will feature the Predator within suburbia.
Mainstream Horror: Mandy (2018)On September 14th the film Mandy will hit the big screen. Panos Cosmatos directs this film set in 1983 in the wilderness. The film stars Nic Cage and focuses on a supernatural revenge drama, sinister cultists, and demons on motorbikes.
Mainstream Horror: The House with a Clock in Its Walls (2018)The House With A Clock In Its Walls will arrive on September 21st. It is about a 10-year-old boy who awakens the dead, a sleepy town becomes filled with all kinds of interesting and dark creatures. This is Directed by Eli Roth and stars Jack Black, Cate Blanchett, and Kyle McLachlan.
Mainstream Horror: Halloween (2018)October wouldn’t be perfect without the release of the long-awaited return of John Carpenter with his beloved Halloween on October 17th. Following the original release (as a direct sequel), we will pick up 40 years later, with Laurie yet again having a face-off with Michael.
Mainstream Horror: Suspiria (2018)On November 2nd we will see the controversial release, of the long-awaited American remake of Dario Argento’s classic film Suspiria. The film focuses on the darkness that envelopes a dance troupe, focusing on an ambitious young dancer and a grieving psychotherapist. Will fans embrace this remake? Only time will tell.

Coming to DVD and Blu-ray
As for the big DVD and Blu-ray releases coming in the remainder of the year, most will help fans revisit some of the biggest releases of this year so far.

Mainstream Horror: Boar (2017)On August 15th, Australian filmmaker Chris Sun’s Boar is released on DVD and Blu-ray and on demand. For preorders, you can head to Sun’s website for Slaughter FX and secure a copy early. The film is centered on a large boar terrorizing a family and members of a small outback community. It stars Bill Moseley, Nathan Jones, and John Jarratt.
Mainstream Horror: Cargo (2017)On September 5th Cargo will be released.  Cargo features Martin Freeman in this story about the aftermath of a pandemic and one desperate infected father’s struggle to find his infant child and protect her, even from him.
Mainstream Horror: Hereditary (2018)Two weeks later on September 19th, fans will be able to get their own copy of the film Hereditary in stores. It stars Toni Collette in a chilling film about a mother dealing with grief while trying to understand her daughter’s strange behavior. With a mixed reaction at the box office, will fans flock to buy their copy?
Mainstream Horror: Mary Shelley (2017)And finally, on November 14th, we will get the Mary Shelley DVD and Blu-ray release. Starring Elle Fanning, this is a retelling of the story of Frankenstein author Mary Shelley that did quite well at the screenings it had in April and May at various film festivals.
Posted by Michelle MIDI Sayles in COMING SOON, HORROR NEWS, NEW RELEASES, 0 comments
THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE UGLY OF  MONSTER FEST SYDNEY 2018

THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE UGLY OF MONSTER FEST SYDNEY 2018

The last three days have been a whirlwind of screening delight at the second Sydney Monster Fest . From 7 pm on Friday, 9 March 2018, night until 11 pm on Sunday, 11 March 2018, Monster Fest screened a total of twelve films, and of those twelve, two were short films.

Unfortunately, there were two films I could not attend due to time restraints. These were Stefan Ruzowitzky’s Cold Hell (a German thriller about a woman in hiding following witnessing a murder) and Luke Shanahan’s Rabbit (noted as a strong, well driven Australian thriller surrounding the disappearance of a girl’s sister). Next year I shall be clearing my schedule to attend all of the screenings available as both, I felt, offered so many possibilities as a film fan, and I did want to see them.

Monster Fest 2018 - Living Space Q&A 01

Steven Spiel’s Living Space Q&A, 1 of 3

At Monster Fest, Australia served up some more homegrown horror with the two shorts Edward and Melissa LyonsAlfred J Hemlock (an impressive revamping of the better the devil you know style dealings with a hilariously lovable comedic twist- that kick-started the festival ahead of the opening screening) and Ren Thackham’s and Fliss Keep’s Tightly Ground ( a boring and rather overindulgent hipster attempt at satire with a bit of murder thrown in). As well as the films like Steven Spiel’s superb Living Space (an awesome time looping thriller featuring some pure moments of amazement – including a human swastika!), Daniel Armstrong’s Tarnation (which despite an impressively campy premise was ultimately an abysmal film featuring a group of annoyingly bad actors facing perils of obscure concepts – penis bugs, demonic unicorns and zombie kangaroos all sound great but if executed poorly are not as fun as hoped), and the standout Mystery Movie that ended the festival Chris Sun’s desperately anticipated BOAR.

Monster Fest 2018 - Living Space Q&A 02

Steven Spiel’s Living Space Q&A, 2 of 3

Monster Fest 2018 - Living Space Q&A 03

Steven Spiel’s Living Space Q&A, 3 of 3

BOAR is a beast of a film all of its own which features a huge quality bag full of lovable Australian larrikin humor, great creature effects and a cast of likable and deliberately unlikeable characters. Switching from the douchebag boyfriend Robert (played so well by Hugh Sheridan), to the hulking gentle giant uncle Bernie (played adorably by Nathan Jones) and even familiar faces such as John Jarratt, Bill Moseley, and even Steve Bisley, Sun has his star-studded cast guide this film superbly through the sentimental, the comedic and the terrifying!

From the USA, Monster Fest secured screenings of Johannes Roberts’ The Strangers 2: Prey at Night (which for me knocks the original out of the picture through its musically rich murderous antics and opened the festival with a bang alongside Alfred J Hemlock), the 1987 classic Fred Dekker film The Monster Squad (I had never seen this and am a huge lover of it now!!!!) , and  their 4K restoration screening of the classic George. A. Romero’s Night of the Living Dead (crisper clear quality without losing the original film’s awesomeness).

Canada served up Adam MacDonald’s Pyewacket, an impressive occult themed film about the suffering that follows a loss. It starred The Walking Dead’s Laurie Holden and Vancouver actress Nicole Munoz (both dove deep to create likable and unlikeable aspects to their tortured characters).

Lastly, from Turkey came the Can Evrenol film Housewife, an inexplainable romp into the insanity that it displays thoroughly throughout. With dream realms, surreal ongoing and a beginning classic to any horror film, you will not be let down by this film. Brilliant!!

All in all, Monster Fest was a thoroughly amazing viewing experience and I cannot wait for any further screenings throughout the year or events like this one. I will be there!

Posted by Michelle MIDI Sayles in EVENT REVIEWS, MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, STAFF PICKS, 0 comments
BEWARE AS MONSTERFEST APPROACHES!

BEWARE AS MONSTERFEST APPROACHES!

In a couple of days, the MONSTERFEST Travelling Sideshow will hit Sydney Australia, beginning the Australian run of early year premieres and film screenings with Q & A sessions.

This year’s screening list varies from new to old, funny to horrifying and even local to foreign horror.

The MONSTERFEST Travelling Sideshow is held at the Event Cinemas, 505- 525 George Street, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.

The screenings will occur over three days beginning in the evening on Friday, the 9th of March, and finishing with the final screening at 9:30 pm on Sunday, the 11th of March.

The screening list is as follows:

FRIDAY, 9 MARCH 2018

7:00 pm — The Strangers Prey At Night

MonsterFest - The Strangers: Prey at NightThis is the Australian premiere of the American film The Strangers Prey At Night and it will screen hours before the official international release of the film. Before the film screens, patrons will also get the chance to view the Australian horror comedy short Alfred J Hemlock.

930 pm — Pyewacket

MonsterFest - PyewacketThis is the Sydney Premiere of the Canadian horror thriller occult independent film Pyewacket , featuring former The Walking Dead star Laurie Holden.

SATURDAY, 10 MARCH 2018

2:30 pm — The Monster Squad

MonsterFest - The Monster SquadThis will be a screening event of the classic 1987 family-friendly action horror comedy film The Monster Squad.

4:30 pm — Night of The Living Dead (4K Restoration)

MonsterFest - Night of the Living DeadThis is the World Premiere of this 1968 George.A.Romero zombie classic since it has had a 4K restoration and will be crisply screened for MONSTERFEST patrons.

7:00 pm — Living Space

MONSTERFEST proudly presents not only the World premiere of the Australian independent horror film Living Space but also MONSTERFEST will be hosting a Q & A session at the event with writer/director Steven Spiel, producer Natalie Forward, Cinematographer Branco Grabovac and stars Emma Leonard, Georgia Chara, and Leigh Scully.

9:30 pm — Rabbit

Vendetta films presents the Sydney Premiere of Rabbit, an independent Australian horror film and will be including a Q & A session with writer/ director Luke Shanahan and producer David Ngo.

SUNDAY, 11 MARCH 2018

2:15 pm –Tarnation

MonsterFest - TarnationAnother Australian film’s Sydney Premiere, Tarnation, is presented by Monster Pictures and features a crossbow-wielding paraplegic, possessed cultists, penis bugs, a demonic unicorn, and a zombie kangaroo. This screening will also be shown with a short 7-minute film called Tightly Ground which will also be making its Sydney debut.

4:30 pm — Housewife

This fresh slice of Turkish horror called Housewife is set to get Australian horror friends talking with it joining the MONSTERFEST line up for its Sydney premiere.

7:00 pm — Cold Hell

Also stepping onto the line up will be the Sydney premiere of the German horror film Cold Hell.

9:15 pm — ???????Mystery Screening???????

This screening is a mystery to all who attend and will not be announced until just before the film hits the screen at its Sydney premiere. All patrons know is that it is an Australian creature feature and will have an amazing bevy of local talent within it.

Speculation is that it will be Chris Sun’s Boar finally making its way to Sydney (only having screened once at its world premiere in Melbourne at MONSTERFEST’s Opening Night Gala in November). Fans are very hopeful…and so am I!

Posted by Michelle MIDI Sayles in COMING SOON, EVENTS, HORROR NEWS, STAFF PICKS, 0 comments