Blood Reign Lit Mag Premiers Friday 13; At the Movies: The Grave a Southern Gothic Treasure
“BLOOD REIGN LITERARY MAGAZINE is a new digital magazine that caters to lovers of the horror genre,” was the lead in examiner.com’s November 4th announcement. “Its premier issue comes out on Friday the 13th. December 13th is the last Friday the 13th for this year. The launch on such a bizarre day is to pay homage to the movie franchise and will set a precursor for the parent company, Thrillerz 13 Entertainment as it releases special items on the 13th. The annual anthology will debut in 2014 will also release on a Friday 13th, this one in June 2014, the only ‘Freaky Friday’ for 2014.
“The debut edition is shaping up to be an amazing smash! Even though its primary focus is to offer a voice to new or relatively unknown authors occasionally better known, active members of the Horror Writers Association have given it notice. James S. Dorr offers us a view of the macabre with a reprint of his short, ‘The First Hundred Years,’ and L. Andrew Cooper’s anthology submission, ‘Silence.’
“Submissions for the December issue closed officially on November 1st allowing writers to have most of October to offer their morbid best. . . .”
And now here it is, available and on time from Editor Kristina Stancil. For my submission (cf. November 1), “The First Hundred Years” is a zombie story but of the traditional, pre-Romero sort, about Haitian folk-beliefs and magic — and why you don’t want to mess with someone who knows how to use it. But other types of horror abound as well, including vampires, ghosts, and the paranormal according to the blurb on Smashwords, which adds, however, this word of warning. “Adult-content rating: This book contains content considered unsuitable for young readers 17 and under, and which may be offensive to some readers of all ages.”
But also, last night (after midnight so it was the 13th too) I watched a film that only about five minutes in I realized I’d seen on TV before. Many years before — but that I still remembered enough to be glad I’d now found at a library sale and could watch again. THE GRAVE is a surprisingly well acted Southern Gothic, scary as needed and peppered with dark humor. And in that first five minutes, just the music accompanying the credits also reminded me of the Stephen King/John Mellencamp musical GHOST BROTHERS OF DARKLAND COUNTY (see October 11), reinforced in the opening scene in a prison cell, dark, with two people seen in silhouette, one speaking in a hoarse, raspy voice as a narrator-guide, complete with homey aphorisms here and again as the film played out, reminiscent of (and even sounding like) GHOST BROTHERS’ “Zydeco Cowboy.”
The premise, as others have said, may not be new — the somewhat chance joining of disparate people in a treasure hunt, in this case for a fortune left by the region’s richest man, that no one could find a trace of when he died. So, getting a clue from one of their fellows, two prisoners escape from the state farm with one of the guards’ help and start the search, bringing in an ex-girlfriend, and a parolee now employed as a mortician, and friends of his, one a good ol’ boy as dumb as a post, and. . . . Well, the common bond between them is greed, to which add no sense of honor among thieves, and you just know it’s not going to end well. There’s even one small scene that reminded me of the first SAW movie, which, however, THE GRAVE preceded by some eight years.
And yes, the treasure is found in a grave, or rather beneath one — and not the grave of the rich man himself — in a cemetery out in the swamp, remote and eerie, and excellently suited for double crosses.
THE GRAVE is available on VHS (though not on DVD that I could find) and, apparently sort of a minor cult classic, may cost a few dollars. It’s worth the price.