Posts Tagged ‘Horror’

Hopefully not to the former!  But the question does come up, what about Valentine’s Day for those people you don’t like so much?  And with less than a month left, here is one answer courtesy of Angel Orona on Facebook’s SHIT JUST GOT WEIRD, “Delivered in Hate: In the Victorian Era, People Sent These Grotesque ‘Vinegar Valentines’ to Their Enemies” from VINTAGE.ES (a.k.a. VINTAGE EVERYDAY).  Or, possibly better, maybe you shouldn’t be hanging around so much with people like that in the first place.

Nevertheless we are into horror and, who knows, one could be on the receiving end too.  So as the February feast day approaches, if only to be forewarned press here.

Then back to business, it was an odd sort of contract, an interactive one in a way, but contracts are contracts and this was received from ITTY BITTY WRITING SPACE Editor Jason Brick earlier this afternoon (cf. just below, January 19).  I hope you’re still jazzed about this anthology.  The team and I sure are.  Today, though, we’re mostly about business.  More fun stuff comes later, but it’s always best to get the money and contract stuff done early so everybody’s on the same page and nobody’s feelings get hurt.  It was followed by a preview of what would be covered, and then:  If this still sounds like your idea of a good time, click the button below.  It will take you to a Google form where you sign off on this plain-English agreement.  From there, you’re in and we’re all set to move forward.

And there, step by step, one could check the “yes” boxes as each point came up, finally typing one’s name and the date — all easy and neat and uncomplicated, an interesting idea!  Be that as it may, I did as required, and back it went.


Well, at 750 words my flash piece “The Junkie” is an itty bitty story so, when the call went out for an anthology called ITTY BITTY WRITING SPACE, who was I to resist?  The idea is, as I understand it, that one hundred stories at 1000 or fewer words each will be accepted for the book, “any genre welcome, just keep it awesome.”  Pay — and perhaps even just publication — will depend on Kickstarter success in the near future, so watch these pages for an announcement and link when I know it.

But I get ahead of myself.  The point is that in less than a day’s time, at 9:37 last night according to the time stamp, the email came:  I am thrilled to accept “The Junkie” for the book.  You are now officially confirmed.  This was followed by information on a mailing list for further details plus a request for my confirmation that I was still interested, which I returned.

So, again, check back here for future info and, when the Kickstarter is announced, be aware that generosity will be appreciated by ninety-nine authors as well as me.  And then, when the time comes, enjoy an all-new story (hint:  it does have a zombie in it) by me.

Friday’s street mail brought my copy of RE-TERRIFIED, with my story “Gas” (see July 10), fourth and last of Pole to Publishing’s all-reprint “Re-Imagined” series.  Previous titles were RE-LAUNCH, RE-ENCHANT, and RE-QUEST (cf. December 29, et al), each of which also includes a story by me.  The titles also suggest the book themes, the first science fiction, the next two fantasy, and finally horror or, to let the back cover blurb tell it:  Vengeful undead.  Demons.  Hungry Rats.  These creatures and more haunt city streets, unlit hallways, deep space, and the corners of your imagination in RE-TERRIFY.

My story, “Gas,” originally published in the Winter 1994-95 EULOGY, falls into the “unlit hallways” category and was inspired by the basement of Indiana University’s Chemistry Building.  But it has chemicals in it too, and not always used for the nicest of purposes.  To find out more about this and seventeen other stories, one can check out the publisher’s page for RE-TERRIFY by pressing here.

Not every list on this blog is of movies, and this one is too delicious to pass up.  So the entries are varied, music videos (Michael Jackson with THRILLER, one of the early starts), individual scenes (the line dance in DEAD AND BREAKFAST), shorts and cartoons (LULLABYE, the video at the end of PLANTS VS. ZOMBIES), stage plays (RE-ANIMATOR:  THE MUSICAL), as well as full-length films (ANNA AND THE APOCALYPSE, at number 1) — including at number 3 the play EVIL DEAD:  THE MUSICAL (for which see below, December 15).  To see for yourself, check out “Zombie Musicals are the Perfect Genre Mash-up” by Seanan McGuire, on TOR.COM, by pressing here.  Then enjoy, enjoy.

‘Crow and Rat’ by James Dorr is a mesmerisingly unusual love story with a dark edge, post-apocalyptic urban myth feel.
Yes, they’re at it again, those two malcontents Rat and Crow, byblows from the world depicted in TOMBS:  A CHRONICLE OF LATTER-DAY TIMES OF EARTH.  But their story was in a different book, HUMANAGERIE (see December 16, October 28, 3, et al.), published in the UK by Eibonvale Press.  And so the above came in Saturday’s email from HUMANAGERIE Editors Allen Ashley and Sarah Doyle:  Some of you may have seen this on social media, but I’m getting in touch because I thought people might like to read this wonderful review of our beastly book, written by renowned poet, critic and publisher, Sarah James, for Abegail Morley’s Poetry Shed.  Such a detailed and sensitive reading is really heartening; Allen and I are so pleased to see you all recognised and appreciated.  To see it all for yourself, press here.
Also a second, more eclectic review appeared about a month ago on the blog RAMEAU’S NEPHEW by nullimmortalis, which can be seen here.  This takes an impressionistic approach and doesn’t necessarily cover the the book’s entire contents, but “Crow and Rat” is there, as seventh in the listed items.  Of interest as well is a link in that item to a review of the BRITISH FANTASY SOCIETY JOURNAL, October 2014, and another story — which does appear in my novel-in-stories, TOMBS, incidentally — “Flute and Harp.”
(From the DVD)  From master storyteller, Guillermo del Toro, comes THE SHAPE OF WATER, an otherworldly fairy tale set against the backdrop of Cold War America circa 1962.  In the hidden, high-security government laboratory where she works, lonely Elisa (Sally Hawkins) is trapped in a life of isolation.  Elisa’s life is changed forever when she and co-worker Zelda (Octavia Spencer) discover a secret classified experiment.  Rounding out the case are Michael Shannon, Richard Jenkens, Michael Stuhlbarg, and Doug Jones.  
Thursday “at the movies” we watched the Swedish film BORDER (for which see below, January 11) with its description in part as [b]lending supernatural folklore and contemporary social issues, the film explores themes of tribalism, racism, and fear of the “other.”  So last night, Friday, I made it a point to watch THE SHAPE OF WATER on DVD, a film cut in part from the same thematic cloth, but with another theme as well that permeates both films:  that of loneliness.  Both films’ protagonists are themselves in some part “the other” and, in both instances, come up against a recognized non-human creature of folklore and find within themselves an affinity.  But what does that then say about them?  The “other,” the “different,” does like then attract like?
Weirdly there’s a bit of Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Little Mermaid” to THE SHAPE OF WATER as well, with some role reversal, not to mention CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON.  Posters, the DVD cover itself, make no bones that here the “other” will be a merman or similar creature.  But here there is magic too, hinted at in the very beginning, then demonstrated a little bit in the film’s final third (in contrast to BORDER where the creature itself is finally identified — here it’s obvious as soon as we see him) which sets us up for a magic-assisted, surprisingly happy ending.  And it is a good film, even if as mermaids go I did like the Polish film THE LURE better (see December 27, April 25 2017 — in fairness though THE LURE does have vampires, as well as music), and for del Toro I don’t think it quite matches PAN’S LABYRINTH either.  But especially when seen with BORDER as a curtain raiser, THE SHAPE OF WATER makes for part of a great double feature!

“Holy crap, what am I watching?”

So said the IU Cinema docent, describing her initial reaction, in introducing Thursday night’s showing of the Swedish film GRANS.  There is, in fact, a lot of “what’s going on here?” to wonder about although, having used elements of folklore and fairylore at times in my own writing, when the main reveal came about two thirds of the way through, I was able to nod and think, okay, and consider how the threads had been wound together.  It is rather neat, though others may be taken more by surprise — some at the showing even laughed, in perhaps a nervous sort of way.  And in certain ways, the border-grans-132198film is even ugly — it isn’t one I’m overly anxious to see again — but it is one that I recommend watching, especially for those of us into dark fantasy/horror, though I wouldn’t call it a horror film either.  More like just . . . different.

Or, ending by quoting the catalog blurb:  It is a safe assumption to say you have never seen a film quite like BORDER.  Tina (Eva Melander) is a customs officer who has the keen ability to literally smell guilt, fear, and fury seeping off of some travelers.  When she encounters a mysterious man with a smell that confounds her detection, she is forced to confront hugely disturbing insights about herself and humankind.  The film is adapted by Danish-Iranian director Ali Abbassi from a short story by author John Ajvide Lindqvist, who also created the lonely vampire classic LET THE RIGHT ONE IN.  Blending supernatural folklore and contemporary social issues, the film explores themes of tribalism, racism, and fear of the “other.”  The film has been referred to as a genre-bending cross between an X-Men film and a Nordic noir crime drama.  In Swedish with English subtitles.  Contains mature content, including graphic nudity, sexual violence, strong language, and violent imagery.

We may recall AbeBooks which seems to have sales about every month (see December 21, et al.), but here’s one for a change from Amazon, and for the rarely discounted THE TEARS OF ISIS.  But there is one catch, that when one adds Amazon’s usual price for shipping, the total isisnewstill comes to more than the marked list price of $12.95.

But wait!  TEARS is also on a special deal until January 31 where, when ordering, even if one is not on Amazon Prime there is a special box that can be checked to get shipping free.  And with that the price for THE TEARS OF ISIS is less than ten dollars — at $9.64 (well, also plus tax, Amazon’s getting picky about that) which isn’t a bad deal at all.  So, if interested, just click on its picture in the center column and don’t forget to scroll down to the section on shipping options, but best do it now while it’s on your mind or at least before the end of the month.*

*Barnes and Noble, it might be noted, also has THE TEARS OF ISIS on a slight discount, at $12.30, and also right now with “qualification” for free shipping so, even if not as good a deal right now, it still pays to shop around.  More can be found here.

The haunted house import from Japan centers on a possessed residence that literally gobbles up its doomed visitors.  A group of school girls unwittingly enter a haunted house of horrors.  Demonic possession, reanimated body parts out for blood, and downright bonkers fun house effects ensue.  Fun fact:  studio execs in Japan originally planned to produce a movie like JAWS.  Yet when director and producer Nobuhiko Obayashi discussed the pitch with his young daughter, she revealed her own childhood fears — which were far more twisted and inventive than a rehashed shark movie.  Thus, HAUSU was born.

Thus quoting from number 3 of “11 Scariest Haunted House Movies to Freak You Out in Your Own Home” by Jessica Ferri, courtesy of THE-LINE-UP.COM, and reason enough to check out the whole list by pressing here.  Yes, there are “the usual suspects,” PARANORMAL ACTIVITY, THE AMITYVILLE HORROR, but other good films are on the list too, like the Spanish film THE ORPHANAGE and THE OTHERS.  One caveat, though, the links under each listing inviting you to WATCH IT NOW aren’t links to the movies or even to trailers, but rather to Amazon’s rental site.  But you can always go from there to their actual movie site and get an idea of what prices are if you want to buy the DVD.

Also, re. HAUSU, I highly recommend it, but do realize it’s a little . . . different.  Or to quote myself (cf. below, October 31 2015 — yes, I posted a review when the IU Cinema screened it for Halloween three years back), [i]t’s an “evil house” movie, but with a big difference.  This one combines the expected tropes with a weird undercurrent of surrealism, including cartoons, a demon cat, telegraphed punches — all clearly intentional — even slapstick humor in a tale of seven schoolgirls’ summer outing at the home of one of the girls’ maiden aunt.  An aunt she hadn’t seen since her grandmother’s funeral years in the past.  And in my opinion, HAUSU alone is an excellent film to ring in the new year, a year perhaps destined to be marked with its own surrealism.

It was a small thing, the kind of thing that might be overlooked amidst the flurry of of year-end activities.  But it does deserve a mention, the “extra” gift I received on Christmas.  The thing is the mail gets delivered late here, at the end of the route, and often these days comes after dark.  No big deal, really — mornings I go out on the front porch for some deep breathing exercises I do, and if there’s mail waiting, I bring it in then along with the newspaper.

So it was Christmas morning (though without a paper) where, with a few other items, there was a smallish package.  A return address identified it as my author’s copy of PLANET SCUMM (see December 14, et al.), and so I dropped it onto the pile of received Christmas loot, and proceeded to have my breakfast, give the Goth Cat Triana her brunch, and do whatever else I had planned for the morning.  And then at last gift opening time came — a few clothing items (including a pair of much needed gloves), a book from my youngest niece, treats for Triana, and . . . PLANET SCUMM with my name even spelled right on the cover (see December 16) and including my story, “Holly Jolly.”  A leisurely read for later that p.m. with carols on the TV in the background, and all in all a pleasant surprise.

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