Thursday, March 4, 2010

Staff Profiles

Nickolas Cook (editor-in-chief)
Publishing Credits: Nickolas has had dozens of short stories and non-fiction reviews and articles published in print and electronic formats. He has been the fiction moderator for for over four years. To date, his two published novels, THE BLACK BEAST OF ALGERNON WOOD (Dailey Swan Publishing), BALEFUL EYE ( Publishing) and ALICE IN ZOMBIELAND from Coscom Entertainment, all of which have received several positive reviews and he’s been said to display a true craftsmanship missing in much of modern horror. His upcoming all-original, novel length sequel to the hit, ALICE IN ZOMBIELAND, is ALICE AND THE QUEEN OF THE DEAD, soon to be released from Coscom Entertainment. His first short story collection, 'ROUND MIDNIGHT AND OTHER TALES OF LOST SOULS, will be released September 2010 from Damnation Books.
Personal Info: Nickolas lives in the beautiful Southwestern desert with his wife and three wonderful Chinese Pugs, who are worse than little children…the dogs, not the wife.
URL: MySpace
Contact Info:

MyMiserys (aka Kim Cook)
Personal Info: Kim lives in the Arizona desert with her husband, Nickolas Cook, and a pack of Pugs. She met Nick in 1997 in an old AOL Horror chat room and they married a year later on Halloween 1998. She has had a passion for horror novels since the tender age of 12, when she read The Exorcist (before it was made into a movie). Her favorite author, other than Nick, is Stephen King, and she truly considers herself his “Number One Fan”. She has been reading and collecting King’s books since “Carrie” was first published. When she is not reading, Kim bakes …and bakes and bakes. You can see pictures of her wonderful cakes on her MySpace page and Facebook. Each month Kim asks a featured author “13 Questions” so Black Glove readers can get to know a little about the person behind the books.
Guilty pleasure? MeatLoaf...the man...not the entrée.
URL: MySpace

Steven M Duarte
Personal Info: I have always been interested in horror culture from a very young age. I enjoy all aspects of the genre from movies, video games, books to music. I have a soft spot for foreign horror films most notably Italian made ones. I especially enjoy zombie horror films and have made it my mission to try and view any and all movies involving zombies.
Favorite films: Day of the Dead, Suspiria, Zombi, The Beyond, City of the Living Dead, Return of the Living Dead, and Deep Red, just to name a few.
I primarily listen to heavy metal but enjoy all different types of music. I have been a diehard Slipknot fan since the start and continue to be a supporter of the group. I also enjoy listening to horror soundtracks especially by the Italian group Goblin.

Lisa Morton is a screenwriter and the author of four non-fiction books, including THE CINEMA OF TSUI HARK. She is a two-time winner of the Bram Stoker award, and has published over three dozen works of short fiction. Her first novella, THE LUCID DREAMING, was recently released to critical acclaim, and her first novel, THE CASTLE OF LOS ANGELES, is coming soon from Gray Friar Press. She lives online at

Karen L. Newman
Publishing Credits: Poetry Collections: Toward Absolute Zero (Sam's Dot, 2009), ChemICKals (Naked Snake Press, 2007) and EEKU (Sam's Dot, 2005); Anthologies: The 2009 Rhysling Anthology, Dead World: Undead Stories
Personal Info: I edit Afterburn SF and Illumen as well as serving as an assistant editor for two Sam's Dot Publishing limerick projects. In my spare time I take care of my three-legged cat and write reviews for Dark Discoveries Magazine and Tangent Online.
Fav Movies: SAW, Rocky Horror Picture Show
Contact Info: and leave out NOSPAM when contacting

Jason Shayer
Publishing Credits:“The Ranch” – Necrotic Tissue #6
“No Man’s Land” – Dead Science Anthology (Coscom Entertainment)
“The Toll” – Hideous Evermore Anthology (Shadowcity Press)
Personal Info: Jason Shayer's 12-year-old mind frame has given more than a few people a reason to raise an eyebrow, most often his wife. When he’s not writing or reading, he’s teaching his three year old daughter and three week old son the finer points of zombie lore.
Contact info:

Brian Sammons has been writing reviews for years for such places as the magazines Cemetery Dance, Dark Wisdom, Shock Totem, and The Unspeakable Oath. His reviews have also appeared on many websites like The Black Seal, Bloody-Disgusting, and Horror World. Wanting to give other critics the chance to ravage his work for a change, Brian has also penned a few short stories that have appeared in such anthologies as Arkham Tales, Horrors Beyond, and Monstrous. Some of the magazines where you can find his twisted tales are Bare Bone, Cthulhu Sex, and Dark Animus. For more about this guy whose neighbors describe as “such nice, quiet man” go here:

The Black Glove interviews Feature Author Cody Goodfellow

interview conducted by Nickolas Cook

Cody Goodfellow is one of those authors whom make other authors grind their teeth in frustration. He makes it all look so easy, so simple. As if anyone with a little imagination can come up with some of the most revelatory concepts in cosmic horror since Basil Cooper, Algernon Blackwood and H.P. Lovecraft. But besides his bent for the cosmic horror, he also has a beatnik sensibility to his writings that calls forth the ghosts of the drug addled ramblings of Jack Kerouac and Ken Kesey, coupled with an almost atavistic fear of death and darkness, both personal and soul deep. This month, The Black Glove is proud to have Cody Goodfellow as our feature author.

Nickolas Cook: First off, congrats on the new family member. Do you think being a father has changed your world view or how you write your stories?

Cody Goodfellow: Thanks! This was actually my second, and I’d already hardened myself against any further emotional development long before the first.
I think having a child generally solidifies your worldview, aside from maybe making you less reckless and more worried. Having a tiny, helpless person who absorbs their entire sense of self and the outside world from you should be terrifying, but it’s all too validating for most people.
With the first, I stayed home with her most of the time while my first wife worked, so I spent endless hours alone with her, which was a weird space to be in, shortly after all the noise and stimuli of college and working at a magazine. It put a gun to my head in the sense that I had to either go out and find a sensible breadwinning career or seriously commit to writing, if I was going to support a family. But it also imposed the kind of silence and rigorous routine you really need to write seriously.

NC: Your collaborations with the one of the godfathers of splatterpunk, John Skipp, have become legendary (Jake's Wake (Leisure 2008) and The Day Before (Bad Moon Books 2009)). How did you guys come together as an occasional creative team?

CG: I lucked into meeting Skipp at the World Horror Convention in Phoenix in 2004, and successfully bamboozled him into reading my chapbook, In The Shadow Of Swords. Skipp was a hero of mine and as it turned out, a wonderful, weird human being, to boot. Up to that point, I’d gotten next to no reviews of any kind for my first two novels, and I just hoped somebody I respected could tell me I wasn’t wasting my life.
He went ahead and wrote a fierce editorial broadside/coming out party that ran in Cemetery Dance. At that point, if Skipp needed a kidney, I would gladly have gone down to the hospital and ripped a pair out of a doctor for him.
We remained in touch and did social stuff for a couple years before we tried writing as a duo, but we had jammed several times and recorded a couple goofy songs, so we knew we enjoyed working together. When it was suggested that we try a story collaboration, we quickly fell into the same kind of intuitive rhythm that came out of the jam sessions.

NC: How is the collaborative process different than your solo works? Is there a different engine running the two?

CG: We’re a lot like Cronenberg’s take on Kerouac and Ginsberg in Naked Lunch. My own process is almost constant, but the development of any one project is glacially slow, unless it’s on a deadline. I let ideas gestate until they’re hairy with tangents and detail and subtext, and I go through endless cycles of minute revision. Skipp is my polar opposite, and a great natural teacher.
Skipp works fast from the gut, and has a musician’s love of spontaneous accidents and a performer’s instinct for effect. We talk a lot almost every day, so my conceptual process, meshed with his, gets turned up from marinate to puree.
Having another engaged creative mind to bounce ideas off becomes what the Army calls a force multiplier; you toss any half-baked concept out, and a baker’s dozen come flying back at you.
We have very complementary tastes and compulsions in putting stories together, as well. I’m very much a plotter, while Skipp has a flair for living, lovable characters. I like layers of hyper-vivid detail, and Skipp prefers clean, succinct prose that maximizes its emotional effect. We never do anything unless we both agree on it, but rather than compromise on anything in dispute, we usually find some novel way of having it both ways.

NC: What was the first book you remember that made you sit up and realize that you could do it and probably better? The one that made you realize you had to do it?

CG: Excellent question. It’s not the ones that make you love books, but the ones that first show the brush strokes and strings, that make you realize it’s doable.
When I was eight, I complained about the reading books in my class, so my teacher gave me The Shining. I devoured it over spring break and it made me a fan of Stephen King for life. The writing was so absorbing, the images it evoked were so concrete, that it seemed as real in my memory as anything that’d ever happened to me. I didn’t see how any human being could do that.
Next, she let me read The Stand (and I’m gonna catch shit for this, but I was eight…), and a little over halfway through, I just decided I didn’t like where it was going. Everybody was dead and the plot took on its Manichean supernatural aspect, that I just lost interest. My dumb-ass eight year old self thought of a lot of other places the book could’ve gone instead, and it was that kind of naïve hubris that made me believe I could do it, too.
Another quick one, because it underscores another big thing for me: My first Lovecraft was this cheesy Scholastic collection with The Shadow Over Innsmouth and a couple other gems, padded out with some for-hire crap like Transition Of Juan Romero and In The Walls Of Eryx. Astonishing as the title stories were, capturing that sense of finding something real that I first felt with The Shining, the lesser ones showed me the same skilled hand laboring along at something contrived or uninspired, just trying to eke out a living. It’s the difference between art and work, that sense of something real or surreal that resonates with the subconscious, and comes alive, versus something simply made up to fill space and waste words. That book showed me how hard you have to work at the craft, just to be ready if and when inspiration strikes.

NC: I understand the writing process for you is pretty intense. Can you give us a rough idea of your process?

CG: I write wherever and whenever I can steal time, usually from my family and sleep. I worked at home for about ten years, so I developed a pretty rigorous self-discipline that’s carried over into my writing. But every waking hour, I’m turning things over in my head, fitting ideas together and rubbing characters against each other to see what kind of babies they make.
I never forget a story seed, but they’ll incubate for weeks, months or years before something clicks and they’re ready to write. I outline longer projects, but I carry everything around in my head until it’s all worked out. I rewrite exhaustively, but all the changes are in the language. Working with Skipp has made me more surgical in my prose, which has always been pretty dense and maximal, but when I rewrite, I usually end up adding almost as much as I take out.

NC: You've mentioned in the past that film was your first love, that you in fact went to school for it, but changed your major to literature instead. But how important is the medium to your work? What does it bring to your process and your collected work?

CG: It's funny, but the compliment “reads like a screenplay” or “this should be a movie,” these days, makes me cringe. I’ve gone from thinking that the best books should emulate movies, to believing that the best books make a movie adaptation irrelevant, if not worse.
Popular literature has subordinated itself in so many unfortunate ways to cinema… few popular mainstream books, especially thrillers, seek to deliver more content than a hundred minute feature film, and there’s still a tendency for horror writers to use hackneyed allusions to movies to sell their scenes: “everything seemed to go into slow motion, just like in a horror film,” etc. Maybe because films are the only context most writers and readers have in which to place scenes of violence and magic, but it abdicates a lot of what the written word can do, that no other medium can.
I’ve written as much in sheer pages for scripts as I have for stories and novels, and none of it has gotten produced. It’s all too much like the space program, with so much money and so many people, between you and the final image. Screenwriting is great exercise, though… it flays away everything but dialogue and bare, yet vivid directions, so it forces you to see exactly what you need to tell the story, and what’s just frippery.
The few times I’ve been lucky enough to work in comics, I’ve been able to get that jolt of pure joy from seeing my work realized in visual media, and while it’s not all singing and dancing, it’s a lot easier to get one artist to draw a comic, than to get anyone in Hollywood to read a script, let alone consider making it.
The dream of film does still exert a powerful gravity on my process, because film is essentially just a bunch of tactics for transmitting an artificial dream. In the dark, in a passive, hypnogogic state, you leave your life and enter someone else’s. So, rather than trying to make a diminished knockoff of a film experience, I try to go back to the original thing being imitated. Even something as simple as the written word has its own tools for putting the reader under a spell and shoving them into that dream, and not just putting them in front of it.
I have to see and, if possible, feel, the whole of the story before I can begin to write it. And it has to keep me intrigued, so a screenplay’s impatience for meandering is a healthy tonic for bloated fiction. But the end effect of my work is definitely to pack not just a brain-movie, but a full-sensory fever dream, into those words, that infects the reader’s head. To have as much control over the clarity and content of those images, without getting in the way of them, is the ultimate goal I’ve been chasing all my life.
But more and more, I’m drawn to find the kind of stories that couldn’t be filmed, that play on the unique properties of written storytelling.

NC: What movies do you think should be required viewing?

CG: The usual film school bullshit: M, A Clockwork Orange, Apocalypse Now, Videodrome, Humanoids From The Deep. About half my favorite movies all came out in the summer of ‘82––Blade Runner, The Thing, The Road Warrior. And the ultimate writer’s horror film, Barton Fink.

NC: Lovecraft is undoubtedly a huge influence on your first two books (Radiant Dawn (Perilous Press 2000) and Ravenous Dusk (Perilous Press 2003)). What are some of the other authors who have helped you become the craftsman you are today?

CG: I’ve always read at least as much science fiction as horror. My prose style probably owes more to cyberpunks Gibson and Sterling than to anyone in horror. In them, I saw a style that was very dense with ideas and yet it felt clean and lean, and idea and action interwoven to sow little bombs of questions that only bubble up long after the story’s done.
I love ideas that are intrinsically shocking and dangerous, and I try to do with my horror stories what Philip K. Dick, Harlan Ellison and J.G. Ballard did with science fiction. There are a few guys doing that with horror, Schow, Barker and John Shirley being my favorites.
But looking at the kinds of modern horror stories I write most often, it seems like Skipp’s short story “Gentlemen” was really a skeleton key that opened up a world of hidden stories, of extracting an almost cosmic horror from commonplace aspects of the world we take for granted.

NC: I've heard some musical collaborations between you and Skipp. Any chance of music becoming another outlet for you in the future? Any album releases for which we should be on the outlook?

CG: Writing and family take up so much of my time, I seldom get to do more than poke at sketches for songs, but I know I’ll go back to making music when I next get burned out on writing. I program electronic music almost the same way I write, but accidents and intuitive choices cause the project to mutate so much faster than a big raft of paragraphs, and the process itself is so much more mysterious.
I scored a couple of pornos in college and used to play small club shows in San Diego, but it’ll always be a hobby for me. Eventually, Skipp and I will probably do some more jams, and post them on mySpace or something.
(Some old, dreadful techno I made a long time ago is still up on myspace under the band name Honky Propulsion Systems.)

NC: What advice do you have for young wannabe writers of dark fiction? Anything you feel is imperative to the act of becoming a successful writer?

CG: I think ambition is great, but I lost a lot of sleep gunning for this to be a career, that I wish I could get back. There are so many better ways to make a living, that you have to be mad for it.
I know a handful of very driven, excellent writers who make a living at this business, but I’ve seen that the kind of books I want to write, the way I want to write them, is probably never going to put my kids through college. Working with Skipp has allowed me to have it both ways and do more accessible, transparent works, but writing is such a gamble. You’ve got to be thoughtful in reaching and keeping the reader, but if you’re not obsessed with what you’re writing, if you’re only doing it because you want to be a writer or to emulate the books you love, it’ll show, and it won’t sell.
I see so many writers rushing out to build a career before their work is ready. Seek honest, brutal criticism wherever you can find it, and learn to ruthlessly assess your own work before you let it out into print. POD and Internet zines and message boards offer the chance to live the fantasy writer’s life. If you’re serious about your writing, log off and write. Then rewrite, and submit. Let people discover you as a writer through your writing, rather than through saucy flame wars with trolls.

NC: If you could write your own eulogy, what would it say? What do you want people to say about your collected work?

CG: “He really believed this was a recurring nightmare, and none of you were real. Oops…”
I would hope that the sum experience of reading my work would make people see their world with new eyes. But I expect this’ll just mean idiots in the future take it literally, and eat my books, hoping to get high.

--Nickolas Cook

(The Black Glove thanks Cody Goodfellow for his time and efforts. Visit Cody here for more news and happenings A complete bibliography of his works can be found here)

Stabbed in Stanzas Feature Author: Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri won the Bram Stoker Award for Superior Achievement for a First Novel for his book, Deadliest of the Species. He’s a martial artist living in Illinois.

KLN: You study Shuri-ryu Karate. How is that different from the forms portrayed in the movies? What belt do you hold? Do you ever have any of your characters in your work have that skill set? If no, will you in future works?

MO: On the surface, most karate styles are similar in terms of their emphasis on single-strike elimination of an opponent, development of technique through kata, and their roots as an Okinawan fighting style. Too look at them from the outside, such as to observe the fighting you would see in a movie, karate is karate. Getting deeper, karate styles primarily differ in their lineage, their kata, and their emphasis on technique. Shuri-ryu as a style was founded by an American, Robert A. Trias, who is credited with opening the first karate school in the mainland United States in 1946. Like any style, we have our own set of kata we practice and our own interpretations of them, and we also incorporate some Judo into our curriculum (Grand Master Trias was a 6th degree black belt in Judo and felt grappling was important). I’ve been studying Shuri-ryu for about three years now, and I’m currently a second-degree brown belt. I’m working on earning first-degree brown belt this year. I have not yet incorporated karate into any of my writing, but I intend to very soon.

KLN: Most writers set their stories where they live or are from, in your case, Illinois. Yet your latest book, The Pack: Winter Kill, is set in Minnesota. Why?

MO: I established the Tylers’ lodge in the comic Werewolves: Call of the Wild and it made more sense to place that lodge in Minnesota than Illinois. Once you get out of the river valleys, Illinois is largely a pancake. When the crops are down, I can see for miles from my back yard. That said, the first graphic novel in the series, Chimaera, takes place in a fictional college in Illinois. The protagonist of that book will be Diana, the only sister of the Tyler boys from Winter Kill.

KLN: Why did you become fascinated with the werewolf mythos, especially in the vampire-crazed culture of today?

MO: I’ve always been a fan of werewolves, even when I was a kid. Vampires are more or less people with fangs, while werewolves struck me as more monstrous and scary. The vampires have the spotlight now, but I think werewolves are due.

KLN: You were part of a web serial. Please inform our readers about that experience. Would you be interested in being involved in a similar project in the future? Why or why not?

MO: I enjoyed working on Muy Mal with Weston Ochse and John Urbancik. Keeping up with the story kept me busy, and it helped develop a routine. However, once I fell behind and then had to focus on the paying work, I had to step away from it and unfortunately I had to leave one storyline hanging. I wouldn’t be opposed to doing it again, but at this point I’d have to find a way to monetize it to make it worthwhile, and I would also plan a little farther ahead, probably writing several chapters before launch so I have some cushion when life and/or other projects get in the way.

KLN: You write about computer issues in several technology publications. Do you have a technical degree or are you self-taught?

MO: I have a two-year degree in General Studies, but I never took any computer courses. I took journalism and marketing classes, but soon realized I’d need a lot more schooling to be successful at either. I did tech work for my father’s customers and for a local high school when I went back to college, and that same high school created a full-time position when I graduated. I took that opportunity and have been working in tech ever since.

KLN: You’ve collaborated with Brian Keene on several stories. Tell us about that experience. How did you determine to work together? With whom else would you be interested in working?

MO: Brian and I were part of a group that hung out in the old HorrorNet chat room in the late ‘90s, and we became good friends. The 4x4 collaborations with Brian, Geoff Cooper, Mike Huyck and I just sort of happened, and Brian and I felt our styles fit well together. The process was very smooth, and that led to “Crazy for You” a short time later. I worked with Mike Huyck on another story, and later with J.F. Gonzalez on Restore from Backup, a novella inspired in part by our experiences in the tech field. I’ve since been approached by a few other friends for collaborations, but I just haven’t had the time to make them happen. Collaborations are not something I actively seek out because I have my hands full with solo projects.

KLN: Thank you for agreeing to this interview. I appreciate your time. Is there anything additional you’d like to share with our readers?

MO: Any time! Thank you for the interview. If readers would like to keep up with my latest work, whether it’s my writing or my karate, I can be found on the web at or on Twitter at

(The Black Glove thanks Mike Oliveri for his time and effort)

Stabbed in Stanzas Book Review: The Pack: Winter Kill by Mike Oliveri

Reviewed by Karen L. Newman

The werewolves in Mike Oliveri’s book, The Pack: Winter Kill, are not typical. He humanizes them to compare them with the inhumanity of man, which makes for a more terrifying story. He doesn’t link the change to nature, but to human nature, a very unique perspective.
The Pack: Winter Kill reads at first like a typical crime novel, except that it isn’t a whodunit. The reader knows the killers in detail, making them the main focus of the book, even over the heroine, Special Agent Angela Wallace. This perspective is unusual in this genre, but works well here. The real mystery is the identity of the werewolves, which is not revealed until toward the end. In fact, werewolves are not even inferred. Their sudden appearance adds shock to the already high drama, making a lasting impression and whetting the appetite for the upcoming books in the series. The title itself infers more killing to come in other seasons.
The novel has many short chapters where the point of view changes from chapter to chapter, yet Oliveri handles the transitions well. This accelerates the plot. However, Oliveri has a lot of minor characters that are difficult to keep track of at times. The Minnesota woods jump out of the page as more than the setting, but a horror element itself – dark, cold, and isolated. The use of falling snow, especially at the end, is brilliant. Oliveri doesn’t utilize the supernatural as a crutch, a testament to the strength of his writing.
Oliveri has made a wonderful contribution to the werewolf mythos in The Pack: Winter Kill. His exploration of the human condition with that of the supernatural is fascinating and should continue to be so.

-Karen L. Newman

Bloody Pages Book Reviews

The Night Cache
By Andy Duncan
PS Publishing
£7.50 [$12.00]
Review by Lisa Morton

Andy Duncan’s "The Night Cache" begins with a reference to Val Lewton, and that’s no coincidence, because much of this intriguing novelette reveals as little as a Lewton thriller. Clues are provided, darker secrets are hinted at, but you won’t find a glimpse of an actual monster here.
Unlike "Cat People" or "The Seventh Victim", "The Night Cache" is not suffused with a dense, mood-drenched atmosphere, but is instead couched in the breezy shell of a near-chicklit romance. Jennifer is a book clerk (in a chain store she calls “Yarns Ignoble”) who gets tangled up with Destiny Creech, a reckless and temperamental puzzle-lover who is obsessed with “geocaching”, a sort of treasure hunt game in which small items are hidden and clues are provided via GPS coordinates. Destiny
deliberately keeps Jen in a state of mystery surrounding much of her life; a chance encounter with a cop who knows Des leaves Jen more, not less, perplexed.
After circumstances leave Jen alone to resolve the ultimate mystery of Destiny’s life, she meets up with the closest thing "The Night Cache" has to a real villain: Des’s wealthy, cold mother. Clues eventually lead Jen to an isolated swamp and a “night cache”, or a treasure that can only be located by finding a nearby reflective object at night.
Duncan’s writing is assured and frequently humorous, and his characters are compelling. He makes good use of the mysterious side of geocaching as a metaphor for the ultimate mystery of life – death – and provides plentiful and entertaining examples of the cryptograms Jen must solve.
If his climax offers up a supernatural suggestion that it (sadly) never really explores, Duncan nevertheless provides a last half that moves briskly and provides both tension and nicely observed melancholy.
"The Night Cache" is a fast, wry little tale for readers who are willing to forego the usual tropes of horror fiction in favor of something less easy to define.

(Visit Andy Duncan's website here)

--Lisa Morton

edited by Ellen Datlow
Tachyon Publications, 2010
480 pages, $15.95

Wow, what can I say about this book that won’t instantly make me sound like a drooling fanboy? That it has been comprised by editor extraordinaire, Ellen Datlow, she of the YEAR’S BEST FANTASY AND HORROR fame and editor of many more (over fifty at last count) anthologies? Or how about that this book collects some of the best horror stories from some of the best known authors from a twenty year (1984 – 2005) span? Hell, just listing the table of contents will most likely have many horror hound’s heads a-popping with glee before I’m even halfway through it. Damn it, I’m just going to have to man up, wipe away the drool, and dive into this review. Oh and if your head does go pop, well you can’t say I didn’t warn you.
DARKNESS collects twenty-five great tales of terror from some of the biggest names in the field. However, what I really dug was the few stories found herein from authors I didn’t recognize. This is meant as no slight to their considerable talents, only that I should read more. Pat Cadigan springs quickly to mind. She’s mostly a sci-fi author and maybe that’s why she was new to me. However, after reading her wonderful “The Power and the Passion” I will definitely be looking for more stories by her. Terry Dowling was a name I recognized but couldn’t place. I can only assume that’s because I’m not from Australia where I take it he’s a really big deal. In any event Mr. Dowling’s story, “Stitch” was a frightening “yarn” (you’ll get that once you read the story) about a young woman facing her fears, both real and imagined, and the extraordinary steps she was willing to take to overcome them. There are other authors collected here whose stories I had yet to read or didn’t immediately remember. I like them all and was glad to have read them, but I promised you some “big names” so without further ado, let’s get to the Titans of Terror.
Clive Barker starts the show off with a great story from his legendary BOOKS OF BLOOD, “Jacqueline Ess: Her Will and Testament”. The always sublime Thomas Ligotti, a man whose considerable skills I, and many others, often equate with H.P. Lovecraft, gives us “The Greater Festival of Masks”. George R.R. Martin is mostly known for writing fantasy but I love, love, love his horror tales. His “The Pear-Shaped Man” is a good example of why I love his stories so. Similarly, Peter Straub is best known for his magnificent, intricate novels but when he sets his mind to pen a short story, you’re in for a treat. I first read Straub’s “The Juniper Tree” in the awesome collection, PRIME EVIL. It was one of the best stories in that book and it’s one of the best in this book. Consistency is a good thing. “Two Minutes Forty-Five Seconds” by Dan Simmons is one of the shorter stories in the book but don’t let its size fool you, it’s tightly wound terror at its finest. Joe R, Lansdale can do no wrong in my book and in this book as well. His “The Phone Woman”, is a dark, nasty tale that’s a bit of a departure from his usually off-kilter stories. The Master, that would be Stephen King to mortals like us, shows why he is still at the head of the class with his strange, silly, and scary “Chattery Teeth”. I miss Poppy Z. Brite. While she’s thankfully still alive she doesn’t write horror anymore and the genre is a much sadder place for it. Luckily one of her best tales, “Calcutta, Lord of Nerves” can be found in this collection for horror fans that might have missed her the first time around.
Wow, I’m not even half way done and this review is getting kind of long. Ok, here are some more authors fired at you machinegun style: Dennis Etchison, Michael Marshal Smith, David J. Schow, Joyce Carol Oats, Neil Gaiman, Gene Wolfe, Steve Rasnic Tem, Ramsey Campbell, Joe Hill, and on and on. Yes I am skipping a few authors and stories but really, if you haven’t already decided to get this amazing book by now, you never will. Simply put, DARKNESS is exactly what it says it is; a great collection of terror tales spanning the last twenty years. If you are any sort of horror fan then you will have already read many of these stories, but trust me the book is worth getting for the few that you haven’t read. For me, there were five stories in this collection that I had never read before and you know what? I loved everyone one of them. As for the others, they were old favorites that I hadn’t thought about in a long time so getting acquainted with them once again was a real treat.
I can’t recommend this book high enough and no, that’s not just the rabid fanboy inside me talking. This is my serious critic’s voice. I know it doesn’t translate well in the written word, but trust me.

I give DARKNESS 5 Black Gloves out of 5.

Now where did I put that sponge for my drool?

(Visit Ellen Datlow's website here)

--Brian M. Sammons

13 Questions with MyMiserys: Deborah LeBlanc

interview conducted by MyMiserys (aka Kimberly Cook)

1. How old were you when you wrote what you consider your first story?
I wrote my first story in second grade. It was about a mermaid who grew legs.

2. What inspired you to write it?
My initial love for storytelling came from my grandmother, who, in my opinion, was the best tale-spinner on the planet. I remember sitting at the foot of her rocker, utterly spellbound as she told story after story, all of them fact, not fiction mind you, of supernatural events that some uncle, aunt, or cousin had encountered ‘back in the day.’ Being Cajun, it was only natural that her entire body played a part in the telling of the tale. Her hand gestures were emphatic, her eyes widening or narrowing for effect, her entire body tensing and leaning forward as she reached the spookiest part of the tale. I remember wishing I could be just like her.

Second to the love of my grandmother’s stories was my fascination with words and their meaning. Even as a kid, I thought it was important to use the perfect words when conveying anything of importance, especially emotions. Little did I know that those two loves would steer me towards writer-dom.

3. What was the first book you wrote?
My first book was FAMILY INHERITANCE.

4. Of all the books you've written, which is your favorite?
Hmm . . . In truth, I enjoyed writing all of them. I guess if I had to pick only one, though, it would probably be A HOUSE DIVIDED. The ending took even me by surprise!

5. Which book would you like to forget you wrote?
Morbid Curiosity. Initially the main characters in the story were fourteen-year-old twin girls. At the last minute, my editor decided they be sixteen-year-olds. Well, I’d raised three daughters and knew beyond question that the ‘voice’ of a fourteen year old was very different than that of a sixteen year old. The editor insisted, however, leaving me no choice. What appeared to be only a small age change to him involved a complete rewrite of the story. Even worse, I had only two weeks to rewrite it. Argg!

6. Who is the most influential person in your life?
My dad, who, unfortunately, passed away in July 2009.

7. Who is your favorite author?
I have so many! I enjoy James Lee Burke, Jodi Picoult, Tom Robbins, Sandra Brown, Ernest Gaines, to name just a handful.

8. If you could only own one book, what would it be?
If I lived in a world where I could only own one book, I’d have to book the next flight to another planet. There’s no way I can pick only one!

9. When and where do you write?
I write everyday and anywhere I can. My apartment, my office, hotel rooms. I even record chapters on a digital recorder while I’m driving.

10. Do you have a "day job"?
Yes. I own a fuel inventory management company. Fortunately, I have a great group of people who work with me and handle the day to day operations, leaving me plenty of time and freedom to write.

11. Do you have a "dream job"?
My dream job is to never need a JOB again!

12. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
Right where I am, in the heart of Cajun country. I’m Cajun by birth. My entire life has been steeped in rich traditions and in a culture I wouldn’t trade for the world.

13. What is your guilty pleasure?
Occasionally I’ll pick one day out of a month to sleep late, stay in PJs all day, eat junk food until I’m ready to puke and watch old movies on television.

Visit Deborah Leblanc's Official Website for more news about the author.

Several years ago Deborah created Literacy, Inc.- an organization devoted to fighting illiteracy. Visit to see what good work she's doing to help combat this, still, frightfully real problem in the U.S.

Deborah is also one of the many publishing industry's professionals who take part in the annual Pen To Press Retreat , an intense five-day writer's retreat where you can get real world advice from people who make their living by the written word. If you're interested, stop by their site and get more information.

(The Black Glove would like to thank Deborah for her time and efforts.)

TIME CAPSULES classic book reviews by Bill Lindblad


Spoiler alert: this book stinks. That’s not much of a spoiler, but just in case anyone might only be reading the first line of these reviews I wanted to get that warning out.

There will be actual spoilers in the review, which is something I normally strive to avoid. I know this can be frustrating, because many people want to know plot elements before they can make the determination of whether or not a book sounds interesting. In this case, if the book sounds like an interesting horror novel I haven’t done my job.

Publishers’ Weekly failed in this regard. The cover prose to the paperback edition reads: As shattering as The Andromeda Strain. As terrifying as Rosemary’s Baby. Then comes the PW blurb: “Impossible to put down. When you do, it’s with a shiver.” The Cleveland Press failed, too; on the back, it blurbs: “So eerie the cover opens with a squeak.” I no longer trust Publishers’ Weekly or the Cleveland Press.

When I was younger, I heard this book being discussed favorably at a science fiction convention by a group of people. I therefore decided that it might serve as a good representative of horror from the 1970s for this month’s column. What I didn’t take into account was that the Gor novels are very popular among a certain segment of the sf/fantasy readership, and that perhaps some of them wanted Gorean fiction written in a somewhat less complex and nuanced fashion.

If you know what Gor is, then, yes, you read that correctly. If you don’t, just be glad and pretend I never brought it up.

The back cover copy of the book gave me warning. “A single injection - and Jack Freeman cheated death. He was to be the world’s first test-tube mutant; the DNA solution that scrambled his chromosomes would also halt a fatal malignancy. Jack Freeman - about to undergo the most terrifying metamorphosis ever experienced by man. His mission to play stud to a master race of man-hungry females, the League of Grey-Eyed Women.”

From that, I was expecting something along the line of Philip Jose Farmer - a Robert Ludlum plot crossed with Wonder Woman’s Amazons.

Instead, what I got was a journalist with a fatal cancer. He is given superpowers by a few women who like him, but he uses the powers arbitrarily and temporarily loses his sense of self. They want him back so they can all live together in a communal house, have lots of sex and figure out how to bring the world into a new age of peace and prosperity in which all violence will be abated. The only tension in the book is generated when the man’s only friend is hunted by the women, so that he can’t warn Freeman away from this horrible, horrible fate. However, as the women deplore violence, being chased by them lacks much dramatic punch.

The ending is among the dumbest I’ve encountered in the field of popular fiction, but that’s okay; this is superhero comics and men’s adventure for people who would never dream of despoiling themselves by reading superhero comics and men’s adventure. Like most such efforts, even the “new ground” is stuff people familiar with the genres had seen for decades.

There is no horror here, not even with the realization that you might have wasted money purchasing the title and time reading the book. There is competent writing of an inane story. That’s it.

Read it if you must, but I warned you.

One star out of five.

THE DREAMERS by Roger Manvell

This book was written in 1958 by an extremely prolific author who specialized in horror, but is virtually unknown in today’s horror field. That is because his work was almost exclusively nonfiction, focusing on the horrors of Nazi Germany. This was undoubtedly fostered by his efforts during World War II, where he worked in the British Ministry of Information, creating propaganda films. Film work was his other great interest, and he served as the first director of the British Film Academy.

Roger Manvell’s credentials are impressive. The Dreamers, less so.

His writing suffers in a way common to many screenwriters and many historians; he tends toward simple, explanatory sentences and a minimum of characterization. His style is noticeable and it detracts from rather than adds to the story.

Worse is the interesting plot device: an unusually vivid nightmare which haunts the dreamer until they describe the dream to someone else, at which point the dream is passed on to any who have heard it described. In the hands of John Wyndham, this would have been fodder for a gripping horror novel. In the hands of Manvell, the plot device quickly cedes center stage, becoming a MacGuffin in a book which is instead about the need to eliminate racial prejudices.

What was very nearly a forty-year antecedent to Ringu instead became one of a number of novels from that era encouraging respect between different groups of people. The difference between this book and the novel previously reviewed is that this one succeeds in its primary purpose. Were it not for the facts that the book was promoted as a horror novel, the writing is intrusively structured and it wasted a wonderful concept for a horror story, I would not hesitate to recommend it.

Three stars out of five.

ALL HALLOW’S EVE by Charles Williams

How many horror novels get an introduction by T.S. Eliot? To the best of my knowledge, the answer to that question is “one”, and this is that novel.

I enjoyed this book very much, and found the novel both thoughtful and believable. This is a remarkable achievement, considering how repetitive much of the descriptions are and the nature of some of the main characters.

Which is to say, they’re ghosts.

The book begins from the point of view of a young woman walking toward a meeting with her husband, only to have her experience things which convince her, correctly, that she is dead - a pedestrian, crushed to death in the crash of a small plane over London. Her best friend, with whom she was walking, is also dead, and soon enough the two meet. The remainder of the novel is about the choices one makes, both in life and death, which direct a person on the paths of integrity or corruption.

The author strives to describe London as it is for the deceased, and constantly reminds the reader that the descriptions are not accurate; instead, the newly dead are only able to perceive a small part of the ultimate nature of the afterlife, and sometimes they are able to recognize even that only in relation to what they knew in life. Meanwhile, the living who encounter ghosts or have glimpses into the beyond are permitted only muddled views of what the deceased can see.

This, in the hands of a poet, results in a book which spends about a fifth of its time telling the reader about things which aren’t truly things, about places that aren’t truly places, etc…. It’s a strong indication of the writer’s skill that this does not grow fatally annoying and instead retains the reader’s attention.

The plot concerns a magician, reminiscent of various charismatic world leaders who amassed armies for conquest, who has effectively spread his dominion over China, the U.S., and Russia. In order to enact this he has created two dopplegangers, and the three of them are due to meet in London and, in a prearranged ceremony, claim dominion over all. In order to do this, he needs to first extend his influence into the afterlife, using his daughter as a tool. The dead woman from the beginning of the novel is one of a clutch of people who find themselves working against his purposes.

The prose is thick, often allowing only one or two paragraphs per page. As mentioned before, it can be somewhat repetitive. It is also rich and illuminating, with a story that shines from pleasant, sometimes disturbing subtlety.

Five stars out of five.

LATE AT NIGHT by William Schoell
(Sorry, no book cover image available)

I’ve done a lot of subtle and moody horror recently. I was in the mood for something visceral. Late at Night, written in 1986 by William Schoell, delivered.

I imagine the book started with the author deciding to write a variation on Agatha Christie’s “And Then There Were None” (a.k.a. Ten Little Indians) using a supernatural horror theme. From there, he had fun.

There are axes to the head, of course, but there are also supernatural effects like zombies, killer insect swarms, telekinetic crushing and much more. Ghosts abound. And amidst it all, there is a mystery.

No, there are two mysteries.

Three? Maybe four.

This book has multiple layers of twists and mysteries, all of which are worked adeptly into a novel which features, at one point, a head rolling around on the floor and trying to bite people. The story is constructed, not merely with an ear toward dialogue and a mind for entertaining gore and chills, but also with a careful eye toward clues and revelations.

Fourteen people go to an island which has a long history of horrific violence. It’s been years since anything untoward happened there, and they all have valid reasons for attending. Most will not make it out alive.

The first third of the book is spend setting up the premise, introducing and fleshing out the characters, and developing the plot threads which will be addressed later in the story. The latter two thirds are spent paying off all of the work of the first third. The structure is tight, and the story is fun.

My only complaint about the book is that there’s no underlying substance to it. This is not a book to make you consider the nature of inheritance, or the sad decline and extinction of the Caspian tiger. As I don’t demand that all of my reading mean something, this is a very minor complaint.

Five stars out of five.


Movie vs. Book: To The Devil...A Daughter

To the Devil…A Daughter (1976) (the movie)

I haven’t read the book of this yet and, after watching the look on Bill’s while we sat through the flick, I don’t know if I want to. I enjoyed the movie for what it was and I almost don’t want to ruin it by knowing just how far they went astray.
The story is vintage Hammer—a hardened occult novelist must save a young, nubile nun from becoming a human vessel for the devil. There is no deep meaning, no stunning subtext. It is the battle between good and evil, Hammer style.
The casting was spot-on, even if the characters themselves are two-dimensional. Richard Widmark is perfect for the role of hardened novelist who seems to have seen it all and can yet be shocked by new sights. Nastassja Kinski works as the young innocent completely oblivious that she is being groomed to help usher evil into the world. The greatest performance, though, comes from Christopher Lee as the evil fallen priest. Nobody can do over-the-top creepy-as-hell the way Lee does. He seems to be savoring every bit of satanic goodness in the story.
Style-wise the film does not disappoint either. While the final confrontation scene is rather dull as far as both writing and pacing, I was not bored at all because of the masterful camerawork by David Watkin. He did some things with a fish eye lens and color tinting I haven’t seen before.

There are certain moments in certain movies that, no matter how awful the rest of the flick is, it automatically becomes cool. Take, for example, Twister. The movie was horrible, yet it was saved by the flying cow that mooed. To the Devil…A Daughter was fun on its own, but did have a coolness factor to it; this movie wins for best use of a demon fetus puppet ever committed to film. I never thought I’d see something that could come near the meat puppets of Lunacy (see this month’s “Worth Googling” column) but, wow, a demon fetus puppet comes close.

Sure, this movie lacks in realistic dialogue, substantial substance or even originality to the plot line. However, this movie didn’t try to have those things. It is what it is, and that was exactly what it was trying to be—an enjoyable horror movie. To complain that it’s missing deepness is like going to Red Lobster and complaining about your steak. I would recommend To the Devil…A Daughter, but only if you are in the mood for a fun fright fest.


TO THE DEVIL… A DAUGHTER by Dennis Wheatley

I knew before I watched the movie that Wheatley disliked this movie. I guessed at the reason: the book was part supernatural thriller and part political discourse. The writing is solid and draws the reader into the story, but at many points during the tale Wheatley’s characters engage in short (typically about three paragraphs) discussions about the effects of taxation or Socialism on post-war England and France. It’s somewhat jarring, in part because it seems ham-fisted and in part because I’m unused to seeing such discussions repeatedly engaged in the course of a horror novel.

I think this is a flaw more in my reading than the book. Wheatley is addressing the upper middle class in these countries at a time period just after WWII; it is quite reasonable to assume such discussions were common, especially considering the turmoil which the countries were experiencing. More, if I’m unused to reading it in a novel, it’s primarily because most modern supernatural or horror novels attempt to distance themselves from points of contemporaneous discussion, for fear of dating themselves. Upon analysis, I think the pieces work well in the book, allowing it to skirt the line between the pulp stories of the time and literature.

The story itself is a thriller, with many characters placed into peril and a couple of love stories developing along the way. The main character (a rare strong female lead) and her son first encounter, then attempt to save, a young woman from her curse and her fate. Her curse is that she is possessed by the devil every evening when the sun goes down; her fate is unknown at first, but is expected to be dire. As the story develops, that expectation is met.

There are few of the scenes from the Hammer movie here, and even few points of commonality. The basic story is different; the girl in peril is different; the main character is turned from an Agatha Christie analog into a flighty, sexed-up agent to the new protagonist, an amalgam of her character and the government agent from the book. Hammer took an interesting, although sometimes somewhat forced, novel and turned it into a completely different movie.

I’d have been disappointed too.

Four stars out of five.

Fresh Blood: New Releases In the World of Horror

compiled by Nickolas Cook and Steven M. Duarte

The Black Glove is proud to announce the newest chapter in great horror literature to come...

All serious fiction deals (to some extent) with dark themes, and many great works of literature have employed supernatural, surreal or existentialist elements. These books have power. They endure, because they appeal to serious readers and provide thoughtful entertainment.
On the current publishing scene, however, dark novels of distinction often find themselves unwelcome … and uninvited.

Uninvited Books is on a mission. Think of us as a flame in the darkness, growing slowly to reveal treasures … as well as nightmares. Our goal is to restore the mantle of visionary artistry, skilled craftsmanship and psychological sophistication to dark literature. Maintaining an unrelenting focus on artistic integrity, we hope to publish books that will transcend genre classifications. Is this a radical approach to publishing? Perhaps. Is it subversive? Even revolutionary? Lovers of dark fiction have been waiting for exactly this revolution.”

No titles have yet been disclosed, but the good people at Uninvited Books promise to keep us apprised as to their future plans and newest titles.

And I urge you to buy from them, to help support quality horror literature in a genre that is too quickly sliding into the Dark Ages (i.e.- Zebra-foil-cover-land again) Visit their web site and get on their mailing list.

Uninvited Books~~~

Two exciting announcements from Living Dead Press:

Now Available!


The history of the walking dead is a long one.
Since before man walked the Earth, the dead have been with us.
Rotting, decrepit animated corpses have existed, and in many places, have helped create the evolution of the very history we all know as fact, but yet they have always remained hidden from mankind as the sands of time flowed through the hour glass.
From Egypt, to London, to the first moon landing, to the old West; zombies have been a part of our culture, our very lives, though each time it has been erased, eradicated from our history.
Perhaps in these lost tales of our past is the hope for our future.
In these stories might very well be the answers of what to do when the zombie apocalypse finally arrives. So read these tales quickly and learn from them.
For even in the past, the dead walk, and if they did once before, it’s a fact they will do so again.
The only question is: When will that be and will you be prepared.
(NOTE: This writer is proud to announce his story THEM OTHERS, a tale of Southern slaves and zombies, is included within this new collection of zombie tales from the hottest new names in horror fiction.)

This title can be purchased here

Another exciting new title from the Living Dead Press crew

The Book of Cannibals

Human meat . . . the ultimate taboo.
Deep down, in the dark recesses of your mind, can you honestly say you never wondered how it might taste?
Honestly, never wondered if a chunk of thigh tasted like chicken or pork?
Or if a hunk of an arm was similar to steak? And what kind of wine would be served with it, red or white?
Would a human liver be no different than one from a cow, or a pig?
For all we know, human flesh is as tender as veal, better than the finest tenderloin.
And that is what the stories in this book are about, eating each other.
But be warned, after reading these tales of mastication, you may just become a vegetarian, or at the very least, think twice before taking your first bite of that juicy steak at your local restaurant.

This new collection of fresh cannibal fiction can be purchased here

In Movie News...

Alice in Wonderland
Release date: March 05, 2010
Starring: Mia Wasikowska, Johnny Depp, Anne Hathaway, Helena Bonham Carter
While not actually a horror film, Tim Burton's take on the classic story of young Alice’s acid trip journey through Wonderland definitely has that dark Gothic flairby which Burton has made his living these past decades. The telling of the classic novel is done through the eyes of Burton, along with a helping hand from the always great Johnny Depp.

Season of The Witch
Release date: March 19, 2010 (Delayed)
Starring: Nicolas Cage, Ron Perlman, Stephen Campbell Moore, Claire Foy, Robbie Sheehan
Not too much buzz surrounds Nick Cage’s next film, “Season of The Witch.” Buzz is not always needed for success, but with a name as big as Cage one has to wonder if he has lost some of his star power. The film follows two knights who are given the task of transporting a suspected which to an abbey. The witch is to participate in a ritual to end the black plague of the 14th century.

Repo Men
Release date March 19, 2010
Starring: Jude Law, Forest Whitaker, Alice Braga, Liev Schreiber, RZA

While not to be confused with Repo: The Genetic Opera, Repo Men is a futuristic take on the supplying of manmade human organs for profit. What it does share in common with Genetic Opera is the repo men involved in taking back the organs for those who default on payments.

Clash of the Titans
Release date March 26, 2010
Starring: Sam Worthington, Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes
Another month come and gone and Hollywood has yet another remake to bestow upon us. At least this time it’s for an older film that screamed remake. The original 1981 film will always be a classic for its time. Due to the special effects available many of the creatures were childish and laughable. Fast forward to 2010 and inject a big budget into a remake and we are in for one hell of a ride.

(EDITOR'S NOTE: This elderly editor, who sat through the original Clash of the Titans many years ago, did not find the great Ray Harryhausen special effects childish or laughable. In fact, Kraken gave me fucking nightmares. That being said, my esteemed co-editor, who was not yet even thought of in the golden movie year of 1981, is welcome to his opinion. But I still say phooey on it, nonetheless. Now I return you to your reading pleasure, while I go soak bread in warm milk to gum my food for easier digestion.)

--Steven M. Duarte

(If you have horror related news you'd like to share with our over 8,000 readers a month, please contact

Celluloid Horrors Movie Reviews

The Wolfman (2010)
Review written by Steven M. Duarte

So the Wolfman remake has finally been released. After news of problems with re edits and many reshoots, many horror fans were worried that our beloved Wolfman would become a bad remake statistic. Well I have to admit with a heavy heart, that this film while not as bad as other “re-imaginings,” or remakes, is not a great film.

One thing I want to clarify and put out there before I go on with the rest of my review is my appreciation for the film being R rated. The gore was very much appreciated and was very much a saving grace from the film being considered very bad. I am very much a gore hound and enjoy the use of gore in movies. Too often directors and Hollywood take the safe route by making a horror film PG-13. The Wolfman had gore aplenty which was nicely done by effects guru Rick Baker. I really did not care for the CG transformations from human to werewolf. One of my favorite Lycan films “An American Werewolf in London,” did a much better job in showing the transformation. When you think about that is pretty sad considering Landis made Werewolf almost 30 years ago. You would think a movie made now would get the transformation right. Also what was up with those CG Gollum looking Lycans? I wasn’t entirely sure as to why there were in the film. Every time they showed one I was expecting him to ask Mr. Talbot if he had seen his “precious.”

When reading up on the production of the film you often would catch stories of re shoots and re edits. This is apparent in the final theatrical cut of the film. There are events that occur that leave you scratching your head. An example of this would be when Mr. Talbots love interest Gwen is questioned by Scotland Yard about her involvement with the werewolf. We see her taken custody and put into a paddy wagon. The very next scene shows her reading a book on Lycans with no explanation whatsoever of what happened to her while in custody. Other areas aren’t as blatant as this example but still hurt the overall film. Mr. Talbot’s acceptance of his Lycanthrope is never fully fleshed out. He pretty much accepts it and viewers are expected to like it. Also it seems like every other day was a full moon. Last time I checked this doesn’t actually happen. The logic of some of the regular natural occurrences during the film just doesn’t make sense.

***Spoiler Alert***

What was up with the whole Werewolf vs. Werewolf scene? The film already didn’t make much sense now were throwing in another Werewolf? Did we really need that in the film? It felt like the movie studio decided to throw that in because it sounded cool. I mean the studio could have just stuck to the original plot of the 1941 original.

***End Spoiler***

Enough bashing aside, the action scenes were awesome. When the moon was full you knew the Wolfman was coming out for some gruesome fun. The scenes were well shot and as I previously mentioned the gore was well done. The action scenes were the best part of the film and I often found myself waiting for the next one immediately after one ended.

Final Thoughts:

I could go on and on about the faults of this film. It is very disappointing as a horror aficionado to see our beloved Wolfman get this type of treatment. The box office for this film has not been great, which is bad news for R rated horror. Until decent R rated horror films actually make a splash at the box office, we may continue seeing the trend of PG-13 horror.

--Steven M Duarte

Review written by Brian M. Sammons

Directors: Marcel Sarmiento and Gadi Harel
Cast: Shiloh Fernandez, Noah Segan, Candice Accola

This film, while coming out in small circles in 2008, only really hit big when it came out on DVD in 2009. How big, you may ask? Well it made my Best of 2009 list, which you can find here. Since I did that amazing and oh so informative list I’ve had quite a few emails asking about two of the titles that made that list. Well, this is one of them.
DEADGIRL is a great little film as simple and straightforward as a blood (and…ahem…“other fluid”) coated porno magazine. That analogy, while icky is pretty apt for discussing this movie. It’s sexy, bloody, disturbing, and oddly funny in a disgusting way. The story revolves around two high school malcontents that wander into an abandoned hospital to get drunk and break stuff. But low and behold they stumble upon a cute naked girl chained to a table. They soon discover that she’s dead, and yet she moves, growls, and if not carefully restrained, she bites. The film, while ostensibly a horror flick, is actually an odd buddy film about two friends representing different sides of the same coin. Rickie is the scared, confused, and sensitive guy. J.T. is the confident, sarcastic, and quite frankly the sicko who’s first thought is to rape the tied up dead girl. Hmm, is it rape if she’s dead or is it just necrophilia? In any event, while J.T. starts to indulge his every freaky fantasy (sexual and otherwise) with the necrobabe, Rickie feels bad about it, is perhaps a little turned on, but really just pines away for his dream girl, JoAnn.
As often happens with dumb teens, things quickly get out of hand. Rickie and J.T.’s dirty little secret soon spreads, as does deadgirl’s “condition” when the typical bullying jock douchebag gets bitten on the Johnson when he unwisely lets the drooling, snapping, battered, and now rotten-meat-smelling woman fellate him. Really, at that point he gets what he deserves. However this unexpected turn of events leads J.T. plot perhaps replaying his old, foul smelling toy with something fresher. As for good guy Rickie, despite his best intentions he sees a possible way to get the girl of his dreams, but will he have the guts to go through with it?
I stumbled upon this film quite by accident and I must say it was a more pleasant surprise then the movie’s zombified sex toy. It has some gruesome bits, funny bits, and oddly tender bits. Yeah I know, I didn’t see that coming either. The acting was good, the story original, the direction was stylish, and more than once it had me thinking, “Oh my God, I can’t believe they just did that.” While most movies today bore me, that was a major accomplishment and is perhaps the main reason I liked this film so much.

The DVD, released by Dark Sky Films, looks and sounds great. As for special features, there is a handful. The typical trailer and some photos of makeup effects are nice, but really add nothing. What are more welcome additions are some deleted scenes, a making of documentary, and an entertaining cast and crew commentary track with no less than eight people in it. With that many people it gets a bit confusing at times, but overall is done well and enjoyable.

If you have yet to see DEADGIRL and can handle a movie with strong and weird subject matter then do yourself a favor get this movie now. I guarantee that you haven’t seen a movie like it before, and for that alone it is well worth a look. I highly recommend it.

--Brian M. Sammons

Review written by Brian M. Sammons

Directors: Bruce McDonald
Cast: Stephen McHattie, Lisa Houle, Georgina Reilly.

If zombie films are the flavor of the month, or years as the case may be, than alternate versions of everyone’s favorite flesh eaters are the only way to tell one zombie flick from another. Enter PONTYPOOL, a very independent and in my opinion a very poorly named horror film from my neighbors to the north, Canada. Canadians have had a long history of making good quality genre flicks. When it came to slashers they made some of the best with MY BLOODY VALENTINE, TERROR TRAIN, HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME, and what could arguably be considered to be the first slasher flick ever; BLACK CHRISTMAS. Well it’s only right and about time that the folks from the great white north jump into the zombie movie making business, but is PONTYPOOL a worthy entry in our beloved necrogenre? Let’s find out.
First let’s talk about the film’s title; it’s horrible. Good titles grab people’s attention and get them interested in a movie. The name PONTYPOOL just has people going, “huh?” Also when you think of zombie flicks many great titles jump to mind, usually with the word “dead” in them, but PONTYPOOL is probably the last title people will ever associate with zombie flicks and that’s a shame because it’s way cool. Now that that necessary bit is out of the way, let us continue.
The story revolves around a shock jock radio DJ named Mazzy who was fired from his gig in a big unnamed city and forced to take a job in a tiny, snow covered town called Pontypool. One eventful day Mazzy starts his broadcast only to hear a report from the radio station’s news chopper, which is actually a guy in his car on a hill overlooking the town, about a mob of angry people massing outside of a doctor’s office. What at first looks like an angry protest turns out to be a mass of crazy people attacking anyone and everything they come across. “Yay, zombies,” you may be thinking and you’d be right, sort of, but these aren’t your normal, everyday shambling corpses. These crazed killers have a few odd quirks, like repeating anything they hear, from what a potential victim says to the sounds a car’s windshield wipers make. This is a clue as to what is driving these people to murder, but to say more would ruin a surprisingly original and well thought up take on the zombie genre. I will say that all too soon DJ Mazzy and company at the station find themselves in the middle of the whole mess and uncover their link to the epidemic.
Now while PONTYPOOL is well acted and directed I do think that some traditional zombie fans might be disappointed it in because it’s a carefully paced film and some A.D.D. members of the audience might find that slow. It is NOT slow, but I do know plenty of horrorheads that think if a flick doesn’t have someone getting killed every ten minutes then the movie is boring. Oh well, their loss if they don’t give this fine film a chance. Also, for a zombie flick there’s not a lot of the red stuff splashed about. There is some, and when it’s used it’s used to great effect, but again those expecting Tom Savini levels of gore will be disappointed. I only point these so called shortcomings out so that my fellow zombie lovers know in advance what to expect. What they can also expect is a great story told in a unique way. How is it “unique” you may ask. Well PONTYPOOL seems almost like a WAR OF THE WORLDS-style radio play. In fact, one of the extras on the DVD is just that, an audio version of the story that was broadcasted somewhere and sometime in Canada. Now which came first, the movie or the radio play, I do not know but I enjoyed both and it was a nice addition to have the radio play on the disc as such things are basically a lost art form.

Sadly, that great radio play is the best extra on the disc. The PONTYPOOL DVD from IFC Films also has a few trailers, a commentary track with the director and writer, and three short films that are not related to the feature in any way and their inclusion on this disc leaves me scratching my head. Suffice to say that they’re not very good and appear as a film student’s too-artsy-for-their-own-good school projects. However, as you should never buy a bad movie just for good DVD extras, you should never pass on a good movie just because some of the extras are, well lackluster.

My main purpose in doing this review was to give the heads up to horror fans about this very hidden gem of a movie. I enjoyed the hell out of this flick and I think you will too. If you are looking for some out of the ordinary zombie goodness with an engaging story and good acting then this is the film for you. I highly recommend it.

--Brian M. Sammons

Review written by Brian M. Sammons

Director: Shawn Owens
Cast: Ramsey Campbell, Neil Gaiman, Stuart Gordon, S.T. Joshi, Brian Lumley

Full discloser: I am a huge fan of H.P. Lovecraft, but whether you love or hate Lovecraft’s stories one thing is undeniable; he has had a huge amount of influence over modern horror. Almost any horror book or film made today will have at least faint shades of Lovecraft’s ideas in them if one looks hard enough. Yet very few people have read his work and only slightly more than that know anything about him. In an attempt to hopefully introduce a wider audience to Lovecraft, film maker Shawn Owens created a documentary that has made the rounds on the film festival circuit and is now out on DVD.
THE ELDRITCH INFLUENCE is a short but informative film. It hits the highlights of Lovecraft’s life and work, discusses his influence on his peers, and through them and others, on the world of horror at large. The general overview of his mythos, usually referred to as the Cthulhu Mythos, but alternately, and more correctly, called the Lovecraft Mythos, is covered in good detail. For those not familiar with Lovecraft’s writings this makes for a good introduction. For fans of HPL, it’s more of a reminder of why we fell in love with his stories in the first place.
In addition to the historical information on Lovecraft there are numerous interviews with contemporary authors; Ramsey Campbell, Neil Gaiman, and Brian Lumley. Film maker Stuart Gordon (RE-ANIMOTOR, FROM BEYOND, DAGON) comments on why he’s drawn to adapt Lovecraft’s stories to film, and noted Lovecraft biographer S.T. Joshi explains how the man from Providence, Rhode Island changed the horror genre forever.
Perhaps the only unnecessary part of the entire documentary is an odd part near its end where we meet a “real” (yes, those are ironic quotation marks) cult devoted to the Great Old Ones. This little bit of rather poorly acted fiction seems totally out of place in the otherwise fine film and seems to only have been included to act as filler to pad out the runtime. As an avid fan of Cthulhu and his pals myself, I applaud the members of this playtime cult for their enthusiasm, I just wish they had kept this bit of silliness to themselves.
That one questionable inclusion aside, THE ELDRITCH INFLUENCE is a first rate documentary. Fun to watch for both fans and neophytes of Lovecraft’s stories, I can readily recommend it to anyone. Even if you never heard of H.P. Lovecraft but enjoy the stories of Campbell, Lumley, and/or Gaiman, then it’s still worth watching if only for those interviews. Based on the quality of this film I look forward to director Shawn Owens’ next documentary. If you would like to get a copy of one of the few documentaries about H.P. Lovecraft for yourself, you can order one from the Hermetic Productions website here:

--Brian M. Sammons

Foreign Fears: Deliria (aka: Stagefright, Bloody Bird, and Stagefright: Aquarius)

Stage Fright (1987)
review by Nickolas Cook

Directed by Michele Soavi
Cast: David Brandon, Barbara Cupisti, Robert Gligorov, Mickey Knox, Giovanni Lombardo Radice, Clain Parker, Loredana Parrella, Martin Philips, James Sampson, Ulrike Schwerk, Mary Sellers, Jo Ann Smith, Piero Vida and Richard Barkeley

When I say they don't make them like this anymore, I mean it. Better known overseas in its home country of Italy as 'Deliria', this spicy and grotesquely graphic slasher picture is one of a kind, from a very one of a kind director: Michele Soavi. He's sort of a legend from the old school of 70s and 80s Italian horror. Not only because he worked along side Dario Argento and Joe D'Amato, but because he's helmed some rather classic movies in his own right: The Church (1989), The Sect (also known as The Devil's Daughter) (1991) and Cemetery Man (1994).
Deliria is a sort of backhanded indictment of the theater culture and the entertainment industry, in general. All of the slimy show business cliches get a good going over before the killer even makes his first appearance. We meet a pretty unattractive group of talentless and fame hungry actors and actresses, being whipped into shape for an upcoming (and from what we can gather, a tasteless) stage performance, by a despotic asshole of a director.
One of the girls hurts her leg during rehearsal and sneaks away to a local hospital, which turns out to be an insane asylum, where an infamous insane killer (who just happened to be a professional stage actor before he went insane and started chopping up his fellow thespians) is being treated. The killer catches a snatch of conversation between his doctor and the injured girl and he manages to kill his warden and stows away in the girl's car as she returns to the theater.
Where she is confronted by the asshole director and fired for leaving the set against his orders.
The first murder is quick, unexpected and involves a young woman, a cat and a pick axe.
And speaking of the killer...he wears a rather creepy owl head mask the whole time, using an axe, a knife, even at one point, a freakin' power drill, to do in his screaming histrionic victims, left and right.
Deliria is filled with Soavi's trademark gorgeous cinematography, wispy at times and turning nasty brutal at other times.
You won't find the standard teen body count in Deliria. As is usual with Italian slasher films, the victims are adults- pessimistic, street wise, and, even, at times, thoroughly cosmopolitan.
Although they still die just as bloodily as any of the bouncing-titted machete fodder screamers in a Friday the 13th film, I defy you to find a stranger slasher movie than Deliria- in any decade, folks.
(NOTE: If you can get the uncut version- which was released a few years ago by Anchor Bay- do yourself a favor and get it. It has all the gore scenes cut from the original, and, boy, are they worth it, if you're a gorehound.)

--Nickolas Cook