Monday, October 4, 2010

Editorial October 2010 e-issue #16- 2nd Annual Halloween Special

The 1976 Paul Lynde Halloween Special...a trip back in time.

The year was 1976, and Halloween was still something to look forward to, at least for a little Horrorhead like myself. The smell of pumpkin spice in the air, a crisp NE Florida chilly wind, dark cloudy nights, and the wonderful sweet smell of cheap plastic horror masks and innocent young sweat underneath dangerously inflammable dollar store costumes,
and the sure knowledge that there such things as witches and devils on that one special night of the year. Back then, me and my little brother loved two things more than even Christmas: Halloween and the rock band KISS. We were full fledged members of the KISS. Army, devoted to the supposedly satanic rock and rollers, with loud music about sex, drugs and rock and roll and their (for us, anyway) scary madeup visages. There was an edge, a danger, to them that appealed to most kids- the same kids, like me, who also loved to watch wrestling, and believed in its simplistic good vs. evil cartoon showdowns.

TV was still the medium of choice for most middle-America, seeing as how cable TV hadn't made it to most of the country yet, but in 1976, there was a transitional thing going on in TV showbiz. It was a business filled with producers who admired, and wanted to capitalize on, what KISS was: a horror show with music; but most of the TV money was still being routed into cheesy holiday specials (if you remember the Star Wars Christmas Special, then you know what I mean). So that's how KISS, the hottest rock and roll band on the planet in the year 1976, became the special musical guests on one of the cheesiest holiday specials ever conceived and produced, The Paul Lynde Halloween Special.

Paul Lynde was, let's face it, one hell of a funny guy. He didn't exactly jump out of the closet, but he also didn't do much to hide his homosexual lifestyle. In fact, he used the country's fascination with the gay man to his benefit, used it to spice up his comedy routines. Having been a regular in film and television for several decades, including one of his most memorable recurring roles on Bewitched as Smanatha's prank loving brother, Uncle Arthur, he was still quite popular during the 70s, thanks to a little game show called The Hollywood Squares. If any of you remember the original Hollywood Squares, he was one of the highlights of the show.
So as a little Halloween treat to all you Horrorheads who still remember the days when the most evil thing on the planet was supposedly KISS, but in reality was Richard Milhouse Nixon

and his merry band of lying, cheating cronies, The Black Glove is proud to present in its (almost entirety, minus the commercials, of course) The 1976 Paul Lynde Halloween Special, a show which has become legend for its cheesiness.
So laugh and enjoy the cheese. You won't see the likes of this Halloween special ever again.

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 first short story collection, 'ROUND MIDNIGHT AND OTHER TALES OF LOST SOULS was recently released from Damnation Books.. He also has two new releases forthcoming: PAINT IT BLACK (early 2011 from Dailey Swan Press) and another new mashup novel from Coscom Entertainment called TREASURE ISLAND OF THE DEAD, based on Robert Louis Stevenson's original classic of pirates and treasure.

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.
Visit me at my official website, THE HORROR JAZZ AND BLUES REVUE
Or email me at

Steven M. Duarte (Co-Editor)
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.

Shaun Anderson has spent many years researching and writing about different aspects of horror culture and entertainment. This interest led him to a Bachelors and Masters Degree in Film Studies, with the ever present spectre of a possible doctorate in the future shadowing his current movements. His major film interests include the Italian giallo, British horror (especially the productions of Hammer and Amicus), Asian horror, Cult film and European exploitation. His film reviews can be located on his own regularly updated blog The Celluloid Highway.

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

Carey Copeland has worked in television, radio and film. He's been a special effects artist on several film productions through The Joe Blasco Makeup Academy and helped design dark ride exhibits across the country, including the E.T. ride at Universal Studios Florida. He's been a horror fan since the early age of 8, when he first saw a rerun of NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD.

Lisa Morton is a screenwriter and the author of four non-fiction books, including THE CINEMA OF TSUI HARK. She is a three-time winner of the Bram Stoker award, a recipient of the Black Quill Award, and has published over three dozen works of short fiction. Her first novel, THE CASTLE OF LOS ANGELES, has received rave reviews since its release in early 2010 (by Gray Friar Press), and her newest novella, THE SAMHANACH, is a Halloween treat from Bad Moon Books. She lives online at

Karen L. Newman lives in Kentucky where she's an active member of "Horror Writers Association" and edits "Illumen" and "Cosmic Crime Stories". She edited the online magazine, "Afterburn SF" for over four years before the market closed. Over three hundred of her short stories and poems have been published both online and in print in places such as "Dark Tales of Terror", "Dead Worlds: Undead Stories", and "The Pedestal Magazine". Her poetry collections include EEKU (Sam’s Dot, 2005), ChemICKals (Naked Snake Press, 2007), and Toward Absolute Zero (Sam’s Dot, 2009). She blogs for the Apex Book Company. Her poetry collections include EEKU (Sam’s Dot, 2005), ChemICKals (Naked Snake Press, 2007), and Toward Absolute Zero (Sam’s Dot, 2009), which can be purchased online at or
She won the 2005 Kentucky Mary Jane Barnes Award and two of her poems received honorable mention in The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror. She's been nominated for a Rhysling Award, James B. Baker Award, and twice nominated for a Dwarf Star Award.
Please visit her online at:
Contact Info: and leave out NOSPAM when contacting
Fav Movies: SAW, Rocky Horror Picture Show

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:

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:

The Black Glove's Top 13 Lost Gems of Horror Films Winner Is...

Mr. Bill Breedlove!

That's right, Mr. Breedlove chose 13 of the best of the 'lost' gems of horror films. He was up against some really tough competition, let me tell you. I didn't envy the poor volunteer who had to dig through each of the entries and make that final fateful decision. But after seeing Bill Breedlove's Top 13 list, I have to agree, we got a winner of a list!

Bill is the proud winner of a swag prize package worth approximately $200.00, containing brand spanking new horror books from such publishers as Leisure, Dark Regions and others, a collection of valuable, collectible out-of-print small press horror titles, some really cool horror DVDs, and a $25.00 gift certificate to an online horror bookstore.

Now, you guys will have to some back for the November issue (#17) of The Black Glove to see his awesome list.

Until then, our huge congrats to Mr. Breedlove, and our sincerest thanks to all those dozens who entered the contest. Stay tuned to future issues for more contests and chances to win more fabulous prizes.

--Nickolas Cook

The Eye of Time (An All Original Serial Novel)

Frank Menser and Nickolas Cook

Part I—

Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3

Chapter 4—

Ashta looked down through the pine forested mountain pass at the red roofs of Amasya. The town looked like a giant ‘V’ cut into the valley, split in two by the winding river Yesilirmak as it wound its way to the Black Sea. It was an unusual place, this town where sultans sent their children to learn to be kings. In their wisdom, the rulers had populated the town with districts for each race and religion that populated the Ottoman Empire; creating a microcosm of cultures. Here were the best Madrasahs; schools both secular and religious. The Halveti were powerful here, sending wandering dervishes from their tekkes hence to teach their vision of Allah. Amasya was the center of learning for all of Turkey; but this did not matter to Ashta, for he was just a thief and a spiller of blood.
It had been several days of hard travel for the Turk, so as he rode into Amasya, Ashta checked the streets for both opportunities to work his trade—and for the Berber thief he pursued. What better place for a man to loose himself, Ashta thought, than in this cauldron of mixed races.
Habit made him glance up as he rode, at the ancient fort dug into the mountain side. That was the Harsene Kalesi, where the troops that guarded Amasya likely slept. It sharply contrasted the white walled houses beneath it. There was money here, Ashta knew; and his purse flopped almost empty at his side. He headed for the market place. There was an old friend there who could help.
“Sweet apples, the best Allah allows this poor land to grow.” A voice sang out above the others in the market. Ashta recognized it as that of the man he sought. Sure enough the loud voiced merchant waved at him from beneath a canopy. It was Malek the Scythian. The round little man stood on an overturned basket, apparently so he would not disappear behind the piles of fruit he sold. “Greetings, Baphe—what is the name this trip friend?”
Malek tossed him a fruit. Ashta bit deep into it, relishing its sweetness. “Ashta,” he said between mouthfuls.
“A charming name; short, for one so tall,” Malek joked.
“It serves me well enough,” Ashta said.
“And Allah too, I suppose. So tell me, what brings you back this way? As I recall you have friends here that would gladly slit your throat.”
“I seek someone who stole from me.”
“A rare species of bird indeed, to steal from the vulture,” Malek said. “Come with me and tell me of its plumage; over a meal.”


“So, Ashta…” Malek said after hearing the Turk’s story. “…You are beset by demons—but to what purpose?” He lifted a bowl of ‘toyka’ soup and drank from it.
“What do you mean?”
“well my friend, it seems obvious to me that the Jinni you speak of, was sent by its master to either slay you, or to obtain that bauble you spoke of. That creature has to be the servant of a powerful lord, or a dark necromancer. By Allah’s grace you escaped its clutches.”
“More like some spilled wine,” Ashta grunted betweens sips of tea from an ornate samovar cup. “Would you pass me some yufka?”
“My wife will have to make more—with your sweet tooth,” Malek joked, as he handed Ashta the pastry. “Sometimes I think Allah favors you too well, for the lack of love you give back. But who am I to question his favors?”
“I for one, would wish that the Berber swine shows himself before I get too fat from your wife’s cooking,” Ashta said with a belch.
“On the morrow we shall seek information in the Greek quarter. They are sharp eyed men and a few of them owe me favors. Perhaps then, we can retrieve the jewel and you can sue for favor from this Emir who dogs you.”
Ashta said nothing, but in his thoughts were far from returning the gem. He had felt its power and knew that he had to solve the mystery of it. He picked at the remnant of the pastry and gave Malek a nod. Tis better he thinks I favor his plan. Once I have it, I will follow the amulet where it leads.


“Thomas is an idiot!”
“No, it’s that brother of his, Demetrius; he has the brains of a goat.” The two Greek merchants argued over their wares in voices that rang clear above the other vendors.
“What is the reason for the noise,” Ashta queried his companion. “They look to come to blows.”
“Don’t worry my friend, they are Greeks, they always make such arguments.”
“So what is it about?”
“Politics, my large friend,” Malek said, “What else do fools argue about in the sun?”
“Well, it seems the two brothers rule Morea; a small island that—with Constantinople, have thus far escaped becoming part of our Sultan, Mehmed II’s empire. Since their older brother Constantine is no longer there to control them, they have made a mess of it. Now it seems a rebellion is afoot, and the two brothers cannot agree on how to handle it.”
“That cannot go well.”
“Indeed not, they quarrel so much that even their few allies have left them. Soon they—and their brother’s city of Constantinople will be yet more pearls on Mehmed’s ring.”
“Not if Peter Boua has anything to do with it,” the taller of the two Greeks said, turning to Malek.
“Paugh, he has only 30,000 Albanians,” the other said, “what can he do? The Turks will crush him—and the brothers for certain.”
The shorter Greek spat on the ground in disgust, and just as quickly looked up smiling. “Customers,” he asked—then recognition set in. “Malek, the rents not due for another week.” Then, seeing Ashta, he added, “Oils, the finest Grecian olive oils. Rich—to soak up bread or to sooth the limbs of your lover—if that is your need?”
“I come for information,” Ashta said.
“Oh cursed gods, can’t I get a sale?” The short Greek threw up his hands in mock anguish.
“That one is Scalaros,” Malek said, “The tall one is Seneros. Together they make the two loudest fools in the plaza; but also the finest net to cast, when seeking to collect information.”
“So,” Seneros said to Ashta, “Who or what do you want? You have the eyes and long limbs of a hunter and the moustaches of a Cossack. I sense it is something, ah, pleasant that makes you overlook our other fine wares?”
“I seek a man.”
“For pleasure or for—”
Scalaros slapped his hand over the other Greek’s mouth. “He forgets himself at times,” Scalaros said.
“I seek a Berber by the name of Balksid who has stolen from me,” Ashta said gruffly.
“And you plan to kill him…of course you do,” Scalaros released his friend; wiping his hands on his tunic. “So what did he take, Gold, a woman, a camel…no? Perhaps a tall Arabian stallion…?”
“He stole a—” Ashta hesitated. Perhaps, he thought, it would be unwise to tell these Greeks too much. He could see the avarice in their eyes.
“Oh come now, Scalaros said, as if reading his thoughts, “You must confide in us…Yes, I understand your reserve in telling what he has; but how are we to seek if we don’t know what to find?”
Ashta thought for a moment and then answered, “He has stolen an amulet, a cheap copper thing with an amber jewel. It is of no value to me—save it adorned the arm of my dear mother, whom he robbed in her sleep. I seek to regain it for her.”
“Indeed…” Seneros said winking, “We all care for our relatives—” His words were cut short by Ashta’s hand grasping his throat hard.
“Would you call me a liar?”
Scalaros edged in between the two men. “You were saying, oh mighty Turk, that your heirloom needs to be recovered?” He lightly patted Ashta’s wrist, then gently coaxed his hand from Seneros’ throat. “Give us a day and the night as well. I will send a boy then with what we find.”
“I’ll take you at that word then,” Ashta said, and strode away. Malek salaamed and then took off after his friend.
Seneros caressed his throat. “Perhaps,” he called out to the pair, “you prefer the company of Shee—” Scalaros’ hand clamped back over his mouth.

The dancing girl whirled with wild abandon. Ashta sat in the corner seemingly fixated on her voluptuous hips—that seemed to deny the laws of creation in their gyrations—but that was not the case. His obsessed stare was but a mask to hide the real subject of his scrutiny, the doorway, where he had been told someone of great interest to him might enter soon. He lifted a cup of wine to his lips, feigning drunkenness. But that act was for someone else’s benefit, for he had been followed into the tavern and those who had watched him closely.
Assassins? He wondered as he watched them from the corner of his eye. The one in the doorway was husky rouge, a Scythian near as tall as himself. The other, who also pretended to enjoy the dancing, was thin and had the look of an African. This one had long lean muscles that spoke of quickness and coordination. He would be the more deadly, Ashta decided, if things turned towards a fight. For a moment his eye caught the Nubian’s stare. There was eagerness there, as in the eyes of a cat watching its prey. The African smiled showing his large white teeth. So the game is known. How will you make your move?
A slim man dressed in a long robe appeared at the doorway, brushing by the Scythian as he entered. The man paused, fingering his long black beard uncertainly. Then, seeing Ashta, the Jew quickly maneuvered through the crowd to the Turk’s table and sat down.
“You are whom Scalaros sent me to find?”
“I am Saul—”
“The walls have ears here and they listen well,” Ashta said, putting a finger to the Man’s lips. “Now…what did that fawning Greek send you to tell me?”
“He said you sought a Berber. I saw such a man two days ago as he came into my father’s shop. He bore many trinkets and small bits of jewelry to pawn.”
“Was his face scarred?”
“Yes the mark of disease covered his brow. I am to understand that it is a piece of jewelry you wish to recover?”
“Yes, it’s for—”
“Please, we both know that men such as you do not have mothers and I am not so gullible as the Greek. Who are you agent for?”
“I was employed to obtain this item for the Emir of Karamanid.”
Saul leaned back from the table and let out a deep breath, “A powerful employer indeed, why should one of such power hire you?”
“Because I can go where his troops can’t” Ashta growled. “My patience grows thin. Tell me what I need to know.”
“The Berber keeps the amulet around his neck. When I asked if he wanted to sell that with his other ill-gotten wares, he looked at me as one stricken by God. The Berber snatched up the coins for the rest, but left babbling. I recall him saying something about seeking a Genoese man, by the name of Giorgio Carrisione.”
“You speak as if that name is known to you,” Ashta said.
“By the will of God, I have made acquaintance with such a man.”
“And where would I find him?”
“Why, in Constantinople,” Saul said and shrugged, “That is—if you can get past Mehmed’s Janissaries and the city’s defenders.”
As they spoke, Ashta kept an eye on the Nubian. Apparently the Jew was of no interest, for he never looked at him. Instead his eyes remained fixed on the Turk. The Scythian had ducked back into the shadows. Ashta knew they would wait for him to leave the tavern before acting.

Momad the Scythian decided he didn’t like the way the Turk kept looking in his direction. He preferred a more subtle approach to killing as opposed to Kiram, his recently acquired Nubian partner. It did not sit well with him that their prey was so aware of their presence. He had the look of a fighter and that could mean trouble. He ducked into the shadows beyond the door to reconsider the job. While it was true that the purse offered by the merchant was sizable, the possibility of injury or worse made the gold sparkle less brightly.
A change in the sound in the tavern made him look in. The Jew had risen and was headed his way, but where was the Turk? He saw Kiram hurry out the back door. Momad raced around the side of the building, hoping he was cutting off the path of escape for the Turk. Suddenly he felt a shock run through his neck. He felt his head hit the ground at a funny angle. He tried to speak but couldn’t. Momad saw a pair of booted feet near him, then a face—then all went black.


Ashta wiped his blade on the headless body of the Scythian. He had been lucky with this one, for the man had raced around the corner carelessly, making a perfect target for his blade. He saw the man’s eyes look up at him before they glazed over in death. “Perhaps Malek is right about Allah watching over me,” he mused.
No doubt the Scythian was a hired thug. There was that merchant whose daughter…Ashta smiled inwardly at the memory of an old intrigue. Then the sound of footsteps made him spin around—just in time to parry a blow from the Nubian’s sword. He sidestepped as he parried a second blow, then a commotion from the street made both men turn.
“Hold there, what goes on?” voices called. It was the night watch. The Nubian flashed Ashta a quick grin, salaamed and then ran off.
Ashta sheathed his sword. He spied a low wall behind the tavern and ran to it; vaulting the structure as the watchmen came running around the corner.
“Get him,” a voice yelled.
Ashta ran through a small garden before reaching another wall, as he slid over it, he saw some of the watchmen struggling to get over the first. He deposited himself in the street just in time to see three men with torches emerge from the street to his left. Ashta ran across the street, and then doubled his tracks looking for a place to hide. He saw a low building with vines growing up a trellis on its side. Ashta ran to it and scaled the wall swinging over the edge onto the roof landing on his back as another group of watchmen raced by below.
“Are you so certain Allah loves you?”
There was a sword point leveled at his throat. Grasping it was the Nubian. He was smiling with the same cat-like grin he had flashed in the tavern. “Do not consider drawing on me, I can assure you that would only hasten your end.”
Ashta laughed. “Are you here on behalf of Bin Sali?”
The Nubian grinned even more broadly. “Yes, I and my headless associate were hired from my master by the Arab. He does not favor calling you the father of his grandson.”
“She was a lovely one, that wench,” Ashta said.
The Nubian sighed, “Yes she was—and is. But for that pleasure, a debt of pain is required—at least according to my master.” The Nubian stepped back, sheathing his blade. “But there is no sport—and too many witnesses this eve. I may call upon you at a future time when we may test our skills as men.”
“I shall await you services,” Ashta said. Then the Nubian, with a laugh—leaped from the wall. Below, Ashta could hear guardsmen in hot pursuit.
“This has become an interesting evening,” Ashta said as he lowered himself to the street. As he did, the Turk caught movement inside a nearby window. Within, a woman with long limbs and pendulous breasts sat naked before a bowl of water, caressing her coffee hued figure with a sponge—her black painted fingernails foamy with soap. Ashta watched as she looked up at him and smiled, nodding her head in a timeless welcome. He sighed, “An interesting evening indeed.”


Zahra, wife of Malek was busy cleaning up after the morning meal when Ashta strode through the door. She quickly adjusted her niqab so the veil covered her lower face. Though he was Malek’s friend, Zahra feared Ashta, partly because his eyes seemed so much like those of a bird of prey; piercing—like they could see right through her burka. But also; because of the way that made her feel. There was a magnetic sensuality to the man that made her loins ache in a very unacceptable way. Her dreams the night before had been dangerous and sexual. The thought of it embarrassed her and she felt a blush rise to her cheeks. So when he entered, she turned to hide her face in fear that even a glimpse might betray her.
Ashta seemed indifferent to her as he walked over and picked up a bowl full of spiced lamb.
“Would you care for some goat’s milk to wash that down,” she asked.
“That would be appreciated.”
“I will return with some,” she said gathering up some empty bowls. Ashta grasped her garment as she passed.
“Is Malek still here? I would converse with him.”
“No, he is at the market,” she said pulling away. Behind her, Zahra heard Ashta softly chuckle. Curse him by Allah, he knows what I feel.
Ashta had finished eating when she returned and taking the mug of milk from her he swallowed it’s contends in a single gulp. Then flashing a smile at her, he left. Zahra watched him go, her fingers caressing her trembling lips. Who...dear Prophet, said, “Forbidden desires are the sweetest?”


Ashta saw Malek back at his post atop the fruit basket. He was doing a brisk trade, so well in fact when a boy darted in and stole an apple he merely looked after him with a forgiving smile.
“Getting soft with age,” Ashta laughed.
“Tis more I would lose on a day like this, chasing such. When sales are to be made here—” Malek stopped in mid sentence. There was no question as to why, for an arrow now protruded from his forehead. At the same time Ashta felt a sting. His hand went up to his ear and came back bloody. Malek toppled off his bucket—dead. Then suddenly, a body slammed into him knocking the Turk flat.
“Get under something, their not done yet!”
Ashta rolled unsheathing his blade as he did. Before he could strike a blow, his rescuer pointed at the second arrow which had wounded a bystander. Ashta shouted, “Why did you do that?”
“No time now,” said the Nubian. “I am Kiram, and I will await your pleasure…later.”
With the crowd milling about in a state of panic, Ashta ducked under a table where he was joined by Kiram. The Nubian grinned as he watched yet another arrow land within inches of them. “That should do it,” he said. “Even the worst assassin wouldn’t risk a fourth shot; not with the city guards coming.” Kiram pointed down the street where—sure enough—a column of soldiers forced their way through the fleeing crowd.
“Why save me,” Ashta demanded. “I will have an answer.”
Kiram shrugged. “See the fat man at the head of the troops? He was my employer, at least till this morning when he dared to call me incompetent. He comes now with the troops so as to appear innocent of your murder.”
“Why should I give him the pleasure of your death when he didn’t pay me?” The Nubian laughed, “Best we on our way before his guards find us both alive.”
“What of the bowman?”
“Allah blessed us with an amateur,” Kiram said. “Now let’s go.”


The passing of an hour found the pair sitting beneath the canopy which covered the front of a tavern. It was the owner’s intent that it should block the sun, which it did poorly. However, it did provide a bit of privacy for the two men.
“Allah is indeed mysterious in his ways, Kiram said as he signaled to a serving girl for more wine. “He makes me slave to a man, who hires me out to kill another, and then has the gall to send my only brother out to finish the task. So now I sit drinking with my assigned victim, whilst my brother is probably being lashed for his failure!”
“But what of your master, won’t he seek your return?”
“Yes, it’s likely, but I tire of him. Allah never favors the timid, so I shall be my own man again.” He lifted his cup and took a long drink.
“So it seems we have a similar problem,” Ashta said. He grabbed a loaf of bread; tearing it in two and offering half to the Nubian. “I owe a blood debt to the man your brother slew.”
“Perhaps,” said Kiram, “we should seek to alleviate that problem—as partners, and possibly enrich our travelling funds.”


Izbul Bin Sali woke from a troubled sleep to the sound of swords clashing in the dark. Throwing a cover around his naked form and grabbing an oil lamp, he kicked the serving girl who shared his bed out of the way and stormed out the door. Before him was a scene of carnage. Three of his hired swords lay dead in the dark hall. One was choking his life’s blood from a slit throat; the last was locked in combat with a lean giant of a man. The hall was too narrow to allow for much maneuvering, so the fighters slammed into the Arab—almost knocking him over. Seconds later, the last guard cried out in agony. He sank to the floor with a chest wound. The tall slayer turned to him.
“Gold may save your life,” he said.
“Or not,” a familiar voice said behind him. Bin Sali turned in time to receive three feet of steel in his fat belly. Through dimming eyes, the merchant saw and recognized his murderer. It was his slave, Kiram.


Zahra was awakened by the sound of a door closing. She looked around. The sun poured its light through the bedroom window; so it was well after noon. It hardly mattered, since she hadn’t risen for the two days passed after being told of her husband’s murder. She rose and stiffly made her way to the main room of her house. As she entered, Zahra gasped in horror. There setting in an opened bag on the table before her, was the severed head of a man, a merchant she had seen with her husband on occasion. It could not have lain there long she realized, as the blood oozed from below his chin. She looked away and shuddered, and then composed herself as best she could. She looked back at the table. Beside the head, there was a note, and another, larger, canvas bag. Zahra picked up the note and read;
This is the man whose orders caused your husband’s death. Within the bag is his blood debt to you.
Zahra picked up the bag. It was heavy. She cradled it in her arm as she tugged the drawstrings open. Within, the new widow found it full of jewels and coins.


“See how the mist and spray rise from the waves like dancers, they whirl and twist in such delightful designs.” The speaker of those words was an ancient Imam. His student’s listened; enthralled with his eloquence. Ashta sat across from them on the other side of the ship desperately trying to control his bowels. The teacher’s words only compounded the sea sickness that was making the trip across the Mediterranean an agony for the Turk.
Kiram, on the other hand, sat with the students until he noticed his comrade retching over the port rail. “The fresh air, the sun, how can you not feel invigorated my friend?”
“Go die,” Ashta said.
“Allah takes all in his time, my Son,” the Imam said, misunderstanding the Turks words.
Ashta felt for his knife. Fortunately, it was below deck with his belongings. He groaned.
“We should make the port of Pera in a day or so. Then your suffering will be alleviated,” Kiram said. Then you can search for your Berber acquaintance, while I use our new funds to increase our wealth, buying plunder from the soldiers. There should be some great profits to be made when they finally breach the walls of Constantinople.”
Ashta did not hear Kiram’s words as his thoughts were on the rise and fall of the sea. There was something wrong there, he could sense it. The mist and spray seemed to taunt him, as if something evil was below the surface…watching—following him.

End Chapter 4 of The Eye of Time

Stabbed in Stanzas Book Review: Haunted Legends Edited by Ellen Datlow and Nick Mamatas

Reviewed by Karen L. Newman

Just in time for Halloween Tor releases the much anticipated anthology, Haunted Legends. Twenty authors, most well-known, contributed chilling tales to this excellent collection. Most were memorable. Some didn’t quite fit the parameters expected from the reader.
My personal favorites are “Tin Cans” by Ekaterina Sedia and “That Girl” by Kaaron Warren. Both compare human horrors against the horror of ghosts, humanity being scarier than the legend itself. The book is a treat for those not having read the work of notable writers such as Joe R. Lansdale, Ramsey Campbell, John Mantooth, and Gary Braunbeck, as well as for fans of those authors. Several up-and-coming writers appear as well, including Carrie Laben and Steven Pirie. The use of legends from around the world as well as some obscure ones in the U.S. made the book an interesting read. All were quality pieces of fiction. Several stories have wonderful twists at the end. The book is a prime example of professional horror writers at their best.
Unfortunately, not all included the theme of haunted legend, which infers ghosts. Even the introduction written by Mamatas focuses on ghost stories. This misleads the reader and can lead to disappointment. The introduction, in my view, has too much negativity and detracts from the book. I wonder why Datlow didn’t write the introduction, or at least had written a second one to offset the Mamatas one. Campbell’s story about the Chucky movies stretches the theme too much. Also the outstanding story by Catherynne M. Valente is about a fantastic creature from Japan, not a ghost. Laben writes about a bird. Perhaps the title should have been Urban Legends and Ghostly Tales, with Datlow discussing the urban legends.
Still, this book is well worth purchasing and should appear in every serious horror enthusiast’s bookshelf.

--Karen L. Newman

Bloody Pages Book Reviews

Reviews by Lisa Morton

END TIMES by Rio Youers
(PS Publishing)
Released September 2010
£20.00 [$31.00]
Jacketed Hardcover

Anyone who’s read Rio Youers’ novellas MAMA FISH and OLD MAN SCRATCH already knows that this new kid on the genre block is somebody pretty special. The use of language, the insight into his characters, and his descriptive gifts all marked Youers as one of those “writers to watch”, a hackneyed phrase but true in his case. It didn’t even matter much that both novellas were occasionally reminiscent of the works of other writers – MAMA FISH felt a bit like vintage Bradbury, and SCRATCH was the best long fiction Stephen King never wrote.
Youers’ new novel END TIMES may also remind you a bit of another fine writer – specifically Peter Straub’s GHOST STORY - in its tale of a vengeful female spirit wreaking mayhem on those who were responsible for her death, but the similarities end there, because for the most part END TIMES feels like one of those books wherein a writer finally finds their own voice and shouts it loud and clear. Told in a gorgeous style that somehow manages to combine gritty realism and poetic metaphor, END TIMES will very quickly have you thinking of no other author but Rio Youers.
The story, which essentially occurs in three acts, centers on Scott Hennessey, an on-and-off heroin junkie and obsessive-compulsive with a troubled past and a distinctive physical attribute: He has no fingers, only a thumb remaining on each hand. We know from the beginning that Scott cut his own fingers off, but we don’t find out exactly why until the book’s second act, when we also discover the event in Scott’s past that led to the death of Mia, the young woman at the heart of END TIMES. When we first meet Mia, she’s a beautiful seductress who lures Scott into an enchanted forest (“the trees reached to the sky with the grandeur of a child’s ambition”), and he soon falls hopelessly in love with her.
Unfortunately, Scott’s all-or-nothing psyche comes to crave the mysterious Mia all the time, and he fills the time gaps without her by returning to his heroin addiction. His job as a successful journalist and his one strong friendship, with a crippled man named Sebby, are endangered, and Scott’s life begins to spin out of control, forcing him to remember…
The book’s second act focuses on Scott’s time with a wealthy cult leader named Shintaro, who rescued him from the streets, helped him kick his addiction the first time, and inducted him into a dangerous sect of self-mutilation. Scott slowly begins to remember the terrified young girl who Shintaro abducted and held captive, and connects her – impossibly – to his beloved Mia.
END TIMES significantly switches gears for its climax, as Scott follows Mia out of Britain and back to her home, the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota, land of the Oglala Sioux. Scott soon discovers that he plays the starring role in an ancient legend, and he slowly accepts his fate, even while dreading the outcome.
If END TIMES stumbles, it’s in that third act. In the book’s first two-thirds, Youers builds the tension expertly (even while occasionally providing some very black humor); people die around Scott in terrible ways, but it’s really Scott’s own guilt and dawning realization about his past that provide the book’s most disturbing elements. But the finale becomes nearly a fairy-tale fantasy, complete with the trope of a white male who becomes the central figure in a mystical native prophecy. A revelation regarding Mia here doesn’t really gibe with her appearance (as a pathetic victim) in the second act of the book, and the ending doesn’t satisfactorily explain the title of the book. There’s also an odd point-of-view shift that is justified by the plot, but nevertheless feels slightly clumsy.
But there’s always that glorious voice to come back to. Listen, for example, to this: “I picked up the vial and looked at the brown powder inside, like an hourglass waiting to be turned: time’s steady death.” That’s a description of heroin, and just those few words have managed to convey the drug’s appearance, addictive pull, and deadliness. That combination of ugliness, honesty, and lyricism are unique to Rio Youers, who fulfills his earlier promise splendidly with END TIMES, which is without question one of the most compelling genre works of 2010.

(Visit Rio Youers's home site here and you can purchase your own copy of the book here on PS Publishing website.)

Horrors: Great Stories of Fear and Their Creators
Written by Rocky Wood and Illustrated by Glenn Chadbourne
(McFarland and Co., Inc.)

Unless you’ve been too busy donning a superhero costume and patrolling your local metropolis on a nightly basis, you know that the art and popularity of graphic novels have exploded over the last two decades. Writers like Alan Moore, Neil Gaiman, Frank Miller, and Brian K. Vaughan have brought sequential storytelling into the rarified atmosphere of true literature, exploring everything from possible Masonic influences on Jack the Ripper to a socially inept twentysomething who becomes the last man on earth. Graphic novels have begun to appear in top literature lists, and have of course kept Hollywood going as well.
All of which begs the question: Where are the non-fiction graphic novels?
Forget the oxymoron to be found in that phrase, and take a look at any bookstore’s collection of graphic novels – with a very few exceptions (Moore’s charged political study BROUGHT TO LIGHT, or Alison Bechdel’s poignant autobiography FUN HOME), you basically won’t find non-fiction there.
Fortunately, a few companies are out to change that and one of the first out of the gate is McFarland. Known primarily for their niche books on popular culture, McFarland recently launched a line of non-fiction graphic novels with two releases, one of which chronicles the history of the horror novel. HORRORS: GREAT STORIES OF FEAR AND THEIR CREATORS, written by Rocky Wood and illustrated by Glenn Chadbourne, is undoubtedly one of the most unique literary histories ever produced, complete with Wood’s knowledgeable and even playful commentary, and art that is frequently stunning.
Wood begins the book by focusing on the fateful events of 1816 (“The Year Without a Summer”), when a gathering at Lord Byron’s infamous Villa Diodati led to the creation of both Mary Shelley’s FRANKENSTEIN and John Polidori’s THE VAMPYRE. Wood and Chadbourne’s re-telling of the story of Frankenstein is crisp and frightening, with Chadbourne’s line drawings slightly reminiscent of Bernie Wrightson’s famed illustrations for the book, but possessing their own macabre character.
But more interesting is the amount of time spent on Polidori’s THE VAMPYRE, a book few have read but which takes on a more interesting place in the annals of horror, thanks to both the background and detailed synopsis provided here. Wood rounds out the section on FRANKENSTEIN and THE VAMPYRE by noting the strange and ironic fates suffered by their creators.
The remainder of the book is devoted to briefer looks at other classics, including BEOWULF, the works of Poe, and a section on the Gothic novels. Wood has also provided a thoughtful afterword, discussing how much of the original material he kept in adapting the stories (in regards to Polidori’s THE VAMPYRE, Wood wryly notes “the good doctor’s prose is too turgid for my taste”).
Wood’s text throughout is superb, with just enough of the touch of the poet to capture the style of the original works (but also enough fact to enlighten even the most knowledgeable scholar of horror), and Chadbourne’s illustrations kept me lingering on certain pages (my personal favorite: The full-page rendering for Poe’s “The Fall of the House of Usher” that depicts a mysterious top-hatted figure coolly lounging against a gate while the house dramatically implodes behind him). Even the book’s layout is artful, with unusual fonts, and lovely touches like black word balloons with white writing for the monsters in each piece.
Kudos to McFarland, Wood and Chadbourne for leaping into untested waters with the exquisite and insightful HORRORS. Here’s hoping it will help to open the flood-gates for non-fiction graphic novels.

(Visit the author Rocky Wood's MySpace page here and also artist Glenn Chadbourne's website. The book can be found here on McFarland and Co.s website.)

TIME CAPSULES classic book reviews by Bill Lindblad


There is a school of thought which says that Lovecraftian stories are at their best when good and evil are completely removed from the equation; that the alien menace ascribed to the creatures of the Mythos derives potency from being detached from humanity. We are not their enemies; rather, we are barely vital enough to be noticed. These are beings not to be fought, but avoided.

It is undeniable that many stories written from that viewpoint are among the best of the Lovecraft-inspired works. But, just as I enjoy both quiet horror and splatter punk (subject to the quality of the stories) I can enjoy both the fully alien and the good/evil Mythos stories, provided they’re done well.

This story seems at first glance to fall into the second style… the stories of Derleth and Lumley, where ancient entities and races both good and evil war with mankind caught in the crossfire. Upon consideration, though, I believe it falls more into the first group.

This is a true sequel to The Colour Out of Space, updated for the 1984 audience. Yes, there is a malign entity involved… truly malign, not merely dispassionately consumptive. But I believe it still falls into the first group of stories because there is no alternate “good”. We are left without any sense of any supernatural or alien forces arrayed with mankind either as aide or guardian; the closest the author comes is introducing Elder Signs for protection. It fleshes out one of Lovecraft’s more tangential Mythos stories without undermining it; instead of dealing with an adult “colour”, we see what form is taken by one of them in a larval stage, and what it might do.

We also see Shea, at the height of his imitative efforts (he could also write a great Jack Vance-style story, as shown by his World Fantasy Award winning Nifft the Lean) producing a story that could have been narrated by any of Lovecraft’s scholarly protagonists. The story itself couldn’t have been produced by Lovecraft, however. Certainly the fates of some of the characters could have come straight from the pages of Weird Tales, but I can’t imagine Farnsworth Wright allowing some of the action, nor can I imagine Lovecraft penning it. This is an appreciation, and a sequel, but not a straight pastiche.

And, amidst the building mood and the bursts of action, Shea shoehorned a positive appraisal of the man whose work inspired the short novel. It’s a bit of literary trickery that not only works, but actively furthers the plot.

The worst thing I have to say about this book is that it is short; I expect that was intentional, meant to mimic the brevity of Lovecraft’s own novels or parallel the original story. When the worst thing I have to say about a book is that I wished there were more of it, that’s an indication I enjoyed the book.

That said, it is neither groundbreaking nor unusually engrossing. It is a much better than average short piece by one of the best modern fantasists.

Four stars out of five.

BEAST IN VIEW by Margaret Millar

In 1955, Margaret Millar wrote this crime/detective novel. In 1956, it won the third Edgar award for best novel.

More than fifty years later, it is still an effective story. It is a psychological thriller, opening with a young shut-in getting threatened by an unknown woman on the phone, then follows a lawyer as he conducts an investigation on the terrorized woman’s behalf. The trail he follows is not long, as one might expect from this style of story. The person he is hunting is not playing cat-and-mouse; rather, she is merely manipulative, clever, and homicidal. The question becomes who she is going to assail, and how, and when. She uses the investigator’s own actions as a lever to push people in the direction she wishes them to go. And all the time, the lawyer learns more, getting closer to his quarry….

Two things set this story apart. One is the writing: it is terse but not clipped, with realistic dialogue that never feels like mandatory story exposition. Two is the story hook, which I will not reveal but which has become, over time, a familiar concept to mystery writers. Again, however, this is from 1955, back when the hook in question was an unexpected novelty. Just as I would not criticize Dracula for using a conventional style of vampire, I will not criticize this book… instead, I will merely praise it for what it was, and what it remains.

Five stars out of five.

SOFT AND OTHERS by F. Paul Wilson

This collection from 1989... F. Paul Wilson’s first collection of short fiction… is not truly a horror collection; rather, it contains both horror and science fiction stories (and, rarely, one which fits into both categories.)

As such, it’s an oddity. Its science fiction stories are such that they should earn this book a place on the shelves of any sf fan. “Lipidleggin’” alone is accurately predictive enough that it should earn the author accolades. “Ratman” is a classical sf puzzle story. Other stories are equally impressive. However, the quality of the sf stories aside, the horror stories are such that they should earn this book a place on the shelves of any horror fan.

The title story, “Soft”, is a masterpiece of subtle horror, despite such scenes as a character’s jaw falling off. It’s also effective as a snapshot of the AIDS fears of the late 1980s. “Cuts” is a reminder of just how righteously offended F. Paul Wilson was by the abomination that became of his masterwork novel The Keep when adapted to film. “Buckets” is a story that seems designed to either start or end conversations, and possibly friendships. This is powerful stuff, and to make the package even better F. Paul Wilson includes a short introduction before each story, providing background information about its publication history and/or the circumstances of the story’s production.

Five stars out of Five.

--Bill Lindblad

Movie vs. Book: Empire of the Ants

The Movie:

Empire of the Ants (1977)

I don’t know which of us decided that doing Empire of the Ants for this month’s book vs. movie was a good idea. I’m pretty sure it was me. But about five minutes into watching it, I remembered…I hate ants. Hate them. I used to live in an apartment cursed by the things. They’d crawl up the wall to my third floor apartment window and chew their way in, finding the one soda can I’d forgotten to rinse out and swarm the place. So I was already convinced before watching this that they were evil, evil buggers.
And still, I could not be disturbed by this movie. Empire of the Ants was produced by AIP (American International Pictures, purveyors of grand schlock in the drive-in era) and directed by Bert I. Gordon (who holds the dubious distinction of having the most films to be featured on “Mystery Science Theatre 3000”) so from that alone I knew this would be grand, craptacular fun.

Joan Collins has lured a horde of folks to a remote area of the Florida Everglades in hopes of duping them into investing in crappy real estate. But, unbeknownst to her or anyone else, the area is overrun by ants. Not just any ants, but ants grown to monstrous size due to leaking nuclear waste that had been dumped in the water. Like any grand drama, this movie is divided into three acts: the first, setting up the characters and making enough of them out to be putzes so we root for the ants to kill them. Second act, they run from (sometimes unsuccessfully) said ants. The third act does mix things up a little bit when they finally reach the safety of a town, only to find the townsfolk under the enslaving spell of the queen ant.

But really, who cares about the plot? We’re watching this for the giant ant action! Bert I. Gordon is the go-to guy for big animals (he also directed the great adaptation of H.G. Wells’ “Food of the Gods” where Marjoe Gortner gets attacked by a giant rubber chicken). For this, he used rubber ants for the close-up attacks, but for the swarming scenes, one would expect Harryhausen-esque stop motion. But Gordon went one step further—he filmed real ants crawling over miniatures (think the bug version of Night of the Lepus). One absolutely fabulous scene must have been filmed with a glass wall enclosing the ants, because they started to crawl up it. The glass is not visible in the finished film, so we get treated to the occasional ant crawling up into the sky.

God, I had fun watching this movie. While he might be a shlockmeister, Gordon knew how to rile up his audience to, at times, root for the people to defeat the big bugs and, at times, root for the bugs to defeat the putzes. As if he could predict the audience expectations, Gordon delivered in every one of them.

Sure, I could discuss some subtle subtext about polluting the environment, or the dangers of conformity, but, really folks, this is a giant ant movie! If I go any deeper than that I risk reading too much into it, and that would kill the fun of it all.

As an added bonus, the intro is done in mock nature program style, where, while watching ants do their normal thing, we are informed by a very knowledgeable-sounding voice-over (of course it’s knowledgeable—it has a British accent!) that ants are superior to man because of their strength and ruthlessness. It looked straight from one of my favorite bug documentaries, The Hellstrom Chronicles. It didn’t add much to the movie, but it made me smile.

Empire of the Ants is not a great movie. It will never be taught in film class, studied in academic texts, or profiled at an art film festival. But it never meant to be. It meant to be a giant ant movie, and on that level, it succeeded.

On a side note, it makes me vaguely sad to know we now have generations that will grow up and not have the opportunity to wax nostalgic about crappy special effects. Sure, their movies might look prettier, but I think they’re missing out on a strange affection for watching ants crawl up a sky.




H.G. Wells wrote many classic science fiction and horror stories… The Invisible Man, The Time Machine, The Island of Dr. Moreau… and a number of “lesser” pieces which have more or less been forgotten by the casual reader. Among those lesser pieces is the short story The Empire of the Ants.

The piece is included in many of the collections of Wells’ short fiction, and deservedly so. It is a nicely understated work detailing an encounter between a boat crew and a swarm of ants; the meeting goes poorly for the humans when it becomes apparent that the ants have developed intelligence. Whether a group mind or individual thoughts are in place is never developed, nor are the mechanics of intellectual growth. Wells merely works with the possibility as an outgrowth of evolutionary theory and posits a result… and the result has dire implications for the human race. It’s a exemplary short story, although it does tend to lack long-term resonance for me.

Four stars out of five.


EMPIRE OF THE ANTS by Lindsay West, based on the movie by Bert I. Gordon

The movie was inspired more by the title of the H.G. Wells short story than by the content of the tale. The novelization, however, tries hard to stick to the script of the film.

That is not to say the book doesn't venture into new territory. It does. It makes you wish it hadn't, but it does.

This novelization reads as if the author were trying to reproduce the movie in the voice of Hunter S. Thompson speaking to twelve year olds. It bounces between forced "hipness" and mundane exposition. Worse yet, the one true innovation it holds over the movie is painfully bad: the reader is made privy to the thoughts of the giant ants.

An example: "Queen mother, each hour magnifies our gratitude to thee. Thou has given us manna to make us grow bigger and stronger than our ancient enemy. And as our bodies have grown, so have grown our brains. The two-legged beast sees our antennae twitching, and cannot read out thoughts. We can read this. And we will eat him. We will devour his very thoughts. We will sup on the arrogance that has let him crush us with his heel through the centuries. We will quaff his soul. To thy greater glory, Queen Mother."

Really? You've got ants thinking in "Thee" and "Thou", talking about quaffing souls, and they haven't figured out the terms "human", "man" or "woman" yet? For that matter....

... Oh, hell. Forget "for that matter." This is a complete piece of crap of a book, novelization or not. It is, however, mercifully short, and so completely terrible that it may be the perfect reading when you've got some alcohol in your system and you can't find an intentional humor book.

One star out of Five.


Fresh Blood: New Releases In the World of Horror

compiled by Nickolas Cook and Steven M. Duarte

In Book/Publishing News:
Staff writer and Bram Stoker award-winning author Lisa Morton announces the pre-order information for her newest work, THE SAMHANACH (trade paperback edition). This promises to outdo her debut novel, the critically acclaimed THE CASTLE OF LOS ANGELES.

Another exciting bit of news from Lisa is her participation in the upcoming History Channel's original documentary production THE REAL STORY OF HALLOWEEN, which is set to premier October 26th (please check your local listings for times).

Lisa has also been busy writing a piece for the October 20th issue of The Wall Street Journal (her work appears in the 4th section and can be found online as well).

A heads up to collector's:

ALICE IN ZOMBIELAND by Lewis Carroll and Nickolas Cook Going Out-of-Print. Last chance for a copy.

Alice in Zombieland by Lewis Carroll and Nickolas Cook is going out-of-print very soon to make way for the new Source Books mass market edition. That said, this is your last chance to own the original before the new version--complete with illustrations--comes out.

Like our other first editions of mash-ups going out-of-print, there's a HUGE chance the originals will be worth a great deal in the future.


COSCOM ENTERTAINMENT announces the release of A.P. Fuchs’ sequel to his hit zombie shoot ‘em up novel, Blood of the Dead, called Possession of the Dead, the 2nd book in his Undead World Trilogy.

From the backcover:
Giant Zombies.
Things have changed.
Ever since returning through the Storm of Skulls to the present day, Joe, Billie and August have discovered the world they now inhabit, is not the world they left behind. The zombie threat has evolved to gargantuan proportions. Now aided by giant undead--massive monsters with phenomenal strength and power, with deadly appetites just as vast--the zombie population moves to devour any and all life.
Separated from his friends, Joe learns that not all hope is lost for humanity when he meets, Tracy, a woman who exudes a strength to rival his own. Tracy brings him to the Hub, an underground sanctuary where life continues in a dead world, but his thoughts linger on his missing friends.
August and Billie have problems of their own, and soon learn the same plight that affected a past friend of theirs now affects many: zombies with shapeshifting capability. Now, anyone is suspect. Yet even with this newfound knowledge, more is heaped upon them when the agenda of the undead is revealed and humanity is the one caught in the crossfire.
A war is raging, one between angels and demons, monsters and man.
And it's only escalating.

Author LISA MANNETTI announces the release of her new book trailer for her acclaimed THE GENTLING BOX, Bram Stoker Award winner for Superior Achievement in a First Novel. Check out the trailer below:

Our friends at NORTHERN FRIGHTS PUBLISHING announces author Michael Scott Bricker has signed a one book deal with Northern Frights Publishing (NFP). His novel, Symphony for the Quiet Ones, will be released in 2011.
Symphony for the Quiet Ones is a post apocalyptic time travel novel that revolves around a small town in Nevada and a battle between two immortal factions, magicians and monks. Powerful enemies, neither side restricts their fight to the timeline, resulting in an epic battle across time that will decide the fate of the world.
"It's a fun, weird, and exciting book," Michael Scott Bricker said, "full of strange characters and historical oddities. For those who like time travel stories, it's a must. The story starts in the mythical desert town of Garlock, Nevada, and the main characters must flee a group of immortal monks who are hunting them down. They escape into medieval France during the Black Death, then to post-apocalyptic Las Vegas, and then back to Garlock in the year 1913. The medieval historical scenes in this book were especially fun to write."
Jumping across the timeline is nothing new to Bricker, who recently sold a story about the painter, Hieronymous Bosch, to NFP's Fallen: An Anthology of Demonic Horror. The story marks the third appearance by Bricker in an NFP release, and was widely regarded as a highlight of the anthology. The book will also contain tales by Aurora Award winner Douglas Smith, David Tallerman, David Dunwoody, and Steve Vernon, among others.
"If you want an appetizer, then read my novelette The Garden of Earthly Delights, which will be released in the anthology Fallen: An Anthology of Demonic Horror, also from Northern Frights Publishing. That tale is a fictionalized account of the painter Hieronymus Bosch, and while it's a completely different story than Symphony, I think that it encompasses some of the same themes."
Symphony for the Quiet Ones will be released in summer 2011, in hardcover, trade paperback, and digitally, and is part of NFP's move from an anthology-only press in its first year to a more robust product line in its second.
"I've always thought that 2011 would be an important year," Bricker said, "but that had something to do with the end of the Mayan Calendar and the approaching apocalypse. Well, we shall see. I never dreamed that I'd have a book coming out right before this rather inconvenient event. Hopefully everything will turn out okay and the book will continue to sell for years to come. If not, it's a great book to read while fleeing from the locusts or volcanoes or whatever. The zombies will have something to read while waiting for the saucers to arrive."
As for signing on with Northern Frights Publishing, Michael Scott Bricker added:
"I think that the fiction in Northern Frights books is of a very high quality, and the books are visually stunning. It's obvious that these people really care about their products."


Another great release from one of our favorite genre authors, ERIC S. BROWN, SEASON OF DEATH.
Eric S Brown returns to the zombie genre with this new hardcover collection of novellas which will leave readers knowing that there is no escape from the flesh eating hordes who are about to bring an end to the world as we know it.

Four novellas from Eric S Brown, author of Season of Rot (Permuted Press) and War of the Worlds Plus Blood, Guts and Zombies (Simon and Schuster).

Undead Down Under—Straight after his adventures in Season of Rot, Kyle returns to lead the new British Empire into a head-on war with the crocodile-demons who rule Australia. Will he be victorious against the decaying, undead minions?

Kinberra Down—A sci-fi horrorfest set on a glacier-covered alien planet. The crew of Kinberra emergency lands on a life-sustaining planet in the unchartered wilds of outer space. The icy world is teeming with terrifying creatures desperate for human flesh. Will the unlucky crew of Kinberra survive the arctic planet? Or will the snow-burrowing monsters satisfy their hunger by feasting on the survivors of the starship?

How the West Went to Hell—A bookish editor travels to Reaper's Valley, a small town set in the Wild West, to finish the macabre manuscript of a recently-deceased novelist. He arrives by stagecoach, where he is introduced to a classic bevy of characters who will join in the fight against the yellow-eyed demon bodysnatchers overtaking Reaper's Valley.A gun-toting, six-gun blazing tip of the hat to both the horror and Western genres.

Ragnarock’s Island—In a world ruled by the dead, humans are held captive in breeding programs designed to feed the hungry, zombie masses. Scott survives the sinking of The Queen, a naval vessel, and finds himself caught up in a new war against the dead on the high seas. But one small island outpost, Ragnarock’s Island, may hold the key to final victory over the dead.

Exclusively available from Pill Hill Press. Get your copy before they sell out.

Author AARON POLSON announces the first of his series of PDF newsletters, SKULL SALAD NEWSLETTER, filled with industry tips and interviews with fellow authors and other fun for his fans.

And news from one of the godfathers of the Splatterpunk movement, CRAIG SPECTOR, the 25th Anniversary re-release of one of the classic vampire novels of all time, THE LIGHT AT THE END from Crossroad Press.. This is a must own novel from John Skipp and Craig Spector, two horror writers that helped create a whole new sub-genre in horror in the 80s and 90s.

In Movie News:

Paranormal Activity 2
Release date: Oct 21, 2010
Starring: Katie Featherston
The paranormal activity is starting up again just in time for Halloween. It will be interesting to see if this film can do as well as its brethren. Paranormal Activity director Oren Peli only wrote and executive produced this film as he left the directing duties to Tod Williams. From the trailer we can see they have added a dog and a baby to the mix. We shall see if Oren Peli can make magic a second time.

The Girl Who Kicked The Hornets Nest
Release date: Oct 29, 2010
Starring: Noomi Rapace, Michael Nyqvist, Annika Hallin, Per Oscarsson, Lena Endre, Peter Andersson
The last installment in “The Girl” series of films that started earlier this year with the girl with the dragon tattoo will be released right before Halloween. The film is not receiving a full standard release so check your local theaters to find out if its playing in your area.

Release date: Oct 29, 2010
Starring: Scoot McNairy, Whitney Able
This new flick seems to combine elements from both District 9 and Cloverfield to make for a giant monster movie. The trailer does not show much of the monsters which is a good thing but I’m still hoping we get a Cthulhu type monster to wreak havoc on the big screen.

Saw VII 3D
Release date: Oct 29, 2010
Starring: Tobin Bell, Cary Elwes, Costas Mandylor, Betsy Russell, Sean Patrick Flanery
In a not so surprising move the Saw franchise is going the 3d route by releasing its supposedly last in the series film in 3d. I grew tired of this series about 4 movies ago and really hope this is the last outing of Jigsaw. I mean the guys been dead for like 3 movies yet he’s still coming out in them.

--Steven M. Duarte

Celluloid Horrors Movie Reviews

Devil (2010)
Review written by Steven M Duarte

John Erick Dowdle
Chris Messina, Caroline Dhavernas, Bokeem Woodbine, Logan Marshall-Green

I walked into the theater without any high hopes as to what I was about to see. I knew M Night Shyamalan wrote and executive produced the flick which left me weary and weak in the stomach. I did have a very tiny glimpse of hope for the film as this was by the same director responsible for Quarantine and The Poughkeepsie Tapes which are not masterpieces but are at least acceptable titles in the horror genre.

The films premise is quite simple, 4 strangers are trapped in an elevator that has malfunctioned 20 stories into its ascension. Security guards can see the people in the elevator via camera but can only speak to them one way as there is no microphone inside the elevator. Things start happening as the 4 try to figure out which one of them is the Devil. I really was surprised with what I saw.

Too many horror films rely on showing everything to the viewer. But in this case you don’t see jack shit. When something happens inside the elevator the lights go out and the screen is pitch black. You hear noises of people screaming and tussling around. Then the lights come on and boom a person has been stabbed to death. The surviving characters are left trying to figure out who’s doing the killings along with the viewer. As I always have said before the less you show the more threatening it can be for the viewer.

We are thrown little bits and pieces about the characters but nothing to fully give away who the devil really is. In typical M Night Shyamalan fashion there is a twist at the end. Don’t expect a lame twist like the Village or to the caliber of the twist in the Sixth Sense but be expecting one.

Final Thoughts:

Not too bad of an effort which proves that Shyamalan should stick to writing and producing. The film leaves viewers with a satisfying ending that not all may see coming. The film has somewhat of a religious tone but never tries to force any actual beliefs onto you. It’s more of a viewing of what could happen to you when you make certain choices in life.

--Steven M Duarte

THE RIG (2010)
Review by Brian M. Sammons

Director: Peter Atencio
Staring: William Forsythe, Stacey Hinnen, Serah D’Laine

Does this title sound kind of generic? Well that’s because the movie is kind of generic too. Basically a thinly veiled rip off of ALIEN that substitutes the cold vastness of the ocean for the cold vastness of space and swaps the grimy, dripping, gloomy space ship for a grimy, dripping, gloomy oil rig. The there’s the black, spike-tailed, alien thing, the crawling through dark, claustrophobic tunnels with makeshift weapons, and a blue collar crew getting picked off one by one. Oh and did I mention that the company that owns the oil rig is called Weyland? Is it charming and endearing when the filmmakers know that their movie is such a complete rip off that they include in jokes like this, or is that just a big middle finger at the audience dumb enough to have purchased the DVD? In this case, I’m kind of leaning towards the latter.

The story, such as it is, involves the titular rig drilling for oil and releasing something from the ocean floor. Now while you might expect such a long lost ocean predator to be a big fish, mega shark, a weird eel-like thing, or some Lovecraftian tentacled horror, you instead get a guy in a black rubber suit that looks like he never had any business in a kiddy pool let along the deep sea. Further, the creature is never once shown clearly. Not in a “we want to build suspense and wait to the final act to reveal the monster in all it’s horrible detail” kind of way, but in a “ boy does this rubber suit look like crap” kind of way. Anyway, said creature soon comes up to the oil platform during a storm and one by one starts killing off all the clichés. Oh, sorry, I mean characters. But really, in this movie they are one in the same. There’s the tough Hispanic chick, the funny black comedy relief, the tough but caring crew chief, the hapless guy who’s in love with the chief’s daughter…did this suddenly become the movie ARMAGEDDON?

Now don’t get me wrong, I love good cheesy rip off movies. The majority of Roger Corman films would fall into that category, but the majority of those movies have style, a sense of silly, campy fun and I love them for that. THE RIG has none of that going for it. It commits the worst crime any B-movie can make; it’s dull and oh so boring. The characters are cardboard and completely forgettable, the story plods and drags, the special effects amateurish, even the usual Cromanesq saving grace of gratuitous nudity is only used once and quickly. All these things combined mean that there is no reason to both watching this film. Not even for the top billed star, William Forsythe. Yes, Forsythe does the old “I need a quick paycheck but this movie really sucks” bait and switch. He gives the B-movie some star power but don’t expect him to stick around after the first reel.

Anchor Bay brings out this DVD with only two extras; a commentary track with the director and producer and a short behind the scenes featurette. But really, for this movie that seems more at home on the SyFy channel, that’s more than enough love for this thoroughly forgettable film.

I really can’t recommend this movie. It might be good late at night, with a couple of beers and friends who like to give movies the MST3K treatment, but other than that there’s no reason to watch THE RIG.

--Brian M. Sammons

Reviewed by Brian M. Sammons

Director: Frank De Felitta
Staring: Charles Durning, Tonya Crowe, Larry Drake

The problem with made for TV horror movies is, with very few exceptions, they’re not scary. Now I’m not just talking about the lack of blood and guts, as gore never makes a bad film good. Now, I’m talking about TV movies lacking the very essence of horror It’s like they tell themselves, “Ok, we can be frightening, but only up to a point,” Well that is not the case with this film…at least that’s how I remembered it. You see, I saw DARK NIGHT years and years ago as a kid and it scared the hell out of me. But I haven’t seen it since for the very simple reason that it never came out on DVD. That is…until now. But does the movie hold up when compared to my childhood memories? Let’s find out.

The story is about a large mentally challenged man named Bubba who’s brought to life by Larry Drake, who would go on to fame playing another slow man on TV’s L.A. LAW. Bubba’s best friend is a little girl named Marylee and his worst enemy is Otis, the evilest mailman to ever walk the earth, equally played to sneering perfection by Charles Durning. Otis has an irrationally hatred of Bubba and when one day young Marylee is viciously mauled by a dog, Otis naturally assumes that Bubba is to blame. Rounding up a posse of good old boys, Otis and Co, chase poor Bubba all over town until they find him in a corn field hiding in the clothes of a scarecrow. The vigilantes cold bloodily execute the man, only to hear over the radio just moments later that not only did the little girl live and that it was a dog that attacked her, but that Bubba saved her life. So what’s a bunch of scumbag rednecks to do? Well they plant a pitchfork on Bubba and claim self defense, despite Bubba actually being tied to the wooden scarecrow cross. Somehow the judge buys that excuse, mainly because there wouldn’t be much of a story if the cretins went to prison for their crime, but that doesn’t mean that they have escaped justice. All too soon Otis’ palls start getting bumped off one by one until only the evil mailman remains.

Some of the best things about this movie are the suspense, tension, and mystery that it manages to pull off so well. While the vigilantes start seeing a scarecrow in their fields or yards before they get killed, you never really know what’s going on or who’s avenging the murder of poor Bubba. Could it be Bubba’s mother, or the little girl who keeps talking to Bubba despite his death has gone psychotic with the loss of her only friend, perhaps it’s the prosecuting attorney who knew the good old boys were guilty but failed to prove it in court, or who knows, there might even be a supernatural answer to the murders. All the way up to the movie’s end DARK NIGHT OF THE SCARECROW keeps you guessing better than most thrillers brought out on the big screen.

DARK NIGHT first came out on CBS in 1981 and even though it’s been a long time coming out to DVD it looks amazingly good. The video transfer was handled exceptionally well and the movie just looks beautiful. As for extras, there’s not many, but that’s to be expected from a 80s TV movie. There’s an audio commentary with the writer and director and a short promo piece CBS did for the movie back in the day. While that’s it for the extras, just having this film out and widely available on DVD at last is all the reason I need to get this disc.

DARK NIGHT OF THE SCARECROW is a great little gem of a film and one that’s been away for far too long. Three cheers to VCI Entertainment for bringing this lost classic back out. Do yourself a huge favor and get a copy of this DVD for yourself when it comes out September 28.

--Brian M. Sammons

Terror (1978)
review by Nickolas Cook

Norman J. Warren

John Nolan, Carolyn Courage, James Aubrey, Sarah Keller, Tricia Walsh, Glynis Barber and Michael Craze

This is a weird and gory 1978 drive-in classic. It's a strangely creepy little movie by Norman J. Warren, the Uk's version of Roger Corman, a man who knew the value of a dollar and how to draw a crowd with blood and nudity. Cool fact about this one: it was showing on the screen behind me and my little bro at a 3 screen drive-in, where my family and I were there to see another movie altogether. But I was so intrigued by Terror that I spent most of the time watching it in the rearview mirror instead of the movie we were actually hooked up to via speaker to see. So there are scenes in this film that have stuck with me for going 32 years now-- and that with no sound. This was the first time I'd ever seen it with sound and it still works. There are some disturbing scenes, that remind me of a young Dario Argento, albeit with a more staid British sensibility about it. There's some cinematography and it's quite gory. The acting has some low points, but all and all, it's a pro cast, filled with people who take the ridiculous story just serious enough to make it worth the watch. It has a sharp Technicolor look to it and a deliberate (and as I said, creepy) pace. The ending might not grab everyone, but it still works for me.

--Nickolas Cook

Vault of Horror (1973)
review by Nickolas Cook

Director: Roy Ward Baker

Cast: Terry-Thomas, Dawn Addams, Denholm Elliot, Curt Jurgens, Tom Baker, Michael Craig, Terence Alexander, Glynis Johns, Mike Pratt, Robin Nedwell, Geoffrey Davies, Daniel Massey and Anna Massey.

1973's The Vault of Horror (also known as Tales From the Crypt II in some countries)was produced by one of the great old school exploitation British studios, Amicus Productions, a poor cousin to the much more superior Hammer Studio. Amicus sometimes skewed from the traditional Gothic horror and delved more into the urban horror tales, something which Hammer took a few more years to follow, and may have been one of the reasons for their eventual downfall. This is probably because Amicus was founded by two American producers, who brought with them a modernized sense of what new horror fans were looking for.
Like many of Amicus's other films, this is an anthology film, tied together with a thin narrative thread. One of the stories stars everyone's favorite Doctor Who (Tom Baker) who finds himself in a nasty spot. There are also some other familiar faces among the cast such as Denholm Elliot and Anna Massey. Like Amicus's more well known anthology horror film Asylum, these are stories written/adapted for the screen by none other than the legendary Robert Bloch (not Block, as some of the promo posters read). I've been a huge fan of Amicus's work since I saw Asylum (1972) when I was a kid at a local drive in. This is a fun little film that every Horrorhead would do well to add to his/her collection. So seeketh it out, my fellow Horrorheads. You will love it!

--Nickolas Cook