Monday, June 27, 2011

Bill Breedlove's Horror Column


By Bill Breedlove

1. The latest buzz.
Look at all the new stuff coming out: New writing from Clive Barker, Graham Masterson and Caitlin Kiernan! A new novel by Stephen King where a guy goes back in time to prevent JFK’s assassination! (???) Movies from big guns like John Carpenter (“The Ward”), Don Coscarelli (“John Dies at the End”) and Guillermo Del Toro (the awesome-looking “Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark” remake which has been gathering dust for far too long), as well as a couple John Cusack entries (“Factory” and “the Raven”), a “Joss Whedon Presents…” flick (“Cabin in the Woods”) and Daniel Radcliffe trying to escape the loooooong shadow of Harry Potter (“The Woman in Black”).* Also, new music, art, poetry, games and everything else fresh in the horror world, viewed through the inimitable BLACK GLOVE lens.

• The terrifying specter of that “Thing” remake/reboot/rehash tremblingly omitted and the less said about the despairing “Fright Night” exhumation, the better.

2. Brian “Wonder Boy” Sammons.
Everyone has an opinion. And, in the age of the Internet, alas, it sometimes seems that EVERYONE wants to share their opinion. So, you get a lot of uninformed, misinformed and just plain clueless people whose chief qualification for making informed criticism is a dial-up modem connection in mom’s basement. So, when someone like Brian Sammons comes around, it is like the sweet, sweet relief of a bracing sip of crystal-clear spring water on a 110 F degree day. In other words: Yowza! How expert of a reviewer is Brian? Well, to borrow from unbelievably talented NBA superstar (and notorious choker) LeBron James, Brian writes reviews for “one? Not one, not two, not three, not four, not five, not six but seven!” SEVEN publications. And, in addition to THE BLACK GLOVE, the other outlets clamoring for Mr. Sammons’ services include a little magazine with the title SHOCK TOTEM. And a little thing called HORROR WORLD. And, a sweetly-named magazine that perhaps some folks who follow developments in horror may have heard of—CEMETERY DANCE. Anyone? Anyone? The list goes on and on. The man is in demand. HELLNOTES? Check. DARK DISCOVERIES? Check. You get the idea. And, yet, you can read Mr. Sammons most insightful, most thought-provoking, most eloquent reviews RIGHT HERE at THE BLACK GLOVE. Bazzinga!

3. The Best from the Vaults.
If you are a true “Horrorhead” (as the Big Guy likes to say), then you love ALL things horror—especially all those “old” books and movies from “back in the day.” At THE BLACK GLOVE, you have a whole crew of experienced guides who love that stuff even more—if such a thing is possible—and can’t wait to write about it for your enjoyment. That old thought that you were the only one who remembered it? You’ll probably find a discussion of it here. That really strange scary movie you saw on cable once back in the mid 1980s—what was the title? Something about werewolf warlocks…Yeah, it’s probably here, too. That super-obscure, impossible-to-get-harder-to-locate-than-A-SERBIAN-FILM Asian horror movie that somebody who knows somebody told a friend of yours about? Guess where the info on it will be? The BLACK GLOVE folks LOVE horror. If it’s out there, either just released in one small theatre in the deepest part of the Saskatchewan province, or the last remaining VHS copy was just sold on eBay, chances are it already has been written about or soon will be on THE BLACK GLOVE.

4. Lisa Freakin’ Morton!
I’ve started a public campaign to get Ms. Lisa Morton’s name officially changed to “Lisa Freakin’ Morton!” Yes, with the exclamation point. Just imagine, every time she is introduced at a convention, the announcer would have to intone “…and now, ladies and gentlemen, Lisa Freakin’ Morton!” How awesome would that be? Aside from being smart, funny and awesomely cool, Lisa also happens to be ridiculously talented. Screenplays? Been there, done that. (As in PRODUCED, award-winning films from her screenplays) Short stories? Yes, as in “Stoker-Award winning short story author.” Longer Stories? Why, yes, as in “Stoker-Award winning author for Long Fiction. Nonfiction? Bingo! As in “Stoker-Award winning author for best non-fiction. How about still longer stories? Take a guess! How does “Stoker Award winning author for Best First Novel” sound? Pow! Lisa is so awesome that, from the time I started typing this piece to now, she just won another Stoker award for “most gracious and talented author in a ridiculous paragraph for an online publication.” But, even better, in addition to all those formidable achievements, Lisa also writes for THE BLACK GLOVE. That’s like having Meryl Streep writing an acting column AND IT’S RIGHT HERE, FOLKS.

5. The Real Deal.
It’s a sad truth, but there are quite a few just plain awful horror-related publications and websites out there. Some are in the “bless their heart” category by fans with more love than anything else, some exist just to blindly extol the virtues of even the most lamentable book, movie, game or whatnot, and, perhaps most despairingly, some only exist to (usually anonymously) trash authors, filmmakers and other folks in the horror community. Fortunately, THE BLACK GLOVE is a welcome antidote to all that nonsense and chatter on the Web. At THE BLACK GLOVE, folks will get the skinny—good, bad and everything in between. If something is great, you’ll hear about it. If something stinks like a mackerel left outside in August for a week, well, you’ll hear about that, too. But, you’ll hear the reasons why, and those reasons will have to do with real, honest-to-goodness criticism of the work as it stands, not the creator. The BLACK GLOVE is stocked with professionals, who avoid both the fanboy fawning and the bitter, axe-to-grind swipes that unfortunately pepper the horror landscape. If a review says something is great, then you can believe that reviewer honestly was transported by the material. If a review says something was like that mackerel, then the reviewer will say why, and—this is important—put his or her name on that review so you can form your own opinion. You may not always agree with what you read on THE BLACK GLOVE, but at least you will know it is written by a real person, with some real credentials, and real passion for horror culture.

6. Nickolas “Big Papi” Cook.
While it is certainly true that the Big Man himself does not write all of the goodies found at THE BLACK GLOVE, his fingerprints are all over this site and its ethos. (see what I did there—with the “GLOVE” and “fingerprints”? More of the high-quality, “meta” content you have come to know and love from THE BLACK GLOVE!) Nickolas Cook has some VERY definite ideas about horror. Some would say “strong opinions.” Those opinions come from a lifetime’s immersion in horror culture. There’s a popular theory attributed to Malcolm Gladwell that is the “10,000 hour rule.” Essentially, his contention is that to get good at something—really, really good—one needs to spend 10,000 hours practicing or participating in that activity. A baseball pitcher needs to spend 10,000 hours throwing the ball. A painter needs to spend 10,000 hours putting brush to canvas. A porn star needs to spend 10,000 hours…well, you get the idea. By that metric (no, not the porn star one), Nickolas Cook has probably mastered what there is to know about horror culture five or six times over. (And that’s just counting hours spent watching NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD or listening to Goblin albums). This man knows his shit, and his hand on the till of the good ship THE BLACK GLOVE means that readers are going to get awesome content, month in and month out, each and every installment. Nickolas is not an “iffy” kind of guy. And neither is his baby (not referring to his lovely wife Kim or any of their collection of Pugs)—THE BLACK GLOVE.

7. Everything Else in the Whole Rest of the World.
There is so much more to be excited about in upcoming year three of “THE BLACK GLOVE Experiment.” There are literally score of supremely talented contributors (Yes, I’m looking at you, Mr. Cato. And you, too, Ms. Newman. And Mr. Duarte. And Mr. Lindblad. And everyone else I did not mention by name who will be shortly sending me an exceptionally snotty email. There’s not one stiff in the bunch over at THE BLACK GLOVE, and they are all writing like mad fools to give you some of the greatest content on horror culture around. And, to think, this is just the start of the third year…imagine what folks will be saying five or ten years down the road. Pilgrims will come to this little corner of the web the way admirers of great writing, quick-witted banter (and strong cocktails) pay homage to the Algonquin Hotel and its renowned Round Table.

Even when the inevitable, eye-peeling frames of the (unasked for) remake of FRIGHT NIGHT are foisted upon an unsuspecting populace, the stalwart writers of THE BLACK GLOVE will (fearlessly) be there, to gaze upon the trainwreck Gorgon, so you will not have to. And, going forward, think of all of the insightful reviews, thought-provoking editorials, clever articles and ingenious columns that will be coming from THE BLACK GLOVE. It’s a heady time to be a Horrorhead, and at THE BLACK GLOVE you will have a front-row seat. I can’t wait to see what’s next.

--Bill Breedlove