Friday, December 18, 2009

Ghost Adventures Update for 12/18/09 episode

courtesy of The Travel Channel

Once more, The Travel Channel has sent us the latest Ghost Adventure episode update, starring those intrepid ghosthunters, Zak, Nick and Aaron.

Episode info:
Execution Rocks is given its name because British soldiers used the rocks around the island to carry out executions. They would chain the prisoners up at low tide and wait for the water to slowly rise until the prisoners were drowned. The prisoners were in the water for up to twelve hours before the water rose high enough for them to drown.
It is standard for a lighthouse keeper to commit to living in a lighthouse for a year. However, lighthouse keepers at Execution Rocks were allowed to cancel their contracts and leave at any point. Many keepers were frightened by strange phenomena and chose to leave early.
One of Americas most notorious serial killers, Carl Panzram, was a big fan of the lighthouse. Carl Panzram once stated, "I have murdered 21 human beings. I have committed sodomy on at least 1000 male human beings. For all of these things, I am not in the least bit sorry." The lighthouse was his chosen place to dump the dead bodies of his victims.
With all of the dark history surrounding the island, is it any wonder that so few paranormal investigators have paid a visit to the lighthouse.

Promo Clip:

Sneak Peek Clip:

Tune-in info: Execution Rocks: Friday, December 18th, at 9 E/P on Travel Channel.

Connect with the show:

--Nickolas Cook
(The Black Glove thanks The Travel Channel for the continuing Ghost Adventures updates)

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Ghost Adventures update for 12/11/09 episode

courtesy of The Travel Channel

Once more, The Travel Channel has sent us the latest Ghost Adventure episode update, starring Zak, Nick and Aaron.

Episode info:
Hospitals are for the sick and dying. For many, Linda Vista was their last stop before heading to the morgue. Linda Vista, located in the heart of east LA, is said to be one of the most haunted locations in Los Angeles. When you consider the rough neighborhood surrounding the hospital, it is no surprise that the hospital had a high death toll.
Before the investigation, Zak visits the incineration room, where the bodies of the dead were burned. While examining the room he comes across what looks like a bone fragment or a tooth from one of the hospital's patients.
Most the hospital looks the same way it did when it was closed down because it was abandoned so quickly after being shut down. The guys believe that when a place is left so quickly, and looks so similar to the way it did when people died, they location is more likely to be haunted.
The guys do not leave disappointed. They capture voices in the middle of the day, and later in the investigation Nick gets one of the worst scares in his life!

Sneak Peek Clip:

Tune-in info:
Linda Vista Hospital: Friday, December 11th, at 9 E/P on Travel Channel.

Connect with the show:

--Nickolas Cook
(The Black Glove thanks The Travel Channel for the continuing Ghost Adventures updates)

Friday, December 4, 2009

Editorial December 09 e-issue #6

R.I.P. Paul Naschy September 6, 1934, Madrid – November 30, 2009, Madrid
written by Nickolas Cook

Paul Naschy (aka Jacinto Molina), best known for his 12 films in which he starred as the cursed werewolf nobleman, Waldemar Daninsky, has died today. At age 75 he has lost his battle with Pancreatic cancer.
Molina began as a bodybuilder, but segued into filmmaking during the burgeoning Spanish cinema movement. Because of his rugged dark looks, he naturally found his way into cheap horror movies, but soon found that his fans wanted more. During his career, he played all the great horror characters, including his own version of the vampire, the mummy, the mad scientist and evil sorceror, and was often referred to as 'the Spanish Lon Chaney'.

His career in filmmaking began in the 60s and spanned across the decades to his last film in 2004, ROTTWEILER.
I know his movies weren't everyone's cup of tea, but, to me, he was the epitome of DYI horror acting.
He brought empathy and menace to his over 30 films, many of which he wrote, produced and/or directed.
Some will call his work cheesy, badly dubbed Eurotrash horror.
And they're right.
But they were unlike any other cheesy, badly dubbed Eurotrash horror. They're the kind of movies you can have a good time watching, but still walk away with something if you've the mind to do so.

My favorite Naschy film will always be HORROR RISES FROM THE TOMB.
It's surreal, gory, bleak, full of gorgeous Euro hotties and just plain great horror filmmaking.

His movies got me through some rough times many years ago (hell, I even devoted a good part of my upcoming novel, PAINT IT BLACK, to praising his work). With his passing, an era of horror has come to an end.
It's tough to find adequete words to define what his work meant to me, but at the very least, his work ethic has been the bar for my own personal and professional goals for years. I think when you lose someone who has been a distant icon for so long, it tends to not feel real for some time. I never met the man, but always felt I knew what he was about through his movies. And if you've never seen one of his films, it won't make much sense, I'm afraid. The best and only way to get the sense of what I mean is to sit down and watch one of the many films he made his own.
Here's a list of all of them:
Paul Naschy Filmography
Rest In Peace, El Hombre Lobo.

--Nickolas Cook

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) and BALEFUL EYE ( Publishing), have received several positive reviews and he’s been said to display a true craftsmanship missing in much of modern horror.
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:

Trever Palmer has had short stories appear in various magazines and is the author of the recent short story collection SMELLS LIKE FISH. He's been an avid fan of Stephen King for over 30 years, and is prouder than punch to be writing CONSTANT READER. He only hopes that you enjoy it as much as he enjoys writing it.

Author, reviewer, critic and all around horror culture curmudgeon, Dario Del Toro grew up in the Dark Country, which was originally the October Country, before it was inevitably usurped by a passing Blue World. His hobbies include doing wormwood drinks with his old pals Lovecraft, Machen, and Blackwood, parasailing with Barker and Clark Ashton Smith (if the sun is down and the winds are just right off the coast of R'lyeh) and discussing the newest Oprah book club selection with the five people he'd like to meet in Hell.
All comments and complaints about Dario Del Toro's articles can be sent to
He doesn't have a web site, because he feels technology has become a leeching monster that will eventually enslave man into doing its bidding, which he can only surmise will be oiling the gears and keeping the cogwheels running smoothly while it runs into oblivion...somewhere around 2012.

The Black Glove interviews Kim Paffenroth

Interview conducted by Nickolas Cook

This month we are proud to have famed zombie author/editor Dr. Kim Paffenroth as our feature writer. To zombie aficionados he needs no introduction because he's the author of the Stoker award winning GOSPEL OF THE LIVING DEAD: George Romero's Visions of Hell on Earth. But he's also the author of DYING TO LIVE: A Novel of Life Among the Undead, and its follow up, DYING TO LIVE: Life Sentence, the upcoming VALLEY OF THE DEAD, and he’s also the editor of the internationally famous, HISTORY IS DEAD, a collection of short zombie fiction by various well known and up and coming horror authors.

1. How did you come to write your first horror novel?

While I was working on GOSPEL OF THE LIVING DEAD, I got the idea that, as much fun as I was having writing about Mr. Romero’s zombies, it would be even more fun to create my own. That way, I wouldn’t be interpreting someone else’s work, but putting in the meaning and symbols I wanted. Of course, it’s not as easy as that, and I’m struggling to improve, but some people seem to get what I’m trying for, and some are quite patient as I work on my craft.

2. You mention both the religious philosopher St. Augustine and filmmaker George Romero in your dedication of DYING TO LIVE: A Novel of Life among the Undead. Why specifically these two gentlemen?

In retrospect, they’ve been the two biggest influences on me, personally and professionally. It’s my personality, I suppose, but I gravitate toward things that examine or explain evil and suffering in our world, and those two do so with great insight and honesty. And even if they come at it from such different perspectives, their answers are recognizably similar: there’s something wrong with us, deep down, and we’re not able to fix it on our own. Whether you want to call that “sin” or just appetite and selfishness, it’s the same basic idea.

3. Why do you think zombie fiction has become the spearhead of modern horror?

Well, zombies are really good at the multimedia aspect – films, video games, comic books, literature. I think zombies were exclusively a film monster for us older folks, but then the video games hit and made them the favorite target for the younger generation. Then it was a matter of timing too – Resident Evil predates recent apocalyptic fears (I didn’t know how old the game was until I just looked it up – 1996) but then we had Y2K and 9/11 and anthrax, and our fears of bioterror made a plague of diseased, contagious zombies a pretty potent icon of our current situation. And they’d shown their adaptability before that – as a monster that embodies our basic, timeless fears of death, but can also take on more specific nuances as the times change.

4. Can you tell us a little about your newest novel, VALLEY OF THE DEAD? Are we still firmly in the Romeroean world of the dead?

Hmm, yes and no, I suppose. It’s set in 14th century Europe, with the Italian poet Dante fighting zombies. It turns out they are what gave him all those horrible, grotesque ideas that he then used to populate his poem Inferno. So it’s not Romeroesque in its setting. But they are traditional, slow, plague carrying zombies, and the “hook” with Dante I think does homage to Romero: his insight into zombies is “They’re us!” and that’s what the damned are for Dante – just people, locked in their bad habits forever, like zombies.

5. Obviously, you're also an editor (HISTORY IS DEAD). What were some of the challenges you faced that you did not when writing your own fiction?

Editing other people is a very different pleasure than writing on one’s own. I suppose it’d be like coaching a winning team, rather than playing the sport oneself, or conducting an orchestra, rather than playing an instrument. I’m in awe of other people’s talents, and I can really say that with few exceptions, every story, even if it was rejected, gave me some interesting idea or image that I still remember afterwards. As the editor, one has to have the final product in mind more, and look at how to balance and connect different stories within it, and that’s not a consideration for the individual writer.

6. What do you think makes a Kim Paffenroth novel different than others?

Um, they’re really wordy and characters spend way too much time thinking about stuff? Hmm, no, probably not a good answer. Is this recorder on? Oh. Well, let’s say the same observation, spun a little bit more to my credit. I usually have the requisite kills and grotesque imagery that the zombie fans want, and I try to consider some ideas and problems and questions along the way. I’m learning to weave the subtext in more subtly as I go, and as I get better at that, I write stuff that I find satisfying and that I’m proud to show other people.

7. Who are some other writers out there that you feel readers should be watching?

Established writers? Braunbeck and Keene – different styles but both are very literate and sophisticated in their storytelling. New people? Sarah Langan – amazingly elaborate, elegant prose. People about to break on the scene? Carole Lanham and Christine Morgan – you’ll see huge, surprising things from them soon, I think, because they’re gifted with imagination and so talented in the mechanics of their writing.

8. With Romero having come round again to the world of the dead with LAND OF THE DEAD, DIARY OF THE DEAD, and the upcoming ISLAND OF THE DEAD, what do you think this will mean to zombie fiction?

I think the last one will be entitled SURVIVAL OF THE DEAD, or at least that’s what I read last. I think we all live in Romero’s shadow, but at this point, new directors and writers are probably exerting more of an influence than he is, even if everything we do is based indirectly on him. So look to ZOMBIELAND or to the film version of WORLD WAR Z to really reinvigorate (ha!) the zombie genre, even though we can still be happy and intrigued that Romero’s still making stuff.

9. Besides the obvious classic zombie films, what other horror movies should every horror fan actively seek out?

You know, I was watching the AFI Top Heroes and Villains a year or so ago, and I was struck by how some “regular” movies have much more chilling characters than a lot of horror movies. So I’ll go against the horror grain, and recommend people watch Deliverance, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, and 2001: A Space Odyssey and I think you’ll see three of the more terrifying scenarios and monsters that you’ve ever witnessed.

10. My last question: When the zombie apocalypse finally, inevitably, arrives, where will you be?

Depends on the lead time. If there are reports of a strange illness spreading from some remote area, and this goes on for weeks, I think I might have time to head north. The cold should slow them down, and you’ve got to get as far away as possible from the East coast population centers. If it’s a matter of looking out the window and seeing them milling around, I’m thinking Max Brook’s scenario of ripping the stairs up behind yourself as you retreat to the second floor of the house is probably a good one.

Visit Kim Paffenroth online at:

--Nickolas Cook

(The Black Glove thanks Kim Paffenroth for his time and efforts)

Stabbed In Stanzas Feature Writer: D. Harlan Wilson

Interview conducted by Karen L. Newman

D. Harlan Wilson is a premier writer of bizarro fiction. He earned a Ph.D. in English from Michigan State University and teaches at Wright State University-Lake Campus. His current books include Peckinpah: An Ultraviolent Romance, Blankety Blank: A Memoir of Vulgaria, and Technologized Desire: Selfhood & the Body in Postcapitalist Science Fiction.

KLN: Explain to our readers the definition of bizarro fiction. Please give examples.
DHW: There are different kinds of bizarro fiction. In general it encompasses offshoots of the speculative genres and frequently involves genre-blending. Two anthologies provide the best samplings: The Bizarro Starter Kit Orange and Blue. Each contains a novella or selection of short fiction from representative authors, who are categorized under a particular type of bizarro. For instance, a group of my stories constitutes the first entry in Orange. They’re classified as irrealism, a style that, as I always describe it, combines a dreamlike aesthetic with an absurdist sentiment. Other classifications include off-the-wall names (e.g. subterficial fiction, tweeker lit, cranio-rectal subterfuge, avant punk, brutality chronic) alongside more familiar subtitles (e.g. satire, minimalism, magic realism, surrealism, absurdity). In general, however, bizarro literature subverts conventional narrative formulas to extreme and estranging degrees—that’s the common thread, in my view.

KLN: You received an M.A. in science fiction studies from the University of Liverpool. Why did you choose to write bizarro fiction over science fiction? How is the genre of bizarro more relevant to you than other genres?
DHW: I actually didn’t choose to write bizarro, and personally I don’t think of myself as a bizarro author, even though I’m sometimes referred to as a bizarro figurehead. Like many “movements,” if we can call it that, bizarro was coined by a group or authors and small presses for marketing purposes. Same as the surrealists. Same as the beatniks.
I consider myself more of a science fiction writer than a bizarro writer, but I recognize that my stories and books fall well outside of the purview of genre sf, which beckons the “serious” and “realistic” extrapolation of scientific principles. My writing functions as bizarro because of the degree to which I violate, flout and/or ignore narrative conventions and pervert the “serious” and “realistic” process of extrapolation. In this way, bizarro is an apt category.

KLN: You’ve worked at other jobs, such as a salesman, model, actor, casino dealer, security guard, garbage man, tax collector, sommelier, town crier, and flâneur. How have these experiences molded your writing? By the way, what does a flâneur do? Where were you a town crier? I don’t know of such a job here in America.
DHW: My memory escapes me to some degree . . . I was a town crier, I recall, as a teenager, when I was living in the Orkney Islands, an archipelago off the coast of Scotland where my father was transferred to become a land surveyor. You may recall that Orkney was where Victor Frankenstein retreated to create the monster’s wife. Anyway, we lived in a small village and my job was essentially to sit behind a microphone in this makeshift radio station and broadcast tornado watches and warnings—common occurrences in Orkney. The flâneur gig was connected to modeling. Historically a flâneur was a kind of European dandy and very much an urban figure. Baudelaire is the prototype. Flâneurs were lower class males who dressed up in fancy clothes and pranced around the streets of cities trying to pass themselves off as bourgeois while at the same time critically “experiencing” city life. I was hired by a company that wanted to conduct a sociological experiment. They paid me to live on the streets of Budapest for two months as a flâneur. No idea what they were looking for or testing, but I was under constant surveillance. At first it was photographers who shot me from clandestine windows and alleyways; by the last week or so, though, these same photographers, and many cameramen, were treating me like a celebrity, following me around the city like the paparazzi. It was all very weird and confusing, but it was more or less safe, and it paid for one year of my graduate studies. My employment as a garbage man, sommelier and tax collector were equally interesting and stupid, like just about every job I’ve had—all of which, to answer your question, have molded my writing to varying degrees. In the end, reality is always better than fiction.

KLN: Modeling and acting are a lot of people’s dream jobs, so why did you become a professor and writer? What are some of your acting and modeling credits?
DHW: Not much glory in my modeling/acting past, I’m afraid, but it made me some extra money when I was in graduate school. I did a few commercials, some runway work, photo shoots for local magazines, etc. I never really pursued it as a career. It was simply a means to an end.

KLN: Did your acting experience help open the door to your writing screenplays? What are you most interested in filming?
DHW: Acting didn’t open any doors for screenwriting in my case. I started writing screenplays in the mid-1990s while I was doing my M.A. in English at UMass-Boston. The first one I wrote was an adaptation of Kim Stanley Robinson’s obscure novel A Short, Sharp Shock. I didn’t have a background in screenwriting, and I still don’t—I learned to write them by reading and studying other screenplays. I can’t remember why I took up screenwriting. But I’ve always loved movies.
Nothing ever came of A Short, Sharp Shock. Since then I’ve never written any feature-length works, although I began a treatment of Alfred Bester’s science fiction novel The Stars My Destination. I mainly write screenplays for short, experimental films. Right now that’s all I’d like to do. Everybody’s writing a screenplay, after all. Most of them are shelved or trashed and it’s an exercise in futility; you need to have connections, to make the Hollywood scene, to network ad infinitum, wheel-and-deal, etc. I’m not interested in any of that.
Only one of my short screenplays has been made into a film, “The Cocktail Party,” based on a story of the same name in my first book, The Kafka Effekt, and directed by Brandon Duncan. It’s an irreal black-and-white film rotoscoped in the vein of Richard Linklater’s Waking Life and A Scanner Darkly, and it won a lot of awards at film festivals in 2007, including an Official Selection nod at Comic-Con. I’m very proud of this film. Brandon is a talented filmmaker and visual artist; he has also illustrated several of my book covers. We’re going to collaborate on another short film soon, “Beebody,” based on the story “Classroom Dynamics” in my book Pseudo-City.

KLN: You’ve worked on comics and illustrations. Do you have any special artistic training? Do you prefer to draw people or objects?
DHW: I don’t have any artistic training, and I’ve never done illustrations for comics, only written them. A series of my abstract drawings were used in Dutch author Yorgos Dalman’s first book, De vrouw in de kamer (trans. The Woman in the Room), in 2004. Yorgos is my Dutch translator. Other than that, none of my illustrations have been formally published and I do it for fun. Illustrating, though, was a formative experience for my writing. As I kid I used to spend hours drawing things, mainly robots and animal cartoons. It was a good imaginative outlet that I now execute with writing.

KLN: Your nonfiction credentials are impressive. What are your favorite topics and why?
DHW: Broadly speaking, I’m trained in the fields of twentieth century American literature, postmodernism, science fiction, film studies, and literary theory. Most of the criticism I have published has engaged all of these fields simultaneously. More specifically, I am interested in how electronic media technologies pathologize and redefine the human condition. I’ve always been interested in media technologies, critically and creatively, since I was a kid playing Atari and fiddling with Commodore 64 programs.

KLN: What do you look for in submissions to your magazine, The Dream People? Besides bizarro, what else would you be interested in editing?
DHW: The subtitle of The Dream People is “A Journal of Irreal Texts,” so we are primarily interested in irrealism. But finding enough good irrealism to populate an entire issue is difficult to do. We have to broaden our scope, publishing pieces that fall more squarely into the speculative genres. Above all, we want flash fiction—anywhere from five to 1,000 words, preferably under 500 words. This is more conducive to an online audience. We also feature at least two artists in each issue and accept submissions of novel excerpts, book reviews, comics, essays, creative nonfiction, microcriticism, and even short videos.

KLN: Thank you for agreeing to this interview. I appreciate your time. Is there anything additional you’d like to share with our readers?
DHW: I will simply encourage readers to visit my website and check out my latest releases at
Thanks Karen!

--Karen L. Newman
(The Black Glove thanks D. Harlan Wilson for his time and efforts)

(Editor's Note: Psst...Wilson has a hell of a great web site. Take a gander by clicking the hyperlink above. You won't regret it.)

Stabbed In Stanzas Book Review: Peckinpah by D. Harlan Wilson

Reviewed by Karen L. Newman

David Samuel “Sam” Peckinpah is best known for his portrayal of violence in his films. D. Harlan Wilson pays homage to this man in this outlandish novel where bizarro meets the violent nature of humanity. Even if one is unfamiliar with Peckinpah, the book stands on its own. Wilson mentions Sam Peckinpah throughout the book, either by film reference or by shooing techniques such as zooming in and out on various characters. Peckinpah reads as a movie script at times. Most often the book is narrative. This serves to hold the reader’s interest.
Wilson mashes together unrelated characters in a warped stream of consciousness technique that makes this novel a page-turner. The conflict is set up slowly, the protagonist (Felix Soandso) and antagonist (Samson Thataway) introduced rather late. Peckinpah has a Spoon River Anthology feel to it in that the characters seem to pop up in soliloquy. They aren’t in the grave, but their lives are dead-end. The town of Dreamfield, Indiana is rural and backwards - displaced hillbillies up north that add to the absurdness. Wilson makes only Soandso relatable and sympathetic and as such is an outsider. He’s an observer until the violence hits home and only then does he do something. And yes, it’s violent.
Violence oozes from every page, some gory, some outright hilarious. Simple things like ears of corn hold chainsaws and other gruesome goodies. The violence doesn’t become boring, as is common in some slasher films. Wilson’s imagination is vast and impressive. His use of imagery is both symbolic to the state of humanity and serves to underline the severity of humanity’s flaws. The illustrations scattered throughout the book add to that effect. The absurdity of violence is displayed like an open vein. Peckinpah is a wonderful introduction to the mind of D. Harlan Wilson.

--Karen L. Newman

Outsider Book of the Month- December 09 e-issue #6: A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

Review written by Nickolas Cook

Well, it’s that time of the year again. People will be roasting their houses over an open fire because they forgot to check the plugs, hanging tacky pepper lights upon anything that will bear their sparkling, blinking weight, driving through dangerous and unpredictable shopper traffic at the mall, fighting one another for the last Barbie with detachable breasts, or the limited edition Spank-Me Elmo doll. Ah, tis’ the season to make you say BAH-HUMBUG!
As you get older, Christmas cheer takes a little more work when you have to face such examples of mass stupidity every year (and it keeps getting extended more and more each year, thanks to greedy merchandisers who ring the bell so we can all salivate like good little doggies). But whenever the holidays start getting to me, and my mood threatens to turn dastardly, I pick up my worn copy of A CHRISTMAS CAROL and sit somewhere nice and quiet and let good old Chas. Dickens re-teach me the true meaning of Christmas.
If you’re unfamiliar with the story (and I can’t see how you could be, unless you’ve been living on another planet or something, because this story is so ubiquitous that Xmas doesn’t even have to be part of it anymore), Dickens tells the tale of one Ebenezer Scrooge, a man so bent and wizened by his avarice and cynicism that the holidays actual piss him off. After a brief introduction to illustrate what a bastard he is, Scrooge is visited by his late business partner, Jacob Marley, a spirit who is weighed down by the chains of his living sins unto death. Marley warns Scrooge that he’s in deep ca-ca, and will soon be wearing his own afterlife bling if he’s not careful, and advises him that he’ll be visited by three spirits this night: the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future.
And, well, read the book…you should, if you haven’t. Because what Dickens does so deftly, while tugging even the most jaded of cobwebbed heartstrings, is to make Scrooge human again, illuminating the trials and loves that made him what he is. It gives him hope for himself by showing him, first, his lost childhood, second, his present blindness, and lastly, his sure future if he doesn’t mend his ways. In short, Dickens says, ‘Life is short and then you die, so it’s best if you do some good with your money and your life before it’s too late to make an impact’.
There have been tons of film, TV and written adaptations of this classic story; and for good reason: people fundamentally want to be good, and they want someone to remind them of what good they can do when they want to. And I would say, without A CHRISTMAS CAROL, we might not recognize our modern sentimental ideal of the holidays.
From all of us at The Black Glove, Merry Christmas. Please enjoy your holidays with respect and love for others, as it should be.

--Nickolas Cook

13 Questions with MyMiserys: Ryan C. Thomas

Interview conducted by MyMiserys

1. How old were you when you wrote what you consider your first story?
I think I was around 7 or 8. I used to staple paper together in elementary school and write these dumb stories all the kids wanted to read. I got in trouble for disrupting the class with them. The one I remember most was a detective story called McCoy PI, LA Homicide. Now think about that...he was a detective AND a private investigator. Haha. I guess he worked two jobs.

2. What inspired you to write it?
Probably the voices I heard in my head every night. "Write stories with lots of characters farting. Because farts are funny. Then burn the school down. BURN IT!"

3. What was the first book you wrote?
The Summer I Died was the first one I ever completed. I tried writing one in high school about aliens that ate people's hearts but I lost it when the word processor died. I think I had around 60 pages. I was pissed. But thank God, because it was horribly written. A bit of wisdom to any younguns who might read this: you're not ready in high school or even college. Be patient and learn the craft. I still cringe at stuff I wrote just five years ago.

4. Of all the books you've written, which is your favorite?
The Summer I Died. Not just because it was my first sale, but because I had so much fun writing it, just going balls to the walls with the gore and torture and jokes. It was like loosing your virginity, a blissful experience you can't repeat. Although I'm trying with the sequel (which is now done and being edited).

5. Which book would you like to forget you wrote?
How To Steal From Your Local Old Folks Home. I got in a lot of trouble for that book. (My techniques were the bomb, though).

6. Who is the most influential person in your life?
Aside from my family...Joe Strummer. I have always been floored by his attitude toward celebrity and the arts and striving for what you want in life. Strummer cared about his fans and made it a point to be humble and nice to everyone, while also eschewing the establishment and influencing change. He had this awesome mix of temerity and benevolence that made him a legend to all musicians. Watch some of the docs about him and you'll be pretty amazed at his lifestyle.

7. Who is your favorite author?
I don't know that I have just one. I 'll pick three: Joe Lansdale, Terry Pratchett and Richard K. Morgan.

8. If you could only own one book, what would it be?
Dune. Herbert makes my brain hurt he's so good. I wish the latter books in the series were as good as the first few. The new series is crap though. Don't get me started.

9. When and where do you write?
On my couch while I watch daytime TV. Well, I don't really watch it, I just like to write to background noise. Except for Ellen. She's fucking hysterical and I can't concentrate when she's on. I gotta get tickets to that.

10. Do you have a "day job?"
I collect abandoned socks from the street. I darn them and throw them back for the next person.

11. Do you have a "dream job?"
Pool Boy at the Playboy Mansion?

12. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
I haven't been to enough places to know. Although I loved loved loved Berlin. I'd like to spend more time there. But shit, I live in San's 75 degrees and sunny in February. Why would I want to move?

13. What is your guilty pleasure?
I don't feel guilty about anything I do. If I climbed naked to the top of the Empire State building and jerked off onto the people below I'd be happy to tout it. But I guess...playing Halo 3 and telling twelve year olds their mothers are whores. Right as I land a plasma grenade on their face. "Eat that, you little fuckstain. Don't come back here until your balls drop!" Trust me, what they yell at me is much worse.

Visit Ryan C. Thomas at:

--MyMiserys (aka Kimberly Cook)

(The Black Glove thanks Ryan Thomas for his time and efforts)

Bloody Pages Book Reviews

Valley of the Dead (2009)
By Kim Paffenroth
Cargo Cult Press

Review written by Nickolas Cook

Only Kim Paffenroth could have written VALLEY OF THE DEAD. And that’s as it should be, since he’s a man who knows his religious literature. In this case, he makes the argument (tongue in cheek, one assumes) that Dante Alighieri based his most famous work, THE DIVINE COMEDY, in which he explores Hell and argues political, sociological, religious and philosophical points with its denizens, all while giving us a guided Christian view of the netherworlds, on actual events he witnessed during his travels abroad in wilder countries where a zombie plague has ravaged the countryside.
Sounds a bit far reaching?
Well, Paffenroth not only pulls it off as a zombie novel of the first order, but he also manages to make his novel a compellingly well written accoutrement to Dante’s works and life.
The story opens up with a fast pace and never lets up, as Dante suddenly finds himself in the middle of a pitched battle between zombies, a fleeing village full of people, and an army that is killing everything in sight, living or undead.
There he meets Bogdana, a young pregnant woman, who has just lost her husband to the plague and is fleeing before the ravaging army. They escape together, fighting the undead and taking refuge in the woods. Before long, they meet a deserter from the army, Radovan, a soldier who cannot conscience the slaughter of innocents along with the undead.
Together, the trio set forth to find a path over the distant mountains so they can escape the plague and the army.
Their adventures find them in a strange monastery, where they meet, Adam, who offers to show them the way.
What makes this such compelling reading for anyone who has read Dante’s work, is that Paffenroth manages to mirror his fictional journey through Hell, using the undead as the denizens of Hell, and peopling the landscape along the way with real people he will one day write about who suffer in Hell for their various sins. No sin is left unturned: greed, lust, rage, etc., etc. as Paffenroth explores human nature along with Dante as his guide.
If you buy no other zombie book this year (and Lord, there are a ton of them these days), make this the one for which you hand over your hard earned cash. It will entertain and, hopefully, enlighten. It might even get you to pick up Dante’s THE DIVINE COMEDY again…for fun this time; no book reports will be due.

--Nickolas Cook

Dying to Live (2006)
By Kim Paffenroth
Permuted Press

Review written by Nickolas Cook

Back when Kim Paffenroth brought us GOSPEL OF THE LIVING DEAD it was obvious he was a man who knows his zombie lore.
With DYING TO LIVE, we see he not only knows zombies, but that he also knows the human condition as well. It’s one thing to imagine a zombie apocalypse, all the bloodshed and violence, the loss and anguish, and it’s very easy to intellectualize it, make it palatable and even entertaining in a grim sort of way. And that’s what most zombie apocalypse novels tend to do: they make it fun.
Paffenroth takes the tropes and gives them a very human twist.
What does that sort of loss and pain do to real people? And what happens to their belief system when it seems that they are living in a sort of hell on earth?
Paffenroth tackles such philosophical questions using his background in Religious Studies and Philosophy, and his knowledge of such great texts as St. Augustine’s Confessions, to explore what happens to the human heart when thrown into a hell of the undead.
His protagonist carries a very biblical sounding name, Jonah Caine. Caine, separated from his wife and child when the plague begins its rampage, decides to hike cross country to find out what has happened to them. Along the way, he must fight to survive against the ever increasing population of undead flesh eaters. Soon, he meets and is taken in by a small band of survivors who have made their home inside a museum that overlooks a small city.
And what Paffenroth does with this setup is what makes DYING TO LIVE different than any other zombie novel I’ve read so far. He doesn’t send his survivors on some far flung quest to find any mysterious cures or answers to the plague. Instead, he keeps them inside the cityscape, where they learn the essence of good and evil within its boundaries.
He also delivers something unseen in other zombie fiction, in the body of Milton, a man who is inexplicable both living and undead, and who can control the zombies as if he were a shepherd. Here, his characters discourse in quasi-religious matters and the nature of the human beasts- its essential needs, both mental and physical.
But if he must discuss good, he must also show use evil. And he does so when Caine and his friends are captured by a roving band of hunting prisoners from the nearby state pen. Inside its decaying walls we see the true face of the beast. It is a gory and heart wrenching experience, even for the most hardened of horror readers. If you think the undead are the true evil, think again.
But here is where it does tend to get a bit overblown. Because Paffenroth has to give us an evil with no other purpose than just plain being evil. And he doesn’t take into account that people who live inside prisons aren’t always the essence of evil. Even in state pens, there are people who just happened to hit hard luck and found themselves swallowed by the system, deservedly or not. So what I’m saying is that not every single person in prison is going to act the way he so simply portrays.
That aside, he does a fine job making his readers think about the nature of life and good and evil and being human.

--Nickolas Cook

History Is Dead: A Zombie Anthology (2007)
Edited by Kim Paffenroth
Permuted Press

Review written by Nickolas Cook

Zombies span the ages! Well, we know this isn’t the first time we’ve seen the zombie antho tackle historical periods, but most of those past efforts have…well…kind of shambled around aimlessly, until the book just falls over and dies.
Not so with editor Kim Paffenroth’s HISTORY IS DEAD anthology. Inside you’ll find some of the better examples of the undead spanning different time periods across the world. It’s obvious Paffenroth had a vision in mind before selecting the stories, and for the horror fan, he has done a wonderful job of giving us new authors, with new and interesting takes on the undead throughout history. Some of the standout stories for me were Christine Morgan’s ‘The Barrow Maid’, Scott A. Johnson’s ‘Harimoto’, James Roy Daley’s ‘Summer of 1816’, David Dunwoody’s ‘The Reluctant Prometheus’ and Jonathan Maberry’s ‘Pegleg and Paddy Save the World’. Not to say the other stories don’t entertain, but the above mentioned have a special quality about them that makes the entire collection shine brighter.
There are stories of good vs. evil, love and hate, the blessed and the meek, and stories of gore and beauty, sometimes in the same tale.
If you’re looking for new voices in zombie fiction, look no further. It’s my opinion that you will probably see most of the authors in the TOC popping up in other anthologies and in the small press.

--Nickolas Cook

As a Lovecraft aficionado, I take an interest in all things HPL, and when I came across the website of Howard Lovecraft and the Frozen Kingdom a while back, my curiosity was definitely piqued.
Let me make one thing clear – I consider myself a Lovecraft scholar, but I’m not a Lovecraft purist by any stretch of the imagination. As much as I love The Old Gent’s weird tales, I love even more a contemporary writer that can understand Lovecraft’s intent and then weave their own storylines within the Mythos.
With Arcana’s “Howard Lovecraft and the Frozen Kingdom”, Bruce Brown has given us a little of both… he spins a yarn that falls half in the “real” world – that is, Lovecraft’s childhood – and half in The Frozen Kingdom, an alternate dimension that brings to mind Randolph Carter’s Dreamlands.
In fact, one of the strengths of HLatFK is that, if you’re an HPL fan, everything feels a little familiar. Brown is obviously a fan himself, and so you feel comfortable letting him steer you through his version of Lovecraft Country. And as he tells his story, we meet characters and creatures and discover clues that will obviously lead young Howard to the writer he becomes and the stories he’s best known for.
The art, by Renzo Podesta, is nothing short of gorgeous, each frame so stuffed with natural motion that it looks like you’re looking at a series of animated cels, colored in muted sepias for Howard’s everyday, real world, and icy blue-greens in the world of the Frozen Kingdom. In fact, more than once I thought to myself, “I want to see this movie!”
Will everyone love this? Probably not. There’s a broad and sometimes jarring child-like humor that runs contrary to the dark images, but I embraced it for what it was – the obvious joy of a writer getting caught up in his characters, and Podesta counters by channeling Bill Watterson (creator of Calvin and Hobbes) at his best with young Howard and his Cthulhian pet, Spot.
Where so many recent companies have jumped on the Lovecraft bandwagon and turned the Old Ones into just a bunch of creatures to punch, shoot, or blow up, it’s nice to see someone with a genuine love – and knowledge – of the source material step up and show ‘em how it’s done.


K.L. Young
Editor, Art Director, Lavatory Cleaner
Planet Lovecraft Magazine

(The Black Glove thanks guest reviewer, K.L. Young)

Black Static Magazine Issue#13 (Oct/Nov 09)
TTA Press

Review written by Nickolas Cook

Seems to me in recent years that the horror fiction/nonfiction magazine markets have all but gone dry. Where once you could find plenty of older and new titles to peruse at the local chain bookstore, now there are only a handful that have survived the horror depression, and the more recent economic one.
So it’s great to see someone putting something as professional as BLACK STATIC back on the magazine shelves.
I was recently sent, all the way from the UK, issue #13, and what a joy it was read. Editor Andy Cox, and Contributing Editor Peter Tennant, have done a fine job of mixing the fiction with the nonfiction aspects of the genre. But what makes this magazine a bit different for an American reader is the UK-sentric take on the genre. It’s a great way to find new authors, and even new films, that you would not necessarily be exposed to here in the U.S.
Here’s a perfect example. One of my favorite authors that most U.S. horror readers haven’t heard of is Joel Lane. He has an excellent tale within BLACK STATIC’s pages. As does James Cooper, Tim Lees, Kim Lakin-Smith, and Carole Johnstone. All of which deliver extraordinary fiction.
But with BLACK STATIC, you also get columns by none other than Stephen Volk and Cristopher Fowler, two names that every U.S. horror fan should know better, but unfortunately do not.
And even if you’re only interested in reviews, they have tons of them. Pages upon pages of film and book reviews to keep you reading into the wee hours.
So if you’re looking for a new magazine to give you something you won’t find in the less than great U.S. genre mags we currently see on the shelves, pick up a subscription of BLACK STATIC. I guarantee you’ll find something to love and look forward to each new issue.

--Nickolas Cook

TIME CAPSULES classic book reviews by Bill Lindblad

Fantomas by Pierre Souvestre and Marcel Allain

I blame Gahan Wilson.

I read “Everybody’s Favorite Duck” shortly after its release, back in 1988. It was wonderful: a fast-paced, entertaining adventure which featured a thinly-disguised modern Sherlock Holmes and Watson going up against a triumverate of villainy: The Professor, obviously meant to be Moriarty; The Mandarin, obviously meant to be Fu Manchu; and Spectrobert, a sadistic French master of disguise obviously meant to be….

I was lost. Fantomas may be a legend in France and many other countries, but in the U.S., his fame doesn’t begin to approach that of the previous two. In those days before ready internet access, I spent a little time trying to ascertain the “alternate identity” of Spectobert but eventually gave up.

A little more than a decade later, I reread the book (a rarity, and an indication of how much I enjoyed EFD) and was disturbed to realize I still had no clue who Spectobert was meant to be. I’d read hundreds of mysteries and thrillers by that time, but the character was unrecognizable.

Thankfully, the internet was available, and research provided the name: Fantomas, a legendary French villain and the star of dozens of books and movies.

When I recently found a copy of the first novel in the series, I knew I had to review it here.

The novel was written in 1911, and focuses on a complex overarching plot devised by the title villain. In the format which was to become common, the hero (Inspector Juve) attempts to capture the villain (Fantomas) by foiling crimes or, in many instances, merely reacting to the available clues at the scene of a successful criminal venture. Juve steadily progresses through the web of puzzles, duplicity and murder until he is able to confront the psychotic mastermind.

This story structure is still in use today, but at the time it was relatively fresh and intriguing. More to the point, the story is carried well, with the book’s primary failure being in the translation; after nearly a century, some of the French to English word choices are no longer ideal. An example: “Why, you are a man! How you have altered, my boy!” Even accounting for a post-Victorian speech pattern, it’s still odd to read “altered” instead of “changed” in that quote.

That said, there were two other negatives. One was a disappointment, the other a strain on credulity.

Where the story disappointed me was in the cruelty of the titular character. While there was violence done, for the most part it was enacted off-camera. Spectrobert is a psychopath who thinks nothing of roasting someone alive in an oven or murdering hundreds of children on a whim; Fantomas, in his first outing, is less flashy. Calculating and remorseless, he does not hesitate to murder but does not seem to kill excessively or randomly. I have read that he grows far more vicious in later novels; that would explain Wilson’s take on the character.

Where the story strained credulity was in the ability of all main characters to disguise themselves on the level of Lon Chaney, Sr. Fantomas is a supreme master of disguise. So is Inspector Juve. So is Jerome Fandor. So is M. Valgrand. All I can gather is that France, circa 1910, had many of the world’s best actors wandering around its streets and countryside.

Still, a solid thriller and a good introduction to a character who went on to be an international legend of evil, even if the actual horror quotient is a bit low in this initial outing.

Three stars out of five.

Science Fiction Monsters by A.E. Van Vogt

This collection from 1965 was introduced and edited by Forry Ackerman, a man who was intimately familiar with both science fiction and monsters. This alone lends the book promise; having it collect stories by sf legend Van Vogt merely heightens the expectations.

The subtitle of the book: Stories of cosmic horror in strange worlds of time and space

The back cover copy: Beware! Monsters at work! Prepare to have your flesh crawl with terror… your heart pound with fear… your eyes grow wide in horror as a host of hideous things - some hairy, some finned, some scaly, some metal (and some so strange they cannot be described in any Earth language!) - crowd in on you in the darkness of the night.

This, a knowledgeable reader might think, has promise. If so, it is a promise left unfulfilled.

Let me be clear: this collection is excellent. Ackerman selected representative stories from the middle era of Van Vogt’s career, made certain that all of them dealt with a creature or creatures around whom tension was generated, and presented them in a fashion which kept the reader entertained and interested. However, with all of that, he pulled a Hudson Hawk.

Hudson Hawk, for those of you unfortunate enough to remember, was a Bruce Willis movie which was released shortly after Die Hard 2 had cemented him as an action hero. The movie advertising made full use of that reputation, luring moviegoers into theaters under the premise that they were going to see a common man’s James Bond. Instead they found a goofy sendup of caper films. Audience reaction was decidedly negative.

Forry lured the buyer in with the promise of horror, and instead delivered only the mild tension of well-crafted adventure stories. From another editor, it might have been an honest mistake. From Ackerman, who knew horror as well as his contemporaries Robert Bloch or Alfred Hitchcock, it was a bait-and-switch.

Four stars out of five as a science fiction adventure collection. One star as a horror collection.

The Thing in the Woods by Harper Williams

This 1924 novel can be found anchoring the recent anthology Tales out of Dunwich, edited by Robert M. Price and produced by Hippocampus Press. It was included because of its influence on H.P. Lovecraft.

Your chance to read it is almost exclusively limited to that recent anthology. The original book was released in a small print run, primarily to libraries, and the author did not achieve significant fame; were it not for the efforts of S.T. Joshi in performing Lovecraft scholarship, it would probably still be virtually forgotten.

That would be a shame, because the novel was adequately written. It features a young doctor who accepts an offer to cover a traveling colleague’s practice in a country township. Shortly after arriving in the rural locale, the doctor encounters a number of sympathetic local characters and hears stories of an aggressive simian horror which may or may not be behind a series of violent deaths.

It is a fairly well-produced novel, which I wish I had enjoyed more. Tainting the story, however, was a derisive racism which permeates the narrative in the beginning and never fully leaves. I have read many stories from that era, and while non-Caucasians are often relegated to the roles of bit players, they are rarely denounced as often or as casually as they are in the pages of this book.

A point which disturbed me less, but was still intrusive, was the author’s tendency to drive the narrative through exposition. The constant exposure of plot points not by description of events but rather through strained and unbelievable conversation wore on me.

As a piece of historical interest for Lovecraft or Horror Literature scholars, the novel is noteworthy. As a story, the tale draws this reader in and kept me interested in turning the next page. I was left, however, with the conclusion that the writer was a mildly talented bigot.
As such, the novel may put off some readers.

Three stars out of five.

Cold Hand in Mine by Robert Aickman

It takes an uncommon talent to successfully evoke a dreamlike quality in a story without befuddling or annoying the casual reader. In the eight stories from this 1975 collection, Aickman manages to consistently produce tales which contain enough realism to ground the reader but which drift inevitably toward the unreal. Aickman pulls the reader with him into his vision, then disquiets the reader with the way the story progresses.

The result is a masterwork in what would have been termed in prior decades “quiet” horror.

The most famous piece is the one which opens the collection, “The Swords”. It serves as a nice representation of Aickman’s work. The story focuses entirely upon one individual and his travels; along his way, he encounters something (in this case, a woman who seems to derive pleasure from being brutally stabbed) that fundamentally affects him. If I seem vague about the description of the story, it is for two reasons: I don’t wish to reveal too much to people who have not yet read the story, and Aickman’s style and word choices do as much to conjure the surrealist imagery as the oddity of the plot.

The end product is ripe for analysis. Are the swords, as strongly implied, meant to be phallic representations? Or is that too casual a reading of the story? Does the tale linger in your mind? What feelings does it evoke, and why?

This sort of reaction is typical at the end of each offering in this book.

When a story can satisfy someone reading for effect and still work as an analytical piece, the author is doing a lot right, and Aickman does everything right with this collection.

Five stars out of five.

--Bill Lindblad

Movie vs. Book: Mommy 2: Mommy’s Day

This month Bill and I did Mommy 2: Mommy’s Day. Two things that make this movie unique is a-it’s a sequel, and that’s not something you usually find with both book and movie. Also, the book’s writer and the movie’s director is the same person: Max Allen Collins. You’re almost guaranteed a loyal adaptation there (and if it isn’t, Collins has no one to blame but himself). However, I have yet to read the book and Bill hasn’t watched the movie yet, so you loyal readers get to decide for yourselves if this sounds true to the book or not.
Mommy 2 follows the original Mommy story by a few months in movie-time. The serial killer Mother from the first movie is on death row, put there by the testimony of her eleven year old daughter. Just as she’s about to get a lethal injection, something goes awry, thus buying her just enough time for a psychotropic medication to be developed where she can get a chemical cure instead of a death sentence. She is set free, but just as she is, murders start occurring again. All the evidence points to Mommy. Is she back to her old tricks or is someone trying to frame her?
Yes, this is a sequel, but you don’t have to watch the first Mommy movie in order to follow this. Collins does a great job of getting you up to speed with the story. If you have seen the first, this is where the movie might drag a little, since you’re getting information you already know from the first time around. However, it only takes a few minutes then off we go for the ride!
This plot could easily fall into teen slasher flick level in less deft hands. Instead, what we are treated to is a send-up of the serial killer stories. It’s perfectly fine to laugh during Mommy 2 and is strongly encouraged. This is not a movie that makes fun of the genre, but instead celebrates it for both the great aspects as well as the silly ones. The people who do get murdered definitely fall into the “Neededkilling” category, whether they are greedy cheats, or someone who insults Film Noir movies. There is just enough humor to be entertaining, but it stops just short of camp, and that shows how skilled Collins is as a writer and director.
The performances also help keep that balance. Patty McCormack, the murderous child Rhoda from the original Bad Seed is all grown up now, and shines in the role of Mommy. In fact, Mommy could easily be Rhoda in all her sociopathic glory. McCormack is brilliant in this role. A lesser actress would have approached Mommy with a nudge and a wink, showing her hand to the audience and letting us know that nobody takes it seriously. McCormack does, though. Her Mommy, for all her unabashed callousness, is real. That makes the fun scenes even more fun and the creepy parts creepier. Rachel Lemieux is great as the daughter playing the pre-teen angst and the confusion of whether she should fear or love her mother. Also, watch for a fun cameo by the late great Mickey Spillane as Mommy’s tough-as-nails lawyer.
I strongly recommend Mommy 2: Mommy’s Day, even if you haven’t seen the first. If that’s the case, though, pick up the double DVD that has them both. The first is just as much fun to watch as this one is.


Mommy’s Day is a typical novel by Max Allan Collins. By that, I mean it’s entertaining, sly and accessible. The book starts with a focus on Jessica Ann, the little girl who was the focal character in the preceding novel, Mommy. After introducing her for people who hadn’t read the earlier book, Collins proceeds to summarize the events of Mommy.

The result is a novel which really doesn’t start moving until page fifty, but that’s eminently forgivable here. The type is larger than it needs to be, as if the publisher were trying to fit a 180 page novel into a 270 page format. Thankfully, if page count was a factor, Collins resisted the temptation to expand the novel. The story is cohesive and fast-paced, and would have been damaged by padding the word count.

I’d recently finished reading another wonderful Collins book, Quarry in the Middle, published last month by Hard Case Crime. There’s been a decade between these books, but the key similarity is that Collins has an excellent grasp on how long to perpetuate a story. Details which support the tale, whether in characterization or plot, are kept in; those which do not progress the narrative are excised.

A quick reader will burn through Mommy’s Day in under an hour and a half. That’s about the same amount of time it will take to watch the movie. There are benefits to either format, particularly for Mommy’s Day.

There are references to classic works throughout the novel. Whether it’s the quote from The Bad Seed by William March that opens the book, or the occasional similarities to Psycho II by Robert Bloch (the novel, not the unrelated movie) or the casual reference to the Mohonk Mountain House (where the Mohonk Mysteries hosted by Donald and Abby Westlake were held,) I was entertained by the appreciative nods toward the giants of the past. I have no doubt I missed many of those references, and that’s fine; if anything, it’ll inspire me to visit this book again in a few years, when I’ve read a few dozen more legendary mysteries and thrillers.

This is a book which can be enjoyed by the casual reader, and by the studious one, for different reasons. It has a depth of playfulness… for example, the title character is never given a first name, instead being referred to as “Mommy” or “Mrs. Sterling”… while it intentionally avoids excessive internal analyses (a constant question in the reader’s mind is just how much emotional depth Mrs. Sterling has.)

You can get an enjoyable popcorn read out of this book, and get more from it the second or third time you pick it up. It fails only if you’re looking for a plot of deep complexity or cosmic horror, and if that’s the case you were reading the wrong book to start with.

Five stars out of five.


Fresh Blood: New Releases In the World of Horror

In New Publishers news:

New small press publisher, Bandersnatch Books is the brain child of Rich Ristow and Scott Colbert. As we state on our website, "Some small presses think they're out to revolutionize the world. Others think there is a small fortune to be made with "The Next Big Thing." We're neither. Bandersnatch Books seeks to publish unique works of novella length fiction, contemporary poetry, narrative experiments, chapbooks, and anything that slips through the cracks of genre convention."

To that end, we're pleased to announce our line up of releases for the next three months.

Decembers sees J. Bruce Fuller's 28 Black Birds at the End of the World, a collection of haiku, from one of the great genre poets.

In January we'll be releasing Death in Common: Poems From Unlikely Victims. We'll also be publishing a collection of Bob Freeman's previously released occult detective stories, entitled That Olde Black Magick.

February brings us two heavyweights, Wrath James White's Asian inspired poetry collection, Vicious Romantic and T.M. Wright's chapbook The People of the Island. We'll also be releasing two other chapbooks by T.M. Wright over the ensuing months as well.

Please visit us at for further information, and you can also follow us on twitter at for up to the minute release information.

In Book News, some new releases just in time for Xmas:

THE WATCHING by Paul Melniczek (limited edition) - Advance Order at The Horror Mall

From our friends at Coscom Entertainment:

Harrison Howe: RIP

Gina Ranalli: Praise the Dead

Eric S. Brown: Bigfoot War

A.M. Esmonde: Blood Hunger

Chimeraworld #6 (new world disorder) is available now from Chimericana Books
In the near future, the world awakens to the corporate threat of the New World Order: a leaderless resistance defeats the global elite.

It's becoming more and more obvious that Corporate Profit and the monetary system that drives it allows mankind to commit the most unholy crimes ever fostered upon humanity. Corporate Profit is control. Corporate Profit is secrecy. Corporate Profit is ruthless.
But without 'money', there's no method for generating a momentum to continue to push technology as far as it will go under a military-industrial agenda. Who says so? And also, there's the 'Sword of Damocles' threat of Eugenics associated with the corporate agenda. I personally find the Eugenics pill the most difficult to swallow but history is telling us that's where we're headed so that the Banking Elite can enjoy their planet.
And that's what they truly believe, that it's their planet, that they have the right to it. Not anyone else.
So, cancel Money (most of it's fiat money anyway, based on debt and tending to hyper-inflation), cancel Profit, cancel Private Ownership and Patents, cancel Countries, cancel National Insurance numbers because all these invented concepts increase the likelihood of our demise as a planetary species - our mass murder.
But how can such a liberated civilisation contribute to the proper use of the planet's resources. What is the aim of a planet of willing intelligent people helping the world be a better place? Where's the fun in that?
We need to seriously consider the possibility that Progress can exist without Corporate Profit, that we as a people can cooperate on Free or Open Source projects that help mankind to live in creative harmony. Take away the incentive, release the guilt; destroy the agenda, secrecy and horror of controlled corporate contemporary life.


“Some of the material is depraved as hell.”-

“Moral Horror is a teeth-gnashing spectacle of horror and gore that would make any gore hound squirm.”- Shriekfreak Quarterly

“Each of the eight stories presented in Moral Horror bring us into the darkest depths of human thought and bring out the basest emotions that lie dormant inside each of us... The stories within are gruesome and terrifying.”- Ben Eads, Horror Author

"Not sure what’s ‘moral’ or ‘virtuous’ about these stories, but if literary depravity’s your cup of tea, this is a steaming potful."-Mara Leveritt, #1 Best Selling Author of Devil's Knot and The Boys on the Tracks/ Editor, The Arkansas Times

“This anthology is essentially a testament; chronicling the beast within all humans.”- The Dark Fiction Spotlight

Featuring Edgar Allan Poe, Jack London, Elia Wilkinson Peattie, John Berwick Harwood, Elise Hammersberg, Solomohn Ennis, Nick C. Hooper & Henry Muntz
Edited by: Jason Hughes

Available at:

Barnes & Noble

Bestseller Books

Betterworld Books




...and many other book dealing sites

New from multi-award winning author, Tom Piccirilli
Description: An ex-cop, Finn was left literally blinded by violence. The one thing he can still see is the body of his wife, Dani, and a crime scene that won’t fade from his mind’s eye. Now a professor, Finn never would have guessed that an isolated girls’ prep school could be every bit as dangerous as city streets. Especially when he stumbles upon a local girl lying in a graveyard in the middle of a raging blizzard.
Finn may live in a world of total darkness, but it’s about to get a splash of red. The memories that torment him still have the power to kill, and a group of innocent students has been put in harm’s way by a pair of vicious criminals stalking Finn for unknown reasons. Secrets are creeping from the shadows around him—the kind that even a man with perfect vision never sees until it’s too late. They’re about to become terrifyingly clear to Finn—and it all begins with the scent of blood.

And the reviews are already coming in on another great book from the man himself...

"In Piccirilli's brooding, character-driven chiller, former New York City cop Finn, recently blinded, wallows in his new role as an English teacher at a posh girls' boarding school. A storm looms as Finn and a skeleton staff remain to supervise a handful of girls staying at the school during winter break. Piccirilli (The Fever Kill) harps on his theme of isolation with palpable glee as Finn, surrounded by self-absorbed adolescents and mysterious, brutally violent attackers roaming the campus, grapples with blindness amid a sonar-dulling snowstorm in a remote area with no cellphone service. Terrified of solitude and driven by his cop instincts, Finn embarks on a wrenching journey that exposes the raw emotion of a man nearly destroyed by disability and circumstance."--Publishers Weekly, starred review

"The Christmas recess has just begun at St. Valarian's, a private secondary school for girls in upstate New York. A handful of students and staff are still on campus as a nasty blizzard gathers strength. Finn, a blind and deeply conflicted former NYPD detective, teaches literature at the school and longs to murder Ray, his former police partner. Making his way across campus through the storm, Finn encounters a teenage girl, a townie, who warns him that an "ill will" is coming for him. Soon, students and staff are dying, and Finn must defend himself and the survivors. Shadow Season has enough mystery, suspense, dread, and mayhem to satisfy nearly every crime fan. Characters are well developed, but most maintain a hint of mystery. Finn's students, variously precocious, willful, mocking, and provocative, are totally believable. The blizzard ratchets up tension, as does our eagerness to learn why Finn wants to kill Ray. The portentous "ill will" may be a bit over the top, but the novel is terrific entertainment."- Thomas Gaughan, Booklist

Also, northern Colorado's biggest newspaper, The Coloradoan, had this to say: "This is an intense thriller not for sissies. The complex main character tears into savage situations described with authenticity as he grinds through each crisis while dealing with his blindness.You will appreciate the portrayal of the main character Finn's so-called disability, which really isn't one given the way he knows how to utilize it. The entire plot never lets the reader take a breath and never lets up on the gut-wrenching emotional safari into Finn's world of blackness.The dialogue, plot and the multi-layered character reveals itself to you with hammer blows page after page. Highly recommended for thriller fans who appreciate a quality read."

Order from

For Piccirilli fans, here's a special treat, Tom talking about the process of writing SHADOW SEASON

Tom Piccirilli lives in Colorado, where, besides writing, he spends an inordinate amount of time watching trash cult films and reading Gold Medal classic noir and hardboiled novels. He's a fan of Asian cinema, especially horror movies, bullet ballet, pinky violence, and samurai flicks. He also likes walking his dogs around the neighborhood. Are you starting to get the hint that he doesn't have a particularly active social life? Well, to heck with you, buddy, yours isn't much better. Give him any static and he'll smack you in the mush, dig? Tom also enjoys making new friends. He is the author of twenty novels including The Cold Spot, The Midnight Road, The Dead Letters, Headstone City, November Mourns, and A Choir of Ill Children. He's a four-time winner of the Bram Stoker Award and a final nominee for the World Fantasy Award, the International Thriller Writers Award, and Le Grand Prix de L'Imaginaire.

From Gary McMahon

His first mass market novel HUNGRY HEARTS is out now in the UK and should be out on or before April 2010 in the US. here's a link to the publisher's website

Also out now is DIFFERENT SKINS, a book containing two novellas.

From Bruce Brown, a delightfully tentacled children's book:

It's an all ages introduction to the works of H.P. Lovecraft. The Publisher is Arcana and the release date is January 6th 2010. But it's available for preorder on

After visiting his father in Butler Sanitarium, young Howard Lovecraft ignores his father's warning and uses the legendary Necronomicon to open a portal to a strange, frozen world filled with horrifying creatures and grave danger. Alone and scared, Howard befriends a hideous creature he names Spot who takes him to the castle of the king where he is captured and sentenced to death.

From Matt Cardin:

Dark Awakenings is now available from Mythos Books


"In Dark Awakenings, Cardin proves himself to be an adept in the fullest sense of the word. To both the morbid and the cosmically minded, who may be one and the same, he delivers his visions and nightmares in a master’s prose. In the tradition of Poe and Lovecraft, Cardin's accomplishments as a writer are paralleled by his expertise as a literary critic and theorist, as readers can witness in this volume. His analyses of supernatural horror and its practitioners are also dark awakenings in the dual manner of his stories, with one eye on the black abyss and the other on an enlightened transcendence without denomination. Again, this quality of Cardin's work can be seen in the writings of Poe and Lovecraft, two other felicitous freaks who merged the antagonistisms of their imagination into a chimera as awful as it is awe-striking."
— Thomas Ligotti, author of Teatro Grottesco and The Nightmare Factory

"Matt Cardin channels visions of dark, maniacal intensity. His otherworldly divinations will have you lying awake in the dark, counting stars in that most pitiless gulf that yawns above us all. A master of terror and dread, he ranks among the foremost authors of contemporary American horror."
— Laird Barron, author of The Imago Sequence & Other Stories

"Dark Awakenings offers the dream imagery of the best weird fiction but goes even further beyond the ordinary thanks to Matt Cardin's fierce intellect. Haunting stories and insightful essays. This is mandatory reading to prepare for the doom to come."
— Nick Mamatas, author of Move Under Ground

And in films, we have a few new releases...

Release date: Dec 04, 2009
Starring: Patrick Cavanaugh, James DeBello, Tony Denman, Paul H. Kim
Transylmania follows college students who agree to study abroad in Romania. The film is being billed as a spoof of vampire films such as Dracula and Interview With a Vampire. The best way to describe this film would be American Pie with vampires.


The Lovely Bones
Release date: Dec 11, 2009
Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Rachel Weisz, Susan Sarandon, Stanley Tucci
Peter Jackson takes a step closer to his horror roots by directing the thriller, The Lovely Bones. Adapted from the book written by Alice Sebold, A girl is murdered at a young age. After her murder she watches over her family and her killer from her own personalized version of heaven.


Sherlock Holmes
Release date Dec 25, 2009
Starring: Robert Downey, Jr., Jude Law, Rachel McAdams,
This new take on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s characters stars Hollywood heavyweights Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law. Guy Ritchie directs this story involving the great Sherlock Holmes being presented with the great task of saving the country.


--Steven M. Duarte