Thursday, January 14, 2010

Ghost Adventures Update Episode 01/15/2010

courtesy of The Travel Channel

The Ghost Adventures crew is giving a second taste of a couple of their most controversial episodes from last year.

This Friday, we will be airing Ghost Adventures Live REWIND. The guys are going back to take a second look at the evidence they captured during the live investigation.

Next Friday, Travel Channel is airing a special 90 minute long version of the Poveglia Island investigation. You will get to see some extra footage that did not air last fall!
Sneak peek:

Tune-in info:
Ghost Adventures Live REWIND - January 15th at 9 E/P on Travel Channel.
Poveglia (90 Min) - January 22nd at 9pm E/P

Connect with the show:

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

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Ghost Adventures Update Episode 01/08/2010

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. The show is in its 2nd smash season!

In it's 70 years of operation Wolfe Manor became the final resting place for thousands of people. The originals owners lost the home in the great depression. After sitting vacant for years, Wolfe Manor was turned into the Clovis Sanitarium. Former employees tell numerous stories about poor conditions, mistreatment, and abuse of patients.
Wolfe Manor housed 100-150 patients at a time until it was closed in 1997. Overcrowding was a constant problem, making it difficult for any patient to receive proper care. The rooms were so overcrowded that some patients slept in the hallways. With so many patients and a shortage of staff, there were a lot of deaths inside the mansion. Since there was no local coroner to come for the deceased the bodies had to be stored in the basement. They were sometimes there for days at a time.
The spirits are Wolfe Manor are very "hands on." While researching some of the history behind the mansion Zak asks paranormal investigator Terry Campbell if he has ever been physically touched. "All the time. That is the most frequent thing that happens here," Terry responds.
The guys hear voices and feel strange energy even before the lockdown begins. Wolfe Manor is sure to be a hair-raising investigation.

Sneak peek:

Tune-in info:
Prospect Place: Friday, January 8th, 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)

Monday, January 4, 2010

Editorial January 2010 e-issue #7

By Nickolas Cook
The Black Glove Magazine

A huge Black Glove welcome to 2010 and to all who survived the previous year—in one incarnation or another.
Again, we saw one Hollywood remake after another. Some were older, much better made horror films from our past, but there were still plenty foreign steals as well, interspersed with some fairly lame attempts at sending new material up the entertainment flagpole. What continues to boggle my mind is where these shitty ideas for horror keep coming from? Who keeps funding them? What feces-colored glasses are these money people viewing these things through to think they’ve got something worthwhile to offer the movie going public? In the midst of such a dire economic crisis, how can studios continue to conscience these sub-par movies that keep popping up across mega-mall cinemas all around the country (hell, even the world!)
Still, to be fair, there were a few decent films this year. Even some great ones. Great enough at least to make our own 1st annual Top 13 Best Of list (link here). I can’t say that agree with all the titles my esteemed colleague, Brian Sammons, picked for the list, but I think he hit the nail on the head for 90% of them.
At least he did NOT place such teen shite fests as the 3-D remake of MY BLOODY VALENTINE, a film which I particularly abhorred in 2009. I was around when the original hit the big screen back in the day (which according to Dane Cook was a Wednesday, by the way) and I still remember the creepy frisson I got from it back then. It was a frisson that the remake didn’t even attempt to recreate. I was, quite frankly, insulted by the remake. It was so full of story holes you could have driven a Mac truck through, ala MAXIMUM OVERDRIVE style, baby. I am not an idiot. And I don’t appreciate filmmakers or studios who treat me as such when they try to pawn off their garbage as real horror movies. Do these morons even know what great horror is? Do they even watch the originals? I know for a fact that I’ve read interviews with directors and actors who say they don’t bother to see the original (or worse, even bother to read the book, if its an adaptation). That sort of moronic attitude of who-gives-a-crap-about-the-classics is what’s gotten us where we are today in this Beevis and Butthead society we live in now.

There were so many bad movies (mostly remakes) in 2009 that the mind reels at their seemingly ever-expanding power to subvert and destroy the American horror cinema.
What is really stunning to me is the fact that, as filmmaking technology has become increasingly cheaper and, thereby, more easily accessible to the general public, there doesn’t seem to be any young John Carpenters or George Romeros stepping from the homogeny of American youth to light the way for the new wave of American Horror Cinema.
Maybe we don’t have the balls for it anymore. Maybe in this country we’ve lost the ability to feel honest primordial fear. We’ve become too pampered, perhaps. Despite some truly horrifying everyday political and social terrors, we do not seem to know how to translate those into something abstract enough to make real honest-to-god horror films any longer. And to me, that’s the greatest horror there is: when a culture stops trying to use its fears to create. I mean, Jesus-jumped-up-Christ, what good is all the crap we have to go through with our government, the supposed wardens of our freedoms and liberties, if we can’t put those midnight existential terrors to good use, to expose the lies and deceit, and to pull the monsters from the mental and emotional closets in which they hide within our culture?
Anyway, don’t even get me started. I’m not even sure why I bother to get bothered by it anymore. One monkey don’t stop no show, after all.
So what do we have to look forward to for the coming year in horror?
Well, if you’ve been keeping up with our monthly Fresh Blood section (link here) in the past few issues, you’ll know we’re trying very hard to stay abreast of what’s new and exciting. Over the course of the last few weeks we’ve been getting some pretty exciting updates from the folks over at AfterDark Films and we can’t wait to share those with you in the next issue (they’ll have their own article, links and pics galore). Also, we’ve got some great interviews and articles lined up, and a few content changes as well, for the new year.
But most importantly, the 1st annual Black Glove Awards will take place in our August 2010 issue, in which we’ll devote the entire issue to the books, films, games, comics, and other horror culture and entertainment things we felt were the highlights of the previous 12 months of our publications. So, keep an eye out for the future ballot voting boxes on this site.
But that’s the future. Let’s see what The Black Glove has this month, shall we?

--Nickolas Cook
The Black Glove Magazine

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.
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:

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 Wrath James White

Interview conducted by Nickolas Cook

1. You've got quite a background, earned a paycheck in a wide ranging line of professions. What drove you to become a writer?
I have always believed that wasted talent is the only truly unforgivable sin. Writing was the first thing I showed a genuine aptitude for. It was the first talent I ever received praise for. When I began reading horror and got hooked on Stephen king and Robert McCammon, I decided I would become a horror novelist. Even when I was working as a bouncer or fighting or acting or modeling or working construction my goal remained to someday write for a living.

2. You get into the heads of some pretty amoral and repulsive characters. What do you have to do to make that happen for you? And how does it effect you in your daily life?

There is no crime, however reprehensible, that I have not at one time imagined myself capable of. In order to write the type of characters that I write you have to suspend your moral judgment for a moment and imagine that you are that person, that villain. How would you justify your actions? How would you rationalize it? If you can't put your mind in that place then you cannot write a realistic antagonist. That's how writers wind up with cardboard villains that are just evil for the sake of being evil. I find that type of writing boring and a bit lazy. Nobody is just evil. Even Manson had his reasons.
Writing these type of characters doesn't affect me that much. It’s scary while I’m writing them and sometimes very uncomfortable. Living in the mind of a psycho or his victims for months at a time is no picnic. But it isn't like I didn't know there was horror in the world or that there were truly twisted and reprehensible people until I wrote about them.
If you watch the news long enough you will hear about things much worse than what I write, minus the supernatural elements. I write about it because it helps me to understand it and makes it less terrifying. A monster is no longer a monster once you have identified it, studied it, and given it a name. No one thinks of gorillas as monsters but there was a time when people did because they didn't understand them, most people had never seen one and knew nothing about them outside of wild tales. Once you understand them they aren't as terrifying. No one wakes up screaming in the middle of the night dreaming that a gorilla is coming for them.

3. With your new Leisure release, THE RESURRECTIONIST, you give us Dale McCarthy, a man who is obviously not like anyone else. What were trying to say with him? Was he meant to be wrapped in a moral/ethical message?
There is a lot going on with Dale McCarthy. Would God give immense power to someone who was evil? Is it evil to kill someone for your own enjoyment if you can resurrect them with no memory of their death? These were questions I wanted to explore. Then there were other questions I explored in the novel like the economic crises and how it was transforming neighborhoods and destroying marriages, crippling cities.
I also added commentary on the Catholic Church molestation scandals and the lasting affect that has had on some people. I crammed a lot in there and for once I think I did it without being too heavy-handed but without being so subtle that readers missed it entirely. I feel like I got this one right and that’s a great feeling.

4. You've collaborated with some of the brightest names in the genre, including Maurice Broaddus and Monica O'Rourke (will link and list titles here). How did your process differ for these collaborations?
It didn't differ much. Obviously, they each brought different strengths to the table but the process was pretty much the same. We get to know each other's strengths and weaknesses and then we compensate for one another's weaknesses and emphasize their strengths. If one of us is weaker at dialogue or description or characterization or editing then the other one adds their expertise where it’s needed to make a better story. It requires letting go of your ego and letting someone else murder your darlings. That requires quite a bit of trust.
Any collaboration I participate in should turn out a product that is better than I could have achieved on my own and hopefully one that is better than my collaborator could have achieved on their own as well. I have learned so much from each of my collaborator's and grown as a writer as a result. I don't know if I would have grown as much as a writer without all of their help.

5. Your work has a certain, shall we say, physicality(?) to it. It's obvious that the flesh is a primary concern to you, but how do you approach the spiritual side of horror?
It depends on what you mean by spiritual? I don't believe in a spirit so that word has no meaning to me. I'm not sure anyone really knows what they mean by spiritual. If you mean the mind, emotions and intellect, then the answer is that I approach it by giving each character a life, a story, a personality and staying true to them. I make them as human as possible and not just pawns for the plot. I even change the plot if it doesn't work for my characters. Characters that I had originally created just to kill of wind up surviving and becoming major characters. Other characters that I thought would survive die quickly. Heroes become villains and villains become heroes. The personalities of the characters determine what happens to them in the story. If I create a dumb chAracter then no matter how much I might like him he's probably going to do something stupid that gets him or someone else killed. I want to show humanity in a true and honest way. Even though there may be an agenda behind some of my plots I still strive for emotional honesty.

6. With the ton of new releases coming our way within the next year, are you at all worried about your over saturation of the horror genre?
I always worry about that but I go through these spurts and my readers are sort of used to it. One year of mad productivity followed by one year of silence. I wrote a lot in 2009 but I published very little. Most of what I wrote this year will not come out until 2010. 2011 may be the same way. We'll see. If an idea comes to me I try not to sit on it for too long but I've got a lot of ideas for books and not all of them are within the genre. Some of them aren't even fiction. So 2011 will be interesting.

7. Has moving your work to a larger mass market publisher changed the way you write? Are you now consciously editing out scenes for fear of alienating potential readers?
Nope. I just try to write better each time. I don't worry about the content except that it should be more inventive, more original, more powerful, and more skillfully crafted each time. Readers will either like what I do or they won't. Trying to change the way I write to appeal to a larger audience just wouldn't work for me. Besides, the process of writing a novel from concept to completion to publication is so long that if I tried to cater to the trends of the market I would be lost because trends might change before my book is published. It’s better to just do what I do.
Even if I wrote a YA novel or a romance it would be written my way which doesn't necessarily mean violent and sexual but it wouldn't be Twilight or Harry Potter either. I’m not sure what that would look like. Perhaps we’ll find out one day.

8. Can you tell us a little about how you became involved with the most exciting new horror/thriller convention, KILLERCON?
I stuck my foot in my mouth on that one. I was complaining about why no one ever brought horror conventions to Las Vegas when Monica O'Rourke asked me why I didn't just throw one myself. She offered to help and a few other writers who were in earshot volunteered as well and Killercon was born or conceived rather.

9. What were some of the lessons you learned from the first KILLERCON convention?
More volunteers. Monica and I tried to do everything ourselves and it made things far more stressful than they needed to be.

10. What do hope people will walk away with from your brand of hard core, brutal fiction?
It depends on the book. There's a different message in each one. Of course some are just pure entertainment and that's cool too. I want readers to see that you can write without limits and still tell a good story. You can even be "literary". Whatever the hell that's supposed to mean.

11. Last question: Next convention, can we get together and spar a little, and will you try not to knock out my teeth?
I break jaws and ribs. You can keep the teeth.


Poisoning Eros (2003) (with Monica J O'Rourke)
Teratologist (2003) (with Edward Lee)
The Book of a Thousand Sins (2005)
His Pain (2006)
Hero (2008) (with J F Gonzalez)
Population Zero (2008)
Orgy of Souls (2008) (with Maurice Broaddus)
Succulent Prey (2005, 2008)
The Resurrectionist (2009)

Upcoming Releases:

Yaccub's Curse, Necro Books (December 2009)
Vicious Romantic, Bandersnatch Books (February 2010)
The Resurrectionist (limited Edition), Cargo Cult (February 2010)
The Reaper, Cargo Cult (mid 2010)
Everyone Dies Famous In A Small Town, Thunderstorm Books (mid 2010)
Poisoning Eros books 1 and 2 ,(co-written with Monica O'Rourke,) Sideshow Press (late 2010)

Visit Wrath James White here

Stabbed in Stanzas Feature Poet: Gary William Crawford

Interview conducted by Karen L. Newman

Gary William Crawford has been twice nominated for the Bram Stoker Award in the category of poetry collection for his books, The Shadow City (Naked Snake Press, 2005) and The Phantom World (Sam’s Dot Publishing, 2008). He’s the author of three more poetry collections and two short story collections. He’s edited The Horror Fiction Newsletter and Night Songs. He is also the founder of Gothic Press, which is now seeking submissions by invitation only.

KLN: You received an M.A. from Mississippi State University. Why did you choose to earn that degree and not an M.F.A.?
GWC: My original plan was to get a Ph. D. in literature to become a professor. At one point I thought I would try for an M.F.A. in Creative Writing, but I developed schizophrenia before I could do so. The schizophrenia cut short my academic career.

KLN: Your thesis was entitled “Sheridan Le Fanu’s In a Glass Darkly: Ironic Distance and the Supernatural”. Why did you choose this work? Tell the readers more about this author and his work.
GWC: This work is one of the best collections of Gothic fiction in the English language, and it has placed Le Fanu in high esteem in the history of literature. Le Fanu is regarded by many as the father of the English ghost story. He is most famous for the vampire tale “Carmilla,” which is in In a Glass Darkly.

KLN: In the afterward to your latest poetry collection, Voices from the Dark, you mention that you suffer from schizophrenia. How has that affected your writing? How do you incorporate that part of yourself in your writing?
GWC: It has affected much of the horror imagery in my poetry and fiction. Many of the ideas I had while psychotic I have incorporated into my work. Thus I consider myself a “confessional poet,” a known school of twentieth century poetry as practiced by the poet Sylvia Plath.

KLN: How have other parts of your personal life manifested themselves in your work?
GWC: I am gay, and this aspect of my work is in both my poetry and fiction. I have written the story “Mysteries of Von Domarus,” which is really a prose poem about my early difficulties in confronting and accepting my sexual orientation.

KLN: You’ve written both stories and poetry. Which is your favorite form and why?
GWC: I have no real preference of one over the other, but I have written more poetry than fiction.

KLN: Your nonfiction credits are impressive. Please tell our readers about the articles you contributed to The Penguin Encyclopedia of Horror and the Supernatural. You also wrote about Ramsey Campbell and Robert Aickman. How have their styles of writing influenced you?
GWC: I wrote about twenty articles for the Penguin encyclopedia. The longest one was a bibliographical essay on scholarship and criticism of horror. My books on Ramsey Campbell and Robert Aickman were intended to be biographical and critical introductions to their lives and works. My Greenwood Press bibliography of Victorian ghost story writer J. Sheridan Le Fanu is the most comprehensive annotated listing of primary and secondary sources. I chose to write these books because I had a love for their works and wanted to give them some permanence in the history of Gothic and horror literature. Aickman has had the strongest influence on my fiction.

KLN: You’ve served as editor of several publications, including Gothic and Le Fanu Studies. What do you look for in submissions? Please tell us the differences in your criteria in the formats of newsletter, poetry magazine, and fiction, or did you take submissions for the newsletter?
GWC: In my academic journal Gothic I sought the best scholarly essays I could find on the subject. I believe that this kind of work is very important because it gives readers a greater understanding of the genre. The same goes for my free online journal Le Fanu Studies.

KLN: You’ve started and run a successful press. What advice would you give those contemplating starting a press, particularly in this economy? What were some of the high points of that endeavor? Low points? Would you consider starting another press? Why or why not?
GWC: One must realize that he will not likely make a profit. It has been for me a labor of love, and my advice to anyone who is thinking of starting a press to realize that he will lose money and be prepared for this.

KLN: Thank you for agreeing to this interview. I appreciate your time. Is there anything additional you’d like to share with our readers?
GWC: The only thing I ever tell someone who writes is not to give up.

--Karen L. Newman
(The Black Glove thanks Mr. Crawford for his time and efforts)

Stabbed in Stanzas Book Review: Voices from the Dark by Gary William Crawford

Reviewed by Karen L. Newman

Gary William Crawford dissects his life in verse in his latest collection, Voices from the Dark. In his afterword, he explains that he divided the book into the four parts that delve into the various important stages of his life to show that we as individuals are made of more than we appear. These are ‘Voices from the Divided Self’, ‘Voices from the Shadow City’, ‘Voices from the Phantom World’, and ‘Voices of Death and Loss’
The segment ‘Voices from the Divided Self’ refers to Crawford’s struggle with schizophrenia. He seeks relief as in the poem “To Absolve Pain”: I seek neither heaven nor hell / but a world beyond these fiery walls. The author appears suicidal, yet writes on. The language is fluid and the images are haunting as the theme moves seamlessly to survival.
The section ‘Voices from the Shadow City’ delve into Crawford’s liberal political thought. He paints a world where the conservatives leave the world a dirty place with people starving. The police state is a believable nightmare as in “Four Angels/Four Eyes”

They take me to a hospital
in the garbage dump
outside the city.
“This is the proper place for you,”
say the monitors of mystery.

Here Crawford’s referring to the future fate of homosexuals. People can’t sleep in another poem, for fear of dreaming of a better life. All the poems in the section are frightening, not by the use of flowery language, but in the plainspoken words accented with alliteration.

‘Voices from the Phantom World’ are the voices beyond the grave from a planet where people’s spirits go after death. This planet is unlike a heavenly cloud. Here people are as they were on Earth. The spirits change form in some cases, but the personalities remain. The horror here is there’s no redemption. The hell on Earth is the hell evermore.

In the ‘Voices of Death and Loss’ Crawford mourns the death of his lover, John. The first few poems are stereotypical of a lover lost. The section moves from grief to the nightmare of existence, and then to general death poems. In my opinion, these are the weaker poems of the collection and should have been placed in the middle of the book, not the end. Most poems are forgettable. The one standout work of this part is “The Ruined Church”. These lines are quotable

But I am not evil—
just a piece of broken stained glass
from a window in the nave.

Voices from the Dark spans twenty years of Crawford’s poetry. His talent is obvious. The breath of his knowledge is displayed well.

-Karen L. Newman

13 Questions with MyMiserys: Tom Piccirilli

Interview conducted by MyMiserys (aka Kimberly Cook)

Tom Piccirilli is the author of twenty novels including SHADOW SEASON, THE COLD SPOT, THE COLDEST MILE, and A CHOIR OF ILL CHILDREN. He's won the International Thriller Award and four Bram Stoker Awards, as well as having been nominated for the Edgar, the World Fantasy Award, the Macavity, and Le Grand Prix de L'imagination. Learn more at or

1.How old were you when you wrote what you consider your first story?
12 or thereabouts. I remember writing a pretty dandy riff on LAND OF THE LOST called DIMENSION X that featured monsters, mutants, magic crystals, and evil mirror people.

2. What inspired you to write it?
The need to fantasize has always been with me.

3. What was the first book you wrote?
A bizarre little mystery called The Runalong that I wrote when I was maybe 18, about a drifter with a brain tumor who runs up against a serial killer. It had weirdo shifting perspectives and all kinds of insane backstory. It's been lost to the depths of time and rubbish, thankfully.

4. Of all the books you've written, which is your favorite?
I dig each one for a different reason. I think A CHOIR OF ILL CHILDREN and THE DEAD LETTERS are probably my most ambitious, but THE COLD SPOT or SHADOW SEASON is probably my strongest so far as pure storytelling goes.

5. Which book would you like to forget you wrote?
Doesn't matter. I remember them all.

6. Who is the most influential person in your life?
The guy at my mortgage company who sends the bills.

7. Who is your favorite author?
Too many to even consider one favorite.

8. If you could only own one book, what would it be?
THE DEAD FATHER by Donald Barthelme or THE HOTEL NEW HAMPSHIRE by John Irving. No matter how many times I reread them, I always find more to enjoy.

9. When and where do you write?
I write in drips and drabs all day long, at my desk in my office. I write for a bit, read for a while, write some more, watch a movie, write, walk the dogs, write, and on and on.

10. Do you have a "day job?"
Writing my guts out is the day job.

11. Do you have a "dream job?"
Being Angelina Jolie's cabana boy.

12. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
On one of those Amazonian plateaus where dinosaurs and hot cave chicks still live, because it would be righteous.

13. What is your guilty pleasure?
None of my pleasures give me any guilt, I'm unconscionable that way.

(The Black Glove thanks Tom for his time and efforts)

TIME CAPSULES classic book reviews by Bill Lindblad

NIGHTBLOOD by T. Chris Martindale

Exactly twenty years ago this month, an author had his first horror novel published. He’d written some published work before… some game books for TSR in the multiple-path fashion which was popular in the 1980s… but this was his entry into the leagues of the professional authors.

The month was January, 1990. The novel was Nightblood. It was nominated for a Stoker award for Superior Achievement in a first novel. It was reprinted in the UK. And…

When people talk about how tough the 1990s were on horror, I always think of Martindale. He’s not the only author hurt by the collapse of the market, but he’s a perfect case study. His first book, as mentioned, was nominated for a Stoker. The second, Where the Chill Waits, is considered one of the best Wendigo novels by many horror fans, but it is scarce; Warner shut down its horror line a few weeks after the book’s release, recalling all copies of the title and tanking Martindale’s sales figures. He got a new contract with Pocket, who quickly published his third novel Demon Dance but gave it one of the worst covers ever to grace a horror novel. His final book, The Voice in the Basement, was only on the stands for two weeks before Pocket closed down its horror line. Four novels, three in a row with abysmal sales, and a promising career was over almost as quickly as it started.

I say promising, because Nightblood is the weakest of his four books and it’s very good.

The premise could be summarized for a Hollywood pitch session this way: “Rambo in ‘Salems Lot.” There was a lot that could go wrong with that concept; in practice, Martindale delivers well, with a growing sense of distress for the community, a minimum of reliance on cliché (generally with the intent of standing convention on its ear,) occasional comic touches and good - not great - character development. The novel’s problems lie primarily in its format. The book’s opening seems to set the stage for it being the first in a series of novels; the denouement leaves that impression as well, but the condition of the character has changed enough to suggest that the author had intended it to be a stand-alone. Also, by focusing on specific scenes while being restricted to a general page count, the author left few pages devoted to non-primary characters and the result is a poor sense of transition from a quiet town to a nest of vampiric activity.

In later years, it was revealed that the author had planned for at least one more novel in the series, possibly multiples, but that he was very open to changes in the protagonist’s outlook unlike most other supernatural action or detective series. I wish the market would have cooperated; this might have become a staple of the bestseller shelves.

Four stars out of five.


This collection was released by Viking in 1987 and was reviewed positively in the New York Times Book Review, The Guardian, and The Toronto Star. Unfortunately, it was written by a Canadian.

Canadians often get short shrift from US publishers, reviewers, and particularly readers. Authors have found it difficult to have their novels issued in the States, although thankfully that is a generalization and not a rule (see: Charles de Lint, Tanya Huff, Kelly Armstrong, etc….) This is a collection which, between its Canadian release and its literary bent, was largely missed by the US readership. That was an injustice.

The collection includes twenty stories, most with a surrealistic bent. There are too many open-ended tales for my general taste, but the tone of the work varies greatly. The title story is a memorable literary grotesque, and other pieces are presented in the format of a detective story, as a first-person narration, as a series of short articles on a horrible event, and more; the author does not stay within a standardized form, and that makes the similarity of conclusion (inconclusion?) more palatable.

McCormack’s vocabulary choices are particularly notable. His wording is precise, adding to the enjoyment of the book rather than rendering it falsely dense with torturous constructions. It was reminiscent of Ligotti’s work, but without the pervasive sense of doom.

Five stars out of five.


This novel from 1982 is difficult to review. It was written by Stoker nominee C. Dean Andersson and his wife Nina Romberg under their joint pen name, early in their writing careers. In later novels, Andersson would become known for being willing to push the boundaries of horror in titles like Raw Pain Max and Torture Tomb. In this early work, the descriptive excesses expected in such stories were not present, but the book was excessive in other ways. Specifically, in theme.

The plot is simple, and summarized on the rear cover: during the time of the Inquisition, an accused witch and a soldier have been branded by a demoness, and they travel toward the creature with the intent to destroy her.

The cover is problematic. The cover copy reveals too much of the plot, and the front cover art is poorly designed, making the scene look like an odd mix of bondage play and supernatural romance (the pair kneel in a burning ring of fire with trees in the background. Also in the background, but almost invisible save under direct light, are shadows of demon-spawn amidst the trunks of the trees. Worse, the shaved head of the woman and the heavy reliance on shadow create a weirdly asexual, androgynous look to the pair.) The final mistake is in the choice of color: the spine and rear cover are powder blue, setting it apart from other horror novels but not in a positive way.

The book spends nearly a hundred pages developing the characters, and makes the mistake of allowing the narrator to voice the thoughts of not one, but both main characters. This removes any significant dramatic tension from the romantic angle of the story and diminishes the tale as a whole. It also presents a solid argument for the book being intended as heroic fantasy rather than horror.

But the nagging problem I had with the book was the mutability of the theme. The book went from being a reincarnation novel to an Inquisition story to a fateful romance to a Lovecraftean novel to sword-and-sorcery to female empowerment…. Those were only a few of the twists.

I do have to commend the authors for incorporating the unusual notion of using Jesus Christ and God as active and participatory villains, albeit off-camera.

If you enter into this novel understanding that the novel will be as unfocused as life itself typically is, you stand a good chance of enjoying it on the strength of the story. It is pleasant and somewhat scarce; if you find a copy, it is worth picking up. That said, this is an early novel from both authors and it is a flawed work.

Three stars out of five.


Okay, the credit is actually “C.L. Grant”, but only because it was 1977. Shortly after this book’s publication, he shifted it to Charles L. Grant, and eventually some titles dropped the middle initial entirely.

This novel was a nominee for the World Fantasy Award for best novel. It was also the first novel set in Oxrun Station, the fictitious New England town which the readers were later repeatedly informed, “takes care of its own.”

It was followed by The Sound of Midnight, which was a nominee for the World Fantasy Award for best novel, and The Last Call of Mourning, which was a nominee for the World Fantasy Award for best novel. The first collection of Oxrun stories, Nightmare Seasons, won the World Fantasy Award for best anthology/collection. There is a pattern here.

The Hour of the Oxrun Dead takes the traditional Gothic format into an alley and beats the hell out of it, leaving the pummeled body recognizable but dramatically altered. The widow is not a protagonist in need of rescuing, but a strong figure struggling to understand and overcome the problems aligned against her. The male lead is supportive and helpful, but not the driving force of the story. Innocents die. And the property the widow is trying to maintain isn’t in a remote area, but on a nice suburban street.

Grant’s poetic approach to horror fiction is in low key here, present but not aggressive. The result is a smoothly flowing book which is a joy to read.

The plot focuses on widow Natalie Windsor, a librarian who becomes the target of strange events… minor at first, steadily growing in magnitude until she becomes convinced her life is threatened. She digs into the reasons behind the attacks and in so doing uncovers a conspiracy which, once revealed, needs to decisively eliminate her.

One of the best aspects of the Oxrun series was the way the stories interlocked. Each novel, novella or short story stood on its own, but many would use or reference characters from other works. This is not unique, and that format has added cohesiveness to a number of authors’ stories. What was different about Oxrun was that additional information would sometimes be provided, shading the results of the previous work. In that way, the Station took on a life bigger than the stories alone. It is a place always worth visiting, including in this first appearance.

Five stars out of five.


This collection was released in hardcover as Mystery Stories in 1959, and compiled a set of short stories originally published between 1948 and 1956. It was re-released in an affordable paperback edition by Dell later that year, under the title Quiet Horror.

It seemed particularly suitable for a month which included Charles L. Grant and Eric McCormack.

Neither title is entirely apt. One of the tales included in the collection is supernatural horror, not a mystery; a couple of the others are straight mystery, not horror. One constant, however, is the quality of the work.

Ellin burst onto the scene with a memorable story called “Specialty of the House”. The story has been reprinted many, many times, and was one of the first short stories adapted for Vincent Price on his BBC audio show “The Price of Fear”. Like Henry Kuttner and “The Graveyard Rats”, Ellin knocked the ball out of the park on his first attempt and proceeded to swing for the bleachers with each successive attempt.

The common feature to all of the stories is their lack of violence. In every instance, where the violence can be described the author cuts away, leaving the reader’s imagination to fill the holes. His story structure, however, is such that the reader cannot help but fill in the appropriate holes in precisely the method intended.

The stories are short trips through motive, through character, and through time, all guided by the hand of a master of his art.

Five stars out of five.


Not everything from before the 1980s was quiet or subtle. Seven Slayers was originally published in 1950, gathering seven stories from the 1930s Black Mask pulp magazine. Various stories were reprinted in anthologies, and the original collection was reissued by Black Lizard in 1987.

These stories were hard-boiled fiction at its best, with violence around every corner and no shady deal what it seemed on the surface. Guns flare, knives fly, and good intentions are just another weakness that can get you killed.

What set these stories apart, and make them particularly notable for horror fans, is the bleak attitude which envelops the world in which these stories are told. There is no morality in any of the people, only an occasional and typically forced lapse into truth.

The author’s style is terse, as if each word was precious and reluctantly provided. Simple sentences and direct discussion are the rule of the day, with the result of creating a short book; all of the stories combine to less than a hundred and fifty pages. There is no supernatural element in any of them, not even suggested or possible. That said, the value here is in the devious and intricate plotting and the often brutal portrayal of humanity.

Five stars out of five.

--Bill Lindblad

Movie vs. Book: Asylum

Asylum was the first Amicus horror movie I’ve ever seen and, after watching it, I’m ready for more. Sure, it had its flaws but man, Asylum (aka House of Crazies) is one fun ride.
Young Dr. Martin goes for a job at an insane asylum. The head, Dr. Rutherford, informs him that another doctor recently went mad and had to be admitted as a patient. If he can figure out which patient it is, he gets the job. This is a fantastic setup for an anthology-style horror flick. Each of the patients has their own back story, all getting their own segment.
The cast included horror greats like Peter Cushing, Patrick Magee (best known as the writer in A Clockwork Orange among many fantastic roles), Britt Ekland and Charlotte Rampling. Every actor seems to be having a fantastic time in their role. Even when the stories get absurd, there is bliss in all the scene-chewing glory.
The script for the flick was written by the great Robert Bloch, and, wow, he seemed to be having a blast, too. Most seasoned horror fans will be able to predict where each segment is going and what will happen at the end. That really is of no matter. With Asylum the fun isn’t in the end but the ride itself. These are old school horror stories, with creepy ghosts, evil overtones and comeuppance for all who deserve it.
Asylum for me is like a fantastic meatloaf. That may sound like an insult but meatloaf is one of my favorite foods. It’s a warm, tasty bit of comfort. That is the best way I can describe how Asylum felt to me, the comfort food of horror. Classical, gore-less morality tales that yes, can sometimes be predictable but are wonderfully delicious nonetheless.
If you’re looking for the kind of movie from back in the day that made you the horror fan you are, I cannot recommend Asylum enough.

- Jen

Asylum is double-duty for me. First, I get to read the Robert Bloch short stories upon which the four anthology pieces are based, and then I get to read the novelization by William Johnston.
The first part of that duty is fun. The second isn’t.
Bloch’s work could suffer under repetition. Because of the large quantity of short fiction he produced (the better to pay the bills) and his tendency to focus on specific themes, large Bloch collections often had similar stories. Spousal murder attempts, morbid puns, multiple personalities and streetwise criminals were regulars in his stories.
In small clusters of stories, however, or in the course of a novel, the man’s writing was nothing less than wonderful. He was from the writing school that insisted on clarity of meaning, creating work which was descriptive and evocative while simultaneously capable of propelling the action forward.
Such is the case with the four stories which Bloch later adapted for the screenplay: Frozen Fear, The Weird Tailor, Lucy Comes to Stay and Mannikins of Horror. The newest of these stories was written in 1952, twenty years prior to the Amicus adaptation. Despite their age, the stories are effective and exciting.
The same cannot be said for William Johnston’s novel. The stories are written in a basic, workmanlike fashion which sucks all of the interest out of the reader. The book deviates from the movie, and by doing so could have carved its own place for fans of the Amicus anthologies, but even the deviations are poorly conceived. For the scene, early in the film, where Dr. Foster observes archaic, cartoonish art decorating the walls and depicting the abusive treatment of asylum patients in centuries past, the book suggests that Foster temporarily but strongly imagines himself drawn into the art, suffering as did the ancient mad… and then nothing comes of it. During the four inmates’ stories, the action is repeatedly broken by interruptions from Dr. Forest. These did not have any counterparts in the movie itself, undoubtedly because they would have diminished the movie.
Find the Bloch stories. Read them. Enjoy. Four stars out of five, because some of the stories while good aren’t among his best (Frozen Fear, Lucy Comes to Stay). The Johnston book? One star out of five, trying for a two but coming up short because of the example set by the original tales.

-Bill Lindblad

Fresh Blood: New Releases In the World of Horror

compiled by Steven M. Duarte and Nickolas Cook

Not much to offer in book news.
Apparently, struggling authors in the horror genre don't cotton much to free advertisement for their products.

But I sure have no problem crowing about my own new release from Coscom Entertainment, ALICE IN ZOMBIELAND, a mashup novel by Lewis Carroll and myself, which tells the story of young Alice's adventures in an undead world known as Zombieland. Can she escape the murderous mistress of the flesh eaters, the RED QUEEN, before it's 'off with her head!'?

Alice in Zombieland by Lewis Carroll and Nickolas Cook is now available at the following on-line retailers:

Paperback:">Other On-line Retailers


Amazon Kindle


Can Alice escape Zombieland before the Dead Red Queen catches up to her?
When little Alice falls asleep, she finds herself in an undead nightmare of rotting flesh and insanity. Following a talking rat, she ventures further into this land of zombies and monsters.
There’s also something else troubling poor Alice: her skin is rotting and her hair is falling out. She’s cold and there’s the haunting feeling that if she remains in Zombieland any longer, she might never leave and forever be caught between life and death.
Have a seat at the table for the Tea Party of your life and explore the wondrous adventure that is Zombieland.

And we did get one other item of interest from Novello Publishers in which they announce an all new novella of humorous horror:

ZOMBIE BASTARD by Jerrod Balzer (to be released mid January)
A delayed curse is taking effect, engulfing a Missouri town with the undead. Leading the onslaught is a creature that lacks mercy or compassion, only an intense drive to see the curse through. Its fate was sealed years ago, simply for being born a…
Trevor is dealing with a curse of his own: he has the runs. On a desperate trek to visit his ailing mother, he searches for a decent place to relieve the pressure before moving on. All he wants is to have a movement in peace, but that Zombie Bastard won’t let him.

$11.00 Pre-order here

But this should be of interest to all hardcore horror genre fans. Seems as if some smart cookie finally decided to bring back Uncle Forry's greatest contribution to the genre: Famous Monsters of Filmland.

Anyone over 30 probably is probably familiar with Famous Monsters of Filmland and what Forry Ackerman did for so many of us young fans back in the day. After his death in December of 2008, it looked as if this treasured publication would never again see the light of the full moon, but here's to hoping this one sticks for good and the publishers get plenty of subscribers to keep it going strong. Check 'em out here and cross your bloody fingers.

In movie news...

Release date: Jan 08, 2010
Starring: Ethan Hawke, Willem Dafoe, Sam Niell
This film follows a somewhat new premise for vampire films. The vampires are the majority while actual humans fall within the minority. They use the remaining humans for food but find that they are quickly running out of their human stock. Willem Dafoe plays his unintentional creepy guy character as he has done so well in many other films.

Let Me In (Remake)
Release date: Jan 15, 2010 (tentative)
Starring: Kodi Smit-McPhee, Chloe Moretz, Elias Koteas
Cloverfield director Matt Reeves takes on the task of remaking the already awesome Swedish film Let the Right One In. Reeves received criticism before production even began as people felt the original was excellent on its own. It will be interesting to see how the Cloverfield director takes on this masterpiece.

There is currently no posted trailer for this film.

The Book Of Eli
Release date Jan 15, 2010
Starring: Denzel Washington, Gary Oldman, Mila Kunis
Denzel Washington stars in this post apocalyptic film about finding a book that will save the human race. Not sure I buy the whole Washington as a martial artists but I will give it a shot considering Gary Oldman also stars.

Release date Jan 22, 2010
Starring: Paul Bettany, Dennis Quaid, Tyrese Gibson
This take on the end of the world follows god’s plans to exterminate the human race on earth. A group of survivor’s band together to fight the angels who have been sent to carry out the extermination, a nice alternative take on the rapture.

--Steven M. Duarte

Celluloid Horrors Movie Reviews

Review written by Brian M. Sammons

Director: Oren Peli
Cast: Katie Featherston, Micah Sloat

This review is specifically about the DVD release of this money making monster of a film. If you want a review of just the movie, you can find a very nice one done by Steven M. Duarte for this very site here.

Now my thoughts on the film are these: I loved it. I’m a sucker for ghost stories and movies about spirits and demons. While I love my slashers, and some of my best friends are zombies, there’s just something about spirit-based horror that really gets to me. They are the only films that can really chill me to the bone, but even then some steps must be taken to reach maximum creepiness. Take this movie, for example. I first saw in on the big screen in a packed theater and while I liked it, and could appreciate how well it was made, it wasn’t scary in the least. It was a case of too many people spoiling the fright. Fast forward to last night when I popped the new DVD of PARANORMAL ACTIVITY in and watched it alone, at night, in the dark and suddenly the hairs on the back of my neck were standing up at some parts. For me, horror films are always more effective when watched alone in the dark. That’s when my mind starts to play tricks on me and my “what if” musings run rampart. So if you are like me and you love a good ghost story and prefer to scare yourself, by yourself, PARANORMAL ACTIVITY on DVD or Blu-ray sounds like a great idea, but how was that idea executed in the really real world? Let’s find out.

The first thing you notice when you put this disc into your player is that there are no previews, or anti-piracy ads, or even a menu. There is nothing but a blank screen with two choices; play the theatrical cut of the film, or the one with the alternate ending. That’s it. You can’t even access the menu if you want to. That bit of ultra-minimalism really sells the whole “this is more than a movie” feeling the filmmakers seemed to be going for. Now once the movie is over you can access the menu as normal and I must admit, that’s where this DVD starts to disappoint. With the exception of the aforementioned alternate ending there are no special features to be found. No commentary. No behind the scenes. No documentaries. No nothing. While this takes nothing away from the great movie, it is inexcusable in this late date of DVDs and Blu-rays. Starting the movie off with the bare minimum beginning was a great idea, but actually offering only the bare minimum on this disc just feels like Paramount dropped the ball and was just in a rush to throw this disc out “while the iron was hot”. Now I must admit that the one and only special feature to be found, the alternate ending, was a good addition. While it is similar to the ending everyone saw in the theaters, it does change things up slightly and I was happy to see it. But again, I can’t help but feel slightly let down by this barebones disc.

If you are a fan of PARANORMAL ACTIVITY and want to watch it alone, at home, and in the dark like I did, then go ahead and pick this DVD up. If you are a serious movie collector, or a DVDphile that loves all the extras that most DVDs have to offer, then I would have to say skip this one and wait for collectors, or special, or deluxe edition Paramount is sure to come out with later in an attempt to make even more money off this record breaking film.

--Brian M. Sammons

Distraught (2006)
(Sorry, folks, no artwork available for shite little gem)

Cast: Jason Potfield, Tom Lodewyck, Tom Fernandez, John Biensz, and Jack Guasta
Director: Jason Potfield

As I started to watch this low budget really (really!) independent film, I found myself wondering if I'd received the wrong DVD. The credits say there are several folks in the movie, but all I saw were three people in the whole thing. One was a walk on part for someone who played a sheriff for all of 30 seconds. The other two men who make up the cast have the dubious honor of being the only two cast members for the remainder of the 30 minutes.
Another thing that had me wondering what the heck was going on with DISTRAUGHT was the playing time advertised on the DVD cover. It proclaims an hour, but there's only half an hour of film here.
Hmmm...I thought. Something funny going on here, right?
But, hey, you know, I'm a happy go lucky kind of reviewer, and even then I was willing to give these guys a shot at a fair review. After all, the beginning shots made me think of all the low budget super indies, with a punk rock DYI attitude, that I've enjoyed in the past.
Boy, was I wrong.
This film may be the worst reviewing experience I've had in a long time.
Here's the whole of the plot. Mr. Walker is worried about his son. We see his interaction with a sheriff. Then the film cuts to a black and white cemetery shot, and pans up to show us a house.
Cut to a basement. A man is chained to a chair, moaning for release.
A man in a skull mask enters and begins to physically torture him without saying a word. We are shown finger chopping, blade slicing belly, nails through the eyes, the killer laying with the living man's intestines, etc., etc., all the ridiculous torture porn that the fan boys love to watch with drool dripping down their collective chins.
I wanted to find something kind to say about DISTRAUGHT, but not even me, the most understanding, forgiving guy a filmmaker will ever meet, could find one redeeming thing to say about this film.
It's a pathetic mish-mash, with the kind of immature mentality that has given this less than stellar sub genre such a bad name. It has no story, no characters, and makes no sense.
Several times, when the camera goes out of focus, no one bothers to cut and re-shoot the scenes.
And this movie must have the most unsteady steady-cam I've ever seen. It twitches and shakes more than a ten year old A.D.D. kid on Sugar Smacks.
All in all, the experience is as boring and as unoriginal as you can get without actually cutting someone else's movie into your own.
To the director: Yeah, the whole finger-cutting thing was done in HOSTEL and it was done with some attempt at tension and character involvement. The same scene in DISTRAUGHT made me yawn. It's just plain silly looking.
What I found incredible is that Potfield claims to have actually employed no less than four camera people on this utterly useless piece of crap. How the hell he talked so many people into wasting their time to make this is beyond me.
And here's the best part: In the last minute of the film there is a Neanderthalic attempt at justification for the prior half hour of badly shot slice and dice. We are shown a newspaper headline that reads (here's the punch line, folks): "Drunk Driver Kills Young Boy Out On Bail"
So...erm...the boy is out on bail?
Yeah, so you can probably see why this doesn't work, right Mr. Director/Producer/Editor/etc., etc., Potfield?
My guess is that this was supposed to turn the whole mess on a dime and give it some kind of depth and pathos.
Sorry. It just made a laughable piece of crap even more laughable. One can make a great low budget film. I know they're out there; I've seen them. There is no excuse for this kind of crap, even with no budget.
In my opinion, if this shite stays a lost film we should all thank out lucky stars.

--Nickolas Cook

The Howling II: Your Sister is a Werewolf (1985)
Reviewed by Nickolas Cook

Director: Philippe Mora

Cast: Christopher Lee, Annie McEnroe, Reb Brown, Marsha Hunt and Sybil Danning (and a cast of non-English speaking extras that wear very little clothing)

Growing up in the 80s, any horror fan who knew about Joe Dante’s “The Howling”, one of the seminal werewolf movies of all time, and leader of the (wolf)pack of the 80s glut of hirsute films. And being a horror fan, you know sequels can be rather…erm…iffy, at best.
Well, director Philippe Mora went one worse than ‘iffy’ and gave us something so bad it’s good. Which I guess we should be grateful for that much.
But this is the kind of movie that feels almost like a joke at times, what with Chris Lee, the master of Hammer horror, playing an English Van Helsing-ish werewolf hunter, whose sister just happens to be the sultry Sybil Danning, a sexy werewolf bitch. The dialogue is ham fisted and ridiculous, the acting borders on the comical (and, trust me, it wasn’t intended to be).
This picks up with the funeral of the original film’s lead character Karen White, who was bitten and eventually transforms into a werewolf on live TV. Her brother (played by Reb Brown) is in attendance, and a plucky (but very dowdy looking) reporter (played like a walking wooden spoon by Annie McEnroe) and, of course, good old Chris. After a blurry and too-dark attack in the graveyard by a pair of badly made up werewolves the movie moves across the sea to the dark country of Romania, land of ghosts and goblins.
And, believe it or not, this where the film gets really silly.
Chris, and his duo of erstwhile werewolf hunters, attempts to track down Stirba (Sybil Danning) and her blood cult of lycanthropes, to stop them from completing an ancient ritual that will…well, who the fuck knows…that’s really never made all that clear. Or if it was, you truly don’t give a crap by the time Danning bares her two greatest assets.
Yes, it’s true, Sybil Danning wears no clothes in this movie. Big surprise, huh? Well, you sure can’t argue with an actress who knows her thespian strengths, right?
So don’t expect much from THE HOWLING 2 and you’ll likely have a great time. In nothing else, just enjoy the great cheesy new wave music soundtrack by the great Steve Parsons, which is probably the highlight of the movie anyway.

--Nickolas Cook

Kevrock's Classic Video Movie Review: Horror of Dracula (1958)

Foreign Fears: Shutter (2004)

by Steven M. Duarte

This month’s recommended Foreign Fears Feature is a film that had the unfortunate luck of recently being remade into an American shitty, no-suspense, feature. The original was directed by Thailand directors Banjong Pisanthanakun and Parkpoom Wongpoom. The film follows the story of a young man who begins to notice extra unintentional images coming out on his photography. The film is dark and has great moments of suspense buildup. We are treated to the usual pale faced Asian girl with long black hair which is a staple of Asian ghost cinema. The film has a twist ending which you may be able to figure out if you pay close attention to the entire film. In any case you’re always better off watching the original film when it is remade in the states. There are very rare occasions when the remake outshines the original but this is not the case with Shutter.

--Steven M. Duarte

Hi-Def Blood Movie reviews

The Lost Boys (Blu-Ray)
Review written by Steven M Duarte

Vampires crave blu blood with the high definition blu ray release of the 1987 classic vampire flick “Lost Boys.” This reissue of the cult classic film that graced us with the two Corey’s was released in July of 2008. The popularity of this film has grown over the years with many people hoping for a sequel. While we received a lackluster sequel in 2008 fans still hope for original director Joel Schumacher to take the reins yet again to deliver a true sequel to the series. I can go on and on about how fucking awesome the Lost Boys is but this piece is only intended to be a review on the blu ray release so I will subdue my inner fanboy for the time being.
Lost Boys is presented on blu ray with a VC-1 codec and a 1080P transfer. While this is the best the picture has ever looked, the film does show its age. Many dark scenes contain grain that blurs from the clarity of the overall picture. I found the daytime scenes to produce clear and detailed colors. This is a vampire flick so naturally a majority of the scenes are at night. One thing I did find grotesquely disturbing was how extra sweaty the meathead playing the saxophone at the beach party looked. The clarity of the blu ray picture provided too much detail of his saxophone romp. With that being said this is definitely the best the film has looked.
A re-mastered Dolby Digital 5.1 mix is provided for this release. The music played throughout the film such as the cover of “People Are Strange.” and the haunting “Cry Little Sister,” really benefit from the audio upgrade. My only gripe with the audio would be some unwanted hiss that could be heard in the quieter scenes of the film. Otherwise the sound is acceptable and really plunges you into the dark caves of the lost boys.
There are many features carried over from the original DVD release of the film. We are treated to commentary tracks, directorial insights into the film and the vampires and an interactive map that provides vampire history. Sadly none are exclusive to the blu ray version. Many blu ray releases now are including exclusive content so it’s disappointing when a release is not given the special treatment.

Final Verdict
This is the definitive version of the Lost Boys film. I even recommend purchasing this version even if you already own it on DVD. I have a pet peeve of buying the same movie multiple times. The version that I’m buying needs to include enough upgrades for me to shell out the extra dough for something I already own. In this case the Lost Boys blu ray would be a welcome addition to any horror enthusiast’s movie library.

--Steven M Duarte

DISTRICT 9 (2009)
Review written by Brian M. Sammons

Director: Neill Blomkamp
Cast: Sharlto Copley, Jason Cope, Nathalie Boltt.

This year’s surprise smash hit, DISTRICT 9, has just come out on DVD and Blu-ray and a welcome addition to any sci-fi lovers’ library this movie will be. In case you haven’t heard about it before, the film is set in South Africa, deals with the forced separation and imprisonment of an alien minority, and has more symbolism than a Dan Brown novel and more political subtext than a George A. Romero DEAD film. However such undertones are handled well and the special effects, oh man, the special effects are so dazzling that while they are holding your undivided attention you hardly realize that you’re leaning stuff. That is the mark of a great movie.
The story is equal parts familiar and refreshingly innovative. Some years back a huge alien spaceship came to rest over South Africa and promptly broke down. The local government took all the aliens off of the ship and imprisoned them in a shanty town while they studied the alien technology, specifically the weapons. Unfortunately the E.T. ray guns only work for the insect-like aliens. Needless to say that until the human government can learn how to use the otherworldly firearms they intend to keep the visitors on a very short leash. Then comes the day when the humans decide to move the aliens from one ghetto to another further away from the city. Enter Sharlto Copley as a pencil pushing yes man Wikus Van De Merwe, who is placed in charge of the forced relocation. Too bad for Wikus that he gets dosed with alien goop that begins to alter his DNA and soon after the government is just dying to get their hands on the milquetoast company man. What quickly follows is some great sci-fi gun play, some robot battle suit combat, a surprise bit of “buddy movie” action, and some black humor tossed in for good measure.
The Blu-ray release of this movie is what I reviewed and it looks and sounds superb, but that should come as no real shock. What is a nice surprise is the amount of extras packed onto this disc. There are deleted scenes, directors commentary, a filmmaker’s log, a thee-part doc on the making of the movie, more documentaries of acting, special effects, visual effects, and set design, an interactive map of District 9, online trivia, and I could go on, but I’m getting tired just thinking about all of it. Let’s just say that if you have a sweet tooth for bonus extras then this Blu-ray will give you a sugar rush that will last for days. All those extras, the dizzying special effects, and a smart sci-fi flick the likes of which hasn’t been made in years are all great reasons for getting DISTRIC 9.

--Brian M. Sammons

Movies Worth Googling: strange movie reviews by Jenny Orosel

Movies Worth Googling...or Sometimes Not
By Jenny Orosel

I know I'd made mentioned doing a column this month on either cats in horror or the most craptacular sequels ever. I haven't forgotten about them, I swear (both Cat in the Brain and Howling 3: The Marsupials are on a stack in front of me), but within the past month something's come up. Actually, it came in the mail. A DVD that I feel the need to write about.

A year or so back I came across a flick adapted from Flatland, the novel by Edwin Abbot. Flatland: The Movie was an incredible work of computer animation and so well executed that I was shocked to find it was produced solely by one man-Ladd Ehlinger Jr. So when I found out he had a new movie, I was jazzed to check it out. As a slightly left-leaner, I was wary to hear it was a 'conservative horror film', but hey, I've enjoyed other movies where I wasn't part of the target audience (see my review of Deafula from the first TBG issue).

Hive Mind centers around conservative talk show host Doug Trench (played by Greg Trent). For twenty years, he has been hiding from the Hive Mind. Hive Mind used swallowed cell phones in adults and implanted RFID chips in children (think Digital Angel) to zap all humanity into its collective. Those who fought it were either murdered or absorbed against their will. The only one left is Trench. In hopes that he might find anyone else out there that survived, he fires up his old broadcast equipment and gives one last radio broadcast until Hive Mind hones in on his signal and locates him.

The movie is done in real time, and aside from a few moments at the end, the whole film is carried by Trench and his radio broadcast. We learn, through the course of the show, that because of Obama (the last President of the United States), the liberals, and feminists, Hive Mind was created to rid the world of hatred, war, and violence toward women. And we Americans, despite the warnings of "The Great Old Ones like Limbaugh, Hannity, Levin..." let it happen. And because it was more environmentally sound to keep women alive rather than men (women use less resources to stay alive), the men that weren't kept as breeding stock were killed off. There are female humans in the world, but they exist only as eyes, ears and hands of Hive Mind. And they are coming for Trench....

I've watched Hive Mind three times. The first, I was angry. The majority of his show had little to do with the evolution of Hive Mind, but how it was liberals who ruined everything because, well, because they hate individuality. By the time I heard how the women who were upset at female genital mutilation in third world countries were part of the problem because they didn't realize "that was part of the reason we went into Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria", I was lost completely. Yes, I realize that I was not part of the target audience for this flick, but it was hard to swallow being one of its villains.

I was angry, and I knew then this would be the horror movie I talked about here. As someone who is a huge fan on Flatland, I was especially disappointed with Hive Mind. However, if I was going to write about it, I would have to watch it again and pay more attention. So I did.

The second go-around of Hive Mind didn't infuriate me the way it did the first. Knowing exactly what I was getting into, I was able to see the movie through the bitterness. The technical aspects of the film were extremely well done. The camera work was quite good, the performance spot on. And yet, I still couldn't get past the movie's flaws. The opening credits of the film show Trench in photographs with "The Great Old Ones", shaking hands with Limbaugh, talking with Mark Levine, laughing with Ann Coulter. Yet, they were supposed to have been killed off two decades before the film takes place. After twenty years of living underground in a bunker, surviving on a diet of Spam and canned soy milk, you think Trench would look different than he did in the photographs. Nope. He was the same sixty year old then that he was on the day of that last broadcast. Little details like that will break my suspension of disbelief, making it harder to get back into the movie.

There were more plot holes in the 'how' of Hive Mind. I found myself wondering how they could create the kind of technology where either digested electronics or sub dermal ones could effectively shut off individual thought then wirelessly connect billions of brains across the globe. Not only that, but how could that kind of technology be developed in such secrecy that nobody could see it coming until the "switch was flipped". And who flipped the switch? These questions were not only not answered, but never addressed in the first place.

However, that second time I was curious. I know a little about conservative talk radio, enough to know that references to Trench's drug addiction, or falsified Wikipedia facts were references to Rush Limbaugh. However, it felt like there could be more. So for the third watching I enlisted the help of My Favorite Republican (and a talk radio fan) to watch with me and let me know what I was missing.

Oh, how much I did miss those first two go-arounds. Hive Mind was littered with not only references, but direct lifts from talk radio, mostly Limbaugh. Nicknames and catch phrases were stolen. Entire rants and speeches were swiped. That left me wondering why. I would say a good forty five minutes of the 100 minute movie were these stolen bits, none of which had anything to do with the Hive Mind or the general storyline. I can come up with two guesses. One is that the director needed filler to fluff the movie to feature length. The second is he wanted to prove his familiarity with the subject, thus gain credibility with his target audience. But all that extraneous stuff took away from the story development. He could have easily used some of that time to address the unanswered how and why questions, as well as another question that came to mind on that third viewing: suspending any disbelief and accepting that yes, the liberals of the United States got every American to take the cell phone pill and become part of the Hive Mind, how would that lead to the absorption of the entire human race? Billions of people exist outside America. How did Hive Mind reach them? That is something he could have put in instead of a rewording of Limbaugh's yearly "The Real Story of Thanksgiving".

When asked if he enjoyed the flick, MFR said "It was very pretty. Earnest but shallow." I asked him if it worked as a "collectivist horror film," as the case suggests, he thought about it and said, "No." So it didn't work for me, someone outside the target audience, and it didn't work for him, somebody that would seem a prime candidate.

That opens up the question, "Can political horror work?" I say absolutely it can. The most well-known example of this is Invasion of the Body Snatchers. Nobody can argue that both the original and the 1978 remake were politically charged. However, you can find people from any spot on the political spectrum who state the movie works perfectly for their side. The message about conformity, whether for the left or the right, is a powerful one, and one anyone can relate to. That's how Invasion became a classic, yet Hive Mind never will be.

If you're looking for other political horror, I have one to recommend wholeheartedly. Land of the Blind, directed by Robert Edwards and released in 2006, is one of the best flicks, even beyond political flicks, that I have ever seen. We follow the everyman Joe from one political movment to another, revolution to revolution, all the while he's just looking to be a good man and a good father. I'm hesitant to say too much about the plot because I hope you readers will go Netflix it as soon as your queue allows. What makes Land of the Blind work is that you can't pinpoint it and say, "Well, it must obviously be made by somebody who doesn't like Politician A or Position B." A number of political figures are melded into the characters, from the Shah of Iran, to Jean-Paul Marat, to Imelda Marcos. Land of the Blind cannot be pinpointed to a specific time or place, either, with actors from various nations using their own particular accents, to having people in 1920s era clothing working on computers. Those broad strokes allow us, the viewer to either put our own interpretations onto it, or even to step back and accept its warning that, if we remain blind, the one-eyed man will become king.

Hive Mind:
Invasion of the Body Snatchers and Land of the Blind are readily available at any video store, or Netflix.

--Jen Orosel