Sunday, February 21, 2010

Congratulations to Black Glove writer, LISA MORTON!

Everyone here at The Black Glove is real proud to announce that staff writer Lisa Morton has been nominated for TWO! Bram Stoker Awards for the 2009 selections. This is horror literature's most prestigious award, presented annually by The Horror Writers Association.

Her story, "The Lucid Dreaming", published by Bad Moon Books ,was nominated for Superior Achievement in Long Fiction and her awesome anthology, Midnight Walk (edited by Lisa Morton and published Darkhouse Publishing) was nominated for Superior Achievement in Anthology.

We all wish Lisa the best of luck in both categories. Our collective fingers are crossed for you!

And be sure to come back for our next issue release March 4th for complete coverage of this year's Stoker Awards, with a special recap of the books we've covered and the people we've interviewed in 2009 that have been nominated.

Nickolas Cook
The Black Glove Magazine

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Editorial February 2010 e-issue #8

By Nickolas Cook
The Black Glove Magazine

I was lucky enough to grow up in Jacksonville, Florida, a place that was on the cusp of becoming a major Southern industrial city. We had one of the major rock stations in the country- WAPE 'The Ape'. I heard the best of the best music. During the 70s and early 80s, the local television stations opened the market to cable channels. To fill the empty hours, many of those new channels did what local channels in larger cities had been doing for years: they created afternoon and late night movie shows centered around the old horror and sci-fi movies of the 40s, 50s, and 60s.
As a kid I enjoyed such delights as 'Nightmare Nickelodeon' (Fri @ 11 PM), 'Monster Mash Theater' (Sat @ 1 PM) and 'Creature Feature' (Sun @ 3 PM)- as well as the several weekend long drive-in excursions. So needless to say I got a proper horror movie education every weekend.

I remember the first time I saw Universal's 'The Wolfman' (Saturday afternoon on good old Monster Mash Theater, purveyors of some of the best horror movies ever made). I was nine years old at the time and already so deeply in love with those old black and white horror and sci-fi giant bug movies that nothing could tear me away from the tv during the showing of one of them. I remember it was a rainy day, which meant no yelling from mom to go outside and play. I was safe with my first true love that sodden Florida afternoon- the day I became acquainted with hangdog faced Lon Chaney Jr and his particular problems with full moons and Wolf's Bane.
I'm sure if you're reading this, then you're probably already acquainted with screenwriter Curt Siodmak's madeup werewolf folklore, and with poor Larry Talbot's doomed midnight meeting with Bela Lugosi's hirsute gypsy lycanthrope personality.
I won't give the story blow by blow, but suffice it to say it's a tragedy of the first order, made believable in great part because of one of the best acting jobs of Chaney's (sometimes tragic) career.

Man, I got sucked into that movie heart first, and I was in tears by the end credits. Poor old Larry Talbot. Who could remain unsympathetic to a man who tries to stop the bloodshed, but makes it worse with every attempt? No one will believe him. Until it's too late. Much too late.
Now we come round again to yet another remake.
Yes, I know how I kick and scream against them; almost froth at the mouth with rage when I hear of yet another of my childhood favorites getting the subpar Hollywood remake treatment (which usually entails a subintelligent script coupled with a shitload of CGI effects to overcompensate for the fact that no one seems to know how to make a fucking horror movie anymore)
But, dear readers, I have great hope that this remake will remain true to the spirit of that original Universal horror tragedy which I fell in love with so long ago. I pray that it will. It certainly seems to have the right combination of big studio money, big name actors, a great production team and a doom ridden script.
It is my hope that if 'The Wolfman' remake does it right, and manages to make enough money to get morons in Hollywood sit up and take notice that an intelligent script can still earn some decent box office, then maybe they will pull the greats from the vaults and give them a decent remake.
Just don't put Brendan Fraser and his stupid ass lopsided smile in one of them.

--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.

Stabbed in Stanzas Feature Poet: Rain Graves

Rain Graves lives in San Francisco, California where she writes full time. She won the 2002 Bram Stoker Award for her poetry collection, The Gossamer Eye.

KLN: You moved to California to be a rock star. Please describe that experience. How did that journey affect your writing?
RG: I was very young—about 20. I had been playing music since I was tiny; mostly guitar and vocals, when I got seriously passionate about it. I moved here in 1995 to follow my music dream, only I didn’t have a clear idea of what that dream was. It was more a creative one than strictly a musical one. I was living with a pro musician at the time who made records and toured, and got a healthy dose of that lifestyle. I decided it wasn’t what I wanted for my life, and slowly quit the music side of things (though you never really quit). I needed a creative outlet to stay sane, and had often written in the past to flesh out songs or whatever I was working on. I just started writing a lot more to enable that creative outlet to flow…so it impacted my writing a great deal. If I had continued to pursue music, I wouldn’t have developed as a creative writer. I wouldn’t have taken it seriously, I don’t think.
KLN: Were you in a band? If so, did you write the lyrics and did those lyrics find themselves into your body of written work, particularly in your poetry collections, The Gossamer Eye and Barfodder: Poetry Written in Dark Bars and Questionable Cafes?
RG: I was in several bands on the east coast – the last one before I left was called Aislynn; a hair band, basically, with three girls and three guys. I played guitar – trading off lead and rhythm with Pat Cornette, one of the founders (with Anji Cornette). That band has since evolved and believe it or not, is now a successful Christian Rock band called HARVEST BLOOM. I never wrote lyrics for that band, though I did in others. Song lyrics, ironically, didn’t often come quickly to me, though I wrote a lot of poetry during that time. Guitar riffs, however, did. None of the poetry I wrote before age 20 was any good. It was self serving and angsty, without a clear voice – hand-staple-forehead stuff. Nothing anyone would want to read, not even me, when I was done. Ha! The poetry in TGE was written much later, and in a very different way from BARFODDER, which was done along my travels and in bars and cafes all across the cities I visited frequently then.
KLN: You worked with Mark McLaughlin and David Niall Wilson on the collection, The Gossamer Eye. What can you tell the readers about that experience? How did you all meet? Why did you decide to work on the project? Are you planning future projects together? Are you planning a project with just Mark McLaughlin or just David Niall Wilson?
RG: Collaborating is a good experience, though not everyone can do it. You write a bit, send it to your collaborator. They edit and write a bit more, then send it back to you. And so on. You really have to be in tune with your writing partner to make that voice seamless, not chopped up. When you are done, it’s very rewarding, since so much of what we do as writers is a solitary thing. It feels good to create with others.
David N. Wilson and I met what seems a lifetime ago, in a message board or chat room—can’t recall which—about vampires and vampire characters. We argued vehemently about something—not sure what it was—and a few days later Dave sent me an email to smooth things over, introducing himself as a writer (he wrote some STAR TREK VOYAGER stuff back then—the book not the TV show), and had heard I wrote too. We exchanged some of our stories, and became friends. He really pushed me to send stuff out to publishers at the time…something I hadn’t considered doing at all. I did it for me; not to get paid.
When he finally won me over to the idea, the first thing I sent out I sold to a pro publisher, won an award (2nd place), and got published. I figured…Hey! He was right! There might be something to this after all. If I can make money doing what I love, that is.
Later I met Mark at a convention somewhere. I don’t remember if it was World Horror or World Fantasy. He had read some of my fiction and poetry somewhere along the line, and invited me to be the Feature Poet in The Urbanite #11 – a great magazine that’s unfortunately no longer being produced. David and I had, at that time, already collaborated on a few short stories together—most of which were published.
David, Mark and I were all at the same convention one year, having a chat with Stephen Pagel, who owned Meisha Merlin Publishing. We were discussing doing a book of poetry as single authors separately when Stephe said he’d publish it if we collaborated and did one book together. Thus…TGE was born. At the time, no one was doing that kind of thing—publishing a book entirely of poetry, or even mostly poetry. We got lucky. Meisha Merlin broke the code of “we don’t publish entire books of poetry,” in the small press industry.
KLN: Your biography in Barfodder mentions you were adopted. Why did you feel compelled to offer that information?
RG: I did two different biographies in BARFODDER because I thought one would be funny and one would be what people really wanted to know. In the funny one, I also said I was a serial killer…though that’s not true. Ha. Though it is true that I’m adopted. My mother’s second husband adopted me from my biological father—but I consider my biological father as “Dad.” I thought it was a funny thing to include, since so many people like to profile writers as the person who their fiction or poetry is about. Poetry is so much more personal – there is a pound of truth in the ounce of sarcasm instead of the other way around. But the reader is intended to internalize all that muck and find a way to identify with it, from within themselves. Poetry is supposed to make you feel.
KLN: What type of dance is the Argentine tango, or is it a dance at all? How did you find out about it and what made you want to teach it?
RG: Argentine tango is most definitely a dance. Many call it a way of life. It’s not Ballroom, and it’s not the rose between Morticia’s teeth. It’s the oldest type of tango; the original, and often called a “war between legs.” It’s a full contact sport. I fell into tango as a happy accident. A former flame and I took the beginning classes together. We broke up. He swore never to dance tango again, and I kept right on doing it…it was sort of like therapy. You could turn your brain off and just…dance. Pretty soon I was obsessed with it; dancing 4-5 times a week; taking lessons like a fiend.
Later, I was entered into an amateur competition put on by the American Tango Association and the Argentine Government, with my first partner. We won in the end—“Best American Couple,” and an all expenses paid VIP trip to Buenos Aires on De LaRua’s dime right before his regime fell, plus radio spots and classes with Maestros. My partner didn’t go due to some legal issues getting out of the states. I don’t think his passport was valid or something.
I went…and that launched my pro career as a dancer. After that, I wound up working with and dancing with some of the best dancers in the world. Teaching at that point, came naturally. I had a recognizable style, and legend as a partner. We performed all over.
It was in 2006 that all that came to an end. I was in a bad car accident, and though the impact damage to my knees and ankles was manageable, I hadn’t been treated for the terrible concussion I had. It changed my life. I soon found out I had a very nasty, chronic vertigo. I tried and tried to dance, but when the vertigo would hit, I’d go down like a ton of bricks. No balance; no dancing. It was a hard realization to make… Since then, it’s calmed down quite a bit. I don’t get it every day or even every week anymore…but I still get it enough that it impacts what I do and choices I make for physical activity. Even more sad, my former partner, Omar Vega, passed away from a heart attack in Buenos Aires two years ago.
You can always say in the moment that you’ll never be “here” again – and I’m so glad each and every time I danced, I danced like it was my last.
KLN: Why do you write poetry instead of the popular longer fiction? Do you plan to write a novel someday?
RG: I actually got my start in fiction – not poetry. I sold a ton of short stories (most of which are no longer in print). Poetry was a happy accident—no one ever thinks poetry will sell, but for me, it did. So I kept on writing the poetry. Still do. It’s ironic to me that it’s what I’m known for more, since the fiction is what got me started getting the poetry sold. I have started and stopped writing novels for many years. I have a complete one that no one will ever see—it’s past the shelf life, and couldn’t imagine it in print. I just started working on a new one now—it’s just prioritizing what will make you money first, when you write for a living, versus what you really want to be doing at that moment. When I had a full-time day job it was different. I could pick and choose. In a way you could say I still do. If I don’t have a passion for a project, I’m not going to finish it before I finish something else.
KLN: You were the editor-in-chief of Do you have other editing projects planned? What did you look for in submissions?
RG: I have been tossing around the idea of editing a book for the Haunted Mansion Writer’s Retreat I’m hosting ( this September. I haven’t aggressively sought out a publisher yet for it, simply because I don’t have all the main attendees confirmed. I’ve opened it up to other writers, though it’s not posted yet on the website. The idea is to be holed up in a paranormal location for four days with other writers, and just…write about your experiences, or write whatever inspires you there. I think some amazing work will come out of it all. I’ve talked unofficially to a couple of publishers about doing the book, but so far the pro rate of pay has reluctantly scared them off. It’s not unreasonable, but certainly harder for small press houses that are used to paying writers what they made in the 1930’s, come around to the year 2010.
As for what I look for in a submission…the writing has to be good. It has to make me feel something. When I read poetry submissions, there is nothing I hate more than seeing a poet force rhyme into their work when it doesn’t belong there, and isn’t good. I love it when poets write in form—really get their heads around a Villainelle or type of Sonnet. But if they get the syllables or rhyme/meter scheme wrong—it just doesn’t work. So why force it? Free verse is often just as beautiful and get’s your point across in the way you know how. That’s it in a nutshell. What people often forget is how much bad poetry is floating around in the world. For every honestly good submission, I’d get 100 more that weren’t. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to submit your poetry somewhere. It just means you should only submit your absolute best.
KLN: Thank you for agreeing to this interview. I appreciate your time. Is there anything additional you’d like to share with our readers?
RG: I thank each and every one of you for buying and/or reading my work. I appreciate the time you take out of your lives to read it, and hope you never stop.

Check in with Rain here

(The Black Glove thanks Rain Graves for her time and efforts)

--Karen L. Newman

Stabbed in Stanzas Book Review: Barfodder: Poetry Written in Dark Bars and Questionable Cafes by Rain Graves

Reviewed by Karen L. Newman

Rain Graves explores the bar scene in her latest poetry collection, Barfodder: Poetry Written in Dark Bars and Questionable Cafes. There are no strobe lights, no fresh-faced college kids looking to hook up. No, in Barfodder, the patrons drink in dark, dirty places that reflect their own lives.
The collection seems as a whole to be a throwback to earlier times. Some poems, such as “1900”, “Buenos Aires: 1932”, and “A Victorian Love Story” spell that outright. Even those set in modern times, the people seem to be cutouts that don’t fit in with today’s society, a brilliant metaphor for outcasts. However, Graves does not always keep the theme of bars and cafes. Some poems are speculative, such as the series of three poems of “The Angel of Wrong Things”. No bar or café is mentioned, and if inferred, not readily observed by an average reader. Death and despair are common threads that run throughout the book. The evils of drink and the evil that can cause one to drink can be inferred, perhaps, but need to be more obvious for the title to be effective. The book itself is longer than need be, with all the blank pages and subsequent page turning that made reading the poems similar to trudging through mud.
Graves has her own writing style that stands out from other poets. Her work is fresh and original by her placement and choice of words. An example would be an excerpt from the poem “Serial Walk on a Moonlit Beach”: pillows of sweet bitterness / mingle with clove oil / some kind of sugar poppy, / or pollen-ragweed heavy, / heady and head-aching / for a non-empty cranium / I filled it full of sand / when the thoughts were removed. Each line seems to be its own kernel of thought. Alliteration and consonance are afterthoughts to the words themselves. Graves’ use of imagery is stunning.
Barfodder will leave an impression long after the book is finished. Graves is a wonderful writer that can capture humanity’s despair beautifully in verse, like a fly caught in amber.

--Karen L. Newman

13 Questions with MyMiserys: Ray Garton

interview conducted by MyMiserys (Kim Cook)

1. How old were you when you wrote what you consider your first story?

That depends. I started "writing" stories before I could write. I drew them in panels, sort of like comic books, or in series of pictures. Once I started learning to write, I just switched to words. Come to think of it, either way, I really have no idea how old I was when I wrote my first story, or what my first story was about. I've been doing it forever, so it's impossible to tell. It's sort of like asking when was the first time I used a toilet. And there are quite a few people, I'm sure, who would be quick draw similarities between those two questions.

2. What inspired you to write it?

There was never any inspiration. It was always part of me. It was just something I did, like eating or breathing.

3. What was the first book you wrote?

I wrote my first novel in the sixth grade. It was about 350 pages long (about 87,500 words), typed, double-spaced, with one-inch margins. It had a beginning, middle and end, with characters who developed as the story went along. And it was awful. Abslolute dreck. It was about the interwoven relationships of some kids in junior high, and it was called COUPLES. I found out that some years prior to that, John Updike had written a novel called COUPLES. Apparently, he wasn't too concerned about it because he didn't sue.

4. Of all the books you've written, which is your favorite?

My personal favorite is SEX AND VIOLENCE IN HOLLYWOOD. It's not a horror novel, it's a dark comedy-thriller. It was the best writing experience I've ever had. The book flowed so smoothly, steadily and quickly. It was great fun. And I was very pleased with the finished product.

5. Which book would you like to forget you wrote?

IN A DARK PLACE: THE STORY OF A TRUE HAUNTING, about a family who'd allegedly lived in a demon-infested funeral home. The same story was made into the TV re-enactmend and later the movie, THE HAUNTING IN CONNECTICUT (although it was not based on my book). The book was sold as non-fiction, although it wasn't. After signing the contract, I was told to make up much of it. The whole thing was a rank fraud. I wish I'd never ever gotten into that mess.

6. Who is the most influential person in your life?

My wife Dawn.

7. Who is your favorite author?

I've never been able to answer that question. And I've tried. I'm not avoiding it to be diplomatic, either. I honestly can't narrow it down to one favorite. I love the work of so very many writers.

8. If you could only own one book, what would it be?

Wow. It would have to be some kind of instructional manual on how not to go insane when you have only one book, because if I could have only one book, that's what I'd do.

9. When and where do you write?

I write in my home office, a room overloaded with books, toys, movie memorabilia and posters, and equipped with a TV, DVD player, VCR and stereo (I usually have music or a movie running while I work). "When" is a little less concrete. I used to work all night, but for the last year and a half, I've been trying change that because it's hard to have a life when you stay up all night working. Right now, I do most of my writing during the morning and afternoon hours and some at night before bed, but I'm still in a kind of transitional period.

10. Do you have a "day job?"

Now that I'm writing during the day, yes. I've been writing full time since 1983.

11. Do you have a "dream job?"

One of the following two: A professional movie critic, or the host of an all-night radio show that would be a blend of music and talk, with flexible topics, lots of laughs, and really cool callers.

12. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?

Anywhere but here. I currently live in the rectum of the California. I'm serious. If California needed a colonoscopy, they would insert the scope here in Shasta County.

13. What is your guilty pleasure?

You're assuming I have only one. My big guilty pleasure right now (that I can share with you, anyway) is conspiracy theories. I love following them on the internet. The Illuminati, reptilian aliens from the planet Draco posing as human beings who secretly run the world, Masons, Bohemian Grove, the evil secrets behind the Denver Airport, the Illuminati secrets revealed in EYES WIDE SHUT for which Stanley Kubrik was murdered in his sleep, mind controlling cell phone towers, the Nazi base that's been on the moon since 1944, Satanic Ritual Abuse, Satanists running the military, the fact that the makers of THE MATRIX had advance knowledge of 9/11, and don't get me started on all the theories about 9/11. I could go on and on. I should point out that I do not subscribe to these theories, but I find them wildly entertaining.

(The Black Glove wishes to thank Ray Garton for his time and efforts)

--Kim Cook

TIME CAPSULES classic book reviews by Bill Lindblad

by Bill Lindblad

THE BEST OF C.M. KORNBLUTH ed. By Frederik Pohl

This is a collection of nineteen stories, released in 1976 by Ballantine books. The stories were written in the 1940s and early 1950s and published in various science fiction magazines. The cover of the paperback edition reflects those origins, selecting a scene from one of his tales which displays a large array of shining metallic rockets in the background.

The hardback, however, uses a different image. On that cover, a young boy stands in the foreground, face and arms colored as if in a photo negative. Bat wings sprout from his back. The top of his skull is missing, instead housing a brain five times the size of the remainder of his head; at the center of the brain is a large lidless eye, and out of the top of the head spring tentacles like those of a squid.

Both pictures are accurate. The hardback image is an interpretation of the protagonist from “The Words of Guru”… although it could also be argued to be the main character of The Mindworm. The paperback edition is from The Marching Morons; what a casual viewer would not guess is that the beautiful rockets are not there to explore the universe or save mankind from an invading fleet, but instead have a dire function.

Kornbluth wrote science fiction, true. But he wrote some of the darkest, most disturbing stories to come out of the pulp era. They contrasted well with the hopeful expectations which suffused most of the sf stories of the time, and they typically displayed a playful wit. They are nothing short of wonderful, and the short time span of his writing (he wrote extensively after his return from WWII, but his heart injury kept him from seeing his thirty-fifth birthday) makes me wonder how much was lost by his passing. He was that good; by the time the book was over, I was left thinking about not only the stories but the man himself.

The collection was edited by Frederik Pohl, himself an accomplished and critically lauded author. Pohl was one of Kornbluth’s closest friends, his primary collaborator, and was one of the editors to whom Kornbluth submitted stories in the 1940s. This allows for interesting forewords to each of the stories, providing another dimension to the collection and raising it above other compilations of Kornbluth’s work.

If you aren’t familiar with this author, you should hunt down some of his work. Thankfully, he has had multiple critical revivals, the last coming after the release of the movie “Idiocracy” (obviously inspired by, but far lighter in tone than, The Marching Morons) and books of his aren’t particularly expensive. That said, if you can locate a copy of his “Best Of”, I strongly recommend you start there.

Five stars out of five.

SATAN’S MISTRESS by Brian McNaughton

Anyone here remember Brian McNaughton?



The man won a World Fantasy Award for The Throne of Bones, beating out both Ray Bradbury and Peter S. Beagle, among others. I’ve read that book. It deserved its win. The man could conjure with words, and while most of the stories seemed to owe their existence to Clark Ashton Smith that is not to say they were inferior; rather, it was as if someone had managed to locate an attic trunk full of Smith’s stories, the ones he had composed while communing through time and space with a guy named John Skipp.

The man deserves to be remembered.

This book, however….

To say Satan’s Mistress, released in paperback in 1980, isn’t McNaughton’s strongest work is an understatement. What it was, however, was ambitious. I know it was edited by the publisher, and there is a re-issue by Wildside Press under the original title Downward to Darkness. I’m tempted to pick it up to see if some of the failings of the novel were due to heavy editing, but I’m kept at bay because I’ve already read the story once, and some of the failings were undoubtedly those of the writer.

First, the basics: Ignore the title. Satan enters into the story merely in the form of being worshipped by a group of Satanists who live up the road. They barely enter into the tale, not even being used as a red herring for suspense. There is no Mistress involved, either, although the opening chapter sets a perfect stage for one. So, for those keeping track, in Satan’s Mistress there is no Satan and no Mistress.

What there is is an attempt to blend the popular Suburban Horror story of the 1970s with H.P. Lovecraft. If this were being pitched as a film, it would be The Case of Charles Dexter Ward meets Rosemary’s Baby.

Like I said, ambitious. If McNaughton had attempted to write the same book a decade later, he would likely have produced something magnificent. Instead, the need to work to a rough page count (it’s rare to see a horror novel which was overly streamlined, but this book needed 300 pages of average type, not the 250 large-type pages it received) caused many of the flaws. It’s ultimately a character-driven piece, but the relationships of those characters are often left to the reader’s imagination. There is simply not enough interaction of key players to make the story sing, or to grant the ending any sort of punch.

It’s not a great book. It’s a good book, which could have been above average (and, giving the Wildside Press edition its due, may yet be above average in its original format) but which instead is fitful and uneven.

That said, don’t forget about this guy. He produced some wonderful material.

Three stars out of five.

THE VOYEUR by Alain Robbe-Grillet

This is the second most annoying excellent book I’ve ever read. The first was Robert Anton Wilson and Robert Shea’s Illuminatus! Trilogy, a book which gave me physical headaches trying to keep track of all of the multitudinous characters and activities. It was great fun, however, learning who killed Kennedy… and who really killed Kennedy… and who really, really, really killed Kennedy… and that Jesus taught the disciples to play Bingo….

This book isn’t nearly so much fun. But it is beautifully crafted, and is a great example of methodical book construction. I can’t really say “story” construction, because most of the story is left to the reader. The novel presents the experiences of a watch salesman on a small island, providing the reader only with the view of the main character. It does not clearly differentiate between his time being attentive toward his surroundings or his frequent vivid daydreams.

Because the daydreams are presented with the same weight as his other perceptions, they are afforded the equal weight of his current experiences and his memories. It is impossible to determine with certainty what he has or has not done, only that we, as the readers, are along for the ride through the mind of a disturbed individual.

Everything about the novel is inconclusive, but not in the standard, “dreamlike” method used by most narratives to indicate dubious results. This effect is exacerbated by the intent of the writer, which was that the work should be read without any interpretations of symbolism. What is presented to the reader is what is; that is the launching point, and the end, of the story.

This is not a book for casual reading. The first thirty pages, for example, are used to set the stage for the format of the book in the way that introductory passages typically set the stage for the story. As a result, during the first seventh of the book the character barely moves, instead merely observing things…. Sometimes the same thing which was observed a few paragraphs before.

It is a strong novel, and a disquieting one. Recommended for those seeking a different horror/thriller experience.

Five stars out of five.

--Bill Lindblad

Movie vs. Book: The Manitou

Sometimes after a rough day, you need some candy. I’m not talking fancy Godiva chocolates. I’m talking a little package of those fake chocolate Sixlets balls from the bottom shelf of the 7-11. They aren’t the best—far from it—but they’re just little packages of junky goodness. The Manitou is like that.
There is precious little in the way of quality frights in The Manitou. Think of the basic plot—human adult is born from a woman’s back and proceeds to wreak havoc on the hospital and its surroundings. Throw in Tony Curtis (who, as it continued toward the end, was reminding me of Eddie Izzard) camping it up, and boogieing down to some funk music, and not nearly enough Burgess Meredith doing some of his trademark off-the-cuff bits, and I can’t say these filmmakers didn’t try for at least some, if not all, of the humor. The bit players (especially the clients of Curtis’ psychic tarot reader) were a kick to watch. The music was so blatantly ripped off from other popular movies that you can’t help but giggle. I haven’t read the book yet, so I’m not sure how much of the tongue-in-cheek is there from the beginning, but the director of this sure seemed to have fun.

A lot seems to have been said about the quality of special effects. I agree, they were bad even by late 70s standards. The lasers that seemed hand-drawn onto the film, the “legless” mutant medicine man who can clearly be seen kneeling down, with the feet sticking out behind him, the lava-lamp psychadelica of the cosmos floating around the hospital room as the Great Old One (yes, sure enough, I get yet ANOTHER movie referring to the Great Old One), and I can’t help but wonder just what kind of drugs were floating around in the 70s. That said, it’s hard for me to not admit its place in effects design. The last battle sequence had moments taken directly from Donald Cammell’s Performance from eight years previous, and while watching it, I do think the “birth” scene had to have partially inspired Lars von Trier while making Riget (Kingdom), where Udo Kier is born full-formed from an unsuspecting Danish woman.
There’s really not a whole lot to say about The Manitou. Yes, it is far from being great timeless cinema. But I challenge you to watch it and not have fun. Just don’t take any of it too seriously.


The Manitou was Graham Masterton’s first horror novel. With it, Masterton began a number of trends which continue in his work. I’m going to look at those.

1. Series horror. Not only does Misquamacus, the antagonist of the novel, reappear in multiple sequels but the hero Harry Erskine does him one better, reappearing in the Manitou series novels and the stand-alone novel The Djinn.

2. Humor. Masterton has a deft touch with the light humor, never making it an excessive part of the story but unafraid to let his characters recognize the lunacy in which they find themselves involved. With his choice of a charlatan spiritualist as protagonist, Masterton provided an opportunity for humor. Happily, he handles it well.

3. Reasonable absurdity. If Masterton has one area where he excels, one aspect of the horror field in which he can declare himself champion, it is this. In later novels, the monsters have been everything from haunted chairs to Nazi fire spirits trying to reach immortality through opera. The man somehow makes it work. I believe it can be traced back to this novel, where much of the book involves the fetus of an ancient medicine man growing out of a woman’s neck.

4. Unusual antagonists. While they can often be absurd (see 3., above) they are always unusual. A deserted WWII tank inhabited by actual demons. Creatures trying to invade humanity’s dreams. Even in this one, Masterton throws a curve ball. He shifts gears from native American theology to Lovecraftean mythos work; and while he plays fair with it by introducing the novel with a Lovecraftean quote referencing Misquamacus, it’s still surprising when it happens.

And overall, Masterton has a reliable quality of producing enjoyable, engaging, entertaining books. The man is one of the contemporary masters, and his first book successfully hit on most of the right notes. Its weakness lies in the ending (which was still head and shoulders above the movie version) and in the relatively haphazard construction of some of the language, which is good enough not to throw a reader out of the story but fails to drag a reader in as well as his later books.

Four stars out of five.


Fresh Blood: New Releases In the World of Horror

The Wolfman
Release date: Feb 12, 2010
Starring: Benicio Del Toro, Anthony Hopkins, Emily Blunt, Hugo Weaving, Art Malik
The Wolfman remake needs no introduction as it is one of the most highly anticipated films of the last couple of years. Horror aficionados hold the original Wolfman (1941) in such high regard that this film has very high standards to meet. The film has to appeal to both mainstream and genre fans. Wolfman has an all star cast with Benicio Del Toro taking on the role of Sir John Talbot. The film has a much needed R rating which has been absent from many recent horror films of the past couple of years. Hopefully this is a trend that Hollywood will follow as we horror fans are tired of keeping it safe by making so called horror films PG-13. The fans demand it and hopefully The Wolfman does well so that Hollywood can wake up and make more R rated titles. I personally can’t wait to see what type of gore The Wolfman contains. Some areas that I am truly concerned with is the CG work that the film contains. Early reports from the development of the film stated CG use was heavily used. The film was even delayed by a couple of months in order to complete the visual effects. Naturally the transformation from human to Wolfman is done via CG but the actual Wolfman character is special make-up effects done by effects guru Rick Baker. My last concerns regarding this film include the trade reports of the film being re edited along with many re shoots taking place after initial shooting ended. While reshoots are common, re editing the entire movie is not a good sign. I cross my fingers while I howl at the moon awaiting the February 12 release date.

Release date: Feb 05, 2010
Starring: Kevin Zegers, Shawn Ashmore, Emma Bell
This film follows a couple of twenty somethings who decide they are going to dupe a chairlift skiing operator. They end up finding this may not have been the best idea when they are left on the ski lift hundreds of feet above the snow level after closing time. This film may be the one that keeps people from using sky lifts for a while.

Shutter Island
Release date Feb 19, 2010
Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Mark Ruffalo, Ben Kingsley, Michelle Williams, Max von Sydow
When Martin Scorsese’s name is on a film, people’s attention is immediately taken considering the directors track record. While not known for directing horror themed films, Shutter Island takes thriller/horror elements and throws in Leo DiCaprio for good measure. The film takes place in an asylum which, as Session 9 showed us, can be pretty fucking creepy.

The Crazies
Release date Feb 26, 2010
Starring: Timothy Olyphant, Radha Mitchell, Danielle Panabaker, Joe Anderson
We live in an age of remakes and George Romero is familiar with having his films remade. His Dead series has received the remake treatment and now one of his older films The Crazies is taking the remake dip. The film actually looks decent for a remake. It is rated R which instantly grabs my attention. This may actually be one of those rare decent remakes that we really don’t see too often.

--Steven M. Duarte

An interview with Uwe Boll

interview conducted by Brian M. Sammons

Brian Sammons: You have made many video games into movies, why video games? What about them appeals to you?
Uwe Boll: I got HOUSE OF THE DEAD by accident and it was a hit. So I kept going with it.

BS: Are you yourself a gamer? If so, what are some of your favorite games? If not, whom do you know suggests game titles to you?
UB: I play games ..but not a lot. I like GOLF ..but also HITMAN, WARCRAFT, CALL OF DUTY

BS: Alone in the Dark 2; does this sequel follow the games in any way or have you decided to have its story veer off in its own, new direction? What can you tell us about the story of this one?
UB: The part 5 of the game is based in NY in the Central Park...and this is where our story is based on...

BS: You directed the first Alone in the Dark but not this new sequel, why did you choose to do that? Is it hard to give control of a sequel to a movie that you made to someone else?
UB: We had to do the sequel almost parallel to BLOODRAYNE 2 and so I gave my friends RÖSCH/SCHEERER a shot ... And I produced it so I was always there as a ghost....

BS: What about the sequel’s two new directors, Michael Roesch & Peter Scheerer, did you like enough to trust them to head up this movie? What is it like working and dealing with two directors as opposed to one?
UB: I liked both as writers before (ALONE IN THE DARK and FAR CRY) and I liked their movie BROTHERHOOD OF BLOOD ...where they really got a lot out of a small budget. And they are both friends of mine I can trust.

BS: What actors have you really enjoyed working with in the past and would like to work with again in the future? Are there any actors whom you have yet to work with but would really like to?
UB: I never had huge problems with any actors I worked with. I loved working with SLATER, LOKEN, STATHAM, PERLMAN, PARE ...

BS: Can you tell us about any of your upcoming movie projects? What’s next for Uwe Boll?
UB: I was very productive and soon my FINAL STORM and RAMPAGE will come out on DVD in USA and my DARFUR will get a theatrical release. Also STOIC will get out by VIVENDI ....a lot of people think it’s my best movie.

BS: Of the many movies you’ve made, which are your favorites and why?
UB: was fun do it and it’s still fun to watch it....and RAMPAGE, STOIC, DARFUR are my best movies I made ...

BS: What would be your dream project? Why?
UB: WARCRAFT...but Sam Raimi is doing it.... It would be massive and violent and I love movies like my IN THE NAME OF THE KING

BS: Can you give us a simplified step-by-step of the screenplay to screen process?
UB: 1 year - screenplay, 4 month preproduction (finding locations, crew, cast etc.), 6 weeks shooting, 6 month post-production (cutting, music etc.), 6 month press, festival till release

BS: In your opinion, where along the process does the film stand the most chance of losing its way and its connection with its hoped for audience?
UB: prep, shoot and editing are all important ...where you can completely lose the quality of a movie. I LOVE shooting .....I know that a lot of directors love editing ---I don’t

BS: You often seem to be the press’ favorite whipping boy, how do you deal with the negative criticism?
UB: I knock them out.

BS: What keeps you moving forward and making films?
UB: I always wanted to make only death will stop me

(The Black Glove wants to thank Uwe Boll for his time and efforts)
--Brian M. Sammons

Celluloid Horrors Movie Reviews

Jennifer’s Body (2009)
Review written by Steven M Duarte

Academy award winning screenwriter? Check
Really hot actress? Check
A really horrible film that never reaches it’s potential and ultimately bores the shit out of you? Check.
This film had all the makings of a decent horror film but ended up being a waste of time. Academy Award winner Diablo Cody wrote Jennifer’s Body after finishing work on Juno. The film really could have been much better than it turned out to be.
The film follows high school teenager Jennifer who is very popular in high school and with the opposite sex. She has a best friend named Needy who is nowhere near as popular as she is. The two attend a concert to see an Emo band at a local bar. A fire occurs during their set and everyone runs for their lives. Jennifer ends up leaving with the band in their Scooby Doo Mystery Machine van while her friend Needy pleads with her to not go. To make a long story short the band does a satanic ritual with Jennifer in order to gain national fame. Jennifer ends up turning into a human/demon hybrid that feeds on boys to maintain her beauty.
I keep stating how much better this film could have been because it really did have potential. One huge issue I had was the band that was involved in doing the satanic ritual. I mean there are many black metal bands out there that are actually Satanist and who are actually creepy in real life. I don’t agree in making the band some Emo Pussies who probable have never even seen the Exorcist. Throw in some black metal type band such as old school Venom or Gorgoroth and you will have a believable story line.
Another issue I had with the film was the moronic dialogue that plagued the entire film. Yes I get it, they’re in high school and their stupid teenagers, but I just couldn’t deal with their banter between each other. 1980’s horror films had cheese and dumb banter that made the film work and actually added to the overall charm of the film. This films dialogue just dumbs it down and makes you want to hit mute while you watch Megan Fox bounce her titties around the screen.
Megan Fox shows yet again that she cannot act for shit. I’m really not complaining since she is so easy on the eyes, but hope that she actually tries to act in future movies.

Final Thoughts:
The film was really a waste of time as I found myself constantly looking at the time. The film was a visual treat for male viewers but that does get old after the first hour into the film. Jennifer’s body added nothing to the horror genre and was not a fun film.

--Steven M Duarte

Review written by Brian M. Sammons

Director: Mark Rosman
Cast: Kathryn McNeil, Eileen Davidson, Janis Ward

Hey boys and girls, remember that completely awful remake that came out last year of a 80s classic slasher movie? Oh I know, you’re asking which one I mean because there are so damn many of them. I’m talking about the totally insipid Sorority Row, the “reimagining” of the 1983 classic, House on Sorority Row. Yeah, that new movie stunk on ice, didn’t it? But it did produce one good thing, it gave DVD production house Liberation Entertainment a reason to bring the original back out on DVD in a 25th Anniversary Edition. So let us all try really hard to forget the disappointing remake and dive back into the fetid pool of the first Sorority.
If you have never seen HoSR then you are in for a treat. It’s got all the staples of 80s slasher goodness covered. Pretty college girls? Check. A mean old lady with a secret? Check again. A harmless prank gone too far resulting in the accidental death of the mean old lady by the pretty college girls who then freak out and sink the body into a nasty, unused swimming pool so they can continue to have their wild party at the sorority house while the token good girl feels guilty and starts to notice that her friends are disappearing only to later have them turn up as bloody bodies? Well of course it’s got that. Oh, and it also has decent amounts of blood, some nudity, and a walking stick that becomes an unusually effective murder weapon. If that wasn;t enough, House on Sorority Row also has an interesting little mystery to solve, it is well acted and shot, and in all way, shape, and form is the embodiment of the phrase I love so say, “a classic 80s slasher.” I love these kinds of movies, and if you do too then you’ll love this movie. It is surprisingly low on cheese factor but still entertaining as all hell. Better still, the movie has never looked or sounded better.
Liberation has put out a disc mastered from a recently discovered pristine 35mm print so the film looks great. And with both a new 5.1 and the original stereo soundtracks, not to mention audio tracks in French and a commentary track with director Mark Rosman and stars Eileen Davidson and Kathryn McNeil, this House has never sounded better either. Additional DVD extras are few, but that’s to be expected from a movie this old. However there are trailers, a photo gallery, storyboard comparisons, and a really neat discussion, with photographs, of the director’s original ending that in my opinion would have been much better than the happier one the Hollywood suits forced him to use.
If you’re a slasher fan then House on Sorority Row needs to be in your collection. You could, and probably should, skip the remake, no point confusing that garbage with this movie’s greatness. I love this film to death and I’m positive you will too. Get it today.

--Reviewed by Brian M. Sammons

HALLOWEEN 2 (2009)
Review written by Brian M. Sammons

Director: Rob Zombie
Cast: Sheri Moon Zombie, Scout Taylor-Compton, Brad Dourif, Malcolm McDowell, Tyler Mane.

Confession time: I really like Rob Zombie. I liked Mr. Zombie when he was heading up the metal group White Zombie. I liked most of his solo albums. While I have never met him in the flesh, in every interview I’ve ever seen or read with him he seems like a cool, remarkably intelligent and down to earth person. And yet I usually hate the movies he makes. The one exception to that is his The Devil’s Rejects, which is easily his best and a great film. That said, my general disgust for his feature films includes his 2007 remake of Halloween which I thought could not have missed the mark on what made Michael Myers such a great and memorable boogeyman more if it had tried to. I will not go into all that again and will try to review this sequel based on its own merits and flaws. I said I will try, but I promise nothing. So grab your plastic pumpkin candy pails, put on your William Shatner masks, and let’s go trick or treating with Rob Zombie’s second attempt to reinvent a classic movie monster.
The movie begins as a homage to the original sequel, that is its set in an oddly deserted hospital on the same Halloween night as the first movie. Poor Laurie Strode is recovering from multiple traumas but before you know it, Big Mike is stalking around the halls and slicing up the nurses. There’s some bloody, brutal kills, a good chase scene, and a bit of a shocker moment, but it’s all for naught because surprise, surprise this is all a dream. Psyche! Flash forward to two years after the deadly All Hallows Eve and Laurie is a mess. She’s scarred, both physically and mentally, and having a hard time coping with big brother Mikey’s attack and the fact that despite getting a .357 lobotomy his body disappeared and hasn’t been seen since the night she herself introduced his brain to a bullet. Well there is good reason for her dread, not only is Michael alive and well and coming back this Halloween to finish what he started, but both he and her are having the same weird dreams of their dead mom riding a white horse and trying to be as creepy and cryptic as possible. Herein lays my biggest gripe with this film.
In the first movie I hated that Rob Zombie took away all the mystery and the truly evil aspect of Michael Myers by making him a the byproduct of a white trash family instead of an unknowable monster that one day switched from little boy to unrelenting killing machine. It seems that with this sequel Mr. Zombie wasn’t done destroying the iconic character and now Michael has mommy issues. You see Mike’s driven to kill by the ghostly visions of his dead mother telling him such chestnuts as, “Only a river of blood will bring us together.” To pile unbelievability on top of corniness, Laurie is having the same wacky dreams. Gee, can anyone not see the “shocking ending” of this movie coming from a mile away after seeing that? This new take on the characters is so silly, and yet is made such a key plot point, that the only reason I can think of for it existing is because Rob wanted to have his wife, who’s always in all of his films, back in the sequel despite her character dying in the first movie. Now while I think Sheri Moon Zombie is very easy on the eyes, this just smacks of nepotism of the most obvious nature. This new twist adds nothing to the story, except for unintentional hilarity, and just further ruins the classic slasher that John Carpenter made famous.
However to be fair there are some good things about this movie. First, Brad Dourif does a great job as always. Second, Malcolm McDowell is wonderful in all his scenery-chewing glory. Third, even Tyler Mane, who only says a single word in this film (yes, Michael Myers talks…once) does a fairly good job at bringing this hulking, much more violent version of The Shape to life. Finally, for the gore hounds out there, and brothers and sisters I count myself among your numbers, there are some great, bloody, and brutal kills. My favorite is where Michael literally stomps one guy’s head to mush. But sadly, that’s about all this movie has to offer.
While I am not a fan of this movie, the DVD from Sony has quite a lot to offer those that do like it. Once again Rob Zombie impresses me with an entertaining and informative director’s commentary. This unrated directors cut also offers some scenes not seen in the theatrical release and maybe a bit more blood, although I really couldn’t see any difference. There are a handful of deleted and alternate scenes, a blooper reel, footage of makeup tests, and even a half dozen spooky music videos. Perhaps the oddest extra bit is some stand-up routines from “Uncle Seymour Coffins”, and old style Creature Feature type host, too bad they’re not really funny.
As I said above, I really don’t like this movie but this is a good DVD. If you are a fan of Rob Zombie’s vision of Michael Myers then you have to get this disc. If you’re not a fan then at least give it a rent. It’s worth a watch, if for no other reason than to see some bloody good kills and to listen to Zombie’s commentary.

--Reviewed by Brian M. Sammons

PIECES (1982)
Review written by Brian M. Sammons

Director: Juan Piquer Simón
Cast: Christopher George, Lynda Day George, Frank Braña, Edmund Purdom

This weird, weird, freakin’ WEIRD movie is one of my all time favorite slasher flicks, and not because it’s a great film. No it is far from that, and yet it is not laughably bad either, like so many other “crazy killer” flicks that I actually can’t stand to watch. This movie exists in a world of its own for me. It’s got lots of blood and naked woman, the staples of all good slashers, but it takes so many trips into far left field that it leaves you scratching your head or laughing out loud. This Spanish film, with many English speaking actors in it, is one import not to be missed by fans of off the wall splatter flicks and at long last the mad geniuses over at Grindhouse Releasing have given it the two disc special edition DVD treatment it deserves. So come on everybody, let’s dive into the pure insanity of Pieces.
The story begins with a little boy putting together a jigsaw puzzle with a nudie girl on it. Mom catches him and freaks out. The boy tops his mother’s freak out with one of his own, except his involves an axe and her face. Many years later and the story picks up at a college where the same boy, now all grown up, wants to make his own naked woman jigsaw puzzle. So naturally he breaks out a chainsaw and starts collecting limbs from all of the lovely coeds. Oh, and then a girl on a skateboard crashes to her death through a mirror two moving men where holding up across a sidewalk. What, you didn’t expect that? Well that’s what makes this movie great; you’ll never see what’s coming. Now I don’t mean that about that plot, that’s pretty basic slasher movie fare. No, what you’ll never see coming is a woman walking alone on the campus at night suddenly getting attack by a Bruce Lee impersonator who, after three minutes of punching and kicking at the air, says sorry and goes on his merry way. Or when the killer sneaks into a tiny elevator with a potential victim and he is hiding his chainsaw from her by holding it in one hand behind his back. Or the amazing way actress Linda Day George delivers the line, “That bastard! Bastard!!!...BASTARD!!!!!!!!!!!” Honestly, this is one of those rare movies that descriptions really can’t do it justice, it must be experienced firsthand to be properly appreciated.
Now this movie had come out on DVD a few years back but that edition was pretty horrible. The picture and sound was bad and it had no special features whatsoever. Thankfully Grindhouse Releasing swooped in to save the day. Their edition, the only edition worth buying, gives us the movie uncut so it’s packed with gallons of blood and gore. And what good are buckets of blood if it doesn’t look good? Thankfully the picture and sound have both been beautifully restored. Then there are some new and very cool special features on the discs. There’s an audio track recorded during a live screening of the movie at the Vine Theater in Hollywood so you can get the full theater-going experience. A Spanish soundtrack if you want to hear the film as it first came out. Interviews with the director and genre star Paul L. Smith who plays the crazy campus caretaker. A few hidden Eater Eggs (one being a great one with noted horror director Eli Roth), and in this day of opening up a DVD case to find only a DVD inside and nothing more, Grindhouse included a mini poster and liner notes by horror historian and author Chas. Balun. With all this love shown to it, Grindhouse Releasing has set the bar pretty damn high on how a little DVD releasing company can take a cult classic (at best) and do it up right like it was a multi-million-dollar making movie. All other DVD producers, including some of you “big names” out there, really need to get these discs, watch them, and take notes.
As I said at the start, I love this major league weird movie. If you’re a slasher fan with tastes as warped as mine then I know you will too. Do yourself a favor and pick up a copy of Grindhouse Releasing’s Pieces DVD.


I just wanted to take a moment and express my sadness over the news that noted author, horror fan, and by all accounts one hell of a great guy, Chas. Balun had just recently passed away at age 61. R.I.P. Chas., you’ll be missed.

--Reviewed by Brian M. Sammons

Review written by Brian M. Sammons

Director: J. Lee Thompson
Cast: Melissa Sue Anderson, Glenn Ford, Tracy Bregman

I haven’t thought about this slasher classic in years until the other day I stumbled across it as a new DVD put out by Starz and Anchor Bay. Right away it grabbed my attention with the movie’s original cover on the case of a guy getting a shish kabob skewer rammed into his open mouth. Now while it’s not a great cover in and of itself it is a classic, iconic image and such things do mean a lot to me and other fans of these films. Case in point, while I love the DVD of NIGHHT OF THE CREEPS I must admit that it had a completely hideous cover that I’m convinced was more of a detriment to sales than an asset. Additionally, upon decided to review this DVD I did some research and found a previous release of this film from another studio with yet another “new and improved” cover of a girl holding a birthday cake with a big knife sticking out of it. How yawn inducing. I am tickled to see Starz/Anchor Bay do it right with the original artwork. But ok, I can hear you now saying something about books and covers and not judging, and you’re right so let’s move on.
If you have never seen this movie then STOP! Yes that’s right, stop reading this and go out and see this classic of 80s slasher cinema. Ok now that you’ve seen it you’ll notice I said “classic” and not “great”. That’s because while I love this movie it is not without its flaws. A good example of that would be the ending where the mysterious killer is revealed; it really is quite silly. Yet the off the wall ending and the film’s other minor foibles add to my love of the movie, not take away from it. So what I’m saying is, if you didn’t grow up watching these kinds of flicks then you might not appreciate them, and for that I am truly sorry for you. However if you are a child (or just fan) of the 80s like me then you’ll love it, and if you’ve seen it before then you’ll be in for a great trip down murderous mayhem memory lane.
The story is about a young girl (played by LITTLE HOUSE ON THE PRAIRIE’s Melissa Sue Anderson) who is socially snubbed on her birthday and then suffers a horrible accident that kills her mother and damages her brain. Some years later she’s at school and now friends with all the “cool kids” that had snubbed her. Too bad for the cool kids that they start getting picked off one by one. This is really where the movie shines. You see, after FRIDAY THE 13TH it simply wasn’t good enough to run around, sticking knives into horny teenagers, you had to kill with style and creativity and BIRTHDAY delivers on that in spades. Without giving away some of the best bits I’ll just give a few hints as math equations; a guy’s face + a racing dirt bike tire = ewwww. Want another? Ok; a weightlifter – someone spotting him + barbells dropped on his package = ouch! And yes, there the poor guy getting force fed the shish kabob. While none of these killers are overly bloody, they are fun to watch…that is, if you’re sick like me and find watching such things “fun”. The main mystery of this movie is whether or not goodie two-shoes Melissa Sue Anderson is wasting the kids that bailed on her birthday bash and caused her injuries and the death of her mother. Well for that answer you’ll have to see the movie and trust me, it’s worth it.
As for the technical specs of the DVD, sadly there’s not much to talk about. There are no special features whatsoever. While I can forgive some of this, after all when they were making movies in the 80s no one worried about making “behind the scenes” or other featurettes, but would it have killed the producers of this disc to find some of the original cast and crew for a commentary? Or how about some guest or fan commentaries? HELL HIGH is an awful movie, but for its DVD they got Joe Bob Briggs to do a special commentary track that actually makes the movie watchable. If you’re reading this Starz and Anchor Bay, you can have that little bit of advice for free, my gift to you. But in all seriousness, the meat and potatoes of this DVD is the movie and it is presented here with a picture that looks better than ever and the sound is decent enough. For a long forgotten gem that’s almost thirty years old (boy now don’t I feel old) that’s really all that counts. HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME is a great fright flick from a bygone era. You know when people say, “They don’t make them like that anymore”? Well they’re talking about movies like this. Slasher fans need to have this DVD in their library and that’s all there it to say.

--Brian M. Sammons

Review written by Brian M. Sammons

Director: Adam Fields
Cast: Ron Jeremy, Amber Benson, Charles Napier, Veronica Hart

A group out to make a porn movie, with porn star Ron Jeremy at the lead, go off into the Californian countryside for a remote shoot. Before things get too hot and heavy, Ron gets zapped by a mysterious ray of light, then dies, but his legendary nine-and-three-quarters-of-an-inch-long penis lives on. It rips free of his body and goes off on a bloody spree, raping and murdering anyone it lays its one eye on in an alien plot to take over the world. Now I know what you’re thinking, didn’t Disney already do this story? Well I thought that too, but no this is an original tale. It’s completely tasteless, off the wall and some may find it highly offensive, but it is original. In this day of remakes, reissues, re-imaginings, and re-everything else, originality, even if it’s very strange, should be applauded. So believe it or not, I’m about to give a flick about a psychopathic, sentient schlong a good review. My mother would be so proud.
Now naturally the movie is as silly as you can imagine and the humor could be described as “bathroom” at best, but you know what, I’m ok with that. Sometimes I really enjoy a stupid, dirty comedy and this film is as dumb and filthy as they come. Well actually it’s surprisingly not that filthy. While there is plenty of prosthetic penis to be seen as the murderous member runs amok there is surprisingly little nudity. Other surprises this movie springs on you would be Amber Benson (of TV’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer fame) popping up in a starring role, veteran actor Charles Napier agreeing to appear in a movie about terrifying tallywacker, Ron Jeremy coming of less sleazy and more endearing, someone actually saying that they would like to screw Paris Hilton in the mouth (ewww, you don’t know where that’s been), and Napier’s twist on Quint’s USS Indianapolis shark attack speech from Jaws. Oh, and one more surprising thing, how much I liked this film when at first I was all set to be bored by it. I counted at least a handful of times where I laughed out loud and many more where I chuckled or smiled, and for me and my “love” for modern comedies, that’s saying something. Put it to you this way, I laughed a lot more at this then I did at the last four Will Ferrell movies combined.
Liberation Entertainment are the ones you can hold responsible for unleashing this One Eyed Monster upon us, but at least they did it well. There are the usual photo galleries, trailers, deleted scenes, bloopers, and commentary track that all good DVDs offer, but then there are two extras unique to this disc. One is a slightly humorous spotlight of a “dick wrangler”, a guy that made his living, as his father before him did, handling and managing penises for all the big movies. The other is a lengthy and rather in-depth conversation between Ron Jeremy and Veronica Hart, tow old school porn vets, about the glory days of their industry. These, combined with the rest, means this disc is pretty meaty with extras.
So let’s wrap this review up with a happy ending, shall we? If you think you’d like to see a funny movie about a fatal phallus that is well shot, pretty well acted, and has some neat gore effects, then this is the movie for you. In fact, outside of a short scene from Beyond Re-animator, if you want to see a flick about detached, deadly, dickie doos then One Eyed Monster is the movie for you. I thoroughly enjoyed this movie and as long as you don’t take it too seriously then I think you will too.

--Reviewed by Brian M. Sammons

Review written by Brian M. Sammons

Director: Michael Roesch and Peter Scheerer
Cast: Lance Hennriksen, Bill Moseley, and Danny Trejo, Rick Yune

The first Alone in the Dark movie, based…sort of…off of the long running horror video game series of the same name, is a film derided by most but I never thought it was completely horrible. I will not say it is a great movie, nor even good for that matter, but I did enjoy it. Now that might have been because I saw it with one of my beast buds and admittedly we did give the film the Mystery Science Theater 3000 business, but however it was accomplished the end result was a fun night watching a flick and that’s all I ask of any movie. Sadly the same cannot be said about my experience of watching the sequel, and for this screening I even invited by friend over to help recapture the fun we had with the first movie and despite our best efforts, it just wasn’t happening. That is because Alone in the Dark 2 commits the one unforgivable sin that a movie can make; it is boring, boring, boring! So pop some NoDoze pills and let’s try to get through this one as quickly as possible.
This is a sequel in name only as it has no connection to the first film save for the name of the protagonist; an occult detective (who never actually detects anything during this entire movie) named Edward Carnby. Those of you that played the Alone in the Dark games will recognize the character, those that saw the first movie will not as the character has gone from being Christian Slater and Caucasian to Rick Yune and Asian. That tenuous connection aside, the films have nothing to do with each other. The first one dealt with a dark dimension where spiky lion-dog things lived that really enjoyed eating people and only illumination harmed the beasts. This one is about a witch and that’s about it. While this movie says repeatedly that the witch can be driven off with light, there are plenty scenes where the ghostly witch walks into well lit rooms without so much as a look of annoyance on her face.
Ok, week connections to the first film and stupid technical gaffs aside, as those things happen in many sequels that are still enjoyable, how does this movie take the detour into snoozeville? Well three ways. First it dumbs down the gore by going for the more lucrative PG-13 market. Even a bad movie can be made slightly better with some innovative splatter shots, but there are none to be found here, so let’s move on. Second, great genre actors and fan favorites are completely wasted in this movie. Lance Hennriksen, Bill Moseley, Danny Trejo, and P.J. Soles (from the original Halloween) can be found in this flick, but some only briefly appear and all never fully commit to their roles. Now if it was only one actor phoning in his lines for a paycheck that could be explained away, but when every actor does it you’ve really got to ask yourself why. Were they all as bored while making the movie as I was while watching it? That’s a scary thought but it could be the answer. Lastly reason number three is the aforementioned, mind numbing boredom you’ll experience if you choose to watch this movie. The film has a glacier pace at best, nothing exciting ever happens, there are no twists or turns that you don’t see coming from a mile off, no scares, thrills, or shocks. Hell, even the old spring-loaded cat flying into the scene out of a dark closet would have been better than the complete and utter black hole of entertainment this film became.
I guess for the sake of completeness I should recap the rice paper thin plot of this movie so here it goes. There’s a ghostly (as in badly done CGI) witch with a magic knife. If you get cut by the knife then the witch can possess you. Edward Carnby gets cut by the bad blade, a group of witch hunters (no, really) happen to find him and together they face off against the witch. There, now you really have no need to watch this movie. I just saved you 91 minutes of boredom. You’re welcome.
In all seriousness there really is no good reason to watch this film. Is it scary? Nope, not even for a second. Does it have great special effects or lots of blood and gore? In a word, no. How about gratuitous nudity? Hey I’m not judging, I’ve watched some heinous films back in my younger days for some tasty T n A. Well sorry to say young ones, there’s none of that here. Ok, forget all that, how about just sitting back and enjoying some usually fine actors show off their craft with style? No you can’t even find that here. In all ways Alone in the Dark 2 is a bust. It should be avoided at all costs, unless perhaps you are suffering from insomnia, then watching this flick might do you some good. For the rest of you, do yourself a favor and pass on this one.

--Reviewed by Brian M. Sammons