Review: Horror Unmasked: A History of Terror from Nosferatu to Nope edited by Brad Weismann

cover of Horror UnmaskedHorror Unmasked: A History of Terror from Nosferatu to Nope edited by Brad Weismann
becker&mayer! books (September 2023)
232 pages; $24.99 hardcover
Reviewed by Joshua Gage

Brad Weismann is an award-winning writer and editor who returned to the place he grew up, in the shadow of the Colorado Rockies, after 15 years of performing standup, improvisational, and sketch comedy on stage, radio, and television. He has worked as a journalist, feature writer, and contributor to publications and websites worldwide such as Senses of Cinema, Film International, Backstage, Muso, Parterre, Movie Habit, 5280, EnCompass, Colorado Daily, and Boulder Magazine.  As a film writer, Brad Weismann has interviewed figures ranging from Roger Ebert to Monty Python’s Terry Jones to Blaxploitation superstar Pam Grier, and legendary director Alex Cox. Lost in the Dark: A World History of Horror was his first book, and Horror Unmasked: A History of Terror from Nosferatu to Nope is his second.Continue Reading

Review: Hannah and Other Stories by Rami Ungar

cover of Hannah and Other StoriesHannah and Other Stories by Rami Ungar
BSC Publishing (September 23, 2023)
120 pages; $3.99 e-book
Reviewed by Joshua Gage

Rami Ungar is a horror and dark fiction novelist who resides in Columbus, Ohio. He has self-published two books (The Quiet Game: Five Tales to Chill Your Bones and Snake), and has traditionally published two novels (Rose and The Pure World Comes). In addition, he has had several short stories and novelettes published, including “Blood & Paper Skin” in The Dark Sire and “Cressida” in the anthology Into the Deep. Rami is an Affiliate member of the Horror Writers Association (HWA) and the Coordinator for the Ohio HWA. His newest collection is Hannah and Other Stories.Continue Reading

Comic Creators on PROJECT: CRYPTID

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AHOY Comics’ new anthology PROJECT: CRYPTID, which has its first issue debuting this month, offers up scares and silliness as different writers and artists take on creatures from legends. Seven of the anthology’s writers — Mark Russell, Paul Constant, Bryce Ingman, Melissa F. Olson, Jazzlyn Stone, Henry Barajas, and Alisa Kwitney — all spoke to Cemetery Dance about their creatures of choice, the process of mixing horror with humor, and what makes comics a good medium for scary stories.Continue Reading

Michael Schwartz on Stine, Comics, and Haunted Armor

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Screenwriter Michael Schwartz, a longtime fan of comics, has a live Kickstarter through Clover Press to launch his own comic, Armored. The horror comic follows Andy, who finds a haunted suit of armor and its ghost, Sir William. The comic is illustrated by Ismael Hernandez, and is set to have covers from Jae Lee, Nick Pitarra, Chrissie Zullo, Scott Kolins, Matthew Therrien, and Jeff Dickson. Schwartz spoke to Cemetery Dance about his love of comics, working on R.L. Stine’s Zombie Town, and what real-world influences led him to writing about haunted armor.Continue Reading

Review: Midas by Tyler Jones

cover of Midas by Tyler JonesMidas by Tyler Jones
Earthling Publications (October 2023)
$60 hardcover
Reviewed by Dave Simms

It’s about that time of year again for the Earthling Halloween book series to wow horror readers. This year’s offering from Earthling Publications and Paul Miller keeps the streak alive with the eighteenth straight winner, this time from Tyler Jones, author of Burn the Plans, another fine read. This entry scrapes the bottom of the human soul and how far one is willing to go for the ones they love, even if it means losing the riches that build the foundation of who that individual is and how deep their conviction runs. Some might find a comparison to Pet Sematery or “The Monkey’s Paw” — yet this cautionary tale breaks off from the comparisons due to Tyler’s strong talent and grasp of natural storytelling.Continue Reading

Interview: Anya Davidson on NIGHT AND DANA

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cover of Night and DanaAnya Davidson’s new graphic novel, Night and Dana, is being released on September 12 by Graphic Universe. It’s a coming-of-age story about horror-obsessed teens that also involves environmental activism. Davidson (no relation to the interviewer) spoke to Cemetery Dance about her long interest in horror, her influences, and how horror tales can tackle real-world issues.

Continue Reading

Exclusive Excerpt: The Serpent’s Shadow by Daniel Braum

cover of The Serpent's Shadow by Daniel BraumI delight in stories that deliver more than meets the eye at first glance. I love to read them and I love to write them. In films and shows such as It Follows and The Twilight Zone and in the work of Robert Aickman things are often very much more than they first appear. The Serpent’s Shadow is also one of those kinds of stories.

It is Christmas week. In Mexico, 1987. At first glance all might appear as a slasher set up or a horror tale with familiar tropes. There are teens in peril. “Ugly Americans” are where they should not be. A killer is on the loose.

Wander a little further along the road and you might find these tropes you spied are taking on new iterations, or are even being subverted.Continue Reading

Exclusive Excerpt: LIGHTS from Brenna Thummler and Oni Press

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cover of LightsLights, the final graphic novel in the Sheets trilogy, is being released by Oni
Press on September 6. The stories follow Marjorie Glatt, ghost enthusiast
Eliza Duncan, and their ghost friend Wendell, who wants to know more about his past life.

As a special exclusive, Cemetery Dance is able to publish the following excerpt before publication day. Creator Brenna Thummler, who says that ghost stories were part of her daily routine growing up, said in an exclusive quote to Cemetery Dance, “Lights is the last step in the trilogy’s healing process, and proves that the best kind of self-growth is the lifting up of others rather than the lifting up of oneself.”Continue Reading

Review: Schrader’s Chord by Scott Leeds

cover of Schrader's ChordSchrader’s Chord by Scott Leeds
Tor Nightfire (September 5, 2023)
448 pages; $28.99 hardcover; $14.99 e-book
Reviewed by Dave Simms

Horror novels revolving around music almost never fails to excite. Two primal entities tap into humanity’s inner core, often bypassing most emotional defenses, leaving the reader or listener bare to the effects of the intended message. When combining both, the effect can be powerful.

The publisher touts this novels as a combination between Heart-Shaped Box and The Haunting of Hill House. It definitely hold elements of each, but Schrader’s Chord is its own beast and should be enjoyed as its own creation. To this reviewer’s ears, this novel is the literary equivalent of a great rock album.Continue Reading

Bev Vincent explores Holly by Stephen King

Stephen King News From the Dead Zone

“No one will believe it really happened”

Stephen King doesn’t hide the identity of the murderers at the center of Holly Gibney’s latest case in the novel that bears her name. In 2012, Emily and Rodney Harris, professors emeritus at Bell College, tricked a colleague named Jorge Castro into helping them resolve a roadside issue. They drugged him and took him to a dungeon in the basement of their presentable home in a respectable part of town.

Why did the elderly Harrises kidnap him, why do they force him to eat something unpalatable, and what are their plans? Since Castro knows the identity of his abductors, it doesn’t seem likely he’ll be released. The popular consensus is that he packed up and left town abruptly, although his lover doesn’t agree.

Continue Reading

Into the Abyss with Daniel Braum and Luisa Colón

Saturday night on the Cemetery Dance Youtube Show Into the Abyss, Kevin Lucia, CW Briar and Thomas McDonough interviewed CD authors Daniel Braum (The Night Marchers, The Serpent’s Shadow) and Luisa Colón (Bad Moon Rising), talking with them about their respective Cemetery Dance releases, as well as whatever horror topics came up! Check out the show now, and also buy their books!

The Night Marchers and Other Strange Tales by Daniel Braum
The Serpent’s Shadow by Daniel Braum
Bad Moon Rising by Luisa Colón

Review: anOther Mythology by Maxwell I. Gold

cover of anOther MythologyanOther Mythology by Maxwell I. Gold
Interstellar Flights Press (September 4, 2023)
72 pages; $14.99 paperback; $9.99 e-book
Reviewed by Joshua Gage

Maxwell I. Gold, in his end author’s note, argues that his purpose in writing this book was that “it didn’t matter how we as queer people were seen, but it mattered how we saw ourselves…” and “These are myths that are meant for us.” It is understood that the target audience for this book is specifically the queer community, written almost as a triumphant reclaiming of thousands of years of heteronormative patriarchy. This energy permeates the poetry in this collection, and anyone reading it will thoroughly enjoy it.Continue Reading

FREE FICTION: “Lily” by Bruce McAllister

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Bruce McAllister

It’s night.  They’re in a chapel that isn’t a chapel.  It’s just like the dream she’s been dreaming for a long time now.  But this isn’t a dream.  It’s as real as their kissing a moment ago, the two of them — she in her lavender hair up against the wall in the alley behind the club her boyfriend’s brother manages, her boyfriend in his new bomber jacket up against her and both of them laughing.  Santi bit her lip just a little.  She can still taste the blood, but it’s nothing.  It made them laugh.  You have two drinks and that’s what happens.  You laugh.

When they heard the baby crying, they stopped, looked up and down the alley and couldn’t figure it out.  No apartments, just an alley in the Warehouse District where the clubs are.  She took Santi’s hand, the way she would at a scary movie, and they walked down the alley away from the club’s back door, slowly, quietly and listening.  The baby kept crying.  When they reached the building where the sound was coming from, they stopped.Continue Reading

Review: Can You Sign My Tentacle? by Brandon O’Brien

cover of Can You Sign My Tentacle? by Brandon O'BrienCan You Sign My Tentacle? by Brandon O’Brien
Interstellar Flight Press (August 2021)
89 pages; $11.99 paperback; $5.99 e-book
Reviewed by Joshua Gage

Can You Sign My Tentacle? is a wild amalgam of Afro-futurism, Cthullu mythos, and social commentary with a finger on the pulse of hip-hop culture.Continue Reading

Review: Major Arcana edited by Steve J. Shaw

cover of Major Arcana 7Major Arcana edited by Steve J Shaw
Black Shuck Books (September 2022)
234 pages; $14.99 paperback
Reviewed by Daniel Braum

Major Arcana is the title of the seventh annual installment of the Great British Horror series published by UK Publisher Black Shuck Books. Each book in the series features ten British authors and one “international” (non-UK) author.

The 2022 edition features 11 stories, each having a title sharing the name with one of the Major Arcana cards of the Tarot deck.Continue Reading