Kevin Lucia has been creating strange stories for a long time. It’s a passion project for him, borne out of a love for reading and an overwhelming desire to share the people, places and things that dominate his dreams and nightmares. His work has appeared alongside many genre greats in numerous anthologies and magazines, and now he’s looking to take his efforts to the next level with the pursuit of his very own Patreon. Recently I swapped a few emails with Kevin about his latest project (among other things—he is, after all, the Reviews Editor for Cemetery Dance magazine and Cemetery Dance Online). Enjoy!Continue Reading
Joe Hill‘s compelling quartet of novellas, collectively titled Strange Weather, hits shelves tomorrow, riding a wave of anticipation and positive reviews (including our own). Strange Weather is the latest example of what has become a hallmark of Hill’s career: versatility. The author roams from horror to fantasy to sci-fi….from comics to prose to screenplays…..from massive 700-page epics to to short novels to short stories….fearlessly and effortlessly. Likewise, our discussion covers a lot of ground, beginning with his latest release, then touching on his comics work before teasing a bit about what’s in the future.
Earlier this year, people began calling 2017 “The Year of King.” The “King” in question is Stephen King, who’s had a busy year even for, well, Stephen King: new television series based on his novella The Mist and Mr. Mercedes; a milestone birthday (his 70th) in September; a critical and box office smash hit in IT; two more critically acclaimed adaptations for Netflix in Gerald’s Game and 1922; and a brand new novel, Sleeping Beauties, co-written with his son Owen.
Now, as the year is winding down, it’s King’s other son, Joe Hill, who has stepped up to claim his place in “The Year of King” with Strange Weather, a collection of four short novels and one of the strongest overall works in Hill’s already illustrious career.Continue Reading
Joe R. Lansdale’s “Hap and Leonard” series isn’t the first thing that comes to my mind when considering what books would benefit from being adapted in graphic novel form. Lansdale’s series, about a couple of blue collar buddies whose keen sense of right and wrong gets them into escalating amounts of trouble with bad guys and good guys alike, is elevated by the author’s sharp dialogue and natural storytelling ability—two things which could easily be lost in translation when moving to the more visual medium of comics.Continue Reading
Paperbacks from Hell: The Twisted History of ’70s and ’80s Horror Fiction is a history lesson crossed with the world’s coolest (and unlikeliest) museum exhibit. As the title indicates, author/curator Grady Hendrix is our guide, taking us from the post-Rosemary’s Baby boom of paperback horror all the way through the 1990s bust. In between, there’s a whole lotta crazy to cover, and Hendrix is more than game to take us through every twist, turn and trend.
I’ll be honest, when I first got wind of this book, I expected little more than a portfolio of lurid paperback covers accompanied by a plot synopsis for each book, maybe a spotlight or two on some of the more prolific authors, and perhaps a closer look at some of the publishers who were churning the stuff out. And you know, I would have been fine with that. But Hendrix has given us so much more. An accomplished author in his own right (My Best Friend’s Exorcism, Horrorstör), Hendrix digs deep and writes with passion. You need look no further than his introduction, in which he writes about the book that served as his “gateway drug” into the world of paperback horror. It’s better heard from him, but let me just toss out the term “Gestapochauns” as an appetizer. Yeah, you’re thinking there’s no way that could mean what you think it means, but it does.
Rather than go year-by-year, Hendrix has organized the book by the themes and subgenres that defined the period. So, we move from “Hail, Satan” to “When Animals Attack” to “Real Estate Nightmares” to “Inhumanoids” to….well, you get the idea. Each of these chapters are written with a historian’s observational skill coupled with a fan’s passion and a professional’s touch. Hendrix hits the requisite high points like David Seltzer’s The Omen, James Herbert’s The Rats, and Jack Ketchum’s The Girl Next Door (and it’s infamous skeleton cheerleader cover!), but he revels equally in obscure gems like Eat Them Alive by Pierce Nace and Slay Bells by Joe Gibson and Blood Snarl by Ivor Watkins.
Hendrix recognizes that the covers were often the best thing about these books, so he’s written several “Coroner’s Report” asides spotlighting particularly prolific artists and their contributions.
I often look at my own, growing library and keep a mental list of my “essentials,” the books I absolutely could not do without. Paperbacks from Hell is now on that list. As a reference book, as a celebration, and as an appreciation, it’s one of the best books about the horror genre that I’ve ever had the pleasure to read. I’ll honestly be stunned if I ever meet a horror fan that disagrees. This gets my highest possible recommendation.
In what is already being looked back on as a groundbreaking ten-year run, Subterranean magazine published a staggering array of stories featuring one elite, award-winning author after another. Three years after the last issue was published, The Best of Subterranean arrives as an overdue celebration of one our finest, most lamented genre magazines.Continue Reading
Obviously, there’s no name more synonymous with the character of Hellboy than that of creator Mike Mignola. However, Christopher Golden runs a close second. Golden, a prolific best-selling author of original novels, media tie-in books and countless short stories, helped pioneer the line of Hellboy prose novels and anthologies, beginning with 1997’s The Lost Army and continuing this month with Hellboy: An Assortment of Horrors. He’s also a screenwriter (along with Mignola and Andrew Cosby) of the upcoming Hellboy: Rise of the Blood Queen, the Neil Marshall-directed reboot of the Hellboy film franchise. Golden was kind enough to take time out of his busy schedule to talk with Cemetery Dance Online about his long history in the world of Hellboy. Continue Reading
Some might view books like The Dark Tower: The Art of the Film as big, expensive brochures for upcoming movies, but for me they’ve always provided a fascinating glimpse into the process of bringing these large-scale extravaganzas to our screens. Even when they come from the kind of rich source material of, say, an eight-book series written by Stephen King, there’s a lot of designing and refining that goes into the look of a movie like The Dark Tower. This volume gives us a glimpse of that, but I’ll confess that it left me wanting much, much more.Continue Reading
The majority of slasher fiction—whether it’s short stories, books, or movies—tends to focus on the hunt. Here’s a group of thinly-sketched victims, cannon fodder to be creatively knocked off one-by-one; and here’s a killer, often silent, usually masked, his or her motivations as mysterious as their identity. What comes after is, more often than not, a by-the-numbers recreation of the stalk-n-slash formula that’s been a staple of horror since the 1970s.*Continue Reading
I love “quiet horror.” I love a book filled with tension, atmosphere, and that creeping-up-on-you sense of unease where you can’t quite put your finger on what is wrong, but you know something is.
Here’s the thing: eventually, all that atmosphere and tension and unease has to pay off. When it does, it’s magic. When it doesn’t, it’s like cracking open a cold soft drink only to find that it’s gone flat.
Mormama, I’m sorry to say, is the flat soft drink of haunted house books.Continue Reading
Skelton Crew Studio, a comic book replica studio based in the wilds of Maine, was founded by Israel Skelton in 2008. A sculptor and creator for more than 30 years, Skelton first made a name for his studio with a replica key based on the critically-acclaimed comic series Locke & Key by Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez. Collaborations with a wide variety of creators soon followed, and Skelton Crew Studio’s work is now highly sought after among collectors and creators alike. Skelton Crew has a busy year ahead of them—more on that in a minute—so we appreciate Israel Skelton taking a few moments to discuss his work with us.
Ania Ahlborn is the bestselling author of the horror thrillers Brother, Within These Walls, The Bird Eater, The Shuddering, The Neighbors, and Seed, and the novella The Pretty Ones. Her latest release is The Devil Crept In, out now from Gallery Books. Recently, Ania was kind enough to take time out from exploring the dark corners of her imagination to share a few words with us.
When you work at Cemetery Dance, you tend to make certain assumptions about the books publishers send to you for review. Sometimes, those assumptions are way off. John Darnielle’s Universal Harvester proved to be one of those instances….in the best possible way.
When I got the book (cleverly packaged in a plastic clamshell case like an old VHS tape, for reasons that would become clear when I read it) and scanned its press sheet, a few things jumped out at me: mentions of the “haunted, open landscape of middle-America;” “ominous and disturbing footage” spliced into a video store’s rental tapes; an investigation into “the origins of these unsettling scenes.” I took these tidbits and began to splice together my own version of the book.Continue Reading