2020. As I write this, the new year and new decade are seven hours away. I think back to the years and years I have spent as a horror reader, and I am reflecting on the one moment when it all crystallized and became embedded into my soul.
I’d have to say the year was 1984. Thirty-six long years ago. Years that brought joy beyond belief, heartbreak, laughs, fun, agony, laughs, tears. All of this and lots more.Continue Reading
As an aspiring writer, you often don’t realize the influences certain authors have over your developing style and voice. You’re busy reading books and stories which really excite you, writing away in your own little world, and in many ways, you can’t see the forest for the trees.
I’ve been especially prone to that over the years. I tend to read many books simultaneously at frenzied paces (I’ve often said I read like other people breathe), and it’s sometimes hard to keep track of where I draw my inspirations from. It was once said Rod Serling was the same. When Ray Bradbury actually accused Serling of stealing his work for The Twilight Zone, some said Serling could never completely deny it, because he’d read so many things so quickly, he always had difficulty attributing a source to his story ideas.Continue Reading
Of the countles sub-genres of horror, body horror is one that I don’t often turn to. There’s just something too real, too personal about it. Sure, a madman wielding a weapon is scary, but you can (unless he’s teleporting Jason Voorhees) theoretically escape from that. You can’t, however, run from a horror that’s coming from within your very own bones, your blood. Author Chad Lutzke doesn’t have such reservations. As a matter of fact, he got into body horror as a kid, courtesy of the 1965 horror flick Curse of the Fly.
Chad Lutzkeis a writer from Battle Creek, MI. He has written for Famous Monsters of Filmland, Rue Morgue, Cemetery Dance, and Scream. He is the author of dozens of short stories and books such as Of Foster Homes & Flies, Wallflower, Stirring the Sheets, Skullface Boy, The Same Deep Water As You, and The Pale White.Continue Reading
I’ve read a lot of books. Some have been modest little stories; entertaining, but slight. And that’s fine. Others are written by craftspeople. Meticulous prose with riveting plots. Then there are writers who elevate fiction into works of art. Elizabeth Engstrom falls into the latter category.
I first encountered the work of Elizabeth Engstrom in a book called When Darkness Loves Us. I heard that Engstom had been mentored by the great Theodore Sturgeon, and that alone was enough to convince me to give it a try. When Darkness Loves Us is a collection of two novellas. That’s common today, but back in 1985 it was nearly unthinkable. Especially for a virtually unknown author.
Both stories in When Darkness Loves Us are excellent, but the title piece is more than that. It is a masterpiece.
As much as I love When Darkness Loves Us, it isn’t my favorite Engstrom. One of her novels hit me harder, in the places that really count. That novel is called Lizard Wine.Continue Reading
The works of Ray Bradbury have inspired countless horror and dark fantasy writers over the years, myself included. Bradbury’s vivid imagery and dreamlike, poetic prose is something to behold. But how do his works translate to the screen? Is it possible to capture the thrills and magic of Bradbury’s work in television or film? I absolutely adore his 1962 novel Something Wicked This Way Comes (it’s one of my all-time favorite books), in which a dark carnival descends upon Green Town, Illinois, but I’ve yet to see the 1983 film adaptation (to be honest, I’ve only seen a handful of episodes of the ’80s anthology series The Ray Bradbury Theater). After my conversation with horror author Scott Thomas, I think I need to add the movie to my queue. The film had a deep impact on Thomas as a child, one that informed his sensibilities and led him to create dark, twisted tales of his own. Continue Reading
I remember my first Robert Aickman story vividly. It was in February. Early in the morning. As the snow fell outside on an already white winter morning, I sat very still in my favorite chair, reading “The School Friend,” and wondering…just what was I reading? A story about a long-lost friend returning after her father’s death, to comfort her old school friend, who had fallen into a lonely life? Or was this friend something…more? Continue Reading
With the coming of my latest Flame Tree Press book, Slash, I’ve decided to spend the rest of the year exploring the slasher genre that was the backdrop of my youth. Nothing like transitioning from “coming-of-age” to “psychos murdering people in creative and sometimes amusing ways.” Continue Reading
Ex-Library books. They are the bane of collectors. You can hear howls of rage from sea to sea when secondary market sellers pawn them off as “Very Good” condition. Ex-Library books are the red-headed stepchildren of the publishing world. I think they deserve a lot more respect.
In previous columns we’ve shared fun facts about authors or their books, or featured a mini-interview. This time we’re trying something a little different related to Mark Allan Gunnells’ collection of film- and theater-themed horror stories, Curtain Call and Other Dark Entertainments: we’re spotlighting the author’s recent TEDx talk on “How Horror Movies Taught Me Empathy.” Check out the video below (and the mini-interview that follows!), and then visit the CD website to learn more about the book. Continue Reading
In May of this year, the book won a Bram Stoker Award for Superior Achievement in a Fiction Collection. Instead of an interview, this time we asked the author to provide a story that’s not in the book, as a kind of bonus/addendum, but also to give a sample of the kind of eclectic fiction you’ll find in the full collection. Without further ado, please enjoy the melancholy, romantic apocalypse of “Carmine Lips and a Fade into Oblivion.”Continue Reading
Sometimes it’s hard to stay on top of everything that’s going on in the Stephen King Universe. There are so many projects underway or about to get underway or that could possibly some day get underway that it boggles the mind. This is a new Golden Age for King, especially when it comes to the various adaptations of his work to screens large and small, silver and otherwise. I’m here to help you keep track! Continue Reading