Exhumed: “Markers” and “Scree”

Exhumed is my humble attempt to read and review every short story and novel excerpt ever published by Cemetery Dance Magazine. In their 29 years of publication, that comes to over 550 pieces spread out over 76 issues. For a comprehensive list, you’ll want to check out Michael P. Sauers’ Cemetery Dance Magazine Index (Issues 1-75).

Since each Exhumed post covers just two pieces (one “old” and one “new”), I think I’m going to be doing this for a while. I sure hope you’ll join me along the way. Continue Reading

Revelations: The Repairman Jack Saga by F. Paul Wilson

As I’ve written this series, I’ve found it necessary to achieve a tenuous balance in my recommendations and recountings of the horror which has impacted me as a reader and writer. I’ve bounced a lot between the descriptions  “fun and fast-paced” and “literate and full of substance.” The truth of the matter (as I’ve come to discover it) is this: good fiction and, even more importantly, a good reading diet, shouldn’t ever cater to one end of the spectrum exclusively. Stories should move us emotionally, they should make us ponder the world around us, our existence, and life in general. They should say something about the human condition. Continue Reading

Dead Trees: Dead White by Alan Ryan

Do you ever think back to times you spent with books? Reliving pieces of your life and the books that defined your existence? Yeah, so do I.

Lately I was thinking of a night back in the winter of 1986/1987. It was a cold year,  and I was living in less than ideal accommodations. I was still pretty poor at the time. I had enough for the monthly bills, and I ate reasonably well. Books were a luxury. Well, new books anyway. I mostly did my reading purchases through the local used bookstores. Remember when they were everywhere?Continue Reading

Revelations: The Pines by Robert Dunbar

Several months ago I referenced a future column about Charles Grant’s Shadows and Tom Monteleone’s Borderlands anthologies, and that feature is coming, I assure you. However, this column tends to wander around a bit—much like my reading tastes, and my short attention span (ask any student or former student)—and this month, I’d like to talk about Robert Dunbar’s The Pines.Continue Reading

What I Learned from Stephen King: IT & Other Childhood Demons

Tim Curry as Pennywise in the 1990 miniseries adaptation of Stephen King’s It.

No book has had a more profound impact on me than Stephen King’s It.

For one thing, It is the book that introduced me to Stephen King. In 1990, I was 10 years old, and like many kids my age, I was entranced by the clown in the storm drain I’d seen on prime time television. You can bet your fur that every kid at school was talking about Stephen King’s It the night after it aired, but like most things that captured our imagination as children, it faded from the periphery of playground conversation within a day or so, only to be replaced by more common maintains like debating who should be the villain in the next Batman movie, or when we would get another Gremlins or Ghostbusters. Continue Reading

Stephen King: News from the Dead Zone #210

Stephen King News From the Dead Zone

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!
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Video Visions: Embrace of the Holidays

This will be my sixth Christmas without my father. I miss the son of a bitch something fierce, but the hurt always gets a little more tender during the holidays.

What gives me comfort, especially at night after a long day, is the video shelf of movies he bought for me every Christmas. He was a huge movie buff and liked to pick out offbeat “classics” he knew I would enjoy like The Rounders or Mr. Hobbs Takes a Vacation. He would spend the year curating special movies for the family, but I don’t think anyone enjoyed his staff picks as much as I did. Continue Reading

Revelations: Short Stories

When I first conceived of this column, my intent was to focus on authors and how their body of work influenced me during a specific period in my development. After several columns, I realized that while maybe an author’s entire body of work didn’t necessarily impact me, one or two of their novels had—hence my previous column about Don’t Take Away the Light, by J. N. Williamson, and The Reach by Nate Kenyon and The Pines, by Robert Dunbar (subjects of future columns). Continue Reading

Revelations: Whispers and Karl Edward Wagner’s The Year’s Best Horror Stories

My previous two columns focused on contemporary authors who have impacted me both as a writer and reader; Mary SanGiovanni and Ronald Malfi, respectively. We’re going to jump back in time, now… Continue Reading

Horror Drive-In: Seems Like Old Times

 

I readily admit that I spend much of my horror ruminations on days gone by. Many consider the 1980s to be the Golden Age of Horror. It was an unparalleled time of creativity and fun in the genre. Horror fiction was going crazy, with many old masters still crafting great stories, and brash newcomers were shaking the foundations of traditional horror storytelling.Continue Reading

Revelations: Ronald Malfi

For the most part, the authors featured in these columns have impacted my development and growth as a writer primarily through their work. Ronald Malfi impacted me as a person, first, before I delved into his work. Looking at his career path, getting to know him as a person first has impacted me just as much as his work has.Continue Reading

Video Visions: Horrortober Essentials

About six years ago, as my partner Jack and I were waxing poetic about the Halloween season on our Monster Men podcast, I started calling the 31 days of spookiness Terrortober. For some reason, midway through the month, I changed it to Horrortober and it stuck. Now I’m not saying I was the first, but I don’t remember anyone else calling it that back then. Okay, maybe I am saying I was the first.Continue Reading

Revelations: “The Chronicles of Greystone Bay” edited by Charles L. Grant

Today marks the release of my second short story collection, Things You Need, from Crystal Lake Publishing, also the latest installment in the ongoing story of my fictional Adirondack town, Clifton Heights, which owes its existence in large part to not only Charles L. Grant’s fictional town, Oxrun Station, but even more so to the anthology series he edited, The Chronicles of Greystone Bay.Continue Reading

Dead Trees: The Drive-In by Joe R. Lansdale

The year was 1988. I had been a serious horror reader for years and things were really starting to get interesting. We had it all then. Big names, legends, were still publishing: Robert Bloch, Ray Russell, Manly Wade Wellman, Hugh B. Cave, and others. Newer writers like Dennis Etchison, Richard Christian Matheson, Ramsey Campbell, and Michael McDowell were getting into high gear. Writers were migrating from the SF field. And there was a new, streetwise style of horror breaking barriers, from writers like John Skipp, Craig Spector, David J. Schow, Ray Garton. It was a heyday, and it seemed like every new author on the scene I heard about was well worth my time and money.

So when I read a triple review by the great Stanley Wiater in Fangoria magazine about a writer named Joe R. Lansdale, I took notice. The reviewed works in question were Act of Love, The Nightrunners, and Dead in the West.Continue Reading