What I Learned from Stephen King: The Hero in 'The Dead Zone'


The Hero in The Dead Zone

deadzonepicWhen we think of the great many characters conjured by the imagination of Stephen King, we most likely think of Carrie White, Annie Wilkes, Jack Torrance or Pennywise the Dancing Clown. Few authors in history have known how to construct such a vast array of multidimensional villains and villainesses. As a result, what gets lost in King’s sea of personalities are his heroes — the most interesting of whom is arguably one Johnny Smith, the main man of The Dead Zone who awakens from a four-and-a-half year coma with a startling new mental capacity to see both people’s past and their future. It’s a power he doesn’t know quite how to control, and one that isn’t without its flaws. Continue Reading

Horror Drive-In: Learning to NOT Act My Age


Learning to NOT Act My Age

I’m really not that old. Older than many readers, sure, but, hell, fifty-four is not too old these days. Anyone with at least a few years over me can roar out an accusing, “You’re just a KID!”

Fifty-four isn’t that young either. I’ve been around the block more than a few times, and I’ve been an enthusiastic genre fan for as long as I can remember. I’ve seen the trends: Indian Burial Grounds, Evil Children, Vampires, Serial Killers, Vampires, Transgressive Fiction, Zombies, Gross-out shenanigans. I’ve enjoyed all of these tropes to varying degrees. At least until they became tired cliches. And sooner or later (usually sooner) they all do.Continue Reading

Stephen King: News from the Dead Zone #182

Next week will be busy for Stephen King. On September 9, he will be appearing in Cambridge, MA in conversation with Lee Child to promote the new Jack Reacher novel, Make Me. The next day, he will be among the eleven individuals receiving the National Medal of Arts from President Obama in the East Wing of the White House. The citation says, “One of the most popular and prolific writers of our time, Mr. King combines his remarkable storytelling with his sharp analysis of human nature. ” Then, on the following day, September 11, he will be a guest on Stephen Colbert’s Late Show during its inaugural week.Continue Reading

Paper Cuts: Found Footage and the Ever-Evolving Campfire Tale


Paper (n): material manufactured in thin sheets from the pulp of wood or other fibrous substances, used for writing, drawing, or printing on

Cut (v): make (a movie) into a coherent whole by removing parts or placing them in a different order.

Found Footage and the Ever-Evolving Campfire Tale

Blair_Witch_ProjectWhy are so many horror fans so damn conservative? And no, I don’t mean politically conservative, but that would probably be an interesting piece if someone else wanted to write it.

No, I mean why are they conservative when it comes to matters of genre? You’ll frequently hear the statement “everything Hollywood gives us is remakes and found footage these days!” accompanying crotchety diatribes about the “dismal” state of the genre. And to preempt anyone saying this is a straw man argument, I heard a permutation of this from multiple people last month at Scares That Care.

I understand the feelings of resentment towards remakes, on an ideological level. But I don’t share the opinion that remakes are the refuge of the creatively bankrupt.Continue Reading

What I Learned from Stephen King: An Introduction


“If the horror story is our rehearsal for death, then its strict moralities make it also a reaffirmation of life and good will and simple imagination – just one more pipeline to the infinite.” – Stephen King, Danse Macabre  

skpic2Wisdom can be found in the most unlikely of places, and it is often within the greatest darkness that we find the greatest light.

Alright, alright. I’ll admit they’re clichés – but like most clichés, they also happen to be true. Anyone with a modicum of introspection and a rear view mirror will tell you that it’s the tough times in life we seem to learn and grow from the most. It is the darkness that makes us reach for the light and propels us to examine the human spirit and reevaluate our place and priorities in the world.

If there is anything I learned from Stephen King’s first foray into non-fiction, Danse Macabre, it is that those of us who love a good fright flick or scary read are attracted to the darkness for a wide variety of reasons – many of which leave us with a greater awareness of our inner fears, a questioning of our own mortality, and an increased appreciation that all of our limbs are still intact – or at the very least that our ankles aren’t being hobbled today.   Continue Reading

Horror Drive-In: Pros and Horror Cons


Pros and Horror Cons

When I mention that I am going to a horror convention, I am invariably asked the same question: Are you going to wear a costume?

Once upon a time, back in more literate days, fantasy conventions mostly consisted of professionals in the field–writers, editors, artists, publishers, etc.–getting together to talk shop. Fans also came to meet and hang out with with the authors whose works they loved.

It’s not so much like that anymore. Oh, most cons have readers, and you’ll see self-published writers along with pros trying to sell their wares. However, the focus has largely shifted away from the written word.Continue Reading

Paper Cuts: Option This! Vol. 1


Paper (n): material manufactured in thin sheets from the pulp of wood or other fibrous substances, used for writing, drawing, or printing on
Cut (v): make (a movie) into a coherent whole by removing parts or placing them in a different order.

Option This! Vol. 1

Welcome back, this is the second installment of Paper Cuts, a column about horror film from a horror reader’s (and writer’s) perspective. Huge thanks to everyone who shared the last post, read it, or sent me their thoughts, whether public or private. I was really overwhelmed by the response.Continue Reading

Antics on the Web: 'Talking About Death with Children with Dr. Earl, Part 1' Review

Antics on the Web: ‘Talking About Death with Children with Dr. Earl, Part 1’ Review
by Robert Brouhard

DeathToChildrenThe Internet is filled with everything. Search for something on Google, and you’re likely to find it. Some of it is amazing and beautiful. Some of it is odd and disturbing. Some of it is an amalgam of miasma and sensuality. You may even find ways to talk about Fluffy or your grandma’s passing with your children. The cartoon video of “Talking About Death With Children With Dr Earl Pt. 1” is probably not your best choice though.

Jamie Loftus and her friend Kelsey Lawler ran across a strange 8-track from 1976 in the attic of the Lawler & Crosby Funeral Home in Massachusetts. Why were they in a funeral home’s attic? The world may never know. Per the YouTube video’s description, a man named “Dr. Earl A. Grossman” (SP) made 8-track tapes during the 1970s discussing death with children and distributed them to New England funeral homes. Doing some research on the Web, I couldn’t find anything about “Earl A. Grossman.” Using a touch of Google-fu, I came to see that this is actually Dr. Earl A. Grollman, a Rabbi from Belmont, Massachusetts who has written many books for grieving families including the 1971 runaway hit Explaining Death to Children. His books have even been used at Harvard. Yes, I informed the maker of the video, Jamie Loftus, of the man’s actual name. It turns out that Jamie wasn’t wearing her glasses when she transposed the name in her notes. Oops. Jamie Loftus did all the work animating this video with Dr. Grollman’s audio.Continue Reading

"Untitled": The Horror Comics Column by Mark L. Miller

“Untitled”: The Horror Comics Column by Mark L. Miller

HouseOfMystery-174Hi there. I’m Mark. Some of you might know me as Ambush Bug at Ain’t It Cool News, acting editor of AICN COMICS and AICN HORROR’s various posts, reviews, interviews, and podcasts. Others might know me as the writer of comic books such as Black Mask’s Pirouette, Zenescope’s Jungle Book, and various other projects. Still others might know me from my day job as a licensed counselor at a residential home for boy and girls in Chicago, the town where I hang my various hats. Whether you know me from these places or are meeting me here for the first time, the only thing you need to know is that I love horror in all forms and when Cemetery Dance approached me to write a monthly piece on horror comic books, you better bet I jumped at the chance.Continue Reading

Horror Drive-In: Reading in Public


Reading In Public

Like most Cemetery Dance readers, I am sure, I rarely leave the house without a book in hand. Sometimes I leave a deluxe edition home and have a travel book to take with me. I guess it is similar to how some people feel about carrying a gun. Better to have a book and not need it, than need one and not have it.Continue Reading

Paper Cuts: My Least Favorite Meme


Paper (n): material manufactured in thin sheets from the pulp of wood or other fibrous substances, used for writing, drawing, or printing on
Cut (v): make (a movie) into a coherent whole by removing parts or placing them in a different order.

My Least Favorite Meme (and the “Best Movies” Listicle that will Hopefully get You to Read this Article)

Film_Book_MemeDid you know that Facebook has a “I don’t want to see this” button?

It’s true. Using it blocks a specific post from your timeline, but doesn’t unfollow or silence the person who shared it. After the third of my friends posted the meme you see to your right, I started clicking that button. Liberally.

Continue Reading