Horror Drive-In: A Call to Preorder


A Call to Preorder

I hear quite a bit of talk about supporting writers by penning reviews of their work at places like Amazon. I suppose it does help a little, even though neither I, nor anyone I know, puts any stock in that sort of thing. I know that there are legitimate reviews out there, but there are also kiss-ass pieces by friends of the subject, just as there are hatchet jobs by those who dislike the author. Sometimes an author will have the temerity to voice an unpopular political opinion, or perhaps write a bitchy Facebook post. I’ve seen jackals gather ’round to defecate upon books by these writers as a form of revenge. As insane as it sounds, it really happens.Continue Reading

Horror Drive-In: Dear Mr. Death


Dear Mr. Death

Mark Justice
Mark Justice

Dear Mr. Death,

I understand that you have a job to do. I don’t like it, any more than I like the job done by the taxman. I guess both are necessary evils. We all have an appointment with you, sir, though I do regret that engagement. I am trying to accept the inevitability. Yet I feel that you have been working overtime too much of late.

You’ve taken famous people we’ve known all of our lives. Friends, family members. Your given duty, I realize, but perhaps you could take a holiday. An extended one.Continue Reading

Horror Drive-In: Retro Drive-In Snowstorm


Retro Drive-In Snowstorm

vhsTimes change. People change. Priorities change.

I was one of the most enthusiastic and money-stupid movie/home video fanatics you ever met. This lasted from the early days of VHS on through the DVD revolution and the decline of interest in physical media. I watched at least a movie a night, and often it was more than that. The memories are great, and I loved every every minute of it.

I always loved the movies, and I am old enough to remember times even before cable TV. I loved all kinds of motion pictures, and I enjoyed them at home on TV, in walk-in movie houses, but especially at drive-in movie theaters. There wasn’t, isn’t, and never will be a greater place to enjoy a movie than under the stars, with the biggest screen in all of history up there against the night sky.Continue Reading

Horror Drive-In: Why I Dislike 'Star Wars'


Why I Dislike Star Wars

SWPosterI was sixteen years old when Star Wars came out. Sure I saw it. Who didn’t? But allow me to go even farther back in time than that.

Science Fiction was always important to me. I had the advantage of having older siblings. Three brothers, and they all read SF. I was introduced to the genre very early on, and in fact the very first real book I read was Robert A. Heinlein’s Have Space Suit – Will Travel. Despite its unsophisticated title, it is a smart novel that is at once a satire, a rousing adventure story, and a sober look at the mechanics of human life in low or zero gravity.

From Heinlein I went on to others, like Isaac Asimov and Arthur C. Clarke. These guys, and maybe a few others, were about the extent that my brothers delved into the genre. Me, I went on to read it voraciously.Continue Reading

Horror Drive-In: The Book is Usually Better


The Book is Usually Better

You hear it all the time: The book is always better than the movie adaptation. Oddly, I mostly hear it from non-readers. They wearily repeat the mantra they’ve heard from tiresome readers like us. “I know, I know, the book is always better.”

But is it? The source novel of any adaptation is certainly much, much, better in most instances. Nearly all of them, in fact.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

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

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