Stephen King is back with Revival!

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US author Stephen King is pictured at a

As a lifelong “Constant Reader” of the books of Stephen King, I am happy to report that his newest novel Revival hits all of those notes we have come to expect as fans of his writing. And in the end he smashes those notes hard, and we readers definitely feel the impact. Taken only with the promise from King himself that the new book is a “straight-ahead horror novel”, I just burned through this one in a few sittings and don’t expect to forget about it any time soon.

All the classic themes of King’s fiction are here : faith, tragedy, disillusion, addiction, curiosity, obsession and death, and we get right to it in a great opening set in the Autumn of 1962 in (you guessed it) a small town in Maine. Our narrator is a six year old boy playing with a birthday batch of green army men when we first meet him, and right away a shadow falls over young Jamie Morton. This shadow, which King refers to as “the fifth business” -the joker that pops in and out of your life at odd intervals over the years – is a young minister named Charles Jacobs.

Jamie quickly develops an easy friendship with the new preacher and the two become linked throughout their lives, for the better and the worse. Jacobs proves to be a great inspiration for the children who visit his Parrish, and his wife and young son integrate themselves into everyday life of the small New England town. As he gets to know the new Reverend, Jamie learns that Jacobs has a love and special understanding of electricity, and begins a series of experiments that will continue for the rest of their now-intertwined lives. It starts off harmless enough, as Jacobs shows young Jamie an experimental photoelectric cell that he built to create the illusion of a plastic Jesus walking on water. This makes clear the Reverend’s secret side, one that possibly believes more in something else than he does in the light of the Lord.

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The Morton family is large, and we see the events of the story through the first person account of Jamie, but the rest of the family is important in many ways. His brother Connie is a huge part of the transformation of Reverend Jacobs, as he loses the ability to talk in a wicked skiing accident. After some time as a frustrated mute, Jamie convinces Con to let the trusted Reverend try one of his experiments on him, which is a great success. It is, of course, a slippery slope and the reverend begins to lose his way, believing that electricity is more powerful than God. Then one day, a tragic accident takes Jacobs wife and son from him in a graphic and horrible way, and the way of god is lost to him. He gives a sermon as honest as it is blasphemous, shaking the faith of everyone in the church that day, and then vanishes.

After what comes to be known as “The Terrible Sermon”, life keeps right on going for every one else, including Jamie. In the best King tradition, we follow along as Jamie grows up, has his first love, and follows his own path through life. Although Jacobs is gone, his influence is present all through Jamie’s passionately-written formative years as he has an electric first experience with sex, discovers his talent at picking the guitar, and falls in love with hard drugs.

It is later, when Jamie finds himself at his lowest point – homeless, jobless, and strung out – that his old fifth business shows up again. After leaving the hokum of religion behind, the reverend has now become a different type of con-man, a carnival barker with some impressive electrical experiments that wows the crowd night after night. Of course it is all smoke and mirrors to obscure his true experiments with what he refers to as the “secret electricity”, and it becomes obvious to Jamie that his old friend and mentor is continuing down a frightening path. However, it is a path that Jamie is now bound to, especially after Jacobs “cures” him of his heroin addiction and nurses him back to health.

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Years pass again, and now we see life from the perspective of middle-aged Jamie, who has worked successfully as a music producer for many years, without so much as a thought to the drug that almost ended him years before. Tragedy comes and goes, and it all feels much like real life, and then the wild card rears his head again. This time Jacobs again embraces his Preacher persona, with added cynicism, and he is found traveling the countryside giving out miracle cures to the bumpkins who show up to sing and dance and speak in tongues. Many of these cures are genuine, and Jamie learns the hard way of their side-effects but is powerless to stop his old friend from continuing his experiments.

It all gets darker from there, as Jamie, now an old man in the present day, does some detective work and learns that the after effects of his old friend’s cures range from mild annoyances to screaming fits of horror, suicide and murder. Jamie proves to be a fascinating character, especially in these later chapters after we have grown old with him. He knows the difference between right and wrong, but he also knows that there is something else, a grey area that his old mentor has discovered – and he is spellbound with curiosity as well as loyalty.

At just over four hundred pages, Revival is relatively short for a King novel, and the conclusion comes at the reader with frightening speed. We as readers are meant to feel just as trapped as Jamie during the final moments, forced to stare into the abyss at last. It is no coincidence that King dedicates Revival to classic horror pioneers H.P. Lovecraft, Mary Shelley, Bram Stoker and Arthur Machen. Although in recent interviews with the author, he claims to have chosen to believe in God, the bleak climax of the novel tells a frightening version of  truth and pulls no punches, giving us a nightmarish vision of an afterlife so horrible it brings about more questions than answers.

In the end, the novel poses one horrible new question, and paints an even more terrifying picture of the answer.
What if all religions, including atheism, have it wrong?

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Book Review : The Dreadful Death Of Edgar Switchblade

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Best known as one half of the incredible Gothic country duo Those Poor Bastards, singer/songwriter Lonesome Wyatt has proven to have many more tricks up his sleeve. In addition to his distinctly desperate howling on the many TPB albums, he has his own band known as The Holy Spooks which bring a creepy edge to his songs of desperation. A fantastic duet album with alt-country goddess Rachel Brooke released in 2009 showed us a slightly lighter shade of his consistent dark side. And now, along with his prolific musical output, he has added the title of accomplished author to his resume, with his new novel The Dreadful Death of Edgar Switchblade.

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A follow-up to 2012’s introduction to the colorful character, The Terrible Tale of Edgar Switchblade, the new book is a fast-paced violent trip into the warped mind of our pal, Mr. Lonesome.
Edgar Switchblade is a fascinating character; a religiously-obsessed mentally-disturbed cannibalistic bounty hunter born with cloven hooves. With his trusty horse Old Red by his side, who also enjoys quenching his thirst with human blood, and armed only with a deadly switchblade, Edgar wanders the world with the righteous intentions of cleansing the earth of the mad sinners and foul spirits which now plague it.
In the introductory novel, we learned the details of Ol’ Edgar’s strange upbringing, and followed him on a fast-paced first-person western/horror adventure into the darkness of Lonesome Wyatt’s fiercely imagined world.

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In the new book, written with the same distinct quick and dirty intensity of the first volume, we catch up with Edgar and Old Red right in the middle of a gruesome zombie apocalypse. Edgar dispatches the undead masses with gory glee and moves on to meet the man who commissioned his services, a mysterious character known as Reverend Hitchcock.
After taking some time to warm up to the Reverend, the trio finally join forces to embark on a holy mission to destroy an ancient demon wizard. Bizarre characters and uniquely chaotic scenes bring about the titular “death” of our heroes, but it takes a lot more than the notion of leaving his earthly body to stop Ol’ Edgar.
The writing is the star of the show, as Mr. Wyatt somehow manages to make the gruesome deeds and thoughts of Edgar Switchblade seem downright charming. He can slish and slash at the undead hordes until his trusty horse gets his fill, all in the name of his godly conviction. The turns of phrase are unique and convincing, as well-defined as any character in recent memory.
These twisted tales are not for everyone’s taste, for sure. They are violent and irreverent, and at times shockingly sacriligious, but all in the name of classic pulp fiction straight from the EC comics mold. Even the design of the thin volumes works to evoke that feeling ; the books themselves appearing wrinkled and tattered and edged with red paper, like something you would find on a magazine rack in a pharmacy decades ago.

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Readers will find themselves rooting for Edgar, even as they are repulsed by his words and deeds. He is the genuine article, a character so convinced of his own motivations that nothing stands in his way. These stories are fast and fun reads for us horror fans, and we can only hope that Mr. Wyatt can keep on spinning these tales for us in the coming years.
I know that I can’t wait to see what kind of horrific misadventures Edgar and Red will get into next.
As Edgar himself says at one point, “I still got so much Godly Violence and Cleansing to perform on this shit smeared world.
Both the books and all of the Lonesome Wyatt and Those Poor Bastards albums are available at the official Tribulation Recording Co. website, including a bonus audio adventure where Edgar teams up with Krampus (!) to teach children the true meaning of Christmas.
Lonesome Wyatt also has a great Facebook page, as does Edgar Switchblade himself!

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It is here at last! The Company of Shadows by Paul Gerrard.

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The Company of Shadows

It all started with an idea. An idea to take a stale franchise and breathe new life into a beloved horror film series. An iconic character redesigned, FX in place, and two creative masters at the helm, and the impressive Hellraiser: Origins trailer was born.

Being a big Hellraiser fan myself and seeing the ambition and potential from the trailer, I knew I had to keep a close eye on this project, which was clearly a labor of love. So I stayed in touch with Paul Gerrard over time to get updates and the latest news on the project. After hearing the project would not be picked up, mainly due to the original creator, Clive Barker, expressing his interest in revisiting Hellraiser, I was sorely disappointed.

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But Paul never wanted to let his vision die. Not only did he continue to create within that universe, he expanded upon it with a plethora of twisted new and exciting characters from god )or maybe something darker and older would be more fitting) only knows what perverse universe. Placenta Boy seemed to be the perfect poster boy for this campaign. For from something that was dead, birthed something more aberrant, more mad and beautifully grotesque than his deepest desires of hell.

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The Company of Shadows kickstarter was then thrust into a world where it would not be widely understood, if only because of its boldness to be original. His twisted notions of character design and body horror is the star in this, exceedingly brilliant with each turn of the page, art book. Accompanying each character is a fascinatingly written outline of that characters origins, past/present, and/or future, which really adds to its jaw dropping unearthly visuals. I have read and had my mind and psyche devour and absorb these pages over and over again. The great thing about this book is there is something new to see each time. Each detail, no matter how small, is painstakingly added for a reason. The images and the symbols found within, resonate in your subconscious well after putting it down.

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What resides in this tome is something that is uniquely important and better yet proof, to those that still believe there is still primordial creativity and new ideas swarming about in the minds of a few. One of the many great things about owning this book is knowing your money will be going towards making new IP’s using some of the characters from the book.

Paul Gerrard is best known for his work in Battle: Los Angeles, Wrath of the Titans, and even the new blockbuster hit TMNT, but I believe he will now be best known for his masterpiece, The Company of Shadows.

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Nicholas Vince gives us great insight into “Other People’s Darkness”

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“If I tell you the room is haunted, you’ll go in looking for a ghost–hoping you’re special enough to see one. You want to be special, part of the story. So you’ll do your best to see the ghost. That’s all ghosts are. Stories, which grow in the telling and we all want to be part of a good story.”

- Nicholas Vince, “Other People’s Darkness”

In the original Hellraiser films the “Chatterer” Cenobite didn’t really do much, other than sticking his fingers halfway down Kirsty’s throat, but he had an undeniably fearsome presence and has endured for decades now as an iconic monster.
In contrast, the actor who originally portrayed this demon, Nicholas Vince, is a very busy man and prolific author. After starring in the first two (read : best) Hellraiser films, and playing the great character of Kinski in Clive Barker’s Nightbreed, Mr. Vince kept himself busy in the IT industry, and writing for several different comic book series’, before returning to the horror genre.
Embracing his enduring legacy as the sinister Cenobite, Mr. Vince recently began hitting the horror cons. Widely known by convention attendees as a handsome charmer, it is obvious he has a great love of the dark side of life, and is very involved in the horror community and social media. He contributes to the Official Hellraiser Facebook page, along with his own page, and has begun holding a series of fascinating “hangouts” on Google+.
In 2012, he released his first collection of short stories, “What Monsters Do”, and saw it go on to be produced as a stage play last year. Creatively booming, he has continued his hard work in 2014, starring in the short film “M is for Metamorphosis”, joining the cast of Ashley Thorpe‘s upcoming Borley Rectory, and releasing another collection of short stories, entitled “Other People’s Darkness”.

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The book contains five genuinely creepy short tales, each one told from a unique perspective. The stories in this volume are titled and described as follows :

“Other People’s Darkness”: The world didn’t end on December 21, 2012, but Scott was given a gift—a terrible gift.

“Having Once Turned Round”: Red strawberry jam reminds Gregory he is about to murder love.

“Spoilers”: A visitor to a mansion brings deadly news.

“This Too Solid Flesh”: Tanya is Caroline’s best friend, and Caroline hates her. She enters the poison garden…

“Why Won’t They Tell Me?”: London, 1883. Eight-year-old Cassie wants the police to tell her what will happen to her, now that her family are dead. Perhaps if they believed her story, they would?

Personally, I love short story collections, and was excited to dive into this one!
Other People’s Darkness takes a long unflinching look at the darkness deep inside each and every one of us, and the monsters in these stories are very human.
Without a doubt, supernatural and strange events occur throughout these five stories, but in the end the theme seems to be that the most horrible things are the things we do to each other.

For example, in the story “This Too Solid Flesh”, a young woman is haunted by a ghost, but the haunter is not the bringer of horrible events, the woman is. In fact, all of the stories seem to bear this similar line of thought, even though the characters and situations are all wildly different. This one is a great example of Mr. Vince’s talent at creating characters across all spectrums of humanity, as the focus is on two very different female room-mates and their day to day lives, loves and dark secrets.

My personal favorite of the stories, “Having Once Turned Round”, tells the tale of Gregory, a man stuck in a drab loveless marriage, who arranges a getaway with his former lover, Alex. A horrible accident forces Gregory to make hard decisions and find a way to deal with the nightmare scenario that follows. The strong and believable character arc of Gregory as this strange story unfolds is a fascinating and resonating look at the true nature of some people and the secrets they keep. The character rings true in so many ways, and is an insightful look into the dark thoughts deep inside us all.
Did I mention that this story is insane? It is, and in the best ways. This story alone is worth the purchase.

“Spoilers” is a tense and intimate look at imminent death, and poses a fascinating theory at the forces at work behind the one thing no one can escape. Reading this story, I felt like it would make a great stage play, and I even posed that question to the author at his last Google Hangout. The response was that this story is being adapted as a film, which is great news. It has all the potential for a great minimalist film, as long as the leads are as convincing as the words written here.

The titular tale “Other People’s Darkness” starts the book off running with a fantastic opening line, telling the story of two friends reuniting years after one has left to join the army. After an accident involving an irresponsible driver, one of the young men begins to inexplicably see his friends in shades of red and grey. Desperate to understand what has happened to him, the story goes through some tragic motions and leaves the main character Scott with a dangerous power and some serious emotional issues. The tone is bleak but somehow still hopeful, and leaves the reader with the same feeling of helplessness as Scott.

“Why Wont They Tell Me?” is an atmospheric look at a family of “theatrical folk”, told from the point of view of an 8-year-old girl in 1883. Further proving the author’s deep understanding of people from all walks of life, this first-person story is eerily effective at making the reader squirm. A story of shadows and secrets, this one closes the book on a high note.

Over all, the stories in this collection are engrossing and fun reads, balancing seamlessly between darkly funny and cripplingly sad. Recommended reading for all fans of horror fiction.
Find your copy here, and keep yourself up to date with what this prolific author comes up with next by following Nicholas Vince on Facebook, Twitter, and Google +.

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Horror Comics at TFAW.com

Cenobites Who Write, Part 1 : Barbie Wilde’s The Venus Complex

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Best known for her nerve-wracking role in Hellbound : Hellraiser 2 as the menacing Female Cenobite, Barbie Wilde has gone on to cement her status in the horror world as a prolific author.
Her short story Sister Cilice, first seen in 2009’s Hellbound Hearts anthology, was an insightful look into the origin of her iconic film character.
First released by Comet Press in 2012, her controversial novel The Venus Complex is a beautifully-written and insightful look into the mind of an artistic and sadistic killer. Banned by the Edmonton Public Library earlier last year, the book is a must-read for fans of crime fiction, or anyone who has ever wanted to understand what exactly is going on behind the mask of sanity presented to the world by “likeable” serial killers such as Ted Bundy or Jeffrey Dahmer.

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Written in a “secret journal” format, the story of The Venus Complex follows the life and unfiltered thoughts of art professor Michael Friday as he recovers from a tragic accident and rebuilds his life.
Professor Friday is the handsome professional that hides many dark secrets from the world. He lives a fascinating dual life, reminiscent of recent literary serial killers like Dexter and Patrick Bateman, wearing the “mask of sanity” that never betrays his diabolical inner imaginings.
In fact, one of the earliest revelations into just how disturbed he may be is the fact that the automobile crash that wounded him and killed his wife was not exactly an accident.
As his recovery progresses, and through candid confessions to his journal, Professor Friday is revealed to us as a smart and observant budding serial killer.
The matter-of-fact way he looks at his life and the world we all inhabit have begun to poison his trains of thought (and give the readers some insightful social commentary), so he turns his focus to a young lady named Elene, a forensic psychologist who is employed at the same university.
Elene quickly becomes his obsession, and he turns the majority of his attention away from his disgust with modern society and focuses on her, his instant “soul mate”.
He finds himself unable to resist stalking and learning about her, and he quickly becomes an expert on the subject of Elene. He even tracks down an out-of-print book that she wrote about serial killers which provides him with the “moment of clarity” he has been searching for.
Spurred on by the insights he finds in his obssession’s book, our protagonist quite suddenly makes the decision to kill someone.
He writes in his journal :

I want…I need…to make a difference somehow. I cannot bear this dullness I feel, this unrelenting boredom with my existence. Maybe I should go out and kill someone. It would be the ultimate transgression, the ultimate high. The ultimate.

And, after passing that point of no return, the reader is taken along for the ride as Friday methodically plans and practices his new craft, which he refers to as “The Venus Complex”.
The novel races along with voyeuristic glee, as the reader is now made accomplice to Friday’s complicated plan. The journal style is greatly effective in making the reader feel complicit in his crimes, and has the strange effect of making us root for the “bad guy”!
The writing is tight and believable, chapters coming in varying bursts of rage and contemplation with each journal entry. Michael’s crimes become increasingly gruesome and he makes the precarious decision to assist in the criminal investigation of the case, which lead to some incredibly tense moments.
Michael Friday proves himself to be the ultimate professional in whatever he chooses to do, calm and cool even when his inner thoughts are screaming. He is a fascinating character in a great story, and this book is recommended reading for all of you fine students of Horror Homework!
Find “The Venus Complex” on Amazon.com here, and for more insights into the book check out my brief interview with Ms. Wilde below, but beware of some slight spoilers ahead for those of you who have not yet read the book!
Also stay tuned for Part 2 of “Cenobites Who Write” in the next few days, where we get to take a look at Other People’s Darkness, a new collection of short stories from the Chatterer himself, Nicholas Vince!

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I was lucky enough to have a quick chat with Ms. Wilde, and asked her a few questions about The Venus Complex. Check out the short interview below!

HH : As a British woman, how did you manage to climb into the mind of a wholly-American male character? Your insights into a certain male pattern of thinking were amazing.

Barbie Wilde : Well, although I’m based in Europe, I’m actually Canadian. I grew up in Canada and then the United States (including Syracuse, NY, where the book is set), so I’ve met and known quite a lot of North American men. As far as my insights are concerned, I just did my research, not only into the thoughts of serial killers, but also into regular guys’ mindsets as well. I was lucky enough to have access to some very honest male friends who gave me their opinions on how men see the world.

HH : Some of Michael’s more radical ideas and rants make sense in a dark way, such as his frustrations with globalization and overpopulation. How much of yourself and your own beliefs went into these dark confessions?

Barbie Wilde : After I created the character of Michael, I was able to get into his head and follow his line of reasoning. It’s almost like an acting job, if you like. I certainly can understand Michael’s rage at the world, at the state of television, at injustice and stupidity.

HH : The “diary style” of the book was a great way to get inside the head of this character. Did you ever consider (or try) to write it from any other point of view?

Barbie Wilde : I actually began the book in the third person, concentrating on Elene, the character of the forensic psychologist. I thought that it would be interesting having a female character as the protagonist. However, after a while I got bored, to be honest. I wanted to do something different: to write a whydunnit, rather than a whodunnit. My interests had always been in the behavior and motivations of serial killers, so the idea of creating a “diary of a serial killer” was born.

HH : The equation of sex and pain as [not?] mutually exclusive is a big theme in the novel, and depicted in a matter-of-fact way that is not for the squeamish, but rings as honest and true. Why do you think so many people can’t separate the two?

Barbie Wilde : It seems all part of the peculiar design of human sexuality where sometimes the lines can get muddled. Even the act of loving sex can appear to be violent to the voyeur. And the sound of ecstatic sex can sometimes be confused with the sounds of murder, especially the sounds that are generated from the female of the species.

Human sexuality is unbelievably diverse and it’s a bit of a fallacy to think that we are all the same. It’s 360 degrees of desire. (Hey, that sounds like the title of my next novel!)

HH : I found Michael’s trains of thought to be fascinating and well-considered. He was a true professional of his chosen field(s). Will we be seeing more of his continued work in the future?

Barbie Wilde : A lot of readers have asked me that. I will be writing a sequel sometime in the future.

However, at the moment, I’m working on a screenplay of a short story of mine called Zulu Zombies, which appeared in Gorezone #29, as well as the Bestiarum Vocabulum Anthology (published by Western Legends Press). I’m also working on the play version of Sister Cilice, which was my first short horror story about a Female Cenobite that appeared in the Hellbound Hearts Anthology, as well as co-writing a musical drama called Sailor, which is about love, loss and revenge, set in the ruins of post-War Marseille.

And finally, I’ve been approached to appear in an extraordinary and visually enthralling horror movie anthology called Bad Medicine, written by Amazon #1 horror author Dave Jeffery and helmed by Bram Stoker Award-winning director James Hart. The first segment of their Kickstarter Campaign continues until the 31st of March, so please visit the website and give generously: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1227140694/bad-medicine-feature-film-anthology-first-segment

For more news, reviews and interviews, please go to: www.barbiewilde.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/barbie.wilde
Facebook author page: www.facebook.com/BarbieWildeAuthorActress
Twitter: @barbiewilde

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Original Horror Shirts


Delirium magazine delivers the goods on Full Moon Studios!

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Billing itself as “the only film magazine made by filmmakers” the new bi-monthly print magazine Delirium is available now!
Edited by master horror journalist Chris Alexander (former columnist for Rue Morgue, and current editor of Fangoria and the newly-resurrected Gorezone), Delirium is a different kind of magazine.
Brought to us under the banner of Full Moon Pictures, this new periodical is meant to focus on the work and films of Mr. Charles Band.
A legend in the horror industry, Mr. Band is responsible for many of the classic Empire films of the early 80’s before forming Full Moon Studios and bringing us many new staples of the genre.
In fact, over the past four decades, Mr. Band has had his hand in hundreds of films of varying quality and relevance. The goal of this new magazine is much more than a simple advertisement for the works of Charles Band, it is a glossy look into the past and future of everything Band-related.

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The first issue smartly kicks off with an informative look back at the definitive cult classic Re-Animator, as you can see on the beautiful cover above.
The format of the magazine closely resembles the Rue Morgue layout from Alexander’s tenure, beginning with a brief editor’s note and a quick look at notable releases. News about the new web-series “Trophy Heads” and a re-release of the “ganja-version” of 1996’s “Head Of The Family” quickly leads into the Re-Animator coverage.
The articles include an insightful interview with director Stuart Gordon and a nice chat with scream queen Barbara Crampton (complete with stills of her assets). Capping it off with a look at the much-loved score by Richard Band and a fascinating serial memoir from Gordon himself, the Re-Animator coverage is informative and fun. Everyone seems to remember it fondly, and it is great to learn some inside information on the making of the classic film!

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Followed by an article called “The Birth Of A Director”, Alexander next interviews Douglas Aarniokoski about his experience in the movie industry. Known as the director of the new film Nurse 3D, as well as past experiences as an AD for Robert Rodriguez and Sam Raimi, Aarniokoski’s story is one of those great ones. A guy who loves movies just goes for it, and his hard work and dedication pays off. A very inspiring story!

Next, we get an inside look at Full Moon’s Wizard Studios imprint, which is designed to spotlight international indie filmmakers and give them a wide distribution through the new streaming service. They give us quick looks at three upcoming titles from the service, alongside quick chats with the creative people responsible for them.

A peek at the sequel for Killer Eye follows that, and a long and loving look at Stephanie Rothman’s 1972 film “The Velvet Vampire” which is one of many titles streaming under the Grindhouseflix label. In fact, the next article gives us quick synopses of a selection of titles also available to stream under the Blue Underground license. Some serious classics are on this list of exploitation flicks, including The Blood Spattered Bride, The Church, and Lamberto Bava’s directorial debut, Macabre.

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Things get wrapped up with a long and loving look back at Tourist Trap, and a final  thank you from Charles Band himself, reminiscing of the days of old Marvel Comics and the fond memories of “Stan Lee’s Soapbox”, where the readers were treated to a look inside the windows of the life of the creative person. This seems to be the mission of Delirium magazine : to take a long look back at the decades of work put in, and have a little fun doing it!

Over all, I very much enjoyed the first issue of Delirium, even though at some points it feels uncomfortably clear that it is essentially a 52-page advertisement for the films and services of Mr. Band. To be fair, however, the man has had a long and fascinating career in the horror industry, and it seems unlikely that Alexander and the other contributors to the magazine will run out of interesting stories any time soon!
Looking forward to the second issue, which will feature a close look at the great “Tombs Of The Blind Dead” series, and many more!
Subscribe to the magazine and peruse the unique Streaming Service here , and be sure to check them out on Facebook for updates and news about new and upcoming issues.

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Clive Barker : Imaginer

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Back in 2005, a hardcover collection of the artwork of the legendary Clive Barker was published under the title “Visions Of Heaven And Hell”. Now unfortunately out of print, it is a must own for any afficionado of the master of the macabre. I consider it one of my own prized possessions.
In the subsequent years, Mr. Barker has emerged as an amazing visual artist, something that many fans of his film and written work may not be as aware of. With the publication of his incredible Abarat series, each volume of which includes a staggering amount of beautiful paintings, he has proven himself to be as great a painter as he is a writer.
Some people just have it all, I guess!

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“I think of myself as somebody who is reporting from a world of dreams.”  -Clive Barker, interview for Barnes and Noble, Fall 2002.

Now, with the help of Kickstarter, we will be able to see a new collection of artwork from this living legend in the form of a new limited edition hardcover.
According to the Kickstarter page :

IMAGINER is the first comprehensive volume of the artwork of Clive Barker.  Featuring over 75 artworks and over 160 pages, the book will be a gorgeous large format of 10″ x 13″ inches.  There have been marginal explorations of Clive’s artwork in the past, but the most important part of this project is that the book is composed of entirely ALL NEW and ULTRA HIGH RESOLUTION image captures.  The detail is impeccable, and Clive flatteringly declared the difference in detail of the new captures compared to previously printed ones like the difference between “chalk and cheese”.  (Which means they’re really, really good!)

The purest, most direct path from the raw creative mind of Clive Barker to our world is through his artworks.  We are in the process of exhuming and documenting a lifetime of genius; these artworks are the origin points of characters we recognize, and hold hints of stories yet to come.  We expect this first book to be the beginning of a series of volumes examining his work in great detail, and are also in the process of documenting his creative process on film for a documentary titled Clive Barker: Imaginer.

This is an art book of the highest quality, and is being created with the utmost attention to detail to present the artwork as though you were witnessing the paintings and drawings in person.

With a nice selection of incentives for backers and fans of Mr. Barker’s work, this book appears to be another must have from this huge inspiration!
Check out the Kickstarter campaign for more details!

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Horror Comics at TFAW.com

Joe R. Lansdale enters the Black Labyrinth!

581049_319168734833386_212709402_nA new book from Joe R. Lansdale is always something to get excited about.
An author of some of the darkest, weirdest stories out there, he is an amazing talent and a great storyteller. I am a long-time fan of his work, and though you may not instantly recognize his name, you may know him by some of his more famous stories.

His novella Bubba Ho-tep was adapted to film by Don Coscarelli, starring Bruce Campbell and Ossie Davis. His story “Incident On and Off a Mountain Road” (one of my personal favorites) was adapted to film for Showtime’s “Masters of Horror.” He is currently co-producing several films, among them The Bottoms, based on his Edgar Award-winning novel, with Bill Paxton and Brad Wyman, and The Drive-In, with Greg Nicotero.

joe_r_lansdale_kickstarter_with_booksNow, the great people at Dark Regions Press are giving us fans a unique opportunity to produce and own a beautiful new edition of his next book. This will be the second book in what is being called the Black Labyrinth series.
The first in the series was “The Walls of the Castle” by Tom Piccirilli, and it has just been announced that one of the future books in the series will be a special edition of Clive Barker’s “The Midnight Meat Train”  It will be bound in alligator skin and will include special materials/writings and more created/based on the story.

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Here is what Joe has to say about the story for his upcoming Black Labyrinth novella:

“Currently working with Black Labyrinth to create a book of psychological horror, and well, a little bit of overt horror as well. It’s a novella, not a novel, but there will be plenty of room for shadow and sounds, for whatever it takes to scare a reader. What if there is a prison graveyard on an island for the worst of the worst. A place where the unclaimed go. Those who have been executed or died by disease or old age would end up on this island. Taken there by ferry in the middle of the night to be deposited in the ground like rotten rutabaga seeds. And what if on that island are two caretakers, a gravedigger and the ferry man. And with the remains of all that evil there in this dark, lost place in the middle of a great bubble of sea and wind and starry night sky, something goes way damn wrong.
And it isn’t at all what you think it is.”

These books are also being illustrated by an amazing artist, Santiago Caruso.
Mr. Caruso was born in 1982, in Quilmes, Argentina.
He is a symbolist and surreal artist, with an avant-garde concept but rooted in the nineteenth century´s decadentism.
He will create original color front cover artwork and four original B&W interior illustrations for Book II based on the story.

interior_illo_4_600pxJoe R. Lansdale’s Black Labyrinth Book II will be offered in ebook, trade paperback, Kickstarter exclusive trade paperback and three signed limited edition hardcovers. Find detailed information on each at the official kickstarter page for this project, along with other great incentives!
This is one kickstarter to get excited about!
Check it out, friends!

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The Lords of Salem

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The Lords of Salem is Rob Zombie’s newest endeavor. The film has been hinted at for years now, with various teaser posters and trailers popping up all over the internet. Being a huge fan of all of Zombie’s films (yes even both of his Halloween re-imaginings) I couldn’t wait for this film. It made its debut at the Toronto Film Festival in September 2012. Not being anywhere near Canada, I would have to wait until April 19, 2013, if indeed, it was playing at my local theatres due to a limited theatrical release. But I was given something by Grand Central Publishing, in March, to hold me over. A novel. So this review will cover both the Lords of Salem film and the novel.

Having read the novel, seeing the movie on opening night in the theatre, and watching the Blu-ray three times, (once with the Rob Zombie commentary) this will still be a difficult review to write, as this is a great movie that is not easily described. I will try to make it as spoiler free as possible, as I do believe this is a film that should be viewed.

Heidi (Sheri Moon Zombie) is a recovering drug addict and local DJ. Struggling with sobriety and depression, she receives an anonymous gift at the radio station. A wooden box containing a vinyl record for a band that only identifies itself as “The Lords.” As a joke she decides to play the record in their “smash it or trash it” segment. Something comes over Heidi and other Salem female listeners after hearing it. What unfolds is a slow decent into madness.
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The film stars Sheri Moon Zombie (Heidi Hawthorne), Bruce Davison (Francis Matthias), Jeff Daniel Phillips (Herman “Whitey” Salvador), Judy Gleeson (Lacy Doyle), Meg Foster (Margaret Morgan), Patricia Quinn (Megan), Ken Foree (Herman Jackson), Dee Wallace (Sunny), and Andrew Prine (Reverend Jonathon Hawthorne). In my opinion an all-star cast.

Rob is a talented film maker. With a recognizable visual style all his own, he has come a long way since House of 1000 Corpses. This is the first film he has directed that he actually had full creative control over, and it shows. Like a twist combination of a Kubrick/Argento film that has hints of Rosemary’s Baby and Suspiria in it, it’s the best way I can describe it. It is a film that has divided his fan base even further, after his ambitious Halloween films.
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The Lords of Salem is completely drenched in atmosphere. Without the buckets of blood and gore Zombie has become known for, this film has very little of these things. Instead he chose to build up on the dread as we watch Heidi delve deeper into hallucinatory insanity, and he conveys this masterfully. This is a disturbing film with scenes of odd and nightmarish pieces, the hellish “mummified” priests stroking dildos comes to mind, but this effect is not just Rob Zombie’s genius behind the director’s chair. Sheri Moon Zombie, being the lead in the film, actually carries the story very well with her acting, her best performance yet. The score John 5 (Rob Zombie’s guitarist) presents, perfectly compliments the film. He stated that he wanted to make a soundtrack that wouldn’t distract the audience, but would also not easily be forgotten, and he did exactly what he set out to do.
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2012, THE LORDS OF SALEM

The acting that we get from Meg Foster, Patricia Quinn, Dee Wallace, and Judy Geeson, was nothing less than fantastic. Meg Foster playing the “lead” witch of the coven, delivers her dialogue with excellent potency. The choice to cast these older women who would normally be seen as playing nice “Grandmother” type characters was a great decision, given they do some abnormally fiendish things.
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For me the novel, written by Rob Zombie and B.K. Evenson, was a must to complete my experience, even though it was a different experience altogether, they both complemented one another strongly. While the whole of the novel was mostly akin to the film, there were some violent scenes and other small changes in the novel that didn’t make it onto celluloid. Now I love violence and gore as much as the next horror fanatic, but I don’t think most of it would’ve worked well with the film, as it would have taken away from the ambience and atmosphere that Rob had worked so hard to build throughout. It fills in some gaps that aren’t really explained in the film, but aren’t completely necessary either. For a debut novel, it was very well written. It’s classic Zombie from start to finish.

I would grade the film a B+ and the novel an A-. However, I don’t think the novel could exist without the visuals of the film.



Great Halloween Costumes for the whole family.


Female Cenobite Barbie Wilde’s controversial new book!

581049_319168734833386_212709402_n2013 and we still ban books?
Yesterday, I would have thought “No way!”, but it has come to light that a public library in Edmonton has chosen not to carry the new book “The Venus Complex” by author Barbie Wilde.
The book is described as “one of the most tense and powerful stories I have read in a long long time” and “as intelligent and cultured as Hannibal, easily as disturbing as American Psycho and infinitely less reassuring than Dexter, this is a sexually-charged real life horror story that will definitely stay with you.”
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The official synopsis of the book is as follows :

A man rises out of an abyss of frustration and rage and creates works of art out of destruction, goddesses out of mere dental hygienists and beauty out of death. It’s also about the sickness and obsession that is LOVE.

Enter into Michael’s world through the pages of his personal journal, where every diseased thought, disturbing dream, politically incorrect rant and sexually explicit murder highlights his journey from zero to psycho.

author_desat_webNow, if you recognize the name and face of the author, Barbie Wilde, you get a gold star!
She is in fact the actress who played the Female Cenobite in Hellbound: Hellraiser II.
She has gone on to author this controversial novel and several short stories that have been collected in great anthologies!

299758_10150273840271969_6963726_nYesterday, the shocking news surfaced that the library refused to carry the book, confirming her new-found status as a “literary nasty” and causing Ms. Wilde to make this statement via Facebook :

I was always under the impression that public libraries were there to provide a service to … well …the public, and when someone goes to all the trouble to ask for a particular book to be stocked, public libraries would go out of their way to oblige their patrons. So when a writer who is planning to interview me told me that her local public library refused to stock “The Venus Complex” after she requested it, I was a bit taken aback.

According to a tweet I received from the Edmonton Public Library today, they get “15K requests yearly, we fulfill approx 60%”. They didn’t fulfill this particular request due to “supplier availability & minimal reviews”. Since “The Venus Complex” is on the Ingram database as a legitimate publication, has received many extremely positive reviews from high profile print and online magazines, as well as the Amazons, and is readily available as a quality paperback to be delivered in 24 hours from Amazon.com (as well as on Kindle), I could see no reasonable obstacle to the library obtaining my book from my independent, but well-respected publisher. Other librarians and people in the know have informed me that the book selection process seems to be down to budgets, the notability of the book and author, broad local tastes and the individual librarians’ own discretion, informed by understandably careful considerations of public funds and guided by recognized industry publications.

Some folks have pointed out that the Edmonton Public Library didn’t ban “The Venus Complex”, they just refused to list it in their catalogue. Well, from my point of view as the author and from the point of view of any potential readers in Edmonton that might be interested in my book, the result of the refusal is the same as a ban, at least at that particular library.

I am Canadian and I think it’s important to support Canadian authors and artists. I have now discovered that “The Venus Complex” doesn’t seem to be available in any Canadian public library. This situation is something that I will be trying to rectify in the future, hopefully with the help of interested readers who will come forward and continue to ask for the book to be listed in their local public libraries’ catalogues, not only in Canada, but in the States as well, since “The Venus Complex” is published by an American publisher. If enough folks demand it, then perhaps these public libraries will eventually have a change of heart.

The publishing world is changing fast. Independent publishers are becoming the norm, and if public libraries continue to follow old, established, traditional methods of choosing their books, then they may become redundant to a public that is already downloading books for a song on Kindle and ordering paperbacks and hardbacks from Amazon from the comfort of their own homes.

In “Deconstructing Harry”, a brilliant movie about the writing process, Woody Allen said: “Tradition is the illusion of permanence.” I think it would be nice if public libraries, for whom I have the utmost respect by the way, start to move into the 21st century and perhaps become a bit more adventurous and broader in their choices, to truly reflect the current mood of readers and what they are looking for.

1148974_10151648329281969_1557243521_nWell, now you really want to read it, don’t you?
I know I do!
Thanks for the controversy, Edmonton Library, you probably just skyrocketed the sales of this book for the lovely young lady who wrote it!
Get your copy right here!



Great Halloween Costumes for the whole family.

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