Who is Patrick Mason? I just ran across a few short horror films he wrote and directed, and they're truly scary. Like edge-of-your-seat gasp-out-loud scary. Not only that, but they're beautifully made with good actors, especially Ayuda (see below). The three videos posted here are the ones I've seen so far, but there are more on his site, which I plan to watch tonight. Can't wait to see where this director takes us next. Read the rest
When I was in junior high school, I joined the Science Fiction Book Club. One of the books I got from the club was an anthology that included several stories by Fredric Brown (who was primarily a mystery writer but occasionally delved into science fiction). Some of Brown's stories in the anthology were a mere page or two, and I loved their humor and surprise endings. As soon as I could, I went to the Boulder Public Library to load up on as much Brown as I could find. It turned out the library had just two of his science fiction novels: Martians, Go Home (1955), and What Mad Universe (1949). They were both terrific.
In Martians, Go Home a race of cartoonish little green men invade Earth for the sole purpose of being hideously bothersome pests, behaving very much like Internet trolls and Second Life griefers. (Artist Kelly Freas perfectly captured the personality of the martians in his cover painting for Astounding Science Fiction.) In What Mad Universe a man gets thrown into a parallel universe and has to figure out how to get back home. Both books are semi-parodies of science fiction novels (the protagonists in each novel are science fiction writers), with plenty of Brown's signature wry humor. If you've not read these novels, I highly recommend them both.
It wasn't until I was in high school that I scored a copy of The Mind Thing (1961), which is probably my favorite Brown novel, even though it is not as well-known as the other two novels, and could be arguably be classified a horror novel. Read the rest
As Ray Bradbury fans know, there's a curious minor character named Mr. Electrico who turns up in his creeptastic 1962 novel Something Wicked This Way Comes. Bradbury always insisted Mr. Electrico was real but scholars never could confirm that. Then in a fantastic interview from 2010 by Sam Weller in The Paris Review, Bradbury tells the uncanny story of how he met the real Mr. Electrico:
...He was a real man. That was his real name. Circuses and carnivals were always passing through Illinois during my childhood and I was in love with their mystery. One autumn weekend in 1932, when I was twelve years old, the Dill Brothers Combined Shows came to town. One of the performers was Mr. Electrico. He sat in an electric chair. A stagehand pulled a switch and he was charged with fifty thousand volts of pure electricity. Lightning flashed in his eyes and his hair stood on end.
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The next day, I had to go the funeral of one of my favorite uncles. Driving back from the graveyard with my family, I looked down the hill toward the shoreline of Lake Michigan and I saw the tents and the flags of the carnival and I said to my father, Stop the car. He said, What do you mean? And I said, I have to get out. My father was furious with me. He expected me to stay with the family to mourn, but I got out of the car anyway and I ran down the hill toward the carnival.
Ice Cream Man is one of the comic books I most look forward to every month. Written by W. Maxwell Prince with art by Martín Morazzo and Chris O'Halloran, it's basically a horror anthology that mines the existential depths of suburban ennui. And all of it, or some of it, may tie back to the Ice Cream Man, who might be a demon, or a God, or maybe it's all in your head. Each issue is a done-in-one, focusing on a new and different character (although there are some subtle connections between them), and many of them take hyper-stylized approaches to graphic storytelling — an entire issue written and drawn as a palindrome, for example; and another one where an incident with Neapolitan ice cream bar creates 3 splintering timelines, shaded in chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry (A Vulture review compared this issue to "Sliding Doors, but terrifying," which is accurate).
Unfortunately, the comic book industry is now indefinitely on hold thanks to the coronavirus pandemic (an invisible existential horror which would actually be right home in an issue of Ice Cream Man).
But now the creators of Ice Cream Man have launched Quarantine Comix, a digital-only collection of short comics in Ice Cream Man continuity that they'll release online once or twice a week. There's more:
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Half of profits go to the Book Industry Charitable Foundation (BINC), which supports struggling booksellers. This includes local Comic Book Shops, who are facing unprecedented financial hardship after the closure of many of their stores, the temporary shuttering of their distribution system, and the non-operation of pretty much every paper printer in the country.
A hit movie with a trailer that is comically horrible. I guess the trailer doesn't matter.
This movie was a huge thing during my childhood. I was never into slasher flicks. RomComs are scary enough. Read the rest
Kaci the Homicidal Homemaker made this deliciously sinister cake inspired by the carpet at the Overlook Hotel. [via Marshall Julius]
Also, Hellraiser brownies:
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Above: In 1987, TV newsmagazine 20/20 revealed the real horror of horror movies: children watching splatterpunk films on VHS in the comfort of their living rooms!
"Fair warning though: There is some graphic violence in this. But we say that for you, not your kids -- they've probably already seen it."
Below, The Damned's tribute to the genre, "Nasty" (1984):
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The Maine Democratic Party has teamed up with the progressive sticker-and-more company Bumperactive (previously) to produce a line of Stephen King-themed, anti-Susan Collins merch, with proceeds going to unseat the Republican Senator whose repeated acts of cowardice (especially during the Kavanaugh confirmation hearings) demonstrated that she had no commitment to either her stated principles or the people of Maine. There are four graphics in all: "Trump as Pennywise the Clown, Susan Collins in 'Debt Sematary', Susan as Jack Nicholson from The Shining, and of course, Stand By ME," available as tees ($30), posters ($25 or $45 for four) and vinyl stickers ($4 for 2 or all four for $15).
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The upcoming Dracula miniseries is written by Sherlock’s Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat and sounds like it'll have us rooting for the sexy villain:
They’ve made him the hero of the show, the protagonist – though still just as nasty. He has no moral dilemmas, he just wants to eat people. A creature who has seen empires rise and fall, who has seen it all before and who likes humanity – they are his food source after all. And by now he’s become quite a connoisseur of humanity.
Here's the first trailer:
Dracula will premiere on BBC One in the UK and on Netflix outside of the UK and Ireland. "Episodes will be directed by Jonny Campbell, Damon Thomas and Paul McGuigan, whose impressive list of credits include Westworld, Killing Eve and Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool, respectively." Read the rest
Renowned sci-fi and fantasy publisher Tor just launched a new book imprint called Nightfire, focusing on new horror fiction. And to celebrate, they're giving away 35 free short horror stories as audiobooks. The list includes stories by Alyssa Wong, Chuck Wendig, China Miéville, Carmen Maria Machado, and more.
The only catch is that the stories are only available through the GooglePlay Store, or through Google Assistant commands. This is only really a minor inconvenience if you (like me) are not an Android user—but also if you're like me, it's totally worth it.
Come Join Us By The Fire: 35 Short Horror Tales From Nightfire Books Read the rest
All hail the queen of Halloween. You gotta watch the video, the chainsaw arm makes a scary sound and everything. Read the rest
Josh O'Neill writes, "We're doing a box set edition of Dracula in which we reconstitute the novel into the primary source documents from which it's drawn: Mina's diary, Lucy's letters, Dailygraph newspaper clippings, even an actual phonograph record from Dr. Seward. It comes in a suitcase. Or a wooden casket or stone crypt, depending on the edition."
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The Gate is a short creature feature with some sharp creepy moments, the docu-footage look, and a self-subverting lesson about drugs and faith in government. It slips perfectly into a certain British tradition of clinical secular horror (Chimera, Ultraviolet, 28 Days Later), awful things lurking where science and bureacracy meet. Read the rest
Ruairi Robinson's short sf/horror film Corporate Monster is a contemporary take on the classic (and still trenchant) 1988 John Carpenter movie "They Live": in Robinson's take, a recently fired corporate drone gets an experimental drug that lets him see the truth of his corporate overlords and their enforcer class. It's beautifully shot and acted, though the whole story arc comes off as a little slight, not sure whether it's serious or silly (a line that They Live walked beautifully). Worth 16 minutes of your time, to be sure. (via JWZ)
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The Mr. Creosote sketch from Monty Python's The Meaning of Life went viral this weekend after director Quentin Tarantino was alleged to have said it's the only scene in film he was ever disturbed by. Watching it, it struck me that I'd never actually seen the whole thing, and that you might not have, either.
I read somewhere, perhaps Michael Palin's autobiography, that under the hot studio lights and the long, technical takes, the food matter on the set began to reek and one of the extras vomited for real. Read the rest
Now I have a great excuse to rewatch Midsommar, Ari Aster's disturbing and beautifully executed horror movie about a group of American grad students who visit a creepy Swedish nature cult. After I saw it I tweeted that it was the best Wicker Man remake I've ever seen, and I meant it as a compliment.
From the iTunes Store:
Your purchase of Midsommar comes with Ari Aster’s extended and unrated director’s cut, exclusive to Apple TV. Plus go behind the scenes with the cast and crew of Midsommar in an exclusive featurette, and watch the creation of Hälsingland in time-lapse footage of the elaborate and meticulous set construction.
In her review on Bloody Disgusting, Julieann Stipidis writes: "After witnessing the more comprehensive version of Aster’s vision in this (nearly) three-hour film, I’m happy to say I prefer this cut in spades.” Read the rest