Ok, I’ll admit that I added Jessica Biel to the title of this post because a) her last name rhymes with ‘deal’ and b) a friend and I were just talking about her in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre remake back in 2003 and how we liked the movie mostly because she was in it looking all kinds of fine.
I mean, yowza! Anyway, horror fanboy fantasies aside, I do have some pretty exciting news to share.
I can’t believe it slipped my mind to announce this earlier, but the ink on my latest contract with Samhain is more than dry. They’ll publish my new novella, I KILL IN PEACE, in early 2016. This one is a total departure from what I normally dabble in (ghosts and monsters) and can be brutal. Reading discretion is advised. Here’s the elevator pitch :
Killing can be habit forming, especially when the texts and voices in your head give their marching orders and your victims deserve it. Peter Blades can’t stop weaving a path of destruction, unsure if he’s gone insane or become the puppet of a higher power, speeding headlong to a terrifying end while the world goes mad around him.
My sister has always been my first reader and editor, and I think this one may have scarred her for life.
I’m also thrilled to announce that I’m writing a sea monster novella for a brand new publisher (for me, anyway), Severed Press. I’m really excited to work with them because these ladies and gents know their monsters. The title of my book will be THEY RISE. I can’t give much away at this point, but I’m looking to meld Jaws with Swamp Monster Massacre. Strap in for this one! There’s no release date set yet, but I believe it will come out in 2016.
Believe it or not, there’s one more to announce, but I can’t just yet. Let’s just say the book is already written and it involves a cryptid on the loose. More on that very soon.
And that’s all the news that’s not fit to print. 2016 is going to be a veeery busy year.
On a totally different note, I’m wondering if I’m the only horror author with tickets to see Shania Twain on her farewell tour.
Gearing up for a crazy summer with two, count ’em, two releases – TORTURES OF THE DAMNED on July 28 and THE DOVER DEMON on September 1. Nothing like trying to cram all your fun into a small window of time.
I just got a delivery of bookmarks for both books and I’m happy to sign and send them to anyone who would like them. Thanks to Jerry Mulcahy for being my master designer. If you want the bookmarks, just send a self addressed, stamped envelope to : Hunter Shea, PO Box 232, Yonkers, NY 10701. I’ll sign those puppies and mail them right out.
Right now, you can get last summer’s smash hit monster thriller, THE MONTAUK MONSTER, on ebook for only $1.99. Load up your Kindles and Nooks and iPads for the beach, and don’t be afraid of the water…just what washes up on the shore!
And if monsters aren’t your bag, THE HAUNTED HALLS by Glenn Rolfe is free on Amazon aaaand Jonathan Janz’s THE NIGHTMARE GIRL is only 99 cents! You can get three great books for just under $3. I dare you to find a better dealio.
I know I’ve said in earlier posts that my book, THE MONTAUK MONSTER, is on display at the International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland, Maine. This is the museum created and curated by Loren Coleman. I haven’t been able to get there since it was put in the display, but thanks to Asher Ellis, I now have photographic proof! Kind of like what we have of the creature itself. Thank you so much Asher for taking the pictures and sharing. I’ll be at the museum this summer and maybe again in the fall with copies of my next cryptid book, THE DOVER DEMON, in hand. Now I can retire early and happy.
And a closer shot…
As part of the Monster Men podcast, I’ve gotten to interview great writers and super interesting peeps over the past 4 years. This time around, I think Jack and I have topped ourselves. We interview Daniel Rumanos – illusionist, paranormal investigator and debunker, member of the Dracula Society, writer for Honeysuckle Magazine and a man cloaked in as much mystery as he is controversy. As I said in the interview, he probably has the coolest business card of anyone we’ve ever met.
So strap yourselves in as we delve into the world of magic, ghosts and vampires….
One of the best parts of doing this blog the past 5 years has been the people I’ve met (both online and in person) who share the same passion for all things horror and monsters and insane. Today I present a great article by a returning guest to the blog and chain, Spencer Blohm, this time to talk about his 5 fave monster movies from the 80s. I saw them all in the theater when they came out and ended up buying them on VHS a few years later. Wish I had a damn VCR to watch them now!
The eighties. What a crazy time period, in the most general terms. In terms of horror? There was no other decade like it. Filmmakers took elements of classic Universal monster films and threw them into a centrifuge with the raunch and gore of H.G. Lewis style exploitation.
Here’s a look at some notable titles.
- Deadly Friend
Although best known for A Nightmare on Elm Street and Scream, Wes Craven is the man behind some of the strangest horror films ever made. One that gets overlooked is Deadly Friend, which stars Kristy Swanson (who you may recognize from the original Buffy the Vampire Slayer). Swanson plays a young woman who dies and is resurrected by her nerdy neighbor, who is also an amature roboticist. But wouldn’t you know it, she glitches out from time to time, and has these sporadic impulses to kill. Still not sold? The movie can be summarized by the following three words: “decapitation by basketball.”
- The Beast Within
Loosely based on Edward Levy’s eponymous novel, this film takes many of the conventions of lycanthrope films and places the story in a small southern town. A young woman is impregnated by a giant cicada monster. The woman bears a child named Michael, who appears to be normal until his 17th birthday, when he begins to slowly transform into a cicada beast himself. The film’s high point (or nadir, depending on who you talk to) is the film’s outrageous transformation sequence. Seeing is believing. The script was written by Tom Holland, who would go on to script and direct Child’s Play.
- Killer Klowns From Outer Space
You could say that the story is a tad thin, but that confuses the point. This is what happens when special effects artists decide to direct films — the emphasis is placed entirely on visual trickery. The Chiodo Brothers directed this self-aware horror comedy, wherein a gang of killer clowns descend upon a small American town. What the film lacks in nuanced dialogue or character development, it makes up for with highly imaginative sequences (including the scene where we see the interior of their spaceship…the clowns hibernate in pods of cotton candy). There was also the memorable theme song provided by California punk band The Dickies.
There is a legion of “Cannibalistic Humanoid Underground Dwellers” living beneath the city streets of New York. Legions of subterranean homeless people have come into contact with chemical waste, thus rendering them a bunch C.H.U.D.s. THe most memorable aspect of the film are the rather poorly constructed, fanged puppet heads. The film has been showcased pretty frequently on Robert Rodriguez’s El Rey Network (details about where you can watch it here) and stop by your local swap meet to find 70+ copies of the film on VHS.
You may know Stan Winston as the special effects wizard behind blockbusters such as Terminator and Jurassic Park. This was one of Winston’s only outings as director.The film centers around a grieving father in Appalachia whose son is killed in a vehicular accident by a group of reckless teenagers. The father goes to summon “Pumpkinhead,” a demon who lives in under a pumpkin patch. Not the smartest script in the world, but the effects are second to none. It’s the epitome of bad, special effects heavy, eighties horror films.
Yes, I’m diving back into the cryptid pool this September, this time training my sights on The Dover Demon, a bizarre creature spotted in a small Massachusetts town in the late 70s. The cover art was done by Kelly Martin and she knocked it out of the park. Pretty damn creepy.
I’d heard a little bit about this alien-looking creature, but didn’t get a true education on the legend until I met Loren Coleman on a trip to his International Cryptozoology Museum. In fact, the book is dedicated to Loren, who urged me to make the demon the star of my next show. And let me tell you right here, there’s more to this story, both the true accounts and my twisted take on them, than what you may think looking at the cover. This little cryptid defies classification. Gray aliens can kiss this beastie’s ass.
So, what’s it all about Alfie?
The Dover Demon is real…and it has returned.
In 1977, Sam Brogna and his friends came upon a terrifying, alien creature on a deserted country road. What they witnessed was so bizarre, so chilling, they swore their silence, their lives forever changed. Decades later, the town of Dover is hit by a massive blizzard. Sam’s son, Nicky, is drawn to search for the infamous cryptid, only to disappear into the bowels of a secret underground lair. The Dover Demon is more than they could have believed, and deadly. These creatures are not alone, and their desires cannot be stopped. Can Sam and his reunited friends battle a race of creatures so powerful, so sinister, that human history has been shaped by their secretive presence?
I know we have a whole summer between now and its release, but I had to share this cover. And if you’re in the Portland, Maine area on vacation, stop by the Cryptozoology Museum to check out the Dover Demon display. I promise, there will be no probing.
I have to admit, my fascination with witches has extended to Witchy-Poo from Bugs Bunny, Hocus Pocus and the TV show, Charmed, mostly because it had Alyssa Milano.
When it came to witches in horror fiction, I hadn’t even dipped my toes in the water until I read Brian Moreland’s THE WITCHING HOUSE, which was so good, I knew in an instant I was hooked on a sub genre. It came just in time, because I was getting pretty damn bored with vampires and zombies.
So imagine my delight when I found out that fellow Samhainer, Catherine Cavendish, came out with her own witch’s brew of horror, THE PENDLE CURSE. It only took two pages for me to realize I was in the capable hands of someone who is at the top of their game, and with that, I settled in for one of the best novels of this very young year.
Four hundred years ago, ten convicted witches were hanged on Gallows Hill. Now they are back…for vengeance.
Laura Phillips’s grief at her husband’s sudden death shows no sign of passing. Even sleep brings her no peace. She experiences vivid, disturbing dreams of a dark, brooding hill, and a man—somehow out of time—who seems to know her. She discovers that the place she has dreamed about exists. Pendle Hill. And she knows she must go there.
But as soon as she arrives, the dream becomes a nightmare. She is caught up in a web of witchcraft and evil…and a curse that will not die.
As someone who has a chronically ill wife, my biggest fear is losing her. So right away, I’m completely sympathetic to Laura, a woman trying to cope with the loss of her husband. There’s a little touch of a ghost story here, too, just enough to make you wonder what’s coming next and to feel her pain and curiosity about the strange things happening in her home.
Cavendish expertly takes us on a ride between past and present as Laura is cast under the spell of the Pendle Curse. A simple trip to get away from things and heal turns into an absolute nightmare. She does a fantastic job creating what could have been cookie cutter characters into fully fleshed out human beings with strengths and faults that make you love them one minute and hate them the next. I literally had no idea what was going to happen, and for someone who knows how the sausage is made, this is high praise indeed.
Now, the witches in The Pendle Curse aren’t sporting warts or riding around on brooms, but they are terrifying in their own right. And there’s a little something extra within these pages for fans of classic VC Andrews yarns. I’m not giving away any spoilers, because you have to get the book and read it yourself.
Catherine Cavendish is now on my top 10 list. I give it 5 out of 5 brooms!