Come See Me This Friday In NJ – Talking Real Montauk Monsters!

Hey, if you’re in the New York tri-state area this Friday, Sept 19th, I hope you can come to the Well Read Bookstore in Hawthorne, New Jersey. I’ve been invited by the Science Fiction Society of Northern New Jersey to talk about the facts within the fiction of my book, The Montauk Monster. The fun begins at 7pm. I promise to make it an interesting night. I even have my own technical team on hand to make sure nothing breaks! That’s right, this author is head of the AV club.

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Author Keith Rommel On His Latest Novel And Upcoming Movie

The Monster Men sucked Keith Rommel right back into our madness to kick off our series of interviews that will be posted through (and probably past) the Halloween season.

Now, you all know his first book, The Cursed Man, is being made into a movie (well, you do if you watched our previous interview with Keith). Aside from that, he’s released 2 more books this year – The Lurking Man &  Among the People, and has big, big plans for the future. There’s also an invitation for a future project that, if it happens, you can all say you were there when the seed was planted!

Watch on, little brothers and sisters and remember to turn the lights off…

New Cover Reveal for Island of the Forbidden

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I just got the cover art for my January release, ISLAND OF THE FORBIDDEN, this weekend and I couldn’t wait to share it with you. This is the much anticipated sequel to SINISTER ENTITY, and like the previous 2 books in the series, it can be read as a standalone story. I have to say, this is the best cover I’ve gotten so far and it perfectly captures the nature of the book. Whaddya think?

Here’s a little tease about the book itself :

Sometimes, the dead are best left in peace.

Three painful years after her terrifying encounter with a doppelganger, Jessica Backman is called to help a strange family living on a haunted island in Charleston Harbor. Ormsby Island was the site of a brutal massacre two decades ago. The mysterious Harper family needs someone to exorcise the ghosts that still call it home.

But something far more insidious is living on the island. Dozens of phantoms walk the halls and roam the surrounding forest. What sort of evil lives and seethes on Ormsby Island? And why was Jessica chosen as the only one who could plumb its dark depths? Reunited with uber-psychic Eddie Home, whose own abilities have been shattered, Jessica must face crimes so taboo, no one will ever be the same.

More to come!

Come Play With Us

The ShiningI think Jack and I as the girls from THE SHINING may be creepier than the movie itself. So starts the official countdown to #Horrortober, culminating in what is going to be an epic Halloween! 

Huge thanks to honorary Monster Man Jerry Mulcahy for whipping this disturbing pic up. :) 

Forest of Shadows Coming to Audio

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Great news. I was just informed that Forest of Shadows, the book that started it all, will be made into an audiobook! It will be available in 2015 – no definite date set yet. For you ghost fanatics out there, this is where the legend of ghost hunter Jessica Backman begins – a tale about her father staring into the abyss, searching for truths better left unsaid. This led to Sinister Entity and next year’s Island of the Forbidden.

I wish I could be the one to select who does the narration. Here are my top choices :

  • Christopher Walken
  • William Shatner
  • Jef Bridges
  • The Aflac duck

Who would you like to hear narrate the book?

If audio’s not your thing but you want to stock up on some spooky reading for Halloween, here’s what Forest of Shadows has in store for you -

The dead still hate!

John Backman specializes in inexplicable phenomena. The weirder the better. So when he gets a letter from a terrified man describing an old log home with odd whisperings, shadows that come alive, and rooms that disappear, he can’t resist the call. But the violence only escalates as soon as John arrives in the remote Alaskan village of Shida. Something dreadful happened there. Something monstrous. The shadows are closing in…and they’re out for blood.

Pick up a copy today at Amazon!

Movie Review : AS ABOVE, SO BELOW

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Let me start off by saying 2014 has been the worst year for horror movies in recent memory. Searching for anything new worth watching has been like hunting for truffles with a pig with a sinus condition.

Theatrical releases have been paltry to say the least. When OCULUS is the movie to beat, things are bad. So naturally I was chomping at the bit to see AS ABOVE, SO BELOW. I don’t think I’ve logged on to Twitter in the past month without seeing a tweet about the movie. Their marketing push has been big time (and if I’m seeing it all the time, they know their target audience). Plus, the catacombs under Paris have always intrigued me, so it became a must-see.

Now, be warned, this is yet another found footage flick. Once I realized this, I was accepting that there would be logic holes, as in – why the hell are they still filming when they should be running? And I knew there’d be enough shaky handheld camerawork to make my lunch bubble up my esophagus.

That being said, I actually enjoyed the movie. Like Alien and The Descent, it preys on our fear of the dark and tight, cramped places. The only thing that can make it worse is the knowledge that something sinister is lying in wait in the stagnant pitch. If you’re claustrophobic, you might want to bring a Xanax to the theater and the number to your therapist.

Although it takes a while to get to the actions, once it starts, it never lets up. Yes, there are jump scares that you see coming, but even a hardened vet like me was given a start several times. It’s loaded with creepy sounds and images that after a while make it feel as if you’ve jumped on the haunted house ride from hell. Speaking of hell, if priests could convince people that what lies within these catacombs is a preview of an eternity in hades, churches would have to be expanded to house everyone with a pulse.

The story centers around a young, pretty professor named Scarlett who is the female equivalent of Indiana Jones. Her lifelong search for the fabled Philosopher’s Stone, that alchemistic magical stone that can turn common elements to gold and grant eternal life, has brought her to the catacombs under Paris. With a seasoned team of urban explorers, she hurdles without trepidation to a place far deeper and more terrifying than corridors lined with bones and skulls.

I’m not going to spoil things here. The acting is better than most found footage films and the story, though weak at points, keeps the tension pretty high for the last third of the movie. It’s a great date movie if you want to have your girl grabbing you and seeking the comfort of your embrace.

I think people tend to over analyze movies in general. Horror movies like As Above, So Below, have to be appreciated  for what they are – a great excuse to hold someone’s sweaty hand and have your heart rate accelerated every few minutes.

A Montauk Monster Video Review, New Project & Next Summer’s Thriller

I’ve now seen the coolest review of THE MONTAUK MONSTER. I want to give a big shout out – and thank you – to Erik Smith and his Low Budget Review Show (love the name!). I have to say, I think he said nicer things about the book and me than my own mother. If you haven’t picked up the book yet, I think Erik can give you the final push to grab one at your local bookstore or online.

 

 

After taking a summer break from writing, I’m gearing up to start my next book. I wanted to go back into the world of monsters and cryptids, so I figured who better to ask for a creature to unleash on my readers than world famous cryptozoologist, Loren Coleman. I have to say, he gave me a great one to tackle. I’m going way beyond Bigfoot and Montauk Monsters this time around. Get ready to meet a monster you may not have heard of before, but will never forget when all is said and done.

Pinnacle is planning to release my next summer paperback in July, 2015. It’s called TORTURES OF THE DAMNED. Set in a New York suburb right at the moment when the world as we know it ends for good, TORTURES follows an ordinary family thrust into extraordinary circumstances. It’s 100% zombie free and not your typical post-apocalyptic nightmare. If it gives you heart palpitations, I’ve done my job.

OK, that’s all the news fit to print for now. I’m going back to my first movie marathon of the summer. So far, I re-watched Dark Skies (I’m a sucker for alien flicks and this is a favorite), Alien Abduction (pretty damn good), The Quiet Ones (better than I thought it would be but nothing to crow about), Thor 2 (dig it), and finally watching Arrow (promising after 5 episodes). The Green Arrow/Green Lantern comics in the 70s and 80s were always a favorite team-up of mine. And even though I’m a Marvel guy, I’m oddly psyched for The Flash this fall.

Oh, and I have officially given up on The Strain. Damn, I really wanted to like it.

Journey To The Strange And Unusual

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Let this post be a lesson to you – always listen to your kids.

My beautiful daughter, Ivy, is a full blown teenage metalhead with her father’s bizarre tastes and view of the world. She’s been a huge fan of the band Motionless in White. These dudes are hardcore with music that’ll pound a railroad spike into the center of your skull – and I mean this in the best way possible. When it comes to metal, skull splitting is the goal. I recently saw them at Warped Tour and was blown away.

Ivy told me that one of the band’s members, Josh Balz (along with his girlfriend, Ryan Malarky, an incredible tattoo artist), owned his own oddities parlor, a place called The Strange and Unusual. If you don’t know what the name refers to, I command thee to go watch Beetlejuice. I’ve always said that my Ivy is little Lydia, only far less morose.

She’s been dying to go to The Strange and Unusual, and as a fan of the show, Oddities, I can’t say I wasn’t happy to take her. We made the drive out to Kingston, Pennsylvania and found the small yet oddly spacious parlor. Best of all, with Motionless in White in between tours, Josh was there. Really nice guy with a fabulous store of some of the quirkiest antiques, taxidermied beasts, mounted insects and polished skulls you’ll ever find. I walked around the parlor a half dozen times and my eyes kept catching things I’d missed on the previous circuit. It really is a feast for the senses (and head and shoulders above Obscura in NY – the place featured on the show, Oddities). It’s not cluttered or cramped, which made our stay even better. What made my day as the keeper of the books, the merchandise is reasonably priced, too.

Needless to say, the Shea family plunked down some cash so we could take a piece of the parlor home with us. Josh was happy to sign some autographs for Ivy and her friend and he liked my Samhain bloody syringe pen so much that we let him keep it. Next time I’ll bring some books as well.

As I always like to do when I visit cool places, I present the below gallery to entice you to hop in your car and check it out for yourself. Bring your wallet. You won’t want to go home empty handed. We’re already planning our next visit.

 

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baby doll

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skull frame

Nun

gas mask

Human Skulls

In Search Of…Inspiring A Generation

People ask me all the time what got me into horror. The answer has always been simple. Growing up a kid in the 70s, I was hooked by the weekly documentary TV show, In Search Of.

 

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It didn’t hurt that it was narrated by Mr. Spock, one of my idols at the time. His voiceover work on that show was always, and I mean always, pitch perfect. Somber, serious, Leonard Nimoy took us all on a trip to the weird and paranormal that has been noted as the inspiration for an entire generation of writers, directors and actors. I don’t think I’ve met a writer at Samhain Horror who hasn’t said this show deeply impacted their lives.

In Search Of was my classroom for the bizarre and unexplained. Every week, I sat in my living room sipping on a Nehi, huddled close to our TV that was as big as our couch (at least the cabinet was – the actual screen may have been 20 inches tops). It was where I was first exposed to Bigfoot, The Loch Ness Monster, ghosts, life after death, real buried treasure, aliens, the Bermuda Triangle and ESP, just to name a few off the top of my head. Everything seemed and looked so real, I couldn’t help but shiver at the thought of monster and ghosts populating the same world where I rode my bike with baseball cards in the spokes and played Wiffle Ball marathons until we could no longer see the ball.

The film itself was grainy, the terror palpable as each tale unfolded. Any episode of In Search Of back then was scarier than most horror flicks. And now that I can watch them on YouTube today, it still holds true. I’ve said it many times that the baritone of Leonard Nimoy’s voice is the horror soundtrack of my life. Without him and that wonderful show, I may have never discovered my true passion.

Summer’s winding down and Halloween will be here before you know it. Now’s a perfect time to watch this show for the first time or catch up with a long lost friend. At the very least, it will explain how we horror writers of a certain age came to be.

What’s your favorite episode? I know mine was Bigfoot and my first exposure to the famed Patterson Gimlin film.

The Truth Behind The Montauk Monster

What’s cookin’ monster dudes and monsterettes? Hope you’re enjoying your summer as much as I am and catching up on some quality reading time. August is the month I rest up so I’m ready for my favorite month, #Horrortober! Already putting together my list of horror flicks to watch and books to read.

When I’m not lounging around searching for my lost shaker or salt, I’ve been visiting bookstores, libraries and horror cons, talking about The Montauk Monster. And not just the book, but the real story behind the myth and how I tied fact and fiction together and injected it with a human growth hormone/speed cocktail.

Fellow Monster Man Jack and I recorded one of our get togethers where we talked all about the Long Island beasts and how the book deal came about. For those of you who can’t get to one of my talks, I present it here for your viewing pleasure (or displeasure).

What monster do you think is under-appreciated and needs its own book? You may be the person to inspire my next monster novel! If you live in the US and give a suggestion in the comments here, you’re eligible to win a signed copy of The Montauk Monster. Let your monster freak flags fly!

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