Ah, October, or #Horrortober to me. 31 days of ghouls and ghosts, tricks or treats, pumpkin ale and comfort food. What’s not to like? I’m going to kick things off in grand style today, so be sure to read this here post from top to bottom. Lots o’ treats (aka giveaways for your trick or treat bags) for everyone.
This year, the Monster Men released our Halloween special a little early so you can gather great movies to watch and books to read. We also try a new pumpkin ale that you might want to stock in your fridge.
If you’re looking for more terrifying books, check out my 2015 Horrortober Reading List.There are some great reads on there by authors like Nick Cutter, Brian Moreland, Catherine Cavendish and more.
I’ve decided to try something new…at least new for me. At the start of 2015, I set a goal to write 4 books before the end of the year. Well, it’s time to start book #4. But this time around, I don’t want to do it alone.
I get asked questions about the writing process all the time. I tell everyone it’s a marathon, with highs and lows, successes and failures. Some days, I can’t wait to get to my laptop. Others, I’d rather give Brazilian waxes to gorillas than sit down and write even one page.
The rest of this year is going to be tough. Aside from all the holidays, there’s a ton of personal stuff lying in wait for me and my family. We can see it all written down on our calendar for October and November. So, writing my new book for Samhain will be a challenge and a half.
This time around, I want you to follow me every step of the way. No, I don’t have room in my house for everyone. But thanks to Twitter, Facebook and this blog, I have plenty of ways to share the process. You’ll get to see the good, the bad and the ugly. Each day will be different. I’ll share pictures of where I wrote, word count for the day, how I felt, what stumped me, what worked – all the things that go into getting to The End.
Twitter will be my daily stop. You can check it out by following the hashtag #HunterWrites. I’ll stick larger posts on Facebook and this blog from time to time as well. Feel free to send me questions along the way, words of encouragement, your own tips, hell, whatever comes to mind. When it’s all said and done, you’ll know exactly how I managed to write my fourth book this year over the next few months.
The name of the book will be WE ARE ALWAYS WATCHING. Now, you’ll always be watching me. I started it off in my little writer’s lair, pictured below. Before it’s finished, I suspect I’ll have written parts all over the place.
You don’t even have to go to hell to stride along with this demon. I’m very happy to announce that The Dover Demon Blog Tour has begun, 6 weeks of cryptid love with chances to win signed books and more. This may be a critter you’ve never heard of, but I promise you’ll never forget him…or her…after you’ve read the book.
“Hunter Shea takes these (cryptid) legends to a petrifying new place and drags you along for the ride. He is quickly becoming of the authors I can count on for a great read. 4.5 out of 5 stars! Horror Maiden’s Book Reviews
Big thanks to Erin El Mehairi for putting everything together. She is truly the patron saint of horror’s lost boys. Visit the tour stops by clicking the above image and make sure to enter the Rafflecopter giveaway for your chance to win signed books.
You can get The Dover Demon in trade paperback or ebook at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Samhain Publishing and everywhere books are sold. This little sucker doesn’t phone home and he’ll do very bad things with Reese’s Pieces if you let him.
Jack and I jaw about The Dover Demon in the latest episode of Monster Men, as well as some great horror movies you should add to your to-watch list for #Horrortober. Oh yeah, it’s that time again!
As always, I start my Horrortober reading in mid September so I can get to as many dark delicacies as possible. For those of you new to my Horrortober, it’s essentially my total immersion in all things horror from now until Halloween. During this special time, I only read horror and watch at least one horror movie a day.
Yes, there are a lot of Samhain books on here or books by authors who have published with Samhain. What can I say, they’re putting out some of the best new horror around, just like the good old days at Leisure. And yes, I have two, count ’em, two books on the list called The Deep. It’s an ambitious list this time around, but I think I’m up to the task. And of course there will be short stories, mags like Horrorhound, Rue Morgue, Fangoria and more. I’m buckling in as I write.
So, if you’re looking for some great spooky reading, come along with me…
BIGFOOT BEACH by Kristopher Rufty
A bizarre, brutal murder. A missing woman. And a giant footprint in the sand. Now, the dying beach community known as Seashell Cove finally has a hook to attract the tourists—a Bigfoot on the beach! As the summer season winds down, the tourists go home and the town begins preparing for the colder months.
Soon, more strange footprints are found, other mysterious sightings are reported. Then the deaths begin. Could there really be a Bigfoot running loose in Seashell Cove?
A tracker with a personal agenda, the local sheriff, a hero whose fifteen minutes of fame expired a long time ago, and a female reporter looking for a scoop will team up to find out for sure.
DARKNESS RISING by Brian Moreland
It’s all fun and games until…
Marty Weaver, an emotionally scarred poet, has been bullied his entire life. When he drives out to the lake to tell an old friend that he’s fallen in love with a girl named Jennifer, Marty encounters three sadistic killers who have some twisted games in store for him. But Marty has dark secrets of his own buried deep inside him. And tonight, when all the pain from the past is triggered, when those secrets are revealed, blood will flow and hell will rise.
THE DEEP by Nick Cutter
TRIBESMAN by Adam Cesare
Thirty years ago, cynical sleazeball director Tito Bronze took a tiny cast and crew to a desolate island. His goal: to exploit the local tribes, spray some guts around, cash in on the gore-spattered 80s Italian cannibal craze.
But the pissed-off spirits of the island had other ideas. And before long, guts were squirting behind the scenes, as well. While the camera kept rolling…
TRIBESMEN is Adam Cesare’s blistering tribute to Cannibal Holocaust and Lucio Fulci: a no-bullshit glimpse into grindhouse filmmaking, stuffed inside a rocket of tropical non-stop mayhem.
WE ARE MONSTERS by Brian Kirk
The Apocalypse has come to the Sugar Hill mental asylum.
He’s the hospital’s newest, and most notorious, patient—a paranoid schizophrenic who sees humanity’s dark side.
Luckily he’s in good hands. Dr. Eli Alpert has a talent for healing tortured souls. And his protégé is working on a cure for schizophrenia, a drug that returns patients to their former selves. But unforeseen side effects are starting to emerge. Forcing prior traumas to the surface. Setting inner demons free.
Monsters have been unleashed inside the Sugar Hill mental asylum. They don’t have fangs or claws. They look just like you or me.
BLOOD AND RAIN by Glenn Rolfe
The light of a full moon reveals many secrets.
Gilson Creek, Maine. A safe, rural community. Summer is here. School is out and the warm waters of Emerson Lake await. But one man’s terrible secret will unleash a nightmare straight off the silver screen.
Under the full moon, a night of terror and death re-awakens horrors long sleeping. Sheriff Joe Fischer, a man fighting for the safety of his daughter, his sanity and his community, must confront the sins of his past. Can Sheriff Fischer set Gilson Creek free from the beast hiding in its shadows, or will a small town die under a curse it can’t even comprehend?
One night can—and will—change everything.
DARK AVENGING ANGEL by Catherine Cavendish
Don’t hurt Jane. You may live to regret it.
Bullied by her abusive father, Jane always felt different. Then the lonely child found a friend in a mysterious dark lady who offers her protection—a lady she calls her “angel”. But that protection carries a terrible price, one to be paid with the souls of those Jane chooses to suffer a hideous and eternal fate.
When Jane refuses to name another victim, the angel reveals her most terrifying side. Payment must be made in full—one way or the other.
THE DEEP by Michaelbrent Collings
A woman searching for a sister lost at sea. A man bent on finding lost treasure. A mother who has lost all hope. A maniac who believes all life exists for his pleasure. The man who would keep them all safe.Together, they will all seek below the waves for treasures long buried, and riches beyond belief. But those treasures hide something. Something ancient, something dark. A creature that exists only to feed on those that would enter into its realm. A creature… of The Deep.
THE RED HIGHWAY by Robert E. Dunn
God bless Spencer Blohm. Just when my blogging mind is getting weary, he comes to the rescue with another indepth look at our favorite genre. I absolutely love this particular topic. I mean, horror without sex is like Halloween without candy, football without arrest records, politics without worthless bastards. OK, enough of me. Spencer, take it away…
Sex and horror have always had a twisted relationship ever since the iconic shower scene of Hitchcock’s Psycho, but there’s a lot more to it than simply providing titillation for the genre’s target demographic. In fact, just about every horror flick has some sort of sexual insinuation or encounter that leads to the untimely demise of those involved. The Cannes Film Festival hit It Follows, recently released on Blu Ray, involves a sexually transmitted “haunting” that follows its infected victim with the intent of murder. Sitting as a prime example of an examination of the relationship between teenage sexuality, taking that step into adulthood, and typical horror tropes, this film does not condone or condemn the sexual encounter like others typically do.
1980’s Friday the 13th (available on Vudu) practically created the slasher subgenre, and a running theme of that and countless other horror franchises is the villain’s tendency to punish those who engage in drinking, drug use, or premarital sex. This almost always leads to a finale in which a “virtuous virgin” who has abstained from temptation throughout the film is able to defeat the monstrous evil she confronts. This “Final Girl” trope, originally coined by Carol J. Clover in her book Men, Women, and Chainsaws: Gender in the Modern Horror Film, is typically portrayed as the conservative idea of what a women “should be,” and has pervaded horror cinema for decades, leading to dozens of predictable climaxes.
But as the trend became more obvious, horror filmmakers began to examine and deliberately subvert it, to varying effect: Cherry Falls (hard to find, but you can get a copy here) tells the story of a killer who targets virgins at a high school, and Wes Craven’s Scream (currently on Netflix) gave us characters who were fans of horror films and knew about both the sex and Final Girl rule – rules which the film cheekily broke in its third act. The 2009 film Jennifer’s Body (on Verizon on-demand) gives us a demon who possesses a gorgeous teenager and feeds on her male classmates. When the trope is inverted in this manner, the killing often occurs during intercourse. This is made as explicit as possible in the unsettling French film Trouble Every Day (hiding, but is on Google Play), about a femme fatale who seduces men so she can eat them, and in the 1995 sci-fi thriller Species, in which an alien takes the guise of a beautiful woman for the purpose of mating with a human and creating a new breed to destroy all of humanity.
Regardless of how the trope is utilized, the misogyny behind it remains intact. There often seems to be a notion that women’s sexual behavior is to be scrutinized, revealed, and accounted for, whether she is villain or victim. This idea has close ties to the puritanical culture that demonizes sex in the first place, and reinforces the concepts of “slut-shaming” and male-dominated, patriarchal society. The flip side of the argument is that the Final Girl trope itself originally grew out of feminist ideals; the physically strong male film hero who fights his way through danger had been replaced by a willful young woman who uses guile to escape a grisly fate. Whatever the reasoning, the stubborn trope continues to exist, even in films that set out to deconstruct it.
The use of the monster as an STD metaphor in It Follows further strengthens the link between sex and death in horror, and reinforces the absurd notion that having sex, which creates life, could lead to murder, which ends it. Why is this link so durable in horror cinema? Perhaps it’s the commonly held belief that premarital sex is somehow wrong and deserving of punishment. A more plausible psychological explanation is Freud’s “death drive”, the impulse in us that is drawn to danger and actually thrilled by the prospect of potential harm. Furthermore, Freud presented the overarching idea that this death drive coincides with a drive to seek pleasure, inexplicably linking sex and horror as part of human nature.
Regardless of what drives it, sex and horror will continue to have a long and fruitful relationship. As long as films like It Follows and Cabin in the Woods (see here) continue to find new and intriguing ways to explore the connection, there’s no reason for it to stop anytime soon.
Little Iris Shea is sick for the first time in her 9 years on this blue and green globe. As a lazy house cat, she has it pretty darn good. I’d love to go 9 years without an illness. Hell, some years, I’ll take 9 weeks. Turns out she has an eye infection and a small heart murmur. We knew something was wrong when she woke up looking like Popeye and moved around the house less than usual. She wouldn’t let me take a pic of her bad eye, but this is pretty much her position at my feet for the entire day…
She did tell me she wants me to spread the word about the Rafflecopter giveaway for a signed copy of my apocalypse love song, TORTURES OF THE DAMNED. You have until Sept 24th to enter. Click here to enter the Rafflecopter apocalypse special! Reviews have been excellent and the ending is definitely causing a stir.
OK, that’s all for now. I have to go light up the BBQ and roast some weenies. I’ll be using my father’s tried and true method for grilling – each meat requires a certain number of beers to be imbibed before it’s good to go.
To get all the latest news and giveaways before the rest of the world, sign up for my Dark Hunter Newsletter today!
Oh yes, the day is finally here. My latest foray into the world of cryptozoology horror – THE DOVER DEMON – takes one of the lesser known but strangest of all cryptids on a wild adventure that has thoroughly creeped out advance readers and reviewers. Having faced Bigfoot in SWAMP MONSTER MASSACRE and delved into the mystery of THE MONTAUK MONSTER, I wanted to tackle a cryptid that hasn’t had as much public recognition. A trip to the International Cryptozoology Museum 2 years ago sparked the idea for THE DOVER DEMON.
While I was there, I was lucky enough to meet famed cryptozoologist, Loren Coleman. We got to talking about creatures he’s personally investigated. Turns out, he was the man on the scene in Dover, MA in the late 70s when the uber strange biped was spotted by several people over the course of two nights in April. He also gave it its name, the Dover Demon. As a lover of monsters and aliens, I couldn’t resist. I mean, look at that mug!
Believe it or not, to this day, people still aren’t sure what they saw. Yes, today most people would see the image and think it’s an alien from a visiting UFO. But here’s where it gets interesting. The witness who drew the first image did it before the ‘gray alien’ became an internationally recognized icon! This was before the movie Close Encounters of the Third Kind and years prior to Whitley Strieber’s Communion.
I was so fortunate to have an early release event at the I.C.M. in August. I got to spend some quality time with Loren Coleman and meet people just like myself who are fascinated by the wondrous creatures that have been spotted around the world. Cryptid fans from out of state made the drive to get some Dover Demon love!
At the time it was spotted, it was treated as a terrestrial creature, though the high strangeness of the event brought MUFON to the town as well. No one could figure out what came to visit Dover, and the story hasn’t been recanted by the witnesses even 30+ years later. So, the mystery continues.
My novel takes on several questions:
- What if other people saw the creature that night but never reported it because their run in with the creature was as terrifying as it was strange?
- What if the Dover Demon makes a return in 2015? What would it, or they, want?
- What if it isn’t anything that people have theorized it to be?
Here’s the official blurb for the book –
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. But their lives were changed forever.
Decades later, the town of Dover has been 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 far deadlier than anyone could have believed. And there are many of them. Can Sam and his reunited friends rescue Nicky and battle a race of creatures so powerful, so sinister, that history itself has been shaped by their secretive presence?
I lovingly wrote this for all the monster/cryptid/horror lovers out there. So take my hand and let’s walk the moonlit paths of Dover. You never know what you’re going to find.
You can get THE DOVER DEMON in trade paperback and ebook. Click here to access my bookstore page!
And if you’re in the Portland, Maine area, check out the International Cryptozoology Museum, or visit the website and support Loren’s little gem, the only museum dedicated to cryptids in the world.
It’s been almost a month since I was at the second annual Scares That Care con and I’m just getting around to sharing the fun. Yeah, it’s been a bit hectic. Better late than never!
As with any con, I always let the pictures do the talking. This year, the pictures are better than ever thanks to awesome photog Tom Wolstencroft, who also happens to be my brother-in-law and world class book salesman. I loved his hook this year when people came by my table – “Do you like to read?” Sounds crazy, but it worked!
Before I share all the fun pics, I do want to say thank you to everyone who stopped by my table, bought a book, drank a beer, laughed at our shenanigans. I loved getting to hang out with my writing brothers (and sister!), especially the motley crew of Jonathan Janz, Ron Malfi, Kristopher Rufty, Russell James, David Bernstein, Tim Waggoner, Adam Cesare, Brian Keene. Kelli Owen, Armand Rosamilia, Bob Ford and so many others.
I’m already making plans for next year. By the way, the nicest people in the world attend horror cons. Some may look scary, but they’re all pussycats.