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.
Night Owl Reviews has a pretty cool event going on March 1st through the 25th called FIND YOUR NEXT GREAT READ. I’m pretty darn excited to be part of the fun. Island of the Forbidden will be one of those featured reads. Here are the details :
Find great authors and books during this giveaway event! Read book blurbs and get entered to win awesome prizes!
For this scavenger hunt you will be reading book blurbs and filling in a missing word(s) from a sentence in the blurb.
You will be entered to win Amazon Gift Cards and eBooks.
Winner Announcement Chat: March 30th at 6pm PT / 9pm ET in our chat room
For all you hardcore readers out there, this is custom made to feed your addiction! Come join the fun.
Pretty nifty review for my novella, The Graveyard Speaks, where you all get to see tough as nails ghost hunter Jessica Backman in action for the first time.
Originally posted on The Horror Bookshelf:
Length: 51 Pages
Publisher: Samhain Horror
Continuing my review of Hunter Shea’s series of books featuring Jessica Backman, next up is the novella The Graveyard Speaks, which is a direct tie-in to Sinister Entity. While Forest of Shadows shows a glimpse of Jessica thirteen years after the events in Shida, The Graveyard Speaks is our first real look at what Jessica is up to and how she handled the trauma of her past.
The Graveyard Speaks follows Jessica as she re-launches her father’s website, fearnone.com, and attempts to continue his work investigating paranormal phenomena. She receives a message from Jimmy Felton, a night guard at Woodlawn Cemetery, who claims he has seen a ghost by the same grave night after night. Along with her friend Angela, Jessica sets up an investigation into the haunting armed with nothing more than her bravery and a tripod camera. Their first…
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This is a great post about something a lot of writers either overlook or dread. Huge thanks to Matt for putting this together.
Originally posted on Jonathan Janz:
My guest tonight is Mr. Matt Manochio, whose debut novel THE DARK SERVANT is about to be published by Samhain Horror. His topic is “blurbs,” which is an area that pains me more than any other. Asking for blurbs, I mean. So maybe I’ll learn as much as you will from this post. Here we go…
Every author has to do it at some point. It’s painful and annoying, and we all know it cannot be avoided: giving blood for money to pay the power bill.
I’m kidding, sort of. But what most authors typically must do after signing a book deal is get blurbs. Ugh. This invariably means you pester an established author (in my case, New York Times bestselling and/or Bram Stoker Award-nominated -winning writers) to read a book the established author might not otherwise read. And most established authors have a bunch of projects going on…
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My good friend and awesome author, Keith Rommel, has released the fantastic 3rd installment of his Thanatology series, THE SINFUL MAN. This guy is the goods, folks. His books are on my official required reading list. Everything you need to know about THE SINFUL MAN and all of the books in the series is right here! Read on, then head to wherever you buy books and get ’em.
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. – Sunbury Press has released Keith Rommel’s 3rd installment of the Thanatology series – The Sinful Man
Headaches. Hunger. Pain.
Leo needs something . . . his stomach growls, but it can wait. That’s not hunger he must feed. He has to get to his next high, but without money he knows he can’t buy what he needs to sate the voice inside telling him to get more, get more.
Voices. Visions. Addiction.
No luck asking his father. His mother is in no position to help. After failing to steal the money he desperately needs, Leo must appeal to his dealer, the dangerous and infamous Saint Nick—despite the inevitable beating he’ll take for showing up empty-handed. Still, anything to keep the voices and flashbacks at bay . . .
Demons. Addiction. Death.
Leo soon learns that everything has a price—not just money for drugs, but that every choice he makes has a repercussion. Suddenly caught between a world where he can see the sins of his past and a new consciousness that he doesn’t fully understand, Leo finds himself not only chasing the dragon, but being chased by demons of a whole different kind. He must learn the finality of being past hope—all while reliving his missed opportunities for second chances—and truly come to understand that he is responsible for his own undoing before he runs out of time. After a lifetime of bad choices, this Sinful Man discovers the consequences to his actions and the mortal responsibility of exercising free will.
What others are saying:
“Downright chilling. Rommel has woven another nightmare that will haunt your days and nights!” — Hunter Shea, author of The Montauk Monster and The Waiting
“Reading late into the night, this had me wanting more… and dreading it.” — Catherine Jordan, author of Seeking Samiel
From the very beginning of The Sinful Man, Keith Rommel grabs the reader by the throat and catapults him into a world where the reader’s own pounding heart screams that nowhere is safe. –Thomas M. Malafarina, author of Dead Kill – Book 1 – The Ridge of Death
Authored by Keith Rommel
List Price: $14.95
5″ x 8″ (12.7 x 20.32 cm)
Black & White on White paper
Sunbury Press, Inc.
BISAC: Fiction / Psychological
Also available on Kindle & Nook
For more information, please see:
The rest of the Thanatology Series:
Book 1 – The Cursed Man — soon to be a major motion picture:
The Cursed Man, by Keith Rommel, tells the story of Alister Kunkle, a patient at Sunnyside Capable Care Mental Institution. Alister has been in seclusion for the last 25 years, having no contact with the staff or the outside world. The reason for this is that anyone who communicates with Alister dies within the day, for he is the Cursed Man and Death takes a professional interest in those unlucky enough to cross his path.
Believing him simply deranged, Dr Anna Lee, an up-and-coming young psychiatrist, has come to cure Alister. She is warned about Alister’s past and is shown evidence of previous encounters made by the skeptical or unbelieving, all of whom died, sometimes horribly. Regardless of the stories, Anna will not be dissuaded and is reluctantly allowed access to Alister. All assume her fate is sealed, but when she returns unharmed the next day, we also start to wonder about the stories.
So begins an enthralling narrative told in the past and the present as Anna attempts to learn why Alister believes he is cursed, while at the same time trying to convince him the events were not real and that in fact he is merely ill and so can be cured. Is Alister truly followed by death or is he simply mentally ill? The Cursed Man is an extremely well-written suspense horror story… I enjoyed it immensely; right up until the very end I was never sure of the outcome… Great story-telling in the tradition of Stephen King… — Booklore
Book 2 – The Lurking Man — a Sunbury Press bestseller:
Author Keith Rommel dared to explore the answer by creating his newest novel The Lurking Man, a story of dark suspense that unmercifully reveals the life of a self-deluded, neglectful mother who caused irreparable damage to her family and ultimately struggles with death as much as life. It’s the second novel in his suspenseful and thrilling Thanatology series that began with the eerie, spine-tingling The Cursed Man.
“Imagine Death knowing your deepest, darkest secrets and all of your private pain,” said Rommel about The The Lurking Man. “Now imagine it wants to use what it knows against you so that you bend to its will.”
In the Lurking Man, main character Cailean stands beneath a spotlight in a blinding snowstorm. She has no idea where she is or how she got there, but she senses something moving around her in the darkness outside the light.
When the ominous presence calling himself Sariel makes himself known, he declares that he is Death Incarnate and that Cailean has died. He has taken her to the Aperture, a place between the living and the dead, where he will force her to face the sins of her past in exchange for twenty-four hours of life to try and right her wrongs. But what she must do in return for this precious time is unthinkable.
AVAILABLE WHEREVER BOOKS ARE SOLD
The recent disclosure of a series of exorcisms performed on the children of the Ammons family in Indiana have a lot of people not only scratching their heads, but considering the reality of true evil. I’m well aware that many people are also rolling their eyes in disbelief. I mean, the stories of what happened to that poor family are pretty hard to wrap your head around. It makes The Exorcist look like an ABC family movie. But what if it’s true?
The possessed children in this case were ages 7, 9 and 12. Witnesses that included police, doctors, nurses and representatives of the Department of Child Protective Services all saw things that defied their versions of reality. The kids reportedly levitated, walked backwards up a wall and onto the ceiling, spoke in strange, terrifying voices and even had their facial features change. Ministers were called to the scene, as well as a host of medical professionals. They all found the mother and children to be of sound minds. There was no history of abuse. They were a normal family, until the demons took hold of the helpless children.
There are over 800 pages of documentation outlining the horror the Ammons family faced. Professionals with upstanding reputations have put it all on the line in confirming the impossible things they saw. Pictures of the house and family reveal disturbing images of shadow people, leering faces and unexplainable objects.
So what is this? A hoax? Hysteria? Mass delusion? A desperate cry for attention? Any one of these options brings comfort to the masses. We can let the story fade within the ebb and flow of the news cycle and go about our lives, unencumbered by big questions with even bigger consequences.
Exorcisms are real. That’s an undeniable fact. Just this month, Pope Francis announced that the Vatican is training a host of new exorcists to combat a rise in Satanic worship in Italy and Spain. I remember a couple of years ago when there was a similar call for trained exorcists in America. My family knew a monsignor who had been specially qualified to perform the rites of exorcism, and had been called to duty several times. He was reluctant to speak of them, simply reassuring us that evil was real, as real as the computer you’re reading this blog on, as real as love and happiness, life and death.
The big question is, does evil live in the heart and soul of man, or is it a dark presence outside of man, a demonic force waiting patiently for our weaker moments so it can take root? Worse still, is it both? In our every increasing secular society, people prefer to think the former. Evil is a character trait, an emotion, a momentary lapse in moral judgement. Devout Christians and a host of other religions will tell you it’s the latter, that demons do exist.
Whatever wellspring that spawns evil, the very concept chills us to the bone. Movies about demonic possession have been frightening people for decades. From The Exorcist to The Omen, Rosemary’s Baby, Paranormal Activity, The Last Exorcism, we are both attracted to and repelled by the notion. Like moths to an inviting flame, we can’t stay away, yet we’re terrified to stare too deeply into the fire.
I see movies and books about exorcism and possession as a kind of exorcism in itself. The more we fictionalize it, the less real it becomes, which, in turn, robs the concept of its power over us. The Ammons case, with all of its supporting evidence, has the ability to demolish the walls we build to keep out the evil things out while reassuring us that our bad decisions have no long-lasting consequences.
Or we can tell ourselves that they’re crazy, or liars, or fame seekers. Or better yet, just let the story fade away.
For people interested in learning more about exorcisms and the church’s stand on the practice, there’s a very good book I can recommend called American Exorcism by Michael W. Cuneo.
How could I not share this great interview with my Samhain editor and all around swell guy, Don D’Auria!
Originally posted on Horror Novel Reviews:
Interview conducted by: Glenn Rolfe
Samhain Publishing editor and lead dog on the company’s horror line, Don D’Auria, has been in the business since the eighties. Driven by love of horror and the passion to bring this fictional evil to a world in dire need of great distractions, Don has brought the literary world of terror (not manned by a King or Koontz) back from the dead (in the mid-nineties with authors like Ramsey Campbell, Richard Laymon, and Jack Ketchum), only to watch his work sink in the great Dorchester Publishing debacle of 2010. He remerged in 2011 with Samhain and a boat load of amazing authors to once again conquer the horror world.
In 2011 Smahain author Frazer Lee’s debut novel, The Lamplighters, was nominated for the Bram Stoker Award for Superior Achievement in a First Novel. John Everson followed in 2012 with a nomination for Superior Achievement…
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Yes, I may be a fellow Samhain author, but that aside, this book is at the top of my ‘to-read’ list. Here’s a great interview and more than enough reasons to check out the book.
Originally posted on Oh, for the HOOK of a BOOK!:
Today, I finally have my interview up with Jonathan Moore, author of Redheads, after technical difficulties last week during his launch! I’ve been dying to share it with you, as I feel Jonathan is a new author who is one to watch! If you like horror, crime, thrillers, serial killer dramas, supernatural twists, or just great literature, this book is one you must read for yourself.
You can read my review HERE if you’re curious about my thoughts on the book! But set aside some time this weekend and check out our interview, we get in-depth about his work and genres and he shares some beautiful photos of his boat in Hawaii…oh, we went sailing, didn’t you know? *in my dreams*
Hi, Jonathan! Welcome to Oh, for the Hook of a Book! I’m so excited to have you here to talk about your debut novel, Redheads, as well…
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8 writers, 1 image, 100 words to create a unique universe. Perfect snacking for Halloween.
Originally posted on Pen of the Damned:
Fillmore Street Park
He walked to the old bench at the Fillmore Street Park for his evening think. He’d done it for years. He was loving her that night. He’d done that for years as well. With a groan—his old bones protesting, he sat and smiled, wrinkling an old face. Children played while he slumped, his heart seizing. She came soon after, just to check on him. She had stayed behind to clean the dishes. Same thing every night of their marriage. The poisoned glass was something new. She tossed it in the trash and smiled, knowing it was no longer needed.
Name Your Poison
Two measuring beakers wait on the left. The poisons, skull and cross-bones displayed on the bottles, are sitting on the right.
The labels tell a story. Mix them all together and it spells one thing. Doom.
Two parts salt from Sodom…
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I am so happy to lease the space on this blog and chain to one of my favorite authors, Jonathan Janz. He has a serialized horror novel that just came out and let me tell you, this is one not to be missed! And in this case, you can judge a book by its cover(s). Totally kick ass. I’ll stop rambling and let Senor Janz take the stage.
How My Inappropriate College Friend Finally Came in Handy
The Genesis of a Savage Species Character
I had a friend in college we’ll call Teddy. Okay, maybe he was more of an acquaintance, but we had a couple classes together, and I thought he was a funny guy. Short, pudgy, prematurely balding, Teddy was smart, very nice, and in most ways ordinary.
Until he got near a pretty girl.
Then, under his breath, he would say things in this creepy Barry White voice like, “Ohhhhh, yeah. She knows it. Uh-huh. She loooooooooves it.” And I would stare at him in terror and take several large steps away so no one would think we were together.
I haven’t used that part of Teddy’s personality in a story yet, but at some point I’m sure I will. It’s too funny and offensive not to use.
But part of Teddy did indeed make its way into my latest novel, the serialized Savage Species. Teddy enjoyed a very specific type of…um…movie. No, not the kind a person would watch in a trench coat and sunglasses, but not the type of film you’d watch with your mother either.
No, these films were the ones shown late at night on Showtime and Cinemax (or, as Teddy called it, Skinemax). Not only was he a fan of these movies, he would go into great detail when discussing them, throwing around names like Monique Parent and Shannon Tweed the way most moviegoers would reference Morgan Freeman and Meryl Streep. Actually, it was sort of hilarious hearing him soliloquize about his unique obsession, unless of course we were walking to class or something, and in that case I again moved several steps ahead of him so folks didn’t think we were together.
I bring all this up because there’s a great character in Savage Species named Frank Red Elk. He’s a Native American of the Algonquian tribe. He’s a big, powerful man with a great deal of intelligence. He’s also a huge fan of soft porn.
So when you read about Frank Red Elk and blush at the things he says, you can know that my inappropriate college friend had something to do with that.
But hey, at least the embarrassment I endured because of Teddy was worth it.