Horrortober Movies and Books – Countdown to Halloween

October – I mean, Horrortober – is my month long Mardi Gras, and I know I’m not alone. As usual, I’ve been saving special books and movies to keep me immersed in all things horror for the 31 days and nights of terror-fueled delight. And I was smart enough this year not to take on any writing projects so I have all the time I need.

First up, the Monster Men got our furry mitts on the newest edition of 31 Days of Terror. It’s a damn fun game where you roll the dice and then consult the book to see what movie you should watch. This is our fourth year playing it on Monster Men and it was pretty funny how we bent the rules to get a good movie for Halloween night. It’s a cool way to discover new movies or revisit ones you may have forgotten. Check it out right below. For my part, I want to see if I can top my Horrortober movie total of 55 this time around. We shall see…

Now, on to my reading list. Here are the books I’ve been smuggling away, saving them for my favorite month. Have you read them? What did you think? I have a sneaking suspicion I’m going to be very happy with them.

How far would you go to bring back someone you love?

When Chris’s son dies in a tragic car crash, her world is devastated. The walls of grief close in on Chris’s life until, one day, a small cut on her finger changes everything.

A drop of blood falls from Chris’s hand onto her son’s roadside memorial and, later that night, Chris thinks she sees his ghost outside her window. Only, is it really her son’s ghost, or is it something else—something evil?

Soon Chris is playing a dangerous game with forces beyond her control in a bid to see her son, Trey, alive once again.

Quinn Maybrook and her father have moved to tiny, boring Kettle Springs, to find a fresh start. But what they don’t know is that ever since the Baypen Corn Syrup Factory shut down, Kettle Springs has cracked in half. 

On one side are the adults, who are desperate to make Kettle Springs great again, and on the other are the kids, who want to have fun, make prank videos, and get out of Kettle Springs as quick as they can.

Kettle Springs is caught in a battle between old and new, tradition and progress. It’s a fight that looks like it will destroy the town. Until Frendo, the Baypen mascot, a creepy clown in a pork-pie hat, goes homicidal and decides that the only way for Kettle Springs to grow back is to cull the rotten crop of kids who live there now. 

A tale of revenge, cultural identity, and the cost of breaking from tradition in this latest novel from the Jordan Peele of horror literature, Stephen Graham Jones.

Seamlessly blending classic horror and a dramatic narrative with sharp social commentary, The Only Good Indians follows four American Indian men after a disturbing event from their youth puts them in a desperate struggle for their lives. Tracked by an entity bent on revenge, these childhood friends are helpless as the culture and traditions they left behind catch up to them in a violent, vengeful way.

Antarctica. A mining base at the edge of the world.

Anders Nordvelt, last-minute replacement as head of security, has no time to integrate himself into the crew before an act of sabotage threatens the project. He must untangle a complex web of relationships from his position as prime suspect.

Then a body is found in the ice. Systems fail as the long night falls. Now Anders must do more than find a murderer: he must find a way to survive.

Will anyone endure the night shift, or will ice and frozen corpses be all that remains?

Alex: A hardened goth-punk who’s convinced she’s a vampire with a penchant for blood.
Stacia: A seventeen-year-old raised by an alcoholic mother, her fellow captives the only family she’s ever truly had.
Kammie: The youngest of the three—a mute who finds solace in a houseplant.

But does life outside the house offer the freedom they’d envisioned? Or is it too late, the scars too deep?

A coming-of-age tale of revenge and survival that explores a friendship and the desperate measures taken to ensure they stay united, held together by the scars that bind them.

The end of summer, 1986. With only a few days left until the new school year, twins Jeremy and Jack Schaffer are on very different paths. Jeremy is the geek, playing Dungeons & Dragons with friends Kathleen and Randy, while Jack is the jock, getting into trouble with his buddies.

And then everything changes when neighbor Mister Higgins is killed by a wild animal in his yard. Was it a bear? There’s something big lurking in the woods behind their New Jersey home.

Will the police be able to solve the murder before more Middletown residents are ripped apart?

New Book News – MISFITS Has Arrived!

That’s right Hellions. You’ve all been incredibly patient waiting a whole year for my latest book, MISFITS, a brutal trek through the darkest woods populated by a race of humanoids who crave human flesh.

A bad-ass love letter to small-town folklore.” – Splattergeist reviews

During the height of the 90s grunge era, five high school friends living on the fringe are driven to the breaking point. When one of their friends is brutally raped by a drunk townie, they decide to take matters into their own hands. Deep in the woods of Milbury, Connecticut, there lives the legend of the Melon Heads, a race of creatures that shun human interaction and prey on those who dare to wander down Dracula Drive. Maybe this night, one band of misfits can help the other. Or maybe some legends are meant to be feared for a reason.

MISFITS is available in hardcover, trade paperback and ebook. CLICK HERE to take a trip down Dracula Drive and face the horror of the Melon Heads!

Reader Appreciation Day!

I have to say, I have the greatest readers in the world. So many of you have been posting pictures of my books (or yourselves with my books) that I just had to share. This is just a small sample of what’s happened in the past week or so. Please keep ’em coming. I may have to make this a monthly blog post going forward.

JoshuaMarsella

@JoshuaMarsella holding a copy of The Jersey Devil before he disappeared into the Pine Barrens, never to be seen again.

Ghost Mine Kim

@kimberlyyerina6466 created a hellish display for her copy of Ghost Mine. I hear she’s heading out to Hecla, WY with a pick axe, shovel, and holy water.

JaninePipe

You better not call @disneynine a Misfit. Though she does know how to rock the grunge look.

watching wellwortharead

@wellwortharead knows how to set the mood. I wonder what a haunted mansion candle smells like. Cobwebs and fear?

LouciferSpeaks

@LouciferSpeaks went old school with this one. Looks like the tips of her fingers are about to be bitten off by one of those nasty beasts.

Creature spookymermaids

I just love this pic by @spookymermaids. Makes me want to head up to our place in Maine and…wait, maybe not!

Monster Men For Your Ears

AAAARRRRGGGHHHHH!!!

First, thank you to everyone who has watched and supported the Monster Men video podcast for the past 10 years. It’s a true labor of love and we’re honored that folks tune into our insanity.

Monster Men Logo 1

Well, after being video-only for all this time, we’re finally adding audio to the mix! Right now, you can catch interviews with authors Chad Lutzke and Laurel Hightower. More back episodes to come. Click here to get the full list of places to find our audio podcast. We’ll be adding more in the coming weeks. We hope you dig it and maybe this can open things up to longer form interviews just for audio. Let me know what you think.

Monster Men Set

 

Flame Tree Friday presents – an interview with Executive Editor, Don D’Auria.

It’s not often we get an interview with horror’s premier editor, so this is one not to miss. The wizard behind the curtain tells all. Well, maybe not all.

Janine's Ghost Stories

I am honoured to feature an absolute LEGEND on the blog today. This is the man who said yes to my own three most favourite writers – Glenn, Hunter and Mr Janz.

Welcome, Don D’Auria.

Thank you so very much for agreeing to be interviewed for my blog.

First off, please could you tell me a little bit about yourself.

I’m always proud to say I was the classic example of a Monster Kid when I was growing up in the suburbs of New Jersey. I read Famous Monsters and watched Creature Features religiously. I still have the copies of Frankenstein and Dracula that I got from the Scholastic Book Club in grammar school, as well as my favourite Aurora monster models. So you can imagine what it’s like for me to work in the genre that I’ve been a fan of since childhood. It was a huge thrill for…

View original post 1,580 more words

GHOST MINE on Sale for Just 99 Cents!

That’s right my hellion pardners, you can get your hands on Ghost Mine from now until July 9th for only 99 cents.

Ghost Mine Sale

If you dig cowboys, ghost towns, abandoned places, cryptids, black eyed kids, ghosts and pure evil, you’re my kind of person! Take a trip into GHOST MINE today.

MISFITS Is Coming – Pre-order Now

Do ya like urban legends? Were you rocking your flannels during the grunge craze? Do you think people who believe high school are the glory days are clinically insane? Dream of retribution for a deed done dirty to you?

Well, my friend, you just may be a misfit. And believe me, in this day and age, that is an honor. Boy, do I have the book for you…

Misfits HUNTER SHEA v02

I’ve always wanted to write a book about the dreaded Melon Heads, and man, a fucked up book like Misfits is just perfect for a fucked up year like 2020. Oh wait, you never heard of the Melon Heads? Well, just think about a lost tribe of humanity with large heads and all kinds of deformities who are territorial and sometimes, cannibalistic living in the woods of Connecticut, Michigan and Ohio. Intrigued. Check out the below video that does a damn good job delving into the mystery of the Melon Heads.

 

 

Now, since this is a Hunter Shea book, I’ve taken some liberties with the urban legend and cranked it up to eleven in terms of murder and mayhem. Best part is that it’s all set in the early 90s against the backdrop of an economy in the tank with a killer soundtrack provided by the likes of Nirvana, Hole, Screaming Trees, Alice in Chains, Soundgarden and the rest.

Here’s the trusty ol’ synopsis:

During the height of the 90s grunge era, five high school friends living on the fringe are driven to the breaking point. When one of their friends is brutally raped by a drunk townie, they decide to take matters into their own hands. Deep in the woods of Milbury, Connecticut, there lives the legend of the Melon Heads, a race of creatures that shun human interaction and prey on those who dare to wander down Dracula Drive. Maybe this night, one band of misfits can help the other. Or maybe some legends are meant to be feared for a reason.

Look, if you love horror, you were probably on the fringe as a kid like me, or still living comfortably ‘out there’, again like me. If you’ve ever felt like the world didn’t understand or want you, you’re going to love the five teens in this book – Mick, Chuck, Vent, Marnie and Heidi. Misfits, one and all, but also all for one.

MISFITS drops in the US on September 8th. Let’s just hope the coronavirus has slunk into a dark corner at that point.

You can pre-order today by clicking here.

Misfits will be available in hardcover, paperback, ebook and audio through Flame Tree Press.

Top 13 Horror Comedies

Things are finally opening up and we’re all slowly going to crawl out of our houses over the next few weeks. After what the world has been through the past three months, I’m very concerned about the impact this will have on the horror genre. Will people want more scares after the coronavirus? I have a strong feeling that therapists won’t have a free hour in the day for years to come. This pandemic has given birth to a host of new fears for many, some still lurking under the surface and waiting to leap out the moment folks start to regain their equilibrium. I speak from experience, having grappled with a crippling anxiety disorder twenty years ago. If you’ve been sheltering in your house for months watching the news and worrying, it’s going to leave a scar.

So, what will the wave of the horror future be? I think what people need now more than ever is laughter. We’ve dwelled in the darkness for too long. We need the light. Luckily, if you’re a die hard horror fan like me in need of a chuckle, there are a lot of good movies out there to satisfy your craving while letting in the light. Here are 13 movies guaranteed to give you a break from your worries. What are some of your favorites?

EXTRA ORDINARY

 

EVIL DEAD 2

 

ELVIRA, MISTRESS OF THE DARK

 

SHAUN OF THE DEAD

 

SIGHTSEERS

 

WHAT WE DO IN THE SHADOWS

 

SATANIC PANIC

 

FINAL GIRLS

 

A HAUNTED HOUSE

 

KILLER KLOWNS FROM OUTER SPACE

 

STUDENT BODIES

 

YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN

 

BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER

I Remember The Alamo

I was recently talking with my friends…remotely, of course, and we got into some of the things we’ve been missing since the pandemic went all horror movie on us. As a writer, I have enjoyed the benefits of less distractions and more free time to do what I love most. Working from home has eliminated my hellacious commute. And it’s saved me hundreds of dollars on gas a month. Spending much more time with my family has been a godsend. Eating out less has been beneficial to my wallet and my stomach. Though we do honor Take Out Tuesday and get delivery from a local restaurant each week. I’ve been able to read more, watch a ton of movies, fix things around the house.

Man, I guess there’s been more positive than negative (like our coronavirus tests) here at the end of the world.

But there are two things I do miss dearly. One is baseball. It feels like those spring training games I was watching happened in another lifetime. Not being able to catch a game every night of the week, or devour the latest stats every morning, has been depressing. What I wouldn’t give to go to a game right now, smell the fresh cut grass, hear the crack of a bat, feel the sun on my face, be one with the roar of the crowd.

That being said, what I miss most of all is going to my local Alamo Drafthouse theater.

alamo

I had finally bought the season pass that entitled me to 30 movies a month for a mere $20. Over the course of January and February, I had gone to the Alamo twenty-three times! When I had a total crap day, I would pull up my app, look for a movie (hoping they were showing an old horror or exploitation movie that night) and download a ticket. That one minute action would completely turn my day around. I instantly had something to look forward to and daydreamed about their popcorn (best ever), craft beer, curated trailers by Birth.Movies.Death and if I was lucky that day, a theme party with perhaps a giveaway or two or the chance to check out a slew of movies to buy before the show, Vinegar Syndrome titles laid out under the big screen. (I can never resist. I’ve added titles like Berserker, Threads and The Incubus to my shelves thanks to those impromptu shopping opportunities.)

What I miss most is just the place itself. It has a vibe that says to me, you’re home. Come set a spell. The Alamo by me used to be a six-theater multiplex called Movieland. That’s the theater where I always took my first dates and where the girl who would become my wife made me rip off the black rubber bracelet my ex had given me as a way to show she was staking her claim, the ex was history.

yonkers alamo

Over the past few years, the Alamo has been my place of choice to celebrate my birthday, which is coming up this month and will make the temporary loss cut a little deeper. A steady on the horror revival flick programs that were part of Alamo’s signature series presented by Video Vortex, Prints of Darkness and Temple of Schlock, I got to see and know a lot of like-minded people who just wanted to see a bit of horror history we may have missed or wanted to revisit in a theater with a bunch of people wearing black t-shirts emblazoned with horror movie images.

I miss my Alamo home, my Alamo family, cold glasses of Wrench IPA (from Industrial Arts Brewing), carpet from The Shining, cool merch in the lobby, talking about films with strangers and most of all, their NO TALKING OR TEXTING policy. Wish I could enforce that at home. But, I have to pick my hill to die on, and that ain’t it when we’re all stuck in here together 24 hours a day.

There is good news. The Alamo has made some changes to bring their experience to pining people like me. You can now stream movies through them for less than the price of going to the theater. We just went through Alamo to check out Fangoria’s latest release, PORNO and it was great. You can see our review below.

 

Certain Alamos are delivering food (alas, mine is not…really could go for ten bowls of popcorn right about now). You can also buy merch online before or after you stream a movie so you can trick your brain into thinking you’re out of the house.

The last movie my wife and I saw at the Alamo was The Thing in early March when we knew the coronavirus was out there but didn’t think it would send the world scurrying for the darkness like rats. Seemed a fitting way to end our run.

Whether I have to wear a hazmat suit or sit in a plastic hamster ball, I will be back, sooner rather than later. We can’t run from everything. The less we give our immune systems to fight against, the weaker we’re getting. Maybe a trip to the movies is exactly what we need so we don’t up dying from the common cold.

Until then, support your Alamo in any way you can and look forward to the day when we can all don our Amityville Horror t-shirts, knock back some beers and enjoy the show.

Roger Corman and The Attack of the Pandemic Monsters

We’re all finding ways to cope with our shelter in place orders. And everyone has their own private concerns they have to grapple with while in isolation. It could be loss of a job,  loss of a loved one, illness, anxiety, grappling with home schooling, feeling disconnected or, as most of us will agree, worrying about the future.

Some days are better than others. Two days ago was just a gray fog kind of day for me. I woke up that way and the fog never lifted. After a while, I didn’t fight it. I just reconciled myself to the fact that the blahs would win this battle. After beating down a panic disorder some twenty years ago, I keep feeling as if those old ways are going to break down my defenses and find their way back. That fear leads to the irrational fear that nearly broke me.

For me, I had to find a new line of defense. Something that could take my mind out of my mind (aka, my head out of my ass) and also give me comfort.

Enter Roger Corman.

Knowing his birthday was coming up was what made him top of mind for me. He just turned 94 and is still cooking. He’s even started a short film fest competition where people in quarantine shoot a 2 minute video in their home. 

I immediately went to online streaming haunts like Amazon Prime, YouTube and Tubi to see what I could find. Damn, I found plenty. When I feel like my day is shit or even when I’ve had a great day, a Roger Corman film is both a perfect, nostalgic pick me up and a reward for a job well done.

Lately, I’ve been devouring Corman flicks like an elephant at a peanut factory. Or a bottle fly at a murder scene. These movies take me back to when I was a kid or an early twenty-something, eager to devour anything horror and scifi. If you’re of a certain again, they might do the same for you. So, what movies have been keeping me sane? Check out the trailers below and maybe you’ll find one that will give you an hour and a half of blessed relief and comfort.

THE TERROR WITHIN – George Kennedy, Andrew Stephens, the end of the world and gargoyles. Need I say more?

 

FORBIDDEN WORLD – A cheesy, sexy, gooey Alien riff that’s a blast to watch. And check out some of the walls in the spaceship. They were made of painted Big Mac boxes.

 

GALAXY OF TERROR – Erin Moran, Sid Haig, Robert Englund and Ray Walston head this total Alien ripoff that is seriously creepy and trippy. Some pretty cool monsters in this one. Be careful what you fear!

 

HUMANOIDS FROM THE DEEP – Polluted salmon turn into bipedal, horny fish men. Always a go-to movie for me. That dummy scene in the tent is a true WTF moment in film history.

 

IT CONQUERED THE WORLD – A line from this movie is very apropos today – “It’s the end of everything!” If that monster doesn’t put a smile on your face, I don’t know what will. And it has Peter Graves and Lee Van Cleef!

 

ATTACK OF THE CRAB MONSTERS – The Professor from Gilligan’s Island wishes he was back with the crew of the Minnow. This movie is way better than it has any right to be with some really disturbing concepts. Oh, and the crab monsters are a lot of fun.

 

X : THE MAN WITH THE X-RAY EYES – Ray Milland kills it in this horror/scifi thriller. It also inspired my novella, Optical Delusion.

%d bloggers like this: