Indiegogo Campaign – CAR NEX ANTHOLOGY

When my good buddy Terry M. West comes a-calling, I answer the fucking call. This time around, the master of all things horrific is starting an Indiegogo campaign for his Car Nex Anthology. We’re talking fresh tales of ooey-gooey terror, gals and ghouls. I’ve been tapped to write a brand new bit o’ 80s inspired squeamishness and I couldn’t be more thrilled.

However, this shit ain’t gonna happen unless peeps jump on the campaign. (yeah, I said peeps without any sense of irony). So let’s spread the word and get this bad mutha off the ground. Here are the deets. (ok, you can mock me for deets).

car nex indiegogo copy

Pleasant Storm, Texas. 1965. A God-fearing family man finds an ancient book of secrets and is compelled to perform a blood ceremony. The Car Nex is brought into our dimension, and Hell is given form and fangs. Weapons will not slow it. Prayers will not stop it. It is coming. And it hungers.

SIGN ON TO BE A PART OF THE INSANITY RIGHT HERE! 

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Cover Preview – Antarctic Ice Beasts

It’s a new year and time for some new books for your ravenous eyeballs! First up in 2019 will be my next Severed Press action/adventure/horror novella, ANTARCTIC ICE BEASTS. The fine folks at Severed just sent over the cover and as always, they nailed it.

antarctic ice beasts cover

The hard, and fun part, was writing a story set in a US base in Antarctica that wasn’t a ripoff of The Thing or another tired Journey to the Center of the Earth tale. I think and hope I did just that.

I’ll let you know the publication date once I get it.

So, what do y’all think?

Top 13 Horror Movies of 2018

Well, well, well, here we are again, nursing our New Year’s hangovers, making plans to go to the gym and opening up that new Dilbert desk calendar (and man, do I miss The Far Side calendars). 2018 had me very nervous, my dear Hellions. For a while there, I didn’t think there would be enough worthy movies to make it to the unholy top 13 list. Last year wasn’t the strongest year for horror movies, but there are some damn fine flicks to enjoy. So, take my paw and let’s travel back in time…

#13 – SATAN’S SLAVES

satans slaves

Talk about a last minute entry! I literally watched this right after I had finalized my list because I heard it was on Shudder. It’s not very often I get to tout an Indonesian horror flick. Not to be confused with Satan’s Slave (1976), this horrific ghost/Satanic cult foray into primo jump scares is tense, atmospheric and crazy terrifying. The English subtitles are in need of another pass by a translator, but you can enjoy it without them. It’s that creepy. * Editor’s note, this movie knocked The First Purge off the list. Sorry Staten Island.

#12 – THOROUGHBREDS

thoroughbreds

What’s a top 13 list without an entry that involves Anya Taylor Joy (The Witch, Split)? Thoroughbreds just skirts the horror line, but damn is it twisted fun. Lily (Anya) is a rich brat who hates her step-dad and lacks empathy. Amanda (Olivia Cooke from the amazing Bates Motel) is her old friend, an automaton born without the ability to feel emotions who once stabbed her beloved horse to death. These two chicks are fucking nuts in all the best ways. Great performances all around, and it’s also Anton Yelchin’s last movie before his tragic demise. Watch it and pour a little libation on the floor for Anton.

#11 – HALLOWEEN

Halloween

I was very excited to see what the folks at Blumhouse would do with a franchise that had seen better days (but had yet to fall into the pit of Hellraiser inanity). I LOVE the original. It’s one of those pivotal movies in my horror education. I dig part 3 and 4 and could do without all the rest. And Rob Zombie’s attempt? Let’s move on. Anyway, this is a direct sequel to the original, asking us all to forget the others happened (did Bobby Ewing just step out of the shower?). Poor Laurie Strode is still traumatized by the babysitter massacre. Now a grandma channeling Sarah Connor, she’s just waiting for Mikey to get out of max so she can finish him off. Luckily for her, a pair of podcasters are just the hokey patsies to reenergize the unkillable killer. It was better than the sequels, but for me, fell flat in some areas that could have made it amazing. When it was over, my first thought was – I hope this is the actual end. I think if I had tempered my expectations, I would have liked it even more. Ignore me. It’s a solid horror movie.

#10 – TERRIFIED

terrified movie

We’re going international again, this time to Argentina for some bat crap insane multiple hauntings. Terrified has THE scariest and most disturbing imagery of the year. There isn’t just one haunted house on this idyllic Buenos Aires street. No, there are three, and shit is gonna get crazy. From rotting dead boys who come back home for milk and cookies and something sinister and hungry in a kitchen cabinet sucking the blood from a wounded hand, this is one of the craziest ghost movies I’ve seen in a long while. If you have a kid afraid of monsters under the bed, DO NOT let them see this. You’ll be carting them off to a looney bin if you do. I hear they’re remaking it for an American audience with the same director. I hope they don’t lose the mojo.

#9 – VERONICA

veronica

OK, now we’re off to Spain for a disturbing possession movie that, in my opinion, trumps The Exorcist. Teenager Veronica plays with a Ouija board during an eclipse and done gets her soul repossessed. Here’s the cool part. It’s based on an actual Ouija/possession case in Madrid back in 1991, so that always adds to the icicles up the spine vibe. I fell in love with Veronica, a teen with way too much responsibility who just wanted to be a dumb kid for a fateful moment. With scary nuns and devilish disasters and well executed jump scares, you’ll steer your ass away from spirits boards for life after this puppy.

#8 – TERRIFIER

terrifier

Art the Clown is the scariest motherfucker who ever donned greasepaint. Taking place on Halloween night and mostly in an abandoned building, Terrifier channels the best of 80’s gore with spectacular kills and some true WTF moments. I’m no fan of clown horror flicks and thought this would be just like all the rest. Crap, was I wrong. Seriously, when Art smiles that bloody-mouthed smile, your genitals will crawl up to your esophagus. No blood is spared and please, oh please, let there be a world with more Art the Clown!

#7 – THE RITUAL

Ritual

This was an early entry from our pals at Netflix. Based on a novel by Adam Neville, this British don’t-go-in-the-woods descent into terror centers around five buddies who have had their share of tragedy. Honoring their friend’s last wishes, they get to hiking in the middle of freaking nowhere in Sweden. When the weather gets bad, they find shelter in a rickety cabin and so, so much more. We’re taking hallucinatory images that may be real, bones in trees, a village of the freaking damned and a mythical monster. The creature effects in The Ritual are unforgettable. This is destined to be a movie I revisit time and time again. And yet another import from a far off land.

#6 – THE STRANGERS – PREY AT NIGHT

Strangers

Did I have any high hopes for a follow up to The Strangers? Hell no! I took Hellion #2 and my mother to see it at a matinee so I didn’t have to pay full price. Well, I’m here eating my hat. In some ways, I liked this better than the first. Loved the 80s music (you will never hear Total Eclipse of the Heart and not think of the swimming pool) and it has two scenes that I think are damn close to legendary. Killer cast meets masked killers. What’s not to love? Unlike the first, this is one I have to own.

#5 – HEREDITARY

Hereditary

Kudos to releasing a ‘mainstream’ movie with more what-the-hell-am-I-watching moments than you can shake a machete at. Toni Collette gives the performance of the year as a woman cracking up as her family falls apart. Mom dies. Uber stranger daughter gets the James Dean treatment, son loses it and hubby just tries to make dinner and keep their shit together. This is basically two movies. The first three quarters has a The Shining aura about it with a gradual buildup and breakdown. Collette physically reminds me of Shelly Duvall and their mental collapses are just as similar and moving. There is a moment when a switch is flipped (you’ll know it) and it’s time to fasten your seatbelts. The ending is not for everyone, hence a lot of confused and angry people in my theater. Good. Stay out of my genre!

#4 – PUPPET MASTER – THE LITTLEST REICH

Puppet Master

Yeah, I’m just as surprised as you that this is not only on my list, but in the top 5! I mean, it definitely has the most ridiculous title of the year. And it’s a fucking Puppet Master movie. It’s also the one movie I can’t stop thinking and talking about. Why? Well, it’s written by the amazing S. Craig Zahler (who has given us Bone Tomahawk and Brawl in Cell Block 99). ‘Nuff said. Witty, self-aware and loaded with unique kills, nudity and gore, it’s everything previous Puppet Master movies are not. If you ever wanted to see a dead guy pee on his own head in a toilet bowl, look no further. And it has cameos by Barbara Crampton and Udo Kier. Hot damn, this was the most fun I had watching a movie all year.

#3 – REVENGE

Revenge

I’m not a big fan of the rape/revenge subgenre, though I do like the trio of I Spit On Your Grave remakes. Revenge is made with such artful direction, it stands head and improvised weapons above the rest. Matilda Anna Ingird Lutz has herself a real star turn as Jen, a young wanna be messing around with a married man in his sweet desert house. When his two creepy friends crash the party for a day of hunting, the raping begins and the blood flows. And let me tell you, the amount of blood shed in this flick is epic. Jen bleeds more than ten stuck pigs. It’s over the top and goes a little Machete every now and then, and that’s perfect. The final sequence running in circles around the house is gag inducing and brilliant. The bar is now set and I dare someone to raise it.

#2 – OVERLORD

Overlord

Thank you, JJ Abrams! Overlord is not one, but two great movies. If you like war flicks, this is your jam. If you’re a horror hound, ditto. If you’re like me and dig both, holy Hannah is this awesome. American GI’s have their plane shot down over a Nazi occupied town in France and need to take out a tower so Normandy can happen. No pressure. The shit that happens in the plane in the opening sequence had me breathless. I know it’s no shock that those creepy ass Nazis have been up to their old weird science shenanigans again. What ensues is pure chaos, savage monsters, explosions and gunfire. I could easily slide this into the number one slot. In fact, this and the next movie have been jockeying back and forth for months now. I’m sure a year or two, I might declare this the winner. But for now, we’ll call it 1B…or 2.

#1  – A QUIET PLACE

A Quiet Place

Jim Halpert, who knew you had this in you? A Quiet Place is, quite simply, brilliant. The world has been taken over by creatures from another world. They may be blind, but they can hear your every move. It opens with a stunning gut punch and ratchets up the tension like a torture rack for the next 90+ minutes. I’ve literally never been so uptight in a movie theater. I had to have my ass cheeks surgically separated. With a small but stellar cast, A Quiet Place is an instant classic. Especially for a guy like me who is obsessed with alien/horror movies (The Thing, Alien, Signs). This takes a familiar trope and adds a spin that makes it unforgettable. Like It Follows, this is one of those movies that will be the measuring stick by which I judge a person’s character. A sequel is already in the works, following a new band of survivors. I doubt it can equal this, but I’m in.


HONORABLE MENTION

Here are the other movies that were in contention and just missed the cut:

CAM, MANDY, STEPHANIE, APOSTLE & GHOST STORIES

And my nod to the stinker of the year is THE MEG. Just like 2017’s dreadful THE MUMMY, The Meg was so bad, my blood pressure spiked and I wanted to tear the screen in half – or take a nap, which I settled for.


You made it this far. Let me know what you think of my choices and their ranking. What do you think I missed? What movie on the list do you think is a stone cold stinker? Most importantly, what movies are you looking forward to in 2019?

10 Christmas Present Ideas For The Writer In Your Life

Ho ho ho, Hellions! Have you finished your Christmas shopping yet? Yeah, me neither. Gotta visit Amazon later today. I already hit up Fright Rags for a ton of gifts for the family. Love their shirts and socks.

One thing I’ve noticed is that most readers know writers, whether they be aspiring scribblers or established hunt and peckers (insert snickers). If you’re wondering what to get them for Christmas, let old Hunter make some suggestions. I guarantee you’ll be their favorite person to have under the mistletoe if you pick something from the list below.

OFFICE SUPPLIES GIFT CARD – Office supplies are like porn to writers. We love pens and printing paper, index cards and storage bins. When I have time to kill, I often find myself walking the aisles of Staples, glassy-eyed and wobbly, overwhelmed by all the stuff I want to revamp my office for the hundredth time.

A COMFY CHAIR – It can be an office chair on casters so they can roll around the room, a rocker from Cracker Barrel or an overstuffed armchair you found at a tag sale. Find out where they like to write (at a desk, in a corner of the room, the yard) and find something comfortable for them to park their ass. Writers spend a lot of time on their keisters and it needs to cozy.

chair

BOOKS – What have I said a thousand times? You can’t be a writer if you’re not a reader. If your writer pal loves mysteries, buy him or her the latest C.J. Box or Lee Child. Do they write cookbooks? Go old school and buy them a cookbook written by Julia Child or James Beard  (or, for a horror foodie, Vincent Price’s wonderful collection of culinary delights). For writing inspiration, I always suggest A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway and On Writing by Stephen King.

v price

BOOZE – It’s no secret that we authorly types like to tip back a few. We’re more than happy with a cold six pack or a flask of liquid fire. A great recommendation is Writers Tears Irish Whiskey. It won’t break the bank at a little over forty bucks a bottle and even if they don’t drink it, the bottle will look great on the shelf.

writers-tears-irish-whiskey-1_1

A NEW LAPTOP – Technology has made writing so much easier, and there’s no better invention than the laptop. It gives writers total freedom to write anywhere at any time. This is no casual gift. You better love the hell out of the person you give this to and believe me, they will thank you profusely. My mother-in-law bought me my first ‘computer’, a nifty Brother word processor. When that died, my wife got me a Gateway desktop computer that weighed more than my car. Still two of my favorite gifts ever.

A HOTEL STAY – Does your friend or loved one need some alone time with their manuscript? Maybe they need to sprint to the end of a book or buckle down and do revisions. A day or two at a hotel does wonders. Almost every writer I know has holed up in a Marriott or Days Inn to focus on their work. Go to one of those hotel dealie websites and book a room at a discount, but understand you can’t go with them. They need total alone time.

A FANCY SHMANCY PEN – A nice pen is a great gift for a writer, but only if they write in longhand often. If they spend the vast majority of their time on a computer, a fancy pen will only stay in the box and collect dust. We want to get some practical gifts this Christmas. You don’t have to go all Montblanc, but you can get some pretty amazing writing utensils for around a hundy.

A LAPTOP TRAY OR DESK – I’m writing this on a laptop tray that’s resting on my knees. This is especially awesome for writers who prefer to create in bed. Since becoming an early morning writer, my laptop tray has proved itself to be invaluable. I literally wake up, pluck the tray from the side of my bed, plop my laptop upon it and get to work, all while still under the sheets.

lap

TIME AND UNDERSTANDING – Writing, especially in the early years, is exceedingly difficult. Friends and family wonder what the hell you’re doing in that room or repeatedly ask why you’re wasting your time since you didn’t land a JK Rowlings-type deal yet. It’s soooo damn easy to get distracted, and usually the ones doing the distracting are the ones closest to you. Give the writer in your life a daily coupon book, good for X amount of time of uninterrupted writing. When the door is closed, don’t go in. Respect their time and passion. This might be the best gift you can give.

MOVIE PASS – Nothing sparks creativity like a day at the movies. Or it can be used as a time to unplug your brain and just enjoy the show. Best part is, this is one thing you can do together! Then, after the movie, let them redeem a coupon for writing time so they can whip out their laptop desk, knock back a shot of whiskey and get to writing.


What are some of the gifts you’ve gotten for writers in the past? You might come up with something I’ll want to put on my own list!

Resolutions are for Suckers

This is going to be a short post because I want to get right to the point. This time of year, a lot of people start thinking about what their new year’s resolutions are going to be for 2019.

Don’t be one of those people. Resolutions, like hearts, are made to be broken. You want to do something? Get off your ass TODAY and do it.

I’ve known a lot of people who swear they’re going to start writing that book that’s been circling around their brain right after the ball drops. Guess what? They don’t.

Ideas are like passion fruit. Eat them now before they wither and die.

If you said you will write a book in 2019 and wait until 1/1/19 to start instead of today, you’re already behind. You could have written 30,000 words already! And face it, by the time New Year’s Day rolls around, you’re going to bitch and moan that you’re hungover or tired or just worn down from the holidays.

Write now. Eat right and exercise now. Start your own custom bagel shop now. Pet every dog you meet now. I don’t care what you do. Just don’t be one of those suckers who thinks they need to wait for a date on a calendar to start your passion, your dream, your big plan!

Don’t just take my word. Listen to this guy. He has a beard and tattoos and curses a lot – and he says it like it is.

The Hustle of Balancing Life, Work and Writing

It’s Sunday morning at 9:00 and I’m already tired. But no matter how tired I feel, this old man is not taking a nap. I’ll be going at it full force until my head hits the pillow. Why? Because I want to…and maybe a lot of ‘because I have to’.

I may have written and published over 25 books, but that doesn’t mean I get to coast. No way. Not until Stephen King and I can trade investment secrets. Writing, or better yet finding time to do it, hasn’t gotten any easier. Like most scribblers, I have a day job. At age 50, I embarked on a totally new career, shucking 20 years of experience and clout to do something I would enjoy. The day job takes up about 11-12 hours of my day, Tuesday through Saturday. It’s mentally and physically demanding. People half my age bail when the going gets rough here. Oh, and I get to work on Saturdays for the first time since I was a stock boy in Gristedes supermarket back in 1990. Yay me for missing out on a lot of fun.

Because I get home later than ever now, I had to adjust when I write. Fortunately for me, my ability to sleep in was broken long ago by my children (who are now adults). So instead of writing a night, which I did for almost two decades, I’ve had to retrain myself to become an early morning writer. It wasn’t easy, but I knew if I didn’t push myself, I would miss every deadline, both professional and personal. And I had to learn to write in bed so as not to clunk around the house and disturb everyone.

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On workdays, I wake up, write and answer emails and do a little marketing for two hours. Then it’s time to get ready for work and head off to my one hour commute.

What about weekends? Take today for an example. It’s a gray Sunday, my first day off. What do I do? Wake up at 5:30am. I watched an episode of Mars on National Geographic because I want to write about the series. I then read for thirty minutes, a little for pleasure and a little for work. The sink was full of dishes so I cleaned them and started a load of laundry. I cleaned the bathroom and saw the toaster oven was in need of some TLC, too. We’re (finally!) shooting new episodes of Monster Men today, so I put together a list of things to do for one of the episodes. Now it’s time to write on the old blog and chain, get in at least 1,000 words on my new book, SLASH, and prep the house, aka – the set – for Monster Men. We’ll record for several hours, watch a movie and then I’ll be hosting a live viewing party of THANKSKILLING with my special hellions on Patreon. By the time that’s over, I’ll be in bed, dead to the world until tomorrow before dawn.

Within all of this craziness, I’ll be with my family, the most important people in my life. Those of you who follow this blog know my wife is disabled. When I was writing CREATURE, she was sick with pneumonia. Cut to a year and three months later and she’s still not over it. In fact, we’re waiting for the CDC to deliver special medication formulated just for her, as her compromised immune system just can’t do the work it needs to do. Being with her and my girls is crucial, which is another reason why I write when they’re asleep. When I get home from work, it’s dark out and I’m tired as hell. Better to spend that time recharging the love battery by hanging out with them.

I can attest, spinning these plates does not get easier as you get older. Some days, it sucks. It sucks real hard. But I love my family and I love writing, and heck, I even like my job, so for me, there is no other choice. Whenever I’m about to bitch and whine about doing something I hate or dread doing, I think of this : If I was laid up in a hospital bed right now and unable to ever be healthy or get up again, I’d trade everything for a chance to do that thing I think I don’t want to do. Would I rather go food shopping in a packed supermarket than have terminal cancer? If the answer is shit yeah, it’s time to shut up and tarry on.

Despite all of this, don’t feel like you have to tackle the world each and every day. Carve out time, even if it’s only ten minutes, to recharge. Meditate, read, do air guitar in your car to Metallica, make a dump cake. Find your zen. Watching the laundry spin is a personal favorite. Kinda like watching the flames dance in a fire.

I have big ideas and projects for 2019, as I’m sure you do as well. Now’s the perfect time to plan and figure out how to make them happen, and the best time to do so. It ain’t easy. But neither is Sister Mary Margaret Bernadette. There is one vital thing that nun knows how to do – get into a habit.

What new habits or changes to existing ones do you need to hit your goals? What is the one thing you want to accomplish in the next year? What are you major stumbling blocks? We can kick some ass if we decide to kick it together. Spill the beans right here, tell the world and make yourself accountable. It does wonders.

Cover Reveal for GHOST MINE

For those of you who have been asking when my western horror novel, Hell Hole, is coming back, well, here’s a start. Flame Tree Press is bringing it back to your eyeballs with a new title and cover! It will be reborn on May 9th, 2019.

Ghost Mine cover

This is the book that has it all – Teddy Roosevelt, cowboys, hired guns, black eyed kids, Bigfoot, ghosts, traveling preachers, dust storms, missing soldiers, a fiery Mexican temptress and so much more. Oh, and it’s set in a real current abandoned mining town. I’m thrilled with the new cover that’s been branded so it’s similar to Creature. Also very happy I was able to slap a new name on it so it no longer sounds like a Spinal Tap song. 🙂

Here’s the synopsis :

Deep in a Wyoming mine, hell awaits. Former cattle driver, Rough Rider and current New York City cop Nat Blackburn is given an offer he can’t refuse by President Teddy Roosevelt. Tales of gold in the abandoned mining town of Hecla, in the Deep Rock Hills, abound. The only problem-those who go seeking their fortune never return. Along with his constant companion, Teta, a hired gun with a thirst for adventure, Nat travels to a barren land where even animals dare not tread. But the remnants of Hecla are far from empty. Black-eyed children, strange lights and ferocious wild men venture from the deep, dark mine…as well as a force so sinister, Nat’s and Teta’s very souls are in jeopardy. There’s a mystery in Hecla thousands of years old. Solving it could spell the end of the world.

Hope you Hellions will be ready to do some spelunking in the GHOST MINE soon!

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