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A Little Arachnaphobia With Horror Master Russell James

My new novel Curse of the Viper King is Grant Coleman’s latest adventure fighting (or maybe just surviving) giant monsters. In this story, he and a crew of loggers in the Amazon have to fight off giant spiders, among other things.

Spiders are naturally creepy. Furry, but not cute. Way too many legs. Fangs. We may love Spider-man, but we don’t love spiders, man. Fearing them even has its own name, arachnophobia. There’s no specific phobia for most other animals.

spider

I didn’t have to spin too much fiction to come up with the spiders in this book. I just scaled up the real thing. They were scary enough.

Ground spiders are a set of species that do not spin conventional webs. They build web-lined burrows and shoot balls of immobilizing webbing at their prey. They have fewer, but much larger silk producing glands. So while most spiders are passive predators, waiting for prey to blunder into a web, ground spiders are active hunters, finding and felling prey.

And they are good at it. They are able to shoot silk with enough accuracy to hit legs and mouths of prey much larger than themselves. And this silk is sticky. The glue can withstand shear stresses that are more than 750 times what artificial glues can handle. Getting hit with this stuff is worse than being wrapped in a blanket of super glue.

And if that’s not chilling enough, the spider doesn’t eat the prey. It just sucks out all the fluid leaving a desiccated corpse behind. Do not volunteer to clean up after one of their dinner parties.

scorpion

In Curse of the Viper King, Professor Grant Coleman and activist Janaina Silva are lost in the Amazon. They come across a logging team and hope they can hitch a ride home through them. But workers discover the remains of a giant snake that send them into a superstitious panic. Then that night, giant spiders arrive. The survivors of the attack find that their only hope for salvation lies in the lost Aztec temple of the infamous Viper King. But they have to get there and back alive.

So as your read about Grant’s harrowing exploits among the spiders, don’t give my imagination all the credit. This spider-induced terror plays out every day all over the world, just on a much smaller scale. Just be glad you aren’t a quarter-inch tall.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1925840190/

Russell James grew up on Long Island, New York and spent too much time watching late night horror. He graduated from Cornell University and the University of Central Florida. After flying helicopters with the U.S. Army, he now spins twisted tales, including paranormal thrillers Dark Inspiration, Sacrifice, Black Magic, Dark Vengeance, Dreamwalker, and Q Island. His Grant Coleman adventure series covers Cavern of the Damned, Monsters in the Clouds, and Curse of the Viper King. His wife reads his work, rolls her eyes, and says “There is something seriously wrong with you.”

russ

Visit his website at http://www.russellrjames.com, follow on Twitter @RRJames14, or say hi at rrj@russellrjames.com.

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#Horrortober Reading List

Hey there, Hellions. The starter pistol has gone off and it’s time for a month long deep dive into horror! I’m not only going to rock Horrortober with a horror movie each and every day. When my eyeballs aren’t on the screen, they’ll be on the page. So, what’s on Uncle Hunter’s Horrortober reading list this year? Let’s peruse the old to-be-read pile. And please give me suggestions, especially graphic novels. I know I’ll breeze through these and be on the prowl for more.

cabin at end of world

I’ve been saving The Cabin at the End of the World just for this. Tremblay knocked my socks off with A Head Full of Ghosts. I’ve heard nothing but high praise for his latest.

Seven-year-old Wen and her parents, Eric and Andrew, are vacationing at a remote cabin on a quiet New Hampshire lake. Their closest neighbors are more than two miles in either direction along a rutted dirt road.

One afternoon, as Wen catches grasshoppers in the front yard, a stranger unexpectedly appears in the driveway. Leonard is the largest man Wen has ever seen but he is young, friendly, and he wins her over almost instantly. Leonard and Wen talk and play until Leonard abruptly apologizes and tells Wen, “None of what’s going to happen is your fault”. Three more strangers then arrive at the cabin carrying unidentifiable, menacing objects. As Wen sprints inside to warn her parents, Leonard calls out: “Your dads won’t want to let us in, Wen. But they have to. We need your help to save the world.”

Thus begins an unbearably tense, gripping tale of paranoia, sacrifice, apocalypse, and survival that escalates to a shattering conclusion, one in which the fate of a loving family and quite possibly all of humanity are entwined. The Cabin at the End of the World is a masterpiece of terror and suspense from the fantastically fertile imagination of Paul Tremblay.

crabs

Guy N. Smith is the master of monster horror and I don’t know how the hell I haven’t read this one. Night of the Crabs is a classic. Best part is, this is book one of an ass kicking series.

The Welsh coast basks in summer tranquility. Then the ‘drownings’ begin. But not until the monstrous crustaceans crawl ashore, their pincers poised for destruction, does the world understand the threat it faces. A seafood cocktail for the strongest stomachs.

travel

Robert McCammon is a freaking legend. I’d read a tampon box if I knew he wrote the copy. I Travel by Night is a no brainer.

For Lawson, the horrors that stalked the Civil War battlefield at Shiloh were more than just those of war. After being forcibly given the gift of undeath by the mysterious vampire queen LaRouge, Lawson chose to cling to what remained of his humanity and fought his way free of the Dark Society’s clutches. In the decades since, he has roamed late nineteenth century America, doing what good he can as he travels by night, combating evils mundane and supernatural, and always seeking the key to regaining a mortal life.

That key lies with his maker, and now Lawson hopes to find LaRouge at the heart of a Louisiana swamp with the aid of a haunted priest and an unexpected ally. In the tornado-wracked ghost town of Nocturne, Lawson must face down monstrous enemies, the rising sun, and his own nature.

zoo

Cryptid…Zoo. I mean, holy cow, is there another book out there more geared toward my warped sensibilities? I bought this the second I saw it. Cannot wait to tuck into this one.

As a child, rare and unusual animals, especially cryptid creatures, always fascinated Carter Wilde.

Now that he’s an eccentric billionaire and runs the largest conglomerate of high-tech companies all over the world, he can finally achieve his wildest dream of building the most incredible theme park ever conceived on the planet…CRYPTID ZOO.

Even though there have been apparent problems with the project, Wilde still decides to send some of his marketing employees and their families on a forced vacation to assess the theme park in preparation for Opening Day.

Nick Wells and his family are some of those chosen and are about to embark on what will become the most terror-filled weekend of their lives—praying they survive.

STEP RIGHT UP AND GET YOUR FREE PASS…

TO CRYPTID ZOO

Sarah P

Sarah Pinborough is a great writer. The moment I saw this book at Barnes & Noble, I grabbed it and hustled to the register. Behind Her Eyes has the seal of approval from Stephen King and Joe Hill. ‘Nuff said.

Louise is a single mom, a secretary, stuck in a modern-day rut. On a rare night out, she meets a man in a bar and sparks fly. Though he leaves after they kiss, she’s thrilled she finally connected with someone.

When Louise arrives at work on Monday, she meets her new boss, David. The man from the bar. The very married man from the bar…who says the kiss was a terrible mistake, but who still can’t keep his eyes off Louise.

And then Louise bumps into Adele, who’s new to town and in need of a friend. But she also just happens to be married to David. And if you think you know where this story is going, think again, because Behind Her Eyes is like no other book you’ve read before.

David and Adele look like the picture-perfect husband and wife. But then why is David so controlling? And why is Adele so scared of him?

As Louise is drawn into David and Adele’s orbit, she uncovers more puzzling questions than answers. The only thing that is crystal clear is that something in this marriage is very, very wrong. But Louise can’t guess how wrong—and how far a person might go to protect their marriage’s secrets.


So, what’s on your Horrortober reading list? Share with the class and I’ll add some books to your TBR pile! 

31 Days of Terror

Let’s play a game.

A Halloween/Horrortober game.

It’s called 31 DAYS OF TERROR – CHAPTER 2. If you’re like me, you want to fill your Halloween season with horror. For me, one of those ways is watching a horror movie every single day. But the questions is always, what movie do I watch?

Enter 31 Days of Terror. 

31 movies MM

31 Days of Terror is a roll the dice game where chance selects your movie each night. Author Steve Hutchison has compiled categories and lists of movies in this great second edition. It’s easy to fall into the same old same old with your Horrotober movie selections. The great thing about this game is that it will suggest movies you’ve either forgotten or never heard of, along with plenty of tried and trues.

This is the second year the Monster Men have played the game to help build our viewing list. Watch our latest podcast to see what 31 movies we came up with this time around and see if there are any forgotten gems you want to add to your own. I know we rolled a few very welcome surprises this time around.

And by all means, BUY THE BOOK so you have a fun way to build your own Horrorotber viewing list each and every year.

So, what movies are you planning to watch? Hellions want to know.

Horrortober Movie List

Every time I look at the calendar lately, I get giddy. October – uh, I mean HORRORTOBER, is almost here! That means one month of complete horror immersion, from books to movies and things to do.

I’m looking forward to Horrortober more than ever this year because the slate of horror flicks that have come out in 2018 have left a lot to be desired. I feel as though I’ve been bombarded by duds like Unfriended : Dark Web, The Nun and Winchester. Yep, time in the local movie has has not been time well spent, although A Quiet Place and Hereditary are a couple of bright spots. Hell, Puppet Master : The Littles Reich is now in my top 10 for 2018! That’s all that needs to be said.

they live

For me, Horrortober means going back to revisit the movies that are the reason for the season. My goal, that I’ve been able to surpass most years, is to watch at least one horror movie a day. Every year, I rewatch Halloween (natch), It Follows, Motel Hell and The Funhouse and several other staplesBut each year, I also add a bunch I haven’t seen in a while. So, what’s on this year’s to-watch list?

House

2018 is the year of Fred Dekker for me. I’ve added House and The Monster Squad to the old queue. A few weeks ago, I wrote a post about the top 10 rat movies to see. On that list is Of Unknown Origin, which is now on my Horrortober list. I’m a HUGE John Carpenter fan, but it’s been too long since I revisited They Live. I’m rectifying that this year. The Changeling was just restored in what I hear is a wonderful Blu Ray, which I may buy to give us nightmares in the Shea lair. Or I’ll just watch my old, grainy DVD. Oh, gotta have vampires, so Near Dark is in the rotation.

Now, I have two questions – are you here to chew bubblegum or kick ass? No, that’s not it. What movies do you think I should add to my list? We can watch them ‘together’ and discuss on Twitter. Also, what’s on your Horrortober list? Let’s make this a month long party and swap movie ideas. Those who comment here and share are in the drawing to win free ebooks of Rattus New Yorkus, Jurassic Florida and more. So come on you hellion horror hounds, let’s get pumped for Horrortober! 

Book News – CREATURE Has Arrived!

Break out the champagne (or at least a higher end beer) because the new line of Flame Tree Press horror is here to fuel your nightmares! My debut novel with them, CREATURE, is available today in what we call a four-bagger – hardcover, trade paperback, ebook and audiobook.

Creature cover

A heart-wrenching story with massive amounts of carnage. Dare I say there is something for everyone.” Cemetery Dance

ABOUT THE BOOK – 

The monsters live inside of Kate Woodson. Chronic pain and a host of autoimmune diseases have robbed her of a normal, happy life. Her husband Andrew’s surprise of their dream Maine lake cottage for the summer is the gift of a lifetime. It’s beautiful, remote, idyllic, a place to heal.

But they are not alone. SomHere’s a little inside scoop on the book:

  • It’s semi-autobiographical. Kate and Andrew are large parts of my me and my wife. She does have a series of debilitating auto-immune diseases that have made our life, let’s just say interesting.
  • I did take most of a summer off from work to take her to Maine to recover and live in our favorite place. It was just after I had watched my father pass away in front of me and we weren’t sure if my wife was going to follow in his footsteps.
  • This was the toughest book I’ve ever had to write, even though going in I thought it would be easy since I knew the source material so well.
  • My wife had a mutt named Buttons when she was growing up. He was hit by a car when she was 12 and she still misses him. This was my way of bringing him back without going to the old Pet Sematary.

Here’s what reviewers are saying about CREATURE :

Creature is quite simply brilliant! It put me through the wringer, the final third of the book ramps things up to unbearable levels of emotional (and horrific) tension. It’s not very often I finish a horror novel with tears in my eyes.” Kendall Reviews

CREATURE! It. Knocked. My. Socks. Off.” Char’s Horror Corner

Creature by Hunter Shea is a fantastically creepy read that kept me awake far into the night.” Port Jericho

ABOUT THE BOOK

The monsters live inside of Kate Woodson. Chronic pain and a host of autoimmune diseases have robbed her of a normal, happy life. Her husband Andrew’s surprise of their dream Maine lake cottage for the summer is the gift of a lifetime. It’s beautiful, remote, idyllic, a place to heal.

But they are not alone.

Something is in the woods, screeching in the darkness, banging on the house, leaving animals for dead. Just like her body, Kate’s cottage becomes her prison. She and Andrew must fight to survive the creature that lurks in the dead of night.


You can pick up a copy of Creature in your favorite format by clicking here! 

Once you read it, let me know what you think! And don’t forget to grab copies of the other great releases by Flame Tree Press by the incredible lineup of authors – Tim Waggoner, Ramsey Campbell, John Everson, Jonathan Janz, J.D. Moyer!

10 Horrifying Rat Movies

In honor of the release of my novella, RATTUS NEW YORKUS, I decided to share a list of 10 horror movies centered around those disease-bearing rodents. If rats make you squeamish, this makes a great double dare to watch a few of these selected horrors.

Now, in no particular order, here are 10 flicks straight from the sewer. Click the movie poster to watch the trailer and see which one ‘squeaks’ your interest.

10. BEN

ben

I named one of my hamsters Ben, and he was appropriately mean as hell. With a theme song performed by young Michael Jackson, this was my first foray into rat horror films. A young boy befriends old Ben, who just happens to be the ringleader for a horde of menacing rats. I always tell people, this is the rat movie to start with.

9. THE FOOD OF THE GODS

food of the gods

This is my favorite because it’s a Bert I. Gordon joint. That man is my hero. When the animals on a pacific northwest island start slurping up some white goo, they get, well, they didn’t call him Mr. B.I.G. for nothing. I saw this in the theater when it first came out and buy it on every new format.

8. RODENTZ

rodentz

I’m not gonna lie. This one is not so great. Also known as Altered Species, its the common rat trope of a chemical getting exposed to rats and making them…well…rattier. If this came out now, it would be in Red Box with a bitching cover image and nothing else.

7. OF UNKNOWN ORIGIN

of unknown origin

You know, I had forgotten all about this until now, and I don’t know why, considering how much I liked it back in the 80s. It stars Peter Weller (Robocop), a man possessed with figuring out what unseen terror us lurking in his home. Is he out of his mind, or is there something furry and lethal stalking him? Pure 80s goodness.

6. THE RATS ARE COMING! THE WEREWOLVES ARE HERE!

the rats are coming

This wins, hands down, for best title. Not sure how easy it will be to find this early 70s shlock (ahem) classic that’s more about werewolves than rats. If you like watching loonies do bad things to rats, this might be for you.

5. THE KILLER SHREWS

killer shrews

I have to tell ya, the giant shrews in this 50s scifi romp are kinda icky. They made my skin crawl when I first saw it many moons ago. Yes, I know a shrew isn’t technically a rat, but watch this one and tell me if it makes a difference. You know it’s worth a watch when it was featured on Mystery Science Theater 3000.

4. DEADLY EYES

deadly eyes

I fell in love with this VHS cover back in the day. I rented it quite a few times over the years. Now, it’s not the greatest, but there is some fun to be had here. We’ve got rats as big as dogs invading homes and an entire city. I’d love to see this movie remade with a The Meg sized budget.

3. RATS – NIGHT OF TERROR

rats night of terror

Ok, this is an Italian horror movie, and we all know how I feel about that. However, I’d be remiss if I didn’t include it. I will give it props for being a post-apocalypse rat horror flick. And there is a pretty cool twist in the end.

2. GRAVEYARD SHIFT

graveyard shift

Maybe not the best Stephen King adaptation, but it’s still fun to watch. And how about that movie poster, huh? There’s tons of rats in the old textile mill, and a little somethin’-somethin’ extra. I actually dig this movie and have to remember to watch it during this year’s Horrortober.

1.WILLARD

willard

Whether you watch the original (co-starring Elsa Lanchester, the Bride of Frankenstein) or the remake with the supremely odd Crispin Glover, you can’t go wrong. The lesson here is, beware of dudes who have a posse of rats as their only friends. Considered a classic for a damn good reason.


And there you have it, 10 movies with high ick factors starring armies of furry beasts. Once you’ve seen them all and want more, don’t forget to check out Rattus New Yorkus and find out what happens when you take a blowtorch to thousands of rats in Grand Central Station.

Rattus New Yorkus cover

New York Overrun By Rabid Rats! RATTUS NEW YORKUS Has Arrived

Novella #2 in my ONE SIZE EATS ALL trilogy, RATTUS NEW YORKUS, has just hopped off the 4 train and is swarming Grand Central Station as we speak.

Rattus New Yorkus cover

THEY’RE BIGGER
Deep in the sewers of New York City, the rat population is growing. Dr. Randolph Finch is determined to break the cycle. His new rodenticide, Degenesis, doesn’t kill rats. It sterilizes them from reproducing. But nothing adapts faster than a New York rat . . .

THEY’RE SMARTER
City exterminators and soon-to-be divorced Chris and Benita Jackson think they know how these rats think. They know how rats breed. And they fear that Degenesis has only made these rats stronger. More aggressive. More intelligent. And more ravenous than ever . . .

TONIGHT’S DINNER SPECIAL: US
After a noticeable surge in rat den activity, the Jacksons witness something strange. Without warning, the rats disappear—only to reassemble in a massive lair beneath Grand Central Station. Millions upon millions of them. Working together. Operating as a hive mind. Feasting on the flesh of the homeless below—and planning their all-out attack on the unsuspecting humans above . . .

How much more fun could this book could be? The answer is none! None more fun!” – Char’s Horror Corner

All you have to do is buckle up because it is full tilt boogie from the first page to the last.” – Cedar Hollow Reviews

So grab your traps and favorite ‘rat bashin’ bat’ and get on down to the Big Apple.

BUY RATTUS NEW YORKUS FOR ONLY $1.99 HERE! 

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