Ok, that may be an understatement, but I am IN Sweden. All righty, I’m not personally there, but Creature was just spotted on a bookshelf in the Science Fiction Bookhandlen, which I’ve been told by an awesome resident, Dan J., is the premier horror/scifi bookstore in all of Stockholm. Now I know I have to leave the US to find a horror section in a bookstore!
It’s kinda cool to see Creature between Rice and Straub and right next to Jeremy Shipp.
Flame Tree Press, for those who don’t know, is a UK publisher, so I guess it’s only natural the book would find its way into stores in Europe. Fun fact, my favorite candy as a kid was Swedish fish. They cost a penny a fish and the corner store owner would count them out by twos whenever I slapped my money on the counter, sweeping them into a small brown paper bag when he was done.
Since I’m bound to New York for the foreseeable future, I need your help. If you find Creature in the wild, aka – on a shelf in a bookstore – take a pic and send it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org along with where you found it. I’ll share the pic and thank you by sending you a free book!
Happy Halloween to all my Hellions far and wide. As we slip into the spookiest of all days, I thought I’d share my one and only time messing around with a Ouija board. I wrote this article a few years back and thought it would set the mood perfectly. So light some candles, lock the door and call out to the dead…
Halloween is fun until the scares are real. I learned that in college.
This is something I and my old friends rarely talk about, not because we worry it might sound crazy to people (and it does). No, we don’t like bringing it up because of how deeply it affected all of us. Maybe it was the night (Halloween), the place (my friend’s apartment next to an old cemetery), our intentions (five dopes looking to talk with the dead) that took us down a dark path. It was most likely all three. Yeah, it had to be.
My friend Gene (all names changed to protect the quasi-innocent), rented a top floor apartment right across the street from a cemetery in New Rochelle, NY. We were in college and had started our own fraternity because we hated the dumb crap frats made pledges do. With us, if we liked you, you were in. No humiliation.
I digress. Four of us went with Gene to his apartment on Halloween night with the express purpose of having a séance. There wasn’t anyone in particular we wanted to reach beyond the veil. Any disembodied spirit would do. Oddly enough, we were all stone cold sober. That alone should have told us something was off.
We had a couple of problems. None of us were mediums and we didn’t have a Ouija board. It was too late to run to the toy store to buy one. That problem was easily solved. We drew up letters and numbers on paper, cut them into squares and lined them up on the floor in a circle. For a planchette, we used a cut-up plastic coffee lid. There, Ouija boards made easy! It wasn’t the best looking spirit board, but it would do.
The five of us sat around the carefully placed scraps of paper, each putting a finger on the makeshift planchette. We asked it questions. The wind actually howled outside the window. All we were missing was lightning and a black cat.
At first, nothing happened.
But then the planchette started to move. It was the oddest sensation. My finger was barely on it. Sure, one of them could have been moving it, but I got a strange rush that went through my body. Something was talking to us, answering our questions. And it wasn’t happy. The more freaked out we became, the angrier it got. As much as we wanted to stop, we just couldn’t. When we spoke about it later, we all agreed we were feeling the same unearthly vibe.
We learned the name of the spirit was Fran Turner. Fran wasn’t thrilled that we were disturbing her. We were no longer thrilled that we had called something into our little, unprotected circle (I later learned that homemade spirit boards are a biiig no-no. It’s like opening a portal without knowing how to close it properly).
Finally, we couldn’t take it any longer. We removed our fingers at the same time. Hearts racing, we were happy to leave Fran alone.
But it didn’t stop there. Even in the dark, we could see Richie’s eyes had rolled up to the top of his head. He began talking in a strange voice, saying he was Fran Turner! Now, Richie was one of the most innocent, unassuming guys I’d ever met. Still is. He’s not a prankster. For several minutes, this Fran Turner talked to us through Richie. I’ll admit, I nearly crapped myself. We were so flipped out, we shook Richie hard and scattered the pieces of the Ouija board all over the room.
That seemed to break the spell. Richie stopped talking, head rolling onto his chest. When he opened his eyes again, I thought he was going to have a heart attack. It took a while to settle him down. We left the apartment an hour later feeling an invisible set of eyes at our backs. We promised to never, ever screw with a Ouija board again. It took a few slugs of Jaegermeister to get me to sleep later.
We couldn’t let it go. The next day, we were all still shaken. Our usually boisterous meet up in the school cafeteria was markedly subdued. While I was in media class, a couple of the guys went to the boneyard. I’m pretty sure you can guess what they found.
Fran Turner’s grave was right there, the old headstone nestled in the middle of the cemetery. At one point that week, each of us went to the grave, mouths hanging open, minds blown, knees feeling as if they’d been turned to Smucker’s jelly.
It’s over 25 years later and we’re still confounded by what happened that night. Some guys refuse to even talk about it. Did we actually pluck the shade of Fran Turner from the ether? Was it our focused, collective unconscious that created the spirit’s actions on the board and Richie’s bizarre spell? I don’t know or hold out hope to ever get to the bottom of it. All I know is that it happened, and there are five grown men who would pay good money to have the whole night erased from our memories.
If you take anything from this, please don’t fuck with Ouija boards next to cemeteries on Halloween night.
Trick or treat instead. You can thank me later.
That’s right hellions, the final book in my One Size Eats All Trilogy is finally here! THE DEVIL’S FINGERS is a nasty “be careful when you go in the woods” tale of conspiracy, infection and brutal murder. Think of it as a mashup of Day of the Triffids/Cabin Fever/Friday the 13th/Invasion of the Body Snatchers.
WHAT HAS LONG PINK FINGERS AND SMELLS LIKE ROTTING FLESH?
It is a slime-covered fungus known for its pinkish red tentacles and pungent odor. It is indigenous to Australia but has spread to North America. Its Latin name is Clathrus Archeri, also known as Octopus Stinkhorn. Most people call it The Devil’s Fingers . . .
I DON’T KNOW BUT IT’S GROWING ON YOUR NECK.
Deep in the woods of Washington, botanist Autumn Winters stumbles onto a field of the luridly colored fungi. Two of her fellow campers make the mistake of touching it. Now it’s growing on them. Fleshy gelatinous pods. Sprouting from their skin. Feeding on their blood . . .
AND IT’S STILL GROWING.
Autumn watches in horror as her friends are transformed into monstrosities—grotesque, human-fungal hybrids as contagious and deadly as any virus. Autumn knows she must destroy these mutations before they return to civilization. But if there’s one thing that spreads faster than fear, it’s The Devil’s Fingers . . .
“The descriptions of pods bursting with tentacles wiggling was enough to make me gag. I had a hard time not reading this book in one sitting. If you’re a fan of Hunter this will not disappoint. Go and download a copy, it’s a must read. Just be warned, the level of gross is high in the pages of this one…” — The Scary Reviews
Guess what? Devil’s Fingers are a real thing! It’s a terrifying looking fungus that looks straight out of an alien nightmare. Their actual name is Clathrus Archeri, and watching one “hatch” will make your stomach turn. Don’t believe me? Check this out…
If you’re intrigued by the terrible things I do with this horror fungus, click here to order The Devil’s Fingers today!
And for those audiobook lovers out there, the first 50 people to pre-order my One Size Eats All audiobook from Graphic Audio will get a free Grand Pa Guignol yo-yo!
Hey there Hellions. How’s your Horrortober so far? I’m starting this week working on a new novel for Flame Tree Press titled SLASH and editing my next Severed Press book, ANTARCTIC ICE BEASTS. So, since I’m a tad swamped at the moment (because if I have free time, it will be filled with watching horror movies), my buddy Dallas Ray Kitchens is going to talk about his love affair with horror movie soundtracks. What are some of your favorites?
In the fascinating world of horror, whether its books, movies, or soundtracks, I find that we have a fascination with violence. We see an accident and we can’t look away. It’s a burning, itchy feeling in the brain impossible to ignore.
And often it’s the soundtrack that makes or breaks a movie. Which brings me to the first and one of the best, 1982,s John Carpenter’s The Thing. It’s a throbbing pulsing beat that gets your blood boiling. The main theme sets the tone for the entire movie. It grabs you by the throat and does not shake you loose until the end credits.
Music can and often does make the movie. When you’re sitting there waiting for your movie to start, all relaxed and comfortable, staring at the screen, telling yourself, I’m not scared, telling yourself, this movie ain’t nothing, the house lights suddenly go down, and the first musical note hits, and you hope against hope you don’t shit yourself.
Let’s delve into The Shining from 1980. The terrifying soundtrack starts with a low deep vibration in your chest, and you start thinking, what the hell is happening to me? You begin to realize that you’re being released from the horror of your life, and opening up to a whole other world. A world of sound unlike anything you’ve ever heard or felt. Just close your eyes, and it will take you back to a fear that’s never left you. It’s just been buried deep down in your soul.
Some of the movies that changed my course forever are 1925’s The Phantom of the Opera and The Monolith Monsters. The Phantom runs you over like a tank, leaving you breathless, saying thank you sir may I have another. The Monolith Monsters, is a scifi classic, where a desert town is attacked by giant blood thirsty Crystals. A giant meteorite crashes and explodes, leaving hundreds of fragments that grow to be big and tall and menacing, and then they fall and it starts all over again. Yep, killer rocks. What more could ask for?
When a soundtrack gets it right, all you need to do is turn it on, close your eyes and relive the horror in your mind. We all have our favorites. What give you shivers in the dead of night?
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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!
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 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.