Hello and happy summer, Hellions!
First, does anyone remember the 80s Bauhaus classic, Bela Lugosi’s Dead? It’s one of my favorites from back in they da, at the time a perfect marriage of my two passions, horror and new wave music. Man, I miss new wave. Never did go for the Flock of Seagulls look, though.
We just got word this past week that after months of reshuffling things, Samhain is back on its feet. Soon, they’ll be opening to new submissions as well. That’s good news, not just for the authors who have books with Samhain, but maybe more importantly for those who love to read horror. As a man who devours scary books like they’re Tic Tacs, the more places I can find them, the better.
It’s especially good because some amazing books that had been acquired before things went sideways are coming out now , including works by the legendary RICHARD LAYMON and the wildly popular BORDERLANDS anthology, edited by Thomas and Olivia Monteleone. This is top notch stuff. I repeat – TOP NOTCH.
Samhain will always have a special place in my cold, black heart. They not only gave me my big break, but linked me with another legend, editor Don D’Auria. Everything I have now is thanks to Samhain. And now I’m thinking of writing the next Jessica Backman/Eddie Home book for Samhain. So many more stories with those two, it’ll be nice to keep them all in one place.
So yes, you can still get superb books by what I call The New Class – authors like JONATHAN JANZ, BRIAN MORELAND, RON MALFI, TIM WAGGONER, KRISTOPHER RUFTY, FRAZIER LEE, RUSSELL JAMES, DAVID BERNSTEIN, AARON DRIES, GLENN ROLFE and so many more, I could write names for the next hour.
Samhain has risen from the…well, not the grave, but the gurney? Works for me. Celebrate by buying a book or two!
My man man, pots and pans, Spencer Mitchell is back, this time with a review of a very cool flick called 13 Cameras. I haven’t seen it myself, but after reading his review, I’m going straight to Amazon this afternoon. There’s great horror out there. Sometimes, you just need to rely on someone’s recommendation to point you in the right direction! And this particular movie opens up a whole can of worms about the prevalence of cameras in today’s society and what that means for us.
Take it away Spencer…
13 Cameras: A Video Surveillance Horror Story
While ugly, failing appliances and bug infestations may be at the top of the list of a renter’s worst fears, being spied on by creepy landlords is also another concern. No one wants to be unknowingly watched and recorded, but the movie 13 Cameras takes it a step further. If nothing else, this film shows that the technology so many depend on to protect their homes, property, and person can easily be used against them.
As 13 Cameras opens, Gerald, played by Neville Archambault, is seen purchasing a load of little cameras and installing them in a house. In come newlyweds Ryan and Claire, played by PJ McCabe and Brianne Moncrief, who are expecting their first baby and looking for a new place to rent. Claire picks up on Gerald’s unsettling vibes right away, but since the house is perfectly suited for their growing family, the couple signs a lease and seals their fate.
During the film, Claire and Ryan do the normal things that all married couples do within their homes: argue, have sex, and plan their futures. The problem is most people don’t have a landlord watching their every movement on camera. Then comes the twist: Ryan is having an affair with his assistant Hannah, played by Sarah Baldwin. It gets to the point where Ryan’s indiscretion is not only threatening his marriage with Claire, but Gerald’s favorite pastime as well. And you know Gerald’s not having that. As the tension between Ryan and Claire becomes more intense, Gerald steps beyond watching them on camera and physically invades their lives.
Archambault’s performance as Gerald is excellent and flawlessly gives the audience sweaty-crazy-landlord realness. He doesn’t say much throughout the film, but his very presence is unnerving. Once the audience sees he’s not some quivering lump but a very muscular man beneath his sweat-stained shirt, you get a sense that Claire and Ryan are in serious danger. As for the ending of 13 Cameras, let’s just say that it is as disturbing as the rest of the film.
Theatrical drama aside, there are some real life problems with video surveillance. It’s commonly abused and can easily put sensitive information and footage into the wrong hands. Technology simply hasn’t reached the point of being fool-proof, and that era may never come at all. That said, home security systems can provide some major benefits, are effective at warding off would-be intruders, and there are ways to safeguard them, according to many resources.
One of the biggest vulnerabilities with most home security systems is they’re not encrypted, which makes it much easier for hackers, stalkers, and even pranksters to spy on you and invade your privacy. Choose a system that uses encryption and is tamper resistant. Another way to stop hackers is by properly securing your home’s router if your security system relies on WiFi. Change the default password and be sure your router’s firmware is current. To very easily determine whether unauthorized users are interfering with your security system, regularly scan the IP history of your camera logs.
The problems presented by unlawful, intrusive surveillance all seem like infrequent worse case scenarios, but cameras are hacked into more than people realize. Because it touches on real life issues that people have encountered with surveillance gone wrong in a terrifying way, 13 Cameras is more of a horror movie than a suspenseful thriller. Take a lesson from Claire and Ryan: to avoid a safety and privacy catastrophe, you have to be careful when it comes to having cameras within your home.
6/14 UPDATE : Due to the incredible response of reviewers requesting a copy, we’re ‘sold out’ at the moment. However, if you want to be included in our official list of reviewers and receive an ARC over the summer, please contact us at email@example.com with your name and mailing address.
I think I’m the only one in the neighborhood who gets monsters in the mail – and digs it. They all used to say, “There’s something wrong with that boy.”
This latest special delivery is a box o’ advance, uncorrected proofs of my next Pinnacle cryptid tale, THE JERSEY DEVIL.
So, here’s what I want to do today. If you’re a book reviewer and love horror and monsters as much as I do, shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org with your mailing address so I can send you a copy before it hits the shelves in September. I’ll send a copy to the first 5 reviewers who contact me, so act fast!
I grew up spending half my waking hours in comic book stores (and old time stationery stores that sold comics and Mad Magazine).
I’m crossing another item off my bucket list this Saturday, June 11th at the Spider’s Web, the best comic book store in Westchester, NY. It’s located at 887 Yonkers, Ave, Yonkers, NY, right across the street from Empire City Casino. Here’s a bit of trivia, the proverbial poop hits the fan in my book, Tortures of the Damned, right at that very spot. So come see me, buy a book (all of my books will be on hand) and see where the end of Yonkers began. I’ll be in a nice tent right outside the store, working on my tan.
Witches are in the air lately. Well, not exactly on broomsticks, but there have been some high quality witch stories already this year, which gets me to wondering if 2016 will be the season of the witch. The luster of zombies has been rotting for a few years now, and it doesn’t look like vampires or werewolves are doing much to take the top slot.
The new Dark Horse comic, Harrow County, is the best horror comic I’ve read in years. Witches abound in this turn of the 20th Century gothic tale. With creepy, sometimes disturbing imagery and masterful storytelling, it’s one you can’t afford to miss. Just look at the cover of volume 1 (collecting the first 4 issues). That’s the skin of a dead boy who can talk. And he’s one of the good guys!
Also, now available for purchase, is the movie The Witch. It’s firmly on my list of top movies of 2016. Atmospheric, isolated, threaded with creeping dread, this independent flick lived up to the hype. The Monster Men give it a quick review without any spoilers. Check it out this weekend if you can.
Do the dead speak to us from time to time?
Maybe not so much in words, though that’s been known to happen. Sometimes they communicate with us in dreams, or in a strange happenstance.
I know it’s easy to dismiss those instances as coincidence or an unconscious longing to know that a loved one is not only ok, but nearby.
It’s coming up on 3 years since my father passed away. He went in to have a kidney stone blasted, a simple procedure, and 36 hours later, he was gone. It was devastating.
I’ve literally not purged my phone of pictures since 2013, so a few weeks ago, I decided it was long past due. I wanted to download all of my pics (graduations, vacations, holidays and just goofing around) and save them to my computer and a backup drive.
You all know how that works. It’s real simple. You connect your phone to your computer, select all, and presto, they’re off the phone in one fell swoop.
When it was done, I was relieved, because I was really worried about losing those captured memories. I unplugged the USB cable with a feeling of satisfaction. The old man had conquered modern technology.
I went to my Camera icon on my phone just to bask in the afterglow of a job well done, which in this case would be zero picture files.
I quickly discovered one solitary picture had refused to move on.
It was the last picture taken of my father.
He’d just had the outside of the house redone and was very happy with the results. Super Storm Sandy had done a number on it, and the whole structure had to be resided. We were in the yard and I snapped a pic of the house. My father just happened to be standing by the grill, looking off somewhere to my left. Now, I know it looks like he’s not happy, but that was his ‘I’m conentrating’ or ‘the sun is too damn bright’ look.
And there he still is, in my phone, in a sense, with me at all times, since my phone is practically attached to me.
There is no logical reason why that picture didn’t transfer over. Select All means you select all, not all minus one.
I’ve been doing a lot of flying lately – something I hate and dread – and I guess he wanted to make sure he was there with me. Or maybe he just wants to collect some frequent flier miles. But there he is.
I hope he enjoys the flight from New Orleans later today.