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The Dollcraft of Thomas Ligotti

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The towering influences of writers like Shirley Jackson, Edgar Allen Poe, and Mary Shelley extend well beyond the boundaries of horror and into the wider realm of literature proper, a point that has been belabored enough that I don’t need to make it again here. Less explored (and perhaps more interesting) are the occasions on which writers who are well-loved and respected outside of the cobwebbed graveyard of macabre literature have slipped through the gates of that cemetery for a midnight jaunt. My favorite example might be the short story “the Comet” by William E.B. DuBois, a brilliant writer not usually known for his ghost stories. “The Comet” can be read as many things – an early science fiction story, a sharp-eyed tale about race, class, and American society, and – with its necropolitan flair — an excellently-crafted horror tale. I think it is best understood as all and none of these, and a great example of how fluid and arbitrary the boundaries that separate so-called “genre fiction” from so-called “literature” can be.

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Reed Alexander’s Horror Review of ‘Hell Fire’ (2015)

The Devil, Some Hookers, and Gore. Oh my!

I’ve been on an indi kick lately and I wanted to share with you all a gem that randomly fell into my lap.

It didn’t start out perfect. Audio! Fucking audio people! There was so much echo and feedback it was hard to hear what people were fucking saying! I shouldn’t have to watch an English movie with the subtitles on! Especially one that was loud enough to be heard normally if it wasn’t for all the earsplitting distortion. Man, don’t get me wrong, the dialog is solid and even natural, and the soundtrack is pretty smart too. But Jesus FUCKING Christ, wish someone had checked the levels on the god damn audio. Thought I was going to have a migraine.

The cinematography was good though. I’ve gotta say that the camera filters were fascinating. It reminded me of an old disco video, or that scene from Carrie (1976) when she final goes full psycho and kills everyone at the prom. It was really quite brilliant use of filters. The angles, the shadowing, the colors. It’s a far smarter way to hide the shit practical FX than with “shaky camera,” and it creates a darker and grittier atmosphere.

So, the opening monologue seemed to be completely needless. It was kinda neat to do opening introductions like Smokin’ Aces, but maybe just cut out the “I’m the Antichrist” bullshit? We could have figured that out later, and it would have been a lot more fun to find out naturally. That’s kinda neat, right? Narrator introduces the characters, the plot takes off, and then we find out he’s the Antichrist. It feels like something I should have to save for the spoilers.

But let’s talk about the pace! After the needles exposition, HOLY FUCK do things get going! This movie does not fuck around! GOD DAMN what a fucking ride! The first 30 minutes were almost as violent as the original Oldboy. Dude, the fight scenes are bananas! You think they might jump the shark with the second big blowout, but it just keeps getting crazier.

Look, this is definitely not a movie for all adult audiences. It certainly is an acquired taste. But Horror Heads are guaran-damn-teed to love it.

SPOILERS!!!

There was a lot of shit during the fight scenes that should have left way more marks. Apparently, they didn’t have the makeup budget for that. Everything from getting bashed in the head to punched in the face. There were too many times to count when me and my wife were like, “That should have left a mark.”

How the fuck didn’t they check on Frye when they thought they killed her? I get that Frye manifested an evil duplicate of herself and that the Antichrist accidentally killed the duplicate (see? Bananas), but the moment he thought he killed her, someone should have fucking checked. I mean seriously! That was some fucking amateur hour shit, and this movie isn’t exactly full of professional criminals.

And you’re telling me the Antichrist could have just raised some zombies and had them kill the son of God the whole damn time?!? Seems like an easy workaround. Can’t kill the son of God because you’re the Antichrist? Raise some fucking zombies to do it. Why hire some damn pimp and start this whole movie to begin with? I know, we couldn’t NOT have a movie. Just saying, kinda a big plot hole.

Frye also pulled a cringe-worthy horror movie trope by going to the police and informing them the Antichrist was killing people. First off, she’s a seasoned street walker. She may not be book smart, but I guarantee she ain’t no fool. Second, why the fuck did she drive off in a car, almost to freedom, only to ask a complete stranger to bring her back? I mean, she could have just asked for a phone, called the cops, and fucking went on her way.

Anywho… Say it with me now, in your best Morbo impersonation, “THERE WERE NO SURVIVORS!!!” That’s honestly the only way you could end this movie. Somehow the Antichrist just barely manages to scrape by while the cops storm the place and shoot Frye.

Overall though, shit was bonkers and way too much fun to pass up!

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Did you know I wrote a book? It’s got a dark, Lovecraftian vibe and lots of violence. Give it a shot! Only $5+tax for the e-book!

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Kristin Dearborn Digs The Thing

It’s July and with that comes blistering, oppressive heat. Could there be a better time to talk with author Kristin Dearborn about her favorite movie/monster—the Thing. 

Set on the barren, bitterly cold continent of Antarctica, John Carpenter’s 1982 The Thing gives the horror lover a different kind of monster to fear. Dearborn says that she considers this version of the movie and monster her own because she and the movie came about in the same year. She also loves it because of the isolation and claustrophobia of the setting. To her the monster is the perfect killer with the ability to attack anyone and bring about severe paranoia. 

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Fins in Funnels: The Sharknado – Franchise Part V

Fins in Funnels: The Sharknado – Franchise Part V

March 10, 2018 was one of the craziest days of my life. They say the definition of insanity is repeating the same behavior and expecting different results? Not so. True insanity is watching all five Sharknado films in one day.

Sharknado 5: Global Swarming

Director: Anthony C. Ferrante

Number of Beers Consumed: 6

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American Cult Now For Sale

Happy Fourth of July, in this trying times of darkness, sometimes an even greater darkness is the only path towards light. With that in mind, it is with great joy that we announce that our newest anthology “American Cult” is now available for purchase from our online store. Featuring seven stories from some of today’s best horror writers.

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Defects: Pregnancy in Horror, Part Three

(Note: If women’s reproductive choice and autonomy are issues you care about, the single best thing you can do right now is donate to the National Network of Abortion Funds. As their website says, “Not being able to afford or access an abortion is not an individual problem. It’s a systemic injustice. Together, we can fight back.”)

Last week, I talked about a few of Stephen King’s portrayals of pregnancy in his work. King is one of the all-time greats, but even Orson Welles had his off moments, and so has King. That said, his heart is in the right place and his characters are usually three dimensional and well-developed, with voices and desires that sound and feel authentic. The same cannot be said of all approaches to pregnancy in horror, however. Some writers and filmmakers are responsible for portraits of gestation that serve as both potent prophylactics and startling snapshots of misogyny – and the best place to start is with my old arch-enemy Stephanie Meyer and her novel Breaking Dawn.

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Fins in Funnels: The Sharknado Franchise Part IV

March 10, 2018 was one of the craziest days of my life. They say the definition of insanity is repeating the same behavior and expecting different results? Not so. True insanity is watching all five Sharknado films in one day.

Sharknado 4: The 4th Awakens

Director: Anthony C. Ferrante

Number of Beers Consumed: 5

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In Remembrance of Natture G.

Naturre G Playing with Tengger Cavalry

Last night I discovered that my good friend Naturre G. of Tengger Cavalry was gone.

A few years back I found Mongolian Throat Singing hip hop, and I loved it. It was strangely hypnotic and fun, even if my music of choice has always been metal. A few months later a friend of mine gave me an article from a finance magazine he read that strangely had an article about Heavy Metal around the world. Of course there were bits about Baby Metal and various Norwegian bands.

But then a few paragraphs down was an segment about Mongolian Folk Metal band Tengger Cavarly. I immediately went to itunes and found their music. And fell in love. It was brutal, but melodic, taking the care to include traditional Mongolian instruments and melodies. All over brutal throat singing lyrics. I followed them of social media, listened to their albums non-stop and lamented the fact that I would probably never see them live.

Then the next week, I saw an ad, they were playing my hometown in two weeks at the Come and Get it Live. I bought tickets.

It was a great show, I dragged some friends with me, and it was even a blast. A few months later I got a message on facebook from Naturre. He saw that I had come to the show in Austin, and wanted to know if he could crash with me while he looked for a place to live. After checking with my wife, we said yes.

Naturre was a fantastic guest, he played guitar with my 4 year old daughter, he brought gifts, he was friendly and unimposing. He was fantastically talented and creative. He was also very open about his struggle with depression over the years, and how hard he fought against it to stay alive. It was one of the reasons he moved to Austin, to get away from a culture he felt was poisoning him. He felt like he could make new friends and be healthier here.

Naturre campaigned for everyone to get help with depression, and to speak to people about suicidal thoughts. But even as he did those things, he fought against those demons himself. He struggled with trying to continually find success in the face of bands with more resources and online trolls. He struggled to make ends meet in a world where racism was a constant and daily reality thrown in his face.

He created a label to help other small Nomadic Metal bands come to the US and get bigger recognition, he volunteered his music for the Madness Heart Radio podcast. He offered to mix our Cover Artists self recorded album. Whatever tools and resources Naturre had at his disposal were at the disposal of his friends. He even wrote a blurb for my poetry chapbook, all out of kindness and love.

Naturre was involved in video game soundtracks including Doom Eternal & Civilization Beyond Earth , and movie soundtracks like All the Wild Horses. He had solo projects, he played Carnegie Hall twice. His talent, intelligence and dedication to people towered above most. And I will miss him intensely.

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Talking Horror with Wytovich: Part II

Last week, my blog post was an interview with Stephanie Wytovich about her use of horror in the classroom. During the course of that interview, we discussed the importance of diverse voices in the horror genre. Today’s post is going to involve that discussion. 

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