Aaru by David Meredith #BookReview

Title: Aaru | Series: The Aaru Cycle #1 | Author: David Meredith | Pub Date: 2017-7-9 | Pages: 305 | ASIN: B073V7CZ1Q | Genre: Drama, Sci-Fi, Thriller | Language: English | Triggers: Paedophilia, Sexual Assault, Child Pornography | Rating: 3 out of 5 | Source: Received a copy from the author for review consideration.


Aaru

Rose is dying. Her body is wasted and skeletal. She is too sick and weak to move. Every day is an agony and her only hope is that death will find her swiftly before the pain grows too great to bear.

She is sixteen years old.

Rose has made peace with her fate, but her younger sister, Koren, certainly has not. Though all hope appears lost Koren convinces Rose to make one final attempt at saving her life after a mysterious man in a white lab coat approaches their family about an unorthodox and experimental procedure. A copy of Rose’s radiant mind is uploaded to a massive super computer called Aaru – a virtual paradise where the great and the righteous might live forever in an arcadian world free from pain, illness, and death. Elysian Industries is set to begin offering the service to those who can afford it and hires Koren to be their spokes-model.

Within a matter of weeks, the sisters’ faces are nationally ubiquitous, but they soon discover that neither celebrity nor immortality is as utopian as they think. Not everyone is pleased with the idea of life everlasting for sale.
What unfolds is a whirlwind of controversy, sabotage, obsession, and danger. Rose and Koren must struggle to find meaning in their chaotic new lives and at the same time hold true to each other as Aaru challenges all they ever knew about life, love, and death and everything they thought they really believed.

Book cover for Aaru

Aaru Review

Aaru and I just didn’t click, but I do admire how David Meredith uses technology in it. Some of the reasons aren’t things that I can say are ‘bad’, just things that didn’t work for me. One of those was that the author chooses to write his character’s dialogue in dialect. So you can encounter pages filled with dese, dat, da instead of these, that, and the, etc. I have never been a fan of this style of writing, and every time I encountered it, it jarred me out of the story. It’s personal taste. Some readers may really enjoy it. There’s also a strong Christian element in Aaru. The religious element didn’t particularly bother me, but if you’re strongly anti-religious, it may be a turn-off. 

David Meredith has a fascinating premise here in Aaru. Put simply, those who are going to die can have a scan of their conscious done and be uploaded into a virtual sort o Afterlife. I can see where many people would be attracted to the idea of never really losing their loved ones. The idea intrigued me immediately, but soon the ramifications occurred to me. I was happy to see the author willing to explore the potential problems instead of just acting like it was perfect. This is, in my opinion, the strongest point of the story. Everything about it is pretty well thought out, including how someone would access Aaru that wasn’t supposed to.

In regards to the characters in Aaru, I really liked Rose, Auset, and Kiku, but didn’t really care for the rest of them. They were understandable, but not really likable. Having grown up with an alcoholic father, Rose and Koren’s dad made me want to slap some sense into him pretty much any time he appeared on the page. His blustery, compensating-for-something attitude in general just set my teeth on edge. I felt like he never cared for Koren or Rose, but instead for what he could wring from the situation. I felt sorry for Koren, it was obvious that she was having a hard time dealing with the loss of her sister, and I wanted to protect her from the situation she found herself in. Especially considering her parents were too busy enjoying the ride to look out for their living daughter.

Then there was Magic Man.  Magic Man…hated Magic Man. I hated him so much that he almost turned me off Aaru completely. Now, that’s not necessarily a bad thing, because it says something for the author that he can create a character so repugnant I would rather not read than have to put up with him. He can make your skin crawl. However, he’s also not entirely believable. It’s not his perversions, but more the way he talks to himself. And this is a problem that is found in more than just this character. The internal (and sometimes external) dialogue that happens with the characters isn’t quite right. It’s very

There are lots of things about Magic Man and the book in general that can make a reader uncomfortable. There is paedophilia and child pornography, and two instances of sexual assault. These are only hinted at by the words “obsession and danger” in the blurb, so to say I wasn’t expecting it to get as twisted as it did is an understatement. Still, crap like that happens. People can be perverts. And young girls can easily be taken advantage of by people who should know better. David Meredith is really good at getting into that mindset of obsession and making you want to take a shower after reading some of it in Aaru.

Overal, Aaru had some really interesting aspects to it, and I think that David Meredith is a talented writer. Aaru and I just don’t work well together. I don’t think I was quite the right audience for the book. 

Buy Link: Amazon

Train to Busan #MovieReview

Movie Covers for Train to Busan

Train to Busan Synopsis: While a zombie virus breaks out in South Korea, passengers struggle to survive on the train from Seoul to Busan.

Release Date: July 20th, 2016 | Runtime: 1 hr 58 min | Coolthulhus Earned: 5

Starring: Yoo GongYu-mi JungDong-seok Ma

 

 

 

Train to Busan Review

I realized that even though I’ve talked about Train to Busan a few times on various posts, I’ve never actually written up a review. Time to rectify that!

Train to Busan is a South Korean zombie flick that is, as the name might imply, set almost entirely on a train or in train stations. It follows two main characters in the form a father Seok-Woo ( Yoo Gong ) and his daughter Soo-An (played by Su-An Kim). Dong-seok Ma also plays a sizable role as well, as a husband (Sang-hwa) traveling with his pregnant wife. Everyone, even the secondary characters, do a great job in their respective roles. At the beginning of the movie, you don’t particularly care for Seok-Woo, but watching him realize what’s really important and grow as a father means by the end of the film you’re firmly rooting for his survival. Though, to be honest, I definitely liked Dong-seok better. He was a bit on the adorable side with his devotion to his wife, and that along with some of the tough guy moves he pulls had me cheering.

Train to Busan is a perfect example of taking a monster that has almost lost it’s appeal because of market saturation, and still turning out a flick you can’t help but be interested in. There’s nothing really new in it, and the usual cast of characters are present, including the rich selfish CEO type person that you can’t wait to see get bit. The zombies in Train to Busan are fairly typical. Not very bright, easy to distract, and such. Of course, given that people need to be able to navigate through the cars, the director works in a nice twist the humans can take advantage of.

I think one of the appeals of Train to Busan for me is that it’s not a ‘loud’ movie. It’s not dependent on loud noises for jump scares, shrill screams, etc. And even though there are several shots of bloodied zombies, and such, the gore factor isn’t particularly high. It’s much more focused on the survivors and how they deal with the situation. In most cases, that would annoy me. I tend to dislike movies where there’s less focus on the zombies and more on the characters, but in this movie, it works, unlike certain television shows that have become daytime soaps with the occasional bloody death and zombie fight. 

Train to Busan is the zombie film I would (and do) recommend from the last decade. It’s well-acted, the perfect length, and filled with action. And that ending? Perfection.

Purchase on Amazon.

Horror Crafter Showcase: Jeanie Byrd

Our second artist for the Horror Crafter Showcase takes babydolls and makes them into things that can haunt your dreams. And again, here I am, counting myself lucky if I can make a pretty picture in Photoshop. These ladies’ talents know no bounds!


About the Artist

Name: Jeanie Byrd

Age:  In my prime!

Where are you from: Monroe, Michigan

How long have you been creating art like this? I have been creating my Cuddly Creaturez since 2014.

What drew you to horror-themed art? I got started simply because I collect zombie dolls, but couldn’t find someone who could create what I wanted. My husband told me I could, bought me some stuff to start with, and the rest is history.

Is your family supportive of your art? My family is supportive of my endeavor, even though they aren’t into the horror and gore.

Has your art ever garnered any negative comments because of the horror theme? The only negative feedback I have gotten has been funny. Questions like “have you ever been committed?” “Are you possessed?” Fun stuff like that… Although I have gotten a few negative comments on my display for the events I attend… It’s a juvenile coffin from the 1920s… Definitely garners a lot of strange looks. But it’s all in fun.

What’s your favorite scary movie? Why? Hmmm…. The Saw series, for sure. And of course, It. The original.

What is the worst horror movie you’ve ever seen?  Worst? The Grudge. Definitely wanted my time and money back from that one.

 

Social Media: https://www.facebook.com/Cuddlycreaturez/

 

Dapper Bat - Original Creation- by Jeanie Byrd
Dapper Bat – Original Creation- by Jeanie Byrd
Puppet Master set by Jeanie Byrd
Puppet Master set by Jeanie Byrd
Killer Klownz by Jeanie Byrd
Killer Klownz by Jeanie Byrd

About the Art:

How did you decide upon your chosen medium? I love the adorable and creepy combined, and I know that there are a lot of dolls that end up thrown away, so it was an easy step to using rescued dolls.

Do you see yourself branching out and trying more ways of creating art in the future? No I don’t see myself branching out, I am quite content with this.

How long does it take you to create most pieces? Each piece takes about 3 weeks from start to ship.

Has anyone ever asked you to create a specific piece?  I specialize in custom orders. You want it, I can make it.

What is the most difficult part of creating one of your pieces? The hardest part is finding the perfect baby for each piece. I don’t buy new, so sometimes it takes a while to find the baby needed.

What is the piece that you are most proud of? There’s 2. The Killer Klownz from Outer Space set I created, and the Puppet Master set I made for a client.

Do you display your art at festivals, ‘Cons, etc? I do many events each year

What made you choose the pieces to be featured in this post? I chose these pieces because I feel they show my creativity to the best advantage, and I love these babies.

Is there any advice you would give to fellow horror artists? Dreams can be followed!!! Keep at it, you will figure it out!

What are you currently working on? Right now I am currently working on bringing Billy from Saw to life.


Make sure you folks head by Jeanie’s Cuddly Creaturez Facebook page and check out some more of her offerings. She does an amazing job!

 

If you would like to be featured this month as well, please contact me via email at contact @ sitename .com

Graveyard Shakes by Laura Terry #Bookreview

Title: Graveyard Shakes | Author and Illustrator: Laura Terry | Publisher: Graphix | Pub. Date: 2017-9-26 | Pages: 208 | ISBN13: 9780545889551 | Genre: Kids Fantasy Graphic Novel | Language: English | Triggers: 2 child deaths, young boys | Rating: 3 out of 5 | Source: Library


Graveyard Shakes

Katia and Victoria are sisters and scholarship students at a private boarding school. While Victoria tries to fit in, Katia is unapologetic about her quirks, even though their classmates tease her. After a big fight, Katia runs away from school. And when Victoria goes looking for her, she accidentally tumbles into the underworld of a nearby graveyard. It is inhabited by ghosts, ghouls, and a man named Nikola, who is preparing a sinister spell that’s missing one key ingredient.

Victoria teams up with adorable Little Ghost and Nikola’s kindhearted son, and together they search for Katia. They must find her before she becomes Nikola’s next victim!

Book cover for Graveyard Shakes

Graveyard Shakes Review

I give Laura Terry props for writing and illustrating Graveyard Shakes. I tend to always think that someone does the writing and someone else does the illustrations, so it’s a pleasant surprise to encounter otherwise.  Graveyard Shakes is aimed at middle grade readers. It’s simply laid out, and easy to follow. Because there are two child deaths (neither graphic, pardon the pun), I would advise parents to pre-read it to see if it is suitable for their child. 

The problem with Graveyard Shakes is, essentially, that it’s just kind of forgettable. Even my 8 year old said “Eh, it was good. Just not great” as soon as we finished it. (And she’s a graphic novel fiend.)The illustrations are nice, but not outstanding. The story is a bit darker than I’m used to seeing in a kids book, with two child deaths in it, but nothing that makes an impression. Immediately after finishing it, I went to write this review and realized that I’d already forgotten the older sister’s name. Considering we spend as much time following her as we do Katie and Little Ghost and Modie, that serves as an indicator to her character.

The pacing of Graveyard Shakes is fine. It’s broken up into three parts, with the majority of the book focusing on the second section. The dialogue is adequate, again forgettable, with not a single line I set aside for a quote. There is a cool scene involving a super ghost. The scene involving the second child’s death was very well done. It wasn’t witnessed on page, but inferred in a way that even young readers can understand.

This is Laura Terry’s debut work, and upon learning that, Graveyard Shakes‘ mediocrity makes perfect sense. This is a ‘safe’ story written by someone who definitely has ability, but hasn’t yet found her niche. Given time and a bit more experience, we may see something unique develop as she pushes her boundaries.

Buy Links:

Amazon | ThiftBooks 

 

The Good House by Tananarive Due #BookReview

Title: The Good House | Author: Tananarive Due | Publisher: Simon & Schuster | Orig Pub Date: 2003-8-25 | ISBN13: 9780743296168 | Genre: Horror | Language: English | Triggers: Child Death, Child Murder | Rating: 4 out of 5 | Source: Library


The Good House

The home that belonged to Angela Toussaint’s late grandmother is so beloved that townspeople in Sacajawea, Washington, call it the Good House. But that all changes one summer when an unexpected tragedy takes place behind its closed doors…and the Toussaint’s family history — and future — is dramatically transformed. Angela has not returned to the Good House since her son, Corey, died there two years ago. But now, Angela is finally ready to return to her hometown and go beyond the grave to unearth the truth about Corey’s death. Could it be related to a terrifying entity Angela’s grandmother battled seven decades ago? And what about the other senseless calamities that Sacajawea has seen in recent years? Has Angela’s grandmother, an African American woman reputed to have “powers,” put a curse on the entire community?

A thrilling exploration of secrets, lies, and divine inspiration, “The Good House” will haunt readers long after its chilling conclusion.

Book cover for The Good House

The Good House Review

The Good House was a damn good book. Tananarive Due delivers a story that will make you have every single feel she can drudge up in you. From hope to horror, from tearing down to buildling up, and everything in between. This is a book that will have you going “Oh, Jesus,” and yet unable to look away. The deaths will haunt you. Angela’s journey will rock you.

I’m not a fan of child death in horror. Pretty much anyone who knows me and has listened to me talk about horror knows that. I consider it to be a weak writing prop, and I’ll even snarl at some of my writer acquaintances for it. (Sorry, Mike!) However, sometimes, just sometimes it’s done right. It has shock value – because, hello, child death – but it makes so much sense in the story that you accept it. That’s how it was in The Good House. It wasn’t a couple trying to get a fresh start after a baby’s death. It didn’t linger on a child’s dead body for giggles. The deaths are there, and they are terrible, but they are not lingered upon. And they play a role.

Angela, the primary character in The Good House, is beautiful, flawed, and strong. She’s a woman I spent the majority of the book feeling with. Yes, feeling ‘with’. I know her struggles. The first time I connected with her was when Due writes about her struggles to sleep, and the thoughts and images that bombard her prior to it. Angela is afraid of falling asleep, but not really afraid of sleeping itself, and I get that. I struggle with it every night. I wanted to reach into the pages and share a beer with her, and just say “I know, honey. I know.”

Words have a powerful magic when used well, and Tananarive Due conjures that magic up effortlessly in The Good House. All the characters leap off the page, even if you only meet them for a few moments. There have been several books lately where I’ve had trouble keeping the characters straight or even just remembering their names. There wasn’t a chance of that happening here. Grandma Marie, Myles, Corey, Sean, even Art and Glenn felt so real you would half expect to run into them on the street. And even though the book is set just a short time after the turn of the millenium, the only thing that really dates it is the mention of the music.

Now, mind, I didn’t care for everything in The Good House. There was a lot of sexual stuff involved and that just didn’t do it for me. (Mostly because I was reading this on my downtime at work and didn’t want anyone seeing some heated stuff on my screen! But also, in general, I don’t like sex and horror to mix.) And I have to confess I’m still not entirely sure how Tariq came to play the role that he played in the book. In fact if I could ask the author just one question, it would be to please clarify how he got involved in the very beginning. (But I won’t say more so I don’t spoil anything!)

And, it pains me to say this, but the very end felt like a little bit out of a cop-out in The Good House. I can understand why she did it, but it was just like “Nooo! Don’t weaken it now!”

My favorite quote:

“I’m in the film business, remember — and if this were a movie, this is the part where the audience would be screaming for the woman to get out of the house. So that’s exactly what I’m doing.” – The Good House by Tananarive Due

Overall, even though it didn’t quite hit it out of the park for me, I really enjoyed The Good House. It’s so very well written, beautifully imagined, and almost cinematic in its feel. I’m so happy I finally got around to reading Tananarive Due, and I seriously doubt this will be the last book  I read from her.

Eyeball it on Amazon.

Press Release: Sightings

JAWS meets STRANGER THINGS

in High Octane Pictures’

SIGHTINGS

 

Sightings Movie Poster

Writer-director Dallas Morgan’s unnerving supernatural thriller Sightings premieres on VOD this November.

Dante Basco (Hook, Bad Ass 2 : Bad Asses), Kevin Sizemore (Fear the Walking Dead: Flight 462), and Boo Arnold (Nashville) star in a pulse-pounding cornucopia of Stranger Things, Signs and Jaws, arriving November 7.

When former Sheriff and skeptic of the paranormal, Tom Mayfield (Boo Arnold), encounters three dead bodies on his TX ranch, he must enlist the help of his conspiracy-theorist brother-in-law (Rawn Erickson II), a local surveillance expert (Dante Basco), and a renowned cryptozoologist (Stephanie Drapeau), in order to uncover who or what is behind these mysterious events.

While being pursued by the local detective (Kevin Sizemore) as a lead suspect for these deaths, Tom is forced to reconsider his preconceived ideas of what lies beyond our planet.

Ultimately, he must mend the estranged relationship with his daughter (Tahlia Morgan) and come to grips with the truth of his missing wife (Tiffany Heath), as he discovers the importance of community in survival and the belief in the unseen.

From High Octane Pictures, the studio that brought you Clowntergeist and The Answer, comes another workout for your goosebumps, Sightings out 11/7.

Sightings Trailer


My thoughts: Sightings could be good. I was grabbed by the “JAWS meets STRANGER THINGS” in the title. That’s just such a weird mashup that I had to watch the trailer. And when you see the Bigfoot-y thing stomping outside the house in it, it sets your mind to wondering. I kind of want to watch it just to see exactly what the alien looks like when it’s revealed. With the allusion to Jaws, there’d better be some satisfyingly terrifying teeth involved!

I don’t know – what do y’all think? Would you watch Sightings?

If you’re a fan of the whole alien sci-fi horror sub genre, what’s your favorite film?

Shine on the Path by Eddie Generous

As part of promoting Horror during October, we’ve asked authors to talk about a horror book or author that has made an impact on them. This first entry comes from Eddie Generous, who operates Unnerving Magazine.


Shine on the Path

 

I’d never read a Stephen King book until about five years ago, maybe closer to six. My jokey motto was that I hadn’t gotten to contemporary books because there was so much old stuff to read. Have you read Sherlock Holmes? It wasn’t just Mr. Conan Doyle, I was heavy into Dostoevsky, I read some Tolstoy, got halfway through Gogol’s stuff, and into a smidge of Turgenev, plus a ton of one offs. There’s a long explanation as to how this came about, but that’s a different story altogether.

This fascination in classics, primarily Russian, existed and thrived despite the fact I’d grown up reading from between the bumpy covers of Goosebumps books and was absolutely hooked on horror flicks. The tendency to reach beyond classics began a year after I wrote my first utter piece of trash novel. I really hadn’t read much of anything contemporary in a decade and in general was not reading nearly enough to be writing, these facts eventually gnawed at the idea that maybe my novel was shit (though still clinging to that absurd rookie author notion of inherit abilities).

I was broke. I was in the midst of a thinning streak of temp jobs and short-term laboring spots, as well as more than fifty unanswered resume submissions. Huzzah to the market crash!

A fully-fledged melancholy desperation had its grips on me. I was selling off hobby items and shedding social expectations; still drinking my face off fairly regularly, but alone. My wife had a good position and was the only reason I didn’t have to head west to the oil fields. A good position meant going into debt a little bit more every month instead of a lot more.

I was down to my last things of easy value (hockey collectables). In the case of this anecdote, it was limited edition Montreal Canadiens stamps. There were no money offers for the stamps, but there was a reply. This dude told me his ex (a woman who had jetted on him in 1990) left hardcovers behind, if I wanted to swap. I went to his house. He was little guy, pudgy with yellow skin, wearing a flannel with the buttons open, clean grey joggers. He said I could take any fifteen books from the shelf. Most were water damaged, but what did I care? I needed to get more writing in me. I halfway saw reading as a chore back then.

Eddie Generous holding his copy of The Shining
Eddie Generous holding his copy of The Shining

Several weeks later I’d read five of the books: Bachman’s Thinner, a couple Koontz yarns, a Mary Higgins-Clark, and some other god-awful crime thriller, and then I opened The Shining. It’s said that sometimes books find you and that really seems like what happened.

Here was something I’d never read before. An uncannily realistic, screaming, arm-busting daddy (a character I had in the household cast growing up) in the midst of breakdown, suffering the burden of being useless to society, drinking his family to pieces (art imitates life and life repeats itself with a new set of players every day).

It was winter, in the midst of cold-snap like I’d never experienced, there were dead cars in lots and on the sides of streets, ice forming around the interior of our window frames, news of homeless succumbing all over the province, and there I was, stuck in this story with these people who felt real to me on so many levels.

I finally understood the full power of the right book.

I was there at the Overlook.

I was Jack.

I was Danny.

The world outside was a desolate winter wonderland and the hedges were aiming to get me.

I read it over two days (I’m not an especially quick reader) and ever since, I’ve been chasing the feeling The Shining gave me, chasing a Shine of my own.

I’ve tried to grasp and pass on what I experienced within those pages with new horrors and old horrors re-told. The Shining was the first step to today and all the words I’ve strung together, it’s how I eventually came to open and manage Unnerving. It’s how I learned there truly are the right books just waiting to be picked up.


Eddie Generous is a Canadian living on the Pacific coast with his wife and their cats. He operates a fledgling literary horror outfit aptly named Unnerving. An anthology he’s compiled and edited, Hardened Hearts, is due out in December. In 2018, Hellbound Books is releasing a collection of his novelettes titled Dead is Dead, but Not Always.

Social Media:

Twitter@GenerousEd @UnnervingMag

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/UnnervingMagazine/

Websitehttp://www.unnervingmagazine.com/

Issue 4 of Unnerving Magazine

Synopsis: Issue #4 of Unnerving Magazine is the biggest yet, loaded with monsters, devils, ghosts, the undead, rotten sons ‘o… and so much more. Gwendolyn Kiste offers up literary Halloween costume ideas while Stephen Graham Jones and Mark Allan Gunnells chat life’s most important holiday.

Our Favorite B-List Horror and Sci-Fi Actors

A banner with the words The Top Ten Tuesday List on it.The Top Ten Tuesday topic for this week was a bit unsuitable for the site, so we went off again on our own less-traveled path. This time we decided to devote our time and attention to the B-list actors that make some of our favorite movies so very, very watchable. The movies might be bad, but they tend to make them at least bad-good. (True B-movie fans know what I mean!)

Feel free to chime in with your favorites!

 

 

 

Our Favorite B-List Horror and Sci-Fi Actors

 

Keith David is not on this list for the reason you probably assume he’s on this list. Keith David is on here because of the old cartoon show Gargoyles. I have a voice-crush on him. (Is that even a thing?) And so when I found out that this dude actually did movies outside of Gargoyles, I started paying attention. And then I noticed he was popping up in lots of movies I liked, such as The Thing, Armageddon, They Live, and so on. I love this man (well, his voice at least.)

John Rhys-Davies – Okay, so here’s the thing abut John Rhys-Davies, he’s been in some movies that were so bad even I couldn’t watch them all the way through. (And that’s saying a lot.) However, he won my affection in Sliders, so I at least have to try movies when I see his name in the credits list or see his face. Even if I have to groan and shut it off after ten minutes, I’ve got to try. John Rhys-Davies was also the voice of McBeth on Gargoyles

Michael Ironside is an interesting one because I can’t say that I necessarily like him but I like a lot of the movies he has been in. Remember him as the teacher in Starship TroopersSo I’ll almost always check out his movies because it’s a good bet they’re going to be fun.

Movie cover for Starship Troopers

Greg Grunberg easily made this list, even if I had to look up his name because he’s a ‘that guy’. I first encountered him, as I’m sure many did, in Heroes, but since then I’ve seen him in a few B-movies and they’ve definitely been made that much better by his presence. Specifically, I love him in End of the World (in which he plays a video store owner that’s obsessed with disaster movies and who ends up living through one of those disasters), and in Big Ass Spider (which has Lin Shaye in it!)  I think he’s a fantastic actor.

Lin Shaye is, unfortunately, the only female on my list. I think there are probably more that I pay attention to, but she’s the only one whose name consistently pops to mind. I first noticed her in the Insidious movies, but then after watching them, I noticed she was also in a lot of other movies I liked. Her role in Big Ass Spider is a small one, but oh, my god, she had me cackling. You have to watch Big Ass Spider just for the scene between Lin Shaye and Greg Grunberg.

Lance Henriksen – Uhm, is there a B-movie this man is not in? I mean, seriously! Obviously he’s been in some widely released movies as well (Aliens, for example) but it’s the ones that haven’t exactly gained critical acclaim where I love him.  Movies like Man’s Best Friend and Harbinger Down definitely benefit from Henriksen’s presence. I know he’s a favorite of Gracie’s too. He brings a much deeper level to Pumpkinhead than the movie could have thought of. He plays so well off of the Pumpkinhead you can really believe they really are two halves of the same coin.

Tony Todd – Tony Todd might not get ‘starring’ roles but you cannot deny his screen presence and beautiful, deeply frightening voice. He’s sexy and frightening in Candyman but his role in the X-Files episode “Sleepless” was amazing. I don’t think many people could forget him in Final Destination.

Brad Dourif – You can put Brad Dourif into just about any role and he still looks like Brad Dourif. However, he wraps himself so thoroughly in that role that you don’t really notice. His more memorable roles have been Chucky (Child’s Play) and Grima Wormtongue (Lord of the Rings). My favorite is as The Gemini Killer/Damien Karras in Exorcist III. The interplay between him and George C. Scott is so electric that most of the time you don’t even notice that it’s two guys talking in a room.

Tom Savini – What can I say about Mr. Savini that probably hasn’t been said regarding his amazing special effects work? Probably not much. He certainly caught my eye in From Dusk til Dawn as Sex Machine (and his badass gun belt). There are probably a lot of people who knew this already and I had no idea. I realize that the info is there on IMDB for the reading. I’m getting to that. Yes, i know who they are and their general body of work but I generally leave themselves to themselves. But then I watched his segment on Nightmares in Red, white and Blue: The Evolution of the American Horror Film. I have to admit that his segment drew me in and made me tear up.

Before you notice that we have left one very, very important actor in the horror realm off the list we are adding him as a bonus. He really should need no introduction but it did not feel right to leave him off. The one, the only, the badass…Robert Englund. Most people recognize him with his mask and gloves on but he has been in far more movies than the Nightmare on Elm Street series. And also why the remake (excuse me, reboot) failed utterly. And can I get a glove raised for the short lived but could have been totally awesome television series Nightmare Cafe?

     


This was actually an interesting post to write because when I broached it with Gracie, it was clear it was hard to define exactly what “B-list” is. I”m sure there’s an official definition, but for me it falls in the “Hey! It’s the guy”. They might have some movies that achieve widespread fame, but their roles in them are generally small, or it was a one-off and they sank back into low-budget territory. They can be fantastic actors, but for some reason they’re just not known names, but instead are just very recognizable faces.

The Stark Divide by J. Scott Coatsworth #BookReview

Title: The Stark Divide | Series: Liminal Sky #1 | Author: J. Scott Coatsworth | Publisher: DSP Publications | Pub. Date: 2017-10-10 | Pages: 284 | ISBN13: 9781635338331 | Genre: Science Fiction, LGBTQ+ | Triggers: None | Rating: 4 out of 5 | Source: Received a copy from the author for review consideration.


Book Tour Banner for The Stark Divide

The Stark Divide

Some stories are epic.

The Earth is in a state of collapse, with wars breaking out over resources and an environment pushed to the edge by human greed.

Three living generation ships have been built with a combination of genetic mastery, artificial intelligence, technology, and raw materials harvested from the asteroid belt. This is the story of one of them—43 Ariadne, or Forever, as her inhabitants call her—a living world that carries the remaining hopes of humanity, and the three generations of scientists, engineers, and explorers working to colonize her.

From her humble beginnings as a seedling saved from disaster to the start of her journey across the void of space toward a new home for the human race, The Stark Divide tells the tales of the world, the people who made her, and the few who will become something altogether beyond human.

Humankind has just taken its first step toward the stars.

Book One of Liminal Sky

Book cover for The Stark Divide

The Stark Divide Review

The Stark Divide was a nice quick read. It was definitely a book that I didn’t want to put down unless I absolutely had to. It plays with some familiar ideas, but does so in such a way that it doesn’t feel ‘been there, done that’. In it, we’ve basically destroyed Earth, but we don’t have FTL travel yet, so we can’t quickly get to another planet. Naturally, that means we have to turn to colony spaceships in the meantime. And that leads me into what I liked most about the book. From the initial ship that the story starts on, Coatsworth catches your imagination and opens your minds to the possibilities of meat and metal spaceships. From there, we move on to an O’Neill cylinder, but the author’s way of developing one is definitely one you rarely read about. 

Really, the only thing I didn’t care for about The Stark Divide was the decades long time skips. I didn’t mind the first two, but the third one just seemed to rush things a bit. It felt like it was leaping to keep the drama high, and while I normally like full speed ahead, I just wished for a little more regular stuff here. Well, that, and although the characters were interesting, I wish we had gotten to know them a little bit more. Basically, it seems liked we just skimmed the surface for all the ‘good’ parts, and it felt like something was missing as a result.

Speaking of characters, I loved that three of the characters both carried a favorite book amongst their meagre possessions in The Stark Divide. At a time where every ounce counts, a book has to be extremely well loved. In one case, it was a journal. But the others were well-recognized sci-fi classics. It made me reflect on what book I would carry with me when everything was going to pieces. (Answer: My Kindle, because I couldn’t just choose one book.)

While I have read a few science fiction books that had LGBTQ+ characters in them, it was generally only one or two at max. The Stark Divide is inclusive science fiction written by an author who was tired of not finding characters he could relate to in stories. Anyone who is seeking good science fiction within those parameters needs to take a look at The Stark Divide. This is a solid story with a diverse cast of characters where their sexuality and/or gender is present, acknowledged, but really not a big deal. There are same sex marriages, casual relationships, FtM characters, and more.

Earth was believably depressing, the spaceships were awesome, the relationship between the AI minds and some of the humans were great, and there was a solid amount of diversity present in The Stark Divide. This was a very entertaining book and I believe it’s the start to a series with a lot of potential. Here’s hoping J. Scott Coatsworth writes the epic saga this story begs to be the beginning of.

Buy links: 

Horror Crafter Showcase: Debra Bennington

We are going to be profiling a couple of different artists during October as part of our efforts to expand and show some love not only to authors and filmmalkers, but other artists as well! Our first artist is a hobbyist whose skills make me jealous. I can barely draw a decent stick figure, and she’s doing horror movie art!


About the Artist

Name: Debra Bennington

Age: 59

Where do you live? Well I was born here where I currently live, Clacton-on-Sea, Essex, UK, but I haven’t always lived here, I’ve simply came back to it about about 12 years ago.

How long have you been creating art? About 6 or 7 years (but always doodled, scenic stuff really, a few became big pieces though).

Debra Bennington

What drew you to horror-themed art? My second born son asked me to put together my take on the movie ‘Psycho’, instead of my nature stuff. I had no internet then, and he gave me two squinty little pictures of the house, at weird angles, in the dark and rain to work from. It took me many attempts to even begin to be happy with the house enough to carry on with the entire picture. He wanted it for his movie figure & props etc room. My firstborn son then wanted in on the act and got me to do a cover pic of the 1985/6 comedy horror movie ‘House’, which also featured that same house as in ‘Psycho’. Things went from there and I got a liking for it.

Is your family supportive of your art? Yes, my family is very supportive of my art. Siblings and children alike. I have to add though, that I’ve been watching horror films since I was 5, was brought up on Frankensteins & Draculas. Brought my boys up to be the same, and they are true aficionados of film now, they see so much in them, know every tilt of a head, what’s in shop windows, cinemas, walls etc in films, and remember quotes and details effortlessly. My eldest has fond memories of going to the local video store with us and thinking, “One day I’m going to have all these myself”, and he has just about the biggest collection of 80’s VHS tapes going, along with all the film figures etc. I also add to their collections for Christmas and birthdays, and sometimes just a treat. They’ve been growing for several years now, and gotten quite vast, their poor wives are saints to them

Has your art ever garnered any negative comments because of the horror theme? Not really, it’s all been pretty positive, the odd misery thinking they’re clever, but very few and far between.

What’s your favorite scary movie? Why?  ‘The Thing’ 1982, great plot, it made anything possible and they used it fully, fabulously acted too, I must have watched it close to 100 times now.

What is the worst horror movie you’ve ever seen?  Why? The Purge, I found it utterly boring, the next one was better though.

Social Media: You can find me on Instagram as Debra Bennington

 

 

 

The Art

Critters by Debra Bennington
Critters by Debra Bennington
The Exorcist by Debra Bennington
The Exorcist by Debra Bennington
Psycho by Debra Bennington
Psycho by Debra Bennington

 

About the Art

How did you decide upon your chosen medium? I’m not confident with a movable tip (i.e. brush) as it may do things I didn’t intend. Also, not confident enough to go straight to ink as my initial lines are often re-worked, so my eraser is my friend, lol. Hence I like graphite pencils.

Do you see yourself branching out and trying more ways of creating art in the future? I’m already buying different utensils for the next venture after the one I working on. Like mechanical pencils, Prismacolour pencils, and different coloured pads such as tan or black to see what I can do. Also I want to try ‘hot pressed water colour paper’, velum and boards.

How long does it take you to create most pieces? This is my Achilles heel. I’m really not fast, and if I’m not in the mood I daren’t touch them because nothing will go right and I’ll mess them up irreparably, so in full swing, I do a few hours most evenings. Three months is an average, also because they are big, done to fit a regular size large picture frame, 16″x20″ (40×50 cms), and I do get bogged down in the details, it’s kinda my thing, lol.

Has anyone ever asked you to create a specific piece? Yes, a few people other than my family have asked me to do specifics. So far those people have welched when the time came and the work was complete (changed their minds etc) but as far as I’m aware the work was ok as others loved it. I subsequently sold them elsewhere. Then you get folk who want to ‘low-ball’ a price. They have a false impression I knock them out ’10 a penny’ and it takes nothing to do. I’ve never asked an unreasonable price though, I don’t like to, and many folk tell me they’re worth more. So I’ve sold just two of my horror pics to date, and I’m not terribly bothered about trying to sell them anymore, but that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t entertain it for a serious buyer that I thought I could trust.

What is the most difficult part of creating one of your pieces? The beginnings are the most difficult part: getting the basic framework in, then some important details that are really what it’s about. Once I’m happy with those I can generally settle in to it, and pick out finer details.

What is the piece that you are most proud of? it has to be my ‘Psycho’ pic, where it all started from, because that house was a nightmare to do, and I’m pretty proud of the moon in it.

Do you display your art at festivals, ‘Cons, etc? No, I’ve never displayed it. I checked out my local library to show it there, but they want more from me per month to display it than I’d ask for a picture itself, so if it didn’t sell, I’d be paying a substantial amount! Seemed a little skewed to me, lol, plus they wanted a percentage of the sale.

What made you choose the pieces to be featured in this post? For me, they were a triumph, and they’ve caused great reaction where I have shown them in some Facebook groups, for example, my ‘Exorcist’ one got 772 reactions in two days on a heavily busy group where things get swallowed up fast. By the way, the pics I’ve shown as my favourites are not photo-shopped at all, and the ‘Psycho’ one has caught some glare on the side of the house.

Is there any advice you would give to fellow horror artists? I’m just an amateur, more a hobbyist. If you like to do it, no matter how bad you think you are, keep going, your probably better than you think, that’s what I’ve seen a lot of. Other than that, I’ve seen outstanding art by some folk, I can’t pretend to tell them anything at all.

What project are you working on right now? Frankenstein’s monster as in Boris Karloff, my poor sister-in-law has been waiting so long for it, lol, bless her.


We would like to thank Debra for letting us feature her for our first Horror-themed Indie Artist Spotlight here on Sci-Fi & Scary.

What would you like to see Debra draw?