War of the Worlds: Retaliation Review

Book cover for War of the Worlds: RetaliationWar of the Worlds: Retaliation

1898: Martian tripods lay waste to Earth’s cities. The world’s armies are unable to stem the tide of destruction. When all hope appears lost, common bacteria kills the alien invaders. From the ashes, the human race uses the technology left behind by the Martians to build new, advanced weapons.

1924: Armed with their own spaceships, tripods, and jet fighters, the nations of the world are ready to take the fight to Mars. George Patton, Erwin Rommel, Charles de Gaulle, and Georgy Zhukov lead their troops in battle across the red planet to end the alien menace once and for all. But the Martians have one last, desperate plan to try, and if successful, it could mean the end for all humanity. – Goodreads

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Why We Won’t Read Your Book

Sci-Fi & Scary gets a lot of science fiction and horror review submissions. That’s awesome! We love supporting indie authors and we have no plans on stopping anytime soon. We even purchase indie author books independently on Amazon on a regular basis. Just because they look good. Hoooooowwwweeevvveeer, there are some things that make us seriously disinclined to accept your book for review (or get it on our own from Amazon). As this Top Ten Tuesday prompt was “Top Ten Things That Will Make Me Instantly NOT Want To Read A Book” we thought we’d take advantage of it to create a list of our reasons we reject (or consider rejecting) many of the books. This is not limited to indie authors, either! Some of these mistakes have been made by well-known authors and have us groaning.

We aren’t going to name names in this post, and any covers that we use will be quick mock-ups done by us to get the point across. As usual, Top Ten Tuesday is brought to you courtesy of Broke and Bookish.

Why We Won’t Read Your Book

Misspellings on the cover or in the summary on the back
. We rarely see this happen on covers but it does happen. We understand not everyone can hire cover designers, so many choose to make their own covers. If you do – good for you. However, for the love of all things tentacled, please make sure you have someone spell check your cover.  And have at least two or three people read your summary! This one we see errors in all the time, and it’s a bit amazing, quite frankly. Especially on more well-known books.




Incorrect capitalization. Yes, it happens to the best of us. However, sometimes you only have one chance to catch someone’s attention. So you want to make sure that all aspects of your cover are on point, yes? If you can’t manage to keep with at least a consistent capitalization, we’re not going to waste our time reading the blurb/summary.






Keywords in the title section on Goodreads/Amazon. Right now we’re both at the point where if we see this when we’re looking at your book, we will flat out refuse to get it. This is a stupid practice that needs to stop immediately. Keyword tagging your title is tempting, but just don’t do it.

However, it’s not just in the title section, either. If you shove a bunch of keywords in a row right into where your blurb/summary goes instead of giving a proper summary, or any variation of that, it still doesn’t look good.



Breaking up a story into multiple parts to cash grab. Obviously, there are exceptions to this rule. Every single one of us can think of series that go past the trilogy stage. But every one of us can also think of cases where it was completely unnecessary, and this often happens with indie authors who will parcel out their story into bite-sized chunks (sometimes larger) and often end them on massive cliffhangers. Sometimes right in the middle of the natural arc of one plotline.



Listing your book under inappropriate genres to get people to read it. If we see this, especially if we see a decidedly adult book in the children’s section, we will report it. Not gonna lie. If it’s obviously mislisted, neither of us have any problem taking the 2 seconds required to let the appropriate people know.  It’s just shady marketing. It goes without saying that we’re also never going to pick up your book. That one, or any other one we ever see under your name.




Nothing but praise on the back. Look, we think it’s fantastic that other published authors are willing to sing your book’s praises. Really. It’s awesome. However, that doesn’t bloody tell us what your book is about, does it?! We’ve seen this one happening more and more, especially on some big name writer’s books, and it’s enough to make us facepalm. This trend towards including the summary on super tiny type on the inside of the dust jacket has got to stop. Gah.

A second part to this – praise for *another* book from the same author. We don’t care about the praise Sassy Serpents got if we’re trying to find a summary for Withering Witches. You get us?




The attractive woman in a seductive/sexy pose cover. You know the ones. Your book is about a kick-ass female *insert profession* and … well, sex sells, right? So you slap a picture of an attractive female on the cover, give it a title and all that, and call it done.

For me (LG), sex sells if I’m wanting to read romance or erotica. Then, show me the boobs or the ripply abs or whatever other cliche you want to show me. I’m still going to be more interested in the actual stories within, but at least I’m not going to roll my eyes so hard that they threaten to stick pointing straight up and walk straight by your book.




Not paying attention to the site’s notices for reviewing. Especially when they’re clearly listed on the top of the “Request a Review” form. Y’all… YOU ALL. Seriously. I can’t even… Look, I’m going to take a second to rant about this. When a site has it clearly posted that they’re only accepting certain formats, and people continue to send them requests to review alternate formats, it’s bloody infuriating. I’ve gotten to the point where if I’m feeling nice that day, I might respond denying to review your book. Otherwise, I just ignore it.

It’s clearly posted in the widget on the right sidebar that we’re only accepting audiobooks for the science fiction submissions right now. It’s also stated right at the very top (in bold) on the request a review form. The form that everyone has to fill out to submit their books for review. And yet y’all keep sending me requests to review your mobi copies. No. Nope. Not happening. Nu-uh. You blew it.  */end mini-rant from LG*

Okay, that’s not all the reasons why we won’t read your book, but it’s the major ones.

What about you, what stops you from reading certain books?







Kong: Skull Island Review

Movie poster for Kong Skull IslandKong: Skull Island Synopsis: A team of scientists explore an uncharted island in the Pacific, venturing into the domain of the mighty Kong, and must fight to escape a primal Eden.

Tagline: Awaken the King

Release Date: 2017-3-10 | Runtime: 1 hr 58 minutes | Coolthulhus Earned: 4

Starring:  Tom Hiddleston, Samuel L. Jackson, Brie Larson

Watch the official Kong: Skull Island trailer.

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The Extinction Parade Vol 1 Review

Book cover for The Extinction Parade Vol 1The Extinction Parade Vol 1: Max Brooks, the best-selling Zombie writer in history, unleashes an all-new horror epic! As humans wage their losing fight versus the hordes of the subdead, a frightening realization sets in with the secretive vampire race: our food is dying off. This is the story of the vampire’s descent into all-out war with the mindless, hungry hordes of the zombie outbreak as humanity tries to survive them all! This collected edition contains the entire first chapter of Extinction Parade (Issues #1-5) and a massive undead cover gallery! – Goodreads

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Indie Zone: Talking with Joe Hempel, Audiobook Narrator

Banner for interview with Joe Hemphel

Picture © Joe Hemphel

Best known for his captivating, rich narration and uncanny ability for pulling listeners into an immersive experience, Joe Hempel has been the driving force behind over 90 audiobooks ranging from Horror, Mystery, and Sci-fi to Romance and Personal Development, and has also been published by Audible Studios, Punch Audio and Listen 2 a Book.


Talking with Joe Hempel, Audiobook Narrator

Sci-Fi & Scary: You mentioned when you first reached out to me that horror was your forte in audio books. What about the genre makes you so comfortable with narrating it?

Joe Hempel: You know, it’s kind of funny. I have always been drawn to the darker side of literature. The titles that kept me awake and afraid of the dark.  Something about that genre just felt so real.  I’ve actually got a funny story about my first encounter with the darker side of literature.  I was in 6th grade and I was reading Stephen King’s Cujo.  My teacher noticed that and sent a note home telling my parents that I wasn’t to be reading that stuff for reports and asked if I needed to be in counseling.  She told her to basically go to hell because I was obviously reading books that nobody else was.  And from there it was horror and sci-fi and I loved each and every title!  I think because of that I have a great ability to really get into what the author is saying.  The fact that I don’t have a booming brooding voice actually plays to my advantage because it feels like we’re sitting at a campfire and I’m just telling you an account of true stories and gives that little bit of “realism” to the characters and makes it that much more creepy.

Sci-Fi & Scary: Out of the 90+ books you’ve narrated, which one was your favorite?

Joe Hempel: …that’s a tough one. Hmmm……I’ve got a few because of the different genre’s I’ve narrated, but I’m definitely partial to the Jonathan Shade series.  There’s just something about those characters that I really connect to.  I really “become” Jonathan Shade when I’m in the booth.  I’m really going to miss  him when I finish the series.

Sci-Fi & Scary: What did you do before you became a professional narrator?

Joe Hempel: I’m actually still a TV Engineer full time, but really close to going full time as a voice actor. Insurance reasons keep me there right now.  I also ran a book review site for a few years, which kind of was the catalyst for me to get into narrating audiobooks.

Sci-Fi & Scary: What’s the process for a book getting into your hands for recording?

Joe Hempel:  It’s an easy process. Just shoot me an email at joehempel@voiceofjoey.com, or contact me through ACX, or even my facebook page at www.facebook.com/voiceofjoey.  Once we make contact we discuss due dates, rates, etc, and we go from there!

Sci-Fi & Scary: What’s the hardest accent for you to do?

Joe Hempel: Oh geez…..all of them?? LOL. If you’re talking foreign accents, anything Middle-Eastern is really tough for me.  So is a cockney accent.  I’m working really hard to hone my Brittish, and it’s a heck of a lot better than when I started thanks to a couple of sessions with Dr Dialect himself, PJ Ochlan.

Sci-Fi & Scary: I noticed from your website that you have a home studio. What is that set-up like? (Ie: soundproofed room, basement, do not disturb sign, etc.)

Joe Hempel: Yeah, I built the studio from plans that I bought. It’s not soundproof but it does keep a LOT of noise out.  No home studio is going to be completely soundproof.  I just have my Computer on the outside and a wireless keyboard and mouse inside with the monitor and mic and interface all having cables run through a passthrough in the booth to the outside.  It’s nice and spacious and is comfortable enough to spend long periods of time in.

Sci-Fi & Scary: How many hours a day do you spend narrating books?

Joe Hempel:  Since I’m still working full time, and also have 3 kids, it’s tough to spend long periods in the booth. I try for about 2-2.5 hours a day with about 4-5 on Sunday night taking Saturday off.  I’ve got a very understanding family and I love the fact they allow me to spend so much time in there, and it’s paying off!!

Sci-Fi & Scary: Does your approach for narrating a book vary depending on the genre?

Joe Hempel:  The approach is pretty much the same. You have to get to the bottom of what the author is trying to say.  Get to the truth of the narrative so to speak.  You let the characters guide your acting choices.  Each book does require a read through to get to all of this before you step into the booth to record.

Sci-Fi & Scary: What’s the most popular/best-selling book you’ve narrated?

Joe Hempel:  It’s hard to say because I only get sales info on certain titles that I share royalties with. There are 3 that are neck and neck in those sales.  Two of them are non-fiction and complement each other.  Surviving AI: The Promise and Peril of Artificial Intelligence and  The Economic Singularity: Artificial Intelligence and the Death of Capitalism, both by Calum Chace, and one was a surprise in Year’s Best Hardcore Horror Volume 1 from Comet Press.  I’m excited to work on volume 2 in May.  If I had to guess, I’d say that Game Changer by NYT Best-selling author Douglas E Richards may be the best selling based on the amount of ratings/reviews.

Sci-Fi & Scary: If you could get to record any particular book out there, which one would you love to give your voice to?

Joe Hempel:  Anything by Stephen King.   I’m actually VERY excited to narrate for a horror author that I’ve loved for a very long time in April.  I’ll be lending my voice to The Rising series by horror legend Brian Keene.  He’s a very close 2nd for authors I want to narrate to Stephen King.

Sci-Fi & Scary: Have you ever fallen in love with a series after narrating at least one of the books? Or author at least?

Joe Hempel:  The Jonathan Shade series by Gary Jonas. I am incredibly attached to these characters.  They are my pretend family and Kelly Chan is my pretend girlfriend (don’t tell my fiance).

Sci-Fi & Scary: When you meet people for the first time, what’s their reaction when you tell them what you do for a living?

Joe Hempel: Really?? Neat! How do I do that? I love reading and doing voices would be great! Seriously though, that’s pretty much the reaction.

Sci-Fi & Scary: What was the most emotional book you’ve narrated?

Joe Hempel: Hands down, the Bram Stoker-winning novella Little Dead Red by Mercedes M Yardley.  I cannot put into words how much that story affected me.  It was incredibly tough to get through.  And here’s the kicker……it’s only 90 minutes long!  It made such an impact in such a short amount of time that it was hard to narrate without tears in my eyes.  It’s so visceral, so emotional.  I don’t think I’ll be narrating another like it anytime soon. 

Book cover for The Raven's Daughter

The Raven’s Daughter: After a police shootout where she killed a man, criminologist Maggie Tall Bear Sloan retires from the force to enjoy peace and quiet in rural California. When sets of young twins are murdered in her town, the local sheriff recruits her to solve the gruesome killings.

But to catch a killer, Maggie either accepts her true nature as a “pukkukwerek” – the shapeshifting monster killer of Yurok legend – or more children will die. As the manhunt intensifies and her own family is threatened, Maggie will do whatever it takes to keep them safe. Whether she’s awake or asleep dreaming, Maggie is faced with a difficult choice: embrace her heritage – even if it means turning into myth itself – or deny that heritage and lose everything.

Check out Joe’s work for yourself with his latest narration work on The Raven’s Daughter.


Three Non-Superhero Comics to Read With Your Kids

I don’t know about you, but one of the things I don’t have any interest in reading about in comic books is… super-heroes. So, of course, I stayed away from comics/graphic novels for the longest time for a few reasons, but mainly because I thought they were all going to be about superheroes. Turns out, luckily, that’s not true at all! So here are three (one from each genre of SF/F/H) non-superhero comics worth checking out with your kiddos. (Pictures lead to Goodreads.)



Pinky and StinkyPinky and Stinky by James Kochalka

Pinky and Stinky are fat little piglets, but because they’re cuties that doesn’t mean they’re not brave astronauts. Packed with action, adventure, and little cuties.

Color or B/W: Black and White

Violence: Some violence and threats of violence, but very basic stuff with no blood, etc.

Opinion: At first I didn’t think I was going to like Pinky & Stinky, but it grew on me fairly quickly. Definitely one for younger readers, but adults might have fun reading it out loud with their kids. It’s silly and delightful.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Alabaster Shadows.jpgAlabaster Shadows by Matt Gardner and Rashad Doucet

Carter Normandy knows there’s something weird about the neighborhood he and his family move into. Maybe it’s the physics-defying leak in the basement, or the way all the adults seem to look down on kids like they’re scum. With the help of his new friends, Carter discovers a whole other world alongside his seemingly normal community-a world filled with terrifying monsters. A world the adults of the community already know all about. Now it’s up to Carter and his friends to keep these monsters from crossing over into our world, or face the dire consequences!

A gorgeously illustrated mystery perfect for fans of Gravity Falls with just a hint of Lovecraftian horror.

Color or B/W: Color

Violence: Basically none. A small fight with a sea monster that just shows a kid getting wrapped up in a tentacle.

Diversity: Yes, racial.

Opinion: Oh, I loved this one. I could have done a full review on it. (And might in the future.) Beautifully drawn and colored, with an intriguing storyline and interesting characters, Alabaster Shadows is a great pick for middle-grade+ readers.

Rating: 5 out of 5


Princeless by Jeremy Whitley and Mia Goodwin

Still waiting for your prince to come? Tired of spending night after night locked in a secluded tower? Ready for your own adventure? So are we.Princeless is the story of Princess Adrienne, one princess who’s tired of waiting to be rescued. Join Adrienne and her guardian dragon, Sparky, as they begin their own quest in an all-ages action adventure designed specifically for those who are tired of waiting to be rescued… and who are ready to save themselves.

Color or B/W: Color

Violence: Inferred, never witnessed. And typical getting eaten by dragons stuff.

Diversity: Yes, racial.

Opinion: While this probably technically for middle grade+ readers, I would have no problem with (and intend on) reading it with my 8-year-old. Princeless has a sassy, bold main character who is determined to get control of her life and be the hero her sisters need. It’s well-drawn, funny, and well-worth reading.

Rating: 5 out of 5


These were all very entertaining reads for various reasons. I’ll definitely be continuing on with two of the series. I do recommend pre-reading them to see if they’re suitable for your particular child. Alabaster Shadows is the one that has a horror tinge to it, but it’s really just a tinge. If you’re wanting to get your child introduced to the Lovecraft mythos, it would be a great way to ease them into it.

Let me know if there are any non-superhero comics you recommend for kids so I can check them out!

This is Horror, Issue 8: Bethany, Fraility, and Sea Monsters

The banner for the bi-weekly This is Horror post on Sci-Fi & ScaryThis is Horror is a sampling of Horror Movies, Art, Fiction, and Gaming, and more. A little bit of everything to make the horror hound in you feel all fuzzy and warm. Or tingle with anticipation. Whatever works for you. Hope you enjoy!

This is Horror’s Quote to Consider

“It hungers, always.
It takes shape after shape as its own, and each body it puts on is as hungry as the last.”
― Adam Slater, Hunted


Horror Movies

Horror Movie Suggestion for the Week

Your horror movie suggestion for this week is Frailty. Directed and starring the late Bill Paxton Frailty is a very underrated psychological thriller. It’s creepy and will crawl under your skin and stay there. Matthew McConaughey and Powers Booth play well off of each other and the lines Matthew McConaughey delivers are chilling.


Synopsis: “A man confesses to an FBI agent his family’s story of how his religious fanatic father’s visions led to a series of murders to destroy supposed “demons.””

Starring: Bill Paxton, Matthew McConaughey, Powers Booth

Opening This Week (April 21st):

Movie Cover for Phoenix Forgotten Phoenix Forgotten Synopsis: 20 years after three teenagers disappeared in the wake of mysterious lights appearing above Phoenix, Arizona, unseen footage from that night has been discovered, chronicling the final hours of their fateful expedition.

Starring: Florence Hartigan, Luke Spencer Roberts, Chelsea Lopez, Justin Matthews

Watch the Phoenix Forgotten trailer.

Read our interview with director Justin Barber.



Featured Horror from DeviantArt

Star Spawn Codex by MrZarono on DeviantArt

I can’t believe I haven’t stumbled upon MrZarono before. I absolutely love some of the work I saw on his page! Definitely stop by DeviantArt and give him some love.

Notable Events in Horror History

5 Horror Actors Born (April 8- April 21):

Tim Curry – April 19th (It)

Maria Bello – April 18th (Lights Out)

Anya Taylor-Joy – April 16th (The Witch)

Sarah Michelle Gellar – April 14th (Buffy the Vampire Slayer)

Jessica Lange – April 20th (American Horror Story)

5 Horror Movies Released (April 8- April 21)

Demon Seed (1997)

Shaun of the Dead (2004)

Sleepwalkers (1992)

Cat’s Eye (1985)

Silent Hill (2006)

Horror Books

New Horror Releases

The Scarlet Coven Synopsis:

New York 1936. Leading New York detective Simon Finch has received an unexpected inheritance and left the force to pursue his dream of becoming a writer. But a true detective is never far from finding trouble…or trouble finding him…

A stranger approaches Finch in the Algonquin Hotel, asking him to help find his sister who has disappeared. When he later visits the man’s hotel room he discovers that he has been murdered – stabbed with a dagger decorated with strange markings. As Finch investigates further he discovers recently acquitted crime boss Fats Molloy is mixed up with the man’s murder and the missing sister. The trail leads him to an occult bookshop …has the missing woman been kidnapped by a group of Satanists, The Scarlet Coven?

Joining forces with a black private eye, Patrick Murphy, who is also investigating the cult, they endure a series of wild adventures and close calls with demonic forces as they seek the truth about the mysterious leader of the Coven…and the nefarious plans for death and mayhem…

Dark Screams Synopsis:

Stephen King, Lisa Morton, Nell Quinn-Gibney, Norman Prentiss, Joyce Carol Oates, and Tim Curran plunge readers into the dark side in this deeply unsettling short-story collection curated by legendary horror editors Brian James Freeman and Richard Chizmar.

THE OLD DUDE’S TICKER by Stephen King: Richard Drogan has been spooked ever since he came back from Nam, but he’s no head case, dig? He just knows the old dude needs to die. || THE RICH ARE DIFFERENT by Lisa Morton: Even though she made her name revealing the private lives of the rich and famous, Sara Peck has no idea how deep their secrets really go . . . or the price they’ll pay to get what they desire.|| THE MANICURE by Nell Quinn-Gibney: A trip to the nail salon is supposed to be relaxing. But as the demons of the past creep closer with every clip, even the most serene day of pampering can become a nightmare. || THE COMFORTING VOICE by Norman Prentiss: It’s a little strange how baby Lydia can only be soothed by her grandfather’s unnatural voice, ravaged by throat cancer. The weirdest part? What he’s saying is more disturbing than how he says it. ||THE SITUATIONS by Joyce Carol Oates:  There are certain lessons children must learn, rules they must follow, scars they must bear. No lesson is more important than this: Never question Daddy. Or else.|| THE CORPSE KING by Tim Curran: Grave robbers Kierney and Clow keep one step ahead of the law as they ply their ghoulish trade, but there’s no outrunning a far more frightening enemy that hungers for the dead.


Penance Synopsis:

The tense, chilling story of four women haunted by a childhood trauma.
When they were children, Sae, Maki, Akiko and Yuko were tricked into separating from their friend Emily by a mysterious stranger. Then the unthinkable occurs: Emily is found murdered hours later.
Sae, Maki, Akiko and Yuko weren’t able to accurately describe the stranger’s appearance to the police after the Emili’s body was discovered. Asako, Emily’s mother, curses the surviving girls, vowing that they will pay for her daughter’s murder.
Like Confessions, Kanae Minato’s award-winning, internationally bestselling debut, PENANCE is a dark and voice-driven tale of revenge and psychological trauma that will leave readers breathless.

Sea Monsters? See Monsters!

Book cover for Monsters in Our Wake

Book cover for Mega by Jake Bible

Book cover for Beast by Peter Benchley

Terrorific Trivia: Reading Music

GracieKat:  I suppose it’s not exactly trivia but I find it interesting how many songs have books as their inspiration. It also seems to be rock/metal/New Wave Punk that are the most prolific. I’m referencing strictly songs that are influenced by horror here. I am also leaving off Lovecraftian songs as they are a list unto themselves and will be forthcoming soon from us in a separate post of it’s own. I am also leaving off any songs inspired by The Lord of the Rings as they are fantasy and also so numerous that they will have a separate list of their own. So get your earbuds in and get ready to check out some music based on horror novels.

1. A Skeleton in the ClosetAnthrax
From the album Among the Living and based on the story Apt Pupil by Stephen King. Apt Pupil is a novella length story from the book Different Seasons.

“All american, an evil game of extortion
A sick old man, and who would guess
He was once S.S.
A deadly fascination, of a madman’s solution”

2. Hands of Your GodJorn Lande & Trond Holter
From the album Dracula: Swing of Death. The entire album (obviously) is about Dracula but my favorite song is the Hands of Your God track.

“Embraced your god with heart and soul.
You blessed me, then you killed my love.
I cursed my faith in the lord from the devils shore.
I promise you a genocide, a dawn of death and fraud.
I’ll paint the world with the blood from the hands of your god.”

3. The Stand The Alarm
This song comes courtesy of Kelluloid Sinema who is always awesome with music and horror items. Thanks!
The song itself comes from The Alarm’s album Declaration. The song, which I’m sure you’ve guessed by now, is inspired by Stephen King’s The Stand.

“Oh, I have been out searching with the black book in my hand
And I’ve looked between the lines that lie on the pages that I tread
I met the walking dude, religious, in his worn down cowboy boots
He walked liked no man on earth
I swear he had no name”

4. Among the LivingAnthrax
Speaking of The Stand…we have another song, this time by Anthrax from the album of the same name.

“Disease! Disease! Spreading the disease.
With some help from Captain Trips,
He’ll bring the world down to his knees.
Power, yes Power! He’ll show them all his power.”

5. Rime of the Ancient MarinerIron Maiden
From their album Powerslave. I realize it is a poem and not technically a book it still belongs, in my opinion at least, firmly in the horror tradition. The image of the Ancient Mariner cursed to wander to tell his tale to the mesmerized wedding guest, the Albatross of guilt hung immovably about his neck and the roll of the dice between Death and Life-in-Death for the fate of the crew and captain are all images to cool the blood.

“Death and she Life in Death,
They throw their dice for the crew
She wins the mariner and he belongs to her now.
Then, crew one by one
they drop down dead, two hundred men
She, she, Life in Death.
She lets him live, her chosen one.”

6. Hey Pretty (Drive-By Version 2001) Poe
Poe’s album Haunted is linked very closely with the book The House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski. Which is not very surprising, considering that Poe is the sister of Mr. Danielewski. The Drive-By Version 2001 (which is a terrible name for it) has part of the original Hey Pretty song, mixed in with Mr. Danielewski reading excerpts from House of Leaves. It works better together than it has any right to and is also notable for being one of the few Pop songs on the list. The only thing that’s a tad creepy is how sexual the reading is and her parts of the video are also sexy. Which isn’t so bad…until you remember they’re brother and sister. Thank Cthulhu they’re not on-screen together. It would be a bit awkward.

“Hey pretty
Don’t you wanna take a ride with me?
Through my world
Hey pretty
Don’t you wanna kick and slide
Through my world”

“We never even kissed, or looked into each other’s eyes, our lips just
Trespassed on those inner labyrinths hidden deep within our ears,
Filled them with the private music of wicked words
Hers in many languages, mine in the off-color of my only tongue”

7. Pet SemataryThe Ramones
I believe this song was actually written for the movie but since the movie is based on the book by Stephen King it’s pretty much semantics.

“I don’t want to be buried in a Pet Sematary,
I don’t want to live my life again,
I don’t want to be buried in a Pet Sematary,
I don’t want to live my life again.”

8. Old FriendDisturbed
It has been confirmed by David Dramain that the song is indeed about Dexter. It’s pretty obvious from the lyrics but it’s nice to have it confirmed nonetheless. From the album The Lost Children it’s a little unclear whether it’s about the tv series or the books. But, once again, semantics.

“The blood became my life
When I was trapped inside
And I can feel the Dark Passenger calling me
My mother’s blood and mine
Uniquely intertwined
Help me father purge the memory from my mind”

9. The Phantom of the OperaIron Maiden
From their self-titled album and released in 1980 The Phantom of the Opera is based on the book, I believe, rather than the movie or Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical

“I’m running and hiding in my dreams you’re always there.
You’re the Phantom of the Opera, you’re the devil, you’re just out to scare.
You damaged my mind and my soul it just floats through the air.
Haunt me, you taunt me, you torture me back at your lair.”

10. For Whom the Bell TollsMetallica
Based on the Ernest Hemingway book. While not actually ‘horror’ per se, but war is pretty freaking horrific so I’m putting it in.

“Take a look to the sky just before you die
It’s the last time he will
Blackened roar, massive roar, fills the crumbling sky
Shattered goal fills his soul with a ruthless cry”

That may be a little longer of a trivia section than you were prepared for but it’s a huge stereotype that metal-heads are barely literate and can hardly read the names of the albums they buy. It’s an irritating one and still pretty pervasive. so, I just wanted to take a minute to try and dispel that notion a bit. Thank you much for bearing with me.

Horror on the Web

Paste Magazine has The 10 Best Horror Movies of 2017 (So Far)
Bloody Disgusting has an article on a new Monster Movie called Zombiesaurus
And to continue the IT hype-train Body Disgusting also has 10 Different book covers of Stephen King’s IT
Horrornews.net has a bit more info on Annabelle: Creation
Wanting to see The Void? Read this review from The Ithacan first
Shannon Doherty does horror?! Fangoria interviews her about Bethany, her upcoming horror flick.

City of Ghosts Review (Paranormal Fantasy)

Book cover for City of Ghosts

City of Ghosts: On the day the villagers were forced to flee Hensu, not everyone got out alive.

Jackson Stone is touring the abandoned Chinese city when he slips away from the group to spend the night, determined to publish an account of his ghostly experiences there.

Then he meets Yuèhai, a strange, soft-spoken woman who can tell him the city’s secrets—secrets the Chinese government would kill to keep hidden.

As Jackson uncovers the truth about Yuèhai and the ghost city, he’s drawn into a web of conspiracy, betrayal, and murder. He must risk everything to save himself and bring honor back to Yuèhai and her family. – Goodreads

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Interview with Phoenix Forgotten Director Justin Barber


Movie Cover for Phoenix Forgotten

Phoenix Forgotten: 20 years after three teenagers disappeared in the wake of mysterious lights appearing above Phoenix, Arizona, unseen footage from that night has been discovered, chronicling the final hours of their fateful expedition.

Genres: Horror, Mystery, Science Fiction

Starring:  Florence Hartigan, Luke Spencer Roberts, Chelsea Lopez

Release Date: April 21st, 2017

Runtime: 80 minutes

Recently I had a chance to prescreen Phoenix Forgotten and then talk with the director, Justin Barber, about his experiences making the film. He gave some interesting answers, and I enjoyed getting to know a bit of the behind the scenes details. I hope you enjoy it as well!

Interview with Phoenix Forgotten Director Justin Barber

Sci- Fi & Scary (S&S): I noticed that T.S. Nowlin has a Thanks credit listed for Medicine for Melancholy, a film that you produced. Now, the two of you share writing credit for Phoenix Forgotten. How did you come together for this film?

Justin Barber (JB):TS and I were in the same film school class at Florida State, along with Barry Jenkins who directed Medicine for Melancholy (and later, the Oscar-winner Moonlight).  At the time, I had put all the money I had into the production of that movie, and was living on TS’s couch in Los Angeles.Around that time, my day-job was as a graphics and VFX artist working with Wes Ball, a producer on Phoenix Forgotten, and another FSU alum.  We all just ended up hanging out a lot, seeing movies together, talking about the things we wanted to make, and this project grew organically out of those experiences.

Around that time, my day-job was as a graphics and VFX artist working with Wes Ball, a producer on Phoenix Forgotten, and another FSU alum.  We all just ended up hanging out a lot, seeing movies together, talking about the things we wanted to make, and this project grew organically out of those experiences.


S&S: You have mostly Producer credits to your name, bar directing the short Leaving Baghdad (which you also had writing credit on). What was it like moving from producer to directing a full-length film in Phoenix Forgotten?

JB: As a producer on small movies I had to be very focused on the logistics of the shoot, the realities of the production, and that eventually boxes in the creative ideas in the show.  It was hard at first to let go of that and just focus on imagining the best sand castle I could, irrespective of the sandbox I was playing in.

Ultimately being a director is more fun but I have this lady on my crew Aggie who is my costume designer – she has been around, did costumes back in the day for big movies like Beetlejuice and The Color Purple – she says producers always have the best wives so take that as you will.

S&S: Why did you make the switch from producer to director? Do you think you’ll swing back and forth or is this the direction you permanently want to head in?

JB: I just want to work with talented people, and help them get their visions made.  Yes, I have my own stories to tell, but if I could help the next Barry Jenkins get his/her work out there – that’s important to me.  And ultimately all directors end up producing on their own shows somehow.  Orsen Wells not only directed and starred in Citizen Kane, he also produced – crazy!


S&S: Did you learn anything unexpected from your feature-length debut?

JB: I learned a lot about the desert, about how to search for missing kids, but specifically regarding the craft of filmmaking this was a lesson is seeing the forest for the trees.  Before making this movie I had directed a lot of commercials, and in that field you become hyper-focused on details – handfuls of individual frames.  But the director on a feature needs to be able to sit back and keep the overall experience for the audience in his mind.


S&S: Given that you have a bit of Star Trek on your CV, and the subject of Phoenix Forgotten, one must ask… Do you truly believe in the existence of aliens?

JB: I haven’t seen enough hard evidence to hang a belief on.  To quote X-Files, I WANT to believe they’re out there, but I’m waiting to be convinced.

I enjoy reading about the Drake Equation and the movie Contact hits on it – the idea that the universe is so big and so old and we know there must be X amount of habitable worlds out there…  But on the other hand, there are the issues in the Fermi Paradox – if that’s the case ‘Where are they?’ as Fermi himself said.  Did they all blow themselves up with nuclear weapons before they could call us?A lot of people say that aliens have visited them, but with how little we understand the human mind it could be just as likely these people are having some sort of collective psychological experience, or are just crazy.  At the end of the day, the photographic evidence doesn’t really stand up to scrutiny IMHO.

A lot of people say that aliens have visited them, but with how little we understand the human mind it could be just as likely these people are having some sort of collective psychological experience, or are just crazy.  At the end of the day, the photographic evidence doesn’t really stand up to scrutiny IMHO.


S&S: Was it intimidating, helpful (or both) having Sir Ridley Scott attached to the film as producer?

JB:  It’s only intimidating when you throw his knighthood around like that.  Otherwise, he’s a really lovely, insightful man.  He wasn’t on set day-to-day, but he did offer his advice and the producers at Scott Free were very supportive.  Myself, the cast and crew, we were all just motivated to make something that was of the quality of his own work.  We were all really driven to make something that he would like and sign off on.


S&S:  How long did Phoenix Forgotten take to film from pre-production to finished film?

JB: We shot and edited the movie together over time.  We started shooting in December 2015.  We shot for about four weeks, then we worked on a rough-cut.  Once we had that, we shot for one more week, filling in some holes, and then at that point we had a cut that we all felt could work and moved towards finishing the movie.  We shot a day or two here and there after that, getting odds and ends and VFX plates, and really only put the finishing touches on the movie a few weeks ago.


S&S: Phoenix Forgotten has a strong found footage element.  Many people feel that this particular style has hit its saturation point. Do you think this will work against you with Phoenix Forgotten’s general reception?

JB: That was definitely something we were mindful of, but the found footage device works particularly well for this story, for these characters.  It’s about a kid who films a UFO sighting, and then catches the bug – he sets out to investigate what it was and film it again.  So the camera is a part of the quest here in a way it wouldn’t be in a movie about time travel or something else.  It’s particularly suited for this story.

And then also the first half of the movie is more in the style of a cinematic documentary, like Making of a Murderer, or any Errol Morris or Werner Herzog film.  So it’s not shaky-cam from start to finish, it’s a mix of styles that’s justified by the story.


S&S: Many of your credits on IMDB are documentary associated, even if you weren’t attached as producer or director. What draws you to working on these types of films?

JB: When I was in high school I wanted to be a journalist.  I just gravitated towards writing and graphic design, I liked getting out into the world and discovering things.  And then the first Matrix came out, and that pointed me towards Hollywood from then on.  But even when it comes to fiction I have a journalistic approach, I do a lot of research and I find real-world models for fictional characters.  Not sure why that’s the case, it’s just my process.  As they say, truth can be stranger than fiction.


S&S: Do you think you’ll work with any of the crew members (be they cast or otherwise) in the future?

JB:  I was very blessed to have such a talented bunch of weirdos forming my cast.  Truly, they brought so much to the movie in terms of creativity and hard work.  If enough of your readers see the movie, I would be happy to make a sequel and continue their story! I was very blessed to have such a talented bunch of weirdos forming my cast.  Truly, they brought so much to the movie in terms of creativity and hard work.  If enough of your readers see the movie, I would be happy to make a sequel and continue their story!


S&S: What excites you about Phoenix Forgotten?

JB: In a lot of ways it’s auto-biographical.  I was into all this UFO shit when I was Josh’s age, and if I had filmed a UFO myself, and my footage appeared on the news, I would be as excited as he is in the movie, and would have pursued the lights in the same way he does.  What these three kids experience is exciting, and I hope the audience shares that!


S&S:  Do you have any projects in the hopper now?

JB: None that are far enough along to discuss, unfortunately.  BUT I hope you’ll hear from me again soon!

10 Things That Get Us in the Mood (to Read)

A banner with the words The Top Ten Tuesday List on it.This Top Ten Tuesday, the theme was things that make us instantly want to read a book. There are lots of things that get us in the mood, but we’ve managed to narrow it down for you. (Mostly.) Note that this is a list from both Gracie and I but we’re not saying what belongs to whom. Top Ten Tuesday is brought to you courtesy of Broke and Bookish.






10 Things That Get Us in the Mood (to Read)


Monsters (and I’m talking proper *creatures*, not vampires and werewolves, thank you!)

If you put a Megaladon, a gigantic Squid, or even just some part of a monster like it’s ferociously intent eyeballs on the cover… I’m sold! Gimme. Gimme gimme gimme gimme.

Demons (or Possession)

Book cover for The ExorcistI may be an atheist, but if you tell me someone’s immortal soul is in danger, and some do-gooder is gonna have to go toe-to-toe with Satan or one of his minions? Let me grab the popcorn and I’m there!

Haunted/Haunting (or Ghosts. Ghosts is a good word too.)

Demons are the ultimate scary, but there’s something deliciously shiver-inducing about a haunted house (or car. Or anything, really.) The creak of a floorboard, the faucets turning on suddenly, a dark figure looming behind you when you look in the mirror. It’s all good. (And by good I mean terrifying, of course.)


Lovecraft / Cthulhu (Coolthulhu!)

Book cover for The Lovecraft Squad: All Hallows Horror by John Llewellyn ProbertIf you didn’t expect Lovecraft or Cthulhu to show up on this list, then you obviously don’t know where you’ve ended up. And you might want to back away slowly. Lovecraft’s mythos is legend, Cthulhu is awe-inspiring, and that is all there is to say about that.




The book cover for We Are Legion (We Are Bob) by Dennis E. TaylorI know, I know, I’m a walking cliche, but I love going into a book knowing I can anticipate a good shoot-em-up happening in space.  In terms of things that get us in the mood to read, you can’t go wrong with a long, strong phallic symbol getting ready to wreck death and destruction on some alien scum! *cough* Or a cute story about an AI named Bob works for me too.



Book cover for Tau ZeroYes, right on the heels of talking about phallic symbols, I’m bringing the word hard into it. However, I’m talking about hard science fiction, of course. So if you thought otherwise, well, we should be friends. That’s all there is to that.


Book cover for Book of CthulhuJust to prove I’m not a lecherous female (most of the time), we’re back to playing it perfectly innocent. I’m always drawn to collections of short stories whether they’re by the same author or a variety of authors. If it’s an anthology that has the words ‘Haunted’, ‘Ghost’, ‘Lovecraft’, or ‘Cthulhu’ in the title then it’s instant attraction.




Book cover for The Laptev VirusOooh, there’s just something about those words that make me happy. I don’t need it to promise death and destruction upon the world, of course (shut up, Coolthulhu Crew). But a breath-taking thriller starring something that needs to be stopped just in the nick of time, preferably by a smart-aleck anti-hero? Mine mine mine mine mine mine! (FYI, Laptev doesn’t have an anti-hero, but it’s still a bloody good read.)


Book cover for Shutter I love photography, so any time there’s a book with a horror or paranormal bent that involves cameras, I’m going to pick it up. I just have to. There’s not even a question about it. (I might pick it up and put it right back down after reading the back cover, but I am, at least, going to lift it from the shelf and cradle it gently whilst I peruse its prose.)


A Great Cover

Book cover for The Red TreeOkay, this isn’t a word or anything like that, but it’s true. There have been times when both of us have picked up a book we might normally not even look twice at just because the cover was so eye-catching. There are books I’ve carried home from the bookstore that I never end up reading, but I had to get it just because the cover was so shiny fantastically well-drawn or conceptualized.

  • I love Audible. Tons of books, fantastic narrators, good prices.