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

Horrors – A Full Year of Horror #40

Horrors! 365 Scary Stories – A Full Year of Horror

10/07/2017 – 10/13/2017 

 

The horror short-short isn’t easy to master, but more than 100 of the genre’s critically acclaimed authors & hottest up-&-comers have taken a stab at it in Horrors! 365 Scary Stories, an anthology that contains a short tale for every day of the year. Steve Rasnic Tem, Wm F. Nolan, Tom Piccirilli, Yvonne Navarro, Peter Atkins, Brian Hodge, Martin Mundt & 166 others give you short, sharp shocks.

If you missed the first post you can find it here.

 

This Friday is the thirteenth. Better not go to any camps, have sex or do drugs. In fact, it’s safer to just not move. So curl up with our site for some scary stories and hope Jason isn’t lurking outside your door.

 

 


Shooting EvilLawrence C. Connolly

Synopsis:
A man and his new lady love take some boudoir photos of her lying on the bed. Afterward, while developing the film, something’s not quite right. She doesn’t seem to be in the photograph…

Review:
I loved the angle this story took on the vampire myth. I also didn’t know that silver was used in black and white photography. Unfortunately for the femme fatale I don’t think she thought her plan through very well.


ShutterGordon Linzner

Synopsis:
Annette is being photographed by an unknown man. Despite various tricks he always seems to be there, click, taking his pictures. While being mugged he carries on, click. a police officer is on hand to help, however, and annette thinks her troubles are over. Or are they?

Review:
This story seemed a little strange to me. Annette thinks to herself that it would be silly to report the man to the police as he’s only taking pictures. I do believe that’s still referred to as stalking. If this were a more recent story it would make good commentary on what certain people think of as their right to take pictures of total strangers and post them wherever they please with no regard for that person’s privacy or possible consequences of doing so.


Sibling RivalryBrian Hodge

Synopsis:
After a traumatic incident a woman buys herself what sounds like a Chucky doll and bizarrely names it Annabel Lee. Then they invite their nephew over for the week and Annabel Lee does not want to share her mother’s affection.

Review:
A creepy doll story that is pretty gruesome, to me. I did think it weird that the doll seems like a boy doll but is named Annabel Lee. I get the reference but it seems rather wedged in.


The Silver and the Damage DoneScott M. Brents

Synopsis:
Walter is a werewolf. He pounces on a peasant girl and is shot down in quick order. It replays again…and again…and again.

Review:
First of all, I’m curious if the author got his title from the Neil Young song ‘The Needle and the Damage Done’ (which is far more depressing than this story). It had an interesting side to it in that the ‘werewolf’ is a VR game called ‘Silver Death’: “A werewolf game so real it should be outlawed”. Walter, the man in question, had hooked himself up to the machine and died of dehydration. Actual cause of death? The quarter he had used was a silver quarter. And we all know silver and werewolves don’t mix.


Silver FuturesStephen Dedman

Synopsis:
A werewolf is under arrest aboard a spaceship. Very cocky he believes that the officer has bitten off more than he can chew. However, leaving the moon’s reach it may be the werewolf has bitten off more than he can chew.

Review:
This did raise an interesting question. Would the Earth moon be the only moon to have an effect on werewolves? And would a planet with more moons have more of an effect or less?


Six Deaths MoreJudith Post

Synopsis:
Teresa’s nightmares are getting worse. They start with a Roaring Twenties gangland slaying as she and her date are gunned don in a restaurant. The next is a nightmare of the Civil War, dying at the hands of the Yankees as she fires on them. The third is as one of the ‘Witchcraft Girls’ in Salem, fingering Tituba as the instigator of the witchcraft panic which claims five more innocent lives. as she dies again in her most recent nightmare she realizes that she will have to ‘die’six more deaths before her sin is purged.

Review:
While I liked the idea behind it, some parts didn’t make sense. For starters, Tituba was not hanged for witchcraft. She was imprisoned and released, which is a bit surprising., given the times. While it was true that most who confessed did avoid the gallows they also had their land and money stripped from them. Since Tituba had no land or property she knew that confessing would save her from the gallows. Also, the story states that five other lives (besides Tituba’s, two other slaves and five other innocent women were dead before the witch panic died down. This also is untrue. In total 24 accused witches had died. Nineteen were hung, four died in prison and one was pressed to death (Giles Corey, who refused to say anything, therefore allowing his family to keep their lands). I know, I know. I’m probably being way too particular for a short story but these are easily obtainable facts, even before the internet. I did like the idea of working out your past ‘guilt’ through the nightmares but it does seem like a bit of a light punishment, comparatively speaking.


SkepticTim Waggoner

Synopsis:
Two teenagers are watching a wrestling bout on tv. one of the boys keeps snarking about how fake and unrealistic it is (a little ironic after my two paragraph harangue on the witch trials in the review above). Finally the other boy turns it off in a huff and accuses the first boy of having no imagination. They decide to head out for a bite to eat…after they sharpen their claws, that is.

Review:
I really liked this story. We all have that friend. You know the one I mean. The one who, when you question the motivations of a character in a movie their only answer is “Because it’s in the script.” And we’ve all been annoyed by them. I liked the twist at the end.


Favorite of the Week:
The run of good stories continues! I attribute it to the Gods of Bookdom and Halloween to be in a favorable mood! It’s another hard choice. I very much liked Shooting Evil by Lawrence C. Connolly as the lady’s thoughtlessness could be written off as cockiness. I also loved Skeptic by Tim Waggoner. It had a fun and amusing twist at the end. Two (presumably) supernatural creatures arguing about whether or not televised wrestling is real or not.


Thank you for joining us yet again for another round of frightful tales! Please join us again next week as we move closer to the horror fan’s ultimate holiday!

Worship Me by Craig Stewart #BookReview

Title: Worship Me | Author: Craig Stewart | Publisher: Hellbound Books Publishing LLC | Pub. Date: 08/01/2017 | ISBN 13: 9780999177617 | Pages: 349 | Genre: Horror | Language: English | Triggers: None | Rating: 1 out of 5 | Source: Received from the author for an honest review


Worship Me 

 

Something is listening to the prayers of St. Paul’s United Church, but it’s not the god they asked for; it’s something much, much older. 

A quiet Sunday service turns into a living hell when this ancient entity descends upon the house of worship and claims the congregation for its own. The terrified churchgoers must now prove their loyalty to their new god by giving it one of their children or in two days time it will return and destroy them all. 

As fear rips the congregation apart, it becomes clear that if they’re to survive this untold horror, the faithful must become the faithless and enter into a battle against God itself. But as time runs out, they discover that true monsters come not from heaven or hell… 
…they come from within.

Worship Me Review

I really like the cover for Worship Me. The imagery is great and the title can be clearly seen. I really, really wanted to like the rest of the book as well. Unfortunately, that was not the case.

I will say that after I read the bio and learned that the author is also a screenwriter, the way that Worship Me is written makes a little more sense. The sequences seem more like movie scenes. In fact, that really seemed to come into play in one particular scene that stood out to me. I won’t say much more than a chase scene in the basement of the church. It was written very vividly and it felt as though I could see it perfectly. It was my favorite part of the book. The character in that scene also behaved in a very natural way. The rest of the characterizations felt a little lacking in comparison.

Really, if this book had been written as a short story or novella I do believe it would have been much better. Part of what drags it down is the meandering plot and thesaurus-heavy descriptions. Even the simplest actions are overly described. This tendency drags the pacing down terribly. For example, the first day and night after The Behemoth’s decree about handing over a child takes up most of the book but nothing much happens. A few things happen but they’re so dispassionately described that they lack any real tension or terror.

It’s not a necessity that characters be likable to be good characters. The main character seems to be Angela, who is mostly presented as being the ‘rational’ one. Spending so much time in her head gets tedious, listening constantly to her superiority and whining. Her actions are often inexplicable and contradictory. They don’t really stand out, though, because most of the characters act in ways that are not only incomprehensible but often downright bizarre. It’s hard to go into detail without getting into spoilers One small example:

Spoiler!

The foreshadowing is heavy so when the final few chapters get going there’s not much surprise to it. Well, there is a surprise but it has nothing to do with the story but the actions of one of the characters. The sudden change at the end and the final few chapters just do not make sense with the rest of the book. It seems thrown in for the sake of having a twist at the end.

I honestly can’t say I recommend it.

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.

Twilight Zone Tuesday – A Thing About Machines

A Thing About Machines

Bartlett Finchley – Richard Haydn
Edith – Barbara Stuart
TV Repairman – Barney Phillips
Policeman – Henry Beckman
Girl on TV – Margarita Corrdova
Intern – Jay Overholts
Narrator- Rod Serling


Pulling into a large, spacious lawn is a very nice looking Roadster (I guess, I’m not sure what kind it is exactly). Whatever it is it must be an English car as the driver exits from the right side of it. Weirdly the driveway seems to go right by the pool. Strange place for it. There’s a TV REPAIR van sitting in the driveway as well. Mr. Bartlett Finchley stops to peek in his mailbox and proceeds to the house.

I guess house isn’t the right word for it. Mansion seems more appropriate. Whatever Finchley does he must make some good money doing it. He’s greeted by the repairman who has the audacity to ask Finchley how he’s doing. Finchley says he’ll answer when he knows how much the current bit of ‘larceny’ is going to cost him to fix the tv. The repairman tells him that it’s going to include parts and labor. Finchley says that he’s sure that, once again, he’s going to be dunned into paying more than what the thing cost. Well, if it’s that much then why bother repairing it? Why not just get a new one? The repairman tells Finchley that the last time he was there to repair it was because Finchley had put his foot through the screen. Finchley says that it was not working correctly so he tried to fix it in a perfectly normal way. Normally I’d agree but everyone knows when you use the “Thwack! Fixed it!” method you never kick the screen. You kick the side. I also have one little question. If you put your foot through a tv while it’s plugged in would that electrocute you? Or at least give you a shock?

Finchley dispenses with the chit-chat to ask how much the current ‘extortion’ will be. He also wonders why there’s a Better Business Bureau at all when roving, repairmen blackmailers can hold his set for ransom. Here’s a thought…either learn to fix it yourself, find a different repairman or buy a new tv. Normally I’d go with the first two only because tv’s were quite expensive then (and he seems to have a deluxe job with a very pretty cabinet) but he seems quite wealthy so he could most like;y afford a new one. Mr. Repairman takes rightful offense to that and says that they’re no con outfit, they run a legitimate business. The reason it cost so much to fix this time was because Finchley got in the back of it and ripped out a bunch of wires and did who knows what else to it. He goes on to exposition that he was at Finchley’s last month to repair a radio that Finchley had thrown down the stairs. Finchley claims that the radio wasn’t working properly either. Mr. Repairman says that they probably don’t work properly because Mr. Finchley doesn’t treat them properly. Finchley snarks that he’ll probably be billed more for this psychoanalysis. The repairman asks what it is with Finchley and machines? After a rather withering stare the repairman backs off and says that he’ll send Finchley the bill. Finchley says, “No doubt” in an uppity, snooty way and they start to go their separate ways – Finchley upstairs and the repairman out the door. Before the repairman leaves,however, Finchley mnages to work in a final insult. He tells the repairman that he’ll file the question under “Things I Give Zero Effs About” in his memoirs and devote a single page to the repairman, titled “One of the Most Forgettable People of All Ever”. The repairman leaves, a trifle miffed.

After the repairman leaves Finchley bursts out with, “It just so happens that every machine in this house is…” but stops, wipes his face witch a handkerchief and calms himself down. As he’s pouring himself a drink (sherry, no doubt) a clock starts chiming, ticking Finchley off good and proper. He yells at it to stop and when it refuses he snatches it up and smashes it on the floor. When it still obstinately chimes he whacks it with a poker.

SERLING:
This is Mr. Bartlett Finchley, age 48, a practicing sophisticate who writes very special and very precious things for gourmet magazines and the like. He’s a bachelor and a recluse with few friends, only devotees and adherents to the cause of tart sophistry. He has no interests save whatever current annoyances he can put his mind to. He has no purpose to his life except the formulation of day-to-day opportunities to vent his wrath on mechanical contrivances of an age he abhors. In short, Mr. Bartlett Finchley is a malcontent, born either too late or too early in the century, and who, in just a moment will enter a realm where muscles and the will to fight back are not limited to human beings. Next stop for Mr. Bartlett Finchley, the Twilight Zone.

Edith is typing away on one of those new-fangled electric typewriters. Not in an office, however, she gets a raised stage-thing on which to type. He holds out his hand for the papers she’s typing up (guess it’s too much trouble for him to walk up the three steps and get them himself) and she brings them down to him. He asks if that’s all she has written up and she says yes, 30 pages in three hours is the best she can do.That’s ten pages an hour. That seems awfully slow for an electric typewriter but I honestly can’t remember. He responds that Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence with a feather quill in half a day. That sounds like bull to me so after exhaustive research I learned it took seventeen days. She tells him to hire Mr. Jefferson then and he accuses her of being insubordinate. She tells him that he should find himself a girl with three arms and a thick skin and they can work together in bliss for eternity. In other words, she quits.

Finchley snaps his book shut, annoyed, but as she looks like she’s really going to leave he drops the snootiness. The papers he was holding have magically disappeared. He starts talking really fast trying to get her to stay. He invites her to dinner and maybe the theatre. She gives a very nice thank you but no thank you. As she walks away he calls her back with a “before you go”  and, even though he seems like an utterly pompous ass, I feel kind of bad for him. He looks kind of scared. She asks what he wants and he says that he’d very much like to not be alone.

She looks very worried and asks him if he’s ill. She then asks if there’s any family trouble. He throws a hissy fit and yells why does there have to be a problem?! He calms down quickly, though, and tells her that he’s very, very tired. He hasn’t slept in four nights and the thought of being alone right now is intolerable. He tells her that things have been happening, very strange things. She sits beside him and listens compassionately.

 

He tells her that the television goes on every night and wakes him up. All by itself. The radio would go on and off, too, just as he would be falling asleep. He tells her that there’s a conspiracy. The tv, the radio, the clock, even his damn car. The evening before he drove the car into the driveway, very carefully and slowly and the wheel turned in his hand, it twisted itself and drove deliberately into the garage. It smashed a headlight and cost him $140.00 to replace it. This seems insanely high to me but the car does look like a British import and fancy. Maybe one of you guys can tell from the picture what kind of car it is and if that would seem a reasonable amount. Maybe it’s Christine’s English cousin. He motions to the clock over the mantle piece, well, the one that was there until he turned it into ceramic dust. Which is oddly cleaned up.

What he’s trying to get at is that he’s never been able to operate machines. Edith suggests softly that maybe he ought to see a doctor. I disagree. For being inanimate (supposedly) non-sentient creations they do seem to sometimes have a perverse will of their own. They wait for the most inopportune moments to break down, lose your files, spontaneously go off, waking you from a sound sleep.

Bartlett does not take kindly to this suggestion, “If you’re depressed, see a doctor. If you’re happy, see a doctor. If the salary is too low and the mortgage is too high, see a doctor (although that would seem to fall under depression or perhaps seeing a financial adviser). He tells her to see a doctor and that he’s a rational, intelligent , logical man. To prove it he says he knows what he sees and hears and throws a plate on the floor. For the past three months he’s been under siege by mechanical monsters. What does she think of that?! Huh?!

She thinks he’s terribly ill and needs to see a doctor. She also thinks that he’s suffering terribly from nerves due to lack of sleep and that he himself has to realize that they are nothing more than delusions. He screams that he won’t be intimidated by mechanical devices and it follows that an empty headed female with a mechanical face cannot intimidate him either. I think you just blew your shot at company for the night, dude. Before she leaves she flings these words at him, “In the mechanical conspiracy he speaks of, she hopes he loses.” and departs in a well-deserved huff.

As soon as she’s gone the typewriter begins typing by itself. He rips the paper from the typewriter and reads “GET OUT OF HERE FINCHLEY” Hmm, I’m surprised it doesn’t say “All work and no play makes Finchley a dull boy.” He says he’s not going to be frightened off by a senseless, inanimate machine. As he touches it, however, it starts to type the same words again. He hears a voice from the tv say “Get out of here, Finchley”. He follows it and realizes that a woman is dancing. I believe it’s a Spanish dance but I’m not sure of what kind. Maybe one of you can tell me. As he watches she pauses in her dance and tells him to “Get out of here, Finchley”. Then goes back to dancing.

as everything is playing and clacking he yells that they’re not going to intimidate him! If he were yelling ‘We made you!” we could be in Maximum Overdrive. Later that evening he’s calling up an old ‘friend’named Miss Moore. I’m kind of surprised the phone is even letting him call out on it. They chat about how long it’s been…yadda yadda. He asks her out to dinner but it seems she turned him down. He says he’ll call her another time. He makes another call. This time to his favorite young widow, Pauline. It seems she doesn’t remember him right away. It sounds as though she’s remarried in the meantime. He promises to send a wedding present. Oddly he seems to blame the telephone for the women being unavailable. He accuses it of embarrassing him. He goes to turn on his electric razor but it whips out of his hand and starts to attack him like a snake. Although I’m not really sure how much damage an electric razor could even do. The phone he pulled out of the wall starts telling him to “Get out Finchley”.

He hears a knock at the door, straightens up his ensemble and goes to answer it.

A policeman escorts him to a crowd. Apparently something happened. The policeman gestures to Finchley’s car and tells him that it rolled down the driveway and almost hit a kid on a bike. He suggests that Finchley gets his emergency brake checked. Finchley tells him that it was on. The policeman disagrees and says that it either wasn’t on or not working properly. The policeman restates that it rolled right down into the road and Finchley’s lucky it didn’t hit anyone. Finchley calls the car a monster. Finchley tells the officer that the keys are in the house and the officer suggests he pulls it back into the garage. Finchley turns to the crowd and tells them they may remain ogling at his car for another 3 and a half minutes. If they are still there when he returns he will enlist the aid of the underpaid policeman to help them off the property. The kid who presumably had the near miss doesn’t look too perturbed, licking on a popsicle.

Finchley goes back into his house and has himself a drink…or ten. He is drowsing drunkly on the couch when a clock begins to chime. The clock is chiming, the typewriter is clacking, and the tv chimes in with it’s “Get out of here, Finchley” extravaganza. So he puts his chair through the tv. Which brings up an interesting point. The only two ‘necessities’ he has are the telephone and typewriter. The telephone is probably needed for business purposes (obviously not personal) and the typewriter could be replaced with a non-electric one. So why bother having the tv, electric razor and whatnot? even the car he could probably do without. He looks like he could afford a car service or cabs.

He goes to run upstairs but the evil electric razor starts slithering down the stairs toward him. He runs out the door only to be confronted by Christine’s semi-evil step-cousin. It kindly lets him pass so it can chase him down the driveway. And, like all sensible people running from cars, he runs right down the driveway even though there’s a stand of trees to his right and left that would make it difficult going for a car. He runs until he hits a fence but lo and behold! There are boxes stacked neatly into steps for him to climb over. The car crashes through the fence and into some other weird, randomly stacked boxes on this well-manicured lawn in the ritzy neighborhood.

Again, he runs back the way he came and does one of the fakest stumbles I’ve ever seen. I will do him the justice that he is an older gentleman and does seem to be doing all the running, climbing and falling himself. At least, if there was a stunt double switch it was fast enough that I didn’t catch it. Finally he hides behind some bushes and the car burns rubber going past him (even though it appears to be on sand or grass, not asphalt). He foolishly pops out before the car is out of sight. It notices him and comes careening after him. And back we go down the driveway (or road? not really sure at this point. All I know for sure is it’s not asphalt or cement so there should be no screeching) on a merry chase back the way we just came.

It chases him slowly down the path to the pool and Bartlett obliges because the hedges on either side are much too high to jump over (even though they only come to his waist). And, it looks like the car has been rehearsing its big moment as there are already tire tracks on the grass. Instead of jumping in the pool on his own he kindly stops and waits for the car to hit him. He falls into the pool, the evil headlights of the car being the last thing he sees.

The cop is chatting with the ambulance guy. He thinks it’s unusual that the body was not weighted but was on the bottom even though they usually float. The cop says he looked scared, like something was chasing him. Um, perhaps the car sitting two feet away? Even if they don’t think the car did it there could have been a driver doing it. Especially since Bartlett seemed a tad unpleasant. The neighbors told the policeman that Bartlett was running around and yelling last night. And nobody thought to call the cops? Also, they didn’t hear the car? They throw around a couple theories to which the answers are, “Could be”.

SERLING:
Yes, it could just be. It could just be that Mr. Bartlett Finchley succumbed from a heart attack and a set of delusions. It could just be that he was tormented by an imagination as sharp as his wit and as pointed as his dislikes. But as perceived by those attending this is one explanation that has left the premises with the deceased. Look for it filed under “M” for Machines…in the Twilight Zone.


As I pointed out the only really deadly thing he owned was the car. Unless an electric razor could shave his shoes off or something. It seems a bit more logical to get rid of most of the stuff rather than pay to get it fixed just so it can torment you some more. As far as the machines go, unless they feel no pain, it seems as though most of the actual damage they were causing was to themselves. That doesn’t seem very intelligent. This isn’t the last time that technology rears its ugly, human-hating head. Also, if you recognize the repairman he was also on the episode The Purple Testament. You’ll also be seeing him a few more times on the Twilight Zone.


Be sure to join us for next week’s Twilight Zone Tuesday episode. A really great one called The Howling Man

Horrors! A Full Year of Horror #39

 Horrors! 365 Scary Stories – A Full Year of Horror

09/30/2017 – 10/06/2017

 

The horror short-short isn’t easy to master, but more than 100 of the genre’s critically acclaimed authors & hottest up-&-comers have taken a stab at it in Horrors! 365 Scary Stories, an anthology that contains a short tale for every day of the year. Steve Rasnic Tem, Wm F. Nolan, Tom Piccirilli, Yvonne Navarro, Peter Atkins, Brian Hodge, Martin Mundt & 166 others give you short, sharp shocks.

If you missed the first post you can find it here.

It’s October!! The month every horror fan waits for. Because people tend to look at you a little weird when you dress up as a Vampiric Easter Bunny. The countdown begins!

 

 

 


Serial KillersStephen Woodworth

Synopsis:
A serial killer stalks the streets. A very unusual one, however. It kills men and women and its victims literally beg for death.

Review:
A very good story, if a little depressing. I really didn’t see the twist coming.


Shades of GraySue Storm

Synopsis:
Janey sees everything in shades of gray. ever since the baby came she feels replaced, as if her parents don’t see her anymore. But they want to…more than anything in the world.

Review:
Well, that was depressing as hell. At first it seems like the typical jealous older sibling type of story so I really wasn’t liking it. But then it takes a turn for the very sad. It’s more affecting but it makes me wonder what happened and who the boy is?


ShadrachAdam Niswander

Synopsis:
Galen loves fire and the former building of the Temple of the Hours stands empty and unguarded. But the Templars’ altar is a Phoenix and that which was burnt may rise again.

Review:
It’s kind of obvious what Galen’s ultimate end will be it comes in a way I didn’t expect it to.


Shattering the SonataDevon Monk

Synopsis:
Leona hates practicing the piano with the bust of Beethoven glaring his disapproval. Finally she seems to be mastering it…but is it really her that’s playing?

Review:
I have a question. If you play or own a piano is it mandatory to have a bust of Beethoven on it? I liked the story but if you hate it that much why play? And even if your parents force you to I think I’d still find a way to ‘accidentally’ break the bust if it bothered me that much.


Sherri Goes to the OfficeYvonne Navarro

Synopsis:
Sherri is a model employee. She will not leave her job until the filing is done. So what if she’s a little smelly? So what if she can’t remember the alphabet? So what if she died two weeks ago and is now a zombie? She’s not going to let a little thing like that stop her.

Review:
The narrator does raise an interesting point. Would firing someone for being undead be discrimination? An awesomely funny story that is a good pick-me-up from the first two depression fests.


She Waits…Kay Reynolds

Synopsis:
Mano and Lela were perfect partners. One would bait the hook, the other would skin the fish. Until one night they pick the wrong mark. A mark who puts Mano in the hospital and Lela in the grave. Mano is prepared when the man comes calling. He and Lela have never worked with anyone and Mano isn’t about to share now.

Review:
One of the best vampire stories I’ve read in a while. Not quite up there with the Dracula is Jesus one from this week but still very good.


ShiftDavid Annandale

Synopsis:
Nielson buys a telescope at a yard sale and is very pleased that it works. It does, however, seem to have a few cracks. He didn’t notice any and cracks don’t move. Be careful when looking down a telescope, though. Something might be looking back. Or the image and reality itself could…shift.

Review:
While this story wasn’t insanely thrilling the writing alone carries it above what it is. For example: “And there are shifts that are all of these, bigger than tectonic, but as easy to get into as a glance gone wrong, and irrevocable beyond the laws of any god.” and this quote: “He didn’t want to turn, didn’t want to see, but he did and in his last second received one more gift: A fear so huge his old universe could not have held it.” *

Great lines, both of them. Some very nice writing.


Favorite of the Week:
Since I’m in the mood for a bit more of a humorous story it is definitely Sherri Goes to the Office by Yvonne Navarro. Shift by David Annandale was well-written with an interesting premise. Another great week for stories, we are on a roll!

*Quotes used fall under the Fair Use Act


Thanks for joining us this week and come back next year for more creepy yarns.

This is Horror, Issue 20: The Devils You Know

The banner for the bi-weekly This is Horror post on Sci-Fi & Scary

This is Horror, Issue 20 is a sampling of Horror News, including book and movie releases, 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.

This is Horror’s Weekly Quote:

“I’m your number one fan.”- MISERY

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Horror Movies

Horror Movies Releasing This Week:

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Horror Moves Coming Soon:

Happy Death Day

October 13th, 2017

A college student relives the day of her murder with both its unexceptional details and terrifying end until she discovers her killer’s identity.

Starring: Jessica RotheIsrael BroussardRuby Modine

In Theatres:

It (review)

Flatliners (review)

Mother!

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Horror Books

Featured New Horror Release

Book cover for Devils You Know

The Devils You Know – M.C. Atwood – October 3rd, 2017

Plenty of legends surround the infamous Boulder House in Whispering Bluffs, Wisconsin, but nobody takes them seriously. Certainly nobody believes that the original owner, Maxwell Cartwright Jr., cursed its construction—or that a murder of crows died upon its completion, their carcasses turning the land black. If anyone did believe it all, there’s no way River Red High would offer a field trip there for the senior class.

Five very different seniors on the trip—Violet, Paul, Ashley, Dylan, and Gretchen—have reasons beyond school spirit for not ditching the trip. When they’re separated from the group, they discover that what lies within Boulder House is far more horrifying than any local folklore. To survive, they’ll have to band together in ways they never could have imagined and ultimately confront the truths of their darkest selves.

Amazon | B&N

Other New Horror Release:  Her Body and Other Parties by Carmen Maria Machado

Goodreads Horror GIveaways:

Book cover for Weaponized Book cover for Escape from Zombie City Book cover for Sarah by Teri Polen

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Horrorific Trivia:

As even casual watchers of Supernatural will realize, Supernatural is particularly fond of classic rock. What often flies under the radar is the fact that their love of music also extends to the episode titles themselves. I had casually noticed it and thought it might make a nice ten episode length list. However, there turned out to be more than I thought so this will be Part One. Please check out my trivia section for This is Horror #21 for Part Two. Looking ahead there may even be a Part Three! I’m leaving off the somewhat generic titles that do have a corresponding song but since their meaning is so broad it’s hard to tell if they do connect the song and episode.

1. In My Time of Dying (S2, E1) – Led Zeppelin

2. No Exit (S2, E6) – Blondie  (This is the only exception to the generic sounding title rule as the lyrics and episode plot with Jo, a blondie herself, argue for their connection)

3. Crossroad Blues (S2, E8) – Robert Johnson

4. Houses of the Holy (S2, E13) – Led Zeppelin

5. Born Under a Bad Sign (S2, E14) – Albert King

6. Folsom Prison Blues (S2, E19) – Johnny Cash

7. What Is and What Should Never Be (S2, E20) – Led Zeppelin

8. Dream a Little Dream of Me (S3, E10) – Ozzie Nelson

9. Time is on My Side (S3, E15) – The Rolling Stones

10. When the Levee Breaks (S4, E21) – Led Zeppelin

Please check out the trivia section next week for Part Two!

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ICYMI:

Lilyn’s 31 Days of Horror List

Gracie’s 31 Days of Horror List

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Horror on the Web

Watching Horror Movies Helps Me Deal With My Anxiety” – Vice

[Video] “Lore Review” – Deadline

This Filmmaker is Saving Horror Comedy” – Syfy

‘The Exorcist’ is rewriting all the rules of horror, and that’s why we love it ” – Mashable

Why We Write About Horror Amidst Tragedy” – Dread Central