Horrors – A Full Year of Horror #47

Horrors! 365 Scary Stories – A Full Year of Horror 

12/02/2017 – 12/08/2017

 

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.

The one upside to that nasty white stuff falling outside my door is that no one questions it when you curl up with a book. In fact, I truly believe that is what winter was invented for just that purpose. So let the snow fall (or the sun shine, lucky) and let’s get to some wintry horror…or whatever comes our way this week!


UpstairsLawrence Watt-Evans

Synopsis:
All the couple upstairs do is fight and yell. They are also very inconsiderate about leaving the tap running and something is stinking the place up. Jack says he’ll go talk to them…now something else is leaking through the ceiling. It’s not water though.

Review:
An ok story. I’m assuming the upstairs neighbors are probably serial killers hence all of the thumping and stink. However, they are usually smart enough to not kill their neighbors unless he literally walked in on them killing someone.


The Valley of the ShadowFrancis Amery

Synopsis:
A reading of the Bible leads one man to the conclusion that God smiles on industry…and industry requires sacrifice.

Review:
I don’t mind a little Biblical horror every now and then (which is different than horror or thrillers geared to Christians) but this was just weird. I almost think that they might have gotten inspiration from Centralia, perhaps.


Vampire NationThomas M. Sipos

Synopsis:
Count Farkas has awakened to a nation and a time of apathy. No one believes in the old superstitions anymore. What better climate for a vampire to exist in? But apathy can be contagious.

Review:
A good story about contagious indifference and boy, is it ever! It made me want to curl up and go to sleep!


The Vampire’s BurdenTippi N. Blevins

Synopsis:
While hunting among the vampire pretenders at the club Teddy finds the perfect victim. He thinks she’s all too human. He’s mostly right.

Review:
A little on the eh side. Miranda doesn’t really give Teddy an actual chance to change and she seems to be a forerunner of “Oooh, pretty vampires!”.


The Vampire’s CaravanIlona Ouspenskaya

Synopsis:
One enchanted evening a peasant girl watches the majesty of the Vampire’s Caravan and is offered a place in it. What will her choice be?

Review:
Very beautifully described and it makes me curious which path she is trying to take.


Vengeance is MeTom Piccirilli

Synopsis:
A woman sleeps, imagining her husband’s death, over and over while he lies awake amidst hallucinations born of his guilt. Or are they?

Review:
I did not like this one. It had a good guilt theme to it but there are two refrains repeated over and over that are just gross and unnecessarily repeated.


VocabularyAdam Troy-Castro

Synopsis:
Trying to find that word that’s on the tip of our tongue can be frustrating. So frustrating, in fact, that you might try checking other people’s tongues. And you’ll let them go, of course. They just need to figure out the word.

Review:
A rather gruesome story. Not torture porn descriptive but your imagination does the work for you.


Favorite of the Week:
Hmm. While not a terrible week it was sort of blah, wasn’t it? It would have to be Vampire Caravan by Ilona Ouspenskaya for the sheer loveliness of the prose and description.


Thank you for joining us this week and come back next week for another seven days of Horrors!

The Frighteners #MovieReview

 The Frighteners Synopsis: After a tragic car accident kills his wife, a man discovers he can communicate with the dead to con people. However, when a demonic spirit appears, he may be the only one who can stop it from killing the living and the dead.

Tagline: Death is no way to make a living!

Starring: Michael J. Fox, Trini Alvarado, Peter Dobson

Release Date: July 19, 1996

Runtime: 1 hr. 50 min.

 

 

 

Coolthulhus Earned: 3

The Frighteners Review

The Frighteners, quite honestly, is a little harder to review than I thought it would be. It’s pretty much a horror comedy but it’s nothing along the lines of Tucker and Dale Vs. Evil. The humour is dry for the most part and instead of cracking up it produces mostly light chuckles and amusement. 

Michael J. Fox is great in it and it’s a more unusual part for him to play. He’s cynical and kind of a jerk through most of the movie. Since we’re used to seeing The Fox in more good-natured roles it was a huge departure for him that he pulls off amazingly. As far as the rest of the cast there is truly a stellar line-up which includes John Astin, Jake Busey, Jeffrey Combs (who is definitely no stranger to the horror genre) and Dee Wallace (who, again, is one of horror’s ‘familiar faces’).

The plot of The Frighteners is entertaining overall with some genuinely creepy and dark moments. There is a reveal at the end that was surprising but also felt like a bit of a cheat. I can’t really say more than that without spoiling it, The pacing is good throughout, with no real lags in the action.

There are a few minor issues with it, however. The love story that’s shoe-horned into it being the biggest. The movie’s timeline seems to take place over two weeks, at the most. But in that time the character of Dr. Lucy Lynskey loses her husband and then almost immediately falls in love with Frank Bannister. I’m never a fan of insta-love and when you mix in the fact that her husband just died it becomes a bit more…icky. They do try to wave it off with a “we haven’t been happy for some time” but it doesn’t feel like enough.

There are a few oddities in The Frighteners that don’t exactly tank it but will leave you scratching your head a bit at the sheer ridiculousness. For instance, Frank Bannister is on the police radar because he makes his living as a “ghostbuster”. So, naturally, they seem to think that he has something to do with deaths that are perhaps psychically caused. No real shocker there but everyone in town seems to think he’s nothing more than a con man and make it abundantly clear they don’t believe in ghosts. So it makes it a bit puzzling why they would even connect the two. Also, Combs’ character, while extremely fun, is a bit puzzling. There is absolutely no motivation or explanation for half the things he does. But, to give him credit, you have so much fun watching him be batshit crazy that it almost doesn’t matter.

The effects in The Frighteners are insane. They do not look dated at all. Of course, with Zemeckis in charge that’s not much of a surprise. The movie came out in 1996 and I’ve seen movies from 1999 – 2000’s with more dated looking CGI than this. The Reaper, the mouth of hell (literally) and more all look amazing. Danny Elfman also creates an amazing score to go with. But then, when doesn’t he?

With all of the serious star-power behind The Frighteners it’s a little strange that this movie seems to slip under the radar so often. It’s not perfect but it’s certainly worth a Halloween watch. 

Horrors – A Full Year of Horror #42

Horrors! 365 Scary Stories – A Full Year of Horror

10/21/2017 – 10/27/2017

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.

 

Halloween draws near and hopefully it’s a good one for everyone. With the rain we’ve been having here I’m starting to despair of  a warm Halloween. But, if rain is good for one thing, it’s good for reading some cozily frightening horror stories.

 

 

 


Sometimes the Answer is YesRon Collins

Synopsis:
In debt to the really wrong people, Johnny makes a desperate plea to God to get him out of the ocean and get revenge. Something answers. Something from an area a little South of Heaven.

Review:
A little bland, really. With the creature answering I was kind of hoping for a bit…more.


The SoundLawrence Greenberg

Synopsis:
You wake up in the middle of the night by a noise. A loud, irregular thumoing that seems to move through the house with you. What could it be? Why does everything seem to be stifled, murky? Why does your face look so wan in the mirror.

Review:
Not too bad. I thought, though, that it was going to be the narrator was going to be a ghost. In that regard the ending was a bit surprising but I still thhink it woould work as a ghost story.


Special Interests Lillian Csernica and Kevin Andrew Murphy

Synopsis:
True love can be found online, occasionally. For a girl interested in duct tape, kitchen utensils and a hairy chest what could be better than finding a man interested in duct tape, knives and large breasts. It’s a match made in…well, somewhere I’m sure.

Review:
I liked this story immensely. It was darkly fun and playful. I also like that two authors wrote it. It gives it a feeling of reality. Just not too realistic, I hope. I’m also curious…if she doesn’t care for knives then what other kitchen utensils is she using?


SpeedT.W. Kriner

Synopsis:
Marasigan wants nothing more than to beat Reignbos in a marathon. After losing to Reignbos for a second time at the Boston Marathon, Marasigan makes a literal deal with the devil to beat Reignbos’ best time ever. This includes many physical changes that make him look like a bat out of hell. And when Reignbos sees the brand new Marasigan running behind him…well, wouldn’t you run faster than you ever had before?

Review:
A bit of a departure from the usual deal with the devil story, this one involves actual physical changes rather than just being made magically faster. It does have the usual “you got screwed” ending. however.


Speed Demon Jay R. Bonansinga

Synopsis:
After a fatal car accident in which two teenagers got killed, Dickie has learned to be more careful on the highway. It’s easy to avoid irritants like speeding tickets and accidents if you just get behind someone going faster than you. You might want to be careful which car you choose though they could be cruising for something else entirely…

Review:
I loved the story. Especially the use of an El Camino for the ‘demonic’ car. I have a soft spot in my heart for them. Dickie’s comeuppance was certainly a bit satisfying.


Spring Joe Meno

Synopsis:
Up at his parent’s cottage for what Brody thinks will be a romantic weekend. When his girlfriend storms out a whole bunch of crazy comes barging in. Brody is confronted by a naked man being stalked by a lonely wolf.

Review:
This story was very confusing for what should have been a fairly straightforward werewolf story. It sounds like the naked man running from the wolf is the wolf’s mate but if so, why would he be running away? And it’s not really clear what it has to do with the title. It feels like this was a half-idea that was just jotted down and sent in.


St. Louis #2Michael Grisi

Synopsis:
Jim tells his buddy Larry about the ‘oven vaults’ in the cemetery but Larry doesn’t believe him. What can you do to answer a challenge like that but visit the cemetery and check out the vaults? You might want to make sure its occupants appreciate visitors first, though.

Review:
A nice little story with a bit of a Tales from the ‘Crypt’ feel to it (I couldn’t help myself).


Favorite of the Week:
Well, with so many good weeks of stories I guess a week of indifferent ones was to be expected. Not that they were terrible, just not up to the standards of some of the previous weeks. The best of this week, though, was one I loved – Special Interests by Lillian Csernica and Kevin Andrew Murphy. It was great. Creepy yet a touch humorous. I still wonder which kitchen utensils she uses. Is it possible to whisk someone to death?


Join us next Friday for another round of horror stories. Have a happy and safe Halloween, my pretties.

Horrors! A Full Year of Horror #34

Horrors! 365 Scary Stories – A Full Year of Horror

08/26/2017 – 09/01/2017

 

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.

 

Labor Day is here and summer is officially over. That might be a depressing thought but cheer up! Halloween is almost here!

 

 

 

 


Plant KingdomScott M. Brents

Synopsis:
Cirus plants cucumbers, the biggest and best anyone’s ever seen. His parents are not the nicest, however, so Cirus decides to try to grow some new ones. It makes me wonder what he planted to make them grow.

Review:
A very good, creepy story. It leaves the ending kind of open so I’m curious what will grow.


Porky Pig in the MirrorRandy Miller

Synopsis:
A gymnast looks at herself in the mirror and sees nothing but the Porky Pig her coach calls her. What follows are her internal thoughts on how she has to stay thin and her horrifying solution if she grows breasts.

Review:
Wow. This was truly terrifying.


The PredatorDon D’Ammassa

Synopsis:
Detective Ryan is on the hunt for a serial killer, spurning the offer of help from a pair of Russian siblings. However, this killer is not human. And neither are the siblings.

Review:
A great story. I love a ‘good’ werewolf story. Or werewolfhounds. Whichever.


Prime CrimeWilliam Marden

Synopsis:
The executive of a failing network makes a deal for exclusives with the devil. Well, not the actual devil but a serial killer. Who has found a way to make sure that the executive has a solid alibi for himself.

Review:
A very good story with a great line “the doors to hell had been flung open and he was sliding down through them”. Maybe not super-creative but very evocative.


The Proof in the PictureLisa Morton

Synopsis:
Derek works for a tabloid, retouching photos if needed for effect. Called to take pictures of a possessed kid he gets good pictures all right. But more than Derek had bargained for.

Review:
An awesome story. I love a good demonic story. And this one is mixed in with a serial killer. Even better.


The Pull-Out Atlas of the Unseen WorldMichael Gillis

Synopsis:
Jack has created his own religion, claiming to have found an Atlas of the Unseen World. He’s so convincing that a mass of people have gathered outside. Now Jack has to figure out a way out of his lie. Without getting himself and his friend killed, if possible.

Review:
A great story with a really good twist at the end. It was also a very unexpected twist which makes it that much better.


PulloverRobert Devereaux

Synopsis:
Frazell is dressing for a night out but becomes entangled in his sweater. We’ve all done it. But getting out again? Not so easy.

Review:
This one was pretty creepy because I absolutely hate getting tangled in a sweater. It’s claustrophobic and creepy feeling. Almost as bad as getting lost in a sleeping bag…which I have done. It’s a long story.


Favorite of the Week:
This was a bit of a better week. My favorite is definitely The Proof in the Picture by Lisa Morton. I love the mix of it and the retaliation of the aggrieved serial killer. I guess you don’t retouch their work. Good to know. However, Porky Pig in the Mirror by Randy Miller is truly chilling. All the more so because of it’s realism.


Thanks for joining us yet again! Keep coming back for more scary stories as Halloween draws ever closer. I know, I know, it’s only September but I can dream.

Horrors! – A Full Year of Horror #33

Horrors! 365 Scary Stories – A Full Year of Horror

08/19/2017 – 08/25/2017

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.

 


A Perfect LadyDavid Niall Wilson

Synopsis:
Eric has always loved his boat, the Old Mary. She’s always been there for him through hangover, troubles at home or bringing in a good day’s catch. On the night he escapes from his family a killer storm strikes. And Eric finds out how much Old Mary loves him back.

Review:
A good story, clearly illustrating how much a professional fisherman loves his boat. Like a cowboy and his horse.


Phone TagJohn R. Platt

Synopsis:
A very deadly game of phone tag with a family…and the monsters who have kidnapped their little girl.

Review:
Thinking about the actual logic of the story it falls apart a bit. I mean, if you’re a kidnapper and keep getting the answering machine, then obviously they haven’t gotten you’re message. But, it’s so creepy while you’re reading it that logic doesn’t really occur to you.


Picnic Under the SkyGreg van Eekhout

Synopsis:
A man and his girlfriend are lying under the sky, looking at the clouds, finding what pictures occur to them. Unbeknownst to his girlfriend, however, the men in his family can read the future in the clouds. And the future isn’t promising. He sees the horses of Armageddon and rockets lifting into the air.

Review:
A very interesting story that uses a unique form of divination.


Picture ThisScott Edelman

Synopsis:
A man thinks his soul has slowly been stolen through the lens of the camera. How could his family have not seen it?

Review:
A decent story about a killer. Not much more to it, really.


The Piggy BankDon D’Ammassa

Synopsis:
Old Man Crenshaw lives alone and keeps to himself. He only comes to town every now and then with two nice, crisp hundred dollar bills. Buster wants to ‘liberate’ a bit of that money from him. Searching Crenshaw’s house Buster finds a large pig-shaped bank. Filled with cash. It’s a shame that Buster didn’t notice the long, sharp teeth of the bank.

Review:
A good story. It kind of reminds me of The Legend of Wooley Swamp by The Charlie Daniels Band.


Pine SupineRobert Devereaux

Synopsis:
A reverend of a town plagued by vampires is approached by a hunter. But which is the hunter and which is the hunted?

Review:
A good story but it tries a little too hard at the olde tyme language. It sounds a bit unnatural.


Pinning DanteRandy Miller

Synopsis:
Grandma likes to watch wrestling. The latest villain, Dante, has her poking random people with hat-pins, thinking it’s Dante. Finally, in the home, she goes quietly in her sleep, her final wish being to get Dante right in the butt. Does she succeed?

Review:
A good story with a cute twist at the end. Also a very clever pun on the name.


Favorite of the Week:
A rather slow week. Phone Tag by John R. Platt is creepy as heck. If you don’t think too much about the realism of it, it definitely gives you chills.


Kind of a slow week but that’s what is great about short story collections. You never know what’s coming next. Join us again next week for another round of spooky stories to give you the creeps.

Horrors! A Full Year of Horror #28

Horrors! 365 Scary Stories – A Full Year of Horror

07/15/2017 – 07/21/2017

 

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.

 

Hello and welcome back to this week’s round of small, frightful delights! So get ready to hide under the covers but make sure you bring a light. It’s dark under there.

 

 

 


Mother LodeOjvind Bernander

Synopsis:
Finn is amazed to find an egg in a hole in his lawn. He’s even more amazed when it hatches out a Griffin. A Griffin that eats junk an excretes gold. Finn thinks he’s hit it rich but he’s forgotten one thing. Where there are babies there’s usually a mother…

Review:
I loved this story and I’m jealous. I want a Griffin. Preferably one that won’t eat me.


Mr. Bauble’s BagScott David Aniolowski

Synopsis:
Old clowns never die, they just wait in the shadows.

Review:
This was a very good, creepy clown tale. It’s not the usual serial killer clown or child eating clown. In fact, it’s a little unclear what it is that Mr. Bauble eats. But he seems genuinely disappointed that children fear him. Or whatever he is.


Mr. Brubaker Goes to WorkLyn Nichols

Synopsis:
Mr. Brubaker jauntily heads off to his work. He’s a butcher, happily carving good steaks and he takes pride in his work. Just don’t ask where the steaks come from.

Review:
I started out assuming that Mr. Brubaker was a killer but it took a slight zig-zag that I didn’t expect. A wonderful twist.


Much More Than You KnowBrian A. Hopkins

Synopsis:
Love can make people do crazy things. Especially disappointed love.

Review:
it’s a story that has been done before but this caught my eye because it was well written. Almost musical in that it flows so well.


Mud Juleen Brantingham

Synopsis:
A guy who’s rough on his women, especially the ones that can’t be bought with the price of popcorn and a movie, is leaving a girl in the rain as he drives out of the bayou. Little does he know that his friend Wes knows about the bayou, and what it will do for the people who care for it.

Review:
Loved, loved, loved this story. Great set-up and a great monster.


The Music BoxLisa Lepovetsky

Synopsis:
Julia holds the music box that her mother treasured and would never let her open. Now, more than anything, Julia wishes her mother was there with her. She’s about to get her wish.

Review:
A very good story that did not turn out how I expected it would. It also, in a weird way, reminded me a bit of Hellraiser.


My Evil TwinBrian Craig

Synopsis:
Two twins, separated by divorce. Assuming he is the ‘good’ twin our narrator has learned to keep from becoming what he thinks his brother must be. Deciding to track his brother down the narrator gets the surprise of his life…he may not be the ‘good’ twin, after all.

Review:
Another great story. It’s interesting to me how much twins are used in horror. No offense to any twinnies out there. There always seems to be a good one and an evil one. I have to admit that I have always found it pretty fascinating that a lot of identical twins seem to lead very similar lives. However, that rarely happens with fraternal twins. It kind of makes me wonder about genetics and whether or not our behavior is truly ‘individual’.


Favorite of the Week:
Oh, lord, do I have to pick? They were all really, really good. Even the Mr. Bauble one was good and I’m not usually gung-ho on clowns. They are creepy but the formula for using them in horror stays pretty basic. If I had to pick then these three are definitely the tops for this week: Mother Lode by Ojvind Bernander, Mud by Juleen Brantingham, and My Evil Twin by Brian Craig. They all had a little something more to them.


Well, this was a great week for stories. Let’s hope the awesome streak continues and I’ll see you guys next week for another week’s worth of tales to chill you.

Horrors! A Full Year of Horror #9

Horrors! 365 Scary Stories – A Full Year of Horror

02/25/2017 – 03/03/2017

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.

Each day I’ll be reading one story per day with a weekly wrap-up on Fridays. If you missed the first post you can find it here.

 

So let’s turn down the lights, curl up with your favorite blanky and let’s get started!


Collector’s FeverGary Jonas

Synopsis:
A collector describes his collection of ‘friends’. When his house is full he’ll move again. And start over.

Review:
A nice, short little serial killer story.


Contract IceMarion Cepican

Synopsis:
Sam loves skating on the ice when it’s pure and clean. She loves the ice. And the ice loves her as well.

Review:
A very nicely written story and very creepy. I want to know if it’s the ice itself that loves her or something within the ice.


A Convenient ArrangementMichael Marshall Smith

Synopsis:
When the lights go out at two separate parties a group of friends realizes that one of their number is a murderer. Rather than try to figure out which friend it is or lose a good friend because of their homicidal proclivities they make a most convenient party arrangement.

Review:
I loved the story and it’s practicality of how to solve their little problem. I also love that the ending doesn’t tell which friend it is.


The CoughSteve Resnic Tem

Synopsis:
A man who is coughing out nasty chunks cannot for the life of him remember where his wife went.

Review:
Having a pretty nasty cold at the moment it rather grossed me out.


Cower Before BoboTom Piccirilli

Synopsis:
A killing in a circus just might usher in a new age for the Goddess Kali.

Review:
I might be thick but I just didn’t get it at all. So, yeah, I wasn’t too crazy about it.


CrashingLawrence Greenberg

Synopsis:
An incident in a subway.

Review:
I honestly can’t give you more of a synopsis because I had no clue what it was about. It just seemed like a random collection of images.


Crisis Line Del Stone Jr.

Synopsis:
A Crisis Line call to Hell.

Review:
A really good story. For some reason I’ve always liked reverse Crisis calls. Ted Bundy worked a Suicide Hotline for a while as a volunteer. It always made me wonder what he said to callers when there wasn’t anybody else in the room.


Favorite of the Week:
My favorite for his week is A Convenient Arrangement by Michael Marshall Smith. Followed very closely by Crisis Line by Del Stone Jr. I loved the playfulness of A Convenient Arrangement and the pure evil of Crisis Line.


Here we are, at the end of another month already. Since the repeat authors are getting a little numerous to link I’m going to start doing a monthly tally of the repeats with the stories they have.


Linda J. Dunn:
A Huntin’ We Will Go, Best Friends, The Collector

Steve Rasnic Tem:
After Work, The Cough

Tim Waggoner:
Along for the Ride, Catharsis

Del Stone Jr. :
And Baby Makes 13, Crisis Line

Don Webb:
And the Woman Said, The Bone Garden

Brian McNaughton:
Another Night, Business Image, Changes

David Niall Wilson:
Are You the One?, Be Careful What You Say

Don D’Ammassa:
Bad Feelings, Candid Camera, The Chindi

Lisa Lepovetsky:
The Big One, Carnival Wishing

Adam Niswander:
Billy, The Bookseller, Change of Life

Phyllis Eisenstein:
Boxes, The Cat