Horror Short Film Roundup

Sometimes I watch horror short films. I thought you might like some too. Watch these. These are good. I recommend full screen.

This one is animated and kinda long, but it's well made and the song is killer.

  Short and sweet.

  This is probably one of the best stop motion ones I've seen. I love it.

  Has some good visuals, but ultimately I was disappointed that they didn't do more with the idea. Worth a watch though.

 

This is terrifying. Don't miss this one.

Horrified Press Fiasco part 2: Electric Bugaloo

I better get all my Grinch out because Christmas is coming. I'm not really invested in the drama that surrounds Horrified Press, except for my love of seeing dumb people eat crow in public. I'm only writing this specifically about them because they were kind enough to mention me by name in their latest blog post. I'm not gonna clutch my pearls and pretend that I'm shocked they did that because lets face it, after Max Booth's surprisingly even-handed criticism of their practices, there was bound to be some fallout. Horrified Press was criticized! This must not be! Sane people respond to criticism with grace or at the very least, indifference. Sane people don't claim they are being unfairly persecuted or that the reason they're being criticized is because their competitors want to damage them. Essentially, there's nothing for me to say regarding this debacle that isn't already obvious. If you look at what Horrified Press is doing and think ''hey, these look like sane, professional individuals,'' then more power to you. I'm sure you will never have anything to do with my own small press or me personally, since I'm part of the ''hate group'' that exists to persecute poor old Horrified Press, who after all is doing this for the love and not for money. And that's great! Best of luck to you and let me know how that works out.

I'll take a moment here to point out that three or four months ago, Horrified Press wasn't paying their authors anything. No royalties, no print copies, no digital copies. This is the publisher that has the gall to say today that they're doing the best for their authors. Back then, their excuse was that first, they want to publish a lot of books and make a lot of money and become a huge publisher and then, out of the kindness of their heart, they would turn around and start paying their authors, old and new alike. After that flame war, they relented and claimed they were gonna start paying their authors royalties. Hidden somewhere in the fine print was ''after we've sold 150 copies of the book.''

Man, so many hurdles to pass in order to get paid! This is some Ulysses shit right here.

So, recently it was revealed that Horrified Press is not even providing digital contributor's copies. If you have any kind of experience in this industry, you understand how crazy that sounds. It costs literally nothing to give your author a digital copy. You have to be a special kind of starry eyed idiot, not to publish with Horrified Press (we all make mistakes), but to actively support this decision. There's exactly zero reasons this should happen. Nada. You are being used as a source of income. Like other, similar author mills, they're banking on making their money out of you and your friends. If one of their anthologies has 15 authors in it and each one of them buys a print copy at even 10$, you have a tidy little sum right there and not only did you not spend any money, but your own authors paid you for the pleasure of being published.

What gets me about what Horrified Press is shilling, is their claim that the shit they choose to do is ''industry standard.'' Almost as much as their claim that they're ''doing it for the love.''

What the fuck do you think the rest of us are doing it for? Hookers and blow? We just have the decency to not rip off the people we're supposed to be supporting. There is absolutely a way to pay your authors, give them copies of their work and generally not be an asshole. It's called ''running a business.'' You look at your costs, you look at your budget and you decide if and how you can make it happen. If you can't, you don't. The solution isn't to let someone else shoulder the costs.

When I was planning the American Nightmare anthology, I was talking with Max about how many authors I was going to be including. Max said ''keep in mind you have to send out copies to the authors, that stuff adds up.'' My mind was blown. I have to send them copies? All of a sudden, I was looking at another 100-150$ of costs for the anthology. You do the math again and you decide. I figured I could afford to do it, so I did. It really is as simple as that. To pretend that ''oh gosh, by golly, I wish I could give my authors copies'' is some grade A bullshit.

I feel like I'm preaching to the choir, because industry professionals don't need me to tell them what is and what isn't a scam. They can smell them from a mile away. Two seconds into ''we don't provide contributor copies because we want our authors to make more money,'' their eyes aren't just rolling, they're doing backflips and handstands. They also don't particularly care, because publishers like Horrified Press have always been around. New writers fall in their trap, but as long as they don't go all Stockholm Syndrome, they usually get out of it right quick. All is as it should be.

Merry Christmas!

 

 

Top 10 Book Covers of 2013

It's finally done. It was a lot of work, collecting suggestions, scouring the 2013 release lists, deciding which covers to include, narrowing it down and finally, coming up with an actual Top Ten list of Book Covers for 2013. This is the first year I'm doing this, but I hope I can make this an annual thing, which I suppose will depend on how many people agree with my choices and thus decide to follow my blog and read my rants and generally feed my ego.

By far the hardest thing was to track down who the artist was in the majority of the cases. I failed to do so in one case.

A few words about the list: I included only novels, novellas and anthologies. So no comic books or magazines. I didn't include any books published in December 2012, though beginning next year, I will start from December 2013 for the 2014 list. I tried to link to each book's Amazon page, each artist's portfolio and each publisher's website. I didn't always succeed in finding them. I (of course) didn't include any of my own covers.

If you find an omission, please let me know.

21. Sci-Fidelity

Artist: Matthew Woodson Author: Alex Sargeant Publisher: Black Hill Press

Ryan Singer sits on the edge of that terrible time in everyone’s life when they realize they’ve either already started their career or need to. Ryan tries his best to navigate this world where awkwardness, New Media, science fiction, love, drugs and intrigue all slam together with hilarious and tragic consequences.

 

52. Cruel

Artist: Chris Walker Author: Eli Wilde Publisher: Perpetual Motion Machine Publishing

When he was a very young child, Evan Jameson believed in angels. He thought they were watching out for him, protecting more than merely his innocence, he thought they were supposed to stop bad people from doing bad things to him. After his family moved house and he went to school for the first time, he started to believe in monsters. Seeing them each day as they cruelled their way through his formative years, he realised angels were not looking out for him after all. And God too, He seemed to be looking out for someone other than Evan. Despite the sun searing images of his childhood nightmares into his mind like a laser etched from hell, Evan managed to hide them from his conscience, never gazing upon them until he was older and his first child was born. Even then, it was not until he felt the first urge to cruel his baby son that he began to search for reasons why. What he revealed when he gazed into his dark past, was not only the reason why he could become a monster, but also the reason why he awakened each day wanting to end his life.

 

33. Mountain Home

Artist: Joanne-McKenna Howard at Small Dog Design Author: Bracken MacLeod Publisher: Books of the Dead Press

Lyn works at an isolated roadside diner. When a retired combat veteran stages an assault there her world is turned upside down. Surviving the sniper’s bullets is only the beginning of Lyn's nightmare. Navigating hostilities, she establishes herself as the disputed leader of a diverse group of people that are at odds with the situation and each other. Will she - or anyone else - survive the attack?

 

44. The Lost

Artist: Jeff Himmelman Authors: Anthology Publisher: Gallileo Games

The Lost is stories of hope, tragedy, and the people the world turns away from. From a young woman struggling with addiction to a streetwise Santa looking out for his friends, these stories range from literary to magical realism. The Lost is an anthology of stories that confront issues of homelessness and the people our society ignores.

 

65. Jane

Artist: Nimit Malavia Author: P.F. Jeffery Publisher: Chômu Press

Thousands of years in the future, the division between the sexes is entrenched, turning to warfare. Many technologies are lost and much history forgotten, but gynogenesis (by which two women may have a child) is becoming the scientific foundation for the Empire of Her Majesty, Berenice I. Amidst the haunted marshes of outlying Essex, the routine and romance of homes and offices in the Surrey heartland, and the crumbling feudal heritage of Lundin town, the action unfolds like the panorama from a stagecoach window.

Jane is a sixteen-year-old civil servant under Her Majesty. Sent to audit the spoils of battle, she falls for Captain Modesty Clay, precipitating a maelstrom of events that force her to grow up fast, and in which she catches the eye of the Empress herself.

 

76. Floating Boy and the Girl Who Couldn't Fly

Artist: Erik Mohr Author: Stephen Graham Jones & Paul Tremblay Publisher: CZP

Mary's life is going fine. Except for being a freshman in high school. And having anxiety attacks. And her dad having no job. So, introduce one boy who can fly, kidnap the little brother she's supposed to be babysitting, and drop a military quarantine on her town and that should make her anxiety completely disappear, right? Wrong.

 

97. The Last Night of October

Artist: Luke Spooner Author: Greg Chapman Publisher: Bad Moon Books

Seventy-year-old Gerald Forsyth dreads Halloween. Every year, on October 31st, a lone child has knocked on his door – a nightmarish reminder of a tragedy from Gerald’s past. As each Halloween came and went, Gerald has been able to keep his door locked and the monstrous memory at bay, but the ravages of emphysema have left him a disgruntled and feeble-minded old man. When a new hospice nurse named Kelli arrives unexpectedly to replace his regular nurse on Halloween night, Gerald is caught unawares and before he can warn her, Kelli is inviting the threat into his home. The horrors that unfold will be no trick and the only treat the child will accept is the old man’s soul. Before the night ends, Gerald will have no choice but to bring his dark secret into the light.

 

18. You

Artist: Superbrothers Author: Austin Grossman Publisher: Mulholland Books

When Russell joins Black Arts games, brainchild of two visionary designers who were once his closest friends, he reunites with an eccentric crew of nerds hacking the frontiers of both technology and entertainment. In part, he's finally given up chasing the conventional path that has always seemed just out of reach. But mostly, he needs to know what happened to Simon, his strangest and most gifted friend, who died under mysterious circumstances soon after Black Arts' breakout hit.

As the company's revolutionary next-gen game is threatened by a software glitch, Russell finds himself in a race to save his job, Black Arts' legacy, and the people he has grown to care about. The deeper Russell digs, the more dangerous the glitch appears--and soon, Russell comes to realize there's much more is at stake than just one software company's bottom line.

 

89. Earth Thirst

Artist: Cody Tilson Author: Mark Teppo Publisher: Night Shade Books

 The Earth is dying. Humanity — over-breeding, over-consuming — is destroying the very planet they call home. Multinational corporations despoil the environment, market genetically modified crops to control the food supply, and use their wealth and influence and private armies to crush anything, and anyone, that gets in the way of their profits. Nothing human can stop them. But something unhuman might. Once they did not fear the sun. Once they could breathe the air and sleep where they chose. But now they can rest only within the uncontaminated soil of Mother Earth—and the time has come for them to fight back against the ruthless corporations that threaten their immortal existence.

They are the last guardians of paradise, more than human but less than angels. They call themselves the Arcadians. We know them as vampires. . .

 

1010. The One-Eyed Man

Artist: John Jude Palencar Author: L. E. Modesitt, Jr. Publisher: Tor Books

The colony world of Stittara is no ordinary planet. For the interstellar Unity of the Ceylesian Arm, Stittara is the primary source of anagathics: drugs that have more than doubled the human life span. But the ecological balance that makes anagathics possible on Stittara is fragile, and the Unity government has a vital interest in making sure the flow of longevity drugs remains uninterrupted, even if it means uprooting the human settlements.

Offered the job of assessing the ecological impact of the human presence on Stittara, freelance consultant Dr. Paulo Verano jumps at the chance to escape the ruin of his personal life. He gets far more than he bargained for: Stittara’s atmosphere is populated with skytubes—gigantic, mysterious airborne organisms that drift like clouds above the surface of the planet. Their exact nature has eluded humanity for centuries, but Verano believes his conclusions about Stittara may hinge on understanding the skytubes’ role in the planet’s ecology—if he survives the hurricane winds, distrustful settlers, and secret agendas that impede his investigation at every turn.

October Challenge 2013: The List

This is the list of movies we're watching this October. I expect some of the movies to be switched with others as the mood strikes, but that's okay. It's a weird list because it's really not a top 30 of my favorite horror movies or anything. Lots of movies didn't make the list because I had re-watched them recently or just because I didn't feel like re-watching them. Let's see if I can come up with anything interesting to say about these flicks after the jump.

list

 

1. Stake Land - I've seen this one before and I still enjoy it. It has some goofy kung fu stuff going on, but I like that they took the time to do some world building in this one.

2. Haunting of Helena - First viewing. I posted the review yesterday. Not something I'd re-watch.

3. Pontypool - It has an interesting premise and I've forgotten enough about it to want to re-watch it.

4. Lords of Salem - Re-watch solely for the visuals.

5. Paranorman - We watched this recently so we might end up not seeing it again, but it's just really good and a perfect fit for Halloween.

6. Livide - This one was a bit of a letdown when it finally came out, but it has some of the best scenes I've seen in a horror movie. Definitely worth a re-watch.

7. Vanishing on 7th Street - This one isn't really that great, but the girlfriend hasn't seen it, so we will.

8. Monsters - This one I actually like, but I've definitely watched it too many times. Girlfriend hasn't seen it though.

9. Coraline - It's pretty good. Worth a re-watch. I think the director is the same as for Paranorman.

10. Splinter - While I'm getting tired of watching this, it's still a fun movie. I dig the monsters.

11. The Burrowers - This one is a bit slow, but it's been a while and I want to see how it holds up on repeat viewings. Cowboy horror!

12. GP - One of my favorite horror movies. Looking forward to watching it again.

13. Trick 'r Treat - Might save this for Halloween. It's the perfect movie.

14. Teeth - I've described the movie to my girlfriend a hundred times, but we still haven't watched it. So in it goes.

15. Cold Prey - I'm not a huge fan of slasher flicks outside the classics, but this Norwegian movie has a nice setting and it feels pretty fresh for what is essentially a run-of-the-mill slasher movie.

16. Slither - Always fun.

17. The Dark - I liked some of the visuals. I think Sean Bean dies in this one.

18. Tucker & Dale vs. Evil - Probably the best horror comedy in existence.

19. Dead Air - I don't actually remember this at all and I've watched it.

20. R-Point - Another Korean horror movie. Not as good as GP, but still good.

21. Undead - I haven't watched this in ages. I remember it's a pretty crazy Australian zombie flick.

22. My Little Eye - Mostly for nostalgia's sake.

23. Bride of Chucky - The only Chucky film I haven't watched yet.

24. The Nightmare Before Christmas - Needs no introduction.

25. The Blob - I like this remake. I watched it as a kid and fell in love with it.

26. Teen Wolf - Not sure about this one, but it's definitely been a while since I last watched it.

27.

28.

29. All the Evil Dead movies.

30. The Conjuring - Heard good things.

31. Pacific Rim - I guess this is cheating, but I wanna watch it and can't wait till November.

32. The American Scream - Bonus round. A documentary about families and their Halloween decorations.

 

 

 

 

October Challenge #1: The Haunting of Helena

haunting-of-helena-face I'm running a bit behind, but I'm still watching one horror movie for every day of October this year.

Me and my girlfriend started out with The Haunting of Helena, a horror flick that takes place in Italy for some reason. Some of the plots points are tied to historical events, but there really is no point to it actually taking place there. Everyone speaks English (except for a psychologist guy who was dubbed) and everyone acts like they're in the US, so whatever.

The-Haunting-of-Helena-Theatrical-Poster1Anyway, IMDB says ''A single mother moves into a new house with her daughter. Soon after the young girl has her first baby tooth fall off, she begins to recount that she is having nocturnal visits by a tooth fairy. It seems the house has a sinister history'' which sounds about right. The irresponsible dad isn't in the picture because he's roaming the world. The mom likes to overreact at everything, like when an elderly neighbor says hello and asks if she's the mom of the little girl that lives in the building. She looks at him like he's the boogeyman. He eventually does turn creepy when he says ''GET OUT WHILE YOU STILL CAN'', but I wasn't sure why the mom was creeped out from the get-go. Then the kid loses a tooth and it disappears because the tooth fairy took it. Eventually the mom is called to the school because apparently her daughter was buying teeth from the other children. I have to say two things about that:

1. That's actually a pretty neat idea for a short story.

2. Why the fuck would a teacher care if a kid is buying up baby teeth? Kids will trade fucking everything, including teeth, cat skulls, Pokemon cards and dead pigeons. This isn't cause for alarm.

Anyway, the mom is really disturbed and takes her to a psychologist and she gets like a hundred CAT scans. Her dad calls and thinks it might be epilepsy (that's not how epilepsy works) but eventually the mom sees the ghost! Shit goes downhill from there. Spoilers follow, including THE ENDING. Mark the text to read them.

Turns out the woman that used to live in the house had a really jealous husband. He got really angry and pulled out all her teeth and left her to die in a closet. Now the lady haunts the house and is trying to get her teeth back.There's a huge jump in time after the mom and daughter escape the house and the ghost. The kid is in a mental institution and finally the dad has shown up. He's an asshole and wants to take the kid back to the US. It took him four years to come see his daughter, two of which she was in the institution. Talk about a shitty dad.

The mom figures out that the lady ghost wants her teeth back and does some research to find them. She eventually does (it really wasn't that hard) and goes back to the house to drop them off. That's when the plot twist ala The Ring happens. Turns out the lady wasn't the victim of a jealous husband, she was a fucking cannibal that murdered kids. Her husband found out and took her teeth out to save the town kids. Now the ghost lady had her teeth back, she was free to eat kids again, which she does immediately. All in all a happy ending.

Anyway, this movie wasn't terrible, I liked some of the effects and some of the ideas behind it. It's a perfectly passable b-movie with mediocre acting but decent CGI effects. The plot twist is kinda apparent but it takes so long to happen that you're almost fooled, but I can't give it too many points for that.

 2 out of 5 baby teeth