Archive for the horror Category

Halloween Countdown – The Cabin in the Woods

Posted in halloween, halloween countdown, horror, HORROR MOVIES, the cabin in the woods, Uncategorized on 10/15/2012 by vincentstark

This film was held in limbo due to  MGM’s financial problems – those same problems that also kept the latest James Bond movie, Red Dawn  and The Hobbit from the big screen.It was actually made way back in 2009 but only saw the inside of a cinema in 2012.

It was written by Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard with Goddard also taking the  directorial duties, and offers, believe it or not, a fresh take on the teens in the cabin in the wood scenario. Now there are major spoilers in this post so if you’ve not seen the film then do not read on, but the plot and that clever twist is given away elsewhere on the web and most horror fans would have seen the movie by now. We get the same kind of set up we’ve seen in countless other slasher movies – group of teens made up of the jock, the slut,the fool, the studious one and the virgin camping in a remote cabin in the woods and then they are picked off one by one in ever more inventive ways. So far so familiar but there’s something else going on here and every now and then we get a scene of a group of office workers watching our teens  on monitor screens and taking bets on how they will die and in which order. There is also an invisible force field around the woods which makes escape impossible – are we in some kind of reality TV show? Is this a slasher Big Brother?

I must admit that by the half way point I had decided that the film would reveal that we were in fact watching a reality TV show and I was going with that – you’ve got to give it up for the humour in the movie, as well as the knowing nods to countless other horror movies, but when the twist comes we discover that this is not a reality TV show but that the teens are to be sacrificed to the old Gods, and that similar sacrifices are being carried out all over the world The rules are that all of the teens, with the exception of the virgin must die otherwise the Gods will be displeased and the world will end. It’s a clever concept and seems to suggest that all those other horror movies – the Friday 13th’s, the Evil Dead and so on were actually ritualistic sacrifices to the Gods.

This time though, thanks to the survival abilities of stoner, Marty the world really is doomed and then movie ends with a sudden cut to nothing but blackness. Getting there however is great fun with some excellent entertainment – the massive monster rampage in which every monster imaginable goes berserk in mission control is absolutely awesome. You’ve got to give it up for that alone.

Nuff said – I loved this movie.

Advertisements

Rogue River

Posted in after dark, horror, HORROR MOVIES, rogue river on 06/19/2012 by vincentstark

I’m not exactly sure what I just watched, but apart from having no real idea what had just happened, and what it all meant, everything was fine and dandy. Rogue River, another straight to DVD horror movie from the After Dark label maybe just what your looking for if mindless torture with no real discernible plot is your thing. The only good thing about the movie is that it was mostly well acted and looked absolutely superb, but there were so many missed chances to turn out something special, and by half of the way through I had completely lost the thread of the plot as well as the will to live. The shock reveal at the very end was also lame. And you know what, I can really be bothered to write anything more about this film because there’s really nothing much to say. Well apart from Crap that is.

I was a Teenage Horror Fan

Posted in fear magazine, horror, horror comics, horror fiction, horror magazines on 06/16/2012 by vincentstark

During the 80’s I seemed to read nothing but horror fiction – it was a boom time for the genre. In the US Stephen King was outselling everyone and over in the UK, James Herbert was topping the best-seller lists. Direct to paperback horror novels were everywhere Guy N. Smith, Shaun Hutson, Gary Brander, Graham Masterton.

It was a great time to be a horror reader – in the newsagents there were magazines like the excellent, Fear  (and we have an interview with editor, John Gilbert here soon) which as well as offering all the latest horror news also published short fiction and encouraged its readers to try and become the new Stephen King. Fear was an excellent magazine and back in the day I never missed a issue, I bought its entire run. The magazine looked at horror in an intelligent way and as well as the latest gore books it also covered the classics such as Poe and Lovecraft. The magazine had a spin off fiction magazine called Frighteners but the first issue had to be pulled off the shelves because of a gory cover illustrating a Graham Masterton story. The story Eric the Pie, has become infamous and many claim it went a step too far and was responsible for the demise of the magazine. Those with a strong stomach can read the story as a PDF from the author’s website HERE. Be warned the story is rather gruesome – it comes from respected author Graham Masterton, author of The Manitou and the author told an interviewer in 1996 that, ‘On reflection I think it went too far.’

Having to pull the magazine after customer complaints dealt publisher, Newsfield a massive blow. Frighteners would go to another two issues and Fear vanished with issue no 33. There’s an interesting article on the demise of Fear and the Frighteners story HERE.

The closure of Fear really pissed me off – I had a short story, Cissy’s Heebie Jeebies lined up for the mag – I really wanted to get some fiction in Fear. Ahh well, I eventually placed the story with small press publication, Peeping Tom where it was well received. During this period there was a vibrant small press with publications like Skeleton Crew, Samhain and Peeping Tom keeping the torch burning for horror fans. And there were still several newstand horror magazines, The Dark Side and Shivers being the most well known, but for me none filled the void left by the demise of Fear.

I wrote for several of the small press magazines as well as interviewing writer, Peter James and being delighted when I managed to sell the piece to the well respected and long running, (still running) Interzone. My own horror novel, entitled Misty remains however in the loft, unloved and unpublished. And to be honest unpublishable.

Horror books though, for the moment, remained numerous in the shops – there were all manner of creature on the prowl. James Herbert may have started it with The Rats but since then we had Slugs, Crabs, Cats, Locusts,bats, snakes and more than the odd slime beast. There were vampires, ghouls and werewolves running wild.

There were some great new talents being published around that period, some who have lasted, some who have not – Steve Harris scored high with a string of chillers starting with Adventureland, Mark Morris wowed us all with his novel Toady and these days writes, among other things, Dr Who novels for the BBC, Michael Slade (actually a team of American lawyers) grossed us out with The Ghoul and Clive Barker burst onto the scene with his innovative Books of Blood.

There was a period when the genre was getting unexpected critical respect. Stephen King analyzed the genre in his Danse Macabre and respected critic and writer, Douglas E. Winter put together the excellent Prime Evil anthology.

New subgenres sprung up – Splatterpunk which was horror’s answer to the Cyberpunk movement and didn’t really mean much – if a book was overly gruesome it was labelled as Splatterpunk. Brian Lumley set about successfully reinventing Lovecraft with his Necroscope books.

So what killed Horror – overkill. The market became saturated and not only with books but slasher movies, each less inventive than the last. The Jason’s, the Freddy’s and the Michael’s ruled the celluloid roost. The Nightmare on Elm Street saga was particularly successful with Freddy becoming something of a superstar and even getting his own spin off TV series.

These days the horror genre is still there but like, the western, it is in a state of recovery – Stephen King no longer writes out and out horror, slasher movies generally go straight to DVD and horror is no longer a certain thing in marketing terms. But have no doubt one day horror will remove the stake from it’s festering heart and return to once again torment the popular culture.

 

S

Walkers, walkers everywhere – The Dead Walked

Posted in Boobies, boobs, classic horror, gary dobbs, george romero, horror, horror novels, jack martin, lee goldberg, scary motherfucker radio, scary stats, the dead walked, the walking dead, undead, vincent stark, WALKING DEAD, zombies on 12/21/2011 by vincentstark

AVAILABLE NOW: Book one in The Dead Walked trilogy

Written by Vincent Stark – check out Vinnie’s Amazon page HERE

The Dead Walked – a new kind of zombie thriller

Click on image

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And coming March 2012

 

Click on image

A Golden Age for Horror

Posted in horror, horror comics, horror fiction, horror magazines, HORROR MOVIES, horror novels, horror short stories, HORROR WRITERS on 12/12/2011 by vincentstark

Horror tends to thrive during times of crisis, offering catharsis, escapism and a metaphoric means of coping with problems that seem unsolvable.

Historically this has always been the case. It certainly was true during the Great Depression, when Universal Pictures was rescued from bankruptcy by its golden age of horror film – Dracula, Frankenstein , The Invisible Man , the Creature from the Black Lagoon  and all the other creepy creatures that lit up the silver screen, offering escapism to cash strapped moviegoers. Right across the spectrum of modern media horror is booming – take the two biggest successes in popular literature over recent years – Harry Potter and Twilight and whilst neither are strictly horror they both use many of the conventions of the genre. TV shows like The Walking Dead and American Horror are massively popular, and of course HBO’s True Blood is still holding its own. The horror novel is most certainly on a high. There are some great writers out there from the well know masters such as Stephen King, Clive Barker, Jack Ketchum and others to relatively new names like Christopher Ransom, Joe Hill, Max Brook and (dare, I say it) Vincent Stark. The latter of course is wishful thinking since his debut horror novel, following a string of bestselling westerns,  isn’t due out till the end of the month and he is me

So why is it that during shitty times we turn to the dark side? Maybe it’s the increasingly polarized political landscape, generating so much us against them rhetoric. Perhaps it has something to do with all the  college students’ fears of  being unable to find work or middle-aged parents’ worries about keeping their homes. Then again maybe its something to do with the fact that we, in Britain at least, have the Dark Party in government. Or maybe it’s just the fact that we, viewers,readers, like the safe scares that films and books provide. And whilst it is true that thought-provoking horror works are few and far between recent years have seen several horror novels of real depth – Låt den rätte komma by  John Ajvude Lindqvist , known by its Anglo title of Let the Right One In (I’ve not enjoyed a novel as much as this is years)is a masterpiece of literature whatever the genre, and Christopher Ransom has taken age old themes and twisted them through modern sensibilities. Both of these writers need to be read by anyone interested in the horror genre.   And it’s the same with film and TV and for every predictable slasher of the week flick you will find films and programs of true worth. Horror as a genre is changing, mutating and it is at last gaining some of the acclaim that has been denied it through snobbery for far too long. Stephen King is no longer considered a hack writer and real critics are dissecting his work  and finding relevance to the society we live in – something  all great writing mirrors.   And this is a good thing because for too long horror has been consigned to the ghetto and looked down upon with disdain and yet TV shows like American Horror Story, Being Human, The Walking Dead and True Blood are popular with mainstream audiences, horror novels are read by millions and fright films are always popular.

Yep this truly is a golden age for horror – and ain’t that just fine and dandy!