Archive for the HORROR WRITERS Category

Modern Classics – Christine

Posted in christine, HORROR MOVIES, HORROR WRITERS, modern classics, STEPHEN KING on 09/08/2012 by vincentstark

I think I’d only ever seen this movie once before, and that would have been on VHS back in the 80’s when I was watching pretty much ever horror movie, good, bad or indifferent, that I could get my hands on. During this period the levels of gore that could be gotten convincingly on the screen had improved leaps and bounds – gone were the days when a splash of vivid red blood could get the viewer’s stomach churning and now with the relaxation of censorship rules and improvement in special effects horror was booming. Christine is not heavy on gore, in fact it’s fairly tame in those terms, but it was based on a book written by Stephen King and for a teenage horror fan King was the dogs bollocks.

My memory of the movie was that I don’t think I liked it that much, maybe I thought it was too slow and maybe I was disappointed with the lack of the gruesome stuff – hey, remember that yucky stuff matters when the viewer at a certain age. And so when I saw the film on a budget DVD, I thought I’d like to see it again. After all, I’d loved the original novel and these days, as an older film viewer, I find that story, acting and all those other little things matter to me far more than a few splatters of gore.

And you know what – I enjoyed the movie a heck of a lot more this time around.

The rock and roll soundtrack for one thing is excellent and the nuances of the movie are far clearer to me now that I watch films in a more mature way. Take Keith Gordon for a start – although the film is set in the Eighties, he transforms from a nerd into a super cool dude when he gets ownership of Christine – the cherry red Plymouth Fury that looks sleeker than any car – and when he becomes this super cool dude there is something of a Fifties vibe to the style he adopts. It’s not obvious and in your face but is a subtle hint of his possession by the car named Christine. It is also apparent now how timeless the 50’s period was – the kids dressed in the 80’s styles look incredibly dated but there is something contemporary, even now, of the way Arnie dresses and looks. The music was much better too – I’d much rather hear Chuck Berry than another 80’s power ballad.

And what a performance from Keith Gordon – Ok maybe the transformation from hopeless nerd to super cat happens a little too quickly, but when he turns nasty, being all of nine stone soaking wet, he really pulls it off and not for a moment do we doubt him. It’s an incredible performance and although the supporting cast are decent, he steals the entire show. Some of the more touching character scenes come when Arnie is alone with Christine and, although touching, these are incredibly creepy.

Director, John Carpenter really understands suspense – think of his original Halloween or Thing re-make – and he moves the movie forward at pace, dropping hints as he goes along but never allowing the viewer to get the whole picture until the end, and even then we don’t have the full picture. One thing I did miss was the ghost of Christine’s former owner – Carpenter ejects this character from the movie. The character was such an important element of the book, but when watching the movie I found myself sucked in and nothing mattered other than the story itself.

Christine then is a pretty good horror thriller – it riffs on the teenage love affair with cars and for anyone who has ever projected a personality onto a car, Christine is one sexy but scary bitch. Stephen King’s nostalgia for the 50’s which often shows up in his books, is running through the DNA of this movie, and  it’s all the better for it. The way Christine’s period radio always seems to tune to a rock and roll station really works in the framework of this picture and enhances the feel of the piece – as Christine knows, the devil’s got all the best tunes.

If you’ve never seen Christine then take her for a spin, and if you’ve seen it before then it’s maybe time for another ride.

The blood runs FREE – the final stages

Posted in HORROR MOVIES, HORROR WRITERS, vincent stark, the dead walked, horror fiction, horror magazines, zombies, the walking dead, horror novels, thrilles, WALKING DEAD, a policeman's lot, classic horror campaign, george romero, the undead, classic horror, wild bill williams, walkers walkers everywhere, the rhondda ripper on 05/12/2012 by vincentstark

We’re on the final stages of the free eBook promotion – Indeed Arkansas Smith II, has now reverted to the usual price but there’s still time  to grab free downloads of The Dead Walked and The Rhondda Ripper. So if you haven’t secured your free copies then do so now.

The aim of this promotion was to kick start the books in the increasingly competitive Amazon market place and I do hope that those who downloaded free books will eventually leave reviews on Amazon, and that all those who downloaded the first part of The Dead Walked trilogy will be back for the second book in the series later this summer.

And please, all my Blogging buddies, publicize this offer on your blogs, websites etc. Let’s make these final two days go with a rush of downloads.

Sill available for free:
The Dead Walked Book One by Vincent Stark

The Rhondda Ripper by Gary M. Dobbs

THE RHONDDA RIPPER: The story begins slowly, a man’s morning routine as he gets ready for duty and faces the possibility of a busy day, but he has no idea how “busy” it’s going to get! Throw in Buffalo Bill, a Wild West show, murders that may or may not be connected to Jack The Ripper, and you have a really hot read. I don’t want to say too much for fear of giving something away, but it’s a well-written yarn and you will get hooked right away. It’s also, for me, a nice change of pace from the modern urban hard-boiled junk I’ve been digesting lately. Brian Drake

THE DEAD WALKED – Vincent Stark, otherwise known as Gary Dobbs, presents a new look at the zombie story. A group of people trying to survive in a world gone nuts. Sound familiar. Of course.But Stark has injected his own elements into the story. A pregnant woman and a plot thread I’ve not seen in a zombie story before. The ending threw a twist in and sets up the next part of the story, coming soon.

Zombie stories are not a type I read a lot of, but I’ve come to expect good stuff from Stark/Dobbs/Martin, whatever genre he writes in.I read this one straight through while drinking coffee early this morning.Recommended.  George R. Johnson

THE DEAD ARE NOW WALKING

Posted in boobs, classic horror, gary dobbs, HORROR MOVIES, horror novels, HORROR WRITERS, jack martin, the dead walked, the dead weekend, the undead, the walking dead, tony masero, vincent stark, walkers walkers everywhere, WALKING DEAD, weird tales, zombies on 12/20/2011 by vincentstark

AVAILABLE NOW

My novella, The Dead Walked: Outbreak is NOW available for purchase from Amazon  as a KDP exclusive before becoming available on all other eFormats early next year. The Amazon deal means that the eBook is also available to prime customers for loan from Amazon’s lending library.

The novella is my debut in the horror genre, following on from a string of bestselling westerns written under the name, Jack Martin and published by Robert Hale’s Black Horse Westerns line.

For my work in the horror genre I adopted the name Vincent Stark as a nod to that flamboyant horror star, Vincent Price and the surname came from the fact that I’d been reading a lot of Richard Stark. The Dead Walked though is not the first sale for the Vincent Stark name – an upcoming issue of the iconic, Weird Tales will feature the short story, Back then our Monsters were Real which was also comes from Vincent’s pen.

 

The Dead Walked: Outbreak

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 168 KB
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Gary Dobbs; 1 edition (18 Dec 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language English
  • ASIN: B006O0T89Y

US READERS FIND IT HERE
UK READERS FIND IT HERE

Some said it was viral.
Others claimed it was an act of God.
Either way the result was the same and the dead walked.

September was her favourite time of the year, and late September, when the autumn was just preparing to hand over to winter, when there was still a residue of the late summer warmth in the air, as well as the crisp promise of the iciness to come, had always been, as far as Missy was concerned, the finest chunk of that particular month.
Not for her was the spectacle of high summer, nor the morose beauty of mid winter. Of course they both had their fineries but these paled next to the season when the leaves glittered with reflected sunlight. It was the autumn, with September being the highlight of that season, which she loved – a time when nature put on its finest display as the lush summer growth was magically transformed.
The sky itself seemed to glow at this time of year.
September was a time of promise.
A time of rebirth.
Not this September, though.
This September, Missy would remember as, the time the dead walked.

The second eBook, Dead Days will be published March 2012 and I’m pleased to be able to give you a look at the cover art for the second volume. The man responsible for the cover is once again Tony Masero, and he’s managed to fully capture the mayhem and er, boobs of the zombie apocalypse.

And so take a look at the stunning artwork for the forthcoming second volume and go out and buy THE DEAD WALKED BY VINCENT STARK

 

March 2012

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!

The eGolden Age and the flesh eating bastards

Posted in horror fiction, HORROR MOVIES, horror novels, HORROR WRITERS, the dead walked, tony masero, vincent stark, WALKING DEAD, zombies on 12/01/2011 by vincentstark

These days they would be called novellas but back in the day they were most certainly novels …and you know what, I miss them!

What am I talking about? Well the genre paperbacks that used to line shelves in bookshops everywhere. Most of these books were around 125 – 175 pages and offered quick but satisfying reads, works from authors such as Guy N. Smith, James Herbert, Gary Brander and others of that ilk. Now these days these slim volumes would be categorized as novellas but even although the page count was low, the stories were most certainly big. The plots were perfectly contained with no wasted words, and no skippages  padding. I know a lot of novels that could do with that treatment – in my opinion the novella is the perfect form for a horror story and far too many otherwise good books have been padded out to the point of skippages in  order to confirm to an industry need for 500 page plus tomes.

I’ve got news  for you folks – these days Stephen King’s Carrie would be considered a novella, as would James Herbert’s Rats and I could go on and on and…

It’s not only me who misses the golden days of paperback fiction – there’s even a magazine devoted to the subject that I would recommend to anyone. Paperback Fanatic is an excellent publication that features intelligently, well researched articles on the subject of genre paperbacks.

But I’m going off the point here.

And this brings us to my trilogy of novels that go under the collective title of, The Dead Walked – as soon as I had the idea for the series I knew the novella was the perfect format even if the story itself is huge in scope – over the three books we will travel from the everyday to Necropolis itself. The first volume was originally due this October but the first volume had to be called back at the eleventh hour for a major re-write since it contradicted events when the third book in the trilogy went off in a different direction than I had initially envisioned.  Characters can be rowdy and stubborn and sometimes the author has no choice but to let them go their own way. The manuscript is going through the editing process now and I should have a firm publication date very soon – better delay than error I say. And of course there is the point that after three bestselling traditionally published westerns and a historical crime novel,  I wanted my self published debut to be up to standards – there’s a lot of swill out there in self publishing land, and I don’t want my readers to wade through any from  my pen. Kitchensinkpublications is the name of the company I have set up to publish my Vincent Stark books and if they are a success then I plan to publish other authors and built up a vibrant list of titles.

So I hope you’ll all come along for the ride when volume one – Outbreak is published later this month. If you do I know you’ll enjoy it enough to be waiting eagerly for the second and third volumes. It’s the story of a zombie apocalypse like no other, for when the necromancer sings the dead shall walk. I’ve not skimped on the covers either and have hired legendary artist, Tony Masero to provide the artwork for each volume. You can see the stunning painting for volume one and I’ve already seen a rough sketch of the artwork for the second volume and it’s one sexy mother. I hope the storytelling within do justice to the stunning cover art – HOPE…scrub that, I know it will.

So get ready for an announcement soon – the eBook will be available in all formats and on sale everywhere and although I don’t have the confirmed price yet, I can say that it will be comparable to the paperbacks of years gone by.

September was her favourite time of the year, and late September, when the autumn was just preparing to hand over to winter, when there was still a residue of the late summer warmth in the air, as well as the crisp promise of the iciness to come, had always been, as far as Missy was concerned, the finest chunk of that particular month.

Not for her was the spectacle of high summer, nor the morose beauty of mid winter. Of course they both had their fineries but these paled next to the season when the leaves glittered with reflected sunlight. It was the autumn, with September being the highlight of that season, which she loved – a time when nature put on its finest display as the lush summer growth was magically transformed as if by a sepia wand spewing gold dust into the air.

The sky itself seemed to glow at this time of year.

            September was a time of promise.

            A time of rebirth.

            Not this September, though.

            This September, Missy would remember as, the time the dead walked.

The Dead Man

Posted in books, horror fiction, horror novels, HORROR WRITERS, lee goldberg, the dead man on 06/01/2011 by vincentstark

Now this is a series you should be following – Dead Man  is the brainchild of Lee Goldberg and William Rabkin.

“Dead Man began as a TV series idea that Bill Rabkin & I started pitching around Hollywood over 20 years ago,” Lee wrote on his blog, A Writer’s life. “It suddenly occurred to me that it would be make a kick-ass series of books…and we already had the story lines for twelve of’em.”

And that’s the concept that the two men came up with – they would employ a series of writers to pen books in the series, and create a series of books, very much like the paperback original series of years gone by.

Man, I miss those days, but now in a sense, thanks to the possibilities of the eBook market, those days are back.

The reviews of the series have been hugely positive and I can say, after reading the first book in the series, that The Dead Man is looking at having  a lively existence.

Expect a Dead Man feature on Scary Motherfucker very soon.

Horror’s Rising Stars – Joe Konrath

Posted in horror fiction, HORROR WRITERS, j A Konrath, Origin on 05/24/2011 by vincentstark

I bought this book out of curiosity – author, Joe Konrath is one of the rising stars in the independent eBook publishing game. For some time now the possibilities of self publishing to eBook have interested me and I felt that looking at Konrath’s work may be worthwhile. He is a very visible author – his name keeps cropping up in articles, with much being made of the way he markets his books and his use of social networks to push his product.

However at the end of the day all that would fall flat if the end product wasn’t up to standard.

The author’s biography tells us that he collected nearly five hundred rejections, before being taken up by Hyperion Publishers for his twelfth book Whiskey Sour. These days though he is one of the top sellers in the Amazon Kindle store and an advocate of self promotion – he runs the popular blog, A Newbie’s Guide to Publishing which is often filled with helpful advice as well as the author’s own controversial opinions on ePublishing V traditional publishing.

Origin, which I purchased from the author’s own website for my Sony eReader, is a damn fine book and easily matches  most of the other books I’ve read in the genre. It’s billed as a technothriller, but to my mind sits firmly in the horror genre. It’s very well written and the pacing is absolutely spot on – it really does grab the reader and drag them from page to page. The fact that Konrath couldn’t sell this to a publishing house and decided to self publish the work speaks volumes about the failings of traditional publishing. There are many horror novels that have been traditionally published and hyped, that can’t hold a candle to this work of terror. It does what it says on the tin – delivers a no nonsense read with compelling characters and some genuine chills. True, it does seem to get cluttered in both mythology and theology from time to time, and I found the first half of the story much more interesting than the denouncement, and Bub, the demon is an excellent creation. There were one or two shifts in point of view which I found confusing and had to reread some sections not to lose the thread, but I’ve certainly read worse horror novels than this.

At such a  low price the book offers superb value for money and displays why Konrath is one of the bigger names in eBook publishing. It also proves that just because a book is self published it doesn’t mean it’s inferior to a product from a named publisher.

I, for one, will certainly be checking out more of Konrath’s work.