Empire_of_the_Dead_Act_Three_1_CoverThe Undead Epic Concludes in

The Final Chapter Begins This April!

When the dead fight the dead, where does that leave the living? That’s the question as the legendary George Romero unleashes the final chapter in his new undead epic in GEORGE ROMERO’S EMPIRE OF THE DEAD: ACT THREE #1! Debuting in April, it’s zombies vs. vampires – with the desperate, last surviving humans caught in the crossfire! Writer George Romero and artist Andrea Mutti bring you the closing saga in the epic war between living and dead!

Welcome back to NYC, years after the horrifying plague has swept the nation. The Big Apple is a quarantine zone – but that doesn’t guarantee safety! There are predators within the walls. Vampires lurk in the shadows preying on the living and the undead alike. But with the zombies seemingly growing smarter each and every day, the war between the two dead factions begins heating up!

“Romero understands the wide possibilities of the comic format and has used it to tell his biggest, most epic story to date,” says series Editor Jake Thomas. “In this final chapter the narrative bomb he’s been carefully constructing under Empire of the Dead’s Manhattan goes off with a bang! There are dangers coming from all sides, no one is safe, and blood will flow. It’s everything an undeadhead would want from the Godfather of Zombies himself, George Romero!”

Meanwhile, who is kidnapping the children of NYC? Where are they taking them and why? The future of Manhattan and humanity itself may rest in the answers! Don’t miss this excellent jumping on point when the zombie godfather and horror visionary’s next undead epic reaches its climactic chapter in April’s GEORGE ROMERO’S EMPIRE OF THE DEAD: ACT THREE #1!




On-Sale in April!

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Crocodiles in the sewers, snakes in the plumbing, giant spiders coming out of manhole covers… all urban myths.

Except in Megalopolis. Lieutenant Jericho, a disgraced and disillusioned police officer, is guiding Sandra Yeatman, a student of zoology, through the gleaming new sewer tunnels and the crumbling old ones in search of creatures that should not exist. In the city beneath the city, they find a terrifying infestation that threatens the lives of all who dare to go… under.

Under Vol. 1: Monsters Beneath hits comic stores on July 29 and ​is available to order now from your local comic book store using Diamond order code: JAN151615

For more information visit:​

To pre-order via Amazon visit:


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FEAR CLINIC Blu-ray 3dAfter terrifying audiences from coast to coast – Closing Night Event at ScreamFest 2014 Los Angeles and Opening Night Screening at 2014 New York City Horror Film Festival –FEAR CLINIC, the latest excursion into unrelenting terror will be released on Blu-ray™ and DVD on February 10, 2015 by Anchor Bay Entertainment. The highly anticipated shocker stars horror icon Robert “Freddy Krueger” Englund, Fiona Dourif, Angelina Armani, Thomas Dekker, as well as Stone Sour and Slipknot lead vocalist Corey Taylor in his acting debut, and is directed by Robert G. Hall (Lightning Bug, Laid to Rest, ChromeSkull: Laid To Rest II).

With blood-chilling special effects by award-winning FX creators Robert Kurtzman and Steve Johnson, FEAR CLINIC will take viewers on an unforgettable journey into the very soul of terror itself.

Co-written by Hall and Aaron Drane, the film is based on the critically acclaimed and fan favorite 2009 FEARnet.com series.

When trauma-induced phobias begin to re-emerge in five survivors a year after their horrifying tragedy, they return to the “Fear Clinic,” hoping to find the answers they need to get cured.

Dr. Andover (Robert Englund), a fear doctor who runs the clinic, uses his “Fear Chamber” to animate their fears in the form of terrifying hallucinations. However, the good doctor soon begins to suspect that something more sinister may be at work, something that yearns to be more than just an hallucination…

Categories : Horror Movies
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Grave Events – Book Review

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81P8wbXQa8L._AA1500_Grave Events
Jeani Rector
The Horror Zine Books
September, 2014
Reviewed by Jess Landry

Two loosely-intertwined stories of the supernatural and not-so-supernatural set the pace for Grave Events, the latest title from The Horror Zine editor and founder Jeani Rector.

The first story, Open Grave, tells the tale of Rick, a struggling University student that needs a subject for his term paper. After meeting a girl named Carley and her intensely spiritual roommate Amanda, Rick (ever the skeptic) decides to do his paper on communicating with the dead. Carley directs him to a candle shop where he meets a mysterious woman named Raven who immediately catches his eye. Raven invites Rick to attend a séance at her house the following evening to which he happily obliges. During the séance, a presence familiar to Rick materializes with a message, ultimately unearthing a family secret that only gets more twisted the deeper it goes.

Following Open Grave is Grave in the Woods, the story of rookie cop Melissa Meyers who’s looking to be taken seriously in the force. When Meyers and her partner are the first to respond to a possible murder, things quickly spin out of control as Meyers struggles with mortality and as the hunt for a killer begins.

Although an interesting read, Grave Events has its issues. Throughout both stories, the thoughts and feelings of the characters are repeated to the point where they simply become redundant. There are even a few instances where exact sentences are repeated in error. That, paired with some awkward dialogue, makes it difficult for the reader to fully commit to the intriguing stories being told.

It’s clear that Rector has some serious skills seeing the success of The Horror Zine and all its offshoots but Grave Events is not her strongest venture to date. We can only look forward to what she has up her sleeve in the near future.

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Welcome to our new twice-monthly feature, DEEP CUTS.  Each entry will have a link to a free-to-read story and then a short interview with the author.  By focusing on just the story, it’s our hope that the readers will be able to find and engage with new authors, connecting with their work in a way that more general interviews don’t allow.

For our inaugural edition, we’re honored to welcome Nathan Ballingrud.  Today’s story, “The Monsters of Heaven,” is a beautiful and unsettling story about grief and a plague of angels.  Nathan’s crystal clear prose and the human drama at the center of the story keep it firmly grounded against the fantastical backdrop and the deep emotional undercurrents.  “The Monsters of Heaven” won the 2007 Shirley Jackson Award for Short Story and was also collected in North American Lake Monsters (Small Beer Press 2013), which itself co-won the 2013 Shirley Jackson Award for Best Single Author Collection.

Go ahead and read “The Monsters of Heaven” here, because **SPOILERS FOLLOW**

Hellnotes: What sparked the idea for “The Monsters of Heaven”? A number of your stories involve supernatural elements at the periphery, but are grounded in basic human conflicts. Which of those elements came first for this story?nalm cover

Nathan Ballingrud: With this story, the human element came first. I was thinking a lot about the ways love warps us, and can make monsters out of us (that’s a pretty consistent theme in North American Lake Monsters), and I had the closing image of this story in my head: a man dreams of the remains of his son, and he accepts it as a source of peace. It seemed so counterintuitive, and I challenged myself to earn a payoff like that. Sometimes the only way we can move on from a profound tragedy is to find a way to forget it; and that forgetting, in itself, can be an act of violence.

HL:   On a second read through, I was surprised at how much of the resolution is foreshadowed, even as early as the fourth sentence (“The more blood he spilled, the further removed he became from his own guilt”). Paying attention, there are lots of references to blood in Brian’s mouth – when Amy bites Brian’s lip, when Brian bites his own tongue, after Tommy beats Brian – but none of these have the same apparent restorative effect as the angel’s blood. Possibly the key difference here is that all the prior blood was Brian’s own, but that resolution couldn’t come from within himself. How much of this symbolism was intentional? Is this something that grew as you first wrote the story, or did it develop during later drafts?

NB: That kind of stuff all happened subconsciously. I didn’t think about any of it while I was writing. When you hit the vein of a story, you’re not only writing the events, you’re inhabiting its atmosphere, you’re apprehending the whole world from its particular angle. If you’re fortunate, one of the side effects of this can be the alignment of metaphors. “The Monsters of Heaven” happened mostly in one draft, but it’s important to add that it was a slow draft. I usually take my time writing stories, and I suspect that gives the subconscious time to organize these themes, so that they come out in the writing organically, often without my direct knowledge.

HL: By the end, there’s a suggestion that Brian and Amy are moving on, but it doesn’t come from forgiveness as much as forgetfulness. They achieve some measure of peace, but it’s not clear that that they’ve done a good thing – in fact, they might have done a terrible thing. How do you think readers might best approach this ambiguity?

NB: That’s exactly what I was going for. In my mind, it’s a happy ending. They have rediscovered each other and potential for future happiness. But they paid a terrible price for it. I would never presume to advise a reader on how to approach the ambiguity in this story, or any element of any story, for that matter. Readers bring their own interpretive apparatus to fiction, and it isn’t any business of the writer’s to try to influence that.

HL: While the story is told in past tense, the very last two paragraphs switch to present tense. This stylistically distinguishes Brian’s dream, but it carries over into that last sentence and, it seems, the waking world (“By the time he wakes, he has already forgotten it.”). What was your intent with this shift?

NB: That’s another example of an unconscious decision. I didn’t have a particular intent. It was the right feel. It felt, to me, like air being let into a room, or a launch into the air. I know that’s pretty vague, but I don’t know how better to say it. The characters had found their way out of something. They achieved something important to them, even if it made them into monsters. The change in tone that comes with a tense shift helps to convey that, I think.

HL: Finally, which of your stories should readers check out next for something similar? What about for something completely different?

NB: Most of the other stories in North American Lake Monsters treat similar themes. When Small Beer Press asked me to come up with a simple description for the collection, I said that they were love stories and monster stories at the same time, and I think that’s true. “You Go Where It Takes You,” “Sunbleached,” and “The Good Husband” in particular strike me as stories which share a lot of emotional ground with “The Monsters of Heaven.”

As far as stories that are quite different, I think I’d point readers to some of the ones I’ve recently finished, which have not yet been collected. After North American Lake Monsters came out, I made a conscious decision to shift my footing, to exercise different muscles. It’s all still dark fiction, to be sure — that’s my DNA — but they’re not grounded in realism to quite the extent the stories in the book are. I’d suggest “The Atlas of Hell” (Fearful Symmetries, edited by Ellen Datlow), which is a story about Louisiana gangsters and their entanglement with an artifact from Hell; “The Diabolist” (Monstrous Affections, edited by Kelly Link & Gavin J. Grant), about the daughter of a recently deceased Satanist; and “Skullpocket” (Nightmare Carnival, edited by Ellen Datlow), which is about some ghoul children crashing a regional fair in the early part of the 20th century. They’re all quite different in tone from the stories in the book, but they share the same genetics, so it’s my hope that they’ll still appeal.

My newest work is a novella called “The Visible Filth”, coming in February from This Is Horror, which feels to me like something more in step with the stories in the collection.

pic1The-Visible-Filth-Nathan-Ballingrud-horrorNathan Ballingrud lives in Asheville, NC, with his daughter. He’s the author of North American Lake Monsters, which won the Shirley Jackson Award, and was shortlisted for the World Fantasy, British Fantasy, and Bram Stoker awards. He’s writing more stuff.

Find more from Nathan at his blog and on Facebook.  North American Lake Monsters is available on Amazon and other booksellers.  Preorders for “The Visible Filth” (which include some excellent bonuses) are being accepted through This Is Horror, but end on January 30th, 2015.

NEXT TIME:  In our next entry, we’ll discuss Michael Wehunt’s 2014 story “Bookends” (available in The Journal of Unlikely Entomology here).

Categories : Author Interviews
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Cracked Sky – Book Review

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cracked-skyCracked Sky
Brian Eads
Omnium Gatherum
January 12th, 2014
Reviewed by Marvin Vernon

The strength of Brian Eads’ short novel Cracked Sky lies in the ability to express and illustrate strong and intense emotions. His story centers on Stephen and Shelly Morrison whose child was murdered. The author wastes no time in getting into the deep emotions involving the death of a child. Stephen is practically mentally comatose, depending on his doctor prescribed medications to get through the day. Shelly isn’t much better, disguising her difficulty to deal with the death of her child onto her husband’s behaviors. Stephen’s brother Josh tries to help but he is losing patience and his own drug issues aren’t helping either. He relays the news to the grieving parents that their child’s killer is dead but that does not relieve the pain partially because Stephen is seeing things, things like his daughter’s alphabet blocks on the floor spelling out “Help Me.” It appears that the killer’s power to hurt goes beyond the grave.

Eads does an impressive job melding the issue of grief with a tale that involves the supernatural and the afterlife. I wish it worked a little better than it does. There are a number of reasons for this. The main reason for me lies in the character of the killer. Darryl is never thoroughly explained. He has powers that seem a bit pat and unexplained for the tale. I wanted more explanation for his supernatural influences. Certainly the main focus is Stephen, but Darryl is too powerful a force to simply leave as is. Another problem is that this approximately 100 page story is too short. We are thrown head first into the Morrison’s dread and angst but never get a good grip on their characters. The characters scream for development and the plot screams for a back story. Finally, I found some of the dialog a bit awkward. The author’s strength lies in description rather than dialog. At least it does in this work.

But when the tale gets started, it moves. I mean really, really moves. It takes off in the second half when we are introduced to the netherworld that Stephen’s daughter may be trapped in. As I said, Eads’ strength is in his descriptive talent and that applies both to emotions and the ability to set up an “after world” unlike the one we are expecting. And there is that ending: powerful and fulfilling to the characters and the story. It is a powerful ending for an emotional tale.

So while I have my misgivings about the development and characters, it finally paid off. I often felt Cracked Sky may have been a dry run for something bigger. I hope so because Eads has the ability and the sensitivity to write a powerful horror/fantasy story that sketches the boundary of horror fiction as well as scaring us.


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hwaThe Horror Writers Association (HWA) is pleased to announce the Preliminary Ballots for the 2014 Bram Stoker Awards®. The HWA is the premiere writers organization in the horror and dark fiction genre, with over 1,300 members. We have presented the Bram Stoker Awards® in various categories since 1987 (see http://horror.org/awards/stokers.htm).

The HWA Board and the Bram Stoker Awards Committee congratulate all those appearing on these Preliminary Ballots.

The Preliminary Ballots are:

Superior Achievement in a Novel
Tim Burke – The Flesh Sutra (NobleFusion Press)
Adam Christopher – The Burning Dark (Tor Books)
Michaelbrent Collings – This Darkness Light (self-published)
Lawrence C. Connolly – Vortex (Fantasist Enterprises)
Craig DiLouie – Suffer the Children (Gallery Books of Simon & Schuster)
Patrick Freivald – Jade Sky (JournalStone)
Chuck Palahniuk – Beautiful You (Jonathan Cape, Vintage/Penguin Random House UK)
Christopher Rice – The Vines (47North)
Brett J. Talley – The Reborn (JournalStone)
Steve Rasnic Tem – Blood Kin (Solaris Books)

Superior Achievement in a First Novel
Maria Alexander – Mr. Wicker (Raw Dog Screaming Press)
J.D. Barker – Forsaken (Hampton Creek Press)
Janice Gable Bashman – Predator (Month9Books)
David Cronenberg – Consumed (Scribner)
Michael Knost – Return of the Mothman (Woodland Press)
Daniel Levine – Hyde (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
Josh Malerman – Bird Box (Harper Collins)
Whitney Miller – The Violet Hour (Flux)
Chantal Noordeloos – Angel Manor (Horrific Tales Publishing)
C.J. Waller – Predator X (Severed Press)

Superior Achievement in a Young Adult Novel
Ari Berk – Lych Way (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers)
Jake Bible – Intentional Haunting (Permuted Press)
Ilsa J. Bick – White Space (Egmont)
John Dixon – Phoenix Island (Simon & Schuster/Gallery Books)
Kami Garcia – Unmarked (The Legion Series Book 2) (Little Brown Books for Young Readers)
S.E. Green – Killer Instinct (Simon & Schuster/Simon Pulse)
Tonya Hurley – Passionaries (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Micol Ostow – Amity (Egmont)
Peter Adam Salomon – All Those Broken Angels (Flux)
Sam Swanson and Araminta Star Matthews – Horror High School: Return of the Loving Dead (Curiosity Quills Press)
Johnny Worthen – Eleanor: Book 1 (The Unseen) (Jolly Fish Press)

Superior Achievement in a Graphic Novel
Charles Burns – Sugar Skull
Emily Carroll – Through the Woods
Victor Gischler – Kiss Me Satan
Joe Hill – Locke and Key, Vol. 6
Joe R. Lansdale and Daniele Serra – I Tell You It’s Love (Short, Scary Tales Publications)
Jonathan Maberry – Bad Blood (Dark Horse Books)
Paul Tobin – The Witcher

Superior Achievement in Long Fiction
Michael Bailey – Dandelion Clocks (Inkblots and Blood Spots) (Villipede Publications)
Taylor Grant – The Infected (Cemetery Dance #71) (Cemetery Dance)
Eric J. Guignard – Dreams of a Little Suicide (Hell Comes To Hollywood II: Twenty-Two More Tales Of Tinseltown Terror (Volume 2)) (Big Time Books)
Kate Jonez – Ceremony of Flies (DarkFuse)
Joe R. Lansdale – Fishing for Dinosaurs (Limbus, Inc., Book II) (JournalStone)
Jonathan Maberry – Three Guys Walk Into a Bar (Limbus, Inc., Book II) (JournalStone)
Joe McKinney – Lost and Found (Limbus, Inc., Book II) (JournalStone)
Gene O’Neill – Ridin the Dawg (Mia Moja) (Thunderstorm Books)
John F.D. Taff – The Long Long Breakdown (The End in all Beginnings) (Grey Matter Press)
Gregor Xane – The Riggle Twins (Bad Apples) (Corpus Press)

Superior Achievement in Short Fiction
Dale Bailey – Sleep Paralysis (Nightmare Magazine, April 2014) (Nightmare)
Hal Bodner – Hot Tub (Hell Comes to Hollywood II) (Big Time Books)
Patrick Freivald – Trigger Warning (Demonic Visions Book 4) (Chris Robertson)
Sydney Leigh – Baby’s Breath (Bugs: Tales That Slither, Creep, and Crawl) (Great Old Ones Publishing)
Usman T. Malik – The Vaporization Enthalpy of a Peculiar Pakistani Family (Qualia Nous) (Written Backwards)
Alessandro Manzetti – Nature’s Oddities (The Shaman: And Other Shadows) (self-published)
Rena Mason – Ruminations (Qualia Nous) (Written Backwards)
John Palisano – Splinterette (Widowmakers: A Benefit Anthology of Dark Fiction)
Sayuri Ueda – The Street of Fruiting Bodies (Phantasm Japan) (Haikasoru, an imprint of VIZ Media, LLC)
Genevieve Valentine – A Dweller in Amenty (Nightmare Magazine, March 2014) (Nightmare)
Damien Angelica Walters – The Floating Girls: A Documentary (Jamais Vu, Issue Three) (Post Mortem Press)

Superior Achievement in a Fiction Collection
Michael Bailey – Inkblots and Blood Spots (Villipede Publications)
Stephen Graham Jones – After the People Lights Have Gone Off (Dark House Press)
John R. Little – Little by Little (Bad Moon Books)
Helen Marshall – Gifts for the One Who Comes After (ChiZine Publications)
David Sakmyster – Escape Plans (Wordfire Press)
Terrence Scott – The Madeleine Wheel: Playing with Spiders (Amazon)
Lucy Snyder – Soft Apocalypses (Raw Dog Screaming Press)
Robin Spriggs – The Untold Tales of Ozman Droom (Anomalous Books)
John F.D. Taff – The End In All Beginnings (Grey Matter Press)
Alexander Zelenyj – Songs for the Lost (Eibonvale Press)

Superior Achievement in an Anthology
John Joseph Adams and Hugh Howey – The End Is Nigh (Broad Reach Publishing)
Michael Bailey – Qualia Nous (Written Backwards)
Jason Brock – A Darke Phantastique (Cycatrix Press)
Ellen Datlow – Fearful Symmetries (ChiZine Publications)
Kate Jonez – Halloween Tales (Omnium Gatherum)
Eric Miller – Hell Comes to Hollywood II (Big Time Books)
Chuck Palahniuk, Richard Thomas, and Dennis Widmyer – Burnt Tongues (Medallion Press)
Brian M. Sammons – The Dark Rites of Cthulhu (April Moon Books)
Brett J. Talley – Limbus, Inc., Book II (JournalStone)
Terry M. West – Journals of Horror: Found Fiction (Pleasant Storm Entertainment)

Superior Achievement in a Screenplay
Scott M. Gimple – The Walking Dead: The Grove, episode 4:14 (AMC)
James Hawes – Penny Dreadful: Possession (Desert Wolf Productions/Neal Street Productions)
Jennifer Kent – The Babadook (Causeway Films)
Alex Kurtzman and Mark Goffman – Sleepy Hollow: “Bad Blood” (Sketch Films/K/O Paper Products/20th Century Fox Television)
John Logan – Penny Dreadful: Séance (Desert Wolf Productions/Neal Street Productions)
Greg Mclean and Aaron Sterns – Wolf Creek 2 (Emu Creek Pictures)
Stephen Moffat – Doctor Who: Listen (British Broadcasting Corporation)
Cameron Porsendah – Helix: Pilot (Tall Ship Productions/Kaji Productions/Muse Entertainment/Lynda Obst Productions/in association with Sony Pictures Television)
Jack Thomas Smith –Infliction (Fox Trail Productions)
James Wong – American Horror Story: Coven: “The Magical Delights of Stevie Nicks” (FX Network)

Superior Achievement in Non-Fiction
Massimo Berruti, S.T. Joshi, and Sam Gafford – William Hope Hodgson: Voices from the Borderland (Hippocampus Press)
Jason V. Brock – Disorders of Magnitude (Rowman & Littlefield)
Hayley Campbell – The Art of Neil Gaiman (HarperCollins Publishers)
S.T. Joshi – Lovecraft and A World in Transition (Hippocampus Press)
Leslie S. Klinger – The New Annotated H.P. Lovecraft (Liveright Publishing Corp., a division of W.W. Norton & Co.)
Joe Mynhardt and Emma Audsley – Horror 101: The Way Forward (Crystal Lake Publishing)
Robert Damon Schneck – Mrs. Wakeman vs. the Antichrist (Tarcher/Penguin)
Lucy Snyder – Shooting Yourself in the Head For Fun and Profit: A Writer’s Survival Guide (Post Mortem Press)
Tom Weaver, David Schecter, and Steve Kronenberg – The Creature Chronicles: Exploring the Black Lagoon Trilogy (McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers)

Superior Achievement in a Poetry Collection
Robert Payne Cabeen – Fearworms: Selected Poems (Fanboy Comics)
G.O. Clark – Gravedigger’s Dance (Dark Renaissance Books)
David E. Cowen – The Madness of Empty Spaces (Weasel Press)
Corrinne De Winter and Alessandro Manzetti – Venus Intervention (Kipple Officina Libraria)
Wade German – Dreams from the Black Nebula (Hippocampus Press)
Tom Piccirilli – Forgiving Judas (Crossroad Press)
Michelle Scalise – The Manufacturer of Sorrow (Eldritch Press)
Marge Simon and Mary Turzillo – Sweet Poison (Dark Renaissance Books)
Tiffany Tang – Creepy Little Death Poems (Dreality Press)
Stephanie Wytovich – Mourning Jewelry (Raw Dog Screaming Press)

The Final Ballot (Bram Stoker Award nominees for 2014 calendar year) will be announced on February 23.

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