Len Maynard and Mick Sims (now simply Maynard Sims) are a widely known, well respected British duo, authors of countless short stories, novellas and novels in the dark fiction area. Their work ranges from horror to crime, from thrillers to supernatural stories. In addition, they have been successful editors and publishers in the above genres.
It’s no secret that they have constantly been included in my personal list of favorite writers for a long time (although, admittedly, not the whole body of their work has met my approval), so any new product of their fertile creative minds triggers my unconditioned interest.
The Curse of the Mummy, the first in a series of six novelettes devoted to the revival of classical monsters to be published by Hersham Horror Books, is penned by Maynard Sims, whose task is to put new life (pun intended) into the time honored theme of Egyptian mummies.
In just fifty-one pages, the authors offer a very original take of the subject by recreating the atmosphere of post-war London and portraying a young actress, now sadly unemployed, desperately trying to find work who ends up grudgingly accepting a job on stage as a simple tableau vivant. Unexpectedly, the job includes, as an extra bonus, not only a true friendship with a fellow “actress,” but also the romantic interest of a young male singer who starts to court her.
For those of you who wonder what on earth all this has to do with mummies, I strongly advise to buy and read the book. Never fear, you’ll meet the Mummy all right, but I don’t want to spoil the pleasure of discovering how and why.
Needless to say the story is beautifully written, the narrative style is engrossing, the characters nicely drawn and the dialogues effectively shaped. Everything is delightful and up to the expectations of the most demanding readers (including myself).
ANCHOR BAY ENTERTAINMENT PRESENTS THE FESTIVAL SENSATION
Awakening to Blu-ray™ and DVD April 14
BEVERLY HILLS, CA – An official selection of the New York City International Film Festival and FilmQuest Film Festival, winning Best Actress, Best Screenplay and Best Director honors, the highly anticipated supernatural thriller Echoes arrives on Blu-ray™ and DVD April 14th from Anchor Bay Entertainment. The feature directorial debut of Nils Timm (who also wrote the screenplay), Echoes explores the murky realm between reality and dreams, and what could happen when these worlds collide. With a stellar cast including Steven Brand (“Teen Wolf,” The Scorpion King), Kate French (Channeling, “Gossip Girl,” “One Tree Hill”), Billy Wirth (“Chicago P.D.”, The Lost Boys) and Steve Hanks (12/12/12, Hold Your Breath), Echoes will have viewers guessing until the final fade-out! SRP is $26.99 for the Blu-ray™ and $22.98 for the DVD, with pre-book on March 11th.
Struggling with horrifying, sleep-paralysis induced visions, Anna (French), a young writer, retreats with her boyfriend (Brand) to an isolated yet beautiful glass house in the desert. Hoping that the desert vistas surrounding her will spur her creative juices, she welcomes the opportunity to stay behind when her boyfriend must return to the city for urgent business.
However, Anna’s sleep paralysis does not abate, despite the calming environment. And now, her attacks are accompanied by a mysterious figure, caked with dirt as if it was made of sand itself. As the visions intensify, she finds herself on the verge of losing her mind…or is she being lead to uncover a life-threatening secret?
The Horror Writers Association (HWA), the premier organization of writers and publishers of horror and dark fantasy and home of the iconic Bram Stoker Awards®, today announced Jack Ketchum and Tanith Lee as the 2015 recipients of the Bram Stoker Award® for Lifetime Achievement. The HWA presents the award annually to individuals whose work has substantially influenced the horror genre. While the award is often presented to a writer, it may also be given for influential accomplishments in other creative fields.
“We had a wealth of very worthy candidates for this award,” said John R. Little, jury chairperson of the Lifetime Achievement Award (LAA) committee. “After much discussion, we believe we agreed on two exceptional winners this year.”
Jack Ketchum has been one of the premiere authors in the horror field for many years. His novel The Girl Next Door is considered a classic, but he’s written many other equally deeply moving works. Ketchum has won the Bram Stoker Award® four times and been nominated an additional three times, showing the broad appeal to his audience. He was named the Grandmaster at the 2011 World Horror Convention.
Tanith Lee has written more than ninety novels in various fields, including horror, fantasy, and science fiction. She is very popular regardless of the genre she chooses to write in. She has won several World Fantasy and British Fantasy Awards, and in 2013 was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award at the World Fantasy Convention.
Ketchum will be on-hand to accept the award (Lee will accept via video), on the evening of Saturday, May 9, 2015 as part of a gala banquet and the presentation of the Bram Stoker Awards during the World Horror Convention in Atlanta, Georgia. Tickets to the banquet and the convention are on sale to the public at http://www.whc2015.org. The awards presentation will also be live-streamed online for those who cannot attend in person.
The 2015 Lifetime Achievement Committee was chaired by John R Little, and included Maria Alexander, Patrick Freivald, Aaron Sterns and Heather Graham. For more information on the Bram Stoker Awards presentation and the 2015 World Horror Convention, please visit http://www.whc2015.org.
Robert Levy’s debut novel is a difficult one to classify. Billed by the publisher as a supernatural thriller (which it unequivocally is), it also sporadically plunges headlong into contemporary fantasy, mystery, fairy tale, and what could be described as rural noir. There’s much going on here, but it works, and at its core The Glittering World is really a love story that’s fantastic in every sense of the word.
Michael Whitley (also known as Blue) and three close friends have left New York to go and settle some of Michael’s late grandmother’s affairs in Starling Cove, a small community in Nova Scotia, Canada. It’s the first time Michael’s been to Starling Cove since his mother fled there with him when he was a child. His memories of the place and its strange denizens are tenuous, but soon begin to return unbidden. As this happens, against his better judgment and the counsel of others, he’s drawn with an almost magnetic propulsion to the nearby woods, which hold secrets of their own.
Complicating things further is the magnetic pull Michael himself seems to have on his longtime friend Elisa, and Gabe, the young man enamored with and devoted to Michael. Somewhere in the middle of this is Jason, Elisa’s husband. As much as this may sound like a typical love triangle (or square) shoehorned in, it’s anything but. The attraction and relationships between the characters are part of the backbone of the plot and integral to the story’s supernatural aspects.
The main characters are impeccably drawn and very much likable, flaws and all. Each of the book’s four sections is written from a different perspective, and each character has a distinctive voice that moves the plot quickly along while deepening and slowly unraveling its mysteries and unexpected twists.
The story goes to some very dark places, both fantastical and of a more realistic variety. The creatures inhabiting the woods and the ground beneath are at once beautiful and terrifying, familiar and alien, but the Starling Cove locals have some monstrous aspects in their own shared history. There’s a heavy emphasis on the bonds of family in its many forms, and even the human element here is imbued with a palpable sense of magic.
The inviting cadence of the prose makes many of the sentences a pleasure to read in themselves. This, along with Levy’s attention to character and the magical within the mundane, makes for a book that’s hard to put down. More than the sum of its parts, The Glittering World is one of those all-too-rare books that’s compelling on so many levels you’re not likely to want to put it down until it’s finished anyway. Recommended.
Of all the movies out there that still have yet to make the jump to Blu-ray, if you asked me what would be the next one to come out, God Told Me To would never have come to mind. Now it’s not a bad movie, but it sure is a very weird flick. Moreover, it is a film that seems to have been forgotten by most of the people walking the planet. Either that, or they’ve just never seen or heard about it. And right there is one of the reasons I love Blue Underground. No one embraces cult flicks like they do, and that is clear with their new release of 1976s God Told Me To, one of the culttiest of cult movies out there. So it’s got cult street cred, and I already told you that it’s not bad, but does that mean it’s good or worth your money? Well let’s find out.
The movie starts with a sniper taking aim at pedestrians in New York City. Just before the shooter swan dives off a building, he tells a cop that the reason he went on a murder spree is that “God told me to.” A few days later someone goes berserk with a knife in a grocery story. The reason given? “God told me to.” Then a cop starts shooting his fellow police officers during the St. Patrick’s Day parade. Guess what he said was his reason for it all? On and on it goes, with normal people going on sudden and unexpected murder sprees, and then feeling perfectly peaceful and happy with what they did afterwards. And why shouldn’t they? God told them to do it, after all.
The cop on this case is a devote Catholic who just can’t believe that the god he knows would order such senseless slaughter, so questions of faith are abound in this film, but that’s only the start. Soon a link is discovered between the killers, other than their cryptic last words, but what that link is, I won’t say here. I will say that while the genesis of the idea isn’t new, where it goes and ultimately ends up sure is.
Playing more like a mystery/cop flick with supernatural overtones than a straight up horror movie, this is the film that Larry Cohen followed It’s Alive with. It has that wonderful low budget, guerilla filmmaking feel to it. It also has plenty of “hey, it’s that guy” actors in it such as Richard Lynch, Mike Kellin (from Sleepaway Camp fame), the smoking ghost from Beetlejuice, and even Andy Kaufman. Lastly, on a technical side of things in regards to this new Blu-ray, it looks incredible compared to the bargain basement DVD I used to have of it.
For such a divine movie as this, it is only right that Blue Underground has loaded it with special features. There is a director’s commentary with Larry Cohen that I found pretty entertaining, but then I’ve always been a bit of a Cohen fan. There are two interviews here, one with star Tony Lo Bianco that runs 12 minutes, and one with special effects artist Steve Neill that’s 9 minutes. There are also two Q&A sessions with writer/director Cohen. One was filmed at the New Beverly and is 21 minutes long, and the other is a short 8 minute piece from the Lincoln Center. There is a theatrical trailer and five TV spots for the movie, as well as a trailer and some TV spots for the movie under its alternate title of Demon! A poster and still gallery bring things to a close on this impressive list of extras for a movie most people have never heard of.
So well done, Blue Underground, well done. You released a cult classic, buffed and polished it so that this transfer looks downright amazing, and then stuff it with extras befitting a major Hollywood release. Sure, this movie isn’t for everyone, but then that’s what makes a cult classic cult. If you are looking for something a little different, then God Told Me To will fit that bill nicely. It gets a recommendation from me.
Independent filmmaking group Fighting Owl Films has begun production on its new feature film, Full Moon, Inc. Mixing film noir with horror and fantasy, the film sees Nick Moon, P.I. (Paranormal Investigator), delve into a hidden world of monsters and creatures of the night as he takes on a case to retrieve an ancient artifact with astonishing power.
In conjunction, the official website for Full Moon, Inc. has launched at www.fullmoonincmovie.com. The site provides visitors with information about the paranormal detective agency, including Nick Moon’s services and team. There is also a working office number where potential clients can listen to a special message from the staff, and even leave messages of their own. The site also includes photos and video, which will be regularly updated.
Full Moon, Inc. stars Khristian Fulmer as Nick Moon, Erin Lilley as his secretary, Daisy O’Reilly, and Leah Christine Johnson as Moon’s newest client, Lilah Fontaine. They’re joined by an assortment of colorful and nefarious characters from our world and beyond.
For the latest production updates and behind-the-scenes information, be sure to “Like” Fighting Owl Films on Facebook: www.facebook.com/fightingowlfilms and follow the group on Twitter: www.twitter.com/FightingOwlFilm.