where-spiders-fear-to-spinWhere Spiders Fear to Spin
Peter N. Dudar
Books & Boos Press (Hebron CT)
2015
Reviewed by Michael R. Collings

Peter N. Dudar’s novella, Where Spiders Fear to Spin—in this volume coupled with a highly effective short story, “Peripheral Vision”—offers intriguing insights on life, death, and the often permeable boundary between them; on love and hate and the difficulty in distinguishing them; on loss and grief and the ways they can distort human perceptions and emotions; and most of all, on ghosts. Both the novella and the story are quintessential ghost stories, but readers would do well not to expect traditional wispy, moaning, transparently ectoplasmic presences, because in these tales, ghosts can kill.

Where Spiders Fear to Spin has as principle characters four individuals tied by bonds of love and hate and fear: Sadie Mills, an aging soap-opera star now dying slowly and painfully, who had been fully as promiscuous as the wealthy woman she portrayed on Forbidden Steam; Theresa Mills, her daughter, who, as she approaches an unfulfilled mid-life, is torn between hatred for the woman she now must nurse and love for the memory of her dead father; Andy Mills, twenty years dead and now returned as a grotesque, monstrous ghost dedicated to revenge; and… a spider, patiently spinning her complex web in the rafters of the sickroom.

Lest anyone be tempted to conjure images of Charlotte’s Web (as the characters in fact do), this spider is a creature driven by instinct and dread, concerned solely with her survival and that of the eggs she carries within her. Initially, she seems almost peripheral to the central story, but in Dudar’s adept hands, she becomes an instrument of retribution in a most startling and appropriate way—in essence, a symbolic and literal force for justice and balance.

From the utter nastiness of the opening scene between Sadie of the Soaps and her bitter, vindictive daughter, to the final glimpse of Sadie entering a Hell beyond her worst imagining, Dudar tests the limits of family, depicting two utterly self-centered women whose lives focus more on the dead than on the living. Sadie is obsessed with her dead career; and Theresa, with her dead father, killed in car wreck. The women quarrel incessantly, about everything, each trying to score a point on the other. When Andy’s ghost appears, mother and daughter must confront realities rather than dreams—and the process nearly destroys them both.

“Peripheral Vision” amplifies on the themes of obsessive love and obsessive guilt as Theodore Danvers begins seeing the ghost of his dead son…but in this story indirectly, a momentary blur in the corner of his eye. He relates his haunting to Sister Margaret Willis, a church bereavement councilor; and readers immediately become enmeshed in the growth of his self-reproach, his isolation, and ultimately his self-destructive madness. It is a powerful story, to be sure, but not a pretty one.

The novella and the accompanying short story can be read in a single sitting, which intensifies the incremental tensions as Dudar raises questions of whether mutual understanding, acceptance, and forgiveness are possible, for either the living or the dead. His ghosts are real, his supernatural intrusions treated matter-of-factly; even the nameless spider perceives Andy’s ghostly presence and is terrified by it. This method of treatment gives both Where Spiders Fear to Spin and “Peripheral Vision” a kind of hardness, an oddly fitting definiteness, a sense of the uncompromising nature of the dead who can reach from the Beyond and force their wills upon mortals.

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the-redwood-massacreOne of the most anticipated fright flicks of 2015 comes to DVD and VOD July 7 from Uncork’d Entertainment. David Ryan Keith’s REDWOOD MASSACRE “epitomizes the 80’s slasher and just adds a dollop more of the red stuff into the mix making it better than the 80’s!*”.

Starring Mark Noel (TVs Trinity), Lisa Cameron (My Brother’s Keeper), Lisa Livingstone (TVs Holby City), Rebecca Wilkie (Legion of Evil), and Alec Westwood (TVs Roughnecks), the “chilling” film chronicles the horrific outcome of a group of friends who visit a legendary murder site, Redwood House. What happens next will chill you to the bone.

Official Synopsis: For five adventurous friends, visiting the legendary murder site of the Redwood House has all the hallmarks of being an exciting and thrilling camping weekend away. A popular site for revellers and party goers, each year on the exact date of the famous local family massacre, people from around the country head out to the site to have fun and scare each other. Events take a bloody turn for the worse when the innocent campers discover the Redwood legend is in fact a horrible bloody reality, which turns the unsuspecting victims into prey for a mysterious axe wielding maniac that has remained dormant for 20 years.

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91UtV7C2QxL._SL1500_Fifteen-year-old Alex is a “spinner.” His friends are “dummies.” Two clandestine groups of humans want his power. And an ancient evil is stalking him. If people weren’t being murdered, Alex might have a laugh at how his life turned into a horror movie overnight.

In a wheelchair since birth, his freakish ability has gotten him kicked out of ten foster homes since the age of four. Now saddled with a sadistic housemother who uses his spinning to heal the kids she physically abuses, Alex and his misfit group of learning disabled classmates are the only ones who can solve the mystery of his birth before more people meet a gruesome end.

They need to find out who murdered their beloved teacher, and why the hot young substitute acts like she’s flirting with them. Then there’s the mysterious medallion that seems to have unleashed something malevolent, and an ancient prophecy suggesting Alex has the power to destroy the human race.

The boys break into homes, dig up graves, elude kidnappers, fight for their lives against feral cats, and ultimately confront an evil as old as humanity. Friendships are tested, secrets uncovered, love spoken and destiny revealed.

The kid who’s always been a loner will finally learn the value of friends, family and loyalty.

If he survives.

Pre-order here!

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fullmoonincIndependent filmmaking group Fighting Owl Films has wrapped principal photography on its new feature film, Full Moon, Inc. The film will now enter post-production.

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.

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.

Categories : Horror Movies
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witches-protection-programWitches Protection Program
Michael Philip Cash
2015
Reviewed by Michael Collings

From its assertion in the punning title and the early revelation that the main character suffers from dyslexia, Michael Phillip Cash’s Witches Protection Program asserts itself as a self-consciously oxymoronic, purposefully self-contradictory entity: a horror jeu d’esprit, a play of wit that develops through and depends upon juxtaposing the tropes of horror with clichés (verbal and narrative), commonplaces, and the unexpected expected.

Its plot touches upon the burlesque, the ancient literary art of treating great things as trivial, or trivial things as great. In this case, the standard villain’s quest of world domination hinges upon…a women’s cosmetic cream, subtly altered by introducing bits of an evil witch’s DNA that will enable her to control women everywhere, leading to a world in which men are secondary and subservient. Against her machinations stand two representatives of the WPP: an older, wiser, almost all-knowing Mentor figure; and a young, muscled, handsome, manly he-man with the manly he-man name of Wes Rockville. Caught in the middle is the beautiful young niece/ward of the villain, who is instantly attracted to the younger man, and he to her.

If all of this sounds a bit trite, it is. Designedly so. The basic narrative functions as a backdrop for wordplay and situational comedy, as when characters are attacked by hordes of magically animated gummy animals and the ensuing battle is treated with all of the solemnity and seriousness and bloodshed—or rather, candy-syrup-shed—of a classical epic. Or in another episode, characters seeking to enter a secret warehouse are transformed into frogs and simply hop their way inside, only to be confronted by—the horror!—a cat, and their desperate struggle for survival is resolved through a literary deus ex machine that is at once appropriate and highly comical.

Witches Protection Program is a quick, entertaining read. Its closest parallels might be the comic-horror novels of Jeff Strand, in which traditionally horrific elements are often treated as every-day and commonplace, and the resulting dissociation of traditional responses—shudder!, shiver!, tremble!—and the uncertain but simultaneously hearty laughter that replaces them becomes part of the fun.

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Jun
30

Skinner – Book Review

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skinnerSkinner
David Bernstein
DarkFuse
July 21, 2015
Reviewed by Tim Potter

Skinner, the latest release from David Bernstein, takes a few common horror conventions and turns them into something a bit different. The story finds six twenty-something friends driving to a weekend at a deserted cabin, stopping at a questionable gas station and falling victim to a serious car accident. The plot transitions from slasher opening to survival horror to supernatural monster tale in interesting and unexpected ways.

Bernstein’s characters are fun and ultimately relatable, even if they are lacking a bit in development and backstory. They play off of each other well and their tangled relationships ring true, especially when a secret shared by two of them comes to the attention of the others. The character arcs are often surprising and free, for the most part, of the standard horror stereotypes. The villain is also interesting, a new version of one of the great monsters of the genre.

The set-up for the story is a bit slow but kicks into high gear when the friends are involved in a terrible car accident while driving through the snow to their remote destination. The crash results in a varying array of injuries and the players being stranded in the woods with an inoperable car and very little shelter. What looked like a slasher story quickly becomes survival horror. The friends must survive the elements and, more troublingly, each other.

As things proceed a supernatural element comes into play, as the biggest threat to the friends transitions from each other to the wolves in the woods. These are wolves that are not at all traditional werewolves, but a new interpretation of the underlying mythos of lycanthropy. It’s an interesting take that adds to the overall story and provides a unique point of view.

Skinner is a well written and entertaining novel that will deliver a quality read for most fans of the genre. The slightly slow development of the story and occasionally thin characterization is easily overcome as the plot keeps twisting in ways that are unexpected and interesting. Once the novel moves into its second half an act of violence erupts that throws things completely up in the air and assures the reader that nothing, for the rest of the novel, can be taken for granted.

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1rfAP7AActor Frankie Muniz, entertainers Penn & Teller, multi-Grammy winner Ne-Yo, NASCAR drivers Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano, author Jackie Collins, actor Lou Ferrigno and former MythBusters host Grant Imahara will join the star-studded cast of Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No! when the global pop culture sensation premieres on Syfy on Wednesday, July 22 at 9PM (ET/PT). The third installment in the Sharknado franchise will also premiere on Syfy in 87 countries within 24 hours of the US premiere.

Ian Ziering (Fin), Tara Reid (April) and Cassie Scerbo (Nova) star in Sharknado 3, which will cause mass destruction in Washington, DC, then roar down the Eastern Seaboard before the final confrontation in Orlando, Florida.

Joining them will be David Hasselhoff (Fin’s father, Gil); Bo Derek (April’s mother, May) and Nickelodeon stars Ryan Newman (April and Fin’s daughter, Claudia Shepard) and Jack Griffo (Claudia’s friend, Billy).

Among the newly-announced cameos, Frankie Muniz plays Nova’s friend, mechanic Lucas Stevens, while Penn Jillette and Teller, respectively, are retired NASA Lieutenant Colonel Stylo and Major Caissier. Playing Secret Service agents are Ne-Yo (Agent Deveroux), Lou Ferrigno (Agent Banner) and Grant Imahara (Agent Lodge), and Jackie Collins, Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano appear as themselves.

They join previously revealed cameos, including:

· Mark Cuban (President of the United States)

· Ann Coulter (Vice President of the United States)

· WWE Superstar Chris Jericho (ride attendant Bruce)

· Jerry Springer (tourist)

· Jedward (tourists)

· Ray J (NASA tech Tom Major)

· Michele Bachmann as herself

· Today’s Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb as themselves

· NSYNC singer Chris Kirkpatrick (lifeguard)

· Shahs of Sunset star Reza Farahan (Capitol Park policeman)

· Comcast SportsNet’s Brian Mitchell (NASA tech)

· Anthony Weiner (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration director)

· The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star Kim Richards (Universal Orlando Resort VIP Guide)

· Former The Girls Next Door stars Holly Madison (military sergeant) and Kendra Wilkinson (waitress)

· Washington Redskins outside linebacker Ryan Kerrigan (NASA tech) and offensive tackle Tom Compton (reporter)

· ESPN’s Michelle Beadle (Special Agent Argyle), Marcellus Wiley (Army Specialist Iverson) and Max Kellerman (Army Sergeant Joseph)

And there are more to come!

Categories : Horror Movies
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