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Feb
14

The Nest – Blu-ray Review

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The NestThe Nest
Director: Terence H. Winkless

Cast: Robert Lansing, Lisa Langlois, Franc Luz
Review by Brian M. Sammons

The mighty Scream Factory’s final part of their February terror trifecta is 1988s killer cockroach creature feature, The Nest. Now this one was a rarity for me; a ’80s fright flick that I have never seen before. So when I got this in for review I ravenously tore into it. Did I enjoy this creepy crawly movie of mutant menace, or did it just bug me? Well turn on the lights, grab your can of raid, and make sure you check your bed before going to sleep this night; it’s time for The Nest.

It’s basically Jaws on land, but with teeny, tiny teeth. Thousands, if not millions of them. Yeah it’s another nature on a rampage flick, but one aided by SCIENCE! And it’s because of that added element that this movie takes a sudden and unexpected turn towards the end, and is made so much the better for doing so. But I’m getting ahead of myself. So let’s start at the beginning with a small New England fishing community named Northpoint being terrorized by a strange new species of cockroach. A new breed with an insatiable hunger for meat of any kind, and they’re not afraid to go after it en masse. After some animals and even some people get munched down to the bone, the local sheriff calls in a bug expert; a somewhat crazy lady scientist who seems to like her roaches a bit too much. Add a disbelieving mayor who might as well be shouting “we ain’t closing the beaches” and you have the classic (cliché?) trio for this kind of movie. But what saves this film from being a complete carbon copy of every other “when animals attack” flick ever made is the gore and the crazy.

While it does take some time for the action to really kick in, when the hungry bugs do show up, it’s almost always a bloody treat for the gorehounds. With kills that would make Jason Voorhees proud, the roaches are very messy eaters. Oh and they poop all over everything. No that’s not gory, that’s just gross. So if you’re offended by the red stuff, then this movie might really bug you (ok, I’ll stop that now), but if you can appreciate a nice bit of splatter, then The Nest will be a satisfying surprise.

As for the crazy, well first a brief SPOILER ALERT! Really, I knew next to nothing about this movie when I started watching it, so when this bit happened it was an honest to god WTF moment and I love those. So if you want to have that same feeling for yourself, skip the rest of this paragraph. Still here? Ok, these little roaches are a science experiment gone wrong. Just like in the movie Mimic (which would come out nine years later) these bugs were bred to kill other bugs. To be tiny exterminators, as it were. Well naturally Mother Nature doesn’t like to be messed with, so the genetic tampering has an unexpected side effect: the roaches mutate so not only do they become immune to pesticides, but they begin to take on aspects of those they eat. This is first made evident with an awesomely goopy-slash-goofy cockroach-cat hybrid that has a hilarious throw down akin to the bad kitty scene from Re-animator. Naturally the super roaches don’t just stick to mimicking cats, but I’ll leave the rest of that for you to discover.

In addition to the blood and the unexpected turn, this movie has pretty decent acting, even if at times it dips into B-movie territory. The direction is capable, if not exceptional. Perhaps my biggest gripe is the pacing, there can be long stretches in between cockroach attracts at the start, and this movie tries to fill that time with character development and progressing the overall plot. It succeeds for the most part, but it still feels a bit draggy at times. Also, there is some unintentionally hilarity here and there, like the aforementioned crazy lady scientist who seems to get off on the roaches eating the flesh of her hand. That … uhm, character trait? Subplot? Whatever, is dropped right afterward, so its inclusion here I found nothing but odd and confusing. But less I forget, this is a gore movie about mutating, man-eating bugs, so a bit of silly and weird is par for the course, I guess.

This new Blu-ray/DVD combo pack has a great looking transfer, but none of the physical extras we’ve come to expect from Scream Factory. As for the on-disc goodies, they’re pretty lean. There’s an audio commentary track with the movie’s director and that’s all. I guess a killer cockroach movie from the ’80s is lucky to get enough love for a Blu-ray release and a commentary track, so I shouldn’t complain too loudly.

The Nest is a fun and bloody monster movie that has that classic 1980s film feel that I am such a sucker for. If cockroaches really bu … er … frighten you, if you thought the final short in Creepshow was the creepiest of the lot, then this is the movie for you. If you want to make sure your library of killer fish, bears, birds, snakes, spiders, bees, etc. is complete, then you can’t skip The Nest. Consider this one recommended.

Categories : Horror Movies
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Limbus, Inc.Expected to ship in April/May 2013, JournalStone Publishing has made the limited edition of Limbus, Inc. available for preorder.

Description: Are you laid off, downsized, undersized?

Call us. We employ. 1-800-555-0606

How lucky do you feel?

So reads the business card from Limbus, Inc., a shadowy employment agency that operates at the edge of the normal world. Limbus’s employees are just as suspicious and ephemeral as the motives of the company, if indeed it could be called a company in the ordinary sense of the word.

In this shared-world anthology, five heavy hitters from the dark worlds of horror, fantasy, and scifi pool their warped takes on the shadow organization that offers employment of the most unusual kind to those on the fringes of society.

One thing’s for sure – you’ll never think the same way again about the fine print on your next employment application!

The Limbus, Inc. limited edition is a sewn, case-bound hardcover, that includes 60lb Creekside natural interior paper, a Corona leather-stamped case, and a 100 lb Litho Label Gloss slip cover. It includes interior artwork from Allen M. Clark that is not a part of the regular hard cover or paperback editions. An additional novella from Jonathan Maberry (over 8,000 bonus words) is added as well, to go along with some insights from author Anne C. Petty on the world of Limbus, Inc.

This is a numbered limited edition with approximately 250 being produced. It will be autographed by all five authors (Jonathan Maberry, Benjamin Kane Ethridge, Brett J. Talley, Joseph Nassise and Anne C. Petty) along with the artist, Alan M. Clark. The approximate page count is 344 pages.

You can preorder this one directly from JournalStone here: Limbus, Inc.

Categories : Publisher News
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Horror Writers AssociationCentipede Press, of Lakewood, Colorado, will receive the Horror Writers Association’s Specialty Press Award for 2012. The Award will be presented during the Bram Stoker Awards® Banquet, to be held this year in New Orleans on June 15.

The annual Specialty Press Award recognizes a publisher outside the mainstream New York City publishing community that specializes in dark-themed fiction. Winners are typically “small presses” specializing in limited editions, small print runs, or the work of new and relatively unknown authors. The winner of the award is determined by a majority vote of the Horror Writers Association (HWA) Board.

Jerad Walters’ Centipede Press started in 2001 and specializes in horror, crime and science fiction, as well as art books, career retrospectives, and critical studies on horror films. Authors they’ve published include Stephen King, Thomas Ligotti, H.P. Lovecraft, Patrick McGrath, Jim Thompson and Cornell Woolrich. Centipede Press titles strive to be excellent examples of bookmaking, with superior design, page layout, and dust jackets.

Past winners of the Specialty Press Award include Dark Regions Press, Tartarus Press, Delirium Books, Bad Moon Books, PS Publishing and Cemetery Dance.

The Bram Stoker Awards and the Specialty Press Award will be presented at the Bram Stoker Awards Banquet, which is part of the Bram Stoker Awards Weekend, incorporating the World Horror Convention 2013.

The Horror Writers Association is a worldwide organization promoting dark literature and its creators. It has nearly 1000 members who write, edit and publish professionally in fiction, nonfiction, poetry, games, films, comics, and other media.

Categories : Award News
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Feb
14

Deeply Odd (Odd Thomas)

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Deeply OddMay 28th is the scheduled release date for Deeply Odd by Dean Koontz, to be published by Bantam in hardcover.

Description: The pistol appeared in his hand the way a dove appears in the hand of a good magician, as if it materialized out of thin air. “You think I won’t do it right here in the open. But you’d be surprised … You’ll drop before you get the breath to scream.”

The truck driver is decked out like a rhinestone cowboy, only instead of a guitar he’s slinging a gun—and Odd Thomas is on the wrong end of the barrel. Though he narrowly dodges a bullet, Odd can’t outrun the shocking vision burned into his mind … or the destiny that will drive him into a harrowing showdown with absolute evil.

Deeply Odd

How do you make sure a crime that hasn’t happened yet, never does? That’s the critical question facing Odd Thomas, the young man with a unique ability to commune with restless spirits and help them find justice and peace. But this time, it’s the living who desperately need Odd on their side. Three helpless innocents will be brutally executed unless Odd can intervene in time. Who the potential victims are and where they can be found remain a mystery. The only thing Odd knows for sure is who the killer will be: the homicidal stranger who tried to shoot him dead in a small-town parking lot.

With the ghost of Alfred Hitchcock riding shotgun and a network of unlikely allies providing help along the way, Odd embarks on an interstate game of cat and mouse with his sinister quarry. He will soon learn that his adversary possesses abilities that may surpass his own and operates in service to infinitely more formidable foes, with murder a mere prelude to much deeper designs. Traveling across a landscape haunted by portents of impending catastrophe, Odd will do what he must and go where his path leads him, drawing ever closer to the dark heart of his long journey — and, perhaps, to the bright light beyond.

About The Author: I was born and raised in Pennsylvania where I graduated from Shippensburg State College (now Shippensburg University). When I was a senior in college, I won an Atlantic Monthly fiction competition and have been writing ever since. My first job after graduation was with the Appalachian Poverty Program, where I was expected to counsel and tutor underprivileged children on a one-to-one basis. During my first day on the job, I discovered that the previous occupier of my position had been beaten up by the very kids he had been trying to help and had landed in the hospital for several weeks. The following year was filled with challenge but also tension, and I was more highly motivated than ever to build a career as a writer. I wrote nights and weekends, which I continued to do after leaving the poverty program and going to work as an English teacher in a suburban school district outside Harrisburg. After a year and a half in that position, my wife, Gerda, made me an offer I couldn’t refuse: “I’ll support you for five years,” she said, “and if you can’t make it as a writer in that time, you’ll never make it.” By the end of those five years, Gerda had quit her job to run the business end of my writing career.

You can preorder this one here: Deeply Odd

Categories : Publisher News
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Feb
14

The Vampires of Bloody Island

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The Vampires of Bloody IslandAllin Kempthorne and Pamela Kempthorne wrote, produced and starred in, The Vampires of Bloody Island, which has sold around the world and is still available through Amazon.

Description: Vampires, werewolves and virgins. They’ve never been so much fun!

The Vampires Of Bloody Island is a hilariously creepy cult vampire comedy from British B-Movie label The Weird World of Wibbell.

In a crumbling ancient castle on an isolated Cornish island, evil vampire Countess Morticia de’Ath (Pamela Kempthorne) languishes in her coffin, concocting a sinister plan. Blundering in her way are two bickering London office workers and a mysterious vampire-hunting window cleaner.

This unlikely trio must desperately fight to stay alive and stop the spread of Morticia’s terrifying vampire army.

Filled to it’s rotting rafters with creepy locations, comical characters and witty dialogue, The Vampires Of Bloody Island is a hugely entertaining send-up of every vampire film you’ve ever loved. A must-have for your DVD collection.

Soundtrack includes tracks from Inkubus Sukkubus, Theatres des Vampires, Fever and The Suburban Vamps.

Check it out through Amazon: The Vampires of Bloody Island

Categories : Horror Movies
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Feb
13

Deep Cuts Anthology Honors Women In Horror

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Deep CutsCo-editors Angel Leigh McCoy, E.S. Magill, and Chris Marrs have announced the much-anticipated publication of Deep Cuts, an anthology of short horror stories celebrating Women in Horror Month, February 2013. Both genders submitted stories, and they also submitted recommendations for short horror stories written by women writers. There are 60 recommendations in all.

Deep Cuts smartly sidesteps the bloody ‘women in horror’ debate and puts its money where its mouth is. This fantastic collection, featuring both genders, pays tribute to the best dark tales told by women. A deeply cerebral experience that is at times honest and intimate, but always chilling.” – Mercedes M. Yardley, author of Beautiful Sorrows

Description: Deep Cuts presents 19 stories of mayhem, menace, and misery by today’s writers, in honor of the women who write horror. And, like songs buried deep in an album’s track, gifts you with 60 recommendations for their powerhouse tales, all for your terrifying enjoyment.

Three spotlight writers included in the anthology are Nancy Holder, Yvonne Navarro, and Mehitobel Wilson. Lisa Morton wrote the Introduction.

Nancy Holder is a New York Times Bestselling author. Her work has appeared on the New York Times, USA Today, LA Times, amazon.com, LOCUS, and other bestseller lists. A five-time winner of the Bram Stoker Award from the Horror Writers Association, she has also received accolades from the American Library Association, the American Reading Association, the New York Public Library, and Romantic Times. She has sold many novels set in the Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Saving Grace, Hellboy, and Smallville universes.

Yvonne Navarro is the author of twenty-two published novels and well over a hundred short stories, and has written about everything from vampires to psychologically disturbed husbands to the end of the world. Her work has won the HWA’s Bram Stoker Award™ plus a number of other writing awards.

Mehitobel Wilson has been nominated for a Bram Stoker Award™. In addition, she received an Honorable Mention in the Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror five years in a row. Her work is featured in Sins of the Sirens, a Dark Arts book.

Lisa Morton is an award-winning author, screenwriter, and producer. She plays an integral role in the horror community as Vice President of the Horror Writers Association. In addition to her accomplishments and accolades, Lisa is also well-known for being a champion of women writers in the horror genre. Her most recent works is the graphic novel Witch Hunts: A Graphic History of the Burning Times, written with Rocky Wood and Greg Chapman, published by McFarland.

The editors of Deep Cuts are Angel Leigh McCoy, E.S. Magill, and Chris Marrs. Between them, they have decades of experience as writers and editors.

Available in both paperback and digital editions through Amazon here: Deep Cuts

Categories : Horror News
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Feb
13

The Demonologist: A Novel

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The DmonologistSimon & Schuster is set for the March 5th release of Andrew Pyper’s The Demonologist in both hardcover and digital editions.

Description: Fans of The Historian won’t be able to put down this spellbinding literary horror story in which a Columbia professor must use his knowledge of demonic mythology to rescue his daughter from the Underworld.

Professor David Ullman’s expertise in the literature of the demonic — notably Milton’s Paradise Lost — has won him wide acclaim. But David is not a believer.

One afternoon he receives a visitor at his campus office, a strikingly thin woman who offers him an invitation: travel to Venice, Italy, witness a “phenomenon,” and offer his professional opinion, in return for an extravagant sum of money. Needing a fresh start, David accepts and heads to Italy with his beloved twelve-year-old daughter Tess.

What happens in Venice will send David on an unimaginable journey from skeptic to true believer, as he opens himself up to the possibility that demons really do exist. In a terrifying quest guided by symbols and riddles from the pages of Paradise Lost, David attempts to rescue his daughter from the Unnamed — a demonic entity that has chosen him as its messenger.

About The Author: Pyper was born in a smallish town in southern Ontario, which makes him Canadian. It also, more markedly, makes him a boy born in a smallish town, which has left (inescapably gothic inclinations. He write novels in which bad things happen to people like you and him, which is to say, people with secrets or desires they’d prefer to keep hidden away. Normal people.

His books are usually referred to as thrillers, or “literary thrillers,” or mysteries, or suspense, or horror. Whatever they’re called, they’re intended to reveal character through the experience of fear.

Pyper’s most recent novel, before The Demonologist, is The Guardians, which was a Globe and Mail Best Book and is about shared secrets of long-time male friendship, the horrors of turning 40, hockey … and a haunted house.

You can preorder this one through Amazon here: The Demonologist

Categories : Publisher News
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