The Hellraiser we should have gotten…

Random Turkish indie movie outdoes all competitors without meaning to!


b2The selection of Netflix streaming movies has noticeably dropped off from what it was a few years back, so for the annual 31 days of terror in October our family has gone back to good old reliable DVDs.

Despite the lack of content from times past, there’s still some very solid horror to be found on Netflix, including some surprisingly good indie and foreign films. One in particular worth seeing we stumbled upon was Baskin, which is somehow insanely lowly rated, bringing up the issue of how two people can watch something and come away with completely different opinions.

That’s certainly not unique to film, and is on full display in literature as well, where a book (even my own) can have on reviewer raving and another thinking it was the worst thing they’d ever read.

In this instance, I think the reviewers over at Netflix all got it wrong, as Baskin is a horror flick you’ll never forget, and I’d say it rivals iconic films like the original Martyrs in terms of gore and leaving a lasting impression.

The second half in particular is just completely off the rails, and something anyone who considers themselves a horror connoisseur must see. Without actually having anything to do with that mythology, it ended up being exactly what any given grade-Z reboot / sequel of Hellraiser should have been.

It’s not without flaws – the ending was a cliched horror trope added for no reason – but the movie as a whole is highly recommended for any horror fan who thinks they’ve seen it all.

Ramping up the dread

Outlast 2 demo offers everything I want to see in the upcoming horror sequel

out2wI’ve just been all about the horror video games lately!

A little while back you might remember me mentioning a game called Outlast, which was incredibly effective by removing your ability to fight back against any of the horrors met in an asylum.

The sequel was supposed to drop in time for Halloween, but is now slated for a 1st quarter of 2017 release to work out some of the kinks. Fans of the first game got a surprise taste of what’s to come though when a demo unexpectedly became available this week.

Delivering on the promise from the first teaser trailer, there’s loads of religious elements on display, from travelling back in time to a Catholic school to some clear themes of something terrible and bloody being born in a manger. In what is always a plus for me, there’s also some cosmic horror going on with a little tentacle action.

Best of all, the gameplay seems to have been tweaked to increase the horror factor while decreasing the frustration of playing the same segment over and over. If you don’t mind spoilers, you can read my full run down of the demo at GameSkinny here.

There’s even more Outlast to experience before the game drops though. Developer Red Barrels has also released an online comic series bridging the gap between the first and second games, which take place in completely different locations with different characters.

Anybody want to boycott my book?

If only I had a character as hated by parents as Captain Underpants…

bannedThe yearly celebration of banned books just ended, which is always marked by my local library and schools with a bunch of fun events.

I sure wish somebody would ban my book – it would certainly do wonders for sales!

Course, I don’t have nearly as compelling a character as Captain Underpants for concerned parents to get all upset about. Anybody want to get a religious group all riled up to protest “Empty?” 

In all seriousness though, go piss off some people who hate the 1st Amendment and read a banned book this week.

Fall’s here – pull out the horror games!

13 essential titles for Halloween gaming

untitledOctober’s rapidly approaching, and for our family that means 31 days of sheer terror – we only watch / read / play the scary stuff all month long.

Not too long ago in another post about how video games have become a legitimate vehicle for the horror genre I mentioned the upcoming Outlast 2, which sadly will not  arrive in time for Halloween this year.

What’s a horror lover to do in September and October? Turns out there’s plenty of horror games both from the past and present worth playing, including some real classics that have been overlooked.

untitled2Over at GameSkinny I rounded up 13 essential games you should be checking out – 12 on the scary side, and 1 that’s adorable.

I skipped many of the usual suspects (Fatal Frame, Resident Evil, Silent Hill, etc.) and went for ones with more interesting premises or aren’t as well known today. Check it out right here.


Into the void we go

Practical effects make a resurgence thanks to crowd funding

In that chat I had with The Horrific Network awhile back, we discussed how crowd funding is allowing creative folks with a promising vision to cut out the middle man and release boundary-pushing content that publishers and distribution companies might not be willing to take a chance on.

From artists with a vision for a terrifying graphic novel series to authors seeking to release that zombie apocalypse anthology and even onto indie directors with a dream of horror fame, sites like Kickstarter and IndieGogo are helping the little guy get a leg up.

While some of the greatest horror movies don’t focus on the gore at all, those that do go the blood and guts route are always best served by dialing back (or entirely eliminating) the computer effects and going completely practical. Consider the effects from “The Thing” versus its inferior prequel, for instance, or any cringe-inducing CG effect from any given SyFy flick.

Practical effects are sadly lacking in most horror films these days – which brings us back to crowd funding and a very promising upcoming flick titled “The Void.” This impending indie excursion into the unknown raised $82,000 through an IndieGogo campaign, largely off the strength of a proof-of-concept trailer showing what this team can do (check it out below).

Besides the clearly cosmic horror-inspired story with all sort of tentacled monstrosities, the draw here is the emphasis on primarily practical effects, which is long overdue for a comeback.

“The Void” will have its world premiere at Fantastic Fest in Austin Texas at the end of the week, and I’m hoping we’ll hear good things from those who get this advance peek before the first real trailers for the finished product land online!

Experiencing the horror first hand

Inspiration comes from all sources – digital and physical!

outlast2While my story “Empty” took a lot of inspiration from specific music, and of course all writers are influenced by what they’ve read in the past, music and literature aren’t the only places one can look to find horror!

One of the reviews of “Empty” mentioned that it felt like a cross between “Dead Space” and “Alien,” and that’s high praise indeed, but it also showcases that video games have really become a legitimate vehicle for the horror genre.

One of my favorite games in the horror style is easily “Outlast,” a first person title that puts you as a defenseless journalist trying to catch a scoop about shady practices at an asylum. It’s one of the few games that is legitimately terrifying and can lead to out-loud screaming on a dark and stormy night when played with headphones on and the lights off.

A sequel is of course in the works, this time dealing with crazed backwoods religious hillbillies, and it looks to be just as scary as the original! Sadly Outlast 2 was delayed to 2017, so we won’t get to play it this Halloween, but I’m always up to run for my life from supernatural murderers any time of the year! Check out the atmospheric first trailer below.

Get Stoned!

Dominic Stabile takes us to a dystopian future

stoneLove a hardboiled detective story? What about a noire thriller set in a dark future where things have gone horribly wrong? Dig mad science that blurs the lines into the supernatural?

I just got done reading Dominic Stabilie’s new collection “Stone Work” and boy does it ever tick all those boxes!

This compilation of shorts all revolve around the deformed but still ass-kicking mercenary Stone as he goes from clusterfuck of a job to clusterfuck of a job in the dystopian City.

From double-crossing employers to feeding hungry Great Old Ones, this has got it all! Grab your own physical or Kindle copy right here.