Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Writing Horror Part 2: Essential Reading

(This is the second installment in Jeff's series about penning a horror novel. If you need to catch up, you can read the first part here)

I took on some required reading before I began this process.  If you're writing a novel along with me (which would certainly be awesome) you don't have to do this.  I'm just a weirdo that over-thinks something before I do it.

That said, there is a vast quanity of "How to Write" material out there in general, not to mention the selections that are horror related.  Here is a list of texts I feel are important for any aspiring horror writer.

[Click the break to see Jeff's recommendations on essential primers and guides for horror writers! ]

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Calabrese Releasing New Album and Premiere Video

When it comes to horror punk/rock, my (and I bet many people's) go to band is The Misfits. However, I'm not big fan of their current "we're a sort of cover band of ourselves" incarnation. Enter Calabrese.

Maybe you haven't heard of the brothers Calabrese? Bobby, Jimmy, and Davey have been rockin' for over a decade now and released consistently edgy, catchy-as-hell horror rock records. Now this coming January they are dropping Lust For Sacrilege, and from the looks of the first video "Flesh and Blood" it could be an interesting evolution for the band.


I'm using the "evolution" because my guess is a lot of critics will say "a more mature sound" and I hate "mature" because it implies that there was something sub-par about their previous music. This is not the case. Monster masks, ghoulish fonts and black leather jackets are awesome.

Here's a quote from Bobby Calabrese describing a bit about where they are coming from on the new material.

We were listening to a lot of moodier, darker bands when we wrote “Flesh and Blood.” Lots of Sisters of Mercy, early Cure, the droning and atmospheric stuff that builds on being simple and effective. We wanted to go for a kind of somber vibe, a bleak mix of heavy rock and post-punk. Type-O-Negative is a big influence on that straightforward riff. We filmed it during the recording of ‘Lust For Sacrilege,’ something we’ve never done before. We liked the idea of going for something with a Doors-meets-Danzig feel, something to capture loneliness, desolation, misery. We think it caught the attitude of the song perfectly. Turn out the lights and enjoy.”

I'm excited to hear the rest of the album since I think this is a niche that's recently been a bit lacking and this new record could fill that void.
If you're interested in learning more you can visit Calabrese's Facebook page here, or pre-order the album here.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Writing Horror Part 1: Introduction and Some Personal History

I love it here at Terrorphoria.

As someone who was bound by the early censorship of a Christian household, Stephen King novels were my first escape.  Reading, being that I could do it privately rather than shared spaces, was harder for my strict parents to regulate.  Reading King quickly led to reading Ketchum, Straub, and Saul.

When I aged into more freedom, that led to gorging on films as well.  When the local video store wouldn't give me a card, I took my mom's out of her wallet.  I'd rent entire series on VHS and marathon through them, watching a franchise like Nightmare on Elm Street or Halloween devolve from their first beautiful, creative genesis to cash-grabbery sequeldom. It was awesome.

[Read on to discover more about how Jeff got into writing about horror, and what that means for him posting original works on Terrorphoria!]

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

"The Pyramid" (Movie Review)

Hoo boy.

Let's just do it.  Like ripping off a band aid.  No, not a band aid.  More like that self dentistry scene in Cast Away.  Let's hit the ice skate already.

Waxing poetic about how terrible a movie is on the internet is more worn out than a cash-grab found footage horror film, but The Pyramid deserves everything it's about to get.  Let's rake it over the coals like a burnt piece of chicken.

The Pyramid, (because it needs a definite article so you don't mistakenly expect Donny Osmond forcing Anubis to guess a subject in a category based on vague clues), is a found footage horror film about a group of poorly characterized victims exploring a pyramid. There's a father/daughter archaeologist team whose "Luddite/TechnoGeek" conflict feels more artificial than the lead paint chips the writers ate as kids. This "conflict" is further stressed by the fact that she's dating adult Will Robinson from Lost In Space.

Remember in Jurassic Park how technology vs. traditionalism played out in Dr. Grant's conversation foibles and also in the main conflict of the film?  "Technology is this wonderful miracle that bring dinosaurs back to life, but it can also fail and let these monsters loose and put us all in a grave!"  That is how you have real conflict and weave it throughout your film.

This goes nowhere.  Dad doesn't like technology.  His kid loves it and wants to revolutionize archaeology. Boyfriend builds a creeper robot so he can spy on his girlfriend while she dresses.  If you skipped the first ten minutes of the film you'd completely miss this being a big deal.

Also, we have a documentary team.  Oh you've heard that one before?  It's 2014.  Even though we don't have the hover boards and flying cars that Marty McFly promised me we'd have by next year, we're doing pretty okay.  Everyone has a million cameras available on phones, tablets, laptops, etc. Do we really have to massage the narrative and populate it with more victims (I'm sorry, characters) that we don't need just so we can force first person camera work?

Another (admittedly far more interesting) conflict that goes nowhere is the discovery of this three sided pyramid is jeopardized by political unrest in its country of origin.  A current events conflict that is sadly just used as an excuse to get them in the pyramid faster and provide an additional victim.

Upon entering the pyramid the found footage verisimilitude is constantly broken by using unaccounted for cameras.  If you're the sort that hates reality television when it's painfully obvious they set up the shot before the inorganic reaction, this movie will drive you crazier than me as I scoured Wikipedia to make a cheap joke that a three-sided thing isn't even a pyramid. (Turns out geometry proves it still is).

My biggest complaint about the film is both easy and difficult to articulate.  The easy part is just three words: NO FREAKING MUMMIES.

And it's only those three words because the editor makes me play nice and only swear intermittently.

When Ben and I were chatting about who'd get the task of watching and reviewing this he said to me, "I hope that this movie makes mummies the new zombies."

And you know, that would have been really cool.

Do you remember when Brendan Fraser had a career?  More relevant: Do you remember when the movie The Mummy came out?  Mummies were suddenly cool and scary again and not just Halloween fodder for colorful breakfast cereal.  The next step was obviously to make an R rated hard horror mummy movie.....and that never happened.

Sixteen years later we're delivered this hot piece of garbage.

Victims die from every crappy CG Egyptian monster you could conjure from zombie cats to Anubis, but no mummies.  Where are the mummies!?


Were you really not brave enough to think you could pull it off, movie!? You were cavalier enough to think you could handle political instability in the middle east for god's sake.

Don't watch The Pyramid.  Just don't do it to yourself.  Watch The Mummy again instead and cross your fingers that someone will finally make a real horror movie about mummies soon.

We don't give review grades anymore, but Rotten Tomatoes currently has this at 7% and, trust me, that's too generous.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Book of The Month - December 2014 - "Autumn Moon"

Our inaugural novel for the Terrorphoria Book Club is Autumn Moon by Slade Grayson. Technically it's Autumn Moon (Alpha Wolf Book 1)(Volume 1), but I'm bad at math so I'm editing down the title to just what you see above along with the sexy lycanthrope girl.

We selected Autumn Moon as this month's novel because it brings back werewolves. Not the lame Twlight ones either. The kind that Gary Busey fought, and that got all raunchy in The Howling

Tanneheuk is a quiet, isolated town in Montana that runs a lottery where instead of receiving a giant novelty check, the winner gets sent into the woods to be sacrificed to giant supernatural canines. This is the setup for a story that contains some wonderful character development and some genuinely surprising plot twists.

If you're looking for a monster series that doesn't revolve around zombies or vampires, grab a copy here and get reading. Let us know your thoughts down in the comment section and get the conversation started!