Monday, October 5, 2015

Big News: Part 1


For any non-Clutch fans out there, the title of this post is a direct reference to a Clutch song.

We're back! SORT OF!

Jeff and I are still here, but we're in the process of working on something exciting. It's the type of exciting thing that pulls our attention away from other exciting activities like regularly updating the blog.

So bear with us, because things may get a little bit spotty over the next couple months, but we're going to try our best to update everyone with fun content through October and beyond.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Five Nights at Freddy's Will Be a Movie


I'll be honest. I don't "get" Five Nights at Freddy's.

Maybe I'm just old.

I really enjoy horror games, so I've made attempts at watching it on Youtube via Let's Play videos, but the combination of nauseatingly rapid camera changes and insufferable narration from whoever happens to be playing leaves me unable watch for more than around 45 seconds. I know doors open and close, and that's about it.

Somebody must like it though, because the game has five sequels and raked in a ton of money and is now going to be run through the Hollywood meat grinder.

It's being helmed by the guy who directed that really unpopular Poltergeist remake.

Do you dig Five Nights At Freddy's? Explain to me what I'm missing.

Originally posted at Dread Central

Riki Oh: Story of Ricky UK Collector's Blu-Ray


Filed under "Why can't we have this too?"

I still remember the first time I watched Riki Oh: The Story of Ricky on a worn out old rental VHS from a sleazy local comic book shop. "Life changing" doesn't begin to describe it.

My friends and I needed to know what movie contained the exploding head clip from the "5 Questions" segment on The Daily Show. This was pre-Jon Stewart (Craig Kilborn used to have that job) and pre-modern Internet search engine, so some sleuthing was required. When we finally tracked a copy down, the initial viewing was pure teenage ecstasy.

Riki Oh tells the story of Ricky, who is imprisoned in a futuristic privatized penitentiary run by the ruthless "Gang of Four". I don't want to spoil too much of the plot, suffice to say it has it ALL. Martial arts, cheesy dialogue, gallons of blood and guts. Now those of you in the UK are lucky enough to get a special edition Blu-Ray combo pack release, while the rest of us have to suffer a regular Blu-Ray release sans combo packing. C'mon internet, get petitioning!

This is one of those movies along with Dead Alive that if someone tells me they've never seen it, I'll do a comical spit-take of whatever I happen to be drinking, and then launch into a long diatribe about why they need to go watch it immediately and be a better person for it.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

'It Follows' (Movie Review)


Every once in a while a horror movie comes along that receives high accolades from both fans and critics alike. It Follows is one such film, garnering the “must see” tag and building up a lot of steam from the internet hype train. After finally getting a chance to watch it, I’d say some of that praise is well deserved. Click the jump to see why.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

'All Good Things' (Book Review)


All Good Things is the third and final installment in author Stevie Kopas Breadwinner trilogy of zombie horror novels and it sends the series out on a high note, if those can exist in a brutal undead apocalypse.

Picking up immediately where the prior book Haven left off, All Good Things wastes no time in throwing the reader right back into the action. After a few short chapters of exposition and developing some key plot points that flesh out the motivations of central characters (I’m being intentionally vague to avoid spoilers) the group determines their days in the Tower are numbered and it’s inevitable they’ll need to seek supplies or possibly uproot and move on.

From that point it’s more of what we’ve come to expect from the Breadwinner trilogy, and that’s not a bad thing. Plenty of gory action, unexpected plot twists, and characters who you shouldn’t grow attached to. Similar in tone to The Walking Dead, no one is safe, and Kopas is willing to sacrifice any of the players to the uncaring universe she has designed.

Far more action-oriented than previous installments, All Good Things is a fast read thanks to the non-stop battles raging through the Florida streets. As the group moves towards what should be their final destination, the atmosphere is downright oppressive and it never lets up.

Both the quality of writing and editing is top notch. Kopas has a talent for evocative and visual descriptions, creating unsettling scenes of visceral horror without dragging on in too much detail. Character development is as concise as it needs to be for this genre; you care what happens to these people without knowing their life story. Besides, you don’t want to get too attached to this doomed group of folks anyway!

All Good Things is an intense and satisfying ending to a well-written horror trilogy. It finishes up the story without any egregious loose ends, and doesn’t rely on worn out tropes or ham-fisted coincidences (“there happens to be a helicopter on the roof!”) to put a bloody bow on the final package.

If you’re a zombie horror fan, you owe it to yourself to check out the entire trilogy. They’re all fast-paced books, and having completed All Good Things I can say the entire series is strong throughout.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Terrortorial Expansion: 'Geekly Essentials: Horror Edition'


Hey gang,

I've got a new gig over on GeeklyInc as part of their "Horror Team" (trademark pending) and we put up this lovely personal list of our top choices essential to the genre. If you're looking for a way to get started in horror films, or just want to see the ones we feel are great, check it out!

Friday, June 12, 2015

Our Eulogy for Silent Hills



Remember that Childish Gambino video Sweatpants where he was wandering through the same restaurant over and over but it kept getting more surreal?  Well Konami released that in video game form, only instead of dope lyrics from La Biblioteca it was filled with demon fetuses and effective zombie-lady jump scares.  It was called PT and we wrote about it here (with just as many annoying hipstery music references).

That Playable Teaser ended with a trailer for a new Silent Hill game; the sort of cocktail of internet culture that could only have been dreamed up in some magical subReddit.  Hideo Kojima (of Metal Gear Solid fame) would make the game with Guillermo del Toro (Pan's Labrynth), and it would star Norman Reedus (Walking Dead).

Unfortunately our revelry was cut short and the actors, spirits, melted into air.  Kojima gave Konami the middle finger (as far as I can tell reading through the corporate doublespeak) starting a domino effect rendering Silent Hills a no more, and Konami, the once great console video game company something that now will focus solely on mobile games.

Nobody knows if Silent Hills would have been incredible, but in the nature of all cancelled projects that look excellent on paper, it was clearly going to be the best, most amazing game that ever existed or ever would.  For fans of a little PS1 game about a dad looking for his daughter that made them jump in the middle of night, what is lost is a chance that a once great series could return to the top.

But maybe this is better.  Maybe in a world where we are getting another Jurassic Park and Star Wars, where Evil Dead, Poltergeist, and Halloween need to be remade, it's better that Silent Hills can live on in our memories as this great perfect thing that almost was, rather than see the light of day as a mediocre cash grab.

That's either "too-cool-for-school" snobbery, or I've moved from denial and anger onto bargaining.

PT is no longer downloadable.  As this was probably the best horror video game experience in the past handful of years, it's the most tangible tragedy out of this entire mess.  There's an online petition to get it back, to rekindle the Silent Hills game, and to solve the Israel/Palestine conflict. For now those of us who experienced PT will have to wither, making sure we don't delete it and simply cling to memories of being terrified.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Summer Vacation 2015



It's that time of year again.

Jeff and I will be taking our (now) annual summer break to enjoy sun, fun, and all the non-horror summer popcorn blockbusters that none of you really care about. Speaking of, HOLY CRAP is Mad Max:Fury Road incredible. Go see it!

We'll probably cheat this year and post a bit here and there, but you can expect us to really ramp back up come September when the leaves start to turn, and we head into October. I'd like to think that if this blog was a corporate boardroom, someone would forecast that "the 2nd quarter has our best conversion rate."

In the meantime, why don't you follow us on Twitter or just... wait here for a little while... see what happens?

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Nekrogoblikon - 'Heavy Meta' (Music Review)


The Beatles. Michael Jackson. Nekrogoblikon. Icons of popular music. It is with great pleasure that I've been granted the opportunity to review the already award winning new release, Heavy Meta, by the Los Angeles based, supernatural music consortium.

You've no doubt already been swept up in the hysteria of goblin metal that was unleashed back in 2006. Classic records like Goblin Island and Stench, along with the Power EP captured the hearts and minds and guts of the public. To be a fan of Nekrogoblikon is to acknowledge your love of quality art. To question Nekrogoblikon's musical prowess is to be labelled a fool, and ostracized by peers, family, and random strangers at the grocery store.

Heavy Meta represents the apex of goblin metal. It displays the band at a new peak. Unleashing the most face melting riffs, skull crushing drums, and throat shredding vocals in recent recorded history. Also, there are goblins.

Throughout the entire album, the group simultaneously blasts through each track with their trademark sound of shredding guitars, keyboards, and goblins. However, this isn't just metal for the sake of metal. Each song represents an opportunity for the listener to learn something about the world, and maybe even a little bit about themselves. "Atlantis" explains the true origin and history behind the fabled sunken city, finally putting to rest the need for all those faux documentaries on the Discovery Channel. "Full Body Xplosion" is a musical lesson in the physics of bodies fully exploding. There is even a duet with noted self-help guru and keyboard enthusiast Andrew WK.

Perhaps the most important track on the album is the self-titled "Nekrogoblikon" that serves as a sort of mission statement. It's the band telling you "Hey, we're here, we play it loud, and we've inadvertently stumbled upon ancient evil creatures that will eventually destroy the human race."


A new standard in the genre of heavy music on all fronts, Heavy Meta is an album you and your family can enjoy time and time again. Buy it. In fact, buy several copies and hand them out at your next dinner party or other formal social gathering. John Goblikon will thank you.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Brutal DOOM v20 - Now with Extra Brutal



Have you ever thought "Man, I'd like to go replay a classic game, only jazzed up with an obscene amount of brutal violence?"

Brutal DOOM has you covered.

While not exactly new (it's been in development since 2010) this new v20 coming out June 5th, 2015 looks absolutely delightful with a bunch of new features including the ability to kick severed limbs and 30 additional maps!

You'll want to scrounge up a copy of one of the original DOOM titles to play it (I humbly suggest DOOM 3: BFG Edition to just get all the games for cheap) and then you can install this insane mod and "prepare to RIP AND TEAR GUTS" as creator SgtMarkIV inspires you to do.

While you wait, enjoy this trailer that will wet your whistle with gore that would make Game of Thrones a little uncomfortable.


Phantasm Soundtrack on Vinyl is Hipster Horror Heaven



This made my hour/day/week/month/year/millennium.

Look at that cover art! ORANGE!

Phantom City Creative is re-pressing the original motion picture soundtrack to Phantasm, one of my favorite movies of all time.

I will own this. Unfortunately, I won't be in Texas when it's actually released, so I'll need to figure out a way to get it from the internet somehow. Hopefully at retail price...

Here's the (not Lydia) deets.



The PHANTASM soundtrack returns to vinyl after a long 35-year absence with stunning new art by Phantom City Creative.

Commenting on the enduring appeal of PHANTASM’s iconic score, director Don Coscarelli said, “What amazes me is that the score has continued to gain traction as the decades have passed. I have met literally thousands of fans who continue to praise Fred Myron and Malcolm Seagrave’s work to this day. I want to thank the terrific crew at Mondo for dreaming up the idea of re-releasing this score in warm analog vinyl despite us all now living in a cold digital world.”

The vinyl and screenprint (artwork by Mike Saputo) will be available on Thursday, April 30, at Alamo Drafthouse Richardson’s screening of PHANTASM. Cast members Angus Scrimm, Reggie Bannister, Michael Baldwin, Bill Thornbury, and Kat Lester and filmmaker Don Coscarelli will be in attendance. The vinyl and poster will also be available at the Texas Frightmare Weekend and online at a future date.
Texas Frightmare Weekend runs May 1-3 at the DFW Hyatt Regency.

Phantasm screen print
Artwork by Mike Saputo
Size: 24″x36″

Phantasm vinyl
Original Motion Picture Soundtrack LP
Music by Fred Myron & Malcolm Seagrave
First pressing on vinyl in over 35 years!
Featuring new liner notes by Don Coscarelli
Pressed on 180 Gram Vinyl
Artwork by Phantom City Creative



Tracklisting:
01. Main Title (3:55)
02. Welcome to Morningside / Hand in Box (2:41)
03. Mineshaft Chase (2:53)
04. Phantasmagoria / Silver Sphere Disco (3:16)
05. Hearse Inferno
06. Cemetery Spectres (0:56)
07. Spacegate to Infinity (1:08)
08. Jody at Morningside / Just a Dream? (3:03)
09. Phantasm Atmosphere (1:11)
10. The Tall Man on Main Street (1:35)
11. Funeral Organ / Dwarf in Hearse (1:45)
12. Under the Car (2:21)
13. Mike on the Road (1:02)
14. Hearse Chase (1:11)
15. Overturned Ice Cream Truck (2:18)
16. End of the Game (1:13)
17. Or is it? (Outtakes) (3:28)



[Originally posted on DreadCentral]

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Monolord - 'Vænir' (Music Review)


It's not often that I describe an album as "crushing". But if someone asked me how I'd describe the latest release Vænir by Monolord, I'd say "Hey someone, this album is CRUSHING."

Doom metal is really popular right now. Like, maybe even a little, TOO popular. The term gets bandied about and applied to a lot of heavy music releases that don't quite fit the bill. Monolord is NOT in this group. These guys are the real deal.

There was pretty much a collective circle jerk around their 2014 release Empress Rising, with good reason. It was a great record. Not only that, but a great record by a band that started as a side project. Incidentally, I always enjoy it when musicians get together without a group even being their primary focus and create excellent material. Now we have a follow-up with insanely high expectations, but have no fear, because Vænir is here, and it's going to blow your mind.

At the time of this review, I've listened to the supplied promo six times. Seriously, I liked this album enough to listen to it six times prior to writing about it. I enjoy it a little bit more with each session, because there is so much to love from this slab of Swedish sludge.


It's just a great example of what a doom album should be. The trio combines the type of heavy, detuned riffage you'd expect, but they aren't afraid to throw in some leads and a little wah guitar here and there to keep it interesting. It's REALLY difficult to write an interesting 3 minute song, let alone an 8 minute one, but they manage to pull it off in opener and first single 'Cursing The One'. Things are crushingly oppressive right from the get go, but Monolord never commits the sin of overdoing one lick or groove. They smartly switch things up to keep you engaged for the entirety. Even the 17 minute title track doesn't feel that long thanks to strong writing.

Thomas Jager's reverb-drenched "I'm trapped in a hellish eternal void" vocals are the icing on the blackened cake, adding the final morose layer and complete the vibe. If I can levy one minor criticism about Vænir it's that the vocals sit a bit lower in the mix on a few songs than I'd like. Again, a small ding for an otherwise outstanding album.

My favorite track by far was 'Died a Million Times'. Go listen to it now on their Bandcamp page and let a slow headbang begin to come over you. The track kills. 

Vænir has made a strong case for itself to become my frontrunner for 2015 metal album of the year (and we got a new Acid King release this year!) and is sitting right next to Dopethrone in my playlist right now. If you are a fan of doom metal, this is a must own. No excuses. Even if you're reading this saying "What the hell is doom metal?" I'll tell you "It's what people think Ozzy invented before he had a reality TV show" and then say YOU should still go check out Vænir because it's that good, and you may dig it if you enjoy any kind of heavy music.


P.S. - Bonus points are awarded for having a song named "Nuclear Death", and cover art that reminded me of Dark Souls for some reason. Now enough reading, go listen!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Classic 1980's Horror on Blu-Ray


Scream Factory is just hitting it out of the park lately.

After their recent Blu-Ray release of Invaders From Mars, they just doubled down by dropping a Class of 1984 Collector's edition, and a Ghoulies/Ghoulies II double-feature.

'84 is an awesome cult classic that teaches an important (and relevant) lesson about the perils of teaching at inner-city schools full of splatter punks.  It laid the foundation for the documentary Class of 1999, that gives us a historical look back on the year all inner-city school teachers were replaced with vicious androids.

Ghoulies is an awesome cult classic that teaches an important (and relevant) lesson about the risks of accidentally summoning creepy Muppets while you try to communicate with Satan. Ghoulies II has more of those Muppets.


I picked up the DVD version of the Ghoulies pack on the by-and-by at Walmart during a Black Friday some years ago. I'm glad to see I'll be able to snag an enhanced Blu-Ray on a subsequent Black Friday.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

The Evil Within is Comics Now


Confession time. I bought The Evil Within on a sweet discount last Black Friday, and I still haven't taken the plastic off of it. I had (have?) every intention of covering it on the blog, and I read generally positive reviews, but this might make me unwrap it sooner than later.

Our friends at Dread Central are reporting that The Evil Within is getting a comic book prequel.

While I don't normally run out to read comics or graphic novels (Walking Dead aside) I'm a sucker for cross-media add ons. Like that time Dead Space had a creepy animated movie that looked like Aeon Flux. Anybody remember THAT gem?

The thing I like about a well executed prequel is that I COULD hold off on playing the game and just read the book first, to whet my appetite. Or not. So many choices after it drops today!





Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Book of The Month - April 2015 - "The Blessed Man and The Witch"


This month's Terrorphoria book is The Blessed Man and The Witch by David Dubrow. If you're in the mood for an apocalyptic thriller with some horror elements this is for you.

It's a dark book and the first entry in a trilogy David is working on. The thing to keep in mind here is that there are a LOT of characters. Plenty of narration shifts, adult situations and plenty of graphic violence. The type all you Game of Thrones fans are always talking about on Twitter.

It has taken us a while to get through this one, but it's well worth grabbing for the price of a coffee on your e-reader, or checking out for free if you have an Amazon Prime account.

Go give it a read and tell us your thoughts in the comments!

Monday, April 6, 2015

'Invaders From Mars' Gets a Blu-Ray!



Oh Tobe Hooper, you loveable scamp. One of your more maligned movies is getting a solid Blu-Ray treatment from the folks at Scream Factory!

Invaders From Mars was a staple of the weekend horror double-feature scene on 1980's cable TV. I loved it so much. It combined Hollywood's Karen Black with middle-aged women eating frogs. What's NOT to love?

It warms my heart to know that I can get a cleaned up copy of this campy re-make classic on Blu-Ray starting tomorrow for less than $20.

If you've never seen it, I'll give you a short synopsis.

"An annoying kid sees a comet and tries to tell everyone that evil Muppets are turning the town into zombies. Karen Black is the school nurse who believes this annoying kid and tries to help him stop said invasion. Most likely because "school nurse" is the only trustworthy authority figure the aliens DIDN'T think to zombify."

Excited to spend sixteen dollars on this? Yeah you are...



Friday, April 3, 2015

Scary Easter Bunnies


There's something frightening about old photos. There's also something frightening about the hidden agendas of seasonal mall employees.

Click the jump for a gallery of ghastly Easter Bunny photos guaranteed to haunt your eyeballs.

Happy Spring. Happy Easter. This is the stuff of nightmares...


Thursday, April 2, 2015

Crowhurst - 'Self Titled' (Music Review)


I enjoy black metal. That old school sort of black metal that evokes images of a dude's guitar falling into the snow because wolves tore his arms off. I also enjoy noisy, ambient bands like Neurosis and the modern psychedelic sludge of outfits like Kylesa.

The fine gentlemen in Crowhurst shot me an advance copy of their self-titled album, and it's kind of blowing my mind this week.

If I could sum this album up in one sentence, it would be "expertly executed experimental black metal". Other music blogs may have more readers, but they do NOT have our alliteration skills.

The guitars and soundscape textures on this album just wash over you. Sometimes haunting, sometimes oppressive, every track is an intense layer cake of noise. It's like disturbing abstract art in musical form. One minute you get psychedelic tangents, and the next you're being assaulted by a wall of overly distorted guitars. Sometimes projects like this turn into a complete cacophony of garbage, but the guys in Crowhurst know how to execute some restraint in their tracks, and it keeps the songs from devolving into pure noise.

If you have ANY interest in ambient/noise or black metal (I've seen "post-black metal" thrown around but I hate saying "post"-anything) do yourself a huge favor and go check out their Bandcamp page and while you're there, buy this album. There are a bunch of formats available and they feature some totally sweet artwork by Johnny Ryan and Nicole Boitos.

This is easily one of our favorite releases in heavy music of early 2015.

Creepy Horror Movie Box Art - 'Prophecy'


Let's do some word association. When I say "horrifying mutant bear fetus", what's the first thing that pops into your mind?

If it's "holy crap the image you posted up there is TERRIFYING", then you're officially not crazy.

Prophecy (no, not THE Prophecy starring national treasure Christopher Walken) is a late 1970's sci-fi/horror/environmentalist flick where a logging company dumps a bunch of toxic slime all over a forest and it spawns a giant killer mutant bear.

That said, this box art absolutely scared the crap out of me as a kid. So much in fact, that I was literally too freaked out to look at other movies on the video store shelf if this movie was physically near them. Even now as an adult, I felt a little uncomfortable doing the Google image search to put this post together.

It's that eye. Staring. Judging. Plotting...


Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes


So you may have noticed a lower volume of posts recently on the blog.

Jeff and I have been having lots of internal conversations, and the ones that don't revolve around poo poo'ing Hollywood's incessant need to rape the Ghostbusters franchise are about how we keep this little horror blog afloat.

2015 is all about change here, and one thing we've realized is that a "structured site" doesn't really jive for us. Therefore, we'll be taking a bit more of a conversational tone and posting structure moving forward. Boy, how ironically corporate did that sound?

We're still going to review things, and be snarky. In fact, we hope to turn the snark factor up a bit. Allowing ourselves to be a little less rigid should hopefully lead to better content that you guys will enjoy reading and commenting on.

To that end, if you're out there reading this, is there anything you'd like to see us focus on more? Drop us an email or a tweet or a comment or something.

Smell ya later!


-Ben and Jeff

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

'Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark' gets a Documentary



Do you guys remember Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark? Well, it's back, IN POG FORM!

Not really, but the nostalgic fan-favorite is getting a documentary funded over on IndieGOGO that looks pretty interesting. Here's a snippet.

This intriguing documentary will explore the history and background of one of the most controversial works of modern children’s literature: Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark. In the 1980s and 1990s in elementary libraries across the United States these books developed a growing interest from boys and girls who were taken in by the gothic tales, the whimsical tone, and the ghostly illustrations. Now the Scary Stories book series stands as the most challenged children’s book of the last 30 years and a testament to the power of something that is often taken for granted: a good scary story.

I vividly remember the Scary Stories series being at the top of my list for every elementary school book fair fund raising event. By today's standards the books would probably be considered wildly inappropriate for young kids, but that was back in the 1980's when stories about demonic severed hands were commonplace, and there were only so many Garfield anthologies a kid could read.

Now Screaming: Parasyte The Maxim Episodes 1-6 (Hulu Plus, Crunchy Roll)


You need to be watching this show.

Sure watching something like The Walking Dead or American Horror Story will give you more water cooler chatter than an Anime, but your time would be much better spent here.

Parasyte started airing in October over Hulu Plus and Crunchy Roll. Unlike works in the horror-you-should-experience like video game titles Silent Hill and Resident Evil, Anime never really broke through.  I reviewed Blue Exorcist to some confused eyebrows from my fellow horror fans.  I'm sure this will raise a few too.

At first glance, nothing about this show is that revolutionary.  Heinlein's The Puppet Master's is the fertile ground this is born from, and we've seen the fruit before in Invasion of the Body Snatchers, The Faculty, The Thing, and more recently Scott Sigler's fiction.  Having experienced all of those (and other less quality works) I feel comfortable not being hyperbolic in saying that (at least in these first episodes) this is the ultimate interpretation of these tropes.

Seriously, you need to be watching this.

The premise: alien parasites fall from the sky, burrow into human heads, and take over human brains. These aliens then control the body and can instantly transform the head into a monstrous killing machine (sort of like The Thing), but need the human blood supply to remain alive.

Our protagonist is a failed case, as the parasite is only able to take over his hand.  This leaves both personalities to argue, philosophize, and navigate the changing world around them as well as indulge in some Super Hero-esque "look at this cool shit I can do now" activities.

Where this title separates itself from the herd is that nothing is lazy.  The characterization is robust. The art is beautiful.  The story telling is constantly tense but somehow never overwrought.  Also, that tension comes from a diverse set of pressures and not just the supernatural ones.  Social, societal, parental, and relationship difficulties are all present and cleverly handled.

All of this is juxtaposed with balls-to-the-wall horror that goes some really dark places, and each dreary stab of supernatural horror brilliantly tugs at all of these other dramatic strings.  It seems like everything and the kitchen sink story wise, but, then again, that's how life is.  Somehow, nothing here feels out of place, and the verisimilitude of this insane horrorscape seems on point.

But the best part of this show is the relationship between the protagonist and his parasite.  Making the alien invaders a powerful sentient race that seems guided by a simple id (1. Preserve self at All Costs 2. Take over humans 3. Destroy all other humans) was a brilliant move that was probably made in the source material (a Manga from the late '80s early early '90s).  Admittedly, I haven't read it and can't confirm that, but this is what pushes the show from good to great.

This elevates each of the monsters encountered, seeing how these simple instructions are evolved or mutated based on individual or environmental factors is fascinating.  Further, it fuels the heart and soul of this program, which is the relationship between Shinichi(the protagonist) and his parasite, which he names Migi(after Japanese for "right").

The slow evolution of their relationship and philosophical discussions debates the barriers of what it means to be human and the merits thereof.  There's beauty in the parasite's simple instructional parameters as it is frighteningly similar to the simplicity of the smallest cells of us.  There's this part where Migi notes that although he is able to transform, grow, and divide at will, if he splits off a small enough piece of himself it is no longer himself but rather just directed by those simple instructions again.  Are we us or a collection of cells?  Is Shinichi still human?  Is his fight to retain human morality what makes him human or is it the biology that he now lacks?  Can one exist without the other?

This critique is limited to episodes 1-6 because, as of now, that's what I'm recommending everyone watch.  I've watched past that, but 1-6 have an arc that feels like it could exist on it's own and at that point you could walk away satisfied.  Go treat yourself.

This show was firing on all cylinders from the start. As if Star Trek: TNG began with a bearded Commander Riker.  It's been a long time since watching the first episodes of a series didn't feel like being forced to eat my vegetables, let alone hook me and delightfully surprise me so early and often. Who knows if it can stay at this high quality long term, but this initial run is a must watch for any fan of horror.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Re-Issue of "The Breadwinner" Trilogy by Permuted Press


Remember way back when we reviewed "The Breadwinner" and its follow up "Haven" by friend of the blog and sometimes guest reviewer Stevie Kopas? We told you they were great books, and apparently we're not the only ones who thought so.


We'd like to congratulate Stevie on her trilogy being officially published and re-released through Permuted Press on March 17th. Check out details from the press release below, along with the slick new cover art above. If you still haven't read this fantastic apocalyptic trilogy, there's no better time to start than now!


Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Acid King - 'Middle of Nowhere, Center of Everywhere' (Music Review)



Back in the 1990's nobody really cared about stoner rock. Everyone was interested in Pearl Jam and Nirvana more than Black Sabbath-inspired, throwback riffs. The closest you got was the occasional dude in a jean jacket who liked Kyuss. Unbeknownst to many, in 1994 Lori S. and Joey Osbourne formed Acid King, and the San Francisco trio would go on to inspire a horde of modern bands who use words like "doom" and "stoner" just because it's currently en vogue. I first heard Busse Woods in 2001, roughly two years after its release. It totally blew my mind. It was such a raw and dark album that evoked all the best qualities of my dad's record collection from the 1970's.

Now after almost a decade, Acid King have dropped a new full length on the masses. Middle of Nowhere, Center of Everywhere is a juggernaut. A juggernaut with the best album cover of 2015 so far. Seriously, it's a WIZARD RIDING A TIGER IN OUTER SPACE!

Lori S. has described this release as "moody" and "adding more depth to their sound". This is absolutely accurate as it's a far more cohesive and sonically dense album than III or even Busse Woods. With eight total tracks, jacketed between a short "intro" and "outro" the core of the experience is six spaced-out jams that clock in at roughly 50 minutes. Middle of Nowhere has a much stronger flow than any prior offering from the band. Each song transitions well from one to the next, and gives the album a great feel start to finish. This is one you can put on at the beginning of a long drive and you'll never hit skip. "Red River" was my favorite song, being the shortest full offering, but none of the other tracks disappoint.

A few noticeable departures from past albums. Lori's vocals are more sparse. She really does a good job of giving the music an epic amount of space, and you'll ride through waves of riffs for up to a few minutes before she punctuates them with her recognizable style. The songs approach "jams" at times but never spiral completely out of control or get boring. One of Acid King's greatest strengths is knowing how to build tension and exercise a riff without overdoing it.

 Middle of Nowhere, Center of Everywhere is NOT a traditionally "accessible" album. However, for aficionados of the genre and the longtime fans this one was well worth the extended wait.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

VHS Cover Art Book Stole My Heart


I've already told you guys about my obsession with 80's and 90's era VHS box art. It's one in the long line of many nostalgia triggers from my childhood spent in local mom&pop video stores.

So when I saw this book VHS Video Cover Art by "The Dude Designs" over on HorrorMovies.ca my eyes almost exploded out of my skull. Dig that face-melting cover!

Seriously, Thomas Hodge knew we wanted this, and he delivered. Go check out the offical site and when it's done turning your world upside down, you can buy it here on Amazon.


Monday, March 9, 2015

'Creature Stew' Anthology Highlights Indie Horror Authors


If you're looking for a nice, quick anthology of short horror fiction that can be read on a bus, toilet, or anywhere you need an expedient fright on your Kindle, Creature Stew should fit the bill. It even contains a story about a giant monster catfish!

This press release came across the Terrorphoria inbox, and we've checked out some of the stories contained within. Quality stuff from a number of vetted and up-and-coming writers. Also, it's only 119 pages for you horror fans who "barely have time to read magazines." Did we mention you can read it on the toilet?

From the official press release:

Creature Stew presents short fiction by eighteen outstanding horror authors. Released on January 31, 2015, the e-book is available from Amazon. This terrifying collection of short stories features work from award-winning, veteran horror authors, as well as stories from talented writers making their fiction début. If you're looking for a fresh dose of rampaging, brain-eating zombies or perhaps a killer catfish, the size of a Honda, that can churn a man into mush, look no further!
Creature Stew includes fiction by C.C. Adams, Kate Bowen, Shenoa Carroll-Bradd, Michael Clark, Dave Dormer, Marc Ferris, Tom Folske, Ken Goldman, Daniel Hale, Robert Hart, Tessa Hatheway, Calypso Kane, Matthew Smallwood, Paul Stansfield, Chad Stroup, D.S. Ullery, Matthew Weber, and E.S. Wynn.
 
The eighteen included short stories were selected from numerous submissions accepted from the general public in a free, egalitarian process. Published by Papa Bear Press, Creature Stew is currently available in e-book format. Papa Bear Press is an independent publisher and writer's resource based in Bellaire, Texas. As our first commercial venture, Creature Stew reflects our mission to seek out talented new voices, while showcasing quality fiction from today's rising stars in popular literature. The anthology can be purchased from Amazon via the following link:

http://www.amazon.com/Creature-Stew-C-C-Adams-ebook/dp/B00T11GPY4

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Book of The Month - February 2015 - "Zombie Girl"



Egypt is full of weird stuff. Sphinx's, mummies, Yummy Mummies...

Eve Brenner finds this out the hard way when something bites her during an archaeological dig. Soon after, strange things begin happening. Strange things of the undead kind.

As fans of stories written "from the monster's perspective", we've chosen Eve Brenner: Zombie Girl as our 2015 book of the month! Author Alessia Giacomi's premiere work over on Permuted Press is a fun, easy read that clocks in around 300 pages. It has a fast-paced narrative and is constantly juggling viewpoints between characters as you dig through the chapters. Great stuff from an up-and-coming writer. Check it out now so when she's famous you can tell people you heard about her here first.

This is the first in a Zombie Girl series to be released. In that way, it's just like Harry Potter or Twilight, except nothing like those other things. Oh, except that you can buy it for your Kindle just like you can Harry Potter and Twilight.

Check out the book and let us know your thoughts!

Monday, February 16, 2015

Creepy Horror Movie Box Art - 'Monster Dog'



You can already tell that I'm old because I used the word "Box" in the title of this post, rather than "digital header image on popular movie streaming service".

While going through some old stuff yesterday I stumbled upon a VHS copy of Critters. Regardless of the thumbs of Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert being "up" about it, this image scared the living CRAP out of me as a kid.


Memories being what they are, I started to reminisce about the long forgotten VHS tape covers that used to scare me while my parents let me run around in my local video store, less attended than I probably should have been.

The above box art for Monster Dog was pretty high on the list of irreparably scarring my childhood.

What's scarier than Alice Coopers gaunt mug and sunken eyes? WEREWOLF Alice Cooper! The tale of Vince Raven and his unfortunate rock band totally creeped me out. I was afraid to pick it up and see what horrors lurked on the back panel images. This fear of skinless devil dogs was only further reinforced by Resident Evil later in my life.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Writing Horror Part 4: Keep It Simple



(In part 4 of Jeff's "Writing Horror" series, he explores the importance of setting simple and concise goals for yourself. He also imparts why outlining is useful even though you may not like it.

To catch up on previous installments, click these blatant links

PART 1  |  PART 2  |  PART 3

Click the jump to read more and check out more excellent generic clipart.)


Monday, February 2, 2015

Calabrese - 'Lust for Sacrilege' (Music Review)


Chances are if you're a fan of horror music, there are a few cornerstone bands you're well aware of. The Misfits, Type-O Negative, The Horrorpops, Gravediggaz (did I just shoehorn in a Gravediggaz reference? You bet!)

Perhaps you may not have heard of the brothers Calabrese though. Hailing from the unmerciful sandy wastes of Phoenix Arizona, these guys have spent the last decade producing the kind of quality horror-infused punk rock you wish The Misfits still made since they became a bizarre tribute band to themselves / 50's pop cover outfit.

Calabrese's latest release Lust for Sacrilege is a bit of a departure for the band. I dislike terms like "evolution" or "mature" because that discredits an artists prior catalog to an extent. So can we use the term "musically diverse"? Let's do that. Lust for Sacrilege is easily Calabrese's most musically diverse album to date.

The initial video release for the track "Flesh and Blood" gave a good indication that this album would be darker, moodier, and draw from a wider variety of inspirations. Diversifying from their earlier sound that was deeply rooted in punk rock, we see the trio dabbling into territory previously blazed by the likes of Type-O and The Cult. It's a surprisingly easy transition, with smooth vocals, and aggressive-but-catchy guitar riffs that provide some more ambient and gothic overtones.

There is still plenty of punk elements to be found on Lust for Sacrilege. The high energy drumming and periodic gang vocals are still present, but they are meshed with some more straight ahead alternative rock elements and droning tunes that provide a great variation across eleven songs.

I really enjoyed Lust for Sacrilege. It's dynamic enough to give a complete listen through, and doesn't wear out its welcome. Long time fans will most likely enjoy the further depth and heaviness built upon 2013's Born With a Scorpion's Touch, and it's a gritty but highly musical jumping off point for anyone who is new to the band. If it turns out you love this disc, then you can start heading into their back catalog to experience some of their more punk-oriented roots.

Definitely worth a listen for anyone who digs horror/gothic rock.






Wednesday, January 28, 2015

The Horror of Us (Guest Post)

(Guest author Christina Bergling discusses why she believes psychological horror is the type we fear the most. Click the jump for her entire post!)

I love psychological horror because I believe two things.

The worst hells are created in our minds. As someone with a bit of experience in being my own worst enemy, I can attest that there is nothing quite as unrelenting and pervasive as ourselves. There is no escape from our own minds, and no one knows what will torture us more than us. I think the scariest situations are when we lose reality and turn on ourselves. There is not stopping the momentum of a mind unraveling; there is no way to find a foothold against the descent of a mind. Perhaps the thing I fear most in life is losing my mind. I also believe that other humans are what we need to fear most. More than the world around us, we pose the most threat to our fellow humans. A flesh and blood killer is more realistic and unnerving that a supernatural manifestation or animal with which we may never come into contact.



Thursday, January 15, 2015

Writing Horror Part 3: Just Write!


The words "self publishing" taste like unbrushed teeth when I say them.

"I'm self publishing my book." 

"Oh really? Is it a tome of self indulgent, pseudo-fan-fiction wankery that wasn't good enough for traditional publication due to too many spelling errors?"

I'm not sure what opinions you have of self published fiction, but mine were close to the above statement. They've always been that way. I remember being a kid and finding this really old children's book about rabbits and my mind being blown when my mom said her grandfather had written and illustrated it.  Then I recall my excitement dimming when she told me he'd published it himself. It just wasn't as cool or magical that way.

I love and even prefer the content that comes from the independent scenes in movies, video games, and music. It bothers me that I don't feel the same way about literature.

[Click the jump to see Jeff's advice and plan on increasing your creative output!]
 

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Book of The Month - January 2015 - "Savages"


Look, we all know "post-Apocalypse" with zombies or zombie-like creatures is tread-worn to the point of bald by now. However, I'm going to encourage you to read this months book Savages by our very own guest blogger extraordinaire Christina Bergling for a few reasons.

1. It features well developed characters: Too often now it's trendy to "kill off" characters because The Walking Dead did it, but most people aren't Robert Kirkman and therefore you just end up with masses of deceased, forgettable, two-dimensional characters. Not here. The story is tight and focused on few characters that see some real development.

2. It isn't any longer than it needs to be: At 130 pages, it's a very quick read, and there's not a lot of filler. I'm all for "world building", but sometimes it just feels like unneeded fluff to pad a thin main plot. Savages gets right to the heart of the matter and keeps the pace quick.

3. It doesn't patronize you: Savages doesn't over-explain everything. It drops you right into the story and doesn't hand hold. It's nice to see an apocalyptic novel that allows you to use your imagination a bit.


You can check out Savages via e-book or the more traditional format here through its official site, or if you've already finished it, let us know what you thought in the comments below to get the Book Club discussion started!

Saturday, January 10, 2015

NECA's Predator 2 Action Figure is Retro Sexy





Remember that time Danny Glover fought the Predator? Then remember that time YOU fought the Predator as Danny Glover on your Sega Genesis? NECA remembers.

This Predator 2 "City Hunter" figure makes me love life. With a sweet 16-bit paint job, a bevy of articulation points and an accessory of Gary Busey's skull (or maybe that Haitian drug lord?) this will be a must-own when it hits shelves in May 2015. Just in time for the summer heat.



(Originally seen over on Dread Central)


Friday, January 9, 2015

Site Upgrade 2015


It's a new year, and about time to update the blog with a new look and a somewhat similar sound. This is just a friendly PSA that we all know what happens when technical changes are attempted. We'll try to come out the other side with as little death and dismemberment as possible.

Also, I may get rid of the Facebook page. Mostly because they suck now and I hate them and their "pay to play" fan page structure.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Horror Resolutions 2015 (Guest Post)

(Our favorite guest blogger Christina Bergling returns with her list of "Horror Resolutions" for 2015. Go pour a glass of that flat champagne still sitting in your fridge and click the jump to see what she's resolved to in the coming year!)
 
New Year’s just passed again, causing motivational ripples in each of us, spawning musings and goals for what we will definitely accomplish in this next calendar year. I am not exempt; I have my own mundane New Year’s resolutions—goals for my health (lose the baby weight from having my son in September) and for my career (sell my published book and write more books).


But let us not talk about the boring, every day goals we all make. Let us instead focus on the important and priority objectives: my horror resolutions for 2015!


SAYER Podcast episode



Hey folks, as a quick aside, I wrote an episode of the dark comedy science fiction podcast, SAYER. Episode 23, entitled "Delicious", was penned by yours truly.

If you're at all into universes featuring menacing and sometimes humorous AI's (think HAL, G.L.A.D.O.S., or AM) then you should definitely check the show out and get it into your podcast feed.

Official SAYER site on GeeklyINC

SAYER on iTunes

Oh, and if you're into it, they have a Patreon where you can support the show and get some really cool bonuses. Plus you can follow SAYER on Twitter.



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