Archive for the Books and Magazines Category

Authors you should know: Brian Keene

Posted in Books and Magazines on October 19, 2010 by jamesdunn81

A couple of years ago my brother and I (like always) began talking about our plans for the up coming zombie apocalypse. This quickly lead to talks of our favorite zombie flicks, directors, fast vs slow zombies (slow zombies all the way) and different zombie books we have read. He mentioned reading a book called The Rising by Brian Keene (www.brainkeene.com), he said it was one of the most horrific books he has read and highly recommended it to me. Of course I took him on it and and read it. The book was amazing! The premise of the story has to do with a dad traveling to find his son in the zombie apocalypse. I won’t get into it much further than that for I have a bad habit of ruining things. The book also has a sequel called City of the Dead which is just as good as The Rising.

Now granted this was a couple of years ago when I read those books. Last week at Half Priced Books (that place is a treasure trove of all kinds of great shit!) I came across a couple of Brian Keenes other books. Remembering how great his other books were I decided what the hell, I will pick up a couple since I loved the fuck out of  The Rising and City of the Dead. I ended up buying Urban Gothic and Darkness on the Edge of Town.

When I got home and dove into them I couldn’t stop. I finished one in one night and the other the next. Think of Urban Gothic as something like this. Take Wes Cravens The People Under The Stairs and run it through the ultra violence of the film Inside and throw that into The Decent. It sounds crazy but it is an amazing read.

In all I highly recommend you check out his work. I wouldn’t be surprised if in the future a couple of his books en up becoming movies. I would seriously rank his work up there with Stephen King and the violence and macabre of Clive Barker.  Rue-Morgue magazine said he was “One of horror’s most impressive new literary talents.” Which is something to be very proud of. So please do yourself a favor, before October is over go find one of his books and dig into. I promise you will not sleep well that night. www.briankeene.com

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The Bride of Frankenstein (Pandora’s Bride)

Posted in Books and Magazines on November 26, 2009 by jamesdunn81

When I first saw this book, I didn’t know how to take it. I know allot of people have written bad book spin offs about The Universal Monsters. However, this book really sucked me in and changed the way I see the Frankenstein story. Which, is my favorite Universal Monster. Just FYI

This is an amazing and really I would say informative book, considering it’s based on a character seen all too briefly in Universal’s BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN. In this book, she doesn’t die in the fire but escapes, carrying Dr. Pretorius to safety. She goes to live with him in his house, which is inhabited by his creations, gargoyle-like creatures made and modified from human body parts (which fittingly he calls them The Children of Cain). He’s like a kinder version of Herbert West from RE-ANIMATOR, as there are strong feelings between the creator and his creations. There’s also Cesare, the doctor’s assistant, who has narcolepsy and falls asleep unexpectedly, and Thea, Cesare’s strong-willed sister. They all become friends with ‘The Bride’, who takes the name Pandora, after hearing the Greek myth (Which I thought was very fitting).  The mythical Pandora was said to be responsible for releasing death and pestilence on mankind, yet also brought with it hope and this new Pandora has a hope of establishing a new life for herself even though she’s a walking corpse. She’s also a very strong willed woman, something not socially acceptable at the beginning of the 20th Century.

This group of people flee their small town after the villagers suspect Dr. Pretorius of killing young women, so they go, with Thea’s urging, to Berlin. They travel there in a covered wagon, disguised as a side-show attraction. Even the horse they use has been modified by Pretorius – it’s huge and is a fire-breathing meat eater. They also encounter Dr. Frankenstein, who wants his female monster back, and eventually the monster himself, who eventually becomes their ally. Dr. Frankenstein here is clearly the evil one, going so far as to kill innocent women for their bodies, with the desire to make them into ‘perfect’, subservient women. One thing I really liked about this book was how evil a man Henry Frankenstein really was, something that dug into allot deeper than they did the film. Once in the city they also have to contend with an infamous child murderer and a robotic woman, called a Fembot, which I thought was a cool nod to the Fritz Lang movies ‘M’ and METROPOLIS.

I will defiantly keep a look out for anything written by Elizabeth Hand. Looks like I will also have to give the other Universal Monster books by Dark Horse a try.

Forrest J. Ackermans…..Famous Monsters!

Posted in Books and Magazines on August 8, 2009 by jamesdunn81

Famous Monsters DraculaFamous Monsters was the magazine that set the imagination reeling, giving a look at still after still of this fantastic imagery from a different era. Being a kid obsessed with all things scary and spooky. This magazine shouted at me from the magazine rack. Even though Famous Monsters had been around for quiet sometime before I was born. It was nice to know that I wasn’t alone in wanting to know more about my favorite monsters.

What made the magazine exceptionally memorable, however, was the wonderful pun filled writing of FM’s legendary editor. His name was Forrest J. Ackerman. Every issue found “Uncle Forry” having a “fangtastic” time, recalling the moments from the monster movies that mattered. He was a whirlwind of pun slinging goodness with an encyclopedic knowledge of monster movies and he loved the fantasy, horror, and science fiction flicks so much that his passion and admiration won over an uncountable number of “Monster Kids” with the decades and new generations. He wrote about his huge collection of monster memorabilia and invited anyone interested to peruse the “Ackermansion” and give those priceless goodies a look for themselves.

Of the many articles and pieces that appeared in each fun filled issue of FM, I remember the mainstay tributes to Lon Chaney and Boris Karloff as being particularly noteworthy. “LON CHANEY SHALL NOT DIE” and “BORIS KARLOFF LIVES ETERNAL” said the headlines, and with every issue Uncle Forry made sure of it.Famous Monsters Bride

He was a friend to Boris and Bela (he even wore the ring that graced Lugosi’s hand in Dracula, given to him by the Count himself), and the inspiration to a countless number of current successful genre creators such as Stephen King, John Landis, and Tim Burton.Uncle Forry

On December 4th 2008, Forrest J. Ackerman passed away. As a Monster Kid (or Grandkid, as the case may be), there was no way to not feel a twinge of sadness at the news, despite Forry’s colorful and selfless 92 years. He was a wonderful representative of the fantasy genres and a worthy keeper of the legacies of so many classic films, filmmakers, and actors. In a tribute to his verve, he held visits to his home/museum (now scaled down to “Ackermini-mansion” size) as recently as 2008, and visited his myspace as recently as March 2008.

His own legacy is in no danger. His influence is felt virtually everywhere within the horror/sci-fi genre of pop culture, from the master works of Steven Spielberg to the 70’s esc films of Rob Zombie. Even today horror magazines like Rue-Morgue and Fangoria pay tribute to him in nearly every sing issue. Almost every person in the industry has given thanks to him. Most importantly, he resides in the hearts and minds of his hundreds of thousands of Monster Kids, Grandkids, even Great grandkids

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Authors you should know: H.P. Lovecraft

Posted in Books and Magazines on August 7, 2009 by jamesdunn81

H.P. Lovecraft      H.P. Lovecraft may just be the greatest horror writer of all time, even more so than Edgar Allen Poe. Although Poe is very good at what he does and I’m not putting down his work in anyway. There is just something about his style of writing that draws you in and at the same time makes you very uncomfortable. Nowadays its very rare to find an author like that.

      I first read about H.P. Lovecraft in an article of Famous Monsters. I honestly didn’t know much about him, other than everyone in the genre has said what an influence he was. Well, I figured it was about time I do my research. The first story I read was probably the most horrific one, The Shadow over Innsmouth. I have never, while reading a book, had an actual fear of dread come over me. His writing style is such that, everything he talks about could very well possibly happen. It’s a sense of true possibility that the world which you are reading about could very well exist, if it doesn’t already.

      Cosmic horror is something LoveCraft invented. His thought was the brain wouldn’t understand the universal terror that a wait’s outside the earth. So much in his short story The Wall of Sleep, which talks about what really happens when we sleep and our true self’s take over. The idea that dreams and nightmares are really memories from when our cosmic self’s take over our bodies.

     Lovecraft’s readership was very limited while he was alive, it wasn’t until his demise that his readership took off. His reputation has grown so much that now, just saying his name brings up true horror in the minds of his fans. His influence has gone from literature to film. His stories Dagon and The Wall of Sleep have become films with a couple of others ready at the helm for production. cthulhu

      Lovecraft’s work had not only a profound influence on modern cinema, but also on the work of many of today’s writers. Stephen King, Brian Lumley, and Ramsey Campbell will all agree that Lovecraft influenced them heavily. H.R. Giger has stated on many occasions that much of his horrific art was inspired by the words and writings of Lovecraft. You can very much tell that buy watching the movie Aliens.

       Film Directors like Sam Rami, John Carpenter and Stuart Gordan will be the first to admit that if it were not for Lovecraft then some of their best work would have never gotten off of the ground. In fact, Sam Rami’s the Evil Dead series was taken from Lovecrafts idea of the Necronomicon, which played a huge part in the film series.

       Musical groups such as Metallica, Clue Oyster Cult, and Black Sabbath have all quoted Lovecraft in their work at one time or another. The cover for the, “Life After Death,” album by Iron Maiden even bears a quote from Lovecraft’s work.

      Shadow over InnsmouthIn all, there really isn’t anything in the horror genre not touched in someway by Lovecraft. His unique vision of the stranded, cosmic and strange has led to a whole new way people write, direct, draw, paint and create. It’s funny to think how people like him, who come along once in a lifetime will forever change the way a genre or lifestyle can be seen. Check out the website http://www.cthulhulives.org/toc.html just to get a small glimpse of what I mean.

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