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Showing posts from October, 2013

25 And Not Out!

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Issue 25 of ST is now available as a POD magazine or as a very cheaply-priced PDF. Click on the link over to the right to access the product page. I think this issue is pretty darn good, though I say so myself. For a start, we have a splendid range of fiction. Peter Bell's 'The Refurbishment' is a cracking 'traditional' ghost story, with a contemporary setting - the author's native Liverpool. Totally different is Mike Chislett's 'The Middle Park', a reality-distorting tale in which he continues to explore the London of his imagination, a city so bizarre it might almost be real. That's in marked contrast to Chloe N. Clark's story 'Who Walks Beside You', a study in alienation that ponders the nameless things that may lie behind the most commonplace of lives. Very different again is 'Some Houses - A Rumination', in which Brian J. Showers visits an address in Dublin with a very odd, and slightly scorched, reputation. Gillian

Hallowe'en Film Quiz 2. Name the Character!

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Yes, another quiz - no cheating wjth that Google machine on the intertrons, now. Thirteen classic movies (or at least, favourites of mine), and thirteen memorable horror movie villains, heroes, ghosts, victims... Just name names, and we'll let you off with a caution. Oh, and I've mixed some non-supernatural movies in this time (though definitions vary, and some are certainly genre-benders). 1. Nice easy one to start... 2. Off on one of my predictable excursions to the Orient. 3. And while we're in Japan... 4. Now here's a classic that I love. 5. And here's a non-classic by any standard - as a movie. We're looking for the girl in the dress, not the guy who's probably lost his deposit on that suit. 6. Time for another legendary actor chappie. Remember, it's the character we want. 7. Lawks, they don't get much classier than this bloke. But who's he playing? 8. Two names needed, here. 9. And two names nee

Quiz Answers!

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The almost unbearable excitement of the Rapidly-Approaching-Hallowe'en Movie Quiz had literally several people trying to name the films in question. So, in case you were wondering who was right about what, here are the answers. 1. Tales from the Crypt (UK 1972) Yes, it's Joan Collins discovering that when you're naughty, Santa is mightily displeased. 2. A Tale of Two Sisters (Korea 2003)  A twisty plot recounting the very bizarre and bloody events of one fateful day, with a truly horrific finale. 3. The Asphyx (UK 1973) Robert Stephens and Robert Powell battle death itself! Guess who wins? 4. Night/Curse of the Demon (UK 1957) Brian Wilde , aka Foggy Dewhirst, does not go downhill in an old bathtub on wheels. 5. Dead of Night (UK 1945) Golf really is a good walk spoiled in this fairly jolly interlude. 6. The Haunting (UK/US 1963) The ultimate Gothic haunted house movie, for my money. Has it been bettered? 7. Kuroneko (J

'A Pleasant Terror' in N1

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Some of my readers presumably live in or near That London, aka The Smoke, and so may be able to go and see Robert Lloyd Parry perform at the Rosemary Branch Theatre . Robert is doing 'A Pleasing Terror' at 7pm and 'Oh Whistle...' at 9pm every night from 21st to 23rd November. There are two shows, consisting of two stories each. The first (and perhaps more suitable for younger folk) offers'Canon Alberic...' and 'The Mezzotint'. The second consists of 'Oh Whistle...' (of course) and 'The Ash-Tree'. Having seen both shows separately I can testify to their high entertainment value, and the fact that they are true to the spirit of M.R. James's original storytelling sessions with his trendy young friends. Here's a clip from one of RLP's videos, as sold by Nunkie .

Haunted (1995)

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Well, here's a thing. I scour Lovefilm on a regular basis for supernatural horror movies, and I kept meaning to watch this one for quite a while. I finally got round to it and... was not massively disappointed. Haunted  is a bit of an oddity, in that it's based on a James Herbert novel but eschews Herbert's modern horror approach in favour of period drama. I'm not sure it entirely works, but it is at least interesting, not least thanks to an impressive cast and some solid production values. The setup is familiar. Two young children are playing in the grounds of an English country house in 1905. The little girl suffers a terrible accident and dies. The surviving little boy grows up to be academic and renowned sceptic David Ash, an Anglo-American researcher who publishes a book debunking ghosts. The role is taken by Aiden Quinn, an actor who is not really suited to the role and who doesn't look too comfortable in it. In fact, much of the time he looks a bit concus

Tartarus Interviewed!

Well, more precisely it's an interview with Ray Russell, who founded TP way back in the 20th century - remember that? Anyway, it's interesting and heartening stuff. Here's a short extract: At heart we are book lovers, and nothing can replace the enjoyment of reading great fiction in a well-made book. As soon as I started to understand book production, I wanted to produce beautiful editions that I would want to keep and read myself. It was tempting to try and print books letter-press, and have more bound by hand, but we didn’t want to make them unaffordable. I hope we have a good compromise. But realising that our limited edition hardbacks are still perceived as expensive by some readers, paperbacks have been introduced for reprints. We still try and make them as elegant and nicely-produced as possible. Ebooks are less enjoyable to produce. We know, though, that for some people they are very convenient. It has very hard to sacrifice so much design work to create ebooks, b

Rapidly-Approaching-Hallowe'en Movie Quiz

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Everyone loves a quiz (yes they do, quiet at the back), so here are 13 images from movies that are eminently watchable at this time of year. Or indeed, any time of year. I've tried to make the hard ones easy and the easy ones hard, if you see what I mean. But I suspect that anyone who likes a bit of supernatural horror will know most of them straight away. So, let's get started... 1. 2. 3. 4.  5.  6.  7. 8.  9.  10.  11.  12.  13. 

What would you put on the telly?

Someone on Facebook (it was Paul Finch ) came up with a good idea, which I am course stealing. He suggested a list of six classic stories and six contemporary stories that would make good TV shows for a late night horror slot. And his choices for the classics were pretty good, I'd say: 1 The Room In The Tower – E.F. Benson 2. Squire Toby’s Will – Sheridan Le Fanu 3 The Two Vaynes – L.P. Hartley 4 The Mezzotint – M.R. James 5 Mansize In Marble - E. Nesbitt 6 Thurnley Abbey – Perceval Landon Interesting that they're all supernatural (or at least, I think the Hartley is, it's a long time since I've read it). I've been pondering some supernatural tales that might make good television. A lot depends on the script, direction, actors etc, so it's hard to say whether they would work. A story that leaps off the page might well resist adaptation. But for me these would be worth doing.  1. 'Count Magnus' - M.R. James 2. 'Ancient Sorceries' - Algerno

A Visit to 'Seaburgh'

Those crazy guys at the M.R. James podcast have been to Aldeburgh to check out the locations that inspired M.R. James's story 'A Warning to the Curious'. You'll note the White Lion pub and the Martello Tower. When I visited Aldeburgh with A Ghostly Company a few years back we walked to the tower, only to be caught in a horrendous North Sea downpour. Thoroughly soaked, I tried to dry my socks in the Gents of the White Lion before having a reviving bowl of soup. Sorry for the damp patches on the furniture. Oh, and check out the grave of Mrs Mothersole (more than one, in fact) at Great Livermere churchyard, which Monty J. knew so well as a lad.

Robert Westall on Cats, and Writing

I must do a post on Robert Westall 's books for the Spooky Library series, not least because he remains one of the most successful post-war ghost story authors. In the meantime here he is, cunningly disguised as Bob Westall, in a clip from a children's TV show - the voice-over is surely the late and much-missed Brian Glover . I assume this was recorded when  Blitzcat was published in 1989.

Building a Spooky Library - Pulpitations

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In a certain type of horror film, a troubled but basically normal chap turns out to have a deformed, lunatic brother living in the attic of his country house. It's not difficult to see the pulp horror tradition as the maniac bashing about in the attic of the traditional ghost story, causing untold embarrassment and much distaste, but also generating some much-needed excitement at times. Supernatural fiction of various kinds was of course the life-blood of many of the pulp magazines that appeared between the wars in the US. Weird Tales is the best-known example but there were dozens of other titles. Pop over to the Pulp Magazines Project for a look - it's fascinating stuff. You can check out interiors as well as the covers. The pulps are of course associated with early science fiction and thrillers of the 'hard-boiled' school, but they published a goodly number of ghost stories, plus stuff about vampires, werewolves, and all things spooky. What's mor

Slight Correction

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Sam Dawson felt that the scan he sent me of the illo for ST#25 wasn't quite up to snuff, so he sent me another. And here's the (slightly revised) cover. What this sort-of reveals is that someone with bad eyesight, like me, is not ideally qualified to design anything, let alone a magazine cover... I ought to add that, in reality the blue looks much darker. To me, at any rate. So it might be pink... Right, I'm changing it again because for some reason I couldn't get the scan to look right in the format above. So instead the front cover will look (more or less) like this: And the back cover will consist of the full size illustration.

Supernatural Tales 25 - preliminaries

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Well, ST is about to become a thrice-yearly production, with a Winter 2013/14 issue. I'll have more on that later, but in the meantime, two facts. One, it will be posted out to subscribers between Halloween and Christmas, in time to avoid the inevitable postal mayhem. Two, the cover will look something like this.