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Showing posts from May, 2016

Fairies Destroy Greenbelt

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Well, sort of. It seems that in the lovely English county of Somerset there's a problem with fairies, elves, pixies, good folk, or (if you're C.S. Lewis) the ' longaevi ' - it means longlivers. However long they may live, the problem is that in recent years the Somerset fairies have abandoned the classic mini-hill fort architectural stylings of their ancestors in favour of something tackie r. Volunteers managing Wayford Woods in the Somerset village of Wayford, near Crewkerne, acted after being overwhelmed by more than 100 fairy doors that had mysteriously appeared at the bases of their beech, ash and oak trees.  Sometimes tiny doll’s house chairs and beds would be found behind the doors, and delighted children would flock from far and wide to leave notes for the fairies – reassuring them that they believed they exist, and asking them to grant wishes. All very well, but as someone observed, 'it has all gone mad on the internet'. “Last year,” said Ms Acrem

Psychic powers...

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Original here . Click to enlarge.

Joe Dante v. Hollywood

This interview might be of interest to movie lovers. Joe Dante made some excellent and charming movies after cutting his cinematic teeth making trailers for Roger Corman. Like many people he's baffled by the way creative control is routinely wrenched away from directors by studio execs. It’s hard enough to make a movie when you’re all on the same page. But when you suddenly discover in the middle of the movie that now they’ve decided that it shouldn’t be what they thought it was about, it should be about this … that’s a recipe for disaster. I agree with him about this, too. I’m a James Whale student. His Universal Horror pictures were on TV when I was a kid. And a movie like The Invisible Man, the Invisible Man is throwing ink at people and being crazy and silly at one point, and then beating them to death with a stool in another moment. And it’s a dichotomy—because horror movies are essentially absurd anyway. The audience is always looking for something to laugh at, and if

The Sentinels

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Hi guys. I have a short horror novel coming out next month from an American publisher (so it's edited for American spelling, idioms etc). They are willing to provide e-books to reviewers. If you are American/Canadian they are particularly keen to have you review it as that's their target market, but anyone can have a go. So, please let me know if you'd like an e-book in return for the promise of a review.

Muladona, by Eric Stener Carlson

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Tartarus Press sent me an e-book of this novel to review. I'm glad they did, as it's a brilliant work of American Gothic supernatural horror. Muladona is set in the small east Texas town of Incarnation in 1918. The Great War is coming to an end and the Spanish Flu epidemic is taking hold. Widespread disruption leaves the narrator, 13-year-old Verge Strömberg, to fend for himself at home in a town where people are dying like flies. Then he receives word that a terrifying creature from Mexican/Indian folkore is coming to kill him and drag him to Hell. According to folklore the Muladona is a fire-breathing winged mule by night and transforms into an ordinary (but sinful) woman by day. If that sounds improbable, Carlson makes it very believable by presenting us with a world in which the supernatural intertwines with the everyday. If I had to categorise Muladona I'd put it somewhere between Ray Bradbury and Mark Twain, with a distinct touch of Rod Serling and a dash of Ambr

ST 31 Poll Nears Its Terrifying End

Well, with less than 48 hours to go it looks like Tim Foley is going to run away with the amazing prize of £25 (which, at current exchange rates, is worth less than ever before)! If you haven't already voted, why the heck not? It's free and harmless. Update! It's over! And Tim Foley's elegiac story of lost hopes and dreams won by a clear margin. With luck Tim will have received his generous cash prize by now and should be able to afford an extra pair of socks, depending on exchange rates.

Where Wolf? There Wolf!

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We all know the story. Two young American guys on holiday are hiking across the Yorkshire moors. They hear a spine-chilling howl, and take refuge in a pub inhabited by familiar British stereotypes, especially Brian Glover... No, hang on, that's a film. The real legend is the beast they call... Old Stinker! Really? That's the best the county that gave us Wuthering Heights, Jane Eyre, and Geoff Boycott could come up with? Oh well. Anyway, there's a list of links to Yorkshire/Humberside werewolf reports here . Always keen to fill in some historical context, the Yorkshire Daily Mail writes : The area's problem was recognised in AD 937, when King Athelstan granted the building of a hostel to provide travellers with shelter from these attacks.  Anyone on the road through would have been particularly wary of Wolf-monath – the Saxon name for January – when the creatures, starved of the easy-pickings of livestock, would turn on human prey. Holy flip! It's

Nina Paley - Sita Sings the Blues

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I think I mentioned this wonderful feature-length animation based on the Ramayana when it came our years ago, but I just thought I'd mention it again, m'kay? It's free to watch online on many platforms, as its creator decided to give it to the world. That's very generous of her. Here are a couple of clips. Beautiful stuff, and proof that art flourishes both because of and despite this crass world we endure, as usual.

'Rubies and Diamonds', written and read by Tina Rath

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When I started publishing ST I was fortunate to receive some of the witty, erudite tales of Tina Rath to help give the magazine a touch of class. She created a new type of narrator, a small chimaera that lives in the wardrobe of a jobbing actress and pays his rent by telling her stories. Now Tina has put a reading of one story on YouTube, so here it is! You can find Tina's collection here .

Seances by Guy Maddin

Yes, Guy Maddin, Canada's answer to the question 'Aren't there any weird Canadians?', has done it again. His take on Dracula is well worth seeing, but then all his movies are rich and strange. Now he's made an online movie that's never the same twice. Don't ask me how, it just shuffles things like intertitles and scenes. It's 15-20 mins. Check it out here .

You Come Here For Comedy Gold - I Deliver

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The Enduring Legacy of the Twilight Zone

Here is an excellent article (h/t Steve Duffy) about why the success of TTZ didn't prompt a slew of similarly good series. It is, it seems, mostly down to commercial pressures on US networks. Rod Serling, one of the true legends of weird fiction in the 20th century, ended up doing commercials for almost everything, including cigarettes, the product that eventually killed him. Television now demanded celebrity, not literary ability — probably the main reason Serling shifted from scriptwriting to shilling, lending his distinctive persona to the makers of toothpaste and beer and many other products. The article is also good on the censorship that went along with the power of sponsorship. Trying to deal with racism was asking for trouble when so many white American viewers were racist. “From experience, I can tell you that drama, at least in television, must walk tiptoe and in agony lest it offend some cereal buyer from a given state below the Mason-Dixon.” Good job the US outg

Answers

The Shining - 1980 Whistle and I'll Come To You - 1968 Duel - 1971 Jason Shulman, the guy who takes photos of films, is here .

Photographs of Films

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Films are a series of millions of photographs, aren't they? At least, that's what I was told. But what if you took a long exposure photo of a film? Well, some guy has done it with some films and the results are interesting. See if you can guess  which films these are photos of. All are supernatural/horror movies, though one was made for BBC TV. An adaptation of a best-selling novel by a major horror author An adaptation of a famous ghost story A horror road movie, scripted by a Twilight Zone writer Answers tomorrow! And a link to the guy who makes these intriguing photos.

The Loney Scoops A Big Prize

Andrew Michael Hurley's debut novel, The Loney, which I reviewed here , has just won a prestigious award . Andrew Michael Hurley’s slice of Lancashire-set gothic horror The Loney has beaten some of the year’s biggest-hitting novels to be named book of the year at the British Book Industry awards...  First published in a limited print run of just 300 copies by independent publisher Tartarus Press, The Loney tells of a pilgrimage to the Lancashire coast, “that strange nowhere between the Wyre and the Lune [where] the neap tides would reveal the skeletons of those who thought they could escape its insidious currents”. Word-of-mouth success with the small Yorkshire publisher meant it went on to be acquired by John Murray, and to win the Costa first novel award in January .  The British Book Industry awards, for “books that have been both well-written and brilliantly published”, called The Loney a “true British success story”. “A debut novel suspended between literary gothic and s

Two Weeks To Go!

Yes, just one of the Earth fortnights left to vote in the poll for the best story in ST 31. At the moment Tim Foley's sad, lyrical 'The Sound of Children Playing' looks like romping home. But will that clear lead evaporate in the May sunshine? Remember, a prize of twenty-five English pounds is at stake, so get your voting irons out and click on the story you like best.

Underpass (2015)

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I like this short horror movie, which was filmed in Chicago and features a soundtrack courtesy of NASA. Yes, NASA, check the credits. My only small criticism is that the end is a little too on the nose and does't quite belong in such a subtle work.

Issue 33 - a quick look at the contents that are looming

It won't be out until August, but that's not going to stop me from dangling the next issue in front of your mind. Here are the whos and whats. 'Cutty Dyer' by Jane Jakeman 'The House Opposite' by Tim Foley 'Mum & Dad & The Girl from the Flats Over the Road & the Man in the Black Suit' by Tom Johnstone 'The Bronze Statuette' by Rosalie Parker 'One Is All They Need' by Sean Padraic McCarthy 'A Thing Like Rage' by Keith Coleman 'The Hill' by Sam Dawson  As you can see we have some new writers, some familiar faces, and a record-breaking title from Tom Johnstone. I think it's a typically diverse issue, with styles and subject matters ranging from the traditional to the near-surreal. And that's how I like it! Meanwhile, don't forget than awful lot of issues of ST can be purchased in print form or as eBooks. Just go to the Buy Supernatural Tales page by clicking the above tab. You know it m

From Beyond The Beyond

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Radiohead - Burn the Witch

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Satanic Strippers (or, Beelzebub at the Burlesque Show)

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Following up yesterday's witchy bottom, more titillation in the form of something new to me and the author of this piece on Dangerous Minds . Its seems that some burlesque dancers wore costumes that combined a sort of giant puppet of Satan. As you do.

Witch's Bottom

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Sorry I've not been blogging much lately. I have been doing some other things, of which more in due course. In the meantime, here is a gratuitous picture of a supernatural posterior.

Action, Jackson!

Steve Duffy's story 'Even Clean Hands Can Do Damage' from ST 30 has been nominated for the prestigious Shirley Jackson Award in the Novelette category. Well done to Steve - it's about time he won an award, having produced first rate supernatural fiction for decades now. Full list of nominees is  here . And congratulations to ST alumna, if that's the word, Lynda E. Rucker for being nominated for the Short Fiction award for her story 'The Dying Season' in the excellent anthology Aickman's Heirs . Also to Steve Tem, whose In the Lovecraft Museum has been nominated in the Novella category.

ST 31 Poll - Three Weeks to Go!

Yes, just three of your Earth Weeks to decide on your favourite story in ST 31. Who will scoop the almost unbelievable £25 prize? I mean, that's 40 US dollars, people - riches beyond imagining (if you have a very limited imagination). Look over to the right, and you will see the clickable online poll. Vote!

Ju-On (Grudgey McGrudgeface) Fun!

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Yes, life can be a bit dreary when you're an evil ghost whose only function is to destroy the sanity and then the persons of unwise interlopers. Fortunately Kayako and her Toshio know how to chillax during their downtime between horrific mind-shattering onslaughts. Like playing on the swings. You can see more from this hilariously dysfunctional family's Instagram account here .