About a week ago a series of tweets began to appear promoting a new TEDx conference taking place with all the normal social media bluster and back-patting - but was it? The event's isolated location should've set off warning bells (previously) when the tweets from "TedxSummerisle" because increasingly worrisome as the conference tumblr began posting videos with titles like "Our Friends the Bees, and Nanotech" and "The Secret Science of the Ancients". (via)
The Cramps ripped it up, madly channeling the sordid specters of rock 'n roll's past while staying true to its psychedelic future, even when voxman Lux Interior was a lean 59 years old. The first show from their last-ever tour does nothing but prove it. [more inside]
RIP British horror writer James Herbert, author of the modern classic of the genre The Rats among many others. [more inside]
"It was John Polidori's misfortune to be comic without having a sense of humor, to wish to be a great writer but to be a terrible one, to be unusually bright but surrounded for one summer by people who were titanically brighter, and to have just enough of an awareness of all of this to make him perpetually uneasy. Also, he couldn't jump."
Canadian cartoonist and animator Michael Deforge has been furiously productive over the past few years, producing a seemingly endless series of minicomics, four issues of his increasingly influential one-man anthology series Lose, short pieces for magazines, concert posters, and dozens of one-off illustrations, blog posts and anthology contributions. His comics are a queasy mix of body horror (reminiscent of his countryman David Cronenberg), creeping anxiety, and surprisingly sharp humor. [more inside]
If Doom and Nethack lived in Estonia and had a baby, it'd be named Teleglitch, a recently released pixelated action roguelike that will completely murder you if you're not very careful about how you explore its procedurally-generated corridors, fighting off former coworkers, crafting spare parts into new stuff and hunting for ammo and food and clues as to what the hell went so terribly wrong at the Militech R&D facility on Medusa 1-C. The game has a 4-level demo (Windows and Linux, Mac too apparently) which will probably kick your ass plenty all by itself. [more inside]
The 80s horror film genre called, and then you got a beep and turn-based squad tactics video games were on the other line, and it was a pretty confusing phone call basically but in the end you got the message that someone wanted Camp Keepalive back. Because it is awesome. And it runs on Windows and OSX and you should download the demo right now. [more inside]
Mamá. The sphincter-tightening short film by Andres Muschietti that inspired the movie of the same name, with an introduction by producer Guillermo del Toro.
UndeadTeds [NSFW?] is a tumblr featuring one-of-a-kind zombie teddy-bears of a graphic bent. Not for the faint of heart.
The Snipist - a post-apocalyptic nightmare set in a post-rabies Britain (warning: absolutely bleak). A Gun For George - a short film about crime-writer Terry Finch, author of the 70s Kentish fiction masterpieces The Reprisalizer. [more inside]
Brattleboro Days, Yuggoth Nights: an interview with H. P. Lovecraft on a single postcard.
An Unknown Alien Being acquires a child's forgotten book and mistakenly believes that it depicts proper protocol for interaction with the human world.
The book is a collection of Peanuts comics.
The book is a collection of Peanuts comics.
Woodsnoopy 45 stares into your open heart. Her yellow head squirms and pukes up feathers.MASTABA SNOOPY
It makes you uncomfortable when she looks at you. She makes a demand.
Her demands come often and always create uncomfortably simultaneous feelings of resentment and obedience.
That is the territory of the Lucy faction. They are the ones who gather nickels. Woodsnoopy 45 is overstepping her boundaries.
Being a mere Woodsnoopy 799, however, you can do naught but obey."
Seven For A Secret - an anonymous fanfic author creates seven unhappy ( or at least, unconventional ) endings for Disney Princesses by placing them in proper historical, mythological, or thematic context.
"I have thrown a terrarium of land crabs on the floor at a party in a drunken rage, I have known regret. "
Actor and writer James Urbaniak (Venture Brothers, American Splendor) has a wry, occasionally upsetting "fictional podcast" with every episode written by a new author. Getting On With James Urbaniak.
Between Peter Jackson’s penchant for cartoonish unserious gore and Bob McCarron’s off-screen makeup effects manipulations, Braindead achieves something that approaches inspired genius in the heretofore unknown artform of human carnage. The film is filled with moments of joyous slapstick tableaux... And then there is that moment where Braindead finally breaks through to achieve a transcendentally surreal glory of excess where Tim Balme wades into battle against the zombies armed with a lawnmower, drenching an entire room in showers of blood. (Braindead holds the record for the greatest amount of artificial blood ever used in a film). The film is a work of perverse genius. - Richard Scheib
Horror movies aren't just for Halloween: Silent Night, Bloody Night, Black Christmas, To All A Good Night, Christmas Evil (starring Fiona Apple's dad as a homicidal Santa), Gremlins (in which Phoebe Cates learns there is no Santa Claus), Silent Night, Deadly Night (which inspired Parts 2, 3, 4, and 5 despite--or perhaps because of--denunciations by Siskel & Ebert and parents' groups), Elves, and Jack Frost
From their archives, Mary Shelley writes about the origins of Frankenstein.
... [Thomas] Ligotti's stories tend to have a profound emotional impact. His vision is exceedingly dark, and it is possible for his stories to infect the reader with a mild-to-severe case of depression. It is even possible for them to effect a change in the reader's self-perception and view of the universe. This warning is not meant to be sensationalistic, nor is it meant to turn new readers away. It is simply a statement of fact based upon the experiences of actual readers. Ligotti writes about the darkest of themes with an amazing power, and he means what he says. Often his stories seem to communicate a message below their surface, a sort of subliminal statement that should not rightly be able to traverse the barrier of verbal language. - Matt Cardin (previously) [more inside]
Return of the Living Dead (NSFW) is one of the greatest zombie movies ever made. Not only does it have loads of great looking zombies in it, it's one of the few zombie movies, besides its sequel, that has a perfect blend of humor and horror.
Hellblazer, the DC/Vertigo comic starring Alan Moore created occult investigator John Constantine, is being cancelled at issue #300 to make way for a new comic set in DC's New 52 universe. Hellblazer was DC's longest running continuously numbered comic and it's cancelation marks the last of the DC Comics characters with Vertigo titles being taken back into the mainstream DC universe (previously). Vertigo was originally an imprint for mature readers occult themed titles and creator owned work, though it has changed over the years with an adaptation of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo becoming the first Vertigo to receive TV advertising.
Broodhollow is a new webcomic that has been pithily described by its creator as “Tintin goes to Innsmouth.” It’s a bit of Lovecraftian horror with subtly detailed artwork. Be sure to check out long-running companion website Ichor Falls, a “…short fiction site for the discerning horror/terror enthusiast." Great starting points include curious little thing and candle cove (previously). [more inside]
"We worked very much like a comedy troupe — you sit around at a writer’s table and say, 'Who has the best idea?' It’s like campfire stories, you just try to freak each other out." An interview with Drew Daywalt, short-form horror pioneer behind Fewdio (previously) and now Daywalt Fear Factory. [more inside]
Hammer House of Horror was a 1980 British anthology television series produced by the eponymous film studio. It was followed by Hammer House of Mystery and Suspense and there were a couple of other notable, similar themed, series around at the time, Beasts and West Country Tales. They might now seem a little crude and simplistic, but they employed an interesting array of writers, directors and actors and the best can still raise a definite chill [more inside]
Nightfall was a popular and controversial horror and sci-fi series that aired on CBC Radio between 1980 and 1983. [more inside]
Neil Gaiman reads a story that scared people. A new Neil Gaiman story is available from Audible. It's free, and every copy downloaded means a donation to DonorsChoose or BookTrust. (Neil does ask that you wait to listen to it until after dark.)
The 55 Scariest Scenes from Fantasy/SF/Horror movies by the jewel-in-the-crown-of-Gawker io9 features many clips guaranteed to freak you out. Along the same lines, and also from io9, is an excellent list of ten novels that are scarier than horror movies.
In the spirit of Halloween and scary movies: a remix of Mr. Sandman set to a supercut of some of the spookiest scenes from horror cinema: Full-On Lovemaking. Warning, NSFW. Further warnings for the squeamish below the jump. [more inside]
Robert Aickman wrote some of the best ghost stories of the last fifty years. He also edited one of the finest genre anthology series of his time: The Fontana Book of Great Ghost Stories. Between 1964 and 1972, he curated eight volumes of horror fiction without repeating an author, favoring always the subtle, the psychological, the poetic, the rare, the neglected. 59 of his selections can be found online. [more inside]
Scary stories for Halloween Guardian books writers select their favourite seasonal chillers
The Eat Your Heart Out Cake Shop (NSFW), with cakes graphically illustrating medical conditions and symptoms of disease, will be open from October 26th-28th at London's Pathology Museum at St Bart's Hospital. [more inside]
It was the last few weeks before I left 2000AD and I was looking forward to starting work on my next creation: Misty. I took the title from the film, Play Misty For Me and my plan was to use my 2000AD approach on a girls’ comic: big visuals and longer, more sophisticated stories with the emphasis on the supernatural and horror. Pat Mills on the creation of Misty, a comic full of "pacts with the devil, schoolgirl sacrifice, the ghosts of hanged girls, sinister cults, evil scientists experimenting on the innocent and terrifying parallel worlds where the Nazis won the Second World War." The Guardian's Jacqueline Rayner recalls Jinty, Tammy, Misty and the golden age of girls' comics.
Alphabet Horror Vacui is a satire of children's alphabet books utilizing unnerving themes such as nightmares, war, monsters, institutionalized ignorance, and willful ambivalence to human suffering in lieu of familiar alphabet scenes of busy city streets, animals amongst nature, and happy fanciful scenes. Each piece takes a slightly different tack with Marsh's self-imposed assignment, and while some of them are funny in an almost Edward Gorey way, others worm their way into your brain. (via io9) [more inside]
Ken and Robin Talk About Stuff, a podcast in which writer and game designer Robin D. Laws (Hamlet's Hitpoints, The GUMSHOE system) and game designer and writer Kenneth Hite (Tour De Lovecraft, GURPS Horror) (previously) talk about stuff. Stuffs include: Why vampires are assholes and the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, stopping WWI and Beasts of the Southern Wild, Margaret Atwood and the difference between a mystic and an occultist, why no invented setting is as interesting as the real world and Woodrow Wilson, Gencon and sundry RPGs, Neil Armstrong, HP Blavatsky and theosophy, the ebook prcing settlement, what big publishing could learn from RPG publishers, and the many crazy fictional possibilities of Charles Lindbergh and his UFO investigating chums, and Dungeons and Dragons edition wars and Aliester Crowley.
The Ronnie Horror Picture Show In December of 1980, in the wake the election of Ronald Reagan, ABC's SNL-wannabe/rival Fridays diverted from its usual format to run an extended skit (at 20 minutes it may be the longest sketch ever performed) commenting on it all in a very ambitious spoof of The Rocky Horror Picture Show. The Ronnie Horror Picture Show (featuring a young Michael Richards in the role of Brad) is an abridged version of the Rocky Horror tale mapped to a the era-shift from the liberal late 70s to the much more conservative early 80s. It's definitely a time capsule and and interesting window into that specific moment's attitudes. [more inside]
"Penpal" - from Reddit subreddit to Amazon bestseller. When Dathan Auerbach, aka 1000vultures, posted the first in a series of beautifully told tales making sense of his unsettling childhood memories on the Reddit subreddit NoSleep ["a place where people post horror stories; there, 'everything is true, even if it isn’t'"], he could have had no idea that by May of this year he would have a Kickstarter project completed and be on the Amazon bestseller lists with Penpal and a range of beautifully produced artwork. [more inside]
The scarily honest animated facts of life for teens A disturbingly blunt and beautifully animated short film about the horrifying changes brought about by puberty. Part of the "Teen Facts" exhibit at the NEMO Science Center in Amsterdam. (via everlasting blort)
There seems to be a recent golden age of genuinely terrifying indie horror games that experiment with new ways to upset you. Slender [PC/Mac, free], is based on the creepy Slender Man mythos and has been garnering rave reviews and videos of terrified reactions as you try to escape the being that draws ever closer. The 4th Wall [free or $1 on Xbox/PC] is a even more abstract take on existential dread. SCP Containment Breach [PC, free] features the very disturbing Sculpture (even the picture in that link will creep you out) from the SCP series, it follows another SCP game - The Staircase. And there is more - Which [PC, free] has you stumble in the dark; Ib [PC, free] places you in the shoes of a girl in an abandoned art gallery, and Candles [free, Win/Mac] is all about atmospherics. On top of that, there are some cheap independent commercial games that generate great scares, such as Lone Survivor [online demo] and the now-famous Amnesia: The Dark Descent [PC/Mac/Linux, $20], whose upcoming sequel A Machine for Pigs, may have the best title of any game.
desperate deranged talking in my sleep again eyes twitch retain a sentimental something looked lorn and we burned and burned
Envisioned as an experimental side project by cEvin Key while he was in the new wave band Images In Vogue, Canada's Skinny Puppy has since become one of the biggest industrial bands of the age. As we close in on their 30th anniversary why not settle back for two hours and enjoy the entire of Skinny Puppy's Greater Wrong of the Right concert on YouTube while you download the free fan-made DVD Eurosolvent? [more inside]
"What is a cult film? A cult film is one that has a passionate following, but does not appeal to everyone. James Bond movies are not cult films, but chainsaw movies are. Just because a film has become a cult movie does not automatically guarantee quality. Some are very bad; others are very, very good. Some make an awful lot of money at the box office; others make no money at all. Some are considered quality films; others are exploitation movies. One thing cult movies do have in common is that they are all genre films - for example gangster films or westerns. They also have a tendency to slosh over from one genre into another, so that a science fiction film might also be a detective movie, or vice versa. They share common themes as well, themes that are found in all drama: love, murder and greed." - of the British TV film slots accompanied by an introduction perhaps the most celebrated is Moviedrome, running between 1988 and 2000 and presented first by Repo Man director Alex Cox and then film critic Mark Cousins. [more inside]
Comics artist Frazer Irving adapts Mary Shelly's Frankenstein in hauntingly beautiful black and white: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18.
False Positive is a a short story, webcomic anthology, which author and illustrator Mike Walton likes to call a stew, cooked from the gut, made with "a scoop of horror, a pinch of science-fiction, a dash of fantasy, and a bit of (To Be Determined)." Mike says the language could be rated PG-13, and the visuals feature a varying degrees of comic book violence and gore. There are 10 stand-alone "chapters" posted now, and new posts are made every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Mike also made a short trailer to further pique your interest. [more inside]
Alex Pappademas and Sean Witzke over at Grantland have a long, detailed, super geeky film-nerd discussion of the Alien franchise. "It's important to note here that this is a nuke-it-from-space kind of conversation in which just about every aspect of the original "Alien Quadrilogy" is spoiled, as are some fairly crucial plot points from Prometheus. The Alien vs. Predator movies are neither spoiled nor discussed, because that would mean acknowledging their existence. Some people will undoubtedly view this as curatorial negligence on our part, but we welcome their scorn. "
Brad Pitt's Zombie Nightmare: Inside the Troubled 'World War Z' Production The Hollywood Reporter sorts through the problems causing the release of the film version of Max Brooks' post-apocalyptic UN report to be delayed until next June. Via the A.V. Club, which adds links to previous stories about the filming.
Gillian James charts the connections in the Stephen King universe* Meanwhile The Guardian is rereading King begining with Carrie and Salems Lot, CNN has discovered The Gospel of Stephen King, and in further Castle Rock news a new movie version of It is being made.
* Not including The Dark Tower
* Not including The Dark Tower