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
"There was a time when the woods near Duva ate girls. It’s been many years since any child was taken. But still, on nights like these, when the wind comes cold from Tsibeya, mothers hold their daughters tight and warn them not to stray too far from home. “Be back before dark,” they whisper. “The trees are hungry tonight.” Tor.com brings us some short horror/fairy tale fiction from Leigh Bardugo, "The Witch of Duva: A Ravkan Folk Tale."
One of the side effects of being a 5-day, live show was that the Gothic soap opera Dark Shadows featured regular technical and acting flubs. Many, many, many flubs [more inside]
In 1919, everyone wanted a copy of the deluxe edition of Edgar Allan Poe's Tales of Mystery and Imagination, but not because it was bound in vellum with real gold lettering. It was because of these grim and gorgeous illustrations by Harry Clarke, which added an extra dose of horror to Poe's already terrifying tales. Tales of Mystery and Imagination, which collects many of Poe's most enduring horror stories, including "The Masque Of The Red Death," "The Pit And The Pendulum," "The Telltale Heart," and "The Fall Of The House Of Usher," was actually first collected and published in 1908, nearly 60 years after Poe's death. This edition was published by George Harrap & Co., and included 24-full page illustrations by Clarke. Even though the volume cost five guineas (somewhere in the neighborhood of $300 US), it was much in demand and made Clarke's reputation as an illustrator. It's easy to see why, with these gorgeous renditions of often gruesome subjects. See all 24 illustrations here.
Spoilers at every link and below the fold: What is really lurking underneath the film The Cabin in the Woods? [more inside]
"As the Nazis approached Paris, the American Colony broke camp & abandoned the city like rats from a sinking ship. Behind them they left a frail, elderly, impoverished, homeless Irish-American who, as a young man, had been an heir to wealth, a close friend to Beardsley & Wilde, & the only important American in the 1890s Aesthetic movement of England & France. He was Vincent O'Sullivan, one of the world's great authors of horror fiction..." [more inside]
What if Edward Gorey illustrated Lovecraft? It'd look like John Kenn Mortensen's work, that's what. Except Mortensen makes his art in his spare time, on post-it notes. He has an art book.
"It's a Good Life" is a 1953 story by Jerome Bixby, who also wrote It! The Terror From Beyond Space, said to be the inspiration for Alien, and the Star Trek episode "Mirror, Mirror" (the one with evil bearded Spock.) It was made into a famous Twilight Zone episode, and is generally considered among the greatest SF stories ever written. Is "It's a Good Life" about God? Communism? 1950s suburban conformity? Or just about the horror of the self-contained world it creates in its few pages and the terrible realization that it would be possible to survive inside it, for a while?
A Stephen King interview: by Neil Gaiman "I interviewed Stephen King for the UK Sunday Times Magazine. The interview appeared a few weeks ago. The Times keeps its site paywalled, so I thought I'd post the original version of the interview here. (This is the raw copy, and it's somewhat longer than the interview as published.) I don't do much journalism any more, and this was mostly an excuse to drive across Florida back in February and spend a day with some very nice people I do not get to see enough. I hope you enjoy it."
The Vulture ranks all of Stephen King's books from worst to best.
"Rescue Pet" a comic about the effects of horrible mutating mimic blobs on a strained romantic relationship.
... it’s no exaggeration to say that LIFEFORCE tosses everything in but the kitchen in an attempt to entertain you. Actually, scratch that, it tosses everything including the kitchen sink. By the time the movie is complete, you may have to watch it again just to verify that you actually saw what you just saw. The movie is a mess of enormous proportions which I absolutely loved.
* (previously) [more inside]
ALIEN age 11 - an adaptation created by an underage artist based on the Alan Dean Foster novelization and a few stills, without having seen the actual film.
A Florida roofing crew is surprised when they disrupt a bat home. For maximum fun, there's also a longer version. (via Nothing to do with Arbroath)