The Eyrie by Thom Burgess – Graphic Novel Review

rsz_theerrieThe Eyrie (Graphic Novel) Review

Written by Thom Burgess
Illustrated by Barney Bodoano

Available here – http://theeyrie.bigcartel.com

What’s It All About?

From the writer of Malevolents ‘Click Click’ and illustrated by the talents of Barney Bodoano comes a whole new haunting tale of terror.
‘After accepting a last minute job request from an old client, New York based photographer, Rebecca finds herself alone in one the remote parts of Britain’s South Coast. Amidst the mist swept fields and superstitious townsfolk, Rebecca will soon find out that there are worst threats than simply not finishing her job on time….’

Is it good?

I’ll be honest, I don’t read many graphic novels, in fact the last one I did read was Burgess’s Malevolents: Click Click. However, due to the quality of ‘Click Click’ I was looking forward to seeing what he would produce next. ‘Click Click’ had an old fashioned horror vibe about it, the story moved at a good pace and all in all was a very satisfying read. No pressure here then, Thom!

Fortunately, it turns out that Thom Burgess is no flash in the pan and he has again given us a story that moves along briskly and smartly, throwing in characters that wouldn’t be out of place in a seventies horror movie. We get a cool, isolated, old town setting and a heroine who is out of place. All could have collapsed into cliche, but the writing keeps it fresh, lively and interesting with Bodoano’s illustrations lending to the atmosphere. The story pulls you in and races off coming to a neat conclusion giving us some nicely crafted characters and menacing supernatural villains along the way.

Burgess is compiling a cool series of stories, all feeling grounded and all compelling. I know he has a number of projects in the works and based on his last two works I’m very much looking forward to seeing what he comes up with next.

By the way, ‘The Eyrie’ has a foreword penned by Reece Shearsmith. Not a bad feather to have in the cap.

A good 4/5!

ICE (A Tale Of Horror) by Frank Pickering – Book Review

ice1Frank Pickering’s ICE hopes to chill your spine with a tale of tragedy on a mountain leading into a series of haunting encounters with a weird mountain guardian and the odd bit of snowy suspense.

Mountain and arctic environments are rich territories for horror. There’s a threat built in right there, the same as setting your story in space, or in the ocean. Vast, threatening, sometimes unknowable spaces. Places where the everyday person may not go, with risks all around. You can seed fear in reader’s minds just by using an isolated setting, and from that, you can layer on all kinds of thrills.

But you have to have characters you care about. ICE doesn’t present you with any. Killing off a few cringeworthy teenage characters early on barely has any impact. The tragic hero who returns to the mountains an indeterminate amount of time after his partner is killed just gets on with things, so his link to previous events feels pointless. There’s more love here for skiing than the cheeky authorial glee of leading you into a place of terror. It feels less like a journey of fear and more like a description of events, flatly journalistic at times, and never creepy.

That’s a shame, because there’s definitely a love of language in this book, but the sometimes poetic descriptions distract from the mood they’re trying to create. Right from the first line, where personification of a valley doesn’t quite work, reading this novel felt like an uphill struggle towards tension which never pulls taut enough.

There’s no real climax either, no escalation of the threat laying in wait under the mountain. It’s kind of like visiting a museum to see a specific exhibit, finding it replaced with a sign reading this item will be returning soon, shrugging your shoulders and then going home. You may get a faint glimmer of interest, but it’s not going to be handed to you.

There are books out there which handle the combination of icy conditions and creeping dread far better – Thin Air by Michelle Paver, and Ararat by Christopher Golden spring to mind. If you’re looking for chilly thrills, look there, not here.

Score: 3/10

Amazon US: http://www.amazon.com/dp/1782011994
Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1782011994

Garden of Fiends: Tales of Addiction Horror – Book Review

gofGarden of Fiends: Tales of Addiction Horror – Book Review

Garden of Fiends pulls together eight tales of addiction blended with horror. Now you might think that addiction is horrid enough on its own, and you’re right. Only in this collection, editor Mark Matthews has selected stories which draw on real life, but don’t rely on it for the horror elements. There are tales of demons and ghosts here, all bound to the struggles addictions bring with them.

Opening with A Wicked Thirst by Kealan Patrick Burke, you’re immediately thrown into a world of panic, where a date is juxtaposed with a brutal drowning. This reads like the returning memories of a blacked-out drunk, with events gradually falling into place as the harrowing story goes on. I had to take a break by the end of this one, it’s a hell of an opener.

The One in the Middle by Jessica McHugh is a hard-to-stomach tale of addicts at their lowest point, forced to sell flesh to a cannabalistic high society. There’s a hint of Burroughs about this one, with sci-fi elements meeting the down & dirty everyday horror, in a city trying not to repeat its own mistakes.

Everywhere You’ve Bled and Everywhere You Will by Max Booth III involves a bleeding body part and a horrific tragedy involving shared illness. This goes past the point of horror into mind-fucking insanity. A skilful blend of many horrors.

First, Just Bite a Finger by Johann Thorsson is a flash fiction piece about being addicted to cannibalism, and it’s a short-sharp shock of a metaphor, feeding into the worries that peer pressure brings.

Last Call by John FD Taff features an ex-alcoholic coasting through life without respecting his journey to quick sobriety. The horror here comes right at the end, less brutal and more tragic.

Torment of the Fallen by Glen Krisch involves a daughter trying to reconnect with her estranged father. You’ll definitely feel the pain of finding a loved one devastated by drugs here, only there’s demonic forces at work too, which hopefully you’ll never feel. Unless you like the idea of being eaten alive by rats?

Garden of Fiends by Mark Matthews is quite simply, a heartbreaker. Here, a father tries to pull his daughter away from an addictive relationship, drifting too close to her world for his own good. The horror and despair conjured by this novella-length offering has tinges of the supernatural to accentuate the horror of loss.

The collection ends with Returns by Jack Ketchum, a ghost story less about addiction than the others, but listen, it’s Ketchum. You know you’re not coming out the other side of this one with a smile. It’ll move you before the midway point, and if you’re a cat person, it might just ruin you.

That rare themed anthology that offers a great selection of stories with no duds, I would fully recommend Garden of Fiends to any horror fan. None of the stories here are frivolous, they all respect addiction for what it is, and that means you’re not in for an easy read. That said, it’s still an essential purchase for the short story aficionado.

Score: 10/10

Amazon US: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B06X9X1WYS
Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B06X9X1WYS

And you can follow Wicked Run Press @WickedRunPress

Palette of the Improbable: Tales of Horror & Darkness by Steve Vasquez – Book Review

rsz_51tshpgfpulPalette of the Improbable: Tales of Horror & Darkness by Steve Vasquez – Book Review

Available HERE

Totalling seven stories, Palette of the Improbable (PotI) plays host to a number of (as you may have guessed) improbable stories and scenarios. These range from deals with The Devil, paranormal hauntings and time travel. It really is a mixed bag where we end up with varying degrees of success. The overarching theme that binds it all together is the improbability that these stories might take place in the real world, and that is very much the case for the most part. However, in blatant contradiction to what I just said; three of the total seven stories I could very well imagine may have happened at some point in time, in some guise, somewhere in the world. But this only adds to both the horror and tragedy conveyed in these particular stories (“God Works in Mysterious Ways”, “Good Night, Sleep Tight” and “A Hand Is a Terrible Thing to Waste”).

If we can define “palette” as the range of colours available to an artist. Here we must transform colours to words. If words, like colours, are combined to create the finished product; we are left with a narrow range. To this collections fault it contains one too many cliches which take away from the occasional brilliance that lurks just beneath the surface. Before we go any further, let me just say, if you’re looking for a quick read with smatterings of horror and darker themes, PotI is worth picking up. Let me make that clear. However, the execution of some of the stories leaves a lot to be desired. I think it is also worth mentioning, there also seemed to be a trend of suspicion towards women. This is particularly evident in some of the earlier stories we are presented with. Whether this was intentional or not, is not known to me at this point in time, but it did jump out at me and I’m not exactly a chest thumping feminist.

I found myself on the fence for the most part while reading these stories. There were a few glimmers of great writing only to become dull again when the next cliche rolled around. “Through the Wormhole Darkly” for example, contained some great detail and background knowledge in some areas but then contained some anachronisms which undercut some great moments. Maybe some greater care is needed to tidy up these small issues for future stories from Vasquez, which I strongly encourage him to continue. The variety of stories was great, you never knew where the next one would take you and that shows a versatility from Vasquez to his credit. There was a familiarity to the stories, but then again there is to most stories in this day and age.

Maybe feeling more like a pulp novel than anything else. I would still recommend PotI for a quick read (under an hour in total). Being overall a bit rough around the edges, there is certainly room for improvement and some of these stories could definitely be fleshed out a bit more (I’m looking at you “Good Night, Sleep Tight”). There is a creepy opener and a light hearted close. I wanted to keep this review brief as I don’t want to ruin any of this compelling little stories.

The take home message is give this short story collection a chance, despite its flaws.

6/10

At The Cemetery Gates: Year One – Book review

cem

There’s something simple and evocative about the words cemetery gates, isn’t there? A pair of rusted, wrought iron doorways, ready to creak open and welcome you into a world of death. Or maybe you’re a Pantera fan like me and you’re thinking of Dimebag’s noodling giving way to that crushing riff.

At The Cemetery Gates Year One has that same kind of promise in its title, bringing to mind a person on the verge of some creepy discovery, and the cover is similarly creepy, with a Stephen Gammell kind of vibe to it. But a good cover & title isn’t everything, as I found once I stepped inside the world of John Brhel and Joe Sullivan.

The collection kicks off with A Dark and Desolate Recurrence, featuring a couple trapped in their car during a blizzard, saved by a mysterious figure. This turns into a bewildering “who owns this house?” story, culminating in a clumsily-delivered ghost encounter. This suffers from don’t go upstairs syndrome where all logic is thrown out and you end up yelling at the characters for making bad decisions. The couple hear murderous noises upstairs…so decide to look for something to eat. That kind of thing. It’s a weird choice of opener, seeing as there are far stronger stories in the collection.

Only problem is, those strong stories take a good long while to materialise. With 14 stories to pick through, I found myself nitpicking more than enjoying the variety of tales on offer. Many of the stories share a fascination with time loops which gets wearying after a while, and the more varied stories veer from a sub-par Psycho imitations to a subversion of teen slasher tropes which still feels like it’s been done before.

And so it continues, with characters sharing uninteresting, everyday conversations before anything happens, over-explaining of ideas or feelings, and a general lack of scares or chills. I was ready to give up entirely but I’m not a quitter. I don’t walk out of movies and I always finish a book no matter how much I don’t want to.

Good thing I did, because some of the later stories are actually pretty good. There’s a blast of dark comedy in New Year’s Eve, What A Gas!, some Evil Dead style schlock in the fun-but-flawed The Call is Coming From Inside the House, more pitch-black humour in An Epistle From the Dead. It’s just a shame that the final story falls back into the same ponderous over-explaining of the twist that the earlier stories were guilty of.

This is a shaggy haircut of a book, desperately in need of a good trim, a bit of pampering to make it shine. As is, it’s too flat and dull to recommend, with only a few decent stories in the bunch, but this is year one. Styles change, and maybe after a few seasons have passed, there’ll be something more vibrant coming from these two author’s heads.

Score: 3/10

Book links:

Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01MFZXHJJ/
Amazon US: http://www.amazon.comk/dp/B01MFZXHJJ/

I Have The Sight by Rick Wood – Book Review

Dead girl. Halloween theme.

Dead girl. Halloween theme.

I Have The Sight by Rick Wood – Book Review by Ben Walker

For many, the most chilling thing about a possession story is lack of control, whether it’s a malevolent demon taking over someone you love, or the idea that your own mind may be pushed out by forces unknown.

An important thing in a possession story then, is to touch on this theme of control. Not to harp on about it, but The Exorcist does this masterfully, as Chris’ life rapidly goes from happy to hellish, Regan becomes a vessel of hatred and chaos, and both Karras and Merrin realise their faith is no protection from fate.

In I Have The Sight, Rick Wood plays off this core concept of control, with titular sight-haver Edward (Eddie) King showing his confident demonologist side before walking us down the road he trod to get there. And as it turns out, it’s a long hard road out of…you know where.

I’ve realised recently that The Exorcist may have spoiled me in terms of expectations for this kind of story. Judging …Sight on its own merits, it’s a perfectly serviceable story. But compared to the grandparent of all exorcism tales, this is a less weighty take on the genre.

Reason being, the opening chapter sets up a demonic showdown, then weaves back & forth between past & present to reveal that Eddie is really the one in need of of help. So there’s your lack of control. Even though Eddie seems helpless for the majority of the story, he’s still introduced as a hero type. So when the demonic threat emerges, it never comes off as threatening as it could’ve, because by page thirteen, it’s already clear that Eddie has control. Taking us back through a shaky past doesn’t change that, so the tension never really builds enough to make you worry for him.

Along the way, there are some knockabout exorcism/demon battle scenes, which end up favouring physicality (hands beating back demonic flames, slashing claws, force powers etc) over mental games, which didn’t really do it for me. I can appreciate the visuals, but they felt like acrobatic fight scenes from a movie (which would make sense given the author’s background in screenwriting), rather than complelling narrative nightmares.

Taken as a standalone story, …Sight works fine as a one-off read. However, it’s the start of a series, and I’m not convinced that I want to follow Eddie’s journey any further. Most questions about his past are answered throughout, so there’s no itch in my brain for more, even with the final question the story lazily throws out. Check it out if you’d like a novel spin on the standard girl in peril exorcism trope, just don’t expect pea soup and terror.

Score: 5/10

Book links:

Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01MFDCMYT/
Amazon US: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B01MFDCMYT/

And you can follow Rick Wood on twitter @rickwoodwriter

Dark Teardrops by Catherine Tramell – Book Review

rsz_546375522Dark Teardrops by Catherine Tramell – Book Review

Catherine Tramell takes a lofty stab at greatness with Dark Teardrops, comparing it to The Exorcist in her back cover blurb, taking a shot at the reams of poor imitations which followed William Peter Blatty’s (RIP) influential possession horror.

Dark Teardrops, the blurb claims, is aimed directly at fans of Blatty’s novel. Now, I’m a big Exorcist fan. It’s one of the horror stories I come back to yearly, whether it’s movie, screenplay or novel. I defend the film passionately to anyone who criticises it (rightly or wrongly). So okay, I thought, reading the author’s promise. Let’s see if you can live up to it.

Sadly, by page five, the promise was broken. Dark Teardrops has aspirations of greatness, but like tears themselves, those aspirations dry up quickly. Jim and his daughter Brisia are no Chris and Regan, and this story favours eventual gore over the slow build of dread.

Overloaded with huge paragraphs, some more than half a page long, there’s no drive to the drama. By page five of The Exorcist you’ve met three key players, and realise that ancient evil is lurking in the shadows. All Dark Teardrops can offer by then is an old woman looking at photos, talking to herself.

Still, horror does eventually come into play, and things become more graphic, but it’s too sudden a shift in tone. With no build-up, the gore and rote “little girl swearing” possession stuff feels a bit out of place. One day it’s family breakfasts and fond looks, the next day it’s dogs being beaten to death with baseball bats. And even though the viscera flies in some imaginative, shocking ways, there’s a slightly B-movie feel to the prose; more shock value than spine-tingling.

And then there’s the onomatopoeia. So much onomatopoeia. Ring ring! goes a phone, peep! goes a bird, beep beep! goes an ECG…and on it goes. These sound effects are mostly used as scene breaks, which completely ruined any tension or scares beforehand. I can’t take a brutal assault seriously if the next line afterwards is ding dong! – that’s like blowing a slide whistle at the end of Sleepaway Camp.

Despite all these faults, it’s clear that the author is in love with language, and with writing. There’s a great scene in which the possessed Brisia humiliates a teacher with a sharp literary analysis of Don Quixote. This really stood out for me, thanks to its clear & genuine passion. If the rest of the story were as well-written as that single outburst, there’d be a higher number at the end of this review.

The final chapter does go some way to redeeming the story, with a powerful confrontation between demon and family, but it’s a foghorn of a showdown, too blaring and noisy to really resonate emotionally.

Overall, Dark Teardrops was too much like a poorly edited half-novel to recommend as a good read. Though it did make me want to go back to The Exorcist, so it’s not all bad.

Score: 2/10

Book links:

Amazon UK: www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B017BE3EGO
Amazon US: www.amazon.com/dp/B017BE3EGO

The Last Testament of Thomas Griffith by Martin Adil-Smith – Book Review

tgThe Last Testament of Thomas Griffith – A Review

The Last Testament of Thomas Griffith (TLTOTG) is a short story set in the universe of The Spirals of Danu by Martin Adil-Smith.

Following the Small’s Lighthouse incident of 1801, as the title suggests this is the last testament of Thomas Griffith to his wife before his descent into madness. For those of you unfamiliar with this story, two lighthouse keepers on St David’s Peninsula, Wales , Thomas Griffith and Thomas Howell. Curiously however, Howell was a love rival for Griffith’s wife. During a terrible storm, when no relief could reach them, in a freak accident Thomas Howell managed to fall, hit his head and die (so the story goes). After Howell’s untimely death Griffith maintained it was an accident with no mal intent. Normal protocol was if someone had died in the lighthouse to throw the body overboard lest you wanted to cosy up to a bloated rotting corpse in the pale moonlight.

Griffith for whatever reason, be it out of guilt or the beginnings of his madness, tied Howell’s body up outside so that maybe he could be examined to determine he wasn’t murdered once the relief team could reach them. It was the worst storm in a number of years, supplies were plenty but morale was low.

Adil-Smith’s take on this tale takes us down a darker more sinister road altogether. He attempts to fill in the gaps between when Howell’s died and the days leading up to the relief crew’s arrival. They, finding Griffith as a bumbling wreck. Written as a diary entry; a last will and testament. Brief in its presentation, yet chilling all the same. If ever there was a piece to give you a taste of the wider universe of The Spirals of Danu it’s TLTOTG. The story teased me just enough to want more, to uncover the secrets of the world. That is a testament (pun intended) to Adil-Smith’s wordcraft. Luckily for me there is a series already out there for me to sink my teeth into. If you’re into dark fantasy, the strange and the occult you may enjoy this short story. I look forward to picking up the rest of The Spirals of Danu to see if the quality continues!
If you’d like to hear myself and Martin discuss this short (among other things) follow the link below to listen to my conversation with him.

Verdict: 8/10

Find Martin below:

To Buy “The Last Testament of Thomas Griffith” –
a-fwd.com/asin=B01M9C67PK
Website – spiralsofdanu.com/
Facebook – www.facebook.com/SpiralsOfDanu/
Twitter – twitter.com/SpiralsOfDanu

Dark Web: Steven Hickey’s Essential Guide To Creepypasta – Part 36 NES Godzilla

creepypastaDARK WEB: STEVEN HICKEY’S ESSENTIAL GUIDE TO CREEPYPASTA
PART 36: NES GODZILLA

There can be few subgenres of Creepypasta that have fallen so far in the eyes of fans as Videogame Pastas.

When the first few such stories appeared on the Creepypasta landscape, they had a huge impact. Genuine hits such as BEN Drowned (covered here: http://www.ukhorrorscene.com/dark-web-steven-hickeys-essential-guide-to-creepypasta-part-3-ben-drowned/) saw dozens, then hundreds of imitators, of varying degrees of quality. Seen as cutting edge at the time, the genre soon became stale, with a number of derivative and poorly crafted stories directly contributing to their decline in popularity. However, there can be no denying that those stories forged during the early days of the Videogame Pasta boom were ground-breaking, and in some cases, technical and creative triumphs. Perhaps the most impressive of these is digital artist CosbyDaf’s NES Godzilla Creepypasta.

Posted to one of the early breeding grounds of Creepypasta, the Bogleech forums back on 23 April 2011(http://z3.invisionfree.com/bogleech/index.php?showtopic=1896), you can read the first part of the full (and VERY lengthy) story at the Creepypasta Wiki where it appeared on 11 April 2012: http://creepypasta.wikia.com/wiki/NES_Godzilla_Creepypasta/Chapter_1:_Earth_%26_Mars

rsz_godzilla_creepypasta_tribute_by_lucidstillnessIn it CosbyDaf tells the story of Zachary, a young boy who is a big fan of classic NES games and kaiju movies. Now a teen, he’s able to relive both of these childhood pleasures when his friend Billy locates a copy of the classic Nintendo beat ‘em up, Godzilla: Monster of Monsters.
Upon plugging the cartridge in, he soon starts to notice some odd glitches in the game — such as some different monster characters, ones that should not have been in the game. After defeating the boss character Titanosaurus, he then proceeds to the third level, however, rather than be named Jupiter as it was in the original game, it was renamed Pathos.

What makes the story truly astonishing is that CosbyDaf has created a series of convincing and exquisitely crafted ‘screenshots’ of the game.
Throughout the story we are presented with regular visual depictions of the game’s events that illustrate and clarify everything ‘Zach’ describes from the game. The sprites, the backgrounds, even some very basic animations, all of them are the creation of (or at least altered/doctored by) CosbyDaf. From a technical standpoint, it’s a tremendous achievement, and that’s before you even get into the later chapters where the work becomes more complex and intricate.

The story continues in Chapter 2: Pathos (which you can read here: http://creepypasta.wikia.com/wiki/NES_Godzilla_Creepypasta/Chapter_2:_Pathos).
Featuring yet another character that shouldn’t have been in the game, Biollante, this is even more unsettling when Zach realises that the first movie appearance of Biollante was actually a full year after the release of Monster of Monsters. However, if that was unsettling, the chase sequence at the end of the level during which we are first introduced to a nightmarish red creature is downright terrifying.
Following a narrow escape, Zach progresses to the next level — Trance (read the third chapter here: http://creepypasta.wikia.com/wiki/NES_Godzilla_Creepypasta/Chapter_3:_Trance).

whatthe-png-webpThis introduces a new element to the gameplay, a bizarre ‘quiz’ level in which a strange disembodied face asks a number of questions answerable with a ‘Yes’ or ‘No’. These vary from mind-numbingly mundane (‘Do you like dogs?’) to hugely inappropriate and upsetting (‘Have you been molested by a family member?’). The level continues to provide an assortment of bizarre enemies, strange locations and, ultimately, the return of the red demon.

This level is followed by Chapter 4: Dementia (http://creepypasta.wikia.com/wiki/NES_Godzilla_Creepypasta/Chapter_4:_Dementia ), then Chapter 5: Entropy (Part 1) and then Entropy (Part 2). You can read both chapters here: http://creepypasta.wikia.com/wiki/NES_Godzilla_Creepypasta/Chapter_5:_Entropy_(Part_1) and here: http://creepypasta.wikia.com/wiki/NES_Godzilla_Creepypasta/Chapter_5:_Entropy_(Part_2)

It is during these chapters that we are given an insight in Zach’s life, a tragedy that befell him in the past and the frightening notion that the monster within the game, Red, might be sentient… and aware of whom it is tormenting.

From here follows Chapter 6: Extus (http://creepypasta.wikia.com/wiki/NES_Godzilla_Creepypasta/Chapter_6:_Extus), Chapter 7: Zenith (http://creepypasta.wikia.com/wiki/NES_Godzilla_Creepypasta/Chapter_7:_Zenith), and Chapter 8: Finale — a two part climax to the tale in which Zach is forced to play for his very life against the malevolent Red (http://creepypasta.wikia.com/wiki/NES_Godzilla_Creepypasta/Chapter_8:_Finale_(Part_1) and (http://creepypasta.wikia.com/wiki/NES_Godzilla_Creepypasta/Chapter_8:_Finale_(Part_2)

The epic story concludes with a final Epilogue (http://creepypasta.wikia.com/wiki/NES_Godzilla_Creepypasta/Epilogue) in which Zach attempts to discover the origin of — and reveals the fate — of the titular game cartridge.

The story was subsequently posted to its own blog, which is sadly now defunct, and then to a mirror blog in March 2012 (http://nesgodzillacreepypasta.blogspot.co.uk/2012/03/chapter-1-earth-mars.html).

Prior to this, CosbyDaf posted an image of all the sprites from his story to his DeviantArt page (http://cosbydaf.deviantart.com/art/The-Cast-272693251) back on 6 December 2011. This was very much welcomed by fans of the story, as it gave them all a chance to get a better look at the creatures/characters of NES Godzilla, not least of which the sinister (and immensely popular) Red.

rsz_thumbnail_solomon_matt_frankAs a design Red is especially effective, with his multiple forms encompassing several prime phobias (including a decidedly arachnid, ‘scuttling’ form). Reports claim CosbyDaf has admitted that the design of Red was heavily influenced by that of another Nintendo villain, Giygas, the primary antagonist of classic SNES titles EarthBound and EarthBound Beginnings. In many ways, Red (or the Hellbeast as the character is regularly referred to throughout the story) can be seen as a kaiju embodiment of Earthbound’s lead villain. However, it can also be claimed that Red is based on a mythical movie that never was, the rumoured 1978 flick Godzilla vs The Devil.

This story sprang up following a report by Ed Godziszewski which appeared in Japanese Giants #5. The report claimed the film would be a joint venture between Toho and UPA Productions., based on an American script, with a whopping budget of $4 million and a runtime of 110 minutes. It was also stated that Godzilla was to face off against a number of terrifying monsters that included a giant spider, a giant fish and a giant bird, culminating in a climactic brawl between Godzilla and Satan himself.

However, the following year in Japanese Giants #6 ran a follow-up report about a trip to Toho studios, where producer Tomoyuki Tanaka denied the existence of the project. Nevertheless, the news of this non-film spread quickly and is still in circulation to this day. Of particular note to fans of NES Godzilla Creepypasta are the reported forms of Godzilla’s adversaries: a scuttling spider, a gigantic fish and a swooping bird. All of which represent forms that the monstrous Red assumes, a being whose very appearance and ‘home’ level make it very easy to assume that he is the devil himself.

In fact, so impressive was Red that when Sunstone Games announced their intention to create a videogame AND playing card game entitled Colossal Kaiju Combat, after the company asked fans to nominate and vote for monsters to appear in the game, Red and fellow NES Godzilla Creepypasta creation Solomon were both accepted to appear in the title. CosbyDaf was quite delighted by this development, as was evidenced in his blog post of 6 January 2013 (http://nesgodzillacreepypasta.blog.com/2013/01/06/red-enters-kaiju-combat/).
Sadly developments with Sunstone’s project seem to have stalled since then, but we can all wait in hope that the game will see the light of day.

Colossal Kaiju Combat isn’t the only gaming property to embrace CosbyDaf’s creations. YouTuber and programmer, Iuri Nery has announced that he is creating a playable version of the game, even posting a gameplay video on 4 April 2015: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LQ6J_a1gDZo
Sadly, like Sunstones game, he has since announced that this project is also now on hiatus, leaving gamers to wonder about what could have been.

So why has there been such a strong reaction to the property? First, I think it cannot be stressed enough how much the excellent attention to detail appeals to fans of Godzilla, of which there are plenty. The character is iconic, and fans love to see stories with the big guy done right. There are multiple Toho characters included, giving fans of the franchise an opportunity to see what these kaiju could have looked like in a follow-up title to Monster of Monsters. Of course, the pasta gets by on more than just being good fan-fiction to Toho fans. It’s well-written, boasts those incredible graphics and SPOILER ALERT: even bucks the pasta trend by having a definite and very final climax in which good overcomes evil.

Or does it? For on 11 December 2013, CosbyDaf started to produce a sequel, Godzilla: Replay, in which another boy, Carl, tracks down the now legendary Monster of Monsters cartridge and proceeds to play through. However, this time the game is different, adapting to its new victim, and introducing a new, nightmarish adversary…

You can read the existing chapters here: http://allone-works.com/ngc/index.php/2016/05/03/prologue/, http://allone-works.com/ngc/index.php/2016/05/03/chapter-1-the-earth/, http://allone-works.com/ngc/index.php/2016/05/03/chapter-2-gelid/, http://allone-works.com/ngc/index.php/2016/08/26/chapter-2-5-passwords/, http://allone-works.com/ngc/index.php/2016/06/16/chapter-3-corona/, http://allone-works.com/ngc/index.php/2016/08/14/chapter-4-amorphis/, http://allone-works.com/ngc/index.php/2016/08/14/chapter-5-tempest/.

rsz_thumbnail_the_cast_by_cosbydaf-d4icrgjHowever, there has been a very long delay since that fifth chapter, and it seems that, like the aforementioned titles, it may be on an indefinite hiatus for now. But never fear, CosbyDaf has said that he still knows what he’d like to do with the story, so here’s hoping that one day we will see the end of Carl’s playthrough.

Rather than badger CosbyDaf to finish this sequel, it might be better for fans to show him some gratitude for the iconic pasta he produced? And create an iconic pasta he has indeed, as it is one that is still read, spread and commented on time and time again throughout the web.

CosbyDaf was kind enough to agree to answer a few quick questions about NES Godzilla Creepypasta for the readers of UK Horror Scene. The interview follows below:

UK HORROR SCENE: First, please allow me to extend my compliments to you, I really am a fan of your work. The most obvious question first – what served as your inspiration for the series?

COSBYDAF: The Super Mario 64 creepypasta and The Poltergeist movies — particularly the idea of creatures from other dimensions interacting with humans through technology. Video game creepypastas are notorious for being low quality but I’ve always thought there was some intriguing potential with it. I think back to earlier days in gaming, when it was mostly sitting along in a room, mentally escaping to this different world for a few hours, it could be a hypnotic experience. I liked the idea of trying to escape reality only to encounter a different one that’s worse.

UKHS: Are you a fan of Creepypasta? If so which authors/stories do you like?

CD: I used to spend a lot of time reading but not as often anymore. Although I’m always eager to view/read something that’s creepy. I don’t really keep track of specific authors. The best creepypasta I can recall reading was Willow Men (http://www.creepypasta.com/willow-men/).

UKHS: The sprites in your stories are really impressive. How did you create them? And what came first, the images or the story?

CD: The vast majority were drawn entirely in MS Paint XP. Over time I began to use Paint. XP for certain things, like making different color palettes and transparency for the water levels. The organic parts were made by pixelizing gory images with Irfanview and drawing body parts onto them.
The images were made first. and then the story chapters were written later, but there wasn’t a big time gap between them.

UKHS: The sequel story, Godzilla: Replay, has been placed on hold as of late. Will you return to the series in the future? What else can your fans look forward to from you in the days ahead?

CD: I’ve been focused on many different things since then. But I never cancelled it because a lot of people are still interested, and I still remember what I was going to do with it. But it’s a lot of work to be done and I’m trying to earn money. Right now I’m doing the sprite work for a video game, it is kaiju related and there is a level which will definitely give NGC vibes. So hopefully that will turn out well.

UKHS: The fans have really embraced the story. Why do you think it has been so successful?

CD: It owes a lot to the Godzilla franchise, of course. There also wasn’t a creepypasta with accompanying images throughout the story before. The surrealism and variety in the creature design got a lot of people’s interest.

rsz_thumbnail_red-heroUKHS: Are there any examples of fan art that have impressed you?

CD: This is my favorite, it was made by a friend of mine: http://lucidstillness.deviantart.com/art/Godzilla-Creepypasta-Tribute-410704657 . I’ve added a lot of fan art to my DA favorites (which you can find here: )

UKHS: Both Red and Solomon were to be included in the Colossal Kaiju Combat game. How did that make you feel? Have you had much interaction with the game’s creators?

CD: It was very exciting at the time. I really appreciate the fan’s support in allowing that possibility to happen. I had talked with the game’s creator, regarding their redesigns, basically I just wanted them to look as close to the originals as possible. They turned out good.
But it doesn’t look like the game will ever see completion. You might see those two appear in something else though…maybe.

UKHS: And finally, something a bit more fun. From reading NES Godzilla Creepypasta it’s obvious that you’re a big kaiju fan, so… what’s your favourite kaiju movie?

CD: Godzilla vs Destoroyah.

CosbyDaf has created a legitimately iconic creepypasta, one which is quite rightly held in high esteem by connoisseurs of Creepypasta.

Join me next time when I’ll be doing something a little different with this feature, and taking the time to speak with not just a prolific and talented Creepypasta author, but one of the most respected voices over at the Creepypasta Wikia.

Cocks from Outer Space by Richard Little – Book Review

cfosCocks from Outer Space by Richard Little -a review

Buy it now: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Cocks-Outer-Space-Richard-Little-ebook/dp/B01IAA3CDI

A tale of courage, betrayal, pride and penises! (bizarro fiction)

On the surface, one might be quick to dismiss this book based solely on the title, never mind the cover (which is exactly as you’d expect ) but the story itself is not at all what I expected. Roughly speaking the story is split into three parts. Our main protagonist is One-Eyed Snake, an anthropomorphised two foot tall penis; joined by his regimental buddies Chode, Big Black and Japseye. Once you get over the initial absurdity of both the names of the characters and their physical form you begin to have fun. The Penii as they are known live in Cockland, the Penii are the warrior class and the Flaccids are the commoners. The Assholes are the sworn enemies of the Cocks and their leader is naturally: Shitler. There is an initial battle of the Hershey Highway where the team chase down Shitler. On the other side of the river of piss; The Uryne, is the Cuntry the home of the Pussies (yes please bare with this).

In the battle of the Hershey Highway which makes up the main part of what I will call Act 1. There are undertones of tribalism, xenophobia, racism, elitism, colonialism behind the absurd premise and plenty of puns and toilet humour. Because, I think at the end of the day it isn’t obviously supposed to be serious but whether it was intended or not, if you strip away the silliness there’s some real moral messages to be found here. Like Animal Farm only with giant cocks! (That’s a free one for the blurb Mr. Little) We get to laugh along at the ridiculous puns and imagery which the author gets to unleash upon us under the pseudonym Richard Little (not too hard to work out that play on words either). For the likes of me not writing this review under a pseudonym I have to stand tall and chalk it down, that yes, I’ve read a book named Cocks from Outer Space.

The next stage of the story involves humans landing on planet Genitalia and giving everyone STI’s, this leads to a trip to Earth to look for a cure, a forbidden romance, a giant cock; Cockzilla and a civil war. This story has it all, racing along puns blazing. I would say this book is best suited for teenagers, a demographic who find toilet humour hilarious (I know I did). I could honestly see this as a live action series or ending up on Adult Swim. It is a bit of a lengthy read but good fun in the end. As my first bizarro fiction, it has opened my eyes to this interesting subgenre.

Verdict: 6.9

You can find Richard Little on Twitter @fromouterspace3

Mr. Little has also very graciously offered 5 eBook copies of the book up for grabs.
The first 5 people to email me will get a copy of the book with a catch:
Subject Line: I want Cock
Body: You must tell me why you deserve a Cock From Outer Space
Email me at: [email protected]
Happy Hunting!