January 2019 M T W T F S S « Oct 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31
- In Search of Darkness – The Definitive 80s Horror Documentary Launches Kickstarter
- FILMFEAR 2018 – Manchester’s Halloween Horror Fest – Returns to HOME for 6 days 26th-31st Oct
- Grimmfest 2018 – 10th Anniversary Full Line-Up Revealed
- Mayhem Film Festival 2018 announces THE DEVIL’S DOORWAY, MANDY, WHAT KEEPS YOU ALIVE, ONE CUT OF THE DEAD and NIGHTMARE CINEMA
- Grimmfest Reveals First Look at 2018 Programme
It wasn’t as if I was asked to do it with a gun to my head. I know I could have refused – after all, Andy is a nice guy, especially now that threats he makes to his writers to do good work or ‘face the wrath of the boy’s’
Frankly, I have never met the boys or experienced their wrath….but I’m a born coward and so have quite wisely in my eyes never decided to risk the consequences. It’s not as if a badly written review has ever resulted in anything bad to one of his writers…..yet.
No, the email request was perfectly fine. It went as follows:
” Dear minion,
Now then Anderson old bean, I’m giving you another chance to redeem yourself so I want you to read and review a collection of short stories by a chappie called Terry M. West. He’s already pretty well known to most horror fans as the director of the critically-acclaimed independent horror film Blood for the Muse and Fever Dream’s Flesh for the Beast.
He’s returning to the horror genre after nearly a decade. so be a good chap and rustle up one of those pseudo-witty and half-decent attempts at a book review of yours…..and don’t let his rather moody and sinister look in his photo put you off, he’s apparently a very nice guy, so you can be perfectly honest in your review without any, er, consequences….i think.
Have a smashing day dear chap and let me have the review as soon as possible.
Andy (The Leader)
P.S The boys say hello…………………..”
You see? All in all pretty OK, even though writing email’s to one writers in dripping red blood colour could be somewhat misconstrued I suppose. So what, may you ask, is the reason for my reticence? You know me by now, I love horror and love reading horror…..Stoker, Lovecraft, Barker, King – many of my most enjoyable times in life have been immersing myself in the bloody and terrifying landscape of this most wonderful of genres.
So what is the issue? Well, the problem is short stories – they simply have never been my favourite form of horror writing. As I mentioned, I love Stephen King’s works…… no, I ADORE his books. I have read everything, and I mean everything that he has ever written. The problem is that I’m not the greatest fans of short stories, even Kings’s short stories – and before any of you out there in Blogland start badgering me with emails about ‘The Body” or ‘Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption’, they weren’t short stories they were novella’s….so there. No, I just have some innate preference for the long story, the novel, something that I can lose and immerse myself in. A Novel is like a fabulous night’s sleep – refreshing and rewarding. Short stories on the other hand are like a nap on the sofa – occasionally acceptable but more often than not resulting in a headache and being swiftly awoken by the cat sitting on your chest waiting for his dinner.
Hence, the reason for my reticence for reviewing a collection of short stories. However, after due consideration I decided to put aside my dislike of the format and be the professional that I am…..OK, I meant be the enthusiastic amateur that I am.
*A Psycho’s Medley* is a collection of five short stories and one longer story at the end. For those of you wanting to bathe in the current fetish for supernatural tinged horror then go back to your ‘Conjurings’ and ‘Sinisters’. Because the concept that runs through each of the six stories is the existence of the very real psychopath.
There is no handiwork of the devil, vampires or ghostly like apparitions controlling the human impulses in this book – no, instead the stories delve into the psychological motivation and methodology of people (them and and us) who wander through existence adrift in a world of tortured and violent madness.
In other worlds, there is nothing supernatural to hide behind in any of theses tales, no comforting sense of being able to say to oneself ” well it’s only make believe monsters, and there’s never really one ever hiding underneath my bed”. This collection sits you gently down, asks you if you are comfortable……. and then introduces to the very real human monsters that could well be lying there under your bed and just waiting to introduce you to their insanity.
A Psycho’s Medley
“I was embracing the shadows with dear Mr. Hyde. He lent me the cape and cane.
He gave me justification and searing reason and just a spark of the flame. ”
*A Psycho’s Medley*, the first story in the collection is the taken from a the private journal of serial killer John Newport, written not long after his arrest whilst undergoing observation in an institution. It also happens to be my personal favourite.
The story is a delightful first-hand look into the mind of a psychopath.
The journal takes the form of written accounts and poetry of John’s memories, thoughts, and reasoning behind his becoming a serial killer. I really don’t wish to give anything away about this or any other of the stories, but what I will say is that the strength of this particular look at a serial killer is the shades that the author uses to build up the psychopaths character. There is no black and white, there are degrees of
sanity and insanity on show here and all written with a degree of humour that at times made me almost like the character of of John Newport.
“….Boy, the judge’s head would sure look nice on a spike. And that prosecutor… man, I’d like to cut him open and fuck his entrails and let him watch right before the last breath rattled from his body… Call me a hopeless romantic… ”
The thought that many psychopaths can be quite charming and funny is an unsettling thought in itself.
The Night Out
“(…you are a thirty year-old virgin…father would roll over in his grave and mother would be proud..…)”
The second descent into the realm of madness is called The Night Out. The story is about Kevin who goes out for a night at the Silver Pistol Club, a topless bar, and the events which occur as he attempts to reconcile the broken pieces of his memories with his complex upbringing. Here in the club he meets one of the waitresses, who just happens to be a long lost love from his days at High school.
This story is deliciously paced with the reader being gradually carried to the point where we witness an ever increasingly inevitable collision of the mans tortured past and sexually oppressed present. The writing too is clever, the complex mix of tortured memories vying with the attentions of Kevin’s present thought process is a nice examination of a tortured mind.Another story high on my list of favourites in the collection.
“I don’t know. Peace. I don’t want to be anxious all of the time. It doesn’t take a lot to keep my chin up, you know. I just need a little morsel of happiness from time to time. I just need something to take away the monotony.”
The third story in the collection is Morsel . The story is begins with introduced to a business man, angry and disillusioned with his life who we find in a city hotel room. We see him talk on the phone with his wife – their relationship is clearly strained and unfulfilling from his point of view,. We hear his thoughts about his career as a travelling businessman, as an adult, as a man – he is bored, he hates the fact he has little
control over his life.
The need to find something fulfilling and satisfying, to be in control of something in his unhappy existence see’s him arrange for a prostitute to visit him in his hotel room….. and here we discover that this disconsalete man enjoys a rather abnormal and particularly grungy fetish.
What I particularly enjoyed about this story is the ending. I had previously ignored any other reviews or opinions about *A Psycho’s Medley *before writing this piece, for obvious reasons. One review I did see about this story regarded the ending as a something of a disappointment, referring to the ending as being somewhat disappointingly positive. I would regard that as a major misjudgment of the climax of the story. In fact I would regard the nature of the ending as a chilling forbearance of the things to come – the continuation of a man’s descent into insanity.
Waiting For The Thunder
“she had been waiting for the thunder her whole life, it seemed…” *Waiting for the Thunder* is perhaps my least favourite of the collection – perhaps the fact that it is the shortest of all the stories has contributed to that opinion. It is a very brief glimpse into the consciousness of a woman who is perhaps insecure of herself and certainly has issues regarding commitment to relationships, especially one’s that constitute one night stands.
The writing and language is the usual high standard, but it ultimately left me feeling slightly unfulfilled, rather like the main character. Blimey, that might just have been the point!
“You gotta hunt to survive, lessen you want to end up a purty boy, kissin’ uptown men in Orleans?” The boy shook his head, reaching for the weapon……”
The penultimate story takes place in the southern American Swamplands and features the tale of a father taking his son (Dreg) on a hunt for the first time. Ah bless, a beautiful father/son bonding session. It beautifully focuses on the absolute need of Dreg to impress and not let down his father, whilst also hinting at the power that a father can have over a son to condition his behaviour – regardless of the horror of the activity.
When I read this I can genuinely remember thinking that whilst being a reasonably satisfying short story in its own terms, this would work better as excellent first chapter of a novel. Well bugger me, for once in my life
I seem to have got something right as it IS actually the initial chapter of
Terry’s novel Dreg.
Again, it’s not my favourite of the six stories, for one thing the direction the story took wasn’t a particular surprise. But as an excercise into looking at the power of conditioning the human mind to performing acts of absolute horror- it is powerful and thought provoking.
Hair And Blood Machine
“And Johnny, I know there is something you are reluctant to talk to me about,” the doctor said, with a knowing look. ………”
“………I don’t know what you mean,” Johnny said. “I’ve talked about everything with you.”
“I can see it in your eyes, Johnny. There so much you want to talk about, but you are afraid. You don’t have to be. I’m here to help you.”
The final story, *Hair and Blood Machine* is the longest , and perhaps my second favourite of the selections. It features Johnny, a young man from small-town America who has suffered a terrible personal tragedy and loss and is desperately attempting to keep his sanity under control. His problems are compounded by the not unknown small-minded approach of small towns everywhere after the way his grief and loss publicly manifested themselves on one particular tortuous occasion.
In his conversations with his therapist show him to be at his core a decent, caring person who is probably suffering from some form of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. However, the author clearly hints at something darker, something in-decent lurking within him. This darkness is addressed by a chance meeting with the woman of his dreams at the town carnival.
So its a love story then? Well if you regard love as dark, twisted and violently vengeful then this is the sort of romance that will appeal to you – it certainly appealed to me.
Perhaps the most delightful part of the story is the day that Terry M. West takes you along a slightly familiar psychological journey, only to then use the most original slight of hands to take you to the most satisfying of climaxes. A delight.
So has Terry M. West changed my mind about the short story format? I will admit that I genuinely enjoyed reading this collection of journeys into the mind of the psychopath. Some of them are very different forms of insanity, each with their own origins and manifestations, but most of them equally effective. It could be that I never manage to reconcile my usual avoidance of short stories – I know for a fact that my next visit to
my favourite book shop will include numerous novels, and possible few short story collections. However, that may be be a fault that lies with me. What is certain is that this collection may have gone a little way in changing my reading behaviour in future – and that is a glowing reference indeed methinks.
*My personal rating 8.5 out of 10*
Terry M. West is a well known author, filmmaker and actor. He has written several books in the young adult field (most notably the graphic novel series, Confessions of a Teenage Vampire) and he has also authored several
horror stories as well as the novel, Dreg. His short horror work has appeared in FrightNet, Scream Factory, Agony In Black, Lacunae, Jackhammer, House of Pain, Dark Muse and Moonletters. He was a finalist for the 1997
International Horror Guild Award for a short story (The Night Out) and he made the 1999 Bram Stoker Award preliminary ballot for a piece of long fiction (Hair and Blood Machine). He was also mentioned on the 1997 TV Guide Sci-Fi Hot List.
His film works include his debut film Blood for the Muse (based on his comic book of the same name which was a finalist for the 1998 International Horror Guild Award for a comic) and Flesh for the Beast. He has acted in the films The Blood Shed and Gallery of Fear (both directed by Alan Rowe Kelly) and had a starring role in Joseph M. Monks debut film, The Bunker. Upcoming projects include: a revised edition of Dreg, What Price Gory?, Fear and Lesbians in New Jersey and Dead Aware. West currently lurks in southern California with his wife Regina and son Terrence.
*A PSYCHO’S MEDLEY* can be found at the link RIGHT HERE
Terry’s official Facebook page can be found RIGHT HERE
The Fall Of The Angel Nathalie by Jamie Brindle
Bedlam Press (Necro Publications)
*”Do you believe in Angels and Daemons? It doesn’t really matter, because
they believe in you”…..*
Reading first-time published novels can occasionally be a tricky business –
they can occasionally be excellent, sometimes often reasonable, but even
more often be instantly forgetful (and that is being distinctly kind).
However, It has been my pleasure in my last couple of book reviews to read
two very different, but equally excellent first-time novels with (*
Starblood*, by Camilla Voiez and *Siberian Hellhole*, by Michael
So after answering the urgent request of the Grand Master and Generalisimo
of UKHorrorScene for someone to review a brand new debut Horror Fantasy
then I was pretty certain that my luck would have run out on this third
occasion. After all, my weekend has gone as good as it could possibly get
with England winning again in the cricket against Australia and then
finding a forgotten bottle of rather expensive wine languishing in a
kitchen cupboard – surely there there had to be a sting in the week’s tail?
There had been no more information than that the story was a horror fantasy
and it was the writer’s debut novel – not much to go on really.
So when the friendly and dependable postman dropped the
well-wrapped package through my letter box on Wednesday I did wonder
whether my run of two excellent reads was about to end. I could have
started the review earlier in the week as I had been offered the choice of
either an electronic copy or or in the traditional as-god-intended-
paper-state every book should be – not that I’m old fashioned when it comes
to books you know….well actually I am. I love the feel of them, the texture
of them, the weight of them and ( call me strange) especially the sound
they make when you tap them…… Yes I know….
So after opting for a proper copy of a book I eagerly unwrapped it and onto
the table place the book ‘*The Fall Of The Angel Nathalie*’ by Jamie
Brindle. As a consequence of opting for the paper edition I had
given myself less time to read & then review it ……. In other words, if it
was bad then the pain wouldn’t last as long.
So, in the long anticipated and still imagined words of Bellatrix Lestrange
after a night of Wizardry and Witch shenanigans – ” Well, how was it for
In all genuine honesty,* The Fall Of The Angel Nathalie *is quite simply a
It is not my intention to give away many details of the plot. I don’t hate
many people in life, but people who divulge book details, or even worse,
people who skip to the end of a book to read the final few pages should be
taken out and shot at dawn. So consequently, i will endeavour to relay as
much as I can about the story without hopefully giving too much away.
The story essentially deals with a timeless battle between the Angels and
Daemons for the possession of human souls, ALL human souls. It is a war
between the immortals fought not with weapons of destruction, because
direct intervention is not allowed. Instead we are moved, influenced,
*tempted* with the merest of whispered suggestion in a person’s ear, a
barely noticed nudge on one’s will.
The fact that much of humanity no longer believes in heaven or hell, god
and the devil or Angels and deamons is inconsequential. In fact it is
playing right into the hands of the immortals – because it makes their job
all that easier, they are everywhere and they are fighting over you.
The plot moves from the Angel’s realm, the Gardens of Avalon where
the grass is green and the sun always shines to the Deamon realm of
Daemonhearth where pain, damnation and darkness stretches for infinity. And
in-between there is the planet Earth, with its cites of endless
possibilities for battling over our souls.
So what about the character from the title, Nathalie? Well she is
a powerful, beautiful Angel and her task is to make sure she stops evil
being committed. The problem is that the realm hierarchies believe in
the utmost importance that humans should be given as much free will as
possible – direct intervention is frowned upon……And that is frustrating for
Nathalie, very frustrating.
The Deamons too are bound by the same rules, they cannot
intervene directly…..but they can tempt. The finely tailored and flawlessly
handsome Jason, once an Angel but now fallen to become a deadly daemon is
set on one particular target of his own, tempting one individual who
should definitely NOT be tempted…
The story is a wonderful rich tapestry of Sin, temptation and the notion
of whether we actually have, or need free will. It examines thoughts that
all of us have had at one time – if we could stop evil taking shape before
it happens, just how far would we go? If we choose to commit murder to stop
murder, or even just to think about committing a sinful act in itself but
which in turn could stop increased pain and death……does that make us just
as bad, or worse.? And just because we stop someone murdering simply by the
merest act of suggestion, does the fact that they wanted to in the first
place mean that in their soul is damned?
The characters of *The Fall Of The Angel Nathalie *are wonderfully drawn
and layered. The complexities and contradictions in Nathalie and Jason are
delightfully described and the cast of ‘supporting’ characters are given
plenty of room to breath and eve love – though not always in ways that we
expect. The fact that not some may not be quite as they seem keeps you
guessing right to the end, there is no black and white here.
Sometimes…the best things are done by the worst people and the worst
things done by the best of us.
The are a couple of negatives, though I would hardly call them complaints,
more accurately they could be described merely as minor quibbles. The main
one being that the story occasionally travels a little too fast with a
couple of the episodes feeling ever so slightly rushed – the introduction
of Nathalie’s first ‘understudys’ Blake and Laura being a case in point.
The underworld of Daemonhearth could have benefited from a more detailed
description of the realm. Moreover, the relationship between Nathalie and
Jason, which is the cornerstone of the narrative is merely hinted at. I
would have loved to have read a more detailed back story of their
relationship. The last two points to make up some elements of a future
novel perhaps Mr Brindle?
However, as I mentioned these are but minor quibbles about a story that had
me transfixed from the very first chapter to the heart-stopping finale. I
would have absolutely no hesitation in recommending this book to anyone who
has even the most tenuous affection for Fantasy. For those of us that love
fantasy with a true and unrelenting passion, then this will not disappoint.
In fact it may even reaffirm those who may have become jaded and
somewhat disillusioned with fantasy and horror in this post-Twilight
sparkly world that we inhabit.
To those out there who poo poo the idea of anything fantasy or horror
related, then I suggest you read The fall of the Angel Nathalie – it may
just change your mind.
Overall rating 9/10
*About the Author Jamie Brindle*
“Jamie was brought up by loving ex-hippy parents who sold boomerangs for a
living and had a hedge maze in their back garden. He was home-educated
until the age of fourteen, before being eased gently into the idea that the
world, by and large, expects you to get up earlier than is really civilised
for the majority of your life.
Jamie trained as a biochemist at the University of Sussex. Following
graduation, he realised he would find this deeply boring, and after a brief
sojourn working in a school for deaf children (which he enjoyed much more
than his home-educated prejudices had led him to believe), he studied
medicine at the University of Warwick. He now works as a junior doctor, and
writes speculative fiction mainly as a way to ground himself after long
shifts in the bizarre fantasy world of the NHS.”
You can buy The Fall Of The Angel Nathalie
……..Of Tortured Faustian Slumbers by C. William Giles
Seth Caine was a famous author, he also had a beautiful wife and a teenage son. Now following the painful disintegration of his marriage, the death of his son and his seemingly permanent writers block Seth spends his days (and nights) drinking himself into a stupor and having a continual string of meaningless one-night stands.
Recently Seth has been suffering with some very disturbing and vivid nightmares where he is being tortured and killed by an unseen almost demonic and malevolent force. One particular dream left physical marks across Seth’s cheek , but these are just blamed on his excesses and Seth feels like he is losing his mind.
Needing to unwind Seth arranges to go out with his best friend Karl to the local Rock club. While they are there Seth meets a stunning stranger with which he has an intense sexual encounter with that night.
Following this Seth starts a downward spiral where he has more frequent nightmares and starts to feel like he is losing his grip on reality and his sanity. However as the nightly visitations become more real Seth is offered a deal that will make all his dreams come true but at what price?
Running parallel with Seth’s story is that of his estranged wife Lilly who is the senior psychiatrist at The Hoffman Psychiatric Institute that houses many dangerous and disturbed individuals including the notorious priest slayer Severin Frost (a chilling Hannibal Lecter figure) who in conversations with her seems to know too much about Dr Lilly Caine and her husband and son. So with many forces at play it seems that Seth and Lilly are on a collision course both professionally and personally , but who or what is steering them and to what means?
Right lets get this straight from the start , I could have written pages about the synopsis but I really don’t want to give spoilers away. I never read the back of a book and even when I was sent this I had no idea what to expect.
But from page one I was utterly hooked, C. William Giles has such an easy almost laid-back style of writing but he also has a way of enticing the reader to enter a world of pain and anguish to which it is almost impossible to leave (or close the book).
One of the reasons I loved OTFS is that Seth reminded me of myself in many ways, I imagine Mr Giles has based Seth mainly on himself . I say this after conversing a few times and reading as few reviews. What is strange though is that myself and the author live quite close to each other, we have a very similar taste in music and have no doubt frequented the same gigs in Manchester. We are of a similar age , have long hair and tattoos. So when in OTFS Seth puts on a band t-shirt or listens to a certain band and even goes to a club then it reminds me of myself going out in the late 1980’s to gigs at The International and hanging round the Banshee and Jillys nightclubs in Manchester.
So I already had a disposition to like this but then Giles hits me with some wonderful religious imagery, a psychopathic killer of priests and some really erotic scenes . So I am in hook, line and sinker.
But you can’t have a great book on ideas and scenarios alone. What C. William Giles also has is talent and in abundance, he writes freely and with an obvious passion that just screams “READ ME” on very page. He also has a hell of a story to tell (quite literally) and with an old fashioned good vs evil backdrop but set in modern England , OTFS brings something I have not seen in a long time – a world-class debut novel !
……..Of Tortured Faustian Slumbers is a wondrous journey filled with religion, demons, heavy metal, love, torture, hope and the odd succubi . Along the way Seth meets a number of great colourful characters and the with the fine line of his sanity becoming more blurred the journey is a wonderful ride on the dark side!
When I decided to start UKHS one of the main reasons was I had met so many talented people from the UK and I wanted to not only review films BUT also give space for talented UK artists. With this in mind to come across such a talented writer who I knew absolutely nothing about is wonderful, and one must remember that C. William Giles is self published through Authorhouse . So without his persistence then Faustian would not exist, and while I am on the subject – the physical book is a thing of beauty. From the wonderful dark cover of an angel slaying a demon to the remarkable quality of the print and book itself.
A quite remarkable debut and UK horror fiction could have a new favourite son . Keep an eye out for C. William Giles is the future as he is already on his second book. But in the meantime ……..Of Tortured Faustian Slumbers is an absolute MUST READ 9/10
Please support independent artists , remember most authors hold down full or part-time jobs in order for them to continue to write. There is very little money out there and every purchase does help and will mean people like C. William Giles can continue to create wonderful art !
Please check out http://www.cwilliamgiles.com/ for more details and you can buy ……..Of Tortured Faustian Slumbers from Amazon HERE
The Mammoth Book of Slasher Movies by Peter Normanton – An A-Z Guide to Over Sixty Years of Blood and Guts
I picked this up at a local book shop , hell reviews of over 250 Slasher films what more could I want.
Lovingly written by Peter Normanton this 500+ pages is an essential reference guide for the Horror Film fan.
A short intro on Slashers and American and UK censorship is fairly light and includes the mandatory Video Nasty chapter. But it is when you get to the reviews that this book really comes into its own.
Over 250 films are in here and each one gets a review plus details on Year of Release, Runtime, Country, Director, Production Company, Writers, Cinematographers, Producers, Certificate, Budget and Receipts. And also Peter’s own Splatter Rating which goes from Zero (Tourist Trap) to Five (Re-Animator) .
This is a great compilation and while the completists among us will know there are plenty of omissions especially over the most recent years , this is still a wonderful reference piece and features all the classics and a lot of lesser known gems from especially the 1980′s.
There is just no way anyone could have every film from the Slasher genre in one book, but at the back of the book there is a chronology of over 500 films in list form.
One final note is that the title itself is a bit off as the films featured in this are not just slasher films , you also have Zombie films, Monster filcks and reality films like Faces of Death. In fact the whole nasty list is in here. So if you are looking purely for Slashers then maybe seek out Teenage Wasteland by J A Kersland, but for the price this is a wonderful find.
I know I will reference this book many many times and at a bargain RRP of just £7.99 (and oft cheaper) this is a real bargain too.
Well done Sir , this addition to my library has made me very happy 8/10
Carnage Road by Gregory Lamberson
Pub. Print is Dead – 81 pages
The Floating Dragons are a motorcycle gang from Buffalo , 13 members strong when they are suddenly thrown into a full force zombie apocalypse.
Now their aim is just survival , and after raiding a local superstore and losing some members to the undead they return to their clubhouse with supplies only to be met by a group of maverick ex policemen who attack them.
After this encounter Walker and Boone decide the best course of action is a road trip across the country to Hollywood.
Being best friends they must now look out for each other as they dodge ghouls and outlaws enroute, while trying to stay alive and collecting fuel for their hogs and food for their bellies.
A lovely dark zombie roadtrip that encapsulates the feeling of a Romero film and reads almost like a graphic novel. A tale of true friendship through good times and (mainly) bad with a fantastic ending.
At only 81 pages this is a short, fast read but ultimately well worth it. A fun pulp romp across the USA on bikes whilst shooting at the undead – what more does a man want?
A quick novella that left me wanting to read much much more from Mr Lamberson.
Check it out 7/10