Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Editorial August 2010 issue #14

By Nickolas Cook
The Black Glove Magazine

See that man above?
If you love horror, then you should know who he is without asking. And you should thank God for him everyday.
He's gone now. But his legacy lives on.
At least it does with me and other horror devotees who were touched by his greatest creation, his lifelong obsession, Famous Monsters of Filmland Magazine
For he was the greatest Horrorhead who ever lived!

I’m sure if you’ve at all been keeping up with my online ramblings and my numerous editorials and articles for THE BLACK GLOVE MAGAZINE then you’ve undoubtedly come across my use of the term “Horrorhead”.
So what is a Horrorhead, you might ask?
Well, I sort of touched on that term and its meaning in a recent rant (and I’m not kidding; it was really more of a rant than an editorial) back in April 2010’s Editorial, issue #10. But to clarify and remind, I define it as a person who knows the history of horror as well as any professional film historian or critic.
Now that might sound like a fairly simple thing to attain; but ask yourself how many people you know who can sit down and recite dialogue, trivial facts and give you blow-by-blow of scenes in even some of the major horror releases from the heyday of the genre?
How many people do you know who can name 25 well known horror titles off the top of their head?
I’ve been fairly lucky in my dealings folks online and in the real world (and if you don’t know there’s a HUGE difference, then knowing the right Horrorheads is the least of your worries, I’m afraid). I started hanging out on a message board back in 2004 called During my years hanging out there I met some of the biggest names in horror fiction, even a few horror filmmakers. It wasn’t until the last couple of years, when creator and owner, Matt Schwartz, decided to step down the site’s storefront and make it a horror community only, that things became more snark than fun, and I finally stopped going there pretty much altogether. What happened was what happens to most good places “where everybody knows your name” online. It inevitably became the stopover for every two bit self-published “Horror Author” on the net to SPAM the fuck out of it. And the even more inevitable shitheel snark masters found it a place to give their venomous rants and hatreds a voice.
When I found myself becoming more involved in arguing politics and racism than writing my stories and books, I decided to get away from the place. It had become akin to emotional poison for me.
There are people whom I met there, and then later in real life, who have become mentors and even friends. And there are, of course, the usual bunch of emotionally stunted jerkoffs who delight in bullying, and even physically threatening, other people, who ruined the party for me. And, yeah, they turned out to be pretty much assholes in the real world when I met them, too.
One zombie writer in particular...but, no, this isn't the place for me to go off on that asshole and his wholly unprofessional behavior, and probable drug and alcohol addictions. That's for private conversations.
And this is getting dangerously close to a rant again...

No, I'll focus on the people who have made a real difference in my life and career. These are some of the people who have inspired me over the years in my quest for horror history. People like Bill Lindblad, Black Glove staff writer and friend, Philip Nutman, writer for Fangoria Magazine, and most of the staff over at Rue Morgue Magazine. Several other people who became unknowing mentors in my own Horrorhead quest have been such genre icons as Forrest J. Ackerman, recently deceased creator of Famous Monsters of Filmland Magazine, Stanley Wiater, one of the industry’s best known genre interviewers, Kim Newman, an excellent author/editor from the UK, and the man who wrote that classic on modern horror films, NIGHTMARE MOVIES, a book I point out as personally changing my life forever.

It was these folks, and at least half a dozen other collectors and reporters in the field, who taught me a love for the genre that goes beyond the merely casual. All of the above are knowledgeable experts on the genre and the people within it. They know their history of horror film, books and music to a degree that…well…they could have a degree in the subject.
In essence, it’s the Horrorheads who go beyond the merely casual, to try to make the genre better by their efforts, people who celebrate the genre in all its guts and g(l)ory, and even try to make it better than when they found it.
If the genre has a face for me, it’s the people I’ve mentioned above.
And it’s the people who write for THE BLACK GLOVE. To me, these people are the real heroes of the genre. They aren’t doing it for profit (Lord knows, there ain’t no profit in this); they’re doing it because they care more about their passions than their pockets.
And it is these Horrorheads, and folks like them, that I pin all my future hopes for the genre upon, people who will carry on the geeklove for the lost gems and the modern classics. These are the people who will sit on panels at various industry conventions, who will post seriously on the subject of horror in film and fiction on the ubiquitous message boards where fans, both rabid and casual, will gather to discuss their love for all things horror.
Unfortunately, what they won’t be able to do is control the level of respect and honor with which the genre is handled by the jackasses holding the purse strings in Hollywood. There, I’m afraid, folks, we are lost.
But I’ve droned on about my loathing, and dismissal for, most modern American “horror” cinema. It’s not something I need to get started on again. Hell, even I get tired of hearing me rant about the pathetic state of said cinema.
What a smart horror fan will do these days is seek out these Horrorheads wherever he or she can find them and listen to what they say about the subject of horror. Find them on message boards and at industry conventions. Open your ears and minds to their wisdom and expertise. I’m not saying you have to necessarily agree with even half of what they say on any given subject within the limits of the genre, and most certainly not outside it—even though you should give them an ear on the subject of life, for they will most certainly have some things to say about that as well—do yourself a favor and just listen. These are people, after all, who have spent a good deal of their lives reading, watching and learning about the horror industry. Many of them have lived through the heyday and the leaner years in the genre and they know of what they speak when it comes to the highs and lows within it.

These aren’t the mall morons who take in a horror movie or two a year and think themselves experts on horror cinema. Most of those assholes can’t even name ten movies made in the 80s, let alone horror movies in the 80s. And don’t even get me fucking started on their lack of cultural reference beyond their own tender teenage years, or the latest teeny-bopper horror-fantasy du-jour that Hollywood is hawking these days.
For it will be the Horrorheads among us who will ultimately keep the genre memory alive and kicking when this terrible rash of useless American horror cinema finally eats its own tail, disappears up in its nether regions along with the Macarena.

Trust the Horrorheads among us, people.
They know what they’re talking about.
They remember why the genre was fun, why the genre is more important than any other fictional genre in American cinema.
They’re the self learned experts who carry the cultural memory for all of us, while the greedheads among us sell our collective creative souls and heritage to the highest bidder and the lowest common denominator.

Long live the Horrorheads!

--Nickolas Cook
The Black Glove Magazine

Staff Profiles

Nickolas Cook (editor-in-chief)
Publishing Credits: Nickolas has had dozens of short stories and non-fiction reviews and articles published in print and electronic formats. He has been the fiction moderator for for over four years. To date, his two published novels, THE BLACK BEAST OF ALGERNON WOOD (Dailey Swan Publishing), BALEFUL EYE ( Publishing) and ALICE IN ZOMBIELAND from Coscom Entertainment, all of which have received several positive reviews and he’s been said to display a true craftsmanship missing in much of modern horror. His first short story collection, 'ROUND MIDNIGHT AND OTHER TALES OF LOST SOULS, will be released September 2010 from Damnation Books.
Personal Info: Nickolas lives in the beautiful Southwestern desert with his wife and three wonderful Chinese Pugs, who are worse than little children…the dogs, not the wife.
Visit me at my official website, THE HORROR JAZZ AND BLUES REVUE
Or email me at

Steven M. Duarte (Co-Editor)
Personal Info: I have always been interested in horror culture from a very young age. I enjoy all aspects of the genre from movies, video games, books to music. I have a soft spot for foreign horror films most notably Italian made ones. I especially enjoy zombie horror films and have made it my mission to try and view any and all movies involving zombies.
Favorite films: Day of the Dead, Suspiria, Zombi, The Beyond, City of the Living Dead, Return of the Living Dead, and Deep Red, just to name a few.
I primarily listen to heavy metal but enjoy all different types of music. I have been a diehard Slipknot fan since the start and continue to be a supporter of the group. I also enjoy listening to horror soundtracks especially by the Italian group Goblin.

MyMiserys (aka Kim Cook)
Personal Info: Kim lives in the Arizona desert with her husband, Nickolas Cook, and a pack of Pugs. She met Nick in 1997 in an old AOL Horror chat room and they married a year later on Halloween 1998. She has had a passion for horror novels since the tender age of 12, when she read The Exorcist (before it was made into a movie). Her favorite author, other than Nick, is Stephen King, and she truly considers herself his “Number One Fan”. She has been reading and collecting King’s books since “Carrie” was first published. When she is not reading, Kim bakes …and bakes and bakes. You can see pictures of her wonderful cakes on her MySpace page and Facebook. Each month Kim asks a featured author “13 Questions” so Black Glove readers can get to know a little about the person behind the books.
Guilty pleasure? MeatLoaf...the man...not the entrée.
URL: MySpace

Carey Copeland has worked in television, radio and film. He's been a special effects artist on several film productions through The Joe Blasco Makeup Academy and helped design dark ride exhibits across the country, including the E.T. ride at Universal Studios Florida. He's been a horror fan since the early age of 8, when he first saw a rerun of NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD.

Lisa Morton is a screenwriter and the author of four non-fiction books, including THE CINEMA OF TSUI HARK. She is a three-time winner of the Bram Stoker award, a recipient of the Black Quill Award, and has published over three dozen works of short fiction. Her first novella, THE LUCID DREAMING, was published in 2009 by Bad Moon Books, and her first novel, THE CASTLE OF LOS ANGELES, has received rave reviews since its release in early 2010 (by Gray Friar Press). She lives online at

Karen L. Newman lives in Kentucky where she's an active member of Horror Writers Association and edits Illumen and Afterburn SF. Over three hundred of her short stories and poems have been published both online and in print in places such as Dark Tales of Terror, Dead Worlds: Undead Stories, and The Pedestal Magazine. She blogs for the Apex Book Company. Her poetry collections include EEKU (Sam’s Dot, 2005), ChemICKals (Naked Snake Press, 2007), and Toward Absolute Zero (Sam’s Dot, 2009), which can be purchased online at
She won the 2005 Kentucky Mary Jane Barnes Award and two of her poems received honorable mention in The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror. She's been nominated for a Rhysling Award, James B. Baker Award, and twice nominated for a Dwarf Star Award.
Please visit her online at:
Contact Info: and leave out NOSPAM when contacting
Fav Movies: SAW, Rocky Horror Picture Show

Brian Sammons has been writing reviews for years for such places as the magazines Cemetery Dance, Dark Wisdom, Shock Totem, and The Unspeakable Oath. His reviews have also appeared on many websites like The Black Seal, Bloody-Disgusting, and Horror World. Wanting to give other critics the chance to ravage his work for a change, Brian has also penned a few short stories that have appeared in such anthologies as Arkham Tales, Horrors Beyond, and Monstrous. Some of the magazines where you can find his twisted tales are Bare Bone, Cthulhu Sex, and Dark Animus. For more about this guy whose neighbors describe as “such nice, quiet man” go here:

Jason Shayer
Publishing Credits:“The Ranch” – Necrotic Tissue #6
“No Man’s Land” – Dead Science Anthology (Coscom Entertainment)
“The Toll” – Hideous Evermore Anthology (Shadowcity Press)
Personal Info: Jason Shayer's 12-year-old mind frame has given more than a few people a reason to raise an eyebrow, most often his wife. When he’s not writing or reading, he’s teaching his three year old daughter and three week old son the finer points of zombie lore.
Contact info:

Extra! Extra! The Toronto After Dark Film Festival

by Jason Shayer

The 5th Annual Toronto After Dark film festival kicks off tonight at 7pm with the gala premiere of The Last Lovecraft. The festival boasts a lively program of Indy, International, and Canadian short films. It continues to be a world-class event showcasing horror, sci-fi, action, and cult films. Directors Steven R. Monroe (I Spit On Your Grave), Joshua Grannell (All About Evil), and Eli Roth (The Last Exorcism) will be in attendance during their movie screenings. Also, some of the cast and crew of the Last Lovecraft will be on-hand tonight for a meet-and-greet.

The Festival runs through the weekend and the week for 8 unforgettable nights of horror, dark comedy, and splatter/torture fun. Where else can you find an collection of films featuring seas monsters, greek zombies, medieval witchcraft, killer Geisha androids, human centipedes, vengeful tires, and ninjas defending the planet from alien invaders.

Saturday’s screenings also feature a Zombie Appreciation Night co-presented by the Toronto Zombie Walk. All zombies received a special discount to the zombie double-header that night!

It all starts this weekend, so if you’re anywhere near Toronto, you know where you should be.

Here’s the line-up in alphabetical order:

ALIEN VS NINJA (Seiji Chiba, 2010, Japan)
ALL ABOUT EVIL (Joshua Grannell, 2010, USA)
BLACK DEATH (Christopher Smith, 2010, UK)
CARGO (Ivan Engler, 2009, Switzerland)
CENTURION (Neil Marshall, 2010, UK)
DOGHOUSE (Jake West, 2009, UK)
EVIL IN THE TIME OF HEROES (Yorgos Noussias, 2009, Greece)
HEARTLESS (Philip Ridley, 2009, UK)
HIGH SCHOOL (John Stalberg, 2010, USA)
I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE (Steven R. Monroe, 2010, USA)
PHOBIA 2 (Poolvoralaks, Pisanthanakun, Purikitpanya, Sugmakanan & Wongpoom, 2009, Thailand)
ROBOGEISHA (Noboru Iguchi, 2009, Japan)
RUBBER (Quentin Dupieux, 2010)
THE HUMAN CENTIPEDE (Tom Six, 2009, Holland)
THE LAST EXORCISM (Daniel Stamm, 2010, USA)

--Jason Shayer

The Toronto After Dark Film Festival – Gala Opening Night

by Jason Shayer

(A quick note of thanks the Toronto After Dark Film Fest for the press pass.)

(And thanks to my wife Jen who will have her hands full putting both our young kids to bed for the next week.)

Friday the 13th was a hot, muggy evening in the city. The humidity made you sweat for simply breathing. To escape the heat, I sought the A/C cool confines of the Bloor Cinema and the company of several hundred fellow horror aficionados. I’d walked by the Bloor Cinema a dozen times, but this was my first time inside. It’s everything that those corporate megaplexes aren’t. Comfortable and cozy like a pair of old slippers and a wonderful place to see a movie.

I picked up my press pass and got into line. The Bloor Cinema sits at the edge of the Annex, a trendy student area near the University of Toronto. The streets were packed with pedestrian traffic. Passersby couldn’t help but notice the line up outside the cinema and had that curious look on their faces, asking themselves what the line was all about and why they hadn’t known about it.

The doors opened and I found a seat. The Festival’s founder and directory, Adam Lopez, kicked off the festival with a run through of its history and what this fifth year had in store. Then he invited writer/producer/star Devin McGinn up onto stage to briefly introduce The Last Lovecraft.

The Last Lovecraft is a fun, low budget romp through the Lovecraft mythos. It’s a campy and fun monster comedy that pits a couple of twenty-something corporate cubicle dwellers against the Cult of Cthulhu in a struggle to stave off the return of their horrible god.

The film has that relaxed and comfortable feel of a Kevin Smith Indy movie. It doesn’t try to be anything more than what it is. And it’s a film that widely entertains you. It’s a low budget horror film, but you can see glimpses of the more refined product that hopefully these creators can one day make.

The audience was really into the film and its enthusiasm gave the movie a lot of energy.

The animated sequences stood out, looking sharp with its thick, bold comic book lines. While it might have been easy to initially call out these sequences as ways to trim the film’s budget, the art and style drew you in and added a compelling storytelling element.

The director admitted to wanting to add several Cthulhu scenes at the climax, but they simply couldn’t afford it. He also mentioned that this film was part one of three. The creators also hinted at possibly pursuing a comic book adaptation.

I was ended up sitting across from the seats reserved for the cast and crew that had shown up for the screening. During the film, they had a great time and were still laughing their asses off despite having already seen the film multiple times by now. It was kind of fun looking back and forth from the screen to where they sat, still surprised at seeing the actors that were up on the big screen. To their credit, most of the cast and the director had flown up to Toronto from California for this Canadian Premiere.

The Last Lovercraft was a hell of a good time and should be on any horror fans must-see list. Here’s hoping that their DVD sales will warrant a sequel.

--Jason Shayer

More Toronto After Dark Film Festival Fun!

brought to you by Black Glove reporter Jason Shayer


The movie starts slowly, but it’s Reverend Cotton Marcus (Patrick Fabian) that wins you over and really pulls you into the story. Patrick Fabian is warm and charming and charismatic. He plays a bible-thumping preacher who’s had a revelation and is tired of milking money from naive God-fearing people.

He takes a film crew along with him to an exorcism in hopes of revealing how much of a sham exorcisms actually are. And again, while it starts slow, there’s a dread that builds up inside you knowing that something will go wrong and you’re never exactly sure what that is. It’s that uncertainty that’s maintained throughout the film and it delivers a strong, uncomfortable feeling.

The setting on a farm in the backwoods of Baton Rouge is effective in giving you a sense of isolation. The film builds nicely towards a rushed and frantic climax. The camera work (filmed in a documentary style), which I had initially thought would be tiring, is well done. There are a few scenes where the camera’s limited point-of-view is perfect for increasing the tension. The score keeps pace, helping to set that disturbing and uncomfortable environment.

The ending feels a bit like it came out of nowhere and I would have liked to have seen more hints and foreshadowing. But, it forces you to go over what you’ve just witnessed with a different perspective. And yes, it's derivative of similar genre films like The Blair Witch Project, The Exorcist, and Rosemary's baby, but I feel it really worked.

After the screening, Eli Roth, Patrick Fabian, and Ashley Bell were available for a brief Q&A session. Eli Roth acknowledged the debt he owed to The Exorcist and how it had scared him shitless as a kid. And this was despite the fact that his mother had reminded him that they were Jewish and didn’t believe in any of that stuff.

The exorcisms showcased the acting talents of Ashley Bell starring as the deeply-troubled young woman Nell, whose father believed her to be possessed. No makeup or special FX were used during these scenes and Bell apparently came up with the backbends and contortions that had even co-star Patrick Fabian scared.

There’s no sequel in plan (for now). As Roth said: “It’s The Last Exorcism, not The Second-Last Exorcism”.

The Last Exorcist is a genuinely creepy film and delivers highly charged scenes with jaw-clenching tension and heart-stopping scares.


Can a film that’s so bad actually be so good? If that makes any sense, then Alien vs. Ninja would be that film. From its cheesy acting to bad rubber monster suits with dangling strings of saliva to its wheelbarrows of bloodied fake limbs thrown about, it’s all there in its campy glory.

The movie pulled in the audience and its participation was infectious as I found myself clapping and cheering. Alien vs. Ninja was the late show and I had been up since 6am and was looking for any excuse to call it a night. Just after the opening scene, there’s a few moments of relative calm where the plot is allowed to show itself temporarily and that was almost where I bailed. But I’m glad I didn’t.

Each scene after that was more and more outrageous. I was glued to my seat and couldn’t leave. I needed to know how the damn thing was going to end and how they were going to pull it off. I wasn’t sure if I was laughing out loud at its campiness or laughing at myself for sitting through the entire film. The film didn’t disappoint and had me exiting the Bloor Cinema with a grin on my face.

--Jason Shayer
(Thanks again goes to ace-reporter, Jason Shayer, for this time and efforts on our behalf at The Toronto After Dark Film Festival 2010.)

Day 6 of The Toronto After Dark Film Festival

report filed by Jason Shayer


Centurion is director Neil Marshall’s take on the legend of the Roman 9th Legion that had proudly marched up into Scotland and disappeared. In reality, they probably had their asses handed to them by the Picts. Their defeat was so devastating that some claim the Romans purged any further mention of the 9th Legion to avoid rebellion and embarrassment. And in reality here, the survivors were probably distributed through the other Roman forces in the North Britain. However, Marshall uses the epic setting and its rich history to flesh out this world and then lets the story unfold in its own manner.

Marshall doesn’t wait long to get into the action and really knows how to rev up the storyline. He’s well known for his brutal action scenes as seen in The Descent and Dog Soldiers. And he certainly doesn’t disappoint his fan in this film. Centurion features some spectacular fight scenes with some pretty wild kills.

The beautiful, sweeping visuals and cut scenes work well at first as they present yet another force of opposition that’s pitted against our protagonists. However, these cut scenes do become a bit repetitive and tiresome. The film itself is a straight-forward, historial, action-adventure pursuit story that stays the course with no real twists and turns. I think I felt a bit let down because it was screened at the After Dark Film Festival I was expecting something a bit more supernatural or twisted.

The only other complaint was how the antagonists were handled. More of a focus on them would have helped develop the story and would have generated more sympathy from the audience.

Centurion was a great ride and left me wondering if my shoes would stick to the floor with all the blood that was spilled!


Multi-talented cult director Philip Ridley returns to the big screen after 15 years and delivers a heavy and haunting film about a troubled youth who struggles to deal with a disfiguring birthmark on his face. He’s dwelt in the shadows his whole life to hide his disfigurement, but ultimately can’t hide from himself. He comes across what he believes to be a group of demons terrorizing his neighbourhood and is intrigued by them and the shadowy world they live in.

Like all of his films (The Reflecting Skin, The Passion of Darkly Noon), Heartless is beautifully shot and there’s no doubt of the involvement of his keenly photographic eye. Similarly to Centurion, the setting in Heartless, a modern urban London, played a strategic role in the film and conveys a heavy, almost imprisoning atmosphere. Ridley created a unique urban fantasy landscape that seems grimly futuristic.

At times, the film seemed a bit long and there were disjointed scenes that made you wonder what was going on and why they were included, but give full credit to the director for attempting some rather creative approaches to scenes. While the rush to end was a bit frantic as a sub-plot smashed into the main plot to help bring about the climax, the overall story and ending were powerful and will leave you shaken.

Heartless is a rich, dense, and deeply haunting film that will follow you home and stand just outside your door, waiting for you.

--Jason Shayer

Last days of The Toronto After Dark Film Festival: 2010

report by Jason Shayer

Toronto After Dark Film Festival - Days 7 & 8

Black Death is the tale of a monk who’s struggling with his role and joins a group of mercenaries appointed by the Bishop to investigate a village untouched by the plague which is ravaging the country. Their mission turns out to be more of a religious crusade with their true motivations being to reign in this village by any means necessary as it as turned away from God and Christianity.

The mercenaries are played by a solid cast of actors that capture your sympathy and allegiance. The film had some solid ideas, but it’s almost like it didn’t know what to do with them.

What Black Death does do quite well is highlight the insanity of religion and its terrifying powers in times of fear, ignorance, and superstition. The film also does an exceptional job at cultivating that feeling of dread and unease.

Unfortunately, despite the film’s originality and cleverness, it unraveled near the end and the story wrap-up/epilogue seemed to be a hasty add-on.


Rape scenes disturb me as they should everyone, but it really bothers me for some reason, I’m not sure exactly why. Perhaps I was a woman in a past life who had been scared by such a rape. Bottom line, I wasn’t looking forward to that part of the film knowing full well it was a remake of the 1970s version of the rape/revenge horror subgenre film.

To quote the director, Steven Monroe, I Spit On Your Grave is “disturbing and upsetting for the right reason.” Monroe wanted to get his hands on this film as soon as Family of the Year Productions picked up the rights. He bluntly told them he was the director to get this sequel done right and that he didn’t want anyone else screwing up this film like all the recent rash of remakes.

The film is a straight-forward execution of the story idea and it definitely had me squirming in my seat, grinding my teeth, and gripping the seat’s armrest. I wished I had a remote control to fast-forward to the second part of the film. As the ground is set for the revenge part, I was of mixed feelings. Obviously I was interested in seeing Jennifer get her revenge, but on the other hand, I felt sorry for the bad guys as that feeling of dread starts to build.

The biggest problem with this story is the main character. The actress did her job, but the role she played wasn’t well developed. Despite the amount of time we spent with Jennifer Hill, I still don’t know much about her. So, while it was easy to feel sorry for her in her predicament, I think it could have been that much more of a connection had the audience felt she had been a bit more fleshed out.

While the trailer gives you a few hints at the way she creatively serves her revenge, you’ll be pleasantly surprised with the gruesomeness of her retribution. While you revel in her vindication and the reversal of power roles, your curiosity is peaked as you’re eager to see how she’ll outdo each kill.

Which brings me to my final complaint. While all of this is happening, you can’t help but wonder how she pulls all of this off. She had the motivation required to do so, but the means, physical strength, and cleverness were in question. And that’s when I remind myself that it’s not the point of this kind of movie.

While I Spit On Your Grave featured some of the best kills of the TADFF, I was left hoping for a bit more, something to surprise me, something that challenged the conventions of this kind of filmmaking.


The Human Centipede was exactly what it was. Barely making the grade as a B film, it lived up to the hype of its trailer, but that’s unfortunately it. According to imdb, the idea for this film arose from a joke Tom Six made with friends about punishing child molesters by stitching their "mouth to the ass of a fat truck driver". The execution of the idea is mediocre and doesn’t really do the genre any favours. Unfortunately, there isn’t much imagination in the plot as the story clumsily rushes to its core idea.

To its credit, the film effectively relies on the viewer’s imagination for several key scenes, allowing your mind to fill in the creepy details. There are a few good twists and turns, but they have more to do with grossing you out rather than moving the story along.

Dieter Lazer plays the insanely diabolical surgeon, Dr. Heiter, whose warped and twisted mind conceived this dreadful surgical procedure. His twisted, odd-ball behaviour sinks the film as it’s difficult enough to handle the overall concept of this film. The audience was laughing at his quirkiness and I felt that sapped the film’s strength and eroded the fear that we were to feel.

Apparently this film is only the First Sequence, and part one of the trilogy.

It’s been one helluva of ride over the last 8 days and I’m doing my best to keep all the movies straight as some are bleeding and blurring over into each other. I had a fabulous time and would really like to thank the Toronto After Dark Film Festival for the Press Pass. I’m already looking forward to next year and to seeing what kind of lineup they’ll be able to put together. The toughest part will be gently breaking the news to my wife that I’ll be abandoning her and the kids the same time next year!

Standing in line, waiting for that last film, I couldn’t help but notice that the weather was in stark contrast to that of the opening night. It was about 10 degrees colder and the smell of fall was in the air. There’s no better way to wind down from a great summer than enjoying the films of the Toronto After Dark Film Festival.

It was also great to meet a lot of other horror film fans in the line and in the seats. A shout out to Christian, David, and Derrick. Thanks for chatting it up with a TADFF newbie! Hope to see you guys around next year.

--Jason Shayer

(The Black Glove wishes to thank Jason and all those responsible for helping him make these reports possible.)

The Black Glove's Top 13 Lost Gems of Horror Contest

Hello, all you loyal Horrorheads out there.
Here at The Black Glove we love putting together our monthly Top 13 lists. It gives us a chance to stumble through the dark vaults of horror history, cull through the cobwebbed tombs and eerie byways, and swim through inky oceans of lost memory to find movies that we think deserve remembering.
Last month, if you'll remember, we put together our first in a series of Top 13 Lost Gems of Horror lists. We all had such fun that we intend to throw those in there from time to time; if for no other reason than to help our fellow horror geeks find some obscure titles to add to their personal collection.
But we figured why should we have all the fun of putting these great lists together?
So the staff thought it would be fun to let our readers put together their own version of a Top 13 Lost Gems of Horror list.
Yes, that's right, we want YOU to send us your Top 13 Lost Gems of Horror, a list comprised of movies that you feel have been unfairly forgotten by most horror fans.

The contest is simple:
--Make a list of 13 Lost Gems of Horror, with a brief description of why you feel each of the 13 movies you choose deserve to be on the list (and don't worry about the editing and the artwork; we'll take care of both).

--Send your list to
--Put TOP 13 LOST GEMS OF HORROR in the subject line.
--Please, do NOT send attachments. Put your entire list, with your brief descriptions for each, in the body of the email.
--We need the title of the film, the date of its original release, and if you have a url for info about it, include that with the description.
--Please, include your name in the body of the email, and any alternate email addresses at which you might wish us to contact you if you win the contest.

--The staff will read through all the entries and decide which list has the best and most deserved titles.
--Then we'll publish the winning Top 13 Lost Gems of Horror list, giving you full credit, so all of our Horrorheads around the world know who made such an awesome list.
--What's more, if we choose your list, you'll get a swag prize package worth approximately $200.00, containing brand spanking new horror books from such publishers as Leisure, Dark Regions and others, a collection of valuable, collectible out-of-print small press horror titles, some really cool horror DVDs, and a $25.00 gift certificate to an online horror bookstore.

We want YOU to school your fellow BLACK GLOVE readers, and us, on these forgotten movies; tell us what movies should be brought back to the horror spotlight.
But remember: we're a pretty savvy and knowledgeable group of Horrorheads, so we want you to use your imagination.
Stun us with your incredible horror geek love and knowledge of horror cinema!
This will be the last month we run the contest, so be sure to send in your entry as soon as possible. The deadline is August 31st, 2010.

--Nickolas Cook

The Eye of Time (An All Original Serial Novel)

Frank Menser and Nickolas Cook

Part 1—

Chapter 1

Chapter 2-

There were advantages to properly timing the more unpleasant tasks in life. The city paused in the business of the day, as the Mullahs called the faithful to worship in the late afternoon. The loud cries from the minarets, from which sounded the devotion were not too different from the cries of one who needed to be slain; or so the murderer hoped. He had plied his craft, carefully timing it for this reason, leading the man out of the market place and the mid-day heat, under the excuse of seeking a cooler place to converse.
The slayer looked up from the corpse whose throat he had just slit. “Ashta,” the man had called him; the words formed on frothy blood foamed lips as he died. It did not matter to Ashta that his name should be known to his victim; his words reached no one in the back alley. They had been alone.
Ashta grunted as he wiped his knife on the garments of the man. Ashta was not his born name, but as a name, it worked for the moment—even if as names went, it was rather short. Longer names Ashta knew were for the rich who could afford to maintain the luxury of excess verbiage. He was, but a simple cut-purse and part time assassin from an obscure village in east Turkistan. Sometimes people called him Ashta the Slicer, but never in public, where one could loose a hand, or a head for such embellishments. Ashta did not care what they called him; as long as he was paid.
Ashta pulled the corpse out of the middle of the alley, tucking it behind some wicker baskets. He then kicked some sand over the blood trail. They would find it soon enough, he knew. But at least he would have time to escape.
He reached into his vest and withdrew an amulet. The man, a Genoese trader, had been wearing the bauble; which was the reason for his death. Ashta had been contracted to retrieve this by a powerful local Emir’s slave. Though heavy, it appeared to be a cheap piece, just red amber in the shape of a teardrop. It was mounted in copper, as was the chain. Ashta looked at the back of it. Except from some odd looking protrusions, it appeared flat and featureless. Aside from its value as a jewel, Ashta did not know why it had been so important for this lord to obtain, that a cutthroat of his abilities had to be hired; instead of just regular soldiers, of which the Emir had plenty.
The trader had also spoken a name, “Nephilette.” It was not a name familiar to him, but Ashta felt an odd chill as he repeated the word out loud. The name and the amulet held power; he could sense it, almost like the power that emanated from it poured its heat into his veins. He felt energized.
Ashta considered the bag of gold waiting for him as reward; some how money seemed trivial when compared to the thing in his hand. Ashta found himself drawn into its amber eye. This…he decided, was worth keeping. It meant trouble. Seeing—and possessing— Ashta knew, were two things often separated by death. In this case, it was likely to be his. There was a mystery here, of a dark and sinister kind. For a moment he considered delivering it to the Emir. That, he sensed, would be practical. But Ashta knew Allah never favored the unadventurous.
Ashta tucked the bauble back inside his vest. Then, pulling his veil up over his face, and shedding his bloody robe, he made it back into the market where he found an open space in the kneeling crowd and assumed the position of the faithful.
Emir Asreth Ben Abu Dali toyed with his beard in frustration, as his slave, Chalem made his report. Ashta had been correct; the trader’s body did not stay hidden long. Stray dogs were tearing the corpse when the Emir’s guard found it. A quick search had revealed that the amulet had been taken. The Emir had no doubt that the tall lanky thief had it in his possession. “By the seven gates of Hell,” he cursed, “I shall hang his rotted head above the city square.”
Leaving his slave behind, Asreth slid behind some nearby curtains which hid the door to a hidden passage. He climbed down a long flight of stairs. Grabbing a torch from a nearby wall he mumbled some words and the torch lit. Asreth followed the lead of the flame through a myriad of corridors that ran deep beneath the palace. Finally, he entered a room that was darker than the rest. A room blocked by heavy iron bars. Asreth withdrew a key from his pocket and opened the lock. “I need you to serve me,” he said to the one within.
The streets of Karahissar were rich with activity in the early evening hours. Beneath the shadow of its rocky cliffs, men paid but lip service to the teachings of the Prophet regarding vices.
Ashta found himself a lovely companion, a sultry Spanish girl named Pilar. He had come upon her in a clothing shop where she was working for scraps. The owner seemed eager to part with his foundling employee and added her to the price of a robe. As they walked, Pilar told him that she was formerly a slave to a Moor who had fled the Inquisition in Cadiz; only to fall victim to the curved blade of an Ottoman soldier. Ashta knew well who the man was. They had quarreled and the dead soldier was the source of the gold in his pocket. Ashta was not about to leak that knowledge to the girl, for if she talked, it could cost him his head. So he remained silent and to the best of his abilities; polite. Pilar had a nice spread of hips that he preferred investigating under more pleasant circumstances. So, garbed in his new ill gotten regalia; and with one hand grasping a wine sack, the other around Pilar, Ashta was quite unprepared for the pair of ruffians that blocked his path.
“Hold Dog,” said the larger of the two, a stout Arab, who brandished a Kattara sword. “You have gold enough to please the houri; perhaps you might share some with us.” His companion, a lean pox scarred Berber in a blue turban, skulked behind his friend with his hand on the hilt of his own scimitar; which was still tucked in his sash. His eyes never stopped moving.
“And if I choose not too?”
Then you shall taste of a different metal,” the Arab said raising his blade and slicing the air.
“Fool,” Ashta spat, “you wave your blade like it would stir a breeze to cool us.” He roughly shoved Pilar to the corner of a nearby building, not for her protection as much as to give him room to fight. Then he let his robe fall from his shoulders, spinning it so it was loosely wrapped around his left arm. He drew his curved pulwar from its scabbard just in time to parry the downward stoke of the Arab’s sword. At that moment the Berber lunged forward, seizing Ashta’s robe with both hands and pulling hard. Thrown off balance by the move, Ashta fell over backward, narrowly missing the backstroke of the Arab. The Berber tugged again at the robe and it came free. Ashta who was flat on his back was too busy to care. The Arab struck again and again, using his blade like a hammer on the prostrate giant. Finally he appeared to tire, for the blows became sloppy. Ashta noticed the man was wheezing.
“You had best come to a fight in better shape, you fat cow,” Ashta said, springing to his feet. Ducking another blow, he slashed sideways with his pulwar, slitting open the Arabs belly. The man dropped to his knees clutching his guts. Ashta struck again, his blade slitting the throat of his attacker. He turned to look for his other attacker.
The Berber had retreated down the alley, taking with him Ashta’s robe. “Curse him,” Ashta said, “I will have to buy new clothing.” He wiped his blade on the corpse and then checked his sash and found his purse was still there. But the amulet was gone. Then he remembered; it was tucked in the pocket of his robe.
“By Allah’s breath, no wonder the dog ran off. He must have felt the weight of it and thought he had my money.” Ashta paused, feeling a strange sense of emptiness wash over him. He would not rest till he found that Berber and retrieved the amulet from his corpse.
Turning to the girl who was cowering where he left her, Ashta yanked her to her feet. “Come with me wench; this night has been costly. Let us see if you can make me forget that.” Ashta threw the girl over his shoulder and headed off into the night in search of an inn.
The night’s dreams came and went with troubling clarity. There was a woman; one of incredible dusky beauty, but cloaked in shadows. She wore a veil—translucent, and set in dark pearls and gold, but dark so her face was not known to him. Yet Ashta felt as if there were a frightening familiarity to those masked features. If he could just lift the veil; so close, but beyond his reach. For a moment he caught her stare. There were worlds in her eyes, strange places where cosmos whirled like dervishes lost in the dreams found in opium dens. Beyond her masked features, Ashta could sense Horror. Scenes of violence and death by the thousands, unmentionable acts of torture and debauchery presided over by the dancing voluptuary. As she danced her long fingers tipped with black nails flexed like claws. Ashta stood transfixed by the sight of her awful beauty, and yet she seemed trapped as well, dancing within the red amber confines of the jewel…
Near dawn Ashta awoke to find the girl had slipped away. He did not care, she had been soft and satisfying enough; the coin spent upon her did not seem wasted. Ashta reached over to the table by his mat. His purse was there, a bit lighter, but not by much. A thief himself, he appreciated that she had been courteous enough to not leave him broke. Ashta laughed as he twisted the ends of his long red mustache. “Allah gives and takes.”
Downstairs at the inn, Ashta ate his breakfast; some bread dipped in olive oil which he washed down with a cup of goat’s milk. Tossing a coin into the hands of the innkeeper, a fat Syrian; he made his way out to the street.
Ashta gazed up at the fortress atop the mountain. Any troops sent to watch the streets had to come from there. If he stayed there for any time, he would have to learn their schedules, the better to time his own enterprises. However, this morning Ashta’s mind was set on one thing; locating the Berber thief.
Setting his direction towards the center of the city, Ashta walked through the market place ignoring the vendors who screamed the virtues of their wares; silks from Syria, rich spices from the south. One merchant shoved an orchid into Ashta’s face while exhorting the virtue of such flowers in obtaining women. The Turcoman shoved past him and continued on till he reached an alley. This is what he was looking for, The Street of Thieves.
Every city had one, though it did not go by that name, lest some ambitious Caliph find it too easily and purge it of its inhabitants. This one was oddly enough called The Street of the Lotus. As Ashta walked through the narrow stretch, he could here whispers of dealings and the rustle of cloth, brushing doorways where desperate men ducked to hide in wait for victims to rob. Harlots stared from doorways and smiled their welcomes. Ashta knew the hand hidden under their girdles concealed the knife they used to cut purse strings—and sometimes throats. Honest men never walked this street without armed escort. Ashta walked alone. When one surly ruffian ventured too close, with a Kard knife half hidden in his hand, he growled softly in his deep voice. The man smiled the smile of a jackal recognizing his own kind. He sheathed his blade and disappeared down a side street.
At last Ashta found the place he sought, a narrow doorway in a building whose white stucco walls had seen better days. He entered and immediately found himself in a small courtyard with a garden. Beyond was another door where an armed slave stood, leaning on his spear. He spoke to someone inside and then turned to Ashta gesturing for him to enter.
“Allah’s blessings fall upon thee who enters my humble abode.” The occupant of the room was a man who looked to be well past seventy. He waved to Ashta, pointing at the cushions indicating for him to be seated. The Turcoman noted the man’s eyes looked jovial, but the calluses and scars on his heavily bejeweled hands spoke of years of active toil with weaponry. A pair of black veiled women rose from the cushions they sat on and retreated to a side room. A moment later they returned carrying mugs of wine and a platter of dates and sweetmeats. These they laid before the two men and then seated themselves in the corner.
“You are Selim the Persian?”
“Yes, if a name will suit your needs,” the oldster replied. ‘Allah has cursed me by so many names, that I fear he might not know me in Paradise.”
“Yet I am told that you know the names of many men,” Ashta said. He raised his cup and drank deeply of the wine. “I would know the name of a thief.”
“Such information as that can be unhealthy to one in my trade,” Selim said, as he bit into a date. “My skin is not as thick as this fruit—and more easily punctured.”
Ashta grunted in aggravation. The old man spoke too smoothly for his liking. He was not one to play games with words. “Your scars betray you, Selim. I fear that you are still a better swordsman than many.”
Selim leaned forward and poured more wine into Ashta’s cup. “You have the bearing of a Slav. With those blue eyes I cannot see much of one of the faithful in you. Are you a Janissary?”
“My father was—or so it’s said. In a raid my mother was cast screaming across his saddle bow and ravaged, but she never knew him after,” Ashta snarled.
“You take offence at this question?”
“Does it affect how we deal?” Ashta fought to keep his hand from his knife. The admission stung him as it was an old shame.
“No, young lion,” Selim said, “It is merely an observation. I like to know the manner of men who sit in my home.
“But, to business. What can you tell me of this man you seek? Is it a quarrel?”
“The dog stole from me. He skulked around whilst his companion, a fat Arab who was the better of the two, met with misfortune.” Ashta tossed a small bag of coin before the elder.
“I see,” said Selim, “I had heard of an Arab who had his belly slit last night. I am told that his companion left the city this morning bound for Amasia.”
“Why there?”
“I do not know, except the Sultan Memhed with his Ottoman dogs has made a move on Constantinople. There is booty to be had for anyone who joins his host. Many have gathered to Amasia in the west to restore his flagging reserves and to gain glory for our prophet. Others may go to seek to vanish in the midst of a war.”
“And would this dog have a name?”
Selim picked up the coin purse and weighed it in his hand. “The Berber is called Balksid.”
Ashta spent the day making his preparations to journey to Amasia. For a reasonable fee, he was able to purchase from the innkeeper a horse suitable for the trip and supplies as well. From the market place he added a fine double curved bow so he could hunt game as he went. Ashta had considered a matchlock gun, but the bow struck him as more efficient. So instead, he purchased a Jaghnol, a war axe with a fixed spike on its end. To take Balksid’s head, Ashta decided with grim satisfaction.
As the Sun set, Ashta went out to seek entertainment. It would be a long dry trip to Amasia and part of him wanted to find that Spanish wench for a proper goodbye.
As he walked the back streets Ashta had the disturbing sense of being followed. He stepped back into the shadows and listened carefully to the night sounds around him. Somewhere a man was shouting in victory over a gambling win. From the sound of his voice, Ashta decided he would not keep his winnings long. Near him, he could smell the rich scent of spiced lamb. Through an open widow he could see a woman serving dinner to her family. A noise made him turn in time to see a street cur ducking into the alley behind him, growling as it passed. That must be it; he thought and resumed his search. There was a tavern just a few blocks from where Ashta walked. He set his feet in that direction.
“Who goes there?” A night watchman stepped out from a doorway scimitar in hand.
“Just a man in search of a place to drink,” Ashta said.
“Then down the road with you, or I’ll call the guard.” The man’s hand shook, so that his blade reflected flashes of light from a nearby torch.
“Peace, brother, I am on my way,” he said saluting the guard. Ashta made a mental note of where this house was. There might be some good booty to be had, and the fool guarding it would be easily dispatched. He would have to remember this place when he returned.
The tavern was disappointing. The wine was of poor quality and the women—older ex-slaves well past the blossom of their youths. In the corner, a couple of Jews were conversing. At another table, some guardsmen seemed involved in a dice game. Ashta watched the women dance for a while and then bought a jug of the best wine he could obtain. After tossing some coppers on the floor for the dancers, he left.
A mist had begun to form and the cobbled street took on an unnatural hue. The night had become quiet so the only sound was that of his own feet as they scuffled against the rough stone beneath him. Ashta sniffed the air as a sweet scent teased his nostrils. It was a rich perfume, that worn by women of a better station than he was used to. “What rich merchant would hide his love nest in this slum?” Ashta mused. At that moment his eyes came to rest on a house; one of better quality than the rest. It had a high wall, its top adorned with spikes surrounding it. Perhaps, he wondered, there might be something worth the taking there.
There was a door in the wall. It opened and a form emerged heavily wrapped in gossamer veils. It was that of a woman, tall and slender. A streetwalker or a dancing girl, Ashta noted with a grunt of satisfaction. At last the night was providing the entertainment he sought. He smiled as she approached; shedding her veils like so many skins. As they fell, her golden figure appeared for an instant to be formless—almost insubstantial—then it resumed its shape but changed into ever more enticing forms.
What is this?
The woman shed all her veils, bathing her figure—naked in the moonlight. Just one veil remained, that one hiding her face. Ashta paused taking in the full impact of her beauty. She was long limbed and long wasted, with breasts that made his hands ache with the desire to touch them. Perched in her navel; an amber jewel moved in rhythm with her dance. Her hips moved with the grace of a mountain leopard. She moved to within inches of him, dancing seductively slow. Teasing him with almost touches, her large green eyes stared—deeply locked into his. Ashta was a tall man, well over six feet; but she seemed inches taller. He reached for her; intending to crush her into his embrace, but she darted back, like a whirl of smoke, leaving the last veil in the Turk’s hand. The girl spun raising her hands like a mask, just below her eyes. So…you are some rich man’s toy; or another’s wife seeking pleasure in disguise. “You need worry not of me,” he said laughing, “Houri, I shall keep your secret tonight.”
Ashta dropped the wine jar he was holding and; reaching out with the speed of a snake, grasped her wrists and pulled her towards him intent upon a kiss.
Suddenly her eyes changed to glowing pits of amber fire, her hands dropped from her face exposing yellowed rotten teeth set in withered hairy jaws that snapped at him. Ashta recoiled. Under the sweet perfume he could smell the foul stench of the crypt on her breath.
The creature broke free from Ashta’s grasp and swung an open back-handed blow that sent the Turk tumbling to the ground. His cheek burned and he felt blood running down his face. Before he could act; with a hawk like swoop she dove at him passing inches above his body. As she did, Ashta felt her sharp claws slash at his vest. Ashta rolled to his knees and drew his pulwar, slashing as she passed over him yet again. The blade went through her like a hand through smoke. From the creature’s mouth came a cry that was an awful perversion of laughter. “What manner of demon jinni are you?” Ashta muttered.
Whatever it was, the creature flew between the Turcoman and a nearby torch, her body transparent silver smoke. Ashta lost sight of her and then winced, as icy fingernails raked his back, making him drop his sword. Then she settled into a shadow near the door of the wall; so only her face was visible. Her foul mouth assumed a deadly smile. Apparently, Ashta realized, she was not going to kill him quickly.
Grabbing his blade, he scrambled to his feet, and ran over to the torch. His blade—which was wet from the spilled wine—burst into flame. Startled, Ashta cast it away from him, right into the face of the creature.
The thing screamed in agony and for a brief second, Ashta again saw her face, opened and bloody from where the blade had cut it. Then it vanished into the night.
“Did I kill it?” Ashta searched the shadows, but there was no sign of the thing. Picking up his sword, he retreated back to the inn.
Asreth Abu Dali looked with scorn upon the jinni as she rematerialized before him. From her wounded face and empty hands, he knew she had failed. “She whom we both serve will not be happy with this,” he spat.
The jinni said nothing, but settled into a purple haze cloaking the corner of her cell. Abudali stroked a large ring on his middle finger, from which emanated a bluish glow. Where it touched, the cloud drops of blood fell like rain; staining the stone floor beneath. He heard a moan of pure agony that chilled even his corrupted soul. Abudali forced a sneer to his face.
“Next time, I will slay you,”

* * * * *

(Join us next month for the next exciting chapter of THE EYE OF TIME, an original web serial novel by Frank Menser and Nickolas Cook)

Stabbed in Stanzas

Things Aren’t Always What They Seem
by Karen L. Newman

Remember the old Rogers and Hammerstein musical, HMS Pinafore? You know, the song the captain sings about things not as they appear to be? The principle of things not what they seem can also be applied to submission markets. Most people assume in this economy that payment is down, particularly in poor regions like Appalachia. Not true. I queried and discovered that an Appalachian magazine pays $0.25 a word for a Wit & Wisdom column as of May 2010. This isn’t a horror market, yet this spotlights the possibility of big money in unexpected places. There’s money in them thar hills and all you have to do is ask. Find your local magazine or any other publication and query. You have nothing to lose except boat loads of cash.
In publishing payment is sometimes hidden from the general public. For instance, big name authors are often paid more for their work in an anthology than an upcoming, talented writer’s story. A lot of those anthologies are invitation only. Those markets may open submissions to other authors, but they need to assume they’ll be paid less than the big named ones. The same principle can hold true for staff members of a magazine. Payment discrepancies can occur when big name authors and editors join the staff. You know those people are being paid more than you. Therefore, be wary of unpublished payments. If you need experience or enjoy what you’re doing, volunteer or accept being paid a pittance, just don’t stay too long.
Times are tough; life’s not fair – sayings that are annoying and often used to justify inequalities. However, publishers are sometimes forced to pay what they can to stay in business. Writers need to be aware of this and act according to where they are in their careers. Try to get the best deal you can. Make things aren’t as they appear work for you, not against you.

--Karen L. Newman

TIME CAPSULES classic book reviews by Bill Lindblad

BLOODWORLD by Laurence M. Janifer

What does it take to get a two star review?

Not many works earn that distinction. Two stars, or four on a scale of one to ten, is an oddity. It’s easy to reserve five for truly exceptional works, and if three is average, then four is easily classified as better than average but not amazing. Simple enough. One star is what the truly worthless items get. But often, if something’s going to get a two star review, the reviewer will be nice and bump it up to a three.

You can see the final call on this book coming. Let me bring you there.

First, the writing, competent, perhaps better than merely competent, but plagued, overrun by what, in some circles, no, in most circles, would be categorized as excessive commas.

Second, the subject matter. It strives toward literary stature beyond that which was typical for the genre work of the time. I applaud that. But by nesting the kernel of the story in what was a significant concern of the early 1960s - the possible uprising of a youth movement against a society which didn’t seem to understand them - it dates the book terribly.

Third, the setting. The book takes place on another world in the far future but the societal structure is pulled partly from Roman-era political family units and slave culture and partly from 1960s America. The conjoined mess simply doesn’t work, and as it forms the spine of the novel, the book doesn’t work either.

Fourth, unfulfilled promise. The cover is lurid, featuring a nude woman being whipped by a nude man. The story quickly establishes the fetishistic sexual horrors which are performed on a regular basis to the slaves. However, as readers, we are rarely shown any indications of them, nor are we privy to scenes of depravity. It’s hard to be too upset about this, as I’m not normally an advocate of torture porn in movies or books. In this case, however, unease is meant to be generated by the reader’s association with the main character who is both honorable and barbaric. By stripping the barbarism from the scenes the reader has only a generally amiable but not particularly bright protagonist.

Janifer wrote quite a bit of science fiction, and some of it… both on his own and in conjunction with Randall Garrett… was exemplary. I would suggest you find some of that to fill a sf need, and pass on this one for any horror need.

Maybe this book was better when it was first released in 1965. I doubt it.

Two stars out of five.

Two legends of the Victorian age meet in this 1978 book by veteran mystery and western writer Loren D. Estleman. While Holmes and Dracula have featured simultaneously in many stories since this novel, I do not believe anyone has done a better job with the characters.

The book is as much a literary game as it is a traditional story. With the aid of a timeline constructed by some Baker Street Irregulars (the legendary fan group associated with Holmes) Estleman weaves together the established storyline from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s fiction and the storyline of Dracula by Bram Stoker. The result is a book which could be used as a viable supplement for either or both works. Minor discrepancies - there are no major ones I was able to find - are explained rationally by the narrator, who in this case is purportedly Watson.

Do you like Sherlock Holmes? Do you like Dracula? If the answer to one or both of those questions is yes, this book is worth buying. You may enjoy revisiting the great detective in his methodology and demeanor, or you may enjoy a second trip to certain sites and incidents from the Dracula novel, this time from a different perspective. Either way, it’s enough to please a reader and leave them wanting more. For example, the one and only sequel from Estleman, Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Holmes.

Four stars out of five.


This novel was produced in 1976, but is an expansion of an earlier 1954 story, “Sine of the Magus”. It concerns a detective who is hired to discover someone’s name during a convention. The apparently simple task is revealed to be far more difficult and perilous than expected when the convention is exposed as a magician’s convention.

Gunn manages to evoke a sense of urgency in the story, but this novel bears more in common with Leiber’s Conjure Wife than Hjortsberg’s Falling Angel. It is by turns a mystery, a love story, a science fiction story, and a dark fantasy. The backdrop is mundane and in no small part academic. A vein of light humor threads its way through the book, keeping the book from becoming too grim. If I have a complaint about the characterization it is only that the protagonist and his primary aide fall in love too deeply, too quickly, to be very believable. Outside of that flaw, the characters are simplistic but interesting, idealized and rational.

The initial investigation is not the true core of the story, but its resolution has a significant effect on the final outcome of the novel. This is typical of Gunn, who writes with an easily approachable style but who manages to surprise the reader on multiple occasions throughout the book.

If you’re looking for mass slaughter or detailed horrors, go elsewhere. If you can be satisfied by a battle between good and evil, I can recommend this book.

Four stars out of five.

VAMPIRE CITY by Paul Feval

It seems innovative: vampires who can duplicate themselves, whose thralls wear physical forms which can be altered at the whim of the master vampire, whose bodies glow green as their powers are used… these are all somewhat innovative concepts. At least, they would be perceived as innovative if used today. Actually, they can all be found in this French novel from ‘75.


Brian Stableford has earned my praise for his efforts to resuscitate the three Feval vampire novels from their relative obscurity. Vampire City was originally published by Sarob Press, then re-released by Black Coat Press. Stableford provides a multiple page introduction replete with information about Feval, his work, and the work of the protagonist of this novel, Ann Radcliffe (an amazingly popular British writer of the early 1800s.) He includes notations at the end to aid in explanation of some of the more obscure references. And his translation is of a high quality, due undoubtedly to Stableford’s skill as a professional writer.

The humor in the story tends toward parody directed as racial stereotypes. The Irishman, for example, is uncouth but virtually impervious to harm. The stories of Radcliffe, one of the earliest writers of what would become known as the Gothic, are also the subject of skewering but in only gentle ways; as indicated in the introduction, Feval was likely a fan of Radcliffe. The result is a story where the prime motivator is a strong female and all of the non-villainous males either subordinates or followers of her. (One major exception is a nearly godlike figure who appears as a deus ex machina at a handful of points in the story; the way that character is portrayed is another jab at the perceptions of the British from the perspective of a Frenchman.)

The book has very cool vampires doing stuff that no post-Varney, post-Dracula vampire would ever be seen doing. It has an Irishman who rents his head for the British aristocracy to test its canes on. It has an author, a woman author, as the star. And it’s translated wonderfully. On top of all of that, it’s got some honest historical impact.

Five stars out of five.

--Bill Lindblad

Movie vs. Book: Incubus

The Movie:

When you have to include the phrase “gratuitous metal” in a review, you know it’s going to be a wild ride.

Incubus is one weird movie. A doctor and his teenage daughter have only been in this small town for a year. Does the town treat them like outsiders? Not really. I think this detail was in there as a setup for a red herring that was never followed through. But I digress.

This small town has a rash of murders. Weird murders where the victims are women who die from having their uteruses impaled during a rape. The police seem somewhat interested. The doctor is definitely interested. The doctor is also interested in the new reporter in town (how many small towns have this many people move in within a year’s time span?). And in scattered scenes, he may or may not be interested in his daughter in a not-so-fatherly way. Another red herring/subplot never fully explored.

Through the course of the movie, more women die (including one during a heavy metal concert at a movie theater. From what I understand, it was actually a movie in the book and not a concert. However, that one bit of gratuitous metal brought us a look at a pre-Iron Maiden Bruce Dickinson. There’s a bit of Jeopardy trivia for you). And we find out there was a rash of similar murders two decades prior that the town has been hushing up. Why you may ask? Again, no clue as it is never explored past an occasional mentioning.

Incubus wasn’t a horrible movie. Most of the performances were on the money, with the surprising exception of the normally fantastic John Cassavetes giving a wooden reading of the doctor role. The suspense was enough to keep interested, and the gore was balanced just right between the excessive and the non-existent. However, I can’t honestly say it was a good movie, either. There are just too many plot holes and half-attempts at red herrings to make the story fully cohesive. The ending packed a good ten minutes worth of action into one. It felt rushed, as if they ran out of film and said, “Oh, crap, let’s end this thing as fast as possible.” Hmmm. That could explain the unanswered plot holes, too.

Incubus could have been a great movie if it wanted to. The writing was there, the skilled cast was there. Yet it failed to follow through more than halfway. I don’t know if it was poorly set up from the start, editorial issues, or sheer laziness on the part of the director. Whatever reason, Incubus never made it to “Greatness” but stalled at “A Damn Shame”.


The Book:

INCUBUS by Ray Russell

Do yourself a big favor and read the book before watching the movie. The movie includes a couple of key plot points from the book, and that‘s all… just enough to make the introduction seem familiar and to ruin the ending, really.

Incubus is a horror novel masquerading as a mystery. There are mystery elements, not the least of which is the identity of the demon, and they are presented unusually well. There are a handful of novels which cross the mystery / thriller / horror as well as this one does… Falling Angel and The Tomb spring to mind… but only a handful. The actions taken by law enforcement are reasonable (unlike in the movie) and follow whatever the best logic of the time would inspire; at the point where it seems as if it is a regular serial rapist the police respond accordingly. When the sheriff becomes convinced of the supernatural element, he defers in many ways to a Professor of occult studies and shifts the town’s reactions to defense while the creature is being sought.

If you’ve ever read a book and been thrust out of the story by an utterly unrealistic action, you know how annoying it can be. This novel offers none of that.

Also, the characters are realistic; this, combined with the rational actions, should make this book work only if it is effectively a police procedural. Instead, Russell allows inspiration to come from a variety of classic ideas and shoehorns the result into a whodunit, resulting in a brilliant update / crossover of Dracula and “Who Goes There?” with a touch of Rosemary’s Baby thrown in for good measure.

The book opens with a young man and woman skinny-dipping, and the woman shortly thereafter becomes the victim of a violent rapist. The doctor examining her eliminates her partner as the criminal because of his relative endowment… the attacker is huge, akin more to a horse than a human. As the story progresses, the driving figures of the town - the doctor, the sheriff, a young scion, a returning occultist, and secondary characters such as the doctor’s daughter, the local publisher and the deputy - grow steadily more convinced that there is not a simple human rapist, but something darker and fundamentally demonic.

Unfortunately, as they are learning about it, it is learning about them.

Five stars out of five.

--Bill Lindblad

Fresh Blood: New Releases In the World of Horror

In Book News:

Coscom Entertainment, publisher of monster and superhero fiction, has just launched a massive sale on all of its eBooks. Popular hits like The Undead World of Oz, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and Zombie Jim, Blood of the Dead, The Lifeless, Zombie Fight Night: Battles of the Dead, Bits of the Dead, and others are available for less than $3.

Coscom Entertainment is one of the leaders in the monster-book publishing industry, with some of its titles slated for reprint from such publishing giants like Simon and Schuster.

For a complete listing of all Kindle books on sale, please visit:

For more on Coscom Entertainment, please go to the company's website at

Coscom Entertainment can also be followed on Twitter at

In Film News:

The Expendables
Release date: Aug 13, 2010
Starring: Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Mickey Rourke, Terry Crews, Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren,Randy Couture
Remember how cool the action films of the 80’s were? Yeah me either but Stallone looks to capture that same vibe as he leads a plethora of leading males such as Jason Statham and Jet Li.

Piranha 3D
Release date: Aug 20, 2010
Starring: Elisabeth Shue, Richard Dreyfuss, Jessica Szohr
Haute Tension director gets a chance to redeem himself after the dismal effort that was his Mirrors remake. This time he’s taking a shot at a remake of the 1978 classic Piranha, this time in 3D. Those who have seen the film claim its as gory as Dead Alive. Now that’s saying something!

Release date Aug 27, 2010
Starring: Michael Fassbender, Dominic West, Olga Kurylenko, David Morrissey, Noel Clarke
You really can’t go wrong with a movie that’s directed by Neil Marshall. He brought us the claustrophobic Decent Werewolf fun with dog soldiers, and we can’t forget the thrill ride that was Doomsday. Now Neil takes a different approach and tackles a legendary ancient Roman battle.

The Last Exorcism
Release date Aug 27, 2010
Starring: Patrick Fabian, Ashley Bell
A Reverend gets more than he bargained for when he arrives in Louisiana to perform what he thinks to be a “routine exorcism.”

--Steven M. Duarte