Archive for October, 2015

Some of my favorite “Halloween” songs

Posted in Observations & Musings on October 30, 2015 by Christian

When I decided to come up with a list of my favorite Halloween songs, I imposed only one rule: I couldn’t think about it too much. It would keep me from getting too “cute” or “cool”, but I’m sure I left a metric ton of great entries off the list. So do me a favor and tell me where I whiffed in the comments…

Sam the Sham – “Little Red Riding Hood” (1966)

“Little Red Riding Hood / I don’t think little big girls should / Go walking in these spooky old woods alone. / Owoooooooo!”

Arthur Brown – “Fire” (1968)

Arthur Brown, wearing a helmet with flaming horns, proclaims himself “the god of hellfire” and it only gets Halloweenier from there.

Black Sabbath – “Black Sabbath” (1970)

Black Sabbath, singing a song called “Black Sabbath” using a diminished fifth / augmented fourth interval known as diabolus in musica. Bam. Halloween.

Alice Cooper – “The Ballad of Dwight Frye” (1971)

Dwight Fry (no ‘e’) portrayed “R.M. Renfield” in the 1931 screen adaptation of Dracula. Alice Cooper added the ‘e’ and the actual insanity later.

Kiss – “God of Thunder” (1976)

The Demon makeup is nice, but what really makes this work is the gallons of stage blood and oblique references to being Satan’s offspring.

Roky Erickson – “I Walked with a Zombie” (1981)

I had to pick just one Roky Erickson song for this list? Are you kidding me?

The Cramps – “Surfin’ Dead” (1985)

I think this was the theme of my senior prom. But don’t quote me on that. I didn’t go.

Pantera – “Cemetery Gates” (1990)

Remember this one from the soundtrack to Tales from the Crypt Presents Demon Knight (1995)? This song is scarier than that movie.

Marilyn Manson – “This is Halloween” (2006)

Pumpkin Jack approved. This version appears on the 2006 special edition release of The Nightmare Before Christmas soundtrack.

Rob Kleiner – “Devil in Disguise” (2011)

I heard this song performed live at The Beat Kitchen in Chicago, and then what’s that? It’s on the soundtrack to The Collapsed (great film, if you haven’t seen it).

Christian A. Larsen is the author of LOSING TOUCH, featuring a foreword by New York Times bestselling author Piers Anthony, now available in paperback and ebook formats from Post Mortem Press.

Gothic Blue Book V: here in time for Halloween!

Posted in News on October 29, 2015 by Christian
Now available at Amazon.com.

Now available at Amazon.com.

Just in time for Halloween, kids … its the paperback edition of GOTHIC BLUE BOOK V: THE CURSED EDITION, featuring my short story, “Knitting Away Eternity”. Word on the street is that the ebook edition should be available very soon, too. [UPDATE: The Kindle edition is now available.]

Gothic fiction originated in the 18th century with Horace Walpole’s THE CASTLE OF OTRANTO, and really found its feet in the 19th century with purveyors such as Edgar Allan Poe, Sheridan Le Fanu, and Mary Shelley peddling horror, death, and emotional truth in the pages of their works.

Now, Burial Day Books brings you another of their 21st century spins on this popular genre with GOTHIC BLUE BOOK V:

So this Halloween week, give yourself a treat that definitely won’t have a rusty razor blade wedged in there and pick up a paperback copy of GOTHIC BLUE BOOK V: THE CURSED EDITION, edited by the esteemed Cynthia Pelayo.

Christian A. Larsen is the author of LOSING TOUCH, featuring a foreword by New York Times bestselling author Piers Anthony, now available in paperback and ebook formats from Post Mortem Press.

Barnes & Noble HorrorFest: Don’t miss NEXT year’s…

Posted in News on October 25, 2015 by Christian
Photo by John Everson.

Photo by John Everson.

Halloween started early last night at Barnes & Noble in Racine with HorrorFest 2015, featuring W.D. Gagliani, John Everson, Candice Shatkins, and me reading some of our favorite stories and discussing the things that drew us to horror.

If you missed it, that’s okay. I read the first chapter of LOSING TOUCH, about Morgan Dunmore’s first embarrassing experience phasing through solid matter. I’ve never read that passage in a group setting before, and now I remember why. Let’s just say that the reasons are scatalogical in nature.

Photo by John Everson.

Photo by John Everson.

Gagliani shared a passage from his Nick Lupo “Wolf Cycle” series about Lupo’s father, Franco, who hunted and killed werewolves in Nazi-occupied Italy during World War II. The series begins with WOLF’S TRAP, and is followed by WOLF’S GAMBITWOLF’S BLUFF,  WOLF’S EDGEWOLF’S CUT and WOLF’S BLIND, coming in November.

Photo by W.D. Gagliani.

Photo by W.D. Gagliani.

Everson read “The Right Instrument” from VIGILANTES OF LOVE, which is about a jingle writer who, struggling to make the rent and dumped by the person he loves, is gifted with a new piano that solve all his problems … from a certain point of view. Obi Wan Kenobi would be proud of the logic.

Shatkins told us about Kenosha’s town blasphemer, Louis Knapp, a churchgoer in the 19th century who, fed up with what he called the “priest-craft”, had monuments carved and placed in Green Ridge Cemetery lambasting organized religion. The true story is included in her book, HAUNTED KENOSHA: GHOSTS, LEGENDS, AND BIZARRE TALES.

So if you missed it, like I said, that’s fine. You can recreate the fun by reading the books yourself and occasionally glancing at the pictures in this post. But let this serve as your early invitation to HorrorFest 2016 at Barnes & Noble in Racine. Don’t miss it next year…

Christian A. Larsen is the author of LOSING TOUCH, featuring a foreword by New York Times bestselling author Piers Anthony, now available in paperback and ebook formats from Post Mortem Press.

Meet the Writer Interview: Shaun Meeks

Posted in Observations & Musings on October 23, 2015 by Christian

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Christian:

Shaun Meeks is the author of AT THE GATES OF MADNESS, BROTHER’S ILK, DOWN ON THE FARM, SHUTDOWN, THE GATE AT LAKE DRIVE and “And Midian Whispered Its Name” appearing in MIDIAN UNMADE: TALES OF CLIVE BARKER’S NIGHTBREED, edited by Joseph Nassise.

thisishorror

Originally posted on This Is Horror:

The-Gate-at-Lake-Drive-front-cover-1Shaun Meeks lives in Toronto, Ontario with his partner, model and Burlesque performer, Mina LaFleur. Together they own and operate their company L’Atelier de LaFleur. Shaun has been writing for many years now and is a member of the Horror Writers Association. He is the author of Shutdown and the novelette, Down on the Farm. 

What first attracted you to horror writing?

When I was younger I found a copy of Night Shift by Stephen King. My brother had picked it up and I was intrigued by the cover. At the time, I already loved watching old horror movies like I Was a Teenage Frankenstein, The Blob and any of the Hammer flicks. I had never thought about writing though until I started reading that book. There was something in those stories that sparked a fire in my mind and I gave it a shot. This was all the way back when I was in grade four…

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Read LOST IN THE WITCHING HOUR for just 99¢

Posted in News on October 16, 2015 by Christian
Now available in print and eBook formats.

Now available in print and eBook.

Ghost stories are as old as literature, with prime examples like Homer’s THE ODYSSEY and the Biblical novella “Samuel” (not to be confused with its cash-grabbing sequel, “Samuel II“).

But if re-reading the works of Sheridan Le Fanu or Edgar Allan Poe isn’t doing it for you, try something new. On the cheap. LOST IN THE WITCHING HOUR, featuring my story, “Crybaby Bridge”, is now just 99¢ for Kindle, but here’s the scary part…

It’s only until Halloween.

Edited by Kim Young, LOST IN THE WITCHING HOUR features these fourteen gothic and ghostly tales:

That’s less than eight cents a story when you order LOST IN THE WITCHING HOUR for Kindle before midnight on Halloween. At that price, you could order a few more 99¢ e-books for your virtual plastic pumpkin and not feel the pinch. Might I suggest Breaking Fate Publishing’s INSIDE THE MIRRORS and DEADHEAD MILES? And don’t forget … my novel LOSING TOUCH is also just 99¢ now through October 31.

Christian A. Larsen is the author of LOSING TOUCH, featuring a foreword by New York Times bestselling author Piers Anthony, now available in paperback and ebook formats from Post Mortem Press.

Barnes & Noble HorrorFest 2015 to feature LOSING TOUCH

Posted in News on October 14, 2015 by Christian

Get your scary on at Barnes & Noble in Racine the evening of Saturday, October 24 with HorrorFest 2015. This year’s event features W.D. Gagliani (WOLF’S TRAP), John Everson (NIGHTWHERE), and Candice Shatkins (HAUNTED KENOSHA: GHOSTS, LEGENDS, AND BIZARRE TALES), and I’ll be signing copies LOSING TOUCH, featuring a foreword by Piers Anthony.

LOSING TOUCH, on the shelf at the Racine Barnes & Noble.

LOSING TOUCH, on the shelf at the Racine Barnes & Noble.

WOLF’S TRAP is the first installment in the “Wolf Cycle” by W.D. Gagliani, featuring Detective Nick Lupo. WOLF’S TRAP is followed by WOLF’S GAMBITWOLF’S BLUFF,  WOLF’S EDGE, WOLF’S CUT and WOLF’S BLIND, coming in November. Along with David Benton, Gagliani also co-authored “Claire de Lune” for the anthology X-FILES: TRUST NO ONE, edited by Jonathan Maberry.

John Everson’s NIGHTWHERE was a nominated for the 2012 Bram Stoker Award® for Superior Achievement in a Novel. He was a previous Stoker winner with his debut novel, COVENANT. His works also include VIOLET EYES, THE FAMILY TREE, and “Voyer” in the anthology QUALIA NOUS, featuring “The Jaunt” by Stephen King.

HAUNTED KENOSHA: GHOSTS, LEGENDS, AND BIZARRE TALES by Candice Shatkins, a founding member of the Paranormal Investigators of Kenosha, explores lycanthropy, shipwrecks, and burial sites right here in our own backyard. Find out about local history and legends in Kenosha County from one of the area’s foremost authorities on the weird and unsettling in Southeast Wisconsin.

It all starts at 5:00 p.m. sharp on October 24 at Barnes & Noble in Racine, 2710 South Green Bay Road in the Southland Center. It’ll be two straight hours of readings, horror talk, and maybe a Q&A to get you in the Halloween spirit. We’ll see you there!

Christian A. Larsen is the author of LOSING TOUCH, featuring a foreword by New York Times bestselling author Piers Anthony, now available in paperback and ebook formats from Post Mortem Press.

 

Fear You Can Hear: 31 of the Scariest Old Time Radio Episodes for Halloween

Posted in Observations & Musings on October 11, 2015 by Christian

I would add something from X MINUS ONE, maybe “Perigi’s Wonderful Dolls”, but this list is outstanding. I have my homework cut out for me…

Nitrate Diva

the_witchs_taleThey say a picture’s worth a thousand words, but, when it comes to the best old-time radio horror, each word is worth a thousand pictures.

By using voices, sound effects, and snippets of music, masters of radio terror turned what could’ve been a disadvantage of the medium—we can’t see what’s happening—into their greatest asset.

Radio writers and actors spawned monsters that the technology of the time couldn’t have realistically portrayed on film. They suggested depravity and gore that screen censorship would’ve banned. And they could manipulate the imagination so that listeners themselves collaborated in the summoning of their worst fears.

In case you can’t tell, I adore old-time ratio (OTR) horror. After countless hours poring over archives of old shows, I’ve selected 31 bloodcurdling episodes, from 1934 all the way up to 1979, for your pleasure.

You can dole these out one per day as a Halloween countdown or feel…

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Star Wars: Where’s Lando?

Posted in Observations & Musings with tags , , , , on October 3, 2015 by Christian

Star Wars fans have known since April 2014 that Billy Dee Williams will not be reprising his role in STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS, so no Lando Calrissian in Episode VII when it opens in December. Not even a comlink communiqué from the former baron of Cloud City. For those of you keeping score at home, that’s like being the president of Jupiter, which, in a space faring society, would be a pretty big deal.

Ladies.

Ladies.

But there were a lot of folks from the original series that didn’t make the cut for the new flick. General Dodonna was the chief rebel strategist during the Battle of Yavin, but died about five years before THE FORCE AWAKENS takes place (or not, since the expanded universe canon has found itself floating home). During the Imperial invasion of Hoth, General Rieekan hustled everybody off that pitiless icehell and then presumably retired someplace warm–like Tatooine … where you might catch Lando playing in the World Series of Sabacc, but not in this movie.

Ladies.

Ladies. (Image by Robert Luedke)

If Dodonna (and I bet you didn’t even knew that guy had a name, did you?) and Rieekan (him, too?) are either six feet under or enjoying retirement, why should we care about Lando, you ask?

There were two Death Stars, and both got done blow’d up right after they went online, making them two of the worst military expenditures in the history of military and expenditures. Luke shot the prototype out of the sky, and Lando wasted the bigger, more powerful one.

Creator George Lucas has long maintained that Star Wars is about the Skywalkers, so you can see why the Luke is still in this thing, bearded and hermity though he is. But where’s Lando?

Hiding from the First Order on the beaches of Jakku?

Hiding from the First Order on the beaches of Jakku?

In RETURN OF THE JEDI, Luke was basically a decoy. He didn’t kill Vader. He didn’t kill the emperor. His main job was to absorb enough dark force lightning to kickstart his old man’s heart, which he did do, in spades, but he didn’t lead an assault or make any public contribution, besides playing a small, hapless role in getting the Force’s Anti-Pope (who was not public about his anti-poping, by the way) assassinated by his favorite cardinal. Right on, Luke! Way to take a punch for the good guys.

Hey, Palpatine! Checkmate?

Luke’s best offense is losing.

Meanwhile, Lando is leading the assault, taking on star destroyers, and eventually, winging into the heart of a planet-sized space fortress and zapping it to oblivion, losing only his satellite TV in the process. This is a pretty notable military accomplishment, something people around the galaxy are shown to be celebrating in the special edition of THE RETURN OF THE JEDI.

Lando is the hero of the day, the new face of the rebellion, a bigger deal than Luke because for all anybody knows, Lando killed off the despotic emperor and his galactic Karl Rove in the process.

Pre-Mustafar Karl Rove.

Pre-Mustafar Karl Rove.

Lando also plays a key role in the story of the Skywalkers, going toe to toe with Darth Vader in his negotiations at Cloud City and saving Leia from a death sentence everybody seems to forget was still on the books. He ditched his comfortable life “among the clouds” to save Luke’s best friend, who had by this time been turned into wall art. This guy is as central to the series as Chewbacca, and he doesn’t even get a cameo in the new movie? What bullshit is that, I ask you? No, I’m really asking: what bullshit is that?

Hint: Not Lando.

Hint: Not Lando.

At least, as has recently been reported elsewhere, J.J. Abrams was able to coax Admiral Ackbar out of his melted butter hot tub to appear in THE FORCE AWAKENS, opening December 16th in the Core Worlds, December 18th in the Outer Rim. #nerdgasm

Christian A. Larsen is the author of LOSING TOUCH, featuring a foreword by New York Times bestselling author Piers Anthony, now available in paperback and ebook formats from Post Mortem Press.

Try new Kindle horror this October with PMP’s 99¢ Scare Sale

Posted in News on October 1, 2015 by Christian

Wet your beak with some new horror this October with Post Mortem Press’s 99¢ Scare Sale. Now through Halloween, pick up the Kindle edition of some of Post Mortem Press’s most popular titles, like THE GHOST IS THE MACHINE, including a short story by Joe Hill, and LOSING TOUCH, featuring a foreword by Piers Anthony, all for less than a buck.

Just 99¢ for Kindle through Halloween!

Just 99¢ for Kindle through Halloween!

New York Times bestselling author Piers Anthony has written fantasy, science-fiction, and horror, but is probably best known for his series of Xanth novels, beginning with A SPELL FOR CHAMELEON in 1977. There are now 39 Xanth novels, with three more in the works, and that’s not counting Anthony’s other books, including the Incarnations of Immortality series and Pornucopia duology.

Joe Hill, author of the novels HEART-SHAPED BOX, HORNS, and NOS4A2, the collection 20TH CENTURY GHOSTS, and the comic book series LOCKE & KEY, has won two Bram Stoker Awards®, two British Fantasy Awards, and an International Horror Guild Award for his work. HORNS was adapted into a major motion picture in 2014 starring Daniel Radcliffe (HARRY POTTER) as Ignatius Perrish.

Other titles on sale include TOXICITY by Max Booth III, PINS by Jessica McHugh, TRY NOT TO BURN by Michael Matula, FLESHTRAP by Magen Cubed, THE SAGA OF I series by Kenneth W. Cain, and the anthology FEAR THE ABYSS, featuring short stories by Harlan Ellison®, Jack Ketchum, Gary Braunbeck, Michael Arnzen, Tim Waggoner, Lawrence Connolly, Jeyn Roberts, and more.

So this Halloween season, try reading a new horror author or two. Or more. At 99¢ per selected title, you can afford to treat yourself. No tricks, I promise…

Christian A. Larsen is the author of LOSING TOUCH, featuring a foreword by New York Times bestselling author Piers Anthony, now available in paperback and ebook formats from Post Mortem Press.