Archive for the Observations & Musings Category

The Halloween Hangover: a round table discussion about our favorite holiday, part 2

Posted in Observations & Musings on November 7, 2018 by Christian

Part II of Justin Hamelin’s Halloween Hangover discussion…

Mangled Matters

We are just about a week into the saddest fifty-one weeks of the calendar year. It’s been six days since kids and adults alike wiped on their finest grease paint and made their way through neighborhoods lit by Jack-o’-lanterns in search of the finest sugary treats imaginable.

Fear not, my fiendish friends! We here at Mangled Matters are here for you, all year long. We will continue to chat about the greatest holiday on the calendar until the next Halloween season begins.

Tonight, I’m honored to feature Part 2 of our 3-part round table discussion with a wonderful collection of Halloween enthusiasts.

Read on. If you dare…

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WHAT IS THE SCARIEST SCENE IN HORROR FILM HISTORY?

Gwendolyn Kiste, author: The freezer scene midway through The Texas Chain Saw Massacre is one that really got under my skin when I was saw it as a teenager. In fact, so many moments…

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The Halloween Hangover: a round table discussion about our favorite holiday

Posted in Observations & Musings on November 6, 2018 by Christian

Rondo Hatton Award™-winning writer Justin Hamelin gathered us all together for a reason. What is that reason? Read on, courageous horror fans…

Mangled Matters

It’s that time of year again. When our favorite holiday has come and gone, our beloved Halloween aisles transformed into Christmas rows before the stores open on November 1st.

If you’re lucky, you can still find Halloween candy and decorations reduced to near free prices but odds are the clearance racks have been picked through three or four times over by now. Simply put, it’s the saddest part of the holiday year for many of us. But hey, the good news is we are only 361 days away from next Halloween!

Today, I present to you a fun little Halloween hangover piece- for those of us who simply don’t want to stop talking, reading or writing about the best holiday of the calendar year. I had the privilege of chatting with a group of ten fans of the weird, macabre and terrifying to bring you the first of a three…

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Alternate cover concept/promo image for THE BLACKENING OF FLESH

Posted in Observations & Musings on February 5, 2017 by Christian

Pat R. Steiner has created two more brilliant pieces of art inspired by my ghosts and gangsters novel, THE BLACKENING OF FLESH, now available in paperback and Kindle from Post Mortem Press.

THE BLACKENING OF FLESH is about a high school graduate whose suburban home is haunted by five Prohibition-era gangsters who are desperate to escape the house where they were executed 54 years earlier.

First is an alternate cover, which has a certain Gastby-esque quality to it (at least, that’s what it brought to mind for me):

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Meyer Wolfsheim would be proud.

And next, Steiner provided our first real look at Monica, one of the people still alive who knows about the sinister history of Jared’s house:

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You can also just make out Wendy O. Williams on her Plasmatics T-shirt.

Click here to check out more of Pat’s artwork (and for links to his writing, too)–you’ll be glad you did. Maybe it’ll inspire you to create your own artwork or stories, which could set off a chain reaction of art inspiring art. Let the next domino fall.

Christian A. Larsen is the author of the novels LOSING TOUCH and THE BLACKENING OF FLESHnow available from Post Mortem Press.

Brilliant new marketing image for THE BLACKENING OF FLESH

Posted in Observations & Musings on January 29, 2017 by Christian

THE BLACKENING OF FLESH, my sophomore novel from Post Mortem Press about a high school graduate in 1984 who’s house is haunted by five Prohibition-era gangsters, has been out for about a year now, but every now and then something makes it new to me all over again: an enthusiastic purchase at a pop con or a lit fest, a thoughtful review (even a sentence or two is nice!), or a fresh piece of artwork inspired by the book, like this one by author and illustrator Pat R. Steiner:

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I love it.

In addition to his art portfolio, Steiner is also the author of “The Shoe Tree” in CHIRAL MAD, and “Kilroy Wasn’t There” from QUALIA NOUS and his brand-new horror collection, BETA SLEEPWEAR AND OTHER NIGHTMARES. Check out his stuff. Maybe leave a review?

Christian A. Larsen is the author of the novels LOSING TOUCH and THE BLACKENING OF FLESHnow available from Post Mortem Press.

Another five flicks for some Thanksgiving horror…

Posted in Observations & Musings on November 24, 2016 by Christian

I’ve done this here and here, and I bet you thought I ran out of movies after the last one. Welp, no, actually. There are a lot of Thanksgiving-appropriate horror movies out there, and I’m not even going for the easy layups like THANKSKILLING and THANKSKILLING 3. (There was no THANKSKILLING 2—not yet, anyway.)

THE VVITCH (2016)

“Evil Takes Many Forms.”

There was a lot of buzz about this piece of quiet horror, and it left movie-goers divided. But I can tell you this: if your daughter says your goat is talking, you’d better run. Also, don’t name your goat Black Peter. You’re just asking for trouble. Might be a bit of a thematic reach, but hey, that’s what this list is all about.

MATANGO: ATTACK OF THE MUSHROOM PEOPLE (1963)

If you like mushrooms on your pizza, you’d have been the monster in this movie. The survivors of a shipwreck wash up on an island where eating ‘shrooms is more dangerous than those after school specials warned you about. (Shameless plug: I wrote “It Has Teeth” for THE BEST OF THE HORROR SOCIETY 2013 which also features a killer fungus.)

EAT (2014)

“The story of a girl who finds herself—and then eats herself.”

Definitely not for the squeamish—if you count yourself in that group, don’t even click on the trailer. A struggling actress is having a hard time landing a role, but that’s not the worst of her problems: she’s also self-cannibalizing. Don’t ruin your appetite. Watch this one after Thanksgiving dinner.

CROWHAVEN FARM (1970)

“A chilling tale of vengeance from beyond the grave.”

A couple inherits a New England farm and moves there to try and save their marriage. The ghosts of the witches who lived there suggest the Salem Witch Trials didn’t go far enough. It’s not a bad little made-for-TV pilgrim-themed horror flick from the Nixon era. Definitely not a turkey. And speaking of bird-themed horror…

BIRDEMIC (2010)

“Who will survive?”

Sure, I could have put THE BIRDS on this list, but then how could I have nominated BIRDEMIC, with its tenuous connection to this most avian of holidays? Setting aside the writing, acting, and cinematography, Yeung Chan’s CGI effects ain’t got nothin’ on Ub Iwerks’s rotoscoping, but then, you get what you pay for.

Holiday horror movies are all the rage—if you’re talking about Christmas or Halloween. Heck, THE NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS is about both, skipping over Thanksgiving entirely. But they’re out there and there if you know where to look…

Christian A. Larsen is the author of the novels LOSING TOUCH and THE BLACKENING OF FLESHnow available from Post Mortem Press.

Howe, Downes lead reinvigorated Yes at Chicago’s Copernicus Center

Posted in Observations & Musings on August 21, 2016 by Christian

I became a big fan of the progressive rock band Yes by listening through my brother’s bedroom wall. I was into rap at the time, so the complex melodies, the sweeping lyrical landscapes, and classical-length compositions were a bit … too much for me at first, but it sowed the seeds, and eventually, I bought my own copies of THE YES ALBUM, FRAGILE, and CLOSE TO THE EDGE so I didn’t have to borrow Dave’s.

They were even my first major-label, arena concert when Dave took me to the then-Rosemont Horizon on May 6, 1991 to see a supergroup version of Yes with Jon Anderson, Chris Squire, Bill Bruford, Tony Kaye, Steve Howe, Rick Wakeman, Alan White, and Trevor Rabin representing key eras in the group’s history. And I got to see a version of it again last night at the Copernicus Center in Chicago.

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But the current version of Yes featured only Steve Howe (guitar) from the group I saw before. He was joined by Geoff Downes, keyboardist from DRAMA, which they played in full to open the set. (And I recently discovered this is a much better album than I gave it credit for.) Howe and Downes were in fine form … but I was kind of expecting that. Yes musicians have to be in fine form. But who were these other guys, tasked with the recreation of some of symphonic rock’s most difficult passages?

Alan White, who has been the band’s drummer since 1972, is recuperating from back surgery, so Jay Schellen more than ably manned the kit for him at last night’s show, nailing the most difficult parts of “Ritual (Nous Sommes du Soleil)”. Singer Jon Davison is Jon Anderson’s replacement’s replacement. Like Anderson, he is one of those rare natural alto tenors, and hit every soaring high note while waggling his long brown hair like a latter-day traveling minstrel. If Bluto Blutarski had been there, guitars would have been smashed, I’m sure. But this was the music we were there to see.

Still, how would Chris Squire’s replacement replace probably the greatest bassist of all time? Squire was the last remaining original member of Yes when he died of cancer last summer. How could anyone ever take his place? His trebly tone and hummingbird quick plucking were matched only by his inventiveness. In comes Billy Sherwood … and made me think I was seeing a ghost. Hearing one, too, which is probably more important when you’re at a concert.

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I am NOT a camera. I was actually a lot closer than this while I was taking the picture.

Listening to Yes music is an investment. By-and-large, it is not catchy. Hardly ever poppy. But as I find when I return to their music every couple of years, it surprises me how the passages come back, like reading a really good book that you haven’t cracked in years. The last revisit I made to Yes was in 2012 when I was writing LOSING TOUCH, and their music makes several cameo appearances, including “The Revealing Science of God”, which they played last night with note-for-note perfection.

Morgan Dunsmore would have been proud.

Christian A. Larsen is the author of the novels LOSING TOUCH and THE BLACKENING OF FLESHnow available from Post Mortem Press.

THE BLACKENING OF FLESH and LOSING TOUCH hit France

Posted in Observations & Musings on July 9, 2016 by Christian

THE BLACKENING OF FLESH and LOSING TOUCH continue to have the time of their lives without me, having chunnelled from England to France and made their way to the Ville de Lumière to see the sights:

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Hey, look … their welcome sign speaks American!

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Great works of art within and without. (I didn’t do the covers, so I can brag on them all I want.)

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Looks like Theseus’s dong is about to get the clapperboard treatment.

More Paris to come. Meantime, I’m going to order up a plate of french fries and pretend I’m there…

Christian A. Larsen is the author of the novels LOSING TOUCH and THE BLACKENING OF FLESHnow available from Post Mortem Press.