Monday, 6 February 2017

StokerCon 2017 Registration Is Open



The Horror Writers Association's second annual convention will be held aboard the Queen Mary in Long Beach, California, from April 27-30, 2017.


Many well-known horror/dark fantasy writers will attend, including the following:


George R.R. Martin, A Song of Ice and Fire, Game of Thrones
Elizabeth Hand, Wilding Hall, the Cass Neary series
Chuck Wendig, Star Wars: Aftermath, the Miriam Black thrillers
Peter Crowther, the Forever Twilight cycle
Bill Bridges, White Wolf’s World of Darkness, The Silver Crown
Tananarive Due, Ghost Summer, the Tennyson Hardwick mystery series
Gretchen McNeil, Possess, Ten, I’m Not Your Manic Pixie Dream Girl
Stephen Graham Jones, Mongrels, When the People Lights Go Out
Becky Spratford, The Reader’s Advisory Guide to Horror (Second Edition)
Nancy Holder, five-time winner of the Bram Stoker Award®, will serve as the event’s Toastmaster.


In addition to attending the prestigious Bram Stoker Award® dinner on Saturday, April 29, attendees can enjoy panels, presentations, Horror University classes, The Lucky 13 Film Festival, a mini-academic conference coinciding with the convention, special programming for librarians on Librarian’s Day (Thursday, April 27), high tea with your favorite horror authors, ghost tours and a harbor excursion for early arrivals.


For more information on how to register for the convention, please click here.






Sunday, 15 January 2017

Byron A. Martin Named Best Independent Film Producer--Canada


In case you missed this, below is an excerpt from the press release announcing the award:

(Toronto, ON) – December 20th, 2016. Canadian producer Byron A. Martin of Byron A. Martin Productions Inc., known for having produced some horror shorts such as A TRICKY TREAT and SERPENT'S LULLABY, has been awarded the distinction of Best Independent Film Producer - Canada by the 2016 Entertainment Awards (TMT NEWS).

LINK: www.tmt-news.com/2016-byron-a-martin-productions-inc

"Honoured to be awarded," wrote the Toronto-based producer in a statement he posted on social media.

The 2016 Entertainment Awards aim to reward the key players within the entertainment industry. In recent years, the entertainment business has evolved, changing how the world conducts business alike across a variety of industry platforms.

Surges in demand for quality entertainment corporations has paved the way for creativity, efficiency and cost effectivity thus providing organisations with an invaluable reach to clients and customers in all stages of entertaining.

The 2016 Entertainment Awards highlights the key players, creative individuals and innovative firms who have provided the world with new, cutting-edge techniques. They cast a centre stage spotlight on those, who through creative flare, commitment and hard work have developed and shared their ideas to fundamentally evolve the business world and the lives of consumers for years to come.

Byron A. Martin is an award-winning producer that develops independent film, television and documentary projects. To date he has produced almost 100 hours of television, filming projects in fifteen countries. He has produced projects for Disney, Sony, Universal, Turner, and Bell Media and managed productions for some of Hollywood’s leading producers (Jerry Bruckheimer, Sam Raimi, Lauren Shuler Donner, Raffaellla De Laurentis, Mark Canton, Dick Wolf, Laurence Mark, John Singleton, Ralph Winter and Don Carmody).

For more information about producer Byron A. Martin and Byron A. Martin Productions, please visit their social media sites:

FACEBOOK: www.facebook.com/bampinc/?fref=ts

TWITTER: @ByronAMartin

SITE: www.ByronMartin.com

IMDB: www.imdb.com/name/nm0003072/?ref_=fn_al_nm_1

Sunday, 8 January 2017

The Lost Gallows of Salem




Archaeology reports that the site of the gallows where the ill-fated victims of the Salem witch trials met their deaths in 1692-93 has now been identified as Proctor's Ledge. This site was first proposed by historian Sidney Perley in 1921, and his findings have now been validated by a research team.

Nineteen people met their deaths at this bleak location, pictured above. (A twentieth victim, Giles Corey, was pressed to death by stones.)

To read the full text of the article, please click here.

To learn more about the Salem witch trials, please click here.

Monday, 19 December 2016

A News Release from Dread Central

DREAD CENTRAL SHIFTING TO PUBLICLY-FUNDED FORMAT


LOS ANGELES, Dec. 15, 2016 – Dread Central, the premier website for breaking news and in-depth original content in the world of horror, has announced that after a decade of independently serving fans, independent filmmakers, and studios, it will shift its operations to the publicly-funded service Patreon by March 2017.


"Due to sweeping shifts in studio advertising dollar allocation and the ever-shifting landscape of horror, if we are to survive, we need to make this change," said Dread Central Editor-in-Chief and horror pillar Steve Barton. "Over the past ten years, we’ve supported filmmakers and their projects by sharing their films with our extensive readership free of charge. We don't want to sell out to a conglomerate or shut down the site so we are joining with crowdfunding platform Patreon to keep our independent voice. We need everyone’s support."


Through a monthly subscription of just $1.00 a month, or $12.00 a year, via www.patreon.com/dreadcentral, Dread Central will be able to provide a new, ad-free experience with cutting-edge and exclusive content to horror enthusiasts and subscribers. This move will ultimately allow the site to continue to support the unique voices of genre filmmakers worldwide.


"In order to survive, Dread Central must now become a publicly-funded service, and WE absolutely NEED to subscribe," said Halloween director John Carpenter. "$12.00 a year. $1.00 a month. That’s it, and Dread Central will remain able to continue to support the filmmaking community and horror audiences alike, with the love, care, and voice that they historically have."


"Patreon is all about making it easy for websites like Dread Central to connect with patrons and share exclusive content," said Jordan Cope, Patreon Creator Talent Lead. "We're excited to partner with such a renowned horror website and can’t wait to be a part of the next decade of incredible work."


Founded in 2006 by Barton and long-time collaborator Jon Condit and staffed with such notable horror journalists as Staci Layne Wilson, Sean Decker, Andrew Kasch, Debi Moore, Buz Wallick, and countless other contributors (many of whom have gone on to filmmaking careers of their own), Dread Central has strived tirelessly to provide objective and all-inclusive coverage of horror cinema and culture in all its forms: from on-set visits to red carpet premieres and everything in between – all with an historic and keen eye on independent cinema.


To subscribe to Dread Central, visit www.patreon.com/dreadcentral, and for more information visit www.dreadcentral.com.


FACEBOOK: www.facebook.com/dreadcentral


TWITTER: www.twitter.com/dreadcentral


HASHTAG: #SaveDreadCentral


Monday, 12 December 2016

Z Nation


I came across this zombie series by accident on Amazon. It is set three years after a virus has destroyed most of humanity, and the character Murphy, an ex-prisoner involuntarily treated with an antidote and the only one to survive zombie bites, is being accompanied to the last remaining Centre for Disease Control so that his antibodies can be tested for a potential cure.

After watching the first season, I've now ordered the second. They are reasonably priced at $10 for Season 1 and $20 for Season 2 (in Canadian funds). The third season is currently airing on television, and the series has been renewed for a fourth season

Why do I enjoy Z Nation? It has an entertaining and irascible collection of characters, as well as interesting story lines. It also doesn't mind poking fun at itself with its sometimes campy dialogue. And the zombies are much faster-moving than the lumbering walkers of The Walking Dead, which makes them even more dangerous.

Now that The Walking Dead has wrapped up its mid-season finale, you might like to check out this series.

I think you'll enjoy it!


Monday, 5 December 2016

Christmas Gifts for Horror Lovers

Horror is a billion-dollar industry, so I like to devote a post each year to Christmas gift suggestions that won't cost a (severed) arm and leg. Here are a few suggestions:

Buy a plain Christmas stocking at a dollar store and draw a skull and crossbones on it with a black felt pen or attach one made of black felt or paper. (The one pictured above costs $27 U.S.on a horror gift site so you're much better off designing your own.) Then fill the stocking with bags of gummy worms and leftover chocolate foil-covered "eyeballs" from Halloween. You can also get packages of insects/toy spiders from the toy section of a dollar store. Be inventive! If you're not an artist, follow these simple how-to instructions for drawing a skull and crossbones:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2NifLJK1EJc

Plan a post-holiday horror-themed party and send your horror-loving friends a personal invitation as a Christmas gift. This is a fun way to beat the winter doldrums and the post-Christmas feeling of let-down. Plan a party for late January or February and invite your friends to dress up as their favorite horror characters. Consider having a treasure hunt for severed limbs (dollar store purchases) followed by watching Night of the Living Dead or the Evil Dead series. If you make this a BYOB event and come up with some creepy snacks (for example, bowls of popcorn with dollar-store fake fingers and crackers with soft cheese garnished with "eyeballs"), you and your friends will have a great evening at a reasonable cost.

There are lots of great horror movies coming out in 2017. Why not send out a home-made coupon good for a movie and popcorn and redeemable in the new year? You can then choose a non-peak time when tickets are lower-priced to go to the movie theatre. Not sure what's coming up? Check out http://moviepilot.com/p/horror-movies-2017/3920803.

Any other suggestions you'd like to share? Please leave me a comment. I'd love to hear from you...

Monday, 21 November 2016

Shirley Jackson's We Have Always Lived in the Castle

I have been reading Shirley Jackson lately, enjoying her cadenced prose that with simple words gives immediate insight into the minds of her characters, her ability to create an atmosphere of fear and isolation, and her mastery of psychological horror in the tradition of Poe. I've just finished reading We Have Always Lived in the Castle, the final novel she wrote before her death. 

The narrator of the novel is Mary Katherine Blackwood, known as Merricat, and as usual Jackson opens her story with the shock of incongruity as we are drawn into the bizarre world of the Blackwoods:

My name is Mary Katherine Blackwood. I am eighteen years old, and I live with my sister Constance. I have often thought that with any luck at all I could have been born a werewolf....  I dislike washing myself, and dogs, and noise. I like my sister Constance ... and the death-cup mushroom. Everyone else in my family is dead.

Merricat lives with her sister and her uncle Julian  in the huge Blackwood house previously inhabited by her mother and father, brother, and aunt as well. We learn that these members of her family have all been poisoned; Uncle Julian is the only survivor of the poisoning but he is wheelchair-bound and in the depths of dementia. Merricat had been sent to her room for bad behaviour so she was not present at the fatal meal, and Constance did not use the sugar that contained the poison. Constance was arrested for the murders, but subsequently acquitted.

Constance never leaves the house other than to go to the garden, and it is Merricat who must make the twice-weekly trips to town and endure the stares and taunts of the townspeople, who are both fearful and jealous of the remaining Blackwoods and their grand estate. The townspeople become active aggressors later in the novel: during a fire, they loot and destroy almost everything in the house and threaten the lives of the Blackwood girls. The themes of cruelty lurking below the surface of "normal" people and the dangers of mob mentality are strong here, reminiscent of "The Lottery".

I don't want to give away any further details of the story because it is an amazing one. If you enjoy psychological horror, this book is for you.