gore

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Carrie Rickard, leaving an abusive relationship back in London, tries to escape her own past by throwing herself into her restoration project: Fairwood House, known to locals of Pagham-on-Sea as The Crows. Unable to resist as it whispers to her, Carrie’s obsession only grows when she discovers it was the site of a gruesome unsolved murder.

As Carrie digs deeper into the mystery surrounding the bloodless child stuffed up the kitchen chimney in the 1950s, she awakens dark and dangerous forces that threaten her own life.

Cue an introduction to her eldritch neighbour, Ricky Porter, a foul-mouthed modern-day Merlin in a hoody and a tracksuit, who claims he can see the future. But Ricky, as obsessed with The Crows as Carrie is, has an agenda and several secrets of his own, not least of which are what’s really under his hood, and what he’s got in the cellar…

…Is his offer of help sincere? Or is he the reason she’s doomed?

THE CROWS is a Gothic Paranormal novel for fans of haunted houses, eldritch monsters, and things that go bump in the night. Content Warning for psychological abuse, body horror, gore, strong language, and scenes of an unsettling nature.

What do you think? Sounds good? That was my first thought when I sat down to read The Crows. It was about 21:30 and I figured I’d read for an hour before heading to bed. FOUR HOURS LATER(!) I glanced at the clock. Never mind the content warnings in the blurb, it should warn you of the amount of time you inadvertently give to this book. I genuinely couldn’t put it down.

The story is gripping, immersive and written in a style that is easy to read and understand. Rosens writes as though she had lived through the tale herself. The convincing characters, descriptions of Pagham-on-Sea and the house itself all suggest she was writing from personal experience! Carrie is a down to earth, relatable character who, despite being thrown everything but the kitchen sink, manages to take it all in her stride.

However, it’s not just Carrie that is a well thought out protagonist. Each character is given their own individual personality and traits which either makes them loved or loathed. Their unique personalities and mannerisms often leads to hilarious outcomes/events (just thinking back now is making me smile)

The only downside I could find was the sheer number of characters mentioned. I occasionally found myself having to skim back a few pages to remind myself who certain characters were and how they were connected. However, that may have just been me reading too quick – a testament to how gripping the story really is. If you want an engrossing, unpredictable page-turner, The Crows is the book for you.

So, in conclusion; there’s humour, gore, compelling storyline, well written characters, with twists and turns along the way. What more could you want?

If you would like to check out the book yourself, you can find it here

And if you would like to find out more about C.M. Rosens, you can access her site here

Definitely an author to keep an eye on as she’s likely to keep going from strength to strength.

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The Tell Tale Heart

The Tell Tale Heart

If you were to go up to any horror fan today and ask them to reel off a list of horror influencers, who do you think would be mentioned first? King? Lovecraft? Maybe this generation of fans wouldn’t even mention literature. Perhaps the likes of Romero or Craven would precede all others?

Yet, the truth is most of the above names would probably never have been a horror icon if it wasn’t for the influencers of the 1800’s. Bram Stoker, Mary Shelley and of course Edgar Allan Poe (among many others) sowed the seeds to what is now a rainforest of Amazonian proportions. Whilst some people may forget this, relying heavily on the influences of modern day pioneers, McClain Lindquist remains true to horror’s gothic roots.

Lindquist’s adaptation of ‘The Tell Tale Heart’ brings the story to life in just over 20 minutes. Staying true to Poe’s original prose, The Tell Tale Heart depicts The Narrator taking us through the dark realms of his psyche, all the while trying to convince us (and himself) that he is in fact sane.

I was initially intrigued as to how this visual portrayal would pan out. Would Lindquist stay true to the time period Poe originally perceived? Or would he give it a modern twist? The answer came within the first 20 seconds. Darkness, with only the fleeting conversation between a Police Officer and a Detective using current language. Modern day then? I’d say so… Until the words of the Police Officer conclude the dark sequence; “I hate the way he talks – It’s like an old movie.” Thus paving the way for The Narrator.

Depicted superbly by Sonny Grimsley, The Narrator’s prose, garb and mannerisms The Tell Tale Heartwouldn’t seem out of place on any theatrical stage. Lindquist successfully amalgamates the two time periods into one as we are taken on a journey through The Narrator’s dwindling grasp of reality. Whilst fans of Poe can be satisfied the depiction pays homage to the original, fans who have never read The Tell Tale Heart can also enjoy the traditional elements of horror throughout.

The movie contains shock, gore, suspense and most importantly it immerses the audience. We don’t just observe The Narrator’s descent into madness, we’re dragged into the abyss with him!

Alongside the great acting and directing, I feel I also need to pay tribute to the great SFX appearing throughout the movie. As you know, indie horror tends to be done on a budget, and as such we’re The Tell Tale Heartoften treated to some cringe-worthy special effects.  Yet those within The Tell Tale Heart are pretty impressive. There’s a vast amount of blood, gore and visual effects, not to mention the makeup/prosthetics used in transforming James C Morris into the old man. The SFX team have excelled and definintely need some recognition alongside everyone else involved in putting together this great short movie.

If you want to find out more or keep up to date with The Tell Tale Heart, you can connect on the links below.

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Mongrel: Son of a Bitch

Review by : Daniel Kraevyn

Mongrel: Son of a Bitch

Issue #2 cover

Created By: Edward Dunphy and Michael Kudelka
Story By: Edward Dunphy (here is his website: www.labbratz.com)
Art: Andrew Mitchell Kudelka (and his website: www.amkudelka.com)

To Donate to the Kickstarter: click here

Werewolf stories are very hit or miss, mostly belonging in the latter category. In all honesty, most of them suck, which is an unfortunate thing, as one would think that the mythos would be rife with stories that would write themselves. I guess one of the traps that practically every werewolf story falls into is that they all struggle to capture the feelings of the original Wolf Man film. Many movies, books, and comics have tried to craft a good werewolf story, and most have failed, although there have been some exceptions (notably, the first Howling film, and the Werewolf television series). Perhaps trying to capture this ubiquitous “feeling” is the very thing that leads most lycanthrope stories to vapid response.
Enter Mongrel: Son of Bitch, an indy comic by Edward Dunphy and Andrew Mitchell Kudelka. According the preface, Mongrel was originally written in the early 90’s but due to complications (read: long story of company troubles) the other two issues never saw the light of day. Now, it has been revised, colorised, and with the help of kickstarter, the first two issues are out, and the third is currently seeking funding.
This is a 1990’s era detective story, and I must say, one of the better lycanthrope tales to be released. The mood is evocative of a noir tale, the gruff monologue of a protagonist, interspersed with alternative narratives; yet the comic is injected with a modern, gritty, visceral feel. As with comics, pacing can be tedious, but this story overcomes any issues quickly. Of note: the gore. The violence is spectacular, and witholds nothing, and Kudelka shows his artistic prowess by how he is able to pose his characters, along with a very artistic and original of showing the blood splatter outside of the panels. While “nothing” is happening (no action), the characters pose normally; then the action sequences shine as Kudelka displays the sequences with precision and dramatic flare. I must also note that the werewolves themselves are awesome. I will say that perhaps the greatest challenge to werewolf movies has been to have truly scary, realistic werewolves, and Mongrel does just as the movie Dog Soldiers and the T.V. series Werewolf did for the Lycanthropes, they are fantastic.
Mongrel is a three-issue digital comic, with two issues out, and the third in it’s funding stage on Kickstarter. I recommend this read, and even to support these guys. Indy comics need all the help they can get, because there are some gems out there. I will include links below should you wish to get involved. At least read them, and enjoy a good werewolf story. As I prefaced this review, good werewolf stories are tough to come by, so be sure to experience the good ones.

To Donate to the Kickstarterclick here
Mongrel Website
Mongrel on Facebook
Mongrel on Twitter

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