horror

All posts tagged horror

Written by Mike Macabre

I recently had a catch up with Bill Oberst Jr. and that man is BUSY! It will come as no surprise to the majority of our readers that his unwavering efforts in the horror genre are as strong as ever. Only a few days ago, we posted how he needs your help to make his Gothic Goodnight podcast better than ever! But, that’s not all. Bill is also working with director Jason Zada on Take This Lollipop 2, sequel to the viral sensation of 2011.

You may recall Jason Zada‘s short film and Facebook app took the internet by storm. The interactive film initially requested that viewers temporarily allow the application access to their Facebook account. It then incorporates information obtained from the viewer’s Facebook page to fill in details of the film itself.

Bill Oberst Jr. starred as ‘The Facebook Stalker’, scouring through images provided from the accessed Facebook account. The Stalker becomes more and more agitated as he scrolls through the information, until he locates the home of the user. He then pulls up Google Maps, and finds directions to the user’s home from geographic data contained in his or her profile. Bill is then seen driving his truck, seemingly to the Facebook user’s address.

Take This Lollipop

At the end of the film, a screen appears with an image of a red lollipop containing a razor blade. Below the image is the viewer’s Facebook screenname and the name of the stalker’s next victim as gleaned from the viewer’s own profile.

The interactive film has received both national and international attention and even won a Daytime Emmy Award!

Take This Lollipop 2

Following on from this success, Jason and Bill have teamed up again to bring us an updated sequel! Despite being tight-lipped around the tech, Jason said “In October 2020, we will launch a sequel to one of the most viral pieces of entertainment of all time. During the last six months, technology has been the catalyst that has transformed the way we work, socialize and communicate. Just like the original Take This Lollipop did in 2011, we are going to combine entertainment with seamless technology to frighten a global audience.” 

October is upon us, meaning it’s only a matter of time before we get the sequel. But, for now, here’s a teaser trailer!

What do you think of the upcoming Take This Lollipop 2? Did you see the original? Let us know on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or in the comments below.

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Under Another Sun

Reviewed by Christian

D.M. Siciliano’s Under the Sun is a deceptive piece of work. Featuring a strange female protagonist, Ravynn, the novel veers in differing directions as the plot unfolds. From the first lines, Siciliano is playing on a number of different genres.

Synopsis

“A crack in time saves 99”

But what do those ominous words mean? Ray is about to find out, whether he’s ready or not. His ‘deceased’ twin sister, Ravynn, is warning him of impending disaster, but Ray can’t seem to convince himself, or his wife, that he’s not crazy. But Ray isn’t the only one communicating with his sister. Ravynn’s surviving daughter, Amelia, seems to know things that defy reason, in a time when reason is slowly slipping away. When Ray’s brother-in-law offers evidence of something terrible coming in the form of prophetic journals Ravynn wrote before her death, Ray can’t doubt the truth any longer. The world is falling down. The family struggles to hold themselves together as the world they once knew and understood begins to collapse all around them, leading up to a cataclysmic end. Can Ray save his family in time?

Focused on a family in danger

​It’s unclear how to even classify the book but probably apocalyptic fiction is the most appropriate. In broad strokes, a reader of Stephen King will be in familiar territory with allusions to The Shining, The Dark Tower, and Under the Dome(even the novel’s name echoes King). There are other King books that appear to be present but naming them might spoil the ending. Still, Siciliano is not directly lifting the plot or even themes, but the tell-tale signs of being familiar are all there.

​The question for King as for Siciliano, alas, does it matter? Apocalyptic fiction, whether political (Orwell, Ayn Rand, Alan Moore) or more personal and spiritual (George RR Martin, Pat Roberston), suffers from the dilemma of engrossing us in a large world with many characters or a few. Siciliano favors the latter approach and the story is firmly focused on a family in danger. Ironically, while Ravynn is a constant presence in the novel, Ray, her brother, is the real triumph. His emotions and bearing feel real and believable. To be sure, it is a bit annoying Ray takes as long as he does to put the mystery of Ravyn together. But, the befuddled protagonist is often what any horror fiction has to have at the beginning. 

Some new twists on an old formula​

Unfortunately, the rest of the cast of characters come off as too generic and borrowed archetypes. Nevertheless, the plot progresses at a good pace. The prose style is fairly solid. The cosmic creepiness when it begins to set in is well done. Siciliano is attentive to detail situating many events in California making her apocalypse credible.

​More experienced horror fans will probably guess much of the final sections. But a more beginning and intermediate reader will appreciate Siciliano attempting some new twists on an old formula. The book is not ground-breaking and the twist when it is revealed is fairly clever. But readers will probably divide whether Siciliano’s revelations come off as more too-clever than just clever enough.

Ravynn and her dilemma aren’t as gripping as Martin’s females who also walk the fine line between the spiritual and utterly horrific. Doing stories with a predetermined ending is a tough road anyone dabbling in Chosen Ones and so on will be saddled with and Siciliano (mostly) keeps us on a solid path to the finale. 

A highly recommended read

For a writer who is early in her career, this shows enormous promise and while not as scary as King’s best work does an effective job of keeping the reader engaged and asking questions. It does not have King’s touch of (admittedly, graphic) humor. Yet it also, thankfully, lacks King’s trademark needless gore. The horror when it is doled is pretty proportionate and what one would expect with the world coming to a close. 

If you enjoy the magic wizard – or more witch in this case – category then this book will be eminently satisfying. One or two plot elements will come off as far too convenient; still, on the whole, D.M. Siciliano has constructed a fairly effective construct. Her fiction is far above average but still, frankly, suffers from trying to wow us with secret exposed after secret exposed. A highly recommended read but one should be mild expecting anything truly novel; Under the Sun is a great synthesis of past horror but not the new step the apocalyptic genre needs to revitalize itself.

About the Author

DM is a lover of all things creative. From the moment she could speak, growing up in Massachusetts, she had a passion for flair and drama, putting on concerts for anyone who was even remotely interested (and even for those who were not). A storyteller by nature, she first pursued her young dream of becoming a singing diva while living in Arizona. She soon found that stage life wasn’t the only form of storytelling she craved, so she dropped the mic and picked up a pencil instead. She still hasn’t given up on her diva-ness, and hopes her pencil stays as sharp as her tongue.

A dark sense of humor and curiosity for haunted houses and things out of the ordinary led her down the path of completing her first novel, Inside. Several other projects are constantly floating around in her head and her laptop daily, and sometimes keeping her up much too late at night. Occasionally, those projects are so dark and twisted, she needs to leave a nightlight on.

She now lives in Northern California with her two fluffy furbabies, Cezare and Michaleto.

Want to know more about DM. Siciliano? Check out her website here

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Bill Oberst Jr.

That’s right! Bill Oberst Jr. our indie King of Horror, is reaching out to horror fans worldwide to make the 13th episode of his Gothic Goodnight podcast the best one yet!

For those who don’t know, Bill has been reading gothic bedtime fiction on his podcast since March. The Gothic Goodnight, podcast has so far produced 12 captivating, spine-tingling episodes. The 13th and final episode is one he wants you all to be involved in. Following the news that the podcast is due to be packaged for Audible.com, Bill had this to say;

“I owe one last episode, the 13th, and I wish to make that last episode a collective cry to the future by having lovers of horror and the macabre leave voice messages to the yet unborn. I need voice messages for this Time Capsule from your readers!

That’s right, you have a chance to be part of horror history! Your voice, along with horror fans worldwide, can be in a collection that will be heard for generations to come.

Here’s an audio clip from the show which poses the types of questions Bill is trying to get responses to:

Voice messages to the future may be left (either named or anonymously) at https://www.speakpipe.com/billoberstjr.

The site recorder allows for messages of up to 90 seconds. Messages received will be used on the upcoming 13th episode of Gothic Goodnight, and included in the Audible edition collection of Season One.

But, you need to be quick! Bill is hoping to receive all messages by 18th October in order to add them to his final episode.

Planning on leaving a voice message for Bill Oberst Jr’s podcast? Let us know on FacebookTwitterInstagram or in the comments below and we’ll give you a shout out!

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The Last Laugh

Reviewed by Mike Macabre

When you think about it, Slashers have been around for more than half a century! Influences of Slasher movies like the giallo films, 60’s classics Psycho and Peeping Tom etc. paved the way for the subgenre we know today. In that time, we’ve seen it all; wide varieties of masks/disguises, every motive imaginable, the twists and turns and urban legends brought to life. It’s pretty much impossible to make a Slasher these days without incorporating one or more countless stereotypes that we’ve come to know and love. Fortunately, this doesn’t deter new, upcoming filmmakers. Jeremy Berg is the latest director to give us a Slasher offering with his latest flick The Last Laugh.

Synopsis

A stand-up comedian on the verge of breakout success must make a terrible choice when he discovers a murderer on the loose in the theatre where he’s about to perform his biggest show

Starring Steve Vanderzee, Eric Stone, Lowell Deo, Angela DiMarco and Meranda Long.

The Last Laugh

Review

The movie started out fairly well. Myles (Vanderzee) is clearly a struggling comedian. Stood on stage, he goes through his repertoire to a near-empty venue with barely a snigger from the audience. His manager then informs him of a make or break gig in the Pantages Theare. His act will be the undercard to popular comedian Reggie Ray (Deo). Throughout the movie we see flashbacks of Myles’ wife who has died; a strong indicator of his poor, recent performance. However, before Myles takes to the stage, people start getting murdered by a masked killer. With the bodies piling up, will the hapless comedian live to see the curtain rise? You’ll have to watch to find out!

There are really only two locations in The Last Laugh (the bar and the theatre) but Berg makes it work. The theatre is more like a labyrinth with twists, turns and dead ends. The perfect location if you want to start slicing and dicing folk. The whole theatrical concept isn’t lost either. Despite the same method of murder (for the majority), the humble knife doesn’t get old with some creative kills along the way.

The Last Laugh

Acting

The characters are hit and miss. Vanderzee does a good job portraying the struggling comedian and his afflictions with mental health. Yet, the character isn’t really likeable. In fact, besides Bethany (Long) and Andy (Marcus Leppard) most of the characters aren’t likeable at all! This kind of takes away the fun of a Slasher. You’re not really rooting for anyone, just waiting for them all to die. However, having said that, there are a fair few kills so you won’t be disappointed on that front.

Speaking of kills, the acting could’ve been a bit better with those. I mean, when you get stabbed it HURTS! Yet, there seems to be a reluctance with some of the actors to scream, cry out or even whimper. Not all of them, but enough to raise eyebrows. We also don’t get much character development, which is a shame as there’s potential there for pretty much every role.

The entire movie has a bit of a Scooby Doo feel. The whole ‘whodunnit’ theme starts from the outset and as more and more people are killed, the list of suspects starts to dwindle. I was half expecting the killer to be caught in an elaborate trap, then being demasked to reveal the butler or something. However, the ending doesn’t quite play out that way…

Check out the trailer for The Last Laugh below

Conclusion

Overall, it’s not a bad flick. There are a lot of stabby murders, some decent effects and a sinister score that’s played throughout. Perhaps the deaths could have been a bit more convincing and maybe the character storylines explored a bit more. But, in my opinion, the big issue is the Marmite ending. You’re either going to love it or hate it. For me, I wasn’t a fan. But then again I was waiting for the butler to be demasked…

What do you think of the The Last Laugh? Like the sound of it? Let us know on FacebookTwitterInstagram or in the comments below!

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Redwood Massacre: Annihilation

Redwood Massacre: Annihilation is the highly anticipated horror flick due for release later this month.

Horror icon Danielle Harris (Halloween, Camp Cold Brook, Once Upon A Time… in Hollywood) comes up against the axe-wielding maniac of Redwood in writer/director David Ryan Keith’s highly-anticipated sequel to The Redwood Massacre!

With the release only a few weeks away, a new trailer has surfaced which is sure to excite horror fans everywhere.

Check it out here

Synopsis

A stranger obsessed with the unsolved Redwood murders, convinces a group of bereaved family members to venture into the wilderness in hope of proving the existence of the infamous killer. Their quest for truth sees a sinister turn of events, as the hunters become the hunted. A blood-soaked fight for survival ensues when they find that the tales of the axe-wielding maniac are very real.

Redwood Massacre: Annihilation is available On Demand and DVD October 20, 2020

Fans of the original are definitely in for a treat with this one. Check out our review here

What’s your thoughts on the latest trailer? Let us know on FacebookTwitterInstagram or in the comments below!

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